If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see that we had an active Sunday over the bank holiday weekend. I ran the Cardiff 5k in Whitchurch on Sunday night and in the morning, my eldest ran Junior Parkrun.
I’m a huge fan of the Parkrun concept, weekly volunteer-run 5k runs that are free to enter. And for younger runners there’s Junior Parkrun, every Sunday 9.30am at Llandaff Fields.
Junior Parkrun is a 2k course for 4-14 year olds, and adults can run along with them (no buggies allowed though).
My eldest (who’s just turned six) has been taking part for a few months now and he absolutely loves it. As with the adult Parkrun it’s free to join, but you do need to register and print off a bar code beforehand. Here’s my Instagram story from the day;
I’m not always the spectator though, on Sunday night it was my chance to get active by taking part in the Cardiff 5k in Whitchurch.
This is the second year the race has taken place and I definitely noticed an increase in both runner and spectator numbers.
The atmosphere in the village was brilliant and really made up for the horrible drizzle.
The route took us from Whitchurch village, around Heol Don, into Llandaff North, past the library, over the horrible railway hill (known as Crown Hill to us locals in honour of the old Crown Pub) and back to the village via the common.
The end of the route was pure evil; even though you are in touching distance of the finish line it takes you around the corner for another couple of hundred yards, before heading back to the finish. I remembered this from last year so was prepared but there were a few runners around me who were fooled into thinking it was almost over!
I grew up in Whitchurch so loved running around my old stomping ground. There were plenty of familiar faces along the route and having my Mum and Dad cheering me on at separate points along the route was brilliant.
I finished in 31 mins and was happy with that. I’m not speedy!
There was a great party atmosphere at the finish, with a live band, food and drink stalls and plenty of food and drink options open in the village to celebrate. A great way to spend a rainy bank holiday Sunday.
I paid the full £15 for my entry to the Cardiff 5k and neither they or Parkrun Junior were aware I’d be blogging about them.
Greek dips at the Hellenic Eatery / Hulk Smash! at the Early Bird / Anniversary meal at Cen at the Celtic Manor / Vanilla Pannacotta at our anniversary lunch at Porro, Llandaff / A couple of locally-produced beers from Pipes and the Roath Brewery and / Blas y Mor pizza at Dusty Knuckle / nurturing yoga at the hot pod / Lightning on a grey day in Cardiff / Veggie Hula burger at The Grazing Shed
After running/hobbling the Cardiff Half last month, I was determined to continue running, at least once a week. I’ve fallen into a routine of one hot yoga class a week (this is my current favourite) and Parkrun every Saturday. I should probably be doing more exercise than this, but with two young children, a job and loads of Netflix to watch, this works for me at the moment.
You probably know that Parkrun is a free, weekly, timed 5k/3mile run at 9am on a Saturday, in various parks around the world. It’s operated by volunteers and is a great way to give you the motivation to get out of bed and go for a run, particularly on those chilly winter mornings!
I usually do the Cardiff/Blackweir Parkrun (you can read my post about it here), which is a beautiful route starting on the Taff Trail, just off Western Avenue and moving along the River Taff. But my running buddy suggested we try Grangemoor in the Bay for a change this week.
We parked at the drive-through Starbucks and had a brisk walk down to the start, which is located in Grangemoor Park, under the A4232 and next to the marina.
Luckily the weather was beautiful, very sunny and crisp, which always makes running a pleasure.
The volunteers at Grangemoor were great and really took the time to explain the course to any newcomers.
The course itself is flat and tarmac all the way. It’s a ‘Y’ shape, with two out and back sections, which you do two laps of. The course itself is pretty uninspiring, with a few power stations and the backs of industrial units forming the main view along the route, with some nice views of the River Ely on the other side. I’m not a massive fan of two lap courses. It’s always a battle with myself to actually do a second lap and not just stop after one! However the Marshals on this course were fantastic and really kept the runners smiling.
If you’re looking to improve your time, Grangemoor is a good option. There are less runners than Blackweir (130 at Grangemoor compared to the 764 that ran Blackweir yesterday!), which means you can get off to a good start and really push your time. Also the path at Grangemoor was very quiet, so you don’t have to worry about other runners, dog walkers and cyclists, unlike Blackweir (“BIIIIKE!”).
I did do a PB at Grangemoor too – 31.50. Until recently I was languishing around the 34 minute mark, so I’m pretty chuffed with that. Now that the Cardiff Half is out of the way, I can concentrate on my speed, rather than distance.
Massive thanks to all the volunteers that give up their Saturday mornings to keep us running at Parkrun! 👏🏻
Parkrun is a free event and the organisers were not aware I’d be blogging about it.
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What a day yesterday was! Along with around 20,000 other nutters I went for a 13.1 mile jog around Cardiff.
This time last year I was 38 weeks pregnant and could barely walk from my car to the office, thanks to a delightful pregnancy condition called Pelvic Girdle Pain. (Google it, its when the joints of your pelvis actually move apart. Ouch) But I watched the Cardiff Half marathon and said, “I’m going to do that next year!” My main motivation was to get fit after having the baby, but I also wanted to raise money for the fab charity I work for, Action on Hearing Loss Cymru, which supports people in Wales who are deaf, have hearing loss or tinnitus.
So yesterday morning at 8am we dropped the kids off at my Mums and made our way down to Cardiff Castle.
The weather was stunning – blue skies without a cloud to be seen. Perfect for spectators, maybe not so good for the runners though – despite all the water stops I was very dehydrated after and quite sunburnt too.
The route took us from Cardiff Castle, along Penarth Road, into Penarth, across the Barrage (the views were absolutely stunning here) through the Bay, to Roath, around Roath Park lake and back into town for the finish line at the Civic Centre.
The route was full of amazing volunteers cheering us on and the support was fantastic – especially in Roath where there were lovely people handing out sweeties, offering high fives and loads of singers and brass bands dotting the route. Shout out to the awesome vicar at Albany Road church, offering to pour water over anyone that needed it. What a star.
The crowds were definitely needed by me, as my knee (which had been playing me up through my training recently) decided to have a major spasm between mile 9 and 10. I was in agony for the last few miles, but the amazing support got me round.
I finished with a chip time of 2.53, which included a stop to queue for one of the many portaloos along the route. My Strava time (which I paused for said toilet break) was 2.43. My main aim was not to stop, which I didn’t, so I was happy.
If you live in Cardiff this is one of those things you must do at least once. It’s a great way to see an alternative view of the city and the supporters were just fantastic. However, I can safely say that I’ll never do it again! I’ll stick to 5k at ParkRun from now on.
If you want to sponsor me, visit my JustGiving page. Thank you! Now I’m off to ice my poor knee…..
I paid in full for my entry to the Cardiff Half and organisers were not aware I’d be blogging about the event.
Yoga is my favourite type of exercise and we’re really spoilt for choice in Cardiff. There are so many different yoga classes on offer, you’re bound to find something you like. Saying that, I’ve yet to see an aerial yoga class in the area, please do let me know if you see one as I reeeeeally want to try it.
Anyway! My current favourite form of yoga is hot yoga. The first hot yoga studio opened in Cardiff a few years ago and since then, more and more have popped up, proving just how popular it is among Cardiff yogis.
The pod is basically a cocoon-like portable heated yoga studio, this one is situated at Cardiff Central Sports and Community Centre off Ocean Way (the old Virgin Gym).
The pod fits around 20 people, is heated to 37 degrees and promises an intense workout.Hot yoga is always going to be an intense workout, the constant 37 degree heat means your muscles are warmer, giving you more flexibility and enabling you to push yourself much harder than usual. You sweat loads too, which is said to rid toxins from your body. I don’t know if this is true but I always feel great and sleep really well after a hot yoga class.
Our teacher, Adell, was good – giving us a challenging flow with lots of variations and different postures thrown in. The class is said to be suitable for beginners, but I think someone completely new to yoga would’ve struggled a bit.
What I really liked about Hot Pod Yoga was the pod itself. It was heated without feeling ‘sweaty’ – there was none of that moisture dripping down the walls that you often get in a hot yoga studio. And I noticed that the pod didn’t smell of stale sweat either – a definite plus! Because the pod is dimly lit I felt I could really focus on my own practice without getting distracted by the other people. The purple lighting also made the pod feel calm and relaxed.
Hot Pod Yoga also offers a ‘nurturing flow’ restorative class on Wednesday evenings, which I’d love to try next.
You can read an older post about more of my favourite places to do hot yoga in Cardiff here.
I ran the Race for Life 10k in Cardiff yesterday – go me! I was really chuffed that I ran the whole race without stopping, but my little sister Sarah only bloomin’ went and came first! She’s a proper runner type, mind. She wears running socks and everything. You can read her blog post here.
If you’re looking for a running challenge The Race for Life is a good place to start. It’s more of a fun run than a race – you’re not timed with a chip, in fact people are actively encouraged to walk it. The route loops around Blackweir, Coopers Field and Bute Park, which means it includes some of Cardiff’s best landmarks; Cardiff Castle, The Millennium Stadium, Sophia Gardens and the Taff Trail. But if you are a regular runner you’d probably be disappointed by the terrain of the route (very uneven and lots of running on grass) and the sheer amount of women taking part meant it was almost impossible to run at any speed in certain sections. It definitely thinned out when the 10k route split away from the 5k one though and I found that more enjoyable.
Many people run the race in honour of loved ones or to show solidarity with those affected by cancer. So the atmosphere was really supportive and reading people’s signs and t-shirts got me quite emotional at times.
I finished it in one hour and 15 mins. Next stop, Cardiff Half. Eeeek!