More Park Run Tourism ..

Two consecutive Saturdays and two new Park Runs! After last week’s stopover in Bristol we are currently holidaying in Tenby and in true Park Run custom I searched out my nearest run. The nearest was 10 miles away in Colby, a National Trust property.

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/colby-woodland-garden

This was a bit scary as it meant a drive on unfamiliar roads in the big family car in which I prefer to be a passenger, driving’s not really my thing. However I was more determined to do the run than not and headed off early and had researched my route well. Little Miss joined me too although navigation is not quite in her skill set yet!

We arrived early and parked easily. The run is set in a woodland garden and is truly beautiful and calming. I was really pleased that I got to visit such a beautiful place on holiday and I managed it as a free park run, win win! After the buzz of the traffic at Pomphrey Hill last week which is by a busy A road and motorway this was delightfully peaceful. The run was busy today but it’s peak holiday season and there were lots of visitors doubling the usual number of runners. The briefing was short and as it’s a 3 lapper I would have liked some advice on positioning for overtaking and lapping. I stuck to the etiquette I know, go far right for running, left for overtaking, but it seemed a bit confused in places, I know I’m a plodder but I would never want my running to affect those faster.

The course is described as undulating which is a fair description, there’s not horrendous hills but some definite uphill parts of the route as well as the downhills which were a little slippy today given yesterday’s awful rain. There’s a couple of bridges to pass and lots to see horticulturally and a few manmade structures which looked interesting. Given you do the trail three times I found different things on each lap and really liked the course.

It felt like there was a great core team at Colby and all were very friendly and helpful. I do love an accent and the Welsh lilt is rather gorgeous to be cheered on in! A highlight was the speed in which we got the results,the email came through before we got back home, the quickest results service I’ve experienced by over an hour! Colby also felt remarkable for the number of children participating, perhaps because it had a strong field of holiday makers today this felt a very family run. I would strongly recommend Colby as a Park Run we had a near perfect running conditions today and got to enjoy the beauty of a wonderful NT location. Although I think we saw the best of it on a bright summer’s day, I’m sure it’s a bit harsher in the winter. Best still within an hour of finishing we were in the outdoor pool at our campsite ready to play and relax!

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Park Run ūüŹÉ‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹ Tourism

With the combination of Mr S working some Saturdays and Little Man’s swimming lessons when I have a Saturday free I’m keen to run. This weekend we’re in Bristol visiting family en route to our holiday in Tenby. After a quick internet search I discovered the nearest Park Run was only 10 minutes walk from my Father in Law’s house where we were staying, so perfect for a visit. The conditions were poor we dodged most showers but it was windy and a bit chilly ( though I was still in short sleeves)

Pomphrey Hill Park Run is a 3 lap course with the infamous Pomphrey Hill, a short sharp hill near the end of the lap. Apart from the hill it’s a pretty flat course with down hill to negate the climb. Little Miss joined me for the run but was struggling with the conditions and feeling tired, we walked at times but after 2 laps she decided to retire. I left her with money for a drink and a promise not to move from the pavilion. I ran the last lap pretty fast and think if I had run it alone I would have been close to a PB. When I finished I went to find Little Miss but couldn’t see her. I walked along looking out and then to my surprise I saw her in a group of runners finishing. She had had a sip of her drink and then realised that she could and wanted to finish the Park Run and headed off on lap 3, my little star. I was so proud of her but most importantly she was so pleased of herself and felt so strong and ‘resilient’ (her word which I think comes from the positive mindset work they’ve done at school)

I enjoyed the atmosphere of this Park Run the volunteers really were lovely and so encouraging, especially the lady on top of Pomphrey Hill. I think it was probably quieter today being holiday season and some pretty awful weather but it had a nice community feel. It was great to have a Park Run so close to us and definitely one to return to if we’re at Grandad’s on a Saturday morning.

Park Run

 

Although I run regularly, this year I have finally joined up and started to ‘Park Run.’  I love the idea and ethos of Park Run, a 5k, free, weekly timed run for all and have always been interested in the community.  However living in a rural area, our nearest event is a 40 minute drive, meaning it takes longer to get there, than run it!  Given I’m a busy mum, I’ve been hesitant to manage my time like this but on my #19for 2019 I decided I wanted to be competitive in a sport and Park Run can provide this competition, me against a stopwatch.  I can’t run every week, we have other family commitments and Mr S works alternate Saturdays but I have been trying to do at least one Park Run a month.

My daughter who occasionally runs with me has started to get curious about Park Run so we agreed when she could run 5k she could join me too, she embraced the challenge and quickly proved she could do the distance.  Today was her first Park Run and we ran the course together.  She is at an age where I would be allowed to leave her on own and run on but this doesn’t quite fit in with my view of Park Run, its a supportive and inclusive activity.  I want my daughter to fall in love with Park Run and use it to feel emotionally and physically fit as she approaches her teenage years.  I’m accepting that at the moment, I’m not going to challenge my PB but my new mission is more important.  I also think that with a little more training and practice she’ll be easily pushing my PB in a few months.  I would be really pleased if Little Man started to run too, but at present it would clash with his swimming lessons which he really enjoys.  A Park Run family would enable us to do it more regularly.

Whilst I maintain a degree of anonymity on this blog, the first letter of my home Park Run is quite rare so those doing the alphabet challenge often run it for this purpose. It is a lovely route, 2 laps, one small, one longer with a long winding hill on both laps (not so keen on this aspect!) Its in a beautiful setting, a trail run through woods and then open fields with some stunning views. Its a nice size event, ranging from 320 – 550 runners in the weeks I’ve done it, whilst this seems a big difference a neighbouring run was cancelled on the 550 attendance date.   Fortunately there’s a big car park and even on the busiest run, it was easy to get a space in the car park for the very reasonable Park Run special rate of ¬£1.

At present, I have done all my Park Runs at the same venue, typically the week I was going to try a different one it was cancelled and I went back to my home run.  There are another two fairly close by, ie less than an hour’s drive which are on my list to try soon.  I’ve also looked up Park Runs near my parents house and our holiday destination for a little Park Run tourism later this year.   I like the idea of running a Park Run whilst away from home, I know I’m always interested when the visitors are introduced in the briefing to find out where they are from and their local Park Run, it does feel like a community.  Not only do I run Park Run,  I listen to the brilliant weekly podcast, With Me Now and am slowly picking up the lingo and challenges! Realistically I can’t do more than I am now but perhaps as the years go on, I’ll be clocking up the milestones.  I’ve also followed the blog Maria Runs (mariaruns.com) for years and she’s a big Park Run fan so its interesting to read her posts.

Park Run is such an inspirational and innovative idea and one that I really enjoy being part of.  I hope I can keep running for many years to come and enjoy being part of the special community.

Night Running

hand

This week, I am feeling fragile and that my confidence has been shattered. I am that person always in control, in my element in a crisis, cool, calm, collected. I am the friend who never gets dangerously drunk so I can make sure everyone else stays safe. I am the strong one that no one thinks needs looking after, reliable, dependable until now… On Monday night I did my normal night run, I needed it after a weekend of sickness in our household and a busy work day whizzing around my head, I needed that freedom to run, to run fast and free. Corny as it seems, running is my time, my therapy. I was quickly in the zone and loving every step and then I fell. I have no idea how, but it was a heavy fall on a dark pavement and after the initial shock of the fall I quickly realised I was hurt and bleeding quite a lot. I weighed up my options and realised the simplest was to walk home, by the time I got there, limping and in tears with blood everywhere I was a bit of a wreck. I had two badly scraped knees which were already swelling and tender to touch, my left palm was missing a lot of skin and I had deep cuts on my right hand which were bleeding heavily. I was also pretty nauseous and light headed with shock, I cleaned myself up as best as I could and then quite numb in pain and shock just sat down unable really to think or move. After a difficult night’s sleep when I woke a couple of times in pain, mostly with my knees and right hand I realised that I needed to go to our local cottage hospital for my hand which was still bleeding and heavily swollen. It was glued and stitched back together and is now padded and bandaged whilst it heals. Although the physical injuries have been cleaned and protected until they are healed, I’m not sure that I’m healed, I am so shaken and numb by the fall. This is worrying me as this is not me, I get my knocks, shake myself down and just got on with life, no drama, feeling sorry for myself, but since the fall I have been cautious and hesitant, I’m quieter and feel withdrawn. I have been running for 8 years now and have had 3 falls, a twisted ankle, cut knee and now this, all have taken place on a dark night run, our roads are lit intermittently and the surfaces aren’t always as smooth as they could be.   As important as my running is to me I can’t help but come to the conclusion that it’s time to stop running in the dark and only do daylight runs in winter. It is a difficult decision, my runs will be fewer and less thinking time but I need to look after myself so I can look after my family. Sadly our gym closed in July so I can’t swap for gym sessions on the treadmill, perhaps it’s time to eat healthily in the winter, do a DVD and step up my walking ready for a Spring full of running challenges.

Wow …

care

I have always loved this poem and I was reminded of it tonight when something wonderful happened to me on my evening run.  It was only to be a quick run, a 3o minute blast to get back in time to pick up Little Miss from Brownies.  As the dark nights are drawing in I was keen to make the most of my run in the light and I took one of my favourite routes along the coastal path.  The scene was just stunning tonight, there was a stillness and calm on the sea and the sunset reflecting off the water was beautiful.  However, something caught my eye in the sea, at first I thought it was just a few waves crashing but the more I looked I realised I was looking at dolphins swimming in the sea.  I stopped running and just stood and stared.  It was an amazing moment, one in which time and mile splits suddenly were irrelevant, my breath really was taken away by the beauty and magic of nature.  I may not have run my best time, or achieved a personal goal but it was one of the most awe inspiring runs I have ever had the privilege to do.

Happiness is ….. Running

574cb0d9299d837bd6b11a0d2c935499 trainers

Up until about a year ago, I was a runner. I ran regularly with my club and on my own.¬† I ran races up to half marathons, did our club championship and loved my sport.¬† And then I lost my va va voom, I was busy and tired, a hard, cold¬†Winter had ruined my confidence and then when helping Mr S in the garden I slipped and hurt myself badly.¬† The initial diagnosis was rest for two months but after this time I was still struggling and in pain.¬† For the last four months I have patiently trained on the cross trainer and cycled, my tentative steps back into running hurt me, the pain was too much and I returned to the cross trainer.¬† However this week my beloved gym has closed and I have been brave enough to try running again.¬† I was so anxious, the pain has been¬†intense and I worried about my form, recovery etc.¬† However, I am so excited that I have now done two runs without pain during or after the run, they are shorter than normal, only 40 minutes each so far¬†and I have walked a little but I am running again.¬†¬† I can progress from here, I’m already planning a few park runs, a local 10 miles and a Spring half marathon and that lovely runner’s feeling is returning although I will start cautiously and listen to my body!¬† I feel so different when I run, admittedly I have run in pretty perfect conditions this week, early in the morning or late at night when its been warm with a breeze and I¬†have managed beautiful routes off road but running changes me, it makes me happier, calmer, more relaxed.¬† I have time to reflect, think and plan.¬† I can listen to music and be creative and imaginative, it is my time.¬† I am so happy that I have running as my thing again.

Marathon Marshal

Yesterday was our local marathon.¬† Its a new marathon, the brainchild of some friends from the Running Club and is¬†a brutal¬†hilly trail race taking in some of the most¬†amazing countryside and views you will ever see.¬† It has been really well received by the running community and won a national running magazine’s award as the country’s best marathon.¬† Even after my experience yesterday which was so inspiring and motivating, I’m not convinced I would ever do the race but marshalling was a brilliant¬†alternative to experience¬†it and one I would happily repeat.

1m  21m

My day began at mile 1 and was a nice and easy introduction to the race, I just shouted a few cheery good mornings, pointed to the correct direction and spotted friends running.¬† As it was so early in the race, my duty was over in 10 minutes, so off to the next location between 21 and 22 miles.¬† This was where the real work took place as I was running the water station at the top of a hilly trail.¬† It was so remote that I had to be driven there in a 4×4 support vehicle and was in contact with a radio borrowed from the police, I loved my look, high viz vest and radio, I looked the part.¬† By mile 21 the field had certainly spread and I think there was around 3.5 hours between the leaders and sweepers.¬† The race attracts a mix of athletes, it was a privilege to see one of this Summer’s marathon stars¬†as one of the two front runners whilst I loved encouraging and jogging along with some of the lone runners.¬† I¬†was also very vocal cheering¬†all runners through my station, anything to raise a smile after a really tough hill.¬† I was lucky to be stationed at one of the most beautiful parts of the race, many runners did¬†take the time to look round and take in the natural beauty of the area.

Whilst the marshalling took longer than doing the race would have, it was wonderful to give something back to the running community.  I have done many races before, listened to the cheerful encouragement, received smiles and I hope that my performance as a marshal helped the runners to enjoy their marathon.  The marathon is a community event and shows that even in  a small town like ours with inspiration, enthusiasm and hard work you can do something amazing.