Category: parkrun

I can’t imagine life without you

I can’t imagine life without you

Very few things in life make you smile like this….

In all honesty, in the year that you have been in my life, we have been inseparable. You are the first thing I check in the morning and last thing at night. Even during the night I am checking on you. Even when I can’t sleep you are the light that keeps me company. We go everywhere together, I can’t even go to the toilet without you there. I don’t mind, you where my choice and I knew that this would happen from the moment you arrived.

I coveted you for so long, I hmm’d and haa’d over how you would fit in my life. I had coped well with your sister and the immense changes that it brought to my life. But you would be much more different. You would feel my every breath and heartbeat. You would know my every movement and be able to read my emotions. I had so many other options to weigh up, so many other things that would maybe fill that void in my life. Cheaper options not requiring such investment of my time and effort. Yet I couldn’t shake the longing for you.

I spoke at length with my husband, as you would expect any wife would do when it came to big decisions. He was also unsure if this was exactly what I needed in my life. Of course he knew only too well that it would be loved and cherished just as much as the previous one. That it would bring that something extra to my life but he wasn’t convinced I was ready for such a commitment.

I had friends who empathised with the dilemma. Those who had been in the same situation, some who understood the gravity of the decision and the impact it would have on my life. Of course there is always the ones who didn’t get it at all and queried what was wrong with what I already had. But that’s the thing, there was nothing wrong with what I had, it was perfect but I wanted more, I needed more. It was just an empty gap in my life and I needed it.

So I took the plunge.

It wasn’t as hard as I had imagined, it was literally as simple as a click of a button and I was lucky to not have to struggle to achieve it. I guess this was a blessing that I was able to do this when so many others battle and have to work harder to get what they want.

When the day arrived to welcome it into my life, I was nervous. My whole body was buzzing. I just couldn’t contain my excitement, actually nobody could, as I got messages asking had the big arrival appeared yet? Oh but it was worth the wait even if it was going to hit the bank account a few £££.

It was everything that I had imagined. Perfect in shape and form. I guess not everyone saw the beauty of it but in my eyes there was nothing to fault. Promising such a bright future. There was a long run ahead for us both from this point. A steep learning curve but such achievements and memories to be made. I knew I had made the right decision and got ready to welcome it into my life.

It was such a game changer. So much so it wasn’t long before the husband was bowled over by the new addition that there was another on the way. It even won over a few close friends who also started to see how much my life had changed and they too joined “the club” and where soon expecting their own bundle of joy.

This year, together, we have covered endless miles, climbed many mountains and shared in many special moments. You are the only constant in my life, day in, day out and you are the last thing I look at when I’m about to embark on my next challenge, keeping me grounded at all times throughout.

Who ever thought that I would become so attached to you. When you have to sit out a day or two when I’m not allowed to bring you along, it brings a smile to my face when we are reunited as you are missed in that time.

Like my two children, I can’t imagine life without you in it. There are times, I don’t like what you say and other times I get you to tell me over and over again because it is just what I need to hear to make it all worth while.

Dear my Garmin Forerunner 235. Thank you for always keeping me right, be that pace, heart rate, step count or just simply telling me the time. I owe the tan line around my wrist to you but no one ever sees it as you never come off, only when I am having a shower. You have saw me through marathons and many, many miles of training. You have known when I was at breaking point long before I did. You will continue to always be there, beeping when I need reassurance and tracking me when I’m lost.

Together for many more miles and many more smiles.

 

Don’t forget there is only a week left to vote for me in the Rock n Run Idol competition with  Rock n Roll Half Marathon Dublin in conjunction with Affidea Ireland.

VOTE SIOBHAN GRANT

http://www.runrocknroll.com/dublin/rock-idol/

 

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Kilbroney Parkrun Round Up

Kilbroney Parkrun Round Up

They do say the best runs come when you least expect it. Today I couldn’t fault that.

Caitriona had mentioned that she was down to marshal today at parkrun. Doing her bit and all that. She did ask if I fancied going but with a glass of vodka and diet coke in my hand as I wound down from a mental week of wedding madness and my legs recovering from a day in heels- yes I got doms after the wedding. There was no way I was getting up to run.

Of course I woke shortly after 8 and as I turned my phone on there was the snap chat.

Beautiful blue skies and parkrun?

I replied ‘meh’ however I’m sure Caitriona was having withdrawal symptoms as it had been 5 days since she last saw me, she insisted she’d pick me up in 20minutes.

I briefly debated it replying… sorry I’ve got the kids. Damn her goodness (potential madness) she said bring them along and they could marshal with her. So there was me jumping out of bed, sticking on my gear and throwing the kids together. Off to Kilbroney we went.

As we came over the hill into Rostrevor I was able to explain to Caitriona where my escapades during the walking festival went. Pulling up to Kilbroney we had a few minutes before starting.

I absolutely detest 5ks. Give me a half marathon anyday. Yet even I couldn’t have faulted the weather, atmosphere and stunning surroundings. Kilbroney parkrun offers everything. A challanging route, well supported by marshals and other public users of the park and breathtaking scenery as you weave in and out of lush greenways, riverside track, woodland and through Narnia-twice. Ok there are 2 hills but it adds to the challange and makes finishing that bit sweeter.

I’ve a Rostrevor parkrun personal best of 38.06. As I took off lap 1, pace was strong as the field spread out. Smiles and encouragement from marshals and also those staying in the caravan park. Before the descent into Narnia I was greeted by the personal cheer squad and made the resolve that I was going to push on and not let the next lap beat me. I crossed the start line in 18mins dead. I was delighted that for once I wasn’t lapped by the winner!

So realistically if I kept the same pace this lap, I’d blow my PB out of the water but without the field pulling me the first km I went back to my usual chanting and focused on my breathing to get me to the next hill. I didn’t get as far up it as I would have liked but with only a short uphill to go I knew I would do myself justice on the downhill.

I also knew that Rónán would be asking to run with me when I met him and as I opened up on the downhill I shouted for him to join me and the little ginger head took off in usual fashion and I chased him right into Narnia. As we turned the corner to the finishing straight he was in full flight and me too. Together watching eachother we emptied the tank taking the person in front and finishing neck in neck.

Some people do say you should let the child win. But he’s beaten me so many times I needed the victory of the final half kilometre.

I looked down to see 36.51. A new personal best by over 1 minute. Can’t be bad to that and for the record slightly hungover and definitely not in racing shape.

That’s the thing about parkrun though. It’s not a race. It’s a community event for everyone to join in and set themselves a goal. I always welcome getting new bests, who doesn’t? Yet the only pressure you have is yourself. Today for me though it was a gentle nudge from the running buddy who either knew I needed a good run, knew I was fit to do myself justice or just plain mean and wanted to laugh at me running. Either way… thank you Caitriona for getting me to run this morning and also for marshalling. Without the volunteers, parkrun wouldn’t happen.

Also want to draw your attention to another local event for both runners and walkers alike for a very worth while cause. Will be a fantastic way to spend a Saturday evening with friends and family.

And don’t forget to keep voting! 

http://www.runrocknroll.com/dublin/rock-idol/

I am no longer a Parkrun Virgin!

I am no longer a Parkrun Virgin!

There comes a time in every runners life when you just have to let it go. Over the past year I have ran every distance from 5k to Marathon and still held onto the fact I’d never ran a Parkrun. I wasn’t willing to just let any Parkrun be my first. I had flirted with going to Lisburn or Belfast to break my Parkrun virginity but with word on the street that a team was working hard in Kilbroney, Rostrevor, to bring Parkrun nearer to home, I held off waiting and hoping it would be the perfect one for me.

Low and behold the promise of Parkrun coming to Kilbroney materialised and under the wing of “Race Director” Dermot Mathers (why does he keep stalking me and my life I’ll never know) last week saw over 130 participants take to the trails of Kilbroney to mark the inaugural Parkrun.

Sadly I missed out on it as was busy learning how to save lives in case I ever come across a runner in need of more than hug. So clearly on the calendar I had marked this weeks Parkrun as a must.

It was an unseasonably mild December morning and as we left the confines of our cosy home in Castlewellan to make our way to Rostrevor, we had no idea what lay ahead. I have encountered Kilbroney a few times over the year in various races, so I was under no illusion that it was going to be a flat and monotonous course.

Over 100 parkrunners took to the start line and before we knew it we were off.

As we set off towards Fairy Glen, the sea of runners stretched the length of the path. As a 2 lap course my aim was simply not to be over taken by the front runner. It was great to have Caitriona back out running and keeping me right. She even requested for me to sing which is usually the reason she lets me run on as she doesn’t want to hear me. A rendition of Jiggle Bells was soon cut short as we approached the first hill.

As we climbed up through the twisty gravel track we were able to gain a place or two. Met by a lovely and very positive volunteer who directed us on up another hill. At this point on the loop the other runners came down the other side and spotting Michael with those who I assumed where in around the mid 20s, I knew that the front runners wouldn’t be too far behind me.

It was a relief to see the second hill end and know it was all downhill from there. As we came in through the caravan park, we where greeted by the Narnia Trail Door and like little fairies we ran through the woods towards the start again.

I could have easily stopped after 1 lap but as I crossed the line for the 2nd lap I spotted Don Travers coming across the finish and although I had made it a lap (just about) without being lapped, I know next time to get my ass moving a bit quicker!

The second lap didn’t have the fear of the unknown. You knew where to push yourself and where you needed to contain your energy. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s a good thing or not but I enjoyed the second lap more even if I did shed a tear as couldn’t shake off a niggle. I was able to take in the surrounding mountains that tower over the forest, listen to the leaves crunching under feet and appreciate my procrastination on the last hill that bit more.

It was exciting to come back down through Narnia, though it was more like a heard of elephants than a collection of fairies. The end was near and everyone knew it. Getting to the finish and smoothly going through the post parkrun motions, I was finally not a Parkrun Virgin anymore.

I have to give a shout out to all the volunteers, from the moment we arrived they where on hand to help with informing you about what is happening, what the route was and keeping you in the craic. Nothing beats fun and laughter first thing on a Saturday morning. Through out the course they were very encouraging and also empathy was aplenty as probably runners themselves, they knew the story that our faces told. We were treated to cake and sweets afterwards which was a fantastic surprise and finished the event off lovely.

It was great to see 6 of the Murlough crowd making the Parkrun also, well there where 5 until we realised Michael had decided to tackle a 3rd lap as punishment for that 3rd helping of Jameson last night, as that’s what sane people do obviously.

So Parkrun done and home for 11am. So this is what everyone raves about…I totally get it!

So was it worth waiting for the right Parkrun to be my first, definitely! I couldn’t have picked a more scenic yet challenging route. It was also helped by the fact that the weather was perfect and the seasonal changes in the surroundings added to the beauty. I just love running in the forest even if it does mean that I am faced with some “mild” elevation.

I will definitely be back and think if you are still waiting to pop your parkrun cherry, this is the one to do it. Friendly volunteers, great route, a few wee challenges to wake you up and plenty of fellow parkrunners ready to share their Saturday morning with you.