Weekly Waffle – 30th September 2019

It’s been three weeks since I last wrote and you know what that means… it’s going to be a long one! 

Bear with…

What a week we started with…

Yet again, there’s no rest for the Phoenix!

New training sessions appear as club development continues and our heroes continue their journeys getting closer to their goals!  

Nerves were bubbling under as the week progressed leading to a big weekend for some…

9am on Saturday brought the usual crowds to our two local venues.  One being hosted by the members of the local constabulary attracting an admirable representation of the club.  Club championships continue to draw large numbers down to the seafront for their regular 5k. Others went further afield this week with three countries of the home nations covered.

Nerves continued to build…

The sun set on a warm sunny day and rose to a cool but still Sunday morning…

Facing the dragon.  A term that’s used to refer to the notoriously tough Ironman Wales.  

2.4 mile swim.
112 mile cycle.
26.2 mile run.
All in one day.

Nerves turned into adrenaline for three of our number who headed out on their quest from Tenby’s North Beach…

While they took on their mammoth journey a group of five headed across the border to take on a half marathon.  For two of them it was their first and, meeting the challenge head on, came out of the experience holding their heads high, proud of their fantastic achievement!

Three others headed in the opposite direction to take part in a relay event giving their all and securing a significant placing and representing the club with pride!

While that was happening the water was replaced by two wheels as the trio in Tenby took to their bikes…

Up north a 6 hour event saw one of our runners reach an epic distance on a tough, hilly course in Yorkshire to scoop a second place finish and all the accolades that come with it!

As that was finishing our group down west were transitioning, two of them almost at the same time, from two wheels to two feet to make their way around the marathon route to complete their epic journey. 

As day turned to night they were still going and many sat on the edge of their seats at home following updates to hear of their heroic completion of what is considered worldwide as one of the toughest!  One coming back after completing Ironman several times, one cementing her double and one completing her first ever!  Absolutely amazing and worthy of high praise not only for the completion but also for the many months of hard training that go into crossing that finish line within the cut-off!

We went to sleep proud in the knowledge that they had all smashed their goals and were celebrating their amazing achievements.

Another week dawned and the weather remained pleasant.

With the successes of our fellow Phoenix still filling our thoughts training numbers were on the rise once again.  

The weekend saw the usual parkrun frenzy with celebrations at one of our home events as they obtained their defibrillator and one of our midst celebrated an unofficial milestone.  The usual tourists made their way elsewhere with one stealing the crown for a run down under.

Sunday brought with it mixed weather as the clouds massed overhead.  Events to the west drew many to their start lines.  Another multi-loop event attracted many with it’s friendly, low-key atmosphere.  All thoroughly enjoyed and provided mutual support for each other as they looped round for a varying number of times.  Cameraderie and support in abundance.

Further west another substantial group took to the flat and fast 10k on the seafront setting a plethora of personal bests and all enjoying the experience.

Our heroes moved one step closer to completing their course as they prepared for their final week leading up to graduation.

Another busy week – as is always the case when it comes to the Phoenix.

As we said goodbye to the week, the words of weather forecasters were ringing in our ears… rain was on it’s way…  Character building conditions!

Despite the conditions people turned up to train.  “If it’s raining, we’re training!” 

A successful midweek recce of the parkrun route on the seafront gave confidence to our heroes approaching graduation day.  

It was during the week that we received notice of a number of significant awards.  The club recognised for all the hard work done by everyone involved with a national accolade.  Not stopping their two of our number picked up further awards for their huge individual contributions to the club.  Phoenix flying high and everyone proud of it!

On Saturday, before many of us woke, a group were making their way to the airport to make a very special trip across to the Emerald Isle to complete a run that shares it’s name with the location of the very first time trial that gave rise to parkrun.  A great time was had by all on a trip that started in the middle of the night and ended right at the end of the day. 

Others, still earlier than a parkrun start, made their way to complete another multi-discipline event, some sharing the load to get the job done in admirable style with one celebrating a birthday at the same time! 

Back to Porthcawl and our heroes inaugural coincided with an international festival in the seaside town celebrating the life of the “King of Rock and Roll”.  Closed roads meant it was a unique course.  All battled the elements in less than perfect conditions to complete their goal with all runners at the finish to cheer and support them on their journey.   The festival had drawn special guests from parkrun HQ who stuck around at the end to cheer all runners home and joined in the group photo to assist with celebrations!

We move on to the last day of the week and several head to a village not too far away for a trail 10k that promised to be something of a mudfest.  Torrential rain on Saturday had done it’s job.  Confusion on the course led to some interesting stories but great fun was had by all!

While all of this was happening one of our award winners spent her first days with our national governing body coaching others to become leaders.  Growing the sport.

Yet again, stories abound.  

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s often the story leading up to the moment of glory that tells the tale.  

The months of anguish.  
The hours put in to get the body ready.  
The hours put in to get the mind ready.  
The failures.  
Picking themselves back up again and getting back into it.  
The doubts.  
The fears.  
We all have them.
The grit and determination that win through to put them on the start line and drive them on to the finish.  
This goes whatever the distance. 
It doesn’t have to be long to have a story to tell.  
Whatever the story, everybody loves to share in it.  
Providing support and guidance to make it a smoother ride.  
Phoenix family mutual support doing it’s thing.
Phoenix pride for many reasons.
As someone said to me recently, “keep on keeping on”.
You know what follow…
#lovethisclub
#loveourclub

Weekly Waffle – 8th September 2019

The waffle is quickly becoming bi-weekly as Sunday’s become busy – but after a couple of weeks like we’ve had that means reviewing a lot more activity!

We’ve had a wide range of training sessions… We’ve taken runners onto the beach for a very important strength and conditioning session as well as stretching the legs along one of our favourite bits of coastline from Ogmore to Southerndown and back.  Downhill sessions on the dunes for trail mean lots of sand over the last couple of weeks.  All of this as well as the regular tempo and track sessions.   

Our heroes continued their journeys and are homing in on their graduation as they move forward through the programme and wow us with their amazing efforts to achieve their goals!  

In two weeks…

We’ve parkrunned.  A lot.  

Home is Porthcawl and Maesteg and at both locations we’ve turned up in our droves for our free 5k Saturday morning constitutional.  But many, and not just the usual suspects, jumped in a car well before 9am and headed off to add a new parkrun location to their ever expanding list.  We’ve had milestones.  We’ve seen PB’s.  Most important – we’ve seen big numbers. parkrun is something different to everyone.  It is whatever you want it to be.  Some weeks we go for it.  Some weeks we help someone else to a time or to get round.  Sometimes we just purely run for fun.  Sometimes, when injured, we walk it.  Staying connected.  Sharing the experience even if we can’t push it.  So important.  Maintaining sanity. 

We’ve raced.  A lot.

Last weekend one sacrificed a parkrun to chase The Bore along the banks of the Severn.  For the uninitiated The Bore is a tidal wave that happens once a year and travels up the Severn River. While he didn’t quite beat it, it was close and he enjoyed the experience.

A huge contingent made their way to the Welsh capital to cover a flat 6.2 mile route around the streets and parks of the city.  It wasn’t just running though. Some gave up their time to support the event by volunteering and handed out medals to reward the many thousands who were running.  75 club members tackled the distance.  Great effort and spirit was shown by all with fantastic performances and tales of endeavour!  It’s always a good excuse for a bit of a social afterwards too!  A great day and one that will leave lasting memories.

Two headed over the border to tackle a 10 mile route around an “old” English town and came back to tell the tale!

A few headed even further afield to tackle a half marathon event organised by a company that suggested it would be a “tough” event.  It tested them but they all made it to the end recording decent times for their effort!

Midweek races are slowing now that the nights are drawing in but the final race in our local league encouraged another record breaking turnout for this particular feature which involves two loops around a course on the beach while the tide is out.  Cementing our strong second position in the league there were incredible performances and valiant efforts from all those who ran.  As the sun slowly set on the beach, on what proved to be a stunning evening, every single runner dug deep to proudly deliver another amazing Phoenix result.

Leading into this weekend we saw one solitary runner tackle a 12 hour event on a tough looped course, recording another amazing result.  Significant positioning in the event and an incredible distance covered resulted in extra spoils for the hard work!  Inspiring stuff! 

A trio headed north to tackle the biggest half marathon in the UK on a day where the sun beat down and record spectators turned out to support.  A great experience for all with stories to tell on their return!

A collection of members headed up the valley to our spiritual home to an event supporting a charity that is working towards a world where people understand and talk openly about depression.  Some volunteered and some ran.  A tough trail route tested the legs but they all completed it admirably.  A very worthwhile day for many reasons.

Others headed down West to tackle various distances over a looped course in pleasant surroundings.  A well stocked checkpoint replenished fuel lost through running.  All picked up their medals as reward for their endeavour.

A group took on another charity challenge that followed a route from one castle to another.  A very worthy cause drew them there but the challenge itself wasn’t enough for some who opted to make the return journey on foot clocking up significant mileage in preparation for longer distances on the calendar in the future.

Two weeks done and they’ve been busy.  

Lots of training. Lots of running.  

Lots of Phoenix spirit on display.

There were a lot of stories.  All special in their own right.  Some were of long distance, some were of fast times.  But just as important are the ones of simply lacing up the trainers and heading out of the door.  Equally important are the ones of those who, unable or not wishing to run, gave up their precious time so others could.  We had stories of mutual support – the Phoenix way.  Supporting each other – often leading to discovery of abilities that some never even thought they possessed.  Being pushed out of their comfort zone.  Reminds us of those three words… Dream.  Believe.  Achieve.

Our ears are filled with pride of everyones endeavour. 

Just keep on doing what you’ve been doing.

#lovethisclub
#loveourclub