Pacing myself

A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered myself to pace 35minutes at the Pontypridd parkrun pacer day. I’ve taken part in pacer days twice before at Cardiff. The first time I got sub 32 and the second time I got my one and only sub 30. The Pontypridd organisers were looking for a 35minute pacer and I decided to give back and volunteer.

As soon as I had offered my services I started to doubt my ability to keep to the time. I still remember very vividly how hard a 35 minute 5k used to feel. This post shows how pleased I was to smash my PB and I still wasn’t near 35minutes!

The only way to put my mind to rest was to go out and run a 35minute 5k and I was really surprised by how easy it felt. I could see how far I’ve come and I prayed that it would still feel as easy on the day so that I could chat my way around and keep to the time.

I arrived earlier than normal so that I could attend the volunteer briefing and hopefully settle my nerves a little bit. This is the park that we run around.

Once I had identified myself to the Run Director I was given a lovely bib to wear and stood in a huddle with others wearing a similar bib with varying numbers between 21 and 35!

At 9am on the dot we set off and I was a bit disappointed that no one had wanted to run with me. I still kept to my 35min target though and ran the first smaller lap on my own and the start of the first bigger lap. Then I caught up with a friend who was struggling to get back after an injury. She had gone off in front of me but was struggling to keep up her pace. As I passed her I offered some encouragement and she decided to stick with me. Less than 200m further on I picked up Gemma who was also on a return to running after a break and was struggling. We ran on, me chatting and joking with both the ladies and a family who we kept bumping into.

The family consisted of a mum with 3 young boys. We had had a chat earlier in the run and the mum had said they would probably only do 2 laps as she didn’t think the little one would manage the whole course. Every time I saw them I offered encouragement to each of the boys as they were doing fantastically. There was no whinging or complaining. They were so focused, it was humbling to see on children so young. They were so determined.

As we rounded the last corner and the route drops down towards the finish line I pushed the ladies to sprint finish. As they set off in front of me, the young boys overtook me. They were flying! I shouted encouragement at them and the ladies as we came down the last straight and I was so proud when both ladies came in under 35 minutes! Perfect!

After the run I congratulated both ladies that had run with me and I also went over to speak to the boys to tell them how fantastic they had been. They seemed pretty pleased with their achievement and rightly so.

I then went home and showered and changed and later on in the afternoon I was browsing on Facebook when I saw this posted on the local parkrun page.

It really made me smile. Thank you to the mum who took time out to post this. It really made my day. 🙂

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Build it and they will come

At the end of February the Toddler group I started last year was 1 year old. To be honest I couldn’t believe that it had lasted a year as numbers had been so low up until Christmas. I had started to doubt whether it should carry on past it’s first birthday. But thankfully God provided and for the past 3 months numbers have been increasing steadily.

In order to thank the faithful ones who had been coming since the beginning and to praise God for the increase in numbers I wanted to do something special for our birthday. I wanted it to be different and I wanted it to be fun. Then I had a crazy idea. The more I thought about it, the more the idea grew on me. I mentioned it to hubby in passing and raising his eyebrows he reminded me that I would need permission from the church elders. There’s always one party pooper isn’t there?? Lol!!

I cautiously broached the idea with the elders and all 4 of them saw no problem with it at all. I truly am so blessed to work with the people I do. So what was the plan? The plan was to hold a beach party. But it was February so it would have to be inside 😉 I wanted to cover the floor of the vestry with sand and buckets and spades and let the kids build sandcastles.

Once it was approved by the elders I ordered almost a ton of play sand. Once ordered, I swayed between “A TON?? That’s way too much!!” and “ARGH!! I’ll need to buy more as it’ll never cover all the floor!”

It was due to arrive on the Thursday before so I cleared the room, swept and mopped and put down some tarpaulin. Then the delivery driver rang, he was 10 minutes away!! I couldn’t wait. I was lucky that the driver had a trolley to bring the pallet over the road and all the way up to the door. Hubby helped him push it up the small incline, (not that small when you are pushing a ton of sand up it 😉 ) I signed for it and it was time for the hard work to begin.

We had borrowed a gorgeous pink wheelbarrow from a friend and we began shovelling sand into the wheelbarrow, which hubby then bumped over the door step and into the church.

The first barrow of sand going down 🙂

The “beach” slowly started to appear in the vestry.

We shovelled and shovelled until there was no more sand left in the bag.

Then came the fun bit. Making it look like a beach.We bought palm tree decals (seen stuck to the doors) from the party aisle at my local What! store, we put up an umbrella and the little play tents.

Once that was all done I needed to cross off number 33 from my Day Zero List – Build a Sandcastle. It was the perfect opportunity. 🙂

The kids had an absolutely fantastic time and we also had a record number of attendees. I absolutely loved seeing their faces as they walked through the door and saw the sand. For some of them it was the very first time they had seen sand. Even the parents enjoyed themselves. It was the best 2 hours we’ve ever had and no one wanted to leave.

Well until I mentioned tidying up of course!!!!!