Saturday, 23 November 2013

An icy adventure at Huddersfield parkrun

Today we were up and ready in plenty of time to get to grandmas house. We even arrived with time to say hello to everyone and take in the decorated breakfast room and accompanying signs on the front door.

It was gonna be a thanksgiving theme. We have adopted some of the American celebrations through Nana who lived there for a year and gained a lot of really nice American friends in the process. 

As we walked round to the park we realised how frosty it was and that it could be an interesting parkrun. So when we entered the park and the slight slope down to the start was almost an ice rink then we new this was going to be tricky.

This parkrunday I was taking control of Flynn and the buggy for the first time and SJ was running solo for the first time. She was doing it to see how much time the buggy adds to a run, but maybe the icy conditions aren't the best for a first solo run. We all aligned ourselves at the back of the gathering pack at the start where almost every child was sliding around on the trainers on purpose having a great time. Nana was a little nervous about the icy conditions but was still hoping to do it. 

All the joy filled children at the back made it hard to hear Kerry do her run brief, so we assumed that she was telling us to be careful on the icy patches are round the route. As we set off we all took it easy on the main straight down the hill, some on the grass at the side and some on the road. About halfway down it got a bit too precarious for nana and she decided to give this weeks parkrun a miss rather than fall and knock her confidence for while if not for good. I don't blame her at all, parkrun will be here every parkrunday so there is no need to make yourself do it if you think you may get hurt.

So Dexter, Flynn and I carried on running and then got slightly confused at what should have been the first corner. The route was different and it only took seconds to realise that's what Kerry was explaining at the run brief. Running on we noticed the course was really different and thought It must be because of the icy patches. As we passed other parkrunners we pieced things together from what we heard along the way. We were running the old route apparently and it's 3 laps long too so it felt like a completely new parkrun to me.

Dexter and I were keeping a good pace but at the same time so was SJ and she was maintaining a good distance between us and herself. I was so proud of her for doing so well on her first solo run. 

As we passed the halfway mark of the 3rd lap we could still see SJ in the distance and Dexter was still running and not whingeing things were going well. As Dexter and I reached the top we could see we were catching SJ and we picked her up in the last corner. So she ran with Dexter down the hill to the finish which was now at the bowling greens. I liked the finish with the funnel and barcode scanning round the bowling green but I can see how it could get a bit congested at busy periods of a parkrun. 

SJ and Dexter crossed the line together and Jodie finished ahead of them by a minute or 2 with me and Flynn bringing up the rear a few seconds later. Then we all met up with Nana and Grandad who had the other boys with them. Nana asked about the route and how icy it was and to see whether or not she made the right decision to stop and I told she had, she wouldn't have like the uncertainty of which bits were icy and which were ok.

So then it was off to Grandmas for our thanksgiving breakfast, pancakes, maple syrup and everything. 

It was delicious so a big thanks to Grandma and Peter for their great parkrun breakfasts of late. Whilst eating and discussing parkrun our times came through via text and SJ was pleased to have knocked about 3 and a 1/2 minutes off her PB, which is brilliant and I'm so proud off her. For someone who before the birth of Flynn was a "I don't do running" person to now have done 8 parkruns and have a PB of 36.28 is just fantastic. 

I enjoyed my first buggy run to as it was a new challenge and gave me a different perspective on parkrun. I was really proud of Dexter too as he seems to getting better and better and his running is coming on leaps and bounds.  The best thing is it's happening without him noticing, I can see his improvement even if he can't and I can see that in a few months or a years time he could be easily in the sub 30 category. I think Santa might be bring him some more running apparel.

Thank you to all the volunteers this week in the cold and see you again soon

Keep running everyone

Sunday, 17 November 2013

My first Leeds 10k Abbey Dash 2013

This Sunday it was my first ever Leeds 10k Abbey Dash and also the biggest event I've been to so far.

My running friend Steve and I both signed up for it a couple of weeks ago and both of us hadn't really done any training for it other than a couple of 5k runs on a Thursday night and a steady parkrun on Saturday. But both of us still wanted to beat our PBs and smash them at that.

We arrived in Leeds nice and early and made our way across the city centre to the gathering area and start pens. Some how even though Steve is faster than me, I ended up in the Sub 45 group and Steve in the Sub 55 group. We got to the start area and there was already a couple of thousand people there warming up, using the toilets or dancing to the music that was blasting out across the empty site of the old international swimming pool knocked down a while a go. 

At the far corner were the start pens with enormous flags attached with the different group colours and category on them. 

After the official warm up we all gathered in our assigned pens, even if some people just ignored the different groups and went where they wanted to go. Which I didn't mind if your trying to improve your time and you think your fast enough but some people were from the 60+min group and as we started running were instantly passed, and got in the way a bit. Soon enough though we were on our way and spreading out and running at our usual pace. 

The route for the Abbey Dash isn't the most interesting route by all means but it's the whole event that gets the adrenaline going and the crowds along the road that keeps your mind focused. As the run unfolded I found myself hitting mental walls at various stages that co inside with what my body is used to. At the turn and 5k point I hit my parkrun wall where my body thought I would stop, but once I was passed that my body surrendered and seemed to just say, ok we're still going, alright. So I still kept my pace going at a similar time to the first 5k. Up until 8k I was ok but here is where I've always seemed have to a mental wall. From 7.5k to 8k I think I slowed a touch but once again as I passed that wall I found it a bit easier again. That didn't last long at all though, as I hit 9k the lack of practice runs took its toll and my cardio was shot. My legs felt ok but my lungs where just burning and my head was pounding from dehydration. It was here where I realised I might not break my PB and the last few hundred metres were slow and as others still pushed on and passed me on the finish straight it was hard. Then I realised that Steve who was in the wave behind me still hadn't passed me this cheered me up as even though he will have a faster time I will beat him to the line. Then with 200 metres to go Simon from Huddersfield parkrun passed me on a mission to beat his PB of 45.55 and I knew if he kept going he would smash it, so I have him a big "go on Simon" as he passed and then I tried to push on myself. I crossed the finish line and forgot to stop my running app until I was further up the finish funnel, so I had no idea what time I got.

 I caught up with Simon and congratulated him, he showed me his watch showing a time of 44 mins something so he had beaten his PB and smashed it too. Unluckily later on though he found out his timing chip had failed so ended with a DNF instead of a new PB which is a shame, but just means he'll have to beat it next year instead.

After collecting my T-Shirt and drink I went to wait at the pre-arranged meeting point that Steve and I said we would be at, after we finished. To my surprise Steve was already waiting for me, so I asked him when he passed me as I hadn't noticed him passing me. He said that when they were moving the pens to the start line he jumped on ahead of me, so he was always ahead of me. Oh well the thought of being ahead of Steve kept me going that last bit of the run. 

As we got back to the car to go home we were discussing times and as I wasn't sure what time I had got I had come to the conclusion that if I beat my PB 46.21 then I'm happy but if I do manage to get under 46 mins I'll be ecstatic. About 10 seconds later no lie I got my result text in and my Gun time was 47.23 but my chip time was 45.58!!!! Yay!!! I did it, great! 

That did it, that perked me right up and topped off a great weekend of running and family time. So a big thanks to Steve for driving and for inadvertently spuring me on the last few hundred metres. Big thanks to Simon and Huddersfield parkrun for the only bit training I really did. Plus a big thanks to my family for joining in with the running these past few months you've made it just that extra bit more special.

Keep running everyone

Saturday, 16 November 2013

She did it! Nana completed her first parkrun

This past Friday it was Children in Need and with the theme of be a hero, so Huddersfield parkrun decided that this parkrunday should be a be a superhero theme to coincide with Children in Need.

So we all started planning our outfits and costumes on Monday evening, or was that just me. To cut out the boringness my outfit didn't arrive SJ created a Batwoman outfit the night before and the boys were wearing their superman PJs. 
So on the day I threw on a superman T-Shirt and red shorts.

We arrived at Grandmas and quickly headed round to the park as we were a little later than usual. Running this week with SJ, the boys and I was Jodie minus buggy and Nana who was determined to run further this week and see how she feels as to whether or not she completes it this time. 

We arrived just in time for a little chat at the back of the pack with friends and then we were off. As it was the Leeds Abbey Dash on Sunday my friend Steve was the 24 min pacemaker and I wasn't planning on going all guns blazing. As it happens I had no chance of going faster as I only just managed to jog over the line on a 23.10min time. Steve found it hard to run slow enough for the 24 min pacer and finished fast to a 22.38 min time. 

After I finished I headed off to catch up with SJ and Dexter as usual but along the way I came across Nana first and I decided to run with her to give her a boost and to help her push to the finish and her first complete parkrun. She was very grateful and I was happy to encourage her and tried by counting down the distances for but every time I told her like only 1.5km to go she didn't believe me and thought I was lying to her on purpose. With about 250 metres to go Jodie joined us and all 3 of us RAN the last 100 metres and with the parkrunners guard of honor at the finish it really made Nana smile and nearly burst into tears as she crossed the line. So 1 year on from surgery to remove cancer and 6 months on from finishing chemo sessions and radiotherapy she has completed her first parkrun. She had been expecting to get a time around an hour but her official time came in at 44.48 mins which came as a huge but pleasent surprise to her. 

So after I had helped Nana get her barcode scanned we headed back to Grandmas for our parkrun breakfast. As the theme this week was superheroes Grandma and Peter had decorated the room and table in a superhero theme too.

This topped of a great parkrun and I'm sure Nana will remember this day for a long time.

Keep running Nana

Keep running everyone