The Scribbler

12 June 2011

An unexpected PB

Filed under: bike,Parkrun,run — The Scribbler @ 13:32

It’s Saturday. It’s parkrun. My Fetch top has been through the wash and is ready to bring a splash of colour to a great and overcast Town Moor. I’ve switched my Garmin back to kilometres and I’m good to go. And today there are pacers.

Catching up with my friends before the start. Comparing race notes from Thursday night, checking on injuries, niggles and general well being. There’s a wee buzz about some Blaydon runners turning up. A runner’s been spotted wearing an Ethiopian top.

I strike out for a little warm up run and feel quite bouncy as I go through my heel kicks and knee lifts then jog down to the start. As the runners gather, I hear a familiar voice and turn to see Dave, just out for a short one today.

Ken from work comes and says hello and introduces me to his wife. It’s his daughter Justina who won the women’s Blaydon Race. He always asks after my running when he sees me and in turn I’ve heard a lot about how she’s getting on and how proud her dad is of her success. But it’s a complete surprise when they come through the pack to say hello and shake hands and I’m introduced to Tadele Geremew from Ethiopia.

As T-shirts are awarded at the front, the pacers are announced and at 25 mins, it’s Mark who I need to keep sight of. He’s off to one side, and would be easy to lose in the jostle to the first corner, but I find my way through and fall easily into a nice stride.

The wind is kind to us today as we surge out across the moor. And whether it’s falling into step with the pacer or just a smoother sense of pacing, but the first kilometre feels relaxed and unforced. I’ve actually pulled ahead of Mark just before the 1k mark, so check my watch to see that I’m not going too fast – 4:57 spot on.

I put a little spurt on to get past a couple of runners before the gate. Then out along the tree lined path and I pick up the pace a little, feeling comfortable, stretching out. I do like this bit of the course.

2k down and another glance at my watch. I’m sure I see 4:3x for the second kilometre and congratulate myself on picking up so much time, thinking I have some in the bag for the tough 3-4 section. Back onto the moor and the stony path. I pick my favourite side and run at the edge of the grass, feeling strong and relaxed.

Dave comes past and I manage a response to his cheery hello. I haven’t really been racing anyone today, just catching them as they come. So I try to keep his yellow shirt in sight and not let him get too far ahead. It’s a good distraction tactic as we make our way back round behind the museum.

Now it’s getting tough. The rocky path eats at my strides and the turns play with my mental focus. Just get through this I think. If you keep it going now, it’s yours. If you drop it, it’s gone. I cut the corner and head for the last gate.

As it approaches I hear Mark say “Well done all you 25 runners”. He’s caught me. I push on and try to stick with him. He gallantly lets me go through the gate first.

Onto the last section and he’s past me for a moment. But I’m digging in and lengthening out my stride and I keep with him a bit longer. A little spurt of pace every few lengths or so just keeps me going until the turn.

On the final straight, there’s always a question about when to go. Sometimes I pick a point. Sometimes I go too early. Sometimes I leave it too late. This time I sense another runner approaching on my right shoulder. Oh no you don’t not on this bit. There’s still a good 400m to go, but I start to put on the pressure. And she goes with me for a while, forcing me to find the next gear up.

It’s earlier than I like to sprint, but I manage to hold it. Maybe not quite top speed, but 98% of it. I overtake another couple of runners on the way to the line and stop my watch at 24:18. Get in!

There’s no doubt that’s smashed my previous PB on this course which was 24:58. But I’ve beaten my Edinburgh course time too by almost 30 seconds. So my Blaydon 30 seconds are more than avenged.

After the race, a few of us head to the cafe for more chat and hot drinks. Amazingly we’re served rather quickly for once, but not before I do a little Fetch promotion to Ken and his family who are already tucking into breakfast.

So how does a girl follow up a great morning like that? Well, by taking my new bike out on our first adventure. And she is a beauty. And very well behaved.

We had a nice ride out together, even though it was raining. We clicked along through the gears – even getting as far as the big ring as I built up confidence. And I rode the last mile home on the drops. Whee! I love my new bike.

Stats and stuff:
Parkrun 5k 24:20 (official time)
km splits:
1. 4:57
2. 4:56
3. 4:57
4. 5:12
5. 4:16

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