I ran in my first park run today. That is the triumph.
It has been about three and a half weeks since I graduated from the Couch to 5K programme. Since then, I have continued running, using a mixture of the Week 9 30-minute podcast, a 5km course plotted near my home, and the Stepping Stone 5K+ podcast. This is all well and good but, until today, all of my runs were done solo.
The Oxford park run was an interesting experience. Looking at the run times from Oxford park runs in recent weeks, I knew what to expect: With a 5km time between 34 and 35 minutes, I knew that I would be near last out of 50 - 100 runners, but probably not _quite_ the slowest person in the race. This is exactly what happened.
That is the humbling part of the experience. Tis one thing to know this going in... and quite another thing to have folks zipping ahead of you... or lapping you around the 2km mark! A good reminder that, as far as I have come since starting C-to-5K earlier this year, I have a long way left to go! I don't feel a need to be winning races like these -- I mean, one guy had on a jumper embroidered with "10 Marathons In 10 Days", c'mon, I'm not going to compete with Serious Runners like that! But I would like to increase my personal speed so that I come in somewhere in the middle of the pack, not near the end. Like I said, a long way left to go. Before I start working on the bridge to 10K, I think some improvement in my 5K speed needs to happen.
In any case, I count this as a win. How can I not? Twas my first actual race of any sort! And, perhaps most importantly, I had FUN! My only regret is not meeting RollerToaster -- we had discussed doing our first park run together, then we both dropped the ball on making final arrangements. (Oooops!) I'm probably going to go back and do it again next week, as my diary is currently open for Saturday morning. Don't expect to improve much between now and then, but even a little bit of progress will bring a smile to my face.