In Praise of Park Run

In my last post about fitness I mentioned that I almost felt ready to have another go at my local park run, Fareham.  (The photo, btw, is my attempt at a selfie with my sister at the end of the run…  It was very sunny and we couldn’t see!)

So this is just an update to confirm that I have actually done this now (2 weeks ago actually), and I did indeed score a massive PB (as hoped).  Only even better than I had hoped as I knocked over 6 minutes off my first time!  Which means that I broke 40 mins instead of just the 42 mins that I was aiming for 🙂  One very happy lady here!

So how did I do it?

Well first off is the fact that I am so much fitter than I was when I made my first attempt; secondly the weather was much warmer (too warm really, even my sister Debbie admitted to struggling – to her time of 25 mins 15secs that is……) and thirdly, it’s probably fair to say I was much more positive about my chances this time!

So, as before, I walked to the course – a nice gentle 1.7 miles constituting my warm up really.  In the sunshine there was a record turn-out of 264 people at Fareham park run, which was lovely to see.

My first goal was to run, without any stops, to the halfway point.  This I managed although it wasn’t long beyond that turn that I stopped and walked for a couple of minutes….

My second goal was to stop a maximum of twice which meant that once I started running again I had my usual mental battle to keep myself going.  “You can make it to that bush… well, you managed that, I don’t see why you can’t get to that tree… then that bench, the next bend…”  I’m sure that there are many of you out there who identify with this mental battle.  I was helped in overcoming these inner turmoils by a bit of advice that my youngest sister Kate – a runner – gave to my brother Mike – a new runner (who has already got his park-run PB below 30 mins and has lost a load of weight in the process).  She told him that:-

Your brain gives up before your body does….

This really struck a chord with me and I think about it every time I’m thinking of giving up.  Because it’s so true!

I was helped in achieving my 2nd goal by my other running sister, Debbie, who returned to give me support at the end.  I had just crested the rise on the return leg and had been running again for a few minutes.  I was ready to stop and walk again if you want me to be completely honest!  So, when I saw Debs heading back towards me my first thoughts were less than welcoming as this meant that I couldn’t stop and walk!!

Debs was brilliant, talking me through what was coming up and how close we were to the finish.  In a way this worked slightly against me at the end as seeing the knot of people at the finish I sped up – forgetting that the finish line itself was actually about 30-40m off the road!  At least I know I can judge my pace at the end properly (as long as I know where the finish line really is that is 🙂 )

It took me a while to sort out my MapMyRun at the end (as I was a little busy trying to breathe and stay on my feet…) so I thought that I had done about 42mins.  Which I was really happy with, and off I went to ring the PB bell.  It wasn’t until later when I looked at the results that I discovered I’d actually achieved a time of 39m47s.

So my next goal will be to complete the distance with no more than 1 stop to walk, and that walk cannot happen before I have run at least 2 miles.  This will probably be in a couple of weeks though, as, although I suffered no after effects this time (last time I couldn’t walk properly for 10 days afterwards!), a downward turn in the weather put me off running outside and this week I’ve had a cold (and then I put my back out coughing!!)  So I must get back out next week and get myself up to that 2 miles without stopping.  Perhaps closer than I think as I have also practiced running up hills (totally out of my comfort zone).

So we are now a family of running siblings (some rather better than others of course and not quite the Brownlees!), with my eldest sister (who I mentioned in a previous post when I started running) now managing to run the full 5km without stopping to walk.

There is a very clear divide between us 2 and the others but I’m hoping that I might one day get below 35mins and even, dare I say it, start to really enjoy running again!  And I know that Ali has her own goals to achieve.  Lots of hard work ahead for both of us then.

Listen, anyone can do this – it doesn’t matter if you’re really unfit to start with – you can walk the course.  YOU WILL NEVER BE LAST! (All park runs have an official back-marker who walks – at the back 🙂 )

Don’t ever give up on yourself.

Get up. Get moving. Get fit!

You’ll thank yourself for it very quickly 🙂


Author: MandoraTheExplorer

Having given up full-time work we currently work a year to travel for 4-5 months, and we're hoping to continue this until we can retire properly! Currently living, and loving, life to the full :)

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