As I stepped out of the house and into the chilly, damp morning air, I took a deep breath in. I always do this before I set off. As though my brain automatically wants my insides to get used to the outside temp. The air felt cool enough to warrant a cursory “brrrrrr” but not too cold, plus I was well dressed for it, so I hopped on my cyclocross and headed for Parkrun. Being outside is the BEST.
Somehow, despite owning a Parkrun barcode for 6 years, I only started taking part in May 2018. Since then, I have managed to complete a whopping NINE parkruns (I know. I know. Bow before my greatness….. ) and while completing a run and basking in the endorphins glow while hobbling my achy calves to the car afterwards is lovely, my absolute FAVE is volunteering. Which I’ve managed to do twice so far and plan to do a lot more!
Truth be told, it took me a long time to gain enough confidence to go along. Despite the Parkrun ethos being super inclusive and not about pace at all, I simply couldn’t face it. I was too critical of my own abilities and I just didn’t think I’d fit in: I am not a fast runner. I don’t really like running while I’m running. I’m also historically shite at pacing myself while being famously skilled at picking up injuries due to this lack of aptitude for taking it fucking easy. Therefore, I used to swerve Parkrun the same way I avoid talking to humans before 8am. I could do it…. I just chose not to.
Recently, however, something has clicked. With my “Race Schedule” (Read: Fatness Prevention Scheme) now pencilled in for 2019, I have some plans. But the most magical thing has happened: I am enjoying sports again! I’ve managed to remain semi active over the festive period to combat the alarming quantities of cheese consumed. I’ve not even done this because I have to meet a target or anything. I’ve done it because I WANTED to! Shocking!
From Crammond Parkrun on Christmas Day, to climbing West Lomond cause I damn well wanted to, and double Parkrun on New Years Day, it’s been fun and I’ve been loving it!
It’s been tricky balancing work, fun and avoiding the frankly disgusting amount of germs floating about in my air conditioned office, so being sensible and staying healthy has been my priority.
2019 is shaping up to be a proper whirlwind: 2 cycle sportives in April, my first Duathlon, another bash at 70.3. But that’s not the biggest, most exciting thing: My little sister is going to be a mummy. Which means I am going to be an Auntie. And this is the BEST NEWS EVER. I cannot wait to have a tiny human to borrow and show them how anything is possible. Every time I think about it I just beam with total happiness. Lissie and Sean are going to be wonderful parents.
Another super exciting thing that has happened, is that Beardy bought me a project for Christmas! A full carbon frameset with super light wheels. And with Ultegra components thrown in from himself and my in-laws, I have myself a beautiful new toy. He is called Toothless and he has already taken up residence with Stella and the gang while he gets his wings.
So….. as I gently pedalled my way to Parkrun through the gloomy morning light, I took some time to think about how lucky I am to be able to do what I do. I smiled to myself as the tail-wind gently pushed me along. I breathed in the chilly air and enjoyed the peace of eerily quiet roads and a completely vacant trail. It was glorious.
Then, I spent 45 minutes enthusiastically cheering and clapping for every runner and high-fiving the kids to keep myself from getting cold. All before taking the long way home on the bike and spending 20 minutes thawing myself out in the shower. It was a morning designed specifically to boost my Happy.
One of the things that has spurred me on the most recently is the statistics coming through from Parkrun. On NYD, the number of people in attendance at Scottish parkruns was up by 87% against 2018. And among that, the number of first timers was incredible: in 2018 on NYD, there were 717 first timers at parkruns throughout Scotland. On Jan 1st 2019, there were 1,599. a 123% increase. That is AMAZING. (Source – David Black from Parkrun Friends Scotland) Seeing more people get off the couch and get their trainers on is massively inspiring!
All of this has made me super excited for my adventures this year! First up: Stockholm at the end of the month! Bring it on!