Category Archives: Fundraising

Great Yorkshire Run 2014

We did it, we finished the Great Yorkshire Run 10K yesterday.  I wasn’t sure that I would finish when we were at the 8km mark but thanks to Adam I did.

Yesterday morning Adam and I were up early to get a train, or 2, to Sheffield for the Great Yorkshire Run.  Our wave was due to start at 10.21 am as we were in the last group of starters. Just as well as I didn’t really want to drive and we only decided to enter about 5 weeks ago so we couldn’t get a hotel for Saturday night. So it was the 8 am train to Doncaster and then the 9.13 am train to Sheffield. Next year I’m entering earlier and staying in Sheffield overnight so I don’t have to get up at 6.30 am on a Sunday!

The run was going well until we got to the 5 km mark and my son said he needed to go to the toilet. OK, I could do with going too and they had put about 5 porta-loos at the turn-around point (about 5.5 km). This would have been great because running with a full bladder is not pleasant, however after taking about 7 or 8 minutes to wait for and go to the loo my legs didn’t want to run again.  Next time, I don’t care if I am the last starter, we are both going to the toilet just before we are due to cross the start line, not half an hour before!

We finished in a time of 1:16:05, which considering we went to the loo wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Especially as I couldn’t breathe properly at the 8 km mark and had to reduce the running down to 2 minutes run 1 minute walk instead of the 5 minutes run we have been doing.  I don’t want to make excuses but I was also on day 2 or 3 (I can’t remember, I still have cotton wool head) of a cold and really shouldn’t have been running at all.  I didn’t want to let Adam.

There was a flyer in our goodie bag at the end for the Leeds Abbey Dash in November and my son now wants to do that one too! I must be a glutton for punishment because I’ve agreed to look into it.


Adam’s First 10K

It’s that time of year again, the Run for All team rolled in to York for the last 10K of their calendar for 2014.  I have taken part in every one of them since they started in 2009 and this year my son, Adam, decided that he would like to run it with me.

Adam has only been running since last August/September when he started doing parkrun with me.  Earlier this year we took part in the Royal Family 5K at Disney World and he completed the R U Taking the P? 5K in June.  His best time for the parkrun is 32:21 but he has been consistently finishing at around 33 minutes so I thought he’d easily do about 1:10:00 as we always run intervals rather than the whole 5K.  My PB for 10K is 1:09:50 which I set at the Great Yorkshire Run last September and I have gone under 31 minutes for a 5K but that was hard work so I don’t think I’d be able to finish a 10K much faster than my PB if I ran it on my own.

Anyway, we went with a friend of mine to the racecourse for the start of the York 10K this morning with a goal of running 4:1 minute intervals and aiming to finish anywhere between 1:10:00 and 1:15:00.  The queue for the toilet, as usual, was really long and we were still standing waiting for a toilet to come free when they started the run.  That was fine, it takes about 20 minutes for all of the runners to cross the start line anyway so we knew we had time to get there before they told us it was too late.  As it happened, we joined the masses with plenty of time to spare and crossed the start line with lots of people behind us at 13 minutes after the gun.

This year my friend, who I ran with last year, hasn’t done any training and was carrying a back injury so she was aiming for a much slower time of 1:30:00 but she wanted to start with us and see how far she could get.  We started out relatively slow, for us, and completed the first km in 7:20 with the 2nd km taking 7:30.  After we left my friend, Adam picked up the pace considerably with the next 3 km being completed in just over 21 minutes.  The km splits for 6 and 7 got even faster with the fasted split of 6:23 coming at the 7 km mark.  Adam decided he wanted more of a walking break in the 8th km and consequently the time went down a bit.  It also didn’t help that the course had an “out and back” part to it, you know where you run up a road and then have to turn round and run back down it while other runners are going the other way.  As we could only run on half of the road, it was harder to get round slower runners/walkers so I am blaming that for the slower split too.  Adam came home strong though with a final split of 6:26 😀

Avg Pace
Summary 1:08:39.1 9.97 6:53
1 7:19.5 1.00 7:20
2 7:29.8 1.00 7:30
3 7:04.3 1.00 7:04
4 7:01.3 1.00 7:01
5 7:00.6 1.00 7:01
6 6:41.4 1.00 6:41
7 6:23.5 1.00 6:23
8 6:51.0 1.00 6:51
9 6:33.8 1.00 6:34
10 6:13.9 0.97 6:26

The official time from Run for All was 1:08:34.  I have a PB 😀

I am so proud of my boy.  I wish I could persuade him to run longer splits because he has the potential to go so much faster and run away from me one day.  The splits from 2 km were his pace, not mine, and when he gets the confidence to keep running rather than rely on the interval timings I won’t be able to keep up.  His pace is so much quicker than mine but, at the moment, I have the endurance which is why my 5K PB is faster than his.  I would also like to point out that Adam only runs/trains at York parkrun so the furthest he has ever run before today was 5 km and he only ran once in July due to parkrun being cancelled for the Tour de France and horse racing.

Adam is now asking if we can do the Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield in September.  Well, I was going to run it anyway, so sure.  He is also looking up the dates for the Yorkshire based Run for All 10Ks for next year with a view to taking part in Hull, Leeds and York 10Ks in 2015.  Well, we need a challenge and if it will keep him going to parkrun, I’m all for it.

York 10K collage


5K Runs for Charity

I wasn’t going to enter the Race for Life this year as I am taking part in parkrun almost every week so don’t need it as a warm-up for the York 10K. I don’t really like doing the Race for Life as I feel quite guilty not actively getting sponsorship for it so all they get from me is my entry fee and money from any merchandise I buy on the day, I loved the pink shoelaces! I put them in my black work trainers when I worked at Tesco, the Managers tried to get me to take them out but I refused 😉

Anyway, my husband decided he’d quite like to do a 5K and asked me to find out when the R U Taking the P? 5K is in York.  It’s on Father’s Day.  Father’s Day is on 15th June this year in case you didn’t know – I wouldn’t want you to be caught out if you need to know this information.  We asked our son if he’d like to do a 5K with Dad and he said “yes”.  So my husband and son will be run/walking the 5K to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

My husband then said, “So when’s the Race for Life then?”
Hmm, “I wasn’t going to do it this year,” I said.
“Oh, but you have to.  We need to know how much you beat us by and our 5Ks are on different days this year,” says he.

He’s right, the last time my husband ran a 5K was the R U Taking the P? in 2011 and the Race for Life 5K was at 2 pm the same day.  On that occasion, he finished in around 48 minutes and I finished in around 37 minutes.  As these events are fun runs and aren’t timed the finishing times are estimated.  So I finished a whopping 11 minutes quicker than he did 3 years ago and I’m hoping that it’ll be an even bigger gap this year.  Unfortunately, my son will be a lot slower than we know he is capable of as he’ll have to run at my husband’s intervals as it is a male only event, which was originally started in 2010 to raise money for prostate cancer research, so I won’t be able to support him on his intervals.



Great Yorkshire Run 2013

This is my 300th post!

It seems fitting that I am writing about the Great Yorkshire Run as my 300th post.  I wanted my 300th post to be something special but this will do as a substitute.

I took part in the Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield yesterday and, knowing that Sheffield is quite hilly, was a little worried about whether or not I’d get round as quickly as I got round York with my friend in August.  As it happens I didn’t need to worry about any of it until the last 200 m!

We were up at 6.15 am to get ready to drive to Sheffield.  Why did I think this was a good idea?  I don’t get up at 6.15 am on a school/work day let alone a Sunday!  We wanted to leave home by 7 am to ensure that we got to the tram station by 8.30 am.  We were out of the door by 7.03 am and on our way down the A64 when I said “I forgot my croc hat and sunglasses.” The croc hat wasn’t important but sunglasses definitely were, I hate running (or walking or driving) with even the slightest bit of glare from the sun.  Fortunately, we hadn’t got too far down the A64 and were able to turn around at Bilbrough Top.  So we went back home for me to get my hat and sunglasses and were off again by 7.30 am.  The roads were fairly clear and we were at Meadowhall by 8.30 am to get the tram to the city centre where I saw the hill to the finish line!  To say it is steep is an understatement.

We had plenty of time so we walked around a bit and arranged a meeting point for afterwards in case my husband and son didn’t see me cross the finish line and then wander to the end of the packet pick-up bit.  It was then time to queue for the loo.  It was actually a short queue, definitely shorter than any queue I’ve ever seen at York with fewer toilets.  How does that work?  I’m guessing they weren’t the only loos available for use.

As I didn’t have a 10 k time when I signed up for the Great Yorkshire Run, I was in the Pink wave of runners at the back.  That was OK.  I’m happy to start at the back as most people weave their way past me at the beginning rather than the other way around.  I usually catch up with the eager beavers after the field has thinned out a bit and it’s easier to get round them.  As I was in the last wave of starters, and we started 25 minutes after the elite runners, we saw the leaders coming back up the hill as we were going down it.  It could have been very disheartening if we had all started at the same time but knowing that our wave was 25 minutes after them and it took me about 2 minutes to cross the start line I was encouraged rather than discouraged by it.  Apparently the first runner home finished in 29 minutes.

So, we ran down the hill which we would have to run up again after 9.8 km and then made our way on to a lovely long, flat dual carriageway towards Hillsborough.  Well, it felt flat after thinking that it was going to be hilly.  There were singers and bands spread out along the route too to keep us entertained.  There was one guy who was singing songs like “Keep on Running” and “Born to Run” – fab!  The car sales people came out from their showrooms to cheer us on too – they weren’t getting any business while we were running along the road since the road was closed were they?  At about 2.5 km I needed to go wee.  I knew it was a bad idea to not go again before I started!  Anyway, I kept on running (and walking, I’d decided to run/walk 5 min/1 min) until I got to Hillsborough Stadium where we turned around and they had 3 loos.  Of course there was a queue but I didn’t think I’d last until I got back to the finish.  I think I wasted took about 2 minutes to queue and go to the toilet but it was well worth it because I wasn’t thinking about my bladder anymore and some of the runners I had just passed at around 5 k were now back in front of me giving me a target to get passed.

The 4.5 km back were a lot easier without the pressure of my bladder.  Well, they were until 9 km to go when we had a little hill to climb followed by a little hill down and then, of course, the 200 m steep hill right at the end.  Anyway, I made it.


I was aiming to beat 1:15:10, which I ran in York in August. Ideally I wanted to beat 1:13:?? which I ran in York in 2010.  Guess what, I smashed it!  New PB: 1:09:50.  Just think what I could have done if I had gone to the loo immediately before the start instead of having to stop half way round!

Taking part was, of course, mostly about raising money – why else would I be wearing a crocodile hat? – it was a little bit about the prizes, medal and t-shirt.

Race for Life 2013

It is over a week since I completed the Race for Life 5k in York so I’m a bit slow in writing about it.  Never mind, I’m here now.

Up until about 2 weeks before the run my training had been going really well and I was confident that I could finally break the 35 minute mark.  Unfortunately, as usual, events conspired against me so I missed out on some training time.  I knew I’d lose some in the week before the run as it was half term but I’d planned to get one run in along with plenty of walking which I did.  It was the couple of weeks before that that I missed some as I came down with a bad cold, it was quite flu but almost, it completely knocked me out for 3 days!  You can read more about that in my previous blog.

Anyway, the run.  It didn’t start until 11 am which after the lovely weather we had on the Saturday I was dreading as, much as I *love* the sunshine and the heat I didn’t want to run in it.  As it turned out it was lovely, not too hot but not too cold either.  We got to the Knavesmire at about 10.30 am and listened to the Minster FM presenter up on stage.  The warm up started at about 10.45 am and I didn’t really do it as I’d already walked from home and was pretty warm anyway.  Also, by the time the run started I’d have cooled down again anyway!  The lady doing the warm up was great and if I’d been with a group of ladies/girls I think I’d have enjoyed it more than being with my husband and son.  When the warm up was finished there was a bit of time left and Rachel said that what she really wanted to do as a warm up was Ganglam Style.  The crew from Minster FM found it for her and she led the crowd in a second warm up with that.  It was hilarious! You can watch it on Minster FM’s facebook page:

After the 2nd warm up it was time to get ready for the run and we were asked to go and gather around the flag which was right for us – run, jog or walk.  I went to the jog flag.  The run started promptly at 11 am and it took me 2 minutes to get across the start line.  I started off at a gentle jog and got to 2 km after 16 minutes (8 min/km) that was OK and I was feeling good so I picked up the pace a little.  I got to 3 km somewhere between 23 and 24 minutes and was still feeling good.  I don’t know the split for 4 km but I finished the 5 km in 36 minutes 44 seconds and felt as though I could have carried on.

I didn’t break the 35 minutes but I did beat my previous best of 37 minutes ?? seconds so I was happy with that.  Also, the fact that I felt good and could have carried on bodes well for the 10 km Run for All at the beginning of August.  I got my pacing right this time with 8 minute kms to start and getting faster.  If I can do that for the 10 km I may even beat my PB for that too although with my PB being 1 hour 13 minutes I’m not sure starting at 8 min/km pace is going to work.  Best get the training in between now and then 😀

I got a medal for finishing the Race for Life and my husband also bought me a limited edition t-shirt showing names of all the participants of the 2013 Race for Life in York.

Race for Life 2013 t-shirt          Race for Life 2013 medal and entry number

Swimathon Training Session with Duncan Goodhew

Last week I received an email from the Swimathon asking if I would like a place on a training session with Duncan Goodhew.  How could I say no?  I mean, this is Duncan Goodhew!  Gold medalist in the breaststroke at the 1980 Olympics.  I’d be a fool not to email a reply to say “yes, please I’d love a place”, wouldn’t I?  Well, I’m not that much of a fool so I sent the reply asking for a place.  I got an email back on Monday afternoon to say that I had a place and the training session was at The Hydro, Harrogate on Thursday morning.  I was so excited!

Anyway, Thursday morning came and the Man gave me a lift over the Harrogate as he wasn’t working and he knew the way.  We got there really early and sat in the car for about 20 minutes before I thought that it maybe wasn’t too early to go in.  I’ve never been to The Hydro before and, can I just say, that it is *huge*, well compared to the swimming pools I’m used to.  The changing area was clean with lots of cubicles and lockers so I found a cubicle got changed and then put my big bag in a locker.  I took myself out to the poolside where there were a couple of people standing to the side chatting and, as they looked like they were there for the training session, I went over to them.  Fortunately, I was right and we introduced ourselves.  The lady, I can’t remember her name, has been doing the Swimathon since it first started in 1986.  She first swam in a team with her father and, over the years, her team has grown to include her daughters and granddaughters.  This year she will be swimming with her two daughters.  The other person was a man who swam his first Swimathon last year and, by his own admission, isn’t a particularly good swimmer and wanted some tips from Duncan to improve his front crawl which he is just learning.  There was also a group of 4 11-12 year old girls who were from the local swimming club.

Before Duncan arrived, a member of the Swimathon team came on to the poolside to say that Duncan was in the building but was chatting to the staff on the way in.  We were told that we could ask Duncan anything and that he is a lot of fun and very approachable.  Then Duncan came on through the door and made his way over to the desk by the pool, shaking hands with everyone as he went.  He told us not to tell him our names as he wouldn’t remember them anyway!  When he had put his bag down, Duncan asked what we wanted to get out of the session and the lady and man both said they wanted to improve their front crawl, I said I wanted to improve my technique too and the girls were just really excited to be there.  Duncan then went on to tell us that the best bit of advice he could give us was to enjoy the water and try to get away from “counting tiles”.

Little speech over, he then went to speak to the photographer and his team but not before getting his gold medal out of his bag and giving it to the girls to hold.  I held it too and it was heavy!  We then stood on the edge of the pool for a quick photo shoot, all pointing at the gold medal which Duncan was now holding before getting in to the pool.  The first thing we did in the pool was to play a game.  Duncan asked the girls if one of them would like to sit in a swim hat.  What?  You can’t get a whole person in a swim hat can you?  Can it really stretch that much?  Obviously, if you try to fit someone in a dry swim hat on land you can’t do it.  However, if you stretch it slowly in the water with 8 people holding the edge, you can.

After our game, it was time to warm up with a couple of lengths of the pool.  This gave Duncan a chance to have a look at our stroke and give us some guidance.  I did 3 lengths of front crawl and one length of breaststroke as I was catching up with the person in front of me.  When I finished my length of breaststroke, Duncan said that my stroke was good but I need to go under the water and bend from the hips to keep my head in a straight line rather than just lifting my head up to breathe.  We then moved on to drills to improve our front crawl as this is the most efficient stroke for a 5,000m swim.

First was feeling the water to finish the stroke by sculling.  This wasn’t bad as it is something that I have done before and we sculled on our backs to the deep end of the pool.  When we got to the deep end, Duncan said that you haven’t mastered sculling until you can do a ballet leg (like the synchronised swimmers do).  He then demonstrated it and asked us to try – not very successful in my case, I just sank!  We then sculled back to the shallow end where he asked us to try a double ballet leg.  What!?!  I sank on the single leg!

The next drill was to extend and reach while doing the stroke and make sure we “hit” our thigh on the way out of the water.  The follow on from this was to really exaggerate the stroke by kicking on our sides and turn from one side to the other.  So hard!  When I finished two lengths of that Duncan asked (tongue in cheek) if I enjoyed it, I said “I’m used to a 17m pool” (The Hydro is 50m).  We then continued with a couple more drills before a final couple of lengths of front crawl to see if we had improved.  I must say that after the drills, my stroke felt better and, dare I say it, faster.

For the final 5-10 minutes, Duncan asked if we had any questions and I asked how I could improve my stamina/endurance as I get very lazy about kicking because it tires me out.  He said that I need to do lots of kick board work and the side swimming drill – great!  I knew that was coming.  Other questions included how many times does he swim now? 5 to 7 hours a week.  How much training did he do when he was competing?  6 hours per day, 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the afternoon and 2 hours in the evening.  Whilst doing the question/answer session, the lady told him about a swimming pool in Richmond, North Yorkshire, which is sunk into the ground and is surrounded by woodland and Duncan asked his Swimathon representative why he hadn’t been there because he really wants to go.  The Swimathon representative said that they have been there but Jo Jackson did the session and Duncan couldn’t expect to be invited to them all!

Before we got out of the pool, Duncan showed the lady (she also wanted help with breaststroke) what he meant by bending at the hip and going under the water.  It was amazing!  He spends such a long time under water and has such a powerful stroke.  It was a privilege to see so close.  I can’t wait to get back in the pool tomorrow and try it myself.  He also suggested doing the kick twice to one pull drill.

Finally, the girls asked if they could race Duncan (I told you he was approachable) and he said yes but he wouldn’t race doing breaststroke as he would beat them.  So, he said he would swim his best stroke which is… doggy paddle!  It was very funny, the girls were swimming front crawl and breaststroke and he was swimming doggy paddle.  The girls won, but only just.

After we got out of the pool Duncan gave us each a signed photo and spoke to us individually.  He asked if I’d had any swim training before, I said that I trained for a year with my uni swim team (2007) but apart from that, no.  He also said that I had a very good technique *blush*.

All in all, it was a fantastic morning and if I get invited to go to another training session with Duncan, or anyone else, I’ll take it.

Why do people hear but not listen?

Yesterday we had a young man knock on the door, say he’s not selling anything (of course not he just wants something) and ask if I’d heard about Gift Aid.  I told him that I work for a charity so, yes I have.  He then asked me which charity I work for and, as he hadn’t heard of it (I didn’t expect him to after all we are a small local charity) asked what we did.  I told him that we provide out of school and respite care for special needs children.  “Oh, that’s really good” he says before he goes into his spiel about how they are trying to get people to sign up to give, and gift aid, £2 per month.  Did he not listen to what I said?  I work for a small local charity and, while I agree there are other worthwhile charities out there (I even donate or raise money for some of them by doing the Swimathon and Race for Life), if I was going to donate a regular amount to a charity it would be the one which my son, and children like him, benefits from.

Swimathon 2012

I’ve done it!  I’ve entered this year’s Swimathon 🙂  The email saying that registration was open came yesterday, after I’d finished on the computer for the day, and they are offering half price registration to the first 10,000 full price entrants before the end of January.  Not wanting to miss out, I registered when I got home this afternoon.

Now all I need to do it get the training in so that I can finish in less than 1 hour 52 minutes (last year’s personal best).  To be honest, I’m glad that I now have something to train for as I am rubbish at keeping up an exercise plan without it.  I was back in the pool this morning but only did 60 lengths of a 17m pool so I think I’m going to have to increase my distance somewhat to be ready to swim 5,000m.  I have 16 weeks to go and most training plans are for a period of 8 weeks so that should give me plenty of time to get back on track.

This will also, hopefully, cross 2 of my tasks off my 101 in 1,001 list.

The Rag ‘n’ Phone Man

This is something I am going to try in the very near future.  A friend of mine mentioned it to me just before Christmas and said that she had got about £30 from 6 bags of clothes, belts, shoes and bedding.  So, I went on their website yesterday to find out more.

  1. They will collect clothes (including shoes and belts), bedding, soft toys and handbags
  2. They will give you 50p per kg of clothes etc.
  3. They will collect books and give you 5p per kg
  4. They will also collect mobile phones but the amount they give you depends on the type of phone and these are valued separately

When we fill a charity bag and leave it outside for collection, the charity only gets between 20p and £1 for each 10kg bag which they collect.  That doesn’t seem right somehow.  If we sell our bags to the Rag ‘n’ Phone Man we will get £5 for that same 10kg bag of clothes which we can then donate to the charity of our choice and not the charity named on the collection bag.  Even if we only donate half of what we get the charity is quids in and, if we use a website such as Just Giving or Virgin Money Giving, they will collect the Gift Aid to add to your donation too.  OK, before I get comments from people saying that companies such as Just Giving and Virgin Money Giving take a fee off the amount donated, yes they do but they will still donate more than your original donation to the charity and if the charity collect the Gift Aid portion themselves, not all of them do, they would be taking money off the donation through their administration costs.

The other thing I like about the Rag ‘n’ Phone Man is that they will arrange a day to come and collect your bags and weigh them in front of you so you don’t have to leave them outside to get wet or stolen.

Race for Life training – week 3

So much for the amount of training I was supposed to do last week, I didn’t do most of it.  I did, however, get in a lot of walking.  The exercise I should have done/did is as follows:

Mon: Plan – 30 min, 3.6k, 2 min power walk then 4 min jog, repeat 10 times – wait, doesn’t that add up to 60 minutes not 30?  I think they mean do 5 times.
Actual – I forgot to check what I was supposed to be doing so I did the 3km benchmark test instead. I completed 3km on the treadmill in 21m 16s.

Tue: Plan – Rest.
Actual – 30 min, 2 min power walk then 4 min jog, x5 (4.55km in 35 min including cool down)

Wed: Plan – Jog, 30 min (3.8km)
Actual – 84 minutes walking (6 miles)

Thu: Plan – 30 min walk (2.4k)
Actual – 109 minutes walking (6.87 miles)

Fri: Plan – Rest
Actual – 80 minutes walking (5.4 miles)

Sat: Plan – Benchmark test 3km
Actual – 38 minutes walking (3.34km, 2.09 miles)

Sun: Plan – 30 min, 3.8k Jog
Actual – 68 minutes walking (6.03km, 3.77 miles)

So, lots of walking but not much running or jogging. Unfortunately, this week isn’t going to be much better due to work and having to stay at home for a couple of engineers on Wednesday. I did the planned 15 min walk, 15 min jog yesterday and have walked for 48 minutes today. I hope to be able to do an exercise DVD or kettlebell training tomorrow and more walking on Thursday. My plan is to go to the gym again on Friday for a full workout including a 30 minute jog.