Titchfield Tester

Today I ran out towards Titchfield village on a leisurely¬†5 miler¬†with¬†the sole purpose of testing my recently injured hamstring. It survived !! “Fantastic”. Huge thanks to Jason at¬†Body Fusion¬†for working his magic on Friday. This photo sums up what I’ve been missing.

DSCF4679

Now, I’m a runner and not a photographer but I was quite pleased with this¬†ground level photo of the old railway bridge ahead.¬†Anyway, back to the running ….

The outward 2 miles were along the Avenue that leads out of Fareham and I’d settled into a steady pace that could be described more as jogging than running.¬†I’d had no ill effects as I ran down Titchfield Hill and I’d already decidedto take the more scenic route back. A quick photo of the local pub, Titchfield Mill, was then followed by a footpath that runs behind Titchfield Abbey. I took these photos as I was in no hurry and the growing smile on my face was in direct proportion to the distance I’d run, without any twinges ūüôā

DSCF4673DSCF4675

DSCF4676

Passing the Abbey there was a sign that said “closed due to storm damage” but no one was going to mind a quick photo !!¬†The sun was coming out now and I was 3 miles into my run with no issues at all. The next track had a number of puddles from the recent rain, some being as wide as the path its self. I took care¬†not to over stride when tackling the water.

As the railway bridge approached this was a good test with the incline and as I reached the top all that remained were pavements on my way back home. Just to be on the safe side I stopped at 5 miles.

As runners we aren’t very good at being injured but¬†that first run after¬†its been fixed¬†can be quite a nervous time. Thankfully as we approach July and it’s 3 weeks to my Cancer Research Relay all is looking positive. The¬†exercise, enjoyment and enthusiasm are all just around the corner. Rest day tomorrow and a 2nd tester on Tuesday #fingerscrossed ūüôā

On a final note I wore my Creative Products “Stretch Pocket belt” for the first time and it was a great success. Two stretchy pockets for your gels, keys, phone etc etc. It worked really well for only ¬£6 !!

DSCF4681

Volunteering at Fareham parkrun

DSCF4658

For all details relating to the Fareham parkrun e.g. location, parking, facilities and todays results you can visit their website here http://www.parkrun.org.uk/fareham/

If you want a relatively flat trail parkrun with estuary and harbour views then you won’t do much better than Fareham. Today I was volunteering as “half way turnaround marshal” which meant I walked out with my orange cone,¬†two signs, hi viz¬†vest and official lanyard.

This blog is also the race report¬†but I thought I’d do something different by writing¬†it from a walking volunteers perspective rather than an actual¬†runners. My aim is simply to encourage more people to both run and volunteer at¬†Fareham¬†and other parkruns

The Fareham parkrun course

After¬†setting off from the Cams Mill public house / car park¬†area there’s a good 360 metres for the¬†runners to string out before¬†taking a¬†right turn onto the Fareham Easy Access Trail which weaves its way around the outskirts of the golf course for a mile.¬†The¬†initially enclosed tunnel of trees and bushes soon gives way to views of the golf course to your left and Fareham¬†Quay to your right. This compacted surface underfoot is also good to run on. By the first 1K you may not have noticed¬†the¬†track has gradually¬†dropped down because you’ve been taking in the views. The next¬†1K is flat and the views ahead stretch out further down the golf course and across the water where various wading birds can be see.

The end of the Access Trail (2K) is signalled by two benches and the¬†terrain becoming¬†less even underfoot¬†once you start to run on the original coastal path for the remaining 500m. The harbours yachts can now be seen for quite some distance as well as¬†Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower on the horizon.¬†The trails¬†wide open views are then reduced by bushes on both¬†sides and¬†this is where I placed my “slow down, turn around point, 20 metres ahead” sign as well as my orange cone, 20m later,¬†to signify half way and hopefully no one falling as they rounded the cone.

Granted an almost “dead” stop to turn around a cone isn’t ideal but with my encouragement¬†ringing in their ears people were soon¬†on their return trip.¬†Naturally the leaders¬†were¬†now returning on the left hand side of the trail. The 3K mark is virtually as you’ve joined the better surfaced trail and the 4K is when the trail bears around to the¬†right. At this 4K point you will defiantly notice the gradual incline, it’s not a hill but if you’ve gone too hard too soon this 500 ish metres will seem a “fairway”. All that’s left then is your original 360 metres back to the finish and a well earned¬†“subsidised”¬†tea or coffee from the pub¬†in its lovely surroundings and patio.

DSCF4652DSCF4654

DSCF4655DSCF4657

DSCF4662DSCF4670

My “experience” of the Fareham parkrun

Parkruns “do what they say on the tin” they are a run, not a race,¬†in a pleasant area but¬†they also offer more too. As a¬†marshalling volunteer¬†my motivation was simply to “give” something back to¬†our local running community that¬†I enjoy so much but I hadn’t bargained on getting so much back. As soon as I arrived and collected my various accessories (see the photo below) I was thanked by Andrew Smith, todays run director, for offering my services. While I was awaiting my final instructions another chap turned up out of the blue and asked if there were any roles that still needed filling and he was assigned traffic control.¬†I chatted to volunteer Ros,¬†who I know, and not only was she the tail end runner but she was helping set out¬†the start too. Volunteers are “givers” !! I missed Alison that I know from twitter but I saw her at the end, she was timekeeping.

So, as I left the start line and headed out towards my half way marker¬†I was keen to offer my enthusiasm and support.¬†I certainly got some strange looks from a number of walkers, cyclists and a “couch to 5K” lady. They all received my parkrun smile and a quick summary of why I was carrying numerous day-glow banners and an orange cone. The “couch to 5K” lady said she’d definitely return when she had built up her confidence, #converted ūüôā

I received countless “thank you marshal” comments as I both encouraged runners and advised¬†them to watch the stones near the turning¬†cone. Numerous Fareham Crusaders got name checked (17 I think)¬†and I have to name Paul Pickford who was running with his¬†guided co runner Richard Twose, this partnership summed up the day really, one¬†runner helping another.¬†As I was at the half way point naturally this meant the inbound runners¬†coming towards me and the outbound on the left running back out.

The parkrun “love” was again evident with the encouragement of fellow runners passing each other in different directions whether they knew them or not. High fives and shout outs are very much a feature of parkruns and it’s great to watch¬†and be a¬†part of,¬†even as a standing volunteer. As Ros came into sight with the two people that were furthest away from the leading runner it was almost disappointing that my involvement was over. Ironically as I walked back thinking this I met up with Chris (photo’d above)¬†who was also marshalling at the 2/4K point and we chatted about how positive the morning had been.

It wasn’t just the lovely surroundings that made today enjoyable it was the parkrun spirit that’s so infectious. Whether you run or volunteer it really is a different kind of running. Old/young, quick/steady, experienced or a novice, as Nike would say,¬†“Just do it”¬†!!

DSCF4650

Cancer Research Relay July 2016

relaytents

The Cancer Research Portsmouth Relay for Life¬† is a 24 hour event from Saturday noon until Sunday noon 16/17th July 2016. The aim is simply to¬†keep at least one team member moving around the track for the 24 hours.¬†I organised and captained our¬†Fareham Crusaders running club teams¬†between 2009 and 2013¬†and am now returning in 2016 as a team member. The majority of teams walk but¬†we run because that’s what we do¬†!!

With overnight camping inside the 400m track and the facilities of the Portsmouth Mountbatten Centre, not to mention Pizza deliveries, then the prospect of running in the afternoon, evening, early hours and mid morning is a great challenge. Music and other distractions are organised to keep you involved and a candle lit service with a choir at 10pm is certainly the emotional highlight. Each run is 30 minutes and the number of half hour runs depends on how many are in the team. A marathon distance in total is certainly on the cards

This Link … Cancer Research Sponsorship¬†is if you would be so kind as to sponsor my run. Naturally I will blog the whole weekend,¬†thank you. Together we can make a difference¬† ūüôā

Portsdown Hill

Dream catch me ….. summed up my run today, I set out with a rough idea of what I had in mind and an hour and¬†forty minutes¬†later I found myself back home.¬†When you tell people that don’t run how relaxing it can be they find this a difficult concept¬†but that’s exactly¬†how today turned out. After a stressful week I simply wanted to¬†go out and run through some of my favourite local paths.¬†I¬†do hope the video gets across the sense of freedom and enjoyment that can be had from running¬†through nature, whether that’s next to the water or through the fields and crops. The “earthy” smells, the warm breeze on your face, a bird of prey circling overhead … priceless. Paradise Lane lived up to its name too.

DSCF4555

Today wasn’t about pace, I stopped to take a photo or video when something interested me and in total¬†did 10.6 miles. The route¬†had an initial climb up Paradise Lane and then Portsdown Hill. I then added 4 short sharp hill reps of Portchester¬†Lane from the farm entrance up to the signpost. Distance wise this is only about a third of a mile but with some 186 feet of elevation !! The steepest section¬†is by the dairy which has been freshly painted and is on the video.¬†If you click on this link Google Maps will transport you there, just click ahead and follow the cyclist.

180

10.6 miles I hear¬†you say, yes, the 10 was planned the 0.6 was a track on the outskirts of a field I haven’t run through before but it caught my eye and I’ve now got a good head start for my next run as¬†I’m sure it connects with the¬†Allen King Way that heads¬†north west ultimately towards Winchester.

Today’s run was good for my legs after 36 miles two weeks ago but more importantly it was good for my soul ūüôā #happyrunning.