Tag Archives: parkrun

So much more than running

Last Friday was Undiagnosed Children’s Day and I wrote a post about Adam’s achievements in the past few years.  My step-daughter shared it on Twitter saying that it was the best blog she’s read in ages – she obviously doesn’t have very high standards if she thinks that – because it was about The Boy.  If that is her reasoning then, I’ll let her get away with praising my blog.

Anyway, it gave me an idea for another post about Adam and his achievements.  More specifically his achievements at parkrun.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I try to go running with a group of people who I met at parkrun.  They are mainly retired or semi-retired and I am easily the youngest amongst them but they are a great group of people and very supportive.  Anyway, last Thursday I was running with a lovely gentleman who was taking it easy after completing the London Marathon last week – he’s now completed 275 marathons and wants to get to 300 before he finishes!  We were having a lovely chat and he happened to mention that he remembered how much I had to persuade, cajole, encourage and bribe Adam round the 5km when we started parkrun.  Now, I’ll either leave him or he’ll leave me because he, and I, have more confidence.  I remember to first time I decided enough was enough and left Adam to walk to the finish with the thought that I would go back and get him when I’d finished.  I didn’t get very far back down the course because my running buddy’s wife had caught up with Adam and told him to start running again!  As he does with everyone else, Adam left her behind with about 200m to go.  I was very grateful to her because it confirmed what I already knew, our parkrun family would look after Adam and help him on his way.

My running buddy also mentioned how much he enjoys it if we start behind him because he knows that Adam will catch up with him and say “Hello” with a big grin on his face before running away.  Adam will also let anyone he knows know he’s coming because he’ll be telling me, very loudly, who he can see.  They get plenty of warning that Adam will be coming to say hello and then pass them.

This happened to another running buddy of mine on Saturday.  We were only about 800m from the finish when I caught up with her and Adam had left me at about 3.5km to make his run for home.  When I caught up with her, she mentioned how much confidence Adam has gained, especially in the last couple of years, because more often than not he’ll run the last 1km to 1.5km on his own.  If I’m doing run/walk pacing for someone else, Adam will even run the full 5km either with another parkrunner or on his own.

parkrun has contributed more than confidence in running though.  Going to parkrun every week has also given Adam more social interaction, team-working, communication skills and the chance to try a variety of volunteer roles.  Now, he will go and talk to people he knows, and even drag them over to say hello to me!  He will do a volunteer role while I run because he feels safe in the parkrun environment.

Finally, last week we got a box from the Co-op as they are now an official partner of parkrun.  I knew they were going to be at York parkrun but didn’t know we’d each get a box of goodies to take home.  It’s a shame my husband wasn’t there too, we could have had 3 boxes to bring home 🙂  I was pleasantly surprised with t he contents of the box too:  a 500ml bottle of olive oil, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tin of cannellini beans and a jar of crushed chillies.  Adam immediately said that we can use the tomatoes in our mince next time we make bolognaise.  We could add the tin of beans too although when my husband saw the box he said he could use the beans in his salads for lunch.  I guess he can have one and we’ll use the other.  Oh, we got a £3 voucher to use when spending £3 or  more at Co-op too 😀

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Undiagnosed Children’s Day 2018 – #UCDsuperhero

In 2013, I wrote a post on Undiagnosed Children’s Day.  I followed this with a post about My Not So Little SWAN the following day and then wrote another post in 2014.  This year, I thought I’d write another post.

Adam, essentially, has an undiagnosed disability.  As it affects his learning ability, he has been diagnosed as having a Learning Disability but this covers an awful lot.  Anyway, what has happened since the last posts in 2013 and 2014?  A LOT!

He can now travel independently to 4 different venues after going through travel training and being supported for the first few trips to make sure he knew the route.  He phones me to let me know he is on his way and phones his carer if he is on his way to them.  He also phones me if he can’t get the bus he is supposed to get or if the route is changed so I can support him through the change.

He can now make mince for shepherd’s pie or lasagne from scratch, including preparing the vegetables, with very little supervision or prompting from me.  Thanks to the Tupperware Herb Chopper which he loves using for cutting the carrot, onion and any other veg we decide to throw in!

He is a lot more sociable.  This year he decided that he wanted to go to the “inclusive” disco which is held once a month at Blueberry Academy.  He’s known about it for about 4 years and finally asked if he could go last August or September.  It wouldn’t be my cup of tea but he enjoys it.

He’s tried more volunteering roles at parkrun – he can now marshal, funnel manage, barcode scan and help with finish tokens without support.  He has also been the 2:1 run/walk pacer, on his own.  He was supposed to be pacing with me but we had run/walkers of different speeds so we split up with Adam pacing someone we know and her nephew while I took the parkrunners who we didn’t know.  We don’t know if it was deliberate or and accident but Adam switched the run and walk round so that it was run 1 minute, walk 2 minutes but this worked out better for our regular parkrunner’s nephew as he was struggling to run for 2 minutes.  Either way, well done to my boy for that.

He completed 1,000 hours of volunteering at SNAPPY!  He’s also volunteered over 25 times at parkrun.  He received a certificate at the Mayor’s Shine Awards for his volunteering and fundraising runs.

So, here’s to another year of improvement and skills/confidence building for Adam and for me.  We won’t be letting the fact that there is no disability diagnosis hold us back.  Adam is without doubt my super hero.

 

Baking, parkrun and planning

It’s Easter weekend which means I have 4 days off!  Yay!  The man of the house is working most of the weekend, his one day off is tomorrow, so what was I going to do with Adam, and myself?

First was a trip in to York city centre to the York Chocolate Festival.  We’ve been to the Chocolate Festival for the past few years but after last year, which I didn’t think was particularly good, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go again.  This year was much better than last year!  They even had a booklet with activities for the kids, I almost wished I’d picked one up and dragged Adam round the city centre to find the clues 😉  Anyway, with all that chocolate on display I could have spent a fortune!  I didn’t.  I decided I would buy some chocolate dipped honeycomb from a company I haven’t seen before – it is gorgeous!!! – and that would be my only purchase.

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We got home at about 2.30pm after deciding to get the park and ride bus back to Tesco and then walk home from there.  For some reason the “city” buses are on a Sunday service for Good Friday and Easter Monday but the park and ride buses are following their usual weekday timetable.  Not that it makes much difference for the park and ride service as they are approximately every 10 minutes regardless of which day it is, they just change their start times on Sundays.

Anyway, after we got home I decided that I wanted to do some baking.  I was only going to make a crème egg brownie but when we were in Tesco I saw a pack of 11 mini bags of mini eggs which were on offer, buy two packs for £5.  Well, on 11-pack was £4 so it seemed silly not to take advantage of getting 11 more mini bags for £1.  So, what was I going to do with the mini eggs except make a mini egg brownie and some cupcakes with mini eggs on top.  Then, while I was looking for the brownie recipe online, I found a recipe for mini egg rocky road.  So that was added to my baking list.

The recipe for the brownies came from Jane’s Patisserie, she has so many great bakes on her website go check them out!  I took the basic recipe (Easter Brownies) and adapted it to fit the eggs which I had – mini eggs (lots) instead of all of the different types of mini egg.  For the crème egg brownies, I did the same brownie mixture and just pushed the crème egg halves on the top.
The mini egg rocky road recipe (in the Tupperware box in the middle) came from She Who Bakes.  I only had a small Tupperware box to put it in so I made half the recipe and it fit in the small, low Freezer Mate beautifully.  Next time, I’ll make the full amount and split it between two Freezer Mates as it went down a storm!

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That is too much sweet, chocolatey goodness for this household to handle so I decided to take it to parkrun with me this morning.  I still have some left but the runners and volunteers didn’t let me down.  This mornings parkrun was a little soggy, to say the least with 3 or 4 HUGE puddles in the first 500m.  I was shattered by the time I’d finished my first 3 minute run interval after running through them.  I had wet feet and even a wet bum!  The alternative was to run through the muddy, boggy grass and at least my shoes stayed clean 🙂

That brings us on to this afternoon.  Planning …  We are off to Disney World, again, later this year so I have been doing some planning for our trip.  Deciding where to eat, which parks we want to visit – Adam has decided he’d like to go to LEGOLAND as our “extra” this year.  As we are going for a shorter trip, we can only add one “extra” rather than two.  We are also hoping to find the Tupperware Visitors Centre 🙂  Not my idea, even though I have wanted to go for years.  My husband said to me a couple of months ago “Fi, do you know that Tupperware’s head office is in Orlando?”  Well, duh!  Of course I do/did.  I just never suggested visiting because I wasn’t sure he’d want to.  Now he’s suggested it, however, we’re going!

What are you doing with your long weekend?  Do you have time off or are you working?  Is it just another day?

It’s Saturday so …

it must be parkrun day 🙂 I’d like to say it was a lovely parkrun day but it really wasn’t.  There was hail!  At least I think it was hail, if it wasn’t it was heavy rain which hurt like hail.  At least Poppy Coffee were there for post-run tea (for Adam), chili mocha (for the Man) and hot chocolate (for me).

After finishing 2017 with two good runs of sub-31 minutes, I was a little disappointed to run 32:08.  However, as I only went for one run this week instead of the planned 2-3 and I reduced the running interval to 3 minutes, we have been doing 4 minutes, with a view to running faster (the rain and wind meant the running interval wasn’t faster) a 1:20 drop in time for 5k wasn’t too bad.

I got Jeff Galloway‘s Run Walk Run book for Christmas and have been reading it.  I’m a great believer in run walk run and all of my running PBs have come from run walk run intervals and Adam has never completed anything longer than 1 mile as a constant run, and his 5K PB is 30:18!  From reading the book, it looks like a 7-minute mile pace is achievable on 3 minute run, 30 second walk, that would be around 21 minutes for a 5K! I don’t think I’ll ever get that fast but I’m going to work on bringing my intervals down to that and then aim to get the running part faster.  Next week, I’m going to try 3 minute run, 55 second walk.  I’ll be borrowing the interval timer I bought my husband for Christmas for that 😉

After getting cold and wet at parkrun, we walked home and while Adam and my husband were having their showers I thought I’d do day 5 of True (Yoga with Adriene).  I’m loving this “me time” which I have created by doing the yoga.  For the first 4 days, I made a conscious effort to turn off the TV between 9.15 and 9.30 pm so I can do the day’s practice before going up to bed at 10 pm.  I’m hoping this will become a regular routine which will continue after the 30 day journey/challenge is over.

So, this is also day 6 of REDJanuary completed 😀

Are you still meeting your goals this week?

Journal Jar – Best Christmas Present

Wow, how spooky is this?  I put my hand in my journal jar (I haven’t used the prompts for a while) and pulled this one out:

What is the best Christmas present you received? What is the best one you gave?

I think, this year (and actually the last two years), the best Christmas present I received is also the best one I gave.  parkrun on Christmas day!  This year, and last year, we all volunteered at York parkrun and had a blast!  I love parkrun anyway but there is something special about attending parkrun on Christmas day.  Adam and I first went to parkrun on Christmas day back in 2015 as runners.  We enjoyed it so much that we tail walked last year and Rob was the photographer.  This year, the tail walker slot was taken so we volunteered to give out the finishing tokens while Rob was one of two photographers.  Here are some of the photos Rob and Christine took showing the fun:

You can find the rest of Rob’s photos on Flickr along with those of Christine who was the other photographer.

Getting Back On Track

I am slowly getting myself back on track with regards to exercising, weight management and general wellbeing.  My year started out OK with the usual post-Christmas weight loss and push back into exercise but then it stalled.

As I hadn’t been going to the gym, and I couldn’t really afford to keep paying for it anyway, I cancelled my gym membership.  As a result, I stopped doing strength training.  I really have no excuse for stopping.  I mean, I can do body weight exercises and I do have resistance bands and a kettlebell at home.  So, why don’t I use them?  For some reason, I don’t like getting dressed for exercise at home, unless I’m going out for a run, and when I come home from a run I don’t have time to do anything more than a post-run stretch.  Actually, the reason is probably more along the lines of I don’t have time when no-one else is at home – I don’t like being interrupted while exercising.

I have been running quite a lot this year though.  However, that also stalled as I started the year doing a lot of run/walk pacing at parkrun and running with my husband.  So, while I have been getting out running 2 to 3 times peach week, my running didn’t improve.  That is until I took a week off parkrun and Adam ran with a friend of ours at parkrun and ran the fastest 5k he’s run in over 2 years!  The following week I ran with Adam and our friend and ran my fastest time since April 2015 when I set my 5k PB of 29:21.

At the beginning of September, I went to get weighed at Weight Watchers hoping that I hadn’t put on so much weight over the 6 weeks of the Summer holidays that I’d have to pay for the first time in over 3 years – yes, I’ve been a Gold Member for over 3 years!  Fortunately, I didn’t.  I put on 2.5lbs in 6 weeks but I am still within 5lbs of my goal weight 😀

Last week, my Weight Watchers Coach gave us all a goal setting piece of paper and said we could fill it in if we wanted to.  I decided that as I was on a roll with getting my exercise back on track, I started a 5k to 10k training plan using an app from Active.com, and was starting to feel good that I would fill it in.  I shared some of the information on to our meetings’ facebook group and thought I’d also share it here:

Milestones for 2017 (so far)

  • Ran my fasted 5k since 2015 – now sub-32 minutes
  • Maintained my weight for a 3rd year

I am proud of myself because …

I returned to meetings at the first opportunity after working all of the Summer holidays rather than waiting a week to see if I could lose a bit of weight first

Goals for the next 4 weeks

  • Lose 1/2lb per week
  • Run the York 10 Mile on 7th October 2017
  • Attend the Weight Watchers meeting EVERY week

Goals by Christmas

  • Lose 7lbs to give me an extra “cushion” for Christmas
  • Run sub-31 5k and maybe even get back under 30 minutes

To be more successful in my journey I need to …

Write down everything I eat, as I eat it!

Since writing my goals, I have achieved one of them – I ran sub-31 minutes at parkrun yesterday 😀  The York 10 Mile is next week and Adam and I will be running for SNAPPY, again https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/adamsefton

Running Events Review of 2016

Last time I wrote about running was in May 2016 so here is, hopefully, a quick recap of the events we covered last year and what is planned for 2017.

R U Taking the P? 5K

On Fathers’ Day, Adam once again took part in R U Taking the P? 5K.  As it is a men only race to raise awareness and fundraising for male cancers, I wasn’t allowed to take part.  This year, Adam’s dad wasn’t at home to run it with him but, even knowing this, Adam asked if he could do it anyway.  It was the first time he’s ever run an event from start to finish on his own.  I was so proud of him.

There were a few people who we know from parkrun there and they kept an eye out for him which was great.  In fact, he got a mention on the York parkrun Facebook page and was featured in the parkrun newsletter in September.  I am so proud of him.

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York 10K

We entered the York 10K in August.  Not as good as previous years but we completed it.  Adam’s hat blew off while we were running down Nunnery Lane, just before we got to Micklegate.  We finished in 1:10:38.  Not bad considering we didn’t run between January and April and had only run up to 5k in training which was very hit and miss.

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

In September, Adam and I went over to Disneyland Paris for the weekend so we could take part in the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  It was AMAZING!!!  I don’t know what our time was as both of our running watches ran out of battery at around 13k (out of 21k).  This was an event to take part in rather than run for a time though and it was so much fun.

Unlike other runDisney events which start at 5.30am, the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon had a start time of 7am which meant we didn’t have to get up too early.  The one thing I didn’t like was that there were no toilets once you got into the coral, waiting for the start.  We were waiting for over an hour from the last toilet to actually going through the start line.  Needless to say, I needed to go to the toilet when we started.  Ah well, there are plenty of toilets in the parks and we, and lots of others, peeled off as soon as we got to one of the ones backstage.  As usual, there was only 3 toilets in the ladies and the men had 2 plus 3 urinals.  A group of ladies, including myself, decided that we’d risk the wrath of the men and ran in to the men’s loo.

We ran through Walt Disney Studios and Disneyland Park.  There were lots of characters to meet and have a photo taken with but we only stopped to meet Chip and Dale as the queues were too long for the others.  After about 5k, we left the parks and ran through the French countryside before returning the Disneyland Paris and running through Hotel Santa Fe and Hotel Cheyenne to get to the lake and run past Sequoia Lodge and Newport Bay.  The last part of the run was through Disney Village.  Adam and I had started flagging a bit, I think it was because we didn’t have our intervals to keep us on track, when we were running through the hotels but as soon as we got to Disney Village, Adam got his second wind and was off.  I was happily chatting to someone from the UK (another parkrunner) when Adam decided that he was going to start his run for the finish line!

After the finish line we met Daisy and got our medals.  They are heavy!  The run was worth it for the bling, lol 🙂

York 10 Mile

Once again, the team behind the Yorkshire Marathon decided to include a 10 mile run.  Adam, of course, decided that we should run it even though it was only 2 weeks after the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  As last year, it was a great run with lots of support round the course.  I think the lack of training and the fact that we’d done the half marathon 3 weeks before caught up with me because I didn’t think I could carry on at 8 miles.  I managed even though I had to reduce the run/walk intervals.  We finished in 1:53:46, 3 minutes slower than last year.

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What’s coming in 2017?

At the moment, there is only the York 10K.  If there is a 10 mile to go with the Yorkshire Marathon, I’m sure we’ll enter that again but they haven’t released details of it yet.  Adam is going to be running R U Taking the P? again.  This year he will probably be running with his dad, or at least starting with him.

Now that I have completed 100 parkruns, I’m planning on volunteering at least once a month but will still be running 2 to 3 parkruns each month, unless the horses are using the track 😉 (York parkrun uses the service track at York Racecourse so is cancelled if there is horse racing).  My fastest time for parkrun was 31:52 in 2016 and I would love to get back under 31, or even 30, minutes in 2017.

100th parkrun Completed!

I haven’t written on my blog for months!  Since May 2016, in fact.  Sorry, life got in the way a little.  I’ll catch up with everything that has happened in the 2nd half of 2016 over the next couple of weeks, I hope.

First though, I completed my 100th parkrun this morning!!!   I ran in the heavy rain and hail with the wind blowing it horizontal on Christmas Eve and then ran Christmas Day parkrun just so I could do the 100th one this year.  It’s been a long time coming, I’ve been doing parkrun since August 2013 but took about 3 months off earlier this year while it was cold and wet and couldn’t be bothered to get out of bed, lol.

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Over the past few months, Adam has decided that he’d rather volunteer than run (his dad is now volunteering as the photographer most weeks) so he needs to do another 15 parkruns to get his 100.  He’s well on his way to his volunteer 25 t-shirt though.

TheTraining for the 2016 Events Has Started

I finally got round to starting my running training for the running events which Adam, and I, want to do this year.  We are both doing parkrun and I am doing an extra run, or two, during the week.  I went on to myasics.co.uk and created a running plan for the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon at the end of September based on never having run before.  I chose this option as Adam and I didn’t run at all for near enough 3 months and Adam finds time very tight after college to go out running.  Also, our 10K events aren’t until July so we’ll increase his running after half term and increase it again when he finishes college at the end of June.  Anyway, because I chose the option of starting from scratch, the first few weeks of runs are 1-2 miles at 16 minute mile pace which is what he does to walk to college.

At the moment, as well as the half marathon, we are only planning to run a couple of 10K events.  York 10K on 7th August – I’ve done every York 10K since they started in 2009 so I can’t miss it.  The Great Yorkshire Run is moving from Sheffield at the end of September to Harrogate on 24th July so we are looking at maybe doing that one too.  Adam is also wanting to enter the R U Taking the P? run on Father’s Day.  As his dad won’t be here that weekend, he’ll be running it himself – his first official solo event – as it is a men only event.  I may enter on of the Race for Life events the following week but I haven’t decided yet.  If the York 10 Mile returns with the Yorkshire Marathon, we will also run that too as we really enjoyed it last year.

We went to parkrun yesterday and it was great.  The puddles had cleared so no soggy feet this week.  It was cold and windy though, but the sun was shining so that made it bearable 😉  I increased our running intervals to 90s with a 60s walk break and we managed it very well.  Adam was still talking to me all the way around so I know he’s doing OK.  With about 350m to go, Adam decided to he was going to make a run for the finish line.  He knows that if he wants to beat me and not have me catch him on the line, as I did last week, he has to make a long run for home.  I think he must have overtaken about 8 or 9 people in that last 350m, I overtook 4, to finish in 35:07.  I finished in 35:26, over a minute and a half faster than last week and Adam was almost 2 minutes faster.  Think it’ll be back to 2 minute run intervals next week 🙂

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Parkrun finish on 16th April 2016 (not this week): Why does Adam look like he’s just finishing a stroll in the park and I’m trying so very hard?!?  I just caught him on the line.

Finally back to parkrun

It’s been a while, and I apologise, that thing called Life got in the way.  After the very soggy parkrun in January, Adam and I only managed one more (on 30th January) and then didn’t run at all until this morning.

After the very wet feet which led to white, numb toes and fingers, I decided that maybe running when there was a chance of having to run through a lot of big puddles wasn’t a good idea.  So, not a lot of running on Saturday mornings.  On the other Saturdays, either Adam was sick, I was sick or I had to be at work by 10 am instead of 11 am.  Whatever the reason, we haven’t run in over 10 weeks.  What? 10 weeks?!?  That’s ridiculous!

Anyway, this week, I decided that we were going back regardless of the weather and the possibility of huge puddles across the track – there were 3 big puddles which you had to run through or pick your way through the mud, we chose to get very wet rather than very muddy.  Fortunately, the sun was shining this morning so it was fairly easy to get out of bed and, more importantly, get Adam out of bed.  I’m sure Adam would have tried to stay in bed for an extra half hour if he could but, as he really wants to run the Great Yorkshire Run in July, the York 10K in August and the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon in September, we had to get back out there.

As we haven’t run, at all, for over 2 months, I decided to take us back to the beginning and do run:walk intervals of 1:1.  I knew it would be easy and slow but I wanted to give Adam something very manageable.  However, at the start there were so many people, and 2 big puddles to go through, that the first run minute was actually a walk (to get to the start line!), so we ran for 2 minutes to get us back on the right intervals – I can’t have my watch telling me that it is a “walk” when it’s a run or vice versa.

After the initial 500m or so, the pack of runners had spread out, especially as we were taking walk breaks after every minute of running.  The first km was just under 8 minutes but we managed to speed up for the other 4 km to finish in just under 37 minutes.  Not bad considering we haven’t done any training for 10 weeks.

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I really enjoyed this morning’s run and am looking forward to next week when I’m going to increase the run interval to 1m30s 🙂  Slowly but surely, we’ll get back to our 5:1 intervals and I may even get back to being able to run the full 5K when training on my own.