On Saturday I ventured out into the wind and cold voluntarily before 9am. Actually the time is irrelevant. As to a Mummy with two little ones 5am is a bit early, 9am is most certainly not.
The wind and the cold were braved in order for me to participate in a 5k parkrun. This marks the first timed run in which I have taken part since having baby Pumpkin.
For those of you who have never heard of parkruns, these are fantastic weekly organised runs that happen in many locations around the country. The events are free and open to runners of all ages and abilities. They usually take place on a Saturday morning around 9am, often through picturesque locations.
How to take part in a Parkrun
Prior to taking part in a parkrun you need to register online. A unique bar code is then generated and you print this and take it to the run.
My local Parkrun takes place on the Whitely Bay Links Common, this is a pretty green area adjacent to the sea front. The course is a mixture of gravel and tarmac paths and involves a couple of small inclines.
What is it like to take part
- My local parkrun this week had 302 participants!
- The fastest runner completed the 5k run in a fairly quick 17 minutes 23 seconds
- The slowest few runners all finished in just under an hour
- During my run I was overtaken by 2 dads pushing pushchairs.
- I ran past several children (and was overtaken by a couple too!).
- I saw several dogs running alongside their owners too.
Overall it is a really inclusive event. The Parkrun is supervised by voluntary marshals, who point you in the right direction and provide friendly support as you run.
Later on the day of the Parkrun you receive your results via email. This gives you your time, gender position, overall position and also age grading. You can also look them up online and will see a list of all of the participants and their times.
The age grading is a cleaver score that allows you to compare yourself against someone of a different gender or different age. The higher the score the better the performance. These scores are calculated as a percentage against the world record for your gender and age group.
On saturday, I completed the 5k distance feeling tired but not exhausted. I was a whole 4 minutes slower than my personal best so plenty of room for improvement. This still represents a huge achievement for me.
**NOTE: For those of you who feel uncomfortable, or uncomprehending at the term ‘pelvic floor’ I suggest you skip these last two paragraphs***
After having Pumpkin the weakness of my abdomen (diastasis recti) also caused weakness of my pelvic floor and a uterine prolapse. Running is one of the activities that may exacerbate a prolapse. Fortunately for me this has now resolved. I’m not going to go into any more details now, but suffice to say I am delighted to be able to run with all my organs in their correct anatomical position.
So on Saturday morning I could have stayed at home, having a calm family morning with my two angelic children. Or more realistically a chaotic, noisy morning full of laughter and the occasional tantrum. Instead I thoroughly enjoyed my 5k run, despite the wind and the cold, and am immensely grateful to have been physically able to participate.