Winter made itself well and truly felt at the weekend - it dropped so cold that snow was forecast, but thankfully avoided Lincolnshire (I hate snow). Saturday was bitterly cold and windy, yet my friend and I braved the elements and headed to Park Run (see image). The weather was pretty dire, and there were lots of comments being made about how mad we all were for being there! But we were there, and there was now the matter of 5k to run.
I was hoping to try and aim for a PB having been so close - 3 seconds away - on both my last two Park Run visits; but with the weather as it was, I kind of knew this may be a bit unrealistic. I am also not really sure why I thought I was capable of running a PB. I have not been doing any specific training and a lot less running than normal, so where I was going to pull this PB out from I don't know! But as with every Park Run I complete, I aimed just to give it my all.
The first lap of the course felt like my body was warming up rather than actually running! I was close behind my friend at this point, but on the second lap the gap lengthened. I was trying hard to keep in contact with her, but it felt like I was not really getting anywhere despite my efforts. Entering the third and final lap, I was never going to catch her, but had my eye on overtaking the woman in front of me, which gave me a new focus. I was therefore gutted when she suddenly dropped out, leaving me running virtually alone with no one close in front, or on my heels. I kept going, hoping to motivate myself to muster a strong finish and record a reasonable time.
One stretch of the course was particularly hard when, on turning a corner, you were be hit by a strong, cold headwind. This was also the section of the course that led to the finish line, and thus any hope I had of clawing some time back was literally blown away! As I attempted a sprint finish my legs felt totally numb, my decision to wear shorts was not wise, and my red raw legs crossed the line in 23.07 - not even close to my PB of 22.37.
I was a bit disappointed at first with my time, but I am never too hard on myself; which I think is a strength of mine. I always give a run my full effort, so instead I prefer to reflect, refocus, and move onto the next run, rather than let a time/result beat me up. It wasn't my best 5k time, but in difficult conditions it was still respectable, and most importantly I still enjoyed myself. After all, Park Run is about more than just finish times!