Monday, 12 March 2012

parkrun to 10k

Journey from parkrun to 10k

For those of you who have been (un)lucky enough to read my parkrunfans blogs before you will know that I am a reluctant runner.  By reluctant I mean

  • I really don’t like it
  • it is painful
  • I look like a radish when I have run
  • it makes not just bad, but down right disastrous hair days
  • and…..well the next few blogs will add to this reluctant runner thread.  

I think until getting involved with parkrun the last time I had really ran (not just for the bus or at the dreadful parents race at sports day…in fact why do they do that?  What is it with teachers making parents compete against each other with an egg and a spoon?  I think they just want to punish me for them having to look after my slightly precocious darling daughters all year…getting side tracked…back to the blog)… the last time I ran….cross country at school in 1987 (for those of you trying to make out how old I am…I will save you the mathematics this early in a morning -  I am a very young 38).  Cross country at our school was dreadful, no other word for it!  And it wasn’t just me that hated it, we all did, including the teachers who would just set us off running and wait for us to come back.  Now for those of you who don’t know me…..I live and was brought up in the beautiful town of Huddersfield which is on the edge of the Pennines….there is a point to this, so bear with me….and these Pennines are beautiful, they mean that every time I look out of my window there are different and often breathtaking views….but do you know what this means…it means HILLS….yup, I am surrounded by hills!  I can’t even cross the road for a bacon buttie without having to go down and up a hill.  Cross country at my school meant running around a hill, Castle Hill to be specific.  So while the teachers were sat in their smokey (smoking wasn’t banned then, youngsters) staff room, us unfortunate children were left running around this hill! It is no wonder that I was put off running for a very long time.

Castle Hill

Then of course I became involved with parkrun…please recap and read early blogs so that I don’t have to bore you with how that happened.

After weeks (okay months) of watching, cheering and Shazaming parkrunners across the line, the day came when I knew I had to run the damn thing.  I chose one of our special events…Barkrun….parkrun with dogs.  So there I was at the start line in some hastily put together running gear and my two “bottom biting’ dogs.   Why on earth I chose to run my first parkrun with two dogs is beyond me….my dogs are a bit like my children….absolutely adorable, slightly uncontrollable and you never quite know what they will do next!  The only words to describe my first parkrun….bloody nightmare!  Lily dog was relatively well behaved only nearly causing a runner pile up by doing an emergency stop after seeing a squirrel.  Humphrey on the other hand excelled himself on what a bad dog he can be.  He wanted to run in every direction we weren’t going in, he tried to hump three other dogs, he growled and attacked the cafe dog, bit the bunny’s furry bottom and on the home straight as we were being applauded in after a run of 37 mins he sat and pooped!  It was no wonder it took another two months before I ventured out running again!

Barkrun at parkrun with Lily dog

The next few parkruns were thankfully dog free at Cambridge and Roundhay…. Roundhay being the first time in years I had run a whole 5k without walking!  

The problem with being an Event Director and also being a reluctant runner means that there is always an excuse why you can’t manage to run a parkrun.  
  • Too busy
  • too much to do
  • not enough marshals
  • Chris is on holiday again
  • it’s cold
  • I don’t want to look like a radish
  • it’s too hot
  • I am having a rare good hair day so why spoil it
  • ...….list is endless!  
But being surrounded by runners achieving incredible things, you really want to be part of that so you end up…..running!

A couple of weeks ago I helped out at a 10k running race, the Huddersfield 10k organised by good friend and fellow genius, Matthew Kelly and the Huddersfield Road Runners.  I loved every minute of it, from chatting to the many parkrunners before the race to cheering them in after the race.  Even the kiss from the winner (the now NOT single, attractive, tall, young man) wasn’t too bad!   I think then it became inevitable that I was going to have to 'have a go at this’.  Just be thankful it wasn’t a marathon I watched!!

So quietly I entered a 10k race.  The idea was I wouldn’t tell anyone (mainly because the Huddersfield crazies are….crazily supportive), just rock up and run a 10k, then announce it to the world afterwards and bask in the glory.  But…I went out on 'first date night social' (no blogging about that), had a cocktail too many and told everyone!  The next day after several postings on Facebook the race has now been renamed as Kerry’s 10k and banners, t-shirts and vuvuzelas have been made and it looks like I really am having to run this 10k!!!

So if I am having to run it….then you poor folks are going to be subjected to having to read about it…here on this blog!  So over the next five weeks I will be putting the pen to paper and recording for prosperity the pain and (hopefully) pleasure of MY FIRST 10k!

Week One


So….I can run a 5k…I know that because I have done it!  At least four times.  But, the problem is I am knackered at the end of it and I really don’t think I can run another step once I have finished it.  So how am I going to double it to run the 10k?  I managed to run parkrun by doing a couch to 5k app….so there that is how I will start.  I log onto the apple store and download a 5-10k app.  I must admit that I downloaded the one with the prettiest graphics, there was no research or checking the reviews….no, just go for the prettiest graphics!

I put on my running shoes (why can’t we call them trainers now?) and head out of the door…..head straight back in again….it is raining!

Four hours later set off again (rain stopped).  This time I am not only wearing my 'running shoes’ (and clothes - just to be clear about that), I am also having to run with a back pack containing a change of clothes and shoes and coat as I have to run to the park and then go to a Tea and Tarts meeting (it is just one wild party in my life) once I have finished running.  So I set off with the app telling me to walk for 5 minutes warm up….walking….whooop!  Good job as it takes me 5 minutes to work out how to get the music to work on the iPhone and the app at the same time, I have to adjust my army issue rucksack three times and tie my shoelaces…again!  The the app tells me to jog (so much nicer than the word run) for four minutes…and guess where I am….yup, at the bottom of a hill that takes me exactly four minutes to run up!  Then I get to walk for two minutes…and guess what….yup, I am on a flat bit which takes me exactly two minutes to walk before getting to the bottom of another hill…which I now have to ‘jog’ up!  I am beginning to think this app has been specifically designed to make sure that all hills are run up and specifically designed to torture me!!  I have to do this ten times and then I get to walk for five minutes to cool down.

so to sum up
  • 40 minutes of running
  • 18 minutes of walking
  • listened to Imelda May ‘Love Tattoo’, Derek & The Dominos ‘Layla and other assorted love songs'
  • carrying in back pack - black boots, compete change of clothes, make up, dry shampoo, babywipes, jacket, handbag
  • how do I feel at the end…..okay, had to lay on the office floor, not yet questioning why I am doing this… basically okay

Running to darkrun

Crap couple of days since Tuesday, one of my children’s best friends was one of the boys killed in Afghanistan and my husbands best friend is about to set off there.  So a bit of crying and stomping and arguing about the war….a subject normally banned in our house due to such huge differing opinions of the two mortgage payers! Emotional couple of days.

So set off to run to the park again…this time to meet the lovely darkrunners for the regular Thursday night  darkrun Freedom run.  It is basically an excuse to go to the pub!  I set off early though as the children are driving me crazy!  We have five children…yes we do know what is causing it…not all of them live at home now….but the ones that do make enough noise and mess that it is as if they haven’t left!  

Start with the lovely warm up walk again, try to walk really fast in order that I am half way up the hill before I have to run….doesn’t really work!  This time it is running for four, walking for one but only nine times.  I find running around the park a little bit dull so decide to run a different route which means I should only have to run half a loop of the park.  And there are a few down hill bits (whoop whoop whoop).  It is all going well….until I have to run up the road next to the fire station….I apologise for the language used on that part of the run if you were anywhere near me.  How come I can barely breathe or run but have enough energy to shout rude words loudly….anyway it helped and I managed to run up that hill!  Due to a total miscalculation on the map planning front,  I end up running a lot further than the app tells me too.  Arrive at the park to be rewarded with gin and jelly tots…thank you Mr Awesome!  Due to ‘getting lost’ I have run/walked my first 10k in 1hr and 17 minutes!

so to sum up 
  • managed 10k …whoop
  • 58 minutes of running
  • 19 minutes of walking
  • listened to Seasick Steve, Chris Rea and Pigeon Detectives
  • carrying in back pack, - black boots, less make up, lighter clothes, baby wipes and no coat, very small purse - I am learning
  • how do I feel at the end - knackered, had a good cry on the way round, didn’t have to lay on the floor but did have to sit in a chair for a long time, little bit disappointed in the amount of time it look me to do 10k
  • BTW it is not funny to beep your horn and shout ‘run, forest, run’ out of your car window
  • winnings at the darkrun quiz £19.50

Hubby and I run to Marsden

I failed to mention that I have also entered my husband to do the 10k.  I thought he would run round with me….but no, he is going to do his own thing and come back for me!  Cheers Rob! 
So…we decide to run to Marsden.  

So the plan is to run the near 10k route from our house to Marsden, running on the lovely flat canal.  Best bit…no back pack! When we get to Marsden we will meet the kids and grandad who have cycled there, have an ice cream and then tootle back with them.

What really happens - we run to Marsden on the canal which is not flat and has an up hill gain of 194m…I had to look this up when I got back…well actually the next day as when I got back I just lay on the floor!  When we get to Marsden I am allowed a 10 minute ice cream break (two scoops in a tub, don’t like cones, toffee and honeycomb).  Then the husband suggests a run back…and what do I do?…I must have been a sugar rush from the ice cream….I agree!!  All I can say is thank god it is all down hill from here!!!

so to sum up
  • ran nearly nine miles - it would have been nine miles but I really, really couldn’t run up that last hill back home
  • 84 minutes of running
  • 15 minutes of walking
  • listened to my husband telling me to ‘man up and grow some balls’ just outside Slaithwaite…documented for use in the divorce
  • carrying my house key and £20 note
  • how do I feel at the end….had to lie on the floor, was there so long the cat came and sat on me, cleaned itself and fell asleep…nothing else to say!
Bad photo of me in the bunny shirt at the end of the run - and it is not a smile more of a grimace! 

So…I have made a start!  All in all not too bad….week two starts now!  See you soon avid fans! XXX


  1. Cue Montage...

    Just a Small town girl, living in a bunny world....should have took the lunchtime train to Marsden and back...

    Don't stop belieeeving !!!!

  2. great blogging kerry really funny ,youre doing so well 9 miles wow well deserved ice cream youl do fine at wakefield .plenty of support as well n you always have a smile onyour face or a grimace lol well done x dawn

  3. Brilliant effort to do the 9 miles. You'll be living running before too long if you aren't careful!

  4. I meant loving rather than living, but that works too I suppose.

    1. Living or loving you think so? This running lark seems catching! Is there a cure?

    2. no cure kerry sorry its addictive ,really hard to stop once you,ve started :)

  5. Please will you clean up the mess you have left in the park with all the chalk marks? People who use the park every day deserve a better deal from you. The mess is really unsightly. Thank you.

    1. Hello
      I have replied to your email and to your facebook posting…so I suppose I better reply on my blog too.
      We apologise if you have been upset by the chalk marks, I guess it is a shame it hasn’t rained this week.
      As already said in my previous replies, I will speak to the park manager about getting it cleaned up as quickly as possible this week and I will speak to the team about putting water down from now on.
      I hope you enjoyed the blog though. Keep reading.

    2. Anonymous Mar 13, 2012 12:56 PM.. should get a sense of perspective and take your biffuddled face for a large poo...The people who do the parkrun are volunteers who get best part of 300 people out doing good things in the park, these same people undertook a minutes applause for the lost armed forces from the west yorkshire regiment, these same people raise loads of money for charity, and plough lots of money into the economy of the park by filling the cafe each saturday morning. So if you want your park to be full of drug dealing hoodlums and asbos with massive dogs and be a no mans land you crack on making ridiculous criticisms. Otherwise and this is the best bit..jog on !!!!

    3. well said :)

  6. Of course chalk does just wear/wash away in a short time and looking up at the scenery might help?

  7. so many people get enjoyment from the park and the chalk does not look that bad maybe you should try park run ,you might enjoy it

  8. Stop being so petty minded - how does it affect you exactly?

  9. there are more important things going on in the world than complaining about a bit of chalk which will wash away ,the park is a lovely place to visit and fun enjoy it ,dont moan about little things

  10. there is a mop and bucket in the office make yourself useful otherwise get a life the chalk will soon go

  11. there are more things going on in the world than worrying about a little bit of chalk which will wash away the park is a lovely place

  12. Could be worse -- a friend of mine is part of the Beijing Hash House Harriers and was relating to me a story where the traditional game of 'Hares and Hounds', marking a trail with flour went a bit awry: someone decided the flour could be anthrax and all the runners terrorists likewise. Net result, the traditional post-game session was somewhat sparsely attended as all the usual participants were in police custody trying to explain themselves to unimpressed officers.
    DISCLAIMER: My friend is a notorious liar.

    1. Thanks Daniel, I will bear that in mind! ;-)


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