My first week as a proper British runner

Hurrah…an actual running post! It has been a fantastic first week as a runner in the UK! The weather has been amazing and the whole thing was just so much fun. Honeymoon phase, I love you!

Last Saturday, just a few days after landing, we headed to nearby Andover in the morning to do parkrun. Parkrun really took off when we moved to California,  so we’re still fairly new to it.  For those that don’t know, parkrun is a series of free 5k runs in most towns across the UK (and in several other countries). You register online, print off your barcode, run and get a time. It’s an incredible movement, which has changed the face of British running and has brought thousands of people into the running community, and we’ve been excited to become a part of it. We’ve run parkruns before – in Leeds, in San Francisco, in Batemans Bay, Australia and in Washington DC. These past weekends, we joined the local race in less-glamorous Andover.

As I got to race a few times over the summer whilst the Husband ran with the Dude, it was my turn to ‘babysit’. Clutching his newly earned Garmin, the Dude and I joined the three -hundred-odd runners to do two loops of a lovely park. Some running on grass, some on gravel, some on trail.  Both weeks, we ran about 30 minutes –  the Husband ran 26:xx drawing a line in the sand for him to start trying to beat. People were friendly, the sun shone and it was pretty awesome.

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Squinting photo

This week, I also got out for some exploratory runs. I’ve had knee pain, on and off, for a while now, so I took a few extra days rest, did some rolling and (most importantly) stopped wearing my battered 700-mile Salomons and wore some new trail shoes I bought cheaply in Hawaii. That seems to have made all the difference, but I built back up slowly.

On Tuesday, an easy three miles round nearby Milston, my favourite place to run at home…

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On Wednesday, five miles up a trail onto Salisbury Plain and along the chalk tank-tracks there…

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And on Thursday, one spectacular seven miler in the bright sunshine and cool breeze. I ran out through the fields along the bridle-paths through fields of sheep to Stonehenge, which is about 3 miles from my parents’ house. It was one of those runs when the endorphins are raging and everything is wonderful. I greeted the hikers I passed, I greeted the sheep, I was buzzing the entire time.

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At Andover parkrun this past Saturday, my friend Nicola joined us. We’ve been friends since we were 12 so being able to run with her was pretty fab. There was a lot of chatting and some very casual jogging. It was fun.

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Nicola invited me to join her for her 8-mile run on Sunday morning and I jumped at the chance. Ynfortunately the week of sunshine came to a dramatic end so as we headed out, the skies were heavy and grey and it was raining. Not badly, but it rained lightly for most of our run and it was a little chilly. (Nicola ran in a t-shirt, I have a lot of toughening up to do). Despite the weather, it was fantastic to run some of my favourite local rural roads and to catch up with her properly. The sights were pretty gorgeous too, even in the rain.

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My running goals for September are as follows:

  • Run 100 miles.  I managed 92 miles in August. I’d hoped for 100 but taking those extra rest days to fix my knee was a wise investment, so I’m happy! This month though, I definitely want to hit 100.
  • Run five times per week.
  • Sign up for my first UK race, do a plan and start training!!
  • Add in some speedwork.
  • Add in some hills.
  • Get some new shoes!!
  • Explore, explore, explore!

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Liz says:

    Good to see those lovely English scenes Cat. It must have been great to catch up with Nic say hi to her from me! I’m now determined, once my major hike is out the way, to do some park runs here in Lincoln.

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yay! Good luck with the hike!

  2. Laura says:

    Looks like you have a lot of cool places to run!!

  3. Jen says:

    Nice new blog layout! 😻

  4. Cathryn says:

    Thanks! I think I like it – just playing around for a while.

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