Blickling parkrun

As previously mentioned, at the end of October we had a weekend in Norfolk. There were quite a few parkruns fairly close, but the most interesting to me was Blicking, at a National Trust venue. On the Friday drive up we stopped in Norwich and had dinner in The Waffle House (they do an amazing hummus and avocado waffle)- this would be good to combine with a parkrun if you were going to any of the ones in Norwich.

Even though our Air BnB was around 10 miles away from Blicking, it was a good half an hour drive through twisty country single track lanes- not my favourite!

Wet in the car on the way, waffles from Norwich, parkrun token bucket and start area

As I walked to the car park I got absolutely soaked and I did consider going back, but I knew I’d regret it. I was dripping all over my notes for the journey, and the first bit of the drive was not fun as the lanes were full of huge puddles, but the rain eased off and when I arrived it had stopped raining altogether.

It was easy to find as I got closer as of course the NT has the lovely brown signs. The car park was nice and big (and free for members if you scanned your card) and the start was close to the car park.

The course was just under two laps, so the main briefing was close to the car park, and then we were all walked to the start, completing the just under two laps. It was through really pretty grounds, with views across fields, a section through wood and with some interesting buildings to see. The paths were fairly wide, it was undulating but nothing hilly. As it was nearly two laps you ran past the finish area on your first lap which was good too- lots of volunteers out clapping etc.

I got to use my new 250 band for the first time- I was so paranoid when I ordered it that I would have entered the incorrect barcode number, so I was very relieved when the results text came through!

89th venue visited and another very enjoyable one. There was a nice looking cafe (The Muddy Boots cafe- what a great name!) but I was heading back to breakfast with Andy.

Tesco Wicked Kitchen cinnamon roll for breakfast, sea views, massive lunch and the pretty stained glass window in the place we stayed in

We spent the rest of Saturday exploring various parts of Norfolk- a walk along the coast to see the seals, an NT place actually called Horsey Windpump (it’s actual name- a sort of windmill that pumped water from the land) and then back to Blicking for a late (and huge) pub lunch and a walk around the water and through the woods.

Walking through the woods and then a cosy cup of tea to warm up

So, event 89 visited and hooray that my 250 band scanned! Much easier than flipping over the blue one (as the barcode is now on the outside but ICE details are on the inside).


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? 

Royal Parks Half marathon 2022

At the end of August, someone in my running club was keen to transfer their Royal Parks place to someone else, as they had a marathon the weekend before and the weekend after. I’ve applied for the ballot a few times, but never been successful, so I decided to go for it.

After and then before!

As it started at 9 (and there were possibly train strikes), we stayed in London the night before, so I did Panshanger parkrun first and then we headed into London in the afternoon.

Panshanger parkrun scenes

Hyde Park, Crosstown (one each for Saturday and one each for Sunday), steps and a pumpkin spice latte from Bird and Blend.

Of course we had to go to Crosstown- excitingly we went to the all-vegan one in Soho which meant I could choose from anything! Although it was sad news that they no longer do the Pip and Nut Almond Butter scroll one. We had to walk to the race village to pick up my race number, which apparently was posted (but in mid-November it has still not arrived).  Between walking there, walking to Crosstown and walking to Bird and Blend I somehow managed 40,000 steps- possibly not ideal the day before a half!

The morning of the race was beautiful- cold but blue skies and no wind- perfect. The race village was really organised, and you only got into your starter pens a few minutes before the start- until then you were in the village and they called each colour pen. In my training I’d not run as many long runs as I would have liked, due to fitting the long runs around junior parkrun, so I was aiming for anything around 2 hour 15 mark. I ended up around the 2hr 10 pacer for most of the run, (although of course it’s chip time and I think they started behind me) so I was pleased with 2:15:29 as my final time. I only looked at my watch once at the half way point, and tried to run on feel. I took photos as I ran around, and really made the most of seeing all of the London landmarks. I really enjoyed the part in the park, even though it felt as if we looped back a lot, I liked looking out for runners going in the other direction.

I hadn’t sorted the app or anything, and Andy was going to meet me at the finish, so I put an air tag in my pocket so he could see where I was. This worked well until I got close to the finish area, as then it was so busy, none of the mobile networks were working. I managed to find him quickly.

I chose to have a tree planted instead of getting a finishers t-shirt, and we were quickly given water (in a can), a banana (hooray), medal (made of wood), a buff, a reusable bag (which I use loads as it folds up neatly into a pocket so is really handy) and a teddy, and then the t-shirt people were directed one way and the tree people another way. Later on I received an email with a photo of my sapling and the what three words showing where it is planted (somewhere in Scotland). I really loved that aspect and hope that more races follow that lead.

We paid £10 to get a late 2pm checkout (Premier Inn), so we headed back to the hotel and I had time for a shower before we checked out. Mildred’s was around the corner so we went there for lunch, although I ended up having their blueberry pancakes and a delicious carrot, apple and ginger juice. So good.

I think I spent the rest of the afternoon on the sofa catching up on Disney movies and Taskmaster! All in all a great weekend. I am not sure I’d do it again as it was expensive to stay in London, but I am so glad that I got to experience it one year.

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?