parkrun is not a race. When I go each week I do not race anyone other than myself. I might be spurred on to try catch up with fellow runners, I might push myself to see if I can keep up with certain runners, or I might simply just try to finish (even remotely!) close to some runners – but I don’t wake up on a Saturday morning with the intention of beating anyone. I wanted to clarify this as it does then seem a little odd that one of the goals I had set myself was to finish as First Female at my home Lincoln parkrun event. I have managed one First Female place before, earlier this year at the New Year’s Day Clumber parkrun, but I have always wanted to have that accolade at Lincoln.
The title of finishing First Female on one Saturday morning, out of the hundreds of Lincoln parkrun events that have, and will, be held, in reality does not mean much. Every single person who completes a parkrun is equally as deserving of any form of congratulation. However, I had just set this target for a little bit of personal pride, to show how much I had developed as a runner, and to add my name to the First Finishers list on the parkrun website (yes, I am a little addicted to parkrun stats!) When I first went to parkrun I could never have imagined being First Female, and even once I set myself that goal, I had put no time constraint on it; but this Saturday it happened.
Saturday morning was in my opinion perfect running conditions. It was warm enough to be stood happily chatting to my friend pre-run in vest and shorts, but not so hot that the sun felt like it was burning my skin. Physically I did not feel as perfect, and I seemed a little tired after a long week at work, but taking my place along the ever growing Lincoln start line I hoped my body would respond. It did. I bolted off the start line with real purpose and the first lap of the three loop course literally flew by with somewhat ease. I thought to myself I must be running a bit steadier than normal, but when my watch ticked over the first mile it read 6.46 min/mile pace – that was quick! In that moment I knew I was on for a good time, my pace was fast but I felt totally at ease and my legs seemed effortless beneath me; I just had to keep going.
As I made my way around the second lap the volunteer Tail Walker happily cheered me and congratulated me on being in First Female place – I had not been fully aware of this until that moment, and suddenly I had even more motivation to keep up my running rhythm. On the third and final loop I entered into the form of friendly competition I mentioned at the start; along with a couple of other (thankfully male!) runners we jostled back and forth through the final few hundred metres, each keeping one another going. I did not even think to look at my watch in these final stretches, but I know the course at Lincoln so well that I knew when I really had to kick – the final bridge. From here I ran as hard as possible, my legs still not letting me down, and crossed into the finish funnel neck and neck with one of my lap three buddies. We smiled and shook hands with each other, then I looked down at my watch. It read 21:16 – a new PB - and I had managed to maintain my First Female placing; double success.
As I did when I finished First Female at Clumber parkrun, I felt a little unsporting for being so happy at finishing in this place. I could not hide my happiness though as I met my friend at the funnel and told her the news. Personal pride is not always a bad thing though, and sometimes we do struggle to shout about our own achievements even if they do mean something to us, but I know when I see my name listed as First Female on this week’s Lincoln parkrun Run Report I will be very proud of myself.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...