Monday, 22 December 2014

My First Park Run and A New Sewing Machine

M is a marathon runner. He has run London five times, the Jungfrau twice, done a truly exhausting 60 mile endurance run which took 8 hours, the Grizzly and the Clarendon more times than I can remember and various others on top. Whatever the terrain (be it London roads or the steep cliffs and muscle-wrenching pebbles on the beach at Sidmouth), he generally gets round these races in under three hours. He is very modest about his achievements and tends to keep them under wraps, so I tell everyone I know how brilliant he is :o)

Earlier this year he injured his Achilles and has been off running ever since while we worked on it to try and boost the healing process. About a month ago, he began gentle runs again of half a mile, then a mile to test it. Those went well so we are keeping everything crossed that it's getting over it's hissy fit and is coming back to Good Working Order.

About a year ago I took up running, mainly to keep fit, and I potter about our lane doing 1.5 milers every other day, so obviously no where near my husband's league. He has been encouraging me to do a Park Run (3 miles) for ages, because he does them and loves them (although he hasn't been able to this year because of the injury) but I resisted because a) I like running alone in the countryside at dusk and b) I'm not good at not competing and suspected I might not do very well which would make me grumpy.

Park Runs began in London ten years ago with a group of people getting together every Saturday at 9am in their local park to run and they have since grown so now there is a Park Run at most parks around the country. They are free, all you need is to register, print off the barcode that gets emailed and take it with you when you turn up at 8.45 at whichever Park is running the event. Then you just set off with everyone else, at whatever pace you can and once you cross the finish line you're given another barcode which gets scanned along with your personal one to record your position and time. All the results are then emailed out so you know what you time you did, where you came in the field, how you did in your age catagory and in the your sex catagory. There is no pressure to be fast- people of all ages and abilities take part and the encouragement for all is fantastic.

Anyhoo, M stated his intention of trying the Park Run again this Sat and before I realised what I was saying I heard myself volunteering to run with him.

I nearly chickened out several times before we went, but eventually registered and so up we got on Sat morn and drove to our local Park where 400 others were waiting bobbing about in the cold. We found a bunch of our buddies, a gang of friends who are runners, proper serious athletes who run endurance (100 miles over a weekend in Scotland) without blinking, do the Omm (original mountain marathon) a hard-as-nails race that involves carrying all your supplies on your back and spending 2 days and 1 night out on the mountain. A few years back the weather for the Omm was terrible and our friend John was competing. The press kicked up a storm with outraged headlines shrieking about endangering people's lives and calling for the race to be banned. John (a very calm man) came to supper a week or so later and grinned when I asked him about it. Oh, he said, it's all nonsense. What they don't realise is that everyone who does that race expects the mountain to chuck all it has at us and that's why we do it. We just found shelter when it got really bad, put on a brew, had some food and slept the storm out. In the morning we packed up and carried on running. 

They have also done the quite brilliant Bob Graham Round which involves 42 peaks of the Lakes in 24 non-stop hours. In fact, it was at the Bob Graham that I first met them all. M was a support runner for our friend Sue and we all stayed in a cottage in Keswick for the weekend. Also in the group were Peat and John, who had both done the Bob Graham previously. It is quite something to wave them all off at midnight as close to the longest day in mid-June as you can feasibly get and be back in the centre of Keswick the following midnight to watch them come in. Sue didn't make it round that time due to a nasty fog episode up on the hills and getting separated from M who was map reading at the time for her, but we all traipsed up to watch others come in and I can tell you it is a very emotional experience to see runners who've been out on the hills for 24 hours running up the high street in the moonlight, their husbands/ wives/ friends/ family running the last mile with them, pretty much everyone in tears.

Anyway, the gang were all waiting for us because, unbeknown to me, M had told them all I was running with him. And they were brilliant- so encouraging and enthusiastic, and before I knew it the whistle blew and we were off running round the park.

Running over the past year has taught me more about pacing and breathing than I had realised; if you have a reasonable level of running fitness and don't let yourself be intimidated into leaving your breathing rhythm and running pace by folk overtaking you, you can run for miles. Lots of people flew past us on the downhill bits, but to my utter surprise we overtook all of them on the uphills. In fact, no one overtook us going up hill at all. That really boosted my confidence I can tell you. The steep hill outside our house which I quite often view as a total challenge has in fact been doing me immense favours over these past months because it has made me more hill fit than I realised.

I'm not a Speedy Gonzales by any stretch of the imagination but we got round quicker than I thought and I didn't collapse at the end. We overtook some people and were overtaken by others which was fine. Our time for the three miles was 27 minutes and I was 7th in my age category. To say I was surprised is an understatement. I texted my friend Matt from college who is a very good runner and he replied that I'd be addicted to Park Runs forever more, and I suspect he might be right.



My other bit of news is that I have bought a sewing machine! I've been making Christmas presents. More on that later :o)


And Ted and Pops have a new bed, printed with boxing hares, which they love. They've taken to sleeping curled up together so I decided to get them a nice new (clean, fresh) bigger bed.....



Poppy is especially fond of it and has started doing the unmistakeable Jack Russell Smile as a result. She does look a little like a lone Pea In A Pod on it....


Happy Days!

Nearly Crimble eh?

Hope you are all well,

CT x

20 comments:

  1. Well done to you CT, I do like to run but end up hurting my self... so I will stick to walking (7-8 miles a day if I can) great news on the moths you found too.
    I just want to take this chance to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas and New year.. I was so glad I found your blog this year, you have been very inspiring with your enthusiasm for nature and has rubbed of on me, I love how you write and you often make me laugh, keep up the good work..
    Love Amanda xxx

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    1. Walking is great exercise, I love my daily walks through the fields and woods with the dogs :o)
      Thank you so much for your kind words re the blog. I'm very pleased to have found yours this year too. I have learnt from you and often think about my photo composition after seeing how wonderful yours are. I look forward to reading and seeing more.
      A very happy Christmas to you and yours and we'll catch up in the New Year xx

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  2. I used to do a lot of running, but now I mostly power walk and just walk approx 4-5 miles a day at least 5 days a week, sometimes all 7. Nice sewing machine, but girl, I do not sew.....maybe buttons or small tears only. ha,ha Lovely photos of Ted,Pops n Poppy as usual. I love the dogs at the end of your posts. Just rounds off the post and makes me smile. Have a wonderful day.This might be my last communication for a bit through Christmas, as I may be off track a bit. Have a wonderful holiday and I wish you and your family the best in the New Year.

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    1. I reckon all exercise is beneficial and to more than the body- running and walking clears my mind and sets me straight :o)
      As for the sewing, I am by no means a talented seamstress (ma laughed out loud when I told her I'd bought a sewing machine) but I do enjoy it :o)

      A very Happy Christmas to you and your family too and best wishes for a lovely New Year x

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  3. Hi CT. All that running is making me feel exhausted! Love your new sewing machine. Please post photos of the things you make with it.

    Happy Christmas!
    Carol

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    1. Will do Carol, although it is really very basic stuff I am doing at the mo :o)

      Many Happy Christmas wishes to you too- have a wonderful day.

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  4. Park runs sound just the ticket and you did so well. I have been going to Pilates regularly, it makes a real difference. The well being factor is tremendous. I adore walking too, just not uphill :)

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you.

    Jean

    x

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    1. It's great how just a few simple changes/ additions to exercise make such a huge difference to health and well being isn't it? Have a lovely Christmas, Jean :o) xx

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  5. Happy Christmas CT. I am going to do lots of hiking next week.

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    1. And the same to you, Dave. Hope you all have a lovely time :o)

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  6. Well done on the running!! I hope that you keep enjoying it. Now, this sewing and crafting - we need pictures and to know what you made!!! It all sounds very exciting indeed!!!! Happy Christmas! xx

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    1. I must say my dear you have inspired me hugely this year with all the wonderful craft projects you do and indeed it's partly down to you that I got the sewing machine :o) I am now pestering M for a Craft Room.... Will post details of the things I've made after crimble so I don't spoil any present-related surprises :o)
      Happy Christmas to you and Mr Amy too xx

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  7. Wow, well done you, that's a fantastic achievement. I'd love to fit in a bit of running, I'm sure it would do me the world of good. Maybe I'll make it a New Year's resolution. Lovely new sewing machine, I shall look forward to seeing what you've made. CJ xx

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    1. Thanks, CJ. I would definitely encourage you to take up running. The beauty of it is you really don't need to run for miles every day- my normal runs are between 1.5-2 miles and I get so much benefit from them. xx

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  8. Well done on the run! I wish I could run long distances but I think it's a bit late to start now. When I was younger I hated it and used to hide in a field having a ciggy when I was meant to be running the cross country, youth is wasted on the young :) Looking forward to seeing what you have made x

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    1. I only started last year and have built up slowly so I reckon you'd be fine. I'm more careful with my joints now is the only thing :o) I used to cheat on xc runs at school too- couldn't stand them. Once took a short cut, got lost and returned an hour after everyone else covered in cuts and scratches! x

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  9. Loving that Jack Russel smile and the Poppy snooze .
    As the days lengthen and the nights shorten ~ wishing you a wondrous New Year.
    Sending warmest wishes across the pond for happy holidays,
    Willow

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    1. Many thanks Willow. Have a wonderful holiday season too.

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  10. Well done with the running! Sounds like fun, though the kind of runs your friends/hubby do doesn't sound like fun at all - to me, that is! Quite incredible though. Love the doggy bed and pics. Have a wonderful Xmas. xx

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    1. Thanks Mandy :o) I don't think I'll be running for hours on end any time soon myself! Merry Christmas x

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x