Overcoming a slightly irrational fear and a run in Sutton Park

As always, I hope that everyone who reads this blog had a great weekend. I really must come up with a different introduction for my Monday morning blogs.

For once, I had an interesting weekend, however, I have a feeling I tried to fit too much in. I also failed to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Thanks to the early morning bedroom window bird choir and my ‘wonky’ internal alarm clock, I was wide-awake at 05:30 on Saturday morning. By 07:00 I was making the most of the lack of sunshine and was washing my friend’s car.

Following my slightly too early for a Saturday morning car washing session, after several years of avoidance, I had my first experience of parkrun timekeeping. To say that I felt a little concerned when I was handed a stopwatch is a huge understatement. I’m a massive over-thinker and I was concerned that I’d make a mistake and for the first time in the history of Sutton Park parkrun, everyone would end up with a time of 59:59. I know that parkrun is free and this wouldn’t have mattered, but I’m a runner and I know how disappointed I’d have been with an inaccurate time. Rob did his best to calm me down…Sutton Park parkrun

[Photo: Peter Heafield]

With the exception of a couple of runners who pretended they were part of parkrun but were just park runners, I don’t think there were too many major mistakes. Having said that, I don’t think I’ll be asked to be a timekeeper again 😉

The rest of my Saturday was thankfully more what I’d describe as mundane and included several hours in the garden. One of my Four Oaks friends has been having a tough time recently, so I treated them to lunch in Mere Green. I’m sure you can predict where we ate and what I ordered. One day I’ll be brave and will eat at a different restaurant and will order something different. I think I’d used up all my ‘brave’ points at parkrun. 

Early on Saturday evening, I headed into Birmingham as I wanted to see if TK Maxx had any shoes trainers suitable for work. I’d also heard some rumours about a possible yellow sticker sale. I didn’t find anything suitable for work but somehow found myself buying a running top, running vest, cotton t-shirt, pair of Crocs, mud shampoo, two bars of fancy soap, SiS tube of effervescent tablets, and sports bra. Not a bad selection of goodies for less than £60.

I do love the randomness of TK Maxx. And yes, I’m looking forward to wearing the Crocs around the house, I don’t think I’d get away with wearing them in the office 😦 Shopping failOn Sunday morning I did something I hadn’t done for far too long; I met up with Ellen and headed into Sutton Park for a morning run. It wasn’t fast and it definitely wasn’t pretty. As we are both returning from injury, we decided to run the uphill sections and to recover on some of the flat and downhill sections. This approach seemed to work quite well and we got to the end of our four-mile ‘run’ feeling niggle-free.Sutton Park selfieSunday afternoon looked something like this; shower, lunch, emails, some blogmin, a nap, some gardening, a lot of ironing, TV, dinner, more emails, food prep, work prep and an early night. Not very exciting!

I unfortunately completely failed to tick off quite a few items on my weekend ‘things to do list’ so I’m going to need to have a productive week.

Is there a parkrun volunteering role you’ve avoided? I don’t think I’ll be rushing to have a second go at timekeeping.

What is the best thing you’ve purchased in a TK Maxx? I think the 2XU tri suit I purchased for £2.00 is the best thing I’ve purchased in TK Maxx, it’s just a shame I’ve no idea where it is.

10 years of MoRunning – enter a 2019 MoRun and be part of the celebrations (Discount Code)

Early bird entries into a race I volunteered at in 2016, 2017 and 2018 – the 10k MoRun in Sutton Park, Birmingham – are now available. Although I enjoyed volunteering and seeing people earn their MoRunning medals, I experienced some serious race and medal envy. It was definitely a case of race and medal #FOMOMORunVisual1-BI’m looking forward to running the 10k on November 16th and earning myself a unique 10th-anniversary MoRunning medal.

It’s not just about the medal. Taking part in the 10k MoRun in Sutton Park also means that I’ll be supporting and raising awareness of an amazing charity; the Movember Foundation.

What is the Movember Foundation?

MoRunning has supported The Movember Foundation since 2009 raising funds and awareness for the work they carry out. The Movember Foundation is the only charity tackling men’s health on a global scale, all year round. The Foundation is addressing some of the biggest health issues faced by men: prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

The Movember Foundation knows what works for men, and how to find and to fund the most innovative research to have both a global and local impact. The Foundation is independent of government funding, so it can challenge the status quo and invest quicker in what works. In 13 years the Foundation has funded more than 1200 men’s health projects around the world.

By 2030 the Movember Foundation will reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%.

Take part in a MoRunning event this year

2019 is the 10th year anniversary of the launch of MoRunning. The organisers would love you to join them for this incredible celebration of MoRuns supporting the Movember Foundation.TeamMiltonKeynesI think it’s safe to say that 2019 is going to be a massive year for MoRunning!

With 24 confirmed locations to date, Mini MoRuns for a third year and the option of virtual MoRunning, there will be an incredible month of MoRuns. There’s bound to be a race near you.

November 2nd

  • Aberdeen 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Hazlehead Park – 09:30am

November 3rd

  • Perth 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – North Inch – 09:30am
  • Newcastle 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Exhibition Park – 01:20pm

November 9th

  • Edinburgh 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Holyrood Park – 09:30am
  • Cardiff 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Bute Park – 09:30am
  • York 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – York Racecourse – 10:30am

November 10th

  • Swansea 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Singleton Park – 10:30am
  • Glasgow 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Glasgow Green – 10:30am
  • Peterborough 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Nene Park – 10:30am
  • Bristol 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Ashton Court – 10:30am

November 16th

  • Liverpool 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun Croxteth Park 09:30am
  • Poole 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun Upton Country Park 09:30am
  • Birmingham 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun Sutton Park 09:30am

November 17th

  • Southampton 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun MoRun – Southampton Common – 09:30am
  • Nottingham 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Wollaton Park – 09:30am
  • Milton Keynes 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Campbell Park – 09:30am
  • Manchester 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Heaton Park – 09:30am

November 23rd

  • Blackpool 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Herons Reach – 09:30am
  • Ipswich 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Chantry Park – 09:30am
  • Dublin 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Phoenix Park – 09:30am

November 24th

  • Leeds 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Roundhay Park – 09:30am
  • Whitstable & Herne Bay 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Hampton Pier – 09:30am
  • Belfast 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Stormont Park – 09:30am

November 30th

  • London 5k, 10k & kids 1.5k MoRun – Greenwich Park – 09:30am

2016-Leeds-StormtrooperVirtual Race November 1st to November 29th

Once again, there is also the option of taking part in a Virtual Race. Be part of MoRunning 2019 and take part in a virtual 5k, 10k or kids 1.5k MoRun supporting the Movember Foundation.

You can find out everything you need to know about the 2019 series of MoRuns here.

2019 MoRunning pricing

Early bird (July 1st – September 15th)

  • Mini MoRun – £13.20
  • 5k MoRun – £18.15
  • 10k MoRun – £22.00
  • Virtual MoRun – £13.20

Standard (September 16th – November 28th)

  • Mini MoRun – £13.20
  • 5k MoRun – £22.00
  • 10k MoRun – £24.20
  • Virtual MoRun – £13.20

Prices including online booking fees. 

**10% Discount Code – MoRun19_Followers**

MoRunners Receive

  • Race chip timing and instant race results
  • Brand new exclusive MoRunning Medal to add to your collection!
  • MoRunning Headband
  • MoRunning BUFF
  • Legend and Superhero medals for best fancy dress and legends of MoRunning
  • Discount of 10% for groups of 4 or more registering the same distance (code for booking MR19-TeamEntry)
  • Yellow Winners Jersey for 1st male and female in the 5k and 10k events as well as a Champion medal and free entry to 2020
  • Professional photos to view and purchase (you can pre-order ahead of your race and save over 60% on the standard price)
  • 10% discount voucher code for online purchases from Up and Running
  • 10% discount voucher for any Go Ape site

Mini MoRunners* Receive

  • Free super cool Mini Mo T-Shirt
  • MoRunning headband
  • Free MoRunning Buff
  • Mo Medal
  • Champion medal for 1st boy and girl
  • Yazoo Drink
  • Loads of high fives

* Please note that it is the responsibility of parents to ensure children are able to run the Mini MoRun unaccompanied. If required one parent can run with Mini MoRunners free of charge.MiniMo_family1-AI’m already looking forward to taking part in my local MoRun in Sutton Park November. Hopefully, it will be a case of fourth time lucky. I’ve already talked some of my running friends into entering; it would be awesome to meet some of you there.

Could you run a 5k or 10k for The Movember Foundation this November?

For loads more information and to sign up please click here.

For more information about the Movember Foundation please click here.

The Movember Foundation is a Registered Charity No.1137948 (England/Wales) SC041981 (Scotland)

**Full disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with MoRunning. All photographs were taken from MoRunning’s website** 

Running goals for 2019: Progress report

I hope that everyone had an awesome weekend and that Monday wasn’t too much of a chore. As it’s now July – seriously, how quickly is this year going? – I thought I’d write a quick (lack of) progress report on my 2019 running goals.

Run 1000km – I started the year with loads of good intentions; one was to run 1000km. Thanks to the combination of injuries, and a complete loss of running mojo, my running has been sporadic. I’ve just checked out my training log on Fetcheveryone. So far in 2019, I’ve run approximately 51km. Not recording all of my training runs was a mistake. I don’t think I’ll get near my 1000km target but that’s okay.Injured runner


Complete 10 races – I haven’t completed a single organised race. Thanks to the reasons I gave above I’ve not made it to the start line of every single race I’ve entered this year. I don’t want to think about how much money I’ve wasted on race entry fees!

Complete 15 parkruns – Back in January, I was quietly confident I would be able to complete 15 parkruns. Sutton Park parkrun is just over three miles from my front door; I had visions of relaxing runs to and from parkrun. The reality is a little different as I’ve only completed one parkrun.

Volunteer 10 times at parkrun – Now this is one running goal I’ll definitely achieve. It’s been very much a case of ‘can’t run, can volunteer’.

parkrun volunteering

I’ve checked out my parkrun volunteer stats and so far in 2019 I’ve marshalled 4 times, written the run report once, tail walked once and handed out finish tokens once. This Saturday I’m having a go at timekeeping.

A sub 8-minute mile – I didn’t head down to London for the Vitality Westminster Mile. My official mile PB remains a very beatable 9:09. Perhaps I should focus on short distances during the second half of 2019.

A sub 25-minute 5k – I think it’s safe to say my only official 5k time of 57:04 is a long way from a sub-25 minute time. The way I’m feeling at the moment, I can’t see me ever getting below 30 minutes again.

A sub 60-minute 10k – I’m yet to complete an official 10k race this year. I’m hoping to complete the Shenstone Fun Run later this month; it will be good to get some sort of benchmark.

A sub 2:15 half marathon – I had grand plans of running a decent time at the London Landmarks Half Marathon. However, the reality was a little different. I completed most of my training runs in the lead up to the London Landmarks and then picked up some sort of office lurgy which refused to go away.  The result? Another DNS!

Listen to my niggles – This is another running goal I’ll definitely achieve. I’ve had so many injuries this year, I’ve now reached the stage I’m almost scared of running. I’m also starting to suspect a lot of niggles are a figment of my imagination.

Improve my core strength – This is another running goal success story. I’m hoping that all the workouts I’ve been completing will start to benefit my running.Clean House Injured Runner


Run with others more – Whenever I’ve pulled on my trainers and run, I’ve made more effort to run with others. Although I didn’t get to run with Run Wallingford before I moved back home, I’ve found myself some Birmingham-based running groups to join.

Train consistently – Does consistently training inconsistently count?

Don’t buy any unessential running gear – So far this final running-related goal is more possibly more failure than success. I’ve just worked out how much I’ve spent on running gear, and had a bit of a shock. Having said that, I’ve sold such a lot of unwanted running gear online, I’ve probably ‘made’ more money than I’ve spent.

I think it’s quite obvious that the first half of 2019 wasn’t great from a running perspective. At times I’ve felt like selling all of my running gear. Some people may be questioning the point of this rather negative running goal progress update. I decided to publish this update as I think it’s important to write about the not-so-positive aspects of running.

How are you progressing with your running goals? Hopefully better than I am with mine 🙂

Do you think I should readjust all of my goals or rule out this year and start again next year? I’ve reached the stage I’m about to ‘write-off’ 2019 and will start again next year.

Juneathon Day 30: the one where I spend some time looking back before moving on

Good morning. I hope that everyone who reads this final Juneathon blog had a fabulous weekend. I can’t believe how quickly the weekend flew by, one minute I was walking into Sutton Park for parkrun, the next I was getting my ‘stuff’ together for work. I think we should work two days a week and have five day weekends.

Yesterday, as it was the end of the month, I spent a bit of time reflecting on what happened during June.

It was definitely a month with a lot of change; I started the month living and working in Wallingford and ended the month living back at home in Four Oaks and working in Solihull. I’m missing working in the Wallingford office far more than I thought I would. I was part of a great team, and had an amazing post-work social life. I’m going to try to make it to a ‘Beer and Bants’ session ASAP. I’m still getting used to my new office, new role and working as part of a dispersed team. I’m sure that I’ll be fine once I get past the initial ‘I’ve no idea what I’m doing’ stage.

I won’t mention the morning and afternoon commute. I’ve done more than enough complaining about trains already. I don’t want this blog to turn into some sort of train woes blog. Again, I’m sure I’ll be fine once I get used to the early starts and irritating commuters.

My running – well this is meant to be a running blog – has been a bit up and down. The majority of the first half of the year was a complete write-off. I had injuries and then a severe case of overindulgence and loss of running mojo.

Thanks to the powers of volunteering at parkrun and the support of the running community, I can feel my running mojo slowly returning. I managed to run four times in June; not great but a vast improvement on April and May. Hopefully now my right knee has stopped randomly niggling, I’ll be able to start running a bit more consistently. You never know, I might actually have a go at running my local parkrun.

I think I referred to this briefly, but June was also a month of reflection. I spent a lot of time working on what will be my PhD supervisor Geoff Petts’ last ever academic paper. Most of you know Geoff unfortunately passed away last August. This paper will feature in a special issue of the journal Geoff founded back in 1987. I found switching back into what I call ‘academic mode’ quite challenging. The support and input I received from two of Geoff’s old friends and students definitely helped. I was reminded that I wasn’t alone and that help was available, I just had to ask for it.

Would I take part in Juneathon again? I’m sure a lot of people will be pleased that the answer to this question is a resounding NO! While I’m pleased I have a lot of photos from my last week in Wallingford, I don’t think my day-to-day life is interesting enough to justify another Juneathon. I found blogging every day quite time consuming and if I’m being completely honest, boring.

So, a huge thank-you to everyone who took the time to read and to comment on my Juneathon blogs. Knowing that people were reading – or at least opening the page – really helped, at times I thought about ‘quitting’ but I’m not a stubborn Taurean for nothing 😉

Random Photo from Day 30

Not a photo as such but I thought I share something useful I found on Fetcheveryone. I used the new ‘Summary & Analysis’ feature to analyse my running (or lack of running) this year.

2019 Running

Oh dear!

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 30

Can a pair of £10 running shoes pass our test, or will they destroy our feet? Anna and Kate try out these budget kicks. I found this YouTube video really interesting.

If you don’t already subscribe to the Running Channel on YouTube definitely hit the subscribe button!

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 27.36 km

Would you ever consider taking part in something similar to Juneathon? Last time I took part in Juneathon I said never again; I’ve always had a terrible memory. If I’m still blogging next May and I mention Juneathon, please point me in the direction of this post!

Juneathon Day 29: the one with parkrun volunteering and accidental cans of Punk IPA

Good morning and happy Sunday. I can’t believe it’s the last day of June and I’ve only got to write one more Juneathon update. Such a lot has happened this month. I can’t believe that at the start of the month I was living in Wallingford, it already feels like a lifetime ago.

On the penultimate day of Juneathon, the sun woke me at 06:00. I didn’t mind as the weather looked perfect and I needed to complete a couple of chores before parkrun.  Chores completed, I headed out the door at 07:30. After trying and falling to run to Banners Gate the previous week, I decided to walk as far as the Jamboree Stone, and then running the rest.

I love walking through Sutton Park when it’s quiet. My walk turned into a jog when I found myself surrounded by a swarm of tiny black flying bugs. I’ve no idea what they were, but they were irritating and seemed to find me quite tasty. I blame the heat and all the cow pats.

After running my fastest mile this year – the final mile of the parkrun route is mostly downhill – I arrived at the start feeling a little toasty. I collected a hi-viz and the finish tokens, found the lady I’d be working with, and then went and found some shade. I’d like to say my first experience of handing out tokens was straightforward but it wasn’t. One runner refused to take a token because his “time was crap”. Another runner stopped on the finish line for about 10 seconds and then complained when they weren’t handed the ‘correct’ token (a couple of people had ‘overtaken’ as they were blocking the finish line).

I’m not looking forward to time keeping next weekend! After volunteering three weeks in a row, I *may* have a go at running soon. I can feel my running mojo returning.

Once I’d walked back from parkrun, the rest of my Saturday was a far more relaxed affair. In between some housework, I seemed to spend far too much time watching cricket. I also finished off the cans of Punk IPA I was given when I left Wallingford. I’m not sure I’ll be able to watch England take on India tomorrow (today when this is published). I have a horrible feeling England will be batted and bowled off the park by India.

Random Photos from Day 29

It wouldn’t be a Saturday recap without some parkrun photos. I’ve included some photos I took on the way to the start.


Once again, I managed to avoid the race photographers so I’ve included a photo of the finish area. Not very exciting but I’m there in the background somewhere.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 29

This is a bit of a selfish one, but I’m so pleased to see a few more classes and running groups in Sutton Coldfield.

I’ve been meaning to give pilates a go since I reviewed Pilates for Runners almost two years ago.

 Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 27.36 km

Juneathon Day 28: the one with a wardrobe error and race entry

Good morning and I hope that you are having a great Saturday morning whatever you are doing. When this blog is published I’ll hopefully have handed out a lot of finish tokens in the correct order. If the morning has gone really well, I won’t have had any clumsy moments. Arrrraaaggghhhhh #panic

So, what did I get up to during Day 28 of Juneathon? Did I manage to avoid throwing my slightly temperamental work laptop out of a window? Did I manage to avoid the temptation of working outside?

Thanks to the joys of flexible working, the day started with an extra hour in bed. Waking up at 06:30 felt far more civilised than at 05:30. I got up, had a shower, got dressed and made myself actually eat something for breakfast. I then spent what felt like forever trying to get my work laptop to ‘talk’ to my RSA fob. After a minor meltdown where I had visions of having to head into the office, I finally managed to get my laptop connected to the work network.

The morning flew by relatively quickly, so quickly I only realised it was lunch when my stomach started to make some loud rumbling noises. I decided to be brave and to heat up the mussels I’d bought in Sainsbob’s earlier in the week. Even though I followed the instructions and probably overcooked the mussels, I still spent the next hour or so feeling like I was about to be ‘unwell’.

Following a reasonably productive afternoon, I decided that I’d done enough work for one week and exchanged my work laptop for my personal laptop. I caught up on some blogmin and then decided to walk to the Post Office to drop off some parcels. I’d been wearing a fleece as it was cold inside my house; halfway to the Post Office I realised wearing a fleece was a definite wardrobe error. It was boiling and I was doing a beetroot impression when I got home.

Highlights of what was left of Day 28 (can you tell I’ve had enough of staring at a computer screen?) included me entering the Vitality Big Half and booking accommodation for the weekend. If I don’t manage to run I can still head down to London for the weekend. I’ve heard that the location of the unhappiest three months of my life – Southwark Training Centre – is being redeveloped, so I’ll go and have a look. I’ll also visit some of my old Marylebone haunts.

Random Photos from Day 28

Another failure on the photo taking front. I’m sure I’ll take some while before and after parkrun, Sutton Park always looks gorgeous when it’s sunny.

Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 28

I’m quite lucky in that since I’ve been taking the pill, I haven’t experienced period pain. I have no idea what will happen when I have to stop taking the pill.

I’m not sure how many people follow the Conservation UK, so I thought I’d share this article here.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 25.51 km

Juneathon Day 27: the one with some DOMS and goodbye to FleaBay

Good morning and Happy Friday. When this blog is published, I’ll hopefully be working from home, making good progress with some quite technically challenging flow assessments.

So, what did I get up to on Day 27 of Juneathon? Did my feet recover from the run? Did I manage to answer all of my work emails?

After a terrible night’s sleep, I woke up feeling shattered. I didn’t want to get out of bed and almost went for the getting into the office later option. This would have meant a late finish so I dragged myself out of bed. The mostly downhill walk to Blake Street station was slower than usual as my legs and feet felt a tad DOMS’y. The walk between Birmingham New Street and Moor Street turned into a sprint as my first train was so late.

Work was work. I managed to get a lot of emails sent out and may have volunteered myself to help out with a couple of drought related projects. I must remember not to be too keen during this initial ‘quieter’ period otherwise I’ll struggle when my workload increases. I left the office at 15:30 and made it home just over an hour later, before Birmingham New Street suffered some sort of signal failure.

It was hot! I’d spent the day in an air-conditioned office and had no idea how warm it was outside. I decided to make the most of the sun, and spent an hour in the garden, relaxing after what had been a slightly ‘testing’ day.

I felt quite calm when I opened my FleaBay account, and was about to leave feedback for some sellers, when I noticed someone had left me negative feedback. The feedback wasn’t just negative; it was offensive and completely false. Now, the one time I had an issue I contacted the seller, this person had made no effort to contact me. I ‘phoned FleaBay who said that although they could remove the offensive comment, they weren’t able to remove the negative rating as ‘the buyer is always right’ and it would be ‘my word against the buyers’. I did some research and discovered the buyer has a habit of leaving offensive, negative feedback.

I ended all my listings and have started the account closure process. Life is too short to deal with idiots online and there are plenty of other options. I can see why FleaBay is struggling. That’s my rant over!

The rest of the evening was far more chilled out, possibly because I knew I didn’t have to get up at 05:30. I even sold a few bits and pieces on a Facebook selling page.

Random Photo from Day 27

I completely forgot to take any photos, but this photo from an old blog summarises my thoughts on FleaBay!

eBay woes


Best thing spotted on the Internet on Day 27

It has to be this tweet…

The Lionesses have never won a major trophy, hopefully they are about to change this.

Cumulative Juneathon Distance: 25.51 km