Pearl / First World Problems – that parkrun where your body and mind start talking again.

Disclaimer before the usual twitter polis/keyboard hard men start with their holier than thou crap. I know my times aren’t particularly impressive and I don’t claim to be a good runner but this is my blog about me and what I am trying to do for myself. I don’t think I am great, or my times, or am I trying to influence people or anything like it. We can all get excited about what we do whether it impresses others or not, taking that away from people doesn’t make the running world a better place, it just leaves it full of people blowing up each other’s arses deciding what’s right and what’s wrong.

Right, grumpy bit out the way. I know it’s not what running for us ordinary punters is all about, but if you were to tell me that finding that extra gear at the end of a run that takes you past others as your legs, body and head finally engage after being estranged for months isn’t exhilarating, uplifting and just downright Gallus, then you are quite frankly talking out of your bahooky.

It happens to most of us at some stage. Not just those at the front. All of us throughout the pack. We can be out injured for a while, or just burnt out, or just below par but it comes along, the few weeks where your training starts to come together, you start to feel like yourself again and maybe start to believe in yourself again, even if it’s just a wee bit. There’s the fear of course that it’s all in your head but it really doesn’t matter. Unless you are one of those people expected to win every race then no one will notice if it is. That’s where parkrun is magic. It counts for nothing but it’s there, on your doorstep.

Free.

Every week.

And that’s where I come in. If you ever read my blog you’ll know that since July I have suffered from a series of injuries from a Double Achilles injury to a Giant rabid man eating poodle induced back paralysis. I have also suffered from comforteatingitis, a lot. Over the last few weeks I have knuckled down, started running injury free, enjoyed training and stopped eating quite so much garbage. I’ve got out there for a few races and started to feel my way back towards where I’m happy. My aim was to try and get back sub 19 for a 5k before the end of the year having not done it since July. I failed by 19 seconds at Strathy in October, then by 12 seconds at Blackpool where I was really toiling, but having loved the last few weeks running I decided to try again. Strathclyde Park was calling and although freezing there was very little wind. Pretty much perfect conditions. Simple target – get under 19 minutes. Use the Garmin and find my rhythm and go steady for 4k and if anything left push on at the end, but after the legs going last week in the XC wasn’t sure if there was 5k of effort in there. I had managed a couple of track sessions so was starting to dial back into a 5k pace and actually felt for the first time in months like I had a shout of a decent run. I had a decent warm up and a natter with a few folk. Good atmosphere = no nerves, love it when it’s like this, and the place was buzzing. Someone took a photo of me having a natter with fellow returning crock Jim Breen, that 10k battle on the track in April seeming like a lifetime ago.

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thanks Colin Stewart for the pic 👍

I went near the front for a change, up to the second row and away we went. Crazy pace lads away ye all go, I’m not playing. I settled into my wee pace and I was happy and felt comfortable. Need 3.48ks to be at 19 minutes so was aiming to go around 3.45ish to have a wee buffer in case the legs went. I won’t bore you with a step by step or stride by stride account but 3.46 3.46 3.44 3.43 up to 4k in pretty much 15 minutes dead so spot on. 4k down and starting to pass folk. Have gone from about 13th into the top 10 and feeling magic. The sub 19 is going to happen unless I fall but there’s no fear. I haven’t looked behind me once and am just looking ahead. Half a k to go and for the first time in MONTHS I am not afraid to up the pace and chase those in front. For the first time in months the legs react and my stride opens up. I’m passing people. I feel alive, amazing, I feel like ME again. The legs hold up and I am over the line in 18.31 having got myself up to 6th place. The next guy ahead was in in 18 dead so that was never happening, but I had passed everyone it was possible for me to pass.

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Now I know it’s only 6th at a parkrun and it’s not really a race. I know that it’s 43 seconds outside my 5k PB.

That doesn’t matter.

That runner’s high, that buzz of knowing that the training you have done has made a difference, that you’re getting better again, the adrenaline of the (almost) sprint finish, of knowing you are getting back towards your own potential again, that is what it is all about. Better than any drug, better than any malt whisky. Bottle that feeling and make a fortune. As I said at the start I’m not changing the world or trying to influence anyone or think I’m better than anyone, but I make no apologies for shouting from the rooftops about how I feel. For 18 ½ minutes in my own head on Saturday wee baldy Marko felt like a f@cking golden God. That is what it’s all about. Go out there, enjoy those good days, and don’t let the trolls make you feel inferior. Quite frankly they can stick their anti-social media up their arses 🙂  First world problems ladies and gentlemen, first world problems. Have an extra song, have some Ian Brown. But first, because my run to me was like a wee pearl amongst a tray of plastic rings, here’s some Chapterhouse.

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