A return to work and a cold parkrun

I mentioned in a few of my recent posts that I’ve been travelling back to Norfolk several times a week for the past few months.  Obviously I wouldn’t change that for anything, and I am glad that I was able to spend the time with my parents whilst that was still an option and whilst they needed me.  But it has meant that putting enough petrol into my car to drive 200 miles, four times a week for the past ten weeks has wiped out the emergency savings in our bank account rather.

Dan and I sat down and looked at our finances the other week and realised that I needed to start bringing a little more guaranteed money in if we were to continue living in the way which we do.  Although I’ve been picking up the odd bit of freelance work here and there, because everything has been so up in the air lately I haven’t really been able to push anything or commit to too much at one time.

The result of our chat was the agreement that I needed to look at getting a temporary position which would give us a guaranteed side income each week to try and build our savings back up again.

Our little family can survive on Dan’s salary, but it would be back to basics for us – no trips to Norfolk, no dinners out (not that we have been out or even seen each other in a very long while anyway!) and no chocolate biscuits in the weekly shop!

The following day I spotted an advert looking for night workers at a big supermarket in Northampton and so applied.  I can’t really afford to be too choosy in what I apply for really.  I have Oscar by my side six days a week, and Dan doesn’t return home from work until 6:30pm Monday – Friday so it really limits the jobs accessible to me.

I was successful in my application.  The night shift manager actually turned to me in the interview and said that there wasn’t much point in him asking me questions, as he had no doubt in my ability and skillset, but it was procedure and he needed to write something on the application in front of him!  So that was a nice boost, even if it is only for a shelf-stacking position essentially.

Last week I went in for a full day induction, thanks to Laura’s willingness to babysit Oscar(!) and then I had my first shift the night following Mum’s funeral.

I’m contracted to Saturday nights 10pm-7am, but in the run up to Christmas with all the extra deliveries I will also be working the majority of Friday and Sundays.

I expected to feel tired during the shift.  To struggle to stay awake and be lagging by the time morning rolled round and I was still there busy stacking shelves, but I actually felt much breezier than expected.  The store is within a shopping centre and so has no visible windows and therefore I had no real concept of outside life – I guess helping me to stay alert and work hard(!)

I’ve played the shelf stacking game before – as an eighteen year old desperate for overtime hours at the little supermarket I worked at before university.  Back then six staff worked three hours a night to empty ten cages of food out onto the shop floor.  At my new role, I will have ten cages to myself on the one aisle I am in charge of.  Big difference!

Because of the unsociable hours, the pay is actually on par with the teaching salary I began on in 2010, so I can’t grumble at that.  The main downside is being unable to catch up on sleep.  I’m viewing it as part of my training for running the South Downs Way 100 in June.  I think that’s the only real way I can look at it at the moment!

I packed my running clothes to take with me last Friday night and after emerging in the bright sunlight of Saturday morning following my first shift, I took the short drive across to Northampton Racecourse, where I changed into my running gear and headed out on a two mile warm up run before joining in with the parkrun.

My 97th parkrun.  I have just three parkruns left to reach my 100th, and with four opportunities to parkrun before the end of the year, it’s looking hopeful that I should make the milestone in 2017.

After my warm up (required – it was super cold and I kept my supermarket gloves firmly on my hands during the run!) I jogged round the course to finish in 28:46.

Official time: 28:46
Position: 193/336
Gender position: 43/129
Age category position: 7/16

Dan was heading over to the Wolves game at 11am, so I rushed off home after parkrun to catch 45 minutes sleep before he left me with Oscar for the day.  Luckily, Oscar took a two hour nap that afternoon so I was able to grab a little more sleep, and then Dan returned home from the football a little after 7pm, giving me a further 90 minutes.  It was far from ideal, but it’s just a temporary solution.

That night I felt like an old hand on the shop floor and raced through the cages.  At about 5am there came rumblings from the security team that it had been snowing quite heavily outside, and when we emerged onto the staff car park on the roof a couple of hours later we found our cars hidden under several inches of snow!

My car in the snowI swept the snow off my car as quickly as I could, starting with my windscreen, but by the time I jumped back into my car again the windscreen was completely covered once more!

The staff car park is rather scary at the best of times.  Placed up high on the roof above the shopping centre, it is accessed by a tight, one lane, winding corkscrew road that spirals steeply to the top.  I had been worried driving up the previous day in good conditions but was terrified driving down it on Sunday morning in the snow and ice.  What ended up happening was my car slipped from one side of the road to the other repeatedly until I reached the bottom.  I had never been so glad to see flat road!

The journey home was somehow even worse though, as it involved not just my unpredictable car, but several other unpredictable cars on the road around me.  I live 18 miles from the supermarket, but those 18 miles took me 90 minutes to drive on Sunday morning, never topping 15mph the whole way back.  I witnessed three crashes and so many cars spin off the road, despite the slow speeds that everybody was travelling at.  At one point, there was a car off the road on the dual carriageway and as I went past (at 10mph!) my car started sliding over towards it.  The car behind tried to overtake me (I’m guessing so that they didn’t need to use their brakes) and they started sliding in towards me!  And there was nothing anybody could do!

Luckily, we didn’t hit, and both my car and the one that had tried to overtake me were able to continue on our way.  The lorry travelling behind us stopped to help push out the car that had gone off-road and all was well.  It was rather nerve-wracking driving back though.
Snow Snow

When I got home, I slept until 2pm.  Partly due to working through the night and partly due to being so on edge for my drive home, but it felt like I lost my day.  Dan took Oscar out in the snow for the first time and I missed that.  :(
Oscar in the snow
(He apparently loved it and was desperate to go and play snowballs with the big kids!)

The Monday was the toughest, as Dan was back at work, but I got round it, using Oscar’s nap times to catch up on a couple of hours here and there.  I’m glad that the Sunday nights won’t continue into the New Year, as that would be very draining.

Whilst the snow looked very pretty, it stopped me from running for a few days.  Without access to a treadmill currently, and only able to run with Oscar in the buggy during the day, so unable to run on trail where the going would be less slippy it didn’t leave me with a lot of options.  The paths were too slippy first thing in the morning before Oscar woke and again after he had gone down for bed, and I’m too much of a wimp to head out on the trails on my own at night around here.  I was very glad that the majority of the ice had disappeared by last night, leaving me able to head out on a decent run after Oscar went down for bed.  Roll on the Spring!

How are you managing to run with the icy roads?
Have you worked in a supermarket before?

10 thoughts on “A return to work and a cold parkrun

  1. Sorry to hear about your mum- but glad you had the chance to visit your parents as much as possible while you could.
    That drive home sounds really scary- I walked into town on Sunday and saw lots of cars being abandoned and apparently a gritting lorry broke down on the main roads causing further jams. I didn’t run all week- I ran last week at parkrun and due to the icy roads at the start and then being busy at the end, parkrun this weekend was the next run. But then better to have a few days off than to fall over and break something. On Thursday I was out and walked home and the pavements were still so icy so running would have been a recipe for disaster.
    The work sounds hard due to the lack of sleep- just think of the biscuits! (or post parkrun cake) you are earning!
    Maria @ Maria Runs recently posted…A catch up, Eastleigh parkrun and another Christmas marketMy Profile

    1. We didn’t have a huge amount of abandoned cars – I think it was worse for that down your way. Everyone appeared to stubbornly drive in it around here, no matter how slow or how many crashes!
      Skipping running in that weather was definitely the right decision. The paths in your photos looked so icy! It wouldn’t have been good to have a fall in that.

  2. I’m really sorry to hear about your mum, but it’s good you managed to visit your parents whenever you could.
    We had a lot of snow and then ice in Four Oaks. The pavements have been so icy, I decided to skip most of my training runs last week. I didn’t’ want to risk breaking something the month before I start a new job!
    As for driving in snowy conditions, if the roads are quiet I don’t mind. In my experience, snow is easier to drive in than the sheet ice we had around here on Friday. My last car – a Golf – was very good in the snow. It’s just a shame there are always some drivers who seem to totally ignore the conditions and drive like idiots.
    I spent the last two Christmases working for M&S and really enjoyed it. As I worked in the warehouse, I managed to avoid having to deal with stressed out and grumpy customers. I’ve actually missed my M&S job more than I thought I would.
    Emma recently posted…Cambridge Half Marathon training week 1My Profile

    1. Thanks Emma. We knew it was coming, and because I had been on maternity leave for most of last year it meant that I was at least able to visit a lot during that final year.
      I definitely think it was the best decision to stay off the pavements during that super icy week. Would not have been a good look rocking up to a new job with your leg in a cast!
      Avoiding stressed out customers is absolutely the way forward at Christmas time. People get super stressed out in that final week, then the mood changes completely in the build up to New Year!

  3. Hi Mary,
    Firstly, I’m so very sorry for your loss – We lost my partners Dad very unexpectedly this year and nothing prepared me for how much it would send everything off track. We are lucky it’s not a huge distance away and I really feel for you in relation to the trips, of course, you wouldn’t change it for the world but as a family, the cost/time impact is very relative!
    I admire that despite the fact things are hard, you still appear to be positive and moving forward, sometimes its the best way.
    Funnily enough, losing someone taught me a hard lesson about what is really important and I was so low about my main job, I seriously considered quitting and taking on supermarket work/blog work. The result is I dropped a day and honestly, even though I’m earning less the happiness is worth it, we only get one chance!
    If you ever want a steady (I’m running a 30-32min 5km right now!) chatty Park Run, drop me a line! x
    P.s – V brave driving in the snow, I think I know where you’re based workwise and I would have been utterly terrified!
    Katie Groome recently posted…‘Mince Pie’ OatmealMy Profile

    1. Hey Katie, thanks for your comment and so sorry to hear about G’s Dad too. What an awful year 2017 seems to have been for so many people. :(
      I am so glad that you were able to drop a day at your job and spend more time blogging. Like you say, we only get one chance, and we absolutely shouldn’t be just ‘living to work’.
      I am definitely up for a chatty parkrun at some point. Followed by a trip to Magees/Good Loaf? Will check my diary now…

  4. Again I’m so sorry about your mum.
    Also, as if you could become anymore of a superwoman, working night shifts!! I don’t know how you do it. It reminds me of my mum when my sister and I were little she would work Friday night’s at a nursing home overnight. And I always remember Saturdays we wouldn’t be allowed to play loudly because “mummy was sleeping”. Absolutely no shame in working in a supermarket – you just have to do what you can for your family I guess.

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