Parkrun taught me *this* about going into 2017

I knew how much I hated running cross country so the thought of waking up on a Saturday morning to run parkrun did not appeal to me at all. When all my running friends were clocking up parkrun milestones, I kept a low profile.

But it was the incessant nagging from another Running Junkie, Francis, which I simply could not ignore any longer and decided I’d run my first parkrun, but also to celebrate her 50th one.

And did I enjoy myself? Will I be back? In thinking of answers to these questions some things stood out for me from my parkrun experience.

Some positives and negatives which I’m calling “parkrun lessons to take into 2017“…

1. Don’t knock it ’till you try it: It wasn’t fair of me to have made up my mind about parkrun without ever having run one. Often what stops us from doing something is a preconceived idea which prevents us from giving things a chance. I’m going to take more chances in 2017 and be braver.

2. There’s always admin: If I must be honest, the whole barcode story of parkrun irritates me. With everything online nowadays, I wish parkrun had an app that would sync automatically with the likes of Strava, Garmin, Nike+ etc. to record your runs. But I guess in life, not everything is that easy. There are and will always be bloody admin; the stuff we all hate to do. Just do it!

3. Allow people to carry you when the going gets tough: A man ran to the finish line carrying his dog on his shoulders. Classic move! In chatting to him afterwards, he said the little guy got to 1km and was tired and couldn’t go on anymore. I don’t ask for help as often as I should. I carry around my stress and anxiety and don’t allow myself to acknowledge that some days, I need help. I know that I am surrounded by the most amazing family & friends who will gladly, and without hesitation, lift me up on their shoulders and carry me. Figuratively, of course! Don’t panic loved ones!

4. Push through the uphill struggles because the downhills come. Eventually: Delta Park parkrun starts with a crazy uphill but as you reach 3kms, it’s all downhill to the end. I kept hearing Coach Dave tell me this as we ran. I didn’t believe him, but when that downhill arrived, man it was glorious and I picked up my pace. When the going gets tough, be patient, the downhills will come Bron.

5. Make time to celebrate: To celebrate her 50th parkrun, Francis arrived with bottles of bubbly and cake. Dressed in her well-deserved red 50th parkrun t-shirt, it reminded me that we don’t take time to celebrate our successes anymore in life. We don’t stop to acknowledge what we’ve accomplished and we don’t reward ourselves for the hard work we put in. We need to do more of that! And we need to celebrate with our family & friends more often!

Here’s to an amazing 2017 year ahead, and yes, more parkruns!

Surviving my first bike ride

Nervous did not begin to describe how I felt when we woke up on Sunday morning. This was the day that we decided to go for a “gentle” ride on our bikes. Kitted out in helmets, padded cycling shorts and warm clothes, off we went.

The plan was to cycle from Douglasdale, collect our besties on the way in Bryanston, head through Randburg into Delta Park, shoot through to Parkhurst for a quick breakfast and head back home. I secretly wondered if that wasn’t too enthusiastic, especially since I had not ridden my bike for 10 years after I threw it on the pavement and walked home.

Cycling is different to running. Running is harder. Running relies solely on the fitness of your legs to get you both up those hills and down. Whereas in cycling, even though you have to peddle like mad to push up those nasty hills, you do get to free-wheel on the down hills and relax a bit while the bike does most of the work.

Some observations from my ride:

1. Delta Park is absolutely beautiful! Wow Jozi! The dry winter grass; the sound of the flowing water; the people walking their dogs; runners, cyclists and even horses! What a gem.

2. 36kms sounds far, but I survived. I did have to stop once or twice to catch my breath, but I did not at any stage get off my bike and walk. I call this progress.

3. Cyclists are unfriendly. Compared to runners who always greet one another, cyclists hardly acknowledge one another. Odd. I know my butt was getting sore so I just wonder if this is perhaps the reason they are all so moody?

There is one (hard) lesson I’m learning about myself. I allow my nerves to ruin the joy of the ride. I kept worrying that I would be too slow and hold everyone up. Or that my bike would break. Or that I would be too unfit to get home. Or worst of all, a puncture!

But as I was riding, I remember KK’s words to me when I started running: “There is no way you can ever come last, so just enjoy the run”. It’s the same with cycling, I guess. Stop stressing and just enjoy the ride Bron! I need to work on that…

I am seriously looking forward to the next outing. But for now, I need to rest my butt!