Skipsea Brough circular run

For the first time in what seems like a long time, Sunday morning gave the opportunity to head out for a run. I fancied a different route – not just one from home, but didn’t want to drive for ages to get there. Forecast was hot and sunny which meant that if I could find a route which had some shade from trees that would be even better!

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A quick look on the map to remind myself of what options we had and I suggested parking at Skipsea Brough, and running a circular route, partly off road, via Dunnington, Bewholme and back to Skipsea Brough. We ended up not getting up as early as I would have really liked which meant it was pretty hot – but we weren’t in a rush so could just go steady away.

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Parked at Skipsea Brough and we picked up the road we needed and trotted off – this first bit was very hot, with pretty much no shade and you can’t help thinking how hard it is and if there is any way you can carry on for miles more! Looping round to Dunnington we finally had some shade from the trees which was a very welcome relief. There isn’t really much to Dunnington – a few farms and houses plus a church. We had a walk round the churchyard, looking for a tap for us to cool ourselves down with, but it would appear that isn’t available at this church.

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From here we picked up a public footpath heading across the fields. I love being off road, even though some of this was very rough, forcing us to walk rather than run for a part of it. We have been down this path before, but only so far – so then it became a task of looking out for the footpath signs and making sure we were going in the right direction. But it was pretty easy and a lovely run. We came to the end of one field, onto the little plank bridge which took you over a ditch and through a hedge – as we popped out the other side we realised that we were on a cross country course! Now we had to take the opportunity for a photo 😉

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Over a stile and along a few shaded grass paths around a wood and we appeared in Bewholme. A couple of minutes through the village and we stopped off at the church hoping that this time there would be a tap – we were in luck. A cool down of the wrists, wash the face, soak the hair and a drink and we were ready to carry on. The route from this point was easy, just following the same road back to Skipsea Brough. It is a very quiet road, we only saw a couple of vehicles. A couple of walk breaks due to the heat, and we were back at the car. A thoroughly enjoyable (if hot!) 7 miles.

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I need more runs like this, no particular time pressure, just chatting away enjoying being out in the countryside together.

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Bread!

A couple of weeks ago a good friend gave us a sourdough starter (and some flour and a spatula!) to have a go at making our own bread (thanks Lizzie!).

The instructions can seem a bit overwhelming, but we thought we might as well have a go….

Well the first attempt wasn’t great.

I didn’t even take any pictures. When we were trying to shape the dough we realised that it was too wet and then forgot to put it in the fridge over night – so think it had over-proved and collapsed. We ended up with two loaves that tasted OK but hadn’t risen. Very dense, tough bread!

So we had another go.

This time it was so much better! A little less water in the mix (and overall less proving time) meant we were actually able to shape the dough, and it rose in the oven.

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Ready for the oven

This morning for breakfast I have had a slice of freshly baked bread. I’ve then been out and picked the first strawberries from the garden – will be having those in a little while.

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Freshly baked sourdough bread & strawberries from the garden

Sledmere Sunset Trail 10k 2018

Friday evening race, based in a little village in the Yorkshire Wolds, all off road. Sounds perfect! I’ve run this one once before and it is a nice course but there are tough bits in it.

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Friday was warm and dry and there had been very little rain recently so I knew the ground would be pretty hard. Messages on Friday between club mates on what shoes would be best is the norm….. decision being road shoes would be fine as it’s so hard. As I’ve been finding my road shoes not particularly supportive lately I decided on a pair of Asics trail shoes that I bought a while ago but have only used for walking rather than running. These are kind of a light trail shoe – so have grips but not big – thought they’d be good on the grass. They also have plenty of cushioning which I thought was important as I knew quite a bit of the course was on rough, stony tracks. This decision would come back to haunt me.

The race is held at Sledmere House – so a gorgeous location looking out over the grassland to the deer grazing. For the first time it was also chip timed; a great decision as far as I’m concerned. The start is relatively crowded, so great to have the chip timing and not worry about how long it is taking to cross the start line.

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The first mile or so is on a stony chalk track and uphill – not really steep, but enough to really get you when you’ve just set off! The course winds around (and makes you lose yo

ur sense of direction…) through woodland, onto grass, back onto tracks. My favourite bit is the second mile. This is a stretch through trees, on a narrow rough track, and downhill. My quickest mile of the run. I overtook lots of people here, caught up and over took my husband, and giggled my way from top to bottom.

There is a long section along a dale bottom that I find quite hard – it is very slightly uphill and just seems to go on forever, which means I was pleased to get to the other end and the short, steep climb back onto the track.

Those trainers…… I really wish I’d made a better choice. My right foot had pins and needles and then numbness for a while and when that wore off all I knew that there was a blister forming on the arch of my foot.

The final mile is gently downhill and I managed to pick the pace up a little but I was really struggling by this point. The finishing stretch takes you back onto the grass in front of the house and I have no idea where from, but I managed to find some energy for a sprint finish. I love this finish photo, never before have I had flying feet like it!!

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Feet…. Very bad choice of shoes. A fairly large blister on the arch of the right foot and very sore left foot resulted in me kicking these shoes off as quickly as I could after the finish line!

Race goodies: Flapjack at the finish (very yummy), medal and drawstring bag

Would I enter again? Yes. This is a local race and I like off road

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Top of the Wolds 10k Challenge

This is a race report with a difference……. I wasn’t running it.

Top of the Wolds 10k is the race my club hosts, this year was just its second year. I have marshalled at a few other races but being more involved shows you just what is needed to put on a race like this.

The Top of the Wolds 10k Challenge is a scenic, rural race around Nunburnholme Wold in East Yorkshire. Starting from the attractive Village of Warter, the race route heads out along scenic rural lanes, before a climb to the “Wolds Top” and finally descending through the Woodland section.”

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Waiting for the runners to arrive

We are still a pretty small club, so no club members run the race – as many of us as possible are there to help in various different rolls – from parking and road closures, to water stations and marshalling. I was doing the same as last year on registration to start (slightly complicated by the recent GDPR regulations coming in to force!), and then on the finish line checking numbers and organising spot prizes. It is an early start on the day – we were there before 7am and there were others that had been there much earlier. I know that it appears that marshals can just turn up ten minutes before race starts to get to their positions, but there is so much more to it then that – they need to get their instructions and details from the coordinator on the day, they need to know what their responsibilities are and who to contact in an emergency, they need to make sure that their stretch of the course is clear (no motorists trying to get through the road closed signs!) and stays clear whilst the race goes on. Don’t be put off ever volunteering by this – it is really rewarding and great to see a race from another perspective, but it is a commitment and you need to turn up early enough to make sure you’ve got time to get sorted. I love that our race has such great support – not just club members but friends and family all turning up to help out.

I like doing registration, seeing the different runners coming in: some experienced and seemingly very relaxed, some who were very new to running and quite nervous. It’s a pretty small race (300 places this year) and we’d like to think very friendly and supportive to all (the feedback is certainly very good!).

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The start of the race!

There were lots of great moments watching everyone come over the finish line – the lady that had knocked 13 minutes off last years time (yes you read that right, MINUTES!); those that have had a tough time over the last year but still managed to complete the race; the amazing winners of the race and of age categories; the lady I spoke to at registration who had never run 10k before, who crossed the line and sobbed. I didn’t know you, but the pride I felt for you that you’d achieved what you set out to achieve – there were a few people watching who were struggling to keep dry eyes!

Last runners in, drinks and flapjacks for all and it was time for race presentations – quite a few category prizes as well as the main ones and then it was time to clear up! It doesn’t take long with lots of people helping out and with the lure of Sunday lunch at the pub we worked twice as quick.

My first visit to The Wolds Inn at Huggate in a few years and it didn’t disappoint, a lovely sunday lunch enjoyed by nearly forty club members / friends / family. I certainly feel lucky to have finally found a group where I feel that I can be myself and be accepted as I am.

Here’s to another sell out of the Top of the Wolds 10k Challenge in 2019 !

When you just need to run alone

It had been a busy week and my brain was about to burst;  our household is currently a bit like a pressure cooker – teenager doing AS exams, husband very busy at work, I’m busy at work, travelling more than usual and waiting for hospital tests that I have been really worried about.

Sunday morning, the sun was shining and I decided to be selfish!  I said I was going for a run, I would be out for at least an hour and wanted to go on my own.  I did feel bad about this because I haven’t seen a huge amount of my husband in the last week, but I knew that I really needed to do this for me.  I’d been in a foul mood on Friday night, Saturday night was just so exhausted I fell asleep on the sofa…  I needed to sort this out for everyone’s sake!

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I headed out the door without much of a plan, but quickly decided to do one of the few circular routes I have nearby.  I knew that it was just over 7 miles and thought that I’d be able to do that if I took it steady.  Music on, off I went.  A mile and a half later I was in the next village and bumped into a running friend who was just finishing her run – it is lovely to be able to speak to others, and it is still a novelty to me that people are happy to stop and speak to me.  I did admit that I was out for a run on my own to try and sort out the mess that was my head… (and actually, just admitting it to someone is a HUGE step for me).

The route is all road, but takes me through some gorgeous countryside.  I stopped to take a pic as I was on the bridge over the canal and took a moment to realise the beauty of my surroundings.  I spent a little time watching a kestrel that was hovering over the verge – I tried to get a pic but couldn’t.  Just to be out, in the quiet, not being bombarded with questions, requests, emails, skypes, what’s apps, phone calls…..  was just what I needed.

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7.5 miles later I returned home, in a far better mental place than when I’d set off.  It just tells me that I’m right to sometimes put myself first, and that I need to take time for me occasionally.

I’m pleased to say that the scan that I was going to hospital for was completely clear – a huge relief!  The exams will be over soon, and the rest we just need to deal with.

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Regent’s Park

Away with work for a few days, meaning that I miss club run for a week, so what else would I do but pack my running gear and take the time to explore.  I was staying near Kings Cross in London and had asked for suggestions of where I could run and would I be safe heading off on my own in an evening.   I knew that I wasn’t too far away from Regent’s Park so thought that was a good place to head to.  A suggestion of running along the canal rather than the road sounded great.

So off I went – from the hotel on York Place I soon found the tow path along Regent’s Canal and tried to settle down into some kind of rhythm.  This is when I become so painfully aware that I am not used to running where there are lots of people!  The tow path is pretty good route really, apart from when it is closed and I get diverted through Camden Market and feel a bit lost.

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I finally found Regent’s Park and was amazed at just how busy it was!  It was gone 7pm on a Tuesday evening and there were people everywhere.  In a way it is great – so many people enjoying the sunshine and fresh air, but I still just can’t get used to so many people in the same place.

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That said, I did enjoy my run round the park.  The walkway of Lilac trees smelt fantastic!  But by this point it was getting a bit late, I still had to get back to my hotel and showered before heading out for something to eat so decided to jump on the tube back to Kings Cross and my hotel.

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Am I glad I made the effort?  Yes definitely !

Hardmoors Series – Wainstones 10k 2018

Sunday was an early start to head off north to the small village of Chop Gate in the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. I’ll admit that I wasn’t looking forward to this run. My quietness on the blog is indicitive of how I am feeling at the moment – I’ve had a couple of colds, have been very busy with work and with home, and the running is suffering as a result. And I don’t like not being prepared!

That is how I felt – under-prepared. I knew it was going to be a tough course and also quite a bit longer than 10k but felt I just had to go and do my best.

There were three different races on the day and as we pulled into the car park we could just see the first, the Marathon setting off up a very steep hill. We joined those waiting for the half marathon to start in the village hall were there was a great buzz of excitement for the races. These are very much trail races, so runners are kitted out with packs of various types for the compulsory kit and it is a great opportunity to have a look at all the kit that is available!

It quickly came round to the time to get ready for race briefing and then outside to the start line. There were just over 100 runners for the 10k, so pretty low key which is just how I like it. The start took us up (yep, hill straight away!) into the village and behind the houses onto a bridleway leading up onto the moors. It seemed to be non stop climbing for several miles, but the views were fantastic. My only issue is that when I try to look up and take in the views I ended up tripping up!

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We had a pretty heavy shower of rain within the first 20 mins and I started to get a bit cold and decided to stop and put my waterproof on. Really glad I did as the wind just got stronger the higher we climbed.

A right turn led to a very steep decent of rocky steps where I had the utmost respect to those that were managing to run down them – I was struggling to walk at any decent pace! Pretty quickly we were heading back uphill again, with a very steep climb towards Wainstones where a bit of rock climbing / clambering was needed (did I say this isn’t your typical 10k race?!). After this point I felt that the course got a little bit easier – still the odd uphill, lots of boggy areas, heather scratching your legs, but not quite as severe as the first half of the route. But I was getting pretty tired!

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The last mile or so was a fast decent off the moors back towards the village. You’d think that this would be a relief but actually the downhill was hurting my knees quite a bit. Through a couple of sheep paddocks, over the cattle grids and onto the road for a very short stretch to the village hall. There isn’t an actual finish line – you are clocked in at a desk inside and then handed your medal and t-shirt. Muddy shoes and socks off and time to get a drink and something to eat.

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  • Total distance 9.07 miles (yes miles ! Told you it wasn’t a normal 10k!)
  • Time: 02:21:45
  • Elevation gain:  1489 ft

I didn’t run this on my own – my husband was with me, and it was my sons first Hardmoors race. It was the furthest distance my son had ever run, and the hardest, most technical course. I am so proud of him for sticking with it (he’s nearly 17).

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Would I do this race again? Maybe….. it really was tough, but a fab route.

Would I do other Hardmoors series? Definitely

Life…

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East Coast sunrise

Life has certainly thrown some swerve balls this way in the last few months ! My absence here has not been intentional, it has just been lower down the list of priorities that seems to get bigger each day.

At the end of last year there had been changes at work following redundancies – well this year didn’t start any smoother in that regard, with several resignations within a short time resulting in me taking on extra responsibilities. I’m hoping that in the long run this is a good move for me, but it certainly adds pressure to life. Working longer hours is meaning the usual juggle of trying to fit everything in gets that bit harder.

Sadly there have recently been two deaths in the extended family, both pretty sudden. Although they weren’t people that I was close too, my close loved ones have been very much affected and it is a hard time for them. There is no rule book of what to do in these situations, so I’m just trying to be there if I’m needed.

I have still been running, not as much as I’d like, but I’ve been out there. I was feeling the pressure because I wasn’t hitting my target mileage, but do you know what – it doesn’t matter. I’m still out there.

This morning I ran early. Just me and the dogs. In the rain.

I’d stopped for the dogs to have a sniff and I lifted my face to the rain and took a moment to be thankful that I was out there, alive, able to run. So many people have challenges to overcome, some bigger than others. No my life isn’t perfect – but whose is? As long as we try to be happy and look after each other every day then that has to be enough.

I’ve run one race this year – the Dalby No Ego head torch run. 5 miles through the forest in the pitch black. It was good fun, despite not feeling on top form (I’d had my first cold in several years). My son ran it with me for the first time (and got a free tshirt for being the youngest runner!) and we followed it with club tea at the pub – all in all a good evening.

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Snow day

I’ve run in Paris ! I was away with work, couldn’t get to parkrun so decided to explore with a run. You can read about it here.

Hopefully it won’t be so long next time…..

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Friends of the best kind

Exploring Paris

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Notre Dame Cathedral

Last week found me travelling again for work.  The second time in Paris in 2 weeks.  It sounds lovely getting the chance to visit different places with someone else paying, however the reality is the first time I went to Paris I saw the train station, the hotel and the office.  Literally nothing else!

This time I was staying over the Friday night and my train home wasn’t until the Saturday afternoon.  First thought…. parkrun!!  However, I’ve never used the Metro before, and it looked to be a fairly long journey from where I was staying (anyone in Paris, it would be great to hear from you as I might be going again fairly soon!).

If I couldn’t get to parkrun then I decided that I would go for a run to see some of the city.  Baring in mind that I was coming down with a cold, I’d been at a work function Friday evening and hadn’t gone to bed till after 2.30am and it was pouring with rain…….  I’ve decided that I am slightly mad!

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I left the others at the hotel and set off.  I was staying in the Opera district (which literally meant nothing to me a week ago) so I headed south towards the river with a plan to head east, cross over somewhere near the Notre Dame and head west along the south bank of the river and cross somewhere west of the Louvre (I had thought about going to the Arc de Triomph and running down the Champs de Elysees but that proved a bit optimistic!) so that I could head back through the gardens and to the Louvre pyramid.

It took me a little while to settle in to my run, probably not helped by stopping to take photos every now and then.  I’m not really used to running in cities so it all felt a bit odd.  Once I’d got to the river I felt a bit better and started counting bridges as my way of navigating, there were also many others running in this area – although I have to say, no one really said hello !  I suspect this is a city thing rather than a French thing.

I crossed over the river to the Notre Dame Cathedral, where I had to stop to take a picture.  Then over the next bridge and on to the south bank.  I tried to keep my head up and look at my surroundings – looking over at the Notre Dame and trying to take in the city I was running through.

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Notre Dame Cathedral

I crossed back over to the Place de la Concorde and turned right into the gardens of the Louvre.  I first visited Paris as a teenager on a school art trip.  I distinctly remember seeing the Pyramid at the Louvre – one of the things that stood out about that trip, which is why I really wanted to head back there.   It was lovely running up towards the Louvre and the Pyramid (although it isn’t as big as I remembered!).  I stopped under the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel to take a few pictures, post on facebook and send a text to my husband (whilst sheltering from the rain) before heading back into the city and trying to find my way back to the hotel.

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The Louvre Pyramid

I’m really pleased that I decided to go for a run.  One part of me felt a bit guilty for not joining my colleagues on their look round the shops that morning, but then I feel like I got to see a bit more of, and feel a bit more comfortable in the city.  The chances are I’ll be visiting a bit more because of work, so I’d love to feel more at home.  The next challenge is to work out how to use the Metro!

Anyone in Paris??

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Route Map (can you tell where I missed my turn trying to get back to the hotel?!)