This weekend was one of those weekends that was just great from start to finish. It probably helped that the weather was just fantastic. It felt like summer on the South Coast!
My mum was away so my dad and me decided to have some dad-daughter time and make the most my mum not being there. To that effect we went to a restaurant we knew she would hate and saw a film we knew she wouldn’t enjoy.
But first parkrun. The day before my local parkrun, Netley Abbey, had posted on their Facebook page that they needed someone to assist a partially sighted runner round the course. The runner was aiming for 8min/miles and they didn’t need someone with experience as a guide. I thought, why not? I wasn’t aiming on blasting a parkrun so 8 minute miles sounded good. I signed myself up. And then proceeded to feel ridiculously nervous. What if I was rubbish? What if I tripped him up? What if…what if…
The next morning I headed to help set parkrun up WITHOUT my coat (hurrah!). It was nice to be back at parkrun after three weeks off so there was lots of catching up to do. And the sunshine was an added bonus. We were on the cricket pitch course which I was quite happy about because it meant easier in terms of guiding, and you do five laps so it’s relatively simple.
Unfortunately though Southampton parkrun had been cancelled due to a race so a lot of people decided to come to Netley. This meant it was very busy. I met the partially sighted runner, a lovely guy named Khalid, and he briefed me what I should do. He had a short piece of string for us both to hold onto. Verbal cues were ideal but if something appeared in front of him suddenly then I should grab him and move him rather than waste time telling him.
I donned an enormous high-vis vest and got ready to go. He suggested we start right at the front as it would be easier for people to overtake us then us to try and navigate around people. I felt quite nervous stood right at the front with all the fast people but it made sense.
This was one of the hardest parkruns I’ve done. Physically it was absolutely fine, but mentally I was concentrating very hard. I had to look ahead the whole time to prepare for what was coming – any downhills, holes in the ground, twigs, turns – and also what was directly in front of us, such as people.
I would say things like, “a downhill approaching in 3, 2, 1” which worked well as it gave him time to prepare. There aren’t any big downhills on the cricket pitch course thankfully but there are small declines which you could lose your footing on. And obviously four turns as well as some veering on and off grass to paths.
Without a doubt the hardest part was people. I was surprised they didn’t mention about Khalid in the race briefing, but on reflection I don’t think that would be fair on him. He just wants a normal run after all, rather than be made to feel ‘special’ or centre of attention. However it was hard on the five laps because you’re doing a lot of overtaking of people all the time or being overtaken yourself. And it was very busy. I would do a lot of shouting ahead to people to say what side we were overtaking or in some cases, when people were oblivious or wearing headphones, I had to push past them or physically move them as there was just no time if they didn’t hear me yell. Many people were fine and very apologetic once they saw Khalid but some people gave me such boggy looks. They did later apologise but it was a bit hard to take initially and I was feeling very stressed. I don’t like to be rude or for people to think I’m rude but I didn’t want Khalid to bump into people or trip.
It made me realise how annoying headphones can be to other people. I too like to wear headphones when running. However I can’t remember the last time I wore them for parkrun. It made me feel very isolated. I love how social parkrun is and wearing headphones shuts you out from that. I’ve recently bought some Aftershokz headphones which don’t cover your ear but work on vibrating through your head (“bone technology”; yes it does sound weird!) so you can still hear regular external sounds because your ears are free. Obviously sound quality of the music/podcast isn’t as good but when I’m running on my own along roads it’s far safer and I feel far more aware of my surroundings (incidentally some races that previously banned headphones allow these headphones now). But anyway, I digress. Wearing headphones isn’t a cardinal sin or make you any less of a runner, but it did make me see it from another perspective.
We finished in one piece, me with a time of 23:48 and Khalid just before me. He seemed happy so I felt relieved it went well! I then enjoyed a nice cold slush puppy-style drink sitting outside the cafe with some running club friends. Perfection!
Later I met up with my dad and we headed to a new-to-me restaurant, Sadler’s in Southampton. I’d only heard about this place the day before from my friend’s Instagram picture. As soon as I saw his picture I was like, “I must go there IMMEDIATELY”. I knew it would be a place my dad would love but my mum wouldn’t. Basically it’s a BBQ restaurant (my favourite food). We had a table for 4pm as we had the cinema booked for early evening. It was quite quiet which was nice! And our waitress was just amazing.
Their menu is basically just BBQ food. There are no starters, just main meaty numbers. It does have a vegetarian section as well though. We decided to push the boat out and share a Bears’ Grill sharing platter. Let me just talk you through this. On the board you get: two smoked turkey breasts, four chicken wings, four chorizo pork sausages, four ribs tips, three smoked gammon pieces, a mound of pulled pork, two chunks of cornbread, more chips than you can believe, coleslaw and a side salad.
I had also cheekily asked the waitress if there was any chance to add a small portion of the St. Louis ribs to the platter as, you know me, I love ribs and I’d heard the ribs were the business. She said normally they don’t as they come as there own separate meal but she’d have a word with the chef. She came back and said she could add two for a fiver. SOLD.
That is the face of someone who has died and gone to heaven. It was absolutely delicious. Special mention goes to the turkey. Normally quite a dry meat but it was really moist and tasty. The ribs were obviously incredible – and MASSIVE. The wings were so good. I mean it was all good. I couldn’t touch the sausages though as by that point I was at risk of turning a very good experience into a very bad experience. I think I had one chip! My logic was to enjoy the main bits rather than fill up on something I could have anytime anywhere. Five star meal.
My dad enjoyed it too – we were both just in a bubble of happiness. Though I think if we went again he’d go for steak as he’s more of a beef man and it was all pork, turkey and chicken. For once I was defeated. We just couldn’t eat anymore. Filling up on protein is so different to carbs. After a while you can go back to carbs and nibble a bit more but with protein, when you’re full you are FULL.
I think we did a good job! I think we left most of the chips, cornbread, coleslaw, one and a half sausages, a piece of gammon and a whole load of pulled pork. I asked to take the leftover meat home and the waitress said she’d wrap it up in a “swan of shame”.
Oof! I was so full. We did a bit of walking before the cinema thankfully to let things go down. We had some time before the cinema so we walked around West Quay for a bit. I think my dad wanted a nap but I needed to move!!
We then saw Demolition, the new Jake Gyllenhaal film. I’d seen a trailer and it looked quite funny in a weird idiosyncratic way. It was that or Jungle Book and we didn’t really fancy it.
The film was very strange but I really enjoyed it. The music was great and Jake Gyllenhaal was superb. Strange but good. The screening was completely empty as well until right before the film began when a couple joined us. They literally had seats next to us. Surely you’d choose seats somewhere else?
I enjoyed a HUGE diet coke – I was so thirsty after that meal – and just settled back in a nice comfortable state of contentment.
I had a rubbish night’s sleep though as I was still quite full and there was a garden party happening across the road that was so loud. It went on really late – and there’s something so awful about drunken girls ‘singing’. Moan over. It was also really warm. So not a great sleep! The next morning I had planned to run three miles, then run Alton 10 miles, which I did two years ago. More on that in another post!
What was the best meal of your life so far?
Do you prefer to fill up on protein or carbs?
What was the last film you saw?