No Rest for the Wicked

A holiday is supposed to be a rest, right? Ha! Not for this little lady.

Mr B and I went to Portrush in Northern Ireland to watch the Northwest 200 motorbike races and I was delighted to find that they have a parkrun there. Not technically in a park and on a surface that was totally different to the tarmac I’m used to running on. Portrush parkrun is held on East Strand Beach, actually on the sand !

We flew to Ireland with some friends the day after the Leeds Half Marathon, the phrase of the day was “don’t you know I ran a half marathon yesterday ?” Needless to say, I was pretty sore and a little bit hungover. The apartment was fantastic and the view was amazing.

portrushEnjoying the view and a little drink.

A couple of days after we got there I went for a little 3 mile run which incorporated a multitude of different terrains. I ran along the road and promenade up to the roads that were later closed for the racing. When I got to the 1.5 mile point I turned around and headed back. To mix things up I ran along a cliff top path and down to the beach.

portrush5Mandatory Lakers on Tour Selfie.portrush7The turning point which was later part of the race track.portrush6The border of County Antrim and County Londonderry.portrush4Cooling my little tootsies.

The lure of the sea was too much and I had to whip off my shoes and socks and run along the sand and in the sea. It was a fantastic feeling and I ran the length of the beach with a stupid grin on my face. I also ran up the steps from the seafront back to the apartment barefoot, another first for me.

The next day I was aiming for 5 miles. I headed in the opposite direction and again took in some different running surfaces, including rocks. I had to stop for a little look in the rock pools to see if I could spot any interesting critters.

I ran part of the parkrun route and worked out where the meeting place was. It was very hard work and I had to walk quite a lot of it. With hindsight this was probably the start of my post race slump.

Parkrun in Northern Ireland starts at 9.30, half an hour later than in England so while Simon headed up the hill to the racing I made my way to the beachfront start line.

There was the usual pre run talk and when I said I was from Leeds a couple of people chatted and said that they had family in Yorkshire. There were 147 runners in total, I came in at 141st with a very disappointing time of 42:15, I haven’t done a parkrun in under 40 minutes for nearly a year.

Before we set off I was undecided whether to run barefoot or not, I looked around and no one else appeared to be barefoot so I left my trainers on. It was hard work running on sand even though it was quite firm and not too wet. It was a hot day. My legs were tired and heavy and my shins and calves were hurting. I really did not enjoy it as much as I should have.

portsrush2Chatting at the finish line.portrush3The last stretch, no crowds or sprint finish for me.

At the finish line there was the run director taking photos and the timer. It was very strange to finish a parkrun in almost complete silence, Cross Flatts may have spoilt me with the cheers and shouts at the end. I had a nice chat with the lady at the end and then headed up to the water sports centre to get scanned. I hung around for a bit but no one was particularly chatty so I went to the cafe expecting to find it full of runners. Not a single one ! Completely different to Cross Flatts and a bit of a let down.

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