The Scribbler

28 July 2011

A bottled-out brick and a parkrun tweetup

I had such a busy but lovely weekend, I’ve had no time to blog it. It started early with a half day holiday on Friday afternoon to give me chance to get things straight for visitors coming to stay and to get out on my bike for a brick session.

The bike bit didn’t exactly go to plan. For the first time I just didn’t feel very confident on my road bike. I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to unclip my feet from the pedals and just had a nagging feeling I was going to hurt myself. This is despite the fact that I’ve been out on it a couple of times with only minor knee scrapes.

I cut short my planned route and headed for home, half thinking I might do local loops until I got my confidence back. But I got spooked again by a car pulling away from a parking place (quite safely) and got off and called it quits, wheeling my bike home, feeling cross with myself for messing up my planned session.

As luck would have it, I checked the gym timetable and saw there was a spin class. So I finished my aborted ride on the safety of an indoor machine and followed it up with a treadmill run to complete a sort of brick session.

Saturday morning, I got up early and cleaned the kitchen and bathroom before heading for Newcastle parkrun, still aching all over. I really wanted to go and run this week, as I’d arranged to meet @mumthatruns there. We’ve been exchanging running encouragment on twittter for a mile and it all got a bit ‘blind date’ as we exchanged messages about what we’d be wearing so we could find each other.

We enjoyed a good chat as we warmed up. My legs were feeling rather stiff after Thursday’s tough PT session and Friday nights battering on the bike and run. So when mumthatruns said she was aiming for sub 26 I heard myself saying “I could pace you to that,” and thinking ‘Oh, no – shut up, what have I just said!’ But very sensibly she said she’d run her own race.

I couldn’t hear the announcements at the start, but there was a good round of applause which I took to be Jeff getting his 50th parkrun T-shirt. With a good turn out, it was a few seconds before I crossed the line and made my usual madcap dash through the ranks to find some space.

We ran the route in the reverse direction this week, which meant the tricky stony bit around the back of the museum came first. And I was surprised at how smooth the path seemed when I was running it on fresh legs.

The payback came though as we left the moor and ran out along Grandstand Road. I normally enjoy this part of the course when it comes at 1-2km, but at 3-4km I found myself flagging a little.

I’d run out faster than I meant to on the first couple of kilometres, but had become conscious of mumthatruns running just behind and then alongside me as we went into the third. Out along the tree-lined path she passed me and I was pleased she was obviously running well.

Back onto the moor, seeing the long line of runners stream ahead, I picked up my feet and my pace again. The long slog out to the gate seems so much smoother and easier in reverse, no doubt helped a little by being slightly downhill in this direction. I shouted encouragement to mumthatruns as I passed and stretched out for the final half kilometre.

A more measured sprint finish than usual from me, with a bit of a dog leg to negotiate before the final straight, but I was able to put the power down and go for it, crossing the line in a respectable 26:39 and seeing mumthatruns come in just behind me. Never mind that Rob had already passed us after his mammoth run all the way from Bowness to parkrun!

A bit more chat and catch up at the finish, then it was time to shoot off home and throw myself in the shower before our friends and their two children aged 3 and 8 arrived for the weekend.

We had a fantastic time with the kids. We took them to the beach where we played in the rock pools and built castles and dams. I even got the 8 year old doing some of my beach exercises and then running all the way up the steps Rocky style.

The following day we took them to our friend’s farm where they delighted in feeding the pigs and going for a super fast ride on the buggy, and then we went onto Alnwick Gardens to the treehouse, fountains, ride-on diggers and maze. It was a fun-packed weekend and the kids were great, really well behaved and just lots of fun to be around.

In other news, I’ve had a very nice flurry of support for my Great North Run fundraising efforts. I’m raising money for Sands, a charity that helps families affected by the loss of a baby and supports research into neonatal death. And I’ll be running in memory of my baby sister Ava who we never got to meet.

Sadly it’s something that happens more often than people realise, with 17 babies dying every day here in the UK. Through my fundraising I’ve met many other lovely families who have dealt with this loss.

Here’s my charity web page if you would like to find out more:
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/michelleGNR2011

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