2021 ended on such a high with me running a 10k pb and coming in 2nd place at the Portsmouth Coastal 10k. I felt the fittest and leanest that I had felt in a long time. I felt light and efficient.
2022 soon came around and so did Stubbington 10k. In such a short time, I had put on weight and wasn’t really feeling as fit. I think I was feeling a bit negative too. I knew I wasn’t in shape for a pb at Stubbington and didn’t want to turn up and just run a 42 minute 10k. It would have been nice to see the other Vegan runners though.
For 2022 I said to myself that I would run less and skateboard more. I was doing this and bouldering more too. In January I ran three parkruns, two at Bartley park and one at Southampton. The times were slow for me but I was easing myself back in. It was the first time I had run at Bartley park.
February saw me running at Netley parkrun with my mate Disgo Dan. We then did a Vegan runners parkrun meet up at Queen Elizabeth country park, where I thought it was be a good idea to run 25 miles back home. I knew the route pretty well from cycling it, so I didn’t get lost.
I was still working part-time hours, so decided to do some cycling for a couple of days. I cycled to Bradford-on-avon which was 78 miles on the NCN routes. I stayed there and came a shorter way home with 61 miles on the return journey. You can read more about this adventure on my earlier blog post if you wish. Two more parkruns were done in February.
As always with springtime, my fitness started to return. I was back to running sub 20 parkruns. 19.44 at Whiteley on a newer course since my last visit and a 19.51 at Great field parkrun in Dorchester.
The day after Dorchester I ran my first half marathon of the year knowing that I wasn’t at full fitness but was happy enough with a 92.29 at Weymouth half.
Then to finish the month off, I did the hilly Durlston country park parkrun. A brutal course but very scenic. P4 in a time of 23.16. I was starting to feel pretty good now.
It was snowing and I headed to mid Wales for the Nant-Yr-Arian silver trail half. I got a bit lost on the course and ended up doing 16 miles. What a race though. The views were stunning. I highly recommend this one! Again you can read more about this in an earlier blog post.
I remember a disappointing 20.04 at Great Salterns parkrun but another tourist spot ticked off.
I also did Worthing for the first time with a time of 19.19. I didn’t really enjoy this one. Lots of people to dodge on a promenade.
I also ran a 19.12 at Southampton. The fitness was back!
There is a 5 mile race series in Newport, Wales. There are 4 a year. I did one of their virtual races one year. For some reason ever since then, they just email me with free entries. I only did this one though as it was quite expensive for a 5 mile race with the train fare and a hotel. It was a lovely event, very friendly and a great course. I didn’t have a great race. I was fairly confident that I should be on course for a 5 mile pb. It didn’t happen though. I was hanging on after 2 miles and came in 4th with a time of 31.50.
The next day would see me running a similar pace at the Severn Bridge parkrun with a time of 19.47
More parkrun tourism ensued in May with Edenbrook 19.44 and Marlborough Common 20.47
4 parkruns in June. A course pb at Bartley park with a 20.13. A course pb at Salisbury with 19.13. A disappointing 19.07 at Poole where I had Kev Willsher trying to pace me for a sub 19. A 19.48 at Southampton where I was supposed to be the 20 minute pacer but went slightly too fast. Fellow Vegan Runner Nathann still got his first sub 20 though. It was a great moment to witness. Despite getting quicker, I decided to run a 30 miler from Southbourne to Southampton. It was nice and leisurely with a coffee shop stop in New milton.
2022 sure was a year for many parkruns and very little racing. I did my 250th parkrun at Eastleigh where some of the Vegan Runners met up and John P made me an amazing 250 chocolate cake. It was also Ceci’s 100th parkrun too.
I also got the train early one Saturday morning and did Woking parkrun in a time of 19.30
I got the train to Exeter and stayed at the uni. I ran a 10k race on the Wednesday evening in a disappointing 41.18. I clearly wasn’t training enough! From there I went climbing at the amazing Climbing Hangar in Exeter. This has to be my favourite bouldering gym that I have visited so far. So good!
I got the train from Exeter to Plymouth and stayed with my old mate Nick who I used to live with. I did some skateboarding and then Kev Willsher came down. I showed him one of my favourite runs. A 13 miler on the Plymvalley from Yelverton to Plymouth. It’s pretty much all downhill. The next day I took him to one of my favourite parkruns.. Mount Edgcumbe. We also met Mike Harper and Jane and then got the ferry from Devon to Cornwall for the parkrun. Kev got P1 and I can’t remember his time but I don’t think it was far off the course record. The course had changed since I had last did it and it now had even more elevation, if that was possible. 23.01 for me. I think I was 16 seconds off my course PB.
I kind of wanted to do Central park parkrun as I had never run it but used to do a 3k race series there when I lived in Plymouth. I knew Kev would enjoy Mount Edgcumbe more and didn’t want to deny him that lovely opportunity.
I ran to Winchester to do the parkrun, 20.57 was my time with a 13 miler there. I beat ITV weather girl Philippa Drew which is some consolation as I’ve never forget the time that I was beaten at the Great south run by fellow Lordshill Road runner and BBC weather girl Alexis Green..lol
I then met up with Vegan runner Charlotte and we went to the Vegan market for cheeses :D
I had decided on another bike ride. This time I wanted to head towards the Surrey hills. It would be another 75 miler each way with a night in Surrey in a nice hotel with a lovely swimming pool. I really should do some training for these bike rides. There were plenty of hills and I think I only got lost three times.
Southampton parkrun in 19.29
I ran to Bartley parkrun, round the course with my friend Helen and ran home. I was now marathon training. The Newport marathon had been cancelled but I had now decided to run the New forest marathon in September.
I ran a 19.42 parkrun at Southampton. Maybe this was the one where I was pacing 20 minutes? I can’t remember..lol
I just checked... Nathann ran his first sub 20 with a time of 19.53.
3 parkruns at Southampton. My Season’s best being 18.55. This would be my only sub 19 of the year. I also did a slow Tidworth parkrun with Nathann.My biggest achievement of the year happened the day before my 48th birthday. I ran a big pb at the New forest marathon. A time of 3 hours and 20 minutes. My previous PB was at Brighton with a time of 3 hours and 29. My training was ok but could have been a lot better. I may aim for a better time in 2023. Two weeks later I would run a 89.04, a big course PB for me at the Solent half marathon. I was feeling the strain of all my efforts at this point and was feeling quite ill and weak. Dizzy spells and lots of nausea. Looking back at it, I probably should have taken some time out, I was still skateboarding and climbing too.
More parkruns of course. Woodley in Reading in a time of 19.30 with John P, Higginson, Marlow with a time of 19.41. We had just missed Chris Evans out for his morning jog apparently as he lives there.
Then, I was out filming some skateboard tricks for my video section in Winchester, when I started to feel unwell. It started with a sore throat and then felt like a cold. I skated through it and went to bed drained. The next day it was obvious that I had covid for the 4th time. So I spent 3-4 in bed sweating and shivering with a fever.
I felt ok and then headed up to Aberbeeg in Wales for Nathann’s 100th parkrun. I said I would run at a steady pace and see how my breathing was. It wasn’t flat out but probably shouldn't have run a 20.27. Another lovely parkrun done and then we headed off to watch the Vegan football team Forest Green Rovers get beaten 1-0 by Portsmouth in Nailsworth. It was a long day but a brilliant day.
I finished October off with Basingstoke parkrun. It was a different course than I had previously done. In fact, it was my 3rd time there and my 3rd different course. I went with my Vegan runner mate Darren. I finished in a time of 20.40. The lungs still weren’t 100% from the covid.
I ran to Bartley again but my ribs were hurting. I had been getting a stitch like pain on my runs recently. I decided to run through it as hard as I could. It was painful but got a 20.36. I tried to run home but had to stop and walk as the pain was unbearable.
I jogged the 1st Ganger farm event and it was painful from start to finish. The pain would often move into my spine.
The following week, I volunteered and decided to rest.
It was evident that I had done some real damage to myself. A trip to my Sports therapist revealed that I had damaged some intercostal muscles. My right side was swollen, probably due to an inflamed lung too. The intercostals were rubbing together and sticking. The pain caused in my spine was from the intercostal muscles then rubbing against my trapezius muscle. I was now running just a parkrun a week or two with no other miles.
John P, Darren and I headed back to Reading but this time for Prospect park parkrun. It was -6 degrees on the way there and -2 degrees when we were running. Again I took it slowly but every step still hurt.
Back to my sports therapist for another session where I felt very loosened up and very bruised the following day but I had a lot more movement and less stiffness.Still running at a slower pace but I managed to reached my 100th parkrun at Southampton. Meaning, 100 times around the Southampton course.
I have started to run more now. A couple of slow 10k’s and today I ran a 23.23 at Alice Holt parkrun.
I have now run 271 parkruns. 76 different locations and I only need one more parkrun to complete all the 27 Historic Hampshire parkruns.
I am hoping to do that tomorrow on New Year’s Day.
So, 42 parkruns for the year. The most I have achieved in a year, previously 40 in 2017. I didn't do many races. Proudest of my marathon achievement. Lots of climbing and a skateboard section that I will link in here: https://youtu.be/G1MdufUKgfl
Next year I think I will go back to long distance running. Ultras. Not necessarily races but long solo runs to places and hopefully a big multi dayer raising money for an animal charity.
Vegan for over 3 years now and Sober for over 2 years now. Feeling good :D
The goal is to feel good and stay athletic.
A big thanks to John P, Darren, Nathann and Matt S for all the parkrun lifts and company. I have loved the Vegan runners parkrun meet ups too. Such a wonderful bunch of people. Thanks also to all my running, climbing and skating friends who have been there for me, inspired me and made me believe in myself, especially Kev Willsher, Jimbo and Josh Chivers.x