Run In The Dark! 5k

16/11: Cardiff Run In The Dark!


the hi-vis CDF Runners group!

My first night race! Despite having a few issues, I really enjoyed this one!

Run In The Dark is a global race 5/10k with 5 official locations: Dublin, Cork, Belfast, London and Manchester, with many ‘pop-up’ locations worldwide. Proceeds from the race go to the Mark Pollock Trust, which is a charity set up for funding research to battle paralysis. There main website is here:

Cardiff was one of the mini pop-up events. I think this was the second time it had been held in the city. The run was not officially timed: it was a fun run, so chill out! The routes were either a little over or under, with the 5k measuring as 5.28k and the 10k as 9.65k. I think most people were running this mainly for the experience of running across the Cardiff Bay barrage in the dark, so the times and distances weren’t really an issue.

I turned up at 7.30 for an 8pm start, and darkness had already fallen. I signed up and picked up my flashing arm light and glowsticks, and tried to keep warm. The race fee also included a ‘Run In The Dark’ buff, which great for keeping my ears warm. (Side note: why are  they called ‘Buffs’? Seems an odd choice of name to me…)

I had signed up for the 5k race, many more runners had opted for the 10k. I’m glad I went for the shorter run as I had completed the Morunning 10k the Sunday before. The race organisers hadn’t specified the need to run with a head torch, but I was glad CDF Runner Stewart had lent me his. (I was glad for the buff too, it was a good head cushion for the torch straps.)

I didn’t take many photos, but here’s some snaps from me and CDF:



I really enjoyed the run. Once we were off, I was glad to get moving to get warm again. As it wasn’t a big group in the 5k I was on my own from about the half mile mark, but I enjoyed the solitude. (Running is possibly the only time I’m content to be alone…)

The 5k route was a simple out-and-back across the barrage. The barrage isn’t lit by street lamps, so when they say Run In The Dark, they ain’t kidding. The head torch came in handy. I found running in the dark to be very peaceful. The darkness makes you feel as though you’re running in a bubble, it’s just you, the sound of your breathing, the puff of your breath in the cold air. Once I was halfway across the barrage the sound of the sea permeated my bubble, and if I looked to my right the bright lights of the bay could be seen, mirrored in the water. It was tough work, but most of the run I was feeling good, concentrating on the even pace of my footfalls and deep but controlled breathing. I always wax poetic about that feeling in running when you feel your body is working hard, but in a good rhythm. As long as you keep that rhythm you can keep going. (You know, before the pain and grumpiness sets in.) I love that little window of feeling like your body is doing a good job of moving. I had that going across the barrage; it was nice.

The last half a mile was a bit more sticky and a lot less enlightened, but I managed to hang on until the end. some CDF runners had formed a little Cheer Squad near the Welsh Assembly. They clapped and hollered and rang a cow bell as I ran past.

There was no official finish line, so I ran down Roald Dahl Plas and asked the people at the registration tent “Is this the end?” to which they nodded and handed me a snack and a bottle of water. I went to meet the cheer squad and was delighted to find out I was the third lady back from the 5k. Another CDF runner had come in first lady, we’re such an awesome squad. I felt happy and cheered the other 5k-ers in, and waited a bit longer for the first of the 10k runners to arrive.


The 10k route was a full loop of the barrage, not an out-and-back, and reportedly had some problems. I’m not sure if it was down to lack of marshalls along the course or lack of high-vis signs, but the race organisers have noted this in the feedback of the race and I’m sure more will be done to signpost the route next year. However, it seems everyone made it back in one piece and for me it was one of the most enjoyable and unique races I’ve done this year.

Next time, I’ll take on the 10k.



MoRun 10k!


Movember normally means two things: around the nation, dodgy moustaches are carefully being cultivated, and people gear up for a 5 or 10k Morun.


I do quite like race days now. They have a bubbly atmosphere which is quite infectious. This one was no different.

The Morun was my fouth 10k race since I started up as Grumpyjogger. I’d managed to hit my sub 1-hour goal during my previous race, the Cardiff 10k, so I wasn’t super anxious about trying to hit a time or anything like that. Also, I hadn’t run any distance above 5k since the half marathon, another reason to not put too much pressure on myself. It was the most relaxed I’ve ever been before a race…

I felt the Morun had a more chilled vibe to it compared to some other races. It’s not an officially measured 10k route so a lot of runners wouldn’t use it as a PB course. I’m no super athlete though, and I haven’t quite got sick of running around Bute Park just yet, so I was happy to give it a go. As well as an unusual curved ‘Mo’ medal, the race fee also included a bright orange headband, which would come in handy for a fairly sweaty runner like me. (No one likes sweat in the eyes. Sting-y.)

A sneaky email said the registration tent would close an hour before the race, so I turned up for 9.30, which was faaaar too early. I arrived like, before the toilets were forming queues early. I ended up waiting around. The registration didn’t close at 10.15, and I glared at the people who got an extra hour in bed before swanning over. A lesson learned for next time, don’t believe what emails tell you…

As it was Remembrance Sunday there was a 2 minute silence just before the runners set off. It was humbling to hear the hush fall quickly over the crowd of excited people and to pay our respects, only marred by the barking of a dog who got a bit weirded out by the sudden change in the crowd volume.

Then, the usual excited queuing at the start, bumping into people from the CDF run club, taking quick pre-race photos, and then OFF!

The 10k route was all within Bute Park, two laps which started near the Welsh Royal College of Music and Drama, then towards the castle, across the river and then up towards Blackweir. It was a very similar route to the Women’s Running 10k I did a few months earlier. As I was feeling chill about this race I started off near the back, and it took a few miles before I’d settled in with people who were running at roughly my pace.

I didn’t really mind about stopping for little walk breaks this time around, so when the crowd got too congested and slowed at the narrower parts of the course I was happy for a little breather.

I made sure to high five the kids who were out offering their adorable support, and I loved the kid who was complaining that his arm hurt around mile 5. High fives are powerful magic, you know, hang in there kid!

Some CDF Runners were positioned as Cheer Squad near the finish line, shouting, waving, taking photos. Below, please see the BEST run photo of me ever taken. Look at the pain and resentment etched in stone on my sweaty face:


(I like that you can see my Nike + clocking in at 6.11 miles in that photo. No fakin’.)

Once it was over, I got a medal and a mo, and my time was 59’01” , which I was happy with. My first ever 10k was around 1hr 12 minutes I think, so feels great to be able to get under an hour now without too much training beforehand. Next year’s goal will be a sub 56 minute… heck.





THE CARDIFF HALF. It had arrived. 13.1 miles, training done, no backing out now. Heck!

5k races, 10k races, done… The next goal was a half marathon. I remember the billboard advertisement at the end of Lloyd George nagging at me every time I walked past it earlier this year. Fear held me back for a while, then one payday I felt a bit blasé and booked it. My first half marathon. Heck.

I’d been training for this run, but maybe not as much as I would have liked. I had slowly been increasing my mileage on long runs, and had got up to 12 miles at my peak. I had never run the full distance, but didn’t mind that; I thought it would make race day more exciting and challenging to run the unknown 13th and a bit mile on the day.


Like the Cardiff 10k, the half marathon route is described as a “predominately flat and fast course,” good for PB’s and beginners like myself.

Also like the 10k, the Runner’s Village and start line is situated near Cardiff Castle. The route heads out through Riverside and Grangetown, before sweeping towards the Penarth Marina. Then a lil’ hop over the barrage and down through Cardiff Bay, past my house on Lloyd George Avenue. That’s seven miles.

The second half of the course then heads north, looping round Roath Park Lake, snaking up a mean but thankfully short hill and then smashing back into the heart of the city where the finish line awaits.

The race goes through most of the run routes I’ve discovered in Cardiff. (Though missing out Bute Park for once!) Cardiff Bay and the Barrage are my main routes now, and I used to run around Roath all the time in uni, so I was looking forward to smooshing the two routes together to make a nice nostalgic run sandwich.

Cardiff Half is also the biggest race I’ve taken part in, with over 20,000 runners participating. The crowds were a little daunting. When you arrive at the Runner’s Village it’s like being dumped into a music festival where the majority of revellers are sober and in active wear. The bag drop seemed well-organised and well-crewed, with multiple baggage drop tents allocated to race numbers. I met up with the CDF Runners at 9 o’clock, (see group photo above) helped a friend with the bag drop and queued in line for a pre-race pee. Those little tasks took nearly an hour thanks to the crowds, so it didn’t feel long before I made my way to yellow race number pen and soaked up the excitement as everyone around me prepared to start.

I heard a commentator say on loudspeaker that the weather was “perfect” for today’s run, and I politely disagreed. It was too sunny, too hot! Maybe in the shade it was cool, but it felt hot to me in the direct sun, and I hadn’t started moving yet.

Before I go through my more in-depth race breakdown, here’s some pics from before and after the race!

Mile 1-3: Over the start line, I whooped, I cheered, I was excited. I started off with two friends, Rachel and Beth, and it was really nice to share the start line experience with them. The very start of the race was quite boring, scenery-wise. I remember straight roads, warehouses, garages, that sort of thing. I committed the number one rookie mistake and zigzagged past people for the first two miles. I should have been more chill and conserved energy, a lesson I learnt hard after mile 8.

There was a steady incline just before the 5k mark, but since I was still feeling fresh I kept pace and ran up it, stopping to grab water from the first water station and pouring most of it over my head. That felt great.

Mile 4-5: This was definitely my favourite part. I felt uplifted at the first glimpse of Penarth marina. The sun on the water, the pretty boats and the slight downhill incline made me feel glorious. I achieved that elusive zen feeling, where you’re feeling strong and as if you could run forever. I’ll remember that little section going down into Penarth for a long time.

As we were crossing over the barrage, a spectator yelled:

“Don’t look at your watch, look at the view!”

It was good advice. The bay is magical in good weather. With water either side of me, as I strode out along the small pathway, it really felt like an adventure. I can’t romanticise that part of the race enough.

Mile 6-7: GEL TIME. I brought my own SiS gel, as that’s what I trained with. It went down fine, washed down with my original water bottle from mile 3. Heading down Lloyd George I kept an eye out for my support crew, Rob and Christina, and sure enough I found them cheering me just outside my house. I stopped briefly for a quick hug, probably sweated gross amounts over both of them. Buoyed up, I set off. Second half of the race, begin!

Mile 8: This is where the Unfun began. The crowds were getting thicker now, and the cheering was helping.  But my pace was slowing.

Mile 9-11: Heck. This was plod central for me. The worst part. I couldn’t see the crowds much because of the sun. My knee started to ache. The zen feeling I had at mile 4, this was like the opposite of that. Roath park’s steady inclines had reduced me to walking speed, but I was stubborn and still kept plodding on. I saw lots of different spectators handing out jelly babies at this point, I took one for a sugar boost and kept on.

Mile 12: Mile 12 gets a special mention for that hill after Roath park. Ugh.

Mile 13: THE UNKNOWN! THE LAST STRETCH! I tried to pick up the pace  as I entered the last part of the race. When I saw that finish line it was much easier to do so, and Rob and Christina had made their way here to cheer me though the last 100 metres. The later miles of this race had felt like a slog but the finishing part felt real good. I got a time of 2 hours 31 minutes.

I  was handed my race-booty: water, a banana, a finisher’s pack, a race tee and of course a medal. I was feeling tired, thirsty, but also a new thing: wobbly. As I headed to meet my cheer crew my vision was starting to blink out a bit and I felt lightheaded. It was a new sensation so I was mildly vexed, but since I didn’t feel like I wanted to throw up I was also strangely calm. When they found me by the museum they said I was really pale, and we headed promptly to Sainsbury’s where Christina prescribed the best post-race potion: a massive bottle of cold water with added Dioralyte. I don’t know what’s in those magic sachets- salt? Sugar? Electrolytes? Whatever is was, it really helped and stopped the weird vision thing. Now I could head to the Gatekeeper for a beer or two. Huzzah!



My first half marathon was a tough one. Looking over my mile splits, it was obvious I started out too fast. I felt I was crawling from mile 8 onwards, and didn’t enjoy the parts around Roath park because of this. It’s made me doubly, triply, infinitely more in awe of people who run marathons. I think I would have died if I had attempted that route twice.

I am super up for another half though. I want to get stronger, more experienced, so I’m ready to take on another 13 miles and beat my time. (I think this is where the runner addiction really grabs you.)

When I got home, after much food, I felt inspired to draw:


My knee is sore as heck today, and running is bullshit! I still love it though.

Grumpy Kate x

Cardiff 10k Race Report!

The Cardiff 10k: 11/09/2016

The Cardiff 10k was a race I entered way back, when I first saw a banner pop up for it somewhere around Cardiff. After having a great time at the Bristol 10k, I was really looking forward to another big (ish) event, and as 10ks are still quite a new experience for me, I was excited and nervous leading up to race day.


My Bristol Great Run time was 1 hr 4 mins. My Women’s Running 10k time was 1 hr 3 mins. My goal was set for a sub 1 hour 10k. I was hoping after the recent Bute Town mile race I had proved to myself I could speed up my overall mile time quite a bit and more importantly hang on when things started to get painful.

On the lead up to this 10k I had been going to the CDF Runners Speed sessions, and also completed some longer (6+ mile) runs as part of the Cardiff Half Marathon training. I felt like I had more fitness since the Women’s Running 10k, however anxiety, hot weather and overthinking things had been my enemies before.

The Cardiff 10k has been going for 30 years, and is described as a flat, fast course perfect for achieving new PB’s. I didn’t know about fast, but I could get onboard with flat. It had sold out a few weeks prior to the event- 6000 runners total. The race pack arrived within two weeks of the race date, and although at first I was a bit skeptical of the white technical tee design I decided the black and red motif worked well on it. Some people have commented the tees were too short, but the Medium size fit me okay, if a little bit baggy.

There was one thing about the race that was filling me with dread though. A ruling that had been announced a few weeks before:


No music? NO MUSIC?!? No steady paced, calmly assured Clubbed To Death by Rob Dougan? No unapologetic cheese Try Everything from Zootopia? NO ROCKY 2 THEME TUNE?!?!?!

My run training was now No Headphones Training. I went out and ran a 10k in 1hour 5 minutes. Alright, but no closer to my goal. I started running all run club sessions without headphones. I soon learnt that listening to fellow runners conversations on steady runs is just as good as music, even better if I had enough breath to join in. Headphones are pointless on the speed sessions. I couldn’t register music or much of anything else after 200m sprints.

Race Day

The start of the race was outside the museum, an easy walk from my house, so I showed up, dropped my bag off and posed with CDF for this great photo:


It was very crowded, so I found a small side street around the back of the museum to warm up before the race. I learnt a powerful lesson that day.

Don’t run races in new untested clothing.

I had bought some new, colourful leggings on sale, and whilst I had run in them before, never a 10k, and more pressingly, I hadn’t worn them since their first wash. I remember the horror, the drop of cold dead weight in my stomach when I started doing some high knees during my warm up and the leggings immediately started sinking to the floor. I hitched them up, I did more high knees, they fell. I sprinted to one end of the street, they nearly took my pants with them. Less than 10 minutes before the race. Oh shit. I wildly searched around for a pair of running tights that someone might have casually discarded nearby, of course there were none. The thought of trying to do a 10k race whilst continuously holding up my waistband was scaring me. Was getting a new PB out the window now? Should I call it a day? Should I just let them fall down and penguin waddle the whole damn thing?

No. Of course not. I hitched them up HIGH, I folded the waist band DOWN, I peeled the bottom part of the leggings up over my knees. I warmed up. I got sweaty. They started to stick to the sweat glue, the folded over waistband acted like a kind of belt. That seemed to be holding them in place. Time was up anyway. It was time to run!

The waiting in line bit just before a race is always exciting, nerve-wracking and pee-needing. Luckily after the legging debacle there wasn’t much time to process all of that before the klaxon had sounded. I was much positioned quite near the front and it didn’t seem long before I was over the start line and off.

The first 2k I let the excitement get the better of me, and I set off too fast. But once I was out of the main crowd I felt myself slow down, and I concentrated on running at  pace where my breathing wasn’t getting ahead of me. One of the CDF runners had told me for races she uses a trick borrowed from Paula Radcliffe: Count to 100, not in time with your breathing or anything, just count, and when you get there, start from 0 and count up to 100 again. I started counting at around the 4k mark, although I wasn’t feeling too bad I welcomed something to focus on.

The route was flat, as promised, and the crowds were spread pretty evenly throughout the whole race. I was so focused on the counting that I didn’t really register much of the crowd encouragement, though of course it was very appreciated. A runner behind me was whooping and yelling and cheering much more than the crowd, almost bullying them if she spotted anyone not clapping. It made me smile and kept my spirits up.

I started to hate running about 7k in. 7k is when it gets tough for me. We went past the castle, and although the spectator crowd was thickening on the way to the end of the race, so was the pain. (Pain thickening? I don’t know, go with it.) Once we got back into Bute Park for the last 2k I was holding on to the count-to-100 method for dear life, but messing it up and forgetting how to count a lot.

The last stretch I hoped I would have some gas left in the tank to go full speed over the finish line, but when I turned the corner the finish line was SO far away. I had started speeding up but soon pulled back a bit, so I could get a good speed across the finish line later down the road.

As I entered that last jubliant 0.10k of the race, my face fell ever so slightly as I saw the clock as I passed the finish line. 1:00:20 . So close, yet so far! Still, a new 10k record, and without the mental buoyancy aid of music.

Here’s some photos of the race, courtesy of me and fellow CDF runners:


I headed off with my goody bag, ate a massive burrito, and gave myself a well done.


A few hours later, the race results were published and I gave a whoop: I’d got a chip time of 00:58:20 !

My first sub hour after all! I’ll take that. I was super happy. 😀

Thanks Cardiff 10k! I had a great run, despite the wardrobe malfunction at the start.



The Butetown Mile Race Report!


28/08- The Butetown mile! 

It’s only a mile, right? How hard can one mile be? Answer: really darn hard…

Hasty research: The Butetown Mile started in the 1980s but stopped in the ’90s. It started up again in 2014 as a way to raise money for Cancer Research UK. It is one of only three places in the world to host a straight mile road race alongside Fifth Avenue, New York and the Champs-Élysées, Paris! Isn’t that awesome? NEW YORK! PARIS! CARDIFF!

I bought my ticket for this race way back in April. Then life happened and I couldn’t make it, so I gave my ticket to run bud Jake, and then life happened again and I was suddenly free so I bought another ticket. (This did mean I was entered into the race twice with wildly varying times…)

I also managed to convince run buds Christina, Rob and Gregg to come along too! A whole Grump Team! (See above pic.)

I’d not really given the mile distance much thought before, either opting for 5k/10k runs or speed sessions which never went over 500m. The Thursday before Rob and I went out for a test run, a mile lap of Atlantic Wharf to see how it would be. It wasn’t fun, but doable; uncomfortable but over fairly quickly. We ran past some bemused fishermen, then got drenched in a downpour. I missed my mile PB by 10 seconds, but I figured Race Day would sort that out.

RACE DAY. I both nervous and excited. We arrived at the tent and signed in without hassle. I think about 200 people took part in the race. A few of the lovely folks from my run club- CDF Runners– were there, some in the Elite (sub 7 minute) race and some in the Fun Run race.

I warmed up more than my practice mile on Thursday, a half mile jog, some squats/lunges, and lots of stretching. I remember it being muggy so I was sweating a lot. (An awkward moment when I didn’t shake someone’s hand because I had just run it through my very sweaty hair…)

We watched the elites start and quickly disappear down Bute Street, then nervously waited for the start of our race.

Things I remember from the mile:

  • A klaxon noise started the race
  • A poor girl took a tumble at the start of the race (an adult was there immediately to assist)
  • Lots of cheering along Bute Street (I couldn’t remember anything they said but I assume it was all good)
  • Mile breakdown: 0.25 miles felt great, 0.5 miles felt challenged, 0.75 miles deeply, deeply upset

Then just as I was starting to hate the whole business of running the finish line was upon me and it was over, thank goodness. That last bit of a mile race really slaps you in the face and legs and lungs. I couldn’t summon much up for a sprint finish. Still my hard work paid off and I was rewarded with a mile PB of 7’48”! I was over the moon, as I was hoping to beat my 8’24” time, I had no idea I would have the beans to get under 8 minutes! Running elevation swept over me, once I could breathe properly again.

With all of us over the finish line, Jake was suddenly accosted by a BBC news reporter and had to be a talking head about an issue about the Welsh Assembly. I really hope he answered all the questions with metaphors about his mile race. That would have been awesome. (“Yeah I’m really happy with it…Started out strong… Put in the training… Pushed through the pain at the end… Breathing felt steady…I’m sorry, what about the government!?”)

We all got a coveted Bute Town Mile tee and posed for a grumpy post-race photo. Can you see the contrast from the Before photo?


CDF Runner @stukulele also filmed the whole thing on a go pro- so you can see the whole race in speedy glory HERE! 

Overall it was an awesome event. It was cheap, fun (well…) and most importantly right outside my house. I will definitely be back to beat my time next year.


Women’s Running 10k & More!

29/05/16 – Women’s Running 10k!

Yesterday I ran in the Women’s Running 10k Series in Bute Park, Cardiff. I run a fair bit in Bute Park, and have already run the Sport Relief 5k there this year (blog post about it here.) I thought it would be interesting to experience a 10k event there, and was also interested to run in a women’s only event too. I found a Groupon for it online and signed up fairly last minute.

Because I signed up less than two weeks before, I didn’t receive a race number in the post. This resulted in a fair amount of queuing when I arrived at the start line. Luckily a friend of mine had tagged along so I had some company as I waited.

It was a beautiful day, but not a day for running. It was a day for people who had gone to the park for a picnic, or an unhurried amble with the family dog, or an idyllic gentle bike ride along the river. I felt mad at these people for not understanding the heat as I dashed between each patch of  dappled shade from the park trees. As the K’s ticked by I grew tired of hating the people out enjoying the weather and instead directed my rage at the race itself. The last K in particular felt particularly uncomfortable, but that was a similar experience to the Great Run.


1. The Sun. Seriously. Stop it. GO AWAY.

2. The K markers around the route were not placed correctly or even remotely in order. The 1k marker appeared about 2 minutes in. The 10k marker appeared around the 6K mark. I was unsure if this was a genuine mistake or the organizers were conducting some kind of mean mind experiment making the subjects believe they had reached 10k when they still had a good third of the run to complete. Very evil.

3. A group of three kids lined up on the side of the path and I gave them all high fives as I jogged by, which made me feel like a champion. This did not make me grumpy (the opposite in fact), but by the time I had come around again on the second lap I assume they had got bored of getting their hands gently slapped by a hundred strange women and were playing leisurely on the grass a few feet away. WHY DID YOU ABANDON ME KIDS, YOU WERE MY ONLY HOPE. (It was a lot less fun running past without the high fives…)

4. I didn’t get close to getting under an hour. Within my earshot, A man shouted to someone he knew in the run: ” You’re just behind the 60 minute pacer!” which made me super hopeful I could catch up to them. It was a short lived pipe dream, as I never even saw team 60 Minutes. The 1 hour quest continues…


I didn’t realise the race was being timed, but it was, and the time recorded for me on the Results Base Website was 01’03’45”. About 15 seconds faster than The Bristol Great Run. Not much of an improvement, but one I’ll take onboard anyway! I feel like now it’s going to be a case of really working on runs longer than 6 miles to build up endurance to make that last K seem less of a dying effort, and speed speed speed work to boost up my fitness and speed. (Yeah, that’s right, I actually may have been learning stuff about running recently.)

So whilst not without it’s flaws, Women’s Running gave all participants a great goody bag. Tea, supplements, blister plasters, a teeshirt, a copy of Women’s Running Mag, water and coconut water, a reuse-able water bottle and post race snackies were all included. After the race I opened up a bag of peanut butter popcorn and that was weird but tasty. Of course, like a big grumpy hypocrite I was loving the sunshine immediately after the run. I lazed in the park, I ate ice cream, I watched my friend Todd do diabolo tricks. All in all it was a great day.

Today was a lazy day. Two run buds, Kat and Gaz, were at my house. Some of us were a bit hungover from the night before, but we still went out and boshed through a 3 mile run in the Bay, despite it being very sunny and busy. This was a nice social run, and it taught me that sometimes it’s awesome to take it easy and chat your way through exercise with your buddies. I forgot to get a post run grumpy photo after, so this will have to do:



Other stuff:

The last few bits and bobs that happened this last week: I ran home from work, and I went to the CDF Runner’s Speed Session on Wednesday. It was tough.


I ran over 50 miles this month (highest monthly mileage ever!) and I bought a new running backpack. Will try running to work with it soon.





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. 😀

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!


The Bristol Great Run 10k!

15/05/16 – Bristol 10k Report!

The day of the Bristol Great Run arrived! It was too sunny, I hadn’t been able to get a good night’s sleep, and I was freaking out about the pre-game portaloo situation. I hadn’t looked over the route and my last run on Friday had been a tortuous slog of 2 miles at 11 minutes per mile each… I have to be honest, I was feeling nervous.

I woke up just before 7 and ate 2 pieces of toast with peanut butter and a banana. I had two cups of tea, one redbush, one normal. Rob and I walked down into Bristol city centre, seeing how many runners we could spot making their way to the event. Some were walking, some were running, because apparently some people just can’t get enough running in their day. Weirdos. Also walking through Stokes Croft it was evident some kind of SERIOUS PROFESSIONAL PARTYING had gone DOWN the night before. (What happened Bristol? It looked intense!) We bumped into so many people stumbling home, beer cans still in hand. One of them gave Rob a double high five. (I was glad he took a high five bullet for me.)

We made it to the Waterfront. The noise, the crowds, the way the roads had been closed off meant the centre of Bristol was trussed up to be a different kind of centre to the one I was accustomed to. I would definitely use the words ‘Buzzing’ and ‘Atmosphere’.

I met @jakeharv and @johepworth at Millennium Square. We decided that whilst we may not be running the whole 10k together, we would all set off together in the Pink Wave. We arrived 15 minutes before the start of the warm up, so I rushed off to queue in a cafe for forever to have one last nervous wee. After the warm up we still had 30 minutes to wait until the pink wave was released, so I did spend half an hour worrying I needed to wee again. Pre-race nerves!

LESSON LEARNT #1: In an event this big, the internet just don’t work. My awesome Spotify Grumpy Jogger playlist was refusing to play. I had to default to a months old iTunes playlist I still had on my phone. Next time: have all your shit downloaded onto your phone.
The race began! The first mile was crowded. It was basically a crash course in learning to dodge legs. (Or not, in which case it was a literal crash course.) It did mean that the first part was nice and slow and stopped us from setting out too crazy too early. The crowd started to thin at around 2 miles, and miles 2-3 for me passed like dream. I was probably going a wee bit too fast on mile 3, and paid for it later…  Because no one had told me there was a FLIPPIN’ UPHILL BIT in the SECOND HALF of the route (meanies), so once I hit that my pace took a bit of a battering. My only rule to myself was that I wasn’t allowed to walk, (caveat: I walked briefly to grab some water) so although some of those hill sections were painfully, painfully slow, I kept those grumpy legs moving.

LESSON LEARNT #2: Feeling amazing during Mile 3 doesn’t mean the latter part of the race is going to feel the same way. PACING IS HARD.

I high-fived a little kid who was holding out his hand to the crowd. That was fun.
A group of Firemen were doing the race carrying massive fire extinguishers/ breathing apparatus / whatever it is they carry that looks really heavy, what crazy folks. I saw a bunch of people dressed up in tandem as a dragon. There was a guy running in a Spiderman outfit. A big group running with bright green wigs. Do people not get hot and bothered enough just running a flipping 10k?!?


The last two miles were really, really not fun. The sun was zapping down on me. My breathing wasn’t too ragged but I felt a general heaviness  in my limbs, so hard to keep moving forward. My last mile just a bit quicker than my first mile, but oh my it was much much more of a struggle. HOWEVER:

LESSON LEARNT #4: Because of the spectators, the last 0.2 miles of a race is really, really, REALLY, AWESOME.

The crowds make your heart sing! I took out my headphones to listen to the cheers. I think it’s the memory of the last teeny bit of the race that makes me certain I want to do it again. That feeling must rise exponentially for longer races, I think if I ever do a marathon that final, exultant, cheery part of the race would make me bawl out hot, proud tears of joy. But then again maybe I would be too dead to even notice. Anyway, 6 miles in, tired as a dog, that crowd made me feel like a hero! Thank you.

I got a recorded time of 01’04’01”, and I came in 7143rd out of over 12,000 runners. I was also the 5th Derrick to cross the finish line, out of 9 Derricks. I’m happy with that!

In conclusion: 10/10 WOULD RUN AGAIN.




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. 😛 “

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.”



Slow run but WE SAW A KITTY.


This last week has given me somewhat of a hammering but that’s no excuse to not go out grumpy jogging! I was hoping yesterday’s Cardiff World Half Marathon would provide me with some run-spiration, and I planned to run a 5k along the barrage the next day knowing that less  than 24 hours earlier all these folks had bravely run along it too:


Shout outs to Neill C and Lisa D who ran the Half: amazing run-work, folks! I tip my grumpy hat to you both.

Back to today’s much less impressive jog outing… I had a Run Bud Rob with me, and both of us found the wind to be a bitter, bitter enemy to fight with. He stayed with me for the first mile but managed to pick up the pace, I however started off fairly slow and only got slower. This run was nothing but a slow, stitchy, windy mess- but now it’s over and I never have to run it again.


Just walked right in front of us whilst we were jogging up the road and demanded attention. Like HEY HUMANS I DON’T CARE IF YOU’RE EXERCISING I NEED TO BE PETTED RIGHT NOW. What a cutie.

When I got home my phone was all abuzz, I have now reached the ‘Green’ level of Nike+, which means I have covered 250k! Wahey- an achievement.


Post run selfie Grump level: High