Local parkrun tourism and baking book decisions

After the parkrun celebration evening on Tuesday, the week has been fairly normal- I went to yoga on Wednesday and had another attempt at the wheel (or crab as someone else called it)- annoyingly my hair kept getting in the way when I was trying to put my head on the floor, and I don’t feel quite strong enough in my arms, but I got most of the way there. I am still really loving it- the class is challenging and I feel aches the next day, but there is a lot of relaxation during it too, and this week when we were covered in a soft blanket and given a drop of geranium oil during the final relaxation, it was just bliss.

On Thursday after work I did a 4 mile run- I was feeling fairly tired (a lot of people have been off ill at work which means the days are busier than usual) and didn’t want to be out too late. I did the route in reverse and I think I prefer it that way.

I have been totally rocking my leg warmers because my thermal tights are not quite ankle length (not sure why). I also finally tried out the “new” trainers that I may even have bought before we moved house- or maybe July. Anyway, a long time ago. They seemed pretty comfy luckily!

We have been trying some new dinners recently- a few weeks ago we tried this warm cauliflower and pomegranate salad (although I have since seen some similar versions where the caluiflower is roasted, and that may be better for winter),   and on Thursday we had this delicious courgette, tomato and mozzerella bake (it was from the Waitrose magazine too, but I can’t find it on their website just yet)- the strips of courgette were griddled first, you made a sauce with onions, garlic and tomatoes, and then layered it in a dish along with the courgettes, cheese and breadcrumbs- it was so tasty and warming on a chilly evening.

On Saturday Dad picked me up, and along with my brother and mum, we headed off to Stevenage parkrun. It started back in May, and it is only up the road from where I live (a 20 minute drive up the A1M) but we have just not managed to get around to visiting it. Seeing the very frosty start meant I spent a lot of the morning checking the list of parkruns that are cancelled, and the Stevenage parkrun facebook page, but nothing appeared.

When we arrived at the car park, we sat in the car for a bit as it was so cold. Once we got out (at 8.50am) we realised that we had parked in the second car park (there are two listed on the course page) which apparently was a 10 minute walk from the start- oops. We then walked fairly quickly, but runners were still parking and walking behind us. We knew we should go to the new runners briefing, but we knew it was a two lap course and nothing complicated (and we will always be following someone in front). We could see a big crowd of people in the distance so guessed that was the start line, and it only looked to be 5 minutes away. I happened to say “I wonder how many runners they get” and a guy walking past started chatting, saying they got over 200 fairly regularly. He then headed off into a tiny car park, and we followed him (luckily as the route we were heading along turned out to end at a little boat marina thing).

Normally you would see the finish funnel and a lot of high viz jackets,and we were looking for the RD in the white and blue tabbard, but we couldn’t see anyone. My mum has never been to one before so we were saying it may have given her a bit of a strange impression as it didn’t seem as organised as normal. My guess was that their storage locker had frozen shut (I don’t know if they have one, but we do at Ellenbrook and I could imagine it happening- our shed lock froze at school this week). At 9am a guy ran past shouting “new runners, follow me”, so we did, along with maybe around 30 people. He gave the briefing and explained that they didn’t have access to something right then, so there were no signs on the course, and no finish funnel at that moment. The paths were icy in places, and he said there would be marshals warning of particularly slippery places.

Then the RD gave the main briefing (apologising for his lack of megaphone- that was obviously with the other bits that they couldn’t get to), and again warning of ice- “don’t sacrifice your health for a pb” was a good piece of advice.

We started off fairly slowly (well, my dad and I- my brother usually sets off quicker) and we had a nice chatty run. I really enjoyed the route and I wasn’t expecting to. I didn’t know the park at all, and of course the frosty morning helped to make it more beautiful. It was pretty flat, going around the lake and then through a wooded area. It was so cold though- my toes warmed up on the second lap.  I totally lost my bearings and I happened to glance at my watch at 145 miles, and commented to Dad “we’re half way” and then he pointed out he could see the start area from where we were! We waved at mum on our way past and told her we were half way.

None of the marshals had high viz jackets so we just thanked anyone who was stood about- I am sure at least one of them just happened to be in the park, but you know, we are a friendly bunch! On the second lap, some of them did, and by the time we got to the finish it was all set up, so it seemed their problem was sorted.

The finish was up a short incline, and as we were coming towards it we overtook someone and so were just behind my brother, so we decided to try and catch him and finish 1,2,3 but then he overtook a guy ahead of him and I told Dad to push up the hill to try and catch him, but he didn’t manage it, so he ended up stopping a bit short of the finish line and let me cross it first.

We had a good negative split of 10.23, 9.14 and 8.50, and both of us had the same time of 29.04, with my brother being just ahead at 28.48.

Mum had found someone to chat to (the wife of the person who started Stevenage parkrun) who had pointed out that the finish was not quite in the same place, and as we were having our chips scanned she walked over to us. We had the obligatory photo of course, before heading back to the car.

Then we headed back home, where we had hot drinks and warm croissants- such a lovely start to the weekend. It was so nice to share parkrun with mum too- she is always happy to make us breakfast after, but it was good for her to see how it all works and why we all love it so much.

(That was my 93rd parkrun, my 15th course, and 14th UK course)- on a side note Stevenage was very male- dominated- I was in position 112, but was only the 14th female- not sure if that is a big jump but it seems it- normally it seems to me that there is about a 1:2 ratio, but that’s more like 1:10.

I’ve bought two new baking books this week- I finally bought the Puddings cookbook by the people who run The Pudding Stop in St Albans (mainly for their amazing peanut butter and salted caramel brownie recipe), and then this nut butter cook book.

I love the Pip and Nut butters- proper drippy peanut butter, and delicious varieties like crunchy maple peanut butter, and when I saw this on Amazon and “looked inside” it was right up my street. For one, there is a section on toast, and if Andy didn’t do our cooking I would probably end up living off toast (I do like other things, but I get carried away with work in the evenings, and then it gets late, and I am hungry and can’t be bothered to cook), and it also had so many other amazing sounding recipes including almond butter banana bread, and a wonderful looking baked brioche French toast. I don’t know where to begin!

At the end of last year we saw Moana in the cinema, and I absolutely loved it- I do love Disney but I am not a big princess fan, I prefer their other stories. This was beautiful, and the songs are fantastic (although “You’re welcome” sounds a lot like the song from the Community Christmas special about the glee club, and the bit where she sings “I am Moana” sounds a bit like “I am a Mormon”, plus when the crab sings at times he sounds like the Flight of the Conchords Bowie impressions- and yes I do know it’s him singing)- since seeing it pretty much every time I have been in the kitchen I have played the soundtrack. So imagine my delight when this (and I can’t work out how to embed) popped up on DYRT on facebook- I love the parkrun versions of songs, and mixing Moana with parkrun is just genius. I love it. Or for some more traditional songs you can see the St Albans parkrun band performing “Oh Eight Fifty Nine” at the volunteer night. They always have such funny lyric adaptations on their facebook page, and to see one being performed is a treat, and possibly a total ear worm. Although the one that played after was them playing the Ghostbusters song (on Halloween) and I was a bit disappointed as it seems like they should have shouted “parkrunners” instead of “Ghostbusters”…

I am doing the run report next weekend, so I may need to think of some inspiration in the week too!

How has your weekend been? Are you loving this gorgeous frosty weather? (Apart from de-frosting the car first thing of course).  What have you seen in the cinema recently? We are off to La La Land next week.

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