Parkrun today. I set myself the challenge of running/jogging the full 5K – no walking allowed.
I felt well prepared. I’d already had three good runs this week. I’d rested my running legs on the previous day, opting for water pilates and a swim for day 11.
I managed to arrive at Minehead parkrun just in time, missing the pre-run briefing. I’m not sure how this happened as I was up early – thanks to a phone call at 6 am (wrong number). But I was there, and ready, and that was the main thing.
I felt determined. I’d managed the full 5K on the treadmill on Thursday – I just needed to do the same outside – in the freezing cold wind and drizzly rain. I ignored the weather, and set off.
Immediately I noticed a slight, niggling pain in my knee. No doubt the price of not warming up properly. I hoped it would pass as I warmed up. Then my leggings started to fall down (note to self – keep these leggings for home treadmill use only). While running, I fiddled with my leggings and running belt, trying to secure everything in place. Then I noticed my knee was no longer hurting. Hurrah!
I ran – or jogged – very slowly. But I kept going. I began to enjoy the freezing, soggy wind, as it cooled me down. When I passed the point where I usually begin to walk, I really wanted to stop. I realised right there and then just how much of this is psychological. On one stride I feel tired but comfortable, on the next I’m desperate to stop. I kept going. One foot in front of the other. Just keep plodding.
I even picked up the pace at the end, aided and encouraged by a parkrun friend. My feelings as I ran through the finish were euphoric. I shouted ‘I did it – no walking!’ to the universe at large (as well as to parkrun people).
I didn’t get a personal best, but that doesn’t matter; I had a different goal for today. Interesting though, that resting the legs with a walk can lead to faster results overall.
Afterwards, I took a warm down walk along the prom, and onto the beach. I watched the waves. And I reflected. Now, I really can run 5K. All the way.
I thought about a lovely card my mum sent me this week, with some sponsorship money. She wrote about how proud she is of me, and how proud my dad would have been. We lost my dad nineteen years ago this month.
I paused at the railway station and thought about dad. My dad. A family man, a father, husband, railway man, sportsman. A lover of the arts, music, literature, history. I shared so much with dad; I wish I could have shared this moment.
As I walked past the station, I brushed away a tear.
But I’m not sad.