October bits and bobs

After the Royal Parks half, I was back to just ticking over with running and yoga, with walking thrown in for good measure. I was at Panshanger parkrun twice- once as a parkwalker and once as a gentle run the day before the half (although that turned out to be the alternative route when the cows are in the main field so you have another steep hill to contend with- every other time I’ve either been somewhere else or been volunteering!).

Shed pieces in the garden, broken plug, car tyre check

October seemed to be a time for additional life admin that needed doing- we had ordered a shed to be put up but when they came to put it up, the base (that had been put down previously) wasn’t 100% level so they had to leave it- we then had to store the shed in the garden in pieces, while getting someone to fix the base, and trying to keep it dry. Cue massive tarp and a few struggles while the two of us moved it off the base so the person could fix it. I dropped my hair straighteners and the third pin sheared off. Upon closer inspection it was just a placeholder pin, with no earth or wires in it (the actual plug was like an electric toothbrush charger with only 2 pins), so I found a replacement online and thankfully they work. And then the joys of the tyre pressure light coming on- after pumping them up a few times I took it to a garage and they found a massive nail in there, but could not repair it right away so that was a fun few days!

October running was very enjoyable- after doing the half I could just run distances that I fancied, although I do have Brighton in Feb so will need to ramp back up the miles before Christmas really.

Pancakes, Bambi, With U app and fab Disney pod

I discovered a fantastic podcast called Disniversity, where the two hosts talk about each animated Disney movie. Some I have not seen (I saw the start of Bambi when I was a child but then my sister was sick so we had to leave the cinema).  I’ve watched a few that I’ve not seen since being a child (such as Sword in the Stone) but have so far avoided the creepiness of Pinnochio- I cannot bear to watch that again!

The With Me Now pod mentioned the With U app, as it is linked to parkrun (a sponsor I think?) and they have some free workouts. I have completed a few of the fartlek sessions and quite enjoyed them.

October finished with half term- a family weekend at DLP and then a trip to Norfolk including some parkrun tourism, so I’ll keep that for a separate post.

How was your October? 

parkwalking at parkrun!

As you know, I absolutely love parkrun and would really encourage anyone to go along. There is always a tail walker, so you will never finish last, but I think the worry of being near the back still puts people off.

Enter the parkwalk initiative! Initially for their birthday month of October, it now seems set to stay which I think is fantastic. I was at Panshanger a lot during September and October (3 in September and 2 in October) and on one of those days I volunteered at parkwalker. I ran there and back for my usual parkrun sandwich.

Moving my plait so you can see the writing on the back!

When I arrived it turned out I was the first person to put on the new blue bib! There was a prompt card to look at- basically my job was to walk around the course, chat to other walkers and stay ahead of the tail walker. Much easier than the tail walker role as at Panshanger the tail walker has a walkie-talkie and has to check in with the RD at various points and also collect up signs and cones.

A few of my club mates were doing the London marathon the day after, so they had come along to walk as well, and so it turned out to be a really great occasion.

I walked with one of my club mates (Nicola), while a few others walked a bit quicker ahead of us.

It helped that it was a gorgeous day, and Panshanger park was looking glorious in early autumnal sunshine. But it was wonderful to walk around and chat. We stayed fairly far ahead of the tail walker, getting to the end in 53 minutes with the tail walker finishing at 57 minutes. I think this would encourage people to walk, as we did not have the feeling that the event was being closed down as we passed.

I have seen some negative comments online regarding the time that volunteers will be out for, but as the park walkers need to keep ahead of the tail walker I don’t think this will be an issue. The more we can encourage people to be active and enjoy outdoor spaces, the better.

Have you taken part in parkwalk?

Taylor Hawkins Tribute concert and the London Podcast festival

Earlier in the year we had tickets for The Foo Fighters, but when Taylor Hawkins sadly died, the concerts of course were cancelled. Later on they organised a tribute concert so we got tickets for that.

I didn’t know what to expect, having never been to anything like that before, but it was amazing. It started at 4:30pm, and unlike normal gigs with warm up acts, it kicked off with Dave Grohl coming onto the stage and introducing the first act, Liam Gallagher singing along to the rest of the Foo Fighters playing. The full set list is on the NME website if you are interested, with Paul McCartney, Gaz Coombes from Supergrass, The Pretenders, Dave Grohl’s daughter singing and Taylor Hawkin’s son drumming, most of Queen, and then finishing with Foo Fighters. It was so constant, with maybe 5 minutes between before the next act came on. They showed some videos of people sending messages of love too (Elton John etc), and at times it was very emotional, but also a great celebration of his life.

It was a wonderful tribute to his life.

After that it was back to work properly, so we ordered some of the gorgeous buns from Random Buns of Kindness as a first week back treat.

The second week in September we had a slightly different visit to London- this time for the London Podcast festival. We had tickets for Adam Buxton at Kings Place (which is a wonderful venue and right by Kings Cross so very convenient for us to travel in)- after we had booked tickets we found out that the guest was none other than his school mate Louis Theroux! How exciting!

Morning run skies, vegan buns and the podcast festival

I am not sure when it will be released, but it was really funny and interesting- he is always worth a listen.

Do you like live podcasts or live music? 

July – junior parkruns, the vegan market and trying to keep cool!

Stanborough lakes as seen on my run, a cinnamon roll from the local vegan market, iced tea and the Euro’s, Starbucks plant based cheese toastie.

July was hot! I don’t think you need me to remind you of that. Climate change is real and it is awful.

So, how did I try to keep cool during July? Mainly, running first thing before it got too hot, or in the week of the crazy 40C, not running at all. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke is dangerous, and I saw no point in going for a run when it was already over 20C at 6am as I would not have a chance to cool down at work. I did go on a few early morning walks but that was enough.

Of course iced tea was good for cooling down too. We often cold-brew fruity tea (basically add fruit tea and cold water to a bottle, pop into the fridge and leave to infuse during the day)- and this was a lovely refreshing drink to have in the evenings.

I kept seeing that Starbucks now do a plant based toastie (cheese and tomato) and I really love a toastie and it is something I miss since being vegan. (A cold falafel wrap just doesn’t seem like as much as a treat as a hot toastie, although if they could replicate the delicious Pret hummus chipotle wrap then I would choose that over anything else). One Sunday I decided to walk into town and treat myself to one to see what they were like. It was really good, but of course it was a baking hot day so I got really hot on the walk home!

One weekend the vegan market was in town- we missed it last time, so I was keen to get there. There were loads of amazing looking food stalls, but I could not resist a cinnamon roll. It was more of a pastry than a dough-like roll, but very delicious. And let me remind you that if you convert to a vegan diet you will reduce your carbon footprint by around 40%. Even if you don’t care about the ethics of animal agriculture, it really is so important to look at the bigger picture of how we can limit climate change. 51 per cent of worldwide greenhouse-gas emissions can be attributed to animal agriculture. So maybe give it a go…

Early run/walk scenes, foot soak and ridiculous temperatures

I was given this Tropic foot soak a while back and discovered that sitting with your feet in cold water (plus some of the soak) was another good way to cool down in the evenings.

Haircut, end of term flowers, trying my tea blend and junior parkrun course

I’ve been a fairly regular visitor to our local junior parkrun too- our niece and nephew have been enjoying it and as it’s less than a mile from home it’s been easy to head down and meet them. Typically I’ve gone out on a run first (before it got too hot) and Andy has walked down and we’ve all met at the start. In the winter I may opt to have my run after as then it would at least be light.

Burgess parkrun- a last minute decision and a panic jog

Burgess parkrun scenes including the lake that you run around

On the 15th July I was in London and so of course looked for a new parkrun to go to. Initially I had pencilled in Highbury Fields because it was fairly easy to get to (tube to Angel and then a mile walk up the high street), however due to the heat there were loads of issues with the trains and on Friday night when I checked, Angel station was closed and had been all day. I was also fairly near to Burgess (a couple of tube stops to Elephant and Castle, then a mile walk along Walworth Road), so opted for that. The journey planner said that the tube would only take 3 minutes, so I left later than I should have done. By the time I had walked through London Bridge station to the tube, time was getting on, and I came out at E&C at nearly quarter to 9! That didn’t give me a long time to get to the park and I was starting to panic about missing it. I thought I knew which way I needed to go as I’d looked at a map, but to be certain I looked at the maps on my phone but it was directing me to go a different way, so rather than risking running in the wrong direction I ran into a Sainsbury’s and asked a very helpful member of staff. Thankfully she pointed me in the right direction (the way I thought I needed to go until I checked my phone) and I made it to the park just as they called for the new runners welcome. Phew.

The route looked a little complicated online, and I had read on the excellent Blog 7t (amazing if you are a parkrun tourist) that you could get lost, but in the welcome they specifically said that you could not get lost on this course. Here’s hoping!

In fact it was pretty simple- basically a lollipop course, so out, around the lake, then back again. There were lots of marshals and I have to say that they were so enthusiastic (it reminded me of Ellenbrook Fields in that sense)- some of them were stood on benches but they were all whooping and cheering- not easy as some of them were in the full sun too.

As I got close to the lake the faster runners were heading back, but it didn’t ever feel congested (there were 322 runners that day to fairly busy). It was very hot that day, and the RD had warned everyone to take it easy. Some of the course had shade, but some was across open grassland so it was baking hot there. It is very flat though so on a cooler day it would be good for chasing a fast time. I somehow managed to finish in under 30 minutes which for a hot day was good for me.

In the out and back portion you ran through an underpass, and it had some interesting artworks, so once I had finished I walk/jogged back to take a look before heading back to the station. It had all these boats to commemorate the canal that was there (but had been filled in), some had things like wooden bottles carved into them (there used to be an R Whites warehouse in this location so it commemorated that too). I could also see The Shard across the park too- it really is quite central.

I was so pleasantly surprised by the park in general- I hadn’t been there before and didn’t know what to expect, but it had lots of interesting features including lots of wildflower meadows and flower beds, tennis courts, and a very nice looking café.  Check out Blog 7t if you want to find out more about the history of the park.

That was my 280th parkrun and my 86th different venue- ever so slowly creeping towards the next milestone!