Local parkrun tourism and baking book decisions

After the parkrun celebration evening on Tuesday, the week has been fairly normal- I went to yoga on Wednesday and had another attempt at the wheel (or crab as someone else called it)- annoyingly my hair kept getting in the way when I was trying to put my head on the floor, and I don’t feel quite strong enough in my arms, but I got most of the way there. I am still really loving it- the class is challenging and I feel aches the next day, but there is a lot of relaxation during it too, and this week when we were covered in a soft blanket and given a drop of geranium oil during the final relaxation, it was just bliss.

On Thursday after work I did a 4 mile run- I was feeling fairly tired (a lot of people have been off ill at work which means the days are busier than usual) and didn’t want to be out too late. I did the route in reverse and I think I prefer it that way.

I have been totally rocking my leg warmers because my thermal tights are not quite ankle length (not sure why). I also finally tried out the “new” trainers that I may even have bought before we moved house- or maybe July. Anyway, a long time ago. They seemed pretty comfy luckily!

We have been trying some new dinners recently- a few weeks ago we tried this warm cauliflower and pomegranate salad (although I have since seen some similar versions where the caluiflower is roasted, and that may be better for winter),   and on Thursday we had this delicious courgette, tomato and mozzerella bake (it was from the Waitrose magazine too, but I can’t find it on their website just yet)- the strips of courgette were griddled first, you made a sauce with onions, garlic and tomatoes, and then layered it in a dish along with the courgettes, cheese and breadcrumbs- it was so tasty and warming on a chilly evening.

On Saturday Dad picked me up, and along with my brother and mum, we headed off to Stevenage parkrun. It started back in May, and it is only up the road from where I live (a 20 minute drive up the A1M) but we have just not managed to get around to visiting it. Seeing the very frosty start meant I spent a lot of the morning checking the list of parkruns that are cancelled, and the Stevenage parkrun facebook page, but nothing appeared.

When we arrived at the car park, we sat in the car for a bit as it was so cold. Once we got out (at 8.50am) we realised that we had parked in the second car park (there are two listed on the course page) which apparently was a 10 minute walk from the start- oops. We then walked fairly quickly, but runners were still parking and walking behind us. We knew we should go to the new runners briefing, but we knew it was a two lap course and nothing complicated (and we will always be following someone in front). We could see a big crowd of people in the distance so guessed that was the start line, and it only looked to be 5 minutes away. I happened to say “I wonder how many runners they get” and a guy walking past started chatting, saying they got over 200 fairly regularly. He then headed off into a tiny car park, and we followed him (luckily as the route we were heading along turned out to end at a little boat marina thing).

Normally you would see the finish funnel and a lot of high viz jackets,and we were looking for the RD in the white and blue tabbard, but we couldn’t see anyone. My mum has never been to one before so we were saying it may have given her a bit of a strange impression as it didn’t seem as organised as normal. My guess was that their storage locker had frozen shut (I don’t know if they have one, but we do at Ellenbrook and I could imagine it happening- our shed lock froze at school this week). At 9am a guy ran past shouting “new runners, follow me”, so we did, along with maybe around 30 people. He gave the briefing and explained that they didn’t have access to something right then, so there were no signs on the course, and no finish funnel at that moment. The paths were icy in places, and he said there would be marshals warning of particularly slippery places.

Then the RD gave the main briefing (apologising for his lack of megaphone- that was obviously with the other bits that they couldn’t get to), and again warning of ice- “don’t sacrifice your health for a pb” was a good piece of advice.

We started off fairly slowly (well, my dad and I- my brother usually sets off quicker) and we had a nice chatty run. I really enjoyed the route and I wasn’t expecting to. I didn’t know the park at all, and of course the frosty morning helped to make it more beautiful. It was pretty flat, going around the lake and then through a wooded area. It was so cold though- my toes warmed up on the second lap.  I totally lost my bearings and I happened to glance at my watch at 145 miles, and commented to Dad “we’re half way” and then he pointed out he could see the start area from where we were! We waved at mum on our way past and told her we were half way.

None of the marshals had high viz jackets so we just thanked anyone who was stood about- I am sure at least one of them just happened to be in the park, but you know, we are a friendly bunch! On the second lap, some of them did, and by the time we got to the finish it was all set up, so it seemed their problem was sorted.

The finish was up a short incline, and as we were coming towards it we overtook someone and so were just behind my brother, so we decided to try and catch him and finish 1,2,3 but then he overtook a guy ahead of him and I told Dad to push up the hill to try and catch him, but he didn’t manage it, so he ended up stopping a bit short of the finish line and let me cross it first.

We had a good negative split of 10.23, 9.14 and 8.50, and both of us had the same time of 29.04, with my brother being just ahead at 28.48.

Mum had found someone to chat to (the wife of the person who started Stevenage parkrun) who had pointed out that the finish was not quite in the same place, and as we were having our chips scanned she walked over to us. We had the obligatory photo of course, before heading back to the car.

Then we headed back home, where we had hot drinks and warm croissants- such a lovely start to the weekend. It was so nice to share parkrun with mum too- she is always happy to make us breakfast after, but it was good for her to see how it all works and why we all love it so much.

(That was my 93rd parkrun, my 15th course, and 14th UK course)- on a side note Stevenage was very male- dominated- I was in position 112, but was only the 14th female- not sure if that is a big jump but it seems it- normally it seems to me that there is about a 1:2 ratio, but that’s more like 1:10.

I’ve bought two new baking books this week- I finally bought the Puddings cookbook by the people who run The Pudding Stop in St Albans (mainly for their amazing peanut butter and salted caramel brownie recipe), and then this nut butter cook book.

I love the Pip and Nut butters- proper drippy peanut butter, and delicious varieties like crunchy maple peanut butter, and when I saw this on Amazon and “looked inside” it was right up my street. For one, there is a section on toast, and if Andy didn’t do our cooking I would probably end up living off toast (I do like other things, but I get carried away with work in the evenings, and then it gets late, and I am hungry and can’t be bothered to cook), and it also had so many other amazing sounding recipes including almond butter banana bread, and a wonderful looking baked brioche French toast. I don’t know where to begin!

At the end of last year we saw Moana in the cinema, and I absolutely loved it- I do love Disney but I am not a big princess fan, I prefer their other stories. This was beautiful, and the songs are fantastic (although “You’re welcome” sounds a lot like the song from the Community Christmas special about the glee club, and the bit where she sings “I am Moana” sounds a bit like “I am a Mormon”, plus when the crab sings at times he sounds like the Flight of the Conchords Bowie impressions- and yes I do know it’s him singing)- since seeing it pretty much every time I have been in the kitchen I have played the soundtrack. So imagine my delight when this (and I can’t work out how to embed) popped up on DYRT on facebook- I love the parkrun versions of songs, and mixing Moana with parkrun is just genius. I love it. Or for some more traditional songs you can see the St Albans parkrun band performing “Oh Eight Fifty Nine” at the volunteer night. They always have such funny lyric adaptations on their facebook page, and to see one being performed is a treat, and possibly a total ear worm. Although the one that played after was them playing the Ghostbusters song (on Halloween) and I was a bit disappointed as it seems like they should have shouted “parkrunners” instead of “Ghostbusters”…

I am doing the run report next weekend, so I may need to think of some inspiration in the week too!

How has your weekend been? Are you loving this gorgeous frosty weather? (Apart from de-frosting the car first thing of course).  What have you seen in the cinema recently? We are off to La La Land next week.

Celebration of parkrun volunteers

On my drive to work on Tuesday, a massive crack appeared in my windscreen- first going right from the chip (a chip that was repaired over a year ago) and then left- rather scary. I drove home the long and slow way, and it got even longer- argh! I was due to be going to the celebration of parkrun volunteers, so I posted in our running club facebook group and thankfully someone offered to pick me up- phew.

Everyone who volunteered at a Hertfordshire parkrun had been invited to the evening, and there were lots of people from local running clubs, as well as lots of volunteers.

It was put on by the Herts sports partnership, and was held at the uni. It started with a buffet and drinks in the foyer (where we had to collect our badges- name + parkrun, although mine had Ellenbrook and Panshanger- when we booked the tickets we were not asked for our parkrun, so I think they must have looked to see where I tend to go), and it was lovely to chat to so many people- one of my friends from Panshanger was going to be doing a talk, and her daughter was presenting some flowers, and then I ended up chatting to a few people who I see at Ellenbrook and say hi to, so it was good to chat to them a bit more . The St Albans parkrun band were playing (mainly running songs like the Rocky theme tune, Keep on Running etc). Just before 7 we were led into the auditorium. After a brief introduction from the host (who was ED at South Oxhey parkrun I think- one of the Herts ones anyway) the king of parkrun, Paul Sinton-Hewitt OBE gave a talk about how parkrun had started.

I thought I knew a lot about it- I used to listen to the parkrun show podcast (sister to marathon talk), and I have heard interviews from various people on the marathon talk podcast before. But he went into great depth and it was fascinating. He also talked about their ambitions of making the world a healthier and happier place, how they want to expand in America, and how they feel they should do China if they really want to have an impact. He talked a bit about sponsorship and how they feel a bit conflicted when the relationship changes a bit (eg at first Adidas supported them, but after a while they just wanted to push them to sell shoes) and how the apricot range of parkrun clothes is a big step in them coming more independent from sponsors (a great excuse to do a bit of internet shopping). Danny Norman was sitting in front of us (he used to present the parkrun podcast) and he was putting it on facebook live, so I am sure it is out there on the internet. If you are interested in parkrun, I’d recommend it.

It was so interesting hearing how it grew so organically- literally parkrunners would emigrate and then get in touch and say “can I start it here?”. We also heard about how they relented with Russia after “parkrunski” (no joke) was started, using QR codes instead of barcodes!

We then heard stories from various volunteers throughout Hertfordshire. At the start we had been told to cheer each time our home parkrun was mentioned, so each time we heard Ellenbrook all the OH ladies in attendance gave a big cheer- it was quite funny as the more local ones had much bigger cheers.

The stories included people joining parkrun to lose weight, getting involved in the core team and a VI runner and her guide. The VI runner was particularly inspiring because of the way parkrun had put her in touch with people- someone who was a guide for her also runs with her one evening, and someone else takes her swimming- it was just wonderful to see the community spirit. One of the volunteers was a child, and his mum had helped to start up another parkrun (Luton), apparently partly because her son did gymnastics and was often late because they went to parkrun first!

We then had the ED’s of the only Herts junior parkrun, talking about how they set it up, and how much they enjoyed it (they were both RD’s at Panshanger, so they knew how to set up a 5k one).

Then we had some information about how parkrun has grown across Herts- in October 2014 there was only one in the county (St Albans), but now there are 11, with more on the way.

Finally the Herts sports partnership gave out some awards, and then the most important part- coffee and cake- served back in the foyer. The band were playing again, this time singing some of the songs where they change the words- if you follow St Albans parkrun on facebook every now and then you will see them- e.g instead of “All about the Base” it’s “All about the lake” (as St Albans is 3 laps of a lake)…. very funny.

The people from Like the Wind magazine were there, as in the latest issue there was an interview with Paul S-H, and he was going to be signing issues. Since hearing them on marathon talk a long time ago, I signed up to the mailing list, and I get emails telling me when the new issue is out, but I have never actually bought one- it seemed like the perfect time.

I picked up a copy, got some cake and then had a wander around, looking for him. I ended up chatting to more people from our club, before finally realising that he was sat at the table where the magazines were being sold (I think I was too quick coming out of the auditorium as he wasn’t there when I bought mine!).

I get very easily star struck- when we met Mark Kermode Andy pretty much did all the talking, so nearly chickened out, but I joined the queue and I think I just garbled thanks to him about how I loved parkrun and how he was so amazing to come up with the idea. He asked me why I had two parkruns on my badge, so I had to explain that.

Then Andy came to pick me up as we had some sorting out to do with the cars. It was such a brilliant evening-  the only thing is, it was on a Tuesday so we all had to wait many days before we could actually go to a parkrun!

Does your county do anything to encourage sports participation?  Are you good at meeting famous people? I am sure I have mentioned this before, but on our first trip to Disney (I was at uni) I got starstruck meeting Minnie Mouse.

Runs, snow, dodging tidal waves and wild animal sightings

My blog has been down this past week or so as it is being moved over to new servers- I actually got a new address for it too, but that will be sorted out later. Hopefully it should all be up and working fine now though.

January running has been going well. My next race isn’t until the end of February (the Brighton half) and whereas last year I was going for a time, this year, it’s just for fun. I have no distance goals for each month, so it’s just been great to head out and go as far as I fancy. I discovered a new path near me (well, not really- more like I knew it was there and finally got around to running it) and ended up in some woods. It had to be an out and back run, but I think I can work it into some sort of loop.

Just me and the squirrels- lovely.

I had a run after work one day, and got to try out my new running chest light thing (I have no idea what it is called)- as you can see I was very excited by it! The pavements near here are poorly lit (loads of big trees between the lamp posts and the pavements) and they are very lumpy from the roots, so it is hard to run in the evenings. That is one thing I miss about Hatfield, as we lived right by the business park and the pavements there were new and very well lit (and also always gritted in the ice and snow).

It showed up the frosty patches of pavement really well- hurrah!

It also meant I could read this sign- it is actually quite sad because the cat is ill and they think it’s hiding in a bush or something, but the title made me chuckle as I read it in my head with a huge amount of exasperation. Come on Timmy, you’ve done this before, sort it out…

I was a tail runner at Panshanger parkrun last Saturday- you tend to end up walking (which is fine) so I had wrapped up warm, in my brand new white jacket. It was only when I was chatting to the RD and he commented on the mud, that I thought maybe it wasn’t such a good idea!

Luckily the high viz jacket covered it, and although it was super muddy and slippery in places (and at one point when retrieving a sign I got caught by brambles and nearly fell down a bank) the jacket made it through!

I do love tail running- this time I spoke to a lady for a bit (she thought she would be at the back with me but then overtook some others), but then the other people at the back were all talking to each other, so I ended up chatting to each marshal as they finished. You also get more time to enjoy the lovely scenery, although it was a bit grey and overcast.

On Sunday morning last week, I tried out another new route- this is an old railway line that runs from Welwyn to Hertford. I have seen on Strava that some people run to parkrun this way, but I can’t quite work out how to get there (parkrun is by the lakes just above where it says Hertingfordbury, so it’s a bit of a way from the route)- where I popped up on the map is where some little country roads are, and I think I need to run along those. Exploring for another day. It was so muddy along there though- I really should have worn my trail shoes. 10 miles done though, so that was good.

One of the old platforms along the old railway line. There’s a car park on it now and it seems a lot of people were leaving their cars and then running or cycling along it.

Filthy shoes!

On Thursday the forecast was for snow around rush hour, so our head sent the staff home as soon as the children had left. The traffic was awful, but I got home around 4.30, so I went out on a run as it wasn’t snowing at that point (just raining). Of course it then started when I was out so it turned into one of those sort of manic runs where you are grinning and laughing at the craziness of running in the snow and slush, treading in icy puddles and not being able to see because the snow coats your glasses and gets in your eyes.

It was mostly fun, although one bit of the road always floods (I had forgotten this) and so I had to stand there and wait for there to be a gap in the traffic before running along the pavement as fast as I could to avoid being soaked by a wall of water as a car drove past.

By the time I got home there was quite a covering on the cars and grass, but the roads were all fine. The next morning I had to spent at least 10 minutes chipping away at the ice on my car though- basically the snow had melted a little, slid down the windscreen, and then frozen overnight, so there was a good inch of solid ice around the wipers. I ended up cutting my thumb somehow, and didn’t even notice because my hands were numb.

This weekend was a parkrun on Saturday with my dad (we went to Ellenbrook, which is full of people from my club- after the first small loop you run past the finish area so all the token scanners etc. give you a big cheer- we now get “go on Maria, go on Maria’s dad”- I think they know his name but just like to cheer him on like that now!). It was very icy- all the puddles were solid, and the rutted ground had frozen so we both ran cautiously as we were worried about twisting an ankle or something. 28.54 for my 92nd parkrun.

On Sunday I went along the old railway line again, this time in trail shoes. It was raining gently when I left, and as it was cold I wore my waterproof jacket. The rain got heavier and then I found out that it is no longer waterproof.

I did see a pheasant though, and it was a bit spooky as on my way to Ellenbrook one had flown out in front of me and then flown across the motorway, and I was just thinking about that when this one ran out across the path.

You might be able to see the silhouette of the pheasant- I was too slow getting my phone out.

I also had to race past the big puddle again (took photos while waiting for a gap in the traffic)- you can see the water has gone all over the pavement just from cars splashing it.

Urgh- soggy wet socks to add to all the other wet clothes. I think I might need to clean my trail shoes now too.

Onto other things:

Baking. I have had a bit of a lapse recently, but over the last couple of weekends I have had some time to get on with it. I made these stollen loaves, and they were so good (we took one around to Andy’s parents and it went down a treat). The recipe says to put a sausage shape of marzipan in the middle, but I decided to roll it flat and then roll it (sort of like a swiss roll) as then you get a swirl (and more bites contain marzipan which is a win for me). I also topped them with an egg wash and then some flaked almonds, as I love it when they are nutty.

You can sort of see it here (can’t turn it back from being upside-down).

To take to work (everyone is on a new year health kick) I made these chocolate chia cookies as I was given the Deliciously Ella cookbook last year for Christmas, and although we have had some of the savoury things from there, I’ve not tried any sweet things yet. Hopefully they will be well received.

Yoga– after a break over the holidays it was back on this week and it was just what I needed. It was a lovely gentle class, to ease us back in, although I was still aching from it this morning!

Wildlife– On Saturday afternoon (about 2pm) we were just having a bit of lunch before walking into town, and out of the corner of my eye I saw something in our garden. When I looked, it was a fox climbing over the 6ft fence by our patio doors.

As it disappeared, a second fox came and tried to jump over. It couldn’t manage it, so it went off to the back of our garden. A little while later, the first one jumper back over the fence and wandered about a bit and jumped over a different fence, and then as I was trying to take some pictures the second one appeared again. They were both wandering around without a care it seemed.

It is so unusual to see foxes during the day like this. I hope they managed to find each other again. What was even stranger was that as we were running around Ellenbrook that morning, as I dodged the “water feature” I was thinking that years ago I saw a fox there, in the middle of the day, when I was on a run (although I didn’t mention it as we were running single file at that point). Weird.

Do you see much wildlife where you live? I have seen deer on occasion, especially around Hatfield House, but mainly it is just birds. We have a few robins that come into our garden which I love to see. Did you have much bad weather this week? The worst thing here was that our work car park has a big dip in the middle, and so overnight the snow had slid into it, and then frozen, so it was basically like an ice rink (our caretaker was off sick last week)- I had to hold on to the side of my car to get to the end of it, and then basically slide across it to get to the edge- not fun! After we had located the grit, all the staff went out to sort out the paths, and by home-time it was fine. They cancelled the junior parkrun today because they found ice under the mud, but most of my run seemed fine (there was the odd icy patch here and there).

New Year and IKEA wanderings

Originally we were going to go to Windsor for New Year’s Day, but the weather wasn’t great, so in the morning we walked into town and had breakfast at Bill’s. We walked the long way home, and got back just before it started to pour down with rain. We got some jobs done at home, and caught up on TV. I also had a very therapeutic time of sorting out my clothes drawers- they had got to the stage where if I needed to put away some washing, I would put it in, push it down and then shove the drawer closed. I cleared out a bag of things for charity, and even organised my running clothes drawers- start as you mean to go on!


The day after the weather was much better, so we drove up to Willen Lakes (in Milton Keynes) and had a lovely, but utterly freezing, walk around the lakes there. I’ve only been there before to run the WR 10K race, and it was good to have more time to enjoy the scenery. In the shade the paths were still so frosty and slippery. Annoyingly my back had got very stiff in the car on the drive up there so I could not walk very fast.

We then drove to the IKEA there to get the drawers.All we needed to do was check the drawers (we noticed that they came in white, or white wash, and we needed to see which one we actually liked) but we were in there for an hour! Argh! I had a little wander in the little food shop (I love their little marzipan roll things) and I was so excited to see these- mini orange dime bars! Who even knew they existed? That was our treat for the second IKEA visit in a few days.


I can confirm that they taste as good as they sound.


New chest of drawers for our bedroom- one drawer for hats and one for scarves instead of me leaving them on the banister/ in “neat” piles on top of furniture.


New shoe rack/ bench for by our back door (plus a shoe tray underneath to catch all the bits of mud)- for running and walking shoes.

On Tuesday I was going to have a run, but my back was still not right, so I just did some gentle walking instead. I had to walk into town to collect some online orders (I’d ordered a perfume set to be collected from Boots, and on Saturday we had missed a couple of parcels).


One of my bargains was a Bluebird Tea Blend your own Tea kit, plus these cute mini matcha tubs- they do a pick your own tube so you can try their flavours without being stuck with a massive expensive tin of it. I’ve had their rooibos matcha honey before and it’s delicious, so as I was ordering anyway I added it to the basket.


Fat Face lounge pants (I can wear festive patterns all through the winter!)- these have cuffs around the ankles so the cold air can’t get in, yet another hat, plus boots and a scarf (for the free delivery) from White Stuff.


White running jacket (it’s so cosy) and capri’s from Lululemon- you still get a bag when you order online. These were very much reduced, although the prices seem to fluctuate daily- the first order I placed didn’t go through properly, and a few days later the same order was about £20 less, and now the jacket is about 4x the price I paid. 

I also did a lot of sorting out in the kitchen (following on from my clothes sorting)- I have re-arranged the baking cupboard, sorted out the tea cupboard and made everything more organised. I’d bought this peanut butter from Morrison’s a while back (it’s 100% peanuts, no oil or salt or anything) so I decided to make some of my favourite snacks with it:


Dates filled with a little peanut butter, then drizzled with dark chocolate.


I also made some chocolate coated figs, chocolate coated brazil nuts, and chocolate dipped dried mango. They are all good, but the dates will be finished first!

How was your new year? Did you get any bargains in the sales? I was thinking the other day that they used to be the January sales, but now they start online on Christmas Eve!

Southampton parkrun- the final tourism of 2016

On the Friday before New Year’s Eve, we drove down to Southampton so we could visit family on the Saturday. Handily, they have a parkrun that I could run to from our hotel, so that was the plan.


I knew where the park was, as we often park near it and then walk into the town centre. However, our hotel was in a new part of town surrounded by lots of building work, and I wasn’t quite sure how to get to the centre from the hotel- I got a bit lost, and when I looked on my phone at the maps the 1.8 miles to the start had turned into 2.3. You can see in the above picture where I headed south before realising and heading in the right direction!


Anyway, I made it (thanks google) and with a bit of time to spare. The new runners briefing was very useful as I had forgotten to even look at the course page to see if there were laps (yes, there are two laps on this course- I heard some people talking and it seems they have a summer course too so that may be different).

There were so many people! I’ve never seen one like it. The finish funnel should have been a warning- normally it’s only about 2 metres long.


It went on and on and on…

I was glad of the new runners briefing as I could not hear any of the main briefing- I was too far back (and not even at the back) and some people were talking. I did join in with the clapping (3 sets- one for the volunteers, and I am guessing that some people got their milestones?).

I took it gently- I hadn’t run since doing the 10 mile race on Tuesday, and had since been ill, so I felt very tired even after the run to the start. The course itself was good- all on tarmac paths, it was flat, then sloped up for a bit, before going down towards the start. There was a handy sign with “First lap (arrow), Second lap (arrow)” on it (I forget which way the arrows went)- and of course with that many people it was easy to follow the runners around you. It was very congested though- I think even in the second lap it didn’t thin out much. I did get overtaken by a couple of the front runners- they run so fast but also so smoothly- it was interesting watching them beside the rest of us all shuffling along.

Then, the finish, and this was so impressive. When you finish any parkrun, you are given a little plastic token. It took me many runs to realise it had a number on it (your finishing position), but it also has a barcode. As you finish, the person timing presses the stop watch, and then you move to the end of the funnel to get your token. When you have got your breath back, you get your finish token and your personal barcode scanned together, and later when the results are processed, the finishing position and times are matched up. I was wondering how they would do it on such a large scale. I was sent into the left hand funnel, where I joined the queue to get the token.


A little after, someone was sent into the right hand funnel, carrying a big letter D. They then closed off the funnel that I was in. It seems to work so that once all the people in the C section had finished they would start giving tokens to the D people, and so on. So very clever.


I was number 470/646 runners- I don’t even think I’ve been to one with even 400 runners before, let alone 600+!


After I got my chip scanned, I started walking back (although I got confused and ended up walking away for a bit), and then once I got out of the park I started running again. I was very tired after that and had already decided that I would not be doing a parkrun on New Year’s Day.


My time came through later- 30.22- not bad seeing as it was wedged in a longer run. If I go back (I am sure I will) I will have to try and beat that time and at least get under 30 minutes. When I reached the town centre, I popped into Starbucks to get us both breakfast, and walked back to the hotel from there- I’d run over 7 miles at that point and it was probably another half a mile to go- I was so tired!

After breakfast, we had a quick (is that possible?) visit to IKEA, as we could walk there from our hotel (we wanted to look at a chest of drawers for our bedroom, and ended up getting a shoe rack for our utility room, plus a few tins for baking bits), and then we drove to Andy’s Grandma. Andy was going to football, so we drove back, basically to where the parkrun starts, and then walked into town. I am not the best shopper, but I had a few bits to do (I needed to return a jumper to John Lewis, and I had some vouchers to spend). I also wanted to go to Decathlon as lots of people I know seem to get great bargains on Asics trainers. Anyway, I walked there and found a few that looked good, but then on closer inspection they had no size 6’s in stock for any of the shoes- boo! I’d packed a magazine with me so I went and sat in a cafe with a cup of tea to wait for the match to finish- that is a better use of my time than more traipsing around the shops. By the time we had walked back to the car I had walked over 30,000 steps, so it was quite a shock to the system after being fairly sedentary for a few days.


When we got home the first thing I did was plug in my Garmin and see the stats- 1,005 miles for 2016! Phew!

How many people go to your local parkrun? What is your highest and lowest placings? The highest before this for me was 264 at Wimpole Estate, and I have finished 16th at both Aldenham and Crissy Field. Do you like shopping?