The Scribbler

9 October 2010

Parkrun – take 3

Filed under: Parkrun,run — The Scribbler @ 22:19
Tags: , ,

Another Saturday and another Parkrun. So what keeps me coming back to these events? Well they’re friendly, inclusive, fun and free. And at the moment, without a definite training plan, they give me a fixed point in my week for a run.

Grey and drizzly this morning, but not too cold – just my kind of running weather, so I was up and out of the house in super quick time. My legs were feeling the effects of a tough Friday morning PT session, but I hoped to put on a good run, and possibly turn it into a long one.

I met my Fetch friend Lesley and her boy, Kieron, barcoded up and ready for his first Parkrun. And then as I headed to the start, I spotted Dave, who introduced me to Kate. That’s one of the nice things about Fetch Everyone – it’s like a virtual running club, and races are a good chance to catch up with your club mates.

A quick warm up and stretch and we’re off away over the moor. I tried to keep it steady at the start after running some quick first kilometres in the last couple of races. Stretching out my stride to level with and pass another female runner as the field started to spread out and Dave goes past with a spot of cheery encouragement. And then, as in so many runs I found I was running a lot of this one in my own space.

I pass another couple of runners out the back along Grandstand Road. I really like this stretch, probably because I’ve got into a nice pace and rhythm by this point. Back in through the gate and a quick shout from Rob who is on marshall duty and holding it open. I’m so focused on my run, it takes me a second to recognise him.

There’s a very slim girl in a blue and white top and another man running well ahead and I think they’re too far away to chase down, but gradually, gradually I gain on them and go past. And now I’m approaching the point of the course I’ve found hard. The stony ground between the 3 and 4k markers always seems to unsettle me and mentally I can allow myself to drift off the pace. But today I’ve gone a bit more slowly at the start, so I want to try and keep it steady here.

Ahead I spot Dave, and am surprised to see he’s walking. As I draw up behind him I ask if he’s okay and he says his calf has stiffened up. Poor guy, but he still waves me on with a smile.

It’s hurting a bit now and my running feels a bit patchy, like my breathing. I’m really running on my own now and determined just to push on. The man I passed earlier catches me and goes ahead and I fight to keep my head and not let it defeat me.

As I go through the last gate, I know there’s just 1km to go and back on the smoother tarmac, I try to pick up the pace a little, watching the stream of runners ahead through the mist.

There’s a line of lampposts, then a turn down the home straight. You can see it coming and it never seems to get any closer. Last time I ran this, I spotted a girl just ahead and tried to sprint her down the finish. But I kicked in too early and had to reel it back. I know now, from looking at the results that she was running conservatively any way, as she’s way faster than me.

This time two tall guys go past me as we turn into the home straight, but there’s a girl in a red top that I target. I pick my spot and start to increase the speed. My legs protest. This hurts, but I try to keep the pedal down. And then again. Find another gear and push on. She’s close now an I’ve closed down a lot of ground. Will she take me on in a sprint to the line?

I drive on past and don’t look back, arms pumping, legs turning over really quickly now, panting for breath, but determined to keep going for the line. There’s no one to pass and I know my pace is unlikely to get me a PB, but I want to see how close I can get.

Over the line in 25.36 and it takes me a good minute or two to catch my breath. Not as good as last week, but not far off my first week’s time I think. The smiley lady who has been at the finish of all my parkruns so far, and I now know is called Tuve asks how I got on, and I barely have breath to say ‘No, PB’. But I’m not disappointed. I had a good run and kept it together through that tricky 4th kilometre.

Once I’ve recorded my time and position, I head back to the finish to see Dave walk across the line. Probably the only time I’ll ever pass him in a race. Despite the fact that he’s scheduled to run again tomorrow and do the Kielder marathon next weekend, he’s surprisingly relaxed about this setback, but I know he’s a bit disappointed. Get well soon Dave.

I’m off to Dublin tomorrow and delivering a writing workshop on Monday, so it’s a busy weekend for me. And that meant I was unlikely to find another chance for a longer distance run. So, after the 5k race, I restarted my watch and set off around the course again at a more leisurely pace to make it a 10k.

As I headed out across the moor, I spotted Lesley and Kieron heading for the finish with a run and cheered them on. And then it was just me and my thoughts in the drizzle on the moor for the next 30 minutes or so. And even though it was a much slower pace, I still don’t think my legs have quite forgiven me.

Stats and stuff
Official Parkrun results 5k in 25:36
Finished in 95th place and were the 11th lady out of a field of 137 parkrunners and you came 2nd in your age category.
kilometre splits:
1. 05.13
2. 05.17
3. 05.12
4. 05.17
5. 04.36 [Parkrun finish]
6. 05.40 [restart watch]
7. 03.14 [0.85km – think my Garmin counted a lap when I stopped to open a gate]
8. 05.44
9. 05.41
10. 05.27
11. 03.06 [0.58 km – another glitch]

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