Avant mes vacances…


I’M GOING TO FRANCE TOMORROW AND I AM VERY EXCITED! Excited to visit the town of Annecy and check out the Annecy International Animated Film Festival, excited to go on holiday with a wonderful collection of people I know and work/have worked with, and excited to get some grumpy jogs done on foreign soil! I wonder if I can find anyone who can translate “Grumpy Jogger” for me.

A Run Story About France:

A few years ago I went on holiday to Ventron. My parents, some friends and I went to a tiny skiing town in the mountains, in the summer, so no snow or skis but plenty of picturesque villages and great weather. I was running a fair bit in uni and wanted to keep up my fitness regime, so every morning at 7am I would get up before everyone else and go for a one or two mile run before it got too hot. (It was hitting just under 30 degrees most days.) It was an awesome holiday. Beautiful surroundings, pine trees, mountains, crisp blue skies… I spent the first few days just running around the tiny village where we were staying at.

On the penultimate day of the holiday, I fancied a bit of a challenge, so I thought I would run to the next teeny town over ( a journey we had made by car many times by then). In my head, this journey took about five seconds, the town wasn’t far away, the route was a nice easy one and I’d be back before breakfast. Right?


The next village over turned out to be 5k away. I didn’t really register this until I jogged there, turned around and saw a sign saying that my little holiday village was 5k away. Despite this, I felt fresh, buzzing even. The first part of the run had flown by, I felt like it hadn’t cost me much effort and that I could keep running forever. You know that runner’s high thing they talk about? I was totally tripping balls on runner’s high. Another 5k back home you say? of course! It would be my pleasure! …But what I hadn’t really clocked was that the entire route so far had been DOWNHILL and now the sun was getting higher in the sky, things were heating up, and I had a good three miles of uphill ahead of me before I could eat breakfast.

To this day, that second half of that run is something I will remember as the grossest, sweatiest, thirstiest five kilometres I have ever run. No sunscreen, no sunglasses, no water. My previous effortless feeling was demolished by the feeling of running in 2x gravity. It just seemed to go on forever. I remember a lethal cocktail of short, steep hills followed by just as nasty, never ending gradual slopes. I had to run on the left side of the road to face oncoming traffic which was confusing my dehydrated brain. I passed a few Lycra-clad cyclists who must’ve thought it very unusual to see a red-faced tourist slowly puffing up a mountain. I vividly remember the very steepest hill being right at the end, leading up the steps to our rented house. I had nothing left at that point, my face red from running half a 10k uphill and mid-morning sunburn. What had meant to be a half hour run had turned into about an hour and a half saga of resilience¬†in the French mountains.

Everyone was up when I got back, so we ate breakfast and then proceeded to go on a five mile walk and play a few rounds of tennis. I was so tired that day. So very very tired.

Grangemoor Park Run Meetup!

Back to the present! Today I forced my boyfriend Rob out to the Grangemoor Park run and met up with Jake and Christina, who have all been drawn by me into little Paper Joggers! Here we are as an awesome Paper Grumpy Jogger team:


It was SO MUGGY today. For me, it was not an enjoyable run. I set out a bit too fast and boy did I pay for it later in the second half.

Rob made me laugh just as we passed the half mile mark by asking me a question about Spotify:

“How long do the adverts normally last?”

“Like, 30 seconds? Then you get a bunch of uninterrupted music.”

“Oh. Well it’s been five minutes and all I’ve heard is an advert about a chef talking about burgers.”

Not the best inspirational material to listen to really. And mile 1 did turn out to be his slowest mile.

Rob also made me laugh by giving me the unhappiest face I’ve ever seen as he turned the 180 degree corner on the last leg of the run. I’m sorry I forced this on you Rob, but I’m super proud of you.


I did get to high five a little kid about half a mile from the finish, which totally made my day and gave me a speed boost for about ten seconds before I settled back into the wheezy spluttery mess I had been for most of the run.

I got to meet @therunningyogi IRL and she is the best ever! Really hope we can meet again for Park runs and other training runs too! ūüėČ

Grabbed a drink after in the nearby Starbucks. Very nice to have a chat after a park run, and a well deserved beverage as well.


Here we are looking all grump after the run:



I feel like I’ve waffled on in this post, so here’s the rest of my running pics.¬†I’ve really been feeling the heat the last few weeks. So very very¬†sweaty due to the hot muggy weather we’ve been having:

Now off to France! Hopefully the runs I complete in Annecy this year will be a lot less traumatizing than that awful experience in Ventron!




Run Commutes, Grangemoor Parkrun & CDF Runners!



Run Home!

I’ve been settling in to the habit of jogging home from work a few times a week. It’s only just over a mile to my house, so sometimes I run straight home or go a more wiggly route to get the journey to just over 2 miles. I run home wearing my backpack. I’m starting to get used to it. I’ll invest in a more fit-for-purpose backpack soon, as when I don’t cram it with stuff it bounces about a fair bit.

Grangemoor Parkrun!

I MADE IT– I finally made it to the Grangemoor Parkrun! I was defeated by the patchy/incorrect bus timetable last time. This time I decided to strike out on my own, buses be damned, and just get there using the power of my own two legs.

The start line is underneath an big underpass, which gave a nice little patch of shelter. ¬†Grangemoor is much smaller than the Blackweir Parkrun, which was a nice change of pace.¬†I made sure I started off near the back and set off into the drizzle.¬†This was quite a soggy run! The course is a little unusual, it’s ¬†two laps of a ‘T’ shape, with a 180 degree turn at the end of each ‘T’ arm. My legs felt ready and warmed up after the 2 mile walk there, and I managed a new Park Run PB of 28’32”, which coincidentally is the EXACT SAME time as my Nike+ PB! The struggle for a sub¬†28 5k continues.

When it was all over, I had to walk home in the rain, which was bit pants, but I ended up getting annoyed at the weather, putting my raincoat in my backpack and jogging most of the way home anyway at a nice easy pace.

CDF Runners Sunday Run! 

I’ve been wanting to do more long runs so have been meaning to join @CDFrunners for their Sunday long run session. Today I went out and did it- a nice 10k in the bag!

I had been dog-sitting at a friend’s the night before so I woke up with two excited puppers slobbering on my face and the realisation I hadn’t bought any breakfast with me. My pre-run breakfast that I managed to scrape together was a cuppa (standard,) some walnut halves and a bit of a Wispa. Breakfast of Champions!

I was nervous. The rain poured down five minutes before I got to the Nike Store, so I arrived drenched. The group was small and everyone there was a much more experienced runner than this ol’ grumper, although everyone was very welcoming and friendly. I think most of them went for a 15k run. I stuck with 10.

I had no idea about the route, so thankfully a very nice guy called Matt ran with me for most of the run, then we joined up with two others about halfway through. We started off at around a 10’30” mile pace and gradually got faster which was¬†perf for me. The weather brightened up, the route around Bute Park/Pontcanna/Llandaff fields was awesome. It felt chill. A chill six miles! (Something I’ve never thought I’d say.) Cheers CDF Runners for making this grumpy jogger feel welcome. ūüėÄ

When I got home I discovered I had won new badge of running honor from this weekend- this impressive blister! (Gross foot pic ahead:)



NEXT WEEK : Women’s Running 10k Cardiff!


On May 29th¬†I’m going to run the Women’s Running 10k in Bute Park. (Hopefully a similar route to the one I did with CDFRunners.) There will be a lot less people than the Great Run, and the course is pretty flat, so hopefully I will beat my GR time of 1’04’01”. I found a Groupon for it too, hurrah!


End of April Runstuff!

April’s been a joggy month. I’ve ran 48.3 miles in total!

24.04.16 -Sunday 5k


This was supposed to be a 6 miler, but I couldn’t face it, so I opted for a 5k instead… I remember feeling very tired before I began… This run was awful actually. I remember tweeting about it. I called it a stinker. And boy did it stink the whole place out. I think that might actually be a genuine grumpy expression.

Bristol Great Run- Race Number acquired!

I got my Great Run number through the post this week! I like my number. It has two “6’s” in it. I like the number 6. But the fear is growing. No backing out of it now…

26.04.16 – another 10k

So with the Great Run race number now in my house, a tangible, inescapable object blaring out reminders I need to run longer distances, I did another 10k on Tuesday. This was the second time doing this distance. I basically smooshed two of my normal 5k routes together and it was alright. A new PB of 01:04:56. The 1st mile was a warm up, mile 2 felt quite hard, then the 3rd and 4th mile hit me with that sneaky lying feeling of HEY I COULD DO THIS FOREVER COME AT ME 10K! BUT THEN…

Mile 5. The pain kicked in then. I was getting quite grumpy at this point, and unhelpful things like stairs and ramps and slopes were popping up in my route around the bay. At one point I told a flight of stairs to fuck off. (Luckily no one was around to think I was swearing at them. I promise it was just the thought of jogging up stairs after five miles of running!)

The last .22 miles I don’t remember, but I can best describe it as: F?”3HQ$TA!!TGRy78GEHNGGGgARGHHHHHHHHHHH




29.04.16 -Speedy stuff.

Not much to report here. 1 mile warm up, 1 fast mile (new PB! 08’35”!) and then sprint/stop/sprint for the last mile. Pretty knackering.



30.04.15 – Pontypridd Parkrun!

And finally, by far the most fun run of the whole week, I ran in the Pontypridd Parkrun!
My stalwart run buddies Kat and Jas accompanied me, although sadly J-man had to drop out a mile in due to knee probs. =[ (rest up and get well soon!)

The Ponty run has about 400 less runners in it than the Cardiff one, and although I do love the Cardiff Park run, it is nice to be¬†in a slightly less massive crowd. I nearly fell over a speed bump checking the distance left on my phone, but apart from that it was good. A few of Kat & Jas’s friends ran it too, so we got an awesome post-run selfie together, and then hit up ‘Spoons for a massive well-deserved breakfast ;P






A long run, a fast run, a Parkrun.

Here’s what happened this week, run-wise.

17.04.16 – 1st 10k run!

I’ve signed up for the Bristol Great Run which is now less than a month away (tiny scream) so I ¬†thought it would be good to get some long runs in so I’ll have a good idea of how long and how painful 6.2 miles is. Answer: Quite long and quite painful.

My goal was to set off reallllllly, really slow, have a halfway point break, and generally take the whole thing easy. I think my first mile was nearly 12 minutes (I walked some of it). I think this is a legit game plan though, as I didn’t tire out until right near the end, and gradually got faster, the last mile being my quickest. It was rather sunny so I went out with my sunglasses and got a heroic post-run pic because of it:


I got a PB, but only because it’s my first 10k… I loved all the trophies I won on Nike+ for this. Longest Run! Furthest Run! Most Calories Burnt! YAY!

I had a Zen-like thought at 5.5miles in. (New levels of fatigue and delirium for me.) I was listening to my Spotify Playlist and James’ song Nothing But Love¬†came on. It made me think this:¬†My body hurts, my breathing is so ragged, I’m tired, my feet ache and I want to stop. But all I have right now is my love for doing this, of running and being outside and making progress and that’s the only thing¬†keeping me going. No one is yelling at me to run faster, no waving and cheering crowds are urging me on. It’s just me.¬†And that was a nice thought. ūüôā

I’m not hoping for a sub 1 hour 10k or anything at the Great Run but it would be nice to get a time a little quicker than this one ūüėÄ

21.04.16 – New 5K PB!

I was expecting my legs to be HURTIN’ after the 10k on Sunday but they were fine, which made me suspicious… Apparently my legs can run 6 miles and not be sore the next day now… that’s a new thing.

I had three days off from running, then the guilt hit hard on Thursday so I set out for an evening run. I was originally thinking to do a fast 2 miles. I read somewhere on Twitter that if I can go the 10k distance, some last minute speed workouts would be a helpful thing. I got to 1 mile at a good pace, then 2 miles, then that little not-often-heard voice in my head said “If you keep this pace up, you’ll get a new 5k PB …” and that was it. Gauntlet thrown. I went for it! It was a tough 3 miles for sure, I was only .5 miles in before I felt a little stitch-y. Whilst the discomfort never really left is was bearable enough… AND I TOOK ABOUT A MINUTE OFF OF MY PB. I didn’t expect it and it felt awesome. I got home and was an annoying level of happy the whole evening. Yay! Sub 28 minute 5k, I’m coming for you!


My running mantra for this was:




Maybe not the most motivational mantra, but it worked for me.

23.04.16- Flyin’ Cardiff Parkrun solo!

I went out on Friday and got to bed late but still managed to respond to an early wake-up call for the Cardiff Parkrun. Not much to say about this one, except Parkrun is the best and even running it by myself I was never alone, I was in a big lovely crowd of fellow runners and that was great. Last mile was a bitch and a minute faster than my first. Thank you as always to the marshalls and volunteers, they are always so great. I didn’t see the Parkrun Pug this week… maybe I’ll encounter him next week. Fly, little Pug!


Maybe do another 10k tomorrow. WE’LL SEE.


17/04 Runstuff!

Or, Why Did I Sign Up For The Bristol Greatrun?


I’m still trying to work out what it was that made me think it was a good idea to sign up for the Bristol 10k on May 15th. I’ve got a month to try and lock in some longer distances so I don’t die out there. I have previously ran one 10k race, and it was pretty terrible. I signed up without much training for it, (kind of similar to the situation now, hmm…) and was pummeled for it as a result. Hopefully this time I a more staunch base of fitness to work with, but memories of that stitch-y tortoise run linger…

Jogging Around Bristol:

I’ve been working and staying in Bristol, so I’ve been doing my best to keep up my running in this new city terrain. Bristol, or at least the part I was staying in, is much, much hillier than Cardiff Bay. I have battled many hills this week. This week I learnt: if there’s a hill in your route, try and do it in the first half of your workout, as nothing made me cry more than having to start a hill already quite a bit out of puff. The extra amount of sweat that comes with a hill in your run is pretty impressive! But to quote my Bristol-based run bud Gaz:

“Hills rule buddy, no doubt they hurt but you’re getting way more benefit out of the same time running. Then again, my entire morning run in downhill so I’m kinda a hypocrite. ūüėõ “

I need to spare a moment for the wonderment that is running downhill. It’s like you’re flying! wheeee

Here’s some photos I got during/after my Brizzle runs:

Cardiff Parkrun:

On Saturday I was determined to check out the Grangemoor Park run, but thanks to a bus being late/ a bus timetable LYING I bailed on it and went to the Cardiff Parkrun instead. I managed to drag Rob out with me too. He said it was much more fun doing a 5k running with me at a “steady pace”. His “steady pace” for me felt like an all out, ain’t-got-nothing-left-in-the-tank level of effort, but still a good time was had all round. I got my Parkrun PB and a whisper over 30 minutes on my Nike+ recordings. Here’s some pics, before and after:

Lastly, a celebratory thing: I’ve hit the 200 mile mark on Nike+! And, to quote run-bud Trev who recently broke 1000 miles on the app: “…and I still don’t know what Nike Fuel is.”



A Backpack, a Parkrun, a Hilly Park.

Last week’s running lowdown, a lot of firsts this week:

05/04/16 – 1st Backpack Run!

I’ve been working and commuting to Bristol this last week, so my running mileage has taken quite a nosedive. However, I managed to take all of my running gear to work on Tuesday, train¬†back to Cardiff, change in the train toilets and jog my way to Roath wearing a backpack with all my work things in. Whilst it did feel quite cool to use running as a form of transport, having a backpack did make the whole process feel harder.¬†I felt like the back of my lungs were being squished where the bag was, so I couldn’t breathe as deeply as I would have liked. (Is this a thing, or in my head?) My back got extra sweaty verrry quickly. My backpack was very full so swayed about side to side which probably made running harder.¬†I’d like to try running with a proper running backpack… but I’m sure that it will be a similar situation to when you buy new running shoes and expect them to magically cancel out all running pains and shave five minutes off of your last PB: it just doesn’t work like that. Will have to build up my strength, fitness, and bag-wearing experience to get better at it.

I arrived to choir and tried to cool off for five minutes before I joined the session, but still ending up joining the group with a super red face. Also didn’t have chance to take a post-workout selfie! Ah well. Can’t win ’em all.

09/04/16 – 1st Cardiff Parkrun!

parkruncrowd parkrunkat

I had to take a bus to get to the north end of Bute Park for the Cardiff Parkrun. Got up early, tried to ignore the heavy rain clouds looming, and set off. When I got to the big Tesco near the start of the run, I was so surprised! NEVER HAVE I SEEN SO MANY RUNNERS NIP INTO TESCO TO USE THE TOILETS AT 8.45 ON A SATURDAY MORNING. I saw every kind of running shoe, outfit, accessory imaginable. Dogs. Children. Fancy dress. HORDES of runners. If there was a zombie horde and it was made out of this hardcore running crowd I wouldn’t rate your chances of survival. 630 runners at this 5k!

As with all parkruns it was an amazing mix of runners/ abilities and it felt nice to be a part of such a big crowd. I ran with Kat and Jas, my beloved run buds, and we had an awesome time and achieved this beautiful post-run pic:


This is my second park run, my first in Cardiff. I wish it started in an easy part of Bute Park for me to get to, but I understand that a race with this many runners would clog up the main part of the park quite heavily so maybe they are kept to the north part because of this. Despite the up-and-back nature of the route I still enjoyed it, the stewards were really great (thank you!) and there were some nice bits of scenery to break up the run. I ran behind a boy and his Pug. I NEVER would have thought a Pug could run a whole 5k. Good job doggie.

10/04/16 – 1st Brizzle Run!

My first run in¬†my beloved city of Bristol. (I’m staying in Bristol all of this week! YEAH, got my running gear with me, so no excuse for the weekly mileage dip this time.) Bristol didn’t offer up¬†a good first run for me though, as it was grey, rainy, windy as hell and the park I chose to run in was MUCH hillier than I thought (Darn you, St. Andrews!) I am quite wimpy with hills though, I avoid them like the plague, so this was a good thing to tackle. I got barked¬†at by a Dalmatian who didn’t like me running past him, and I SWEAR a tiny child threw a pebble at me as I passed them by which hit me in the leg. Blummin’ kids!




Any readers of this blog will know that I gripe about Nike+ glitches quite often. This weekend it came up with a doozy, handing out everyone with ridiculous mileage scores:

Think we’re back to normal now, but I’m sure it won’t be long before Nike+ goofs up again. Harumph!


New Mini Paper Grump! + I Failed to Join a Running Group

This time it’s one of my favourite sunshine girls, Hazza!


She¬†once took me out for a 6AM JOG IN WALTHAMSTOW BEFORE WORK. Thanks for that, Hazza. She also has a 5k record which is about 3 seconds faster than mine… So I better catch up… grumble grumble…
Hazza makes great running playlists and recommends listening to podcasts for “big ol’ fat runs” which is a term I’m going to start using at every opportunity (So best start running more than 3 miles at a time, then.)

If you want to become a Mini Paper Grump and join the world’s coolest (and most 2 dimensional) running club, either friend me on Nike+ (Kat Dirk) or send me a photo of you grumping hard after your jog workout.

11.03.16 РI Failed to Join a Running Group

I tried to go to a running group this week. Honest, I tried! I was all set to do a 5k with the running group at the Moti Queens Street store, but managed to pick the one Thursday it was cancelled due to injury. Maybe next week!
So since I was already in my running get up I went for a jog all around Cardiff Central/ Cathays and then wound my way back to the Bay. I gotta say that 6.30 on  a weekday is not the ideal time to run around the city. Commuters and traffic everywhere! But despite that I feel I kept up a good pace and managed to successfully avoid a pedestrian who decided to abruptly cross the road without looking. Yeah you gotta look out for RUNNERS as well as cars, lady!

Also I ran up and down the Smart Bridge. They have a spiral ramp for cyclists as well as stairs, and of course I chose the fun spiral route. Running up was pretty ick, but the WHEEEEEEEEEE down the descending spiral was totally worth it, and all those circles probably confused my GPS a bit.

Got home and had a tiny beer.


My next run is the 5k Fun Run! Later days.


Grumpy Kate’s First Parkrun



Today something unusual happened. I went to a Parkrun. I went with a bunch of people. Check them out in this post-run-grump-selfie.

Do you guys know about Parkrun? Go here if you don’t:¬†http://www.parkrun.org.uk/

Basically, if you’re too busy to click the link above: it’s timed 5k runs in parks. Got it? Alright, let’s continue.

I have one of the most wonderful jogging-buddies in the form of Kat, (on the far left) who not only is a wonderful person but also an extremely talented artist. (You can find her work here: http://katnicholson.co.uk/ ) She is a frequenter of the Pontypridd Parkrun and has been nudging me to come along for a while now.

I was a little worried going into this event. The route is contained within a park, no road crossings in sight, which means no sneaky little rest stops for Ol’ Wheezy. Also… I’ve got a lot of Wheeze-Shame you guys. I feel when I puff along, the sounds I make are just horrendous. I feel people might judge me for being out of breath, because it’s SO unnaturally loud. The breathing in part’s loud, the breathing out part’s loud. I have to listen to music all the time, primarily so I can’t hear myself breathing. (Also because running along to¬†stuff like¬†The Prodigy or Rage Against The Machine is awesome.)¬†I realise these are silly hangups which people won’t even notice, or if they do notice, won’t really give two hoots about. But I have hangups all the same.

SO. No stops. No hiding from breathing¬†like an asthmatic, 18-year old dog. Also there’s a slight hill you have to go up three times. So there was a lot of stuff to grump about.


WE ALL DID IT. And we all kicked ass. I managed to pace myself decently and keep a consistent 10 minutes per mile across the whole run. Park run give you loads of cool sounding statistics when you finish, so it was pretty fun¬†to geek out over those when we got back. Also, Wetherspoon’s Breakfast afterward. Pretty sweet.



Kat has completed so many runs through all the monsoon rain that pours down in Pontypridd, so she deserved to be welcomed to the mini-paper-grump club. Here she is in her super snazzy run outfit:


Lovely to expand my little group of paper joggers. More to come.