Fi's Mutterings

Disney, running, swimming, living with disability, challenges…


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Running Events Review of 2016

Last time I wrote about running was in May 2016 so here is, hopefully, a quick recap of the events we covered last year and what is planned for 2017.

R U Taking the P? 5K

On Fathers’ Day, Adam once again took part in R U Taking the P? 5K.  As it is a men only race to raise awareness and fundraising for male cancers, I wasn’t allowed to take part.  This year, Adam’s dad wasn’t at home to run it with him but, even knowing this, Adam asked if he could do it anyway.  It was the first time he’s ever run an event from start to finish on his own.  I was so proud of him.

There were a few people who we know from parkrun there and they kept an eye out for him which was great.  In fact, he got a mention on the York parkrun Facebook page and was featured in the parkrun newsletter in September.  I am so proud of him.

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York 10K

We entered the York 10K in August.  Not as good as previous years but we completed it.  Adam’s hat blew off while we were running down Nunnery Lane, just before we got to Micklegate.  We finished in 1:10:38.  Not bad considering we didn’t run between January and April and had only run up to 5k in training which was very hit and miss.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

In September, Adam and I went over to Disneyland Paris for the weekend so we could take part in the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  It was AMAZING!!!  I don’t know what our time was as both of our running watches ran out of battery at around 13k (out of 21k).  This was an event to take part in rather than run for a time though and it was so much fun.

Unlike other runDisney events which start at 5.30am, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon had a start time of 7am which meant we didn’t have to get up too early.  The one thing I didn’t like was that there were no toilets once you got into the coral, waiting for the start.  We were waiting for over an hour from the last toilet to actually going through the start line.  Needless to say, I needed to go to the toilet when we started.  Ah well, there are plenty of toilets in the parks and we, and lots of others, peeled off as soon as we got to one of the ones backstage.  As usual, there was only 3 toilets in the ladies and the men had 2 plus 3 urinals.  A group of ladies, including myself, decided that we’d risk the wrath of the men and ran in to the men’s loo.

We ran through Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland Park.  There were lots of characters to meet and have a photo taken with but we only stopped to meet Chip and Dale as the queues were too long for the others.  After about 5k, we left the parks and ran through the French countryside before returning the Disneyland Paris and running through Hotel Santa Fe and Hotel Cheyenne to get to the lake and run past Sequoia Lodge and Newport Bay.  The last part of the run was through Disney Village.  Adam and I had started flagging a bit, I think it was because we didn’t have our intervals to keep us on track, when we were running through the hotels but as soon as we got to Disney Village, Adam got his second wind and was off.  I was happily chatting to someone from the UK (another parkrunner) when Adam decided that he was going to start his run for the finish line!

After the finish line we met Daisy and got our medals.  They are heavy!  The run was worth it for the bling, lol 🙂

York 10 Mile

Once again, the team behind the Yorkshire Marathon decided to include a 10 mile run.  Adam, of course, decided that we should run it even though it was only 2 weeks after the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  As last year, it was a great run with lots of support round the course.  I think the lack of training and the fact that we’d done the half marathon 3 weeks before caught up with me because I didn’t think I could carry on at 8 miles.  I managed even though I had to reduce the run/walk intervals.  We finished in 1:53:46, 3 minutes slower than last year.

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What’s coming in 2017?

At the moment, there is only the York 10K.  If there is a 10 mile to go with the Yorkshire Marathon, I’m sure we’ll enter that again but they haven’t released details of it yet.  Adam is going to be running R U Taking the P? again.  This year he will probably be running with his dad, or at least starting with him.

Now that I have completed 100 parkruns, I’m planning on volunteering at least once a month but will still be running 2 to 3 parkruns each month, unless the horses are using the track 😉 (York parkrun uses the service track at York Racecourse so is cancelled if there is horse racing).  My fastest time for parkrun was 31:52 in 2016 and I would love to get back under 31, or even 30, minutes in 2017.


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100th parkrun Completed!

I haven’t written on my blog for months!  Since May 2016, in fact.  Sorry, life got in the way a little.  I’ll catch up with everything that has happened in the 2nd half of 2016 over the next couple of weeks, I hope.

First though, I completed my 100th parkrun this morning!!!   I ran in the heavy rain and hail with the wind blowing it horizontal on Christmas Eve and then ran Christmas Day parkrun just so I could do the 100th one this year.  It’s been a long time coming, I’ve been doing parkrun since August 2013 but took about 3 months off earlier this year while it was cold and wet and couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed, lol.

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Over the past few months, Adam has decided that he’d rather volunteer than run (his dad is now volunteering as the photographer most weeks) so he needs to do another 15 parkruns to get his 100.  He’s well on his way to his volunteer 25 t-shirt though.


TheTraining for the 2016 Events Has Started

I finally got round to starting my running training for the running events which Adam, and I, want to do this year.  We are both doing parkrun and I am doing an extra run, or two, during the week.  I went on to myasics.co.uk and created a running plan for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon at the end of September based on never having run before.  I chose this option as Adam and I didn’t run at all for near enough 3 months and Adam finds time very tight after college to go out running.  Also, our 10K events aren’t until July so we’ll increase his running after half term and increase it again when he finishes college at the end of June.  Anyway, because I chose the option of starting from scratch, the first few weeks of runs are 1-2 miles at 16 minute mile pace which is what he does to walk to college.

At the moment, as well as the half marathon, we are only planning to run a couple of 10K events.  York 10K on 7th August – I’ve done every York 10K since they started in 2009 so I can’t miss it.  The Great Yorkshire Run is moving from Sheffield at the end of September to Harrogate on 24th July so we are looking at maybe doing that one too.  Adam is also wanting to enter the R U Taking the P? run on Father’s Day.  As his dad won’t be here that weekend, he’ll be running it himself – his first official solo event – as it is a men only event.  I may enter on of the Race for Life events the following week but I haven’t decided yet.  If the York 10 Mile returns with the Yorkshire Marathon, we will also run that too as we really enjoyed it last year.

We went to parkrun yesterday and it was great.  The puddles had cleared so no soggy feet this week.  It was cold and windy though, but the sun was shining so that made it bearable 😉  I increased our running intervals to 90s with a 60s walk break and we managed it very well.  Adam was still talking to me all the way around so I know he’s doing OK.  With about 350m to go, Adam decided to he was going to make a run for the finish line.  He knows that if he wants to beat me and not have me catch him on the line, as I did last week, he has to make a long run for home.  I think he must have overtaken about 8 or 9 people in that last 350m, I overtook 4, to finish in 35:07.  I finished in 35:26, over a minute and a half faster than last week and Adam was almost 2 minutes faster.  Think it’ll be back to 2 minute run intervals next week 🙂

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Parkrun finish on 16th April 2016 (not this week): Why does Adam look like he’s just finishing a stroll in the park and I’m trying so very hard?!?  I just caught him on the line.


Finally back to parkrun

It’s been a while, and I apologise, that thing called Life got in the way.  After the very soggy parkrun in January, Adam and I only managed one more (on 30th January) and then didn’t run at all until this morning.

After the very wet feet which led to white, numb toes and fingers, I decided that maybe running when there was a chance of having to run through a lot of big puddles wasn’t a good idea.  So, not a lot of running on Saturday mornings.  On the other Saturdays, either Adam was sick, I was sick or I had to be at work by 10 am instead of 11 am.  Whatever the reason, we haven’t run in over 10 weeks.  What? 10 weeks?!?  That’s ridiculous!

Anyway, this week, I decided that we were going back regardless of the weather and the possibility of huge puddles across the track – there were 3 big puddles which you had to run through or pick your way through the mud, we chose to get very wet rather than very muddy.  Fortunately, the sun was shining this morning so it was fairly easy to get out of bed and, more importantly, get Adam out of bed.  I’m sure Adam would have tried to stay in bed for an extra half hour if he could but, as he really wants to run the Great Yorkshire Run in July, the York 10K in August and the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon in September, we had to get back out there.

As we haven’t run, at all, for over 2 months, I decided to take us back to the beginning and do run:walk intervals of 1:1.  I knew it would be easy and slow but I wanted to give Adam something very manageable.  However, at the start there were so many people, and 2 big puddles to go through, that the first run minute was actually a walk (to get to the start line!), so we ran for 2 minutes to get us back on the right intervals – I can’t have my watch telling me that it is a “walk” when it’s a run or vice versa.

After the initial 500m or so, the pack of runners had spread out, especially as we were taking walk breaks after every minute of running.  The first km was just under 8 minutes but we managed to speed up for the other 4 km to finish in just under 37 minutes.  Not bad considering we haven’t done any training for 10 weeks.

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I really enjoyed this morning’s run and am looking forward to next week when I’m going to increase the run interval to 1m30s 🙂  Slowly but surely, we’ll get back to our 5:1 intervals and I may even get back to being able to run the full 5K when training on my own.


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parkrun – big puddles and soggy feet

It’s Saturday and that, usually, means parkrun for Adam and me.  Unfortunately, there was no parkrun last weekend due to a very flooded York Racecourse.  It looked more like a lake.

Anyway, the lake has gone down now to leave a lot of puddles.  The ones on the grassy area of the Knavesmire look like ponds dotted around but the service track which we use for the parkrun was, more or less, clear.  There were, however, about 4 puddles which went all the way across the service track and we had no choice but to run through them.

From York parkrun 9-1-16

Adam and I going past one of the little puddles at York parkrun

As Adam and I knew that they were there and we would get wet feet anyway, we decided that we wouldn’t pussy-foot our way through but run through the deepest parts which everyone else was trying to avoid.  The result?  We finished in under 33 minutes for the first time since August 2015.  It would have been faster (maybe even under 32 minutes) if we hadn’t had to stop and do up Adam’s silly shoelace which came undone at the 3km mark.

I have to just say thank you to my trainer (even though he won’t be reading this) who, during my bonus training session on Thursday, decided that I should do kettlebell deadlifts, kettlebell swings and 3 minutes of 30s sprint (12km/hr) 30s fast walk (7km/hr) x3 as part of my session.  I also did single leg step ups with the step half way between my knee and my bottom!  The leg work must have done something because my legs were feeling really good today even with the cold.

Also, today was York parkrun’s 4th birthday so there was cake at the finish line 🙂  What more could you ask for when you have cold, soggy feet?  Lemon drizzle cake, yum!  Everyone else had finished the big chocolate cake before we finished otherwise I would have had that one instead.

That is also Day 8 of Janathon done!  Bring on day 9 – more walking to Tesco me thinks.


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Another Week, Another Parkrun

It’s Saturday and that can only mean one thing, it’s parkrun day! 😀

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I didn’t write a report last week as Adam and I decided to volunteer as tail runners.  Although we did finish with quite a respectable time of 41:34.  I have to say that I enjoyed being the tail runner and, because the person at the end of the run was running, we ran the first 2 km.  Just after the 2 km mark, someone was finding it hard and decided to walk.  She tried to tell us to go on but I said that we were the tail runners and had to finish last.  She then tried to say that she wouldn’t carry on but I said that if she wanted to just walk it all then that was fine and we would be there to help/encourage her as much as she wanted.  She did continue and we had a lovely chat going round the last 3 km and she even put in some good running intervals.  Her boyfriend was also running last week and he came back for her after he had finished so she then picked up her pace and carried on without us.  I don’t know what time she finished in but it was faster than ours 😉IMG_0309

This week was a different story.  I decided that as Adam isn’t keeping up with me, because he didn’t want to rather than he couldn’t, I would reduce the running interval back down to 4 minutes.  It worked.  Today, Adam stayed with me until the last 500m or so when he ran ahead – he obviously doesn’t work as hard as I do to get round!  I finished with another sub-31 minute time to continue to consolidate my pace and Adam got a new PB with 31:18 😀  He celebrated with a cup of tea from the Poppy Coffee van.

In other news, we managed to get places for the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon in Disney World in November 😀 😀 😀  Places sold out within half an hour but we got in!  We are just a little bit excited.  Now I just need to work out how I’m going to get the long runs in with Adam because I really don’t think he’ll make it on just one parkrun per week.  Also need to work out long run nutrition.

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Parkrun – 7 March 2015

I love parkrun and everything it stands for.  It is a wonderful community and the York parkrun is getting bigger and bigger every month, or even week.  Where else can you go and run with 400+ people (runners and walkers), be timed for completing 5 km and know that you won’t finish last because there is a tail runner?  And that is just in York!  Worldwide, there are almost 100,000 people registered with parkrun.

From parkrun’s Facebook page on 9th March 2015

I took part in my first parkrun in August 2013.  A friend of mine decided that she wanted to try and get as many of her friends as possible to run with her the day before her wedding.  As I’d been thinking about doing parkrun for a while, I went along.  I completed my first parkrun in 33:15 which, at the time, was the fastest 5 km run I’d ever done.

A couple of weeks later, I went back and took my son with me.  I decided that as he’d never run before, and has a disability which affects his mobility a little, we’d run for 1 minute and walk for 1 minute.  We finished in 42:58.  After that, I steadily increased the running interval by 30 seconds each time he got faster – thank you Garmin Forerunner 10 for having the ability to do that.  I think we increased the run interval every week for about 6 weeks as my son kept completing the runs faster!  He did finally plateau and we settled at 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking for a while.  We are now on 5 minutes running and I think we will be sticking with that for the foreseeable future.

In the past 19 months, I have broken my PB 5 times with the most recent one being last week when I ran on my own, as my son decided he wanted to stay in bed, and I finally broke 30 minutes and took 1:11 off my time.  If you’d like to read about it, you can find a post on my personal blog.

This week, I was back running with my son and I finished in 30:32 which, as it happens, is the same time as my previous PB.  What I learnt from the run today, following last week, is that it is a lot easier to run past people when there is only one of you to get through the other runners.  It is harder when two of you need to get through, especially at the beginning when we have over 400 of us bunched at the start.

Never stop dreaming. You don’t know how far you can go 🙂

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Where Did February Go?

I think I just blinked and missed February!  Where did it go?  I last posted on 1st February and now it’s the 28th!  I’ve been busy but I’m sure I could have found time to at least write and post 2 or 3 times during the month.  Oh well, I’m here now and I can try to do better in March.

So what’s been happening?

Well, I had a few good runs – more on that later because I had a REALLY good run today 😀  I’ve also been really busy with work and have set up another new business.

So, first the new business.  I’ve been using Forever Living’s aloe products for over 4 years and last month I decided to take the plunge and sign up as a Forever Business Owner with my friend (and Forever distributor) as my sponsor.  When I signed up, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try to make a go of it as a business but calculated that due to the amount I spend on the products, I could easily get the money I spent on the New Distributor pack back within a year even if I don’t sell to anyone else.  I’ll then be making a saving and, therefore, effectively earning after that.  Forever Living have supplied me with a website 🙂 and I have set up a website/blog for myself to cover the Forever products and the Younique ones too.  It’s still under construction so please bear with me while I work out how to create a blog on WordPress.org rather than WordPress.com.

Now for the running and other exercise.  Unfortunately, I had to change my Jantastic goals for February – I had to take the swimming out – as my shoulder has been hurting and I pulled it during a Personal Training session.  I was doing a reverse pull-up and pulled my shoulder as I was going down.  I’m not entirely sure what happened but I think I went down too fast and my shoulder just gave way and cracked.  My trainer thought I’d pulled it out – he keeps waiting for it to happen as I have a funny shoulder which really looks unstable but isn’t as unstable as it looks – as the crack was so loud.  Fortunately, it was fine and I just pulled the muscles.  It’s taking a while to fix though and I can’t rotate my shoulder all the way round so can’t do front crawl in the swimming pool 😦

The running has been good this month though.  I have run every week at parkrun – twice on my own as Adam was lazy and didn’t want to get out of bed!  The two times Adam came with me, he decided at around 3K that he didn’t want to start running after one of the walk breaks so I carried on and left him behind.  I think I finished about 2 minutes ahead of him on both occasions.

The first run in February was quite slow – 32:34 – now my PB is under 31 minutes (30:32 on 17th January), I wanted to try to beat 32 minutes every week.  The second week was one of the runs I did on my own and I got back under 32 minutes with a time of 31:22 and last week was faster again at 31:08.

I have also been running at least once a week on my own and have tried to run at least 5K on each run.  My solo running has been 4km in 26:59, 5km in 32:55, 5km in 34:58 (with Adam) and 7km in 44:10.  This week’s 7K is the longest run I’ve done since the Leeds Abbey Dash in November last year and the longest solo run I’ve done in over a year so I was really pleased with that.  All of my runs this month have been done on a 5:1 interval.

Today was a FANTASTIC run.  I was on my own again today as Adam decided he didn’t want to get up.  As I was on my own, I decided to start fairly close to the 30 minute pacer with the thought that if I kept him in my sights I could, maybe, get under 30:30 and get a new PB.  It worked.  I started off steady with a first km of 6:18, which is my usual pace after the first km.  I then sped up with splits of 5:48, 5:43, 5:47 and 5:25.  I caught up with the pacer just before I got to 4km and he called out to me saying “well done”.  I told him that I’d be walking in about 20s so he’d be going past me but that I would catch up with him again.  After the 2nd km I had decided that I was going to beat 30 minutes today.  I caught up with the 30 minute pacer with about 250m to go.  Finishing time was an amazing 29:21.  I knocked over 1 minute off my PB!  I don’t think I’ll be getting back down there again any time soon as it was REALLY hard but I felt wonderful when I finished.

February was great, even if I didn’t know whether I was coming or going and was extremely busy.  March is looking like it is going to be even busier as I really want to get my businesses off the ground and continue to maintain my improved running speed.  I’m also hoping to get in to the gym a bit more and make some improvements there too – shoulder permitting.

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I Got a PB!

This morning was my 46th parkrun and I wasn’t sure that I would actually get Adam out of bed to go as it was snowing a little. There wasn’t much but it was either going to get Adam out of bed to see it or cause him to snuggle down even further. I can’t say I blame him. Anyway, he did get up and we walked up to the Knavesmire.

We were still on our 5 minute run intervals and today we started just in front of the 30 minute pacer. My goal today was to try not to lose sight of him. Today, for the first time, we also had a 32 minute pacer who passed us when we took our first walk break. That wasn’t unexpected as our first km is always around 6:40 while the, ever increasing, number of runners starts to spread out. We caught, and passed, the 32 minute pacer fairly easily and I told Adam that the aim was to stay on front of them.

We got through 2k in around 12:40 and I still had the 30 minute pacer in my sights. However, at around 2.5k Adam decided that he didn’t want to run anymore so I said I’d see him at the finish line and kept running. He caught up with me when I was on my next walk break but as I only had 10s left of the walk break he didn’t want to keep running with me.

So, from 3k I was completely on my own and could still see the 30 minute pacer but, with at least one more walk break, I knew I wouldn’t catch him. I did push it though and finished in a new PB of 30:32 😀 Adam finished in 34:03 over 3 1/2 minutes behind! I am still proud of him though as he has grown in confidence so much since starting parkrun. So much so that I now don’t mind leaving him at 2.5k. I’d even let him run his own race for the parkrun if he wanted to as it is now familiar to him.

Finally, I’d like to say thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers who got up early on a freezing, snowy Saturday to marshall, timekeep, scan tokens etc so that over 400 mad people like me could have a timed 5k run.

As today is Saturday, it is blog hop day with Virtual Running UK and this is my entry for this week.


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Janathon Day 5 and Jantastic Day 1

I had a plan for this week and, of course, it changed on Day 1!  I knew it would as my husband is at home and I didn’t want to go to the gym for a swim without him, we had a delivery due today.  So, when I got up I put on my running kit.  I find it so much easier to get out and exercise, be it running or swimming, if I am ready to go as soon as Adam has left to walk to college.  That’s not to say that I leave the house at the same time as him because I rarely do – I don’t want to run around kids walking to school so I usually leave it 20 minutes or so before I go out.

I find it a lot easier to exercise in the morning because I need to be at home for Adam after college and, much as he enjoys running, the last thing he wants to do in the dark (at the moment) after walking to and from college (15-20 minutes each way) is go out again for a run with me.  Also, we are busy on Wednesday and Thursday evenings and, because we run on Saturdays, we don’t want to go out on Fridays or Sundays.  I also work from home on Mondays and Tuesdays so I usually exercise while Adam is at college on those days.

It’s tough but I’ve got into a routine, sort of, and as long as the exercise gets done it doesn’t really matter which days it gets done on.  In fact, it’s probably better to shake it up a bit so that my body, and my brain, doesn’t get too used to doing the same thing on the same days every week.  Of course, there are some days which will always be the same – Saturday parkrun and walking to work on Wednesdays for example.

Anyway, on to today.  I had planned to swim on Mondays and then run on Thursdays but, like I said, I didn’t want to go to the gym without my husband so I decided to run today instead.  I’ll go to the gym for a swim on Thursday after Weight Watchers instead of running home.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do today.  I set off as if I was going to do a 3k loop with the option to extend the loop if I felt I wanted to.  I did extend it, I decided to go through Woodthorpe on my way home instead of turning right at the roundabout and coming straight home.  It was a nice run, even with 2 railway bridges, and I used the 5:1 intervals which I have been doing with Adam at parkrun.  I mixed it up a bit though by running through the 2nd walk break and was going to run through the 4th walk break as well but I got an awful stitch at 23 minutes (4th walk break) and had to walk to try to ease it a little.  It didn’t really help so my final km was really quite slow compared to all the others – 6:44 instead of 6:15-ish.  I had thought about trying to increase my distance a little and do around 5.5k but decided to go towards home instead.  The final loop was 5k and I finished in 32:35 so actually wasn’t as bad as I thought.  It gives me something to work on next week.

So that is Janathon day 5 done and 1/3 run/swim workouts done for Jantastic.