Taking stock

After a successful trip to the Dartmouth food festival, I was feeling pretty good about the Devon A-Z challenge. After all, I was able to add several new Devon food producers to my list and, after a quick tallying up of my progress to-date, I found that I already had eight letters crossed off of the list.

On reflection though, I realised that I had managed to cover quite a few of these at the Ashburton and Dartmouth food festivals, where the great and the good of Devon’s food and drink world assemble en masse. This made it much easier to tick off several people at one time. Those opportunities are not going to come around too often however, and if I’m going to work my way through the entire alphabet by next autumn, I would have to raise my game.

It is time to start taking this seriously.

This epiphany came to me at the same time as I was thinking about my fitness goals. You could definitely accuse me of coasting at the moment; I’m keeping my fitness levels ticking over, but I have lost some of the drive and focus. If I’m going to be getting my teeth into the Devon A-Z challenge (both figuratively and literally) then I need to step up a gear fitness-wise as well.

Once again, it is time to start taking this seriously.

But how?

I have spent several evenings this week combing the internet, blogs, twitter, leaflets and those free food magazines they hand out in shops from time to time, with the aim of coming up with a list of food and drink producers to target. I haven’t yet been able to find one for every letter of the alphabet and I’m sure that there will be many changes to the list between now and the end of Devon A-Z, however this gives me somewhere to start. If I can cross off a couple of letters a month (without getting too fat or too poor in the process) then I should be able to complete the challenge on target.

And on the exercise front, I am happy that 5-a-side football is still a regular feature of my week. What I need to do is increase the amount of swimming and running I do. Having finally taken the plunge and tried Parkrun, I have managed to clock up five runs now across three different Parkrun locations: two here in Devon and one in Hampshire on a recent visit to my parents. The Netley Abbey Parkrun also saw Mrs RB donning her trainers for her first ever 5k; the Parkrun bug is catching.

I enjoy the 5k runs so I have decided to focus on improving my speed over that distance. I have downloaded a couple of training plans from the internet that focus on improving performance over 5k and, come Monday, I will be setting off on an eight week training schedule. Of course, we are only six and a half weeks away from Christmas, so that may a few turkey-shaped spanners in the works. But I can get at least half way through the plan before I have Christmas parties to contend with.

I leave you with a few photos from recent Parkrun locations: Netley Abbey and Plym Valley. Not only do they help get you fit, but they also get you out into some pretty great locations.

Plym Valley autumn colour

Autumn colour

Netley Abbey parkrun

Netley Abbey chapel

The Solent



7 thoughts on “Taking stock

    • I’ve been Googling away and settled on http://running.about.com/ which had a couple of different 5k plans. My trouble comes because I’m not totally sure where I sit between the different difficulty levels (somewhere between advanced beginner and intermediate I think). I also need to squeeze in my weekly 5-a-side in place of one of the days, which is a little tricky as it’s not an exact fit for any of the days, but I will be trying to follow their 8 week training plan.

      I think I will start with intermediate and see how that goes. If I end up a jibbering wreck after a week then I can step down to the advanced beginner.

      Have you found any good plans?

      • Thanks for that. Beware always of the gibbering wreck plans. I have not found anything but will take a look at yours thanks. I struggle with the plans that say run at a certain pace, very tricky on these dam Devon hills

      • I know what you mean. This one says to run at a 10k pace on one of the days and I don’t know what my 10k pace is. However it says that if you don’t know what your 10k pace is, then you should run at a pace that is “comfortably hard”. That’s not much help either…

    • Thanks Kat. They were a lovely sight and they definitely lifted the spirits. The mud, on the other hand, wasn’t quite so much fun! It was still a lot of fun though, and a beautiful spot.

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