Park(run) and Ride

Posted: 18/02/2012 in Uncategorized

I figured it was about time I gave my local Parkrun a go today – not tried them so far, but as I have no experience of running with other people, I thought it would be a good way to see how much it compares to my solo efforts.

As luck would have it, it was raining, which was nice. I arrived about 25 minutes early, which seems not to be the done thing – there were a few die-hards and a couple of other newbies standing in the drizzle. Some folk clustered around the boot of a car seemed to be in control, but there didn’t seem to be much to do, so I wandered off for a quick jog about in the theory that it would count as “warm up”.

With about five minutes to go, a vast number of people (to my eyes) turned up and proceeded to stretch and jog and generally prepare. A lot of people said “hi”, the mood seemed pretty friendly, and even though I was getting a little chilly, my spirits were high.

It’s amazing how owning a megaphone inspires obedience in others – the man with said device strode forth and announced the race would be starting soon, so we all dutifully followed him a bit further up the path. Much milling about ensued, followed with a “one minute to go” announcement, then “thirty seconds” – crikey, this is happening, my first actual race.  Tighten strap on hat (so rain doesn’t obscure sight through specs), check it hasn’t made eyes bulge all the way out with the pressure (check), take off glove and get ready to hit “Start” on Runmeter on my iPhone.

“Go!”, and with that we were off. Now I kind of know what 5km is, it’s up to Seaton Sluice, down to the coast and back along the dunes a little. Unfortunately there are no dunes in the park, but there are helpful banners that say “1km”, and so forth. I deliberately started from pretty much the back, figuring that I might make a complete show of myself and collapse in a heap. However, wonder of wonders, I found myself overtaking a person or two, then a couple more. Nice, and while I tried not to whoop as I did it, the voice in my head was opening the champagne and dusting off the caviar – good times here we come!

First click out the way, and onto the path along the road – being a gent, I let two women I was running alongside through before me, but being competitive I then sped up to overtake the afterwards. Think that’s the etiquette? I realised that I was overtaking people who looked quite fit, which was a bit of a shock, but a welcome one.

Back into the park again, and the two click mark, and lo and behold the path gave way to a bit of trail – nice! If you’ve read much of my blog, you know that I like a nice uneven surface and a spot of mud all the more. So I opened up a bit and stretched my legs, and ate up a few more place on the way. I was feeling pretty good by the time I reached the three click mark and turned back up the course. Reached somewhere around the three and a half mark, and realised there was still a wee way to go – I was a bit out of breath and legs were feeling a bit wooden. One person overtook me, then another – some kind of sneaky pacing I suggest, it’s just not British.

I kept going – I want that noted, I didn’t stop at all – passed the four click mark and realised I only had one more to go – not bad, and once I saw the finish, that was it, I “went for it”. In this case that meant not curling up in a foetal ball at the side of the path, but it sounds much more impressive saying that I “went for it”, you have to agree?

On to the finish, and I think I came in at 198, something like that – less than 200 but only by a whisker. Having looked at previous runs and estimated my time, I figured I’d do well to come in around the 300 mark, so that was pretty groovy – but could it be the poor weather scaring of large contingent of the usual runners?

I stopped Runmeter and checked – 27:59. Don’t know what my official time will be, but as I’d figured under a half hour would be good going I had to hold in a quick victory dance. Average pace, 5:34/km – now I’ve never come close to that before.

In short, I ran a bit faster than normal, I enjoyed it quite a lot, and I’m intrigued to see if I ever beat my Parkrun PB – feels unlikely, but then if you’d asked me my chances of getting sub 28 minutes before I tried it, I wouldn’t have put any money on it.

Think I like these – reckon I’ll go back again. 🙂

  1. Evie says:

    Brilliant! :oD

  2. Helen Liz says:

    Well done! PBs are set to be broken, you know. A race environment will tend to make you go faster than the same distance in training. It’s the sneaky thing called pacing that will make a big difference once you get it right – that and lots of training

  3. That is a bloody brilliant 5k time!! I need to start getting to Parkrun sessions…hope I have as good an experience as you!

  4. Official results are in – 192nd at 27:38 – even better than my befuddled mind (and iPhone) had figured. Made the mistake of trying to go for a run last night, which was not a good idea, had to give it up after a mile with a threatening knee. Think I need to do the Parkrun, then maybe do it again to get to my target running time for the weekend – worried that’ll make me look like a pretentious get, but you know, sometimes you just have to.

    Ooh, thinking about the Kielder Marathon – had seen ads for it that sounded great, and know another person who’s thinking about doing it – bit of a ramp up from my 10k target, but I guess I have to do it sometime, or I’ll never be an ultrarunner. 🙂

    I think I’m still struggling with the idea of being an “athelete” instead of a “couch potato” – one of my friends at work suggested we should go on a lunch-time run – which was really nice, and what I should have said was what a grand idea it was – unfortunately my panic-brain responded with a stupid comment instead of saying “super”. What a buffoon. :-/

    Macmillan Madness – I would give Parkrun a thumbs up – there’s a real mix of people and all kinds of abilities, think the quickest was 16 and a bit (good grief) and the last was around the 40 minute mark. Everyone seemed either friendly and supportive or lost in their athletic musings.

  5. Heather says:

    You did good, well done. Ahh i remember my first park run….it was -3 degrees C outside. I didn’t find that out until later, had I known I’d have stayed in bed like a sensible person at 9am on a Saturday morning.


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