Birthday weekend–part 1

And just like that I’m another year older… I turned 28 yesterday. I’d like to think that I’m wiser and have it all figured out but I absolutely don’t. But I’m happy and enjoying life so I’ll take that!

For the Saturday I had a few of my university friends down. Kate and Jamie (I went on holiday last year with them to Orlando) came down earlier so they could join me at parkrun. Now this is a BIG DEAL. This is the couple who laughed at me for going to parkrun when we were on holiday together. They were the least likely out of all my non-running friends to want to do parkrun. But, major kudos to them, they’ve started running and eating better in order to lose a bit of weight and get a bit more healthy. Jamie has lost FIVE STONE and Kate has lost (I think) over two stone. They’ve both also been doing the Couch to 5K programme and Kate had timed it perfectly as to use parkrun for my birthday weekend as her target.

They got to mine just before 8am and we headed down to Lee-On-Solent parkrun. Ordinarily I do Netley but Kate wanted a nice flat course and my dad was going to do Lee as well as my friend, Mat, who was down from Cheltenham for the week so it made sense.

IMG_2215Kate, Jamie, me and Mat

It was a beautifully sunny day. I was a bit worried about my hamstring but I’d done a quick tester run when I walked Alfie in the morning and it held up OK. Not perfect but alright.

IMG_2211

I’d planned to take the run nice and slowly and stop if at any point it became bad.

IMG_2216My dad rocking the England shirt

It was quite amusing to see Jamie and Kate’s reaction to parkrun. They tend to run very early in the morning and never with other people. They genuinely thought they’d be about 12 people at parkrun. Jamie said he was shocked that one minute there were a couple of people and then the next there were hundreds. They were literally taken aback by the amount of lycra and colour about.

The start was a little bit hectic I must admit. There was over 300 people and we were all bunched together. It involved a lot of negotiating around people and trying not to trip over anyone else or be tripped up. But eventually it evened out and there was enough space.

I found a nice easy rhythm. I wasn’t pushing it or feeling out of breath and the hamstring felt OK. I was surprised to see I was running around 8 minute miles.

FullSizeRenderPhoto credit: Eileen Bartlett

Lee’s a good course as you can see runners ahead and behind so I could cheer people on and spot people I knew.

IMG_2254Photo credit: Eileen Bartlett

I’d say the hamstring felt 80% OK. It niggled slightly towards the end but there was no pain, just felt uncomfortable. It just annoys me though as it doesn’t make for a great run as I’m constantly thinking about it and not wanting to push myself to go fast because I don’t want to annoy it. But least it was better than it has been! I finished in 24:15 which felt nice and comfortable.

image

Mat had already finished in a great time of 20:50 so we walked together to walk my dad in. He was power walking the course and desperate to beat his last time of 51:12. He was finding it tough but the tail runner was apparently really good at keeping him going.

IMG_2261Photo credit: Eileen Bartlett

Towards the end, he picked up speed, overtook another guy and sprinted to the finish. Everyone cheered him in and it was lovely.

IMG_2256Photo credit: Eileen Bartlett

And he completed it in 50:16 so almost a minute off his time! He was made up Smile Kate squeaked under her goal of sub-35 by getting 34:57 and Jamie got 33:58. The absolute best part was hearing how much they loved it. Kate and Jamie are now full-on parkrun converts. On the way home they were already planning their next one (depressingly their local one was Little Stoke so now their nearest one is about 20 minutes away). Jamie was already commenting how he felt he could run further when he finished as well. YES!!! Converting my non-running friends one person at a time Winking smile

We got back to mine, showered and then my friend Shell and her fiancé, Rob, showed up to join the fun. Again, hearing them tell Rob and Shell how good parkrun was just made my day. A year ago there was nothing I could say that would persuade them that running could be enjoyable. People have to find out for themselves.

I had booked my latest favourite restaurant for lunch and we were all pretty excited. After catching up and walking Alfie and Kate’s pug, Doug, we headed to Sadlers in Southampton.

IMG_2229

As I’ve mentioned before, Sadlers is THE restaurant for meat (though they also have a strong vegetarian section of the menu too). The last time I went was INCREDIBLE. My friends love BBQ food too so it made sense to go here. I decided to go for the ribs rather than the platter this time as, though the platter is amazing, I was really craving ribs. And they did not disappoint.

IMG_2221

HUGE chunks of meaty ribs on top of chips, salad, coleslaw and cornbread. I didn’t even touch the chips. There was just too much meat (which, by the way, is not an issue).

IMG_2220

So tasty. Shell and Rob also went with the ribs and Jamie and Kate shared the platter.

IMG_2223

Ridiculously (and foolishly) Shell, Rob and I ordered sides as well. Shell and Rob went for some pulled pork and I went for some chicken wings and we ordered the bourbon BBQ sauce to go alongside. (Greed took over sanity here as you can probably tell…).

IMG_2230

Yeah I didn’t even touch those wings. There was just far too much going on my plate. And, amazingly for me, I couldn’t finish the ribs. I was beaten! Everyone was. Happily Kate and Jamie said I could take their leftovers home so I took a swan of shame back with me.

IMG_2240

Needless to say my freezer is now joyfully stocked with some smoked turkey, gammon, wings, hot link sausages and pulled pork. Happy days!

As we sat there afterwards chatting and basically recovering from the meal, the waitress appeared with a cake with lit candles and they all started singing happy birthday to me. It was such a surprise and so lovely!

IMG_2323Action shot

To be honest, I think the last thing we all wanted was a slice of chocolate cake. But you gotta take one for the team right?? Winking smile

IMG_2244

The chocolate cupcakes on top were filled with delicious buttercream. We were literally DONE after having a slice.

IMG_2246

We spent a long time at my flat just laying around chatting and digesting. We probably could have napped! It was such a great day. And to top it off they got me some super cool Superdry workout gear.

IMG_2314

Because what else would you buy me?? So, an absolutely perfect Saturday.

What is your perfect way to spend your birthday?

Have you converted any non-runners to runners?

What’s your perfect birthday gift?

16 thoughts on “Birthday weekend–part 1

  1. Happy belated birthday my friend! Looks like you spent it exactly how you wanted to with some great friends and family 🙂 My perfect birthday was this year when I got to FINALLY spend the day with my younger siblings. We went hiking, then got ice cream, then just hung out! Its something Ive never been able to do on my birthday, so I was really excited 🙂

  2. Happy Birthday! I am drooling over all of that amazing food. And it’s great to hear that the hamstring is good enough for you to run on. It is annoying when it’s not 100% and you’re afraid to go too fast, but better safe than sorry!
    Elizabeh C. recently posted…Training is heating up!My Profile

  3. What a great way to celebrate a birthday!
    I think I have persuaded a few of my running club friends to go to parkrun, but not many of them go regularly, although a lot of them volunteer so that’s great. I have one friend who keeps stopping and starting the couch to 5k- we had agreed we would do St Albans parkrun and then have a waffle after (The Waffle House is around the corner) but so far she has not been confident enough to go along to one.
    That parkrun course looks fantastic right by the sea. And well done to your dad on his pb!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…3 Things All New Bike Riders Should Do*My Profile

    • I think it is a scary prospect for new runners to do a parkrun for the first time as there are “all the people” and “real runners” and them feeling very self-conscious. But once they get there and do it they realise how welcoming parkrun is and how there is no judgement. My friends kept saying how lovely everyone was and how welcoming they felt it was. They also chuckled at the start because of how many times we cheered and clapped when something was mentioned in the pre-race briefing (number XX parkrun *cheer*, such and such is celebrating their 50th *cheer*, well done to the volunteers *cheer*) hehe.
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…Climbing, running and eatingMy Profile

  4. Richard is a brilliant tail runner, I saw him and your Dad chatting as they passed the finish funnel heading towards The Shack. Your Dad is doing so well and I’m glad your friends enjoyed it too.
    Another trip to Sadlers has to be on the cards that place was amazing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge