Tuesday, 14 May 2013

I heart Parkrun

On Saturday, just before the start of my usual 5k Parkrun, one of the runners collapsed from a heart attack. In the group of runners waiting to start the race, were 2 doctors, who quickly rushed to the gentleman's aid and began CPR. 10 minutes later an ambulance arrived, to whisk him off to hospital where he remains in a poorly but stable condition.

The family, kindly allowed the park run Facebook page to post the latest news on Sean's condition. People put messages of support on the page for Sean and his family and messages of admiration for the 2 quick thinking doctors. Already a campaign has begun for there to be a defibrillator at the park, with many offers to help raise money or donate money of their own. That day, like many others, I stumbled home in shock, all day my mind could not stop thinking of Sean and his family. I had come to realise what park run means to me and how in times of adversity park run looks after its own. I wanted to tell you about this because I love park run. 

First of all what is park run?

There are park runs all over the world with 192 park runs taking place all over the UK each week. It is free. The course is 5k and is timed. You will need to register first, which is easy, you just need to give your name, date of birth, email and emergency contact. Once registered, you do not need to register again. You are sent a barcode, which you print off and bring with you to the park run. Our race is always at 9am on a Saturday morning, but times can vary so check your website. Everybody starts together and during the race there are lots of volunteers cheering you on! At the end of your race, you are given a token, which you present for scanning with your barcode. Your result is then emailed to you and published on the results page, so you can track your progress, and compare your results with others in your age group.

At our Park run we have over 400 runners, all of varying ability and ages. There are people who are running in 15 minutes, and some in an hour. I can be found towards the back of the field, running in about 42 minutes. Our course is 2 laps and I am always lapped by the speedy ones. But do you know what, as they come streaming past me they always shout words of encouragement such as 'keep going' and 'not long now'. At the end, even though an Ice age could have passed between them and me finishing, they will stay and cheer you home. Even the volunteers get involved, I will never forget the day one of the marshals ran me up a long hill, giving me running tips along the way. I had never dreamed I would ever run up that hill, but do you know what? That day, she got me up that blinkin' thing. 

There is a wonderful sense of camaraderie about the whole event. Mums and dads run with their children (who all still seem to run faster than me - dammit!)' owners bring their dogs (being overtaken by a poodle was a down day in my running career) and I have seen my friend Laura improve her running time from over an hour to 45 minutes. I love it and after the race has ended can be found with a massive grin on my face, wanting to do it all over again. 

And afterwards, I am usually home by 10am, with a cuppa thinking 'this morning I ran a 5k when lots of people were probably asleep'. I do confess I do become slightly smug at this point. 

Park run is a community. We ran on the New Year's Day run, nursing a hangover, but everyone was in it together. During the heaviest snow since 1967, 29 runners turned up to run the course, some in wellies, legend will call them the 'snowy 29'. There have been runs on Christmas Day, Easter egg hunts and each year there is an awards ceremony. 

So check out your local park run, if I can run a 5k then anyone can. Go, enjoy it and tell your friends. You'll love it I promise you. 

Check out the park run website here http://www.parkrun.org.uk/

Monday, 13 May 2013

My Weekend

I'm trying all manner of new things today, and the first one is blogging before I go to work! So I am sat here, with hair like Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons and wearing my gym wear. I'll spare you a picture. The reason for this, I finally got to relax at the weekend, which led to some good thinking time and a little bit of refocusing.

Normally at weekends Chris and I are either running around like mad things, or completing a list of tasks as long as your arm and suddenly before you know it, it's Sunday night and we're getting ready to start the new working week. During the week I had a good natter with Chris about this and how I was feeling that all I was doing was working or cleaning, and not really getting to do the things I love doing such as blogging. So we jigged a couple of things around and have changed our weekend structure a little bit. First up was Park Run which is a staple of any good weekend, but sadly just before the race a gentleman collapsed with a heart attack and the event director took the very respectful decision to cancel the race. Thankfully there was a nurse and a doctor at the race who quickly worked on him and I have no doubt saved his life. As I type he is in a poorly but stable condition and our thoughts and prayers are all with him. 

We were still in a bit of shock when we got home and I think we were also feeling like we had been hit by a bus, you know that feeling when you are coming down with cold, so we quickly did a little bit of cleaning (I don't get to escape the cleaning that easily!) and then went to bed, where we slept solidly for 2 hours. We felt refreshed and settled down with a good movie and Doctor Who, and a lovely lasagna and salad. 

On Sunday, we woke up excited as we were going to see our best friends Cathy and Janne for Sunday lunch at the 3 Acres. This pub literally sits on top of a massive hill by Emley Moor television mast.

The views are amazing. 

And the company was even better.

The 3 Acres is a gorgeous cosy pub. we had the Sunday lunch which was 3 courses for £29.99 and which includes coffee and mints at the end. I had the smoked haddock rarebit to start, which I have to say was truly delicious. The haddock was nestled on a bed of tomatoes and fell apart in your mouth, the rarebit (and you know I love a good rarebit!) was cheesy and creamy. Heaven. Then onto 28 day matured beef with Yorkshire pudding, 2 types of potatoes, parsnip, carrots, peas, cauliflower cheese and lots of lovely rich gravy. This was lovely, the beef was full of flavour and the portions were generous. I had clocked the dessert when I was scanning the menu and had bitter chocolate and orange mousse. Delicious, dark bitter chocolate with a hint of orange to take some of the bitterness away and white chocolate shavings. Heaven! We finished with coffee and mints (although I had to forego the mints as I was stuffed). This was a wonderful meal in relaxed and cosy surroundings. It's definitely a  treat, but one that is well worth it. 

It was lovely to catch up with Cathy and Janne. We are missing them lots, but are getting very excited at seeing them for the madness that can only be the Eurovision Song Contest next week. Lovely food, lovely company what more can a girl ask for ! 

We were so stuffed, we didn't have tea and decided to work off a Yorkshire pudding or two at the gym. I ran for a mile and then went round the weights section of the gym. Oh weights how I have missed you! We came back, planned our week which is shaping up to be a mental one already and then off to bed. 

Because we weren't haring around at 100 miles an hour, it was lovely to do things that we really wanted to do, such as seeing our friends, having a nap and going to the gym. It enabled my mind to relax and my body to do the same and despite my eye bags currently resting on this ipad, I know I have had a restful and heavenly weekend. It gave me time to refocus and time to take a bit of stock on how I am living at the moment. A quality weekend!