Saturday, January 5, 2013

Park Run UK

I got to experience my first Park Run in Cardiff, Wales. All over the UK, every Saturday, there are park runs. They are free. You register online, get a bar code to print out, and go to your local park to run a 5k. At the end your bar code is scanned, and you get an official time. You are ranked online. It is brilliant! All ages, any weather condition - people show up and run.

My first park run dawned very windy, and rainy (do you see the trend here?!) If I had been home in California I can guarantee you maybe only a handful of people would have showed up - even if they had paid for the race. This race was free. I asked if many people would show up, I mean, the weather was just awful. "Oh yes, tons of people will come!" I was told. And they were right.

Having run only about 5x in the past six weeks, I figured Elliot might kill me if I raced two 5k's two days apart. So I decided to hold my effort at 80%. This in itself is a huge thing to ask of a competitive person, but I figured it was a good challenge. Two girls passed me in the first 100m, and I let them go. It wasn't even hard to do this - I was actually enjoying my 80% effort. I could look around at the scenery. I could breathe. My legs were not screaming at me.

In the final 800m I was passed by seven men, all who encouraged me to give a final kick. I smiled and let them go. 80% effort. It's actually a fun way to enjoy a 5k. Try it sometime.