Hey! Now I may have only been to Parkrun twice, but I love it! And I hope that other people might share my enthusiasm.
I love the fact that Parkruns are free- compared to a lot of timed runs/ races which can be really expensive (they are not officially races, just timed runs), and they have a great community feel. To join all you have to do it go to the Parkrun website, register, and print out your personal barcode. Then you turn up at whichever one you want to go to (they mostly seem to be 9am on a Saturday), making sure you bring your barcode with you (you need it after you have finished so if someone comes to watch they can hold it for you, but it is only small so fits in a pocket). This morning I picked up my brother, and parked up at about ten to 9. We walked up to the start line (along with nearly 200 other runners!) and the person starting the race went through the route, congratulated people who had anniversaries (it was hard to hear as I was near the back)- we all gave them a round of applause anyway. The bells on the local church began to chime for 9 o’clock, and then we were off!
I didn’t think I would be as fast as last time, as my Dad was a pretty great pacer, plus I have missed 2 weeks due to going on holiday so don’t think I am quite back to normal. But after the first half a mile I glanced down and noticed the pace began with an 8. What??? The weather was perfect- cool and overcast. I had opted for capris and a vest, although a lot of people had jumpers or jackets. A little later the sun came out and it suddenly got very warm. I glanced down again and saw I was still going at 8 something minute miles. A little later (running into the wind, which was not that strong) I noticed a 9 which was what I expected more- I knew I was slowing. After 2 miles my brother caught up with me, and I told him I was slowing down whereas he told me he was speeding up! I told him I would see him at the finish line, and off he went. The St Albans route goes along a path, around a small lake 3 times, and then back along the path again. It is pretty flat, but when you leave the lake there is a short but quite steep section to get back up to the path, and I found that tough. My brother told me he tries to speed up on the final lap of the lake and then take the hill a little slower. Anyway, at that point I saw my watch was on 24 mins, and the first time I ran it, my time was 27.12. I could see the finish but I was not sure how far it was. I decided to go flat out to try and get as close to my last time as possible. My brother was just ahead of me and I went past him, and then I heard someone thundering past me- I thought it was him but it was a girl who got there a split second ahead of me! When you reach the finish you go through a little “chute”, someone has a timer, and someone else hands you a little plastic chip with a barcode on it. It is a very clever system. My brother was seconds behind me, and I think the first thing I said was “I feel sick”- I really did, although as I wait until after for breakfast I told myself I would not be. I had pushed myself hard though. Anyway, after a minute I was fine. Then we joined the queue, and this is when you need your paper barcode. You hand that and the little plastic chip to some other volunteers, and they scan them. By then it was raining a little, and I was getting cold, so we headed back to the car (I had left my jumper in there), but there were lots of people cheering in the runners- it is all very encouraging.
The other thing that I love is the email (although mine doesn’t seem to come through, which does not matter as you also get sent your links which you can click on to see the results, in fact I think you can just look for them for any Parkrun if you know people running them/ just feel nosy!)- it lists all the people who took part, their time, their pb, age grading, overall position and gender position. I could go on for hours about that! Today there were 197 people running (crazy!)- the first person finished in 17.34, and the last finisher was 40.16. There were children, serious club runners, older people; a huge mixture really. I was the 130th person to finish, and the 26th girl out of 71. Not bad really!
Also I love it that they are all over the place. Next weekend we are going to Dorset for the weekend, and I was quite tempted by the idea of going to Poole Parkrun, although we are staying in a different hotel on the Friday night so I am not sure if it will be practical. But my Dad did the Wimbledon one when he was working there for the tennis and I am sure a lot of people go to different ones. I think you would have to look on a map at the route just to check you know it, but there are marshals (volunteers- they do ask you do help out at a couple of runs per year if you can) on the routes too.
So, if you are tempted I say go for it! I probably won’t go every week as I do prefer to do my long run on Saturday morning, and it is too far for me to run there and combine it with a long run. But I think once a month or so will be good. I think I got really into the plodding along on longer runs, and I think a short sharp run is good for me too.
I looked on my Garmin when I got home and my miles were 8.46, 8.54, 8.56 (slowing all the way!) and then 8.08 for the last little bit- I did try to sprint! Not bad, but I looked back at my last one and I sped up each mile for that one- I think that is the better way to go.
After that I dropped my brother off and headed home for shower and breakfast.
Yummy! Mango coconut water, some mango, pineapple and melon, and a bowl of muesli and puffins (we bought them on holiday- we tried them in the summer and both loved them!). Delicious (and I have just found they are on i-herb too, I might be tempted…).
I have a lot of work to do this weekend, so I did some of that (partly why the Parkrun is so good is because I was home and out the shower by 10am so had a lot of the morning left), did some cleaning, had some lunch and then popped out to the shops for a break.
I needed a few bits in Boots, and saw the Naked hair conditioner (I think I have seen this on a couple of blogs) so decided to give it a go. Debenhams were having a sale so I picked up a bargain top (£6!) and that summery peachy/ pink cardi.I treated myself to an ice chai latte (in my cup- saved 25p!!) and then got myself and my Mum some flowers in Waitrose. Also, the free paper this weekend has a voucher for the posh Twinings tea- I have had my eye on the Gingersnap peach tea for ages, so I am going to use the voucher for that- I love a good freebie!
Then I popped to see my Mum, and then came home for more cleaning, and more work. I am making a chickpea stew for dinner, which can cook while I do my work (ahem, this is a little brain break for me!).
I feel like it has been a productive and enjoyable Saturday 🙂
Would you be tempted to go to a Parkrun? Or if you go already what do you love about it? Did you have a good Saturday?