If you're a runner, every second definitely counts, do doubt about it, no forgotten seconds when you're a runner.
My first Southampton parkrun since the beginning of December 2012 on was 9th March. Ouch, that's a fair amount of lie- ins on a Saturday when my pj's should have been swapped for my running gear. And the joy of 'Route B' for my first parkrun in ages (large groan and look of trepidation). Any parkrunners of Southampton common will know that Route B consists of the killer hill, twice, with a mini hill at the beginning. Oh my lordy how on earth was I going to manage this. Well, it appears bullying, and sheer determination work quite well.
My goal is to run 5k in 30 mins, well to start with, I may amend that time and make it shorter the faster I get, but at the moment my goal is 30 minutes with my fastest time coming in at 36 something so metaphorically speaking I have some ground to cover.
My neighbour is another crazy fool who runs, and is considerably faster than me and we were going to parkrun together on this particular Saturday (yippee?). And luckily for me, she is also very good at bullying friends, crazies, other runners and now it was my turn. Gulp, there was no escaping now and it's not as though I could outrun her. The whistle went and off we set, hill no. 1, completed, only another 2 to go. And around the route we went, encouraging words all the way round. My conversation limited now as I panted at an increased pace round the 5k route, sounding like an extra for a horror movie. I'm sure I was responsible for others getting a PB as those ahead of me were running for their lives rather than planning a new PB!
On the last leg, my faster neighbour jetted off to the finish. She was the good cop, then I was left with bad cop. And she pushed me (not literally of course), and pushed, 'stretch those legs', 'just a bit faster', 'nearly there', 'keep on going, one last push', 'you can swear at me when you finish'. If I could have, I would have sworn at her there and then all the way to the finish.
The end is surely nigh
As I crossed the finish line egged on by parkrunners, I thought my lungs were going to turn inside out, but there was a knowing grin stopping 'The Fly' moment from happening. I knew I'd a new personal best, I just didn't know by how much. And in the words of the Money Supermarket advert I felt 'Epic'.
I waited with excitement and trepidation for my results and when they came through, my smile could have split my face. I had a new personal best, not just 2 or 3 seconds, not even 10. I smashed my PB by 33 seconds, and every one of those 33 seconds made my weekend.
A light bulb moment
It was an eye opening day for me, that demonstrated how easy it is to get complacent about my ability to achieve more than I thought I could. I'd labelled myself as a slow runner and to a lot of runners I'm sure that my times are slow but it's a huge mental block that I've overcome. And now I'm a faster runner and there's no turning back and no stopping me. Bring on my 2hr half marathon in October.
Incorporating a new healthy eating plan is also contributing to my belief and ability to reach my desired goal, and as the lbs fall away, the speed increases, and so my life continues on a positive merry go round. I would not have believed a year ago how much running would enhance my life, so much more than I ever believed possible.
This Saturday I'll see if I can knock a few more seconds from my time.
And if I could only work out how to use my Garmin watch I may be able to be my own bully, to push myself a little harder and make some more of those little seconds count.