On Friday after work I headed off with my mum and dad to Llandudno to visit my grandparents. I love going to North Wales because it’s so beautiful and we always end up doing lots of walking and getting some good fresh air in the countryside.
The drive there was a long one though. We had to drop off our four dogs at my other grandad in Stoke-On-Trent first because the grandad I’m staying with is allergic. So it adds on a chunk. We had dinner on the road (I’d packed a healthy salad only to then be negated by all the sweets I bought at the services…) and arrived just before midnight. I was pooped!
The next morning, of course, though was parkrun. I’ve done the Conwy parkrun before and was slightly tempted to do Deganwy parkrun but it was about 30 minutes away. Having not had as much sleep the night before we decided with Conwy which was literally five minutes drive down the road, meaning we could get up at 8.15am and easily have enough time.
“We” was my dad and I. It was rather cold and unsurprisingly no one else fancied joining! We arrived at 8.45am and stayed in the car for as long as possible (such a luxury). It was very cold outside. My grandparents thought I was mad wearing my shorts but I much prefer to run in shorts than leggings and figured I’d be fine for three miles.We got out of the car and I did a bit of a warm-up in my coat by running up the path and back. I did some high knees and kicks… like I knew what I was doing 😉 My dad wanted to post on to his Instagram (which he rarely uses) so I helped him do that.I didn’t realise we were being photographed! It was only after I asked the photographer if he could take a photo of us that he said he’d already done one but would happily do another. (Thank you SJ Photography!)He was very friendly and kind, even saying if we emailed him he’d print one out and post to it us!
There weren’t a lot of people – probably because of how cold it was. And very few people in shorts (no females). But actually the photo below shows loads so I’m probably wrong! As we began I started FAR too fast. I just got very carried away. The problem was I started right near the front (because there weren’t that many people and I wanted to get a good start)…but seriously too fast! I looked at my watch and it said 6:08! Yeah I hadn’t suddenly gained a load of speed, this would not end well if I didn’t slow down.The first part of the course runs down a compacted dirt track before then reaching a footbridge that goes over a railway track and road. It’s a very annoying bridge in that it’s quite a windy one to go up and over. It did help slow me down though and I found my right pacing afterwardsYou then head towards the Conwy Castle along the pavement before swinging back and then along another compacted dirt track following the banks of the Conwy River. It was a little breezy along here but I was still glad for my shorts despite the cold wind. My upper body was getting quite hot in my long sleeves but the gloves were certainly required.
It was handy being towards the front as it meant we could run alongside the puddles on the right-hand side of the path (unfortunately when we turned around and headed back though, as we were the first to come down there, the people still coming our way had to navigate the puddles. It felt a bit unfair but I just followed the person in front).We reached the turnaround point and it was a very sharp about-turn round a cone. It was like coming to a standstill before having to gain the speed again – not fun! Then we headed back down the path again (missing the puddles like I said). As there weren’t many people the tail end of the runners came quite soon. We followed the same route back (missing out on the run towards the castle) and back over the bridge. This time the bridge destroyed me. I had dropped down to 6.30 minute pace but the bridge pushed my pace back towards 6.40. As I came back to the straight path to the finish I had nothing left to give for the final sprint. I felt like I was crawling as I got back to the finish and was grateful to stop. (Another cracking photo from SJ Photography) My time was 20:48, second female. I’m really pleased with the time. Still in the 20s! My last time at Conwy parkrun (about 14 months ago) I did 21:40 so I’m over the moon I was almost a minute quicker. I just read back my last post on the Conwy parkrun and saw that I was 17th on that run, whereas this time I was 16th! I was still 2nd female though. Funny.As I put my coat quickly back on a man came up to me who had finished before me. He said well done on my run but said I started too fast. He said he was surprised at how quickly I set off…and then how quickly I slowed down. He gave me a bit of advice (in a nice way, he was very friendly) and said my time was quite fast for the course, which was very gracious of him (considering there were two 17:xx runners and several sub 20s I’m not sure it’s that fast!!).After parkrun and breakfast, the whole family headed for a nice walk down to Conwy for a drink in the pub. The walk actually follows a good chunk of the parkrun so I was able to take some good photosI also spotted a frozen yogurt place! I mean, there’s not even one in Southampton. It was very cold though so I decided not to have any – maybe save myself for another day.I had planned to do a 15 mile run the next day but it was looking less and less likely as the snow warnings were coming in. My lovely grandparents had actually planned the route for me because I am essentially an idiot. I had a choice of two routes. Either a 3.7 mile loop to do four or so times or a five mile loop to do three times. They were both equally good but in the end I decided to go with the three loop one as mentally it seemed easier to do in my mind (and also there were fewer turnings where I could go wrong…).Unfortunately, though I woke up the next day and found the snow coming down quite heavily and the ground covered and fairly slippy. I went for a quick walk outside (and slipped on the first step…!) and decided it would be far safer to postpone the run to Monday. Though I was very tempted to go my grandad convinced me otherwise with some sound advice (though I did think he was maybe being a little dramatic when he said I could get exposure and die… these mountaineer types, eh! ;-))Anyway we had a lovely day nonetheless with lots of walking and then a Christmas meal in their local golf club (of which both my grandparents regular play – they’ve very active!)I had mushroom soup, turkey roast and then a treacle tart with honeycomb and ice cream. Delicious! And good fuelling for the next day’s long run.
Have you been to North Wales before?
Do you run in the snow?
Are your grandparents still active?