Saturdays's trip to Lincoln Park Run with my friends was a bit of a milestone for us. We were not collecting our '50' t-shirts (we each have a fair way to go to be worthy of earning one of those sadly!) but we were using the event to celebrate the last time we would all be running together, with one of my friends Australia bound in a few weeks. Unfortunately my jet setting friend could not actually run due to injury, but was still able to participate in the morning as chief photographer and number one supporter!
Park Run has held a lot of memories for us during 2015. It all started on Valentines Day, the first time we ran the event together, and when I was too nervous to even take a bar code and have my time recorded! We clearly enjoyed it and went back two weeks later, when I slumped to a 26 minute run with tired marathon training legs. I somehow managed to accept this time though, due to the unique environment of Park Run meaning I was too happy being able to celebrate the achievements of my friends that day - this was when I really realised what a wonderful event Park Run is, any other run I would have been severely disappointed in myself!
There can be no greater achievement than the week we ran Park Run on my friend's birthday and recorded a female 1-2-3, with the birthday girl finishing first. This I am sure will be the greatest Park Run we will each ever participate in. Then there is the individual greatness which we are able to witness each other reach. My speed queen friend zooming around the Park Run course with seeming ease on each visit, racking up PBs regardless of what she ate or drank on the Friday night before! My 'machine' friend who consistently pulls out impressive times, even when marathon training - which puts my 26 minutes rather to shame! I personally was also proud of the way I bounced back after marathon training, taking nearly three minutes off my Park Run PB in my first run after the London Marathon. We also went through a spell of doing the Saturday 'triple'; Park Run followed by a Body Attack class and then a Body Pump class - a mad feat in itself!
I had no idea how this week's Park Run would go as Friday night I had consumed a lot of cake and alcohol as part of a leaving party for my friend. I was contemplating taking it easy, but as I arrived the competitiveness within me came out, and I knew I would have to give it my all. The first lap of the three loop course felt great, no pain in my legs and with the added motivation of posing for my friend on camera duty! On the second loop, much to my shock, my legs still felt fine, however my stomach was starting to feel a little odd. The only way I can describe it was it felt as if someone had punched their fist into it and wouldn't stop the pressure! Delightful! I told myself it was fine though as it didn't really matter how my stomach felt as long as my legs would keep going! This mentality worked, and on the third lap I gave it my all. I could spot my friend in the distance and knew she was due to finish third female. There was a female runner between us, meaning I was 5th. I had no idea if there was another woman close behind me or not, but I did not want to take the chance, and was determined to maintain my position. Sprinting to the finish I did it; although on stopping it felt as if my stomach was severely bruised and I actually had to double over to catch my breath and ease the pain - maybe a little too much cake and alcohol was to blame!
My official time was 22.39 - exactly the same as the last time I ran Lincoln Park Run and once again two seconds away from being a PB! I was also, once more, in awe of my friend, who ran a 22.10 Park Run PB even though next week is the New York Marathon she has been training for!
As is clear, our group trips to Lincoln Park Run have all been memorable in different ways, and I did feel a little sad knowing it would be a long time before we were all running a Park Run together again. However I know we will not let this week's trip be the last ever time we all attend a Park Run, and that's the main thing!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...