Friday, 25 July 2014

A Day to Remember...

It had been what felt like ages since I’d last done a Parkrun, so last Saturday I decided to do South Shields, for a number of reasons:

1.       My big sister was off work and was also running

2.       I wanted to try for a sub 30 personal best

3.       Colin, Parkrun director, was running in a wedding dress ahead of his marriage to the lovely Sam
I woke up bright and early and was excited to be doing a Parkrun. I love the course at South Shields and I love it even more when Joanne does it too. Joanne hasn’t been running much recently due to working a lot so she said she wasn’t aiming for a pb this time, just a gentle run round the course.

Me with my sister Joanne

Before it began the blushing bride (groom) arrived in (his) her wedding dress and I went and took a photo. I was mighty impressed he was doing a Parkrun in a dress – I can only just manage it in my running clothes!
Colin before the run

Joanne and I started off together and it was lovely that we were running alongside each other, as Joanne is usually faster than me and I don’t try and keep up. Back in December when I did my first South Shields Parkrun, Joanne ran with me (slowly for her) to keep me company and support me round. I came last with a time of 39:40 which was a new pb for me! That day, it was Joanne that got me round the route so it was lovely that on Saturday we were running along together. I am so proud of the progress I’ve made in the last 9 months and Joanne is one of the reasons I started running in the first place.

I was chatting to her along the way - and commenting how I couldn’t believe, that even in a wedding dress, Colin was still miles in front of us! At the first mile my Garmin beeped and told me that it had taken 10.14. I knew that I needed to stop chatting and run faster or I wouldn’t get my much desired sub 30 personal best! We both picked up the pace and having Joanne alongside me kept me going. My legs were getting heavy and the sea mist was holding the heat in the air, making it a bit too warm to run. I was so impressed that our second mile was my fastest yet (9.36!). Joanne was beginning to struggle with her breathing as she hasn’t been running much and was running faster than planned. I began to go ahead of her, but felt bad about leaving her behind. As soon as she saw I was slowing down to keep running with her, she told me to just keep running, so that I could get my pb. She’s a lovely big sister!

The last mile was difficult but I kept going as I was determined to get a pb (and hopefully a sub 30). Once I was on the final stretch I began to increase my pace. I felt sick and my legs hurt and I didn’t know if I could keep going. I wasn’t sure if I was going to manage a personal best but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other.
Once I crossed the finish line I stopped my Garmin and had mixed feelings about the numbers I saw. At 30:20 it was a personal best by 8 seconds!!

But it wasn’t the sub 30 I was hoping for...

I could see Joanne approaching the finishing stretch and went to cheer her on. There was something really special about seeing her cross the finish line and I was proud to be there cheering her on. I’ve never finished before Joanne so it was nice to support her instead of the other way round.

I told her I got a pb but not as good as I was hoping for, and she was really pleased for me. I no longer felt sick and I’d had time to think about the run and I realised that I should be really proud of myself. When I started running my aim was to run. Nothing more than that. But each time I have made progress over the last few months it has just made me want to get even better.

I knew I shouldn’t feel bad about running 5k in 30:20 as back in December that was a time I could only have dreamed of running it in! I think this is a perfect example of how it is important to look at how far we have come, not just how far we have to go. My coach Steve is always telling me this.

I got my pacing a bit wrong on Saturday and I know that I ran the first mile too slowly for a sub 30. But I ran it with my big sister and I enjoyed it. After having time to think about it I am really pleased with my time and I’ve realised that the time it takes isn’t the most important thing. It is getting out there and running, enjoying it along the way (as much as it can be enjoyable!). I couldn’t think of anything better than running with my big sister, and if that means that I missed out on a sub 30, then that’s ok because there’ll be lots more times to run and it’s something to improve on next time! I don’t get to run with Joanne every time I go out.

After the run I congratulated Colin for his big day (in awe of the fact he still ran superfast in a dress!)

Joanne and I then went back to her house for a cup of tea, before I headed off to buy some much needed new trainers! I was very excited and I never thought I would be excited about buying running things!!

Thanks for reading and joining me in my journey to the Great North Run for the North East Trust for Aphasia.

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