I spoke too soon

After bombing it round Edinburgh parkrun last week for a PB, I was sure it would be months before I managed another one.

I got another one this morning.  Whoops.

Today’s parkrun didn’t feel anywhere near as fast as last week – there were many stretches where I felt I was taking it easy.  I still somehow managed a 30:38, a fourteen-second improvement on last week.  Very happy!

I really feel like sub-30 might be on this year now.  If I’ve not managed it by the second week of November, I will be making use of the Newcastle parkrun pacer week and attempting to keep up with the 30-minute pacer.  The pacers at Newcastle tend to be a bit too fast so I’m not sure how I’d get on, but we’ll see!  Sadly I’m doing races and/or otherwise engaged on all the intervening pacer weeks (Newcastle does one the second week of every month), so I will have to be patient.

Another quiet afternoon and evening working (and listening to Geth working out DJ stuff for a wedding disco playlist!).

OOTD 4th August 2018
OOTD: super comfy hanging-around-the-house outfit that could have been easily dressed up if we’d decided to go out tonight (we didn’t). Bonus mirror selfie as Geth was busy DJing. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), t-shirt modified Deviant/Fruit of the Loom (thrifted from Geth 2014, originally from the early 2000s), leggings Primark (2018), shoes La Redoute (2018).

parkrun tourism: Edinburgh

When Geth and I were in Scotland this weekend, we went out to Cramond on the Saturday morning to do Edinburgh parkrun.

I’m in Edinburgh fairly often for obvious reasons, and so I’ve done Edinburgh parkrun five times now – second in quantity only to Newcastle.  It’s a lovely flat out-and-back course with a lollipop loop at the halfway point, and on a good day you get fairly spectacular views of the Firth of Forth.  They also have an infamous ‘parkrun weather window’ – so although I’ve often been there on days when it’s been pissing with rain before or after the parkrun, it’s never rained during the parkrun itself!

This last weekend, the conditions were particularly good – not too hot, not too windy, could have been less crowded but it wasn’t too bad.  I went out fairly fast, and I found I was able to keep it up.  I knew I was doing well, ’cause I was knackered most of the way round – but it wasn’t until I got to the finishing straight and Geth was standing there shouting ‘PB is ON’ that I allowed myself to hope.  I couldn’t pull off a sprint finish, ’cause I didn’t have the energy left, but I was able to speed up just enough to get a time of 30:52 – which is 54 seconds faster than my previous PB from April!  I doubt I’ll beat that again for a while!

Looking forward to being back at Edinburgh parkrun around Christmas time.

parkrun tourism: Whitby

Canada part six…


On the Saturday in Toronto, Geth and I got up very early, and went to Ontario’s only parkrun, Whitby parkrun.

We walked for about forty-five minutes to get to the train station, bought tickets, spent another forty-five minutes on the train, and arrived in Whitby shortly after eight o’clock.  It was at that point that Geth realised he couldn’t really remember how to get to the parkrun.  I’m not leaving him in charge of directions in future!

After a bit of a saga involving asking lots of people at the train station and the nearby leisure centre for directions, we made it to the parkrun start line with just a few minutes to spare, and met a few other Brits who were also parkrun touristing.

The parkrun itself was a really nice route – a simple out-and-back course through a lovely quiet park with nice wide paths.  There were only twenty-odd people taking part, and so Geth and I both came first in our age categories – something that I doubt will be repeated any time soon!

parkrun sprint finish
A rare running photo where I actually look like I’m running! Photo by Whitby parkrun.

I got my standard-for-now sub-33, which I was fine with considering I hadn’t run for two weeks.  I’m really pleased to have done some international parkrun tourism at last!

Whitby parkrun
Far-flung parkrun souvenir photo! Photo by Whitby parkrun.

Summer mugginess

Somehow, despite saying after last summer – which involved a busy work period and four weekends on the bounce in August where we were travelling away somewhere or hosting guests – that I wanted to have a much more chilled summer this year, it’s ended up being similarly hectic.

Fortunately/unfortunately work has been quiet during June and July (so I’ve been able to get on with other things, but I’m also a bit broke now).  Fortunately/unfortunately this will not be the case during August as I have two huge projects lined up (more money – yay!  More stuff to do – argh).  However, the house stuff is still ongoing, the now-finished Now! marathon ended up taking up more time towards the end than I thought it would, and Geth and I ended up booking a lot more trips away than we expected.  As such, I find myself doing the whole ‘argh! can’t wait till autumn when I can relax a bit!’ thing yet again – and I shouldn’t wish the summer away, especially when the weather has been so nice this year.

Today is yet another hectic day – I’ll update more fully later this week – so I’ll leave it there.

Oh, and I went swimming again this morning.  Eight lengths this time, although I think I’m actually getting worse!

Back to swimming…after some considerable time

I went swimming this morning.  In an actual swimming pool.

The reason this is notable is because the last time I swam at all was about five seconds of halfhearted bobbing up and down in the Mediterranean Sea in July 2015.  The last time I swam in a pool (or rather, managed to flounder about for about half a length of a ten-metre pool before my chest felt like it was going to explode) was January 2013, when Geth and I were in the Bahamas for our honeymoon.

I did manage a bit more than five metres today.  I managed six lengths of what we estimate is a twenty-metre pool, with breaks in between lengths, so a hundred and twenty metres in total.  It was still much harder than I expected it to be, given how much fitter I am these days with all the running.

I probably just need a bit more practice (I’ve never been that good at swimming).  Not that I’m going to get it any time soon – I barely have time for my running at the moment, let alone swimming as well!  I will try and make more use of pools when I’m in hotels though, so that I don’t end up leaving it for another five years.

Race Review: Great North 10k

I’ve done the Great North 10k in Gateshead twice before.  The first time was in 2016, which was the first and (hopefully!) last time I ever came dead last in a race.  That was a special day, strangely.  Last year was better for me, but Geth was running it with a broken toe, which wasn’t ideal.

Today was a fairly good race for both of us – it was a hot day, so no overall PBs, but we both got course PBs – mine by about five minutes, so I’m pretty pleased with that.  I find the Great North 10k to be quite a pleasant race, as the bulk of it is an out-and-back section where I’m always too preoccupied with looking out for people I know running the other way to dwell too much on my own discomfort, and the views of the Tyne bridges are very pretty.  The ninth kilometre, meanwhile, goes through a nice bit of park – there’s a short steep hill at the end of that section that everybody makes a really big deal out of (it’s nicknamed the ‘Slog on the Tyne’, but it only takes a minute or so to jog up it, and it’s really not that hard), and then the last kilometre is a nice flat run into Gateshead Stadium and round the track.

I don’t know if I’ll do it for a fourth time next year, but definitely at some point.

parkrun touristing: Whitley Bay

Another week of the fair on the Town Moor meant another week of no Newcastle parkrun, so Geth and I took ourselves off to the coast for Whitley Bay parkrun this morning.

I’d done Whitley Bay once before, last summer, on a morning where it was pouring with rain (and of course we arrived forty minutes early and had to shelter against the wall of a tiny hut near the start).  Geth had just come along for support on that occasion, as he was recovering from a broken toe, so today was his first parkrun at Whitley Bay.  For me, meanwhile, while it was my second run there, the course this summer is so different that it was like running it for the first time again.

This is largely because last summer, the front at Whitley Bay was mostly taken up with works, and so large parts of it were closed off.  As such, the finish funnel is now in a completely different place, and you get a straight sprint finish along the front – unfortunately, if you’re not familiar with the course, it’s difficult to time when you should start sprinting!  I’ll know better next time.  Hopefully they won’t move the finish again.

parkrun touristing: Rising Sun

Newcastle parkrun was off this morning – that happens on several occasions every summer because of fairs and other events taking place on the Town Moor – so I took the opportunity to visit Rising Sun parkrun, which I hadn’t done since last year.  (Geth was visiting his family in Lancashire, so he was off doing the notorious hill at Pendle parkrun.  That’s a discussion for another day!)

I was at Rising Sun twice last year – running once, volunteering once – and back then they were still doing a double-lap loop in the middle of the course, which required a lot of sticking-to-the-correct-lane.  However, when the Beast from the East hit the UK, they apparently had to change the course so that it was all one lap, and they found it so much more efficient that they kept it like that.  Today was my first time running the new course, and I have to say it was so much better.  It’s a lovely route, and I was enjoying it so much that I barely checked my watch for distance.  I was bang on 33:00 as well, which is not bad considering I’ve been too busy to run for the last couple of weeks!

There was a bit of congestion at the start, but that’s to be expected when it’s much busier than usual, which it always is when Newcastle’s not running.  As such, I’d quite like to go back on a week when it’s quieter, as I think I could get a really good time.

Race Review: Blaydon Race 2018

For the second year running, Geth and I did the Blaydon Race yesterday.  It’s a bit of an odd distance – five and a bit miles – and it’s always on the ninth of June, which can feel a bit odd when it falls on a weekday, but it’s become a traditional race in the North East.  The route is based on the lyrics of the Blaydon Races song, and you get a bottle of beer in your goody bag.  It’s a great race.

Sadly neither Geth nor I had a great race yesterday.  First of all, it was a really hot day and everyone was feeling it on the route.  The start was delayed due to problems with getting the roads closed in time, then roadworks meant there was a bottleneck near the start that slowed everyone down, so Geth went off too fast after that to try to make up the pace, and ran out of energy during the last mile.  Meanwhile, I had a few foot issues – a bruised toenail getting gradually worse and making downhill sections very painful, leading to bad form, leading to more foot pain.  I then got a stitch that was so bad I was still feeling it this morning.  I came in at one hour and thirty-five seconds, which was a great course PB – twelve minutes and fifty-two seconds faster than last year – but I was so gutted not to get sub-hour, which I would have done easily if I hadn’t had all those issues.

Still, the bus queue was a lot shorter than last year, and the t-shirt is more awesome.  I will be back next year, presuming I can get a place!

parkrun touristing: Perry Hall

This morning, Geth and I were able to go to one of our favourite parkruns in the UK – Perry Hall.  It’s a lovely three-lap course with interesting out-and-back sections on the second and third lap, so every lap is a new adventure!

It’s also quite a small parkrun – 156 runners this morning – although I think it is getting bigger, as there were only about 120 when we last ran it about a year ago.  The way the course is set up is really well designed, though, and you don’t really get sections where there are huge amounts of runners lapping each other.

I finished in 33 mins 33 secs, which is not bad for a boozy, foody weekend!  Love this parkrun – will definitely be back again next year.