Parkrun :) - running - is it psychological barriers or just physical barriers?

Hi everyone, this is really late as it's almost time for another parkrun :)

So last week I volunteered at the ironman event from wednesday til saturday, I also went to my very first headway get together on tuesday and had a meeting with I Will If You Will wednesday night, spent sunday relaxing and not doing much because I was physically and mentally exhausted, and was getting over really bad toothache which I'm glad to say doesn't hurt that much anymore, I did spend around 2 hours watching the live feed of the finish line and saw some athlete's cross the finish line,

I got my things ready for parkrun (the night before) but double checked in the morning I had everything and then volunteering at the ironman in the afternoon, left at around 7am, after having a shower, changing, having breakfast, double and triple checking I had everything in my bag, I still wasn't sure if I had everything but couldn't let the people at parkrun or the people at ironman so if I'd forgot anything then it was too late,

I leave at 7am, to get to the bus stop for 7:30, to be honest last saturday was literally the first week in around a year where I just wanted to go back to sleep and not go to parkrun, I was just so tired but thought to myself I can't let anyone down, so I went and I am so glad I did go,

I got to the start of the parkrun for 8am, there was a couple of other volunteers stood waiting and as I arrived another volunteer arrived, so we all stood chatting and waiting until the run director came with the keys, once the gates was unlocked we all got to work, I got some small cones for around the course, some cones to direct people off the track and the 2 starting cones,

I'd finished that by the time everyone else had finished making sure the other parts of the course was fine to run on and putting cones in place and other thing in place so that nobody got lost or hurt,

I waited for some of my friends to turn up but julie and bill didn't turn up this week, leanne turned up shortly after the run had started so she cheered me on and I waved to her, we caught up after the run, I nipped toilet at the last second and managed to get back for the briefing, I even managed to sneak in to the volunteer picture, I say sneak because I don't wear a hi-vis jacket on those pictures as I'm running in the run, but have been told I'm allowed to get in to the volunteer picture as I have volunteered with the pre-event setup,

Once the briefing is finished we all go to the start, we do a mexican wave for something the run director said but I don't have the best hearing so couldn't quite make out what the run director said, 3,2,1, and we was off, I started off relatively slowly as I usually do as I wouldn't class myself as a fast runner, just a runner who tries their best at everything they do :)

I start struggling whilst on the track, I remembered almost 3/4 of the way round the track that I hadn't taken my inhaler before the start of the run, I started to panic (psychological) as I wasn't doing that bad at breathing and my legs didn't hurt much either at the start of the run, they seemed to stop hurting after a few minutes, so I decided to try and ignore the fact that I had forgot my inhaler and I did forget that I forgot my inhaler both to take it beforehand and I didn't have it on me like the nurse told me to carry it with me,

So I am going at a steady pace, at this point I am feeling good, I'm feeling strong, my head is up at this point, my legs aren't hurting much and my breathing has settled down at this point of running down the first hill, so I carry on running and look out for a few friends who run at bolton parkrun every now and then, I had a couple of friends pass me but I couldn't say hi to them since I was trying to keep everything steady,

I come to the first hill and remember what my friend bill said to me in the past, small, slow steps and to not give up when you feel like you can't go any further, to give it that little bit more, and that's exactly what I did, I ran up the hill and felt like walking but I decided not to walk and to just slow down my jogging pace until I felt a bit better, by the time I felt comfortable I upped the speed a little tad bit and was running down the 3rd hill for the first time,

I'm still going pretty strong at this point, my friend tom hasn't passed me at this point so think he's not come this week, I still kept going, my legs felt pretty good at this point, my lungs and heart felt pretty ok as well, my head was still up, I was pumping my arms and legs at a pretty steady rythm, I was shocked but also pleasently pleased at how well I was doing,

I was coming to run up the hill for the second time round (2 loops so the 2nd loop) and thought to myself I can't physically run up this hill for a 2nd time, but thought of what bill told me, I took slow and small steps up the hill and you guessed it I ran up the hill a 2nd time, which made me really happy, at this point whilst I had slowed down my pace after completing the hill for the 2nd time, I thought to myself maybe it is more psychological than I originally thought it was, there are runs gone past that I felt physically fine to run up the hill but my mind/brain told me to walk as I was to tired to get up the hill by running, I was physically and mentally tired but it just goes to show that sometimes it really is just psychological and you really can do it, what ever you are telling yourself you can't, ignore that voice and tell yourself you can and you will do this/that,

I finish off the 2nd loop pretty strong by running down the hill, I chose to slow down at the last 3rd of the hill as I had a hill to run up it straight afterwards, I thought this was it, this was the point where I walk, this was it, this is where I fail in myself by walking, (there is nothing against walking at parkrun, done it plenty of times myself even now) but I told myself I've got this far with not walking, I can do this, I really can do this, at this point I started to believe in myself more than I have ever done in the past, the saying that 'sometimes the only person who believes in you is yourself so don't be hard on yourself' is true I wasn't hard on myself and I ran up that 3rd and final hill, yep you read that right, I ran up it when I thought I was going to walk, I carried on running and felt great, I think it was the last km I upped the speed a little bit, I was going strong but then my lungs started burning they started feeling like they was getting squeezed, I thought this was my downfall, I kept going and going, getting slightly faster each step, passed around 10-15 people at the last little bit, but I just kept going and going and I finished really strong,

I couldn't believe it I had ran the whole distance for only a handful of times in the last year and a bit, I finished strong and started strong, I stopped my watch and was really happy to see that my time was (--:--) I got my finish token, at this point I couldn't breathe felt like I was going to collapse my lungs felt so tight, I knew I had to get my inhaler, I got it and used it and it helped after a couple of minutes, I went back to average, I got my token and barcode scanned and then chatted to leanne afterwards, told her if she ever wants to walk the course just to let me know and I will walk with her,

So here is the drum roll, half way around the course I thought I was aiming for around 38-40minutes, I just kept going and going and going, at around half way I was around 20-22minutes (I think) so thought 38-40minutes is pretty good, my PB was 34:42 (oops just gave it away now hehe) I was hoping for under 40 minutes, was going all out, almost collapsed afterwards but luckily I didn't, I only went and smashed that PB by 43 seconds and got under 34 minutes with a time of 33:59 my new and improved PB :)

Psychological barriers are really a big problem to some people, myself included they still are, after that run and that time I can't wait for the bury10k now, I can't believe I ran that fast that I missed tom on his 2nd loop as he did turn up and I was only less than 10minutes behind him, I have never ever been that close to tom before in a parkrun (I know it's not a competition) I just felt so proud of myself for doing so well, I'm back training for the bury10k started monday just gone so not sure the next time I get a new PB, at the moment I don't care, I am really pleased with myself, I still can't believe I did so well,

So you think you can't do you know what tell yourself you can and reach unimaginable goals that you have always wanted to reach because it is possible and I believe in you, I know you can reach that goal, whether it be running for a full 1 minute or running for 30 minutes you can do this, tell yourself you can do it,

I hope you are all well, sorry for the lateness of this reply, I hope you are all having a great time running, and if you are on the injury couch I hope you all recover well so you can go back to doing things you enjoy like running :)

Take care,

Siobhan xx


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9 Replies

  • Great post AW and congrats on the new PB. Sounds like your thoughtfulness on the hills paid off.

  • "..a runner who tries their best.." - I think that sums up the attitude we all too often forget and somewhere in our subconscious we panic thinking we have to be 'a runner who IS the best' - and that's when we lose the plot :) Thank you for an uplifting and most informative post and congratulations on your run :)

  • An inspiring post Amateur runner. You did brilliantly to beat those gremlins and run up the hills. You can choose to walk them now but you know it is by choice because you CAN run up them! Glad to see your post. Wondered where you were. ☺

  • Well this has really inspired me. Especially the fact that you carried on through so many gremlin moments. Specifically the fact that you hadn't taken your inhaler. That is a mega gremlin! My head tells me I can't do it if I've forgotten to use the loo before starting! Huge congratulations on your pb - and your tenacity!

  • Many congratulations on your PB Siobhan! That's brilliant! But you've worked hard for it and it's so well deserved. Have a great week. xxx

  • That's brilliant, Siobhan - what a PB! You're so right about the psychological barriers though. We tell ourselves we can't do something, so we can't! I love the way you ran up the hills - small steps, slow down, and go just a little bit further. Fantastic!

    You will be great in the Bury 10k. I'm looking forward to your victory post already :)

  • Brilliant Siobhan ! Many Congratulations on your PB, just goes to show , persistence always pays . Very well deserved too after tackling those hills !

    You are doing so well , absolutely fantastic news :-) xxx

  • And a PB too at the end of it. Great stuff! I haven't been pushing myself at all in the heat but maybe I'm erring too far on the side of caution, will be a bit firmer with myself next run and see if I can't do a bit more than I really want to.

  • Thank you everyone,

    You have all cheered me up reading all your replies, I'm currently trying to organise an exercise class for brain injury survivor's asked for suggestions and then received a not so nice reply saying I was in over my head, it'd fail etc etc,

    Headway have replied back to me today about leaflets for the christmas cards so going to get some more pictures took and hopefully the leaflets will be out soon, so I'm pleased with that, me, tom and louise from headway will hopefully be having a meeting/get together to see where this could lead to the exercise class hopefully have the meeting some time in august :)

    Have a great day everyone,

    Take care,

    Siobhan xx

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