Depending on whose car one arrived at War Memorial Park in for Saturday's 194th Basingstoke parkrun it was between -7 and -11ºC. That is pretty chilly by my southern standards! Most normal people would be tucked up under the duvet at 8.45am on a cold Saturday morning, or eating breakfast in a cozy kitchen. But most parkrunners are not normal, and my kitchen is unheated and far from cozy, so off to the park we went! 168 other people were daft enough to turn out in the cold, and even more courageously, half a dozen or so brave volunteers stood around and waited for us!
For the first time ever, I ran with a jacket on. It is a beautiful pink jacket, but I normally take off any jacket well before the start of any run/race. I'd forgotten that there was some loose change in my pocket until about halfway around the first lap, when we'd all spread out a bit and I realised that I couldn't out run the annoying jangle! The jangling was made worse by the fact that I had now warmed up a bit and needed to unzip the jacket - oh my! What a din! As I passed the finish funnel and the shivering, huddled volunteers who were cheering us on valiantly, I struggled out of my jacket and gave to it to one of the friendly faces.
There were some brilliant runs recorded that morning, 49 people got new PBs! The ground was frozen solid - so going was rapid across the grassy, hilly bit. My time was not great, but there is always next week, or the week after that..... In fact for the next two weeks I won't be at Basingstoke, I'll be visiting the new Newbury parkrun on the 11th and then on to Cambridge the following week.
At least I think I will! I've been a bit poorly. If I tell you that I didn't go for a long run on Sunday, in fact I didn't go for a run at all, then you will probably think that I must be at death's door. It isn't quite that bad, but I did have to come home from work after lunch on Monday as I could no longer talk! Teaching a class of 32 teenagers is not easy when you can't speak at any volume greater than a whisper. A day at home has been spent sleeping, reading and doing a wee bit of marking.
I'm wondering if I'll be OK for the Bramley 10. I've made the mistake of running races with chesty coughs before and lived (just) to regret it. Maybe if I am well enough I can treat it as long Sunday run, take it easy and just get around. Maybe, if my nasty competitive streak doesn't rear its ugly head and make me push too hard. There will be other races this year and maybe it would be a good idea to set a slow pace for my first race of the year - then I can improve upon it!
In other news.... having been unsuccessful in the ballot for the Royal Parks Half Marathon (both rounds) I have signed up to run for UNICEF again. The guys at UNICEF were amazing last year, loads of support for their runners before, during and after the race (who can argue with a free lunch and a massage?) and UNICEF is a great charity, but the fundraising total target seems a bit daunting at the moment.