Monday, 30 June 2014

A Fab Weekend of Running - Part 1 parkrun and Whinlatter 5

I have had to split this post into two due to the amount of running we've done over the weekend! Each run was that fantastic it deserves a post of its own.

The weekend started with parkrun as usual. It was a warm one! The boys got some great times, especially Sam (running with Andy) who came away with a PB of 50 minutes exactly! He beat his previous time by 15 seconds. It might not sound much but it would have taken him a lot of focus that morning and we are enormously proud of him. Just hoping that at some point in the future he can crack that sub-50 minute mark!

Later in the day Andy and I took part in the Whinlatter 5. It's a 5 mile trail race for both runners and nordic walkers set in the beautiful Whinlatter Forest near Keswick. We'd been itching to try a trail run since dabbling a little at the Grasmere Gallop so when I saw this one online we signed up! It was a lovely evening for it, the start was at 6.30pm and the weather was perfect, dry and not too hot.

There was a grand total of 27 of us all together (it was the very first Whinlatter 5 event), including 2 nordic walkers and a couple of other road runners like us. The route consisted of about half a mile downhill before the ascent began. The next 3 miles were mainly uphill and I nearly died struggled with this so a lot of walking was done especially on the steeper parts. I discovered muscles in my legs that I never knew existed! According to the Garmin we had a total elevation gain of 1,190 feet, which made Barrow parkrun seem positively flat (*makes mental note NEVER to whine again about Barrow parkrun's undulations at least until next Saturday). The views from up there were amazing though, really spectacular which made the climb all the more worthwhile.

The last part of the run was of course downhill! (and in my opinion the best part!) The elevation we gained was rapidly lost again in about 15 minutes. And although we were the last two to finish (both in 1.16.23), we came back to clapping and cheering which was fab. Snacks were abundant at the end and we both received a terrific medal to add to our small but growing collection of race swag.

The organisers, marshals and sweeper were all very encouraging and friendly and I'm pretty sure that Andy has been nearly convinced to try the route again in November for The Hope Northern Skeleton Run which is run in the dark! I think I'll need some more hill training before I make up my mind about that one!

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Grasmere Gallop 2014!

Today we had a change of scenery and took part in the National Trust Grasmere Gallop 5.7km fun run alongside some of our cheetah friends who were running either the 10k or 17k trail runs. We'd stayed overnight at Low Wray campsite near Ambleside. The weather forecast for very early Saturday morning onwards was heavy rain so we were pleasantly surprised when we woke up to slightly overcast skies. A glimmer of hope for the run as we cooked and ate our breakfast outside our tent.

Alas, the break in the weather was short lived as it started spitting as soon as we pulled up to park the car at the Grasmere sports field. We headed over to the registration tent and were given our running numbers then headed back to the car for a bit to take shelter and have a snack.

By the time we needed to head to the muster point it was raining quite heavily and William was not amused! Once we were being piped to the start though he didn't worry so much about the weather as he was too busy looking at the onlookers and the man playing bagpipes!

We had a slow start leaving Grasmere village and climbing up the hilly road. Both boys were a bit stop/start here, but I can't blame them going up that hill! The descent to the lake shore was much more exciting for them and William thought it was much better than being on the road. We also had a brief gap in the heavy rain whilst on the shore which was nice.

Once we climbed the short path back up to the road to loop back into Grasmere things went very quickly! Both boys quickened their pace on the downhill section and William barely stopped running all the way back through Grasmere and the path to the finish line. Sam was hot on his heels though and finished just 1.23 after him. Official times for the boys were 55.37 for William and 56.50 for Sam. So proud that they managed such a hilly route that was a little further in distance than they are used to and still finished in under an hour. All that WWC cubs training is really paying off!!  We all received brilliant bright chunky medals for finishing and got to choose from a selection of traybakes, delish!

Would definitely recommend this run for anyone wanting to do something just a little bit different from a basic 5km road run and of course there is always one of the longer runs to choose from too. We were hoping for another Cheetah picnic after today's run but with the heavy rain not letting up it wasn't to be. The boys were getting even more wet and chilly so we left soon after to dry them off and pack up our campsite. Hope to do this run again next year (with some sunshine this time!).

Monday, 2 June 2014

Making Progress

Well, we're now into June so I thought I would do a quick round up of what we've been up to!

We're still attending the WWC Cubs programme, in fact we've just done our 19th session this evening! The group is now running for 18 minutes and although our boys can't quite manage to run the entire time they have been doing well. They were also rewarded this evening for having attended 18 sessions with a fantastic WWC cap!

The weather has been much better recently and it's so nice running and playing games in the sunshine!

The boys also got treated to an extra run this half term holiday as they joined the WWC for a morning and we had a brilliant run/walk along the path from the Abbey Mill Cafe to Flass Lane and back again. This was followed of course by cake and a drink at the cafe. Another great family event!

And of course parkrun is the highlight of our weekend still! William has done 21 and marshaled 4 times now and Sam is at number 19. And I am over halfway to my 50 shirt now!

William ran with our friends last Saturday so that Andy could run on his own and try for a PB. He smashed his old one by 2 minutes 11 seconds so is currently at 28.51. I think he's done brilliantly!

Running has become a major lifestyle change for us and it's really nice to be feeling fitter and healthier. Since starting running with the cubs group two evenings a week and parkrun every Saturday, Andy and I have lost about 8lbs each. It's definitely giving us motivation to keep going.

Next up for us is the Grasmere Gallop 5.7km fun run (plus picnic, naturally) on Saturday, can't wait!