I’ve heard about Parkrun from a few of my friends and a couple of them have been encouraging me to go along to a local one at Cannock Chase and just run at whatever Couch 2 5k pace I’m currently doing.
I’ve always felt unsure as I know I can’t run for the whole 5k yet, but after seeing lots of posts and comments online it seems that plenty of people do a mixture of running and walking at Parkrun, and you can never be last because someone is always walking at the back.
My best friend did the Couch 2 5k recently and as she was around with some free time I dragged her along with me. It was a great chance to go out and do something together and meant I wasn’t going alone for my first one.
I read and re-read everything I could about it and we turned up this morning and stepped out of the car shivering in 3 degrees, grey, dreary weather. We found a lady in hi-vis and asked what we did with our barcodes and where to go and then headed off to the start line.
There were so many people! I’d been warned the start can get a bit hectic so we hung back and set off walking at first until we had some space. I’ve done one Couch 2 5k Week 2 run and one Week 3 run this week with ease so we decided to follow the Week 3 pace of 90 seconds running 90 seconds walking, 3 minutes running 3 minutes walking, repeat.
Soon people were spreading out and we found ourselves overtaking quite a few people. I ran with Zebby and Beth ran with Guinness as it’s 1 dog per person. Zebby was very excited at first as there were so many people and lots of other dogs too, but he soon settled down in to trotting along with me and was happily ignoring people as we passed. I feel like it was a really good training opportunity for him.
Although 5k can be quite far for a young puppy, because we were only doing short sessions of slow jogging and walking I was confident that he would be able to do it and that it wouldn’t be a health risk for him.
The course was lovely, passing through woodland, open heath land and grassland. It’s a really pretty place and I wish I had concentrated more on where we were and what there was around as well as just running.
We set a nice slow pace and I found each running part nice and comfortable. The tricky part was trying to get past people, especially with a dog, as the path is narrow at times but everyone was aware of who was behind them and moved to one side when they could. Because we were doing periods of jogging and walking I found we kept leap-frogging the same people.
All of the volunteer marshals were cheering support as we went past and unlike some events, none of them were pressurising us to run just giving polite encouragement.
As we reached the 4k marker we finished a 90 second run and we decided to keep running the next section to the end. After 90 seconds walking we set off, then before long we turned the final corner and were on the final stretch to the finish line so encouraged the dogs to pull and set off sprinting! We overtook so many people and I was really out of juice as we powered over the finish line but determined not to slow down. Lots of people were cheering and shouting encouragement and one man shouted “go on, great finish, well done!”. I felt amazing, so proud and so so good.
I was knackered from the sprint but overall the whole run had been fine! Lovely. We zapped our barcodes and by lunch time today our times were announced at 38 minutes.
My aim was to do it within 40 minutes as I have been running 2.5km in 20 minutes during my C25k runs, so I was mega chuffed.
I can’t wait to do more. I’m going to try and do at least one a month to keep me motivated to keep training, plus it will be great to see how my time improves (hopefully it will) as the time I spend walking reduces.
We were back home by 11am, what a great start to the day for both me and the dogs.