Going away for a few days when you have children is hugely different to those halcyon days when you could just throw a few clothes in a bag, make sure the house was locked and jump in the car. Now going away is a military operation, although forces personnel are more organised than my rabble. This week Husbando had to go to a book fair in York. I like York and haven't been up there for a while so I decided to go with him. The older two children arranged to visit friends and the younger three were being dropped off with my mother, who lives near Leicester, on our way up there.
So, I packed for all three of the children, I'd just finished doing this when Hubando called and asked me to look out some stuff for him, belatedly I threw a few clothes in a bag for me. Mainly running kit to be fair, but we did fairly well, I don't think I forgot anything too serious, although my mother had to buy toothbrushes for the children.
Our favourite hotel was closed for the first night of our stay, so we spent the first night at an anonymous chain hotel - the Marriott on Tadcaster Road. Soulless but serviceable best describes it! For our second night we moved to the wonderful Middlethorpe Hall - a gem of a hotel!
On our first evening Husbando and I went for a run together, about 3.5 miles around the outer perimeter of the racecourse, and getting a bit lost in a housing estate! Husbando was coughing for NATO, he's had a nasty flu bug and it seems he isn't fully recovered yet. A solo run for me the next morning, in beautiful sunshine, reminded me of why I love running, clear blue skies, new places to run, new challenges to overcome.
Last time I was in York there was no parkrun in York. I'd considered driving over to Leeds, but decided not to as we'd been out drinking on the Friday night and I was a tad concerned that I might still be over the limit! This time there was a parkrun right on my doorstep (almost!) I love parkrun, but have to admit that I am happiest running at my home parkrun in Basingstoke. I get nervous at the though of meeting large groups of new people. In fact, on the 1.6mile run from Hotel to start line I almost wimped out several times, I had that horrible queasy feeling in my stomach that I get when I have to go to any event where there are lots of people I don't know.
On my way to the start I met the run director, Steve, setting up the finish funnel, and tied my kit bag to the fence near the finish. I jogged around to the start, arriving very early and waiting, for what seemed like an eternity, by myself. Just before 9am runners started to appear from nowhere. I chatted to a man who had lost 11 stone through running and walking and was there to do his first ever parkrun, a nice man called Roy who had read my post on the York parkrun Facebook page came up to me and introduced himself.
There were lots of shiny new trainers in evidence this morning, lots of them Christmas presents or sale bargains, but there were a lot of first timers there as well, and one visitor (little old me!) Soon we were off, the course is 1 and 2/3 laps of the service road just inside the race track. It is flat and on tarmac, which makes for a fairly fast run - I was about a minute and a half faster than my fastest recent parkruns, still too slow form my liking, but I'll get there one day. After Basingstoke and Alice Holt, it was odd to run a course where you could see exactly where you were going to run for the next kilometre! The race course is also well used by locals walking their dogs. I have no problem with parkrunners running with dogs - as they all seem to be well behaved, intent on running and happy to totally ignore me. But, and it is a big but, I am not a dog person, dogs seem to think I am tasty and edible, and I tend to be very wary of dogs, especially if they are not on a lead! And I've never seen so many non parkrun dogs at a parkrun venue!
After the run I had the best cup of coffee I have had in a very long time. The Poppy Coffee Company Van did sterling work supplying coffee, tea and hot chocolate to sweaty parkrunners. We were lucky with the weather - mild and dry - and people hung around for a post run chat, but I should imagine it is a different story on a cold, wet and windy morning. I met a couple of runners who I 'know' from the Fetcheveryone site - always great to put a face to a screen name!
I don't think there is every any chance of me becoming a parkrun tourist, but I am a third of the way to completing one of my resolutions - to run at three different parkruns (in addition to my home run) before Easter!