It was the work Christmas bash on Friday night. It’s a big event with around 1,000 people all dressed up, dancing in a huge marquee and enjoying a few festive drinks.
I had planned to wear my ‘party dress’ – the outfit I wore as a bridesmaid for my sister’s wedding, but a couple of weeks ago I was wandering around the village market and spotted a second hand clothes stall, with a long black sequinned dress on the front of the rack. It proved to be my size and a bargain, so I kitted myself out, feeling very sparkly and special.
It was a good night with a lively band and I left before my work mates were too sozzled. But while others will no doubt have been nursing sore heads on Saturday morning, I was on 30 min pacer duty at Newcastle parkrun, and I had a problem…
Did you know, sequins chafe? After a couple of hours on the dancefloor, my arms were covered in tiny scratches, from my armpits down to my elbows. I’ve never had such bad chafing from any run or triathlon events.
Triathlete’s favourite sudocrem to the rescue and off I trot to parkrun. It’s a lovely day on the moor and I slot into the starting crowd near a mum and her boy who are looking to run at about 30 minute pace. Ready, steady, Garmin and off we trot towards the first gate, using the large number of runners to keep the pace steady as my legs warm up and I ease into the run.
I pay much more attention to my Garmin when I’m pacing and see the first kilometre clock through at 5:55 – perfect, just sub 30 pace. Just keep that going.
A bit of chat as we run out over the moor and back in through the second gate, and the mum and son team are still with me until he has to stop to tie a shoe lace. My legs have warmed up by now, and I’ve picked up the pace a bit. I keep trying to rein it back and shout out encouragement and coaching tips to the runners around me. A couple of ladies in pink are looking in good form, but I’m no longer running with a group.
I push on round the back of the military museum and through the out and back, willing the runners on through this tricky section between 3-4k. Pace now is nearer 5:45/5:50 and a little too brisk. I’m not running my fastest at the moment and I had been worried that I’d find 30 min pace too fast, but it’s still nice and relaxed and I do need to slow down a bit.
The wind bites as we turn back onto the tarmaced paths and through the 4k gate. “Just 6 minutes running to go,” I shout as I see the girl in pink drop her head and start to slow. She picks up her feet and stays ahead.
I spend the last kilometre trying to rein in my pace, which feels a bit weird as normally I’m pushing to hold or increase it. On the last stretch I am about 40 seconds up and call out encouragement to those ahead who will smash 30 minutes and pause at the last turn to jog on the spot and urge the runner behind me on. I sprint in just ahead, yelling all the way and hope she’s just nicked it. My official finish time, 29:58 and a very enjoyable run.
But my arms are burning. The run has irritated the skin and I can’t wait to get home, showered and put something on to soothe the itch.
I look at the pattern on my skin and realise it wasn’t just sequins scratching, but judging by the welt over my left shoulder, I’ve had an allergic reaction to the metal strap of my bag. Give me a nice running T-shirt any day – I was obviously not designed for glamour.