Trying to stay fit and healthy isn’t always easy, especially at this time of year when tradition dictates that we indulge ourselves in over eating, over drinking and sitting around on the couch more than usual watching television and playing family board games. So, before settling down to food, alcohol and the comfort of my couch this morning, I decided to indulge in my first ever Christmas morning run.
I knew that there was going to be a local Parkrun at 9:00, but I wasn’t sure if it would go ahead as we’ve been having some pretty stormy weather over the last week or so. Either way though, I was determined to run. Not least of all because I was getting my new Garmin watch for Christmas and I was dying to try it out.
Note: If you’re ever getting a Garmin for Christmas, make sure you get Santa to deliver it via Amazon so that you can charge it up on Christmas Eve!
Luckily, when I woke up this morning, my Garmin was fully charged, the wind had died down and the rain had stopped completely. So, after opening the rest of my presents, I headed out in search of a satellite signal and a couple of hundred festive runners to share the adventure with.
Everyone seemed to be in good spirits at the park and it was great to see so many runners and volunteers (thank you Parkrun volunteers!) dressed in Santa hats, tinsel and one was even wearing a reindeer suit!
I was glad that, for once, I left my iPod at home. Although my RunKeeper app is now redundant, I usually like to listen to music when I’m running, but that seemed a bit anti-social for a Christmas morning Parkrun.
Just before 9:00, the sun came out and a few minutes later we set off.
It has been over two months since I’ve run in the park, so I’d forgotten how easy it is to start off too quickly. Perhaps it’s because it takes a while for the crowd to thin out, but I thought I was going much slower than I actually was.
Of course, when I checked the Garmin, I realised that my pace was quicker than usual; but because it didn’t feel quicker running with a group, I put it down to the prior inaccuracy of my RunKeeper app.
Needless to say, by the end of the third kilometre, I was starting to feel it. True, I wasn’t used to running on the inclines, but that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that I’d set off too fast, with an average pace of around 6:19 for the first two kilometres, which was gradually slowing to a halt.
At this point, I actually thought about calling it a day, but as I started the final lap of the 2.5 lap circuit, my spirits were lifted by clapping, cheering and words of encouragement from the volunteers. I knew then that I didn’t want to quit. And I didn’t need to either.
So, I kept going, jogging at a much slower pace and even walking a few times to get my breath back. I’ve never walked before on a Parkrun, but I realised that there’s no shame in it. There were plenty of other people who took walking breaks and they were given as much praise and encouragement as anyone else. It isn’t about being the fastest, or being able to run the longest; it’s about doing your best to complete the course.
And I did.
Ok, so it was my slowest Parkrun to date, but I did it. I got out there and ran and walked and ran some more until I crossed the finish line with a huge grin on my face, enjoying the atmosphere and the knowledge that I’d succeeded in what I’d set out to do – I’d started a new Christmas Day tradition for myself.
Do you run on Christmas Day? Did your local Parkrun host a run this morning? Please share your thoughts in the comments and… Happy Christmas!