Friday, 26 June 2015

Cider fuelled running

This weekend I headed down to the South West and Cider country to spend a weekend with friends.

The weekend (as with most activities in this part of the world) involved drinking a large quantity of that apple based alcohol beverage which happens to be one of my favourite forms of refreshment as it does quite literally grow on trees around there.

My two nights of sampling what Bristol had to offer were nicely segmented by a trip to Ashton Court Parkrun

I think I have finally caught the Parkrun bug as this was my second successive Parkrun weekend and my third different Parkrun in the last couple of weeks. 

Now you have an idea of my weekends itinerary you can see why I coined the term cider fuelled running for my weekends activities. 

Before I get onto the running let's start off with the cider as well as some amazing food.

Friday night was meant to be spent in Wembley stadium rocking out to Dave Grohl and his foo fighting gang before an early morning trip to Bristol. Unless you have been living under an incredibly dark social media deprived stone for the last week or two a badly broken fibula put paid to those plans.

So an early Friday evening was spent instead sipping cider on the Apple, one of Bristols finest cider serving establishments, a bar based on a barged moored up on the harbour just outside the city centre. 

Two nights on the cider does come come that highly recommended, (I speak from previous experience from previous trips to Bristol) so having Parkrun on the horizon the following morning was my saving grace to save my liver from too much punishment.

I did take it kind of easy on the cider on Friday night then, a few pints followed by a trip to the Spitfire BBQ for dinner. This place was amazing, the kind of joint that you could find Adam Richman salivating excitedly behind the counter while pestering the chef for a taste of everything from the menu.

In a place like this the only problem is deciding what to have! I took my time sipping on some cider while I decided. 

I opted to go for everything, well a little bit of everything in a burger courtesy of the Pitboss Burger, a 6oz beef patty topped with rib tips, pulled pork, brockwurst slices, smoked applewood cheese and bbq sauce. 

It was every inch the delicious meat feast it promised to be, a brilliant burger went so well with the succulently soft pulled pork, incredible tasting brockwurst and creamy out of this world sensation of the smoked applewood cheese.

Accompanied by a bowl of BBQ chicken wings, my double order being enough to get labelled 'greedy' by the waiter, man versus food and the obesity epidemic obviously haven't quite reached the South West yet?!

A deliciously tasty farmyards supply of meat devoured it was time to move outside into the cool summers air to sit by the harbour side surrounded by the smokey fumes from the restaurants log fires.

It was Friday night we were with friends enjoying ourselves so talk quickly turned to the desert menu and a mouthwatering suggestion of sweet treats soon led to orders being placed.

I was soon polishing of a ridiculously rich and chocolatelay Peanut butter stack which left me glad I would be running some of the calories consumed at Parkrun the next day.

Despite not overdoing the cider a combination of a heavy belly full of meat and the several above average strength cider led to my customary early evening passing out on my friends incredibly comfy sofa.

I was still up bright eyed and bushy tailed to take on Ashton Court Park run in the morning. A thirty minute walk took us away from the city and to the Ashton Court estate providing a great viewpoint down over Bristol and the surrounding areas.

An example of some of the picturesque views from A
shton Court courtesy of
The course run is really a tail of two halves, the first half taking you up a steep winding hill before turning around and the second half taking you downhill in a fast descent. It's known for being one of the tougher Parkrun routes and I can appreciate why, although you can fly down the hill in the second half it is difficult to judge your effort level on the steep climb up and especially in the sunny mid June heat the hill was pretty energy sapping.

Overall I finished in 23.50 in 62nd place out of some 200+ parkrunners, although my official Parkrun time was actually clicked at a slower 24.03. Prior to the race I was interested to see how the two halves of the race would compare in terms of times, I completed the ascent in around 13.30 and the return in about 10.20, the rapid downhill also provided me with a sub 4 minute km and my fastest 1/2 mile, 1km and 1 mile I have clocked since using strava.

It was a really challenging yet rewarding run, adjusting my stride length on the way down was tough as was the rapid pounding on my lower legs as I hurtled down the hill.

After my exertions I was left to refuel and rehydrate and I did so with great relish taking advantage of the fine food and cider being served from the many excellent establishments Bristol has to offer, notable mentions to the Stable, the Apple again and the Old Duke.

Thank you Bristol for another thoroughly enjoyable weekend in your most excellent city, I came, I saw, I ran your hills, I drank your cider and ate your food and I conquered all you had to offer!