I’m still nursing exhausted and tight muscles, especially in my legs. I’m torn between needing to run and needing to rest. Most of my ‘training’ at the moment consists of being on my feet all day in work, traipsing up and down corridors or standing for lengthy periods of time. But that doesn’t seem to be helping me with my running. I’m really struggling with every run. I paced Castletown parkrun on Saturday morning, thinking I would be able to take it nice and handy as the 40 minute pacer, and I was whacked afterwards. On Sunday morning, I felt quite good and thought I might go for it in the St Patrick’s Festival 5k. It was a flat course and great weather conditions. However, in the warm-up I felt the tightness in my calves and gave up all notions of running fast. Even as I accepted that I would plod along, every step was a struggle and I really began to wonder why I was putting myself through this.
And this is why! On Saturday morning at Castletown I was the 40 minute pacer. It being St Patrick’s weekend, I thought it only proper to dress accordingly. I arrived at Castletown bedecked from head to toe in green, white and orange – I don’t do anything by halves (except marathons, I’ve only ever done half marathons). I was the only eejit who dressed up, I stuck out like a sore thumb. But what the heck. I don’t embarrass easily and I’m having fun.
At least those wanting to chase the 40 minutes would be able to see me easily. As the pacers were being introduced, a lady remarked to her daughter that “we got the mad one”, and throughout the run I had the opportunity to encourage them both to the finish line. I found out later that it was this little girl’s first ever 5k, and her mother’s first parkrun. As the pacer, I helped some other runners to keep going. One lady said that, by sticking with me, she had run much further without stopping than ever before and felt very proud. Another lady thanked me for the encouragement and support. Yet another welcomed the tips on how to make the gentle inclines a bit easier. And after parkrun, I en-joyed the craic and the banter over a cup of coffee with fellow parkrunners. I had fun.
On Sunday, I again dressed from head to toe in the colours of our national flag and got the train to Dublin for the St Patrick’s Day 5k. There were certainly some funny looks, and remarks that St Patrick’s Day was long past, and was I still partying? Not still partying, just having fun.
I met the lovey Catherina McKiernan on our way to Dawson Street. We chatted about all the races that were on the same day, so many races, so much choice. And Catherina mentioned parkrun and how it was great that so many people were out there running. This gave me the opportunity to tell her that I had done my 80th on Saturday morning. She was very impressed – I impressed Catherina McKiernan!! How’s that! So much fun.
Then I headed into the Mansion House to meet my fellow 5-Alivers and the Deputy Lord Mayor. There was such a buzz about the place. This was the fourth race in the Lord Mayor’s 5-race chal-lenge, and I was so delighted to be there. The Lord Mayor’s Challenge brings together people of all ages and abilities, who are out there to get and keep fit. It is so supportive of every single person. It’s like each of us is part of a team of 400, and we want to see every team member complete the race. I love running through the streets of Dublin. There were over 1,300 people doing it with me. I had fun.
Then it’s time to search through the race pictures to see if you can spot familiar faces, and is there any chance that I got a good running picture? And all the posts on Facebook, people encouraging and supporting each other – it’s fun.
And then I get to blog about it for Pop Up Races. That’s fun too.
To top it all, just now Lust for Life posted their video on FB, and there I am, saying my bit to the camera. It really brought a smile to my face – I’m having so much fun!
So I’ll try to find the balance between training and rest, so that I can keep getting out there, having fun. Thank you to everyone in Castletown parkrun, the Lord Mayor’s 5-Alive Challenge, Pop Up Races and Lust for Life. You all really helped me to have fun this weekend.
Teresa McCarthy, 50+ Fit4LIfer.