Posts Tagged ‘parkrun’

Rothwell Parkrun

Monday, June 25th, 2018 | Sport

Last Saturday, I headed over to Rothwell for the Parkrun. It’s been running since last summer, making it the baby of the Leeds Parkruns. Or at least it was until Middleton Woods launched in April. And Armley is launching on Saturday. But who’s counting?

I had a triathlon the day after so I decided to drive to one rather than run there. Given I was already in the car, driving somewhere else for a change of scenery is my prefered option. And, a hadn’t done Rothwell, it seemed like an excellent choice.

I liked it. First, it’s flat. One slight hill, probably a smaller rise than Woodhouse Moor. If that is the case, that would make it the flattest Parkrun in Leeds which are, on the whole, all on hills.

Second, a lot of it is on grass. Not great for speed, arguably, and not so nice in the wet. But kinder on the body.

Third, it is fairly small. 188 runners in the field on the day I did it. At Woodhouse Moor, which regularly attracts 400-500 people, even running a sub-24 is unlikely to put you in the top 100. At Rothwell, my 23:28 gave me a position of 27th, and second in my age category of male 30-34.

The only thing that didn’t go too well was the pace. I was aiming for 24-25 minutes so that it would be a nice easy run. Something I nailed in Skipton. But I got a bit carried away in the final kilometre and sped up.

The other issue with Rothwell is there is limited parking. But given there seems to be a huge amount of on-street parking all around the park, it doesn’t seem like the big issue that the website made it out to be.

Is this what mansplaining feels like?

Sunday, May 27th, 2018 | Life

We’re runners. Talking about running. Tracey is explaining to me about “Parkrun” (of which I have completed 156 and am in the same running club as the guy who runs the entire thing) which is “lots of people running together”.

Apparently, I can use something called “Google” to find out more.

For background context: Adidas is holding some free running events, but they all take place in London, despite their ads targetting what seems to be everyone in the UK. They’re promoting it through an advertorial in Time Out London.

Skipton Parkrun

Thursday, May 17th, 2018 | Sport

I was heading over to Ilkley for a sportive last Saturday but I didn’t want to miss Parkrun. The solution? Find the closest one. The answer turned out to be Skipton Parkrun.

It takes place at Aire Valley Park, which is the same place that hosts Skipton Triathlon. It’s a great venue because the parking is reasonable (50p for one hour) and you can use the leisure centre toilets.

I tried to pace myself for a hard weekend of racing, so I aimed for around 25 minutes. I brought it home in:

24:56

So, I think we can call that a success. One lass was about to get married, so did the run in a wedding dress. Presumably not her actual dress. But she still managed to out-run most of us, including me.

It’s a four-lap course. I did get lapped but only by the front group of two or three. Afterwards, there was free cake. So, all in all, a pretty good run.

Parkrun #153

Wednesday, May 9th, 2018 | Sport

The weather has warmed up. Why did I ask for this again? I hate the warmth. This was a terrible idea.

Fresh from Middleton Woods Parkrun last week, I was determined to run a fast one this week. And luck was on my side. The first Saturday of the month is a pacer month. This month included only three pacers but one of them was perfect for me: the 23-minute man.

In April, I took a minute and a half off my PB but even then, I knew I could go faster. So, I set out following the pacer to see how long I could hold on for.

It turns out the answer was about 2.5 km. Halfway through the second lap, I started to lose touch with him as my legs just wouldn’t keep up the speed. I slowly slipped behind, maybe 5-10 seconds over the next lap. This doesn’t sound like a huge gap now, but it felt like one at the time. I knew if I could just keep him in sight by the 4km mark, I stood a chance.

Once we hit that point I got a second wind and slowly started reeling him in down the back straight. It took the top of the park, too, but as we rounded the final corner onto the finish straight I went around him on the outside.

No sprint finish, just a desperate battle to keep the pace and stay ahead of him. I doubled-over just after the finish line and the volunteers had to shepherd me along to get me out of the way of other runners. But I had done enough.

My new PB was:

22:39

This time, I don’t think I can run any faster. I’ve set a Parkrun PB that reflects the best performance I can give right now. I’m pleased with it. It gives me an age grading of 57%, which still leaves me 3% adrift of my Dad’s best effort.

Here’s an updated graph:

I only remembered to take the obligatory selfie after I had set off running home, hence why it looks so bad.

Middleton Woods parkrun

Monday, April 30th, 2018 | Sport

On Saturday, I went over to Middleton Woods for their first ever Parkrun. It’s the 6th Parkrun in Leeds, joining Woodhouse Moor, Cross Flatts, Bramley, Temple Newsam and Roundhay.

The course is fun: hilly but it feels like there is more down than up. It’s a loop so I’m not sure how they have done that. Some of it is on “trail” but it’s pretty dry trail, so not something you would ever wear trail shoes for. It starts nears the bike hub cafe and goes down to the visitor’s centre and back.

162 of us turned up, of which I finished 31st. My gender position was 30. My warm-up was a little more challenging: I didn’t really know where I was going so I ended up coming back across the old golf course which was a bog. My feet were soaked before I even set off on the official run.

Parkrun #148

Monday, April 2nd, 2018 | Sport

The weather did not invite running. It had rained overnight and it was still raining when I woke up. Worse, I felt terrible. I normally feel pretty poor on the way there, but this time I had to walk some of the way there. Even my watch agreed that my condition this morning was poor.

Still, I had set off early so that I could start right at the front and I didn’t want to waste it. As the other people around me discussed whether it was too muddy to attempt a sub-17 or not, and prepared their starting stance (one leg bent, leaning slightly forward) I thought I would at least sprint off with them and see how it went.

As it turns out, not many people did come rushing past me. Although, this could be due to the reduced number of people that had braved the weather. I kept my pace just within the limits needed to set a new PB (personal best) and a gruelling five kilometres later I crossed the line, punching the air.

As it turns out, I was way ahead. Although I was only 10 seconds per kilometre ahead of where I needed to be, because I start my GPS at home and keep it running until then, it didn’t factor in that I ran the first section and the last section of Parkrun way above this pace.

I hadn’t just beaten my previous PB of 24:36, I had crushed it. It now stood at:

23:08

It almost seems too good to be true. But, reexamining my Garmin data, and comparing it to what I’ve been doing in training, it seems to fit. Indeed, potentially I could go faster: I wasn’t feeling great (though you often aren’t when you set a PB) and I had my rain jacket on. Or maybe I can’t: we’ll find out soon!

Here’s an updated graph:

Next week I may or may not be able to do Parkrun depending on whether it clashes with the Bramley Baths triathlon, and the week after that I will have to go easy in preparation for Skipton. So, it might be a while before I get to run another fast one. We’ll see how it compares.

Parkrun 143

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018 | Sport

I’m really enjoying being able to run again. I’m still getting a bit of pain in my foot, but not like when it was injured. So, with it being pacer day at Woodhouse Moor I decided to make an attempt at following the 25-minute pacer.

I’ve only managed sub-25 once, and that was when I set my PB (obviously).

Things did not start well. The guy disappeared into the crowd and despite my best efforts, I couldn’t find him. It was only as I headed down the hill on the final lap that I saw a crowd of people gathered around a man in blue.

With my heart about to explode (200 bpm) I caught up and passed him on the final corner. Result. But, as it turns out, he must have been slightly ahead of pace as when I got the email, it turned out I had set an all-new PB. By one second.

24:36

Next step: try and consistently run under 25 minutes.

Parkrun by bike

Sunday, December 24th, 2017 | Sport

I’m still going easy on my ankle so I decided to cycle to Parkrun. It was the first time I have done so, so I thought I would document some of my thoughts.

Padded cycling shorts make a big difference. I went out in my running gear and noticed I felt a little uncomfortable almost as soon as I was on the bike. Then I remembered why: I always wear my cycling shorts on the bike, even for triathlons (no, it doesn’t feel like wearing a nappy, that much). I think investing in some tri shorts for these occasions might be in order.

It’s nice having the bike there because you can carry things like bottled water and a jumper for cold days. Of course, you can’t leave anything valuable on the bike.

My belt makes a better shortage solution than my short pockets, especially for keys. It doesn’t fit my phone in, though, so I need a better solution for that when running off the bike.

Parkrun 131

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017 | Sport

Last Saturday I completed my 131st Parkrun. I was feeling good so was determined to make it a PB (personal best) day. Of course, intentions don’t always match up to how you feel on the morning.

As it happens, the wind as with me. Not literally, there was a headwind on the back straight. But I pushed, and having only set my current PB back in August, managed to set a lower one of:

24:37

I’m pretty pleased with that, especially with the Abbey Dash looming large. Here is an updated graph of my Parkrun history:

You’ll notice that with the trend line, I should be world champion sometime next week. I’m pretty sure that’s how it works.

Oakwell Hall parkrun review

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017 | Sport

I try to test up for the week or two before a race. However, as I’m also chasing my Parkrun 250 club (I have a long way to go), I couldn’t resist doing a Parkrun the day before the Leeds Half Maraton.

As I didn’t want to do my usual 10k run there-and-back, that meant driving. And, as I was already in the car, we decided to take the whole family and head over to Oakwell Hall.

As a Parkrun, it’s a mixed bag. The organisation is brilliant. There were loads of volunteers and cake at the end. It was also scenic: probably the most scenic I have done with the exception of Lyme Park. However, on the downside, a lot of it is done on man-made pathways that are only two people wide. Therefore, for the first 2 km, you are constantly being bottlenecked and forced to stop or slow down. It’s two laps, and nobody lapped me, despite me taking it easy.