Last week my friend registered for parkrun, an international running organisation which… er… organises timed runs in pretty parks. I decided to join her in Cornwall Park, bright and early on Saturday morning.
Silly excuses had seen me drop the exercise for a couple of weeks (well to be fair, for one of those weeks I was incredibly sick) so the run would be a challenge but I wasn’t going to let 5km put me off.
For an 8am run in the cold, a smart person would have risen early, had a light breakfast and warmed up, like the parkrun website suggests. Well I am not a smart man, Jenny. I’d been up half the night with the kids and dragged myself out of bed 12 minutes before I had to leave home.
Time for priorities, Kelly: half a banana, a shot of coffee, grab a bunch of tissues since you can’t breathe properly. Bloody hay fever. No time to warm up so just go in cold and warm up on the run. What a great plan!
We’d been running for about a kilometre when I told my friend to go on without me because I couldn’t breathe. She’d already stopped twice for my untied shoelaces and I didn’t want to slow her down while I started walking and sucking back on Ventolin.
Two minutes into my rest, I heard a voice say: “No stopping, you’ve got to keep going”. Well there was no way I was going to walk now. A fellow runner had peer pressured me into sucking it up and running through the pain. My new mate was with me most of the way. He talked me up the long, steady hill and the difficult last kilometre and congratulated me as I stood beetroot-faced at the finish line. What a nice dude.
The goal that day was just to get to the end of the course but now I have new goals. I’m going to keep up those Saturday morning runs and earn my ’50 runs’ t-shirt. And I’m going to keep improving my time, starting at last week’s 34:57. I’d also like to run this week without almost needing medical assistance. That would be swell.