After my post Feeling Lost With Running lots of people offered advice on my blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.
The general theme of the advice was “Listen to your body”, “Go off plan”, “Keep it fun” and “Don’t be afraid to take a step back”
I took the advice. This week I went to parkrun without a plan. I didn’t set any intervals on my watch, I just pressed go and went.
We walked the long way to parkrun to give us a good warm up. On the way we saw Marie and Mike. Marie asked me if I was going to beat Mike this week. I told her not likely! (This will become relevant later in the post) We arrived at 8.55, just as the run brief was getting underway.
It took me longer than usual to get past the start line. The New Year not only makes gyms busier, it also makes parkruns a lot busier (as well as three local courses being cancelled).
I ran a little and walked when I needed to. The course was quite congested with so many people there so some of my walk breaks were enforced or extended as I just couldn’t get past people with the faster runners coming back in the other direction. I cheered on my friends as they all came back past me having already reached the turn point. The thing I love about my parkrun is, I know so many people, I barely go more than 20 steps without someone waving at me or cheering me on. It’s great and helps move the time along.
When I turned at the first turn around point I noticed the sun was still on it’s way up. It was making the sky glow with a pinky/lilac colour. It was really pretty. I continued with my run walk, taking breaks when I needed to. I kept overtaking an older gentleman when I was running and he in turn would overtake me when I had a walk break.
As we passed by the finish funnel I took a walk break and he said to me “Come on, don’t let an 85 year old beat you” He didn’t make me feel bad, or particularly unfit at all haha
I was now making my way towards the second turnaround point now and I felt good. Runners were coming back the other way once again and I was able to cheer everyone on and receive words of encouragement myself. My 85 year old friend told me “When we reach that turn around point I don’t want to see you again” Shortly after he said this I fell behind anyway and he disappeared off but I soon heard a voice from behind me.
Mike (in his 70’s) was just behind me shouting “You’re still beating me” I tried to run away from him (No really!) but that just made him laugh and shout “That got you moving didn’t it?!” We soon fell in to pace and began to run together. The thing is with Mike is, he runs slower than me but is more consistent. Matching his pace actually allowed me to run quite a bit more than I had been doing. We chatted, he told me they’d just been to Exmouth and run the 2nd Exmouth parkrun. I told him the ED’s had been to our parkrun in November as they were running the Gosport Half Marathon and that my favourite athlete Jo Pavey had turned up to their inaugural.
We made the descent down mini mountain and Mike started to pull away from me. He told me to hurry up. I told him I wasn’t sure I could run all the way from there to the finish funnel (it’s further than it looks, it’s very deceptive) he said I could and together we ran in all the way, him encouraging me all the way.
Just before we got to the funnel we overtook my 85 year old friend who shouted “Oi!” at me. I shouted an apology back but Mike told me to go so I did. We ran in pretty much together.
I felt elated. A good fun parkrun. I never got to thank Mike, he was continuing his run to Browndown in an attempt to start upping his mileage. Next time I see him I’ll be sure to thank him for his good company.
Taking the pressure off was the best thing to do. I didn’t feel wrecked by the end of it and today I haven’t been paying the price. I’m so pleased and I finally got a good parkrun photograph!
I’m going to try the same tactics next week for sure! Wish me luck!