Well May, you were a busy month.
I’ve tried to condense this down but might be worth getting a cuppa and some biscuits. So here goes.
“May the Fourth be with you”. I’m a big Star Wars fan and the past few years I’ve done a virtual run on the 4th May to collect some Star Wars themed bling. This year I added BB8 to my collection.
May 5th. A friend asked if someone would run with 2 of her kids at parkrun while she ran with her other child who runs a little slower. I said I would help out, thinking it would be a steady run as I had the Tees Barrage 10k coming up in a couple of days.
Off the whippets went at Tees Barrage parkrun and in my role as ‘responsible adult’ I followed them closely. I was told it would be a steady 29/30 minutes, 26 and a half minutes later we crossed the finish line. They kept a steady pace all the way round and one achieved a new PB and the other achieved a new course PB.
Bank Holiday May 7th.
My wife has recently be working towards a sub 60 minutes 10k and at the local Tees Barrage 10k we tried to make it happen with me pacing her round.
I knew the route well but the weather was warm and sunny, it was going to be a bit tougher. There was many members from our running group Orchard Eagles Running Club either running or marshalling at the event.
Justine and me had a good run but it was just a bit too warm. We crossed the line together in 1:01, close but we knew on a cooler day we could go under 60 minutes.
The race is a good one. A lovely run along the banks of the Tees. Strangely you get your goodie bag with your race number before the start though.
It was our first race event with the Eagles, and it was great to have t support and encouragement throughout the run. We finally got to enjoy the sun that day with post race drinks.
Less than a week on from the Tees Barrage 10k and another chance to get Justine a sub 60 minutes 10k at the Sunderland 10k.
I did the race last year and really enjoyed it, getting a 10k PB also. One of my favourite memories from last year was meeting so many people and the atmosphere at the race. This year’s race was very much the same.
We had arranged to meet up with Andy and Neale from Team Tedious. Always great to see them and especially back at Sunderland, the goal of our Team Totum training back in 2017.
We missed the Orchard Eagles pre race group photo as we were too busy chatting to various other people at the run. A couple of mentions, CarolineAmes one of the run’s ambassadors and new Racecheck #visorclub member. And not forgetting the shy and retiring ColinBurgin-Plews aka Big Pink Dress. Colin as always was running for charity, this time, the Chloe and Liam Together Forever Trust.
Justine and myself were joined on the start line by Andy. Neale was doing the half marathon distance which was starting after the start of the 10k. Off we went in hunt of a sub 60 minutes 10k. The conditions were a lot better than a week ago.
We made our way through the city centre streets, across the Queen Alexandra Bridge and down to the riverside. Pushing on to the marina and then turned onto the seafront.
At this point we realised we were going faster than planned and would struggle to keep this pace up. I eased the pace up before entering Roker Park and by the time we exited the park we had settled into the pace we should’ve been doing.
Andy had pulled away from us at this point as he tried to keep the quicker pace going. The last few miles now and I tried to keep Justine going, keeping the pace and with words of encouragement. Crossing the bridge again I knew Justine was going to get the sub 60 minutes. On the final corner we got some support from fellow club runner Anita.
With the crowds building, the finish line was in sight and Justine kicked as she saw the time on the finish gantry.
58:22 Sub 60 minutes 10k smashed! So proud of the progress my wife has made in the first year of her running. Not bad for someone who never ran before, did C25K and still hated running. She likes it now.
After finishing the 10k we joined Andy and his family to watch Neale finish the half marathon. Neale had been training hard to do a sub 90 minutes half marathon here at Sunderland.
As the time ticked on we kept glancing down the road and then back at the finish clock. Neale appeared and with a quick glance again at the time we realised he was going to do. Cheering him on as he ran passed, it was great to see him cross the line and achieve his goal. Sunderland was again another great event and with us achieving our goals it was a very successful one too.
May 19th/20th. The RnR Liverpool weekend.
After a crazy long train journey across to Liverpool we missed picking up our numbers at the Expo on the Friday night so had to pick them up before the 5k the following morning. There was going to be loads of members from our running group, the Orchard Eaglesover for the weekend and we met up before the 5k.
Justine and myself ran the 5k together. It was a good run around the docks and a great way to start the weekend. Plenty of support along the route from spectators and marshals, with some live music to liven the atmosphere. Justine got a new 5k PB too.
My 5k run was dedicated to the memory of James as part of the James Marshall Memorial Beep Beep Baton Relay. For the month of May, different DB runners run a minimum of 5k and then passed the virtual baton to the next runners.
After the 5k we picked up my half marathon number and our numbers for the 1 mile race. There was also the chance to pick up my half marathon finisher’s t-shirt. Found this a bit odd but the queue was short so I got mine.
Later in the day we went back to the Expo to have a good look around. Picked up a few freebie, looked at a virtual medal I’m earning later in the year and my wife bought some Aftershoks for her mum. That evening we met up with loads of the Eagles for a carb loading meal.
Half marathon day! After group photos with the Eagles and the Racecheck #visorclub, I found my starting pen and prepared for the run.
My main aim for the half was to just enjoy it. No time goal, no pressure, just have fun. The weather was warm and sunny, this was another good reason to take the race steady. I thought about 2 hours 15 would be a decent time.
Off we went. Round the docks and up into the city streets. Back down to the docks and then back up into the city streets towards China Town. The first few miles were quite hilly but I was glad it was at the start and we got them out of the way. We passed the famous Cavern Club too.
After China Town we headed into tree lined streets and parkland. A nice bit of shelter from the sun. Back down through the streets to the banks of the Mersey.
The support from the watching crowds was excellent. There was many live bands blasting out music along the route which helped with the superb race atmosphere. Another great motivator was the support and encouragement from fellow runners and especially my fellow Eagles, DB and #visorclub runners.
I heard that the last 3 or so miles were tough but by this point by legs had gone. I’d kept a good pace up to 10 miles, although I never looked at my watch. The slog along to the finish was tough and by 12 miles I felt for the first time ever that I couldn’t carry on.
The well stocked water stations were like a little oasis on the run in the heat. I grabbed a final bottle of water for a drink and to pour over myself, and thought to myself, I'm nearly there. Come one.
With my stubbornness and the timely appearance of my wife encouraging me on the roadside, I dug in and finished. It was only then I looked at the time and realised I done 2:01. I was really happy with that time.
After the run I collected my fab spinning medal and what seemed like my weekly shopping in drinks, fruit and sweets. I met my wife and we headed back down the course to watch our fellow Eagles finish their races.
I was so glad my wife brought some sandwiches and other food with her. I was feeling warm, light headed and a bit sick. I was suffering from the heat and it took me along time to recover.
After seeing the rest of the half marathon Eagles come home, we headed round to the Finisher’s village to meet up with them.
The RnR events are famous for their medals and the amount of them. I’d completed the 5k and half marathon, which meant I earned another medal. I picked this up at a very busy and unorganised stand in the village.
We didn’t have long until our next race, the fun 1 miler. A small group of us headed down to the docks for the start.
I think that was the slowest 1 mile I’ve ever run but we had a bit of fun on the way round the docks.
Well, that was Liverpool done. 5k, Half Marathon and 1 mile races in the bag. 4 medals round my neck and 1 finisher’s t-shirt on me. It was a fantastic weekend of running. It was great to share it with friends and meet new ones.
I love parkrun and how it has helped my running over the past couple of years. Today was a special parkrun for me, my 100th!
The Destination Boro runners were having an ‘on tour’ event at Redcar parkrun so I decided to join them. My wife and son said they would also run with me. Now I wants to mark the occasion in some way and decided to wear my inflatable dinosaur costume, just for fun. My wife ran on her own and got a new PB while I ran with my son nearer the back. The support from the parkrun volunteers and fellow runners was fantastic.
May 28th/30th. After a busy month, Justine and myself had a lovely few days away at Champneys Springs in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. This was a heavily discounted stay through our new insurance company, Vitality.
Now most people go to a Spa to chill out and do nothing but we ran everyday. But running is how I relax.
Throughout May I did the #MilesForMind virtual running challenge with Runr. It was to raise funds for the mental health charity Mind and to promote awareness of mental health problems. I pledged to do 50 miles which was too low really as I ended up running 89.2 miles in May, my biggest mileage for a month ever I think.
Congratulations on reaching the end of the blog. I said it would be a long one!
For now, stay fit & healthy and enjoy your running.