Sunday, 5 June 2011

Eastleigh Parkrun

"Fancy a free 5k at the weekend after lake swimming?" I asked Holly at running club on Wednesday. "A free race? Really? That sounds good! We could even race against each other". Holly and I have a pretty similar pace and we push each other on Wednesday night runs. We pretty much always end up running a little bit quicker than we expect but never really reach our full potential due to the common female mistake of engaging in far too much chat.

Having enjoyed Basingstoke Parkrun so much (despite the hangover, lack of breakfast, lack of water and non-existent warm up) I thought it would be fun to check out our other fairly local one and see how it compares.

We arrived at Lakeside in Eastleigh with fifteen minutes to spare and we did everything right; we hydrated, had a good warm up and checked out the absolutely vast range of participants. We estimated there was somewhere between 150 and 200 people taking part, from children to hardcore runners to people in fancy dress.

Holly had tactics for the race: run the first 1.5 miles flat out, then just try to maintain the pace. Brilliant. We agreed we were just going to go all out and see what happened. 

The race began and that first couple of hundred metres are always a bit stressful as you try to push through the crowd and get yourself up to where you want to be. Holly had managed to get in front of me at the start and I was stuck behind two men who I eventually managed to squeeze between. After about 1.5km I caught up to her and something weird happened.. I could barely speak. "Wondered where you were" she said, breathlessly. "man... red t-shirt.. stuck", I gasped. I tried to keep up with her but she was going strong so I just ran behind her and did my best to hold the gap.

Eastleigh has a gang of brilliant marshals who are all super enthusiastic and their cheering really does help to keep you motivated but despite the cheering I was very disappointed to see Scooby Doo way up ahead, how anyone in such a costume could run that quickly was completely beyond me! A tiny but sharp hill breaks your pace just as you approach the end of the first lap, making it very difficult to look cool and fast as you run past all the spectators.

I turned the corner to begin the second lap and I could feel a stitch coming on. Noooooo! I tried to ignore it and luckily it didn't turn into a really bad one but it felt like my lung was clicking against my ribs - it's a horrible sensation! Holly was getting further and further ahead and I just couldn't make myself run any faster. 

In the last 1.5km I could feel myself slowing and I was getting closer and closer to that feeling of imminent vomiting. I was aghast that Batwoman overtook me in the last kilometre but far, far worse than that, three pre-pubescent fairies in tutus stormed past me less than half a kilometre to the finish!

I made it to the end and couldn't stop moving as I felt if I stopped or sat down, I would definitely be sick. Holly was there to offer a sweaty hug of congratulations and informed me that one of the fairies had thrown up three times as she crossed the finish line. That did make me feel much better.

My final time was 23:57. Finally I have broken the 24 minute goal that I have been trying to reach since starting running last year. Feeling absolutely brilliant we returned to the car for a good stretch. Then came the magic words "Hey Egg, guess that's 1-0 then?" she said with a grin. 

The game is on!

*** CORRECTION: The initial time emailed over by Parkrun was a mistake. My new, and correct time is 24:03. Rubbish!! Will have to smash it next time ***

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