4 weeks ago I stood with the husband and did my very first park run. For the uninitiated amongst you parkrun is pretty much what it says on the tin, a run in the park with other like minded people on a Saturday morning. Events take place all over the UK manned by wonderful volunteers and it just so happens that the park down the road from my mums house is a host to a parkrun so in order to help me with my path back to running I’ve committed to doing this weekly while I’m home.
Last Saturday marked my 4th parkrun and I already feel like a different person to the nervous, jittery bundle that wasn’t sure she could run for 5km (she couldn’t). I’ve been heading out twice a week to go for a jog and it would appear that the base level of fitness that I gained running in Dubai is coming back. I knew it was hidden somewhere under all that wine and cake!
My First parkrun
That first parkrun saw me sprint off with the husband, never a good idea, trying to keep up with the faster runners at the front and forgetting to start the timer on my phone, despite the fact it was clutched in my sweaty claw. That parkrun saw me walking after a kilometre, people steadily overtaking me. That parkrun had me questioning as to why I even bothered running when I was obviously rubbish at it, didn’t enjoy it and it HURT. That parkrun saw my husband coming back to find me, to encourage me, to run me to the finish line.
Time: 33 minutes 55 seconds
My Second parkrun
I dragged myself back the next week. Flying solo. More determined, a goal in mind to run it all. More secure in the knowledge that I had ran twice in the week, that my legs do work. Lurking round the back of the pack and remembering to switch my phone app to record me running off I set. Plod. Plod. Plod. Less of the hare attitude, more of the tortoise.
I ran. I jogged. I kept those feet moving. I plodded up the gradual hill without stopping to walk and ran. No one to come back and run with me as my husband was in Dubai but his words echoing in my head – I can do this.
And I did. parkrun 2 done.
Time: 32 minutes 07 seconds
The Third parkrun
By the time the third parkrun rolled around I was feeling like a veteran, I had this. Not only did I have it I also had a shiny new TomTom watch to put through its paces. Linking up my Bluetooth headphones, again stuck at the back of the pack, I plodded out. Glancing at my watch to see the pace. Trying (and failing) to do the maths in my head converting miles to kilometres to work out roughly what time I was headed for. Stopping to walk the last 20 metres up the hill before gritting my teeth and running again. Even managing a sprint finish….
My Fourth parkrun
My husband flew back in on Thursday so we had a little date night in the pub on Friday night where it was decided that the husband would be my very own pacemaker. My 22 minute 23 second 5km parkrun running husband would hold fire and run with me. Great idea 2 glasses of wine in.
In reality he was fantastic, I wasn’t my best. Those glasses of wine took their toll. The lack of warm up. My head deciding everything hurt. I walked. Not as much as the first week, and my running was a lot faster. But still. Less than 2km in and I stopped to walk. So the husband did. Asking where it hurt, encouraging me back running, counting me down, at one point tough love occurred luckily I had my headphones in and couldn’t hear, the sprint finish. The finish I wanted at 29 minutes 59 seconds out of my grasp from my head saying I couldn’t do it.
I could have. I should have. I still did well on my time yet I was still disappointed with myself. Could the walk I didn’t need to do have cost me seconds on my time? Probably.
Time: 30 minutes 13 seconds
The positives are that I have a training plan in mind, a focus before my next Park Run on the 9th July. No wine. A real warm up. Proper stretching.
A goal of under 30 minutes.
In the mean time, with #BML16 taking place this weekend and my home parkrun being cancelled the week after #myrunningjourney continues on my own (and I’ve been tweeting all my runs using #myrunningjourney) with runs in the week. Runs at the weekend. I will break the 30 minute barrier by my next parkrun on 9th July.
Do you have any tips?