Its very rare I get to really run, as husband works Saturday's so a solo run would rely on a Grandparent dropping by to babysit while I run. Last happened esrly December. Also as my 5k times slowed and slowed in the last half of last year, I started to enjoy parkrun less and less. As I was half marathon training from August to November my body started to become comfortable with very slow long runs and so trying to run faster at parkrun would give me that horrible out of breath feeling and I found it almost painful to keep running at "speed", even though I was going minute per mile slower than than my summer pb. Being so far away from my 5k PB time made me miserable.
For two years I have run with my son in a running buggy. I adore it, we have great fun together and although it is so much harder and slower than running solo, I don't mind as its my chance to set a good example to him. But now he's 4 and a half and weighs over 3 Stone it's tougher and tougher and toward the end of last year I decided my buggy running days were over. I stopped enjoying it as I struggled. I just felt like I was pushing a rock around, especially through the muddy and grassy sections of the parkrun course, and I spent more time walking than running so just felt like I was failing. And my times (even buggy adjusted times) were getting slower as he got bigger, and that depressed me.
This morning my co-buggy runner-partner-in-crime Joanna sent me a message and said something like, 'let's just power walk parkrun with the boys (in their buggies), let them stretch their legs too, and catch up.'
I am so glad she did. I had the best time I've had at parkrun in months!!!
It took us 40 minutes but we did not care. We chatted, we let the boys have their little runs, we stopped to scrape mud off our tyres, we jogged a lot more than I expected and walked some bits too- especially up hill and through the big bog.
But it reminded me what parkrun is about. Parkrun is about participation. Not just PBs. Obviously PBs are wonderful when they happen, but also wonderful is the time to see a friend, spend time with your children, enjoy the fresh air and the high fives. And the coffee and the playground after, of course.
When we finished I immediately signed up to Marshall next week. My son had been asking why we couldn't volunteer this week - he loves volunteering at parkrun, as they give him a giant foam finger and he cheers everyone on. I've also used excuses (of the weather, it's unfair to make a 4 year old stand out in the rain) not to volunteer, but I just had to take the plunge back into the wonderful parkrun world that means so much to me.
parkrun, I'm back!