W9 - rounded off with my first Park Run - Couch to 5K

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W9 - rounded off with my first Park Run

Amerynthe profile image

Something of a landmark week for me, with C25K graduation on Thursday and my first Park Run this morning! I am a natural Eeyore, but I will not focus on the fact that I only managed to run for 3k all in one go, and walked the rest, or on the fact that I came 819th ... out of 826 (hey! I wasn't last!) Instead, I will look at the positives, and there were plenty of them. It was a clear, bright, sunny day; there were runners of all ages, shapes and sizes, some with dogs, some with pushchairs, some in what must have been incredibly hot onesies, even a lady with her tiny baby, only a week or so old, in a sling on her front (she beat me!); there were musicians and extremely encouraging and supportive marshalls all the way round the course. There was a fantastic atmosphere and I am determined to make this a more regular feature of my fitness routine, even though it was harder than I thought it would be.

When I go out for my C25K training, I am usually out for 45 - 55 minutes because of the walk there and back, and I cover around 5k+ during that time, so I shouldn't be too disappointed that today's Park Run took me 52 minutes exactly. My rookie mistake (and I should have known this!) was that I started too fast. I found myself near the front of the pack - where all the hardened speedy runners were! - and as they shot off I found myself trying to keep up with their pace, when I should have just run at my normal slow jog-shuffle. I didn't have any music playing - my usual C25K playlist helps keep my pace sustainable - so by 3k I had to slow to a walk. I did jog a little bit after getting to the top of a steady incline, but I really was struggling by the end.

Those who have been following my progress on C25K will know that this weekend's Park Run was the big 'reveal' to my brother, who had no idea that I was doing C25K, and who has been banging on about my health/fitness/lifestyle for years and nagging me to do Park Run since he first started a few years ago. Let's say that his reaction was totally underwhelming. He did say, 'Well done, keep going,' as he passed me on his way to the finish line - as I was just starting my 2nd loop of the course - but that was all. He came to walk with me for the last 200 yards and, as I broke into a light jog as I approached the finish line, said, 'You might want to invest in a sports bra.' I still had enough puff to say, 'Stephen, I am WEARING a sports bra!' So, not exactly the joyous reaction I had been hoping for but, after all this time, more or less what I should have expected! He is smiling in the photo below, though! He's on the left. I'm the red-faced one in the middle. The gorgeous slender blonde on the right is my niece Stephanie (brother's elder daughter - she was on cheer-leading duty) and behind me in the blue top is Steve, her boyfriend, also a veteran of Park Run and - most important from my point of view - FASTER THAN MY BROTHER (but half his age).

The biggest and loveliest surprise was that a colleague turned up at the end to cheer me on and presented me with a bottle of prosecco as I crossed the finishing line. I had no idea that she would be coming to watch, and it really made the run for me.

So, for anyone planning their first park run, take it slow and steady. If you've never been round the course before, try and walk it in advance (I was thrown by the inclines, having only trained on the flat). Most of all, though, enjoy it, it really is a lovely inclusive and encouraging experience.

Good luck with whatever week you are on in the C25K programme, and don't let Christmas get in the way of training! Who doesn't need a break from all that eating and drinking and so-so relatives? And what better reason to get away than, 'I'm in training - I have to go out for half an hour.' ?

Merry Christmas to runners at any and every stage of this marvellous, life-changing (no exaggeration) programme. Here's to continued and improving health and fitness for the rest of the year and beyond!

49 Replies
ButtercupKid profile image

So proud of you ! Please do ask your brother which brand of bra he’d recommend and let us know - he’s clearly an expert 😁

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to ButtercupKid

LOLOLOL Wish I'd been quick enough to think of that! I was quite impressed that my 42K boobs were as under control as they were - at least I don't get black eyes!

ButtercupKid profile image
ButtercupKidGraduate in reply to Amerynthe

See - there’s always something to be happy about 😄

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to ButtercupKid

"Always look on the bright side of life!"

ButtercupKid profile image
ButtercupKidGraduate in reply to Amerynthe

Now that would make a great running mantra 😄

molly1973 profile image
molly1973Graduate in reply to Amerynthe

I double up 😉

SaskAlliecat profile image

Congrats on your graduation and first (of many to come, I'm sure) parkrun!

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to SaskAlliecat

Thank you, it was good fun and I will definitely keep going!

Letty111 profile image

Well done. You’ve done brilliantly. I’m thinking of doing a park run mid January 🤞your post has made me want to do one even more.

steviej99 profile image
steviej99Graduate in reply to Letty111

You definitely should Letty. Did my first today after graduating last week. I want the fastest 😊😊 but I didn't finish last. In fact you can't finish last because they kindly provide a "tail runner," to finish last.

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to steviej99

You know, I was thinking that I could volunteer as a 'Tail Runner' and then everyone would think I was slow just to encourage others (and not because I am naturally slow!)

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Letty111

Oh, please do one! It really was a great experience, so many happy people, all encouraging each other, whatever their level of fitness. As I was sweating and puffing towards the end, one of the marshalls called out, 'I love that you are still smiling! Keep going!' I hadn't even realized that I was smiling! Go for it, Letty, you will never regret a Park Run if my experience today is anything to go by!

steviej99 profile image

Brilliant well done you, my first parkrun today also and it was great fun, friendly and well organised. Enjoy your post graduation running

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to steviej99

Congrats on your first Park Run - glad you enjoyed it too! Happy running to both of us!

Nottooold profile image

Dear Amerynthe...you are so lovely that I’d like to run with you (and you would probably overtake me🤔)

I have the impression that parkrun is much more usual there than here (Italy) and last July in London Highbury I saw a very nice Parkrun with the same informal atmosphere...

If I lived more close I’d like to join!

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Nottooold

How sweet of you! If you ever come to Southampton, let's do a Park Run together - I don't think I would overtake you at all! Maybe you could start a Park Run where you are in Italy?

Good luck with your runs this week! I am sure you will do it!

Buon Natale!

Nottooold profile image
NottoooldGraduate in reply to Amerynthe

Thank you...the next is my graduation week!

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Nottooold

I shall be thinking of you!

Tartancat profile image

Oh Amerynthe I am thrilled for you - well done! Maybe your brother is secretly overwhelmed inside, or maybe he's worried about competition from you!

Have a wonderful Christmas 🎅🎅🎅

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Tartancat

Thank you! He does find it hard to show any emotion, but I did get an extra squashy hug from him when I said goodbye after bacon rolls back at his house, so I'm taking that as a positive!

Hope you have a lovely Christmas, too! x

Madge50 profile image

You lady are amazing! Well done for graduating too! 🍾🏅

That’s a busy parkrun, well done you 👏 and welcome to the parkrun family 🤗, the first of many I’m sure.........once your brother has removed his foot from his mouth.....😂, I’m sure he meant well.....(?!*# brothers eh?)

Nevermind him, Go you parkrunner! 🏃‍♀️💪👏


Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Madge50

Thank you! Looking forward to more Park Runs - am even toying with the idea of doing one on Christmas Day!

Madge50 profile image
Madge50Graduate in reply to Amerynthe

Sounds like a plan.....🤔.....you’re hooked now.....got to start working towards that free 50 parkrun milestone t-shirt anyway....🤷‍♀️......🏃‍♀️....


Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Madge50

And maybe by then I can get a smaller size! :-)

Jazzyd profile image

My first one today too! Graduation twin. Did in about 38 mins along a very breezy prom near Blackpool. No official time yet but should get that tomorrow

Well done. Xxx

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Jazzyd

Congratulations Twin! :-) Fantastic time and great location for a run! Well done to you, too! xx

Amazing post! Huge congratulations to you! 🥂🎉 Graduation & parkrun all in one week! 🥳🥳🥳

I’m sure your brother is super proud really!... your determination to get to this goal has been awesome! ... & you’ve done it!!!! 🎉🎉🎉

Such a thoughtful friend too! Love that 💖

Happy running! 🙌👌

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to

Thanks Dreams! Yes, it has been a good week for running! And I plan on going out for a 30-minute run on Christmas Eve and on Boxing Day to keep up my normal schedule - am determined to keep going in the New Year and improve on my Park Run time!

Fan-tas-tic Amerynthe! You should be so very proud of yourself. That’s a huge deal and you did brilliantly! 👏👏👏

I’m glad you enjoyed parkrun. That’ll be your Saturday mornings sorted then! I recommend volunteering sometimes too. It really makes you feel part of the parkrun community.

Well done for today. You deserved your Prosecco! 🥂

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to cheekychipmunks

Thank you! I have thought about volunteering to be the tail walker so that I still get the exercise in but have an excuse for not being terribly fast!

Prosecco is still in the fridge, waiting for Christmas Day - how's that for restraint? :-)

cheekychipmunks profile image
cheekychipmunksGraduate in reply to Amerynthe

Wowser, that is restrained! Well done! 🥂

I’ve yet to be tail walker, but I’d love to do it in the New Year. It counts as a ‘run’ on your parkrun tally too. 😀🏃‍♀️

Enjoy Christmas and your Prosecco! 🎄🥂😀

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to cheekychipmunks

Thanks! And Merry Christmas!

Bloody well done x

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to ktsok

Thank you! :-) x

molly1973 profile image

Congratulations, Amerynthe! I was looking forwards to reading about your big reveal: I’m sorry it wasn’t quite what you expected but the photo is a lovely joyous one so I am sure he was dead chuffed. You inspired me to do my first parkrun today too: at the end of week 8 and as a Christmas present to me. It was hard and I too as nearly (but importantly not) last. Be proud! Have a lovely Christmas!

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to molly1973

Thanks Molly! And congratulations on your first Park Run, too! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed mine and that it's the first of many.

So you have just one more week of training to go before graduation! It's such a busy time of year, but it would be fantastic if you managed to fit it in before 31 December - or maybe your local Park Run is meeting on New Year's Day, and you could graduate there?

Looking forward to hearing about when you graduate - I'll be thinking of you during this last week! Merry Christmas! x

molly1973 profile image
molly1973Graduate in reply to Amerynthe

Thank you! Just been this morning so planning Thursday and Saturday or Sunday for graduation. Was hard today: should have had another rest day I think. Happy Christmas to you too xx

Well done you! Enjoy your future running and Park Runs are great fun! Loads of nice and encouraging people . Merry Christmas

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Cathkinboy

Thank you! Every single person was smiling at the Park Run and it was a great atmosphere, will definitely be doing more! Merry Christmas to you, too. :-)

Congratulations & well done on completing your first park run! 🎉 What a lovely thoughtful friend to turn up with prosecco 🍾!! Wishing you many more runs - every time you go out is a triumph, no matter how short, long, easy or hard, sunny or wet. Just go for it!

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Slinkymalinki

Thank you! Looking forward to the next one already! :-)

Zaza0309 profile image

I did Week 8 Run 2 today Amerynthe and half way through I struggled but then this picture popped into my head and I thought of you which made me power on so thanks for that.

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Zaza0309

Thank you Zaza, that's lovely! I think it's quite natural to have a little wobble when we are so close to the end of something we've worked long and hard for. I have no doubt that you will absolutely smash the next few runs and be graduating sometime soon - please post and let us know how you get on! x

Well done on your first parkrun and so glad you enjoyed it. As you seem determined to go back and do more do put your running club as NHS Couch to 5k and we can all follow each other. Tailwalking is a great volunteer role which I have done 19 times now, sometimes you walk sometimes you get to run too. Do give it a go. all the best.

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to peaplodder

Have just gone and updated my ParkRun profile to show NHS C25K! Thanks for the tip!

Nita49 profile image

Whooooha 🙌

Very proud of you Amerynthe 💐, first park run wow 👍

I'm sure deep down your brother was extremely proud of you🤷‍♀️.......I was very touched however by your colleagues actions and greeting you at the end with a bottle of fizzy 🍾... That says alot about them in my opinion.

You've done an amazing job and I know you'll continue, and hope you'll stick around on here so we can all progress in 2019 together 💪

Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2019 xx

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to Nita49

Thanks Nita! :-)

Will definitely stick around the forum as I continue running. This is such an encouraging and supportive place to discuss the highs and lows of running that it's become as much a part of the process as the running itself!

Merry Christmas to you, too, and all the best for 2019! xx

staceypek profile image

I was looking for this at the weekend and must have missed it in all my own excitement! HUGE CONGRATS Amerynthe! I did think of you when I was doing mine on Saturday, so pleased you enjoyed it too, I thought it was absolutely fab. I would have been a bit peeved at that comment and general underwhelmed-ness from your brother too, but you're best off ignoring that I'm sure. You did this for you, and you've done an amazing job! Merry Christmas, looking forward to continuing the running journey alongside you in 2019 :)

Amerynthe profile image
AmeryntheGraduate in reply to staceypek

Thank you! :-) :-) I missed your graduation post too, just seen it, so popping over there to reply to that. I was thinking as I was trotting around about the friends from this forum who were also planning a park run on the same day - it was great to think that we were in it together! x

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