A long slow run


La Serpiente came into our bedroom at twenty past six, wanting to hug and lie on me. Instead, I bundled her into the running stroller along with some fruit, some cookies, a litre of water, a hardback book, two soft toys, a change of clothes for me and her booster seat, and headed off to the Parkrun. Which is about 10 km from our flat.

I’d calculated that I should have just enough time to get there before the run started. I hadn’t calculated how hard that would be: frequent stops to get advice from La Serpiente about what colour the buildings were, or to swap soft snimals, or to give her food. I stopped on the Marina Barrage to feed her, and after a minute stationary, I was soaked in sweat and never really recovered. The East Coast Park seemed much, much further than I remembered.

Still, I made it about five minutes before the run started (about five minutes after the official start time) and then discovered quite how horrid it was to try to run after that warmup. Others have managed it, but not me. Like the saying that there are bold motorcycle racers, and old motorcycle racers, but no old, bold motorcycle racers, there are people who run to the Parkrun, and there are people who run with children in strollers at the Parkrun, but there’s a good reason people with children in strollers don’t run to the Parkrun.

I went out slowly (usually I’ll do the first k in 4 minutes, it took 5:30 today) and then got slower. La Serpiente tried to help by asking me why I wasn’t going faster, and when it looked like I might be slower than 30 minutes for the first time, I took off my shirt and fairly sprinted to the line, but it was brutal. I walked very slowly to Starbucks, had a coffee and then we got a taxi home. At least it was a lot of exercise. Now if I can do it and run the final 5k at a decent pace, I’ll know I’m doing things right…


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