I hope that everyone had an amazing weekend. Thanks to the flexi system we have at work, I’ve got the day off.
Although my weekend was disappointingly less food-filled than last weekend, I managed to fit in a couple of awesome runs. Watching Skid Row Marathon must have inspired me more than I realised.
On Saturday I woke up well before my alarm – odd given my struggles with getting out of bed during the week, and laid out my kit ready for parkrun. I ate a banana, had a shower and phoned my friend to make sure he was willing to drive me to Walsall Arboretum. Although he took a bit of convincing – apparently it was too cold for parkrun – he eventually agreed.
We arrived at the Arboretum at 8:40. This was brilliant as it meant that I had time to warm-up before parkrun started. When I got out the car I realised that the weather was perfect, dry and not too warm or windy. I had no excuses. I jogged to the start and positioned myself a lot nearer the front than I usually would. I spent 10 minutes or so chatting to another runner and managed to get ‘papped’ with my eyes closed – I must have been deep in thought – by Ron the race photographer.
[Photo: Ron Reynolds]
“Three, two, one, go…”
It took me a couple of seconds to start running and I was able to run at sub 9:00/mile pace almost straight away. If anything, I was a little too ambitious and set out a little too quickly for my current fitness levels. I decided to run as fast as I could for as long as I could. Simple.
The first lap was a bit of a blur. I overtook a few people and a lot of people came flying past me. I made sure that I thanked all the volunteers and tried to relax. The only minor irritation was my pair of new and untested Lululemon shorts which kept riding up.
[Photo: Ron Reynolds]
The second lap was physically challenging and my pace started to slow. I was paying for my fast start and was struggling to control my breathing, not ideal for an asthmatic. I tried to find runners to pace me, this tactic was reasonably successful and I spent most of the second lap tucked in behind a couple of male runners. I somehow completely dodged the photographer.
The final lap felt great, probably because I knew the finish was getting closer with every stride. I did some dodgy mental sums, and worked out I’d finish in under my target time of 28 minutes if I maintained a sensible pace. I just needed to avoid walking. I managed to dodge the photographer again, and headed towards the finish. The only minor irritation was getting elbowed by another runner in the final 100m. If anything, the actions of Mr Elbow made me run faster. I sprinted(?) across the finish line, stopped my Garmin, took a finish token, got my barcode and token scanned and then jogged back to the car park to meet my friend.
I knew that I’d finished in under 28 minutes as my Garmin time was 27:10. I was thrilled when the official results came through a couple of hours later and matched my Garmin time.
So although I’m aware I’ve still got a long, long way to go to achieve my goal of a sub 25 minute parkrun, I’m finally starting to believe that one day I will. I just need to learn how to push myself out of my comfort zone when I’m running.
Yesterday morning, I met up with Ellen for a long overdue catch-up and chilled out run in Sutton Park. After a quick discussion about where to run, I came up with the suggestion of running some of the Great Midlands Fun Run route.
We headed towards Jamboree Stone – I was a little disappointed we didn’t stop at the ice cream van – and joined the Great Midlands Fun Run route at approximately 3.5 miles.
We left the Jamboree Stone, headed past Keepers Pool and towards Town Gate. I pointed out the usual location of the 5 mile marker and a drinks station and we embarked on the most challenging section of the Great Midlands Fun Run course, the steep climb past Blackroot Pool and up the infamous ‘Cardiac Hill’.
Anyone who has ever completed the Great Midlands Fun Run will know why ‘Cardiac Hill’ is so challenging. The hill is steep and feels like it will never end. There is an evil turn where you think you have reached the top but you haven’t. We just about managed to run to the top without slowing to a walk and then stopped for a few seconds to work out where we wanted to run next.
As we didn’t want to leave Sutton Park, we headed away from the Great Midlands Fun Run course and attempted to run along the perimeter of the park. We stopped for a quick selfie – I’m not sure why I look so worried – and carried on running.
After a couple of enforced walking breaks due to virtually impassable patches of mud, we headed out of the park and back into Four Oaks. I asked Ellen how far she wanted to run and we agreed to run until we reached 10k. We increased our pace, made it to 10k and then walked the short distance back to Ellen’s house. I stopped for a couple of glasses of orange squash and some more running related chat, and then headed back home.
The rest of my Sunday was relatively chilled out. I entered the Aldridge 10k and made a few changes to my race calendar for the rest of 2018. I don’t think I’ll be taking part in the Vitality London 10,000 as I can’t get back from London on the Monday. At least I can get a refund on my hotel booking.
Next weekend will be a little different as I’ll be spending the weekend in Wallingford for the first time. If I manage to drag myself out of bed early enough, the plan is to head to either Didcot or Abingdon parkrun on Saturday. On Sunday morning I’m looking forward to taking part in the Wallingford Thames 10k.
Did you have a good weekend?
Did you made it to parkrun?
Do you ever have to completely rearrange your race calendar?