A reluctant birthday and an almost sub-20 parkrun

It was my birthday on Friday. To be honest, I really wasn’t feeling it.

I went with the attitude that I could ignore it. Going to the gym, going to work and not doing anything Friday night was my aim. Obviously with Facebook you can’t quite hide the fact it’s your birthday and I appreciated all my birthday (and Twitter) ‘happy birthdays’ but other than that I was rather grumpy.

Turning 27 in itself isn’t bad at all, I know that. But I never imagined myself at 27 to be single, selling my marital home and looking for a flat to buy (something for another post!). It’s all rather depressing.

Anyway I was looking forward to parkrun. We were finally on the cricket pitch (fast and flat course only used occasionally). After the marathon on Sunday I took two full days off (I was meant to do yoga Tuesday but got my times wrong). But otherwise during the week I got back to the gym twice for my usual strength training and ran 4.5 miles on Thursday morning. All went well though all week I was just tired.

I really wanted to make a good go at parkrun though as it seemed a perfect opportunity. Generally it seems that the week after a marathon it’s a great time to bust out a good parkrun time. You still have marathon trained legs and as long as you’re not injured you tend to do quite well.

I drank a big cup of coffee in the morning (mistake) and headed to help set-up. The cricket pitch is easy to set-up because it’s just a big circle really.

IMG_1556I felt a lot of pressure on this parkrun and this was furthered when a few other guys from the running club said I should do well today because of the marathon. Arghh!

I’m not made for short, sharp sprints. My body doesn’t like 5ks. The entire time you’re running you’re in pain, your lungs are bursting and your whole body is telling you to stop. Give me a marathon any day! In my personal experience I’ve found that most of the marathon you’re running at a comfortable speed – it’s the mental monotony and the fatigue in your muscles you have to deal with, not the heart racing pain of a 5k (and 10ks – they’re much worse!).IMG_1576 It was hard work from the start. It might look like I’m enjoying myself but honestly, they were well timed smiles for the cameras. Most of the time I was wishing it would end. What was also annoying was I had badly timed that coffee and really needed to pee. I had a sudden fear I’d pee myself! We’ve all heard the stories from other runners!! (Spoiler: I did not pee myself).


It was Iwan Thomas’ (400m Olympian and our local celeb) 50th parkrun and he was just ahead of me most of the race pushing a little lad on, giving him good encouragement. My music stopped working on the first lap (my iPhone’s still playing up) so I dropped it to some supporters and tried to use Iwan’s encouragement too 😉

My three goals were:

  • Beat 20:26 (my Netley Abbey parkrun PB)
  • Beat 20:16 (my overall parkrun PB and 5k PB)
  • Get a sub-20

Well by the second mile I knew the sub-20 wasn’t going to happen. I was lagging and just couldn’t keep pushing (the pee fear was also heavy on my mind). In the end I finished 20:06. Honestly I was just glad to stop 😉 I’m very pleased. Two out of three ain’t bad!


While I was chatting to people afterwards and starting to help tidy up I suddenly heard a chorus of “Happy birthday” begin. I turned round and there were loads of people from parkrun and my club singing me happy birthday…holding the most fantastic cake!!


A wonderfully talented lady, Roberta, from the club had baked it (apple flavour of course). It has an apple and a slice of cake on top, and it’s in my favourite colour (purple) with tiny little yellow icing trainers all round the edge. I’m over the moon!

OK so I know I said I wanted to ignore my birthday and felt very sorry for myself…well I was very chuffed. It’s pathetic to curl up in a ball and ignore the happy moments in life and this was certainly very happy and very much appreciated. My smile remained all day long. And I received a card which so many lovely people had signed – I almost cried. I didn’t though thankfully!

After parkrun we headed to the cafe and all indulged in a bit of cake, which tasted INCREDIBLE. I’m glad to say though that I was able to stock up my freezer with a few slices as well. Whew!

I stayed at my parents’ that night and had a very chilled evening (with a takeaway of course). I wanted to run the next  morning but had no idea what distance to go for. In my head I thought anywhere between 6-10miles. When I started running though I knew I wasn’t in the right head space. My legs felt very heavy and very tired. Just not right, you know? I’d planned for the two weeks post marathon to be low mileage and recovery so I decided to be sensible and cut it short to 4.7 miles rather than just force the run.


I’m so glad I did. Mentally and certainly physically I need a break for a bit. I have a 10k next weekend that I want to go for but other than that it’s all going to be a bit directionless and chilled for a while, which is perfect.

My dad and me had agreed to postpone Father’s Day and have a joint celebration with my birthday in July as we’ve recently had so many meals out together it seemed sensible to save it for another month. So instead I went out to Winchester again to meet my friend and her lovely fluffy dog, Rain, for some chatting, walking and lunching.


I went for something new for lunch this time (even though the Caesar salad was calling me). A delicious goat’s cheese salad.


I must say though…I think I’d have preferred the Caesar!! Though it was tasty, just a little small.

Despite being a grumpy fart before the weekend began, it actually turned out to be a pretty damn good one! Despite my life being a bit upside down right now, I have so many lovely people in my life that remind me that it’s not all doom and gloom. Twenty-seven is a great age to start fresh and enjoy whatever life throws at me!

What do you prefer: short or long distance running?

What’s an essential salad requirement for you? For me it needs to be BIG. Small salads are side dishes, not main meals.

Do you have any local celebs near you? Unsurprisingly, Iwan Thomas did not bring cakes to celebrate his 50th parkrun…

24 Replies to “A reluctant birthday and an almost sub-20 parkrun”

  1. A belated Happy Birthday to you! And what an amazing cake.

    I’m a big lover of crunchy salads with an oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, topped with flakes of tuna or chopped ham.
    Noran recently posted…Tune of the WeekMy Profile

  2. Ah, I’m sorry – I wouldn’t have been so happy-happy regarding birthdays if I had known. I always try to ignore my own and I absolutely hate it, but I just assumed that I’m the only one to generally feel that way. I’m glad you had your third PB in as many weeks to brighten the day up a bit though.

    You’ve recovered from the marathon so quickly that clearly your body is capable of both short and long distance runs. I’m sure you could ace the ultra distances too should it appeal to you at any point!
    Jess @ One Step Closer recently posted…The Highlight ReelMy Profile

  3. Glad your weekend turned out well in the end.
    Amazing on the parkrun time, very impressive, and that cake is amazing!
    I must say after Brighton I just felt so tired for the whole week after- I didn’t expect to feel that tired, but I suppose running for nearly 5 hours can do that to you!
    I think if I was faster I would prefer marathons, but at the moment halfs or 10 milers are my fave because they are not at a sprint pace, but the time on your feet is manageable- under 2 and a half hours, and most training runs can be under 2 hours.
    I do love parkruns but I hate sprinting them as I always feel so sick.
    I love a goats cheese salad, but there is hardly any salad on that- I think I would have been a bit disappointed with it!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…Club parkrun outing!My Profile

  4. Happy belated birthday Anna, I’m glad that your weekend went well despite not feeling it. As you said, 27 is a great age for reminding yourself you can do whatever you want and you’ve got so much to come in front of you. Your fab positive attitude will make certain of that!

  5. Sorry to hear you felt that way about your birthday. 🙁
    20:06 at parkrun the following day hopefully made you feel a bit better though! That is soooo close to a sub 20. You’re having such a great running year! Obviously, it’s all about the long distance for me, although I have been enjoying a few of the shorter distance races just lately and am also hoping for a good 10k this week. (Tuesday for me.) Hope yours goes well this weekend.
    Fabulous cake. (I so would have been blubbing away if it was me, well done for holding off!)
    That goat’s cheese salad looks like it would have been just my thing but I think the size of it would have called for a portion of chips on the side! 😉
    Rowan Atkinson lives quite close to us although I’ve never seen him. I sometimes see nice cars headed through his village and try to check out who’s inside but as we live so close to Silverstone there are plenty of nice cars out and about our way. When I lived with my parents, both John Major and Roger Lloyd-Pack lived a couple of villages away and I served both during my time working in supermarkets!
    Mary recently posted…Colworth Marathon Challenge – Day 3My Profile

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