Saturday was a much anticipated day in our house. My 9 year old was going to run his 50th parkrun. He ran his first parkrun in October 2011 and, after a bit of a rocky start, he really knuckled down recently and started coming to every parkrun with me. Obviously he is dependent on me to get him to parkruns, but on a couple of occasions he has persuaded friends of mine to drive him over and, as his 50th loomed ever closer he got Husbando to drive him to Alice Holt parkrun and run that parkrun with him.
When he ran his first parkrun it took him 43minutes and 37 seconds to complete 5k. He'd got progressively faster over the 22 months, but we'd been stuck at around 33minutes. His PB was 32.51, which he set a couple of weeks ago. As we drove to War Memorial Park we talked about maybe trying for a PB. Wouldn't it be nice to get a PB on this special day?
We lined up at the start. I was chatting with a much faster running friend who was recovering from injury. The three of us set off running at a nice, easy pace. An easy pace for my friend and I, but a little ambitious for the boy wonder, or so I thought. He just kept going! He didn't whinge, he wasn't grumpy, he just kept going, and going, and going. Just as we got to the 'bus stop' (that's what it looks like!) on the last lap I looked at my watch. 28 minutes. I turned to my friend and asked quietly, so that my boy couldn't hear, whether we could do sub 30. We thought it was possible, if not probable, so pushed him on a bit. He powered on through the woods, up hill and along the twisting path, overtaking people as we went. As he came out of the woods, with the finish funnel in sight, loads of people started cheering. He shouted out an alliterated phrase that he'd obviously been planning for the entire route and sprinted to the finish - crossing the line in 30 minutes and 1 pesky second! As we chatted on the way home he did point out that if we had started at the front he'd 'easily' have been sub 30. I said that if he'd started at the front he'd have been flattened!
I'd made cakes to celebrate - cakes and parkrun seem to go together very nicely. It was lovely to sit around in the sunshine chatting with friends, catching up with a lovely parkrunner who was running her 150th parkrun. There is no parkrun shirt for 150 runs - but it is a fantastic achievement non the less, and was marked with a certificate made by our Event Director.
I am incredibly proud of my boy! He has worked so hard and Saturday's run really showed him that a huge factor in running well is deciding that you are going to run well. He has a real runner's attitude, he will finish a run whatever it takes. He is always up for a run with me during the week. He may not be as fast as some boys his age, but he can keep on going, and going and going! And he will improve over time. He'll be faster than me one day!
Today saw me heading on up to Bushy Park for the first Run 10 for Mo race. I was glad that I had been to the Bushy parkrun a few weeks ago as it meant I knew where I was going, where I'd park etc. The event was smaller than the parkrun, limited to a maximum of 500 runners, the entry fee was a very reasonable £5, but every runner was expected to raise £75 for the Farah Foundation. I would be surprised if there were more than 300 runners. I'm not sure what happened. Maybe they didn't raise the sponsorship, maybe the fact that the race was starting at 12 noon in the middle of summer put them off.
A shower of rain at about 11am made me pretty sure we were going to have some nice cool weather. The clouds vanished just before 12 and the temperature started to soar. After the usual pre race announcements we were off. The route was totally flat, and on a mixture of grass, gravel and a little bit of tarmac. I am not a fan of gravel or grass, and had decided before I set out that would not be getting a PB today. Doing this of course meant that I was not in the right frame of mind to get a PB. I ran the first mile too fast, hated mile 2, 3 and 4. I was doing maths in my head, working out how slow I could run and still finish in under an hour! (My PB is 49.16). The heat was sapping, it wasn't a busy race, and the supporters, whilst enthusiastic, were thin on the ground. I just wanted it all to be over. I normally feel like this at some point in a race, normally really early on, before I've settled into a rhythm, but that rhythm never materialised today - despite what one of the runners said about my 'lovely, even running rhythm.' Even with less than half a mile to go it wouldn't have taken much persuasion for me to quit. Still, needs must, and you can't run a race without a sprint finish. I managed to put a brief spurt of speed on, and overtook a couple of runners in the final few metres to finish 9th lady and 61st overall.
After getting my breath back and chatting to a few people, I ran back around the course to find a friend and run in with her. It was lovely to see her and encourage her to the finish - and boy, does that girl have a turn of speed when it comes to a sprint to the line! (Time 52:38)
We collected our goodie hags - nice quality bag with tech vest, running socks, pencil and wrist band. No medal, which is a shame, because I do like a bit of bling, but nice to get a vest rather than a tshirt! Last time I was at Bushy Park I had to dash home, but today I had time to linger and have a late lunch at The Peasantry Cafe. What a lovely place! Great company - meeting runners from Reading parkrun, good food, lovely park setting - what more could one want?
Of course, those of you who know me will be aware that I am training for a marathon, and that a 10k/6 mile race does not constitute a long slow run. So more miles were required. When I got home I went for a run with my 9yo, then after a short break and an iced coffee, a run with Husbando to take the total mileage up to 13.7 miles for the day. The last run was really hard. Alice Holt Forest seemed to have an awful lot of hills, and a lot of gravel. And my legs were very tired. Still, I did it. And a Sunday where I only wear pyjamas, running kit and pyjamas again can't be bad!