Running in Spain 🇪🇸

I’ve  been planning a holiday to Spain for us for the last few months, except I didn’t tell the kids and I didn’t tell my sister who was already in Spain, a lovely big surprise for everyone!

I finished work 07:00 Thursday morning and the train to Birmingham was 08:38. We told the kids on the train that we’d be going to Moraira to visit their Gran and Papa. We were in Spain by Thursday evening, where the temperatures even in the evening were 28c!

While we were there the August challenge started! So as we’d included our running gear in out very limited baggage we decided to run in Spain.

OMG! Running in treacle wearing a scuba suit would have been easier! It was hot, humid, hilly and horrendous! The first run we did was in the evening about 34c! I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much. We did a lovely 8k walk to the beach for a swim and home. We then ran in the mornings when it was was cooler, well, slightly!

It was glorious to run along the beach, to run on the promenade, along the shore. It was beautiful though and over the week we managed three runs and kilometres and kilometres of walking! There was one hill of 800metres that was ALL steep uphill. We walked it most days as it was too hot to run!

We took sme beautiful photos and managed 3 x 5km runs (steve did 4) over the week.Just was well because we did noting but eat and drink in the evenings and had to burn off all that indulgence somehow!

Challenge 10 – 100km in August

Well, it’s now 11th August! If my calculations are correct, I think we’re on about 40km out of 100km for the month.

We ran in Spain, we did Eastleigh Parkrun last weekend. We’ve just spent the week at Sandy Balls in the New Forest, where it did nothing but rain. We were seriously at risk of becoming amphibian, camping in pouring rain. The kids did not appreciate being dragged around in the rain until we discovered Geocaching! They soon forgot the rain and it was excellent fun too. We also downloaded a treasure trail from the Internet which kept them amused for an afternoon.

On the one day the rain held off and the sun came out we spent the day at Lymington Sea Water baths which the kids loved and did not cost the earth either.

Steve and I managed a very hilly 10 mile cycle round Godshill and Hale. The featured image was the view from half way round! Amazing or what?!

We managed a beautiful New Forest run that evening and got some stunning photos in the dusk. It is absolutely true that you just don’t realise what is on your doorstep. We were only thirty miles from home and it was so beautiful!

So, today we have been up since 0700, we have packed up the tent and headed home. I’ve unpacked again, washed 6 loads of washing, done a shop, cooked tea, repacked ready  for Devon and now, at 22:30, I have to fit a run in before bed and hopefully also find a Parkrun in the morning on the wat to Devon! I’m shattered!!

August coming up!

July’s challenge is now done and out of the way and so time to start thinking about August’s challenge! It’s a bit different this one – it lasts ALL month long!

It was no surprise for us that August was going to be a busy month! It is the month in which we always have our summer holiday. It is the month the kids are on holiday. It is the month of my birthday (did I mention I’m 40 this year!?!!) So, I searched and searched for an event we could do that would fit in with our plans, and came up with…..nothing!

Until, I realised that if we did a virtual event with, we could do it wherever we were at any time of the day and fit it around all our existing commitments. Therefore, we have planned a virtual ‘run in the sun’, with the aim of 100km over the month. Now, this might not sound a lot, but we’re away to Spain. And away camping. And away to Devon. And working in between. And planning to be drinking proseccco on my birthday and will therefore be hungover for a while!

So, I think 20-25km a week for 4-5 weeks should do it. That’s up to 5 x 5k a week. Or a couple of 10k’s a week plus a bit more. This week, I’ve only managed 16k and I’ve been out 4 times. Plus, the heat in Spain is like 40c at the moment. And, we’all be travelling a lot. We haven’t done a virtual run before, so fingers crossed it’s quite as easy as it sounds to submit all the evidence to prove ourselves!

So we could factor parkruns into this, to add to our distance. Eastleigh before work on the fifth. Looks like Exeter or Seaton Parkrun the following weeks. And back to Eastleigh on 26th (the day after my birthday!) with cake!



Challenge 9 – Winchester Pedal, Paddle, Pace

We moved ‘down South’ from the Midlands in 2013 – from the urban sprawl of suburban Coventry to a teeny tiny village in Hampshire – Compton. It was a bit of a shock moving the kids from schools that had hundreds of pupils to Twyford village school with just over 100!

We’ve since moved again within Hampshire to Chandlers Ford, which is slightly busier but one of the things I remember about Compton was one of the school mums mentioning ‘pedal paddle pace’.

‘It’s a triathlon with a difference,’ she said, ‘you kayak instead of swim! It’s great fun!’
As it was a local event, lots of the Twyford folks were involved but at that time, 20lbs heavier and massively unfit, a triathlon was as far off my radar as claiming Everest!!

Fast forward 4 years and it was a no brainer that this year, pedal, paddle, pace would firmly be ON my radar.

Well, it didn’t disappoint. We had a wonderful day. Once again, the weather never let us down and it was a mixture of pleasant heat, a little cloud cover and a smidgen of sun!

Up at 6am to register on a field by the River Itchen at 8am. It was beauifully organised and at just after 9 we wandered down to the Guildhall in a big crocodile, approx 400 of us. We were in wave 3 and were set off at 10:05 from outside the Guildhall by the Mayor, no less!

A 20km cycle out to Easton and Avington and back commenced. Why is it, you don’t realise what’s on your doorstep – absolutely stunning villages and scenery was a pleasure to cycle through. Plus, we saw a few more village pubs en route that we’ll have to try!!

Back to Palmers field to rack the bikes, change shoes, take on some fluid and then off down the itchen navigation footpath for the 5k run. To Hockley viaduct and back in a respectable 27 min, the course as we measured it was slightly short so we carried on running round the field to make the full distance.

Off the run and a bit of a queue for the kayaks, which was welcome as we were roasting by that point! Kitted out with buoyancy aid and paddle and off we went up and down the river Itchen. Not always in a straight line in my case, a couple of bumper car kayak scenarios ensued. But again, were so lucky to live in such a beautiful area as the river was glorious.

So there we are, we finished in 1:36:37 so not bad as far as I’m concerned! The fastest finishers were a minute or two over the hour. It was a lovely family atmosphere and much fun and jollity going on all morning. Would I do it again? Where do I sign?!

Ruined all the hard work by cycling into Winchester and eating a dirty great McDonald’s on the grass outside the cathedral…but that’s one of the reasons we run right? To be able to trough junk food!!!

Next month, a bit of a different challenge – 100kms for the month. Watch this space.

This week – an extra challenge, running club and kayak practice

Here I am on my 12 hour night shift, the 2nd of four….OMG! Steve has booked himself on to an extra challenge tomorrow, running 10 miles in the New Forest 10 while I will be sleeping my night shift off.

Its probably the time now to say how proud I am of my husband Steve! 18 months ago he was 5 stone heavier and his waist was 10 inches bigger. When I tried to take him out running, he literally managed between lamp-posts and then gave up after a kilometre!

Bit by bit as his weight came off, he started to do couch to 5km and run with me round the block. I remember when we did our first 5k together and it was such an achievement, then we did Parkrun Eastleigh and I think he got the bug. I got him a lovely new pair of trainers and km by km and mile by mile he got faster, slimmer and more stamina.

Hi first longer run with me was September last year when we did Hursley 10km and as it was off road and the route was a bit different, he loved it. It was a lovely atmosphere and also his first medal!! He’s now consistently faster than me, his Parkrun PB time is 23 minutes to my 25. His 10km time is 50 minutes to my 55.

Anyway, we’ve always ran together and he’s constantly run at my pace, refusing to leave me when I start to flag and pushing me round when I needed encouragement. Tomorrow, he competes in his first run without me there. Its s good distance, 10 miles / 16km which gives him a good chance to stretch his legs and get some distance in. we did this distance at the Great South Run last year at my pace, which saw us come in about 1:42 – I reckon he should be able to shave at least 15 minutes off this time tomorrow!

We’ve also been running with a local group of runners, who we meet up with when we can to pound the pavements together and spur each other on. Its lovely to meet new people especially when there is common ground. Not sure I’ll manage to meet them in the morning for a run round the rec, I’m sure I’ll be in the land of nod but hope to catch up in the week for a stroll round with them all.

Last Monday we went for a practice kayak on the beautiful Beaulieu river with New Forest Activities. It was a glorious summer evening and we spent the best part of two hours kayaking up and down one of the country’s only privately owned rivers – owned by Lord Montague I believe! It was way harder than I expected and I finished with aching hips and knees. Good practice for the peddle, paddle, pace triathlon we are doing next week. God only knows how I will manage to run and cycle after having kayaked for 2kms!!

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Challenge 8 -Active Warrior!

Well, I don’t know how we have already got to challenge 8 of #12challengesin12months, the year is literally flying past! July already, who can believe it!

Our quiet Friday night out for a meal in a newly opened local pub (The Hiltonbury Farmhouse ), ended up with a liquid dinner and no food (not quite sure how that happened?) and then a headache when we got up ready to compete in Active Warrior!

We cycled down to Southampton ready to meet up with team British American Tobacco, and race with them in their group. There were about a dozen of us all in all, ready for the off. It was a beautiful morning, sun was shining and the atmosphere at the Sports centre was great! Lots of pumping music and warm ups going on round the track.

Now, if I’m honest, I wasn’t expecting much, I mean, how can an obstacle course race round an urban sports centre be up to much?? WRONG!! The first obstacle getting over a hurdle of tyres nearly felled me and that was only to get into the warm up area!!! Thank god for Steve’s colleagues who hauled me over and saved me ending up on my backside.

I’ve been informed there were 35 obstacles over the 5km route. It felt amazing to complete the route as a team, with everyone helping everyone else. Even the proper athletes of the group stayed behind with us novices (me!) to lend a hand and a push or a pull over or out of obstacles. Thanks so much to team BAT for making me feel so welcome!

So, thinking back we had cargo nets on the ground, A-frames, steep pits of mud, monkey bars (x 3), sandbag carrying up and down hills, log carrying round a course, hay bale jumping, skips full of minging water, scrambling on hands and knees through troughs of water, hurdles, walls to climb, a ski slope to clamber down – and then up – and then slide down on a massive water slide (very reminiscent of I’m a celebrity)! There were steeple chase water pits, forest routes with natural obstacles, rope climbing up hills, clambering through tubes and other obstacles I’m bound to have forgotten. I tried them all and only failed the last set of monkey bars which I slipped off!

The final obstacle was a MASSIVE wall, must have been 9 or 10 foot. And I looked at it and thought, NOT A CHANCE MATE!! However, Steve’s colleagues made it easier by letting me use them as steps and then hauling me up by the arms to the top. The climb down the other side was all my own doing, haha, but with the help of the others, I managed it!!!

A great course, a great feeling of team work and camaraderie and a lovely morning!

Cycled home, had a snooze and then went out for a walk. Over 15kms later, having eaten the biggest carvery known to man at The White Swan, Mansbridge and having trekked down the most inhospitable trails of the itchen navigation to Southampton, we were home!
So, I got changed and went to work. Knackered. Having done over 35,000 steps. Over 40kms by bike and foot, with bruises on my bruises . All great fun – bring on challenge 9, Peddle paddle pace!

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Hot, hot, hot!

Blimey, it’s warm! I’m not complaining, I love the sun. I just don’t like to run in the sun. The thought of training makes me feel physically exhausted without even moving a muscle. We’re talking 30c…so hot even the school has said the kids can go in without blazers and ties (never had that before!).
There’s a new local informal running meet up group that started on Facebook….Chandlers Ford Running Group (surprised at the name?!). They’ve been great motivation for getting out a few times a week and having a run about.
Sunday morning there were about 30 of us running laps round the rec at 9:30, it was still roasting then!
Tonight, it’s a run up the itchen navigation from Bishopstoke to Brambridge and back. I must admit, I’d rather walk over hot coals at the moment than go running, but give it an hour….
Yesterday was our wedding anniversary! We spent the evening watching the girl child playing cricket for her local girls team. Glorious to be out in the sun for a few hours and also to win by one run!
Steve says we’re definitely doing active warrior on July 1st with his work on their team, I hope the weather’s cooled a little bit by then!!

Challenge 7 – Two Castles Run

Another beautiful sunny day for our 7th challenge of #12challengesin12months. We spent a lovely evening in a
Kenilworth at a little hotel and had a lovely Malaysian meal the night before.
Sunday morning, looking forward to our Two Castles Run, we were up early and out of the hotel for 7.55am on our way to Warwick castle. It had been a ballot to enter, such was the huge number of people who wanted to enter. We luckily both managed to get ballot places!
It was absolutely amazing to join 4000 other runners within the stunning grounds of Warwick castle. We’ve visited the castle before, but it was very bizarre to think this was the start of our Challenge number 7. Having worked for 13 years as a paramedic in Warwick and Leamington, it felt strange to be back in my old stomping ground preparing to run a race that I never thought I would ever be capable of. Former colleagues used to tell me they had run it and I remember thinking at the time ‘I’ll never be able to do that!’ And here we were, lining up with peacocks and the historic buildings behind us to run to Kenilworth castle!
Support was good en route, down the Coventry road, running down roads i used to drive down daily! Passing Warwick hospital and the old Warwick ambulance station in the distance! Out to Leek Wooton, up past the Warwickshire police HQ then through the back of Kenilworth towards the castle. Running into the car park I used to sit in the ambulance on stand by and then across into the castle to finish! It was a really memorable run with lots of reminiscing.
On a sour note, stupidly on Friday I donated blood. Figuring it takes about 24-48 hours to make my blood back, I didn’t consider that it might cause a problem with our plans to run!
All was well, a nice steady pace with sun 6 min kilometres until the hill into Kenilworth. Steve and I powered up as usual except when I got to the top, I felt momentarily faint. My legs went weak and my eyes started to fade out – OMG! Never had anything like it before when running and I had to slow down completely. I knew we were on for quite a good time and Steve was keen to continue, so I walked just long enough to make sure I was still on my feet and then restarted! I reckon about 15 seconds walking, which brought that one kilometre up to 6:04! Booooooo.
Anyway, we finished – although I was quite exhausted. I’ve not felt so wiped out doing a 10k before! And the moral of the story is, don’t be a twat and donate blood before you run.
Anyway, a super run, round roads I knew and also a dream realised to run a race I always wanted to and never thought I would!
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Update and bike crash!

Its been quite a while since the last time I posted! Almost 6 weeks I think since our May Day triathlon. We haven’t been resting on our laurels, running and training every week and cycling lots!
A couple of weeks ago we went out for a cycle in a beautiful sunny day. Out towards Romsey, Braishfield, Kings Somborne, back past Farley Mount, Winchester, Otterbourne and home. 40km in in total and it was less than 500 metres from home when I clipped Steven’s back wheel and came off the bike in super dramatic fashion! It was a warm day so wearing shorts and no gloves meant my hands, legs and even my chin was the proud owner of gravel rash! What a pillock!! Haha. The bruising was pretty spectacular and it was sore for a while – but we’ve continued to soldier on!
We did Parkrun last week at Hanley in Stoke, blimey! It was hilly!! I also did a 5k in Stoke on Trent during the week last week and it was unbelievably hilly! I remembered why I hate hills when I was trying to run up them!

Challenge 6 – May Day Triathlon

I’m writing this the day after our May Day Tri, the reason being I was far too knackered yesterday to write anything!

I got in from work Sunday night and set about getting everything ready…bikes, swimming kit, towels, helmets, shoes, goggles, bags! There’s so much more to organise for a triathlon than a run!

We got the kids up first thing Monday and dragged them with us to Kings school, Winchester with the bikes on the back of the car. Breakfast was cereal and a cup of tea before zooming out the door!

Once we arrived it was into the hall to collect stickers for our bikes (and helmets) and our bibs. Then to rack the bikes in the transition area with all our stuff set out ready for the first transition. The briefing was fun and good to see lots of first timers too!

We were in the sprint, starting at 10:30. There were 4 to a lane with Steve and I in the same lane (5). There was one no show in our lane, so just three of us. We collected our timing chip at the pool and it was strapped on the left ankle.

A short briefing at the side of the pool, into the water, and then off in 10 second intervals. Very exciting! 16 lengths of the 25metre pool. Steve was done in 8:29 and me in 10:49. A jump out of the pool, out of the door and a run down the red carpet to transition, passing Laura and Dan who gave me a hi five and took some amazing action photos and video!

I tried to get my socks on but couldn’t, so just stuck my trainers on. T-shirt, helmet, belt and a quick bar of twix and then ran down and out of transition. Steve did it in 2 min 57 seconds, me in 2 min 38.

A beautiful cycle folllowed on open roads, 2 laps of a 12km route. Out of Winchester, through Sparsholt village and back towards Winchester. It was far more hilly than I expected, but also rolling hills and past the beautiful Lainston House hotel. Steve is a really proficient cyclist, me less so, so I tootled around at my own pace. Steve in 56:39 and me in 1hr 14. I did feel a bit of a fake shimmying through the country lanes on my little hybrid bike, admiring the countryside while massively professional looking atheletes zoomed past on their carbon fibre super bikes!

Cycling up the hill into kings to dismount and re-rack the bikes, take helmets off, shimmy the belt to the front and then out of transition again, with another bar of twix! Transition 2 – Steve 2 mins on the nose and me 1:34 mins.

The run was 2 laps of a 2.5km course. Out of the school, Romsey Road, Chilbolton Avenue, Sarum Road, back in the back entrance of the school onto the field to do it all again!
A lovely surprise when Laura was stood on the field and shouted ‘THERE’S MY MUMMY!’really loud when she saw me.

Again, with heavy legs, the hills were more than I expected and harder. Some people walked up the hills, I was determined to keep running and I may have been almost static getting up the hills but I was still running! Steve’s time 26:50 and mine 28:34! I was exhausted and had to sit down, which I don’t often do after a race.

So, total times: Steve 1:36:57 overall 98th and me 1:57:55 overall 196th. I think there were about 250/255 people taking part. I loved it, lots of fun. Lots to think about, it didn’t get boring and tested my fitness a bit more than a run does. I needed a little nana nap in the afternoon after we’d been to the local May Day Fete and eaten burgers and chips in the rain!

Can’t wait to do another one! Sign us up!