East Coast sunrise
East Coast sunrise

Life has certainly thrown some swerve balls this way in the last few months ! My absence here has not been intentional, it has just been lower down the list of priorities that seems to get bigger each day.

At the end of last year there had been changes at work following redundancies – well this year didn’t start any smoother in that regard, with several resignations within a short time resulting in me taking on extra responsibilities. I’m hoping that in the long run this is a good move for me, but it certainly adds pressure to life. Working longer hours is meaning the usual juggle of trying to fit everything in gets that bit harder.

Sadly there have recently been two deaths in the extended family, both pretty sudden. Although they weren’t people that I was close too, my close loved ones have been very much affected and it is a hard time for them. There is no rule book of what to do in these situations, so I’m just trying to be there if I’m needed.

I have still been running, not as much as I’d like, but I’ve been out there. I was feeling the pressure because I wasn’t hitting my target mileage, but do you know what – it doesn’t matter. I’m still out there.

This morning I ran early. Just me and the dogs. In the rain.

I’d stopped for the dogs to have a sniff and I lifted my face to the rain and took a moment to be thankful that I was out there, alive, able to run. So many people have challenges to overcome, some bigger than others. No my life isn’t perfect – but whose is? As long as we try to be happy and look after each other every day then that has to be enough.

I’ve run one race this year – the Dalby No Ego head torch run. 5 miles through the forest in the pitch black. It was good fun, despite not feeling on top form (I’d had my first cold in several years). My son ran it with me for the first time (and got a free tshirt for being the youngest runner!) and we followed it with club tea at the pub – all in all a good evening.

Snow day
Snow day

I’ve run in Paris ! I was away with work, couldn’t get to parkrun so decided to explore with a run. You can read about it here.

Hopefully it won’t be so long next time…..

Friends of the best kind

Exploring Paris

Notre Dame Cathedral

Last week found me travelling again for work.  The second time in Paris in 2 weeks.  It sounds lovely getting the chance to visit different places with someone else paying, however the reality is the first time I went to Paris I saw the train station, the hotel and the office.  Literally nothing else!

This time I was staying over the Friday night and my train home wasn’t until the Saturday afternoon.  First thought…. parkrun!!  However, I’ve never used the Metro before, and it looked to be a fairly long journey from where I was staying (anyone in Paris, it would be great to hear from you as I might be going again fairly soon!).

If I couldn’t get to parkrun then I decided that I would go for a run to see some of the city.  Baring in mind that I was coming down with a cold, I’d been at a work function Friday evening and hadn’t gone to bed till after 2.30am and it was pouring with rain…….  I’ve decided that I am slightly mad!


I left the others at the hotel and set off.  I was staying in the Opera district (which literally meant nothing to me a week ago) so I headed south towards the river with a plan to head east, cross over somewhere near the Notre Dame and head west along the south bank of the river and cross somewhere west of the Louvre (I had thought about going to the Arc de Triomph and running down the Champs de Elysees but that proved a bit optimistic!) so that I could head back through the gardens and to the Louvre pyramid.

It took me a little while to settle in to my run, probably not helped by stopping to take photos every now and then.  I’m not really used to running in cities so it all felt a bit odd.  Once I’d got to the river I felt a bit better and started counting bridges as my way of navigating, there were also many others running in this area – although I have to say, no one really said hello !  I suspect this is a city thing rather than a French thing.

I crossed over the river to the Notre Dame Cathedral, where I had to stop to take a picture.  Then over the next bridge and on to the south bank.  I tried to keep my head up and look at my surroundings – looking over at the Notre Dame and trying to take in the city I was running through.

Notre Dame Cathedral

I crossed back over to the Place de la Concorde and turned right into the gardens of the Louvre.  I first visited Paris as a teenager on a school art trip.  I distinctly remember seeing the Pyramid at the Louvre – one of the things that stood out about that trip, which is why I really wanted to head back there.   It was lovely running up towards the Louvre and the Pyramid (although it isn’t as big as I remembered!).  I stopped under the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel to take a few pictures, post on facebook and send a text to my husband (whilst sheltering from the rain) before heading back into the city and trying to find my way back to the hotel.

The Louvre Pyramid

I’m really pleased that I decided to go for a run.  One part of me felt a bit guilty for not joining my colleagues on their look round the shops that morning, but then I feel like I got to see a bit more of, and feel a bit more comfortable in the city.  The chances are I’ll be visiting a bit more because of work, so I’d love to feel more at home.  The next challenge is to work out how to use the Metro!

Anyone in Paris??

paris route
Route Map (can you tell where I missed my turn trying to get back to the hotel?!)

Happy New Year!

So it is the first weekend of the new year, we’d run parkrun as usual on Saturday morning but wanted to run Sunday too.  I wanted off road, and wanted to be able to take the dogs with us too.  We didn’t want to go far as had lots of other things that needed to be done so the task was on to find a route.

Does anyone else find this difficult? (or is it just me that is so indecisive??!)

We look at numerous routes, but they just don’t seem right, too far away, might be cows, might be other dogs (particularly loose ones), nowhere to park, no tangible reason but it just doesn’t feel right….

But we finally decided to just go 5 minutes up the road in the car, and on to a footpath that runs alongside the river.  I knew it would need to be an out and back route but accepted that this morning as we just needed to get out.  It was already after 11am before we set off.


Mud, glorious mud!  Oops, my husband wasn’t overly impressed with my choice of route 😉  but actually it was lovely.  Across a couple of paddocks, and then onto grass paths along the side of the river.  We were lucky enough to see a deer fairly close and stood still whilst it found it’s escape.  The dogs were absolutely wired!  they love being somewhere new, and being able to sniff and explore – and lets face it, these runs are as much about them as they are about us.


We then realised the route went over a stile and along a stretch of very narrow path, covered in briars.  Neither of us had long trousers on.  My husband went first, cursing me every step of the way lol.

Briars !

Luckily it wasn’t far and we were back on the better grass sections, watching out for swans on the river.  We also saw several herons.

And we lost the path.


We carried on for a bit, but there were no more footpath signs and the route was getting more difficult so the decision was made to turn around.  We’d done a couple of miles by this point, but it was hard going so a good work out.  I ended up ankle deep in mud a few times (thanks for the photos kind husband) and with scratches all down my calves from the briars.  But overall this was a fun Sunday run.


However…  I HATE leaving it to the last minute to plan.  It delayed us setting off and just makes me feel like I’m playing catch up for the rest of the day.  Next Sunday we already have a route planned.  Another off road route of just over 6 miles.  Wish us luck!

Work is getting in the way again this week, I’m currently in Paris for short stop for work, before heading back to London and then back to Yorkshire.  This means I miss Tuesday running club and won’t get to run Wednesday either.  I did run Monday and am planning a Thursday evening run, which added to the weekend means I still get four runs in.  After setting myself the challenge of 1000 miles for the year I really don’t want to get behind already !

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

Happy New Year

As we are caught up in the usual round of well wishes and resolutions, I have reflected on the year just gone. For 2016 and 2017 I set myself the challenge of running an average of 75 miles per month. 2016 I didn’t achieve this (due to illness towards the end of the year), hence why I set it as my aim for 2017. Well this year I’ve done it!

  • Total miles = 940.14
  • Number of runs = 202
  • Average pace = 9:44 min/mile
  • Average miles per month = 78.35
  • Number of races = 10

I am very very pleased to have done this 🙂

Looking at that average pace, I also looked to see what my quickest was (8:10) and my slowest (13.14) – that is one hell of a range!


So how about 2018, what is my goal going to be? Initially I was going to aim for 80 miles a month, but as I am pretty close to that it seems like a bit of a get out, so I’m going to say it…. I’m going for 85 miles a month, which is 1000 miles for the year! Bare in mind that I’ve recently upped the number of hours I work, which has the knock on effect that I don’t have as much time for training as I did, this is a significant challenge for me. We’ve got a few races booked, and more to book. Half marathon will be the longest race definitely (and I’m not totally decided if I’m going to enter that yet).


The parkrun Double

New Year’s Day 2018 started with my first venture into the parkrun double. Peter Pan followed by Humber Bridge.

Peter Pan – this isn’t a parkrun I’ve done before, I had no idea of the route, the number of laps, the terrain…. (oops, hadn’t really prepared well had I?!). I soon found out that it is 3 laps, made up of a couple of out and backs and a loop round a park / sports field type area. Some on grass, some on tracks, completely flat. It was wet and muddy on the grass in places but not too bad. The atmosphere was good, volunteers friendly, HUGE attendance. I set off steady, very aware that I had two parkruns to run and had a very pleasant run, including chatting to others from my home parkrun. Finish was very busy but quickly through the scanners and finding the rest of our group ready to rush off to the next one.

parkrun number 1 = 29:06

Humber Bridge – I’ve done this one before, just once. It is a loop around the country park, on hard paths but muddy / puddly in places and quite up and down. Three laps in total. Following on from Peter Pan we were expecting this one to be very busy with lots of others doing the double and we weren’t disappointed (555!!) which did mean the start was very congested, spilling off the path onto the grass and resulting in lots of mud flying and people slipping – all good fun though!

The first half of the route takes you uphill a little, with more descents on the second half along narrow paths through trees. The last time I’d done this there were far fewer people and to be honest it isn’t a course that could regularly cope with this quantity, however good fun was had, puddles were run through and three laps done.

parkrun number 2 = 27:46


I’m really pleased that we made the effort to go, I enjoyed the social fun without pressure on times.

Christmas parkun

xmas day Jane

This morning I told my husband that I wanted to run alone. Didn’t want to take the dogs, didn’t want company. Every now and again I need to do this. Christmas is a really busy time for lots of us, and this year has been even more so for me than usual.

I make jewellery, so the run up to Christmas is obviously busy. I then have another job (the ‘proper one’) that I was doing 30 hours a week for. That was about manageable…. But, due to changes at work I am now full time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful for a job, but it is certainly testing me trying to fit everything in!

Just before Christmas I needed to visit the dentist for a minor filling. And came home missing a tooth 😦 This was certainly not the plan! (and has left me feeling very old). I suppose one positive is that I haven’t really been able to over indulge food wise over the festive period – and am still struggling following an emergency dentist visit yesterday and now on antibiotics.

All of this has left me feeling fairly stressed, a bit fed up and down on myself. So today I just needed to run. Just run for myself, with no one else there. The alarm went off just after 7am and I was dressed and heading out the door fairly quickly. It was a gorgeous morning – frosty but clear and five miles later I was feeling a bit better, glad I’d been selfish, and ready for a quick shower before work.

Does any one else choose to run alone when you do have the option of company?

I haven’t done any races lately – running has just been about squeezing it in when I could. But we had decided to run Hull parkrun on Christmas Day. My husband and I did this last year and I really wanted to again – this time joined by my son (his first time at Hull).

So only one present opened first thing (and that was new running shoes for my son!) and we were on our way – Christmas t-shirts and Santa hats all round 😉 I had a steady run, fairly pleased with my time as I wasn’t feeling great, but my son had a fab run – gained a PB and his first sub 23 min 5k. A couple of club mates had joined us and it made a great start to the day before heading home to get the turkey in the oven, open the fizz and wait for the guests to arrive.

Hope you all had a good Christmas, that you are running as much as you want to and are busy making plans for the new year.

Home bird

so I find myself in a hotel room, on my own, in London. Whilst this might seem exciting for the girl from Yorkshire, actually all I want is my own bed, my familiar surroundings, my husband and my son. I feel that we are conditioned to think that the bright lights of the city is something to strive for…. But why? Does being a rural person make you any less of a person?

I love my country walks and runs. I hate the tube and the sheer quantity of people in London. I love open space and solitude. Here there is no silence. Is it a bad thing to feel like this?

I’m trying to make plans for the new year, although it would seem that my employment is slightly precarious. We want to have fun, have enough money to give us the freedom to do the things we want to do. To enjoy life. To feel alive.

This week brought the news that a family member needs more aggressive treatment against cancer. It won’t cure them, but it will hopefully prolong a good quality of life. This brings home to me what is important and what really isn’t. Those petty squabbles in an office…. Have you really nothing better to do with your time?

And what do I want to do? I want to run, I want to feel alive, out in nature, on the trails. Instead of being stuck in a world of concrete.

How do you work out this balance? Is the trick finding a job that you absolutely love, so that it isn’t a chore going to work everyday?

I’m aware that this post is sounding very negative and that wasn’t my intention. I’m very grateful for the opportunities being afforded to me at the moment. I find myself married to an amazing man- wondering what I did to deserve this very welcome person in my life. A man that shares my love of running, of peace, of nature, of life. I have relative good health, am physically able to run.

Last weekend, despite the ice and snow we headed out for a trail run. Me, my husband and my teenage son. I LOVE the fact that we can all go out together. 7.5 miles later we were back in the car and headed home to hot chocolate and hot toast. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday morning!

Have you sorted your plans for Christmas? We’ve made the decision early on to host this year… but on our terms. Which means that we have invited people, but it will be late lunch, which means we will be able to go to parkrun first 🙂 We don’t have little kids, so having something else to focus on on Christmas day is a pleasant respite from food, drink and presents!

Hardmoors Goathland 10k

Goathland Jane

This nearly didn’t happen.

We’d planned to make a weekend of it. Its a Saturday race, so a hotel booked in Whitby for the Saturday night would make a lovely weekend.

Then life happened. Redundancies were announced at work, I didn’t know if I had a job or not (one post remaining, with two people going for it). Resulted in me cancelling the hotel. Thought I’d be better saving my money. Add to that the dog sitter was poorly and it obviously wasn’t meant to be.

The race? didn’t even know if I’d be doing that until a few days before. However we managed to work out logistics to allow us to still run if we left straight afterwards so Saturday morning found us in the car heading towards Goathland.

It was a gorgeous, sunny, frosty morning – pretty good running conditions as far as I was concerned. I hadn’t planned what to wear, so threw on some running gear, hoped it would be suitable, packed a bag for afterwards and set off.

Hardmoors Goathland 10k. Take the 10k as a rough estimate rather than an accurate distance. We knew enough people who’d done various Hardmoors series races to know that the distance would be more than a 10k. These are also pretty small races, very low key and seemed nice and friendly.

Arriving in Goathland we got parked and made our way to the Village Hall to see who else had arrived. There is also a half and full marathon on the same day, starting at different times and different times for registration, but as the numbers are small this wasn’t an issue. The atmosphere was really nice with everyone chatting whilst waiting. Several dogs also were running which I love to see.

10.30am found us walked out of the village hall to the start line. Less than 50 were doing the 10k so it really was a small group! A bit disconcerting and I was hoping to not be at the back (although Hardmoors always have several sweepers running so you’ll never really be at the back, and certainly not on your own). My husband and I had decided to run together for this race – and just enjoy rather than racing for once. I felt I really needed it to clear my head after all of the rubbish that had been going on.

The start is a short, fast, downhill section of road and then onto a track steadily heading downhill. I just tried to find some kind of rhythm and settle in to the run but I was happy to get off the road as I much prefer trail running. A left turn through a gate (with a club mate as marshal and photographer!) and we began an undulating section including some steps, which were definitely a sign of things to come, following the beck. I loved this section even though it was rough – trees, water, mud – perfect running!

Mallyan Spout….. Not many 10ks include scrambling over the rocks at the bottom of a waterfall! This is probably where I was at my most uncomfortable – worried about slipping, ending up in the water etc etc ! It did mean that I forgot to look up at the waterfall, which is beautiful, but I made it to the other side without incident. Another left turn and we went straight up the hill! This was steps all the way up and steep and all the way up I was cursing not doing more hill / step training. It was hard. The steps were all very very muddy and just keeping upright was fairly difficult, but make it to the top we did. The photo was taken just at the top, where it had started to level out a little bit, but no where near enough to start running. A very mean place to have a photographer!

Goathland Jane 2

We then headed away from Goathland again moving from grass to heather and mud. The going became harder here, trying to follow sheep tracks that were littered with rocks hidden in the heather.

The route is marked by occasional yellow tape / flags, but you have to keep your wits about you to make sure you don’t go off track too far – once or twice I was too busy looking at my feet and when I did eventually look up I had to alter my course to get back on track. A fast, slippy, difficult decent found us flying into the first check point laughing at each other and having a thoroughly good time. The offerings at the check point are the best I’ve ever known (water, coke, sweets, food……) and it is also the first race I’ve stopped for a drink and a chat!

Shortly after the first checkpoint was where the 10k route split from the other distances and we headed across the moor. I’d thought the going might be better up here, but it wasn’t. We were running a few steps and then getting stuck in more mud, running a few steps, walking again and repeat. Lots of times I was up to my ankles in bogs and my husband sank to his knee once! This was hard work but enjoyable at the same time.

HMGO 1_0253.JPG

Photos courtesy of Sports Sunday – the first time I’ve ever bought race photo’s but I loved these.

Another marshal point and the final left turn to head back across the moor to Goathland. Finally heading down so the mud and heather turned into firmer grass which meant we could finally push on and run the majority of the time. It is a fast finish back on tarmac through the village and the clock is stopped when you enter the village hall and your number taken.

Total distance – 7.66 miles
Finishing time – 01:41:06

Bling: Tshirt and medal

Will I be back? Definitely! This was fun, we laughed the majority of the way round and are already looking at other 10ks in the Hardmoors series and it has confirmed my love of trail running.

Yorkshire Coast 10k 2017 – Scarborough

Yorkshire Coast 10k (3)
Approaching Scarborough, black skies and rainbows

This is a 10k road race, on fully closed roads from the Scarborough Spa Complex, along the see front through Peasholme Park, to the sea-life centre and back along the sea front to the spa. I’ve done this race twice before and although it isn’t the most exciting route it does have good views out to sea (on a good day!) and has a wonderful, friendly atmosphere.

The first year I ran this (2012) I barely knew anyone. My new boyfriend took me, I had a good run but collapsed at the end and he had to take me to first aid (nothing serious).

I didn’t run it again till 2016 and it was a different experience again. With being a parkrun regular we knew far more people (and my other half was running it with me) and I had a good run (finishing in 53:01).

Fast forward to 2017 and we once again entered to run the Yorkshire Coast 10k. This time it was a family affair with me, husband and son all running. Add to that my Dad decided to come along to spectate and it really was becoming a family day out!

Yorkshire Coast 10k (9a)
Family fun…

Early Sunday morning start found us setting off for the drive to Scarborough. The forecast wasn’t great, but it had said pretty dry – but on our way the sky over Scarborough was getting darker and darker and we were then treated to a lovely rainbow. By the time we parked it was pouring down and we were all questioning exactly what we were doing. Fifteen minutes sat in the car and the rain eased off enough that we decided to make our way to the Spa for a loo stop and to catch up with others.

It was like a big group of friends. Every few steps there was someone else with a hug, a good morning, a good luck. I love this atmosphere!

A quick jog back to the car to shed some layers and back to the start line – no time for a last minute wee! I love the start here as despite it being very cramped there is loud music and a great countdown. It all adds to give lots of atmosphere.

And we were off!

Did I have a plan? Well kind of.

  • My last 10k I ran in 54:14 and I knew I wanted to beat that. That was plan C.

  • This race last year I ran in 53:01 so I would like to beat that – plan B.

  • My 10k PB is 52:00 and I would LOVE to beat that – plan A.

I set off and tried to find some kind of hard, but comfortable pace. Not looking at my watch and just running to feel seems to be best for me so it is only at the beep of a mile that I looked. First mile 08:21.

Not sure if I could hold that pace for 6.2 miles (actually pretty sure I couldn’t) I told myself to slow down a bit and tried to relax. Second mile 08:20 – well that worked then lol. Particularly as the section with a head wind was part of this mile… Oh well, I thought I’d just go with it. Through Peasholme Park, ignoring the water station, and the third mile was completed in 08:10.

At this point on the route there is a double back section which gives you the chance to try and spot others and shout encouragement. I was pleased to see my husband and then son a little way ahead of me so knew that my son was on for a massive PB. Shouted to lots of friends and then back onto the seafront. Mile 4 08:08.

Then my head went down. I’m not quite sure why. It was suddenly very warm, sun right in my face (I really wished I’d had sunglasses on) and it seemed a long way home. I did look at my watch mid mile and saw that my pace had dropped significantly – gave myself a talking to and pushed on again. Mile 5 08:23.

scar jh
The final few hundred metres (trying not to throw up!)

Into the last mile and the route brings you back around the headland (or castle corner as I call it) and you can look across the bay and see the spa and the finish. At this point I looked at my watch, could see the distance remaining and knew that I was in chance of getting my PB. But it would be close.

It took everything I had to push on round that bay keeping my pace up. At the very end there is a slight rise up to a roundabout before the finish straight and that hill is hard, desperately telling myself not to throw up! My garmin registered 0.28m at a pace of 07:21 !

And a PB!!

Official time = 51:28

I really, really didn’t expect to get a PB. I thought I had a chance of getting Plan B, but thought Plan A would be too much to hope for.

(and my son…. He got a PB. Knocking six and a half MINUTES off his previous best!)

Will I be back? Yes, I’m pretty sure we’ll do this again next year. Local, well organised, with lots of friends – what more do I want from a race.

Bling? Fab medal and tshirt

Yorkshire Coast 10k Medal 2017

Running and diet

How is it already the middle of October?!

Since that last good / bad run I’ve had a fairly good couple of weeks running wise – trying to keep my mileage a little bit higher. I normally average about 15 – 20 miles a week, but have managed 22 / 24 the last couple (that’s over either 4 or 5 runs a week). Some of them have been done at very easy pace, others pushing a bit more. The dark mornings are having an effect, and as a result I’m having to run in the evening more than the morning – something I don’t really like and is taking some getting used to.

I am also very pleased to say that in the last month I have lost 8 lbs in weight. This has taken some doing, and there are days where it all goes wrong, but I am trying to stick with it. I have a minimum of another 7 lbs to lose. I am just starting to feel a little bit better in my clothes and know it will make a difference to my running.

How? For me it is to stop snacking!! I was eating way too much rubbish in between meals. I am still having the odd biscuit / packet of crisps / chocolate, but making it fit into my daily calories. I’m using Myfitnesspal to log everything I have to eat or drink. Alcohol has been reduced, normally just one day a week – occasionally a couple.

Apart from weight loss, what else has this changed? I feel better, less bloated and my digestive system is better. When I’m tempted to lapse, this is what I need to remember.

What am I eating? I grew lots of raspberries this year, that have been frozen, so for breakfast I’m defrosting a cup full of these, stirring through a spoonful of jam to sweeten and serving with a good portion of full fat Greek yoghurt. I’m really enjoying this!

Dinner is normal family meals such as stir fry, shepherds pie, casseroles, fish and veg etc etc (I’ve just ordered a slow cooker so hoping to get using that lots!).

Lunch is where I struggle. Busy at work so I don’t have lots of time, but I do work from home so have access to the kitchen. Today I’ve had a sandwich. Didn’t enjoy it. Sometimes I do home-made soup, sometimes an omelette. But I need to think of more ideas for lunch.