OMG! What an amazing but completely exhausting day yesterday was. It started at about 2am when M decided it was time for a party. I tried to encourage her to ‘lie down and cuddle mummy’. Somehow that was interpreted as ‘why not use Mummy’s bed as a trampoline?’ We ended up going downstairs until about 4:30am. I was so grateful when she went back to sleep, but was not happy when the alarm went off just after 6am!
Travelling to Tilgate parkrun
I rushed around sorting out my porridge, getting dressed and repacking everything into a larger rucksack and had just got it all sorted when Malcolm, Jill and Gil arrived to pick me up. We were heading off to Tilgate parkrun for a parkrun Ambassadors meet up.
I felt slightly guilty as I was abandoning Stu with M to Run Direct at Southampton. Last week Southampton had a record-breaking attendance of over 1000 runners. As Eastleigh was cancelled, I was worried that Stu would have to deal with huge numbers on his own. (Fortunately, the rain meant ‘only’ 960 runners were at Southampton).
It was a nice drive to Tilgate. I have to admit that the route to the park was through a number of housing estates, so I mistakenly thought we would be in a small, modern park with a bit of play equipment and no distinguishing features, but I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Rush to the start
We parked in a large car park and saw someone wearing running kit. Malcolm checked that we were going in the right direction for the start. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a lot of time, so we didn’t have much of a warm-up. There was no time for a ‘comfort break’, which I really needed. I also realised that with a chaotic day yesterday and this morning’s early start, I have failed to use my preventer inhaler for two days in a row. I’m usually very good with it. Also, I had left my reliever inhaler in my bag in the boot of the car.
We climbed some steps out of the car park and I was surprised to see a wide path running around a large lake and woodland on the other three sides.
At the start, we met some fellow parkrun ambassadors, including Dave.
An interesting start
Tilgate has around 500 runners, so they have now implemented a split start. Runners who expect to finish within 21-27 minutes go to one side and everyone else goes to the other. The mid group of runners ‘takes the high road’ and the rest of us took the path on the level of the lake. After a short distance of about 200 metres, the paths converged, but it made it a safer start for everyone.
It’s a picturesque route that goes around the lake, then does a loop of the park before doing another loop of the lake.
I was disheartened to realise that I was behind the 30-minute pacer at about 800m/1k, but then I realised that our average pace was 5:30/km, so he was either going too quickly or was pacing according to the terrain as just after 1km there was a relatively steep hill.
A challenging run
I’m not running well at the moment. With my lack of sleep and asthma, I found the run really tough. I saw the 28-minute pacer and assumed that I would be able to leave him behind, but it was not to be.
I battled on and tried to appreciate the beautiful scenery, before hauling myself over the line in 27:40. I’m definitely going to have to get on top of my diet, my asthma, my sleep and my training if I’m to achieve a Half Marathon PB this year.
After the run, we headed over to the golf centre where there was a café. There weren’t many people there, so we worried that we had gone to the wrong location. Before too long we were joined by a throng of parkrun ambassadors (is that the right collective noun?)
I had enough time to chat with a few people and to meet Kerri, the amazing SE parkrun ambassador coordinator. Unfortunately, I had to miss the main part of the session, which was a shame.
Jill kindly dropped me off at Crawley Station to embark on the second part of the day’s adventure…