This week I have eased back into my routine- I did a club run on Tuesday- we had a lovely run down to Stanborough lakes and back. It’s so good being lighter later as we can go off road more.
Yoga wasn’t on, and I had a course on Wednesday which meant a later start (9.30!)- I walked into town first thing to get a few bits, and after staring at a screen all day (how do people with office jobs manage?) we had a walk in the evening as my eyes just felt so weird.
On Thursday I decided to do some hill reps- there is a short but fairly steep hill along the old railway line- so I ran the mile there, then spent time running up and down the same section. The sky was blue when I left but turned black and then rained- I ran my fastest Strava segment on the way home as the rain wasn’t heavy but it looked like it could bucket it down any minute!
I mean, it doesn’t look at all steep here, but it is.
On Saturday some of our new runners were “graduating” at parkrun. I had offered to do the new runners briefing, and there ended up being loads of first timers, plus a few tourists (including one I chatted to who was from Brighton Hove Prom- it’s not often you know of a course that someone else has run as there are so many out there now).
No idea why but I had decided to start my Garmin in the car park- I think I was thinking that if I was doing the briefing at 8.55 it wouldn’t leave much time for it to find the satellite, and I didn’t want it to be beeping through the briefing. It was fairly cold but I knew I would warm up so left my jumper in my bag hanging on the fence by the finish area.
Anyway, after finding out where the tourists were from (Blackhill- they would enjoy our flat course/ Panshanger- very local but still good to try a new one), welcoming the new runners and explaining the course, I headed to the start and chatted to a few of our club runners. I’ve had a sore shoulder this week and when it has been bad, breathing hard has hurt as the pain is sort of in the back, so I wasn’t really expecting anything speedy.
I’d seen one of our club runners (Milena) a bit ahead of me, and we can usually run a similar speed, so I decided to try and catch up with her. She was on a total mission- arms pumping and long legs striding out and going for it, so it took me until the 3km point to catch her. A few of our club were marshals – one who had run Brighton a few weeks ago, and two running London on Sunday, so I’d called out to them on my way past (either have you recovered/ good luck tomorrow).
I’d noticed that as we had started it was exactly 9am on my watch, and as I was going down the runway towards the end the time was 9.24, so I did wonder if I was going fairly fast. I was also completely surrounded by men (apart from Milena who was just behind me at that point). But then I worked out that I had just gone past the 4km point, so that was around 6 min per km, which would equal a 30 min 5k, which to be honest felt wrong as I felt I was going faster. But I know I can’t trust my maths when I run anyway! I didn’t bother looking at my Garmin, even though with hindsight it shows the current average so I think it would have shown how fast I was going.
I was pushing hard for the final half km, and still managed to overtake a couple of people. With the finish line in sight (maybe 20 metres to go) I decided to go for it and went past another guy. I was place 51 but that is hard to work out if it’s good or bad- it seems high up the field (and it was still mainly men finishing) but who knows. (It turns out I was 6th lady which must be one of my highest placings, and 2nd in my age cat- all those speedy runners are probably running London and so having a rest today!).
I saw a few of the runners from the briefing at the end- the guy had come from Blackhill it turns out was down because he was running the London marathon on the Sunday. I think with regards to the course we are lucky- I’ve been to quite a few now and lots of them, while being perfectly nice, as still really city centre parks closely surrounded by roads and buildings. Both Ellenbrook and Panshanger are wilder and more like countryside running- really pretty scenery.
Back to my time- My Strava gave me a clue- the first mile was 10.40 but that included walking and doing the briefing, the others were 8.46, 8.34 and then 8.30 for the final 0.4. Strava also thought I did one mile in 8.15 which sounds ridiculously fast.
Anyway, after going to the post office, having a shower and having a breakfast of hot cross buns and tea, I got my text through- a new course pb! 26.33! It’s a good 30 seconds quicker than my previous Ellenbrook pb, and only 4 seconds behind my all time pb set at St Albans back in 2013 (26.29). This time of year must be good for my running- nice and cool, solid ground (no mud). I was so pleased!
I have recently realised I can sort my results by time, so I could see I have now managed three beginning with 26, but the other two were both at St Albans in 2013. I’d been inching closer to a sub 27 minute 5k for a bit, but this totally smashed it!
In effect running without my Garmin was interesting because I think sometimes I can see a fast number and then worry that I can’t keep it up, whereas this one was honestly run on feel- I should trust myself. Or maybe it was luck as it has only happened once!
We had a lovely walk around Panshanger later on, admiring the bluebells. I just need two Saturdays in a week so I can parkrun at both places.
Later in the afternoon I had some work to catch up on, and also went through my blog emails- I found out that I had been chosen as one of the Vuelio top ten running blogs here– how lovely. A few blogs that I enjoy are also on the list (A Healthier Moo, The PhD Runner) and there are a few that I haven’t read but I always like to find new blogs to read so I’ll be checking the other ones out.
On Sunday I had an 8 mile out and back run and then watched a bit of the London marathon- I happened to be watching it as they were following a guy who was massively struggling to get to the finish- his legs had totally seized up and I really felt like the camera should cut away as he didn’t look good. Amazingly another runner wearing a Swansea Harriers vest stopped to help him (they were under the 3 hour finish time and so were all rocketing past him)- it was pretty emotional to watch. At first you could see the runner talking to him, pointing to the finish line and clearly telling him that he could do it. A marshal then came out and they draped his arms over their backs and helped him for the last few hundred metres- it just encapsulates how fantastic the running community is- I don’t think I would notice anyone in the last bit of a marathon, being so focused on just keeping the legs going and getting to the end, so the fact that this guy not only noticed him but stopped when he was so close himself to help someone else out was just fantastic. (BBC story here)
Which running blogs do you like to read? I much prefer blogs that are more in a personal diary form- ones with magazine style articles don’t tend to interest me as much.
What is your favourite volunteer role and which one have you benefited most from doing? I was so nervous before I did the first new runners briefing that my knees were actually shaking- I really hate public speaking. But doing a few of them has really helped (and I think going to other parkruns helps as you listen to the same briefing and realise that people just want to know about the course, no-one is being critical)- and probably this has helped my confidence when I have to do that sort of speaking at work too. I still don’t relish public speaking, but I don’t worry about the briefings any more which must be a good thing.
Did you watch any of the London marathon? (Or watch the Southampton/any other) Or were you running a marathon? I did think that the guy who finished third in the men’s race looked pretty trashed by the end, whereas often they run so smoothly it looks fairly effortless. I had to rewind as by the time I had started watching the women’s race had finished- some impressive times recorded, and some great performances by Aly Dixon and Charlotte Purdue, although it was a shame that Jo Pavey didn’t finish. I still don’t think I would like to run London personally- the huge crowds really put me off, but it is an inspiring event to see on the TV.