It’s only 10am and I’ve yomped 5km.
This morning we did the Rhodes Parkrun (www.parkrun.com). This is a body that organises free, weekly, timed 5km runs on Saturday mornings all over the world. Neil comes with me for support (ie to make sure I don’t slide off to a cafe instead).
My approach is “well it’s only 5km, it’ll be a nice walk followed by a coffee somewhere sunny”.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Got there and it’s wall to wall runners in lycra and pressure socks. There are some slightly tubby, unfit-looking people at the back so I decide to stick near them and Neil can do the proper run.
We all set off.
The overweight & unfit immediately head to a cafe so it’s just me. The sainted Neil sticks with me.
The first 25 meters are ok, I even attempt a cheery jog but soon realise that it’s not sustainable. Neil’s competitive instincts kick into panicked overdrive because he’s being overtaken by absolutely everybody – something he’s just not used to. He shoots off, walking very fast – there’s no way I can keep up.
After a short but bad tempered exchange, we realise that we’re both freaked out and intimidated by the whole thing. I twice ask him if he wants to go on ahead but he stays. Amazing.
- At the 1km point, I’m over it. Can’t see myself finishing, not enjoying it at all, total sense of humour failure compounded by sheer embarrassment at being so publicly unfit
- At the 2km point, a perky, blonde gym-bunny volunteer attempts to provide motivation “well done – not far now…” Oh get stuffed.
- At 3km we’re overtaken by someone in the 80-84 age category (yes, really)
- At 4km, the sweeper at the back tells us we’re the last. (Oh really? I hadn’t realised; thank you for pointing that out….). I ask how long they keep the course open for and he says ‘as long as it takes’. Oh no. I suggest to Neil that we don’t bother finishing as I’m so embarrassed at being last but he keeps me going
- At 4.8km we overtake a woman with a knee brace
I came in 3rd last (Neil let me beat him by a step), in 50.42 mins which surprised me . I was 183rd out of 185. The average time to complete the 5km is 31 minutes, so clearly there’s room for improvement.
In summary, I absolutely hated it while I was doing it, but I’ll go and do it again next Saturday. Better than going to the gym.
Like that’s going to happen ha ha.