My 50th Wanstead flats Parkrun

Saturday 16th March

The  plan was to visit Finsbury Parkrun  this week but what with Bill’s foot still crocked and me feeling exhausted, i decided to forego the  tourism and go back  to my home course,Wanstead Flats instead.I didn’t want to miss a second week.No travelling and no fuss. To be honest, i’ve lost my running mojo a little since completing my first Half last month and my once regular running routine has slipped a bit and I have missed a few  weekly runs.I did manage to get out  in between the rain and gales to run a rather slow 38ish  minute 5k around Lloyd park in Walthamstow on Wednesday  in order to get my medal in leiu of the cancelled BigMile race last Sunday. I’m also hoping that maybe going back to Wanstead-where it all began-might pull me out of my funk.In any case,I’m learning from all these experiences and suspect that perhaps I need to have another goal to work towards to keep me motivated.I  shall  concentrate  on shorter (5k) runs twice a week again, not worrying about my  times,to get back into a routine and review in a month or so.

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It was still quite windy and grey skies on Saturday. I met Veronica,who I know from my GP surgery on the way there.She was doing her third run but just one lap this morning because she had to open  the surgery.The usual course, but there was MUD. Lots of it.I quite like the mud and splashing in the puddles like a big kid. Well, you can’t avoid them. Some people try to tiptoe round the edges but I like to splash right in.My run went better than I expected. I started well and then slumped,thinking’How am I going to get round another 3k’ before getting bursts of energy to spur me on.My time was 33.25 which im happy with,after Wednesday.My PB here is 31.52.It was also my 50th run at this course,i discovered,my 68th run in total.

 

 

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Southwark.The Non-Event

Saturday 9th March

So,Saaafff of the river it was for me today. Bandit country as we like to call it. ‘Make sure you have your passport’ haha. Bill has a slight injury from last week’s run- he trod on a tree root at Bournemouth  and his arch is still a bit tender. Nothing serious as far as he can tell but he hopes to be able to participate in The Big Mile at Greenwich tomorrow so resting it for another day.

I don’t have a plan when deciding which Parkrun to visit next.I have now visited all the local courses so it would be the case that now I will be setting off earlier to get to wherever on time. I prefer to recce the course beforehand, it helps  me feel more confident and it alleviates any anxiety. Fail to plan, plan to fail ?I wonder does anyone else feel anxious visiting a new Parkrun.The course pages are helpful with information about parking and travel  but ime its still better if you can visit beforehand.

I didn’t get to recce any courses this week. I decided to visit Southwark because it looked  quick and easy to get to by tube. I have to admit, I rarely venture over the other side of London,its something we keep saying we shall do, but you know what its like-when its on your doorstep ,theres always another time…Maybe that should be my next goal-tick off all the Saaaff London Parkruns?

This is the first time I have travelled to a parkrun by tube. A bright but cold morning as I left at 7.45 .It was  8.30 when I got out of Canada water station.It took me another 10 minutes to reach the meeting area in the park. I asked about toilets and was directed towards a sports centre ahead. I couldn’t find the sports centre so walked back towards the start and by now i could hear the announcements and the runners were lining up. I was worried about wetting myself whilst running so reluctantly gave  this one a miss.

Walking back to the station,i passed the leisure centre that the marshal had spoke of.It was behind the café that I had passed earlier in the park,in my search for the toilets.I had to laugh,well I would have done if I wasn’t desperate at this point!

What else is there to say ?

*I’ve just received an email to inform me that The Big Mile has been cancelled due to the high winds.At least we hadn’t set off-that would have been 2 non-events in Saaff London parks in a weekend.

Bill’s Birthday weekend#Bournemouth

Saturday 2nd March

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Well,its actually the 5th of March as I write.Parkrun tourism 2019 Part 6 took us to Bournemouth.Bill is obsessing about how his age grading will improve on his turning 55 and going into the next age bracket!But that won’t actually happen until his next run as his birthday was on Sunday.Me,however still have a couple of years (and a few days!)until I enter the next bracket.Not that I worry too much about the stats anyway.

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It was a cloudy but mild morning as we walked to the course at the Athletics Stadium  and got there early enough to find the toilets and have a chat with one of the marshals who was quite interested in our being there and our tourism of London parkruns.

It had a large turnout, the largest I’ve seen yet-over 600 runners,except perhaps when I visited Hackney Marshes last summer,but haven’t written about that here. You meet at the café where you could have your barcode laminated-there were volunteers making a point of asking around if people wanted to have this done. You can leave your belongings in the café at your own risk. A lovely friendly crowd despite the amount of people.

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The start is alongside the cemetery

The course was 2 and a bit laps in an anti clockwise direction.The starting line is alongside the cemetery which tickled me,if you haven’t ran a 5k before,you may have found this a bit daunting!You run across a grassy area before a tarmac path takes you round to grass again..The course is quite windy,turning left and right between grass and tarmac paths but there are marshalls to keep you on course.It has some protruding tree roots and is a bit slippery on one corner as you meet the tarmac path.There is quite a steep hill(well I think its a hill!).It slowly descends and then you have a much steeper descent along a tarmac path  into a wooded area.It reminded a bit of Wanstead Flats. Then you pass Bournemouth FC football stadium and go past Katie’s corner to the finish. At this point you need to keep left to let faster runners pass as its quite narrow.

I enjoyed my time here.I liked the variety of the course. The marshal (I didn’t get his name)who shouted out ‘Come on Wanstead ‘ when me or Bill ran past his corner was very encouraging and made me chuckle.

 

My Parkrun tourism is going well and i’m really enjoying visiting different courses and seeing how each one varies. My original plan to visit a couple of new ones a month to have visited 20 by the end of the year has been scrapped and I now intend to try and visit a different one each week.Lets see how we go.And of course,a foreign one.

Parkrun tourism 2019 Part 5 -Raphael

Saturday 23rd February

It was a foggy but mild morning when I set off at 8 this morning. I arrived within half an hour and was glad to get a parking space as the free car park, opposite the course,at Lodge farm park,was filling up quickly.

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On first impressions,  i thought the park looked very pretty and well tended. The bandstand was the hub of activity for the meeting point. There were placards with clear instructions which I thought was helpful for people visiting the course for the first time.

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The bandstand

 

 

The lady holding the first timers briefing was very enthusiastic and was keen to know where all us tourists were from. Besides myself, there was Suzi from Finsbury Park, a guy from Devon and another guy from San Fran. Intriguingly, it was his first ever Parkrun !I thought it was rather charming that the run director also announced where us tourists were from as part of his usual weekly announcements and thank yous to the volunteers. 

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At this point ,I ‘d just like to shout out to Suzi from Finsbury Park-I recognised her from reading her blog on here and went to say hello .I was thrilled to be mentioned in her blog entry today!

Another first for me this morning was the pacers lined up ready to go.I haven’t seen pacers at a Parkrun event before as yet.I looked for 32 and decided to stand behind her.We made our way to the start where it was quite narrow and slow due to the amount of runners.I had already started my watch by a few seconds by the time I reached the official start line.

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The course is on a tarmac path in 2 circuits of the pond and tennis courts before a shorter third circuit to the finish. It is undulating… but what goes up must come down. There were plenty of encouraging marshalls and signposted well to explain the route on each lap.

 

It is a popular course with 378 runners today. My time seems to be getting slower-33.11 which considering I felt I pushed it ,was a bit disappointing.There was a young girl who sprinted past me to the finish.It annoyed me, she had been walking and I could hear her dad telling her she could beat me and to push it.At that point,I had no power left in my legs on that last ‘hill’ I don’t dwell on the times but its been along time since I was as slow as that, maybe the delay at the start has a bearing on finishing times.I would come back here again if only to improve my time.

There were no immediate facilities that I could see,i didn’t have  to use the toilet so I need to find this out.You can meet in the local Costa afterwards and present your barcode for a small discount.

 

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A pretty park that I would like to visit again

 

 

 

 

 

Hubby beat the clock…at Victoria Dock

Saturday 16th February

Hubby joined me again today for his 4th Parkrun, again at a different course.At this rate,he will get his cow  cowl before he gets  his club 50 tshirt.

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The start line with the cable cars overhead

It was a grey but mild morning(9c) for February, when we set off.We decided to park at Will Thorne Pavillion near to Beckton District Park(and also Beckton Parkrun)because parking nearer to Victoria Dock is  very expensive(and we are cheapskates)and walk to The Crystal where the Victoria Dock Parkrun is held.It was further to walk-more than 30 minutes!,than we remembered when we recced it a few weeks ago.But never mind,we arrived just in time for a toilet break before a old fashioned school bell was rung and it was time to run.

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The route with the Millenium Dome/Dome/O2 in the distance

 

The course is flat tarmac along the North side of the dock towards the Excel centre and back round past the starting point again then onto  the south side of the dock and back again in a kind of horseshoe shape.A Parkrun that isn’t in a park! It is a very scenic course,with tall metal structures along both docks-I shall report back when I know what these are called.It was a murky morning but I could see the view of the spiky building(The o2) as you run back toward the start/finish on both docks.You run past the Emirates cable cars crossing the river and aeroplanes are frequently taking off overhead. I looked up and vaguely wondered where these planes were off to, Is there room for one more?-anywhere but this running lark this morning

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Metal structures on both docks

There were marshalls  encouraging you and making sure you kept to the course.The volunteers were friendly and cheered me as I finished. There was only one toilet for all which had a queue when we first arrived which meant we nearly missed the start. There was facilities to make yourself a hot drink afterwards but we didn’t stay.

 

Considering I haven’t been at Parkrun for 2 weeks and have done bugger all exercise since my half marathon glory last Sunday,I was surprised how tired and lacking energy I was.I thought I would be all energised and renewed. I started slow and didn’t really improve-my time was 32.25 on what is described as a fast course.I’m not sure whether the considerable walk to the start contributed to my lethargy but I was so relieved  to see the Finish sign. Not quite as happy as I was on Sunday mind you! Hubby however, set his  new alltime PB of 25.49!!If I didn’t love him to bits,he would be so bloody annoying,after all,he hasn’t run for 40 years since he ran in his school cross country team(he says he was the best,but told me not to write that!haha) and then just rocks up at Parkrun and shows me how its done.He was lovely enough though to run part of the course again with me after he had finished.

                                          The Victoria Dock bridge

I would like to visit this course again,to improve on my time and also explore the area in more detail.Next time though,shall travel by public transport or maybe cycle to compare which method of travel is more convenient,i suspect getting the tube and dlr will be a bit of a faff and still involve some walking anyway so cycling would probably be best.Bill just needs to get a bike now.

            Thank God for that!

It’s Half Marathon Eve!

Saturday 9th February

No Parkrun this morning as i’m conserving my energies for tomorrow. My first ever half marathon. One minute i’m really nervous, the next-I’m excited and can’t wait!

It felt strange to be up early on a Saturday and not getting ready to run. I found myself keep looking at my watch and the clock on the microwave ‘to see if they were running yet’-FOMO for sure! It was such a bright sunny day too (11c) although very windy.Perfect day for it…

Parkrun withdrawal symptoms haha,it is a thing.

No explosive start for me at Gunpowder Park on this freezing February morning!

Saturday 2nd February

Freezing morning

Well, i’m pleased to say my tourism is on track so far. Just realised that pun haha. I have enjoyed visiting a couple of different courses  this year and have been researching where to visit  next. My initial plan was to tick off all the local courses but have discovered that some of them are more convenient to travel to by public transport or bike so I shall visit these when the weather improves. In the meantime, i will probably stick with reasonably local courses with view to exploring further afield when the weather is warmer.

We’re here

With that in mind, Gunpowder ticked all the boxes-somewhere different, available nearby parking, not a long distance to drive and a gravel/tarmac path so not muddy or slippery in the wintry weather.

It was 1c in the car when we set off.My husband joined me for his third run and also third new course.When we arrived it started to snow.We missed the beginning  of the first timers briefing but not to worry as the run director explained further about the course at the starting line up.

You had to walk to the start of the course and then run back past the meeting area. It is a 2 lap course on a gravel/tarmac path, slightly undulating in places.It is wide open space.

There is ample parking-free for an hour.There are good toilet facilities.

I was struck by the beauty and the feeling of  wilderness in  the park and would like to visit again in the summer to see how different it looks.I have to say this is one of my favourite courses so far.