I read today that the reason it’s almost impossible to swat a fly is that they perceive time very differently than we do. One of our seconds seems to last 4 to a fly, so our world seems to them to be in slow motion. That would be a really useful skill and I wonder if this is how some of my friends manage a long run at a pace at which I would consider a good sprint.
Time is a funny old thing and does seem to pass at different rates depending on circumstances; I’m sat on a train to London at the moment and simply blogging will mean that the journey will seem to be over very quickly. When I entered the Yorkshire Marathon last year I was sure I would have plenty of time to train really well and prepare myself to, as the expression goes, “absolutely smash it” and beat my Marathon PB. However, as I have well documented, this year has been a real struggle to get fit and then sustain it long enough to train. I had resigned myself to the fact that there was no way to get “Marathon fit” in the time left, so I decided not to even try. My physiotherapist’s favourite expression is “Less is more” and so I trained “sensibly”, not trying to ramp up my mileage too soon and building in plenty of rest time in the week. If you are a runner you will know the sort of thing I’m talking about.
A few days ago I had convinced myself that there was just two weeks to go before the Marathon. I figured that since it wasn’t going to be a personal record performance anyway, that I would break all the rules and do a last long run to try and eek-out a few last drops of stamina from my training.
Well as I have explained previously, time is a relative thing but in this case I had simply got it wrong and the main event is not 2 weeks away but 3. “So what?” you may ask but here’s the ting: doing a last long run 3 weeks away from a Marathon isn’t that stupid (in the way that doing it 2 weeks away IS) because that time does give your body a chance to recover and “bank” that last training run. So it suddenly dawned on me that actually, I wasn’t really in a bad place at all with regards this Marathon after all. By letting go on the unrealistic and given up on what I thought was a good plan, I had sleepwalked into executing what is probably a very sensible Marathon training plan.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to achieve a PB on this occasion. My goal is to get round in under 10 minute miles and if I achieve that I’ll be over the moon. The lesson I shall take away is that this “less is more” philosophy really works and that I’m not stupid for paying for a good physio.
“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”
2 Peter 3:8 NIVUK
Back in 2008 one of Helen’s work colleagues told her about a “Time Trial” which was a timed 5K run at Woodhouse Moor Park in Leeds each Saturday morning. It was free to take part but you had to register in advance on a website. The website was called “parkrun.org.uk”.
Back then there were no barcodes, finish tokens were little metal disks and your position was entered there and then by the volunteers into a laptop. I remember that instead of the stopwatches we have today, timing was done on what looked like a large desktop calculator. In the important ways however parkrun was the same then as it is now; you still were able to run, walk jog as you fancied, you still got your results by email, it was free and you got milestone t-shirts at 50 and 100 parkruns.
Back then, parkrun meant going to Leeds Woodhouse Moor and that was where I ran my first 100 or so times. Since then my parkrun journey has taken me to Pontefract and then to Temple Newsam. I was really excited when Temple Newsam parkrun opened because it’s a beautiful place and is really local for me. I felt really welcome at Temple Newsam and it became my home parkrun. I always remember a time when I couldn’t complete the run due to not feeling well and the kindness shown to me by Ronnie Bray and the team. There, I was able to learn so many new volunteering skills and I have met lots of wonderful new friends and so when I was asked to join the Rothwell parkrun core team I was torn because I felt Temple Newsam was my home. However, for parkrun to grow, some experienced volunteers need to get involved in and shape new events and it has been wonderful to see so many people new to parkrun come to Rothwell over the last few weeks. It would have been unbelievable back in 2008 that there would be so many local parkruns to choose from!
In the early days, milestone t-shirts were delivered to parkrun event directors and given out at the run briefing once a month and at this point the milestones were publicly recognised. It’s a shame that isn’t done today but with the sheer number of milestones being achieved it’s not practical. Today at Temple Newsam, they have these brilliant “I’m running my 50/100/250th” bibs and I proudly wore one of those today at my 250th parkrun. I have some lovely friends who came especially to Temple Newsam to celebrate this milestone and people who saw my bib shouted encouragement as I went round. This reminded me of how fortunate I am to be part of the parkrun community.
How long it will take for my 250 t-shirt to come I don’t know, but I don’t care because it feels great to be part of the exclusive “250 Club” and even better, to be part of the wonderful parkrun community.
I read yesterday about Ramona Thevenet, the first woman in the world to enter the even more exclusive “500 club”. When I reached 100, the 250 looked a very distant goal and I feel now, the same way about 500. But the great thing about the parkrun milestones is that all you have to do to achieve them is to keep going, and keep going I shall for as long as I’m able. Bring on the 500!
But the noble make noble plans,
and by noble deeds they stand.
Isaiah 32:8 (NIV)