Hey peeps! Guess what? Half term is here!
On Friday I went straight from work to the train station- we had booked train tickets from Bedford to Nottingham (and can go straight from St Albans to Bedford), so we could see the Light Night. It was actually very disappointing- Andy had downloaded a map of where everything was, but it turned out a lot of the things were only in the afternoon and not the evening. There were some bonfires in some places, and a lot of food stalls by the main square, but the few things we saw were not that great (a KA filled with a few fairy lights). But still, we had a good wander and it was good to stretch the legs after sitting on the train for a couple of hours.
On Saturday morning I was off to Forest Rec parkrun. There are a few parkruns in Nottingham, but this was the most central. I had originally planned to run there, as it was about 1.5 miles from our hotel, but I was not 100% of the directions, and the tram went straight to by the parkrun (the Forest stop). I was checking their facebook page as they had posted on Friday night about checking for ice in the morning, but I had left by the time they posted to say it was on. I had figured that I could always just run around the park if it was cancelled. I left plenty of time to get the tram- it was only a 10 minute journey at most, and they were every 10 minutes, but I needed time to buy a ticket from the machines and read the signs many times to check I was going in the right direction- it turned out to be very simple though- just like the underground, each stop was announced and also scrolled across the screen so I could keep double checking where I was.
When I got there (not very early, around 8.45 I think) there were a few volunteers but hardly any runners. It was snowing (but not settling on the ground) so maybe people stayed in their cars for as long as possible. But just before 9 there was suddenly a huge crowd of people (185 in fact). It gave me time to read the information sign (it used to be a park for horse racing- you could sort of see it as it was long and wide, on a slope, so you could guess where the grandstand was).
The course sounded very complicated from the new runners briefing (we were even shown a map, which I like, but generally confuses me more)- but basically you started in the centre of a circle, ran out to the edge of the circle, completed two clockwise loops of the circle, and then retraced your steps back to the centre. finishing in the opposite direction to how to started, but in the same place.
The first part of each loop was flat, and around football pitches- quite muddy in places (and also with these weird yellow brush things sticking out of the grass), but nice and flat.
The second part of each loop was mainly uphill, with switch backs across various paths- so the ground was easier to run on, but it was very steep in places. At least you only had to do it twice. The final bit of the loop was a lovely downhill, although again very steep and because of the snow I was careful (partly because the snow sticks to my glasses and makes it harder to see, but also because the pavements were a little slippy).
I didn’t get lapped (I think I am unlikely to be lapped at a two lap route as if I finish in around 30, a person running it in 15 minutes would be finishing as I begin my second lap) but as I ran up on the middle of the second loop, you could look down to the right and see the finish straight, and people were already thundering towards the finish. Impressive stuff.
I didn’t look at my watch at all, and so when I got home I was pleased to see a royal flush negative split- 9.34, 9.21, 9.20, 7.57 (for the final sprint!). Position 121, 29.11, for my 96th parkrun and my 15th UK course.
I took a few photos of people finishing as I headed back to the tram stop.
And one of me with the finishers in the background.
I was trying to get the snow in the picture too, but it didn’t really come out.
I also tried to capture the steep hill, but of course that never works either! Kudos to all the marshals who were out in that weather- I do always say thanks as I run past, and one of them said “you guys are doing the hard work”- I had no breath back to reply, but I really feel that standing about in the cold is so much worse than running!
I stopped to get a hot drink in town before going back to shower, and then we were off out for breakfast- the best bit!
Mmm, Bill’s pancakes and a bit pot of tea- so good (and the tea was free thanks to paying with the Bill’s app- even better!). The snow had changed to rain as it had warmed up slightly, so after a wander around the shops was walked up to the arboretum, as I had passed that on the tram earlier and thought it might be nice.
It was cold and wet- not the best weather for enjoying outside. We only fancied a small lunch so ended up sharing a wrap (some sort of beetroot one- very tasty) and a piece of lemon and raspberry cake (this was an amazing combination).
We saw some snowdrops! Spring is hopefully on the way.
We’d booked an early dinner at Jamie’s Italian as we had a voucher, and then had booked cinema tickets to see the Lego Batman movie, so after warming up in our hotel room for a bit, we headed out for the evening.
The film was really good- I liked the first Lego movie anyway, and as a fan of Arrested Development, the combination of Will Arnett and Michael Cera was good enough to keep me laughing. There seemed to be a lot of jokes about old Batman movies (who knows which ones I have seen) but not knowing them didn’t make it any less funny. I heard some reviews where people were saying some of the jokes would go over kids heads, but there were some children in the cinema with us and they pretty much didn’t stop laughing the whole way through. This isn’t a spoiler, but what amused me so much was every time someone was shooting a gun, the noise was someone saying “pew, pew”. Anyway, good fun and more lighthearted than our last cinema trip (T2).
The next morning it was raining a lot- we went to Starbucks for a quicker breakfast, before going around the shops for a bit.
This lovely cafe (Homemade- which also had a cafe at the parkrun park) had so many amazing varieties (you can see the lemon and raspberry on the right) so we got a piece of blueberry cake to have at home. The train home was at lunch time, so we bought some bits and listened to the film podcast on the way back. All good (apart from the fact that we forgot to turn the heating back on until we were about to drive back from the station, so it was only 12C at home- brrrr!
All in all, a great start to half term, even if the weather was a bit rubbish!
Where do you like to go for a weekend break? What are you looking forward to seeing in the cinema? I think Hidden Figures looks really good, so I am hoping to see that once it is released. Have you seen any signs of spring? Some of the daffodils have started to appear and it won’t be long before they are flowering.