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!

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Preston parkrun and Pilling 10k

This morning we woke up very early and met up with some of the Wind Cheetahs to go to Preston parkrun. Our own parkrun at Barrow was cancelled due to another event going on in the park. It was good to take the opportunity to try another parkrun elsewhere and see what goes on there. I'd heard good reports about Preston parkrun before so was very happy to give this one a go.

We were not disappointed! Beautiful parks (Preston parkrun takes in both Avenham Park and Miller Park), friendly runners and well organised, cheery volunteers meant we had a good morning.

Unfortunately William managed to fall at the start of the second lap. After establishing that nothing was bleeding/broken he kept going, although his hands were hurting (and later his nose, apparently!). Andy and Sam had overtaken us at this point so were well ahead. Sam seemed to be enjoying the run and surroundings immensely. William began running properly again for the last half of the third lap and managed a little sprint into the finish. He really enjoyed the railway bridges, both for watching the trains going over the top and for the echoes underneath! I was also very appreciative of the other parkrunners who shouted out words of encouragement to the boys as they ran past. Had a good chat with the backmarker too.

More brilliant pics from Preston parkrun can be found on the group flickr page! Spot the Cheetahs!

I'd quite like to give this course another go one day. We couldn't stop for post parkrun refreshments unfortunately as we needed to get ourselves to Pilling for the Pilling 10k and had one hour in which to do it! After spending what seemed like ages getting out of Preston, we got out on the road only to be stuck behind tractors, lorries and a herd of cows crossing a busy main road!

We managed to pull into the car park of the Elletson Arms Pub in Pilling (Race HQ) at 10.55am for an 11am start! I grabbed my water bottle and a cap as it was raining by this point and dashed into the pub to find I wasn't too late to enter. After grabbing my number and a quick stop in the loo, I ran out of the pub to find everyone heading to the start line down the road.

This has got to be one of the flattest courses I have ever done so I was very confused to find it quite hard going. I ran with a WWC friend for the first half and did as well as I had in the past but struggled with the second half. Just couldn't keep up with the pace. Whether that had to do with finishing running a 5km course an hour earlier I'm not sure! I didn't get a PB for this one but was only a few minutes off so wasn't too disappointed either. I can't believe I'm actually saying this but I think I prefer a more undulating course! Very happy of course with my new medal too. Also well done to our 3 Cheetah ladies who won prizes!

We're off on another early start to Lancaster tomorrow so Andy can take part in the Lancaster Castle 10k and hopefully I'll do the fun run with the boys. More on that tomorrow!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Hawkshead Esthwaite 10k and Fun Run

Well today was another fab day out with the family and the Wind Cheetahs at the Hawkshead Esthwaite 10k and Fun Run.

The fun run was held at 11am on the recreation ground at Hawkshead and seeing as it was held a full hour before the main 10k event, I was able to watch the boys take part. It was a brilliant setting for them to run, and 3 laps around the field. As this was a safe course, William took part unaccompanied and Andy ran round with Sam.

William flew round and didn't stop once on his three laps. It was great to watch him and cheer him on. Sam needed some help to stay on task and tried to finish one lap early but was guided back onto the course by Andy. All the children finished to loud cheers from the whole crowd of parents and other runners. The boys received a fab medal each and got to pick a sweet from the box. It was a well organised fun run and all the children clearly had a brilliant time!

After the fun run, the children went to play on the playground and I headed to the start with a few cheetah friends. We weren't sure of where it was starting from but managed to tag along with some friendly marshals who were headed there themselves. We were set off by Cedric Robinson, the Queen's Guide to the Sands who had also set off the fun runners too.

Andy, Sam and William were waiting on the road opposite the playground as we came past and got photos and cheered us on. After that we were headed out of Hawkshead on a very undulating road down the western side of Esthwaite Water. We then turned and headed up the east side. Once I'd got to about 6.5/7km a lovely marshal said it was all downhill from there and it pretty much was! I was able to gain a bit of speed back and got to the finish with a time of 1.07.55 which is a new 10k PB for me. I had been aiming to beat my last hilly 10k (Herdwick 10k at Great Langdale) but actually managed to beat my flat 10k time from Ulverston last month! To say I was pleased was an understatement! I was also thrilled with the fact that I didn't stop the entire way round.

Once the group had all finished and had watched the prize giving, we whipped out the picnic blankets and had another fab group picnic. It doesn't get better than that! After a little stroll around Hawkshead we packed up and set off home, tired but very happy.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Ulverston Charter 5k and Fun Run

Well, it was another evening spent at Glaxo Sports Club in Ulverston last night. It was Andy's turn to run and he took part in the Ulverston Charter 5k, hosted by the Hoad Hill Harriers. There was a one mile fun run once again for the boys to take part in.  It was great to see so many Wind Cheetahs there and loads of the cubs joined in with either race dependent upon age. Under 8's had to run with an adult so I ran with Sam and a WWC friend ran with William which was a huge help.

Once again the boys were glued to the playground outside the club house until it was time for us to find the starting line. After a quick safety chat about the route we all set off when the whistle blew. William eventually got going after faffing about with his socks  and Sam did his usual sprint/walk routine! The route had changed since we were there a month ago and this time it included roads so I made sure I was right alongside Sam and took his hand if a car came along. The route took us right past the starting line for the 5k runners and all the kids got a huge cheer as we went past them which was fantastic!

William got to the finish in 13.03 and Sam came through in 14.20. They both got medals which were different to the last fun run they did here so that was great and another one to put on their medal hangers! We then cheered the 5k runners who came in.

Andy did brilliantly, knocking exactly one minute off his PB, finishing in 25.26 and he got a HHH medal too.

Our favourite cheetah, Charlie, was there to motivate our WWC runners and the boys were excited to see him as usual!

We're looking forward to Sunday now where I'm running the Hawkshead Esthwaite 10k and the boys will be doing the fun run. Looks like another picnic is on the cards too!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Tour de Furness and Other Milestones

It was a beautiful day today and Andy crept out of the house at a very early 6.45am to get to the start of the Tour de Furness, a 50 mile annual local cycle ride (although there were shorter alternatives). He arrived at the start for 7am and met up with a friend who was also taking part and offered to cycle the course with him.

At the start, looking a bit grumpy. Cheer up Andy, you're about to cycle 50 miles, yay! 

Andy took part in this ride last year too and it took him 4.5 hours to get round it back then. It begins at Roose Conservative Club in Barrow and takes in the coast road round to Ulverston, A590 to Greenodd, then a loop all the way round Coniston Water before heading back to Barrow. It would probably be described as undulating to say the least!

At the halfway point. 

They both did fantastically well, finishing in 3.16.35, so Andy knocked an amazing amount of time off from last year's attempt. All the training he has been putting in cycling partway to work and back definitely paid off! Huge thank you to his friend Tom who provided tips and support the whole way round too.

Back home showing off his new mug!

As the Tour de Furness is a charity fundraiser, Andy cycled in aid of the Furness Branch of the National Autistic Society who have been a brilliant support to our family and this year he's raised just under £150 so is very pleased.


In other news, we've hit another couple of weight loss milestones this week. Both Andy and I got on the scales yesterday and found we'd both lost a few more pounds each. Since Andy started running and cycling he's lost one and a half stone and gone from 14 stone down to 12st 7lbs.  I weigh in now at just under 10 stone and I started off at 12 stone before starting running in 2013. Considering very little has changed to our diet it's a terrific result. We definitely feel fitter than before (although we desperately need to do some clothes shopping)!

I watched the Great North Run on the television today, knowing many of my running friends were there taking part. They all did brilliantly and I'm so proud of them (even spotted a few on the telly!). I have found myself quite envious once again of those able to run longer distances. Trying not to be immediately swept up in the post-half marathon frenzy, I have decided to try and lose another stone in weight and get my 10k personal best time to closer to the one hour mark before considering signing up for something longer. I will get there eventually, it just might take me awhile! Andy on the other hand wants to choose a half marathon to do in 2015 and has signed himself up to take part in the Ulverston Triathlon next year too!