Finally achieved Groundhog Day!

Two groundhogs holding each other.

The last few weeks have been so hectic that I’ve not had any time for blogging… and not enough time for exercise either. I keep dreaming of the days when I could run well, but I don’t seem to be making any progress there, so I’m looking for victories in other places. One of them, Groundhog Day, was something that I thought would never happen. I need to plan to complete parkrun Challenges, but most of them involve travelling quite a long distance.

Southampton parkrun #413 on 30/10/21

The weather three weeks ago was miserable. It was tempting to stay in bed. However, Stu was getting close to his 300th parkrun and I’m approaching my 350th parkrun, so we didn’t intend to miss any if we could help it.

Approximately 15 people, most wearing pink parkrun high-vis jackets and holding umbrellas.
Volunteers gathered in the rain before the start of event #413.

I tried on all of my running jackets but knew that I wouldn’t have a lot of choice as I’ve put on too much weight to wear most of them. I settled on the heaviest jacket that I’ve got, which is usually too warm to run in. Fortunately, the rain stopped just before the run, so I was able to take it off and run without it.

I was pushing M in the running buggy. It’s harder than it used to be as M is bigger and heavier and I’m less fit, but at least the rain meant that there weren’t as many runners out.

How did I do?

For once, I was the female runner with the most runs at Southampton parkrun! I also did OK, considering the weather conditions and my passenger.

Tamsyn's results email from Southampton parkrun on 30/10/21 - she finished in 33:21.

Southampton parkrun #414 on 06/11/21

Last week, Stu, M and I were up bright and early as Stu was Run Directing and M and I were barcode scanning. I’ve you’ve never been involved in parkrun volunteering, you may not be aware of quite how much goes on in the background to organise each event. I’m a parkrun ambassador and am currently supporting two new events, which should both have started by the end of January, which is very exciting, but the work that has gone on has taken over a year for each.

Southampton parkrun usually has 70-80 volunteers, each of whom emails in (or posts a message on Facebook) offering their help. The volunteer coordinator (the RD at our event) then has to reply to all of those emails. Many of them require a second email requesting someone’s athlete ID number. There are also queries that come in relating to results, future events, and facilities. This means that being volunteer coordinator can take quite a lot of time.

The finish funnel at Southampton parkrun.

M was quite excited about being a barcode scanner. I was on manual entry, which is not as busy as it used to be. This meant that I could closely supervise M. She really enjoyed her first official stint as a volunteer and is keen to barcode scan again soon.

Tamsyn's thank you email for volunteering at Southampton parkrun on 6th November 2021.

Southampton parkrun #415 on 13/11/21

We arrived early for Stu’s 300th parkrun. It was quite a warm morning, so I didn’t mind taking off my sweater, which can be the hardest part of parkrun.

Runners gathering at the start of Southampton parkrun on Groundhog Day. Tamsyn and M can be seen in the centre of the photo.

It was Stu’s turn to push M, so I was hopeful that I might have a good run. I went out for a steady run with Kate on Thursday lunchtime, which I found quite hard. We did about 7km. I’m also taking part in a strength training research project at the University of Southampton, which should help me to improve my running.

We stopped on the main path and chatted with lots of friends. It wasn’t long before Rob was giving the briefing and we realised how close to the start we were. It was too late for us to move back, so we just went with it.

My first four km got progressively slower, but I managed to run the final km under 6 minutes/km. The run felt really tough. The first time going up the hill, my shins and ankles really hurt. Going downhill was better, but not great. The second time going up the hill involved even more walking, which made me feel quite despondent. Was I pushing it by running twice in 3 days? Had the strength training made me use and fatigue different muscles?

How did I do? Groundhog Day!

The best part of this run was heading towards the finish. Kim was cheering runners on as we reached the gravel path. I put in the best sprint that I could to cross the line.

Initially, I was disappointed with my time: 33:21. I really want to get back under 30 minutes, but am not training enough to make real progress.

Tamsyn's results email from 13/11/21 - she finished in 33:21.

Then I glanced at my results text again.

Tamsyn's results texts: 33;21, thanks for volunteering, 33:21. The matching consecutive times make it Groundhog Day.

My time exactly matched that of my last parkrun (in the rain with the buggy). Groundhog day… or was it? I had to quickly look it up on the 5k parkrunner app. Did it matter that my results were not in consecutive weeks? Fortunately, not. Parkrun challenges are what you make them; none of them is official. However, the unofficial rules for this one are ‘Finish with the same time at the same location on two consecutive parkruns’. I’ve been parkrunning since August 2010 and it’s the first time I’ve achieved Groundhog Day. I honestly didn’t think it would happen until M was old enough to run on her own. Suddenly, I felt a lot happier about my run as I’d achieved a challenge as well as being closer to my 350th run.

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