After 4 weeks of intense speedwork I was super-prepared for my first proper attempt at a sub-20 parkrun.
I did a 1.5 mile warmup around the lake including the drills which always make me feel like I’m masquerading as a REAL runner: running backwards (not into the lake thankfully), high knees and kick backs. (I keep waiting for someone to come up to me and tell me off for doing these). I was physically prepared, I was mentally ready and I was raring to go. There was even a 20 minute pacer! Brilliant! Everything was looking perfect for my sub-20.
However, I’d forgotten 2 key things …
- Don’t rely on pacers - use your own judgement.
- I hadn’t been to Big Toilet that morning.
Draw your own conclusions on how this run will go … picture if you will the photo of that marathon runner who strives for the finish line with a look of disgust on his face and diarrhoea on his legs. Actually, it wasn’t anything like that but how’s that cup of coffee you’re drinking tasting NOW?
I set off behind the 20 minute pacer and quite early on realised he was doing about 6:05 – 6:10 min/miles rather than the 6:25 min/mile I’d need for a sub 20. Did I drop back and trust my own judgment? Or did I stay with him knowing that it would make the last mile more difficult? You guess. Stupid bloodymindedness …
I like the Swindon parkrun course. There’s a lot to be said for it. It’s only slightly undulating, it’s nice and wide so you can see the leaders at all times and the paths are gravelly and nice to run on. I knew that I had a few seconds per mile in the bank for when the last half a mile got tough and this week had been dry so not even the ankle-deep puddles to contend with. Perfect. Surely not even Ms. Fall-In-A-Ditch could mess this one up?
The pace was fine at the moment and I knew the final stretch was all downhill so this all was good. However something else was worrying me. I was getting a certain tummy rumbling that I’ve had before on runs. A CERTAIN distinctive tummy rumbling. The sort that usually has me frantically checking pockets for tissues.
Not NOW? Decision time. Do I brave it out, knock in a sub-20 (or close as dammit) with the shame of leaving a brown trail and the certainty of never being welcome back at Swindon parkrun? Or do throw off my chances for a sub-20 after 4 weeks of hard speedwork and knowing that I’m off on a 2-week holiday where I’ll eat too much, do practically no running and maybe not have the chance of a sub-20 again for a very long time as I’ll be back in marathon training.
I swerve off to the loos at the next corner. There’s sub-20 and there’s shitting yourself in public.
You’ll be pleased to know that I did still manage to embarrass myself in public though. As I swerved off, a friend shouted “Good luck! You’re doing great!” I bellowed back “Got to stop! Going for a POO!” What can I say. Modest AND ladylike. Sigh.