My venture to Lincoln Park Run at the weekend saw me achieved a new 5km PB of 22.37. Clearly I am extremely happy with this outcome, however running Park Run this weekend also made me think; and it was on my Sunday long run where I really pondered the run and came to the following rambled conclusions:
1) I am very competitive - I knew I had a certain level of competitiveness inside me, mainly in the form of trying to beat my own records, but Park Run made me realise I actually really want to beat others. Before we started Park Run I was stood eyeing up the competition, trying to work out which of the other females may be a threat to my finishing position. Then during the run as we entered the final stretch of the Park Run course, I picked out two females in front of me and literally told myself I had to beat them at whatever cost, I sprinted past them and carried on towards the finishing funnel, bending over breathless as my challenge had been achieved. In that moment I was so pleased I had overtaken them I even forgot to stop my Garmin - unheard of!
2) The treadmill really can help me run - During Park Run I completed virtually the whole course following my friend. I couldn't quite catch up to run alongside her, but I was always within near touching distance of her. It took a lot of effort to do this, but I was determined for a gap not to appear. How did I do this... literally by imagining I was running on a treadmill! When on a treadmill I set it to a pace and make my legs keep up, they have no choice to slow down unless I change the setting, which takes a lot for me to bring myself to do. So I imagined my friend was the treadmill belt, I had no choice but to keep up with her and thus prevent that gap from appearing.
3) I love my team - Behind every runner is most certainly a team, whether that be supporters cheering you on at races, friends listening to your running problems and achievements, or the physio patching you back up when your body chooses to give up a little. At Park Run I experienced a strong example of my team helping me.
With one kilometre to go the friend I was following turned to me and told me to go on, had she not done this I would have maintained my current pace, which I already felt was pushing myself. But the fact I trusted what my friend thought and her knowledge of my capabilities meant a sudden surge of self belief hit me, and from somewhere I found that extra speed in my legs to go on and get that PB.
4) Am I asking myself to do the impossible - this was my biggest reflection from Park Run. Elite runners are specialists in their field. Mo Farah would never attempt to run 100m, and Usain Bolt would never be lining up at a marathon start line. But here I am, an amateur runner trying to be the best at everything. I want to run a super fast 5km and get a sub 45min 10km, but then I also want to run a sub 4 hour marathon (ideally get 'good for age' for the London Marathon which is now 3hrs 45mins!) and wouldn't mind a sub 1hr 45min half marathon too... Is this even possible!? My new Park Run PB is so much faster than my 5km time during my London Marathon training period earlier this year that it would (logically) appear that as I focus on one event my body adapts to this, momentarily assuming its new role. That led me to question, if I just trained for one distance for the rest of my running life what could I achieve...? I guess I will never know unless I actually tried this, but I know I won't! The excitement of new challenges, new distances and the thrill of chasing those personal goals is too appealing at the moment. I may be asking myself to do the impossible, but at least I am having fun trying!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...