Earlier in the week my lovely running club “Guv” shared that Gadebridge parkrun would be hosting a special guest (Special Olympic Ambassador Mitchell Camp, and the mayor) on Saturday. I then started having a look at the location and course, because I didn’t realise they had one there- it’s about a half an hour drive away, and has been going for less than a year. I messaged my dad to see if he fancied it, but he was busy, and no-one from my club fancied it, so I decided to head there on my own and check it out.
I left at around 8.15am, a little earlier than usual, and I got there at 8.40am, so plenty of time to walk to the start. It wasn’t far from the car park at all, but it was so cold.
This is taken from the start- you can just about see the car park through the trees so it wasn’t far to walk at all.
Everywhere was frosty, and the fields were all rutted but frozen solid, There were plenty of icy puddles, and the pavements were sparkling. It was beautiful.
We had the most enthusiastic marshal delivering the new runner briefing, and then in the normal run briefing the mayor talked briefly, although it was a bit hard to hear as I was behind a big group of tourists from the same running club. Then we were off!
The course was tough. It started on path, before straight away going onto a field- up, along, and down (over frozen mole-hills), then under an underpass, up the other side of the valley (and if you know Hemel, and Galley Hill, it is steep), along the ridge at the top, then steeply down, under the underpass, gently uphill to near the start, where you then get to do it all again. I really had to concentrate as the ground was so rutted (the spike imprints from previous runs were frozen solid)- I didn’t want to twist an ankle, and the cold air made it hard too.
I got a stitch (not sure if this is down to the nakd bar I had before leaving- I think my eating before parkrun experiment may have ended now), but the park was so pretty in the early morning sunlight, with all the frost everywhere. I enjoyed the run, looking at the surroundings, and even warmed up enough to take my gloves off after a mile! I was half tempted to take some pictures, but I had worn my flip belt as I didn’t know if I would take my jacket off or not (it has big enough pockets, but if I tie it around my waist then anything in the pocket bangs on my legs) and it’s hard to sort that out while running. I could not speed up on the flat ridge part because the ground was so frozen, but that was fine with me!
After I came out of the underpass for the final time I had a straight and gently uphill path to the finish, so I put on a bit of a sprint finish. There was someone taking photos and my shoulders are so hunched! Argh! I know I need to sort this but I don’t often realise until I finish that my shoulders ache.
From their facebook page.
I also thought that I was smiling!
Anyway, it was a really enjoyable run.
Time: 31.20, 65/100 runners (nice even number), 12th female and 4th in my age category. It’s funny, apart from San Francisco which had such a tiny field, I seem to hover around the 3rd or 4th age category placing. It’s a course pb of course (your first parkun at a new course always is) and my dad was keen to visit it, so I am sure I will be back.
I didn’t hang around in the end, as there was going to be a talk, but as soon as I stopped running I was totally freezing, so I headed back to my car to put my coat on. Then the day didn’t go so well- I had to stop off at the post office, and the queue was huge, and then I decided to have a hot drink once I finally got home, before having a shower. All of this meant that I didn’t eat breakfast (lunch) until 12.30 (although I had eaten the cereal bar).
I had a few hours of work to get through, and once that was done I popped to town, but the feeling of the stitch either came back, or it had not gone away, I’m not sure, but it was quite sore. I ended up having a lie down when I got home, and it really only went away when I went to sleep. I thought I had maybe pulled a muscle or something, but I don’t remember it aching when I was working, so I don’t know when it actually came on.
This morning I was awake before the alarm, and very excited to see snow! Most of the girls in the club were doing shorter runs, so I went out on my own for a lovely 9.5 mile run in the snow. I was fairly slow at first as I didn’t want to slip, but actually the snow was nice and soft (making that lovely creaking sound as I compacted it). I stopped for photos too, of course.
I ran around the lake twice- some of it was covered in ice.
I ran back through the fields, which was fine until I trod in a puddle (hidden by the snow) and my shoes filled with icy water. I sped up a bit then I think!
I cracked out the leg warmers this morning too!
I loved it though! And although about two miles in my stitch feeling reappeared for a bit (and I considered turning back) after a bit it went. After a quick shower we were off to brunch with some friends- we tried Coast to Coast, which was OK, but I don’t think I would rush back.
Anyway, my first parkrun tourism of the year was great, and I have already started looking at others nearby- I need to spread them out a bit but there are a couple of others that I could visit now fairly easily. Panshanger is still my favourite though!