Parkrun number 2!

It is a month since I did that first parkrun, a month where I had a few days off for a sore knee and later a week off for a bad sore throat.  In between times I have tried to keep up with my running but I was starting to feel intimidated by the idea of parkrun and I thought I had better do another one, quick, before I began to feel that it was beyond me.  Part of the problem of having run one now is that I do know quite how hard it is, not for everyone but for me!

So this morning off we went.  It was a bright clear day, sunny but cool, perfect running conditions.  I really didn't feel like going.  This was one of those occasions, of which there are many, where the fact that Ian and I were going out together helped to keep me on track.  I suspect that either of us might have slipped away and not done it if we had been on our own, but somehow neither of us said "Shall we just not bother" and so off we went.

There were fewer people than the last time I ran.  Last time I found myself at the front at the start and hated being passed by a flood of faster runners, feeling like a twig tossed about by a river, so today I parked myself right at the back.  I had wondered about trying to warm up by running for a few minutes beforehand but I was worried that, because this is furthest I ever run, I might just use up too much of my precious energy.  So I was ready for the first ten minutes or so of the run to be hard because it often is.  Unfortunately the first of the hills on this course comes after a couple of minutes while you are still in that toxic zone.  But I knew I could run it if I went very, very slowly, because I did it last time.  The runners spread out very quickly and I could see I was in the last dozen or so.  There were three people in front of me walking the hill and I would have loved to catch up with them but sadly my running is as slow, or perhaps slower, than other people's walking and although I narrowed the gap very slightly I couldn't catch them.

When I got to top of the hill I began to find my rhythm and could lift my head and look about me as I ran, very slowly, towards the forested part of the trail.  One of the marshals had a very young baby in a sling.  I smiled at her as I ran past.  The sun was shining.  All the trees were in leaf.

This time I knew where the really hard bits of the course were and that helped in pacing myself so that was good.  There is a lovely long grassy downhill bit towards the end of the circuit where I knew I should try to run a bit faster.  That is easier said than done.  I seem to have only two paces, slow and extraordinarily slow on the hills, but I did try and when I looked at my Strava statistics after the run I could see that I had managed to increase my speed a bit on that section.

And I knew that if I didn't try to go too fast I could run it all so I just kept chugging along.  There were disappointments.  However hard I tried I couldn't catch up with the three people in front of me who were walking the hills.  I suppose if you are not struggling to run up the hills there might be just a little more energy for running the flat bits but I really did want to run it so there was no real temptation to join them.

So you can take this run either way: looked at negatively I was 117th out of 119 and couldn't run as fast as other people could run and walk.  But looked at positively, I ran for forty five minutes (couldn't have dreamed of that a few months ago) and knocked one minute and twenty three seconds of my time, which is truly wonderful!  I was second in my age group although I would have to admit there were only two of us in my age group.  And I just seemed to have a little more in the tank than last time.  I was not so wiped out at the end and I recovered quite quickly afterwards.  I think the thing to do with parkrun is to treat it as a run and not a race.  If it is a race I am always going to hanging around at the back somewhere.  Treat it as a run and by ten o' clock on a Saturday morning I have run 5k, with all my times properly recorded, in a lovely place and a friendly and supportive environment.  Then there is plenty of time for a coffee and scrambled eggs and a read of the weekend newspapers.

So yes, on balance, it's all good!


  1. I am soooooo proud of you!! xx

    1. Thank you so much! I can still easily feel that I am too old and too slow and why am I here, but then I have to rearrange my head: is it is not a race, it's a run and I feel better and stronger for improving my fitness, even if I am a bit of a snail!

  2. So much of running is about what goes on in your head. Instead of thinking you were 117/ 119, think about all the millions of people who don't run at all and what a fantastic achievement it is to have run 5k, run for 45 mins and knocked more than a minute off your time. Well done you. Don't stop!

    1. Thank you CT! I totally agree about the amount which is in your head. I am quite a glass half full sort of a person so it is not too difficult to find a way of framing it which makes me feel good but every now and then I do get an attack of imposter syndrome!I really do want to stick with it so I need all sorts of ways of focussing on what running gives me which is good. Going to do another park run this saturday!

    2. Have you volunteered at parkrun yet? It's a great way to get the other side of the experience and would give you a slightly different perspective that might also help with the positive thinking. People are massively grateful for your support and it's a really nice, happy community involvement.

    3. Haven't tried volunteering but I think I might! People involved all seem very friendly.

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