Get Your Run On

That is exactly what I have done this morning. I’ve been for a run. The next two weeks I’m on a self-appointed “chemo holiday” and since I have limited cytotoxic drugs circulating my bloodstream, I feel great. The past two failed attempts at chemo will not go down in vain. I decided I would spoil myself with a run. Not just any run…a PARKRUN run.

This morning was the first parkrun event I have attended since moving back to Australia. I managed to convince my friend, Richard, who in turn convinced another friend, Mitch. That alone made my day – two more people have been introduced to the parkrun community.

Last night I frantically searched through my London belongings and found my trusty scrunched up barcode. I set my alarm and went to bed early.

My alarm was set for 6:00am, and lucky I did because if it wasn’t for the strange musical sound and vibrations coming from my bedside table, I may have missed it (iPhone really needs to update their options for alarm tones). My body was well-rested. Perfect.

In a mad dash I threw on my running kit, threw down a protein smoothie, said goodbye to mother who is flying to China today for a two-week work trip, was out the door, and in the car.

Augustine Heights is the closest parkrun to Ipswich. I set the address into our trusty NAVMAN and was safely directed to where I needed to be. I could see the runners mingling at the starting point and I started to get excited. I love the uplifting, community feel that parkrun naturally produces.

We gather for the race briefing and before I knew it, we were off. The path was narrow and all the runners were packed tight, keeping the pace slow. It was exactly the start I needed. I wasn’t out to be leader of the pack today, nor was I trying to achieve a PB, the purpose of today was to take part in something I love, and finish.

Within the first few hundred meters we faced our first incline – a big wake up call for your legs and heart. Easy does it. Richard, Mitch and I didn’t stay together for long, we all found our own rhythm and dispersed amongst the other runners. The course is 2 x 2.5km loops with two inclines on each loop, nothing too challenging.

I didn’t allow my head to dictate my run this morning. I promised myself I would stay at a comfortable pace and not push too hard. At one stage a small girl who looked all of nine-years-old was keeping me at pace, good on her! Today was not about training for a triathlon, or Ironman (yet). I let my body move with comfort and ease. By the second lap I found I was encouraging others to keep moving – a male runner was walking ahead of me, ‘keep running’ I said as I ran past, a smile crept across my face as I heard his footsteps pick up behind me.

Normally in the last 1km of a race, I would pick up the pace and try and take over runners, one-by-one. This morning wasn’t a race, so I kept at my own pace. When I heard the thump of runners closing in, I peacefully let them pass. I could see the finish line and I glided through. I had done it. I had run my first 5km since the start of treatment…and I FELT GREAT.

It was so great to be able to share this morning with Richard and Mitch. We have already committed to going back next Saturday while I’m still on my “chemo holiday.”

So what was my time? 28:01! My fastest recorded parkrun time was 24.12. No complaints from me. Like I said, today was not about recording a PB.

Oh, another thing that made my day, a male runner came up to me at the end, shook my hand and THANKED ME for pushing him.

You can be assured I will have a massive smile on my face all day. Life is good.

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