This was a parkrun that almost didn’t happen. Not the event itself, it just almost didn’t happen for me.
I woke this morning suffering from the worst bout of anxiety that I’ve experienced for quite a while. It has been working on me over the past while but really seemed to come to a head today.
However, I hoped a run would at the very least provide some temporary respite from how I was feeling, so I felt I owed it to myself to give it a go.
Walking the two miles to the park I debated with myself whether I’d actually go through with it or not. Arriving earlier than usual, I walked around the outskirts, trying to avoid people or make eye contact with anyone because that would inevitably mean speaking … and I didn’t want to speak to anyone. I wanted to hide myself away.
As everyone gathered for the briefing I hung back, maybe as much as 20-30 metres back. Even then I still didn’t know if I was going to do this. I decided, in the end, it’d be easier to go through with it rather than face well meaning questions I didn’t want to answer later.
The run didn’t worry me. My issues stemmed from other ‘stuff’.
Indeed, the run turned out to be the polar opposite of whatever nonsense was swirling around my head. It was almost as successful as it could have been.
My plan beforehand was to try to achieve three 11 minute miles, thus setting a PB. Normally I go off far too quickly, make good time then blow up halfway through and struggle to keep going at the end.
This time I wanted it to be different. A consistent run throughout should leave me with enough left in the tank for a big push at the end. It would also be a good exercise in self control during a run. Could I run to a set pace, and then maintain it?
Given how I was feeling I wouldn’t have been rushing to bet my mortgage on it, or anyone else’s for that matter!
Yet. Somehow …
Ok. The first mile came in at 11:13 but around the early part of the course there are a few bottlenecks that delayed me, not helped by a larger than normal turnout today.
But that was fine, I still had two miles in which to claw back that time. Mile two was 11 minutes dead, which really pleased me. That was the pace I was aiming for, it was good to hit it and still feel strong.
However, I knew going into the final mile that I would have to up the tempo to claw back those seconds lost at the start. I was feeling confident, running well, perhaps a dogged determination swept over me.
I was catching and passing people. They looked like they were struggling, they were quite a bit ahead of me earlier on but I was feeling fresh and going past them. My tactics were paying off.
Unfortunately I didn’t quite hit my pb, even with a sprint finish and a 10:55 mile. Not officially at least. Strava had me just ahead of it but I scuppered myself by staying at the very back of the pack to begin with, crossing the line a good few seconds after the start … parkrun isn’t an exact science because it isn’t chip timed, but that’s ok.
Despite how it might have looked at the end I was ultimately very content with my performance. I had done what I had set out to do, plus I had managed a progression run into the bargain and that was with the added burden of having to deal with my issues.
It was a wonderful run, the endorphins were amazing … unfortunately they don’t last. Back to the real world.