What a lovely morning for a run at the later than usual time of 9 o'clock, in the company of about 200 other heavy breathing Park Runners. My local run is in the beautiful grounds of Killerton Park in Devon and it looked a picture in the morning sun. My plan for this run was to take it easy so as to not exacerbate my niggling heel, which I believe was caused by striding out too much. So, on the whistle let the speed merchants tear off and just follow along in their dust. I was running without music and any tracking, relying on my trusty watch to give me some guidance. I settled into a pace that seemed about right and looked for others who were at about the same pace to latch onto. I found to my surprise that I could pass people on the uphills, (that's my hill training paying off) and on the downhills (where my trail running shoes gave me a confident grip over those in road shoes). Ok that just leaves the level bits, where I could just about hold my own. There are no distance markers and I only knew roughly how far we'd gone by studying the route map beforehand, but I reckon that it was at the 3k mark that I began to think I ought to stop. Yes, I definitely ought to stop!!
Get behind me,Satan!!
Without anything in my ears I could hear my laboured breathing and at one point felt the first signs of a stitch. Laura says slow down and breathe deeply. It works. I think I probably pushed too hard in the first 2k, because I had to dig very, very deep just to keep going, but with Mrs da Truffe waiting on the finish line with a camera, I couldn't stop. As we approached the finish I was passed by lots of runners who had something in reserve. Not me...I was on auto pilot.
I hadn't looked at my stopwatch once en route, but when I crossed the line I realised why it had all been so hard. I was aiming at 30 mins as a time, but my unofficial time was 27.28.
Excuse this ramble, but I know you are a very tolerant bunch, and you know, I am really proud of that time. Way better than I expected.
Park Run is a wonderful, free, informal and friendly celebration of running with participants of all ages, shapes and abilities out having fun on a Saturday morning. It really is worth experiencing. The strange thing is that three months ago I would never have considered that pushing myself physically, to such a limit, was fun. My body (and heel) took it all and I am sure that I am better off for it all.
One life changed forever......
PS. I am sorry, guys, I clean forgot to do the conga!!
PPS. Well you asked for it, but it ain't pretty. Here's the photo. That's what 5k of sweat looks like;
Thanks guys, I did it for you. I did make sure that my club name was down as NHS C25k, just to make sure they know where I come from. They haven't barred me yet. I am looking forward to seeing the official time and hope that I did n't misread my stopwatch.