Friday, 25 September 2015

Wirral Half Marathon

Well, I managed it. I ran my first half marathon on the 13th of September! As the BTR Liverpool's Wirral Half Marathon was 2 hours away and started at 9.30am we had the pleasure of getting up at 4.30am to ensure I got to the start line on time! Porridge was eaten en route thanks to a handy porridge pot and a flask of hot water!

We were due to meet up with our WWC friends at Morrisons in New Brighton for 8am and after getting lost once we managed to get there about 5 minutes early. The group split up there, with myself and friends C and C headed for the start and Andy and the boys headed off with J and grandchildren to get some breakfast!

It was lightly raining at this point so I made sure I took my cap and hoody, and once parked up near Birkenhead Park my friend pulled out some very trendy disposable ponchos to save us getting wet. We took a little wander round with a loo stop (there was a plentiful number of portaloos) then dropped our things off on the baggage bus which would be waiting at the finish. I chose to keep my cap on as it was still raining very lightly and I like to be able to see out of my glasses!

We headed to the start funnel and stood by the 2 hour 15 minute corral. My ultimate goal was 2 hours and 30 minutes but you never know! Once we were set off it took 2 minutes for me to get to the start and I was quickly moved along by the sheer number of people taking part. We spent the first part of the run inside Birkenhead Park before heading out towards New Brighton. I went out too fast as per usual, but soon steadied my pace. As we headed out of the park I realised it had stopped raining and the sun was shining down on us. By the time I got onto the prom I had to take my cap off as I was getting too hot.

I managed the first 5km in about 31 minutes which I was really pleased with although slightly worried that I needed to take it a little easier if I wanted to get to the finish! I really liked that section on the prom though as the crowds of runners started to disperse and it became more roomy. I passed a fantastic art piece of a pirate ship made out of driftwood on the beach and made a mental note to tell Andy about that when I finished... little did I know he and the boys had already been playing on it!

I started getting nearer the 10k mark and where the 10k runners would break off to their finish. I was starting to tire here a little, but I managed 10k in 1.04 so was quite pleased with that. I started scanning the people along the sides here to see if Andy and the boys had come out to watch me pass by and they had! Not only was I able to get rid of my cap but seeing them gave me a real boost and I felt myself moving a little faster again. After a few minutes I passed over the half way marker (1.07) and kept going.

Not too much further on and I ended up on a slightly narrower section of prom, but with lovely views still. The 2 hour and 20 minute pacer overtook me just at the 8 mile marker, singing 'We're off to see the Wizard' as he went past with his followers.

I ran the first 10 miles in 1 hour 47 minutes (the same as my time for the Prudent Riverside 10 miler at Lancaster). I was thrilled with that time as it meant I had 43 minutes to get the last 5km done. 3 of those minutes I allowed myself to walk a little but I mostly managed to keep running. My motivation increased when I got back onto the prom and could see the finish line in the distance. As I got nearer I realised I was going to beat my goal plus I saw Andy and the kids on the way to the finish. Got a high five from William on my way in and finished my first half marathon in 2.26.29!

I received my medal and goody bag and walked like a little old lady over to the t-shirt tent to collect my shirt. After that it seemed to take an age to get over to the group, mainly because I had to have a sit down partway there. It's amazing how you really don't feel it until you stop! I was so proud of myself, and proud of my lovely friend who completed her first 10k event.

What a wonderful day.


Friday, 11 September 2015

Ulverston Charter 5k and the Boys PB Week!

This last week's running got off to a great start at the weekend with Barrow parkrun PBs for both boys! It was pacers week so we decided to use it as an opportunity to see if William could beat his PB of 35.37 from May. He smashed it and got a new PB of 34.55. Sam has been doing really well with his running for the last few weeks now and he managed to go sub 40 minutes for the first time which is a huge achievement for him. His new PB is 39.51!

Still on a runner's high from parkrun, we ventured out to the Ulverston Charter 5k run on Wednesday evening. Andy signed up to do the main event and both boys were registered for the 1 mile fun run. I would be running with William again and Sam with Andy.

Well, it felt like William and I were just jogging along, but the nearer we got to the finish I realised that with a bit of sprinting William might just make it a course PB. He was amazing and finished in 10.16, knocking 9 seconds off his previous best time.

Sam was still in his element with running and ran really well. He managed to knock a few minutes off his best course time and finished in 12.20. I was thrilled for him. Both boys received a new medal for their brilliant efforts.

Andy took on the 5k again. The boys and I watched him head off at the start then went back to the playground for a bit until the first runners started coming back.


He completed the run in 25.57 which was only about 30 seconds slower than his previous time from last year. He's not done a massive amount of solo running recently for training so I think he did really well.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Summer 2015

Well, we've nearly made it through the summer holidays and in one piece too! We've done some good running over the last few months. Andy took part in the Windmill Half Marathon in Lytham. He's pretty good at running that distance now, and the medal was a whopper!

He also took part in Total Warrior in the Lake District. He had a thoroughly enjoyable time, although he did come back with bruised ribs!

I ran my furthest distance to date at the Prudent Riverside 10 Mile run at Lancaster. I had to have a sit down straight afterwards but I was so pleased and proud of myself. Plus it was great practice for the Wirral Half Marathon which I have in just over a week!

We also slipped in another 10k race and fun run at the Ulverston Summer 10k. The boys did really well, William managed to smash his PB for the course, finishing in 10.24! He was also extremely excited to discover that the children were receiving the same medal as the adults were getting and he loved it. I did the 10k run and finished in 1.04.03 which is a full 4 minutes faster than my previous time from last year's run. I was really pleased with that, especially as it was a VERY warm evening and I'd already run a mile with William!

We took a break from our usual running over the August bank holiday weekend and went away to the Calvert Trust in Keswick. They specialise in outdoor activity breaks for people with disabilities. This particular break was specially funded for families with a veteran or serving member of the armed forces and a family member with a disability. So that would be Andy, who spent many years in the army, and Sam who has autism.

We headed up to Keswick on the Friday and arrived a little early and had a good look around the centre before checking in. They have great facilities there, a games room, sports hall, sensory room and a fantastic swimming/hydrotherapy pool. We had a dip in the pool on the Friday night after dinner and the boys loved it. We were paired up into a group with another family who had 3 boys which was ideal.

The following morning, we were driven to the bottom of Lattrigg and as promised the day before we got to 'climb a mountain'! At least that's what it felt like to us all when we got to the top. The views were spectacular of Keswick and Derwent Water as well as all the surrounding fells including Skiddaw. All William's running up and down the amphitheatre on a Thursday morning with the WWC cubs paid off as he shot up ahead of us!


After lunch we headed out for some horse riding and archery (not done at the same time, I should add!). William loved trying out the bow and arrow and Sam found pressing the trigger on the mounted crossbow hilarious once he worked out what the contraption did and what the targets were for!

On the Sunday we spent the morning at Mirehouse, a local house and gardens where there was a steeplechase course set into the woods. William flew around this one several times so I think it was a hit. He's asked to go back some day! Sam wasn't as keen on the steeplechase, although he did enjoy the big tyre swing at the little park there too. We headed back to the centre and did a little orienteering in the grounds before lunch.

In the afternoon we went canoeing on Bassenthwaite Lake which was probably my favourite activity. Sam enjoyed dipping his hands in the water as we paddled along and William loved the team games we competed in with the other family. He even made friends with the canoe instuctor's dog who came with us.

After another evening spent in the swimming pool we were worn out and ready for coming home the following morning. I would recommend any family with a child or adult with a disability to try out the Calvert Trust for an outdoor activity holiday, they were excellent.