Snowy runs and St Albans parkrun repeats

On the 10th December I went to St Albans parkrun with Dad. I had realised that I’d not been there for about a year, and was keen to try out their newest route. It was the first parkrun I did, and it used to be out along a path, 3 laps of the lake and then back. For a long time it’s been on the alternative course, laps of a field, because of flooding by the lake, but they have created a course that takes in the lake (confusingly, still 3 laps but not like the old route at all).

It was a frosty and beautiful morning- some of the lake was frozen, the grass was covered in frost but with bright sunshine so it just looked amazing. One of those perfect winter days.

My hands were so cold- I took my gloves off briefly to collect my token but that was it. It really was freezing.
The Sunday was just as cold, and my long run was another freezing but beautiful run, although this time under cloud rather than gorgeous winter sunlight.
In the afternoon I popped out on a walk to collect some greenery for making a wreath, and saw holly leaves just draped in frost. We also put up our Christmas tree.
On Monday I woke up to loads of snow, meaning work was closed (well, we had to set online work). I made the most of being home by heading out on a run at lunch time as I knew that I would not be running before work on frozen pavements on the following days. Of course I made a snowman in the garden too- I am sure that is a rule?
I could not get over how much snow we had! Back in 2021 we had some snow on the Sunday night, but it was all gone by the Wednesday. This was still around the following Sunday, and of course unless pavements had been cleared they were really dangerous. We attempted a few walks in the week but that was not easy as the pavements were so slippery. (We do own a snow shovel and had cleared our driveway and the pavement in front of our house on the Monday, but I appreciate that not everyone can do that).
One day I went out on a lunch time walk as the snow was not as bad there. I spotted some cool Christmas postbox toppers!
(Snow on my Monday run, Stitch Christmas cup and my wreath)
Snowy St Albans parkrun and our garden a week after the snow, all the cancellations on the 5k parkrunner app, and Christmas gear on at parkrun)

On Saturday 17th December I was meant to be heading to Letchworth parkrun for a meet up with the Herts branch of Vegan Runners. However, the snow was still around and loads of parkruns had already cancelled. Letchworth were on, pending on a morning course check, but you have to drive along narrow residential side roads and I wasn’t confident that they would be OK (lots of the side roads around here were still terrible and icy), and I would have had to leave before their course check had been made, so I made the decision to go to St Albans again as they were on (as they have their off road course that they can use). It was great fun, crunching through the snow, and it felt easier than when it’s muddy. I wasn’t even as cold as the previous week as I had taken my gloves off before the end.

It was only after that I realised I could have tried for Groundhog day (2 identical times, 2 weeks running) as I don’t often go to the same parkrun twice in a row, but with the two different courses it would not have been easy. 30:24 the first week and then 33:05 on the snowy (and hillier) route. But as ever, very thankful that the event was still on.

Hove Prom parkrun and Marmite fries! (Brighton weekend)

We had an occasional day at work one Friday in November (this is when the school is closed- we have one day a year and can choose when it will be- something to do with making up for the bank holidays that are in the school holidays). Anyway, in the past we have headed off to a European Christmas market, but this year the Friday was a week too early, so we went down to Brighton instead.

We had planned to get the train, and had paid for parking, bought our tickets and were waiting on the platform, but there had been signalling failures and something else (one problem on the northern line and one on the southern line), then the platform changed and we could not get up the steps and across the bridge in time, and then the next one was cancelled, so we ended up getting a refund for our train tickets and driving down, so we got there much later than planned, but as that was the Thursday night we still had all weekend ahead of us.

A walk to the beach huts, delicious vegan pancakes, a walk by the sea with a B&B chai

We went out for breakfast on the Friday- there is a fab cafe (Wolfox) that has a host of vegan options, so I went for the pancakes (of course). The weather was amazing for November- blue skies for miles, so we walked up to Hove, popped in and out of shops and generally got our fill of fresh air and sunshine.

It being close to Christmas (ha ha) meant that Pret were doing their delicious Christmas sandwich. It is good that lots of companies make these fake meat alternatives to help people transition over, but as someone who didn’t ever like the taste of meat, I don’t really want to eat a vegan turkey sandwich, and Pret seems one of the few places that actually uses veggies rather than the meat alternatives.

We went for dinner in Purezza (all vegan pizza place that is amazing) and then had another walk around after that too.

Hove prom parkrun selfie on the beach, marmite fries and vegan burgers, parkrun token and of course another drink from B&B (one for each day)

On Saturday I headed to Hove Prom parkrun as that was the closest to our hotel. It was their 300th event which got me thinking back to when I first went there. Back in 2015 it was my first UK tourism at their 17th event. It has got a lot bigger since then!  They had pacers so I tried to keep between 29 and 28 minutes, and ended up with 28:02.

Andy had been out to the flowerpot bakery to buy one of their vegan chocolate almond coconut croissants, so I had that in the room as we had to check out at 11. Then it was time for more wandering, more sunshine and more fresh air. Perfect.

Before heading home we went to Oowee for vegan burgers and Marmite fries. Something that I did not know existed until seeing them on the menu. They were so good! But so salty! We shared a large portion and that was probably too much- we will know for next time.

Autumn run scenes from Sunday, vegan croissant from Flour Pot Bakery, photo from Hove Prom and tea with Taskmaster

Of course I had to pop in to Bird and Blend for a few times too- they do the best chai lattes, fact. Then it was time to head home for tea and Taskmaster, and then a regular Sunday with a long run in gorgeous autumnal weather and of course a croissant brought back from Brighton.

Where would your ideal long weekend be?

I’m giving in to the Christmas vibes!

I am usually very much if it isn’t December, it isn’t Christmas, but now that it’s dark all the time (why do the clocks still go backwards????) and the fun of half term is over, I am embracing the festive vibes. I’m not saying I’m putting up decorations or anything like that, but I am saying I may have eaten a few mince pies this last week.

Christmas cake being mixed, mince pie and mince pie tea, and awesome marzipan and ginger muesli from Borough market

In my defence, if I have walked into town to get my free Caffe Nero drink, and I am very tempted by their delicious vegan mince pies but don’t buy one because they are expensive, and then I walk  past Greggs and they are advertising their vegan mince pies (a pack of 6 for less than one CN one) then really, what am I meant to do?

My Christmas themed tea club came, and I also caved and ordered a Bonne Maman jam advent calendar, so it’s just really festive stuff going on from now on.

Morning run scenes, Tropic foot soak and amazing Crosstown Halloween doughnut bites which we finished on the Monday

It was back to work with a busy week after half term. I wasn’t sure I’d keep up the morning runs, and have now cut them back to 2 mornings a week. I do a running club at school one day, and I think if I stick to 2 midweek runs I’ll enjoy them more.  I’d been given the Tropic foot soak as a happy half term gift and it was brilliant after Disney (and also after being at work in wet socks all afternoon as I got wet doing running club at lunch time and didn’t have any spare to change into).

Yoga wasn’t on, but that turned out to be lucky, as I had sprained my wrist doing some gardening, and so would not have managed many of the poses. Thankfully by the following weekend it was feeling much better.

Vegan crunchie style chocolate, parkrun barcode, cosy times reading and watching Taskmaster

On Saturday I was off to Jersey Farm parkrun. Our wellbeing team at work had asked for ideas for socials to do (as we can’t gather at the moment) and I’d suggested a parkrun, and this date was chosen. A few people were interested but in the end only one person came along. My dad used to be her headteacher, so the three of us ran together and had a lovely chat. She wasn’t sure if she would be able to run the whole way as she had not run for a while since doing a half marathon a few years ago (and we did say that walking was absolutely fine) but she managed it and was so pleased! Sadly she hadn’t managed to print her barcode, but she was so happy to have run and said she will be back.

The rest of the day was nothing to write home about- a walk into town, lots of cleaning and some work, and then I spent the evening reading (you can only have the new books from the library for a week so I was trying to see how much of it I could read- I didn’t manage it though luckily Andy popped in and could renew it in person) and watching Taskmaster.

I was also so pleased to track down the Buttermilk honeycomb bar- basically a vegan crunchie, as I used to love those. I had to pick up a prescription in the week and the pharmacy was right by a little Tesco, so I popped in (actually looking for vegan croissants) and found these instead. It was so tasty, but very sweet (and massive)- I had it over two days and already wished I’d bought more as I haven’t seen them anywhere else.

Autumn run scenes and some chocolate from my vegan box

On Sunday I saw a message on our running club page about a Sunday run. I wasn’t sure I’d make it, so didn’t say I’d be there, but thought I’d run in that direction, and luckily met them running down the hill when I was running up it (they meet at the station but there are many routes to take from there so I could have missed them entirely). It was a gorgeous day for running (so much better than last week) and I loved having a chat while I was running. Some of them didn’t realise about the new parkrun milestone tops (eg instead of V25, then participant 50, 100, 250, you can now have v or participant for 25, 50, 100 etc). I think I injected some new parkrun enthusiasm as they were closer to their next milestone than they realised.

Do you like advent calendars? Are you a Christmas person?