And I’m back in England again after a flying visit to Wales this weekend. I travelled up to North Wales, Llandudno, with my dad to see my grandparents. Originally my mum was meant to come too but for various reasons she couldn’t unfortunately.
My dad and me drove together straight from work on Friday evening and got to Llandudno just after 10pm. After a quick catch-up with my grandparents I headed to bed – after over four hours of being in the car! The next morning the plan was to head to the very local Conwy parkrun. As it was just a five minute drive from the house it meant we didn’t need to leave until 8.20am and even then we when arrived we sat in the car for a little bit to keep warm. It was such a luxury to not have to get there early to set-up the course! (Though I did miss the social side of Netley parkrun).
The parkrun is located just next to the RSPB Nature Reserve (which I visited a few years ago on a different visit). It was easy to park (for free!) and the views were fantastic. It was a beautiful crisp and clear day and you could see out to Conwy castle and the surrounding areas.
My grandad and dad had come to support me which was lovely. I think my grandad was a little shocked that I wasn’t wearing warmer clothes but I assured him that within a few minutes of running I’d be lovely and warm – especially doing a 5k! He used to be a mountain climber and guide so proper equipment and clothing is vital to him.
My plan was to give it a blast but not be stupid due to my long run planned tomorrow. But I did want to make the most of the flat course to see where my fitness was sat.
I also had my music with me for a change to help motivate me to run fast. After a gentle warm-up and the race brief we off. Annoyingly I should have started a bit closer to the front as I had to weave in and out of people. It’s always tricky to judge where to start at a new parkrun!
The route is very simple, you head out alongside the Conwy River on a compacted dirt track, have a brief moment of pain as you go over the footbridge over the main road, then turn left to do a quick out and back to the Conwy Castle, then continue alongside the river before turning around and going back over the footbridge and back to the finish. It’s super flat (bar the bridge) and great to stretch the legs on. It was a little windy but nothing major. I’d say I felt comfortably steady for 80% of the run but had to dig deep and ride the pain train for the last stretch.
Photo credit: Steve Jeffrey Photography
I knew I was second female as I’d seen the first female ahead of me on the out and back but I managed to catch her up a little bit and she finished 20 seconds ahead. She was wearing a hoodie which leads me to believe she might have been taking it easy!
My time was 21:40 with an overall place of 17/202 (one of my best finishes!). I also managed another royal flush negative split which continues to surprise me!
The Conwy parkrun was very friendly and welcoming and had a fantastic course really showing some beautiful scenery. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re in the area. There’s also a lovely cafe at the Nature Reserve to go afterwards (we didn’t, we went straight home as we were cold).
The entire weekend’s weather in Llandudno was really good. Beautifully sunny though very cold. Conwy parkrun wasn’t that windy (though the next day it was), whereas at Netley, my usual parkrun, it was cold, wet and miserable. Apparently it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Very odd that for once Wales had the better weather!
The rest of the day we spent doing some odd bits of shopping and walking around Conwy. Conwy is known for its mussels so I had to take a photo of the HUGE bag I saw next to the water. They’re sustainably hand-raked.If I lived in Conwy I think I’d be eating them all the time! Anyway, it was a nice relaxed day.
That evening, as a normal tradition when we visit my grandparents, we went to their favourite Indian restaurant. Perhaps not the wisest choice before my planned 18 miles the next day but I know exactly what to order that won’t upset my stomach.
Tandoori chicken and an onion salad – my usual! With poppadum and a mixed kebab starter. Half way through the meal the owner of the restaurant came over and presented us with a bottle of champagne. We all looked at each other a bit confused as we hadn’t ordered it. He said it was because we were celebrating a special birthday. Well, we were – it was my dad’s birthday the next day, we were just confused as to how he knew! And then at the end of the meal he brought over a chocolate cake with candles and they sang him happy birthday. Though it was obviously very nice, we were still confused as to how he knew.
My dad then received a phone call from my mum saying she’d planned it! How lovely! My dad was so touched. Strangely though, my mum hadn’t paid and when my dad tried to pay they refused. How bizarre!
Obviously we all had some chocolate cake to finish off the meal.
I’ll do a recap of the next day (well, the long run I had planned) as this post is getting quite long and I have a lot to say about the run. But as a synopsis for the entire weekend, it was fantastic. I love seeing my grandparents. My grandad is very similar to me in his personality and how much he enjoys staying active and being outside. He’s 83 years old but he’s not stopping yet!
Have you been to Wales before?
Do you enjoy seafood?
Have you ever had a birthday surprise?