My husband Matt and I have been trying to get more active lately by including exercising into our everyday life rather than having to assign time specifically to exercise. This week we both completed our first Park Run!!
5ks, 5km, yes 5 KILOMETRES… there is no obligation to run, you can walk the whole course if you want to, or attempt a jog, walk, stumble as we did. I was eager to see what level my fitness was at, as I’ve just come back to exercising after being pregnant and surviving a full on 9 months with our daughter, who is now 11 months. I knew that 5ks was going to be a long walk, jog, stumble, however I don’t think I was quite prepared for how long it actually was. We completed our park run at Sandgate which was a beautiful location for a run at 7am on a Saturday morning.
Matt and I started at the back of the pack because we had the pram and didn’t want to get in the way of others. Matt had kindly offered to take Rose so I could try and go as ‘fast’ as possible. Mmmm… I have been working out and using our exercise bike for HIIT sessions for probably 6 weeks now, I felt semi prepared. What I wasn’t prepared for was all the muscles you need to run are actually quite different to the ones you need to ride a bike. Within a few steps of jogging, my legs were burning, and I’d probably done 1km, or maybe it was 200ms. I pushed through and swapped the jog with a fast walk. Then I realised that when the organiser told us newbies, to the jetty and back he actually meant the end of the jetty…wtf. That’s like a whole extra 200 meters and I’m now starting to question this decision. On we press, and at this point a guy runs past me, full pelt, and I realise he’s the front runner… who completed the course in approximately 17 minutes. I aspire to be him! In like 5 years ha ha. He is leading the way for the rest of the group that gradually starts trickling past, but then the majority of the group passes us, high fives at the ready, me nearly ploughing my daughter into the water attempting to coordinate two things.
I finally reach the jetty, I heard a volunteer say to someone you’re over half way! To where CHINA? Cause it feels like that where I’m going. By this stage my muscles have stretched out and running is easier on my legs, however I’m now lacking energy. I ran past another volunteer who was explaining the event to a passer by “all of the runners have gone now, these are the walkers”. Gee thanks… I felt so much better about attempting to do more jogging… NOT!
As I’m making my way back to the very far away finish line I notice a 5km marker on the ground. I start wondering if this is maybe when I get to the end they’ll be like surprise you’ve done a 7km run today. Hahaha unlikely. The next marker arrived 4.8km… wtf I just did like a kilometre, didn’t I? Then 4.6km, I need to stop looking at those things… head uuuupp. I attempted a few more jogging bursts on the way back but my energy was done. Finally, the end is in sight my sister in law and nephew had come back to run the last 20 metres or so with me, to my surprise I actually had tiny bit left to run to the finish line!
If I had completed this event 3 years ago, I’m not even sure if I would have made it, and if I had made it I would have wheezed for the rest of the day, and been in a great amount of pain for days. 48:02 was my time, 9.36 minutes a kilometre, I’m really stoked with that time. I wanted to compete the course in under 50 minutes this week and I achieved that. What I was most happy about is that I recovered quickly, my breathing, which I’ve trouble with in the past was fine and I had no wheezing. My heartrate stats were incredible too, it was an amazing workout in 50 minutes, and I felt like I had nothing left to give, which is exactly how you want a workout to be. While my legs have been uncomfortable, I’m not in pain. I need to do more stretching to loosen muscles, but I’m actually excited to try again next week. Or maybe I’m just looking forward to breakfast in the park afterwards!
If you’re looking for a family exercise activity I would highly recommend Park Run, there were so many kids also completing the course, as well as mums with prams and lots of dogs. You only race against your own time, and if you just can’t complete the course you can just pretend like you were never doing Park Run and sneak off home. There are plenty of other people running and walking on the course who aren’t participating in the event. However even though I was the last of our group to finish I felt so proud of myself just for finishing. Park Run is amazingly organised and run be volunteers, there are heaps of locations all over Australia so you can just choose one close to you.
Remember to bring sunscreen, a hat, good shoes and of course your barcode. You will find us at Sandgate next weekend!
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