A scone in the sunshine at Nostell Parkrun

A scone in the sunshine at Nostell Parkrun

Last Saturday, my first day of freedom after finishing my degree, we decided to take part in our local parkrun at Nostell Priory, a beautiful 18th century house and parklands.

nostell me 3

I was looking forward to it, but there was one problem. In the afternoon we had to brave Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield to get some essential items for our wedding and honeymoon. I’m not a shopper. I was only going because they were essential items.

There was no way I would have the strength to manage a parkrun and shopping. So I decided that rather than racing the parkrun flat-out like I usually do, and feel exhausted for the rest of the day, I would take it easy and enjoy the run in lovely sunshine. This would mean I had enough energy to survive Meadowhell (yes it really is my idea of hell).

I don’t do parkrun very often. Saturday was my 28th. I ran at a steady tempo pace, which I would describe as comfortably hard. I finished second lady, behind my friend Fiona, in 21:51. It was a lovely morning for a parkrun. Afterwards we headed to the café, sitting outside in the courtyard, where I happily munched a scone smothered in jam and butter. I’ve been watching my weight recently on account of having to fit into a wedding dress so treats have gone from two or three times daily, to being very rare.

We had such a lovely morning. ‘We should do this more often,’ I said to Chris and Fiona. I enjoyed the run and enjoyed the company. And, I have to say, I particularly enjoyed the scone!

 

 

 

Finally a parkrun PB

Finally a parkrun PB

JUST when I was about to retire from running and take up darts, I ran a personal best.

It was a parkrun 5km PB, and it was extra special because it’s taken me a year and three weeks (yes, a year and three weeks) to do it!

You can understand why I was on the verge of retirement. For weeks and weeks, I have been training hard – intervals, speed, tempo, threshold, small hills, bigger hills, long runs, strength conditioning, reducing chocolate intake, reducing cake intake. You name it, I’ve done it. All in an attempt to get my fitness back.

But the fitness just wouldn’t come. Off to parkrun I went, only Continue reading

Parkrun, planning and procrastination

Parkrun, planning and procrastination

MY plan at Parkrun yesterday was to break 21 minutes. It seemed realistic. A few weeks ago I ran 21.07, so I was convinced it might be possible to dip under 21. The only problem really was my lack of consistent training.

I’ve had a few university assignment deadlines which have played havoc with my training. I’ve missed a few days here and a few days there, and when you add them all together they add up to quite a lot of missed training.

At the moment I seem to be bombarded with deadlines and work, so that I’m constantly firefighting. I clear one thing and immediately have to start on the next. It’s become a bit stressful and hasn’t done my fitness much good at all.

So on my way to Pontefract Parkrun yesterday I decided that Continue reading

Up and at ’em

I WAS up and at ’em yesterday morning for my first parkrun in eight months.

I’m not really sure what came over me, but I bounced out of bed and drove to Pontefract with Chris, determined to find out what kind of shape I’m in at the moment.

It wasn’t my fastest run. I clocked 21.07, almost a minute off my personal best, but it was the most enjoyable run I’ve had for a long time. I loved it.

pontefract-parkrun-19-nov-2016-pic-2

In the few months since I’ve last raced at Pontefract a few things Continue reading

Parkrun fun on New Year’s Day

What better way to start the new year than a double parkrun. We were on the start line to run at Pontefract at 9am, followed by Nostell Priory at 10.30.

My plan was to blast Pontefract in an attempt to get a personal best. Then I could ease off and enjoy Nostell. After the excess food and drink that we’ve consumed over Christmas, I was certainly well fuelled, although quite possibly, a few pounds heavier.

Pontefract Parkrun New Year's Day 2016

I set off like a rocket, blasting down the racecourse at 6.14 pace. Fiona and Chris had agreed to pace me, but it took them a good half mile to catch up. When they did, I was already blowing.

The pace slowed. The 6.14 became 6.30.

If only I could have kept up that pace, I’d be well on my way to achieving my ambition of breaking 40 minutes for 10k. Unfortunately, with chips and Prosecco as my main energy source, it was never going to happen.

Due to the icy conditions it wasn’t possible to run the usual route. Instead we ran out and back on the racecourse. It was muddy in places, with a few puddles and small hills. For a road runner like me, it was far too much like a cross country race.

I tucked in behind Fiona, and went for it. Although my pace slowed, I knew I was still on for a Personal Best. We ran in a line: Chris, Fiona and me, huffing and puffing at the back.

Double parkrun New Year's Day 2016

As we approached the finish, Fiona started shouting at me to catch Chris. The elbows came out, and although we have just got engaged, I pushed him out the way and ran for it. I was pleased with my time – 20:36, a PB by 16 seconds.

After a quick warm down, we headed to Nostell for parkrun number two. I was shivering when we arrived. I always get ridiculously cold after a race, and even though I had a jumper, fleece, jacket and hat, I was still cold. My legs had also ceased up. I felt better after a mile warm-up. Then it was back on the start line and off.

Nostell parkrun New Year's Day

I eased into it, and soon started to enjoy it. The slower pace (6.50) made such a difference. I finished in 21.36, exactly a minute slower than Pontefract.  If you added my times together, I completed 10k in 42:12. Given that it was the-morning-after-the-night-before, I was really pleased.

It was a great morning and a fantastic start to 2016. The atmosphere at Nostell is always amazing. It was good to see so many friends from Kingstone (my club), Barnsley Harriers and Barnsley AC.

We didn’t have time for a brew and cake as is the custom at Nostell. Thankfully, Fiona had packed mini rolls and a flask. We headed home talking of resuming training, possibly next week. We’ve been having far too much fun celebrating our engagement with friends and family. After completing the double we visited my parents for lunch and another celebratory bottle of champagne. A wonderful start to the new year.

Happy New Year!

Liz x

 

Parkrun fun at Nostell Priory

When my friend texted me on Friday morning to see if I wanted to join him for a Saturday park run I didn’t think I’d have the energy to take part.

‘Not sure,’ I replied. ‘Will let you know.’

nostell valentine's day

At the Nostell Priory Parkrun on Valentine’s Day. Guess which runner couldn’t find her red running vest the morning of the race?

After a busy week at work (not that I’m complaining), 5am starts for the horses and lots of speed and hill training, it’s fair to say I was feeling a little tired. Actually exhausted might be a better word.

I thought Friday night’s training session of three 1.5 mile reps might finish me off. But rather than tire me out completely, my run seemed to give me a boost. On the first rep I smashed my personal best by 20 seconds. The second and third reps were also good – all well below seven minute mile pace. I couldn’t believe it.

I texted my friend: ‘See you in the morning!’

My plan was to blast round as quickly as I could in preparation for my main race next weekend. I thought I might feel heavy-legged and tired. I didn’t. In fact I felt strong, the strongest I’ve felt all year. I managed a personal best by two seconds finishing the tough course in 21.12.

It’s always good to get a PB.

After the death of my grandad in December and the injury to my intercostal muscles also in December, I’ve been struggling for fitness. I’ve got back into regular training but I was beginning to think that my fitness would never return. Getting that two second PB made my day. It was a turning point. It has given me hope that maybe 2015 can be just as good running-wise as it was in 2014, where I seemed to get PB after PB.

I was pleased I’d taken part in the run. There’s always a great sense of achievement after a race. The endorphins are flowing, and no matter how tough the race, I always feel fantastic. At Nostell Priory Parkrun there’s a lovely café so we always have a tea or hot chocolate afterwards. In terms of atmosphere it’s difficult to find anywhere better than Nostell. After the race on Saturday the organisers handed out doughnuts as a little treat for Mother’s Day. They were delicious – a perfect way to celebrate a good run and get my energy back for the next race.