A week in Lancaster and Southampton parkrun

A selfie of Tamsyn smiling by a Lancaster University sign.

On Sunday, I travelled up to Lancaster for a study week. I travelled by Avanti West Coast trains and was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the train carriage. The tables had extra legroom, plug sockets and wireless charging. (In contrast, I travelled back via Manchester on a cramped older train, which wasn’t a pleasant experience).

Lancaster University morning run

On Tuesday morning, I got up to go for a run. I had forgotten about the clock change, so it was dark. I didn’t want to run in an unknown area in the dark, so I got out my headtorch. Then I opened my laptop and managed to find a 5km running route that someone else had mapped. It looked to be on pavements in the vicinity of campus, so I thought it would be OK.

Although I had the map on my watch, I had to pause frequently to check where I was going. I didn’t want to get lost and be late back as I had to meet a colleague for breakfast.

I felt quite sluggish and there were some hills, so it wasn’t a fast run. It is a lovely area, but my only photo doesn’t do it justice. I think the only bit I didn’t like is that there’s quite a busy road at the front of campus and a motorway behind it. They seemed quite loud.

Some grass, a lake and some trees.

By the time I finished, I had run over 6km and I realised that my watch hadn’t even recorded the first part. I’m unsure whether the route was mislabeled or whether I took a wrong turn somewhere to add distance!

Evening walk

I’ve spent a lot of time eating and drinking this week. As I had no catering facilities, the meals were all in restaurants and cafes and there were lots of biscuits during the tea breaks. I also spent a lot of time sitting down, so when James suggested an evening walk, I readily agreed.

We did a brisk 2.5km walk around campus, only pausing to look at the ducks.

A man bending over talking to a duck and a drake. It is night time.

Walk to the castle

We had a free afternoon at the end of the week, so some of us agreed to visit Lancaster Castle. Most people wanted to catch a bus, but James and I decided to walk the 5km there. Averaging 9:11/km it was a brisk stroll!

A view towards the impressive sandstone entrance to Lancaster Castle.

The castle is made of Lancastle Freestone, a type of sandstone. Much of the city is built of this pale-coloured stone, which is beautiful… but I would love to clean it up to restore the damage caused by pollution.

A view from Lancaster Castle towards Ashton Memorial.

From the top of the hill, the views across the city towards Ashton Memorial were impressive.

Woodland trail run

I went out intending to run at least 5km. My Garmin recorded that much, but the trace is very odd and parts have been excluded, so I think it may have been more. I’d like to have run more, but I didn’t have the time.

A smiling selfie of Tamsyn by a Lancaster University sign.

I started out from my guest accommodation and headed in the opposite direction from my previous run. The size of Lancaster campus is impressive. Southampton Uni probably has as many buildings, but they’re much more spread out. It was interesting to notice different parts, such as the LICA pods which students can hire to study in. I wish we had some of these at Southampton.

A LICA pod. It looks like a small hobbit hut.

The pods look like Hobbit huts.

Glossy image of a LICA pod on campus.

After I’d run most of a loop, I decided to join the woodland trail. It started out quite dry and woodchip had been spread on the path, so it was quite easy to run on.

A small shelter made of stacked sticks.

After a while, the path split. I thought the upper part was just heading back to an exit by the halls, so I went downwards. I realised that I was getting closer to the motorway as it was getting noisier. The description of the wood included words such as ‘tranquillity’, but it didn’t feel peaceful and quiet! The path also got muddier, until I was clutching tree branches trying to skirt a huge bog.

I kept hoping the path would get better, but it didn’t. Eventually, I gave up and decided to scramble up a steep bank towards the main road through campus. Then I ran back to my guest room, stopping for some pictures on the way.

A smiling selfie of Tamsyn by a Lancaster University sign.

Southampton parkrun

My ankle felt a little tender this morning, so I took it easy. I didn’t want to aggravate it ahead of Southampton 10k. However, it was also quite wet, so I didn’t want to walk.

I chatted with a few friends ahead of the start and ran the first few hundred metres with Malcolm. When I reached the crossroads, I saw Teri and Pete, so I slowed down a bit. They caught up with me and we had a chat. It was Kirsty’s final parkrun in Southampton before moving, so her friends were all running with her. I slowed down as we headed towards the crossroads. I then saw that Pete had slowed down, so we started running together. As we were walking towards the top of the hill, Marion joined us.

A group of runners at Southampton parkrun. Tamsyn can be seen on teh right, smiling at the camera.

We started running downhill and picked up the pace. Towards the end, Marion started sprinting, so I did my best to follow. I hadn’t intended to run fast, so was surprised by my time… especially given how much of it we walked.

Tamsyn's parkrun result for event #488. Her time was 31:09.

Tomorrow will be my first race for quite a while. I think the last event I took part in was St Ives Bay 10k, where I finished last. I hope that I manage to pace it evenly.

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