I can’t say my Hanley Park Run antics today were in any way worthy of the Halloween theme – unless you count the most tenuous of links with the urge to throw up.
Pushing myself running tends to push certain bodily functions into the equation but thankfully that didn’t happen and another Personal Best was achieved!
The nausea kicked in after one zealously-tackled hill and again after finishing (I always feel compelled to redeem my slow self with a sprint at the end).
The Park Run I go to deploys pacers on the last Saturday of every month – so I’d got in the mind-set of following one.
Alas, there were none in my exact target range! (Though that’s a future plan..)
So I picked a trio of women from Stoke F.I.T. (Friends In Training) who did finish about 45 seconds ahead of me in the end.
Two of them kept up a steady babble of conversation which, when I was close enough to hear it, I tried to use to take my mind off my exertions!
We were overtaken by a family in fancy dress – now being overtaken always feels crap anyway, but when they’re in fancy dress?
A former colleague remembers the humiliation of being overtaken by Batman in the London Marathon and I myself have been bettered by Mr Potato Head in the Robin Hood Half in Nottingham, a race in which Scooby Doo regularly provides an indicator as to when it’s time to dig deep!
Back to Park Run and I watched the receding skeleton wings on the boy, with dad in a cloak – I also knew he was wearing a mask (reminiscent of Edvard Munch’s “Scream”) which made him sound like he was talking through a snorkel when, previously, he loomed behind us en famille
I had some hunch I’d done a good time when one of the organisers at the finish shouted “C’mon Emma?” – and looked a bit surprised to see me.
My Guerrilla training has contributed not only to a couple of personal bests in the last few weeks but also knocking a good couple of minutes off my previous time, so it would appear I have discovered the alchemy necessary to produce Personal Best “gold”.
I caught up with the Stoke F.I.T. trio and said I’d used them as pacemakers, hoped they didn’t mind and thanked them.
I felt I’d somehow “gate-crashed” their run but Laura, the first woman I spoke to, said that was fine – and to be honest, I don’t think they’d been too aware of my presence.
She said the chat, between two of them, had been aimed at taking the silent third one’s mind of her running (I think she had a bit of hip pain or something).
Laura added something like if you could speak about seven words a sentence without gasping whilst running then that’s a fair indicator your breathing’s okay.
Despite the fact that I normally talk a lot, I couldn’t have uttered one word at that pace!
Another of the trio, Kirsty, emphasised the point was to be helpful and nobody is ever left alone on a Stoke F.I.T. training run – they’ll come back for you if need be.
This generosity of spirit is not just confined to team-mates, it extends to other runners too.
“It’s the club ethos. You can always tell if someone’s a ‘Fitter’ ‘cos that’s what we do”.
Once I’d fuelled up with tea and hot buttered toast at the Park Run Café, I joined another “Fitter” on the walk home, and got more running advice.
Lee advised me to “push from my glutes” (buttock muscles!) when running up hills (“it’s easier to push than pull”).
Isn’t it amazing? Slow or not, I’ve loved running since I was a teenager and I’m still learning!