Saturday, 17 February 2018

Did you miss me?

Did you miss me?  Or were you just glad to have a break from the mad woman blithering on about running? 

The day after the Bovington Half Marathon, which was the first day of my Christmas holiday I could not get out of bed.  It wasn't that I didn't want to get out of bed, I physically couldn't get out of bed.  I put this down to the end of a very long term and thought a day in bed would sort it out.  It didn't.  Eight weeks later I am starting to feel better.  Viral pneumonia made me feel worse than I have ever felt in my life.  Until you have woken up, several times every night, with the sensation that you are drowning you really haven't lived! 

This has obviously had an adverse effect on my running because I didn't do any training at all - but now I am back, taking it easy and hoping to regain some lost fitness.  I've missed running A LOT! 

This week has seen me start running properly again.  I am stunned by how much fitness I have lost, there is only one way to rectify this and that is to get out running again. 

For the last couple of days Husbando and I were in Cambridge for the Cambridge Book Fair, and to watch the very excellent play 'Art' - I never imagined that watching three men eating olives in silence could be so funny. I suppose it helps when those three men are Nigel Havers, Dennis Lawson and Stephen Tompkinson! 

We had some debate about where we would parkrun.  Husbando has only relatively recently become a parkrun devotee - in the past when we have been in Cambridge (or other places) for book fairs he has gone to the fair and I have gone to parkrun.  This means that it is five years since I ran Cambridge parkrun as I have taken the opportunity to visit various parkruns near Cambridge.  Eventually we settled on Cambridge. 

It was really easy to get to Milton Park from our hotel and the parkrun weather fairies were bring very kind to us - beautifully clear skies if ever so slightly chilly!  The run director informed us during the brief, that we listened to quietly, that all the ice on the puddles had been broken, but that the course was quite muddy in places. 

I set off with the 30 minute runners.  Muttering about how grim it was to be chasing down a time from 5 years ago when I could barely breath properly when walking upstairs.  We barely go faster than a walking pace for the first 100 or so metres, but the ground underfoot for the first short lap seemed ok - a few puddles and lots of tight, congested turns, but one could easily avoid the puddles.  The two long laps were a different matter - twisty and turny and with plenty of mud!  I was plodding along quite happily, not worrying about time, but aware that I was steadily passing people. 

I nearly came a cropper a couple of times when trying to pass people.  The people I was trying to pass were wearing headphones and seemed totally unaware of other runners around them.  On a couple of occasions I'd run into a space that suddenly vanished as the runner (who couldn't hear me plodding up behind them) changed direction.  I don't understand why people feel the need to listen to music while a parkrun (or other races - although lots of races have banned them now).  Part of the pleasure of running with a group of people is chatting to them, or just overhearing random snatches of conversations between other runners. 

Towards the end of the second lap we found a sign that surely must have been placed in true White Star Running fashion - it seemed much more than 400m to the end.  Shortly before this sign a man caught me up and said that I had slowed down.  I puffed that I had nothing left, but did manage to pull away from him again.... only to hear him say 'You can't let me beat you!' as we got to 100m from the finish.  I was done... or so I thought until I heard what sounded like a woman closing in on me.  I pushed on a bit faster, overtaking the man who had so kindly encouraged me, only to realise as I crossed the line that it was a child I had so meanly accelerated away from!  Oops!

I finished in 27 mins 8 seconds.  Just under 2 minutes slower than my last run on the same course.  It was much muddier this time, and I am still recovering from being ill, so it was all in all an encouraging result.  Husbando was considerably faster and was waiting for me at the finish ready to buy me a cup of tea.  We got our barcodes scanned, placed our finishing tokens in the correct buckets and retired to the 'Grounds Cafe' for tea and one of us had a cheese and tomato toastie! 

Thank you to all the volunteers who made Cambridge parkrun happen this morning, and thank you to all the runners who chatted to us and made us feel so welcome. 

So that was parkrun 299 for me.  Next weekend will be 300 and, although it isn't an official milestone, I have been told by someone who should know, that cake is acceptable.  I am planning to return to my parkrun home, Basingstoke, to catch up with my parkrun family there.  I just have to factor some cake baking time into an already busy week!

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