Huntingdon parkrun – #55

Last Saturday Laura arrived at mine bright and early and I drove us over to Huntingdon parkrun in Cambridgeshire.  I have run the Huntingdon course before as part of the New Year Double earlier in the year, but it was a course Laura needed to add to her list of parkrun tourism events.

It was super hot on Saturday morning.  There were barely any clouds up in the sky by the time we arrived at 8:30am.  Any which were up there were just of the pale white, wispy variety.

Huntingdon parkrun - no cloudsWe hung around at the back of the race briefing as Laura hadn’t run the course before, although I had already filled her in on the route and what to expect.  The chap giving the briefing was super animated and got the runners hyped up before the run.  There were actually quite a few tourists at the event so we weren’t alone.  There were even several from places abroad!

The Huntingdon event is run round Hinchingbrooke park, starting on the field before heading out onto the hardstanding track, through the woods alongside the water, past the cafe (where there are always dozens of supporters!)…

Huntingdon parkrun

(Photo by Paul Homewood)

…out through some more trees (where there were plenty of children requesting sweaty high 5s from us back runners), past the most enthusiastic marshal in the world and round for a second lap.

There is a slight hill as you head back through more trees and I chose to walk it both times to recatch my breath on the course.  It was hot and sweaty out there last Saturday!

The past few weeks of morning parkruns have seen the top of my right leg become super heavy as I’ve set off.  I don’t know if this is due to a mix of the extra weight I’m now carrying, or the varicose veins on that side which are adding to the heavy feeling.  It’s almost like I end up carrying a half-dead leg for the first couple of miles until it fully wakes up.  Yet, I haven’t had any issues with this leg on my evening runs?

I remembered the enthusiastic marshal at the halfway point/300m before the finish from when I ran the event at New Year.  One of the runners that I had been alongside then told me that he was always marshaling on that corner.  It was nice to recognise someone from a previous visit.

The marshal was shouting out to everyone that came past and had a huge amount of energy!  As Laura and I came past for the second time he screamed at us “Are you going to let those two women in front beat you to the finish?!  I think not!  Run!”  Laura turned and asked if I fancied picking up the pace to take down the two ladies who were now a little way in front of us.  Of course my answer was “Yes!” and we sped up enough to overtake them and continue to the finish.  Laura continued to pick up the pace, but my legs were stuck at a 7:37mm speed so she ended up finishing several seconds in front of me.  I saw an older gentleman just in front of me and decided that he would be a further target for me to beat to the line.  I felt a bit bad afterwards, as checking the results when I got home he was in the M70-74 category and in the photo below you can clearly see he picked up the pace to stay with me to the line.  (Good on him though!)  I overtook a few metres before crossing for the finish.

Huntingdon parkrun

(Photo by Paul Homewood)

Mile 1: 11:15
Mile 2: 11:15
Mile 3: 11:48
Nubbin (0.15m): 7:37mm pace

Huntingdon parkrun at 29w 4 days pregnantIt felt good to sprint finish, but I was glad that the weather was nice enough that I could lie down on the grassy finish line for a few minutes before heading over to get my barcode scanned!

Garmin time: 35:25
Official time: 35:27
Position: 295/364
Gender position: 108/157
Age category position: 21/26
Huntingdon parkrun volunteer boardI didn’t have my phone on me but I got Laura to take photos of the volunteer boards by the race briefing start.  Volunteer boards are such a great idea.  I love that the first board was filled with fun doodles and also had pictures of all of the core team so that they would be easily recognised and thanked at the event.

The second board listed the dates for the next three weeks of parkrun and contained a hanging pen so that any attendees could add their name to the rota for the coming weeks.

Huntingdon parkrun volunteer board

How does your local parkrun recruit volunteers?
Any top marshals to mention from your parkrun?
Did you cope OK running in the heat of last weekend?

The pre-Welly 5 BBQ run

Our club holds a 5 mile race annually on the outskirts of our home town of Wellingborough.  The ‘Wellingborough 5‘.  A tradition 10 days beforehand is to hold a ‘test’ event, known to our members as the ‘Pre Welly 5 BBQ run’.  This fell last Thursday evening.

The original idea behind the event is that the race organisers can check the smooth-running of the event and it also gives those who will be marshaling the event on the day the opportunity to run the course.  Our chosen club ‘teams’ of runners for the actual race on the Sunday head out on the course to marshal the BBQ run.

And…it gives us a chance to grab a yearly photo of a large majority of our club runners too!Pre Welly 5 BBQ runMy 5 mile PB of 45:55 was actually set at last year’s BBQ run.  I had a great year of PBs last year.  I’d put in a lot of training and obviously selected the right races to perform well at!  The Wellingborough 5 is a fairly fast and flat course with a lot of PB potential.  It was actually my second 5 mile PB of that year, having secured my first improvement just a couple of months earlier.  2014 wasn’t such a great BBQ run though.  At the time I had been struggling to handle my new addiction to running ultra distances whilst still being able to convert my pacing to short road distances.  You can read about the horror of that run here.

As I’m marshaling at the actual Wellingborough 5 event next Sunday I wasn’t required to marshal at the BBQ run as well.  However, following a lot of thought I decided that it would be wise for me to volunteer to help with the timing on the finish line.  If I raced the BBQ run I knew there would be a good chance that I would push myself too hard, knowing all of the other runners in the event, or that I would be disappointed in trying to pace myself but being unable to do so if the baby wasn’t playing ball.  Both ridiculous at nearly 30 weeks pregnant, but both things I wanted to avoid if possible.  I’m very happy to still be able to run and if that means no races for a few months, just chatty parkruns and social trail running then so be it.  I’m still running!

Pre Welly 5 BBQ runAfter the group photos the runners were started and I moved along to the finish line along with Laura and Lucia who would also be on the timing station with me.  Laura had the stopwatch, so would call out the times as runners crossed the line and Lucia would chase up anybody whose name we weren’t sure of for me to match the two up and list in the results table.

BBQ run results

Although I know most of our own members, it is also tradition for us to invite neighbouring club Northampton Road Runners, and this year, for the first time we also invited our even closer neighbours, Redwell Runners to join us for the event.

Redwell Road Runners

There were a couple of members out on the course with cameras during the event.  I love this shot of some of our runners at the halfway point.

Group 6 at the Welly 5 BBQ runThis runner took some really good pictures.  (Photo envy!)  I shall have to enquire about what settings he uses on his camera!

Runners usually finish anywhere between 32 and 62 minutes – with our faster runners marshaling at the BBQ run in order to save their energy for the real race the following week.  Once the last of the runners has crossed the finish line we head inside the Old Grammarian’s Sports Club for drinks and to put food on the BBQs another non-runner has been busy lighting whilst the rest of the runners are out on the course.

With the course all packed up it’s time to concentrate on refuelling and drinking, and then there is always the club raffle, famous for it’s multitude of prizes (pretty much just bottles of wine, with the occasional multipack of fags on the table too!)

Does your club hold any events with other local clubs?
How do you decide when it is best not to race an event?


A very hot Houghton Hall Race for Life

Last Tuesday I managed to sneak out of work on time (I never manage to get away from work until late!) so that I was able to make the drive back to Norfolk and run the Houghton Hall Race for Life event with my Mum.

Houghton Hall Race4Life 2016 with Mum(I realise I look like a giant next to her here!)

We first ran the event together back in 2014 and several weeks ago now Mum asked if I would enter it with her again this year.

Tuesday was the hottest day of the year so far.  The radio announced the temperature as reaching a high of 32 degrees at one point(!)  Even though I’d been sat in a classroom all day in a loose-fitting dress with the fans on full, I just could not cool down, and being sat in a car for a further two hours in the blazing sun meant that by the time I rolled up at Tesco in Kings Lynn to get changed in the customer toilets I was sweaty and fed up of being stuck in traffic.  I was very glad to arrive at Houghton Hall and escape the heat of the car!

The event is set in lovely grounds and there were plenty of white deer grazing along the entry drive on my way in, seemingly oblivious to the scores of cars streaming past them.

Once I arrived, I realised I had no signal on my phone and from catching snippets of other conversations it appeared nobody else did either.  Unable to call my parents to arrange meeting up, I was now not sure how I was going to spot them with the thousands of other runners there and with the majority of people wearing pink!

I sat out on the boot of my car and the lady in the car next to me got out and nervously asked if I had run the event before.  She had been let down by the person who had planned to run with her and was feeling rather nervous about venturing over on her own.  I (hopefully!) reassured her that everybody had been very welcoming at the event when I had taken part a few years earlier and that there had been several people out there on their own – everyone spoke to everyone else.

In return she helped me car-watch for my parents’ bright green car!

Eventually, after about half an hour, we spotted them stood at the entrance looking for me and I wished the woman luck and we parted ways as she headed over to join in the warm up event.

Houghton Hall Race4Life 2016 with Mum and Dad

I changed into my trainers and pinned my number on the front of my pink t-shirt.  First time I’d not actually been able to see a race number due to the bump getting in the way!

29 weeks pregnant - Race for Life belly shot

There was still a warm up this year, although Mum and I didn’t partake as we were already pretty warm!  I did think it was rather silly to begin a warm up 45 minutes before the start of the event though and the warm up also started with static stretches – a pet hate of mine as this is asking for injury!

Sensibly though, the race organisers emphasised that due to the heat, all runners needed to rethink their plan for the evening, and if the initial plan had been to run the event, there was no shame in walking.  It was all about getting round safely and staying safe in the crazy heat of the day.

Mum hadn’t trained for the event this year, and so armed with a bottle of water each we sensibly decided to walk the majority of the event, with just a run towards the end on the way to the finish.Houghton Hall Race4Life 2016 with MumTo be honest, the ground was very rough going.  I had worn an old pair of road shoes and, even if I hadn’t been 29 weeks pregnant at the time I would have been concerned about tripping up.  The grass had been roughly hacked at, but was very springy and still several inches high, yet curved over the top of itself, making it hard to judge your footing in several places out on the course.

Like last time, we were directed to the start line in groups of runners, then joggers, then walkers.

Houghton Hall Race4Life 2016 with MumIt was really great that everywhere you looked all you could see was a giant sea of the colour pink and so many different women of all ages and sizes out there.

Houghton Hall Race4Life 2016 with Mum

On the way out and on the way back in we passed a large group of singers on the side who were very enthusiastically singing and keeping people moving on their way past.

Houghton Hall Race4Life 2016 with Mum

The event took us 1 hour and 19 seconds before we crossed the line at the finish and there were still hundreds of other women behind us.

We were each handed a bottle of water, a chocolate croissant and our race medal once having crossed the line and we made our way back to the cars.

I followed my parents home and enjoyed a lovely salmon salad before an early night.  I had to be back out on the road by 5am the following morning to ensure I could manage the trip back to school in Cambridgeshire to be there for 7am.

Super organised and I left on time.  What I hadn’t realised though was that I would not have enough petrol to get back to school…

Panicked driving between every petrol station I knew of along the A148 wasn’t how I had wanted to start my morning off before 5:30am!  Eventually I ended up sat in Sainsbury’s petrol station in Kings Lynn along with two other rather desperate looking motorists waiting for the magical 6am when the pumps kicked in with fuel!

Have you taken part in any of the Race4Life events?
How close do you leave it to the line before topping up your petrol?!

29 and 30 weeks pregnant

I’ve grouped these two weeks together as I kept falling behind on my recaps.  I’m 30 weeks today, as my weeks change over on a Tuesday (eep!  Three quarters of the way through now!), so hopefully I will be able to post a little more in sync with where I am for the remaining weeks.

29 weeks pregnant…

29 weeks pregnant - Race for Life belly shot


I ran the Linford Wood parkrun on the Saturday, and then the Race4Life event on the Tuesday.  Just 2x 5ks this week, and my Mum and I walked almost all of the Race4Life event.  (Hottest day of the year, hello!)  Event recap to follow in a later post.Houghton Hall Race4Life 2016 with MumIt wasn’t a huge amount of running this week.  I had a high workload at school as year 10 students returned from work experience placements and I was busy pulling students in to catch up with coursework projects before the Summer holidays began.  Things weren’t helped by Ofsted visiting us the previous week and with a member of our department leaving, the remaining members of our team were desperately scurrying around trying to ensure that everything was ready for the two new members of our team starting in September amongst all the other events taking place.

I started wearing shorts on runs again during this week.  In the early pregnancy days my loose-fitting shorts didn’t provide very much support and the baby would uncomfortably feel like it was bouncing around all over the place.  Now, I guess my belly has gotten a little bigger and everything stays in place a little better.  Plus, it has been WAY too hot for full length tights just lately!


Baby didn’t move a huge amount this week.  I wasn’t overly concerned, as I could still feel movements now and again.  The weather was ridiculously hot and when movements picked up the following week I put the lack of movement I had been having down to the weather.

30 weeks pregnant…

30 weeks pregnant


3 times this week finally!  Now that the Summer holidays have begun I should hopefully be able to fit more runs in again over the coming weeks, even if they end up only being short 5k distances as I slow down.

Run #1: 10k trail run with friends on the Wednesday evening.  (Me wearing bright blue in the middle.)

10k trail runIt was still super warm on Wednesday evening, although nowhere near as warm as it had been on the Tuesday night.  Fifteen of us headed out on a local trail for a really nice run along tracks that I hadn’t been down for some time.

Our trail run turned into a bit of an adventure though when our path crossed through a cow field.  A cow field which contained cows to the left of the path, and then several calves and what we realised was a large bull on the right!  We made it through that field rather quickly and out the other side again without looking back!

Parts of the fields we ran through were very overgrown, and at one point (not long after the bull incident!) I discovered it was just more straight forward to run through the high nettles rather than attempt to dodge my way through them.  I was going to get stung anyway!

One of the fields we ran along the outside of was filled with crops that attacked our legs and ripped my legs to shreds, depositing seeds in all of our trainers to taunt us further on our run!

Trainers covered in seedsI’m still not completely at the back of trail runs, which I am very grateful for.  I really did not expect to still be able to run out with friends at 30 weeks pregnant.  Long may it continue!

Run #2: Huntingdon parkrun on Saturday morning with Laura (post to follow).

Huntingdon parkrun at 29w 4 days pregnant(I am totally aware that I don’t even appear to have a bump here – definitely not a 29w 4d one at least – I just look kinda lumpy!)

This was a very hot morning but parkrun #55 for me ticked off the list!

Run #3: Planned – 5m easy run on Monday afternoon.  (Actual – 1.5m run/walk fail.)

I decided to head out on an easy 5m trail run alone in the afternoon.  I haven’t run alone for a long while now and rather than take all precautions before a run as I have been doing just lately (no food or drink beforehand, two loo trips before leaving the house and tight shorts/tights as kit to ensure bump stays in place) I was a little lax.  I’d just drunk a pint of water, only had one loo visit and wore a pair of size 14 shorts (I usually take a 12, or a 10 in some makes so the 14s were way too loose, despite pulling them up well over the widest part of my bump).  Something in that combination didn’t work for me.  I’m pretty sure it was the shorts.  I had barely gotten two streets away before I realised that my run was not going to go well.  I walked for a little while, initially thinking it had been drinking the water so close to setting out on the run.  It wasn’t until I crossed over the road and was the other side that I realised it was probably the less restricting shorts that I was wearing that were affecting my run.  When I cupped my right hand tightly around the base of my bump my running felt OK, but whenever my hand wasn’t in place I could strongly feel the jiggling and almost stitch-like sensation at the very bottom of the right side of my stomach.  I covered most of the first mile by holding my stomach tightly, but I realise I must have been quite a sight for the local business park I ran past just as shift change was occurring…A 30 weeks pregnant woman with a look of half-determination, half-frustration clutching at her bump and desperately trying to swing her left arm to compensate for the right not playing a part in the run!  Eventually I gave up before getting too far and vowed to rethink my wardrobe choices the following day!


Sleep was awful this week.  Dan headed to Wolverhampton for a suit fitting at the weekend and I always struggle to sleep properly on my own.  It’s a mixture of being out of routine; having no set bed-time and my meals being all out-of-whack as I struggle to get motivated to cook for one.

I went to bed at about 11pm on the Saturday night, woke up at 2am to the baby kicking really strongly, couldn’t get back to sleep so faffed around reading bits on the internet for a couple of hours before finally dropping back off again at 4:40am.  It was actually light outside by this point.  I was destroyed!  I then didn’t naturally wake up again until 9:45am.  Unheard of for me and I was glad that I had no set plans for the day.


This week was our final antenatal class.  For some reason it was held at 2pm, rather than 7pm as the previous weeks had been.  It meant that Dan had to work from home for the day and I had to leave school a couple of hours early.  It was the most interesting of the classes though, and based on breastfeeding and life after hospital with the baby.  There ended up only being Dan, Me and another lady who was 34weeks pregnant as this class, but this made for a more personal touch and we were able to ask lots of questions.  The first two classes were taken up largely by watching videos which, to be honest, I could have sat at home and watched on YouTube!

Our first task this week was to examine a doll that had been placed in a Moses basket and work out everything that had been done wrongly in the way of putting the baby to sleep.  Between us we managed to get everything right – teddies in the basket, placed with head to the top instead of feet to the bottom, a pillow in there with the doll, and several other ‘mistakes’.

The midwives then gave us a run-down of what to expect sleep-wise, poo-wise and feeding-wise over the first fortnight after being discharged from hospital.  I actually had a few questions about breastfeeding baby as a runner as I had heard that the taste changes if you run long distances due to the lactic acid build up.  Neither midwife was able to answer my questions though, or point me in the right direction frustratingly.  They seemed to think it would be OK to run a few miles a week and not notice any change, as she had seen Mums who had run a few miles a week before but that isn’t what I want to do.  I want to return to marathon training and working out and being ‘me’ again!  I’m obviously not going to begin marathon training straight away after the birth, but instead after a sensible time frame and after having been checked out and cleared to do so.  However, I still intend on breastfeeding whilst training later in the year.  Nobody seems to be able to answer any of my questions when it comes to running and baby.

I had my 29 week midwife appointment this week on the Thursday after finishing school.  (So glad the Summer holidays are finally here now!)  I measured at 26cms, which I believe is slightly small for the number of weeks I am?  I was under the impression that you are supposed to measure 2cms either way of the number of weeks you are so I should be between 27-31cms in size?  The midwife mentioned that she would check my size on the baby growth chart though, and didn’t seem too concerned.  I also had to have more blood taken at this appointment to ensure that my iron levels aren’t dropping too low.  I have felt more lightheaded than usual just lately, and I become exhausted much easier in the evenings, but I’ve put it down to just being further along in my pregnancy.  My remaining midwife appointments fall fortnightly, and Dan should be able to make the next one for the first time, as he has booked a week off in August for our wedding anniversary.

We actually sat down and sorted out our birth plan at the weekend.  I don’t feel like there’s any huge rush for it to be sorted particularly, but I also don’t think my views are going to change overly, so it made sense to get it out of the way and be able to tick it off the baby to-do-list.  Basically I would like to remain as active as possible throughout labour and for everything to remain as natural as possible throughout.  If there is the opportunity to go into the birthing pool I’ve decided that I would like to do this, despite initially being concerned that I would not have the energy to hold myself up in the water after a while.  Dan quite liked that I added to my plan that I wanted him to tell me if we had had a boy or a girl (as we decided not to find out at our 20 week scan).  Whilst we were at it we also checked that we were able to fit the car seat into Dan’s car so that we would be able to bring the baby home from hospital!  No problems there.

So there we have it…30 weeks pregnant.  Just 10 to go until my due date.

You can read all of my previous pregnancy posts here.