parkrun tourism: Navan

Event number 41 for me, and elusive letter N to help me spell DANCER.

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Access:

There are helpful sat nav co-ordinates on the course page, and the Facebook page is very responsive to messages, and gave me advice on travel from Da Nort.  Which is basically Slane, Navan, straight across the first roundabout,  right at the traffic lights, and Blackwater Park is about 400m on your left.

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Facilities:

There’s a good number of parking spaces, though I did notice a bit of overflow onto the drive as I was leaving.  A children’s playpark, but no loos.  Just as well I called into the Applegreen on the way!

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Course:

The finish is by the car park, but the start is a wee walk away.  It’s 3 and a bit laps of the park, pretty flat, and a good tarmac surface. Can get a bit congested for the first 400m, so if you’re speedy make sure you’re near the front.  There are nice views towards the town, and it’s a pleasant green park.

Crowd:

I was visiting on their event 99, and they were really looking forward to their 100th.  Average attendance is around 100, and I was the recipient of  lucky token number 50.  Run Director Ken and his team of volunteers were really friendly and welcoming, and even gave me a shout out in the run brief.

Gear:

After I’d paired my headphones, they told me that they needed charged, so I was running with no music.  My Garmin worked well, though I notice that the clip which attaches to the USB port is starting to come loose.  Again.  Hmmmm, if only it were my birthday or something soon……

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Strangely Appropriate Song On Shuffle:

Well I had no music and so no shuffling, but running a 10k the next day I was reminded of my darling son when Owl City and Fireflies came on.

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Time:

I’m still carrying too many kgs and not running enough kms, so my target was to sub-30.  And we actually got a sub 29, thanks to my bestest running chum, Minnie, who was so good during the 90 minute journey each way.

All My parkruns:

parkruns: summary list

minnie at navan

parkrun tails: Minnie earns her cow

IMG_1516The Facebook group UK parkrun tourists is for those seriously serial and widely travelled runners who have been to more than 20 different events.  At that point, your name appears on the “Most Events” table, and as an unofficial means of recognising each other on our many jaunts, the cow cowl is worn a visible symbol of this acheivement.

I knew Minnie had been to many of the Norn Irn parkruns with me, but it wasn’t till I actually sat down and counted, that I realised she’d been at 19!  MUSA is a no-dog event, and the distant runs at Enniskillen, Limavady, Derry and Portrush were ones I had done on various weekends away, without her.  But she’s pretty well behaved on long journies, and has been to fairly faraway runs in Omagh and Rostrevor.

I’ve long wanted to take her with me to Portrush.  We’ve done the Waggy Races twice now over the same distance on the next beach along the stunning north coast, in Portstewart, where rather conveniently my parents live. So having checked the all important tide times, I plumped for 22 April as the chosen date.

The morning dawned cloudy but dry, which to be honest is perfect running conditions.  We left at a quarter to 8 and were pulling into the car park at 9.  I’d had a bit of a niggle with my back since my last Sunday long run, but Deep Heat seemed to be working its miracles, and I didn’t feel any problems when running.  Mum and Dad were there to see me off, and Cracker posted his customary Saturday morning status update as “Cracker says: Oh Minnie you’re so fine, you’ve parkrun at 20 sites, Hey Minnie! Hey Minnie!”

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I chatted to a few other tourists who’d got talking to my cow cowl, and some fellow Wallace folk.  There were just under 200 runners, but even starting at the back, with a wide stretch of sand it’s easy enough to weave through, and we soon found a good spot where we weren’t in anyone’s way, and Minnie could really stretch her legs.

Portrush is a tough course, even with light winds and low tide.  Yes it’s dead flat, but you need a certain level of determination to keep on going on an out and back course, and that finish line seems like it never gets any closer!

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But I knew all my previous run times here had been in the 30s, so I was reasonably confident of a PB. And indeed I crossed the line in 26:26, my best time in quite a while.  But of course I couldn’t have done it without my best running companion.

Thank you Minnine, and well done!

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100 barkruns!

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Matching 100s

 

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Citypark

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Wallace

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Our first run at Wallace

Dance with your soul

…is the title of a biography of Miss Milligan, who along with Mrs Stewart were the founders of the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. Miss Milligan used to distinguish between “dancers” and “performers”, and believed that there was more than just technical perfection to aim for, that the spirit and essence of the dance was more than good footwork.A1EslVHZntL.

After a bit of soul-searching myself (Did I REALLY want to devote substantial time money and energy into this?  For what great purpose? Would I be making the world a better place?) I’ve started my journey towards becoming a qualified Scottish Dance teacher. This consists of five separate modules.  Unit 1 is a written theory and history test, Unit 2 examines your own dancing skills, Unit 3 is a test of teaching prowess, Unit 4 is a portfolio of practical teaching experience, and Unit 5 is a final practical examination.  This year, I went to St Andrews Summer School for 2 weeks to sit Units 2 and 3.

“Th’ whole worl’s in a terrible state o’ chassis!” is the refrain in Juno and the Paycock, and that was my feeling as well as I set off to hide in a dancing bubble for a fortnight, hoping to ignore the worrying world events and concentrate on something that I could do well, and that brought me joy.

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I’ve attended Summer School a few times before, but had never been there for opening week. It was noticeably quieter, there were no queues for the dining room, and there was space to dance in the common room and Younger Hall. After a welcome drinks reception on the Sunday evening, we Unit 2 candidates met up in the TV room to introduce each other, and meet Rebecca, our tutor, and Kathleen, our pianist. There were 10 of us for the first week, including two people re-sitting, and we came from all parts of the world. We would be spending most of our time in the Common Room, mornings and afternoons, and would have homework to do in the evenings. We were all housed on the same floor, which helped us to gel as a bunch.

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We’d already done some preparatory work before arriving, including analyses of the 12 dances we were expected to know very well for Unit 2.  There were four each of jigs, reels and strathspeys, and the exam on Friday would require us to dance one of each as first couple, as well as acting as supporting couples for the others. We would also be expected to do a recap before our dance.  As well as knowing the steps, this necessitated using your big-room voice, with appropriate hand gestures.  I found doing the recaps a little nerve-wracking to begin, and during one of them it was pointed out to me that I was standing with my hands on my hips, obviously focusing deeply on remembering the words!  Thankfully this was only during class, rather than the exam.  And before each recap the whole team got to “huddle” where we could remind each other of the main points.

On Tuesday evening, I managed to “sneak out” to the dance held by the local St Andrews branch in the lovely town hall.  While I was there, the chassis-ridden outside world crashed into my bubble, as my husband phoned me to tell me that Max had had to be rushed to the vets with bloat, a twisted stomach which I knew was a very serious condition.  He had had an emergency operation, but the next few days would be crucial. My fellow dancers were very supportive, one of them was a vet and was able to answer my questions, whilst others provided gin and hugs.

On Wednesday evening, things got even worse, when I received a phone call from my husband’s best friend, to tell me he’d been rushed to A&E suffering from severe dizziness and balance problems.  Thankfully he was released a few hours later, but I found myself seriously wondering if I should just go home. And that 2016 could just feck right off!

By mid-week, Rebecca had matched each of us with partners.  Being only 5’2, and knowing that there were a couple of tall guys in the group, I had expected to be dancing as a “woman”, but I was partnered as a “man” with Claire, and I think we made a great team.  It did mean I needed to work hard at some of the formations such as the Tournee, which I had practised on the assumption that I’d probably be a “woman”!

My husband visited Max every day, and kept me updated on his progress.  The poor wee thing looked miserable in photos, and I wished there was something more than facetime where I could stroke his silky ears or give him a chuckle under the chin.

Thursday Nights at Summer School are a big Younger Hall night.  I’ve given off in the past about the nonsense about having to buy a separate ticket for these, and last year I’d forgotten to get one!  So this year I’d bought my Thursday tickets in good time.  However, it was our exam on Friday, and the rest of the group wanted to have a final run through all the dances, doing as much “cleaning” and fine tuning as we could.  So my Thursday ticket lay sadly unused on my desk.

On Friday Claire and I checked that our chosen outfits didn’t class, and we had a final run through in the morning, before the exam in the afternoon. I wore a new dress in silver grey, with yellow polka dots, and it moved nicely when I danced. I’d met one of the examiners, Marilyn Watson, before.  She’d been my examiner at last year’s Dance Achievement Award, and had also recently visited Belfast to take a children’s day school.  With five couples doing the exam, only four were needed on the floor for each dance, so there was a welcome break at intervals.  The dances Claire and I were allotted were General Stuart’s Reel, Miss Hadden’s Reel (which is a jig….) and Miss Gibson’s Strathspey. There were a lot of Misses and Mrses in the names of the dances, as well as a General and a Duke, and a Reel which was a strathspey….

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We rattled through them all in good time, and celebrated with a glass of champagne at the garden party, before relaxing at the traditional Friday ceilidh.

No rest for the wicked, though, and on Saturday morning we were back in the Common Room making a start on Unit 3.  We were looking forward to dancing for fun in the Younger Hall on the Saturday night, and wanted to take some group photos. But at the interval I looked at my mobile phone to see four missed calls from my husband, and I knew what he was going to tell me.  Max had contracted an infection after the operation, and had slipped away that evening.  He hadn’t been in pain, and there had been someone with him.  Saturday nights usually finish with a “dregs” party, where everyone brings along their remaining stash of booze and nibbles, but I wasn’t in the mood to party and went to bed.

Sunday was a rare day off.  Having been stuck inside all week while the sun blazed in the sky, of course it was mizzly and grey.  I found my way to the beach and had a long walk, smiling at all the lovely doggies frolicking on the sand and in the surf.  Some Edinburgh friends came and took me out for lunch, which we had in the delightful fishing village of Craill, where I really enjoyed some dressed crab in a dinky little cafe overlooking the sea.

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Monday was back to studies, and our first chance at teaching to a group of volunteers, rather than just amongst ourselves.  Working with a real live musician was a new skill for all of us, and I was rather proud of my commanding “Ready…AND”s.  The structure we were learning was quite prescriptive – teach a step in certain incremental way, then do a skills exercise, leading to a formation, and for the exam there would be an additional 8 bars to dance to make up a 16 bar phrase.  We learned so much from watching each other do practise lessons, and we co-operated on writing our nightly lesson plans.  I only had my iPad with me, and I found that downloading Word for iPad, combined with the Office 365 package that I’d recently taken out, were a godsend.

We were allocated numbers at random, which would be the order we would do our test on Friday.  I was Lucky 7 – “the luck of the Irish!” said Rebecca.

In any spare time we had, we were working on an item for the Friday ceilidh.  George had come up with some new words to “All I Have To Do Is Dream”, and we tweaked and fine tuned these, and grabbed the odd 5 minutes with Kathleen to practise.

On Thursday morning, we gathered nervously outside the Common Room to receive our assignments in sealed envelopes handed out by Mervyn Short.  After this, we wouldn’t be able to speak to Rebecca, though we could use any of the other tutors for advice.  We agreed we would all open our envelopes together.  My step was strathspey travelling step, my formation was turn corner and partner, ending own sides, and the final 8 bars were advance and retire, and 1s turn 1 1/2 times to end opposite sides.  I double checked a few aspects of this: so the 1s were starting in the middle of the set facing their first corners? And finishing in 2nd place opposite sides?  The whole 16 bars was very like part of a dance, Strathglass House, and I was worried that the more experienced dancers in my group of volunteers would be disconcerted by the not-quite-ness.  And neither beginning nor ending a 16 bar phrase on own sides just felt a little awkward.

I did a quick lesson plan, ran my concerns past Mervyn, and decided to get some much needed fresh air.  In one shop of pretty things, I was just finishing my purchases when Rebecca entered – she put her had across her face and joked “I can’t see you!” I also decided to get a haircut, just so’s I’d be neat and tidy.

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We worked together during the day, timing each other, looking at YouTube videos of the various formations we had, reminding each other of the teaching points, and rehearsing our patter.  I felt sufficiently on top of things to get to Younger Hall this Thursday, though I spent some of it on the balcony trying to hone my observation skills.

As Lucky 7, I wouldn’t be on till the afternoon, and I didn’t want to get into my chosen outfit too soon, in case I spilled anything on it.  At breakfast time, someone expressed concern that my skirt was too long for the exam, and I explained that I would be changing later into a plain navy flippy skirt, with a navy top and my lucky star turquoise necklace. I spent Friday morning rehearsing and getting my timings down, and although I was nervous, I tucked into the traditional fish and chips lunch with gusto.

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Soon it was my turn.  I calmed my nerves with some Rescue Remedy, entered the room with a bright smile and handed my neatly printed lesson plans to the two examiners and Rebecca, and checked the music with Kathleen.  I was happy with how the lesson went, I tried my best to be engaging and bubbly, and to keep coaching in my biggest voice above the music.  I even managed to throw in a Eurovision quote before the final dance through – Nicky Byrne in this year’s Irish entry “Sunlight” sings “dance like you mean it.”

I was happy that I’d had no brain meltdown moments, and that I’d done my best.  But I was still anxious about the results – there are about 24 different attributes that the examiners are awarding a score of A,B,C or D to, and in some of them you MUST get a B or above.  And no more than two Ds in total.  So it could be one wee thing that means a fail.

Meanwhile, there was champagne to be quaffed at the garden party, and a final 5 minute rehearsal of our ceilidh item. It went well, and a number of people commented afterwards how much they had enjoyed it. Please forgive the blatant over-acting.

Those words in full:

Reach close reach, spring beat beat and
Reach close reach, spring beat beat
We’re Unit 3s from far away
We’re here to learn, and every day
While you went out dancing we were in this room, going
Reach close reach, spring beat beat
Our aching feet would love to be
In Younger Hall or in the sea
But we must do homework, need a lesson plan, hop step close
We show you how to pose, how to point your toes
Now your posture and grace
Will help each set you’re in begin
To dance like you know how it goes
We’ll teach you how to dance strathspey
And pas de basque with a jete
And if there’s a figure called a tournee
Yo’ll never ever go the wrong way
Rebecca’s looking sacred, I feel so unprepared
I’m facing volunteers
I’d like to introduce Kathleen
Who’ll come in whenever she hears (with the music)
My teaching points I must explain
The hands and arms and covering
Remember your posture, close your feet in 3rd once again
We never see the sun, Jim Stott says have some fun
And here’s a camera crew so get it right.
It rained on our day off – enough!
I’m sneaking out dancing tonight.
Exams are done, it’s party time
And Claire will say “all back to mine”
Can someone bring chocolate gin and lots of wine….
Reach close reach (etc)

Another Saturday morning and I STILL hadn’t been able to revisit the lovely local parkrun! We had a bit of a reminder of “what next” – I still need to do my written Unit 1, and then see if I can use some of the 7 weekly classes we have in Belfast Branch  to build up my Unit 4 portfolio. I realised just how Lucky I am, with the support and encouragement of a great lively branch, blessed with many very experienced and generous teachers.  We managed a quick rattle through some of the new Book 50 dances, and I spent the afternoon having a welcome potter around St Andrews’ charity shops.

RSCDS Book 50

The Saturday dance in Younger Hall was full of emotion. I was trying to get a dance with each of my fellow students, but there just wasn’t enough time.  We took some photos and headed back to the dregs party, and I squished and squeezed everything into my suitcase.

My journey home was uneventful, though I felt emotionally and physically exhausted, and was never so glad to have my husband’s arms around me.

The house is eerily quiet without Max, he was such a big presence in many ways.  Minnie is missing her companion, though she was overjoyed to see me. I got the hoped for email a few days later, telling me that I had successfully passed Units 2 and 3.

And I’ll leave you with Max, a soul who liked to go his own way.

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Maxim Von Thunder 2007 – 2016

 

 

Don’t Forget Your Barko! #dfyb

The hashtag #dfyb is used by parkrunners around the world.  It is shorthand for “Don’t Forget Your Barcode”, the little scrap of paper which is scanned after you run, which the magical parkrun computer elves then match up with your time, and create a myriad of statistics. Serious parkrunners have extra barcodes stashed in their car or handbag, or have them laminated.  I forked out for a keyring barcode, but found it got worn away next to my keys, and nowadays have a black plastic wristband, which always scans, is waterproof, and is unobtrusive to wear.

I did jokingly sport a fake barcode tattoo when doing my own 100th parkrun!

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Now to Minnie, my faithful running mate.  She’s accompanied me to parkruns in Wallace, Citypark, Armagh, Antrim, Ecos, Larne, Comber, Valley, Colin Glen, Falls, Ormeau, Victoria, Waterworks, Queens, and Bangor….where she memorably jumped in the water, obviously thinking it was a triathlon.

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She can be a little bit barky and apprehensive of people, and particularly dislikes being reached down to for a pat. If you do ever meet us, the best plan is to ignore her – she’ll come for a sniff and say hello when she’s satisfied that you’re OK.

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Where shall we go?

I knew we were approaching her 100th parkrun…sorry…barkrun…and thought that this momentous milestone should not go uncelebrated.

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I’d encountered Murphy’s Barkery a few times at Waggy Races, and they had always been so lovely and friendly, as well as making some delicious doggy treats.  They were delighted to make a special giant cookie, complete with the parkrun symbol.

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Min isn’t too bad at dressing up: she has a Christmas jumper, a skeleton costume (which glows in the dark), an Adidog running vest and of course a Dog Lisburn vest. Simple outfits are best – the red bandana she wore as Muttley was easy peasy, but trying to get a 3rd eye on her head to be a 3 eyed raven was a disaster.

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So of course I had to make her a milestone 100 Tshirt! I bought a small plain black Tee from M&S (size 8 gives her plenty of room for manoeuvre), and a fabric paint pen from Craftworld. If I’d had more time and patience, I’d have stenciled it, but as it was, hand written had to do – it wasn’t going to get a lot of up-close scrutiny, and it was only for lolz, after all.

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minnies 100th 005We arrived in good time, as usual, to be met by the Cummings family who presented her with a special chewy bone. Thank you!

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The T shirt attracted attention from other runners making their way to the briefing point, where we met up with the lovely Andrea and her running pooch, who gave us a bag of dog treats. Thank you too!

We got a special mention in the Run Director’s brief, very ably delivered by Brenda Harris.

The weather was OK – not too warm, and a hint of drizzle, but no actual rain, and no wind.  But my running form hasn’t been good lately – I have a niggly IT band, am carrying too much weight, and not doing enough training.  On top of that, my Garmin’s battery died after the first km! So as there wasn’t realistically a chance of grabbing a new PB, we just relaxed and enjoyed our run.  The marshalls and other volunteers were brilliant as usual, and gave us lots of support! And we did call out “Dare to Dream!” at a dog walker whose pooch was wearing a GAWA vest.

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Photocall afterwards, and Brenda asked if I could pose looking as if I was shaking her paw saying Well Done.  Luckily, Minnie’s repertoire of  commands includes Sit! and Paw! so we were happy to oblige.

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What can I say.  It’s an absolute delight to have her running with me, she gets me up Heartbreak Hill, and more importantly keeps the momentum going once we get to the top. She’s always game to run, and indulges my dress-up proclivities.  She helps me prove that – you don’t have to be mad to be a runner, but it helps!

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Runner of the Week

It’s been quite a week in the world of running.  Even though I did precious little ACTUAL running, I did manage to get to a Body Pump class, and strength work is very important in improving performance.

Firstly, I changed my car.  The little yellow Fiat 500 (Travis was its name) was very cute, and lots of people remarked that it was very “me”, but it was just too small to fit 2 large dogs in any way comfortably.  Minnie could fit in the boot, but it was a tight squeeze, and she had recently discovered that she could climb over into the back seat and beyond, which is just not safe.  Max could fit in the back seat with a seatbelt attachement, but it was a real palaver to get everybody in and out.

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Room for everyone!

My main criterion when looking at a replacement car was the height of the sill into the boot area.  Many cars that would otherwise be great canine-friendly vehicles failed on this test.  And it was almost by chance that I happened upon the Nissan Note, but after taking it for a test drive I was pretty sure this was the car for me!

Both dogs fit comfortably in the back, and even Max jumps in without too much cajoling.  Little dog usually lives up to her nickname of “Moaning Minnie” in the car, but the whinging is definitely at a lower level, now that she has room to turn around and find a good spot.  As it is a blue Note, its name is Harold Melvin.

Next, I was featured in the parkrun UK weekly magazine, as “parkrunner of the week”.  I have to thank one of the Wallace run directors, Michael Harris, for nominating me, and the feature was spotted by parkrun chums on Mumsnet, h2g2, and Twitter.  My Mum was of course enormously proud, and is showing it to everyone.

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During Monday night’s training run, my headphone batteries died, so I had to resort to other distraction techniques.  I like playing with numbers in my head (I loved the Irish Eurovision entry last year of this name – shame it didn’t do better!) and I started working out how many parkruns Minnie has done with me.  Some were obvious – she hasn’t done the far flung ones like Derry or Limavady, and she hasn’t done any in Scotland or England.  MUSA is a no-dog run, and I knew there was one Bangor run I’d been without her as I was doing my sighted guide training.  The only question mark was Wallace.  She’s done MOST of the 72 runs that I’ve clocked up there, but not all.  I reckoned a generous estimate was that she’d missed 10 of them.  So she’s done over 90 in total.  I will be making her a 100 vest when the time comes, but meanwhile, I reckoned I could turn the purple T shirt she wore last week to Liz’s 100th run into a club vest.

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It’s fun to run at the Wa—-llace parkrun!

So I ordered the letters DOG LISBURN from Amazon, and they arrived in time for me to iron them in place.

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Club T shirt

So now we had the attire, and the right mode of transport, where would we go?  Ecos and Bangor (both high on my list of “events where I’m sure I could run faster than last time”) were having birthdays, complete with cake.  Wallace was having its monthly pacer session, but it was the news that Stormont had re-measured its course, and it was now a good 100m shorter, that proved the most persuasive.

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Where shall we go?

The weather was not kind, and it was damp and miserable.  As we parked up in the hotel’s capacious car-park, and elderly gent joined us, admiring Minnie’s outfit.  He was pretty new to parkrun, so I gave him a rough idea of the course, but took him to say hi to the volunteers.  A few people recognized me from the parkrun newsletter, and I recognized a few people and dogs from other events.

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All the purple ladies, all the purple ladies, now put your hands UP!

The run itself went smoothly – I felt my pacing was pretty good, I wasn’t over-pushing myself too early, and Minnie’s impetus up the few hills was working well.  My previous best time here was 26.40, so I was hopeful that the shorter course would see me in the 25s.  As it was, I even managed to break 25, and came in as 4th lady in 24.56, with the 3rd best aged-graded percentage of the day.  Gotta love age-grading: as with many things in life, the trick is just to keep going.

Fellow Waggy-racers Claire and Cash (named after Johnny…) were first female finisher -well done!

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Well done Claire and Cash!

Strangely-appropriate-song on shuffle was “C-lebrity” by Queen with Paul Rogers, with the line “I wanna get my features in magazines” making me smile.

 

 

All the parkruns I’ve done

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deux chiens biens (et des canards, et un cynge….)

Mais je cherche encore pour un kingfisher….roi pecheurs?

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As I took my two pooches for a long perambulate, I found myself wondering how to give them commands in French.  F’rinsitance, if I say “Sit! Stay! Down!” it’s the same sound whether I’m talking to one dog or two.  But if I were to do the same in French, then the imperatives would be different – Asseyez-vous or Assieds-toi. Venez vs viens.  Restez, restes….do the dogs hear and understand the difference?  Or are all dog commands given using the “vous” form?  Curious minds want to know.

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French canine commands aside, we had a lovely walk, and spotted a gorgeous swan, reflected in the still waters, and a group of ducks.

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NI Parkruns: Citypark Craigavon

“Citypark” is a rather misleading name for this one, as it’s nowhere near a city! It is in the vicinity of Craigavon, though, with its many roundabouts to negotiate, and I was glad I had written out the directions on a piece of paper, and was travelling with a running companion to help me navigate.

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Access:

It’s not too far off junction 10 of the M1, but check their web page for detailed instructions.  The course is one single lap around a pair of lakes next to the Watersports centre and civic centre.  There’s a good car park, and shelter/ loos in the watersports building, where coats, keys and barcodes can be left during the run.  It’s a pretty route through lots of trees, and while there a few ups and downs, there are no killer hills.

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Gear:

It was raining when I visited, but not heavily, and I opted for my short sleeved Jog Lisburn T shirt, with long trousers.  MapMyRun seemed to be working fine, but it told me I’d completed the 5k when I was still 400m from the finish, which threw my pacing calculations off slightly. I had my waistband pouch to hold poo bags, dog treats etc, my sweat-wristband which is useful for the runny nose I always get when running, and I utilise the white headband from last year’s colour run to act as a brake under my armband phone holder. Our Jog Lisburn T-shirts provided a conversation starter, and we were able to do our ambassadorial bit for the club.

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Crowd:

It usually has in the region of 100 runners, with quite a few females taking part – I finished as 12th woman.  Mini was the only dog running, and as usual had a crowd of admirers coming to say hello. There’s tea, coffee, and water available afterwards, to enjoy over the post-run banter and comparing of performances.

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Strangely Appropriate Song provided by shuffle:

With all the pacing calculations going on in my head, it had to be Stevie Wonder going “five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes!” from Seasons of Love.

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Time:

Having PBed the previous week with 26:19, I was hoping that this less-hilly route would help me get under 26.  That meant pacing between 5 and 5:12 per km.  My plan was to run the first half as fast as I could, and I kept my pace around 5:03.  For the back stretch, I was aiming to hold position.  As I started the last km I was pretty sure I’d get a solid time, but then MapMyRun told me I’d completed the 5 when I was still some way off the finish.  So I wasn’t too sure of my actual finish time until the official text and email results came it, and was delighted to have broken into the 25s with a 25:57.

List of all the parkruns I’ve completed.