Dalby No Ego Headtorch run

Saturday 28th January 2017 found me, along with a large contingent of my club mates turn up at the Dalby Forest visitors centre in preparation for a 5 mile run, in the dark, in the mud, through Dalby Forest…

I had mixed feelings about this run, I knew it would be hilly and muddy therefore hard work.  As I’ve been finding running generally very hard work recently I was expected this to be very tough!

A forty minute drive and we arrived nice and early (hate being late) so plenty of time to get registered and site and have a drink and a chat with mates.  There were lots of people I knew at this run (nearly 600 runners in total), and it still strikes me what a difference this is from the first races I did when I hardly knew anyone at all.  My other half treated me to a No Ego long sleeved running top (worn for the first time yesterday and it was great – I would recommend one if you get the chance) and before long we were on to the final loo stop and then time to get our jumpers off, head torches on and make our way to the start.

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I was approaching this race in a different way to any I’ve run before.  I was preparing to walk some of the course.  Although I have walked on some other races, it always seems to feel like I’m not pushing enough, but this one I’d been warned that there are areas where it is impossible to run.

The first few hundred meters are on tarmac and then a right turn to immediately climb up a hill on a narrow forest track.  Now I LOVE trail running (have I said that before…) and straight away felt at home.  It was steep, and due to the sheer number of people we had to walk part of it, but I felt like I was managing to find some kind of rhythm.

It was really hard to look about you, even at the people very close because you were so focused on the short distance in front of your feet to try and make sure you didn’t trip.  The few glances I did get of a row of head torches heading up the hill were fab.

The race was 5 miles long and pretty crowded tracks for the first couple of miles and then it really started to thin out and you had a bit more space.  Here is the elevation chart:

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How come when you start and finish in the same place there seems to be an awful more uphill than down ?!

I feel very comfortable off road and even I nearly went over on my ankle a couple of times and definitely need to learn to pick up my feet more judging by the amount of tree roots that I nearly tripped on.  The mud was very thick in places and there was lots of slipping and sliding.  All that adds up to lots of fun but I was grateful for the new trail shoes that I bought a week or so ago.

I don’t know why so many people seem to have such a problem running downhill though.  There were some that seemed to go slower down than up!

The last mile or so was mainly downhill and I really felt like I was getting into my stride and pushed for home, very happy to come through the finishing arch in chip time of 57:04.

splits

I was really pleased when looking back at my splits on Garmin that I’d managed negative splits!  Taking that as a result.

And to finish of a great evening our club went to a local pub (The Black Bull Inn) for something to eat afterwards.  Great food, great company – a perfect Saturday night.

certificate

Would I do this race again?  Yes !

Best bit?  Running through the middle of the biggest puddle whilst everyone else was going around the edges 😉

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Encouragement or patronising?

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This comment was shared on a group I am part of – a picture of the text taken from a book or magazine (not sure which, it didn’t say) and the discussion which ensued was very interesting and made me think.

If you pass people do you offer words of encouragement?

Do you like to receive words when you are passed?

Or do you agree with the comment and think that it is patronising?

One comment that I liked was that ‘you can’t judge a runner by how they’re running at any one moment’ as it is so true.  They might be injured, they might be just taking it easy, or they just might be slower than you.  What I have learnt is that speed does not necessarily equal experience, or vice versa.  There are some runners who are quite a bit slower than I am but whom are far more accomplished runners.

I think that it follows the train of thought that many of us have where we beat ourselves up because we aren’t fast, because we are too slow; where we think that those that run faster are therefore better than us.

When I pass people I do like to speak, encourage, or share the experience in some way.  Not so much maybe in races, but definitely at parkrun and on social runs.  I also like it when others do the same to me.  To me it is as much about making a connection with another person, than it is the actual words spoken.  Does it not make it a more pleasant parkrun if others speak?

We’ve actually made friends just by doing this.  As a regular at parkrun you tend to pass / be passed by the same people at a similar point on the course week in week out.  Do you ignore them, or do you say morning?  Are they running well that day – tell them!

As someone who often feels socially awkward, this kind of interaction and inclusiveness has been a welcome part of running for me.

What do you think?

Yorkshire Wolds Way trail run

What better way to spend a Sunday, than meeting up with friends for a trail run taking in part of the Yorkshire Wolds Way.

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The Yorkshire Wolds Way

I’d ummed and ahhed about joining this club run – could I keep up, could I cope with the run at the moment.  I am so glad that I did go.  The idea of the run was to give members the chance to use a map to follow a route – which some haven’t really done before.  As always with our club, no one ever gets left behind and we had regular stops to check the map.  I’m fairly used to using ordnance survey maps to plot and then follow a route (lots of walking in the past!), so was happy to step back to let others work it out and get the most from the day.

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Perfect running route!

We met up at the village of North Dalton and were immediately off road and onto the tracks and bridleways.  I love this type of running – although there were hills so it wasn’t all easy, it is just such a beautiful place to be.  It was a very frosty and foggy morning, so the views can definitely be better, and we will definitely be back another day.

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#ChallengeHull

It was also my first run in the trail shoes that I’d bought the day before.  I have a very old pair of Saucony trails, that were the first pair of proper running shoes that I bought – but I’m presuming all the cushioning has gone as they now make my legs hurt if it wear them.  As we are doing more trail running I thought I could really do with some shoes with better grip than my road shoes……  hence a quick trip to Sports Direct to see what I could pick up cheap.  I ended up with a pair of Karrimoor trail shoes – but the mens ones.  The ladies were just too narrow so I thought it was worth a try.  And they did seem to be OK – a little rubbing on one toe which might have been my sock, but I’m sure they will be fine for next Saturdays 5 mile No Ego run in Dalby Forest.

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Great company

To make a day of it, we had booked in at the village pub for Sunday lunch – a treat that we were all looking forward to, and ready for after our run.  The Star Inn always did have a good reputation for good pub food.  Unfortunately we were all disappointed.

We’d prebooked as there were a few of us and had asked about gluten free whilst booking as two are strictly gluten free but they got orders wrong, gave a normal meal to a gluten free person – couldn’t answer questions about the meal.  I had pork – about a tablespoon of mash, yorkshire pud, 2 slices of pork and two roast potatoes each.   They brought veg out in serving dishes, but not a lot and VERY al dente!  We asked for more veg and more roast potatoes and they brought out a few, but not enough to go round.  And hot plates can’t make up for very lukewarm food.  We left very disappointed and feeling like it really wasn’t worth the money and wishing we’d gone elsewhere.

Overall it was a great way to spend a Sunday morning – great company, in a gorgeous part of the country.

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A very frosty morning – Yorkshire Wolds

The long awaited 100 shirt

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Brigham #yorkshire on a beautiful frosty morning

We are certainly well into the new year already.  Hope you are all coping with the weather being thrown at some parts of the UK at the moment !

Had a very exciting moment last week…

The parkrun 100 club ladies tshirts came back into stock !

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Now this might not seem exciting to some of you, but I can assure you it was.  I’d waited ten weeks since running my 100th parkrun and it has seemed like an absolute age.  Even better, I ordered and it was delivered pretty quickly in time for Saturday morning (with a treat of a little packet of Haribo – thanks Wiggle).  Now I knew that I wasn’t the only one waiting for one of these shirts, so it had to be worn on parkrun day.

And of course we had to have some photo’s taken to mark the occasion 😉

I’m still struggling with running, but am trying to take the focus off pace and just get out there and run.  I actually love this time of year when we get the beautiful bright, crisp, frosty mornings.  And if we get snow I’m quite happy to go and run in that too.  For the record, I’m not impressed when it is windy, or worse – wet and windy.

I’m trying to lose weight!  We are being alcohol free during the week, but giving ourselves the option for a glass or two of wine on the weekend.  From experience I know that once I get out of the habit I tend to drink less on a weekend too.  I probably won’t have anything on a Friday evening and then a glass or two on a Saturday at the most.  Eating…  like most people I felt my food intake needed an overhaul after Christmas habits.  Snacking is my downfall and I have a very sweet tooth.  My goal is to reduce the snacks, and replace bad snacks with good snacks.  Increase quantity at meal times !  but I don’t mean huge portions here, but lots of veg (not easy for a non veg lover) and protein and a sensible amount of carbs.  A little bit of planning needed to make sure we are having better meals and I’m hoping that this will help me to curb the snacking.  So far this seems to be working and I’ve lost a pound or two this week already.  Now the hard part of sticking to it.

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Beautiful Isla that I had the pleasure of cuddling after I’d finished parkrun

2016 round up and what is in store for 2017

My running stats for 2016:

  • Miles:  53 miles  (11.89 more than last year!)
  • Time Spent:  5 days, 17 hours, 21 mins, 28 secs
  • Number of runs:  193 (3 more than last year)
  • Races:  11
  • Parkruns:  50 (48 Sewerby, 1 Dalby Forest, 1 Hull)
  • Volunteered:  4

My aim for 2016 was to run an average of 75 miles a month.  I didn’t manage this – so I’m feeling a little fed up.  However, I did cover this distance on average until November and December, and then the lower mileage was due to struggling with running due to anaemia.  So overall I can’t be too hard on myself.  I have still run an awful lot of miles, taken part in lots of parkruns, volunteered a few times and done more races than ever before !

I’ve struggled a bit in 2016, with mild injury and health issues but what have been the positives from the year?

Being part of the running community.  This is by far the best thing about running.  I’ve been consoled, encouraged, cheered and supported the whole way.  A phrase I’ve heard many times is ‘parkrun family’ and it really is.  I’ve gained my ‘100’ shirt this year.  As well as parkrun, 2016 was the first full year of being a member of a running club.  Yorkshire Wolds Runners are a fab club to be part of.  A newer member recently wrote ‘a club who do not ask me how fast I went or what time I go, but instead say ‘did you enjoy that run’ – great support, always.

Running with Ben Smith of the 401 Challenge.  It was an honour to be part of this.

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Ben Smith 401 Challenge

Off road running.  When I first started running I did the vast majority off road, but house moves meant that I ended up doing more road work.  2016 saw me try to focus on more off road – races including Mulgrave Castle and Bawtry Trail and lots of training runs.  I’ve loved this and will definitely be doing more.

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Bawtry Trail Race

2017

I’m not really into resolutions for new year, I’d rather decide on some goals or aims instead.  So what are my plans for this year…….

First and foremost – to enjoy my running.  This means not putting too much pressure on !  But also it means having a focus, a training plan – I like to be organised.

More trail running.  We’ve started the year off with a 4.5 mile run this morning, with at least half off road.  Yes it was muddy, yes it was uneven – but it was fun! (must buy some trail shoes – any recommendations?)

Health wise, I need to get the anaemia under control and lose some weight.  I am hoping that this will be achieved in the first couple of months of the year.

Family fun !  My teenager is stating that as soon as he turns sixteen he will be joining club, that he will be joining in with track sessions and will be coming to parkrun every fortnight.  I really hope that he does !  It is obviously very good for his health, but I’m looking forward to being able to spend time together.

Wishing everyone happiness, good health and lots of fun running.