England, baby: Running Up North

For the second part of our trip, we headed up north to see the Husband’s parents. They have a static caravan in Skegness on the Lincolnshire coast, so we went there to see them. (For US readers, this is kind of like a trailer on a trailer park, but without any connotations that such a thing would have in the US; it’s a common place for UK families to spend summer holidays). We had a great time with the in-laws. We visited seal sanctuaries, played neon-lit indoor mini-golf (uh-huh!) and ate a LOT of bread (oh UK bread, you are amazing). But there was some running too.

Mini golf, indoors, neon lit!!

Mini golf, indoors, neon lit!!

I join a running club…briefly.

On the Tuesday, I joined the local running club for their regular run. It was the first time I’ve done such a thing, I was inspired by Running The World, to be honest. The Skegness Coasters were perhaps the friendliest bunch of people I’ve ever run with – they were so kind and welcoming. It was a pyramid/interval night – I joined the middle group and a lovely girl called Martina basically volunteered to run with me the whole way so I didn’t get dropped! In the end, we were pretty much exactly the same speed so now I’m gutted we live so far apart and can’t train together more often! We ran 5.3 miles around Skegness, mixing fast periods of 2,3,4,5 minutes with slower periods and got back feeling pretty awesome at the end. No photos were taken, but if you’re in Skeggy on a Tuesday night, these guys are the nicest. They invited me to their Summer Wednesday night races (5 mile race for 3 GPB/$5) the next night but I couldn’t make it.

Easy miles by the sea

On the Thursday, I headed out for 6 easy miles by myself. Skegness is flat so I cruised along and had a lovely time really.

Sunshine, beach path, nice!

Sunshine, beach path, nice!

The desolate, beautiful English coastline

The desolate, beautiful English coastline

Caravans and roller-coasters. Skeggy in a nutshell.

Caravans and roller-coasters. Skeggy in a nutshell.

I race a mobility scooter

On Friday, I took part in a very important race. The Dude and the MIL on her Mobility Scooter versus the runner. I won! The Dude is still disputing this.

IMG_3483

For the weekend, we headed to Leeds in Yorkshire, where we used to live, staying with my best friend and seeing most of my other best friends. It was pretty amazing really. On the Saturday morning, I ran my first parkrun.  (Yes, I get very angsty at proper nouns that don’t take capitals). We tried to do Roundhay Parkrun last year but it got snowed off. This time, the weather was perfect. I was joined by my friend Andy who came to SF last year to run the SF Marathon. 

Roundhay parkrun 5k

I was hugely impressed by parkrun. It’s a free 5k (and they’re held in many many towns across the UK). You print a personalised barcode, run the race and at the end they scan your barcode, scan a finish-time barcode and boom, there’s your result. 224 runners turned out and the atmosphere was great.

The course is brutal. 3 laps of a hilly route. You start at the bottom of a hill, run up it, run along, run down, run along and run up again…and you finish at the top of the hill. I knew this wouldn’t be a fast race for me as I’m not in shape and I knew the course, but I wanted to get under 27 mins. In the end, I scraped in at 26.43 (official time 26.53 but there’s no chip and I started at the back talking to some friends with a stroller). I was actually pretty happy with that time and ended up 19th out of 81 women.

The finish chute

The finish chute

My friend Chris finishing strong

My friend Chris finishing strong

Recovering on the grass with Andy

Recovering on the grass with Andy

Some more gratuitous photos of our time up north…

My MIL gets interviewed by the local BBC station!

My MIL gets interviewed by the local BBC station!

The funfair at Skegness

The funfair at Skegness

SO much fun, driving one of these things!

SO much fun, driving one of these things!

And that was actually it for running in the UK. I flew back on Thursday (five days after parkrun) and basically ditched running in exchange for time with my friends and my family…and it was great. It’s lovely to be back, snuggled up with the Husband and the cat, and I am all fired up to start running and training again…but I do kind of miss the UK.

About Cathryn

I'm from Wiltshire, a beautiful rural county in the south of England. My husband, son and I moved to California in August 2010 with my husband's job, whilst I stay at home with The Dude, our gorgeous five year old son. I love running and cycling. I'm a Christian. I am finally learning to cook (about time too). I'm loving exploring this new part of the world and meeting its wonderful people.
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10 Responses to England, baby: Running Up North

  1. Nicola Johnson says:

    We miss you too! Skeggy in the sunshine – love it!

  2. Angela says:

    Looks like you found some gorgeous spots to run! Super jealous. I want to go run in England!!!

  3. Jen says:

    So cool to hear about your Parkrun (or is it parkrun?) experience! Always a good choice to prioritize time with family and friends, which is so precious. You’ll have plenty of time to run now that you’re back in Cali!

  4. Well, I am quite impressed with the amount of running you actually managed to get! It is so difficult when you know you have so little time to spend with your family.
    A trip like that is great but it also reminds you of the things you miss from England… well, that’s the way it is when we decide to live far away from home. Choices and concessions.

    • Cathryn says:

      A beautiful way of putting it. We love it in CA but I was reminded of the price we pay to live here. Primarily seeing our family and our friends but it also reminded me of the things I love about England. From a distance, it’s easy to only remember the things we don’t love, so it was nice to see it’s beauty as well.

  5. gracechua31 says:

    AAAAGGGGHHH, non-capitalised proper nouns trigger my grammar allergy. *sneeze* Apart from that, England in the summer looks lovely!

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