My first Park Run

When I was a few weeks into the c25k by goal always was to do a parkrun. I am lucky that there is one not too far away at the Walsall Arboretum and it seemed like a nice course as it is through the park and flat.

I had sorted out childcare as hubby had to go to work and got all my stuff ready last night. I then proceeded to have the worst nights sleep I have had in ages. I was still awake at 4am! I ate toast and had tea and tried to sleep again and I did manage to drop off until my alarm went at 7.07 :/

I got up and had some porridge - it seemed the right thing to do and I had a coffee. I drink water when I run so I figured I should be ok in terms of hydration. I drove to the Grange Car Park and walked down. I got a bit confused as to where the start was but followed a few other people and went and harassed a lovely lady who told me I was in the right place. Firstly I was blown away by the wide range of people and children there. It was heartwarming, it was friendly and a really lovely atmosphere. A man stood on a bench and all the first time park runners got a clap (I welled up a bit - I am so sad) and then first timers to Walsall (so really I got two claps). Tshirts were given out and a man got runner of the month! Then we went and bunched up. I think I stood too far near the front as I started the run grappling with my stupid phone....grggh. Before I knew it I had done a km and in my fastest time ever of just over 6 minutes. I started to panic a little bit then cos I knew I could not keep that going. I therefore decided to slow down. I must admit I found it very hard to have sooooo many people passing me. I also found it disheartening to have people who looked like they were running really quite slowly pass me. At one point a woman passed me and then started to walk. It was at this point I ended up in a bit of a battle with myself. My right leg was hurting on the shin and on the hip. I do get pain in my right hip ( I think it is to do with flexibility ) but it is normally in the last KM and I was only on three KM. So with that and the lady walking I started walking. However it was only briefly and after a few minutes I picked the pace back up. Walking lady - very fast walking lady was way ahead by now and I was now very much on my own and I settled finally into my usual pace and from then on it was great. The volunteers were cheering and shouting well done and I did a massive sprint to the finish to get a pb of 38 minutes according to my phone!!!! So I really enjoyed it and feel a real sense of achievement but I was much more effected by other people running around me that I thought I would be and enjoyed the third lap on my own as I was much more on my own. It was great though and I will definitely be doing another! :)

19 Replies

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  • Hoorah for you!! Hoorah for parkrun!!! Congratulations on that PB. Parkrun is the best place for 5k PBs. Everybody should do parkrun.......says fascist runner.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • Huge well done from me Loubee33! The picture of you're first parkrun shone through you're write up - thanks for sharing and congratulations x

  • Well done, the first one is always a bit nerve wracking - be warned parkrun is addictive. :-)

    PS For your inflexible hip, yoga and pilates are helpful (I'm not very flexible either).

  • Congratulations on your first park run and a great time, too :) People do say that running with others can be a bit of a shock and that you can get carried along at a pace you're not really happy at. It sounds like this happened to you but you eventually found your own pace and finished strongly. Well done and hopefully more to come :)

  • Well done and a great time. I am running my first offical 5k run tomorrow and looking forward to that

  • Well done and great time. I have done two now and prefer to start at the back as I know I will be slower than most, but I absolutely love it and spend the rest of the day on a massive high.

  • Their time seems to be a little out with mine by three minutes??? They said they have had a glitch. I am not that fussed but I don't see how we can be three minutes out. Mine was on the iPhone nike plus app and it recorded the distance perfectly so shall I email them or just leave it. I do feel on a high though.

  • Email them with your time. There are often problems if runners cross the line but do not collect a finish token and the further back in the field you are then the greater the compounded error. I had an instance when I was scanned, apparently successfully, but showed up as an unknown runner. An email soon sorted it. You want your first parkrun to be recorded for posterity. good luck.

  • Thank you I have emailed them and queried it. :) x I was quite far back ;) x not last which was my main aim :)

  • That was interesting. I haven't done a parkrun yet but have signed up - I def fancy it although mine does warn about some inclines.. I'll be walking those!

    I've always run alone so interesting to hear about the challenge of having others around.

    Sounds like you did really well :-) Enjoy the rest of the weekend :-) x

  • Ooh good luck x I enjoyed it but finding my pace was tough.

  • well done you...its the best isn't it :)

  • Well done. Its a big step running with other people if you're not used to it. My strategy at parkrun (I've only done 5) now is to start right at the back and then if I overtake anyone it's a bonus but I agree it is disheartening being overtaken by lots of people because you think you are going really slowly but you just have to find your own pace and stick to it. You've got a chance to improve every week !!

  • I think starting at the back is a great idea. they have added on 4 minutes to my time today :( x apparently there were some real glitches and they have altered times and I have ended up even worse off :(. I don't see how I could be four minutes out with what I recorded?

  • Lovely story, shame about your time though. Can you send them a screen shot from your phone? I'm sure they'll get it sorted eventually. I loved the bit about recognizing the first timers, I'm sure I'd have welled up a bit too! I'm so envious, looking forward to my first park run when I get back to UK in OCT, have already agreed to do the first with the friend of mine who inspired me to start this programme.

  • Curlygurly, they do parkrun all over the world. Is there nothing near you at all? (sorry I don't know where you are located the mo).

    loubee33 ignore the fact people run around you. My boot camp instructor said if you start at the back you'll finish at the back, and if being last is a concern then don't start at the back! I am not a fast runner, my parkruns (I've done 8 so far) range from 37 to 43 mins. I tend to start towards the back of the middle section of the group/front of the back. I get lots of people sprinting past me, but I don't care, I'm not there to compete against them, I'm competing against my own self-disbelief (lack of self belief) and to do my own thing for my own reasons. I like having people there as I pick one person in front of me to give me a target. If they disappear out of view I have to run, if I overtake them then I make sure they don't catch me up whilst focussing on the next person. I plug my headphones into my ears and run my own run (Parkrun is not a race). Worry not what other people are doing. Whack the sound up loud, sing along, or use Laura's podcasts along the way and be proud that you are doing it! Hope that helps X

  • Thanks Sue, I'm in France, a bit out in the wilds! I have checked, there doesn't seem to be any in France at the moment, and there are no parks near me either! Never mind, I'll be home in Cambridge in a couple of months, working on my speed and distance until then!

  • That's a shame. By the time you get back to Cambridge you'll be whizzing along the parkrun route! Good luck.

  • Great fun the park runs and the worst is over now with the first one on the bag Definitely find a yoga or Pilates for the hip as I suffer from the same and Pilates is amazing.

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