Up and at ’em

I WAS up and at ’em yesterday morning for my first parkrun in eight months.

I’m not really sure what came over me, but I bounced out of bed and drove to Pontefract with Chris, determined to find out what kind of shape I’m in at the moment.

It wasn’t my fastest run. I clocked 21.07, almost a minute off my personal best, but it was the most enjoyable run I’ve had for a long time. I loved it.

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In the few months since I’ve last raced at Pontefract a few things have changed. Chris and I lined up at the start, only to find out that we were facing the wrong way. The new way meant we started with a small uphill. Having not done any hill work for a few months either, I’d have preferred to have run down the hill instead. But there wasn’t much I could do about it.

‘I’m going to set off slowly,’ I told Chris. It was, after all, my first race since the Great North Run. I didn’t want to get carried away.

‘Three, two, one, GO!’ The starter shouted, and I set off. I took the first five strides slowly, but then a quick glance around and I realised I was the first woman. ‘I could win this,’ I thought and went a bit faster. I led for about 20 metres, and then they started coming for me. I was overtaken by four women, making me fifth.

‘So much for winning,’ I thought. ‘Just keep going.’ There was quite a gap between fourth lady and me, but I kept working hard. On the hill I worked a little harder, so that by the top of the hill, we were side by side.

My competitiveness had returned! We had one lap. This lady was obviously faster than me, but there was no way I was giving in. I passed her and ran as fast as I could, so fast that I could feel my asthmatic lungs tightening. With limited lung capacity I sprinted for the line.

A fantastic fourth!

‘Was that a good time for you?’ One of the marshals asked.

I smiled. ‘My first race back,’ I said. ‘It was great.’

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