Saturday 31 January 2015

Why do we go running in the pouring rain?

It's the question that's been whirling around my head this morning after completing my 7th Park Run at Lanhydrock and quite frankly the worst one so far.

Back in early December I took part in my first ever park run and although it was pretty cold it was bright and the ground fairly firm. I enjoyed the experience, running with friends and family and enjoying the countryside and brisk fresh air. I ached terribly after that first event for a good few days but I was also fairly hooked. I wanted to beat my own time, I wanted to beat my friends time and that lead me to attend park run each week.

Admittedly I missed a few over Christmas as I was staying with family and drinking a fair amount and staying up late in the evenings and the thought of running around a cold park at 9am compared to staying in the warm and eating and drinking won hand over fist. But now it's the new year and new years resolutions come into play. Dry January takes a hold of our social life, not because we want to stay sober but for the other two reasons being that we consumed so much over Christmas one more drop would physically make us sick and secondly we have no money!

So back to Park Run. I really enjoyed my first one and loved my second one. Achieving a time quicker than the first kept me enthusiastic for the next one and then I had a break for Christmas. The new year has started well achieving quicker and quicker times. I got up this morning and the wind was howling. I thought to myself it didn't sound great but knew that running into the wind would only push me and make me stronger! I checked the weather forecast and the description was 'Light rain shower' What's the harm in a little light rain, I'd be running through the trees through a lot of it so won't be that bad!!!

How wrong could I have got, whilst driving to the park which is about 12 miles from where I live the heavens opens, thick heavy hail stones pelted the car and for a brief moment I thought about turning around and not bothering. But then I thought, What's the point, I'm up, I'm out what's the harm in a little light rain!!

I arrived to Lanhydrock and the temperature gauge in my car read just 2' degrees, but it wasn't raining! I bounced out of the car and shivered in the brisk icy wind and thought again to myself at least it's not raining. I jogged down to the start line and met a few friendly faces. We commented on the cold and were we in fact mad and agreed that we were lucky as it was raining.... Well we spoke too soon,

As the event organisers talked to the runners and thanked the volunteers for their time the heavens opened once again. The sky got darker and darker and we were pelted with hail stones and torrential heavy rain. As the running got under way it was now pouring down, we headed through the park into the cover of the woods but this didn't make a difference and rain was hammering into my face. I wear glasses all the time but the rain pouring down them was making it impossible to run so whilst half running I scrabbled into my pocket and put my glasses in their. I now had the challenge of water pouring down my face into my eyes. The whole ordeal was brutal, horrible, I hated it. I couldn't think for one minute why I was doing this and why my boyfriend is at home snuggled up in bed in the warm and dry and I'm running around in the P***ing rain, gusting winds and freezing temperatures.

I plod on around the course just wanting to get to the finish get home and get in the shower and get warm. Once through the finish line I walk up away from the course back to the car park and start chatting with a fellow park runner about how mad we must have been and how horrendous that was, yet at arriving at our cars wave goodbye and chorus "See you next week" See you next week? SEE YOU NEXT WEEK??? You've got to be kidding me!! As I strip off my high vis running jacket as it was currently pouring water down my backside and throw on my thick winter coat I realise that I'm just as wet through the next layer too and putting on my coat was pretty pointless and just making that wet from the inside too. I sit in my car shivering, slightly red faced with water still pouring of my face and I'm still questioning why on earth I just did that.

I drive home with the heating and blowers on full blast and the car steams up terribly with the amount of water in there. Annoyingly the rain now stops and the sun even breaks through the clouds for a short moment. I look down at the passenger seat and notice the puddle on the chair from my running jacket and as I change gear, hear the squelch of water in my trainers. Once home I strip of the layers, and yes I'm wet right through and weighing a ton. My running jacket, my long sleeved thermal base layer, my support top and a sports bra every single one is soaked through I strip off in the kitchen throwing everything at the washing machine and do a soggy, cold jog to the bathroom where the shower is the best thing in the whole wide world. I wash off the mud from my ankles and the bit's of random foliage on my face and get warm and once back to some normality start to think about my time for the torturous 5km.

So I knew I wouldn't be getting any PB's whilst running head on into gale force winds and the flapping around taking my glasses off and getting them zipped up safely in my pocket wasn't a great start either, But, I felt like I ran for more of the course this week, I got further up that horrible big hill before needing to walk, I ran further across the muddy boggy field because I wanted to get across it quickly and get out of the wind and rain and back under the cover of the trees. I logged onto the park run website to check out my time and there it was  30:24. Only 32 seconds slower than my personal best and the second fastest time out of the seven 5km that I have completed,

I'm then already checking the weather for the following Saturday, wondering if it's not as windy and if it's not as wet would I get a quicker time, The thoughts of running in the pouring rain and how much I hated it and how horrible it ws has faded and I'm once again looking forward to next weeks run where hopefully I get another chance of getting a new PB.

Running is addictive and through the volunteers and Park Run initiative I'm addicted. I look forward to the run, the sense of achievement the friendly people and for some strange reason, even pouring rain hasn't put me off this time!

Running in the rain

Monday 19 January 2015

Where do you go cycling in Cornwall?

Since getting a new bike for my Christmas present last year I have begun exploring Cornwall by bike. Via footpaths, coastpaths and country roads. Most of the bike Rides I try don't go very far from home, I'm still working out my fitness levels and prefer to venture on circular routes near home so if the weather takes a turn for the worse I can get home before getting to soggy. One of my first trips out I stormed off out in one direction got 20 miles from home and the heavens opens, Even though I was wearing a waterproof top half my legs and feet were soaked and as it was the middle of winter it was freezing and I ended phoning a friend to get rescued rather than face the soggy 20 mile ride back home in Arctic conditions.
Mandi Brooks Cornwall

I don't have the lycra or any of the technical gear for cycling but I have a passion for exploring, especially seeing things at a slower pace of life and stopping with my camera to capture a few pictures. I know I won't be getting any fast times, entering any races or events and my latest bike ride saw me getting over taken by several very fit men in lycra but I love it. I love the escape, finding new views from places I see every day and finding time to myself in the fresh air.

On Sunday I completed a 10 mile bike ride around the local area however after a night of rain the roads and footpaths very treacherous. I managed to sink my bike in the mud meaning I lost momentum to continue riding, had to dismount the bike meaning that me feet went deep into the mud and spent the rest of my bike ride covered in mud avoiding the country footpaths and bridleways and sticking to the roads.
Muddy cycling in Cornwall

Muddy Bike in COrnwall

Bike stuck in mud

I'm looking forward to the summer when I can go for longer bike rides without getting too cold and wet and when I can go for after work bike rides rather than just at the weekends.

I've ventured out from my local village and cycled around the local area to the coast, to Watergate Bay, Mawgan Porth and Wadebridge and want to know where your favourite cycling routes in Cornwall are? I'm not talking trails like the Camel or Cardinham woods but your favourite road route for spectacular views, routes that are personal to you that need to be enjoyed on the pace of a bike rather than via the speed of a car.  

Saturday 17 January 2015

Park Run Bodmins 1st birthday

For the last 12 months people from all over Cornwall have been meeting at Lanhydrock country park in Bodmin to take part in Park Run. This morning they celebrated their first year of successfully holding the timed 5km event each week and celebrated in style with lots of cake!

I only joined Park Run a few weeks ago and this was my 5th attempt at the 5km course. This morning the temperatures were freezing, quite literally with temperatures in low single figures. Driving to Bodmin I drove through rain and could see snow up on the hills of Bodmin moor and really did begin to wonder why on earth I was doing this so early on a freezing cold Saturday morning.

Freezing Temperatures in Cornwall

Arriving at the car park and seeing everyone walking down to the course in their florescent clothes I realised that the course was also pretty frozen. What looked like a hail storm over night had turned the area white and the pavements and pathways from the car park to the start of the course were wet and icy.

Winter at Lanhydrock Bodmin
Arriving at the start line the volunteers presented awards to those with the highest points and thanked the volunteers and tail runner for their time and dedication to put on this free event. With the arrival of Spider Man and Super man we were off running the course. I've only done the course 4 times previously and quite like the first section of running, starting off downhill on a paved path, but this morning this paved path was a sheet of ice so had to begin on squidgy, soggy, bogs of mud.
Lanhydrock Park Run

Lanhydrock Park Run

Once I had warmed up I started to enjoy the run, the sun was beaming through the trees and the tree's were dripping water that glistened in the sun light. Running past the river takes your mind off the pain of running and gives you a bit of rest on the flat river bed. Having only completed a few park runs and not having done any running for many years I still haven't managed to run the full 5km circuit but each week i manage to run further and further before walking and also managed a new PB today.
Spider man at Park Run

I'm loving taking part in Park Run and love the competitiveness of beating your own time each week, once I've done my first 10 park runs I want to volunteer to do the photography at one of the sessions, but for now I want to work towards running the whole course and getting a time below 30 minutes.

Thank you to the Volunteers that donate their time to put on the event and Happy Birthday to Bodmin's Lanhydrock Park Run.

Muddy running trainers