parkrun personal worst = post-surgery personal best
If I had received that text message not too long ago, the prospect of a 40 minute parkrun would have been enough to ensure that I burnt all my running clothes and took my trainers to the charity bin, as this is clearly not the sport for me. Fast-forward a little bit of time, however, and all of a sudden, the sense of accomplishment at running (of a fashion) an entire 5km in 40 minutes is absolutely fine by me!
Earlier this week I decided that my knee was feeling pretty good; range of motion seemed unhindered and I could even get up stairs two at a time. So I decided to look at the cranleigh parkrun roster to see what was going spare – lo-and-behold there was no tailrunner, so I fired off a quick email offering my services, or at least whatever I could manage on the day. I then spent the rest of the week pretty excited about the prospect of finally breaking out for a little jog.
Then on Friday I spent the day coughing lightly and feeling ever so slightly worse and worse as the day progressed. I failed to sleep that night and finally dragged myself out of bed feeling decidedly grotty. I had made a commitment though, so I pulled on my injinji toe-socks and my long-dormant t-shirt and shorts and set out on the short walk to the Bruce Mackenzie playing fields in Cranleigh.
I don’t know how they did it, but for the 3rd weekend in a row we were greeted with a beautiful dry morning and the gathering crowds seemed to be a good number of runners, including a lot of people who were completely new to the parkrun movement.
My first thoughts had been to basically walk the first lap and then jog the second, and when a heavily pregnant lady turned up and apologised as she was going to be really slow we all laughed off the fact that the tailrunner was likely going to be even slower!
Before long a few young girls, attempting their first parkrun, fell off the back of the pack as they slowed to a walk. I stayed behind them but chatted away with the youngest as she set about providing me with a fartlek session, alternating walk breaks with sprinting away from me.
The course is by no means a PB setter, but it really is a lovely two-lap course. In order to achieve two rather then three laps, the route does quite a bit of zig-zagging across some of the fields, but actually I never felt this detracted from the run itself.
I suggested that we walk the last little bit along the penultimate field before setting off for the home stretch. As we turned around the fence along the final field, I was left trailing in her wake. Without even trying, I came home in exactly 40 minutes. I had hoped along the way to convince the young lady to get in under 40 minutes, and I was really pleased that she had managed it.
I crossed the line and offered my congratulations – she’s now only 9 runs away from a t-shirt, and I hope she enjoyed the run.
And there it is, the beauty of being a tailrunner is to forget all about your own goals for a little while, and help someone else to achieve theirs. It’s pretty good fun!
Last night i decided to ice my knee more as a precaution than anything else. It had held up really well during the run, and certainly my muscles, lungs and heart would have given up the ghost before my knee, and that really does make me happy. I was a little concerned about quite how high my HR was going though, so now that I know I can run a bit again, I am adopting the Maffetone method for a little while in an attempt to stop the heart pounding out of my chest.