And just like that the weekend is over. I hope you’re all rested and fresh ready for the week! I’m not going to lie, I feel a bit tired and could do with another day off… I had a great weekend of races (casual Parkrun on Saturday and a 10k on Sunday).
For Saturday, I really wanted to push myself and see what I could do on the Parkrun 5k. I felt like I’d had a good week of running and was ready to go. As always, I was nervous in the morning. What was nice was that two friends of ours decided to see what Parkrun was all about so met us down there. It helped ease the nerves to chat to them beforehand.
It was the flatter of the two courses this week, which meant five times around the below field:
As excitement goes, this scores pretty low. Oh sure it’s nice to be off road, but seriously FIVE times around a field. I also massively panicked that I would forget how many laps I’d be on as I went round as you have to count yourself (not that I expected anyone else really to do it for me…!)
And so we were off. The first mile I felt strong and speedy (though a zillion men passed me, even a small child – now there’s a motivation killer for you). I was the second female and kept the first in my sights. As I ran I got cheered on by a marshal who yelled at me “go first girl”. I knew I was not first girl. I thought, this is awkward. I sort of smiled and pushed on. In my head I found it good motivation to try and be first girl, purely to get over the awkwardness (6.41mins/mile).
Second mile was tough. On the course there’s a tiny but steep incline. It lasts all of 5 seconds, but it feels like a mountain. I was counting on my hands how many laps I’ve done s honestly I’d have been lost doing it in my head (6.53mins/mile).
Third mile and it’s still tough. The end was in sight though. On the last lap you then do half a lap to get to the finish. I checked as I ran past a marshal that I was indeed going to the finish now. He laughed at me and said yes. No way could I have gone on anyway (6.53mins/mile).
After finishing I promptly collapse onto the grass and chill for a bit. My official time 20.26 (PB!) and first female. Ben also nabbed a PB as well. He’s just getting better and better, which obviously I’m over the moon about!
Afterwards I ran home at a very easy pace (for me) to just stretch my legs afterwards. It was such a sunny day and I was in such a good mood I just needed to carry on. I know that might sound mad, but when a run calls I answer!
I was quite happy to run at a much slower pace. It felt so good to just chill and enjoy the running high.
Sunday was a 10k in Portsmouth. Usually my mum and mother-in-law like to come watch us as it’s a nice trip out for everyone in the lovely weather. But they went to church instead so my dad joined to cheer us on.
As soon as we got there we knew this was a race full of serious runners. Last week’s beer and cake run looked like a picnic in the park in comparison. It started on a track and as we picked up our bib numbers there were already a number of zooming around the track warming up.
People were looking all intense and serious. Ack.
As we crowded to the finish line I saw this girl who literally looked like an athlete. Pure muscle. She was chatting to her friend and I overheard her say “I went pretty hard yesterday so today I’m just aiming for a 39”. Seeeriously? I dramatically lowered my expectation quite quickly then.
As we started I knew that our first impressions were correct. Ah well, they can’t all be just jollies round the countryside can they?
The course was quite flat and ran alongside a stretch of water. I was annoyed because I couldn’t wear my music as it was strictly forbidden.
I like to have music at tough time to take my mind of things. But the sound of my breathing would have to be entertainment enough. Ho hum.
It was two laps and as you run out to the water you’re head first straight into the wind. Fun. But on the way back it was like we were flying. Pft, 7mins/mile pace? This is easy (said no one ever). It wasn’t easy, just easier. BIG difference.
I distinctly remember thinking “This is horrible. I want to go home. Why do I do this?” about four times
On mile 3 I started running alongside a man and it was one of those awkward situations where you’ve found you’re running the same steady pace and can’t get away. But it was nice as we then started chatting to each other (not a full on conversation, let’s be realistic here; we’re both puffed out). Then he increased his pace and headed off.
The finish was on the track again and as I headed back I felt pretty happy. My Garmin said 5.9miles so I knew the end was in sight. As I turned round the corner to get towards the finish I realised my error.
I didn’t realise we’d still have to run round the track. And you can see the clock. Nothing like a bit of pressure.
But I made it, hurrah! My Garmin time was 43.16mins. I do believe this is a PB, by around 15seconds (I’m comparing to the Marwell 10k not the Moors Valley 10k where I got a faster time as the Moors Valley was a shorter course and less formal a race).
I was shattered though afterwards. Absolutely knackered. I laid down for a little bit on the grass while I waited for Ben and honestly could have stayed there for hours.
Ben beat his PB as well by getting 51.47. PBs all round!
You might have noticed running seems to have taken over my life currently. It’s a shrewd observation and you’ll be 100% correct. I’ve always loved running but since doing these races it’s like I’ve awakened an insatiable beast that can’t be satisfied. I’ve never given birth but I’ve heard people describe running and races like childbirth. At the time it is painful and horrific and you wonder why the hell you signed up for it. But afterwards it’s like you’ve forgotten everything that happened before. You can’t believe you didn’t do it sooner, or more often.
One of the most inspiring things I saw this weekend was watching a woman cross the finish line. Her face as she ran towards the line was a face of absolute pain, agony and hatred. I thought she was either going to cry, scream or punch someone. But, as soon as she crossed the finish line her face transformed within seconds to a face of absolute happiness and joy. Her eyes lit up and the smile across her face couldn’t have been bigger.
That to me is one of the reasons I love running. It hurts, it sucks, it’s hard, it’s tough. But when you cross that finish line, it’s like the best thing in the entire world. It’s like you’ve won the lottery.
How was your weekend?
If you run/workout, why do you do it? What pleasure do you get from it?
Do you like to run with music or without? Running is tough mentally as well as physically and sometimes I really need the music to take my mind of things and occupy my thoughts.
What do you prefer, informal smaller races or more intense and popular races? I like both. But I like to know what’s coming before I get there so I can mentally prepare!