150 parkruns and a glamping experience

The weekend gone was truly fantastic. It was non-stop amazingness. The pinnacle of which was the Cakeathon race I did on Monday (there was a Bank Holiday weekend for most people in the UK so I enjoyed a long weekend). I will do a full race recap on the Cakeathon in another post because honestly it was just plain AMAZING.

My weekend started, as usual, with a parkrun. Originally the plan was to go to Southsea parkrun again with some running club friends but we realised it was Geoff’s, another running club friend, 150th parkrun (yes, 150) and he was running at Netley Abbey. So we decided to go there instead to help celebrate with him. Southsea can wait for another week! Geoff is one of Netley’s ‘core’ parkrun people and he is fantastic in his volunteering and general support – top guy!

He also brought 100 cakes to celebrate. All baked by his nephew (who’s a chef!). Each cupcake had “150” on them and they looked (and tasted) fantastic.IMG_0671

After setting up, I warmed up with a few guys and we discussed what we hoped to get that day. One wanted a sub-22, another a sub-23 and I wanted sub-21. I was so close last week. Also, different to normal, I had had breakfast and a black coffee before coming to parkrun that morning and wondered if this was the go-go juice needed to push the pace. Normally I don’t eat beforehand but I was having an early lunch.

IMG_0666Porridge, chia seeds, almond milk and a black coffee

As soon as the race began I knew I felt good. My pace was exactly where it needed to be and I felt smooth, strong and speedy. The second lap got tougher. I always find the middle mile the worst as you’re basically holding on for dear life and there’s still a way to go. On the last lap I could see Iwan Thomas (the Olympic 400m runner who’s hilarious on Twitter) ahead and decided to just stay as much with him as I could (well, behind him anyway).

My only problem was feeling sick on the last lap – which I put down to effort level and the breakfast I had in my tummy. But overall I did feel better; I could feel the energy in my reserves (OK this might have been psychological). My time was 20:34 and I was over the moon!! Fastest for the three lap Netley course (by a second) and eight seconds from my overall Netley PB (done on the flat cricket pitch course in 2013). Yesssss! But I was flat on my back at the end, pooped.

IMG_0669I obviously celebrated with one of Geoff’s cupcakes and a nice sit down in the cafe afterwards with the guys. The other two almost managed their goals but were still relatively happy overall. It was a hot morning!

From the results it said I was 2nd female, but I know I was third as my speedy friend Karen was first and I was overtaken early on by another girl. But she didn’t scan her barcode. Apparently she’s done this a few times – for what reason I’m not sure. I think this is a bit ridiculous. Why wouldn’t you? It just seems a bit unsportsman-like and makes a mockery of the parkrun. Don’t use the other runners for your run and then not go through the parkrun motions. If she doesn’t want to be on the results, don’t run the course. Simple. It also mucks up the results for everyone else.

Anyway Geoff force fed me another cupcake (who am I kidding?? There was no forcing…) and then I dashed off home to prepare (mentally and physically) for a camping hen do adventure…

My friend, Sarah, is getting married in July and she loves camping. In fact, she’s requesting for everyone to camp for their wedding (yes, really). They themselves are camping on their wedding night and where they’re getting married there are not hotels nearby. Madness. It was therefore no surprise the hen do would involve camping. Thankfully, it was more ‘glamping’ than proper camping. Though there was still no electricity, running water or toilets except for ‘on site’ a short walk from our tents.IMG_1267 I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the interiors of the tents were. Airbeds, carpet, duvets, pillows and a hamper full of utensils and cutlery. Very posh and swanky. And lovely fairy lights for the evening (battery-powered of course).

The hen do was going on until Monday but I couldn’t stay for the entire thing as I had the Cakeathon in Kent and was staying there on Sunday night. But I was able to do the Saturday activities at least. This involved hiring bikes and going for a nine mile cycle through the New Forest.

IMG_1266 There were 15 of us for this activity and we got three tandems as well. Cycling a tandem with someone is not easy – especially up hills! Initially when I heard the distance I was like “pffft! This is easy, I’ve cycled so much further!”. But with a load of excitable and non-cyclist females and three tandems…well, we took a long time!! It was bloody hard work cycling the tandem up hills I can tell you! And a fairly frightening process at that, especially for the person on the back who can’t see what’s going on.

Thankfully we survived. That evening we got dressed up (as best as you can really on a campsite) and headed to a local pub for some dinner.

IMG_1269 Initially everyone poo-pooed my chef salad selection…until they saw how massive it was and the size of the slices (wedges really) of brie I got as well. It was full of chicken, olives and the cheese. It was delicious. I also got someone’s unwanted goat’s cheese wedge. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much cheese before in one sitting! I also had a sneaky small bottle of Prosecco. The others were drinking, but not too heavily (that was Sunday’s plans I think) and I didn’t want a hangover so I stuck with one drink.

Pudding was a chocolate brownie with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. It was more a of crumbly cake…it let me down in the brownie department as I normally expect them to be dense and stodgy but I forced it down regardless… 😉 Tough times.

The evening involved just some girlie nattering and then falling asleep. It was cold though, but this is probably because in our tent we’d accidentally left a large air vent open which basically acted like an open window. The next morning we were woken by bright sunshine, children and birds. Nothing like being on a campsite!

Thankfully I could forgo the showers as I was leaving early and could shower at home. I also left having breakfast until home as well. They’d planned to go for brunch and I needed to get back to pack and get sorted for my next outing. But I did have a cup of tea using my friend’s camping kettle.

IMG_0691

My mug of course

Quite a cool piece of equipment. I’ll have to invest in one of these if I intend to camp again…not sure when that’ll be though!! I’m a creature comforts kind of girl. Not high maintenance per se, just I like warmth and proper food.

After saying my good byes I headed home. I was able to shower, eat, pack, do washing and hoovering before being picked up by the lovely Laura, from my club, who was doing the Cakeathon too. And off to Kent we went! We live in Southampton so it was a good 2 hours 45 minutes away. Road trip!IMG_1271

Which obviously included a Costa stop to keep us going 😉

The Cakeathon (which I will recap properly soon) is a 3.2 mile lap race that you can complete as many times as you like within 6 hours. For every lap you complete you get a coloured wrist band.

One wrist band = one slice of cake

What a fantastic idea!! As soon as I heard about this race a few months ago I immediately went to sign up, but found it to be fully booked with a waiting list. I was devastated. But, due to high demand, they decided to run another event and those on the waiting list got first shot at applying, which I did immediately. I knew it was in Kent but, being the simple-minded geographically clueless idiot that I am, I thought that wasn’t too far away…Until I Google mapped it: almost three hours in the car! And it started at 8.30am. Riiiiiight. My friend had signed up too so we both decided to get a hotel for the night before. Hence the road trip!

And I shall leave it there…

How many parkruns have you done?

Do you enjoy camping?

If you run, what’s your motivation? Amongst many, many things, one of my reasons is cake. Simple!

19 thoughts on “150 parkruns and a glamping experience

  1. Love an active hen do! I went glamping with just my bridesmaids the month before my wedding and had a great time.
    I’m creeping up to 30 parkruns now and hoping to get a bit more parkrun tourism in over the Summer. Unfortunately we seem to be located in a parkrun free zone with a half hour drive to each of our neighbouring parkruns. I hate when runners don’t get their barcode scanned as well. Very unsportsmanlike. I’ve known a few who don’t want to see their average time for a park go down. Rubbish reason!
    Mary recently posted…Moving stressMy Profile

    • That’s such a pain about your parkrun locations. I’m very very lucky to have so many nearby – though everywhere but Netley is probably more like 20 minutes plus away, which I know isn’t a massive distance I suppose!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…The CakeathonMy Profile

  2. There really, REALLY needs to be a cakeathon event brought up north. It sounds brilliant, I can’t wait for your recap! And congratulations on a great parkrun. It could just be coincidence but I really do think eating a small breakfast helps massively if you’re after a good time. The ‘glamping’ looks brilliant!
    Autumn recently posted…Working My Way BackMy Profile

  3. Nice time! I love your outfit too 🙂

    I must admit I’m not a fan of camping either…I just don’t understand the appeal. Each to their own though, and that tent does look a lot more comfortable than most. I have enough back pain lying on a custom mattress, let alone on the ground in a sleeping bag.

    Sanity is my motivation for running. That and attempting to feel like a slightly better person (or not quite as terrible, anyway). I also crave the sense of autonomy and the feeling of freedom, as I often feel so dependent and trapped in every other aspect of life.

    Shifting the tone just a bit, may I ask how you make your porridge? Forgive me if it’s been on the blog already, but I just can’t get the texture of mine right when I use chia seeds (I know, what kind of vegan am I?) and yours looks perfect. I do think having breakfast helps you power through your run, but it is tricky to find the balance between fueling adequately and ending up with an upset stomach. Usually I’m all about the volume foods, but before races I have to go for small, calorie-dense bars and/or dates because otherwise I will feel so ill.
    Jess @ One Step Closer recently posted…Melmerby 10K ~ 45:35My Profile

    • I would say sanity too. My dad always says I’m so much more friendly and talkative in a morning when I’ve run than when I haven’t.
      OK, porridge talk. I have perfected this process after many years 😉
      I have about 60g of normal oats (not the jumbo ones – I get Tesco Scottish oats as I’ve found them to be the best) and a teaspoon of chia seeds. Mix together. Then I add just enough almond milk to cover the oats. Then I add some water – probably a few splashes, nothing crazy, just so it’s stirrable and loose. I leave it to sit for about 5-10 mins while I faff about with other stuff. Then I microwave it for 2.5 minutes. I take it out and stir it. If it’s still really liquidy I let it sit for a few minutes again. Then I microwave again for about 40 seconds. I’ll keep microwaving (20 secs each time) if it’s STILL liquidy as I like it stodgy. If at any point it’s really too thick I’ll add a tiny bit more water to loosen it up and then microwave again for 10 seconds. BOOM 😉
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…The CakeathonMy Profile

      • Brilliant – thanks Anna 🙂 I’m going to try your method tomorrow morning (I was out of chia seeds and had to get some more) – I love stodgy porridge as well and can’t stand it when it’s like soup. I think the problem I have is patience (or lack of it). I’ll have to make sure I give the oats etc. adequate time to absorb the liquid.
        Jess @ One Step Closer recently posted…Hello, Hello?My Profile

  4. Oh my gosh I am excited to read about this cakeathon!!!

    I’ve done a couple of park runs (and did forget my barcode the first time, maybe that girl did too?) and would like to go more, the dilemma is Saturday is one of my favourite CrossFit sessions so that normally wins!!

    I love the idea of an active hen do. I did Colour Run in Bath a few weeks ago and there was someone running in a (presumably) old/charity shop wedding dress which I thought was a pretty fun idea!!
    Pip {Cherries & Chisme} recently posted…Lessons from a 31-hour examMy Profile

    • Well apparently this girl consistently ‘forgets’ it which is what I find annoying. But fair enough if you do forget it! But you can always email them afterwards.
      WOW a colour run would be AWESOME to do for a hen do!
      AnnaTheApple recently posted…The CakeathonMy Profile

  5. What a busy weekend!
    I have done 39 parkruns, although actually 40 (one as a tail runner) but I didn’t realise I could still get a tag, so didn’t get an actual time. Ah well, 50 by the end of this year I think 🙂
    I am so excited for the cakeathon! Kent is a nice place for a weekend away so that will be our bank holiday weekend next year (and not staying in the place you stayed at!).
    I used to camp a lot when I was younger, and when we were first going out we went to a lot of festivals, but now I don’t think I could face camping- mainly because of the toilet blocks I think, but also how stuffy and hot the tents get so early in the morning.
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Back to a routineMy Profile

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