I laid out all my kit the night before and then double checked everything. Turns out I forgot to put my mp3 player in the first time so remember to double check! Then the first error creeped in. The in-laws called and asked if they could have the wee man over night and take him for a day out. Of course we jumped at the chance and a night of rented dvds and copious pizza occurred. I ate way too much which was most silly of me.
Due to being overly full I slept fitfully and was awake at about 5am. My tummy felt like a basketball although a nice coffee helped. I kissed wifey goodbye and headed off for the drive.
Despite checking the route I took the wrong turning and got myself turned about. Using some common sense and the sun's position I managed to find the right road (amazing myself as I am completely useless at that sort of a thing) and arrived with 10 minutes to spare (instead of 20 or 25).
I quickly pulled my calf support on and set my mp3 player (I paused it just as Laura says run on the w9 podcast). It was 7C and raining but I was in a short sleeve running top and my nose wiping gloves(tm). I walked round to where the elite folks were doing fancy looking stretches. I shyly milled about not knowing what to do. I spoke to a nice gent in a hi-vis saying parkrun and he said just to go to the start line, run round and they scan my barcode at the end. Easy enough.
I was bouncing around for about 5 minutes, feeling just like I used to before a difficult exam, I paced and paced and had a good old warm up. The announcer asked for newbies and everyone gave us a clap, really nice! She then gave us some safety and common sense info and wished us luck. She reminded us it is a 3 lap run. I made my way to the back of our wee group and the hooter went, off we go!
I pressed the wrong button on my mp3 player and switched it off by mistake. I stumbled the first minute whilst switching it on and finding Laura. I forwarded to a few minutes in and let it run. I looked up and realised I was dead last. Fortunately running on the grass felt great and my calf didn't feel tight so I settled into my happy pace and gradually overtook about a dozen or so people. The first part was downhill so I soared on and overtook about another dozen. Of course I went overly quickly.
I got to the up part of the hill and struggled my way up. When I got to the top of the hill and saw the lap 2 sign I was blowing really hard! I was running pretty quickly though so determined to head on. My tummy was lurching about and I really regretted pizza! I was just about half way down lap 2 when the front runners overtook me. I hadn't thought of that and got a bit of a surprise as they zoomed passed. This distracted me and I veered off the course shortly afterwards by mistake. The volunteers waved me back and urged me on with great smiles and clapping. I hit the uphill part and slowed way down.
I had to stop halfway up the hill and had a 20 second or so break. I noticed a good few runners who had started quickly had done the same and I passed a handful. I picked up the pace again and made it to the lap 3 sign. I reckoned I was at about 20 minutes so I could set a new record if I could keep it up! Of course I was silly and flew down the downhill bit (enjoying the springy grass). and was spent at the uphill. I had to stop and walk 2 or 3 times on the uphill. When I could see the finish line I stumbled into a run and sprinted up.
Volunteers clapped me in and a man clicked a stopwatch. They gave me a barcode chit and a man scanned my barcode and the chit. That was that! I then realised it had been raining and I was soaked, I hadn't even noticed!
So it turns out I completed in 32:47, about 13 seconds slower than my normal pace. I looked up my time on the parkrun site about 2 hours later. This meant I failed all my goals but I have to say, I loved the run! I couldn't help but smile and wave at volunteers and supporters as I went and really wanted to stay and clap home the last finisher but was too shy. Turns out I was 85th out of 100 or so, I think the weather scared off quite a few. I am quite happy with that and hope to go back soon and try and run the entire way. The atmosphere was really great and welcoming and every shape and size of individual took part. Give it a try if you can!