Katy...ish

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Forest of Dean 10k

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I ran this race last year, when it was called the Skechers trail run.  New sponsor this year, so new name - Salming trail run. The course had changed slightly, bringing it to 10.5k (with 2 and 4 lap options added if you wanted to run a half/full marathon).  There was also a 5k option, and before the main race started, a 1km kids route.

The weather was warm and dry and sunny!  Last year I ran the (downhill) first 3km a bit too quickly, and this year I intentionally did the same as I knew the hill in the second half would slow my pace.

finish line

I was running with my soft bottle so didn't stop at the first water station. Grabbed a cup of what I thought was just water at the second, and it turned out to be something vaguely lemon flavoured. An unpleasant surprise. Yuck. Good thing I still had a bit left in my bottle to wash it down with...

After about 7km my right achilles/calf decided to start being a bit niggly, so I slowed my pace. My time for 10k turned out about a minute slower than last year, which is a bit annoying but I'm not unhappy about it!

What is disappointing is the lack of photos of me. Especially as the photographer took half a dozen or so of the lady who crossed the line just ahead of me..... Maybe I looked particularly sweaty and awful or something ;)

ice cream and a medal

Anyway, once again I had an ice cream afterwards.  Does that make it a tradition?  Let's see what happens in 2019!

Kymin Dash

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It's April, which means the clocks have gone forwards, my skiing kit has been packed away until next winter (boo), and I can slowly drag myself out of semi-hibernation.

This year I've set myself the challenge of getting the Strava 10k run badge each month. So far so good - four down, eight to go! April's was also my first race of the year - the Kymin Dash.

Having grown up in Monmouth, I know the Kymin pretty well.  We used to walk up it quite often with Scouts, including in the dark, and I still look out for the white tower if I'm driving back from Wales along the A40.
That said, it's about 4 years since I last walked up there, and I remember the footpath (Wysis Way/Offa's Dyke) being rather steep and leaving me out of breath.  So running up it?  Yeah, that'll be a great idea...

kymin dash start line.
waiting to start

So many people in running club kit! I did feel a bit out of place as a non-club runner, and I think this is probably also why I had a recycled Gloucester marathon number/chip instead of the ankle tags that most others had.

I started near the back as I knew I wasn't going to be sprinting the 2km of uphill!  Instead I did a mixture of slow jog and power walk, which seemed to be a popular technique.  The road isn't as steep as the footpath, so it wasn't actually as bad as I was expecting. Along the way they'd put out plenty of motivational signs - "it's only a hill" etc, and I was very pleased to reach the top and the first water station - complete with jelly babies!!  I ran carrying my soft flask because that's easier to deal with than paper cups.

Once the hill was out of the way I was able to speed up a bit and, as the paths widened and the crowd thinned out, even did some overtaking.  I did have to stop and wait at the road crossing, which lost me about 3 minutes but isn't exactly the end of the world.

When we entered Highmeadow Woods we were greeted with a lovely muddy bog, which gave me flashbacks to doing Forest Warriors a few years back. *shudder*.  There was also a downhill section that was reasonable muddy and narrow, but apart from those bits (and the walk to the start line!) the course was all tarmac and hard forest roads.  I'm still pleased I didn't wear my shiny new shoes though, haha

me running.  photo from facebook.
A rare photo where I am actually sort of smiling - and overtaking the lady on the left!  Photo by Rod, from facebook.

There weren't medals (unless you actually won, of course) but I do now have a lovely purple technical tshirt.  We were also handed a Wild Trail bar at the finish line, but that's long gone... continue reading »

Painswick Rococo Gardens

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Painswick Rococo Gardens is only a few miles from where I've been living for the last 9 years, but I'd never thought about visiting.  Thanks to the Cotswold Bloggers group, that has now changed.

As part of English Tourism Week 2018, Visit England organised a series of Instameets to showcase certain venues/parts of the country.  This seemed like an excellent opportunity to take lots of pictures, meet some new people, and generally fail at networking.
I will add a disclaimer now: we were provided with free entry to the gardens, and also tea and cake in the café afterwards.  Thanks also go to Cotswold Tourism who were involved in the organisation.  Here's a group photo of everyone who attended.

Unsurprisingly, I posted quite a few of my photos on Instagram:

But I'd like to share a few more here too.

light on the café building
lamp outside the café

The day itself was cold - and in fact the day afterwards there was so much snow that the gardens were closed.  Within about ten minutes into our hour of wandering around my toes had gone numb, brrr. 

view from a window
view from the Pigeon House

I'd forgotten how much I enjoy just wandering around with a camera taking pictures of whatever random things I feel like.  I certainly do less of this while out walking now, as I usually have a dog lead in my hand and/or dogs to keep a keen eye on.

ducks
duck bums

Oh, did I mention there was cake?  It was very good.  The café was lovely and warm too - just what we needed.