I have been running for a while now and pretty much just stick some tunes on and plod on all by my lonesome. Though every Sunday I do a 2k Junior Parkrun with our youngest … apart from that I stick to running by myself …. until now !
In my wisdom I thought I would give our local proper grown up Parkrun a go – “Pomphrey Hill” – I spent some time reading up about it, where it was and the course terrain. I wasn’t familiar with the park but the blurb said “mostly flat” with “a small hill called Up Pomphrey!” (The exclamation mark at the end of Up Pomphrey! confused me somewhat ) It was 3 laps finishing on a downhill. Sounded perfect ! I’m not too good at uphill, I don’t mind the flat and definitely live for the downhill, so the run sounded ideal.
Saturday came and off I went. The venue was easy to find, though I worried slightly as I saw some eager participants running to the run (yes it seems people do that!) and I had a fleeting thought that I would be the only reluctant runner amongst a sea of super fit experts and suddenly regretted going on my own … so I Facebooked a post about being alone at the Parkrun and was fortified by a response from Kath Evans who posted a pic of herself at her local Parkrun. Feeling empowered by support I headed to where people were gathering.
As we were all herded to the start line I suddenly remembered my headphones … which were on the hall table at home! I hardly ever run without the aid of some cheesy feel good music and waves of panic washed over me again. I mentally gave myself a stern talking to and got on with joining the pack ready for the start. I headed for the middle of the pack, thinking I didn’t want to be at the front with all the serious folk but also I needed a bit of a head start being the slow runner I am.
The course organisers then proceeded to give us all a talk on the course, stating pretty much what it said on the blurb on the website. I was a little perplexed when the course organiser got to the “small hill” part and said “Up Pomphrey!” And the whole pack shouted “UP POMPHREY!” But I put it down to being just a local thing and started limbering up for the off.
I started at a slow pace but was happy to see an older lady in front of me and thought perhaps I will just go at the same pace as her. There was a little incline to start with and I thought that maybe this was “Up Pomphrey!” and was quite pleased with myself for jogging up. We then headed downhill and I was pretty much keeping pace with everyone, I was missing Bananarama and Joe McEldrey via my earphones but hey … I was doing it… I was running!
Then we turned a corner and I can only describe what was in front of me as a small mountain! I now fully understood the exclamation mark and the “UP POMPHREY!” Oh my dear lord .. how on earth was I going to get up there? And not just once but three, yes three, times.
Well I made it halfway up the first time and I then slowed to a walk before medical assistance would need to be called for. The second time I did about 50 yards before my legs turned to jelly, by this point people were starting to lap me! Yes those serious runners at the front were lapping us mere mortals desperately trying to cling to some sort of dignity. At this point I seriously missed my headphones to the extent that I think I started humming Gloria Gaynors “I will survive” I also seriously questioned my wisdom … what on earth was I doing? This was no way to spend a Saturday morning. By lap three and “Up Pomphey!” three I had lost the older lady, she had run off ahead, I was lapped by a man pushing an infant in a pram, was lapped by two dogs, a small child and Batman …. but I kept going. I kept putting one foot in front of the other.
I eventually reached the top for the final time and headed downhill to the finish. As I ran the last 200 yards the volunteers at the finish line were cheering me on, telling me to run all the way …. I did it!
I came a whopping 317th !! I collected my little ticket and headed over to be scanned. As I did I noticed that there were lots still behind me, I checked my time and I had ran the 5k in 34.11 which isn’t too bad for me. According to the email I received later in the day I came 15th in my age group, which I think sounds quite impressive.
As I headed to the car I felt exhausted, thirsty and bloomin hot. I downed a bottle of water and headed home with the aircon on full and feeling quite elated. As I walked through the door my husband said “how was it?” I replied “It was awful, I hate running” to which he asked “so are you going again?” ……. “Yes” I said ;D