I dread when I get invited to go on hen dos (bachelorette parties). I fear it’ll involve clubbing, which I detest. I’m too old for that sort of thing now – sticky floors, luminous sugary alcohol, smoke machines and toilets that made you gag. Not my thing. So I was hugely relieved that when I was invited to my university friend’s hen do in Bath it wouldn’t involve clubbing. Hurrah!
I’d taken the Friday off so I could get to Bath at a reasonable time so decided to switch my long run around as I knew Sunday would never happen. I’d planned to run 16 miles but on waking I realised mentally I wasn’t in the game. To try and persuade myself it would be OK I decided, instead of doing a huge 16 mile loop like I usually would, I’d break it down into a 10 mile loop then a 6 mile loop. As it was quite warm this would work well as I could drop by the house to pick up water if I needed to.
Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. As soon as I started running I knew 16 miles would be a real push. My legs felt heavy and my mind just wasn’t happy running. It was such a struggle. The weather was fine, it wasn’t even that hot, I just didn’t want to be running. In the end I managed 10 miles.
I hadn’t put on any BodyGlide either and my underarms were really sore from chafing. Basically it was a thumbs down experience.
Thankfully I had a fun hen party weekend to look forward to! We stayed in a beautiful three-story house doing fun activities and going nowhere near a club
The furniture and decor were awesome and the amazing Rachel and Charlotte, who organised the weekend, decked it out with balloons and hen party paraphernalia, food and drink.
But first can we just marvel at my amazing parking? This was in central Bath and there was literally nowhere to park but this one tiny space.
This might not seem amazing to any normal, able driver but to me this was a HUGE feat. A curb might have been mounted in the process but that’s just details…
Eventually Shell, the hen, arrived and the frivolities began. We enjoyed many glasses of Prosecco and finger-food on the Friday night. We all got suitably merry!
My friend, Kate, mentioned that she was going to go running the next day. HOLD THE BOAT – what?? This is all very new to me. She doesn’t normally run. She said she’d started the Couch 2 5k programme and was working steadily through it. I tried to persuade her to come to parkrun with me the next day but, understandably, she said she wasn’t ready for that distance yet. She’s also very embarrassed about running, getting up at 5am in the week so no one sees her. This really makes me sad. No one should ever feel embarrassed about running in public. I know there are knobs out there who are awful and heckle people (it’s happened to me many a time!) so I can understand her reluctance, but it still makes me sad that she’s so worried.
I wasn’t sure how my run would go if I’m honest. I’d planned on driving to the parkrun as it was just up the road and I didn’t want to push myself when I felt so rubbish the day before. However I was worried about losing my parking space and that stress all over again. parkrun was only two miles away so I thought I’d risk it and run there. If I felt awful on the two miles I could turnaround.
I felt good during the first mile so kept going. Then suddenly I was going uphill and when I say uphill I really mean UP A MOUNTAIN.
It was almost an entire mile uphill. It just kept going and going. No wonder the parkrun is called Bath Skyline!
My pace on the first mile was 8:02 and the second mile was 10:26! It was ridiculously tough, especially after the night before. I thought I was going to be sick about 10 times.
Eventually I arrived at the parkrun. I saw some suspect parkrunners so followed them trying not to look creepy. They noticed me though and asked if I was parkrunning. Then we chatted away about the course and running, as you do. parkrun is just so friendly!
I learnt about the course from the man I spoke to, which is also very handy. Not particularly flat as it has 37 steps towards the beginning you have to go up! I wasn’t planning a speedy run (let’s not further encourage a Prosecco-related incident) so I was quite happy to hear it was scenic.
Bath parkrun is a very varied course. The terrain pretty much has everything from trail, to grass to pebbles. When the marshal had explained the course she mentioned being careful of cows and I thought she was joking but we ran through a field and had to dodge cowpats! The steps were tough-going and, like many people, I walked up them.
(Photo credit: Phil Wyatt)
At one point there was a spectacular view of Bath. I wish I could have taken a photo. I got stronger as the run continued and started picking off people towards the end and was chuffed at overtaking a few ladies, though one speedy lady I just couldn’t catch and she finished two seconds ahead. It was nice to feel a bit of speed again!
My time was 23:50 which I was quite pleased with. The first male finished in 15:58! It was more busy than Netley but it never felt crowded.
And then I had the glorious run home. The mile downhill was amazing (6:49 mile!)…to start with and then became a bit of a pound session for my feet. They were tingling when I got back.
Kate’s run had gone well too. It was surreal talking to her about running. Normally my non-running friend’s just think I’m a bit mad. Kate’s going to do a parkrun with me hopefully in June when they come down for my birthday so this is HUGELY exciting.
Anyway the main part of the hen do was going to It’s A Knockout in Bristol. It was like hen and stag do central there. There were 24 teams in total (each hen/stag do was a team). Many were dressed up in crazy outfits (the best being a stag do dressed as Apple – the stag was an actual apple whereas his compatriots were all dressed as Steve Jobs wearing black turtle necks and glasses).
The day involved several different games trying to win points. The games were things like dressing in a huge giant costume and then trying to get across mats that were moving, to wearing vision-changing goggles and kicking footballs at blow-up targets. We’d been told we might get wet and I had visions of that previous hen party I’d been to involving a freezing lake… But thankfully there were only two wet games. One which involved standing in a line on buckets (above photo) and throwing wet sponges to each other to the last person who had to squeeze the sponges into buckets in order to get the most water to win. I was the ‘runner’ by which that meant I ran backwards and forwards collecting the dry sponges to bring back to the person dipping them in the bucket. It was like interval training!
Another game involved trying to pull ourselves over that blow-up slide (above photo) using a rope while there was soapy water all over it. Only two of us managed to get over (me being one of them – thank you, gym!) so the two of us just went over and over again (each time we’d get a point). We won every single game but one and sadly we used our ‘Joker’ (triple point enhancer) on it (the 24 teams were split further into 4 groups against each other for each game). We came 5th at the end which wasn’t too bad at all!
It was fairly exhausting but such good fun! We had such a laugh. It was gone 4pm when we got back and we hadn’t had lunch so a few of us high-tailed to a local burrito place and got something to eat.
I went for a salad as I was planning on having quite a big dinner but the salad was actual massive! I had pulled chicken, cheese, sour cream and guacamole and it was delicious.
After showering and getting dressed up we were ready for some more fun and games that evening. We played more drinking games and watched Eurovision (I’ve never actually watched a whole Eurovision, this was an experience!). We got food delivered using the Deliveroo app, which is amazing! Most of us went for Grillstock (probably due to my squealing about how excited I was about the food…).
We had a great evening watching Eurovision while playing drinking games and just generally having a laugh. This even included the cereal box game (you have to pick up a cereal box with nothing but your mouth and nothing touching the floor but your feet, and the sides get chopped after each round so it gets lower and lower).
I came second to the amazingly flexible Charlotte. Anyway a good night was had by all! The next day it was Operation Tidy Up and then off home!
If you drink, what’s your alcoholic drink of choice?
Are you competitive?
Did you watch Eurovision?