About half an hour before the alarm went off this morning I regretted a couple of glasses of wine from last night. Only a couple, the others were fine
Hauled myself out of bed and down to the kitchen when I noticed it was raining. Oh great! Not only was this to be my first Park Run it was looking like it was also going to be first wet run.
Limited myself to one mug of tea instead of my usual two on a Saturday morning for obvious reasons. I don't normally eat within 3-4 hours of getting up but forced a banana down at about 8am - one hour ahead of the off - to ensure I had something to work off.
By 9am, the rain had stopped, sun was out and so I have avoided running in the rain yet again. It is quite an astonishing piece of luck, I know, and I'm starting to feel quite embarrassed
My friend gave me a lift today and I was glad of his offer as I was nervous enough without having to worry about the logistics of getting there, parking, finding the event etc etc. At least if I go by myself next time I'll know where I'm going/what I'm doing. But because he was marshalling, we were there quite early - about 8:30 - so lots of milling about, watching the crowd grow and getting increasingly nervous!
Shortly before 9am we were called together for the pep-talk, announcements, legal notices etc etc and then a short walk up to the start and 3 - 2 - 1 - off!
The first loop of the course was easy - all on the one level on a gravel path around the lawn. Then onto the next, bigger loop, which goes round the lake and down a rather steep hill. I was worried I might come a cropper there as I wasn't sure whether I would slip on the gravel but I held it together and got to the bottom. Then on through the woods and round a lake with a single swan. I do hope he/she has a companion.
Of course, when you go down a hill, the inevitable happens eventually. Whilst it was a gentler climb back up to the top it was still hard going and I guess at this point we were just short of half way. However, I made it to the top, round the smaller loop again and back into the bigger loop. More familiar with what to expect and I worried about the second incline all the way round. By this stage I'm tired, my breathing is noisy and I'm jealous of the silence of those runners around me. How come they can keep going without panting and gasping? Am I pushing myself too hard perhaps? Maybe I should slow down. I certainly couldn't have held a conversation at all although I did exchange a few words early on with a Dad who was running with his children. Well, I assumed they were his!
The gentle incline loomed and I could hear Laura in my ear (not literally) telling me to keep going, that I could do this, "don't stop running" she was telling me. I was pleased to overtake others who had slowed to walk up the hill and although I could probably have walked it quicker (if I wasn't so knackered) I managed to keep the gentle jog going all the way up the hill and to the finish line! Woo hoo!
My legs felt a bit like jelly so, after taking my finishing token, I carried on walking around the lawn for a couple of minutes until I got my breath back and my legs felt a bit more normal.
I completed the run in 35:47 and came 147 out of 173 (although no. 173 was the tail-runner so he probably doesn't count!).
Whilst the experience was a challenge and I was totally wiped at the end, I really enjoyed it - especially afterwards! - and will definitely go again sometime.