Saturday, 27 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

You would think that the running would be taking a break over the festive period but we just haven't been able to stop!

First up we had the Ulverston Pudding Run back near the beginning of December. Then last weekend we took part in the Santa Dash parkrun at Barrow. It was fantastic to see everyone in their Santa costumes. I ran with Sam and Andy ran with William. Luckily, although quite breezy (particularly up by the cenotaph) it wasn't freezing and so the boys both managed to get round. I was really pleased Sam finished as he wasn't feeling his best and it was his 40th parkrun.

On Christmas Eve we headed to the Abbey Mill cafe for a Walney Wind Cheetah run and picnic party. This was the third attempt at a cubs get together as the weather for the previous two Sundays had not been outdoor party weather (think heavy rain and high winds!). The morning was breezy, but very bright and dry. About 12 cubs and their parents headed out on the path and back. Once we got back to the cafe, we took over the outdoor picnic tables and soon turned the event into a party! Plenty of treats for everyone, even Christmas crackers! William was thrilled that he got a yo-yo in his. We even got treated to some entertainment too, in the form of a hilarious 'bush tucker trial' organised by one of our run leaders. And of course, there was a visit by a rather Christmassy attired Charlie Cheetah which made Sam's day!

We headed back to the park the day after for the Christmas Day parkrun. William ran with his dad and I marshaled with Sam. It was Sam's first time marshaling and I wasn't sure how he'd manage waiting in one spot for the better part of an hour. He managed really well, only one small wobble towards the end and he was very glad to head back to the bandstand once we'd seen the last runners through (Andy and William of course!).


Hope everyone has had a fantastic Christmas week! Unfortunately our parkrun today was (rightly) cancelled due to ice on the course. Hopefully we'll be back for the special New Years Day parkrun next week! 

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Ulverston Pudding Run!

It was a very nippy morning on Sunday when we arrived at Glaxo Sports Club for the Ulverston Pudding Run, organised and hosted by the Glaxo Hoad Hill Harriers. The Pudding Run last year had been my 10k debut so this year it was Andy's turn to have a go. Last year I also hadn't realised there was a 1 mile fun run that went on as well, so we had the boys with us for a bit of a run too! The fun run had been arranged to start a full half an hour before the 10k started which was fabulous and well thought out. It meant both Andy and I could help the boys round the 1 mile course (children under 8 needed to be accompanied as part of the run was on the road) plus there would be lots of spectators to cheer them in at the finish.

So there we were, we arrived 45 minutes before the fun run so we could get the boys registered and Andy collected his number. 10 minutes before the start of the fun run we were instructed to make our way to the start. Sam, up until this point had been quite happy but that changed just before we set off. He hadn't been having a particularly good weekend anyway. The mixture of his autism plus all the festive changes that come with the holiday season weren't helping and neither was the cold weather! Nevertheless Andy still set off with him to see if he'd manage and I went with William when the time came.

We dashed around the car park and up the road leading toward the Bay Horse Pub. A group of runners who had travelled down from St Bees gave us a good shout as we rounded the corner of the car park which was fab. A lot of the 10k runners were lined up along the first part of the course to cheer us past as well. William didn't stop running the entire way and as we looped around the little roundabout by the pub to head back to the finish I could see Andy with Sam. I got William to the finishing straight and let him carry on by himself whilst I went back to Andy and Sam. Took hold of Sam's other hand and both of us got him to the finish where he allowed his medal on and didn't take it off till we got home later!

William knocked a minute off his result from September, finishing in 12.08 and Sam was slower by a minute finishing in 15.19, although considering he was not a happy runner I was very pleased he'd made it round.

After the boys finished, Andy headed off to the start of the 10k. The boys and I found a safe spot to watch the runners come past as they set off and I managed to get a photo of Andy.

The boys played for a bit till the first of the runners started coming back (after 33 minutes!). Whilst William stayed on the playground, I took Sam down to the finishing funnel to watch the runners coming back in. Any unhappiness from earlier melted away as he loves watching people running! Andy arrived back with a time of 56.10 which was pretty good considering how cold it was. No medal for him though, they don't call it a Pudding Run for nothing! He was rewarded with a Christmas pudding of course!

A great run, and a fab turnout of runners from Furness and beyond, including 47 fun runners! Thanks to the Hoad Hill Harriers for a fantastic day.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

My 50th parkrun!

It was drizzling when we left the house on Saturday to head to parkrun, but that wasn't going to put us off! I made a mad dash back into the house to fetch caps and a raincoat for William just in case. The rain had cleared by the time we got to the park and no sign of it as we got to the bandstand. I dropped the bag of cakes off there before we started.

We'd had the offer from friends to run with William instead so that I could have a run on my own, but William decided he wanted to do my 50th run with me so that's what we did. Andy and Sam were on spectator and camera duty, something decided a little last minute as Sam hadn't had a particularly good week (permanent teeth coming in) and didn't look in the mood for running.

We did our usual jogging/walking/playing games round most of the course and a friend came to run with us on our last 1/2 lap. I had the pleasure of arriving at the finish line in last place (although 3rd in my age category as I later found out!) with William a second ahead. Having scanned our barcodes it was then time for the most important part of a 50th parkrun....cake!!

Andy had very kindly made me a parkrun cake and also a batch each of brownies and welsh cakes. Although still chilly, the sun had come out and was shining down on the cafe!  Looking around me it was lovely to see so many friends to share that special morning with. Thank you all for your encouragement and support since running my first parkrun back on the 2nd March 2013! It's been wonderful getting to know you all and seeing the parkrun 'family' every Saturday.

Photo by Darren McSweeney

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Brampton to Carlisle 10 Mile

The boys and I dropped Andy off in Ulverston early Sunday morning so he could head up to the north of the county for the 63rd Brampton to Carlisle 10 mile road race. It was the longest distance that Andy had signed up for (since about 1989!) and he'd not had much chance to train so was a bit nervous. Seeing as this race was not an 'out and back' run, we thought we'd let Andy have a day to himself so he joined up with the Hoad Hill Harriers on the coach they had arranged.

The coach set off at 8am, and stopped for a short while at Tebay services on the way to the finish at Carlisle. Once at Carlisle it dropped off shoppers and the runners were able to drop bags off and secure them in lockers at the sports centre before heading back to the start at Brampton.

At 11.30am, over 600 runners headed off towards Carlisle. The weather was overcast and cool but not wet or windy which made for good running conditions. Andy said he felt quite good during the run. The run itself was fairly flat with a few little hills, one in particular seemed to go on for quite a bit toward the end (or at least seemed to in his head he said!).

He was hoping to finish in 1 hour and 40 minutes but in fact managed it in a fab 1.30.48! Really proud of him. Not sure the race memento was something people were expecting though, a 2015 running/cycling diary and 2 pairs of running socks!! Not quite something you can hang on a medal holder, but very handy nevertheless!

After the run, Andy joined fellow local runners at the local pub for a meal and drink before the coach brought them back to Ulverston.

Whilst Andy was headed up north, the boys and I certainly didn't slack. We joined the Wind Cheetahs for the 3 mile Sunday morning run cubs run from the Abbey Mill coffee shop. It was a lovely, mild morning for a run out (especially for November!). The boys even ended up in short sleeves! Think William started finding it a little cold eventually when having a double Thunder and Lightning ice cream cone back at the Abbey Mill!!    

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Windmill 10k

On Remembrance Sunday we ventured out to Lytham St. Annes so that I could run the Windmill 10k, organised by Fylde Coast Running. We arrived in Lytham at about 9.30am and headed towards the iconic Windmill landmark where race HQ was set up. After picking up my running number there was plenty of time for some pics with the Windmill and to spot the other Wind Cheetahs who were also turning up to take part. It was a lovely sunny morning, although very cold! I kept my jogging bottoms on over my shorts and my hoody on till it was time to head over to the start.

We were all called to the starting funnel at about 10.45am where we listened to the reading of a poem, 'Why do I wear a Poppy?', followed by the customary 2 minutes silence at 11am. Once the bugler had finished we all set off. It was a very fast start with everyone bunched up quite close together. I knew Andy would be waiting with the boys on Lytham Green for me to pass so I made my way carefully over to the right hand side of the path, ready to wave and be waved at! He spotted me just in time for a photo! 

I managed to keep up with the majority of runners until we got to Fairhaven Lake, near the halfway mark. Here, the runners seemed to spread out a bit more. I had a real boost though as the path looped back on itself for a tiny distance and I spotted two fellow Wind Cheetahs ahead of me. They gave me a wave and cheer and I didn't feel too far behind at that point. Once we'd gone round the lake, we headed back towards the Windmill via the prom. I really enjoy running by the sea, it's hard work and yet relaxing at the same time! 

I still don't know how I did it but I managed to get back to the Windmill at more or less the same pace I'd gone out at. The only mentally torturous bit of the race was running past and in full view of the finish line at the 9km marker, knowing I had to run .5k out then loop back again to the finish! But I did it. I was cheered in by Andy, the boys and the WWC and set myself a new 10k PB in the process.... 1.05.04... far better than I had ever expected! 

This was a very well organised event and the medal is probably the loveliest one in my collection. The marshals were friendly and encouraging. The only downside was that my finishers Wagon Wheel was snatched away and devoured by my sneaky, chocoholic sons before I could get my breath back! Must remember to hide it next time!  


Sunday, 19 October 2014

Beat the Reaper 10k

We were up and out early today for a race for the first time in almost a month! (I know, shock horror!) Andy took part in the Beat the Reaper 10k, a Pool Runnings event held at Croxteth Country Park in Liverpool.  We arrived in Liverpool in time for the opening of registration (and very pleased we didn't get too lost on the way).

Autumn was in full swing in the park, with leaves all over the place and floating down everywhere, much to Sam's amusement. He loves sprinkling them and puts him in a happy mood. The sun was out and the weather was warm for October at about 16 Celsius but very breezy! There was a large playground on the site near to the race HQ which was perfect for keeping the boys amused until the start of the race. Crowds of runners began turning up, some in Halloween fancy dress which was brilliant. Skeletons, vampires, witches, zombies and even a werewolf showed up this morning! The idea of this run is that along the way you may find a Grim Reaper (or 14 of them) chasing you for a bit or jumping out from behind a tree!

Just before 11am, the runners headed for the start on the lawn in front of Croxteth Hall. The stereo was blaring ACDC's 'Highway to Hell' as they all set off. After a short loop around the hall we spotted Andy again at the 1 km marker then he was off! The nice thing for spectators at this event was that the race consisted of 2 laps of a 5km course, so we got to see Andy in the middle of the run as well.

We managed to station ourselves at the finish just as the first few runners had come through. The crowd at the finish was fantastic, applauding everyone who came through with lots of friendly banter and encouragement from the man on the microphone!

Andy finished the race in 54.41 so just 39 seconds short of a PB today but he still did fantastic! He came in 96th out of 331 runners and 11th in his age category. Fantastic new medal and tech t-shirt for rewards (the bag of Haribo was pounced on by William).

Andy said the run was really well marshaled, and although he got a small fright from one of the reapers who was stood hiding just around the last corner, he really enjoyed that part of the race. Well organised race in a brilliant setting. Great day out!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Lancaster Castle 10k and Fun Run

It was another very early start for us this morning. At 7am we left for Lancaster so Andy could take part in the Lancaster Castle 10k. We thought this would be a fab location to do a run as the finish was in the castle grounds. Luckily there was a fun run for the kids to do as well.

After worrying a bit about diversions and road closures in Lancaster we sailed round the one way system and thought we'd take a cheeky drive up round the castle to see if there was any space to park nearby. We were gobsmacked to find a space directly outside the castle! Of course we were very early at this point but we went and registered myself and the boys for the fun run and Andy collected his race number as he had booked his place online. Race registration was in the old prison itself which was an interesting location to say the least!

We had a peek in the cafe/shop and the boys played around with their balloons from the Galloway's stand for awhile. We met up with two more Wind Cheetahs who were taking part as well. We got our running numbers on and soon enough it was time to head for the start. We all headed out of the castle and downhill, over the train station and down onto a playing field. We said our goodbyes to the 10k runners (and half marathon runners as that event was taking place too).

The Mayor of Lancaster set us fun runners off with a bull horn and we were off. Once round the field and then back out and up the hill to the castle. I kept hold of Sam's hand the whole way round and he did really well to keep going. William only stopped briefly for a drink of his water then carried on running. By the time I got back into the castle with Sam, William was already posing for photos with his t-shirt prize!

Fab pic of William taken by Sprint Finish Photography

Me and Sam! Photo by Sprint Finish Photography

We nipped to the car briefly to pick up our snack bag and Andy's jacket for when he finished then headed back to the castle to wait for the Cheetahs to return. Andy came in just as William spotted him and dashed over for a high five.

What a great atmosphere there was in the castle grounds and Sam loved watching everyone run in! Everyone was agreeing that it was an excellent finish location (apart from the little matter of the hill leading up to it!). Andy was the 50th to finish in a field of 121 and got a new 10k PB of 54.16 (and a new medal for the collection)! It turned out to be an all round excellent morning and definitely worth the early start!