York ParkRun and York 10k Recap


In Which You Get Two Recaps For The Price Of One! (Price: £FREE)

York ParkRun Recap – 3rd August 2019

4am. Alarm bells were ringing. Well, the alarm on my phone was ringing and it’s more of a whiny beep but you get what I mean, you’re clever like that. ‘Why though,’ you ask, ‘why so early?’ WELL:

I’d signed up to the York 10k race on the Sunday, but as I live in Edinburgh I was travelling down on the Saturday and staying overnight, to wake up fresh for the run. However, when I looked at cheap trains the cheapest ones were early in the morning, leaving around 7am from Edinburgh and arriving in York around 9.30am.

Somewhere in my little mind a voice said ‘that’s ParkRun time that is!’ But the little voice didn’t realise that York ParkRun starts at 9.00, not 9.30 like so many others. Why’s it start at 9.00? I have no idea. To be honest I’ve not even thought about it till now. Do your own research for once.

YorkTired

SO ANYWAY that meant that to get to York in time for the ParkRun I had to leave even earlier. My alarm went off at 4am, I left home at 4.15, bus to Edinburgh at 4.30, arrived in Edinburgh at 5.15, train left at 5.50, arrived in York at 8.25, walked the two miles up to York Racecourse and arrived with about 5 minutes to spare.

I’ve only ever done my local ParkRun, Meadowmill, which is a newish one and attracts 75 – 100 people a week whereas York has around 400-500. A guy with a speaker said York gets busy because people like to do a ParkRun for each letter of the alphabet and there’s only York and one other that begins with a ‘Y’. (Yeovil is the other. There’s a Q in the form of Queen Elizabeth ParkRun but for a Z you’d have to go to Cape Town (Zandvlei), Poland (Zielona Góra) or Zillmere in Brisbane, Australia.)

I lined up mid-pack (behind a few buggies and next to a dog) and then it was go time. It’s a nicely set out run if you like to see where you’re going because its a one and a half lap of the race course. (horse racing.) In that respect there’s not so much I can tell you about it except I ran in a big circle, then carried on for another half circle. I tried to stay kinda steady with my pace due to the 10k the next day and also carrying my rucksack full of my stuff for the weekend but got carried away a bit in the last mile. Finished in 27:32. (Got overtaken by a running buggy at the end but no animals, thank dog.)

Then, because York is my favourite place in the world, I walked back the two miles into the city centre, bought five books at a second hand book sale and had a wander round. I was sensible and kept my beer intake low (few pints) then carbed up a bit with a lamb kebab from a stall in the Shambles market. Spent a bit more time being a tourist and then made my way to my cheap cheap hotel which, as it turns out, was next to the race course. (So again, walked two miles up to it.)

YorkMinster

Time was getting on a bit (4pm) and I was tired from getting up so early so decided to nap. I set my alarm for 6pm and woke up at 10pm. Bugger. Luckily I’d bought a load of cheap food from Poundland so had a bit of carbs then went back to sleep around 1am.

York 10k Recap – 4th August 2019

I was awake at around 7am. Dunno why I couldn’t sleep much longer… My friend Rob was travelling from Bradford for the race so he was well on his way. My original plan was to sleep on his sofa but the hotel was cheap and figured that after the cost of York to Bradford then back to York this morning it was only costing an extra £10 or so. Plus it meant we had a place to keep our bags and then shower afterwards. Clever like a FOX.

I needed a coffee and because it was a cheap room there was no kettle, so I wandered to the breakfast area:

YorkCoffee

Full of caffeine, back to my room for a sandwich (carbs) then I walked up the road to meet Rob. After dropping his bag in my room we walked down the small field which brought us nicely out onto the race course where the 10k would start and end. (same race course as yesterday but started on the opposite side and went away from it.)

Rob wanted under 1hr 20mins and I was toying with the idea of under 50mins but it was already a hot day and I don’t do so well in the heat when walking, let alone running, so figured I’d follow a 50min pacer until I started flagging and then I’d drop back, but would stay in front of the 55min pacer. (All the tactics!) Rob went to the back of the pack and I said I’d meet him at the end.

The countdown was on, then we were off. York 10k is a funny route that takes in plenty of the local sights, but has a fair few turns. Like so:

York10kRoute

I kept the pacer in my sight but took me the first couple of kilometres before I caught up with her properly, as it was hard to navigate through the field of runners until we all leveled out a bit. I was quite warm and sweaty already so told myself to stick with her as long as possible, but not to over do it. I was carrying a bottle of water with me which was a good thing because I completely missed the first water station (3.5km), somehow managing to avoid the dozen or so volunteers thrusting water towards parched runners.

Running over the river for the first time, we approached the minster and a nice supportive crowd cheering everyone on. Then 5km went by and I still felt kinda good. To be honest, the motivation from the pacer was the main reason (COME ON KEEP GOING). Constantly shouting support at everyone around (EVERYONE DOING OK?) and giving advice such as pour water on your wrists instead of your head helps cool you down quicker, massive massive help!

Cliffords tower was the next landmark around about 6k and I got into conversation with the pacer who told me shes trained in Rio for the Olympics (!) and would also be pacing at York Marathon in October so knew I was in good hands (feet?).

7k approached after a long straight stretch along the river (IF YOU’RE STRUGGLING FIND AN ARSE TO LOOK AT AND CONCENTRATE ON THAT) then back over the bridge for the first of two quick out and back sections (IF YOU CHEAT I’LL BREAK YOUR LEGS) and then 9k went by.

Deciding to try finish strong I sped up as much as I could and got over the line in a 2nd best ever time of mine of 48:45! I’m not a dickhead though (not much…) and so made sure I waited for the pacer at the end to thank her for getting me round in such a decent time. Made her have a selfie with me, because that’s the age we live in.

YorkPacer

I hung around for Rob who finished a LOT quicker than he expected too, in 1hr 9mins. Then, obviously, we went for celebration beer. (After using the hotel shower and getting freshened up obviously.) Another great thing about York is the amount of pubs. We managed a few…

YorkMedal

YorkBEER

Next Up: Darlington 10k on the 11th August!

 

Edinburgh 1/2 Marathon Recap


In Which I Run VERY Tired

Edinburgh Half Marathon. As I live in Edinburgh, it’s my adopted hometown 1/2 Marathon race.  (That and the Scottish 1/2 Marathon in September which actually goes by my home…)

The previous two years I did the full marathon, finishing both years in around 5hrs (and last year being sponsored by a beer company, I got a HELLA lot of beer given!) This year however, I’m concentrating on York marathon in October so didn’t want to commit to doing two in a year. (I’ve run two a year in 2016, 2017, 2018. Gets tiring!)

To make the half marathon easy on myself I agreed to work the night shift just before. So I started work at 6.30pm on the Saturday, finished at 6.30am on the Sunday and the race began at 8am…

I hung around work when I finished as it was starting a few minutes walk away. I carbed up on a crappy microwave burger (seems to work for me!) and then got changed and set off in the pouring rain to the start line.

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People were soaked but their spirits could not be dampened. (I’m proud of that sentence!) The PA system was counting down by the minute and everyone looked excited and/or nervous, with lots of family and friends at the side lines cheering them on already.

EMFhalfCrowd

Then, we were off. Slowly, walking to the start line. It’s a huge undertaking I’m sure, getting all these people organised into start pens and making sure it all goes off without a hitch but it doesn’t stop people complaining that they have to walk a few minutes to begin the race. See it as a bit more of a warm up why don’t you?

The race starts very central to Edinburgh and within a few minutes I was running by Greyfriars Bobby and then my workplace. (National Library of Scotland.) The guys on the day shift said they’d be out front looking for me but they got confused and thought I was running the full which didn’t start until 10am. Turns out at 10am they spent AGES looking for me, but obviously I wasn’t there.

After the library we ran over the Royal Mile and down a hill called the Mound which lead us to Princes Street Gardens and a bit of people congestion so had to slow right down. Didn’t take long to get going again though, and we looped by Waverly Train Station and back on to the Royal Mile (which is a bit longer than a mile.)

EMF_MARATHON_2018 I felt surprisingly fresh after a 12hr night shift and was running quite well. Not fast, but I wasn’t struggling either. My plan for this run was just to enjoy it, finish and get the medal. We then ran in front of Arthurs Seat (a HUGE hill) and at 5k we left the city behind. (But not the rain.)

I was expecting to have to walk at the water station but carried on running. Mile 5 soon arrived and then we stuck to the coast line for the next three miles before coming slightly inland and running near the historic Musselburgh racecourse and that brought me to mile 9, which is where my tiredness caught up and I had a walk break. NINE miles constant running after a night shift though! I was VERY chuffed with that! I could see the finish area on the other side of the road but still had a way to go.

After that it was 2 miles on the same road before turning back for the final 2 mile stretch. The sun came out for a couple minutes, didn’t like what it saw and went away again. The last few miles of my race was a mixture of running and walking and I was enjoying myself more than I thought I would be. Time flew by and all of a sudden I was in the final stretch, down the finishers chute and done!

In my head I wanted around 2hrs 10mins and I completed in 2hrs 5mins 8secs. Can’t argue with that! Handily, the in-laws live close to the finish line so I went there for a shower and some cuddles from my baby. He made sure the medal wasn’t fake.

EMFhalfFinn

And there you go! Turns out that I can run okayish even when tired which is good news for marathon training surely? I usually run after my 12hr day shifts but this is the first time ever I’ve run after a night shift. Next race I’m entered for is Leeds 10k at the start of July and I want to get close to my PB of 47.57. If I do or if I don’t, there’ll be plenty beer afterwards..!

Speaking of which, you thought I’d forgotten!

EMFhalfBeer

TA-DA!

Marathon Season Approaches!


In Which I Make My Yearly Promise To ‘Take This Seriously’

For a month or so now I’ve been taking this running business quite seriously. Every year when York Marathon is on the horizon (It’s in October. You knew that.) I always tell myself that this year will be a PB (Personal Best) but then I don’t do enough running to be able to finish well.

(I know what you’ll say, finishing a marathon is an achievement in itself and you’re right, you’re very wise.)

But still, I want to do better. My PB is 3h 59m 15s (it was THAT close to 4hrs) and I set that way back in 2015. In the same year I got a 10k PB of 47:57 and that still stands too. This year, however, I’m aiming high. Or long. Far? I dunno, I want new PBs dammit!

I have three decent shots at a 10k PB over the next few months. There’s Leeds 10k in July (I finished that once in 50 minutes), then Musselburgh 10k (Not done that one before) and in September there’s the Scottish 10k where I finished one year in 49 minutes.

That would bring me nicely to York Marathon in October, where I want to get around 3h 45m. Which is why I’m running a bugger load just now.

Dalkeith Bluebell 10k (Trail Run) 28th April 2019

Dalkeith Bluebell Trail run is set in Dalkeith Country Park, which is in Dalkeith and is a park. The run is on trails. This was my first official trail run ever, in just over seven years of running! It was quite a warm day and I didn’t really know what to expect from the route. We’ve been to the country park a few times and I’ve noticed hills while I’ve been there but was hoping there wouldn’t be too many. I was wrong.

bbellhouse

We started in view of the big country manor house and then were straight onto the trails. There was a 5k or 10k option on this one, both starting at the same time. The 10k was the 5k route and then a different second half, with plenty hills.

5k went by quite quickly with a VERY steep hill just before the 5k point and then we were into the second half of the run. Ran by plenty cows and over lots of trees roots, and of course (as the name suggests) there was loads of bluebells knocking around. The sun came out and it became a bit of a struggle, dealing with the heat and the hills but I kept my head on and ran the entire 10k without any walking.

bbellroute

Total of 386ft of hills pretty much killed me off, so I then went into Edinburgh to meet for beer and went to see the new Avengers film, followed by more beer. The medal was a very unique home made wooden one! Never had a wood one before! This race was on the same day as London Marathon, and of course I’ve entered the ballot yet again for a space at London next year. They must let me in at some point!

bbellmedalbeer

I have a couple more recaps waiting in the wings to be posted but figure I’ll space them out to keep the anticipation going. That’s if anyone still reads my blog…!

 

Running into Fatherhood


In Which I Get My Own Little Runner Bean

Oh hi there, didn’t see you. Were you hiding under the table? Very odd of you. ANYWAY stop going on about yourself I have news.

I had a baby!

Well, technically Hayley had a baby but he’s half mine and he’s perfect even though he quite often stinks.

He turned up six months ago, so now we have a six month old baby because that’s how time and aging works.

I’ve not had so much time to concentrate on proper training since he turned up (but did York marathon again in October). I managed to run most days in January but then had sickness for the last couple days. Then had a few days in Vegas with my friend Rob and that took a couple weeks to recover from…

Which brings us to March! Been out a few times with the boy in a running buggy that we bought. (Boy in the buggy, me pushing.)

I’ve entered the Edinburgh Kilomathon (13.1km) in April, Edinburgh half marathon in May and of course Yorkshire marathon in October. Decided that this year is gonna be a year of PBs and learning how to Dad.

Can’t wait!

Mad Dog ’18 Race Recap


In Which I Go Back AGAIN

Mad Dog. One of my first 10k races ever and the one that I always say means that my running year has started properly. (York marathon in October signalling that I can take it easy over the winter. As though I’ve been pounding the pavements all summer..!)

The main concern with this years Mad Dog (Sixth year in a row I’ve been there!) was getting there. (Floo powder?) For the five years previous I’ve been living in Yorkshire and so a little over an hour drive and you’re there. At the end of last Summer we moved up to just outside Edinburgh and so the commute to the race got a bit longer. Four hours to be exact. (Not too exact. Four and a bit hours. Four hours 15 minutes. And 17 seconds. Not counting stopping off.)

(Four hours 37 minutes and 32 seconds in total to be exact.)

(Roughly.)

There was also the matter of staying over to take into account as it was too much driving (For Hayley) to go there and back in the same day (lazy) so we decided to make a weekend of it. (In Southport. In Winter.)

I had a hotel booked (Ramada Plaza) with payment on arrival, which was £90 for room only so we decided to stay Friday and Saturday nights. A few days before race day however, I got an email from the (excellent) organisers of the Mad Dog 10k saying that you could get Bed and Breakfast for £90 a night and organise late check out if you mentioned Mad Dog but only at the hotel… Ramada Plaza!

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Straight on to the phone was I, and the nice lady at the other end changed my booking. Same price as before but now with late checkout and breakfast for us both? Magic!

I won’t bore you with the Friday and Saturday details because you’re here for the race recap and not a holiday recap. But we ate plenty, had a good wand-around, Hayley spilled my beer all down me on the Friday, and we played in loads of Amusements and won a baby Groot after spending a few quid(ditch).

Sunday Morning 

Getting up nice and early (nope, snoozed my alarm loads) we went down for breakfast. I took it easy and had bacon (x2) sausage (x2) hash brown (x2) and coffee (x2 and a bit.) We then walked the 15 minutes to the car park where the coaches were lined up shuttling runners and spectators to the start of the race. Only takes five minutes or so on the transfer buses and its free for everyone.

Every year there’s a movie/tv theme to the Mad Dog 10k with a canine connection. This year was Hairy Potter and The Half Bred Pup and as such there were plenty of Harry Potter costumes going on. We saw a few wizards, plenty of HP scarves, a woman dressed as a broomstick and, oddly, five blokes dressed as the Spice Girls. (It’s not Leviosah, it’s Levi-Zigga-ZiggAH.)

A nice touch and to save time at the end, you can get your t-shirt and goody bag before the run. (Medals at the end still.) It means that if people want to run in that years themed tshirt they can, and also reduces congestion at the end of the race. The goody bag is BRILLIANT. You can wait til the end though.

Time to line up so went and lined up. Must’ve got giddy with my predicted time because I was right at the front. The race was started by Jo Pavey (an ACTUAL Olympian) and after a countdown and some barking, we were off. The course is an out-loop-back kinda set up. The first and last 2.5k are on the same stretch of road with a 5k loop in the middle.

There’s plenty of bands/singers/entertainment going on and the middle loop is always well supported. You run alongside the coast for a lot of the run and even though the day had started off icy, it was very nice running weather.

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Now the thing is, starting too far forward means that there’s fast people around you. From the start. And because they are fast you feel you have to go fast too as otherwise they all overtake you. Which is why, after planning to start off around 8m15s a mile, I clocked my first mile at 7m15s. WAY too quick. I actually did the first two miles in 15 minutes which is probably where the (golden) stitch came from to slow me down.

Running towards the Pier and by the Elvis impersonator (think he lives under that Pier, he’s always there) I made myself slow down because I knew I couldn’t keep that pace for long without messing up the second half of the race. Still, first 5km done in bang on 24 minutes.

Water station coming up so allowed myself to walk through it to get some energy back before tackling the second half (blood prince) of the course. I was nowhere near the speed that I had before and that was fine by me. Sub 50 was ebbing away but figured I can still get under 51 minutes. Before I knew it I was back on the main road and then turning towards the finish line, keep going keep going annnnnnnddd…… finished. 50:41.

Chuffed.

So that’s that! Mad Dog 10k done for six years in a row now. Will I make it back for next years race? Always. (Especially seeing as though it’s called “Bark To The Future”!)

Oh wait! Before you go!

LOOK AT THE GOODY BAG!

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Backpack, Running hat, Racebelt (THAT HAS A FLASHING LIGHT) Water Bottle, Fridge Magnet Picture Frame, Snood, Fruit, Energy Drinks, Number Clips, loads of snacks PLUS the Medal and TShirt! (The bar just above the bag is a doggy treat bar. I’ve seen a few people on facebook that didn’t realise it wasn’t an energy bar til too late… Mongrels!)

*flies off on his broomstick for butterbeer*

Great Edinburgh Winter 5k Run


In Which I Wasn’t Expecting To Go So Far Up

Saturday morning. Odd day for a race, a Saturday. I think every other race I’ve taken part in has been on a Sunday. Probably because there was a televised cross country run around the same area later on in the day, but still. A Saturday. 

We woke up around 7am then snoozed til around 7:20, as is the tradition. I got up and made myself and Hayley a wonderful home made breakfast (microwave burger to share, I normally have one to myself but as it was only a 5k that felt greedy.)

Got to the bus stop a few minutes before the bus arrived (handy) and stayed on it for around 40 minutes before getting off quite near Holyrood park where the run was taking place. (Which is obviously why we got off there…)

Ten minutes steady walk and a quick look around then it was pretty much time to line up for the warm up. I don’t usually take part in the warm up for two reasons:

1. I use the first mile as my warm up, and:

2. I don’t want to look like a knob.

However! I took part this time for two reasons:

1. It was a 5km run so not long enough to use a mile as a warm up, and:

2. It was chuffing freezing.

Warm up done, it was go time. I’ve not been around this area so much but figured that it would be a lap of Arthur’s Seat and so nice and steady. Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano and popular with climbers, it’s not too hard to get to the top. (Been there, done that.) The views from the top of Edinburgh are amazing. 

Back to the run! Started off easy enough, nice and flat route for a few minutes then we turned a corner and… hill. Big hill. BIG hill! Should’ve checked the route.

Turns out the first mile included 200ft of climb. And I felt every foot. In my feet. And legs. But the views from the top were amazing. There was a bloke playing bagpipes at the top and he must’ve had a lift up because otherwise he would’ve not had enough air in his lungs to play. 

The down hill section was fun though. Not done many 5k races and so it seemed over very quick. Especially the last mile. Before I knew it I was over the line and getting my goody bag with a brand new medal and t-shirt. 

Found Hayley easy enough and we watched a few of the runners finishing before heading off to Wetherspoons for a breakfast and to recover. 

I love food. Normally, right around now I’d show you the medal draped over a cool, refreshing pint of lager. Unfortunately I’m still doing Dry January so here’s my medal with diet coke instead. 

Looks just as good, right?

Next Up: Mad Dog 10k on Feb 4th. Can’t WAIT!

Mapping Out 2018


In Which I Try Organise My Race Year

Where I’m At Now:

2018 is over a week old and I’m still feeling positive about my New Years Resolutions. I decided to take on Dry January (No alcohol for the whole month) and I’m pleased to say I’m still going strong. Not had a beer since New Years Eve and for someone that used to drink almost every night after work, I feel that’s a great achievement. Tomorrow is a third of the month gone! I’ve stuck a calendar for January on my fridge to cross off the days and put the beer that was still in the fridge in the pan cupboard behind the old pans we don’t use. Hardly hear it calling out to me anymore…

I’ve always said though that once you get through the first three days of something then you’re good for the rest of the time. (Just read an article that says it takes 66 days to make a new habit but mine gets it done in three days so we’ll stick with that.)

Also, I’ve been healthy eating as much as I can. (As in, sticking to healthy eating as much as I can. Not eating as much as I can of healthy food.) Apart from one meal at a chinese restaurant and one unhealthy-ish meal at home, I’m doing ok.

I’ve been out for a couple runs too but only 5k’s. Easing myself back into it. Weighing myself every Monday morning and the first week weigh in said that I’d lost 5lbs. In a week! Chuffed with that!

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Where I’m At Later On:

This Saturday (13th January) is the Edinburgh Winter 5k run. I don’t really enter 5km races but think doing the run and getting the medal and t-shirt at the end will be a good boost to my motivation.

Then in a few weeks it’s down to Southport for my SIXTH time running in the Mad Dog 10k race. I wasn’t going to do it this year (what with now living in Scotland and it being a 4hr drive away) but we’re using it as an excuse to have a weekend away from home. (To Southport. In winter. Logic.)

Plus I’m a Harry Potter geek and when the race is called this, how could I say no?

maddog

After that the next run I’ve got booked is the Edinburgh Marathon in May. Looking to get a new PB at that one (and no sunburn, not like LAST year…)

July might see us having a trip down to Yorkshire and doing the Leeds 10k. Depends on travel costs though, train tickets for that weekend at the moment are just over £100… EACH! Hoping they bring out some cheaper ones closer to the time.

Then October is the Yorkshire Marathon. That’ll be the sixth time I run it (every year its been going) and all things going well, will be my 10th marathon overall. I love that run.

And that’s it so far! That’s what I have organised for the year. I’ve been looking into a running club near home to get my arse in gear so when I get chance will have a wander down and see what the set up is. Think it’ll be good motivation!

Next Race:

Edinburgh Winter 5k – 13th January 2018

Instagram: @Zepalm 

Strava: Marc Hemingway