I was first across the line at Leamington parkrun on Saturday.
Well, technically I was second behind a dog called Rivelin but she didn’t have a barcode and no barcode, no result.
I’d been asking Susie Tawney for a while if I could borrow her German Shorthaired Pointer for a canicross-style jaunt around Newbold but it still came as a surprise when she harnessed me up having decided she wasn’t well enough to run herself.
But that was nothing compared to the actual shock of setting off tethered to a Great Britain athlete (Rivelin, not Susie).
I’m not sure if I actually screamed, but my legs were turning over at a frankly unsustainable rate, while my arms were flailing good and proper. Enter ‘Phoebe’, ‘Friends’ and ‘running’ into YouTube and you’ll get the picture.
It was such a crazy start that I committed the ultimate sin: I forgot to start my Garmin.
Susie said after the frenetic opening, Rivelin would settle into a more sustainable pace.
For her, maybe. I just felt like I was on a runaway rollercoaster.
I had no choice but to hang on for the ride.
And poor dog, I was really hanging on at the hill, or rather leaning back. But, for the first time ever, I got to the top and didn’t want to walk.
From then on in I just didn’t want to let Rivelin down, or rather slow her down. She was clearly loving the run and in competitive mode despite having to drag me behind her.
We had Elaine Sherwin and her dog Daphne to chase and I sensed that this might be my one and only time to get a parkrun win (it was Elaine’s 100th but this was no time for sentiment).
We went ahead. We were passed. We went ahead again and this time held the position until the finish.
I had knocked nearly three minutes off my parkrun PB.
I felt a bit of a fraud taking the congratulations, however.
Is this what Lance Armstrong felt like I wondered?
Would I now have to take increasingly elaborate steps to disguise my dog use?
And why have muscles I never knew I had suddenly starting aching?
I haven’t run since.