Disney Fall Feast 5K 2019

Happily our trip to Florida also coincided with the Wine and Dine Run Disney weekend. Last year we did the 10k, but decided to do the 5k instead. I was planning on doing the Florida parkrun on the Saturday, as it was a 7.30am start so I could be back for checkout at 11, but when I actually looked it up, although it was 30 mins away (not too far) there were no public transport options and so the Uber was going to be $40 each way- a bit too much to spend in the end. But the Run Disney event was the main attraction. Races in the US seem to be expensive anyway (no £6.50 Festive Five here) but at least with Run Disney you get lots of things around the race.

I loved going to the Expo, not just for the merchandise but for the fun of posing for pictures and meeting characters (without the sweaty hair and face of the actual race day).

Last year we went for breakfast and then to the Expo, and this year we went to a park for a couple of rides before heading there- we were maybe half an hour later but there were big queues and loads of the clothes had already sold out. I really wanted some Disney shoes, but I could not work out how to find them in the app to pre-order, and when I went to the website it kept signing me out and making me reset my password. We picked up our numbers, went to the shop where in the end I got two things- a long sleeved top (the purple one below)- it has thumb holes and I loved the list on the back- and then the black jacket- it’s sort of puffy in the body with thin sleeves. My running club used to do similar branded ones, and I didn’t get one as I didn’t know which size to choose online, and I am always super jelly of the people who have them as they are light but warm. So when I saw they did one, I had to get it (and it was not too expensive- £69 compared to $45 for a vest). We then went to the other building to pick up our race tops- the green one below- these were also long sleeved, so no way would we be wearing them for the actual race! It was 33 degrees outside!

I had wanted to get some Minnie ears to wear for the race, and I was being a bit fussy- I wanted light coloured ones as the dark ones I wore last year didn’t show up in the photos. I really wanted the Arendelle Aqua ones (a sparkly blue/green colour) but they weren’t in stock anywhere, so on the day before I got some pink/gold sparkly ones. We didn’t stay too late in the parks that day (we chose a 9pm firework show vs the 10pm one) and then got our numbers ready, as it was an early wakeup the next morning.

The hotels all put on buses, and as the race started at 5.30am we were told to be on a busy by 4am at the latest. We set the alarm for 3.45 and had the quickest get up ever, as the bus stop was a 5 min walk from our room.

Once at the start, we had to go through security (neither of us had bags so that was speedy) and then walk to the start. You can see above that it was actually a fair walk (as we got dropped at the finish area)- I am guessing it was a mile? I wished I’d tracked it! We had to stand around for a bit, but there was a DJ playing music and they interviewed people linked to the supporting charities, so it was all fairly entertaining and the time passed quickly. We were in the first wave so once the wheelchair athletes had gone it was our turn to count down and see the fireworks.

After we had been running for about 5 mins we heard the next lot of fireworks for the next wave. The route was pretty flat and seemed to get into the park fairly quickly, which was good. I loved running around the world showcase- all the buildings had their lights sparkling, and there was music playing in some places.  I didn’t stop at any characters (they were not the most famous ones- a bug from Bug’s Life, Chip and Dale). It wasn’t timed but we managed a good negative split with 10:33, 9:48, 9:04 and 8:28. Once we finished and collected our medals and little snack boxes, we queued to meet Minnie and then Mickey, before heading to the bus stop.

The snack pack was pretty good- some hummus, chips to dip, apple sauce, little fruit and nut bar, and a sort of Dime bar.

After a shower and change we had to head out as we had booked breakfast at the Polynesian- my favourite.

We shared a fruit platter (which was full of mango, pineapple, kiwi, dragon fruit, strawberries and plums as well as fresh honeycomb and some of those ball things you get in bubble tea- I didn’t eat those- are you meant to eat them or are they for decoration??), and the banana stuffed French toast which comes with maple syrup and also this amazing strawberry sauce which I poured all over the fruit too!

Of course the other fab thing about a Disney race is posing with your medal after! We went to MK and Epcot so I could get a lot of photos, and then on the Saturday we went back again as I wanted to pose with the Christmas decorations (and Friday was the final Halloween party, so I knew there would be some Christmas things out the next day).

Have you been to a Run Disney or other themed running event? Do you usually run on holiday?

If a parkrun changes it’s name, did I even do (most of) the alphabet??

Some of you might have noticed that parkruns have started to change their names. It seems that there are new naming guidelines where new parkruns take on the name of the park instead of the town they are in. This is meant to avoid confusion, and also means that if a town needs 2 parkruns, they can be easily differentiated. However, what has started happening more frequently is that current events are having their names changed- the one I noticed recently was Swindon parkrun is now called Lydiard parkrun, as it takes place in Lydiard park.

I keep all the reports of my parkruns on a page on my blog, to keep track of them, and they are in alphabetical order for ease of organisation (and I’m not going to go back through and rearrange them). However, on the Running Challenges extension, and on the parkrun results website, the names are being updated.

This got me thinking- which letters are in jeopardy? Which (pretend) badges might I lose?

Compass club:

I went to Northala Fields (safe), Eastleigh (not sure? but I’ve also been to East Brighton and Eastville), Southampton (will it change to Southampton common maybe?, in that case I’ve also been to South Oxhey) and Westmill (that won’t change). So I think this badge is safe for me.


Crissy Field (that shouldn’t change), Cassiobury (park name), Castle park (park name), Chippenham (oh no- that might change), Colwick (should stay), Central Burnaby (should stay) and Clover Point (should stay). So I might need to find another C!

Stayin’ Alive:

Barclay, Gadebridge, Bushy, Gunpowder and Gedling should all stay, but Brighton & Hove might change? Although there have been lots of parkruns in Brighton for ages? Anyway possibly another B needed!

But when I look at the alphabet (which I still haven’t completed- I just need an I and a Z but no idea when I can wangle a visit to any of those) I might lose some.

Take St Albans- it’s in Veralamium park in St Albans, if it changes it’s name I could gain another V, but then Valentine’s (the V I have been to) is already the park name. I do have some other S’s (Salisbury, Southampton, Stevenage- all names of towns- plus South Oxhey which should stay.

I might lose my Y- I went to York, but then it takes place at York Racecourse, so will they just change that part of the name?

When I look at my alphabet, I have plenty of some letters so if I lose one it will be OK (eg if they change Durham I also have been to Dinton Pastures and Dunstable Downs), but others I don’t have many. I think that I might lose my T as I have only been to Tring and Thetford, both place names and could be changed to the name of the park.

I know that it is all a bit of fun, and in no way do I actually mind! But it is interesting to look at. I am also interested in how the name change is gradually rolled out- I saw on the Swindon parkrun facebook page that they had been sent new pop up tents and things, so I think if your local one was having a name change you would find out a few weeks ahead of time.

Do you keep an eye on the Running Challenges badges? Are there any badges that you are likely to lose?

October 2019

I was doing so well with keeping nearly up to date, but the Wimpole 10 mile was back in the first weekend of October, and now it’s nearly over!

I’ve still been enjoying Bake Off, usually accompanied by something home-baked (these were the lovely Runner Beans monster  workout cookies), and been having plenty of walks in the dwindling autumn sunshine.

One day Andy had to go to London for work and visited the amazing Swedish bakery in Covent Garden to bring us back cinnamon buns. They are the best.

I also got myself a bike lock so I can cycle to more places (Panshanger parkrun was OK without a lock and it’s a rusty old bike but you never know).

I’ve not managed as many runs due to a few things- the week after Wimpole I had yoga on Wednesday and a run on the Thursday, and the following week I’d not run on the Sunday so I had a run on Monday after work instead. I quite liked a Monday run and not running on Tuesday, as Tuesday is a busier day, but then I’d be running 3 days in a row, so I’m not sure about that.

On the 12th it was Panshanger parkrun’s 5th birthday, and as I was heading into London the next day and wouldn’t fit in a run then, I decided to run there, and as Dad was also going he gave me a lift home.

After a quick turnaround I was off to the lavender farm to meet some friends and their children as they had opened up a pumpkin patch.

It was quite fun- if you found a pumpkin with a cross on you could roll it down the hill, they had a decorating table and you could buy them if you wanted. After a walk in the rain, we went to the cafe for some lunch.

I loved the Day of the Dead design, but there were loads of clever and interesting ones.

On the Sunday I went into London to meet a friend- it poured with rain and we walked for ages, in the end going for a scone and tea to warm up.

My Run Disney top has been having a few outings now it is a bit cooler- it’s a long sleeved top but very thin fabric so it’s good for that in between time (plus I’ve been so tired that my runs have been slow, so I’ve not warmed up that much!).

Runs have been to mainly clear my head as work has just been busier than normal- very much needed.

A week ago on Friday I had booked my flu jab, but that turned into a bit of a saga. I walked to the pharmacy in the evening, and I wasn’t looking forward to it (I used to be OK with needles but then when I had one jab I fainted and since then I’ve really hated them and often end up crying and getting very embarrassed)- but the fact it was in a pharmacy seemed to make it better somehow. Anyway, when I got there, they had run out of jabs, and despite me having a text every day since booking, they somehow couldn’t call me.. Anyway they said I could come back the next day as they were due to get 5 more and would save me one (continued later!). I went out for dinner with some friends (good old Bill’s) which was good but meant to be my treat after having an injection!

On Saturday I cycled to Panshanger and enjoyed a glorious autumnal day there. .

I used my bike lock and the proper lovely wooden trunk bike stand things this time!

I then cycled back to the pharmacy (the cycle to parkrun is just over 4 miles, and then the pharmacy is another mile from home), but when I got there they told me they didn’t have any, and said they didn’t have my number (even though I’d watched them write it down the day before)- in the end they rang around and found a local pharmacy where one appointment didn’t show up, so if I got there quickly I could have it! I cycled there as quickly as I could, and luckily they actually had one.

Then I had to cycle home (after the mandatory sit down afterwards so they can check you are OK- and honestly it was fine and I didn’t even realise she was doing it), had a shower and then finally breakfast, before we went into London.

This time we managed to get further along the crowd and found a big screen where they were broadcasting the speeches- I felt a tiny bit of optimism after this, whereas before I really felt hopeless. One of the MP’s who spoke said that after seeing the march last time it made her rethink her stance, so I think it goes to show that actions like this can make a difference.

Afterwards we went to the Swedish bakery but the person in front of us got the last cinnamon bun! We got a school bread style bun instead- still delicious.

When I got home that evening my back was very sore (I think walking all day and then a long tube ride made it stiffen up) and although I had planned a run in the morning, it didn’t seem sensible. I did some yoga which helped, and then we had breakfast (I’d prepped the baked French toast already) and then later in the afternoon I had a run instead (but a short one) before we went to the cinema.

Leaving my yoga mat out meant I was more likely to stretch when I got home too!

I went for a run to the pink fountain in town- they colour it pink each October for Breast Cancer Awareness, and this year there is even a selfie frame. I’d worn my Run Disney jacket and so inadvertently matched!

At the cinema we saw Official Secrets which was excellent (but also depressing that nothing seems to have changed with the way governments lie to the general population).

I also made pumpkin spice fudge as end of term gifts for my team (basically added a tbs pumpkin puree and some spices to a normal fudge batch, and decorated with white chocolate).

The final week of term was manically busy with observations and meetings on the Tuesday (so lots of prep on the Monday), parents evening Wednesday and Thursday, and then helping to lead a training day on Friday. But we’ve made it!  And if you have reached the end of this, well done!

How was your October? Have you been enjoying Bake Off? There was a really good podcast episode with one of the past winners (Nancy- on the JVN podcast Getting Curious) which I found very interesting as to how the behind the scenes bits work.

Wimpole 10 miles 2019

In 2018 I ran the Wimpole half marathon, and I really enjoyed it, but there was a 10 mile race on the same route, only at 9 miles all the 10 milers headed off to the finish, whereas the half runners ran down (another) big hill, through some woods and back up the hill. This year I decided to opt for the 10 miles instead as I found that psychologically tough, particularly as I was in a pack of runners but once doing the final miles I was pretty much on my own.

The weather was forecast to be awful this year, but thankfully it wasn’t raining when we arrived. It’s a laid back race, where you pick up your pack on the morning. They’d asked for donations for a local food bank, so we dropped some things off, got my number and left my bag in the tent, all in about 10 minutes. They’d emailed out the race instructions because they didn’t want people standing around in the cold and rain for ages at the start- how sensible.

I kept my long sleeved top on until the last possible moment before the start! I did like that they had asked people to walk over the start line as there were huge deep puddles, so they played Chariots of Fire, which I think you have to run in slow motion to?

The race is rather up and down- as you can see it was very muddy and in some places you had to walk because it was so steep and the thick mud made it so hard to get purchase. At about 2 miles I was running along a ridge-line and it started raining quite hard- it was then that I remembered my visor safely in my bag in the bag drop…

The route kept looping near to the main house- from the three loops above we did the top/left one first, then the top right one, and then the lower loop, so some roads or tracks were repeated but in different directions. One part was so steep and claggy from the mud that I had to walk downhill which was really annoying!

On a few of the uphill bits I walked and took a few photos, as trying to run just seemed pointless as it was the kind of running where you were not going any faster but just tiring yourself out. The final mile had an out and back in a field with deep grass and bumpy ground- no chance of speeding up here as I didn’t want to twist an ankle, and when you turned back around you were running into the wind.

As runners finished, they were announcing their names, which is always a nice touch- someone close to the line was calling out the race bib numbers. I was handed a piece of home-made flapjack as I was given my medal- yes please! And water in a can (recyclable- thumbs up).

I changed in the toilets and then we went to the tea room- after being outside in the wind, rain and cold, that pot of tea was just perfect, and I got the last fruit scone!

I didn’t have any idea on my finish time- it was chip timed but we didn’t get a text or anything, and really it was about the run and not about the time. I guessed about 1 hr 45, so I was pretty impressed when I looked on the results and it was 1:46:36.

Baking and Biking!

So at the end of the summer holidays I got my bike out of the Shed of Doom (basically the shed that was in the garden when we moved in, we filled it with things that were in our old garage and then didn’t open it again for 3 years…) and took it to the local shop for a service. Remarkably it was OK, and we have a proper bike shed now (Andy sometimes cycles to work) so it’s been in there for a bit, with me waiting to pluck up the courage to ride it. I needed to get a new helmet (my old one was home to many many slugs and snails and no matter what Holland and Barrett say, snail slime is not going anywhere near my face), and I happened to mention this to my mum the other week. She disappeared for a bit, came back downstairs with a brand new helmet in a box. She’d seen it in Aldi and could not resist the bargain apparently, even though she can’t ride a bike.

It was parkrun’s 15th birthday, and originally my brother was going to go to parkrun, and he usually cycles to Ellenbrook, so I said I’d meet him there, but in the end he couldn’t go, which meant I could go to Panshanger which is nearer to home and also a nicer bike ride. I was a bit apprehensive about it, and left plenty of time, but I really really enjoyed the bike ride- it was so peaceful and it’s much quieter than running!

I’d painted my nails (with my lovely five-free Wideye nail polish) ready for my Sunday race, and it matched well with my new flatband too.

I was very pleased when running to see the long horned cattle- they have been moved so we had a slight course change (which is why you have to be quiet during the run brief even if you go all the time….) to avoid them.

My legs felt quite tired for the first mile or so- the bike ride was only 4 and a bit miles, so not that far but seeing as I hadn’t cycled in years I was using some muscles that had lain dormant for some time!

I took a few photos on the way home to slow things down a bit.  At one point I was running next to a guy who I am pretty sure was wearing a carrier bag under his top as he was rustling along and also absolutely dripping in sweat.

I finished in 31:06, and headed home fairly promptly as I didn’t want to get too cold (I had worn a jacket over my running kit). I also changed gear in the way home (I used to have trouble with the chain coming off, and I didn’t want to faff around with that and risk missing parkrun)- it was all going smoothly.

I do need to work out how to reset my records on my Garmin though, as I tracked it as a run at first (sort it out later on Strava) and so I got a record of my fastest mile (5 mins- er, that is never happening!).  Once home and showered I had breakfast in front of An Extra Slice.

I had to help Andy take down the shed of doom (it was a bit rotten and it turned out that foxes had bashed a hole in the back so we don’t want to encourage that) before walking into town for a haircut.

I also got rather excited because we now have a Hotel Chocolat in WGC! No cafe though (boo). I went to Starbucks to get my free drink and Andy came to meet me for the walk home.

I then did a spot of baking. I’d seen these lovely “Monster workout Cookies” on The Runner Beans Instagram page, and they are just as tasty as they look  (cookies with oats, peanut butter, raisins, chocolate chips and m n m’s).

As I had a race the next morning I got all my kit out, plus a change of clothes as it was forecast to be horrible weather. I also got myself a bike lock (I just left it by the fence at parkrun but sort of hidden in a ditch, but I wouldn’t do that in many places), so I am ready to cycle to more places.

I must credit the lovely Tess @ Fitbits, because her enthusiasm for cycling has been the nudge that I have needed to get my bike out of the old shed, to the repair shop and back on the road.

Do you ride a bike at all? I used to ride all the time when I was at school and uni, as I only learnt to drive in my final year at uni, but since working a bit too far from where I live I have just got out of the habit.