The one with slow and steady pace. It’s funny how running and parkrun has become such an intrinsic part of my life. It feels like forever since I last went to parkrun, in reality it has only actually been a couple of weeks. It could be because I’ve missed “so many” of late, 5, yes 5 whole parkrundays skipped since the beginning of May, due to a combination of events and injury. So, if you’ve read any of my other ramblings you will know that I injured myself whilst running stupid distances at the Insomniacs Challenge, today was to be the first run since then. I’ve rested for what seems like an eternity, 13 days, yes 13 whole days! The goal for today was to keep a check on myself and get round the 5k in about 30 minutes or so, you know, keep a sensible head on. This is something I do really tend to struggle with, I always say that I’m just going to take it steady and then end up getting carried away “in the heat of the moment”. Not today, I didn’t want to face the wrath of my physio!
I’d decided that a nice flat tarmac parkrun would be best, so that had ruled out a home run an Havant, which is where I broke myself in the first place. Portsmouth Lakeside was equally ruled out due to the mixed terrain. Southsea was to be the choice, even though it’s my PB course I was sure that I could keep myself in check. I had the added bonus of knowing that a load of guys from my running club were likely to be there and they would keep me in check, there would be an adult present somewhere, surely!
Having checked the Southsea parkrun webpage it soon became apparent that there was something going on along Southsea seafront, a rowing event, so there was an alternative course laid on. This went in the opposite direction to normal and wound around Castle Fields and down towards the hover port. So much for my flat tarmac run, but the route was still flat, but then again the whole of Southsea is, just had a bit of grass to contend with! No biggy. There is plenty of parking along the seafront, but it is expensive (RingGo), if you have a mind to you can park a short distance away for free and jog to the start. A lot of people park up round by canoe lake and do this. If you need loos then the nearby Pyramids can be utilised too.
Today was the 199th Southsea parkrun! It’s a nice sized parkrun, though the start can get a bit congested and as it’s on the seafront you have to be mindful of other promenade users, cyclists, dog walkers, etc. There were 348 participants to be precise. The run director ran through the briefing assisted by a small megaphone, on the whole I could hear his instruction, but as with all these things these days you want to position yourself near the front if you want to hear all of it. The announcements were dealt with and the course changes explained, admittedly I lost track of this but I’m never going to be at the front so not a huge deal. The pace I’m doing there will always be people to follow, I didn’t get lost and it made a nice change from the straight up and down out and back course. The course did come up a little short, I think they did a time adjustment to compensate, but to be honest who cares. I just enjoyed being able to run again, it’s a fun free event, no need to get bent out of shape over distance and timings. Thank you to all the volunteers that make this happen for us week in week out, fantastic.
I had a very steady run, with a nice little push at the end just to test myself with a little burst of speed. I’m happy to report that my first run back was a success. No aches, pains or niggles to report. It was great to catch up with friends after too. The picture above really epitomises parkrun for me. It brings people together, you are all part of the same community. It brings people from all walks of life together. It really is a wonderful thing. I’ve met so many wonderful people through it and expanded my social circle massively. It’s a game changer, both for physical and mental wellbeing.
Next week I will be at Havant again to celebrate a couple of friends’ milestones, Ian’s 100th and John’s 250th!! There may or may not be a theme, there is most definitely a picnic after, can’t wait! #loveparkrun