It isn't often that I don't feel like parkrunning. There are many weeks when I would quite happily do an extra parkrun or two every week, but this morning was different. It had been a very long week at work, I'd had emergency dental work done, I'd dealt with all my exam classes going into stratospheric levels of stress and just about managed to get out and run all my scheduled runs. I am still suffering the effects of the 50k race I did and my training runs had been at a pace that would not have worried a snail. Added to this, three of the children had to be at a school open day, so I wouldn't have my son with me and therefore no excuse for a slow run. The temptation to stay in bed was very real.
But, I did get out of bed and I did parkrun. Three weeks ago a new parkrun started locally: Rushmore parkrun. I couldn't go as I was doing this instead, so decided to go today instead. I went with a friend. I still find it much easier to go along with someone rather than on my own, and we found our way to the start without too much problem. We did miss the very clearly signposted carpark, but we do know where it is for next time! Hanging around at the start someone came up to me and said 'Are you MrsBridgewater? You must meet our Event Director!' I was a little taken aback - turns out that this was someone who read my blog and said lots of nice things about it. The event director, Chris, was lovely and very welcoming. I am sure he is far more relaxed now than he was three weeks ago.
There was a briefing for new runners, a pre run brief near the start line and then we were off. I had been concerned that this would be a 'twice round a sports field' type of run (which always reminds me of being punished for being naughty or skiving games at school) but it was much more interesting than that! Yes we did run across a sports field, but we also ran along a path at the edge of the road, down and along a canal tow path and through a wooded area and underneath a tree lined avenue to the finish. Part of the route was on tarmac - sweet! Some of it was on grass and on (what could be had it not been hot) a muddy towpath - to be expected on a sports field, but there did seem to be quite a bit of gravel. I HATE gravel. I really do dislike it! My friend, who was running with her son, said she thought of me when they got to the gravel bits! Still - it could be avoided quite easily by running on the grass - so that's what I did. The course was brilliantly marshalled by friendly volunteers. There are 2 short downhill sections, but no noticeable uphills - which make this a course with great PB potential.
One thing I hate about as much as gravel is running near someone who has jangly keys in their pockets. I ran too fast in the first mile trying to get away from the pillock who was running near me with keys jangling. It was only when I found myself running on my own and I could still hear the jangling that I realised I was the culprit! Normally I give my car key to my older daughter to look after while she volunteers, but she was at school and I'd shoved the keys in my pocket with my barcode tags and a ten pound note! I took the key out of my pocket and things were much better after that, if a bit slower! I was pleased that I maintain a reasonable pace, not too concerned that it was way off PB pace as I haven't set myself an insurmountable target to beat next time I run at Rushmore. I was the 5th lady home - been a long time since I've finished that high in the rankings. I'm quite pleased with that, even if I only achieved it by summoning everything I had left to overtake a lovely lady in the final 150m! My guilt at this is made worse on discovering that she is a teacher at my middle child's school! Oops!
Sadly the coffee van man failed to materialise again. A huge shame as with over 150 people there (runners, volunteers, supporters) on a lovely sunny morning he'd have sold a few drinks! There are plenty of park benches near the start/finish too for those of us who are too old to sit on the floor (or too old to get up again once we've sat down on the floor). If anyone local has a coffee van or knows someone who has one, why not get in touch via the Rushmore parkrun page and see if you can offer your services?
Thanks to all the team for a great run! You even laid on fantastic weather. I'll be back with a short person soon!