I know that for some people a sub-30 5k is super slow, and for others it’s fast. That’s the beauty of running – it’s all about bettering yourself, wherever you are on the continuum.
The last time I ran a sub-30 5k was 2004 (ouch!!). I am a lot older, and I’ve had three children since then. I was working towards it last year, but my sleep was so broken with a young baby that the running I was doing seemed to be damaging my joints more than making me fitter (I have osteoarthritis). I got down to 32:12 at parkrun, but had to stop as the pain in my right toe got so bad I had started to limp.
This year, things have been better. Sleep is not fully restored, but it’s at least approching the normal (broken) sleep of motherhood rather than torturous nights resembling Navy SEAL hell week.
On 18th April I did my first gentle run after a winter of horrendous joint pain. In the spring I’d changed my diet, added some supplements and cut down the sugar to reduce the pain and inflammation and it worked enough to get me out of the door again.
I’ve now been running for 7.5 weeks and I’ve built up a nice base level of fitness that means I can run (very slowly) for an hour.
This last week I’ve stepped up my training to include some hill repeats and 5k reps. I’ve loved it and I’m feeling much stronger, but when it came to parkrun today I could really feel the extra work I’ve done in my legs. Oh, and I’ve also had three dreadful nights sleep on the trot.
So, today’s parkrun time was 34:18, which is slower than I think I can run at this point, but it’s a good starting time to work up from.
After 7 long weeks I have also, finally, started to drop a little bit of weight. I was 5.5kg over my pre-baby weight to start, and I’m now 4.8kg over. It’s the first time the scales have shifted, although to be honest it’s not something I’ve been focusing on. Still, it’s good to see a move in the right direction.
When will I see a sub-30 5k again, I wonder? I am hoping before the end of the summer – I am down for a 5k race at the end of August, among others, and barring illness or injury I’m hopeful I’ll be able to do it by then.