My first parkrun after my holiday (I volunteered as part of the Leicester Runners Facebook group takeover the previous week), and I had no fear of The Hill. After facing The Wall, it was going to be a breeze. Besides, I was just getting over a stomach bug (which thankfully let up so I could run the Watermead Challenge, but had it’s revenge the next night, when I had to abort my club run). I wasn’t going to go for it. I was going to be sensible, which would mean I would tackle The Hill without any problems whatsoever. Nope, I was going to be sensible, and have a “decent trot”.
What changed my plan was the start. I’ve always been of the opinion faster runners start near the front, and slower runners towards the back, so that people can set off without clattering into others, or causing congestion, etc. Watermead had a couple of people lacking any common sense, who were moaning about being “swamped” as I ran last them. What did they expect? Starting right at the front? With all the club runners who run times I can only dream of running?
Parkrun can be the same. Part of me thinks, “it’s just people, they turn up with no racing experience, and no expectations. Parkrun isn’t a race, anyway, it’s a run. It’ll be fine once you got past them…” But a huge part of me wonders how people can function without even the slightest bit of common sense. This Saturday was particularly bad. I must’ve apologised to loads of people for accidentally elbowing or kicking them, and I also received the same. One friend looked to have almost tripped as he tried to avoid the traffic. I upped my pace and tried to get past people as soon as possible. By the time I’d reached the first km, I had a great pace, and my stomach was fine, so I carried on. The Hill was easier than before my holiday; it’s still not a breeze, having gone flat out to get to it, but the OH, who was marshalling at the top, said I looked “comfortable”.
I kept going. I could feel myself flagging later on. I would like to apologise to anyone who was running around me, as I sounded like an asthmatic steam train. I was actually wheezing (if you’re reading this, Mother, I was fine. I wouldn’t have been able to carry on if it was an asthma attack). As I approached the second pond, a club mate came past, and tried to get me to latch onto him, but I was spent. The stomach bug had taken it’s toll, but I persevered to the end. I’d dragged myself round this course, and I was shocked. It was two seconds quicker than my PB! Not only that, I had my highest overall placing (65th), was 4th female finisher, and 1st in my age group!
I GOT A FIRST PLACE!!!
Now the challenge is to take on a Parkrun without feeling ill, self-inflicted or not. It won’t be this weekend, as I’m volunteering again so I can save myself for Hermitage 10k the next day. Given my Runner’s Rage, it’s probably for the best.