ParkRun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. In the UK there are over 44,000 events.
Last night after dinner I decided that I was going to go to ParkRun, so as quiet as I could (Chris was napping as he had started his day around 5am!) I had a look for my barcode – I saw it a few weeks ago but it wasn’t where I was thought it was. I think I must have thrown it out thinking I’d never do it again! I checked the same place again and it really wasn’t there. Well I could try and blag “Oh I must have lost it” but at the same time was there any point going if I didn’t have my barcode to record my time.
I kept getting distracted by other things while trying to come up with a plan so in the end, I went through the resetting account bit and got my barcode but really needed to print it. I read the information to see if there was anyway of recording my time without the barcode but that wasn’t possible. My Mum became a superhero again. I emailed her to ask if she could print it for me. She was still awake so she did print it for me, when I asked if she would be up in the morning for me to collect it she didn’t reply. Thankfully when I got there this morning she was awake. I headed down to Bedford Park and was there was 20 to 9, apparently this made me really early. I went for a bit of a wander to start warming up and then found a spot to wait at near the start line. At this point my stomach started churning and I was getting really nervy. (Thank goodness for the cheering via social media otherwise I think I might have chickened out!). I decided to try and start in the middle of the field – of course people were going to overtake me but then I could be like “Right I’ll try and catch up with that lady/man/dog” rather than just being like “oh I’m at the back I’ll give up”.
I knew I was going to get lapped by the “elites” and that was fine, I knew that was going to happen but what was kind of disheartening was when I got to the Pavilion and I had another lap to go and there were people finishing. I asked the steward a quick question just to check how much further I had to go. He said “You can do it!” and smiled. I got on to the next section of the path where you head back towards the lake and I got all choked up, I was beginning to struggle but knew I was over half way and closer to the end. I did the “bottom” section of path that runs parallel to the road and a couple of people cheered for me and said how I could do it. It wasn’t helping with holding onto the tears that were brewing but I was really excited. I could see the finish line and it was coming – it was within my grasp so to speak. I got back round past the park and heading back towards the friendly steward, he saw me coming and started smiling then clapping and when I was closer he was cheering me on. As I turned right into the finishing bit all the stewards had stopped what they were doing and were clapping me. YAY!
The chap who was on the barcode scanning bit didn’t quite know what to do with me. I was stopped just in front of him, handed over my barcodes and then doubled over with my hands on my knees, I felt sick and genuinely thought I was going to throw up. I burst into tears and he kept asking was I okay. I managed to pull myself together enough to explain that it was the first time I’d done ParkRun by myself and that I’d actually finished and was happy not sad.
I timed it on my FitBit that I was around 45 minutes. I had wanted to beat my PB which was 51 minutes, so 45 was amazing. When I’ve walked Race for Life in the past I’ve been around the 55/60 minute mark so anything faster than that was an achievement in my eyes lol. I grabbed a bottle of water, a celebratory gluten free brownie and can of diet cola. I had meant to stop and chat to some of the lovely We Are Bedford people but I was still teary and knew that if I didn’t get home then I could collapse in a puddle of tears. I sipped my water on the way back to the car and drove home. The fact that I’d completed it was still settling in as I drove home.
I got home and the builders had finished putting the final touches to the external walls which meant I could get in the shower without having to worry about mooning anyone lol. I sat with Chris and finished drinking my water. Jaxon was due a nap and wasn’t very happy about it. He had a drink too and then I attempted to put him down. He really wasn’t happy and it took a long time for him to nap. I grabbed a shower and then got on with some chores around the house (including selling two sun loungers on FB and posting a third on Gumtree).
The official results came in and I was 330 out of 340. My final time was 43.11 which was nearly 8 minutes faster than my PB. I think I was last in my age bracket (then again the first person in the age bracket was around 18 minutes so I’ve got some training to go before I get that fast if I do that at all! And the overall women’s record is 15:55 – Paula Radcliffe’s PB over 5k is 14:51).
Will I be there next week? I will try to, especially as I think I’ve inspired a bunch of my FB friends to join theirs and I think one of my US friends is going to see if there is a local version to where she lives.