Sunday, 20 July 2014

Blackpool Summer 10k

Well, it was Andy's turn for a 10k race! After getting up very early this morning we headed out to Blackpool so he could take part in the Blackpool Summer 10k, a very well organised run by Fylde Coast Running. Race HQ was located at the Hilton Hotel with parking in the field next door. Everything was easy to find so we picked up Andy's running number nice and early, he grabbed a coffee then we headed out to find the start, located on the prom just below the hotel. 

The boys and I found an ideal vantage point for watching the runners set off and then Andy headed back to the start line just before 9.30am when the race would begin. The gun went off and so did the runners. Luckily Andy was easily spotted in his hi-vis yellow WWC shirt among all the other participants! 

After the runners had all passed us we dropped down from our spot and crossed the prom, heading for the lower prom where they would soon be looping back. Sure enough as soon as we'd found a spot to sit there they were! We cheered and waved as Andy went by, still looking fresh. We stayed and cheered others on afterwards till the last runners had gone by, including a man very authentically dressed as Mr. Tumble complete with make up and signing 'thank you' to the crowd in Makaton! I think that William was very impressed that Mr Tumble is a runner too! 

We headed back up onto the prom to the finish line where Andy came in at an amazing 55.27, which is a new 10k PB for him (knocking just over 2 minutes off his previous time!). He came in 212th place too in a field of 512.  A fantastic medal and a wagon wheel waited for him at the finish. Too bad he didn't get to eat it as it ended up being halved for the boys! 

Andy said he really enjoyed it and could possibly be persuaded to attempt a flat 10 miler or half marathon there next year (with a lot more training of course). As for me I think I'd quite like to try the 10k first! All in all a great morning in Blackpool! 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

My WWC Cubs

It's been awhile since I last updated about the boys taking part in the Walney Wind Cheetah Cubs group.  I thought I would do that now that the beginners programme has technically finished with many of the cubs having taken part in the Walney Fun Run at the end of June.

I'm very pleased to say that both Sam and William were 2 of the 3 cubs who attended every single session of the programme. After the Walney Fun Run there was a little prize ceremony whereby those who had run regularly and taken part in the fun run received a certificate and reward from their run leaders. Because of their young age both boys received family swimming passes for our leisure centre so that will be great for this summer!

The boys are still attending Cubs and will do so throughout the summer as the group is continuing to meet for the next few months. They absolutely love it and it means getting us all out of the house for a couple evenings a week in the sunshine (hopefully!) and fresh air.

Have the boys benefited from Cubs? Yes I would definitely say so and in different ways, some of which are not just about improving their running (although both their recent parkrun PB's and performance at the Walney Fun Run can attest to their increased fitness and training)!

For Sam, who has autism, the group has given him more opportunities for socialising , increased his confidence and has provided a brilliant sensory experience each evening. His difficulties have made no difference whatsoever to his inclusion in Cubs and I am constantly bowled over by the warmth and encouragement shown towards him. It's very hard to tell how much Sam comprehends but I do know that he loves being out with the Cubs by the giddy smile on his face most nights!

William has come on so much with his running considering he is still only 4. He often tells me how much he enjoys it. His confidence has also grown and he loves being part of a group. He is definitely getting the hang of all the stretches and likes helping to lead them at the end of each session. He can often tell you where you should be feeling the stretch and what you can do if you can't feel it! He loves the games section in the middle of each run session too, they are fun, keep his interest and motivation up and sharpen his listening skills!

I really hope that the boys keep up their running for years to come and I think that Cubs has given them a good start. William has already asked for his own running watch! Children as young as our boys don't often have this sort of chance to 'learn' running in a group so it's been a fabulous opportunity for them.

One of the other things Cubs teaches is PMA (positive mental attitude!) and William especially takes this away with him in other aspects of his life and to races we've signed up to. The boys have two races to take their Cubs skills to this summer, the Hospice at Home West Cumbria Colour Run (5km) at Muncaster Castle and a 1 mile fun run at the Ulverston Summer 10k. I am sure they will do the group proud!

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Great Langdale Herdwick 10k

We started the Saturday morning off as usual with Barrow parkrun. After his PB last week, Sam seemed to have decided to take it easy for the morning's 5km. It was just as well though as he was running with me and I was hoping to save my energy for the afternoon's run. William on the other hand absolutely flew round the course with Andy, earning himself a new PB of 45.51! Hopefully he can do it again next Saturday! 

After a quick stop at the pavillion cafe for sweets for the boys and a flapjack for me, we headed up to Great Langdale for the innaugural Herdwick 10k. We eventually found where the runners were gathering (after taking a more 'scenic' route there and some confusion regarding parking) and made it there with just under 15 minutes to spare before the start of the run. What a glorious backdrop though! 

The runners all took a short wander down the road and got into position to start. I managed to find the friendly face of fellow blogger Lakes Single Mum who I'd met previously at the Grasmere Gallop. Andy and the boys had positioned themselves in a safer spot a little further down the road to cheer me on (and as Andy told me later, William cheered on everyone who went past too - what a star) and Andy tried to get a few pics although the sun interfered with those ones just a bit!

The boys and Andy managed to entertain themselves whilst I was running, having a picnic lunch and exploring the finishing field before cheering on the runners as they came back in. 

The sun was shining and it soon felt very hot. I'd probably set off at a bit of a faster pace than I should have done but I was really pleased to have maintained it for the better part of the first 5km. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw my 5km time was 33.30, a new PB for me (previously was 36.02 at parkrun!). The course was undulating and boy did you feel it on the uphill parts! There were many lovely runners on this course offering words of encouragement which really helped. My pace slowed on the return part of the course although not as badly as I thought I would. 


As I approached the finish I could see Andy and the boys in the field waiting and William started cheering again. I managed to finish in 1 hour 14 minutes which is an amazing 3 and a half minutes off my Dalton 10k time! Pleased and proud of myself. And to top it off my reward was a brilliant Herdwick mug which was christened with a cup of tea when we got home. 

Another lovely day out in the Cumbrian countryside! 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

A Fab Weekend of Running - Part 2 The Walney Family Fun Run

The morning after the Whinlatter 5, Andy and I woke to find that we could still use all our muscles which was a good thing because it was the day of the Walney Family Fun Run and we'd been looking forward to it for some time! I had already registered the boys for the 1 mile disability run and Andy was registered for the 10km run.

We'd managed to get down to the registration/finishing field quite early, stowed our things and Andy went and got his timing tag from the registration desk. We got the boys their running numbers too and pinned them on. Lots of friendly faces started pouring into the field and the boys were getting excited. We had our first meeting with Charlie Cheetah the WWC mascot who Sam seemed to take a real shine to (in that he didn't want to leave him afterwards!) and William enjoyed joining in with the warm up exercise routine.

Just before 11am we walked the boys out to the road where the 1 mile disability run would start the day's proceedings with the other families taking part. The 5km and 10km runners were also out there ready for their run and to see us start. After a loud 5 second countdown we were off to the immense sound of the crowd cheering! I'm sure I heard several shouts of 'Go Sam!' too. I'm glad I had my sunglasses on otherwise everyone might have seen me well up a little! William flew away down the road and Sam and I followed. Although Sam was a little distracted he still kept going, only pausing for a few seconds at a time. William waited for us just before the roundhouse as he needed a drink to keep going.

Once I'd handed him his water bottle off he flew again and that was the last we saw of him until the finishing field! I was told later though that he looked very proud as he passed the crowd the second time just before the finish. Sam kept his concentration up as well and kept running. We had a slight delay as the 10km and 5km runners set off but we soon reached the finishing field where William and friends were waiting for us.

After all the disability runners had finished they had their own lovely prize ceremony where all the children went up and received their finishers medals and goody bags from the mayor.

Once we'd stowed the boys goody bags we had a quick hotdog then joined the crowds lining the funnel to wait for Andy to finish the 10k. Sam loves watching people running so he was very happily positioned there. Andy came in at a brilliant 57.33 which was nearly a minute faster than his practice time and also a new 10km PB! Considering he wasn't expecting to do under the hour due to the trail run the night before, he really smashed it!

After the run we all spread our picnic blankets out and had another massive group picnic! There was a raffle too where Andy was the lucky winner of a Star Wars colouring book. The children were all running round, hula hooping and playing games including throwing wet sponges at the poor people silly enough to get into the stocks! All in all a brilliant, fun, family day. Can't wait for next year!