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.


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Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

After last year’s runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon that ended up being a 7 mile run instead of 13, I did my sums and decided that Adam and I could do the inaugural half marathon at Disneyland Paris in September 2016.  I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun.  The only downside being that my husband will probably be away working so only Adam and I are booked on the trip 😦

Today, I finally did the last thing which I needed to get done/booked before we go so I can now relax and not panic, well not much anyway, until September.

So, I have booked the Disneyland Paris hotel, the Eurostar (from London to Disneyland Paris), the hotel in London for the day before Disneyland Paris and for the day we return from Disneyland Paris, trains to and from London (so happy that if you register with Virgin Trains you can book your tickets up to 6 months in advance rather than the usual 12 weeks).  I have also bought our half marathon entry and tickets to the inaugural party at Walt Disney Studios.  I’m so excited!  The amount Adam keeps talking about it, I think he’s excited too – I had to tell him so that I can get him out running/training for it.

One thing which is different about this run is that unlike other events where you can sign a waiver, under French Law, you have to get a Medical Certificate signed by your doctor to say that you are fit to enter the race.  I finally organised the Medical Certificates for Adam and me and picked them up today.  They are now uploaded to the registration site and we are ready to go.

Now we just need to put in the miles and the time in training for it.  At least we still have over 4 months to go 🙂

I managed to get a longer run than I anticipated this morning due to forgetting to pick up the Medical Certificates yesterday.  I was planning on running a 3km loop but had a phone call (which I didn’t answer) when I was half way round.  I looked at the caller id which came up with “No Caller ID” – when my doctors surgery calls it comes up with that – which made me remember I needed to pick up the Certificates.  So, I decided I’d extend my run and run to the doctors surgery.  I’d done 4km of consistent running, no walking, by the time I got to the doctors so decided to pause my Garmin and then restart it when I got going again.  I ended up with a, not quite constant, run of 5.55km in 36:15!  It’s not the time or the distance that I’m happy with (well, I am because it’s the fastest I’ve done for a while) but more the fact that, apart from the stop at the doctors, I ran without any walk breaks for over 35 minutes 😀

Bring on the York 10K – yes, we’ve entered that again – and the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  We may add the Yorkshire 10 mile if they do it as part of the Yorkshire Marathon again.


Virtual Running – Run Blog Hop

Virtual Running UK Blog Hop LogoThis Month’s Blog Topic

Spring Marathon Season has arrived! For this month’s blog hop we’d like you to share a post about your marathon experiences. Whether you are a seasoned marathoner, or you are training for your first 26.2 miles, or even if you’ve never run a marathon in your life but have a story to share, then share it here – we’d love to hear from you!

Well, I’ve never run a marathon, nor am I planning to.  Then again, I said that 10K was far enough for me and I’d never to a half marathon either, so you never know.  I think it is unlikely that I will ever run a marathon though purely because I know that I don’t have the time to put in the miles that you need to do to be able to complete the marathon.  Training for a half marathon is hard enough when I have to find a time that both Adam and I can do as he can’t go out to do the runs on his own.  Before the 10 mile and half marathon (which turned into a quarter marathon) last year we did get into a good routine of running after college but that was before the clocks went back and the dark nights set in.  Also, we never actually ran more than 10km in training.

If you want to read about the York 10 Mile, which we somehow managed to complete with only 9km as our furthest training run and 4x 10K events or the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon which turned into an 11km (7 mile) run instead of 13.1 miles, click on the links.  They were both great events to be part of and I would definitely do the York 10 Mile and a runDisney event again.  Who knows, when Adam finishes college and we can plan holidays during term time we may have to start planning our Disney trips around runDisney events.  Think my husband may have something to say about that 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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A busy week and a lazy parkrun

With the end of the month looming – where did the month go, anyway? – I have been very busy.  31 January is the deadline for self assessment tax returns to be filed online, and any tax owed to be paid.  The end of the month is also the deadline for VAT for some businesses.  So, needless to say a bookkeeper is very busy in January if they, or their clients, aren’t particularly organised in November or December.  I’m back on track with that part of my work and met all my deadlines by Wednesday afternoon.

Apart from work, I’d love to say that I am getting back on track with the exercise too but that just would not be true.  I went to the gym for a session with my trainer on Monday afternoon.  I love being able to go to the gym during the day – the advantage of self-employment and working from home 3 days a week.  I walked to work on Wednesday, a lovely hour’s walk there and about an hour and a half home as I took a detour to go and see a client.  Thursday was weigh-day at Weight Watchers so that was another walking day 🙂 and I lost 1lb this week 😀 only another 3 to go to get back to my Gold member weight.  Yesterday was another day at work although I did get a walk in to town fitted in.

So, we are on to today when Adam and I finally made it to our 2nd parkrun of the year.  It was a very slow 5k run this morning, just under 35 minutes!  I know Adam could have gone faster – he ran the last 400m on his own and finished 8 seconds ahead of me.  Why was I so slow?  Surely I couldn’t have lost so much pace from not running for 3 weeks?  After all, I’ve still been walking (fast) quite a bit and still going to the gym.  The reason I was slow was sore shins and a hip which has been niggling me for about a week.  Also, with the freezing weather, and wind, which we had this morning my back decided to sieze.  Ah well, I finished in under 35 minutes so that’s still good.  And, I got back out there.  Think I need to get back out running during the week too so that I can get Adam going faster again.

Hope you’ve all had a great week.


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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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Running in 2015: Part 3

This is the final part of my Running in 2015 catch-up.  Our final run of the year was the runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to get places for Adam and myself to take part in this event, even though it was a night run the day before we flew home.

Wine and Dine Half FB Cover

When we knew we were going to be going to Walt Disney World for Adam’s 21st birthday and then found out that if I planned the dates right we could take part in a runDisney event, I had to at least try to get entry for myself and Adam.  After all, taking part in a runDisney event was on my wishlist as was/is doing a half marathon.  The fact that it was a night run, no getting up at 4 am for a 5.30 am start, was even better.  The down side was that in order to be at Disney World for both Adam’s birthday and the half marathon we’d have to fly there the day before Adam’s birthday and fly home the night after the half marathon.  Or, more accurately, fly home on the day we finish the half marathon.

We have done a runDisney event before.  We did the Royal Family 5K in 2014 which is part of the Princess Half Marathon weekend.  I hadn’t been able to get a place on the half marathon for that event so Adam, his Dad and I took part in the 5K instead.  We still had the full race weekend experience though, including going to the Expo so we knew what to expect.

For the Wine and Dine half marathon, we went to the Expo on the Friday to pick up our race packets which included our race bib and commemorative shirt.  I love the shirt as it is a long-sleeve running/performance one (photo at the end of the blog).  There were loads of stands too with everything from running skirts, and other running apparel, to charity stands, upcoming events and so much more.  I don’t think I saw all of it but I spent a fortune!  There were also speakers, including Jeff Galloway, giving information about the event and what to expect during the event.

twitter_profile1The half marathon was a night run which meant that it was due to start at 10pm.  runDisney laid on buses from select resorts as well as Epcot from about 7pm to get the runners up to the start area at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.  As we weren’t staying in a host resort this year, my mistake I didn’t check! we went to Epcot to get the bus.  This meant that my husband could go in to Epcot and enjoy the finishing party while we were running.  In the start area, they had a left baggage area and, because they had forecast thunderstorms, I had packed spare trainers and a dry set of clothes for myself and Adam just in case we got wet so I dropped the bag off.  There was also a big stage with a Disney DJ and some of the organisers letting everyone know what was happening.  This was also part of the warm up – they don’t do the traditional aerobic warm up like they do at the 10K events here, they play songs which have a dance routine which most people know like Thriller or the Macarena and you can either use that as your warm up, or not.

Also in the start/waiting area you could meet some of the Disney characters – Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, Chip and Dale.  We joined a queue without knowing who we were queuing for – it was Mickey 😀

Meeting MickeyWe also queued to see Donald Duck but a thunder/lightning storm rolled in just as we were about to see him and we were all asked to go inside until it passed.  This was at 9.45pm as we were about to be called to our corrals 😦  Needless to say, Disney always think about the safety of the runners, their voluntears and cast members first so everyone was asked to go into the main buildings at the Wide World of Sports until the storm had passed and it was safe to start the race.  It was a little frustrating but I understood completely why we were sent inside.

We were only inside for about an hour and as soon as we were allowed out and the corrals were filled with everyone ready to go the run was started very quickly.  Due to the late start, and the fact that there were 12 waves of runners to get going (and finished), the organisers decided to cut out part of the route – up to Animal Kingdom – so the run was about 7 miles instead of 13.1 miles.  Part of me was disappointed that Adam and I would not get to run a full half marathon, but the other part of me was glad that the bit they’d cut out was the route up to Animal Kingdom because I hadn’t been looking forward to running up the hill from the park entrance to the Tree of Life, lol.

Course map

The route for the half marathon was brilliant.  Mostly flat apart from a couple of flyovers and a bridge between Hollywood Studios and Epcot.  More that the route though was the entertainment!  There was something to see about every half mile or so, whether it was a character who you could stop and have a photo with (if you wanted to, we didn’t although there were a couple of the characters from Hollywood Public Works who I would have stopped for a photo with if I’d seen them in time and hadn’t been on the other side of the road) or a video wall.  They even had the toy soldiers from Toy Story on the hill going up one of the flyovers with one of them shouting encouragement to get us up the hill – fantastic and just what I needed!  We also got to see the backstage areas of Hollywood Studios and Epcot and run through the Dancing Lights in Hollywood Studios.

Considering it was only 7 miles, our time wasn’t great at 1:24:31 but it was a very warm night at 22C and humid.  There was also so much to see that we got a little distracted.

All in all, it was a great event to be part of although if I were to do it again I’d make sure that we weren’t flying home the next day as we didn’t get a chance to go to the Finish Line Party because I was conscious that we needed to be up and out of the room by 11am and we didn’t even get through the finishing area and into Epcot until 1.30am!  My husband had a great time in the Party though and managed to go on Test Track twice without queuing at all.

Finally, I would encourage anyone thinking about doing a runDisney event to do it.  It is very well organised and the entertainment around the course is amazing.  runDisney are putting on their first event at Disneyland Paris in September 2016 and if there are still places left I’m going to enter Adam and myself so that we can cross the half marathon off our list.


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Goal Getting in 2016

This year I’m not going to just set goals, I’m going to get them too.  I’ve split my goals down into different categories and have also looked back on 2015 to see what I have achieved in those categories too.

Fitness and Wellbeing

After getting to my goal weight with Weight Watchers in 2014, I have now maintained my goal weight (within 3 lbs) for 17 months.  At my weigh-in on Thursday (New Year’s Eve) I was 1.5 lbs over my goal weight but that is OK.  In January, I am going to re-gain my goal weight.  I am going to get back down to my original goal weight, which is 5 lbs lighter than my current goal weight, by my birthday in September.  I know that is a long time but it took me 9 months to lose the final 3.5 lbs to get to my current goal weight and it is a timed goal.

As we all know, the weight on the scale/BMI really isn’t a good indicator of good health so I’m also setting myself a body fat percentage goal.  My weighing scales have the option to measure body fat and whilst I know they aren’t exactly accurate, they aren’t too bad.  My current body fat is 30.3%.  According to most of the information I have found online, I am within the normal range of 26-32% for women.  However, a healthy range is 20-25% and I would love to get down there.  Initially though, I am going to aim for 29.0%

For my fitness goals, my main focus is getting my strength back to where it was at the beginning of 2015, especially in my upper body following my shoulder injury in January.  Pre-injury, I had got up to using 8kg dumbbells for shoulder presses and 10kg for rows.  Unfortunately, I am now back down to 3 to 4 kg.  Although I have still been able to work my legs, due to the shoulder I am not able to lift as much for the deadlift or squat as I used to but this is slowly going back up and I lifted 20kg for the deadlift for the first time in over a year in December 🙂

Of course, I am also going to be focusing on running.  I managed to complete the parkrun (5km) in under 30 minutes in February 2015 but haven’t managed to do it since.  In fact, I think my average time for 2015 is around the 32 minute mark.  This year, my initial goal will be to get back under 33 minutes for 5km, then 32 minutes, 31 minutes and finally back under 30 minutes.  Adam and I will also be taking part in the York 10k run, York 10 mile and, the big one, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon 😀  I’m so excited!

Family/Relationship

During 2015, my husband and I started having date night once a week while Adam is at his youth group on a Thursday evening.  This has meant that we have made time for us away from everything at home.  This is going to continue in 2016.

Finance/Business

I have some finance and business goals but they are, at the moment, private.

Adventure/exploration – where did I go and where do I want to go?

In 2015 we went back to Disney World.  We love it there and have never had a bad experience.  As it was Adam’s 21st birthday and he wanted to go, we went.  In 2016, we are going to Disneyland Paris – the half marathon is there so it has to be done.

Learning and Growth

Personal development has become a big thing for me over the past few months.  In 2016, I am going to read at least one book for personal development e.g. The Seven Decisions, Go Pro – 7 Steps to Becoming a Network Marketing Professional, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.  I will also listen to personal development CDs in my car (when my son isn’t in it – he insists on the radio).  I am going to get back to reading in general too with a goal of reading at least 50 books in 2016.

Contribution/Community

During 2015, I ran 6 events with Adam to raise money for charity.  I also use easyfundraising.org.uk to claim donations when shopping online and will continue to do this in 2016.  I have also donated 10% of my Tupperware sales and 10% of my Forever Living Products sales in August.

I also volunteered at parkrun 3 times in 2015.  I am going to increase that to at least 4 times in 2016.  Much as I love taking part in parkrun, I know that it is only possible because people come out and volunteer instead of run.  I think I need to give back.  It isn’t just about raising and giving money, it’s about giving time too.

So, those are some of my goals for 2016.  What are yours?  Did you achieve what you wanted to in 2015 or are some of your goals rolling over into 2016?