London marathon training update: 7 weeks to go

Today I’ve woken up easier and clambered out of bed quicker than I have done in weeks. It’s brilliant that even on an early Monday morning (on Mondays I start work over an hour earlier than the rest of the week) it is now pretty much light when I open my blind just after 6am.

Spring definitely sprung in London this weekend, and with it brought the short shorts out for the first time in several months. After years of insisting I’m a cold weather runner, I’m beginning to think that my enjoyment of a run is in fact directly influenced by the number of pieces of clothing I’m wearing (i.e. the fewer the better). I’m looking forward to testing this theory.

Although my mileage isn’t completely back on track after this week, it has been a marked improvement on last week’s write off. I’ve run four times, although three of those were only 5k or less. On Tuesday, I ran only a couple of hours after leaving my colleagues in the pub (I won’t be drinking pint or two of pale ale the wrong side of a run again). And Saturday’s parkrun was probably the most hungover I’ve been whilst running and definitely the closest I’ve ever been to vomming in public. Can you see a pattern here?!

After a night of no wine (!) and a full 8 hours sleep, I got up on Sunday morning to tackle 18 miles. The first 11 were run on my own (the longest I’ve ever managed solo) along Regent’s canal before meeting Stephanie in Hyde Park. By the time she appeared before me, my knees had already decided I wasn’t going to make it all the way back home, but stopping after 14 miles by Embankment and diving straight into a giant latte felt like progress nonetheless.

On Friday, I fly to Barcelona for a long weekend, and I’m already excited about clocking those 18 miles on Spanish soil. The Estrella at the end is going to taste so good.

Sheringham parkrun

This weekend I’ve been at my parents’ place in North Norfolk.

In the week, I emailed my mum and suggested that I’d quite like to go to a parkrun on Saturday morning. Their location lends itself to three different parkrun options – Norwich, King’s Lynn or Sheringham – none of which I have previously visited.

I have to say, I am very happy with my mum’s suggestion of Sheringham, it was probably my favourite parkrun to date.

Sheringham Park is about a 20-25 minute drive away from where my parents live, so at around 08:20 on Saturday morning, me and my Dad along with greyhound Freddie and whippet cross Honey jumped in the car and headed on over. We timed it perfectly, arriving to news of free parking for parkrunners (woohoo!) and just in time for the 08:50 briefing.

It was the second anniversary of Sheringham parkrun this weekend, so the briefing included a lot of thanks and praise for all the run directors, volunteers and regular runners. It kicked off the celebratory atmosphere nicely.

Being the 1st November, there was also a lot of impressive Halloween fancy dress on show, and I did feel a little bit bad for not making more of an effort – or at least donning some devil horns.

The route itself could not have been more different from the parkrun I went to the week before at Burgess. On the website it is described as “undulating… with a sting in it’s tail” and I would definitely have to agree with that. It was (what I would call) hilly, and also trailly… possibly a bit too much for my liking, but nice for a change. The one thing I loved though was that it was ONE LAP! From what I can tell, one lap parkruns (particularly in my part of London) are pretty rare, so having just one lap to do of a completely unknown course was an absolute joy.

Whilst I ran, my dad and the dogs went for an explore of the park and at the end, we headed to the café for a coffee and cheese scone, and stayed around for the trophy presentations (top 3 males, top 3 females, top junior and top volunteer of the previous year) and to enjoy some of the Halloween treats provided by some of the runners.

We experienced a really lovely, friendly, inclusive family atmosphere – exactly what parkrun is all about. I’m really hoping that this introduction to parkrun might see my dad return in the future to tackle the course himself.