I finished work on Thursday night and was on holiday for a week and a day, woohoo! On Friday I was driving up to Bishop’s Castle with my parents (it’s just under an hour from Shrewsbury). One of the reasons Chester Marathon worked so well for me was because my parents were going to see my grandparents for the week and stay in a holiday cottage (they had the upstairs apartment and my parents had the downstairs one) and they’d invited me to join. The locations and timings worked perfectly.
What also worked perfectly was the fact that I could do another new-to-me parkrun as well on the Saturday. Though there wasn’t one in very close proximity to Bishop’s Castle, Shrewsbury wasn’t too far away. My dad was happy to drive and support me (as always, bless him). It wasn’t too early a morning either which was nice. Up at 7am and on the road by 7.30am. We got to Shrewsbury in enough time to find a car park just across the road from Quarry Park where the parkrun was located.
In my head I assumed it would look like an actual quarry but it was actually a really beautiful park with lots of trees, grass, lovely winding paths and right next to River Severn.
The top left picture is where we parked the car just outside the church hall
It was raining and cold. Distinctly autumnal morning. I reminded myself to warm-up and did a few loops round the park. This was mainly because I was so cold and wanted to feel human again.The parkrun crew were setting everything up and I was getting slowly more wet. I had no time goals but I wasn’t going to hold myself back. A faster paced parkrun has helped previously the day before races so I’m happy to stretch my legs, knowing I won’t be going anywhere near those paces the next day!
The course sounded a little confusing but better than a five lapper! It was one lap of the top of the park and then an out and back along the river before doing the first lap again and then back along the river to the finishing funnel. Nice and varied I thought.
The first part of the course went down a fairly steep decline which with the wet ground was a little precarious… I was slightly worried I’d slip.
Photo credit: Colin Williamson
Then it was off along the flat. I felt quite comfortable with the pace I was going though annoyingly my calf was a bit tight. It seems a recurring thing for me when it gets to high mileage that my left calf starts to grumble. But it was just a mild discomfort rather than pain so I wasn’t panicking (OK that’s a lie, I will always panic when some part of my body feels anything but perfect when I near a big race but I was confident it wasn’t serious).
Then we curved back up to go past the start again. There was a fairly nasty incline (to match the previous decline I suppose) but it wasn’t too bad. It was still raining but I was feeling warmer, though my hands weren’t.My dad cheered me on and it was back down the decline and off along the river. This was lovely and flat and I gained some speed. It was a nice pace actually. Surprisingly I didn’t feel the “Omg how much longer?” pain but rather a comfortable tolerance of the pain.
It was nice knowing exactly what I had left as I came back down the path from the out-and-back. I really enjoyed the variety of the course.I’m really pleased with how I felt during this run. Albeit a slightly niggling calf, I enjoyed the burst of speed and didn’t feel like I was dying. Always a plus!
My time was 21:41 which blew my mind as I haven’t broken 22 minutes since March. The course was good it must be said but I can’t believe how comfortable it felt. A photographer was standing at the end of the finisher’s funnel so the photo he got of me was literally just after I’d finished.
Photo credit: Colin Williamson
The finishing area next to the River Severn was so picturesque, even in the rain.Then we made quick haste to get back to the car and then to find somewhere for brunch to warm-up.We found a lovely little cafe/restaurant called The Loopy Shrew (love that name) and we both ordered a English breakfast (subbing the hasbrowns for extra tomatoes because we’re so healthy ;-)).It was honestly one of the best fry-ups I’ve ever had. I love that they separated the baked beans in a little bowl as I hate beans touching my eggs. The black pudding was to die for. And the service was fantastic. The bacon was super crispy and it wasn’t swimming in a pool of grease. Lovely.
The rest of the day was fairly relaxed. We wandered around Bishop’s Castle, despite it being rather drizzly and cold. I couldn’t believe it was forecasted to be lovely and sunny the next day!And in the evening we had a nice meal in another pub (I didn’t need lunch after my mammoth breakfast!). I had a very taste starter of sardines (random I know but nice) and a goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomato salad with a side of sweet potato fries because #carbs 😉And because I needed more carbs I had a brownie with ice cream for pudding. SO good.
And then it was off to bed for an early-ish night before the marathon the next day!
What’s your favourite restaurant starter?
Do you like running in the rain?
Favourite brunch foods?