One of the things that makes me a bit sad, is that I don’t get to run Parkrun very often. Childcare arrangements mean that it just isn’t possible very often (although hopefully in a few years The Toddler will be able to come along with me), and is a bit of a logistical nightmare.
But, a few months back, David floated the idea of a Parkrun UKRunChat tweetup; the wheels were put in motion and on a freezing cold January morning, me and Jodie found ourselves decked out in 95 layers and ultra-flattering headbands and on our way to Willen Lake for the Milton Keynes Parkrun.
For the uninitiated, @UKRunChat is the best online running community around, my second family and the place that has introduced me to many, many new friends. So it was pretty darn exciting to be able to meet some of them in ‘real life’; particularly at my home Parkrun. I love Milton Keynes, and particularly love any opportunity to show it off, so the beautifully scenic Parkrun was a perfect place to do that.
Yep, that’s right; Milton Keynes. Scenic. Beautiful. Haters gonna hate, but MK has some properly beautiful areas, and the Parkrun route is right up there.
We met up with the gang in the car park, where warm hugs, Team Red/Blue banter, and exclamations about the cold abound; before heading off to the start line.
I was pretty nervous about the run itself. Having had a disastrous run in the cold the previous week, I was dreading not coping with it again this time. I had also set my first goal of 2016 as beating my previous course PB (the course doesn’t particularly lend itself to a 5k PB – for me at least) so I was feeling the pressure a little. But 9am came, and off we went. The start is usually pretty congested, and the icy conditions were understandably making everyone a bit more cautious, so I couldn’t really get into my stride until the third kilometre. (I also nearly spectacularly hit the deck after tripping over a stick) and the first couple of kilometres were pretty slow. I think this actually may have helped though as I had plenty in the tank to kick on for the final 3k, and felt strong running up the notorious zigzags (smugly overtaking several people on the way) and run a fast second half – including one sub 5 minute kilometre. I never look at the overall time elapsed when I’m running, so after a sprint finish to overtake the guy running alongside me (sorry dude – you got chicked) I was delighted to stop my watch and find out I had knocked 30 secs off my previous course PB. Even better was that I felt a million times stronger than I ran it back in September; I really struggled the last time I ran this course, so I’m delighted that my training is paying off, and my first goal of 2016 is ticked off!
After we had finished running – and David and Kev had achieved PBs – it was off to the cafe for a warming drink and a proper catch up – where I realised that team blue were drastically outnumbered by team red…
We commandeered a corner of the cafe (full of Parkrunners intently studying Strava and drinking coffee) and spent a happy hour or so nattering away.
There’s something very special about being in the company of people who share the same passion as you, and I was left with a very happy heart. So thanks folks – even you Neil – for a pretty perfect morning. Let’s do it all again soon.