Cheltenham parkrun and a solid long run

There’s something so wonderful about a non-running friend crossing over the boundary to becoming a running friend. It makes me very proud and very happy.

But before we get to that… Friday at work we had our Wiggle Run/Ride Out, which happens pretty much every last Friday of the month. Most of the office goes out together for a run or a ride, whatever you prefer. There’s usually two different run lengths (5k or 10k this time) and different cycles (road, gravel, things like that).

Photo Credit: Wiggle

I did the 10k with Kyle and it was a rather hilly affair going up Portsdown Hill. It was good fun though and a nice way to escape the office. Always nice to chat to other people from different areas of the business as well.

Then Kyle and I headed to Cheltenham to stay with my friends Shell and Rob (and their little girl Eloise). Shell made an incredible chicken pie with vegetables and salad. Delicious. Apparently a Hairy Bikers’ recipe.

The next morning we were up and ready to head to Cheltenham parkrun, which was handily just down the road. I decided to run there because it was only 2.4 miles away and I fancied a bit of a warm-up. I definitely needed warming up as I’d only brought a vest and it was COLD. I’d obviously packed when it was beaming sunshine outside.

The run there was quite hilly and I hadn’t given myself a huge amount of time. Kyle and Rob passed me in the car and later told me they didn’t think I’d make it on time.

Luckily though I arrived literally just before 9am and there was quite a long waffly start from the race director which meant I could meet Kyle and Rob and prepare myself for the start without too much panic.

Rob advised that we should head closer to the front because it gets quite bottle-necked. We were on the summer course I believe, which is a bit harder but only two laps, compared to the four flatter laps of the winter course.

I got into a good rhythm as we started and managed to overtake a bunch of people and get myself into a good spot. It was windy and there were several undulations to contend with, but I’d say nothing more tricky than my usual Netley parkrun. There was an annoying bit where you had to run across a field straight into the wind but I gurned it out.

Lap one was tough but I knew what I was in for now and planned my energy accordingly. The marshals were great and I tried to say thank you each time. Then the final sprint was up a grueling, albeit short, hill. I was chuffed to get 20:55.

Kyle was just behind and Rob not long after, just missing out on squeaking under 23 minutes but getting a PB nonetheless.

His fourth consecutive PB!

Then we headed back (I got a lift back this time), got showered and headed out for brunch at the Bottle of Sauce pub in town to meet up with our other friends, Kate and her husband J with their newborn Dexter and Charlotte who had come down to meet up as well.

Shell and Rob brought Eloise and sadly Eloise threw up quite spectacularly within minutes of arriving. All over Shell. She dealt with it like a pro though – as only parents can I guess. They headed home quickly to freshen up while we all ordered (but sadly Rob then had to stay home to look after Eloise).

I went for a fry-up (unsurprisingly) and mistakenly ordered extra beans in place of hashbrowns. I wasn’t aware it came with beans already, I would have ordered something else!

Although it was very tasty, the beans and egg situation was just not my thing. Obviously I ate it all because who would I be otherwise? But it wasn’t the best fry-up of my life.

After much catching up and chatting, Kyle and I headed back down South for a chilled evening before our planned long run the next day. Thankfully it was cooler than the weekend before. We had 13 miles planned and the route was to go from Kyle’s house to Fareham, which would be exactly that.

I really enjoyed the run, though it was rather lumpy. Kyle, having not done a long run for a fair few weeks, didn’t quite enjoy it as much – plus he much prefers shorter runs. But with the Southampton Half this weekend, he needed a solid longer run. I don’t think it helped his motivation to see the signs for Fareham counting down the miles.

Anyway we survived. I tagged on an extra mile on as I’m not quite content with “just” 13 šŸ˜‰ and we had some time to kill before his brother, Zack, came to pick us up. I greatly appreciated Kyle buying me a 7Up Free from Subway while I was finishing. I know it’s probably terrible for me but I adore that drink and straight after a run? DIVINE.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying a delicious roast dinner at Kyle’s and preparing for the next week at work šŸ™‚

What’s your favourite drink after a long run?

What foods can’t you stand mixing together?

A parkrun fail and trying new things

This weekend gone I headed up to Cheltenham. I’ve only been there once before for like a day to see my friend Shell so it was nice to see it again for a bit longer. It’s a lovely place – though strangely has lots of white buildings and lots of buildings with columns on, which to me is the height of poshness šŸ˜‰

And clearly Cheltenham is very posh as they even have their own Wholefoods! Wholefoods is obviously a lot more popular in the States, but we have a few mostly in London and this random one in Cheltenham. Obviously I had to pop in there for lunch on Friday between working.

The salad bar was obviously a lot smaller than the amazing America ones and I was told the burritos were amazing so that’s what I went for. There was a little Mexican food stand where you could have burritos or quesadillas made up for you there and then with your choice of fillings. I went with a chicken, rice and extra guacamole burrito and it was HUGE. It was jam packed full of filling. So tasty. I also had a cheeky rocky road slice afterwards as well. I pretty much needed a nap afterwards though I was so full…but back to work I went!

On theĀ Friday night IĀ did a (beginner’s) salsa class. This is a bit crazy for me as, being ridiculously clumsy and generally an awkward person, I’m not a natural dancer. That said, I did ballroom dancing at school (in preparation for our prom) and I loved it so I was quite excited to give it a go.

Awful photo sorry but I tried to take it discreetly at the beginning!

Well, I wasn’t terrible. I was surprised at how quickly the instructors went through the steps but after a few attempts it was easy to pick up. I mean, I was rigid and awkward but I didn’t step on anyĀ toes. I think that’s a success! The guys stood in a circle and the girls would dance with one and the move on to the next after performing a certain move (very basic moves!). One guy, who later told me he was actually another teacher, laughed at my “furrowed brow of concentration”. Well I was concentrating! I might need to aim to not try and look at my feet the entire time I suppose…Ā I’m keen to try a few more lessons, but we’ll see!

ThenĀ Saturday morning was going to be the Cheltenham parkrun. Annoyingly though I woke up to -5 temperatures and a Tweet from my Cheltenham-based friend saying it was cancelled. I’m very grateful for his Tweet (thanks Mat!) as otherwise I would have just gone there without checking and then been disappointed and very cold. So instead, a bit of shopping happened instead.Ā I re-planned the run to be after lunch so I had a nice light Greek salad lunch inĀ Patisserie Valerie, which I’ve never been to before but was really lovely (though can I just say, the salads are not filling for lunch. Not for me anyway. I was still hungry and would easily have had one of their very tasty looking cakes afterwards had I not needed to be careful of my run later).

I hate leaving my run until later but realistically it made sense with fitting it in the weekend and the fact that in the morning the paths everywhere were so icy and dangerous. I’m pretty sure I spent quite a significant portion of Saturday cold. At first I thought I was going to wear my compression socks and shorts but after feeling so cold all day I decided to go with leggings and compression socks. Luckily my leggings were long enough to cover my knees so I didn’t have that awkward knee exposure look šŸ˜‰The run went well. I didn’t really intend to go very fast but as I was so cold I just wanted to get warm so I pushed the pace. I got to two miles and found I was really struggling though and thought maybe best to slow down a bit! I slowed a little and told myself I could take it easier.It did feel good to get a bit of a tempo run on as I had intended to blast parkrun that morning. I’d heard that Cheltenham parkrun was really flat and I was sad I missed out on seeing what time I could currently do. It wouldn’t have been crazy fast but it’s always nice to have a “check in” run to see what paces I’m hitting. I need it have a long think about how I’m going to approach Tokyo and this would have been handy. But I got in a longer run and was able to pick up the pace so that was good. I guess that just means another trip to Cheltenham to eventually do their parkrun! šŸ˜‰

I ran around Pittville Park which is where the parkrun is located anyway and it was a really lovely run. I did a couple of laps and aside from dodging dog walkers and small children it was a perfect runner’s route next to a lovely lake (pond?) and trees.

That evening I saw the new M Night Shyamalan film, Split, with James McAvoy in it. It was brilliant. Well, I know that his films have never reached the lofty success of the Sixth Sense but I actually really like his films (though there are a select few I haven’t seen like Lady in the Water and the Light Bender thing…). I loved The Village, Signs, Unbreakable and The Happening. And I love James McAvoy. There also might have been a tub of Ben and Jerry’s (Cookie Dough) that was snuck into the cinema…thankfully outside was cold enough for it not to melt prematurely in my handbag!

The next day I left to drive home and, because I needed to get a long run in, decided that I would do it as soon as I got in to stop any temptation to avoid it. I also cleverly bought a whole chicken from Waitrose from a servicesĀ and popped that in the oven so when I got back it was pretty much done and my flat smelt amazing.The run went really well. My shin only very slightly niggled (progress, progress). I was worried that having run the day before might cause my shin an issue but it felt alright. I also felt really good in terms of my fitness. I effortlessly remained around the 8min pace without feeling it was a push so that was comforting.I won’t be running at that speed for the marathon but it was nice to feel comfortable for 10 miles at that pace. I planned my route so that it was my usual 6 mile route and then another usual 4 mile route so I could break it up in my head. It worked perfectly. Then I got home and enjoyed carving up the freshly cooked chicken. A food coma promptly commenced šŸ˜‰

When do you prefer to get your runs/workouts done? I always prefer the morning.

Have you ever been to Cheltenham before?

Have you ever done a salsa/dance class?