home      my running story      races from the beginning      talk to me       product reviews      

Sunday 30 April 2023

100 Reasons NOT To Do parkrun With Small Children

I managed to talk my 13 year old, The Small, into a parkrun by reminding her she was on 9 parkruns … and if she did another one, she’d be on for her '10 parkruns achievement' and a t-shirt. 

This was enough encouragement. She decided that not only did she want her 10 t-shirt but she also wanted a PB. She had 36 minutes 36 seconds to beat and chose her favourite course at Sixfields and her current PB course to attempt this at. 
As a dutiful mother and motivator, I was told to find out what pace she had to run for a PB and be chief pacer. Her friend G was coming with us and she was a bit quicker than the Small but she was happy to run at Small’s pace. As G was under 11, she also had to stay close to me according to the parkrun rules. Ok no pressure. Pace set, cheering buddy coming, all the Small had to do was run it.

The girls did a short warmup and were good to go. The start was as usual a bit congested, but it all settled down by the time we reached the main path.

Then a third of a mile in the Small decided she didn’t like running and proclaimed, “Today is not the day.” 

Half a mile in she was asking to walk.

If things are tough Small does NOT want to do them. I get that. She hasn’t grasped the concept of Type 2 Fun yet. She will.

I told Small she was doing fine. She shouted that she wasn’t, and that she hated running. 


G was perfectly happy trotting along. She’s 3 years younger than Small but was quite happy to run.
I gave in and let Small walk for 10 steps over the bridge. I also enthusiastically told her she was over halfway done. A blatant lie.

At halfway she was huffing and crying. Great.

There were snot bubbles.

Told her to stop crying as it would make it harder to breathe. Tried to do it in a sympathetic voice.

Not sure I managed it.

At the 2-mile point. G said her toe hurt. She stopped to take her shoe off. I carried on dragging the Small and told G to catch us up as we were going at cry speed. Which is very slow.

G sorted her shoe and caught us up.

50m later her toe “Super hurt”. Shoe off again.

The Small crying about hating running. G crying that her toe hurt. We were well over halfway through the 3 mile run now but in small-girl-miles, we were into ultra-marathon territory.

Is there anything more dramatic than two small girls?

Marshals giving me stink eye as I was clearly THAT mother forcing kids to run when they didn’t want to. Yep. That’s me. Making them do exercise outside and prising their phones out of their poor cold little fingers. 

I gave them two options. The first was to cut straight to the finish but not get barcode scanned. Or carry on and finish properly and get barcode scanned.

Through snot and tears, they both decided that they wanted to finish the parkrun properly. Despite one whose toe was about to drop off and one who was clearly dying of TOO MUCH DRAMA.

We could see the finish line and Small was still asking to walk. Why not? We could drag this parkrun out all day if we went a bit slower.

G wanted to run a bit quicker. Understandable. If we started going slower, we’d be going backwards. As I could see the entire finish section, I told her she could if she wanted. She managed 20m and walked. 

Small still wanted to walk. I told her she could but wouldn’t get her PB.

She blew a final snot bubble and caught up G and they both staggered towards the finish line. G had a stitch but it took her mind off her toe.

They both managed a sprint finish. Small got her PB and G got a plaster.

I got a new resolution never to do parkrun with small children again.

Friday 28 April 2023

FitStrap Review: An Expensive Lesson if you Don't Look After Your Straps!

If you regularly wear running watches, then you'll know that the first thing to break is the strap. And once they start to go, that’s it, no amount of tape or glue will hold them. Trust me … I've tried both and it's an expensive lesson if you lose the watch!

I was well aware that the strap on my trusty Garmin ForeRunner 945 was 3 years old and starting to look – and smell! - a bit funky, so when FitStrap offered to send me 2 straps for the Garmin for free in return for an  review, I jumped at the chance. (As usual my reviews are completely unbiased – I say what I think!)

So first things first:

How easy are the straps to fit?
They're virtually identical to the Garmin original straps and as such they're just as fiddly. FitStrap helpfully send 2 fitting tools per strap and maybe there's a trick to it, but trying to balance one tool which turning the other to release the old strap and fit the new is quite fiddly. I got there in the end, but there were free swearwords and looking on the floor for the tiniest screws in the world is part of the job. So … not easy, but this is how Garmin designed them but having TWO tools made the job a bit easier.

What are the strap colours like?
I really liked having the option of bright, vibrant colours! I'd previously had the choice between black or blue and it was nice to have a change and have something to match my mood! The colours are clear and bright and happy! Good motivation colours … and additional bonus is that they make the watch easy to find when you've left it charging in a dark place!  This time, I chose a bright postbox red and a plum purple colour… a bright colour for happy moods and a colour that hides the oil, river water and sweat!! Safe to say that pastel colours re not a good choice for me, thanks!

How do the straps feel?
They feel just like my original Garmin strap. Laid side by side I couldn’t tell the difference. The only minor difference I spotted was there is no indented triangle on the buckle. The straps have the same stripes and grooves and patterns as the originals. 

What's the length like?
Good length and plenty of settings to choose from, from child size to Andre-The-Giant size!

Band loops - included? 
Yes, 2 band loops included so you can use both or remove one as required. 

Delivery time? 
No long wait – the straps arrived in good time!

Other Things I Liked:
Both packs were clearly labelled with the watch models. Very handy so if I bought a few straps for different watches or models there would be no confusion and no swearing!

Don't do what I did and put one of the straps on backwards when you get distracted by the cat … you'll feel a right wally!! Top tip: make sure the rough side is facing up. And the band loops go on the buckle strap! I also managed to lose one of the screws by pinging it off of the table – those things are TINY! Top tip: feel is better than sight! Found it within 10 seconds … somehow!

It was also nice to have different straps to match my mood, what I’m wearing or even a special strap for a special event for instance the red strap matched my IronMan Barcelona kit! You could match the colours to the race kits which is nice if you have everything coordinated! 

I use both straps (on my Garmin Forerunner 935 and Forerunner 945) on a daily basis and in swim, bike rides and runs and they've both been comfy and reliable. I've found that sometimes straps can get a bit stinky but I've had no problems with these and they both seem robust which is very important to me, having dropped watches when the clasps have undone themselves. I also really like the 2 loops as standard on the straps as this provides and extra layer of security … these are expensive watches and you need to have reliable straps.

I'd definitely buy these again. They've already proven their worth and reliability and for the price they're an absolute bargain. Plus I'm a sucker for pretty coloured kit and I love being able to change the straps colours to match my mood! 

Take a look at them on the FitstrapsUK page: 

Or drop me a message for any questions as I'm currently using one of the straps as I type!