My 50th parkrun!

This was brilliant!

Although I do not like fancy dress at all, because it was Panshanger’s first birthday, I felt like I should.

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I ordered a tutu and headband from ebay, and luckily they arrived on Thursday. At least they would be easy to wear over normal running gear. Lots of people from the club were going, so we all met at the start and admired the costumes- we had Where’s Wally, a pirate, plenty of wonder women, a witch and some pink tutus.

The official start was 8.55am, but they had so many presentations (points league tables, most volunteering, most first finishers etc), as well as introducing the running elite (Andy Baddeley, who holds the parkrun record of 13.48- that drew a sigh of admiration from the crowd!)- the report is here if anyone is interested. They had an amazing three-tiered cake too. Then they did the normal start- as it was my 50th I got a mention which I wasn’t expecting what with all the birthday celebrations going on!

From their facebook page.

Then we were off!

Facebook page again. Look, it’s me! The flare was very exciting too!

I had no time aims, I just wanted to enjoy the atmosphere. It was brilliant seeing all the costumes on the way around, and it was pretty much perfect running weather, although I have had a sore throat this week and the cold air was not so good.

Because they pointed me out at the start, a few people said to me “well done” for my 50th on the way around, which was lovely. I kept running alongside a lady dressed as a bee, admiring her outfit. We kept passing each other, and in the end I think I finished just ahead of her. My time was 28.28, I like the repetition!

Afterwards we cheered more people over the line, and then queued up to what I thought was the WI stall, but turned out to be for a piece of the cake, and they also had a guest book to sign which I thought was lovely.

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Love the little trainers! It was tasty too!

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A couple of us took a photo by the banner (some had rushed off by this point), and then went to get a warm drink (and were photographed surreptitiously while we were waiting). Of course I then went to the WI stall and got a piece of delicious ginger cake (which I ate on Sunday).

It was such a great start to the weekend. I didn’t get home until so much later because lot of people were hanging about a bit, and it just felt like a lovely community event. What I also love is that they celebrate the taking part- I know that if you are faster then you get more points, but actually it is more about being there consistently. They celebrate junior runners, and encourage activity in young people. Also, one lady had volunteered so many times- she was manning the cake stall but was called over at the start- the volunteers are what make it such a special event and I love that they are celebrated just as much as the speedy runners.

When I finally got home, as well as my results email I also had an email saying I was now in the 50 club! How exciting! I didn’t even know they did that!

Here’s to many more parkruns!

No race on Sunday

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So the timing of the 10K last week was a bit weird (however I would do it again, just probably have something smaller and plainer for lunch)- it did mean that there was no panic on Sunday morning about missing the alarm, getting up early, getting to the race start etc. We had decided to get a cinnamon roll for breakfast, but when we got to Starbucks too many people had already had that idea. Andy tried the chocolate swirl (which was good, but a patch on the cinnamon one) and I had a scrummy almond croissant.

We had a walk around the town, seeing lots of the half marathon runners wearing their medals (the half started at 8am), and wandered around the finish area gardens.

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It was a gorgeous day (maybe a bit hot for running) and our check out time was near, so we decided to drive along the coast a bit, I can’t remember the name, but it was opposite the Isle of Wight, and we had a lovely walk along the top of the cliffs. I didn’t even need my coat- it was breezy but sunny enough to stay warm.

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Not so clear in this picture but you could see the needles.

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We had bought sandwiches in Bournemouth so we walked down some steps and sat on the beach for lunch.

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Not bad for the first weekend in October!

After popping in to see Andy’s grandparents (in Southampton- on our way home) we headed back. My legs were tired but not too bad, and it was quite nice to not have the really shattered feeling on Sunday night. The WR10K races used to be on a Saturday, and I really liked that, but they did a post race survey and most people preferred Sundays so they moved them. I don’t think I would like every race on a Saturday (if the race is local, I could still do parkrun on the Saturday), but it is nice every now and then to have the Sunday to recover after a race. Some people who travelled by public transport said they preferred Saturdays too, and if you have travelled and have to be back at work on Monday, having the extra day to get back after makes things easier too.

Do you prefer a Saturday or Sunday race?

Also- tomorrow is my 50th parkrun!!! I am so excited and this week have already had two dreams about it:

1- I was running, I didn’t know where to go, it was an “Indiana Jones” style parkrun according to someone and it involved climbing down rocks and into caves, and I kept getting lost and I had been running for 45 minutes and then my Garmin started ringing like a phone…

2- I was at another parkrun, because mine started later, but I realised that I only had 15 minutes to get home, pick up my costume, and drive to the other one, and tried to ring my mum to pick me up but I could not type in her phone number..

I mean, am I stressed about it at all? No! I am exited! So what is the deal here???? Perhaps I should set two alarms just in case!

(Don’t) give me gin and tonic- Supersonic 10K recap!

So this weekend we were off to Bournemouth. For a few years I have wanted to do one of the BMF races, and finally the run fell on a free weekend. We both signed up for the 10K (the Supersonic 10K!) which ended up being at 4pm on Saturday afternoon. This was not totally ideal, because it meant we had to travel down on Friday night (check in might not be early enough to change etc) but that was OK in the end as we left after dinner so the traffic was a bit quieter.

On Saturday morning we walked around the town, had some breakfast in Caffe Nero, and then had a bit more of a walk. The weather was good- it clouded over a bit later on, but generally was nice and warm. We could not decide what to get for lunch- the race was sort of hanging over our heads a bit. In the end I got a salad from M&S- I have had it before- and sat by the seafront watching the junior races being set up.

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I love the coloured beach huts along the front- like a dulux colour chart.

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We even found some outdoor gym bits.

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We then walked up the steps in the cliff to find a lovely memorial for Jon Egging, the Red Arrows pilot who died in a crash.

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They were each covered in little disks- one had white, one red and one blue for the colours of the Red Arrows.

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After that, we headed back to the hotel for a bit of a rest and a change of clothes, before heading to the start line.

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At this point I was a bit worried because I had the same colour bib as Andy (both yellow)- normally I am one pen behind him. I think I had estimated a sub 55 finish, being wildly optimistic, and that made me a bit panicked. But that turned out to be the third of 5 pens, so then I didn’t feel so bad.

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Sunshine! The race started very promptly, with the wheelchair racers being sent off a minute before the first pen, then the second pen walked forwards and were sent off, and then we were. I started my watch a teeny bit before the start line, although in the end I only looked at it a couple of times. I had looked up my previous 10K pb (55.23) and knew I needed to do 8.51 min miles to beat it, but because it had km markers and not mile markers and I didn’t always notice the mile beep of my watch, I pretty much just ran on feel.

The race was really enjoyable- it went out along the promenade for a couple of kms (past the outdoor gym and the coloured beach huts) before turning back. We were all told to keep left, because obviously we would be coming back on ourselves, but honestly the number of runners who thought it didn’t apply to them was astounding! The wheelchair racers passed on the other side fairly quickly, and as we came to the turnaround point I saw Andy on the other side- both still smiling!

I thought it could get congested, but as I was running back the other way I saw the final tail runner, which meant that the run could then open out a bit as runners were only on one side.  As we got close to the place that we started, I realised that the route actually went on the pier! We had not gone on it earlier as it cost £1 each (not a big pier fan anyway) so I did think “I’m saving myself a pound here”- then I nearly got knocked over by a girl with headphones- she was ahead to my right but suddenly veered to her left to overtake some other runners, so I decided to overtake her in case she did it again and knocked me over properly!

The pier was great, and as it was in the centre it was thickly lined with people out cheering – it was a great atmosphere. I had on my “OH” vest and someone shouted “go Hatfield!” so I waved a thanks.  I saw one of the wheelchair racers on the other side heading up the small slope to the finish, as I ran down it. At this point I saw the 5K mark, and noticed that my watch said 27 something- I would be pleased with that parkrun time, although of course my local parkrun is not flat like this!

The route then went along the promenade in the other direction. At a few points it narrowed, but there were plenty of marshals and signs warning runners, and I didn’t find it a problem at all. It had lovely views of the sea and beach- I loved it- just like Brighton. There was a water station (with bottles- grr- I nearly tripped over a few on the floor, although to be fair there were marshals picking them up right away), but I didn’t want to stop. At around mile 4 I started hoping for the turn around, but it wasn’t until I was past this that even the front runners went past the other way. I started to feel a bit sick- I could sort of taste my lunch again and was regretting that salad. Then of course, my maths got confused between the km and miles, and I flipped my watch around so I couldn’t look at it even if I wanted to. I saw the 8K marker and started telling myself that I had just over 10 minutes to go, and luckily my stomach settled- at times I did have visions of actually being sick which is not good!

I missed the 9K marker but thought I heard a marshal shouting “800m to go”- at this point I got overtaken by a show-boating superman! Then we rounded the corner, had a tiny slope ahead and the finish line was in sight!  The announcer was cheering everyone over the line (“Superman is playing up to the crowds”- he was!)- but I think my vest confused him as I got “go ladies running club…… oh?”- nice to have a mention anyway!

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I met up with Andy who had finished about 4 minutes ahead of me, and collected my massive medal and goody bag. It was so organised- you had the size t-shirt printed on your number, so you went through the corral for that number and picked up your bag, plus a small bottle of water right away, and a larger one just before you exited the finish area.

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I love the medal- it has the pier engraved on it, plus the distance. We also got a lovely purple technical t-shirt.

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The goody bag was pretty packed, although Andy had more than me! Mine had an Eat Natural bar, zero tabs, crinkles crisps (although I got cheese and onion boo- Andy won with salt and vinegar), mentos mints, and as well as that Andy got some spatone samples, dried cranberries, and teapigs tea! How come I didn’t get any tea???

We walked back to our hotel and had a quick shower- luckily I didn’t wash my hair as we had booked Pizza Express, we thought for 6.30, but when we checked it turned out to be 6pm! So it ended up being a bit of a rush to get there in time!

I had the results text that said a chip time of 56.07, which is my second fastest 10k time ever! I am so pleased with that- I think I could have gone faster but because of the lunch issue I wasn’t pushing it. I felt tired when I finished, but not shattered, so it gives me confidence to really have a good go at Brighton in November.

Also, finally, I was not impressed that they didn’t play the Oasis song at the start- what was the point of the name huh?

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The charity village.

It was a really well organised event, and although it seemed busy, it wasn’t on such a huge scale that it would put me off. They had junior races in the afternoon, a 5K later on Saturday evening, and a full and half marathon on the Sunday morning. The 4pm time was my only issue, because the race did hang over us a bit and I didn’t really get the food situation right, but all in all it was fab, and I would definitely look at doing it (or maybe the half) another year.

What do you think of afternoon races? How did you enjoy the lovely weather this weekend?

Track stars!

On Monday night my running club had put on an event at our local track. It was run by Jemma Simpson, who runs the 800 and 1500m, and had been to the Beijing Olympics, and was in association with Lornah Sports clothing.

Photo taken from the OH facebook page.

We started off with a talk and the some warm ups. We jogged around the track a few times, then did lots of dynamic warm ups, strange ways of walking. Jemma told us some moves that meant we would not need to lift weights in the gym, doing various lunges, calf raises and other things. At one point we were even laying on the floor, trying to touch our toes to our opposite arms.

I was not the best at the “leaping” warm up…

Then came the session- it was a 3-2-1 session, and I shall try to remember it correctly!

3 minutes at 10K pace.

2 minute recovery.

2 minutes at 5K pace.

1 minute recovery.

1 minute as fast  as you can.

3 minutes recovery.

We did that 3 times, and it was so tough! Especially because I set off way too fast for the 10K pace- it’s hard to judge. For each recovery we all regrouped, so that we started the next rep off all together. Jemma was running around with us encouraging us, and shouting “this is where the magic happens” in the final 1 minute sprints.

After we finished, we were shown a few pieces from the sportswear range (which is really gorgeous)- it’s a line by Lornah Kiplagat (she holds a few world records), who wanted sportswear that looked good, not all the pinks and fluorescent stuff you get generally. As her nickname was Simba, which is Swahili for lion, the logo is a lion, and lots of the clothes have things like lion emblems, animal print sections, or even the Kenyan National anthem words!

Then we did some stretches, were given some SOS rehydration packets and a bottle, and headed home. I didn’t get home until 9pm, so it was a late shower and a very late dinner, but it was just brilliant. Normally when I run with the club there are only a few of us there, but I think by the end there was probably about 30 of us. Some people did 2 reps, then sat at the side and cheered us each time we ran past. It was really different to our usual casual runs, but really enjoyable.

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I was so stiff the next day though- my legs ached more than they do after Body Pump! I had to miss the normal Tuesday run as it was Andy’s mum’s birthday, but that was a very good thing as my legs were so sore. I had a wonderful sunset run on Wednesday to try to get the aches out, which did help, but then I had hours of work to do, so I was almost back to square one. Hopefully it will all be gone by Saturday as I have a 10K race to run!

The only time I had been on a track before was for the Sports Relief 6 mile event that I did a couple of years ago. Our club leader said she was looking into possibly getting a regular slot, which would be great.

Do you run on the track?