Posts Tagged ‘parkrun’

Disclaimer: 1) I’m not a sports psychologist. 2) I’m not a 9 yr old.


Last week I asked my son if he wanted to delay his tennis session to run his 10th parkrun (that’s the weekly, Saturday, free 5km run – in case you’ve been on another planet…or you are one of my relatives) at the same time I was due to run my 50th one. No pressure. 

He said, “Yes”.

On the Friday night, I went to a Christmas work do. I cycled there. I had a good time. I had a bit too much to eat. I had just the right amount to drink. I danced far too much. I cycled back. I got home in the early hours of the morning- at 02:00.

At 08:00 on Saturday I go through to my sleeping son and say, “So… you’d better be getting up if we’re going to make it to parkrun this morning.”

There are some protestations from him – the bed is warm, he forgot it was Saturday, the wind might blow him away, there are hills, etc.   I remind him that I said I’d meet fellow runner/blogger abradypus at the parkrun, so I was going anyway and if we were going to run our milestone runs together, then today would have to be the day. He gets up

He said he was going to run, so he did. Credit to him.

Now obviously I don’t want to force or blackmail him to run. I would have gone on my own. Yes, I wanted to run it with him… only partly because if I ran it on my own and ran it hard (as I would), then the results, given last night’s…. ‘dancing’… would not have been pretty. But I would have gone on my own.

He is in control now. He chooses a light breakfast, he asks to take headphones this week (there’s a whole other debate, right there), but as it turns out, my ears and his are different sizes (who’d have thought it?) so we end up leaving them.

We are soon at the parkrun and meet up with Louise (abradypus) and her entourage, in the form of Mike – another runner, and Louise’s husband and chief bag holder Andy – not running today.

*For those who doubt the importance of punctuation in blog posts, I think that last sentence proves a subtle point.*

We set off… too fast as always…but this is my son’s run and I’m just there for the ride. The first half km is pretty flat but he struggles a bit at the first hill, more at the second, and he has a stitch that is threatening to rip out his insides by the time we reach the third. We walk. We talk. We run again. On to lap two.

This is where I think I make an error, I put my hands up to this – without intending to add any pressure but because I thought he might want to know – I look at the time and I comment that if he keeps this pace, he’d beat his PB (he’d asked about his best time before we left home).

Bad, bad daddy! I am 9 years old, I actually wanted to stay in bed this morning but you guilted me into running with you, and now here I am – still with 2km to go and that series of mini hills / mountain range and you tell me I have to keep this pace?! 

When we hit the next hill, he holds my arm. I assure him it’s fine to walk for a bit. We do. But I notice tears 😦

We walk… and I do my best not to sound sarcastic in any way when I say we can walk or run or whatever he wants. I don’t want him to be upset – obviously, I don’t want him to hate running, and clearly I don’t mention the time again, I want him to know (silently) that the time is not important here. We walk. We hug. We are passed by a couple of very encouraging runners on the top, hilly (mountainous) section.

“I just can’t do it” he says.

“I want to, but I can’t.  It hurts.”

And although this isn’t about me, I also feel suddenly very aware that I look like a pushy parent, forcing his child into painful, unwanted physical activity. This is not me, by the way. This is not parkrun.

Choices time. We can stop here. There’s the cafe. Short-cut to the cafe. Hot drink? Grab the football we brought with us? Have a kickabout? Achieve those milestone runs another time?

But it’s not my choice and I refuse to make it (though I was asked).

We have all been there or thereabouts before, I’m sure. Going for a goal, falling short of what we hoped for, and needing to decide if we cut our losses and live to fight (or run) another day or keep going – just finish. Sometimes just finishing is important to us. Sometimes it’s the goal that’s important and stopping is actually the strong thing to do, increasing the chances of hitting the goal another time. So I’m not saying one is right and the other, wrong… just that this decision wasn’t mine.  

When it came to the crunch, he decided to run. He said he didn’t want to come this way and not complete it. It was as if once he made up his mind, that was it. He ran all the remaining way, eventually passing the ever-encouraging other parkrunners who’d passed us earlier. He finished. He finished strong. He was even almost happy…

…but that was before early-onset teenagerhood kicked in again back at the cafe.

He was of course now too tired to speak. Too tired to talk. Too tired for a drink. Too tired to lift his head from the table…

…so naturally we played football for half an hour before his hour-long tennis coaching session…

…where incidentally, I massively pulled my calf muscle and still can’t walk properly. So much for warm-ups!

What’s next. Now that we are have running icons in the parkrun world we might just claim our free parkruns any Saturday morning when the mood takes us.

We will also claim our milestone T-shirts and if/when he wants to (and my calf has healed), this father/son combo will be back.


Here is a picture of a boot…

(Well, my tag line isn’t “random thoughts and running shorts” for nothing, you know!)

There is a link, though. I gave blogging the boot after June. I kind of just stopped enjoying writing it. So I stopped.

The same was true with running, to be honest. I knew I wouldn’t stop for good, but it was good to have a break.

In hindsight, I could have turned the blog into an interesting, “how I found my mojo” story, but given that I didn’t know how long it would take, it could have got very boring indeed.

Certain stresses have come and gone, but some remain.  Most are self-imposed, hence leaving the blog dormant for a while.

I’ve been running when I feel like it. I’ve done the odd parkrun, played a fair amount of tennis, taken the kids out on bike rides.  

The mojo isn’t fully back. But I am running again, which is a start.

Here’s that picture of the boot again…

  You could say this is a re-boot. A small reboot, at least.

What is new since I last wrote? 

Well we now only have one rabbit since ‘Colin’ (classic rabbit name #1) was found as stiff as a board in his litter tray a few weeks ago. ‘Hoppity’ (classic rabbit name #2) seems to be coping well without him mind you, and my children have very much taken it in their stride too. I later overheard appropriate questions between them like, “do rabbits cry?” and, “I’m a bit sad Colin is dead, are you?” so at least they aren’t sociopaths.image

Child2 is now at school full-time, but at a different one to her brother, so I am ‘enjoying’ the logistical delights of school runs, pick-ups, after-school clubs, sports coaching, and general communications.

I have, as yet, failed to invent some new business and make my millions from home in the past couple of weeks…but equally, I have resisted spending millions to try to artificially fill the gap left by my children abandoning me during the day… so I reckon that evens out.

I had got a bit sloppy with my eating habits recently, as demonstrated by my complete inability to lose enough weight to reward myself with a half marathon entry recently. But I’ve made progress here too and have entered for a brilliant 20 miler (the Ashby20) in March next year.  That is the total extent of my race calendar for the future.

Oh, and off the back of an additional 3kg weight loss, I got a parkrun PB a couple of weeks ago 22:28 (which was probably due to the psychological boost of feeling lighter as much as the actual physiology – I nearly threw up on the finish line).

I’m not exactly wasting away yet, mind you so my longer runs still have the potential to be a fire hazard due to the amount of upper-thigh friction. Thankfully, the lovely people at Chaffree got in touch recently to say, “Hey Notmuchofarunner, do you still pose a risk to woodland areas when you do a trail run, due to the high probability of starting an illegal chub-rub fire? If so, would you like some more of our rather wonderful, seamless, anti-chafe merchandise? (Especially since you wrote that random lovely blog post about the last lot we sent you)”

…or something like that. 

Anyway, I said, “yes please, thank you very much”, and so I have some more most excellent running undercrackers. They are seriously brilliant for running in, but I’ll say no more now for fear of coming across as some kind of underwear fetishist. Read the link for more info (about ‘Chaffree’, not underwear fetishism).

I was even motivated enough to for a quick 5 miles in before breakfast this morning, though due to clicking the wrong button it got recorded as ‘5 miles of alpine skiing’ on Strava. Now edited.

That’ll do for now. Just to show intent. I’ve not given up. It’s just a run/walk, blog/don’t blog strategy.

Saturday 13th June 2015

Last night, the plan was to get a parkrun PB for the third time in a row at my ‘local’ (15 minute drive away) event this morning.

This morning, due to time constraints (wanting to get the washing done first), that plan became to go 5 minutes down the road and complete the ‘Colliers Wood Canter’ which is a 5k run organised by a local running club (Kimberley Striders). They had originally applied for this to be a ‘parkrun venue proper’ but it was turned down, they inform me. Nonetheless, once a month (second Saturday, I think) these guys do their own version using the less technological methods of stopwatch, pen, paper and place tokens and to their credit they do a great job.

I’m sure there were good reasons for the parkrun team to turn down the venue but for folks that can’t make the journey to Nottingham, this event is a great free 5k timed run…

…except I didn’t even make it to this event either.  A very hard working wife with a million school reports to write and check, and high-spirited early-waking children meant my highly tuned parenting skills were required at home.

I took Child1 to his tennis session. It was raining. He played anyway and enjoyed it. I ran my own 5k around the local roads. I didn’t get a PB.

Child1’s tennis tournament in the afternoon was cancelled so I took Child2 to her dance lesson instead and allowed hard-working wife to continue working hard.

It rained all day. Got nothing done of any use in the afternoon. Was looking forward to the tennis tournament and then felt flat.

Good job I ran in the morning.


Less than twelve weeks to go until Huddersfield Hilly* Marathon. So I thought I would at least attempt a weekly round up of training/excuses here.

*It’s not officially called ‘Huddersfield Hilly Marathon’, I just thought I’d mention its hilliness (obviously the correct spelling – based on silly/silliness) in case I have previously failed to mention its hilly/challenging nature.

So…. crunch time! I’ve got to keep serious now…you know me…always serious…
Friday afternoon is also usually crunch time for me as it is when I am at my weakest, motivationally speaking. I need to see if I can avoid the temptation to sustain the last few hours of the week at work by munching at the various boxes of biscuits and chocs that do the rounds. Folks at work know I’m ‘in training’ so they don’t offer me stuff now…which is good….

…but away from their eyes I can be a secret eater. I’m not proud of it. I know I shouldn’t do it. But staying late to finish work an hour after everyone has gone, and knowing that I wasn’t gong to be eating until late this evening due to a tennis awards evening, the box of chocs were all mine.. 😦

Cross with myself for my secret eating, when I returned home from the tennis awards where, incidentally I ate reasonably well (apart from repeated trips to the crisp bowl) I then ate another big packet of crisps very unsecretively. CRUNCH TIME!
Take that secret eating! Ha. That showed you!

* * * * * *

Obviously this was all just a cunning plan to shame me into running extra hard to get that parkrun PB that I publicly proclaimed I would get last week…

I woke this morning (Saturday) and foolishly stood on the scales to assess the damage…
I was pleasantly surprised to see that I’d actually lost weight. Go figure. How does that work?
I was spurred on by the knowledge that if I run at the same effort as normal, my reduced weight should mean I’m faster, right?

That’s just what I did, and the results are demonstrated by the following graphic…


…by nearly thirty seconds too!

To complete a successful jantastic week, I just need to take it easy with a steady 15 mile run before breakfast tomorrow, now :-/

Before I start, perhaps a disclaimer is in order.
In the process of explaining what SUSTYM is all about, I have included photos of myself.
Photos that some readers may find offensive due to the fact they contain uncensored nipples.
You have been warned.

Based on the original ancient Japanese method of Susatybi (Soo-sa-tie-bee), the Sustym (Suss-tim) is the inevitable new westernised mutation of the process that has dramatically changed my life following its development from that small Japanese coastal village of Poe-Sing many years ago.

I shall first show you the dramatic results produced over a short period in January 2015 alone…



It is my personal opinion that SUSTYM and SUSATYBI are used far more widely in sports/fitness circles than is currently admitted. I can only guess this is because some people are almost embarrassed by its sheer effectiveness.

It uses processes highly recommended by modern physiotherapists but also contains the wisdom of our elders, fusing them in an easy to apply format that produces the instant results that makes it such a popular method in today’s media culture.

It is applied most effectively (although as mentioned, sometimes tacitly) by nearly all fitness models, but is a method that can also be employed effectively by Joe Public, as can be seen from my photos above.

The easy to follow steps for the original SUSATYBI are as follows:


And more recently for SUSTYM:


In case it wasn’t already obvious, the above photos were taken over an elapsed period of approximately 2 minutes just this morning.

Unfortunately, these methods didn’t help me to a parkrun PB, but I blame this on the fact that I arrived at my parkrun venue only to find out it had (quite rightly) been cancelled due to ice so I sped drove safely within the speed limit to the next closest one (ten minutes away) relying on the fact that lots of people were due to receive T-shirts this week. They rarely start bang on 9 o’clock anyway.

I parked up and then had to run half a mile to the start, just in time to join everyone on the first corner of what was a very muddy, occasionally icy, but certainly totally slippy course.

It wasn’t a PB.

I’m sorry for leading you all on, yesterday 😦
But I really was planning on making it so.

Janathon (day 31) and therefore JANATHON – involving no PBs (but at least a parkrun when one might not have happened) and a great SUSTYM for slimming down – DONE!


Posted: January 30, 2015 in Janathon, not running, running
Tags: , , ,

There is nothing to read here today. Tune in again tomorrow (Saturday).

I have only 9 miles more to round my January run total up to 100 miles but I have put that to one side in favour of totally kicking some parkrun bottom tomorrow morning.

By this, I mean a long awaited PB.

It is happening.


There. I’ve said it. I’m committed.

And tomorrow I shall tell you how I did it… Because obviously I am actually going to do it. Ground breaking new fitness regime to be revealed!

Janathon (day 30) – involving nothing apart from telling you that tomorrow I’m hopefully definitely going to be doing something – done.

It’s 5k to go.
I’ve got gas.
And half a six-pack.
It’s parkrun.
And I’m wearing sunglasses*.

Hit it!

*oh… and a dressing gown… Did I mention the dressing gown? … I don’t think I did. Well, there was a dressing gown.

Day one of Janathon, including a dressing gown dash (DGD) – DONE.

Winter miles…

Posted: December 28, 2014 in Janathon, running
Tags: , , , , , ,

“Winter miles make summer smiles”

That’s what ‘they’ say, isn’t it?

Although I’m never sure who ‘they’ really are. Because if ‘they’ are anybody at all ‘they’ must just go around all the time just saying random stuff that may or may not be true.

Winter miles make summer winter smiles.

I mean. Why wait?

Over the last couple of days we’ve had some unexpected snow and I had an unexpected message from a blogger contact, Louise (aka abradypus) saying she was going to be in the area for a parkrun on the 27th Dec. Having followed her blog but never met in person, this sounded like an ideal excuse, if one were needed, to try out a new (to me) parkrun in Beeston.


There’s some winter smiles for you.

And then I got home to find the long awaited cooker had at last arrived. More smiles (but no miles).

I could write a book on this.
I’d call it…

The Saga Of The Aga

…except it’s not an aga… but, “The Book About The Cooker” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.
On second thoughts, I’m not going to write a book, suffice to say cookers have arrived and been taken away a-plenty, companies have lost money, emails have been sent, telephone conversations have been… You really don’t need to know this…. I’ll move on…

After an evening of game-playing and kids-movie-watching last night, I got up bright and early this morning, put my shorts on (but most definitely also hat and gloves) and covered a 9km taking in the delights of my favourite hill…


Why wait? Enjoy now.


I hypothesise that doing a parkrun the morning after drinking an undisclosed number of alcoholic beverages at the work Christmas party, followed by dancing into the small hours, is not conducive to running well.

I have conducted an experiment to establish

a) if this is true

b) if it is true – to what extent


Legs, rest of body, trail shoes, rest of clothes, a parkrun (including: venue, timing device, friendly volunteers, barcode, access to previous run times courtesy of parkrun statistics), calculator/brain.


1. Go out for a nice evening of good food, laughing, a few drinks, plenty of dancing – that kind of thing.

2. Go to bed at approximately 01:45

3. Wake up at approximately 07:30 to tidy the kitchen, mop the floor, feed the rabbits, etc. thus buying a few brownie points and facilitate the imminent departure for the required parkrun, given that no time has been spent with family since before dinner the previous evening.

4. Run a parkrun.  For purposes of statistical analysis and scientific rigour, it is important that this parkrun is one that has been run on numerous previous occasions although the precise number of previous occasions is an area of considerable dispute within the scientific community (see ‘conclusion’ for further discussion)

5. Don’t forget your barcode*.

*For the uninitiated (and there may still be some), a parkrun is a free, timed 5 kilometre run facilitated by volunteers that takes place at various places around the country every Saturday morning at 09:00, but to receive your results you first need to register, and then take along your printed barcode so that can match your time with your details shortly after the run has finished.

6. Await results to be texted out.

7.  Compare results with those achieved previously.

7.5 Analyse results.

8. Write a blog post about it.

9. Patiently await Nobel prize for contribution to science.


Time taken to run the parkrun following work Christmas do = 23:50

Previous 6 parkruns at the same venue =  23:13,  23:54,  23:48,  23:13,  23:46,  23:55

Average of those previous 6 parkruns = 23:38 (.166666667)

Converting these times to seconds (to facilitate calculation of percentage decease in performance)…

Average of previous 6 parkruns = 1418 (.166666667) seconds  ;  post-party parkrun = 1430 seconds


1418 (.166666667)

_____________                 =     0.99172494172




The above results appear to demonstrate that in percentage terms there was only a 0.8% (to one decimal place) decrease in performance.

However, it is not possible to conclude with any scientific certainty that this decrease is due to the previous evening’s activity and not just the natural variation in performance already evidenced in the times recorded on the six previous occasions (two of which, if taken in isolation, would actually indicate an improvement).


It could also be argued that instead of taking an average of previous runs, only the most recent run should be considered.

This would therefore suggest a percentage performance decrease now of 2.6% (to one decimal place)


It must also be noted that to be statistically significant, it would perhaps be better to do this more than once…


…so see you next Christmas.


Holidays can be so good.

I’ve had a holiday from running for a while. My left ankle has been telling me I’m getting old, my plantar fasciitis has returned with a vengeance, I’ve been feeling more mentally and physically exhausted generally just a bit ‘bleuggh’.

This last week, though I have spent in Devon with my lovely family. Staying in the family home I lived in when I was little, eating lovely food with my Mum and Dad looking after me like when I was little (e.g. home cooked apple crumble and a HUGE pavlova) , going to the beaches I used to go to when I was little, and drinking beer like I used to when I was… well… a bit bigger.

We spent the day swimming in sea on Wednesday, which was wonderful.

We had even optimistically brought the bikes (mine and the boy’s) on the recently purchased bike roof carrier thing, and we had a little ride out on Thursday.

Friday was my lovely wife’s birthday (I don’t have two… I didn’t use the word ‘lovely’ as a differential term… Just the one wife AND she is lovely – just to be clear) so we went for a BIG family geocaching walk which basically involved me dropping them off near Powderham, me driving to Kenton and leaving the car there then running to catch up with them along the coastal path to Starcross. An extra loop to get a few more caches, then continuing ask along the estuary ‘coast’ to Dawlish before starting back up northwards but realising if we wanted to have a Birthday BBQ I had to get a wriggle on run ahead to get the car. That was a mission! Lots of fields and big, BIG hills.
Take glance at the map for a general overview …


and this one for a bit of a close up including my cross-country route back to the car…


…and this one for the geocaches we passed along the way (smiley face = found… we haven’t logged them all yet)

Despite this huge walk/run (the children aged 8 & 3 did brilliantly, by the way) I got up early enough to parkrun on Saturday.

It was Parke parkrun in Bovey Tracey. Here is my course report:

In case you didn’t know…It has a hill. A big one. Early on. Which has the unexpected bonus that once you’ve managed, eventually, to breathe normally again, you’re pretty much at the end of the run. Cool. The end.