Since it’s my first Week In Review of the year, I guess I can still wish you a Happy New Year – there’s always that awkward moment of deciding how far into the year it’s still acceptable to do so! After a short time out to shift a cough, I was feeling much better and started the year in my ideal way – running!
Monday – 2 miles
Tuesday – New Year Triple
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – half hour easy run
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 8 miles
I don’t usually run on a Monday, but having taken a few days off Steve suggested it might be an idea to get my legs moving again before the triple run challenge that was Tuesday. No need for anything fancy, just a short time outside to turn my legs over and make sure the cough really had shifted. So I stepped out the front door, ran a mile at an easy pace, then when my watch ticked over to a mile I turned around and ran home. I was enjoying myself, but there was no need to get carried away when I had plenty of running to do the following day! I actually thought the first mile felt pretty hard, but when I turned I realised I had been running slightly uphill and into a pretty strong headwind. Funnily enough, the run home felt amazing!
But Tuesday, New Year’s Day, was the main event of the week. The local challenge known as the New Year Triple means starting out with the New Year parkrun double then heading to Blairgowrie for the annual 6k fun run. That run has actually been on the go for 35 years and has NEVER had a cancellation. That’s pretty impressive!
Our day began in Perth as we had the “first slot” for the double and the usual (for Scotland) time of 9:30am. It was the usual course as the grass section was reasonable and I made sure to keep the pace steady – I have to remind myself that I have 10 miles to run that day, not 5k!
Once finished it was a quick pit-stop at home (neither of the parkrun locations have toilets available on New Year’s Day) before heading to Dundee for their 11am run. We had the option of the newer parkrun at Loch Leven for our second event, but we knew it would take us longer to get to Blairgowrie afterwards so stuck to what we know. The parkrun at Camperdown in Dundee is pretty much all on trail and has a couple of hills to make it a bit of a toughie – running that course regularly would certainly be “character building”!
And then, to Blair. Since this was the third time of taking on this challenge, I knew that the real trick to the day is to keep warm and not seize up – it’s definitely easier to just go and run 10 miles than to take it on in 3 bits as inevitably each bit is a little faster than the pace you would run 10 miles in training. The first time I tried changing my top after each of the parkruns, but this was a bit of a faff and now I just stick to the same kit (not at its most fragrant by the end!) and make sure to stay cosy in between.
We arrived in Blairgowrie just after midday (the walkers begin at 12:30 and the run is at 1pm) so got parked easily. We changed into our road shoes after wearing trail shoes for both parkruns, and walked around to the hall to register. It’s great value at just £2, including soup, juice and sweets afterwards. Even more importantly, the hall is heated and has nice toilets so it’s a pretty comfortable way to pass the time, chatting to others who have been on a similar journey all day as well as those arriving to begin their year of running.
I had expected to feel a bit sluggish setting off, but actually I felt pretty good and clocked similar times on the first couple of miles to my times at Perth in the morning. It was only when we turned for the return portion of the route that it began to get tough. The road is ostensibly flat, maybe ever so slightly up in places, but there was a pretty powerful headwind at the very time it was needed least. Looking at my watch it was a little disheartening to feel that the pace wasn’t really reflecting the effort I felt I was putting in. However, knowing the route meant I had a decent idea of how far I still had to go and was able to push on, finishing faster than last year.
I have to say, it felt good to stop running but it’s still a challenge I really like taking part in. Even better, the nice warm soup we went back to in the hall, as by this time I was hungry and in need of some hot food. We ate our soup, chatted a bit and stayed for the prize giving just in case of a spot price (sadly no joy there) before heading home. We had a nice steak pie from the butcher and Steve cooked that up with lots of veg – he may have gotten a bit carried away!
We rounded our day off with toasting the new year, having not done so on Hogmanay.
Wednesday was always going to be a rest day after all that, and we spent it with family celebrating Steve’s brother’s birthday. He always has a bit of a gathering and we enjoyed a few drinks, delicious party food and good company.
Needless to say, after Tuesday’s adventures and Wednesday’s indulgences, my run on Thursday morning felt a little sluggish. I decided on a half hour run nice and easy, to blow away the cobwebs before a restful day cuddled in with this wee boy who had decided to attach himself to my lap!
Friday was another rest day so I took advantage of the opportunity to begin the new Yoga with Adriene 30 day challenge – Dedicate. Although, given the interest the kittens had, it might be better called “dedicat” in this house!
Our parkrunday this week was a little different as we actually went on tour! I’ve been very aware that I haven’t really visited too many parkruns and would love to have more opportunity to be a parkrun tourist. It can be tricky as Steve often has a client on a Saturday morning which makes travelling elsewhere a bit difficult, but his running club is currently undertaking a parkrun challenge which involves visiting several of the other parkruns within about an hour of here. Since he wants to complete the challenge, I get the chance to go to some other parkruns and this particular Saturday was our best chance to go to the one furthest away – Kirkcaldy.
Although I’m a Perth girl at heart, I did stay in Kirkcaldy for a short time after graduating from university (frankly, a different life now) and it was when I was there that I began to run. The parkrun actually takes place in the same park where I first began to run and I remember the first time I was able to complete one very slow lap it made me feel invincible! The parkrun route is two laps of the park, but during the second lap there is a shorter loop around the pond added in. Over a decade since I first ran in that park, parkrun was probably the furthest I’ve ever run around there…and the quickest!
It was nice to go to another parkrun and be welcomed as a visitor. Everyone was very friendly, as I expected, and I was pleased with my time of 24:29 given that there is a hill in the park which we had to run up twice. I remember that hill being really challenging so running up it with ease really showed me how far I’ve come on my running journey in the intervening years.
Since we had once more found ourselves in a “no toilet” situation, but without enough time to stop on the way there, we headed straight for the retail park to grab a coffee, bacon roll and facilities before heading home. I checked my emails while we were there and this popped up! Can you spot it?
On Sunday it was time for the first long run of the year and I opted for 8 miles. It was quite a nice morning, not too cold, so it seemed like an ideal morning to run a route going through my favourite woodland path. I enjoyed the run and now I’m looking forward to the Sundays ahead as I get ready for the Stirling marathon in April.
All in all, a decent start to the year and I’m glad I was able to get rid of the cough so I could get back to running again.
Did you take part in a parkrun (or two) at new year?
What are you training for right now?