Racing in Pairs 

On Sunday 15th May I took part in the Calderdale Way Relay for the second year running. This year I did leg 6 and had a different partner. Both were ace!

I was picked to run for the mixed B team, which I am sure may have been an administrative error, as I’m clearly a C team runner, sometimes D 😬

Leg 6 was 10.5 miles and also the final leg so already the pressure was on. The CWR is also a pairs relay, and Helen ‘Relay team organiser queen’ Buchan paired me up with Liz. I’d never ran with Liz before, let alone in a race, so I was quite nervous. Her Strava showed a much more disciplined trainer than I, with several runs a week, up hills, whereas mine was lucky to have one run a week on a nice flat canal!

Would we be a good match, would I get beasted, would we even like each other for the whole two hours? It was a minefield of questions that couldn’t truly be answered until race day. Luckily I had met her before hand, and she was super friendly so that was a good start, so didn’t worry about the last question so much. 

We organised a recce with some others running the leg so we at least new what the route had in store. Happily it seemed pretty runnable. 

Ian Symington made the worrying a little more intense by listing a select few pairings pain rating, based on each runners previous race rating. Ours was 0.4 ish – I was nervous!

After the palaver of trying to get ourselves to start, whilst being able to get home after, we met at the start. 

Liz and I were giddy, excited and nervous. What a combination. We decided that the route was runnable and that we would speak up if we were going too fast for one another. We also had a target of 2hrs, by no means a quick time for the leg, but definitely within our abilities. 

We were all smiles having tackled the small hill at the start and a nice run through the village of Norwood Green. 

It got serious as we zoomed along the canal at Brighouse knowing we had the hill up through the forest. We knew we had done halfway in under an hour so out two hour target was still achievable. 

As we got to the final hill we were feeling a bit puffed out, but knew we had a lovely downhill section. 

As we left the canal and hit the the road into Greetland our target time was in sight. I suggested if there was anything left we should sprint from the garden centre. Liz made it clear a good 50 yards from the centre that she was going full pelt. However as soon as we hit the grass of the rugby field a final burst of energy overcame her and we came in hand in hand and super red faced. 

We’d managed to finish in 1hr 58mins and we were super pleased! 

My Strava of the run is here

It was a pleasure to run with Liz, Helen had done a good job at matching us up and I can’t wait to tackle the leg again next year and smash our time! 😀

Running in pairs is easy when you have the right partner. 

Catch restaurant review 

We went to Catch for our anniversary meal the other week and it was so good it’s definitely worth blogging about. 

Catch is based in West Vale, it claims to be modern day fish & seafood restaurant based on the family values, and it doesn’t disappoint. It has a traditional fish and chip takeaway, but also a lovely restuarant. 

Such a popular place that we only had a choice of two times for a table booking, 6.45 or 9.15, this was only a couple of days before so unsurprising, plus it was a Friday, and everyone knows Friday’s are fish days!

I chose the starter special which was Whitby Dressed Crab – see photo below. Whilst hubby had Peri-peri battered squid rings. 

Both dishes were good, perfect portion size and the squid was cooked to perfection. 


For main course I went for the Lobster and Shellfish Risotto, and hubby went for Simply Grilled Lobster with Chippy Chips. 

Photo below of the risotto. 

Again both dishes were perfect. 

Prices were reasonable. We compared the lobster dish to Burger & Lobster’s and value for money and quality at Catch was superior by far. 

The Chippy chips are amazing! Service was friendly and prompt. 

We’ll definitely be back. 

Takeaway looked good too – queue was out the door!

Catch can be found at

Victoria Mills

West Vale, Halifax

West Yorkshire, HX4 8AD

01422 310003

Leeds Half Marathon – 8th May 2016

On Sunday I took part it the Plusnet Leeds Half Marathon 

This was the first time I had run this race, and yet again my training had been slightly lacking, however my overall fitness felt good enough to go the distance. I was not expecting to get a PB, and I didn’t. 

I lived in Leeds for a few years, despite that I still had no idea where the course went, even when looking at the course map. I put that down to the fact that the years I lived in Leeds I was in fact drunk for much of the time – student life of course!

So the run was to be a mystery tour, luckily I didn’t need any nav skills!

Sunday was promising to be a scorcher, so I delved deep into my sports drawer and dug out my running vest and shorter running tights. As this was of course a road race I ditched the fell running shoes and relied on my faithful Mizuno Wave Rider 9s. I finished compiling my running playlist on Spotify and I even charged up my running watch! I felt nicely prepared equipment wise. 

A last minute puppy poo crisis meant that phill had to stay at home just in case Bob exploded, so I had no cheering squad – I was on my own as I knew the girls from work would have mega hangovers and not make it into town, and I don’t blame them – spectating can be pretty boring! 

I got there in plenty of time so killed time taking selfies and warming up. 


It was a lovely sunny morning, a little too hot for running 13.1 miles, but better sunny than rainy any day. 

I started well, if a little fast as usual. There were a few sneaky hills, but all runable and nothing like running on the fells. At the halfway point I was feeling good, if a little warm. Support along the course was great, with a few people out with hoses to cool the runners down, which was appreciated. 

By mile 10 I was starting to tire and get very hot. Especially my feet – my socks were a little too thick.

At this point you hit Kirkstall Abbey and whilst this road seems flat it has a slight incline and is a bit of a drag, then for good measure you have an incline to get back into town, and the finish line was also on a slope – cheeky. 

Secretly I’d hoped I could get close to 2hrs, but I finished in 2hrs 7mins (Strava link here). Initially I was a little disappointed, but I hadn’t trained properly and this was actually my 3rd fastest half marathon, so in the end I’m pretty chuffed. 

Phill thinks with decent training I should be able to do a 1hr 50mins half – we’ll see. 

This was a very well organised race, plenty of water stations (I was worried they may run out in the heat), good staggered starts and nice medal and finishers t-shirt. I’d give this one another bash!


Recovery was fine, even managed a nice walk out in the afternoon with the dogs. And of course a few celebratory beers. 

 

Trail de Font Romeu – A snow race

Back in January 2016, hubby and I decided to take part in a race with a difference.

  1. It was in France (I thought it was in the Spanish pyrennees, so was a little disappointed)
  2. It was in the snow

Phill had come across a website for the Trail de Font-Romeu, and someone had also shared a link on the CVFR Facebook page to a B&B that was run by English ex-pats, and who were organising transport to the race – perfect!

We did a bit of research into the race, watched YouTube videos, like the one below

Decided it didn’t look too bad and promptly signed up.

I signed up for the 12km discovery course and hubby went for the 25km Authentique course, almost tempted by the Passion, 40km course. But given the higher altitude, opted for the more sensible option.

Pyrenees Haven were offering a weekend package for the race, which included airport and race transfers on a half board basis.

Run by a lovely family from Pudsey, and also fell runners, we knew we were onto a winner, and we were not disappointed. It was lovely.

They organised for us to have a taster run around a cross country course to get used to the altitude on the afternoon we arrived, arranged race transport and Gary even ran around the course trying to take pictures of us.

There was a lovely couple from Wharfedale Harriers also staying at the B&B, so it was nice to make new friends and compare fell running stories.

The race itself was great. I wasn’t sure what to expect and was quite nervous, especially as Gary had taken us for a 5km jog out the day before and I had struggled with the deepness of the snow (energy sapping) and the altitude. Then I realised it was because the other 4 were a lot bloody quicker than me and I was trying to keep up.

When it came to race day I didn’t need to worry as they were all doing the longer 25km, so I was safe and happy doing the 12km option.

One main difference of running in France was that not many people liked to run up hill. Now this is usually an energy saving tactic when fell running, but mainly for the steep stuff, they walked anything! I tried to blend in!

The biscuit was well and truly taken when I realised they weren’t overtly keen on running downhill either, so I blew my cover and did some downhill overtaking.

As I have stopped wearing my running watch and just relied on my phone to log all my strava runs, judging distance is a nightmare as it has never been my strong point, along with pacing, or in fact any aspect of running. This meant I got to the end and still had a lot left in the tank, so I really need to dust that watch off and start applying myself!

The course was good and the weather perfect. 


I managed to complete the race in 1hr 55mins, which I guess I was pleased with given so many unknowns. But I’d definitely want to go back and try and beat that time. 

The race was very well organised with a good choice of food and drink at the end (and at the aid station – not really needed for the 12km though). 

Whilst I filled myself up I overheard the winner of the 25km come in, it was only Sam Watson from Wharfdale Harriers who was staying at the same b&b. I don’t think the French were overly impressed that a foreigner had come over and won their race, but they were very gracious. He got a lovely trophy! 

[photos to be added later – check back for updates]

 

Changes

Since I started this blog 3 years ago many things have changed. Luckily the two main elements of the blog have remained – cakes & running, despite my laziness trying to hamper both of these. Ok it’s not all down to laziness, I have been busy too, as I alluded to in my last post.

The biggest change is no longer living in London, so a little blog rename is probably in order. Running, cakes and Yorkshire doesn’t quite have the same ring to it so I may incorporate Puppies into the title instead.

Anyone who knows me will know this is a popular topic of conversation, mainly about pooping and general dog naughtiness.

Bob is the latest addition to the Beecroft household. He’s about 6 months old and a Springer Husky cross!


Most of all he’s super cute. Very chilled out compared to Elfie the GSP.

Currently we are going through ‘poomaggedon’ (I may copyright this!), where he poos in his cage and ends up covered in it. This is mainly down to a bad case of diarrhoea so hopefully isn’t a habit, as it’s pretty gross and not a nice 5am wake up call.

Elfie ‘loves’ him, she has someone who always wants to play, and who she can lord over – for now. He gives as good as he gets, and is quite vocal.

When we picked Bob I was hoping for a nice small manageable hound, but it turns out he’s going to be massive – 35kg probably! Hopefully his chilled temperament will mean he’s easier to handle than Elfie.

Running up hill is hard!

My lack of updates on this blog are down to several things:

  • We got another puppy – Bob, he’s cute, and takes up a lot of time
  • We moved house – Again!
  • I’m working way too hard
  • Winter up north is wet, so limits activities
  • I haven’t found a baking club in the North!
  • My running successes have slowed, along with my speed due to the massive bleeding hill round here

Luckily my inner competitive streak keeps me going with the latter, but even my runs and training are very sporadic.

Even when I was running on the lovely flat roads of London I was never going to be fast enough to win anything, but now my new goal is to not coming last.

Fell running is a nasty beast. No two runs are the same – even the same route. The weather and terrain can drastically change the conditions and run ability of a course. And of course those pesky hills. I’m lucky if I can run around a whole fell race, usually resorting to a trudge up the hill, and a cautious canter down steep, slippery hills. I miss racing on nice flat tarmac.

Having said that, there is a perverse thrill of running through a muddy bog, hoping your shoes follow you. Or the feeling of your lungs wanting to jump out of your throat as you attempt to fast walk up a hill, just to overtake a 70 year old, who will likely beast you on the decent.

As I am unlikely to ever run a fell race at a nice average speed of 9 minute miles my goal is to not come last. So far I can claim this victory, even if I am amongst the amazingly fit 60 and 70 year olds, and I did drop out of a particularly long and nasty fell race because I knew I would come last if I carried on.

This was Heptonstall fell race and I was pleased to tackle this again this year and actually finish it, and not come last. It was 15 miles with almost 3000ft of climbing so quite an achievement, even without my own silly goals.

I’ve joined a lovely local fell running club, Calder Valley Fell Runners, and there is a nice mix of abilities that you can always find someone to run with and encourage you. Unfortunately I don’t get down enough to train due to work and puppies, so this probably hampers my progress.

As a nice treat I have decided to enter the Leeds Half Marathon on the 8th May, and I can’t wait to run some nice tarmac miles, with very little hills.

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Our GSP Experience

Just before Christmas hubby and I bought ourselves a little gift. It was quite an undertaking and would take some commitment and patience on our part.

In December we bought home Elfie, our first puppy.

 

Elfie the GSP

After much deliberation we chose a German Shorthaired Pointer. We wanted an energetic breed as we eventually wanted to take her out on runs with us, we also wanted an intelligent and trainable companion.

We chose from a litter of 11. It was tough. We narrowed it down by sex, then we purely went on looks. We wanted one with distinctive markings, and we wanted a lively one. Boy did we get that!

 

not keen on car travel or missing her family?

Actually given we had a new puppy in the house the destruction wasn’t as bad as I feared. She quickly learnt toilet training and rarely chewed anything that wasn’t hers anyway.

We only had 3 sleepless nights when she 1st arrived and she soon got used to sleeping alone. We always cage her at night, to limit destruction and accidents, but mainly because her den is her safe place.

We promptly enrolled her into puppy training classes, as we live in the middle of nowhere we wanted to make sure she still had contact with other dogs. She was a handful and whenever a human approaches she just wanted to jump and nibble.

She picked up sit and lay down easily with treats. Heel and stay have been more of a challenge, even 7 months down the line. She’s even pretty good at paw, but the here command is always a challenge, particularly when there’s any kind of poo to be eaten (except her own or other dogs, which I guess is a blessing).

GSP’s are very strong willed and can be quite obstinate. I’m sure Elfie often feigns deafness when it suits her, but I guess all dogs do that.

Unfortunately she’s yet to make friends with our 8 year old ginger Tom. More on his part then hers. She just wants to make friends and play, Gary the cat has never experienced other animals before so is not quite as keen. As a result he now lives upstairs, where the dog cannot go.

 

Gary checks out Elfie when she 1st arrived

 

She loves frisbee chasing, avoids puddles and mud, requires your help when drinking from streams, and will do almost anything for sausage.

 

Elfie love frisbee

 

A few random things we have discovered since getting a GSP.

  1. We meet a lot of people who have one, but they never seem to have it out with them!
  2. She is very lazy in the mornings
  3. She doesn’t like tomatoes
  4. She’s not keen on puddles or mud
  5. She loves running – fast
  6. She loves frisbee
  7. She loves going to the pub – embarrassingly super keen in fact
  8. Pointers love to pull on the lead – a lot!
  9. A face harness sorts point 8 out
  10. She’s always super happy to see you – even if you only left her sight for 5 mins
  11. She has a wind problem – both ends – but she’s not embarrassed by it

She went through a phase of constantly barking in my face of an evening. Getting her to stop barking can be a challenge and usually it’s because she’s bored. She can be quite boisterous but never in an aggressive way.

After a few month of having her a friend asked if I loved her yet at the time I said I’m not sure (she could be annoying and a handful). But when I think of all the crazy and silly things she’s done, such as eating my postal ballot, getting car sick, trying to sit on my lap even though she weighs 18kg, always walking between my legs, the joyous look on her face when you get the frisbee out, her perky ears when you let her off the lead and she can run like a nutter, the way she sometimes fusses with her food but as soon as you pretend to eat some she gobbles it down…yeah I think I do love her!

 

me and my girl

 

1st Yorkshire Fell run!

Since moving to Yorkshire my other half has embraced many northern past times, such as hiking, growing a beard, driving a landrover, chopping wood, wearing wellies, and what we moved here for, fell running.
Some of these I have partaken in too, I’ll leave you to guess which ones.

Now I like running (sometimes) as you can see from this blog. But I’m not really keen on mud, hills, bad weather, so boy have I moved to the wrong place.
However, I am of the opinion that if I can get the motivation to train in these conditions, then my nice flat Manchester Marathon should be a piece of p*ss (in Harley lame running terms) come April.

So, very kindly, the other half arranged for me to go out for a ‘nice’ 8 miler with a friend’s wife from his running club.
I was worried!
The day before I had failed miserably at Burnley Parkrun on only my 2nd attempt – passed performance had always had me tracking positively on the ole Parkrun PB front. But damn this northern climate, I was off form! But that could also be the lack of any training whatsoever.
I had also failed spectacularly at my 1st personal training session the night before, by almost passing out and puking. Man I must be super unfit!

So the thought of unleashing my shitness on new people had me worried. I had no idea of the course, what type of hills we’d climb, speed of my running buddies, or their tolerance of ‘pretenders’. The only good thing on my side was that it wasn’t raining for once.
I geared up – never worn so many clothes, especially especially compared sunny Dulwich running, and headed over to meet them.
We were going to take a bunch of beginners out for their 1st off road fell run. Yay I thought, thinking back to the nice tame beginners at DPR, and how this may not be as bad as I feared.

I have no idea what they feed on round here, but these guys were ace. I decided to take up the sweeper position!
I don’t think I ran up one hill! Talk about baptism of fire!
But you know what…I loved it!
It was tough, but I know it only means I can improve. They were a fab bunch and I’m gonna look forward to slowing them down again in the future.
Might even infiltrate the ‘beginners’ course when it starts again.
I even didn’t shy away from the mud. Apparent it’s good for the skin! My feet will be beautiful in no time!

The good thing is it’s banished my fear of joining a fell running club, although, ask me that again once I’ve done my first run in sheeting rain! 😜

Manchester Marathon here I come….

1st Parkrun of 2015

Yesterday I started my road to my 2nd 26.2 miles with my 1st parkrun since March 2014.

We recently moved to Yorkshire so our local Parkrun is now Burnley.

As you may have noticed I have an internal competitive streak but not enough motivation to really push myself, so the prospect of running what I anticipated would be my slowest Parkrun yet was not appealing. I foresaw me struggling, walking and being at the back.

Now don’t get me wrong the last time I ran wasn’t March 2014. I had done a marathon in April and a couple of half marathons since then, but I’d only run 60 miles in total since April, and sporadically at that.

Burnley Parkrun is set at Townley Hall Park and is a nice course, albeit a course with laps in it. But luckily not a lap course where the leaders lap you unless….gulp!

I set myself a goal of finishing within 30 mins. That may have been a slightly comfortable target, even my first Parkrun was better than this. My slowest park run was 28.51 at Dulwich back in Feb 2013, but I had eaten a lot this christmas.

There was a good turnout running, a great number of volunteers and pacers. I decided just to go at my own pace and set off comfortably.
There was a slight uphill and an inevitable downhill. Unfamiliar with the course I wasn’t sure where to reserve energy or go for it. As a result the last large loop was a little tough. Also the finish straight was uphill and this is usually where I dig in and push for a strong finish. Not today.
I did however finish in under 28.30, so I have a nice starting benchmark to improve on. I wasn’t last, I didn’t walk and I came second in my age group, which was a nice boost. There may have only been two of us running though 😜

Looking forward to improving on this time and getting PBs each week as I train for the Manchester Marathon.

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