Saturday, 16 May 2015

Parkrun Tourism: Tilgate Park

Staying away from home on a Friday night? What's the first thing a parkrunner does when planning their trip? Check out any local Parkrun to their accommodation and then see how they can squeeze it into the weekend!

I have not really considered this when getting ready to stay at my Mum's house until she sent me a message suggesting after staying over on Friday night that we could go to Tilgate Park in Crawley so I could do Parkrun there as it was a really rather lovely park.

She was not wrong, the park was beautiful and a popular Parkrun by the looks of their webpage regularly enticing over 400 runners. 

We arrived and saw the floods of lycra-clad participants heading from the car park towards the start of the course. The numbers swelling as 9 am drew closer. Mum found a good spot by the lake to watch the running and I waited at the start point as we thanked volunteers and celebrated the multiple event awards of 50's and 100's. 

It was a sunny and warm morning - not really done justice by the picture. The first lap of the course was gently undulating around the lake and then headed upwards for a lap of the park with some not so gentle undulations. Passing through wooded areas it was clear to see why this was a popular Parkrun, despite the course being tougher than I am used to it was a far more enticing environment to run in. 

At almost 2 miles into the run we returned to the edge of the lake to run another lap where I saw Mum and gave her a wave as she cheered and took pictures. Onward I went, very hot by now but still keeping pace with the same runners I had fallen into pace with early on during the run. A runner with his dog, let the giddy Spaniel off the lead to jump in the lake to cool down... I think this is possibly the only time I have ever wanted a wet dog to shake the water off himself near me (to cool down) but alas he did not! 

Round the final bend and the very keen marshals were shouting words of encouragement at the runners who were starting their final lap or in the final 200m sprint for the finish. I pushed as hard as I could for the last 100m although to look at the video my mum recorded you may be forgiven for thinking I was having a leisurely jog. I crossed the line in 26:42 which was pretty pleasing - and not too far off last weeks time especially considering the hilly course.

Tilgate Parkrun, I hope to be back in the future! A lovely park and very friendly marshals.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

ORR Anti-Heros: The Man with No Name

A potted history of the Heroes Run (High Elms Run On Sunday) can be found here. This in turn led to the Anti-Heros Run, also taking place in High Elms but at 8am and takes the form of a trail run of around 6 miles.  A Hero or Anti-hero is selected by the weeks run leader and this week leader had selected Clint Eastwood’s character, The Man with No Name.

I decided to tag along as this week’s route was being led by Jerry and although an Orpington Road Runners established event I find them to be very welcoming and like-minded trail runners. I was collected from home by Jerry after a somewhat disappointing 5 hours sleep following a late night but I wanted to get out and run the trails and this seemed a great way to do it. We shared a Satsuma on route to the run, I forget all the reasons but oranges are a good pre workout source of energy so it only follows that so are satsuma’s!

Arriving at the designated car park meeting point another 4 runners pulled up shortly after us ready for the run. After some introductions we headed out onto the trails and past High Elms Golf Club before getting into territory unknown to me. Although the pace was fairly easy and should have been comfortable this was possibly the first hilly run I had completed in quite some time and it was taking its toll on me as I remained at the back of the back for most of the run.

It was a lovely sunny day, running along the trails and chatting with some new faces sharing our enjoyment of moving away from  road running and getting into the countryside. We passed several batches of youths – whom we presumed to be taking part in Duke Of Edinburgh training (or similar). Each group with matching ran covers on their back packs which were equal if not larger than the youths themselves. They politely waited, with bemused faces, as we trundled past wishing them well.

Crossing a field we entered a woodland which stopped us in our tracks, it was a magical bluebell carpeted wooded wonderland. So delighted we all cheered and whooped, congratulated Jerry on his excellent route choice and took some pictures of this magnificent sight. This is the reason we run in the woods, these sights can just not be found running the roads.

We continued on, all very jovial indeed and soon came across a Aberdeen Angus happily stood by the fence next to the path we were running. Jerry patted him on the head and kept going as I held back and took a picture of him, whether he knew or not he was soon to gain blog fame I’m not sure as his floppy red fringe covered his gentle eyes.

Continuing on, Jerry thought he may have taken a wrong turn but this didn’t matter at all, we carried on happily chatting and our next wildlife stop took us past an animal sanctuary with fields full of donkeys, Shetland ponies and turkeys. We passed the sign towards Downe House (home of Charles Darwin) and the group halted as I faffed around taking more photos and catching my breath!

We were now on the homeward stretch, a very lovely run with a very nice group of runners. As we closed in on our final destination we saw the 9am Heroes run group coming towards up where we exchanged plenty of hellos’ and a few high fives.  

I certainly think I will be back on an Anti-Heroes run.

I, I will be king (of the trails)
And you, you will be queen (of running)

Though no-one will run away

We can be Heroes, just for one day

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Fast & Furious Parkrun

Waking up 2 hours before my alarm and very keen I decided I would get my bike out and cycle to Parkrun. I ate my regulation 2 Weetabix and seeing it was still only half past 6 I decided I would go back to bed for an hour. Miiiiiisssstttttttaaaaaakkkkkkkkkeeeeee!

So I slept through one alarm and woke with my back-up alarm which meant I would have time to get my bike sorted and I would be driving to Parkrun. About 1 mile from home my petrol light came on but I hadn't brought my purse, only my keys and my barcode. By the time I parked up I was decidedly grumpy and not in the mood to talk to or be around people so Bromley ParkRun, now pulling over 500 people each week was possibly not my best choice of destination.

I headed to the start line, still grumpy and now wishing I had my sunnies to protect my eyes from the savage winds that seemed to have reared up since arriving. But shockingly, I did not!

Announcements were made, we cheered the volunteers and we were off. I had seen some pacing vests but none were around me as I started. My Garmin had not managed to find a satellite so I didn't have much idea of my pace or distance so I just ran. I ran round the first lap, I ran into the second. Still feeling pretty grumpy,  and wondering why I had even come out at all then I saw the finish line ahead, I was on the home straight and looking at my watch I saw I was closing in on 26 minutes. I had no idea where it had come from.  I stepped up a gear and pushed as hard as I could to try and scrape in under 26 but alas my final time was 26:02.

From my positive early morning to the grumpiness that had become progressively worse due to one annoying incident after another I had somehow done my best 5km time in about 3 years and certainly the best since my back injury.

I returned home in a much better mood and after a quick shower went off to an early showing of Fast & Furious 7 at the cinema. Quite apt after the morning I’d had. 

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Run and Vote!

Another pre work run which was much needed as I had completely flaked out yesterday evening and headed to bed at 8:30pm.... but almost 10 hours of sleep later I was ready to run!! 

I decided I would combine the run with my Vote and planned my route to make sure I hit the polling station at the end of the run. It was a lovely bright morning. I ran happily along without looking at my pace along a very familiar route heading towards Chislehurst, down towards the A20 and back up St Pauls Wood Hill. 

The sun was shining and I was heating up but still running well. When I reached the polling station I was aware of how red and sweaty I was but hey at least I was there to make my Vote count. They asked if I had run to the station and quipped they had walked but really quickly that morning!

Vote safely in the ballot box I stepped once more into the sunshine and ran the final half mile home, I was very pleased to see that my natural running pace has returned and now all I need to do is start building up the distance again. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

Netball doing other stuff!

It would seem that of late Netball have been doing other stuff and lots of it!! There are baking courses, hairdressing courses, triathlons but before all this other stuff there was running. 

About 5 years ago both me and Kate had taken up running and didn't really know for a few 
months that the other one had. When we found out we both promptly signed up to a half marathon and a full marathon and that was the beginning....

So this morning, years later it is now the norm for us to get up, get our trainers on and get running. 

Our route plan was in the hands of Kate as we headed out of the door and towards the canal. We reached the canal and I must admit I had to ask Kate to slow down if she expected me to be chatting too as I was getting out of breath! 

After a while it was pointed out that the side of my head had gone yellow!! It seems that there was still paint powder in my pores which was now being sweated off, mmmmm janudice head! 

Along the canal, past the football ground, along residential streets we ran and chatted as the miles were eaten up beneath our feet and before we know it we were back at the house and it was time for brekkie. A lovely chatty run with a very good friend, a shame we are not more local as after 5 years our pace seems to have fallen perfectly into alignment. 

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Bluebell Wood 5km Colour Dash

Last year my younger sister decided that running would be a good idea and that as a runner I would be a good person to run a race with. The race was selected and entered and a coach to 5km programme was embarked upon. This was backed up with a pre-event training session in March (See: Running Sisters).

The event was upon up, it seemed that the pre event "propaganda" had indicated we should arrive from 8am even though the event did not start until 10:30am. But being strict rule followers we departed my dad's house, collected my sister and her support Crew then headed to Rother Valley Country Park where the event would be held. 

Sat in the car at approximately 8:03am as the rained started we wondered if we might have been a little keen!! It did give us time to scavenge some safety pins from Dad's first aid kit though to attached our race numbers. Rebecca had taken shoe protection precautions by covering here shoes with tape so the coloured paint would not ruin them (it seem to work pretty well!!)

After much waiting around and many sad faced looks from the dog (poor Beau) and the two man support crew it was finally approaching race time, not before we were treated to entertainment in the form of belly dancers, dancing along to 'Follow da Leader: Jump and Wave' - not a family friendly dance!

We were self-timing the event as it was more of a fun run so there was no official clock... our plan was one of run / walk combination and after running through the first two colour showers we opted to walk through the next 3 as we barely looked as though we had picked up any colour. This backfired slightly when we both got an ear full of yellow paint powder... at least it matched my sunglasses!.The course was run around the perimeter of the lake on a nice path with only slight undulations. We had started towards the front and think we placed ourselves well as we seemed at a good pace with those around us.

Pacing was good and we saw our supporters after 3.5km where they cheered and we waved as we continued on our way. as we rounded the end of the lake we could see the finish line in sight and to our rear still hundreds of runners. 

The pace stepped up as the finish line was in sight and we crossed the line together not quite in a shower of coloured paint but some clammy handfuls from a few excitable children! The time was good with more than 2 minutes taken off our time back in march when training. 

We regrouped and headed back to the car, a very short walk thanks to our early arrival, we quickly removed the worst of the paint. Rebecca de-taped her shoes and we were heading out of the park laughing at all those fools who had arrived late and had to walk over a mile from their cars to the start line!!! 

Later on the bath turned a terrible colour and left a decidedly bright yellow rim around the waterline.... This was duly scrubbed although I feel it won't be the last I see of the colour yellow!