We woke on Saturday morning to another dreary, wet and cold day. The kind of morning where you just want to batten down the hatches and stay snug and warm wrapped in your duvet. However, it was parkrun day and I was preparing for my second attempt at this course. The other half was also gearing up for his first parkrun and, indeed, his first run outside in over 4 years! Perhaps he thought that rather than listening to me constantly bleating on about running, he may as well join me!
We dropped the girls off with their Grandma and Auntie Karen and headed to Chance’s Park for the 4th running of the Carlisle parkrun. We were rather early so just sat in the car for a while in an attempt to keep warm.
As 8:40 approached, we left the safety and warmth of the car and headed out to join all the other brightly coloured, lycra-clad runners who’d gathered at the start area. We also met up with one of the dad’s from my daughters’ school – he and my better half had egged each other on to do this run.
After a safety brief, the horn sounded and we were off on the first of three laps around Chance’s Park. Again, I started off a bit too quickly for me but managed to rein it in a bit and settled into a more comfortable pace in order to avoid burning out. After a lot of rain, the grassy areas were all rather soft and by lap number 2, it was positively squelchy! Lap number 2 passed in somewhat of a blur but I upped the pace a bit for my final lap. I could see Sam, the dad from my daughters’ school, about 50m ahead and thought ‘I’m going to catch him’. That old competitive spirit still kicks in now and again! I started running faster, starting my sprint finish rather earlier than I’d have liked. With about 100m to go, I caught him. I kept running but could hear him and his increasing footfall. That was enough to spur me on and, even though I felt I had nothing left, I found another gear and managed to hold him off. I finished with a time of 26:08 on my Garmin, 1 second slower than my first attempt a few weeks ago. I’d have liked to beat my time but I’ll blame the mud and say that that was the reason for the slower time. My official time was 26:13 and I finished 52nd out of 124 runners – the biggest field so far for the Carlisle parkrun.I finished 6th lady out of 43 and 2nd (out of 6!) in my age group.
After catching my breath, I set off back down the course in order to cheer on Tristan. I saw him coming towards the last 300m and shouted some encouragement. He was convinced that he still had another lap to do and was elated when I said that he was close to the finish! For the last 50m, the pedal went down and he sprinted to the finish in a very respectable time of 35:23. Out of breath but absolutely delighted with his achievement, another parkrun addict is born 🙂
We then went into the Manor House cafe and enjoyed a warming hot chocolate. It definitely helped to bring feeling back into my numb fingers and you really feel like part of the little parkrun family.
On Sunday, I met up with Ali at Rosley School in order to get our long run in. Again, it was cold and threatened rain but we’d planned a 10.5 miler so we knew we’d soon warm up.
After a fairly flat start, we headed towards Westward and that’s when the hills began. Once we hit the Caldbeck road we went up a behemoth of a hill that went on for almost 3 miles! It had started to snow and the headwind kept blowing the snow into my eyes. However, I just kept plugging away; just putting one foot in front of the other. Not once did the nagging voice in my head pipe up and say quit. Instead, I just thought ‘I’m doing this’, ‘I can make it’, ‘Just keep going’. I really hope I can keep this mindset when the going gets tough in races. It makes a rather pleasant change!
After reaching the top, we had our ‘Rocky’ moment and felt a huge sense of achievement. I never thought I’d ever be able to run all the way up a hill of that size!
The rest of the route was mainly downhill but there were still a few short, sharp hills that needed to be overcome. Fortunately, it was one of those amazing days where everything feels good and serves to remind me of all the reasons as to why I run.
In short, running is going well. I’m feeling much more positive about surviving the marathon distance and achieving my half marathon sub 2 hour goal.