After a really poor run earlier in the week, where I got to 2.5 miles and gave up, I wasn’t looking forward to parkrun on Saturday. Whenever I have a bad run I get thoughts of “What if that’s it and I can’t run anymore?!”
So it was with some trepidation that I headed to parkrun on my own. As soon as I got there I spotted Louise and Sam and had a little chat with them before seeing Gary who used to be my local parkrun event director. I had a quick catch up with him before seeing Penny and Pete. They were both wearing their London Marathon t-shirts. Penny asked if we could run together and I eagerly said “Yes please!” I wanted to hear every detail of her London Marathon story.
Just before we set off Louise asked if I wanted pacing but I told her I wasn’t sure I was ready for it this morning. Instead I positioned myself with Penny just behind the 35 minute pacer. We listened to the run brief and then were off. Just as we were getting going someone suddenly lost their footing behind Penny, resulting in them punching Penny in the back and sending her flying. Somehow though, he managed to regain his footing, grab Penny and hoist her back to standing just before she really fell. It was so fast and surreal! He apologised profusely and then carried on leaving me and Penny wondering what just happened. I asked if she wanted to stop as she’d taken a fair whack but she said she was ok.
As we ran Penny told me all about her London Marathon. I actually felt emotional as she told me about them reaching Tower Bridge! She told me lots of different things and I asked her so many questions about different things. All the while we had the 35 minute pacer in sight but because I was listening to Penny I didn’t really think about it.
As we were running Penny asked if I was ok and I admitted to her we were running a bit faster than I was used to but it felt comfortably uncomfortable (if that makes sense!) Then as we were crossing the shingle for the first time, I lost my footing and nearly went flying too! Somehow I managed to pull it back and stay upright! As we went around the second turn around point and started heading back to the finish funnel Penny told me about someone running for the same charity she did. She arrived in London to find her Air BnB had cancelled on her and everywhere else was full. I can’t imagine the absolute panic she must have felt! Fortunately all the charity runners had a WhatsApp group and someone managed to find her somewhere to stay. How lucky!
As we approaching the last bit I had a glance at my watch and it was on 31 minutes. I remember thinking “Ooo it shouldn’t take me another 5 minutes until the end” but because I was still listening to Penny I didn’t think much more of it. As we got to the final stretch Penny encouraged me to give it my all and sprint finish, which I tried to! I didn’t feel like I had much left in me as we’d run quicker than I was used to anyway. As we went over the finish line I looked at my watch and couldn’t believe it when I saw a 34 at the beginning! I actually felt pretty emotional. Penny gave me the biggest hug. We’d not even tried and I’d gone and smashed my PB! My previous PB was 36:18 and now it’s 34:41!!!!!! It’s so crazy to think my first parkrun was 58:24. I’ve knocked 23 minutes and 43 seconds off that time! For such a long time I was at a 45 minute 5K time and I was pretty happy with that. Now I’m nudging ever closer to a 30 minute 5K!
Have you done the London Marathon?
Have you ever achieved a PB without really trying?