The Scribbler

5 June 2011

Living in and loving every moment

Filed under: bike,Parkrun,run,triathlon — The Scribbler @ 20:04

You know how it was gloriously sunny and warm on Friday, and it felt like a waste of a day to be at work? I don’t care if the clouds were grey at the weekend, I’ve had another brilliant one.


Me in fancy dress for Newcastle parkrun

Bringing a touch of the tropical to the Town Moor

Saturday and a special parkrun, including an option for fancy dress. I picked out an outfit I last wore on the evening of my wedding day, to bring some sunny Aloha spirit to the blustery Town Moor. My training plan had a 3 mile run on Friday, so I shuffled it to Saturday to give me a chance to catch up with some of my buddies.

Fab to see Jeff although I’m sorry he’s had to break his parkrun streak due to injury. But he knows it’s the right thing to do and volunteering is good fun too.

There was our Sue, race director keeping us all in check with the clipboard and appointing Lesley and Finn Bobs as cake monitors for the end of race goodies. Thanks to Mark for returning my hoodie from the Pier to Pier (sorry didn’t get chance to chat). I did say hello to Mick again. And then caught up with the lovely Steve over from Liverpool for a visit. thank you for your very kind words about my training.

So to the start. I was a wee bit hyper. It feels like weeks since my last parkrun and I was chomping at the bit to be off and away. A bit too eager as it turned out. I bounced off, chasing down some runners dressed as school girls and off into a rather stiff headwind over the moor.

Lots of runners said afterwards that they struggled with that section of the course into the wind and so did I. But I was pushing on, working hard and struggling to catch my breath when I realised who I was running with. The thing about parkrun is that you start to recognise some of the regular runners. And I was up with those who are a good 2-3 minutes faster than I am.

But I shouldn’t have been there. The pace really was too fast for me, especially given the conditions. So I eased it back, told myself not to worry about PBs and to just enjoy the run. I think it worked as I settled into a more sustainable rhythm.

Little pocket rocket Pam nipped past me through the first gate as I said “Easy Tiger,” to Malcolm in his furry tiger suit. I managed to overtake her again out under the trees and then she nipped back through at Tove’s gate back onto the moor.

Pam kept me digging in and fighting all the way through to somewhere around the 3k marker. I caught her, she dropped back. Then pulled level and I pushed on. We kept cat and mousing like this, unspoken until she finally made it stick. But I kept her in sight as I turned at the back of the museum.

I caught up with another girl on the rough ground and gave her some encouragement as I passed. I felt good, running hard but not straining at my limits. Today was just about a good run, enjoying it.

Through the 4k gate and I could hear a jingling coming along behind. It was a runner dressed as Noddy who joked with me as he passed and pointed to another regular runner dressed as an American Indian today.

Into the last section and for me, the home run. Trying to ease out a little more from my legs, Pam just in focus a little ahead, but I know I have that sprint finish. At the last turn I passed a runner in an orange club vest – another one I recognise who normally overtakes me at around 3-4k. Today it was my turn. I could hear him and his mate encouraging each other on over the last few hundred metres or so, but I was determined they weren’t coming past me and I kicked on.

Powering down the final straight, not quite at my full sprint, but attacking from a lot further past, I sensed a couple of runners were trying to keep with me. But my focus was on the finish and a little dot in pale blue that was Pam. I overtook her in the last few metres and was able to give a traditional Hawaiian shaka wave over the finish line. I stopped my watch at 25:30 and suspected I was a bit slow in hitting the buttons.

The official line: 25:28 – so very consistent and I wasn’t absolutely going guns out. So I am very happy with that. I was 24th lady out of a field of 227 and 1st in my age category! And best of all there was a huge spread of cakes and goodies to enjoy afterwards.

Suitably refreshed and after a quick change in the car, I went back to Edinburgh Bikes. I spent over an hour and a half going over my choices and took a couple of the bikes out for a longer ride, trying to bear in mind all the advice my friends had given me. I had a three-way text conversation going on with Peter, Lesley and Al at one point.

That’s real friendship – when someone buts into your Saturday afternoon to ask about bikes and you answer. Thanks guys – you’ve been brilliant.

New bikeTo cut a lengthy process short – I bought the red one. The racier one. So there’s absolutely no truth in the rumour that I bought the one that matches my tri suit.

But she’s a beauty and road ready with clippy pedals. I just need to buy myself some clippy shoes to go with them. Oh and a very strong lock. Because she’s stolen my heart already and I’m just longing to take her on our first adventure.

Home and quick shower, change and turnaround before heading out to our friend’s farm for a farm supper. It was a bit of an event with customers from their organic box scheme getting a tour of the farm, to see the animals and learn a bit more about how our friends Lee and Beth raise them and the vegetable crops.

It was lovely to see the cows who were surprisingly chilled out at a field full of people. And I caught up with the little calf I saw take its first steps.

After Lee’s demo in the butchery, Beth dished out a fine feast of roast lamb pork red cabbage, new potatoes and salad. Followed by rhubarb and ginger cake with creme fraiche and homemade rhubarb jam. We eat very well in our house thanks to the hard work on this farm. And Gary just loves spending time there helping out and looking after the animals.


So to Sunday and two very important things to fit in today – going to see my first open water triathlon to cheer on some friends and a long run (the first on my plan as I build up to the Northumberland Coastal and Great North Run) .

It was cold, grey and overcast as I approached a busy field full of cars at the QE2 country park. Anyone competing would have been there way before me. I made my way to the lake to see a group in yellow swim caps about to enter the water, learning that this was the second wave of the swim and the first lot were already over the other side.

I felt that sense of trepidation and ‘oh my goodness, that looks cold’ as they got into the water and wondered how I’d feel if that was me. I’d like it to be one day. But step by step, little by little.

I wanted to see the start. Swimmers bobbing around between two gigantic buoys. A loud horn and they were off. It didn’t look too scrum-like from the banks as the swimmers were well spread out. But it was amazing how quickly and easily they got into the crawl.

On the other side of the lake I could see a line of swimmers in blue caps heading back, far more stretched out. So I walked over to see them starting to come out of the water and spotted a couple of faces I recognised, including my good friend and PT, Ian.

I watched a little longer, watching swimmers peeling off goggles, swim caps and reaching for wet suit zippers as they headed for transition. Then I moved around to see some of them coming out on their bikes. That’s when I caught site of Peter about to head off on his ride. It really helps when you can recognise tri suits!

This was a para-triathlon event too, so there were a couple of tandems and some hand bikes. And one amazing guy who was riding with one arm. Must have incredible balance.

The last lady out on her bike was nearly taken out by the first rider back through and then it was a flurry of activity and varying degrees of flying dismounts as the bikers returned. Clunk the pedals and shoes on the ground, rotate your legs like road runner and try your best not to fall over seemed to be the order of the day as some of them absolutely flew through.

A quick dash round to see riders turn to runners out of the transition area and around the lake for two laps. That gave me a good chance to take a few more photos and spot Stuart also out for the day.

It was cold and chilly to be a spectator, so goodness only knows what it felt like to get out of a cold lake, onto a bike and then head off on a 5k run. But everyone seemed to be enjoying it. There were lots of smiles and shout outs from the spectators and an enthusiastic MC calling out numbers and names as the triathletes came around to finish over the blue timing mats.

It was great to see Ian after his race. He is the reason I first started to consider this crazy sport and the person who’ll help me get in great shape to do it.

And then absolutely amazing to see Peter grinning after completing his first open water triathlon. Real demons battled and beaten today. I had no doubt you could do it. And I feel very privileged to have your support and encouragement for my own efforts.

Suitably inspired, I headed back home and got ready for my own run. The plan said 7 miles at 9 min mile pace and that’s what I did. Steady out on my old familiar route to the lighthouse and back. It was cool and breezy, but I felt quite relaxed and easy, just glancing at my watch to set the pace and checking to see I didn’t drift too far from it.

Once I turned at the half way point the wind seemed to die down and I felt like I had eased into my running groove. I still have more running to do next week and a race I really want to do well in. But today I told myself to keep it simple – just focus on the run I’m on.

And, I know this remark will come back and bite me, but when did it become so easy to breathe at 9 minute mile pace? Is that because I’m more commonly pushing for 8 minute pace over shorter distances? Or just because I was ramped up and ready to go after watching the triathlon? Whatever the reason, it was a lovely reminder of how far I have come and the longer term improvements I work for.

And on my run I had time to think about all my friends who do these amazing things. Wondering how you were getting on in Stirling, on the Hardmoors, at Allendale or just resting and getting well again.

I make no apologies for another epic blog. The dull old office drones may moan about a grey and damp weekend, but mine was full of colour, excitement, friendship (and chocolate brownies). Not a bad way to spend a couple of days.

Stats and stuff:
Parkrun 5k 25:28
1) – 1m – 8:31(8:31/m)
2) – 1m – 8:07(8:07/m)
3) – 1m – 8:23(8:23/m)
4) – 0.07m – 27(7:14/m)

7 mile run 1:02:43
1) – 1m – 9:06(9:06/m)
2) – 1m – 8:54(8:54/m)
3) – 1m – 9:10(9:10/m)
4) – 1m – 8:54(8:54/m)
5) – 1m – 8:47(8:47/m)
6) – 1m – 8:56(8:56/m)
7) – 1m – 8:53(8:53/m)



  1. Ooh, you’re doing the Northumberland Coastal Run, have you done it before? I did it back in 2008 and it was brilliant and one of the best runs I’ve ever done.


    Comment by Kassia — 6 June 2011 @ 14:55 | Reply

    • Thanks Kassia – it will be my first time on the Northumberland Coastal Run, but everyone I know that’s done it loves it, so I’m really looking forward to it. I shan’t be racing it, but just looking at it as a good running day out with lots of my friends.


      Comment by The Scribbler — 6 June 2011 @ 18:10 | Reply

  2. P.S. Love the bike colour and I did Milton Keynes parkrun dressed as a St Trinian and my daughter ran as fairy. Great fun and great cakes afterwards.


    Comment by Kassia — 6 June 2011 @ 14:57 | Reply

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