Last Saturday I did my first even Parkrun at Bishops Park Fulham (Find out more Fulham Palace).
It was the first time I'd done a full 5K since the end of October last year! I've been generally doing a 2.5km on the treadmill, but this week I wanted to up my game. I've found myself struggling to get to the gym. I was too tired to do so on Tuesday, and it's super busy at the moment which puts me off. So on Thursday morning I decided to run to work. It's not to far just over 3km - but it was the push I needed.
I'd registered for Parkrun at some point last year but I just hadn't got round to attending my first race. The 9am Saturday morning starts are quite a factor in this, as I do like to have a lie in on a Saturday morning. However on this occasion I was up and out the door early and it felt good.
Like with anything it's always a little nerve wracking the first time, I didn't know what to expect or where to go. But the gathering of volunteer marshals in their hi-vis jackets gave it away. I popped across to the 'New runners' briefing and that was it, all of a sudden I was one of many. The marshall explained how it works. You have to have a printed copy of your bar code (therefore you have to be registered). At the finish line you receive a finishing token and then you go onto get both barcodes scanned.
As I said I haven't run a full 5K for a number of months, so I had no idea how it was going to go. I was a little worried I'd struggle. But it was fine. I found myself running quite fast. My 'map my run' commentary kicked in at 1km to tell me I'd done it at 5.23 minutes. I don't think I've ever done it that quickly! Anyway I decided I needed to keep my pace if not slow down a little because I didn't want to get carried away and not be able to manage it.
The course is 2 and 3/4 laps of Bishops Park. I wasn't sure how I'd get on with the doing nearly 3 lots of the same lap! It actually went quite quickly and all of a sudden I'd done 4km and I knew I was on the home straight. At the 200m sign I upped the pace a little and headed towards the finish. I felt a little overwhelmed that I'd done it. I was faffing with my barcodes, and forgetting to join the queue right away but meanwhile I looked at my Map my run app and stopped it at 27 min, 35 seconds which I was pretty chuffed with. I did it! Almost exactly 3 months after running my last 5K I managed another. I just needed to push myself a little.
(I'm just hoping it was actually 5K that I did and not 4.97km but I guess it's close enough)!
I can see why Parkrun is such a success - a regular, free chance to run in a timed running event. I was really impressed that by 11.30 an email pinged into my inbox with my time - 27 mins 9 seconds. A whole minute and 10 seconds faster than my previous 5K at Battersea Park last August! You can read about that here. I'm pretty chuffed with that. It just goes to show that pushing yourself that extra mile (both metaphorically and literally) really does work.
Thanks to the lovely people at Parkrun who volunteer on a Saturday morning. I'm just wondering now how often I can commit to Parkrun. I'll definitely be back!
Afterwards we went to The Dynamo in Putney for a post-run treat. Warm banana bread and lemon curd with a flat white. Just what I needed. Unfortunately I was far too excited to eat it and therefore didn't take a photo! I'm sure there's plenty of time for a full review, because they do pretty darn good pancakes...