York parkrun

(This entry has been sitting on my computer half finished since the world cup started – sorry!)

Most people seem to get The Corona when they’re at their fittest. I, however, was already in the depths of injury-related unfitness at the point when I succumbed, which made me wonder if I would actually sink to an inverse level of fitness, where those who voluntarily spend their days lying on sofas chewing lard sandwiches run rings around me and I run so slowly that I actually move backwards. At the point when I set off for York, I hadn’t eaten a proper meal for two weeks, yet somehow managed to put on weight, everything tasted of cigarettes and things like “standing up” required a huge effort that sometimes made me see stars. Dr Google said that one should not run for two weeks after getting coronaed but of course I decided that didn’t apply to me and set off for the running track. “See, I can run just fine! Oh, wait, I’ve done 2k and now I think I’m going to have to lie on the floor.”

Anyway, there was no time to worry about The Corona and its charming effects because there were parkrun challenges to complete and for that I needed to go to York. So Camilla and I embarked on a stressful journey to the York Travelodge (floods in Edinburgh) and then traipsed through driving drizzle to the outskirts of York to the racecourse (which, despite being about a mile from my home during university, I was never aware of until I started parkrun. York has three parkruns but the racecourse one is the most popular with tourists because it is the only one which starts with an actual Y.

York should really be a fast course because it is flat and tarmac but it seems to have a particular propensity for gathering water. Perhaps this is a deliberate attempt to make the parkrunners feel like racehorses by replicating the steeplechase effect with proper water jumps. I suppose I should be grateful there weren’t any hurdles, because I certainly wouldn’t have got over them.

For the first few hundred metres I was preoccupied with the futile pursuit of keeping my feet dry. I made an error of judgement in trying to go round the first puddle on the grass but the grass was equally wet and also slippery. From then onwards, I just splashed my way through the puddles, which felt deeper and colder than any open water swimming venue I’d experienced – I suppose this is why you don’t do open water swimming in trainers and socks.

After 3km of reasonably decent running (legwise, anyway) I felt completely exhausted and had to slow to a gentle run/walk, where to add insult to injury (and illness) I was overtaken by two walkers with poles – at least they had the sensitivity not to be wearing those bloody “parkwalker” vests I suppose! Finish time was 41:04, which I suppose at least means a reasonable chance of a course best should I ever return. Most importantly it meant my parkrun alphabet is complete and from now on I can choose my venues on old fashioned criteria such as “the location” and “the course” and not “what letter they start with”.

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