Oh yay, oh yay, oh yay! Let it be known that Dan, this very morn, dids't complete thy Richmond Parkrun.
It was sunny and absolutely gorgeous out. I got up in time to do my stretches, then got a wonderful "good luck" message from a lovely lady friend to wish me luck on my virgin parkrun. That gave me a boost as I prepared Beverly (my scooter - I haven't named her that. It's the stupid model name! A Piaggio Beverly...) and wheeled her into the street. I was going to ride the 3K to the park as I didn't want to wear myself out by running there. Kissed Mrs Dan farewell, then I was off. I straddled Beverly and started her throaty engine. Strapped on my helmet, gloves and jacket and I was off. It wasn't long before I arrived at the park and found a bay to park in. Packed away helmet, gloves and jacket under the seat then made my way towards the park. I stood an waited with about 20 other folk, as the meeting area started to fill up. Some were doing stretches and one girl caught my eye. She was decked out in lycra capris with a pretty fit body, very tall and she was doing these really weird horse like gallopy, trotting style stretches! She looked like she was taking part in a human dressage competition. What I was most impressed about, was that she had absolutely zero embarrassment at this bizarre warm up routine!! It did look odd I must say.
The area filled up REALLY quickly. About 250 or so people were there eventually and I felt quite excited. I scanned the crowd of runners to see if any other geezers were wearing skin tight running tights like mine, in the hope that I wouldn't be the ONLY bloke with certain bulges on display. I didn't see one other guy wearing them! They all had shorts on. One gentleman in his 60's with long hair and beard (he looked like he used to play in a heavy metal band in the 70's) had very loose brightly coloured flowers shorts on! What a dude! There were looooads of delicious lovely ladies there too, who sported their lycra with confidence and I saw about 50 ponytails bouncing up and down as everyone talked excitedly to each other. Not knowing a single soul there meant I was mute, but I wasn't too fussed about that as I was drinking in the atmosphere and looking forward to the run.
After the chap gave us newbies his talk about what was ahead of us and told us "the rules", we assembled at Bishops Pond for the start line which was about 200m away. We had been told that if you were intending to run the 5K in 17 minutes then get to the front!! - "Who the hell can do that sort of time unless they're Mo Farah?" I thought. I placed myself about two thirds down the line. I'd done this exact run route on my own two days ago so knew it pretty well and was glad I did actually. I knew the easy bits, the hard bits and when to slow down and speed up and before I knew it - we were off!
I'd forgotten to start Endomondo in my excitement, but thought sod it - I'd get my time later from the results page. The start was VERY crowded and it was a bit tricky to sort myself out, but before long I was on Sawyers Hill and passing people to get myself into a comfortable position. I overtook quite a few people over the first K and a half and was feeling good. Breathing was incredibly calm and my cadence felt relaxed and quite speedy. I'd remembered Mr. Detruffe (on here) telling me about the "tow effect" - the way you're almost carried along in the wave of competition and fun and it was true - I was being pulled along mentally because I didn't want people to pass me! In effect over the entire 5K, only 2 people did overtake me, but I was enjoying doing a proper run with a lot of fellow runners and trying out everything I had taught myself over the past 12 months. I learned that I am pretty fit now and not as shuffly as I thought I was. I could gauge my speed and when to turn on the power which came in useful when overtaking people.
We reached Sheen Gate and turned left back onto the Tasmin Trail - a rocky stony path, but very level. There was an incline to negotiate and a few folks started to slow up. I felt like slowing up too, but NOT TODAY!! I pushed myself and made some good progress in my quest to finish in the best way possible. Turned a corner around some trees where the sunlight dappled and danced on the stony path and then the lovely downhill and sharp right turn section. It was easy to turn the turbo boosters on going downhill and I flew up the other side, knowing that the finish line wasn't that far away. An extremely chirpy volunteer cheered us on with 300m to go and announced to those of us passing him that this was a 25 minute marker. "Wow!" I mused. "I've gone faster than I thought". If the finish line was 300m ahead I was gonna go for it, but I was tiring now and really felt the old legs get heavy. I kept going though, ignoring all negative thoughts and suddenly saw the finish line.
In my head, I heard the theme tune to 'Chariots of Fire' and my body went into slow motion. Perfectly toned lycra legs moved effortlessly through the air, sweat beads flew from my brow as my arms pushed me forward.......
Sorry. Back to reality. I was at the finish line and heard a beep as the volunteers clicked their stop watches. I was handed the token and took myself in the queue. And then I leaned forward to touch my toes in exhaustion and let out a huge "uuurrrhhhhh!!" of tiredness. Boy, I felt good though. Absolutely bloody marvellous. I'd done my first parkrun and managed to run it well - I've yet to see my time - but I know the main thing is that I enjoyed it. I'll definitely do another one.
SO ......thanks for all the encouragement you've all given me. You really do drive me on and it's cos you all said I could do it - I DID!! YAY!!!!! Thank you.
I'll post my time later.....