Parkison’s UK, Time to Run 2021

Time to Run 2021 is a fundraising event for the charity Parkinson’s UK. The challenge is to run 50 miles within 50 days, starting 1st March. All funds raised go to the charity.

Week 1

Jen and I are having a well deserved rest over the weekend! Time for the knees, muscles and other bits and pieces that have been dragged kicking and screaming into action to pull themselves together ready for the next onslaught! We’re doing really well though. If we were running a miles a day for the 50 days, we’d be at 7 miles now, but we’re cruising nicely at just under 9. Our team partner, Beth, is storming it too at 10 miles and so far the team has raised almost £400, which we’re really chuffed about and very grateful for! A massive thank you to everyone who has donated!To celebrate our last run of the first week Jen and I decided to finish it at the Rough Hand Made Boutique Bakery on the Royal Albert Dock and get pastries and coffee for breakfast! In our rush to get there we trimmed over a minute off our previous best time per mile for the week. Amazing what the right incentive can do! As part of our rest routine – wouldn’t want any body parts to think this was over! – on Saturday we went for a nice gentle 12,000 steps walk.  Back to the running tomorrow and it’s going to be an exciting week. Jen hasn’t done much running before and this week we’re on course for her to run 5K for the first time ever which will be a fantastic achievement! We’ll have to celebrate that for sure! More pastries!!

Week 2

Life got in the way a bit this week, so Jen and I only did three runs instead of the four we did in the first week. No slouching though! We only ran one mile less for the week, so we’re doing longer runs and getting faster. Jen crushed her first ever 5K on Monday and her second ever on Friday! Two in 5 days! It was tough going too. We always run along the side of the River Mersey and it was wind tunnel conditions and driving rain on the Wednesday and still very strong winds on Friday. Great if it’s behind you, but not so great when it’s in your face! We clocked up 8 miles for the week, bringing our current total to 17! I’ve also found a nice solution for my knee pain. I always run with my right knee strapped up and I was starting to get a bit worried about whether or not it would last the 50 miles. But, one simple tip has really helped. I’ve focused on keeping more of a bend in both knees as I run and it’s taken away a lot of the impact. Knees feeling a lot better and I’m feeling a lot happier!

We finished our last run at the Rough Handmade Bakery again – I can see this becoming a thing! – so I’ve also included a photo of this week’s featured pastry. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the amazing ( and half eaten!) Chocolate Croissant!! Motivation is key!

Week 3

This week we not only hit the 25 miles halfway mark, but we hit it a whole week ahead of schedule! Feeling ever so slightly smug! To keep things interesting, we changed up the order of the running days again and it worked out well. By including a cheeky Sunday run we ended up completing four runs in all, clocking up just under 11 miles. Since the Sunday was nice and quiet, rather than our usual riverside run, we decided to run into town and did a circuit of the historic St George’s Hall. We took advantage of the hall’s steps to enjoy a full on Rocky moment, dancing at the top of the steps like no one was watching- which we hope they weren’t! 

The weather did not play nicely for most of the week. On three of the runs we had to push through some fairly savage head winds. That slowed our times down, but didn’t stop us! We’re definitely getting fitter, because we had a second Rocky moment on the steps of the Museum of Liverpool on our Friday Bakery Run. We’ve decided the Bakery Run is a tradition now and I’m sure it will carry on long after Time to Run 2021 is over! We did consider changing the Team name to Pastries at the Finish Line, but only for a moment! Beer really is the best incentive! Speaking of pastries, this week’s featured Rough Hand Made Bakery delight is the amazing Apple and Raisin Bun! Mmmm… Maybe we should call the Team, Pastries on the Waistline!?

Week 4

6 years ago, in memory of my Mum, I ran 120 miles in March to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. This time round, it’s a relatively modest 50 miles in 50 days, but it’s still a nice challenge. Certainly my right knee seems to think so! These days my knees much prefer the gentle surface of a treadmill rather than hard and unforgiving pavement. Parkinson’s primarily affects my right side, making the muscles and joints stiffer, so I tend to come down harder on that side when I run. As a result, at the beginning of the week, my knee lodged a protest, making it clear that it didn’t want to play. 6 years ago I didn’t listen when that happened and I learned the hard way that that’s a mistake. When the body sends a clear sign, it’s important to put the ego aside and take a break. Especially as the gyms are opening up again in a few short weeks and I’m going to be needing both knees in good working order if I want to survive my boxing sessions with Coach Duck at Rydal and the deadlifts a ABS! So, Jen and I rested up for three days at the beginning of the week and when we did run, we didn’t push the pace beyond anything that felt comfortable. It seems to have worked too! The knee is still a bit achy, but a lot happier. So much so, that we were able to clock up 7 miles in three runs, ending the week with a nice sedate 5K Bakery Run! Yes, I can set aside my ego, but pastries are a completely different matter!And on that note, ladies and gentlemen, I give you this week’s featured pastry: the delicious, seductive, and huge, Almond Plait!

Week 5

It’s been a good week! No massive headwinds, no driving rain, still a bit chilly, but there was sunshine and my knee and other joints are all performing well! Shoulders are a bit achy though. I think that’s because they’re tense when I run, so I’ve been focusing on keeping them relaxed as much as possible. I don’t want to carry that bad habit forward into future runs and I certainly don’t need tense shoulders when I get back to boxing. Finishing off every shower with freezing cold water has helped with the joints and muscle ache. It takes a bit of will power, but it really works.

This week we also clocked up our 46th mile, so only 4 miles to got to the 50 mile target! We won’t be stopping there though. With about two weeks left to go, we’ll keep on and see how far we can get! 

On Thursday Jen also clocked up her 5th 5K of Time to Run 2021! She’d never run 5K before we started this and now that’s all she wants to run. It won’t be long before I’m struggling to keep up. It was a personal best time for her too, shaving 4 minutes off her first time. I put that down to this week’s Rough Handmade Bakery Pastry of the Week! What better incentive could anyone ask for than the amazing, the delicious and very desirable Milk and White Chocolate Chunk Bun!? 

Week 6

We did it!!! On Wednesday Jen and I hit 50 miles!!! We clocked them up in 20 runs, over 38 days, comfortably within the 50 days target. The week also included a 5K on Wednesday and a second one on Friday, making seven in total so far during Time to Run 2021.Our plan is definitely to keep going and see how far we can get by the 19th April, but with gyms in England reopening tomorrow, that’s going to eat into our running time, not to mention energy levels! Plan is to get into the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday, with my first session back in Rydal Boxing Gym on Thursday morning. A busy week, but the exercise helps me so much, both physically and mentally, to manage Parkinson’s. It’ll be so good to be back. A big hats off to our team mate, Beth Rawson, who also smashed through the 50 mile target this week, a whole two weeks ahead of schedule!!!Speaking of energy levels, Friday was, of course, the now traditional Pastry Run and this week’s featured pastry from the incredible Rough Hand Made Bakery is the suitably epic, deeply indulgent and most definitely decadent  Dulche de Leche!!