So, this morning, my sixth parkrun, my fourth different circuit/venue. This is my closest, Clair, but I have avoided it so far because it's really hilly and well known for being very tough. It also has quite low attendance as a result. A friend of mine, Liz, who introduced me to the Couch25K in the first place ran with me - she's super fit and runs a beginners running group. Even though I really struggled and walked about half of the uphill, she refused to leave me and pushed me through. My finish time was 42.31 and I'm really pleased with that on such a tough circuit. It wasn't just the hills that made it tough - it's a wooded park so there were lots of wet leaves on the ground and falling acorns and conkers so all in all pretty challenging!
And so, to my new project. Liz told me that I am an inspiration to many of our fellow workers who have noticed not only the return of my waist but my skin and, most of all, that I have more presence. Before I started running I was suffering real body image issues as I was the heaviest and unfittest I had ever been. I'm not conscious that I have changed my posture but she has been telling me for some time that she has noticed and so have my colleagues - even though the vast majority of them have absolutely no idea that I've taken up running.
Sorry, getting back to the new project. I'm going to run with her beginners group - partly to build up my own confidence but also to be a helper. Liz is amazing and totally happy to plod along with the beginners even though her normal distance is half marathons, but a lot of the beginners feel intimidated. So, the plan is that I am the living proof that C25K works to inspire them and reassure them that they CAN do this. At the end of the 9 week programme (which I will join in week 3 because of my holiday) we will all move up to the next stage together. They will see someone who is overweight (Liz is extremely athletic), someone who still finds running incredibly challenging but someone who has completed the very programme they are starting on. I'm really excited about it. I will continue to do two long runs a week and this will be my less taxing weekly run. I can't wait!