I’m so lucky to be able to be back running again, but the last few days I have felt a bit down about how slow I am currently compared to a few months ago. I guess that initial buzz of simply being grateful to be doing anything doesn’t last forever. But whenever I feel low about my running, I try to focus on the incredible impact that getting active has had on my life, and millions of lives around the world. I can’t concentrate on my pace or distance at the moment so I decided to look at volunteering at my local parkrun instead, and focus on encouraging and supporting others. It’s just as powerful as the buzz of running! Wonderfully, the volunteer roster was full this week (clap clap!). In the past I’ve volunteered as a 30 minute pacer, but I’m definite not up to that yet, and I didn’t feel like I was capable of running at a time anyone would find useful. Back to feeling a bit blue.
Then I remembered something I’d read recently. Year on year the average time to complete a parkrun gets slower: in 2017 there was an 88% increase in people taking more than 50 minutes to complete 5k. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean we’re all getting slower (just me!), it means that more and more people of ALL abilities are having the confidence to get out there and start their day with something positive. I looked back at the results of last week at my local parkrun, and there were 100 people that finished post-34 minutes, making up nearly a quarter of the total field.
So I volunteered to be a 35 minute pacer. And it was fantastic! I was a bit nervous because I’ve only actually done one session of continuous running since I had my surgery, and that was only 1.5 miles, but thankfully I felt good the whole way round. I met some amazing people and was so inspired hearing all their stories. For some it was only their second parkrun, others had been going a bit longer with some recently graduating from beginner running club courses. Parkrun caters for so many different types of runners, from elites chasing finishing positions, to people aiming to walk 5km continuously for the first time. But we all gather together at 9am to do something positive for our bodies and our minds, before going our separate ways.
I crossed the finish line at 35:01, with quite a few of my little group having overtaken me already to smash their new PBs- with one amazing lady knocking nearly two minutes off her time! And although it might have been one of my slowest parkruns, it was definitely one of my best.
So whether you’re speedy or slow, fit or injured – consider volunteering. And consider pacing. You don’t need to be fast. People chasing a 25 minute PB probably have a Garmin to pace it for them. That last 100 are the people that are really going to appreciate your support and encouragement. The running community is an incredible force, be part of it. Oh and if you haven’t signed up for a parkrun yet – do it now, it’ll be one of the best things you ever do. Just remember to always thank your hi-viz heroes.
I was given a blogging challenge to write a happy post about my weekend. I thought hard about what I could do to make sure I had something happy to write about! And I decided that giving back to something that had changed my life so much was a pretty good one. So here it is, and thank you for giving me the motivation do do something positive. #ourweekendhappy
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