January can be a very flat time of the year.......the excitement of Christmas and New Year has faded.....and the longed for warmth and longer days of Spring still seem to be a long time coming! Most people are getting stuck into their training plans for spring races but the races themselves are still away on a distant horizon.
I used to hate having a birthday so soon after Christmas as then there was nothing big to look forward to for the rest of the year, and also because people used to "accidentally" tell you that they'd bought your present in the January sales. This year, however, I loved my birthday weekend as I got to do 3 of my favourite things.......run, hang out with friends, and eat lots of cake and chocolate! The only negative thing was that my parents couldn't come over as planned due to all the snow in the Northeast.
Luckily I hadn't had too late a night at our practice night out at the local Indian restaurant on the Friday night, so I managed to get up early enough on Saturday morning to drive down to Carlisle for the inaugural running of the Carlisle parkrun at Chances Park. Parkruns are free, weekly, timed 5K runs that occur on Saturday mornings around the world. They are for people of any ability and experience, though I think they are especially good for those new to running, returning from injury, or juggling family time with running. There are no parkruns very close to Dumfries, but I sometimes run them if I'm away visiting family or friends, as it means there are always people to run with (and have coffee&cake with afterwards). It's also nice to take a step back from training and just have a fun run with friends......and Carlisle parkrun was just that. It isn't what I'd describe as a fast course as it is about 50% on grass, and consists of 3 laps with some tight corners, but I had a fun steady run round. I also really enjoyed a cool down pushing my friends' 15month old daughter round in her babyjogger. It was great to run with (both on and off road), and doesn't seem to slow you down much.....though admittedly I didn't go up any major hills!
Tullie House Triple Layer Cake
Morton Manor opened up their cafe for us to have post-run coffee and snacks, so I had my first cake of the day courtesy of Russ and Pip Maddams (who are looking forward to the arrival of their daughter this week.....hopefully). Never being one to turn down cake, I had some more at Tullie House with Doug...and then later went out to a cafe in Dumfries for more treats with Audrey.......which was definitely a good thing as every cafe in the area seemed to be shut on Sunday (either that or they knew I was coming!!!). What more can a girl ask for?