Chadderton Hall parkrun

I love parkrun. I don’t get to go very often as Hubby works a lot of weekends but I love it when I can actually make it. 

Recently we had to go up to Manchester to visit family and while idly browsing the Internet in the hotel I realised there was a parkrun less than a mile away. I was so excited! 

After clearing it with a Hubby I set off to Chadderton Hall parkrun the next morning. I ran down the road and soon found the park. I found some volunteers and followed them on their way back to the start. 

As people started to arrive I realised that this wasn’t going to be as busy as what I’m used to. There must have been 56 runners at most. I’m used to between 200-700 depending on which parkrun I go to. 

The new runners’ briefing advised that this is not a fast course and you can add at least 2 mins to your usual 5k time due to the tight turns. It was a 4 lap course and at one point it runs round a rose garden. 


It was a beautiful setting though. 

The river:


The bridge:


Even the park itself:


I finished 45th. The highest finish I’ve ever had lol!! It was hard though and it did add time to my usual 5k time. It’s not one that I would rush to do again as I’m not a fan of lapped courses, but it was a friendly course with friendly marshalls. 

Definitely worth trying if you are in the area. 

http://www.parkrun.org.uk/chaddertonhall/

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. 🙂

A tale of 5 parkruns

Number 90 on my Day Zero List is to Run 5 Different parkruns. My home parkrun is classed as Cardiff although a closer one has started since I joined up. To be fair, for the amount of time I’ve been signed up, I haven’t actually participated that many times. This is mainly due to the fact that Little Lady has always had swimming lessons on a Saturday morning which has clashed with parkrun. She’s now finished her lessons as the next step is competition which she isn’t interested in. 

This has opened up a lot more time for parkrunning so I’ve been trying to go more often. 

So which parkruns did I run?

1. Cardiff 

Cardiff is an out and back route and is very flat. It was here I got my one and only sub 30 5k  and the one that I am most familiar with.  

2. Porthcawl

Back last Easter we were lucky enough to be offered a caravan near the sea less than an hour away. I packed my running stuff in the hope of running along the shore line. Then Friday night I realised that there was a parkrun in Porthcawl. A few tweets later and I found out where the start line was. I decided to go for it. It was a lot different to Cardiff as it was so open to the elements but it was lovely running along the cliffs near the sea. 

 
3. Penallta (Caerphilly)

parkrun number 3 was the newly started Penallta parkrun. This one was the hardest one as it is quite hilly and has a lot of doubling back which I’m not keen on. However it runs through a country park and has gorgeous views. The cows and the ducks watch as the group runs past as do the fishermen on the lake. Little Lady and I ran this one to celebrate her birthday. I printed out race numbers and the volunteers were kind enough to agree to present her with a medal I had provided so that it could be like a proper race for her.   

4. Pontypridd 

That was pretty much it then as I don’t really like the stress of driving somewhere I don’t really know. Especially if there’s a deadline for getting there. New Year’s Day I went to Cardiff parkrun with a friend. She usually goes to Pontypridd parkrun but this was an extra one for New Year’s Day. She managed to persuade me to go to Pontypridd the next day. 

Little Lady came to run with me and it was absolutely bucketing down with rain. We spent 2 laps dodging massive puddles and the last lap we just decided to run right through them. We were already wet by then anyway and Little Lady absolutely loved splashing through the puddles! A few of my running club were also there and fair play to them they waiting to cheer us over the finish line. Little Lady thought it was brilliant.   

5. Newport

Which left one more for me to visit. The opportunity for some parkrun tourism came about thanks to the weather. Last weekend was so icy that most of our local parkruns cancelled. Newport however, is all trail so the icy conditions didn’t affect the course. 

Saturday morning was so cold as we set off

 
And I made sure I wore my woolly socks.   

The course itself was lovely and we ran loops around this rather lovely lake.   

Completing Newport gave me my 5parkruns and I get to cross off an item on my Day Zero List. 

Since then however I have heard of a few more within an hour’s drive. Can I make 10 different parkruns before the year is out? 

Sub 30

In 2 weeks time I will be running in my local 10k race and I have high expectations for it. Lately, as you know I have been feeling down with my times and it took a look back at last year’s posts to see how far I have actually come. I run once a week with a friend and it’s always a pretty slow one as we spend the whole time gossiping, whinging and putting the world to right! She has recently found a lot of speed in her running and smashed the sub1hr 10k she was looking for back in March. I was complaining to her about my lack of speed and she told me how she had only found her speed since she dropped a stone in weight. It really made me think as I know I have put on weight recently and after weighing myself I was really shocked by the fact I had put on a stone!

I haven’t joined any fat clubs or started any faddy diets but by using an app on my phone to track every thing I eat I have already lost 5lbs in a month. 🙂 It hasn’t been easy as I do like to snack on biscuits when I am at home with D but it also hasn’t been that hard either if you see what I mean? Basically I’ve just tried to make better choices at mealtimes and lower the amount of snacking I do.

Alongside this I have tried to up my running. Between Hubby who works shifts, Little Lady and all her activities, work meetings and various life stuff, I don’t run as much a I would like to. Hubby has been really supportive and has offered to look after the kids while I go out for a run if he is home early. I know that may sound a bit funny but I do feel guilty if I run out of the door the second he gets home so I don’t always go unless he suggests it.

I’ve been doing a lot of speed endurance sessions, run by my running club and I have been improving. Not always time wise but the coach has told me that I run stronger and regulate my breathing a lot better now than I used to. So that’s good too.

At these sessions I’ve been running 5k at 31-32 mins on a hilly course. I have been working hard as my goal for the Caerphilly 10k is to get below 1:10mins. I’ve been so close before (1:10:23) but I can’t get under it!

I then heard read on twitter that Cardiff parkrun was putting on a pacer day and I was really tempted to go. They were pacing even numbers and as I have been getting low 30’s on a hilly course I decided to just go for it and see if I could get a sub 30 on a flat course. Hubby and I juggled arrangements for Little Lady’s swimming lesson so that I could take the car and off I went.

Once there I found the sub 30 pacer and stalked her until the start. I was so geared up for this. I was determined not to give up. The gun started us off and it all went wrong. There were over 700 people trying to run down a narrow path, people were weaving in and out and stopping dead in front of other people. The pacer had to keep the pace so she weaved in and out of people to keep her time. Unfortunately that made it hard for the group to keep up with her as there were so many people and it was so narrow. I had lost her before the 1km marker! I was gutted. I had decided beforehand that if I could keep up with her most of the way around and I struggled near the end and had to drop back then I would accept that as I would have tried my best. But to lose her so early on, and through no fault of my own? Gutting!

We passed the 1km marker and my runkeeper app reported a split time of 5.02min/km! I could have fallen over! For perspective a fast run for me is low 6min/km. I don’t think I have ever had a split that started with a 5 never mind a very low 5!! I decided to keep going as fast as I could just to see what would happen. The second km split was a bit slower but was still a low 5 (5.21min/km) I couldn’t believe it. I was wearing both a long sleeved top and a vest and the sun had decided to make an appearance at this point so I had to stop to take off the long sleeved top. I was boiling! This stop meant that the 3rd km was my slowest at 6.18min/km (usually a fast time for me).

I gave it my all and I honestly don’t think I could have given it anymore. I could barely pick up the pace for a sprint finish and I stood squashed up in the finisher funnel wondering how I was going to be sick without getting it on anyone! Thankfully I wasn’t sick but my legs were like jelly walking back to the car. I had to sit in the car park for awhile before I felt safe enough to drive home!

But it was all worth it. My time? 29.26 😀 Oh yeah! A sub 30 woohoo!! I know I couldn’t keep up that pace for 10k but my sub 70mins is edging closer. Let’s hope I’ve got the pace in a fortnight’s time.