It’s a Knockout hen do and Bath parkrun

I dread when I get invited to go on hen dos (bachelorette parties). I fear it’ll involve clubbing, which I detest. I’m too old for that sort of thing now – sticky floors, luminous sugary alcohol, smoke machines and toilets that made you gag. Not my thing. So I was hugely relieved that when I was invited to my university friend’s hen do in Bath it wouldn’t involve clubbing. Hurrah!

I’d taken the Friday off so I could get to Bath at a reasonable time so decided to switch my long run around as I knew Sunday would never happen. I’d planned to run 16 miles but on waking I realised mentally I wasn’t in the game. To try and persuade myself it would be OK I decided, instead of doing a huge 16 mile loop like I usually would, I’d break it down into a 10 mile loop then a 6 mile loop. As it was quite warm this would work well as I could drop by the house to pick up water if I needed to.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. As soon as I started running I knew 16 miles would be a real push. My legs felt heavy and my mind just wasn’t happy running. It was such a struggle. The weather was fine, it wasn’t even that hot, I just didn’t want to be running. In the end I managed 10 miles.









I hadn’t put on any BodyGlide either and my underarms were really sore from chafing. Basically it was a thumbs down experience.

Thankfully I had a fun hen party weekend to look forward to! We stayed in a beautiful three-story house doing fun activities and going nowhere near a club Smile


The furniture and decor were awesome and the amazing Rachel and Charlotte, who organised the weekend, decked it out with balloons and hen party paraphernalia, food and drink.

But first can we just marvel at my amazing parking? This was in central Bath and there was literally nowhere to park but this one tiny space.

IMG_1096My little red Fiat 500

This might not seem amazing to any normal, able driver but to me this was a HUGE feat. A curb might have been mounted in the process but that’s just details…


Eventually Shell, the hen, arrived and the frivolities began. We enjoyed many glasses of Prosecco and finger-food on the Friday night. We all got suitably merry!

IMG_1124Me, Shell and Kate

My friend, Kate, mentioned that she was going to go running the next day. HOLD THE BOAT – what?? This is all very new to me. She doesn’t normally run. She said she’d started the Couch 2 5k programme and was working steadily through it. I tried to persuade her to come to parkrun with me the next day but, understandably, she said she wasn’t ready for that distance yet. She’s also very embarrassed about running, getting up at 5am in the week so no one sees her. This really makes me sad. No one should ever feel embarrassed about running in public. I know there are knobs out there who are awful and heckle people (it’s happened to me many a time!) so I can understand her reluctance, but it still makes me sad that she’s so worried.

I wasn’t sure how my run would go if I’m honest. I’d planned on driving to the parkrun as it was just up the road and I didn’t want to push myself when I felt so rubbish the day before. However I was worried about losing my parking space and that stress all over again. parkrun was only two miles away so I thought I’d risk it and run there. If I felt awful on the two miles I could turnaround.

I felt good during the first mile so kept going. Then suddenly I was going uphill and when I say uphill I really mean UP A MOUNTAIN.


It was almost an entire mile uphill. It just kept going and going. No wonder the parkrun is called Bath Skyline!

IMG_1125Up and up and up

My pace on the first mile was 8:02 and the second mile was 10:26! It was ridiculously tough, especially after the night before. I thought I was going to be sick about 10 times.

Eventually I arrived at the parkrun. I saw some suspect parkrunners so followed them trying not to look creepy. They noticed me though and asked if I was parkrunning. Then we chatted away about the course and running, as you do. parkrun is just so friendly!


I learnt about the course from the man I spoke to, which is also very handy. Not particularly flat as it has 37 steps towards the beginning you have to go up! I wasn’t planning a speedy run (let’s not further encourage a Prosecco-related incident) so I was quite happy to hear it was scenic.

Bath parkrun is a very varied course. The terrain pretty much has everything from trail, to grass to pebbles. When the marshal had explained the course she mentioned being careful of cows and I thought she was joking but we ran through a field and had to dodge cowpats! The steps were tough-going and, like many people, I walked up them.

IMG_1141(Photo credit: Phil Wyatt)

At one point there was a spectacular view of Bath. I wish I could have taken a photo. I got stronger as the run continued and started picking off people towards the end and was chuffed at overtaking a few ladies, though one speedy lady I just couldn’t catch and she finished two seconds ahead. It was nice to feel a bit of speed again!





My time was 23:50 which I was quite pleased with. The first male finished in 15:58! It was more busy than Netley but it never felt crowded.


And then I had the glorious run home. The mile downhill was amazing (6:49 mile!)…to start with and then became a bit of a pound session for my feet. They were tingling when I got back.

Kate’s run had gone well too. It was surreal talking to her about running. Normally my non-running friend’s just think I’m a bit mad. Kate’s going to do a parkrun with me hopefully in June when they come down for my birthday so this is HUGELY exciting.

Anyway the main part of the hen do was going to It’s A Knockout in Bristol. It was like hen and stag do central there. There were 24 teams in total (each hen/stag do was a team). Many were dressed up in crazy outfits (the best being a stag do dressed as Apple – the stag was an actual apple whereas his compatriots were all dressed as Steve Jobs wearing black turtle necks and glasses).Its a Knockout

The day involved several different games trying to win points. The games were things like dressing in a huge giant costume and then trying to get across mats that were moving, to wearing vision-changing goggles and kicking footballs at blow-up targets. We’d been told we might get wet and I had visions of that previous hen party I’d been to involving a freezing lake… But thankfully there were only two wet games. One which involved standing in a line on buckets (above photo) and throwing wet sponges to each other to the last person who had to squeeze the sponges into buckets in order to get the most water to win. I was the ‘runner’ by which that meant I ran backwards and forwards collecting the dry sponges to bring back to the person dipping them in the bucket. It was like interval training!

Another game involved trying to pull ourselves over that blow-up slide (above photo) using a rope while there was soapy water all over it. Only two of us managed to get over (me being one of them – thank you, gym!) so the two of us just went over and over again (each time we’d get a point). We won every single game but one and sadly we used our ‘Joker’ (triple point enhancer) on it (the 24 teams were split further into 4 groups against each other for each game). We came 5th at the end which wasn’t too bad at all!

It was fairly exhausting but such good fun! We had such a laugh. It was gone 4pm when we got back and we hadn’t had lunch so a few of us high-tailed to a local burrito place and got something to eat.


I went for a salad as I was planning on having quite a big dinner but the salad was actual massive! I had pulled chicken, cheese, sour cream and guacamole and it was delicious.

After showering and getting dressed up we were ready for some more fun and games that evening. We played more drinking games and watched Eurovision (I’ve never actually watched a whole Eurovision, this was an experience!). We got food delivered using the Deliveroo app, which is amazing! Most of us went for Grillstock (probably due to my squealing about how excited I was about the food…).

IMG_1204I went for wings and ribs (are you surprised?). It rocked my world. Not the best ribs I’ve ever had (bit dry and not that meaty) but the wings were awesome.


We had a great evening watching Eurovision while playing drinking games and just generally having a laugh. This even included the cereal box game (you have to pick up a cereal box with nothing but your mouth and nothing touching the floor but your feet, and the sides get chopped after each round so it gets lower and lower).


I came second to the amazingly flexible Charlotte. Anyway a good night was had by all! The next day it was Operation Tidy Up and then off home!

If you drink, what’s your alcoholic drink of choice?

Are you competitive?

Did you watch Eurovision?

Bath Two Tunnels Half Marathon

There’s nothing quite as good as using a race as a training run, especially for a long run. You’re running with others, there’s a set course so you don’t need to worry about where to go, it’s catered and you get a medal.

With three weeks until Bournemouth a few of us decided to sign up to the Bath Two Tunnels Railway race series. One of my friends wanted to race it because he’s in great shape and PB’d in a training run for his current half marathon time but wanted to see if he could make it ‘official’. His pace was around my long run speed and I didn’t feel up to racing the half so decided to run with him and try to help him.


Another one of my friends, Kate, decided to race the 10k and a few more from the club were doing the half and one the marathon (her first marathon!). Kate, Mike and me travelled down to Bath on the day which meant me being picked up at 6.30am on the Sunday (ouch). It would take about 2 hours to get there and Kate’s race started an hour before ours. I had a banana bread Trek bar and an Americano for pre-race fuel to keep things simple and we arrived at the park and ride in good time. It was all very smooth and easy to get to, though it didn’t feel like we went that far on the park and ride bus to be honest!

Bath Two Tunnels HQ

We met up with the other club mates and then milled around on the large grassy expanse. Relish Running are the race organisers and I’ve done quite a few races with them now (Cheddar Gorge being one of them). I would say that while they do put on good races, there are some rough edges…Their website isn’t that clear for finding information out and you don’t find out crucial race information (like start times) until much closer to the time. We had more emails about them needing marshals than the race itself. That said, the races are always very scenic and personal-feeling because they’re quite small.

Bath Two Tunnels start area

The race area for the short colour race

There were several races going on and different waves and start times which was a bit confusing! We got to cheer off the marathon-runner, Lisa-Lou, and then cheer off Kate.

Bath Two Tunnels race (14)

Then we had just less than an hour to hang about…we watched some very strange warm-up routine going on while which was somewhat amusing.

Race warmup

Just as Kate finished (she came second female and PB’d – whoop whoop!) we got ready to start.

Bath Two Tunnels start line

The start was on grass which was a bit annoying. Anyway we headed off at a comfortable pace. Straight away it was clear this wasn’t going to be an easy race for me, or an easy PB-achieving race for Mike. It seemed to go uphill straight away and just felt tough from the outset.

Bath Two Tunnels race

We got to the first tunnel fairly quickly. It was about 400m long. It was nice and cool inside and fairly dark. We were slightly behind our target pace but due to the uphills at the beginning we weren’t stressing about it because we believed we could pick it up later.

The next tunnel came around quickly afterwards. It was about a mile long, very dark (with cat’s eye lights), narrow and very chilly. It was novel at first but then it got to be a bit wearing. It felt like you were on a treadmill as there was nothing really to look at. As none of the roads were closed quite a few cyclists had to navigate past us (runners going both ways as a 10k wave were coming back) which made things a bit tricky. There was a radio playing classical music which was nice and atmospheric so that’s something.

The tunnels, as expected, buggered up our Garmins. My watch was completely out from the mile markers so I just used the stopwatch and try and do the maths as we ran. The mile markers though seemed to be out as well. We got to five miles far too soon (it would have been close to my PB, which we definitely weren’t!) and this meant we were left running blind, just going on feel.


Race selfie required

The race had been advertised as fast and flat but it clearly wasn’t either. There were some nasty steep inclines, steep steps to navigate down and twisty turns. I found the course quite challenging and I know Mike was struggling too. I think we were both tired from marathon mileage and a bit misled by what we thought would be a PB-potential course. As we chugged up a really steep hill I asked a marshal (or gasped), “I thought this was supposed to be flat?” and he laughed and replied with an evil grin “Yes, compared to our other races”…having run a few of their other races I could agree. But they shouldn’t mislead people by saying it’s flat!

Bath Two Tunnels course

The course was beautifully scenic though, as you can expect with running in the rural parts of Bath. We ran a very long stretch down a canal and it was lovely. Though again we were constantly moving out of the way for cyclists, and some who were rather impatient and I’m sure expected us to jump in the canal to move out of the way!

Bath Two Tunnels course 2

Our pace had dropped and Mike decided that a PB was never going to happen. Mentally, physically and the course just went against us. I felt fatigued as well despite the pace being “easy”. So we settled in to a slightly more comfortable pace (though we really had no idea how well or badly we were doing with our watches being funny) and I yabbered away about fluff and nonsense to keep Mike’s mind off the race. It’s tough pacing someone in a race because you don’t know how much to talk and how much to push.

Bath Two Tunnels race (6)

At least I could take lots of photos and selfies 😉

And also finding conversations that didn’t require much from the other person so they could just listen. I’m sure I bored Mike to tears about my house moving problems! 😉

Bath Two Tunnels feed station

In true Relish Running style, the feed stations were very good. Lots of sweet and savoury options and electrolytes, flat Coke/lemonade and plain water. And gluten-free options! The marshals were very helpful and friendly as well.

As we got closer to the finish, with two miles to go, Mike started struggling more. I tried to encourage him without annoying him. We had a moment of respite at a set of traffic lights that we had to push the button and wait until it was red to go (yes, this is a legitimate part of the route and you can get disqualified for not waiting for the light). It was warm and the undulations still kept going. Right to the end (through a residential area) there just seemed to be incline after incline.

Bath Two Tunnels race (1)

The final straight before the grass finish (thank you Kate for the photo!)

We finally finished and both agreed it was a tough race and not one we’d do again. The course was pretty but there was a lot of running along canals which got a bit tiresome, and the hills we just weren’t prepared for. And without knowing your pace and miles it made it mentally quite tricky. I don’t blame Mike at all for giving up on his PB-attempt. I absolutely couldn’t have got a PB on that course! Especially not at the moment.

Bath Two Tunnels pace











My time was 1:56:11 (Mike was just after me) which I’m a little disappointed with I must say considering we were aiming for 1:45-48. But these things happen. The race organisers also said afterwards that they measured the course as 13.4 miles. We got some good miles in and we came out uninjured so that is a good race result three out from a marathon!

Afterwards Kate, Mike and I headed back to the park and ride bus and then drove to find something to eat. We found a lovely pub, called the Red Lion, where the menu was amazing and we all found a few things we could easily have had. I went for the butcher’s board which had chicken wings, pulled pork, chorizo, chicken liver pate, sour cream, chutney and bread.

Post race meal

It was fantastic! So, so good. Kate had the pulled pork pizza and that looked amazing too. The perfect end to a rather tough training run!

Do you like to know a race elevation profile before running it? If I’m not bothered about times (for me or pacing someone) then I don’t mind.

Do you prefer a city or a rural race?

What do you like to find on a feed station in a race?

Bath, Bristol, a run and lots of food

I am on cloud nine right now. Actually, maybe cloud eight. I feel exhausted! But in a good way. I had a mad but brilliant weekend.

It was one of my close friend’s hen weekend (for Americans, I think you guys call this a bachelorette party?). I drove up to Bath on Friday morning as I had Friday off of work and met up with the hen, her sister and another friend. We were staying in the very posh and lovely Windsor hotel for the night.

The Windsor, Bath I shared a the room on the left with another friend who arrived later and the bottom-right picture is the view from our window

The location of the hotel was perfect. It was only a very short walk and you were right in the centre of Bath with the shops and restaurants.

Great Pulteney Street, Bath The road that the hotel was on

After sorting ourselves out we headed out for lunch at Bill’s. I went for my favourite: Caesar salad and a cheeky portion of sweet potato fries.

Bills Caesar salad So yummy. Then we headed for a few lovely hours at the Thermae Bath Spa.

Thermae Bath SpaFabulously relaxing. It was like swimming in a huge bath! And there were these steam rooms that were infused with different scents, like peppermint (like being in a big vat of Vix) and sandalwood. Very nice. And the top layer had another warm pool right out in the open with a lovely view of Bath.

After this we hopped back to the hotel to get showered and dressed ready for dinner. We went to Browns where we met up with another friend.

Browns restaurant, Bath I had a very refreshing glass of Prosecco and a wild boar burger with fries. This definitely filled a hole! I wanted something carby enough for my planned long run the next day…

We didn’t go to bed too late (for normal people – late enough for me!). And my alarm was set for 5.45am. Oh joy. My intention was to run 10 miles, but see how my foot felt and would stop if it hurt. I had planned a route and took a printed map with me in case I got lost. I was a super ninja in the morning getting up and dressed as quiet as possible as to not wake my friend (she was fine with me going out early – I had checked beforehand!)


My planned route had a HUGE hill to start with so I ignored it and just ran wherever. Unfortunately the beginning was still quite hilly but then I managed to find a good area to run around that was flat for the second portion of the run. I ran 11 miles! And everything felt NORMAL. No niggles. OK it was tough and I know I’ve lost so much fitness (from both injury breaks). But I am over the moon.

Bath long runView of Bath on my run 

It’s given me a little bit of confidence for Paris. I only stopped at 11 because I was running out of time. Though it was probably sensible to not go further if I’m honest.

The hardest part? These stairs back to the room.IMG_6123 Yep all the way to the top. Brutal.

Then it was a quick shower and delicious breakfast of kippers and scrambled egg.


Loved this. I wouldn’t have it every day as it was overwhelmingly fishy but it was a nice change.

Then we zoomed to Bristol, picking up another friend en route and had an afternoon of quad biking and high ropes.

Hen weekend activities High ropes were stupidly scary. I was all the ‘Big I Am’ when I got there, thinking I’d have no issues but as soon as I got up the top beam I was shaking, terrified and just wanted to get down. Turns out I’m a bit of a wuss. Quad biking though was more my forté. I got the fastest lap round the course!

Afternoon cake hen do Later as we got back to the hen’s house we enjoyed cake and champagne while getting ready.

After getting all glammed up we headed out for dinner at Cuban in the centre of Bristol and met up with yet more people. It was funny because I got huge déjà vu when I realised where we were. This is where the race village had been set up for the Bristol half marathon!

IMG_6177 I ate so much I’m not gonna lie. There were so many sharing starters at the beginning. And then I had a huge but lovely seafood soup thing.

IMG_6187Phenomenally good.

Then my least favourite part of the night…going clubbing. Ah I think I’m just too old now. Well actually I never really enjoyed clubbing that much when I was at university. I wasn’t drinking heavily, maybe that was problem.

IMG_6196 All the tacky hen do stuff of course

Very loud, sticky floors, past my bedtime <—granny status right there. Not my thing. But the hen had a great time and that’s the important part. I tried to get into it for her sake anyway.

Anyway the weekend was brilliant but I am shattered. It didn’t help that the airbed my friend and I were sleeping on half deflated in the middle of the night and we woke up at 5am with our legs in the air going “what the hell??”. It was fairly amusing.

I got home Sunday afternoon and went to bed very early. But I still need another day, you know? All in all, a truly great weekend 🙂

Have you been to Bath or Bristol before?

Have you been on a hen do before?

What’s your ideal hen do? I like lots of activity-style things, like paintballing and go-karting.

9 miles, Bath and lots of fudge

Thank goodness January is over. OK it wasn’t a terrible month for me, but I just hate that sort of fog of depression that everyone has after Christmas. February is where we really start getting on with the year and looking forward.

I found Friday a day that just draaaagged. Everyone at work seemed a bit sleepy. Doing Pilates in the morning as well really didn’t help things.Morning PilatesIt’s so relaxing and gentle. But this Friday it was actually quite tough as well. I feel like we’re really getting into it now and getting to the good stuff, like the hundred move which just kills your abs.

I had a fairly early night on Friday as I was getting up at 6.15am on Saturday to do my long run before heading to Bath.

image (Along with Garmin Connect I use Strava to upload my runs – follow me if you like! I like Strava as it shows my GAP pace which is basically adjusting for elevation, up and down)

I’m really happy with how things went. It was tough but I kept an eye on my heart rate and general effort level and I wasn’t going crazy. I just listened to a podcast and ran as naturally paced as I could. The only thing I did notice was a slight ache in my other knee when I’d finished. Nothing near like I’ve had with my bad knee but just like a ‘hello what’s this’ feeling. Possibly because I could have been slightly nursing the right one and putting more pressure on the left? But it feels fine now. Honestly, I can’t take anymore injuries!!

Then I jumped on the train to Bath. I was supposed to be meeting one of my uni friends on the train but sadly her train had been cancelled which meant she couldn’t come. Really sad as I was looking forward to a lovely train ride catch-up. And I hadn’t brought my Kindle which meant I was a little bored on the journey.

Bath train trip

Normally I don’t put my feet up on seats in trains but it was empty, my boots were relatively clean and I was elevating my legs post-run 😉

So I did a lot of looking out the window. It made me appreciate living in such a beautiful country though – so green and picturesque. But so much flooding!

I met up with my friends and we straight away went for coffee…time for a good catch up and chin wag!

We then went for lunch in one of my favourite chain restaurants, Giraffe. I could eat just a plate of their sweet potato fries for lunch. Seriously so good.Giraffe sweet potato fries

I had these with a chicken, prawn and mango salad. At first they brought me a really small salad. I poked through it and found it really wasn’t what I had ordered! But the waitress quickly swapped it for the right salad – which was so much bigger. But still a little stingy on the chicken I have to say. But it was still nice.

Then we walked around Bath and saw the Cathedral.Bath

And then the highlight of the day…an amazing fudge shop (The Fudge Kitchen) where you could see them making the fudge. And they offered free samples!

Fudge KitchenI tried the salted caramel, after dinner mint and butterscotch. It was so hard to decide between them. They were so tasty. The mint was very creamy whereas the butterscotch was very crumbly. They were so friendly in the shop as well, it was a lovely experience. I bought Ben a cheeky slice of the mint one – he was very pleased.

We also went to another fudge shop (the Fudge Factory) and I got a rather large marshmallow dipped in chocolate.

Fudge Factory Yum!

Then we finished the day with a lovely tea/coffee in one of the small tearooms.

IMG_5901 How lovely is that tea cup?

Then our farewells and back to Southampton for me. Such a lovely trip. And we missed the rain in the end which was fantastic.

My legs felt pretty good the whole day. Just a bit achy. And Sunday they felt the same. Just achiness and tiredness. Ben thinks I’m over thinking everything (very possible) but it’s hard not to when it’s been this way for so long now. It’s hard to remember what post-long run feels like…whether that’s a normal achiness/tiredness or not.

I was going to run this morning (Monday) but I’m going to give myself another day as I really don’t want to push myself too much. Nine miles was a long way for me, I must remember that. I’m not where I was three months ago where nine miles was just a normal run. But I plan to run tomorrow morning, I think. Just an easy three miles.

After an injury, how slowly did you get back into things?

Have you been to Bath before?

What’s your favourite flavour of fudge? I need to try more before I make my mind up 😉