Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Club Run - I Had A Brill Weekend Away!

Hello blog lovers,

Well, yes, what more can I say!  A weekend away with the old boy means I had to do some hard work working off all those extra calories.  I have had 3 courses for at least three evenings running and a huge Sunday roast!   Plus off course the extra drinking of the local ales! Yesterday evening I could only manage a bowl of cereal for my tea.  If I do the crime (eating!) then I need to do the time (hills).  Of course that means everybody has to come with me to do the hills, as I was leading.  Poor Charley is still out of action, and Joanne is still a leader in waiting, which leaves just me of course!  I could have pleaded for our Michael to lead group 1 today, but then I don't know if he is ruthless enough yet, to take them up Goss hill, which is the hill, which is the hill that I needed to do! I needed a steep little bleeder of a hill to work off these rolls of 'fluffyness' (as Tracy called it!) around my middle!  I have a long road ahead of me, it's going to get brutal!

So, I am sure I do not need to lay out any excuses as to why I was running a little slower or sluggish today, if I do, please note that I had a sh.....shed load of food over the last four days, and no running involved!  I drove to Tracy's house and then drove to Willet Rec.  J.J. and Janet ran 10k on Monday, so they really were not feeling the love of doing another 5k this evening, especially as they both are still recovering from illness.  K wasn't here today or Carole.  Carole had done the 10k yesterday too, even after her surgery just a couple of weeks ago!  I tell you, once this running bug takes hold of you, you really don't want to stop!  You will always keep coming back!

The woods was our destination, and it always makes everyone happy, from the faster runners in our group to the slowest runners.  Everyone just loves the freshness of the woods, the smells and the feeling of well being that you get when you just immerse yourself in His glorious creation!  The greens of the leaves, the flowers, the singing birds and the scampering squirrels.....and other creatures! Even the the fine threads of the spiders web didn't freak me out, mind you if I had seen the spiders or if they had landed in my face it could quite easily have been a different story! Ewww!

After our count up of the runners in group 1, there were 20 of us by the way, a nice round number, perfect, we set off for the woods. We went in through Dog Poo ally, I waited just at the 4 ways point for the others to catch up, it's just inside the woods, after coming through the ally.  There are four paths leading in different directions, left path, middle path, diagonal path and the right path.  This evening I took them on the left path.  It's one of my favourite ways actually, I don't know why, it's just a tad more interesting.  Different surfaces to run on, it's not just mud and roots, we have a wooden pathway to run along, but it's also different elevations!  Ups and downs, you know how I love a hill (not), but I know that hills do us good!  And besides, running hills in the woods is so much nicer........unless it's Goss Hill.......which is the one we were going to do!

So there we were, running down to the bridge of the river, and then we took a little stopping break for our catch up.  I said to them all as I point up the hill, "You will be pleased that I am not taking you all the way up this hill".  It was the one that leads Tong Farm.  I tell you, they were really quite pleased, especially when I said that we were going to be running along the river and it's flat!  Of course I did tell them that we would have to go up Goss Hill! I'm sure I told them, yes, yes I did mention it, quietly!

The run along the river is really the 'calm before the storm' so to speak.  The hill is a challenge, I have only ever managed to do this hill in one go once before, a couple of years ago, with the Old Boy literally pushing me!  So it is my nemesis!  The other hills in the woods I can do, well apart from the middle path!  The middle path always gets be puffing out my arse too!  So this summer I am going to try and get both of these hills under my belt!  There, I've laid it out on the line, in print, for all to read......um, by the way, are there any group 1 runners reading this? I maybe able to get away with not doing it, if there are none!  I didn't even think of this until just now as I am writing my blog, but yes, I think I need a summer challenge to do with my running club, and so this is it!  I am sure there could be a couple of other group 1's that fancy challenging themselves to this too.  But there were were, facing 'the wall' that is Goss hill, at least if feels like a wall when I'm running it!  I send up the runners that were with me, at their own pace, while I held back for the others.  Then sent them up, and then ran up it myself.  I didn't manage to run it one go, but then, it wasn't on my mind to, I was in 'leader' mind, encouraging Tracy to keep on going.  I think I used that as an excuse because Joanne was with her too!  There were a few of them that ran up it in one attempt, a couple more did it in two attempts, a couple walked up, and some walked/jogged up! It is a tough little challenge for a social Tuesday run!

We ran along the back of Coopers school just as another group was running along here, I think it was group 6, I am sure some one will tell me which one.  We got out on the other side of the skinny path, with its barbed wire fence on one side and greenery on the other side.  I don't like this little path at all, I have nightmares about this path!  I just hate it that there is barbed wire running along the top of the fence, I feel it's unnecessary on this path!  Anyway, we all made it, safely, to Botany Bay Lane only to (almost) run into Karen's group!  Petts Wood Runners are really living up to the name!  We then ran along the top of the woods, with that one last small hill to do.  This one I can do, and I challenged all the runners that were with me to get to the top, just the flat bit, in one go.  Its no where near as steep as Goss, or as long, but after running this far you still need to dig deep.  I did, and all those that were with did too.  We took a breather, no one was talking, we stood, panting, breathing hard looking blimmin pleased with ourselves. We stood there for a few minutes waiting for the back runners to join us.

There was just one more ever so slight up hill that brought us to the top of the middle path.  Here I divided the group again, faster runners to go with Joanne while Michael took up the middle I ran behind sweeping, keeping Tracy Kathy and Selina going.!  We were virtually at bottom of the woods, when we saw Kate coming running up towards us, then Michael!  Joanne had stopped on the path by the national trust memorial, with another path that went diagonally left and one path that beared right, which is the one that we were taking.  Joanne wasn't quite sure, and so she stopped and waited for me, and then sent anyone running up towards us if they wanted to keep on running.  The woods do look different in the different seasons even the differing light, but I am glad that Joanne waited for me rather than going on her way.  We all continued together to Dog Poo ally and then ran back to the rec at our own pace.

A brilliant run, I loved it and so did everyone else.  Yes it was tough, and yes we even had a complete newbie with us, but she enjoyed it too. So, geeky stats for your perusal!

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Club Run - Full Circuit In The Woods!

Hello blog lovers.
I had to get this picture!
Look at their shirts!
That's what its about!

A glorious evening for running, and running is what we were going to do.  I picked up Shalini and then we drove to pick up Tracy.  It seems as if I go around collecting new recruits to PWR!  Well, I do like to share the love. At the rec there were already quite a few PWR's all milling around, chatting, laughing, stretching and warming up.  Then it was time for the leaders to give out their routes and pace.

I also introduced a 'Leader in training'  Joanne, my new FaceBook friend, to help lead group 1 today, while J.J. and Janet sweep.  I am hoping that we were going to have enough light so that we can do the whole 3 miles through the woods without having to run any on the roads.  Last week we managed to get most of our run done through the woods, with just the last bit running along Birchwood.

So we had a count up, Old Girl style, I just get everyone in a circle and get them to shout out the next number from 1.  And that way we all know how many are in our group.  Eighteen of us actually, eighteen keen runners, looking forward to doing battle with the midges in the woods.  Yes, its that blimmin time!  Flippin love midges.....not!  Why I have to have such a bad reaction to the little sh......shtinging things I don't know!  I must go and buy some jungle formula anti midge biting things to spray all over me.

So my route was to go around the whole of the woods starting on the left side and then coming down on the right.  We all ran together from the rec to the woods and then we had a little safety chat.  It's about earphones!  I spoke to a chap on Sunday about earphones, and he was just a tad 'forthright' when asking his question!  But I tried to be as pleasant as possible about the whole earphones thing.  As they already had them for this week, then just put in one earphone!  Next week however, I will have to be a tad bossy! NO EARPHONES unless it's those bone conductors ones,  we are a lovely social running club after all!

We ran and called out ROOTS, LOW BRANCH, as we ran along the left path all the way to the walking bridge.  We had a bit of a wait there for our back runners, I tried to get the group interested in doing some easy exercises up the stairs.  Just running up the stairs to the first landing and then back again.  Well I recieved some very blank looks, so I decided to show them. Cue music, # dun na naaa, da na naaa, da na naa, da na naaa, da na na na na na, na naaaaa" (it's the rocky music, now go back and sing it to that!)  I stood up on the landing with my hands held high.  Nobody followed me!  So I tried to show them one more, it's a harder one, jumping up the steps, in a squat like fashion!  Yeah, all I can say is that I tried, nobody tried to emulate that either.......by the way, I only managed three!

By this time the back runners had caught up and we continued to run along by the rail lines and then down the path that leads to the little river......and then up again, to Botany Bay Lane!  I have cakes to run off, going for afternoon tea needs to be paid for in blood sweat and tears.  When we got to the gate at the top, J.J. told me that I had neglected to collect my glass of champagne when we went for tea!! That's calls for a bigger punishment!  I am going to have to try and push my self up Botany Bay Lane to the bridle path!  How could I have let that slip my fingers!  I guess it was a good thing really, as I was driving, and driving the Old Boys car too!

I had decided that as Joanne is with us, and she is as keen as punch, pulling at the bit, to be a leader, I thought this would be a brilliant way for her to 'learn on the job' so to speak.  We ran along the top path to the map at the top of the woods, just at the top of the middle path.  J.J. Janet and Auriol all know the way back to Dog Poo ally, straight down, all the way down, straight as a dye, as the saying goes.  Joanne felt comfortable, the others all felt comfortable in fact the even took a selfie! Look!
The breakaway group!

 I felt totally confidant that I will meet them back at the rec.  I was going to take the faster ones for just a little bit extra. we took the other half of the top path and ran along towards the main road, and then followed the path, right, to run down towards the rail lines.  We were going at a nice pace, just settling into the zone, and the the burst of pink flowers came in sight.  I told the girls about Rhododendron Walk, the only place in the woods where they grow, making this lovely pink floral walkway.  Of course the girls wanted to do down there,  with the pace we were doing I was pretty sure we would get to Dog Poo before it was too dark.

We didn't bump into the slower group, they were already back at the rec by the time we got there, but they were only on their second stretch.  I was glad to see that the group 2 lead Michael, had remembered that we in group 1 have the patio and he was doing his stretches on the grass!  Know your place......, of course I am joking.........or am I, I hate blimmin midges!

Geeky stats

Monday, 22 May 2017

Chislehurst Half Marathon

Hello blog lovers.

This is the second year for this race, it's still a new race.  Last year we had some great reviews and people were back again this year for a replay!  It's a challenging route, with lots of hills, running through the paths and trails of Scadbury Park.  And just like last year the sunshine was just as warm!  A perfect morning for watching the race, but I know I would struggle in that heat!

My first job was in the registration dept!  Me, J.J., LittleJ, K, Carole and Helena!  We all worked together perfectly!  There was a possibilty of 600 runners that could turn up you can imagine the scene in the room.  Three tables, 600 numbers laid out, 550 on the preregistered table and rest with me and Carole on the 'On the day registration'.  Everyone settled into their jobs, IllustriousLeader has surrounded herself with some fantastic volunteers, even if I do say so myself.
me and Carole on
late entrants

team registration

At first it's all just nice and calm, just one or two people coming in to the the room to collect their number, which were posted on some sheets attached to the window.  At first just one person came over for the pay on the day numbers.  And then it started to get busy, people were coming asking for their bib numbers, not knowing they had to look on the sheets at the window, well there were loads of people around them!  Helena soon let them know of the lists that were pasted on the window and sent them there!  Carol and I had a nice time on the late entries! Nice and quite, just a few questions were thrown our way, about earphones in particular, but if we couldn't answer the question than I went out to seek the answers!

But that wonderful buzz about the place was there, the excitement was there, the anticipation was there.  It's just magical,  every thing just falls in place with everyone knowing what was needed to be done.  It all goes like clock work, over 480 runners was processed in that one hour and twenty minutes, which included a few late entries! The last runner collected their number about 09:20, talk about cutting it fine!  There were quite a few no shows!  Maybe they had forgotten they entered! The baggage team were at the back, in the changing rooms, they were busy, they said it was like handling baggage at Heathrow airport!  I had been down there earlier and they were busy setting out numbers, so they knew where to place the bags.
The start and finish of the
ChisleHurst Half Marathon

Three, two, one, go!  the runners start to move over the timing mats.  It did look blimmin gorgeous out there, I am sure they were going to have a wonderful race! As soon as that was over, we all sat down on our arses! Well, not quite, we had time to tidy the registration room up, move some tables to the outside and then go and get a cuppa and a sausage or bacon roll!  A team needs to be kept fed and watered!  After we had eaten and enjoyed our coffees and teas, it was straight back to work.  Water to be placed on the tables ready to be dished out, medals to be  taken out of the bags and laid out on the tables, ready to be placed over the returning runners.  And the bananas to be brought out, and separated, not to mention rubbish duty as well!  Putting up those yellow bins was like a Kyrpton factor test........ok slight exaggeration there!
Looking gorgeous Ladies!

So far so good.  The were people milling around waiting for their relatives to return, people setting up the massage tables, the St. Johns Ambulance guys, hopefully they won't be needed!  And then we just waited, and waited.  The first runners were due approximately one hour and 30 minutes or so after the start time, we were all ready in our places, SingstarJo with team medals, J.J. and team water and bananas!  Me? Well, would you believe I was handed the microphone and was told "You're on mic duty, we've had a bit of problem and DiscoRich and Ralph needs to get it sorted"  That's how we roll on marshaling duties, one minute you're ready to dish our bananas and the next minute you own the mic, squeaky voice being amplified to call out the runners names and numbers as they come over the line.  Of course I was being very enthusiastic with my new job, I wanted to do the best I could so I tried to keep the crowds cheering as each one came over the line.  I am not sure, but I felt as if holding the microphone just empowered me for just a few minutes, I am sure I sang a couple of bars of some tune or other!  I am so sorry people, let me assure you, I sound so much better when there is music to drown out my cattawailing!  At least to me I sound bloody brilliant!  I feel it could be the last time holding the mic in public.........other than a karaoke of course!

So they started to come in, maybe not quite as quick as they expected, it was a hot day, and of course the slight teething problem as well, it's a very interesting route!  These guys here were on the water station, and they saw each runner, what.....four or five times I think. It's the way the route goes, if you see it on the map you can understand it.

Just one, then two, then three runners came into the football grounds.  At first it was silent, the someone started to clap, well I expect all our marshals were shouting and cheering, but now we could hear it.  I got on to the mic and got the crowd going with the cheering and the clapping!  We kept it all going until he crossed over that line!  Brilliant, and not a bad result at all! I am sure I bored everyone silly with my calling out of all the numbers.  Some of them ran so fast by me I was getting all discombobulated!

We still had a couple of people out in the field, but the trophies needed to be given out.  So DiscoRich got on to the other mic and started to hand out the prizes to those that came first in the age categories!  But I think maybe I was over enthusiastic in my job because it seems I had worn out the batteries of the speakers!  Still, DiscoRich made sure everyone heard what he was saying!

We still had out sweeper to wait for, she was sweeper for the CHM for last year and was looking forward to repeating it this year.  After three and half hours later the crowds started to dwindle, people were drifting off and going home, after four hours we started to wonder where they were.  We knew that our sweeper was with just one other entrant.  But, we couldn't get hold of her!  Another little hiccup in an otherwise perfectly orchestrated running event! Just as we were about to send out some teams to start running the route in reverse our sweeper and the last runner came in!  Kate, her name is, the last runner, and the sweeper, well, that's our own ZippySherry!  She wasn't that zippy on Sunday, but she was and is still a Hero for keeping with that runner and not cutting it short, after four and a half hours, it really was a long day!

I didn't get a picture of ZzzzzippySherry!  I am hoping someone did, it was a very long day, and poor ZippySherry needed to pop to the ladies as her first stop!

Saturday, 20 May 2017


Hello blog lovers

Well I got up this morning, which was good!  I really wasn't feeling it!  But I thought to myself that if I get there at least, I know I will force myself around!  It just wont be a PB chasing parkrun, that's for sure.  Well, we had a bit of a celebration yesterday, me and J.J. and Kirsty, and of course, Friday night is date night, so I continued when I got home and went out with the Old Boy.....and my sister in law!

So, big excuses laid out before you!  And so I left the house, I walked all the way over to NaggyNeighbours house to see if she was coming and then we both walked all the way to Shalini's house, but she wasn't coming!  Then it was time to get in the car to go and get Tracy!  Tracy wasn't coming either......I had forgotten that she was away!

At the park I parked my car and me and NaggyNeighbour started our walk all the way to othe other end of the park.  I have done a parkrun already just collecting (or not collecting) parkrunners!  I'm exhausted! (hmmm, I don't think I can get away with using that for an excuse really) So we wandered over to the start and met up with our pals!  We stayed at the back, and we also got told off!  We were chatting while the race director was talking! Sorry about that!

And then we were off.  I started my Garmin and then just started running.  As usual I found it hard! It don't ever get easier!  That's something I don't share with the beginners, not while I am standing out in the front introducing myself!  I feel it's probably not the sort of thing that you can share when lots of eager eyes are looking at you, hoping to get them running through a 5k!  Yup, it's tough, especially when you had celebrations the night before, just as well I didn't have our usual curry either! I remembered to drink some water before I left, I was hoping that would be enough to re hydrate myself, the sun was shining, it's going to be a warm run! Nope, it's never easy! Running is fun, honest, the buzz you get after every run, whether it's a 1 mile or 68 mile ultra, is just so amazing, and you just want to continue to feel like that always! There are times when I am running, and I am having a great time, chatting to everyone, laughing, smiling.  And there are times when I just want to stop, but I have never done that, so far.  After running now for some 9 years I have never not finished a race!  I feel quite proud of that! But it still don't make it any easier, oh why doesn't it get easier!

I have been looking back at my blogs, from when I first started writing them, and the theme all the way through is that it's not easy, but I continued.  That is what I did today, I continued, I didn't quit, I couldn't quit!  It's just not in me to quit. Anyway, I started running with Claudia, one of our graduates who has now become a PWR along with her hubby!  She wasn't going to do parkrun today, she was only going to do a couple of miles!  But I think she is getting that feeling, that little niggling voice that starts ever so quietly in your head, "Just go along and do parkrun, if you going out for 2 just do the extra and do 3"

We ran the first lap together chatting away like you do, and then on the second lap she was talking about the 'slope' that we had to run over.  I couldn't even think about what this slope was talking about, but I said that we were on our second lap and we were just running towards the river, where we take a right turn to run across the grass, then just as we were nearing the right turn she said "Oh this is it, I couldn't remember if we did this on the first lap"  And that is why it's good to run with buddies, because chatting away to them, you just don't know how far you have come!

I started have leg issues when we got to the other end of the park, I can't explain what it was, just little shooting pains in my upper quad and just below my knew, little spasms of achyness that kept almost made my knew fall from underneath me.  Nothing serious, but enough to make me walk a bit more, especially after it gave way a couple of times!  Claudia started to pull away and seemed like she was on a mission.  J.J. and LittleJ caught me up and I was chatting to them as we ran along, but again the silly leg was hurting!  I can only think it's a trapped nerve, it's what LittleJ said if may be!  I know I have had a bad back a while ago, maybe that has something to do with it! So I just took it nice and easy, running behind the ladies.  We were just getting near to the finish funnel and J.J. and LittleJ said "Go on then, sprint it" To be honest, I didn't think I could, just like when Stephen said to me "sprint finish"  But it was there, just under the surface!  So I did sprint it, not full out, but just enough to show that I can still run just that little bit faster when I want to!

Geeky stats.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Weekly Double?

Hello blog lovers.

This morning it was such a beautiful morning!  It was warm and sunny! Perfect for walking your dogs through the woods, but maybe a run through the woods would be a little challenging!  There were six of us in group 1 this morning, me, J.J. and it's J.J.'s last Thursday morning run with us too as she has to be a commuter into London from Monday!  We had Kay, Tracy and PinkLadyJo and Ruth!  A nice little number of ladies to be runnig around the woods!

There were quite a few Thursday runners this morning in all three groups, I do so enjoy the morning runs, at any time of the year!  The woods look so different from season to season.  I had notice on one of our Tuesday runs that the Rhododendrons were out which means that they will be out along the path by the house in the woods.  That is where we will be heading for today.

The two other groups left the rec and we we soon after them, going through Dog Poo ally and taking the left hand path.  It does have hills, of course it has hills! The only way to get to the top of the woods to run to the top of the woods!  I was also on a mission to see how far this way through the woods will be.  Last week the light started fading just to much for us to stay in the woods in the evening, I am hoping that by next Tuesday the will be sufficient light for a complete woody run and not just half a run in the woods and half on the roads!

It had been raining last night and yesterday, I was expecting some big muddy puddles, but I was pleasantly surprised.  The floor of the woods was so very passable, even for the runners who really do not do mud at all!  I was running ahead, sometimes with J.J. sometimes with Ruth, until we got to the bridge.  We had a little break there, by the bridge, while we waited for the others to catch up.  Then it was the lovely down hill run.  It is so much easier to just keep on running and running down hill!  If I could run down hill for 26 miles I am sure I could totally beat my London Marathon times (still living the dream!) We had to run up once at the river, it's a lovely(?!) steep part, it can really work you legs and your cardio getting up to the lovely house! A quick break there before we carried on up to to the bridle path.  But along here it was just so lovely, I just had to take a selfie, here, this is what a took.

We continued our run all along the top of the woods, at the back of Coopers school.  I was thinking about the Rhododendron Walk, I hope it's all going to be in bloom, I am sure it will be!  J.J. seems to be in the right running gear as she is wearing virtually the same colour as what the flowers are!  We were running down the side of the woods now, and I just trod on a root, and my ankle just twisted slightly!  Typical runner of course I decided to just carry on running!  Surprisingly it was fine!  Do you know, back in the day when I never ran, couch potato today, I am sure I would have been holed up for a least a week, bandage wrapped around the ankle, demanding to get a second opinion  from doctors.  But not now, not anymore.  Maybe my ankles have become stronger over the years! Who knows, or maybe I just don't want to ever stop, I just love this life so much!  As we were nearing the wood cutters house I can see the tell-tale pink blobs up ahead.  Yes!  That is where we will be running now!  I took some photos, here look, can you see what we mean about J.J. matching the flowers!
J.J. could almost become invisible down here!
Gorgeous, init!?

Just running the walk!

Coming out the other end.

This path takes us through to the middle path of the woods, it is slightly shorter than going the big loop but it's beauty makes up for missing out on that.   We were soon through the woods, just a little bit wet feet, but feeling totally refreshed!  Love running through the woods, it really does make you feel good!

So the double!  Well,  I was all set to do it, I even managed to persuade Tracy to come along to the rec, to do it! 'It' being the summer core training and speed sessions!  But our glorious British weather has delayed the start until next week!  Sliding about in the rain on wet grass is not very inspiring! So, actually, it's not a double......but I would have done.....I was looking forward to it even, was just about to go and get ready,  if it hadn't been cancelled!

Geeky stats.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Club Run - Through the Woods

Hello blog lovers.

This evening we went straight through the middle path of the woods. It's a nice uphill challenge for everyone.  Mind you, where ever we go it's a nice little challenge!  But through the woods it's always a little extra challenge.  We are so very lucky where we are, because of the lovely woods, around us.  Although we are not that far from the Metropolis that is London, having this wonderful country side just on our doorstep is just so great, we can party in the heart of London and be back in our home town within 30 minutes, and just a few minutes walk away we have this lovely quite woody space to walk, run and breathe in!

Last week, the first week after the beginners graduated, we had 30 runners in group 1.  I wasn't sure how many we would have this evening.  Maybe some of them would move up this week, maybe some more of out beginners will come and join us!  After all the leaders gave out a brief description of the routes/pace/distance we all gathered at our stakes for a count of heads. There were 23 of us.......at the beginning, after a coupe of re-counts!  So after a quick safety brief we set off for Dog Poo Ally.  When we ran through the tunnel Sherry was just by the left hand path with her group, doing a safety brief about running through the woods.  I stopped my group just on the middle path and waited for the rest of my group to join us.Once there one other person had joined us, she was a little late, which means that we had 24 intrepid explorers running through the woods this evening.  We were going up through the middle of the woods,  I had run this route on Thursday morning and I noted how long it took us to get right through the woods, up the hilly road to the top, just to the point where we have to cross over.  I knew we had plenty of time to get there before the light started to really fade too much.  It is quite a hill to do, the middle path isn't steep but it does just go on and on with no break! I was blimmin struggling, that's for sure!  It was very humid and I was 'glowing' for Britain!  It never feels like it gets easier.  Even after all these years you think it would! I even had to have a little walk up the hill, just for a few seconds, just so that I could look behind me and see where the back runners were.  But what I didn't tell them is that once we got to the top of the woods it wasn't quite over with the hills!  We were going to pop out of the woods into the posh housing estate! The one with the big house that inspired me to write almost a romantic novel of one of my solo runs!

I had them all run to the top of the hill while we waited for the back runners.  I don't think any of them wanted to do a loop back to them as they would have to run back up again!  It was still fairly bright out and I thought that we could probably continue our run through Scadbury Park instead of running on the pavement.  We just had enough light to run through there, we crossed over Leesons hill and then continued our run  on the pavements.  I was feeling totally knackered by then!  In fact, just running up that first hill in the woods I was blimmin knackered, so you can imagine what I was like just as we hit Birchwood Road.  Thank goodness it was all down hill.  I called back to my sweepers, J.J. and LittleJ, that I will not stop now and I would see them all in the rec.  I didn't have middle sweeper but with most of the group keeping up with me while the rest of the group was with J.J. and LittleJ we had everyone covered.

I ran with the front runners till we got back into the rec.  There were already a couple of groups back, including Michaels group 2!  It was Michaels debut leading today!  It makes my heart swell when I think back to last year when Carol and Michael first joined our beginners course and now Carol getting a pb with her parkruns and Michael becoming a leader!  Brilliant!

My group collected on the green, Michael had taken the spot on the patio, the other half of the patio had already go the nursery's wooden fence out, the bit that my group normally take! It's just as well the midges are not out yet!  We would have made for a tasty treat for them!  We had a stretch out, and a count off!  All present and correct!  No one was lost in the woods!  A lovely run, and now with the warmer weather and longer days our runs will be going through the woods!

Geeky stats for you.

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Monday, 15 May 2017

Petts Wood Runners Members 10k!

Hello Blog Readers

Today was our clubs members 10k!  And what a day to do it on, glorious sun shine.  Phew what a scorcher!  It didn't start of that way.  When I work up in the morning it looked kind of grey and wet out side!  I just kept thinking "The bacon sarnies are going to be pretty soggy!"  But by the time I got myself together and out of the door it had started to brighten up!  I still brought along my newly purchased PWR hoody though!  Just in case it cooled down after I got back from the 10k!  I also had on my newly purchased PWR top!  I have lost my old one, do you think I can find where I last had it!?  I am quite pleased with this one though, it's longer!  I am hoping that it wont ride up my 'food baby belly' quite as much as the old one used to!

I parked my car just down the road from the entrance to the rec and walked in with Joanne, (my newly added facebook friend) and we were amazed at the hive of activity that enfolded us as we walked over to the pavillion.  There, all flagged out, was the last lap of the 10k, going all the way around the rec.  A red flagged path for us to follow right to the finish funnel all ready to receive us runners. There was a brilliant music desk playing some great tunes and the best bit, the bbq was up and and working, fueling the workers that had been there since 'a ridculous o'clock' this morning.  And keeping warm for when we all return.  The hot water urn was busy boiling water, the cakes were all laid out on other tables and the registration desk was at the far end!  I forgot to take some pictures, I should have taken pictures! It is a such a well organised event, it needed me to take pictures, I'm telling you,  we do know how to have a great time!

So the rec and all its goodies, is the finish line.  It's good to turn up there, even if we have pre registered on line, just so that you can soak up the atmosphere, get a good look at the bacon and cakes, and get into the swing with the music!  Our start line is about a a five minute walk away in Tent Peg Lane.  I remembered to take some pictures of us walking to the start!
Thats me in the corner
The bottom left corner,
just a quick selfie!

Some of our runners as we
were walking

milling around
 We all mingled in the car park ready for the start time.  Now unlike most races we do not have the speedsters all lined up, with raised hands to their eyebals, looking at their wrists ready to start their Garmins. Oh no. The thing about our club is that we have all these differing running speeds!  Some do speed off, getting through a 10k in under 40 minutes, others  (read me) finish a 10k in 1:16 - 1:25, depending on terrain, weather, beer consumed the night before, etc.  But our 10k,  well I know I have completed it in under 1:17 before.  I was fitter, and lighter back then though !

So excuses laid out, (you all did see the excuses up there right!?)  lets talk about the race!  And it is a race, it's a race within our own running groups!  Because when we registered we had to say what group that we normally run in!  Well, group 0 no longer exists anymore as we turned it into group 1, so of course I had to put down my name in that one.  Now,  as you know I lead group 1, so I know we have some fast runners.   Some are coming back from injury, some are from the beginners that we just finished, and some just need a bit more practice to get their pace up and the distance necessary for group 2.  They run in my group because.....well because of those things that i just mentioned!  I knew there was no way I was going to keep up with some of them (if any as there were only two other group 1 runners here!) combine that fact with the fact that that we start off with group 2, well, I felt that  I just wouldn't be able to keep up with them so I just want to get around and look fairly decent at the end of it.

So, this is how we roll in Petts Wood Runners.  We have 11 groups in our club, all running from 12:30+ m/mi to 7:30+ m/mi. I run in group 1, the first group, the slowest group. Group 1 and 2 were the first to start, then 6 minutes later groups 3 and 4, and then 6 minutes later......etc etc!  So by the time group 11 left it was about 26 minutes after we left!  It means that we all kind of finish within just a few minutes of each other, more of less!  That way we can all enjoy the social at the end.  Milling about enjoying those bacon rolls and cakes and tea!

Now I got that out of the way, it really is down to the race now.  So groups 1 and 2 start off, we get the biggest loudest cheer of course, because.....well, I am sure you know why, with all 9 other groups waiting to start we had the biggest crowd.  We waved and ran past our fellow members, so thats all the runners, and all the marshals and photographers, it's a club event!  At the end of Tent peg lane is the first of the marshals, Della and her crew, "Keep going, you're nearly there" yells out Della. Yup, that is exactly what I needed to hear after running all of 15 seconds!  We turned right to run along to Southborough Lane where another lovely PWR marshal and little un was waiting to direct us down towards the Harvester.  It's just as well it's down hill, and I am so glad we are doing this route this way around.  Can you imagine having to run UP Southborough Lane, Twice!

My group and group 2 started to pull away from me, virtually straight away.  I was looking at nothing but bums and heels virtually as soon as we left Tent Peg lane!  But the thing about our members 10k is that sooner or later, maybe on the second lap I will be lapped.  I will have people running next to me if only for just a few seconds.  People will recognise my fat ass waddling along the street and I guarantee that they will say something encouraging, not only to me, but to all they pass by!  It's the kind of club that we are!  This staggered start is just so amazing.  I, little old me, will get to run with the big boys and girls in all groups, at some point, on this run!

I passed Chris Summer in his position on the corner of Southborough and Blackbrook lane, and I turned down to run down Blackbrook.  It wasn't until the second lap that I realised that I maybe I should have ran along the out side of the flower bed, an extra 2 feet! But of course, on that first lap I was running by myself, the others had long gone in front of me, the others groups would soon be catching me up!  Probably just down here in Blackbrook.

The next marshals were just at the corner of Blackbrook and Thornet Wood road, Andy and.....blimey I have forgotten her name! I think the marshals should wear name tags too!  They do a wonderful job, not just for pointing the way, or stopping us from going the wrong way, but also for the fantastic support they give!  Big huge cheers from them!  You just can't help but smile, even if you feel like you are dying on your feet!  That cheering coming from the sidelines is infectious and it makes you feel good!

Emma, I think was the next marshal "keep going Old Girl" they call out to me, and so I do!  By now I am being overtaken from the faster groups, which means of course, I am running with them, even just for a few short minutes!  From each group there are loads of them that say "Keep going Old girl" "Well done"  it's amazing.  Into Jubilee Park now and just up ahead there is Cliff with his crabs.....no his carbs!  Sorry I was reading his sign, here look!

Also at this point is our resident photographer and our very own basketball dribbling marathon runner, #Kevtwoballs with his camera.  I think this one was of me going for the jelly babies (Cliffs carbs!)
Look at that determined look
Hope these black jelly babies left

Helena was at the gate of the path that leads back into Tent Peg Lane.  This was also our water stop!  I grabbed a bottle, well, actually I slowed down and gently took one from the welcoming hand of our our water station marshals.  I again walked a bit while I drunk most of the bottled water and then dropped the bottle into the bin just at the gate of the car park.  Then it was back out to Crest View with Della and her crew again yelling encouragement to me, "Just one more time Old Girl"  And so there it was.  I was on the next lap, already some of the groups had passed me by.  It confuses me just how many people should pass me by the time I finish at the rec, I feel it should be everyone! Surely, if 120 people registered to start, with maybe ten of us starting out first, 110 people should be passing me by at some point!  It didn't feel like it, it didn't feel as if all the other members that turned out today, had passed me by, could I really be not the last person to finish!?

I was really struggling by this time, the heat of the morning really started to get to me, I was sweating and almost panting like a pooch, as I was ran along.  Passing each of the marshals, I remember them again cheering enthusiastically,  did I remember to say thank you to them? I don't know!  I know I was supposed to have, I know I certainly should have, but in my befuddled hot sweaty mind, I wasn't sure!  Running along Thornet Wood lane, after what seemed like the 100th person saying "Go on Old Girl, you can do it" (which means that I probably am the last on the course!) a song came into my mind!  It was the most apt song ever and describes our club so well!  Here's the lyrics, I bet you know the tune! This kind of about sums it up in a nut shell, the friendship we have in our club.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got.
Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.

Wouldn't you like to get away?

All those nights when you've got no lights, the check is in the mail.
And your little angel hung the cat up by it's tail.

And your third fiance didn't show!

Sometimes you wanna go..

Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came.
You wanna be where you can see,
The troubles are all the same.
You wanna be where everybody knows your name

You roll out of bed, mr. Coffee is dead, the morning's looking bright
And your shrink ran off to Europe, and didn't even write.

And your husband wants to be a girl!

Be glad there's one place in the world

Where everybody knows your name
And they're always glad you came.
You wanna go where people know,
People are all the same.
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

Where everybody knows your name.
And they're always glad you came

Ok, so maybe there are not husbands wanting to be wives, not that I know of anyway.  But this club here, we can come along and just run, or we can come along and share our problems and chat, and laugh and cry with each other! I was singing this song in my head and feeling like I was in the best club in the entire world, even though I had ran 'alone' for most of it, I never felt alone. oh I wished I knew everybodys name!  I could call out to them too!  Of course I knew some of them, and I did call out to them.....when I had breath, other times I just called out "Well done!" ! All of these runners today, from group 1 to group 11 encouraged every runner they ran with or passed by!  How blimming cool is that! Just as I was running up towards Emma for the second time, Stephen Pond, of the Great Pond Family of speedsters, came to my side. "Come on Old Girl, you can do this.  I shall run with you"  he said to me.  Now let me explain who Stephen is and why I suddenly thought "What the f.....udging eck"  Stephen is in group 11 he sometimes takes lead of group 11.  You remember I said that we have 11 groups, mine, group 1 being the slowest!  But he said that he would run with me, I was all by myself running and he wanted to keep me company!  Run back in with me!  Stephen can run parkrun in.....what, sub 20, minutes, his son, Matt is pretty darn quick too, he does parkrun in 19 minutes.....while he is taking it easy! Yet here we are, group 1 and group 11 running together! 1 11, running side by side!
This is Stephen and me,
and Cliff with the jelly babies

From that moment Stephen kept me going, when I wanted to stop and walk I kept going for just that little bit longer than I would have if I was by myself, because I was with a group 11 runner!  Getting to the jelly babies was good, but also Kev was there with his camera,  Stephen grabbed my hand and we held them aloft complete with jelly babies as Kev snapped a couple of pictures!  Here, this is us!

Running through Tent Peg lane again I didn't grab a water this time, I was needing the loo!  Della was still there, and still just as enthusiastic and cheering just as the other two times!  There is one thing that us PWR's can do and that's cheer.  Our marshaling skills always get a mention in the runners world reviews of our 10k!  This time though Della directed us left, we were going to run through the old Newshopper car park and over the 'troll bridge'  "Lets see if we can pass by OITW" said Stephen!  To be honest, I was totally knackered,  the thought of a bacon roll and cakes at the rec was the only thing in my mind!  We met up with Stephens family along the next road, his young daughter became our 'papparatzi' as she ran and snapped loads of pictures of us running the rest of the way to the rec.  We had to do the little loop around Little Thrift, the bit that I usually send the faster runners in group 1, while I stand and wait for the back runners to catch up on a Tuesday night!  But this morning  I had to run around it, the coloured cones on the little round about made me smile, I have no idea why, but they did, probably I was delirious by that point!

Back out from the little cul de sac and we continued our way to the rec.  Stephen never left my side, chatting to me, helping to stop me thinking about what my legs were feeling like!  With our paparazzi following us into the rec and even on the way round the green I started to feel so relieved! "I've nearly finished" I thought. Oh my goodness, the green, the green, what is happening to the green!  You know when you are watching the horror movies when the 'scared out of their life' victim looks down a long corridor of which they have to run to get away from the monster behind,  the corridor grows longer and longer?!    Well that is exactly how that green looked, only it didn't get longer, it got fatter and fatter!  And because we were going around in a clockwise direction, we were actually going up hill (ever so slightly I know) but the hill seemed to swell as well.  The green looked like it was a great bit green ball being blown up, getting fatter and hillier! I am sorry to say that I stopped running just at the top, I apologised to Stephen, and said he could go on, but he stuck by me, "Nope, I shall stay with you, just this last push" he said to me.  We had to run around the grassy bit to the side of the pavilion, something I didn't notice in my haste to finish, I tried to take the short cut! "No short cuts Old Girl" said Stephen
Group 1 and Group 11
First and last!

But then, as I was running along to the finish funnel Stephen said, "Sprint finish?"  I didn't know if he was jocking or if he was trying to get me to do it, "Seriously, does he really think I could sprint finish?"  I didn't even know if I had it in my legs, but with just a few feet left to go I tried it!  I  put a bit of a spurt on and started to run faster, and then just a bit faster still until I sprinted  towards the finish funnel.  I done it, I done it! Slower than I have done before! Not looking very decent but I finished, with Stephen just behind me and he said "Where did that come from?" Well, he said sprint finish, didnt he!

It was blimmin hot! So hot, I made my way over to the water table and handed in my raffle ticket to the registration team (the ticket is our way of timing ourselves.)  I think I was the last one in, or at least, me and Stephen were the last in, we had to wait for the sweepers who were still out on the course.  I took a bottle of water and then I queued up for my bacon sarnie!  Oh my goodness!  It was then that I realised that maybe I should have sat down first, just to recover just a bit, just to catch my breath, because while I was in the queue I suddely felt very faint!  Even bending over, you know like what proper runners do, didn't help!  I had to leave my place in the bacon sarnie queue and look for the nearest bench to crash out on!  Karen abandoned her place in the queue for her veggie sausage roll, and guided me to the bench!  I made it without embarrasing myself, and just sat for a good 10 to 15 minutes to recover.  Stephen came over to me with a much needed bacon sandwich, another bottle of water was thrust into my hands and I felt right as rain afterwoods! There is no medal for our members 10k, well, actually, that's not entirely true!  Some of our PWR's in waiting (the kids of our runners) made a certain number of 'Medals' and gave them out to who ever they wanted.  And look, I got this one!  Just as proud of this as all the other medals I have!

What a club, what a run, what a lovely bacon sarnie!  Here is some more pictures

You need a racing event
Then call P.W.R. 

Look theres, DiscoRich!

plus a video


And geeky stats

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Virgin London Marathon - Manning the Water Station

Hello blog lovers!

I didn't get into the ballot to run this years marathon in London, in fact when my rejection email came through I was actually quite relieved!  Which told me that, really, I shouldn't be running the marathon this year!  So I still would love to be involved, I belong to one of the best running clubs around and we have been asked if we would manage the 4th mile water station for the marathon!  How cool is that!  The whole water station is to be totally PWR's with a smattering of cadets from somewhere, I didn't quite catch the name of exactly where they were from! And boy, was I looking forward to doing this!

The day starts of early, very early. Earlier than the runners start not doubt!  We all had to meet up at Petts Wood, outside the Daylight Inn at 06:30 am!  I had to walk as well, there was no way the Old Boy would be getting up to give me a lift up there!  So once I was ready I headed out of the door and started the short walk to the other side of the railway!  I met ZippySherry once I got to Southborough lane and we walked the rest of the way together!

We met up with all the other PWR's all really excited and raring to go.  Our transport arrived about 10 minutes after we got there.

I can imagine maybe the English football team sat in there, but it was a very lovely coach.  I sat next to Hannah who was on my table, and apparantly I was table 5 leader!
It was all very excited on the coach, no singing though, maybe 06:30 in the morning is a tad early!  But there was no-one catching a few sneaky 'zzz's' either!  We started off our jouney to get to the water station, mile four on the VLM route 2017!  We almost didn't get there because as we got there they started to close the roads, we had to go pass one exit and head for the next. The the driver knew there was a way to get to our station, but then we found the road we needed to get to had been closed too!  We had to have a word with the marshalls on duty to let them know that we were needed on the course!  They hurried around and moved the cones and the signs away so that we could get to our destination!

When we got there the water station leaders were there already, some tables had been set up both sides of the road with the water dumped on the road in pallets.  It was our job to get the water onto the tables, tidy up and get ready!  We were given a team brief about what do do, what to look out for and where the loos were!  Then it was a hive of activity as each of the teams got to the tables and started loading up the water, out of the packets ready to just grab them and hand them to the runners when they come pass.

Once all that was done, we had a good hour or so before the start of the race, so we headed towards McDonalds for breakfast and coffee!  The restaurent was just about 5 minutes walk from where we were, perfect!  We some of the leaders left behind to keep an eye on the water the rest set off towards McD's.  One McMuffin breakfast meal, and thankfully I didn't go large (not sure if you can go large on breakfast!)  Then we made our way back to our water tables and get ready for the race.

I can't tell you what it's like just waiting for the first sign of the runners coming, it's just so exiciting.  We still had a wait before they were due to get to us, so we all took photographs of how we looked before the masses arrived.

Hannah, Rob, Nicki and me!

Paul, supposidly taken a pic of my team! 

And then the mood changed, we could hear the helicopter above, and Karen said she could see lights as she looked down the road to our left, where the runners would be coming! The adrenaline started to kick in, I could feel the excitment.  It was eerily quiet with just a couple of people saying "I can see the bikes", we looked and peered along the road.  We, on the right hand side of the road, had a better view for the first sighting as they came around the corner.  "They're coming' they're coming" Everyone started to lean over their rails with water bottles in hand. We on the right knew that the first of the athletes,  I think at first it was the wheel chairs. They just flew passed us, just so fast.  They didn't require water.  What I found amazing was just how close they got to each other.  Talk about slip streaming!  They could virtually have been tandon wheel chairs, I just couldn't see where the devide was!

I think after that it was the para runners, some with blades, others with arms missing.  Some of them grabbed water from both sides of the road.  It was just amazing to see, and to have such a great view to was just perfect.  Then elite men, we knew they wouldn't be coming anywhere near us as they will be staying as close to the blue line as possible! Some of the athletes took water but mostly not. So instead some of us took out cameras instead and started snapping away, while the reast was clapping and cheering!  None of the elite men took a water bottle from any of us, apart from one chap who was one of the last of the elites, but there were a few bottles that had been knocked on the floor which we were very consious of, and when there was time we did pick them up. But then.......

Not long after that the masses started to come along.  At first it was just nice and steady, as we all held out our hands with water bottles ready for the taking.  Some of them didn't stop to drink that just grabbed them on the run, which did mean that some bottles were getting knocked out of our hands and kicked onto the floor.  Before long it was just bottle after bottle, Both me and Rob kept the table full of drinks for Nicky, Hannah and our helper cadet to hand out and then we were straight back to the railings to hand out more.

Our table started to run out of packets of water to go under the table ready to replace those on top so I went and raided some of the other tables who had quite a few packets under the table.  It was just non stop.  We were calling out to people who had their names on there shirts, making eye contact with so they know we are holding their water!  It was just manic.  Thousands and thousands of people, just kept coming!

After an hour or so the crowds had thinned out some, we could really see and cheer an individual from the beginning to the end of our water station.  We saw our own PWR's run pass us, PhysioMiketheMod was running too.  He had to come to the back of our side of the water station as he was having issues with his 'costume'.  It was a polystyrene scooter with a 'modete' on the back! "Don't ask me too much about her" as he told one interviewer about it, "But she does blow up!" Well we shall say no more about 'Miss Sporty Spice!' A game girl obviously! He wrote at great report on his own experience of running London, you can read it HERE .I also saw  Liz, a fellow PWR and also a blogger too! She's on my watch list, and I think she is one of my followers on here too, so just go and have a read of her report to.  Such an inspiration.  She ran it without any training!  None!  But in her blog she does say that she doesn't advise to to that.  You can read her blog HERE.  She thought she may have snuck (is that a word!?) through un-noticed.  The person who did sneek through, and quite frankly I can't imagine how we missed him, was Kev Two Balls!  He was doing the whole 26.2 miles dribbling two basket balls!  You can read his story Here.  So quite a bit of reading for you all!  But I am sure you will be inspired by all three stories!

So, where was I? Oh yes, I spotted Liz and called out to her, she gave me a big smile!  Thre masses were becoming less mass and more crowd as the time went on.  I decided to just look towards where the runners were heading and all I could see was a sea of water bottles!  I just wondered if these would be recyled, reused.  It seemed such a waste of resource!  But I couldn't think of that, I did however, think of what we had to do before we leave!  But that will have to wait!  I turned my thoughts back to the job in hand.

My arms were aching, my face was aching from smiling and laughing so much, my voice was just about hanging in there.  I didn't know if it will last for the rest of the day!  A few clumps of runners now, we can really cheer them on! We can call their names out as loud as we can to encourage them to keep going.  Ok so it's only mile four, but some have waited at least 20 minutes to get passed the first timeing mat at the beginning.  Some take 40 minutes or more to run for 4 miles.  These are the athletes that will need encouraging all the way along!

The cars and the sweep up lorries came along.  The car with the 'This course is now open for traffic'.  That's a scary site when you are running!  I know!  It went passed us and there were still runners behind that.  For then next 10 minutes or so individual runners kept coming.  I saw a friend of mine.  She was on the blue line, so over to the left.  I called out her name, she couldn't hear me "Marian, Marian!" I shouted.  She still couldn't here me.  She was totally in the zone, all by herself! "Go on, go and run to her my team members said.  So I abandoned my post and ran after her, just to encourge her, just to say that we were there cheering her along, even though those darn cars and lorries had gone by!

I ran back to my post and we watched as still more runners came by already looking exhausted.  I wondered if the would make it and prayed that they would get to the end to get their medal.  A marathon isn't just 26.2 miles, it's the 3 miles you did the week before, it's the 20 miles you did before that, and yet another 5 a few days before that.  It's all the miles that you put in training, the cross training, maybe swimming, or the gym or cycling.  That is what you medal at the end of your marathon is all about!  The fact that you did it, hundreds of miles to get that medal, and yes they deserve it! Well, ok, so technically Liz didn't put in the training, this year, but she had done previously, but then she had her injury which kept her from doing the marathon then!  But she still completed it!

When there was no one else coming through our station we all stood back and looked at our tables.  There was still loads of water left.  There were packets that were not opened, and there were thousands of bottles spread across the road!  And now for that bit I mentioned earlier!  The clearn up! Nope, not for us, we just had to clear our tables, our plastic wrapping and paper.  Put down the tables and leave our bit of the street clear for the sweepers, er, sweepers with brooms and trucks this time, to come along and pick up all the bottles.

There were lorries coming along squirting liquid on the blue line and clearing that away from the roads.  Soon this area will be given back to the locals, there can have their street and roads back, as good as new!

And now for the even more fun part of the day.  Supporting them all again as we go and place our selves at Cannon Street to cheer as many of them all over again!  A fantastic day, such a great atmosphere, and such a priviledge to be able to do this for all those running marathons!  I do feel like the most fortunate Old 'ex couch potato' Girl in the world, and I give thanks to my God that I am able to run with such a great running club!

PWR Graduates Parkrun!

Hello blog lovers.

As promised a blog all about our PWR Graduates first parkrun!  I have had an extremely busy weekend which is the reason why I haven't been able to post about this run.  But we're here now, lets see if this old grey matter up here can drag out the facts about our parkrun on Saturday!

So, I do remember it was blimmin early start!  we had to get there at 08:30, in the car park, Hook Farm end.  I know, we still had half hour before the official start but we needed to get everybody together, give them their stickers to identify them and to also do a warm up with them all!  Shalini was driving and NaggyNeighbour came along too, a week after doing her incredible 68 miles around the Isle of Wight! I know where I would have been if that had been me (not that I would even think about doing something like that, I really do know my limits!)  But she was looking good, no aching legs and was walking normally I think the day after it anyway!  Anyway, the three of us in the car went to collect Tracy and then drove to Normans Park!

There were already loads of PWR Graduates there.  I am sure we had at least 30 of them, all eager and maybe a little anxious to get going!  I knew it would be a great run, I could feel it in my water!  Sherry had a little briefing about what to expect on the course, and then we made our way over to the pavilion where the finish funnel was.  Again Sherry chatted to them about what would happen at the end, where to go and get there bar codes scanned and hand back the finish token!  Most important to hand those back in!  So many times people have kept the thinking that they are little trophies, or mementos of their parkrun!

There was also the obligatory toilet stop!  I don't know what it is about running, but as soon as you think about it you just need to have a wee! Why is that!  Although, These Saturday mornings now I am quite comfortable with so I don't actually need to go!  Then we all walked over to the start, we are back on the summer route, I much prefer this route than the boring 3 laps of the winter route!  Mentally it is better for me, I am not sure about what others think, but I am sure others prefer the summer route too!

Andy was Race Director and he gave out the instructions to all first time parkrunners, not just our PWR's, and then it was time to get set to begin our run.  We brought them all to the back of the pack, just so that the speedsters can get going and also so that our lot do no run out to fast!  Ready Steady Go!  We were off, a great start by everyone, because nobody went out to fast and then they all settled into their own pace!  I wasn't planning on going around trying to chase down my pb, I shall be at the back just to encourage any that need it.

It looked like there were record numbers of runners on Saturday! as we turned the first corner and started to run down the first short straight, the snake of people running was already running across the middle of the park!  It looked amazing!  We all kept to our own steady running, just trying to get around the the first 5k for the Spring '17 PWR Beginners!  Being at the back I could see that everyone was doing so well, at least all of the runners in front of me were doing very well, no one walked no one! That included all the other 700 or so people that were doing parkrun that day!  I couldn't see our people through the people out there running!  I think maybe we should give them two stickers, one at the front and one at the back!  Just so that everyone can encourage them around!

That first lap felt good, across the green, and back again, oh so much better than doing three laps, don't you think! The second lap seem to go past just as quick!  I was chatting with Tracy trying to keep on mind off running so that she could keep on going, and try and pick up the pace a bit while she was chatting with me!  When we got to the top of the park, NaggyNeighbour came to join us, she looked as fresh as a daisy, and she ran along with us encouraging Tracy all the way!  Now she had two naggy friends.  Carol was with us too, not quite as naggy as me.  It was a case of good cop/bad cop! But I do know Tracy very well, and we have known each other for a very long time!  I could feel the 'daggers' coming from Tracy as I urged her to keep going, pick up the pace, and then Naggy started to urge her to keep on going!  People were hearing us as we called out Tracy's name and began to cheer her in as we ran towards the funnel!  Come on Tracy, you can do it! Michael had joined in on the cheering as we all cheered her to the finish!

A great run, and everybody in our beginners Graduates had a fab time!  They all just totally surprised themselves at how well they all done!  Love it, just bloody love!  Well done PWR's !

Geeky stats. and photos!

Before we ran!

Just milling around

After we ran
(sorry about the soft focus! I forgot to clean the lens!)

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Club Run - Post Graduate Debut Run

Hello blog lovers.

Well, you can knock me sideways with a 10k medal, and roll me down a hill!  How many did we have in group 1 today?!  Well, and for those of an OCD nature, you will love this.  A big fat round 30 runners! That's right thirty!

Usually there are quite a few of our beginners group that can't make the Tuesday evening club runs, but it seemed as if the whole of our graduation group came along this time!  I can't tell you how proud me and Sherry looked!  Some of them went into group 2 and quite a few of them came in to my group!  Of course I had some great help, our Michael, a newly qualified LiRF came along to help sweep and encourage any that were at the back, and CoachHels helped to be in the middle of the pack while I led.

I wanted to be the first to lead our new recruits through the woods for their first club run!  Again, for this week we were only just going to touch on the woods as we ran up the path parallel to Birchwood, but at least it's still in the woods.  Also it was a great opportunity to go through a few rules for group running when going through the woods. You all know the ones, when we see a root we shout it out, when there's a low branch, we shout it out, when we see sticky out bricks......yup, you get the picture!  Now I was expecting to hear the message getting passed along, all down 30 people!  Ok, so maybe not all 30 of them needed to call it out, but it was a good test.  I seems as if there are quite a few shy people in the group, as I couldn't hear the call after I called out and one maybe two others!  Something that we will work on as the summer months draw nearer!  Oh I am so looking forward to running through the woods in the evening with our club!  Its just so invigorating!  After a days work, or with the kids, or even just a busy day at home, getting out in the evening, through the woods, listening to bird song, with the sweet aroma of fresh air (it does have a smell you know, once you're through Dog Poo Ally)

We all managed to get through the woods though, no trips, slips or falls.  We came out on Orpington road and we had to cross over! We took a little break here while we waited for the rest of our group. So, I suggested that they could run back to the back runners or we could do squats! We did squats.....well there was one there that decided to just practise her breathing!  I was trying to cross where we came out, but there is no crossing there, we had to run turn right to run to the crossing.  It was the only way that the drivers would stop to let us cross over!  Once over though we turned left and ran towards the loop that we would be doing!  Yes, it is a bit of a challenge for our beginners, but really, if you think about it, the cheeky little loop we did when they were actually training to do the 5k in the first place was a bit of a challenge, and they did that with no problem. And then of course they all ran their first 5k last Saturday (blog to follow soon, honest!)

The road part of our route now, and it really was quite a group to lead.  I must say we looked fabulous, there were enough bright luminous shirts among our group to make sure that those who were in dark colours (by the way, we must mention that for next week!)  we sufficiently flanked!  We ran all the way down to the little round about a quick couple of laps while they all caught up again and then we continued...up the hill of course.

We had a quick regroup at the crest of the hill ready for the down hill! Now this is a good bit!  Not only was it down hill but at the bottom of the it there was a group of kids, about 6 or 7 of them,  they saw us, they all lined up at the side of the road and then started "oooooooo-ing" with the arms out stretched and making little movements, then as we came past them the 'oooo-ing' got louder and then we ran past them as they did a 'mexican wave'!  I made us all smile, we turned the corner and the rest of the group of friends, about another 5 or so did the same thing!  I tell you, if I was a newbie runner and that happened to me I would be feeling so chuffed round about then, because I've been a runner for a long time and I was still so chuffed to have a little cheer like that!  I hope our new recruits remember that little cheer and then try and imagine it done by a couple of hundred people as they are finishing a race!

We had that other little hill to climb up, the one we do our hill reps on, or as it was for our first timers, they could run around the little roundabout instead.  Some of them ran around the little grassy island but most of them ran up to the top of the hill and then back down again!  Marvellous.  We finished our loop and headed up towards Petts Wood Road.  I sent the front runners up towards the bigger roundabout on Petts Wood Road and suggested they run back to us or stay there for a rest.  Again, the front runners were totally keen on this running malarkey and chose to run up and then back down again to the back runners.

With just one more road to run down on before we get to crossways, we were nearly all done.  What a great evening from running.  Just super fantastic.  We had a huge group, two extra wonderful leaders among us as well as our usual group 1 runners.  Such a great atmosphere.  I think all the new comers were glad to see that they could do it, and I know that some of them were dubious whether they could do it but were pleasantly surprised to see that they could do it!  Listen, it's not easy, it don't even feel easy even after a good few years!  But you do learn to love that little bit of satisfaction that you did it, that you just pushed yourself, not matter how hard or little.  Or the fact that you got out, even if you didn't want to and just ran the most slowest 5k, 4k or even 1k ever! Just doing something is better than doing nothing!

Anyway.  I loved it, just simply loved it.  It was a huge group but I had some wonderful helpers!

Here's our geeky stats, it's a K9 route, only as we gone through the woods K9 looks a little thicker around the middle!