I’ve been cracking on with decorating the living room this week so chances to get out with my camera have been few and far between. It’s nearly done now, thankfully.
This shot was taken last Sunday on a dull, grey day at Eaton Park in Norwich. Years ago my running buddy spotted a heron at the pond but we have never seen once since and it’s become a long standing joke. I even mentioned it this time but as we jogged by I noticed a head below the wall and emergency stopped mid-run to grab a photo on my phone. I snapped it quickly just in case it flew away but also because I didn’t want to interrupt our run for too long. I like the fact it’s standing next to the “no fishing” sign.
To see what other people have submitted for Darren’s My Sunday Photo please click on the camera below.
Many thousands of people take part in, and love, Parkrun each week – sadly, I wasn’t one of them.
I was hoping to write a post about what an inspiring experience I’d had but, actually, it was the opposite. I figured if I was willing to publish a positive story I should also be honest and post a negative one too.
So, here it is.
I will say that this was one event, I was hormonal (tmi?) and it was hot so maybe at a different run, on a different weekend I would have loved it. Who can say?
My running buddy and I started our C25K journey last October and have been consistently running that length (and further) since January. We had been thinking about signing up for Parkrun for months and when we finally took the plunge we were very excited.
It didn’t start well.
We thought we had left plenty of time to get to to the park but the run started in a completely different place to where we expected (we had checked the website for the route but obviously misunderstood), which meant we had to jog to get there. Undeterred, we considered it a good warm up.
We were there about a minute before everyone set off and just joined the back, clutching our codes, hoping we didn’t need to check in or let anyone know we were new.
And we’re off.
It was nice, initially, running as part of a group. There were even people cheering us on (including Mark and Freya) at different points and I know we were running a bit faster than usual as a result, which was great.
There were runners of all different ages and abilities, even people jogging with buggies, and it felt like we were in it together, exactly as I had imagined.
Then came a noise.
It was like the thunder of a thousand hooves, sort of.
Suddenly we were being shouted at to move and “get out of the way” as the front-runners, clearly racing, lapped us for the first time.
It felt intimidating to me as they brushed past us (one of the other slower runners said that we were supposed to keep left but someone else shouted at us to move right). Also, and this is probably more about me and my competitive instinct, it was really demotivating to be lapped so quickly. If I had realised that people were going for Mo Farah times (the winner finished in something like 17 minutes) I would never have entered but it’s called park RUN, not park RACE and I thought it would be like-minded fun runners ambling around together.
Obviously I know someone has to be first but I expected it to be less competitive, which probably sounds ridiculous. I figured RUNNER runners would go to a club or compete in actual races.
And I’m afraid, at roughly 3k, I stopped.
My running buddy carried on and finished (very proud of her) but I knew I was done. I waited with Mark and Freya, cheering her home.
It wasn’t the distance (we’ve even run that route several times since and I’ve been fine) or the pace (my running buddy finished a couple of minutes above our PB), I just really disliked the atmosphere. I’ve been told that other Parkruns are friendlier but I just don’t think I’m cut out for group running.
For now, my running buddy and I will carry on happily plodding around the park at dawn. You can’t really fault the view.
Are you a fan of Parkrun? Have you had a better experience?
If I thought going running in my saggy jogging bottoms was daunting, wearing my swimming costume in public was a whole new level of anxiety – especially without my little human shield to wield in front of my mumtum.
As part of efforts to mend my leg, I need to hit the pool (sans-child) to help build up strength and stamina in a gentle fashion… so that I can then repeatedly slam it against concrete (hopefully) without fear of breaking myself again.
When the physio suggested it I was so desperate to be back running that I immediately agreed it was a brilliant idea – until I remembered I would essentially be in my underwear.
Outside my house.
In front of other people.
Even though my running gear is tight, at least I can wear a t-shirt (or as we have run over the winter months, a thin coat) over my bumpy bits, with swimming there is NO WHERE to hide.
I know it’s silly. I’ve read all the “be proud of your body” articles (usually written by women with flat tummies and no cellulite). In fact, as it’s normally about this time of year that all the “feel sexy in your swimsuit” or “how to get bikini ready is 10 easy steps” type stories start to come out, I thought I’d look a few up and maybe give my confidence a bit of a boost.
Yeah, that didn’t happen (unless I wanted to not eat for the next six months which seemed the only way I might be considered “bikini ready”).
Maybe they aren’t written with 39-year-olds in mind but I just found some of the suggestions really funny (and some of it, bearing in mind that Freya will probably be reading them in a few years, really disturbing).
Here is one statistic that I gave some serious thought though.
“If Justin Timberlake invited them to a beach party, 36% of women would turn him down flat because they don’t feel in good enough shape.”
Really? If Justin invited me to a party? I’d go…as long as he had invited Keanu who, I assume, he is friends with because why wouldn’t he be? Surely, if he invited me, my good friend Justin is interested in me, not how I look in a swimsuit or otherwise? And if he isn’t (and I was getting a bit cross with him here) then I don’t want to be friends with him. Who is he to judge me?
And then I remembered that Justin and I were not really friends and that he hadn’t invited me to a party but I was fired up by that point and decided that no one had the right to make me feel like crap in my swimming costume – even me.
So I waltzed out of the changing rooms yesterday, towel held aloft to try and stop it getting wet in the inescapable power showers, which is how I imagine nuclear decontamination is done, to get into the pool and guess what happened?
No one even glanced my way.
Or at least I presume they didn’t because I had to take my glasses off to swim and couldn’t really see anyone else. In fact, I’m thinking that might be the way to get through life (as long as I don’t need to drive anywhere). Just kidding! Honest.
I had my glasses on until just before I entered the water so I had a good look around and you know what people of all different shapes and sizes were doing?
It was actually a bit annoying because I was ready for them but they weren’t there; just a lot of people in the same boat/pool.
No matter who you are, we all have our own insecurities. I think the way to feel confident in your costume is not to care what people think because the majority of people aren’t thinking about you at all (maybe they are too busy worrying about what they look like?) It’s exactly the same as when I was worrying about going out in my jogging bottoms all those months ago (only with less clothes). I’ve never had anything but positive comments when I’ve been out running.
Even if a minority are bothered by what you (I) look like, you (I) shouldn’t worry about what they think. Who are they after all?
And maybe, if he’s going to be mean, I won’t invite Justin to my party next time*.
What do you think? Is not bothering about what other people think easier said than done? Especially when you’re one layer away from naked?