790.53 – 800.53KM: The Quest for the Missing Park Run (Solo Run)

October 9, 2013

So this weekend disappointingly saw me run another Solo Run to reach the 800km mark with as little fanfare as possible. Originally I had planned to run the Mablethorpe Marathon on Sunday but as I sat on the train on the way to last weekend’s Robin Hood Marathon I discovered that the entry had closed. After a week of trying to find replacement races to enter instead, only to find they were all either too far away, too expensive or entry had closed I decided to go on a little adventure instead.

A couple of weeks ago it was announced that Lincoln finally has it’s own Park Run, starting on the 16th November. In 2008 I moved to Lincoln to go to University, in the same year I started running regularly, first in an attempt to lose weight before eventually it became a passionate hobby. Since then I have been waiting five long years for Lincoln to get it’s own Park Run, so on Sunday I headed down to Boultham Park to check out the chosen venue.

The details for Lincoln’s inaugural Park Run are few and far between at the moment, so I had no idea on the exact course and how many times you would be running around it. When I finally found an entrance to the park, albeit via some woodland, it became clear that the park wasn’t big enough for it to be one big simple loop. I headed off through the park, avoiding dog walkers, children and the occasional goose trying to take as big a circuit as I could whilst keeping to the paths and without doubling back on myself. I’ll have to wait until next month to see just how many times the route will loop through the park, but unless anything goes wrong I should be there on the 16th ready to enter my first Park Run after the 5 year wait.

After a circuit or two round the park I found the nearest exit and then headed back home, reaching the 10km mark just a short distance away from my front door. I hadn’t planned to reach another big milestone in this challenge next to a dog litter bin, but with just short of three months left of the year and now only 200km left it’s a great place to be, even with the smell of dog faeces.

The past few weeks have been very stressful and I was under the orders from many people to have a relaxing weekend, some even suggested not running, but that was never going to happen. On the Saturday we took advantage of a rare ‘healthy’ day for Jenny and headed into town shopping, there are few worse things I can think of doing on a Saturday evening, but the very fact that Jenny was dressed, able to leave the house and we were spending the whole day together for the first time in months made me forget all that. We even stopped off for dinner on the way back, with two Marathons coming up in a couple of weeks I should be paying close attention to what I’m eating, but instead I did what I normally do and picked the biggest, meatiest thing on the menu.

My massive sausage

After my run on Sunday I had planned to take a nice relaxing bath, something I rarely find the time to do. I had it all set up perfectly; a nice hot bath, cup of tea, slice of cake and Series One of Breaking Bad to watch on my laptop. The relaxation didn’t last long as after 10-15 minutes I ended up getting bored and frustrated at the fact I wasn’t doing anything productive and got out. Not quite the relaxing afternoon I had planned.

So this weekend I have the Spires & Steeples 26 Mile Challenge, a run from Lincoln Castle to Sleaford (18 miles away) with, I’m guessing, 8 miles worth of detours. I honestly have no idea what to expect from it, it says it isn’t a race, rather a challenge, it will be across fields, so I’m expecting it to be fairly tough. My calves have been very tight since the Robin Hood Marathon at the end of September so a week of stretching and foam roller(ing) awaits to try and get my body recovered just in time for Sunday (to then ruin it again). The Spires & Steeples will be the first part of my two Marathons in a week, with the Yorkshire Marathon the next Sunday (20th). I remain foolishly optimistic that my body will cope fine, I have aspirations of one year emulating Julie Weiss, so this should be good training and experience for that.

Red Bull Steeple Chase

This past weekend was host to many big races, the Red Bull Steeple Chase, Royal Parks Half Marathon and Great Scottish Run to name a few. It got me thinking about what races I plan on entering next year. Whereas this year I have been entering every race that I could without being dictated by preference, next year I should be able to pick and choose much more freely. This means entering races I either wasn’t ready for this year, such as the Belvoir Challenge or races that clashed with races I had already entered. I’m looking forward to this freedom, but for now I must focus on the remainder of this year as first I have another 200km and 12 weeks to run.

As always, please visit http://www.justgiving.com/shanes1000km and donate what you can and please share news of what I am doing with others.

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