This morning I completed my second Parkrun.
It was one of those mornings when both little ones were still fast asleep so there was the promise of a luxurious (and rare) lie in. I cannot believe that the idea of getting up and running 5K was an alluring enough prospect for me to forgo said lie in - but such is the grip that the running bug has on me, it was.
The weather was a beautiful. The sort of weather that completely restores your faith in the possibility of spring. It was a bit fraught getting the little ones ready and out of the door but they had the promise of playing in one of the well equipped playgrounds that form part of Telford Town Park where we were headed.
My husband has an injury from falling off his bike (an absolutely stupid accident that would have been comedic had it not hurt him) so he was opting out of the run. My daughter's boyfriend was busy piling tons of rubble from a demolished wall into a skip. That left just me and my daughter to join the other participants - each driven to run for their own personal reasons and coming together to take part in this wonderfully friendly and relaxed event.
I'm not going to say it was easy - it never is - but it was less of a struggle than the previous time when I was still recovering from a nasty cough and finding breathing a lot more difficult that it should have been. I was much more aware of the surroundings this time now that all my attention wasn't focused on gasping at much needed oxygen. It really is a lovely place to run, especially in the sunshine. I enjoyed the moment so much more. A quick glance at my watch showed me that we were making good time (for us!) which was very motivating. A final push at the end gave me a finish I was proud of in contrast to staggering over the line last time.
As you cross the line, you are handed a token which you have scanned with your own personal barcode a little further on. By some magic, this enables the Parkrun people to put your results up on the website. I was absolutely delighted to have knocked a whole 2 minutes off my time.
To put our achievement into perspective, I should probably share a slightly embarrassing story. My daughter and I were intrigued by a Walker who had joined the Parkrun. I'm not talking about a casual stroller, this was a man in sporty shorts with the strange hip rolling action of speed walkers. He was ahead of us at the start but it didn't seem too onerous a task to catch up and overtake him - after all, he was walking and we were running. This did not happen. For a while he was a steady distance ahead, tantalisingly close, but the distance started to open up. We were giving it all we had and he was charging away from us. Eventually, he disappeared from view. I'd like to think that this could be attributed to his athletic prowess and fantastic technique but I have to hold our plodding pace at least partly responsible!
My husband and two rosy cheeked children were there to greet and congratulate us at the finish. I loved that my little ones had got to play in the fresh air while we were running. There were no complaints from them when they were offered some additional playtime while my daughter and I went off to do a bit of shopping (seems a shame to be so close to a shopping centre and not take advantage!)
We bought ourselves a pair of running trousers each - slinky tight fitting ones instead of our tired old joggers. We are hoping that by dressing the part, we'll knock even more minutes off our Personal Bests!