Tuesday 30 June 2015

Thanks Juneathon - challenge completed!

I've been and off and on blogger since 2006, in the last couple of years mostly off. I've blogged about my dogs (my first post was all about attending Crufts with Lola), about crafting, about photography and latterly about running. I have good intentions to get into a rhythm with my blog, but after a few posts, life tends to get in the way and the posts tail off.

This is why I'm pretty proud of having made it through every single day of Juneathon. I've blogged 30 times (this is number 30) in thirty days and that has to be a huge record (ahem - personal best!) for me.

The first step to me getting organised enough to stick at a task is always an awesome new notebook and the inevitable lists of post ideas and post content.

It's the last day of #juneathon and I made it!

But what gets me more excited is that today I added this next page to my notebook.

Bring it on July! #blogging #running

I can't promise I'll be blogging everyday, but the intention to continue to at least plan to blog makes me happy. So thanks Juneathon, not just for keeping me active through June (weirdly that's the easy bit), but for getting me back to doing another thing I love. 

Final Juneathon update - I've still got rather tender quads from the weekend so with the temperature at 28C when I got out of work this evening, I took the opportunity for another rest day... unless you count mowing a quarter of an acre of stupidly long grass!

Current vital statistics

I love a good statistic and with a number of apps talking to my Garmin I'm not short of data to geek-out to. Strava, Runkeeper, Fitbit and Garmin itself all spew out some great stats so here are a few choice from the last week (Monday to Sunday).

Total distance run - 42.4km and 4h 31mins on my feet. If anyone is keeping count that's a full marathon - no wonder my quads are calling out for a rest day (and they got it too!)

Longest run - 21.1km - that'll be a half marathon right there!

Number of runs - 5 - this is definitely my limit I think - although if it wasn't for a proper long run I reckon I could have squeezed in another...

Shortest run - 3.8km. Probably should have rested the day after that HM but the OCD part of my brain wanted to see my distance tip over the marathon distance. Think I'm paying for it today!

Fastest pace - Tuesday's 5km was a 5:40 per km pace. That'll do for the heat an humidity of this week.

And looking in a broader sense - June has been the month where I've run the most km in total - a total of 128.6km.

Juneathon update - Definitely in need of a rest day, but that didn't stop me walking the whole of the million miles around Ikea this evening after a full day on my feet at work! Reckon that suffice for today.

Monday 29 June 2015

The Cargo Runner

Innovations and new concepts in the running world are always interesting and I spotted this new innovation by young London designer Sven Ladiges - it's a new method of transporting your gear especially when run-commuting.

Called the Cargo Runner it's what appears to be a standard rucksack but with a hidden secret - inside the bag is a set of wheel, a waist band and a connecting sprung tube so that bumps in the road don't affect your movement.

The video makes it look rather convincing and while I have some reservations about how it would handle the rather more rugged surfaces I run on - even the pavements around here are full of tree roots, it's definitely really interesting. It could certainly make an impromptu run to work easier and would negate any need to prep in advance!

Junathon update day 28 - After my half marathon distance yesterday I did a short recovery run (although I'm not sure how much my quads thanked me for it!) of 3.8km to bring my total for the week to a cheeky marathon distance!

Sunday 28 June 2015

AfterShokz Sportz 3 Headphones - Review

I love a bit of new running gear and recently picked up some new headphones for running -   They are the AfterShokz Sportz 3 and are over the ear headphones with a few unique features, the primary of which is that they use bone-conduction technology and don't actually go in your ears, leaving them available to hear what's going on around you. This might be traffic, bikes sneaking up behind you on the trail or other runners in a race but allowing you to still listen to music at the same time - essential for long runs especially!

The headphones come in a great semi-hard case - especially useful for chucking in your run-bag as it'll protect them from getting crushed/broken.

Inside is a section for storing the cables (more about that later)and any other bits and bobs you might like to store in the case - I pop my iPod inside to keep that safe also. There is also the main section for the headphones with an elastic start to hold them securely.

The unique nature of these headphones is that they allow you to listen to music but also keeping the ability to hear what's going on around you. This is achieved by the two pads that sit immediately in front of your ears rather than inside your ears. The pads have a smooth and fairly soft covering and I can confirm that they are really very comfy. I ran 13 miles this morning and didn't notice them at all. 

I was a little concerned that it might be rather uncomfortable to wear my running sunglasses at the same time, but this was completely fine too. The   have a cable to attach to your phone/iPod but wireless/bluetooth compatible options are available also, but as I use a iPod rather than my phone for music these wouldn't work for me.

 The cable of course connects via this handy volume control with a clip on the back to secure to your running vest. The orange button is a power button and the little flap to the right hand side is for a micro-USB cable to charge the unit - the power reportedly lasts 12 hours and only takes 2 hours from flat to fully charged.

 The AfterShokz are also water-resistant so I'd have no worries using them in the rain and they certainly felt comfy in hot weather today - they are definitely sweat proof!

I'm really impressed with both the sound quality (I'd say they are as good or better than my Yurbuds) considering that they aren't even in your ears! It seems almost unreal that bone conduction (using vibrations to the bones in your inner ears) can do such a good job! I was able to chat with other passing runners today without turning off my music or taking off my headphones and could hear bikes sneaking up behind me and hear people around corners on the trail ahead - there are definitely no surprises with these! I could even hear the birds singing in the woods!

AfterShokz Sportz 3 are RRP £49.95

Juneathon Day 28 update - 13.1 glorious miles today - it was really hot and I was very grateful for my Camelbak and got through most of the 1.5l. 

Friday 26 June 2015

For the long run - long run checklist.

The last 4 weekends have been full of races and parkruns so I've rather neglected my long-run, but tomorrow I'm heading out for what I expect to be a 10 miler and you can definitely tell it's firmly on the agenda as I have a raft of bits and pieces lined up and charging. So here's a breakdown of my essential long-run gear.

1. Garmin Forerunner 10 - Because how else will I know quite how lost I got in the woods.

2. Fitbit One - To capture every single step to calculate quite how much pizza I can justify afterwards.

3. iPod Shuffle - For 2 hours of tunes!

4. Aftershokz Sports 3 headphones - these are a new acquisition - they've been with me on one run so far, lets see how I get on with them on a longer trot out.

5. Sports sunglasses - mine are cheapo generic ones from Sports Direct as I'm not convinced I can be trusted not to lose/drive over them!

6. Calf Sleeves - unless it's stupidly hot tomorrow morning I like to pop these on for a long-run. I find they really support my calves and of course they claim to increase blood flow which can't hurt for longer distances!

7. Socks - I'm easy going about my choice of socks on shorter runs (as long as they are running socks that won't chafe) but for a long run I like to wear my favourites - in the winter I like Hilly cushioned socks, but they are a bit warm for the summer - my favourite warm weather socks are Sugoi tech socks.

7. I've not tended to take water on runs of this length, but with the hotter weather, I think I'm taking my Camelbak tomorrow. Within it will be...

8. High5 Zero sports drink - this seems to agree with me and as I'm quite a salty sweater (TMI!) it's nice to replenish those salts.

9. Nakd Bars - I like the Cocoa Orange bars and will take two with me, but likely only get through one - these are flippin delicious and are good as a bit of a top up of fuel mid-run.

10. iPhone - I do feel like I should take my phone on longer runs just in case, but it's also good for a few pictures - if only because it forces me to slow down and take it easy!

Hope you've got a nice run planned for the weekend - leave me a comment and let me know.

Junathan update day 26 - An easy 5km for me today after work. Pushed it a little bit on the last km for a fun finish.

Thursday 25 June 2015

Bling whore

A year ago I ran my first every race and I had a fine old time along the way. I crossed that finishing line and felt like a proper runner. I was handed a welcome bottle of water and my very first medal. I'd never in my life won a medal or trophy before (I don't think swimming certificates or cups from dog shows really count in quite the same way) and it felt really nice.

It didn't take me very long to sign up for another race and in October of last year I ran the 10k at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival and received a rather lovely medal.

And thus it had started - I've ran several races now and as I wrote about here - the existence (and the quality) of the a medal is definitely a big part of the decision to enter a race.

#blingwhore #running #medals

Coming soon to a local town is a Colour Run. A few friends are doing this run and I'm sure it'll be heaps of fun but there is a part of me that can't quite yet bring myself to hit the button on the entry. And the reason? No medal. I don't mind paying for races - I've paid for lots already, but somehow It seems strange to put down in excess of £20 for a race without chip timing, without a medal and where the main point of the 'race' is to run slowly enough so that you get coated in dye. Surely the idea of a race is to go as fast as possible. I can run for free and without needing a medal every week at parkrun... all we need is a few jokers with some dye and you've got yourself a colour run!

I'm sure I'll cave and enter, and I'm sure I'll enjoy it, but it'll certainly feel strange!

Juneathon update - Day 25 - rest day today but enjoyed a glorious long and warm romp along the beach with the dogs.

Shoe shopping anxiety

I'm on my third pair of the same Nike trainers that I've been wearing since I started running (fourth pair in total if you count the ropey pair that I traded up from after the first run of Couch to 5K. But it looks like I'm not going to be able to get hold of another pair as they seem to have been discontinued, so the search is on for some new shoes. I did pick up some Asics trail shoes from TK Maxx and the classic 'do they feel comfy?' method of shoe selection seems to be holding up at least so far. 7.5km on the trails and some tarmac this evening and no twinges so far.

However nice they might be though, I'm not sure I can use these knobbly soled lovelies for road running so I think It might be time for a bit of shoe shopping. According to my physio I've got flat feet and I over-pronate so I guess I *could* pop along to the shops and pick up something else intended for my general sort of flipper feet that just feels really nice or I could man-up and face my fear of the treadmill! I tell anyone who asks me about running shoes how important it is to get your gait assessed but never having run on a treadmill I'm almost certain I'll fall off it! Maybe the solution to all of this is at least get someone to film me on it so I can spend the £250 of 'You've been framed' money on shiny new shoes!

Juneathon update - Day 25. As mentioned above - 7.5km post work at an easy effort after pushing the pace yesterday. Wore my new trail Asics and Aftershokz headphones (review coming soon). Both were great!

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Be your own cheerleader - top tips for positivity.

Nowadays I'm a real advocate of positive thinking. In the past I've been rather prone to those inner demons niggling at me - telling me I'm not good enough or can't achieve a task, and of course it's a self fulfilling prophecy. Once you give into those demons it can be a downward spiral.

I made the decision a while ago (about the time I decided I was going to lose weight) to embrace small victories. Celebrate each pound lost rather than stress about how many more I had to go. This shift in direction has been amazing and along with keeping my goals small but exciting it means I get a win more often and this, for me is hugely motivating. I've become an advocate of ticking things off a list (mentally and literally) and I like it.

Running is the ultimate opportunity to embrace this philosophy. You might feel like everyone is running faster or further than you and this can feel demoralising. But for a lot of us it's true. But running isn't about winning the race. Who cares if we are never going to be Jo Pavey or Paula Radcliffe? But you can take on some elite methods for positivity. Here are my top tips.

1. Small victories - I'm never going to run a 4 minute mile (or probably a 5, 6, or 7 minute mile for that matter) but I might just be able to knock 5, 10 or 15 seconds off my mile time. And each time I knock off a single second it's a record! Imagine that - you can break records! And even better you're a record holder already! Don't worry what everyone else is doing.

2. Give yourself an aim for your next run. Rather than faster, try running an even pace or running negative splits. Ironically these will likely all make you faster.

3. Goals don't have to be about time.  Try being conscious about running tall or keeping your arms relaxed. Set yourself the challenge of trying out a parkrun or running in a new place.

4. Not every run is a race. Think like an athlete (because you ARE one) and remember you need to run at different paces to build speed, stamina and strength. Run an easy pace for a recovery run after a harder session. Back off the pace to enjoy your surroundings or to run further, or throw in some intervals to gain a bit of speed for a sprint finish. It's not just about running fast - don't beat yourself up about not running as fast as you can every time you go out. In fact you can feel even better about yourself when you remember you are training smarter not necessarily faster.

5. Progress isn't linear. You won't necessarily see improvements every time you run or race. Don't worry about it!

6. Keep a log - It's sometimes easy to focus on how far you have to go, but more difficult to remember how far you've already come. I vividly remember when I couldn't imagine running for 2, 3, 5 or ten minutes without stopping. Now I can run for over two hours. That's a huge achievement!

7. Find your inner cheerleader - Don't underestimate the power of positive thinking during your run or race. We all have those moments where it's feeling really tough - slogging up a hill, getting near to the end of a run and feeling tired or even in those first tortuous minutes before you get into your stride. When you start feeling like negative thoughts are creeping in, tell yourself instead how awesome you are feeling - that you feel strong and energetic. Don't wait to spontaneously feel these things - running is hard work! But if you say the words (even in your head) you'll start to believe it!

Juneathon update - Day 23 - 5km after work (and before a delicious burger out with friends) with some equally delicious negative splits! Hell yeah!

Monday 22 June 2015

Runners camaraderie

When I was in Southampton the other day running the Women's Running 10K, I got chatting to a group of women who had each come along on their own.

We chatted before the race, comparing hopes for race-times, stories of where we'd run recently and generally hung around before the start. As the race start drew nearer we each peeled off to situate ourselves near our chosen pacers.

After the race we found each other again, and as we consumed our post race ice-cream and soy recovery drink we sat around on the grass to muster enough energy for the drive home. One of the ladies, Sarah, commented - 'One of the things I love about running is that we didn't know each other at all an hour ago and here we are chatting away as if were old friends (I'm paraphrasing a little!). And it's true. Runners are a sociable lot and I think a lot of it stems from the way many of us have started to bore non-running friends and family.

Most people will be interested to hear about your last big race and will congratulate or commiserate with tails of success or woe. But hearing about a race every week, or your latest training run, or a niggly injury, or your new running socks/garmin/shoes etc can start to get old... You don't notice at first in your enthusiasm to chat about the finer points of your last fartlek session or the long run you have planned for the weekend, but it doesn't take long for their eyes to gently start to glaze over.

But when you meet up with a real live runner it's like a wonderful epiphany. 'These people get me!' Suddenly you can chat seemingly endlessly about all those things that you hadn't even dared to bring up with non-runners. Pre-race toilet habits, toenails, achey groins. All the sort of things that just don't go down that well with work colleagues while making a cup of tea.

These people are your soulmates or should that be solemates? So if you haven't got a running friend yet, it's well worth finding some. Try a local running group or even a virtual social group of runners on Facebook for example - it's well worth it to find some kindred spirits - your friends will thank you for it!

Juneathon update - rest day (post race) for me but a KILLER yoga session. Felt as stiff as a board at 6.30am this morning and I definitely worked in class today!

Sunday 21 June 2015

Race for Life 2015

Set off this morning to Poole for the 2015 5km Race for Life. 11am always seems a really late start for a race, but of course I was there by 9.45am. It wouldn't do to not be early! As I mentioned yesterday this was my first race last year and I definitely felt more at ease this year!

Like last year Mum came along today and it was great to have her there for support and to soak up the wonderful atmosphere of Race for Life! I tend to go to races solo and it was also a real novelty to be able to bring a bag of gear along!

Mum and I at Race for Life! #raceforlife #cruk #poolepark #poole

The overcast morning and frankly windy morning on the waterfront at Poole soon gave way to glorious sunshine and as we set off (after the obligatory fun pre-race warm-up) it was definitely heating up. Thankfully there is a bit of a breeze along the way from Poole Harbour and this just about took the edge off.

I could tell I was keeping a fare pace and it felt good to be back into my stride a little as my runs this week have been rather hard-going. As last year the course was a little short but that's not the important figure on this screen grab from Garmin... it's that cheeky 5:30 pace. That my friends is 5 seconds a km faster than my PB over 5K. (and 1m 35s a km faster than last year!) While it won't be making it to my PB list, I know deep down that I had it in the bag. Happy days!

Of course at the finish there was a great reception and a fun dog-tag medal - a great idea for the 'Pink Army'. Once I'd stuffed down the essential post-race snack I headed off for a celebratory pizza! Yum!

Race for life done! And a #pb too! #raceforlife #poole #poolepark #cruk #sweatyselfie

Looking forward to my race anniversary. Race For Life.

A year ago today I was nervously gathering my running gear together for my first ever race - the 2014 Poole Race for Life for Cancer Research UK. I was always nervous before big events but another big change in my life is that attending races isn't really a big worry for me anymore! Apart from a bit of anxiety about getting to the start on time and finding parking etc I'm pretty much as cool as a cucumber!

As it turned out I was right on time this time last year and had heaps of fun - Race for Life is a wonderful uplifting experience with hundreds of women of all ages, shapes and sizes, running and walking for a great cause.

So tonight I've marked this anniversary, by once again laying out my running gear for my second Race for Life. I'm really looking forward to ending it this time without the nerves, plus it's the first time I'd aimed to raise a bit of cash for charity since last year - it's nice to give something back!

Ready for Race for Life tomorrow at #poolepark #poole #raceforlife #cancerresearch #cancerresearchuk #running #runnersofunstagram #juneathon

From left to right I've got my Asana water bottle, Generic cheapo running sunnies, iPod Shuffle and Yurbuds earphones, Race for Life tee, Nike Anodyne DS2 Trainers, Garmin Forerunner 10, Under Armour Compression Capris, Primark running vest and Gap Sports Bra.

If you'd like to sponsor me to raise funds for Cancer Research you can do that here. Every single penny makes a difference.

Juneathon update - Rest day pre race but I did have the wettest long beach walk in history with the dogs!

Friday 19 June 2015

The selfie enigma

I've never been a fan of being photographed - this is part of the reason I'm a photographer, and while the rest of the world is seemingly obsessed with the selfie I'm not really a fan. I do take the rare picture on a good hair day or in interesting light , but I'm hyper critical and after taking a million shots to get one I like, I often go to town on the filters to hide imperfections!


#tfifriday #myrealshirt #summer #hat


But weirdly there is one sort of selfie that I rarely take more than one shot of and that gets posted as would be described as #nofilter. Even more strangely these selfies are taken when you'd likely think I'd consider myself looking my worst. It's the post-run or post-race selfie.


I'm sweaty, tired, red faced, my fringe is scraped back but most importantly I'm blissfully happy. I don't care about any of the other things. I see strength, achievement, and contentment in these shots. I see the satisfaction of crossing the finishing line, I see tough training runs and I see PBs. I'm proud to post them to my Instagram.

Goddamn PB!! #womensrunning #10k #southampton


Juneathon update - I'm calling today's run an easy pace 6km, because I tried to run slow and steady, but in reality it's so damn hot and humid, it was as hard as hell! I even took my hydration pack to let me take on a bit of water. Oh and I got chased by an out of control dog. Fun times!

Thursday 18 June 2015

Five things I love about running

There are plenty of reasons to love running - here are five for starters!

1. It's time for me. Life is busy and so often on someone else's timescales but running is the time where I'm totally in control of my own destiny.

2. It gives me a sense of achievement. No matter how small the achievement, you can always take something positive from a run, even if it's just that you laced up and got out there and did it.

3. I love to eat and running equals more calories to play with!

4. The gear - I'm a big fan of shopping for a hobby - now I get the chance to buy shoes, running clothes and a seemingly endless array of accessories! Somehow when it's for a healthy pursuit it's even easier to justify to myself!

5. It's a stress reliever - running home or stopping off for a run during my drive home seems to work wonders for taking my mind off the stresses of the work-day. It's much rarer nowadays for me to lose sleep over thinking about work.

Junathon update - I'm really not a fan of the hot weather, I'm much rather be running first thing in the morning. But my schedule called for a post-work 7km and what is supposed to be an easy paste. Did't feel very easy today!

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Faster than the average bear

I've never been any good at sport (apart from the sport of avoiding sport!) and if you'd asked me when I first started running I'd have been thrilled to just be able to run at all. At the start 5 minutes non-stop seemed highly unlikely and 5k seemed like an impossibility. 

But as we all know eventually you improve and that drive to improve and the self-motivating and self-rewarding aspect of beating a previous time or running just a bit further is one of the things I love most about running. There are no comparisons to other people, just the possibility of improving myself. I'm never going to win a race, I'm never going to break any records, but when I spotted this infographic about the average road racer (Based on US statistics) I was intrigued to take a look. I'd kill to be average at something I never dreamt of doing just a year ago!

The statistics really surprised me. Out of the distances that I've raced (no marathon for me so far!) I'm  a bit older than the average racer but the faster than average in all of them! How is that possible? Whatever the reason I'm still thrilled!

Juneathon update - Rest day from running for me today but I did get to my second Yoga class of the week - it was hot as hell and pretty hardcore too - who said yoga was gentle? Loving it!

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Fitbit - 2 year update

This time last year I wrote this post all about my Fitbit One - well another year has passed and for my two year anniversary I thought I break down some stats.

Last year - 1485 miles
This year - 1964 miles
Total - 3449 miles

Last year - 3,423,819 steps
This year - 4,243,475 steps
Total - 7,667,294 steps

Floors climbed -
Last year - 7961 floors
This year - 6437 floors
Total 14,398 floors

My best day was 27th December with over 33,000 steps which perhaps unsurprisingly was the day I ran a Half- Marathon distance for the first time - somehow I had the energy to walk a further 4 miles the same day!

A year ago I'd only just started running so I clearly stayed much more active in the last year - I was definitely walking a lot more in my first year though and the difference in floors, I'm sure, says a lot about this - somehow it's just not the same running up those steep-steep hills!

I still swear by my Fitbit, it's hugely motivating and I can't think of a day in the last year that I've been without it - I did invest in a replacement clip for it as the first one had got a little loose, but the Fitbit itself is still going strong!

Juneathon update - An easy 7km recovery run for me today - although in the heat and humidity it felt a whole lot less easy than usual!

Monday 15 June 2015

2015 Goals - Revised!

As I mentioned yesterday I'm happy to report that I've managed to hit my time targets for 2015 so it's time to reassess my next running goals.

One of my new year's resolutions was to finally get to a parkrun and I eventually got along to both Poole and Salisbury parkruns - I definitely want to get to lots more of these. I'd love to get to 10 by the end of the year!

Time wise I'd like to improve my 5K time. Sub 27m is my next target! I don't have another 10K race (other than a fun trail race) this year so I'm not sure I'll be able to beat my 10K time for a while, but the next goal has to be sub 57m.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Jonathan update - Rest day means no running but does mean hard-core 6.30am Yoga.

Sunday 14 June 2015

Women's Running 10K Series - Southampton - Race Report

This morning I travelled the 40mins or so to Southampton for the Women's Running magazine 10K series event. As per usual I got there stupidly early, parked up and made my way across Southampton Common to the start area. I had no idea this 320ish acre site was slap bang in the middle of the city - and very nice it was too!

After the 5K race got under way, the 10K girls gathered at the start line and positioning myself between the 55 and 60 minute pacers we set off.

Once I'd wound may way through the usual slower runners I got nicely into my stride. The two lap course was mainly on tarmac paths with a bit of grass and a deceptive long-long hill which I definitely felt in my legs!

At about 8.5K the 60 min pacer caught me, but thanks to Mr Garmin I knew she must be ahead of pace. It was definitely the incentive I needed and I pushed the pace and even managed a nice sprint finish over the line to finish with a chip time of 57.48. If you were reading yesterday you'll know that a sub 58min 10K was one of my 2015 goals!

The race had great organisation, with loads of water stations around the route, a quality medal and technical tee and an awesome goody bag! All the runners were also given a yummy whey protein shake from Everything But The Cow and soy ice cream from Wheyhey - Yum!

A great race and I'll definitely be back next year!

Saturday 13 June 2015

Checking In - 2015 Targets

At the beginning of the year I set myself a couple of targets for my running - a couple of time goals and a total distance goal for the year. I'm happy to report that with 201 days left of 2015 I'm on the verge of hitting 50% of my goal distance of 1000k for the year!

Considering that January and February were rather injury ridden I'm pretty darn happy to have hit this milestone already. 

I'm about to get back to doing proper long runs on the weekend as part of my Half marathon training (after the next couple of weekends with races on the agenda) so I'm hopeful that I'm on track to succeed.

My other goals were to hit a sub-28min 5K and a sub 58min 10K. I achieved the first of these in April with a new 5K PB of 27m 55secs and am hopeful of beating my 10K target with my PB currently sitting at 58m 59secs. Once I hit them both I guess I just have to set myself some more goals!

Juneathon update - Rest day today as I'm running a 10K race tomorrow - but I did manage 5 miles of talking including a vigorous beach walk with the girls!

Friday 12 June 2015

Rain Runner

Friday is definitely my preferred day to run to work. It sets me up nicely for the weekend and somehow even after a good primping I also look a bit more dishevelled than usual  (especially when I’m changing into clothes that live in a desk drawer!) and that’s a whole lot less noticeable on dress down Friday.

Today it also serves the purpose of making sure I’m not tempted to pop along to a local 10K race this evening – I’m running in the Southampton leg of the Women's Running 10K series on Sunday and two races in a weekend is a little nuts!

I set off this morning to cloudy skies, but with no rain forecast till tonight I was hopeful that the weather would be kind to me. I was wrong.

About 3.5K into my 8.5K commute the heavens opened. 

Running in the rain isn't something I do that often. I rarely set off for a run if  it's already raining, but of course every British runner gets caught out on an all too frequent basis. If I know rain is forecast I slap on my trusty running cap. Mine is a Gap G-stride cap and while it's not currently on the UK Gap site, there are plenty more similar ones out there.

Of course Mr Hat was safely tucked away in my bag at home so today I just embraced the rain! Once you're wet, there really is no point in worrying as there is no getting wetter! This is the point where the fun kicks in! Splashing through the puddles is strangely appealing and the rain definitely cools you down and spurs you onward!

Happy running everyone!

Thursday 11 June 2015

Run Dorset - Wimborne - Race Report

Pretty hardcore hills and craggy terrain. That's how I'd describe the trail race/cross country course for the Run Dorset event at Wimborne in May. Of course the race organisers described it as 'mainly flat and perfect for fast times'!

The race started on the playing fields of my old school - Queen Elizabeth's in Wimborne. Apart from a single trip to their leisure centre a couple of weeks previously, I've not been back since leaving after my last A-level exam more years ago than I care to remember!

The race set off onto closed roads and soon turned off road onto gravel, grassy banks and stony slopes. A 'novelty' was the inclusion of kissing gates, stiles and rustic wooden steps. We came across all of these within the first km so there was definitely a serious bottleneck at these points - of course on the return journey the field had thinned somewhat so they were a lot less of a delay on the way back.

The race definitely took in some pretty terrain though. Passing fields of rapeseed, bluebell woods and avenues of ancient oak trees all added to that authentic Dorset feel and I definitely got well into my stride on the flatter middle bits.

The timing at Run Dorset events is via a wristband that is dibbed into a device at the finishing line. This seems to work quite smoothly and your results are handed to you just moments after finishing!

A great race and you can still grab your slot at the last of the Run Dorset events in Christchurch on October 18th.

Junathon update - Rest Day today but I certainly kept active with a mammoth lawn moving session of  a quarter of an acre of grass!

Wednesday 10 June 2015

Inspiration - Pinterest Style

I'm quite the Pinterest junkie - I use it for all sorts of 'research' - cute baby animals, Star Wars pictures  and stuff about Marvel - y'know, all the important stuff.

But there is also a whole load of really useful running and fitness resources at your fingertips with lots of links to pages that other people have thought are useful enough to save on their own boards.

But even better are the funny, inspirational and painfully true motivational and humorous mottos and slogans that are to be found there too - here are a couple you can find on my own Health and Running Pinterest board - I promise if you give me a visit (and a follow) I also share the useful stuff too!

Junathon update - an easy pace 7 and a bit km this evening :)