Posts Tagged ‘parkrun’

Dad’s 250th parkrun

Monday, November 22nd, 2021 | Family & Parenting, Sport

On Saturday, my dad completed his 250th parkrun. It’s taken us 7-8 years to reach the 250 club between holidays, conflicting races, injuries, etc but we’ve finally unlocked the best t-shirt (colour wise). Venla also completed her 5th junior parkrun over the weekend so a busy weekend for Worfolks at Temple Newsam.

Sub-20 parkrun

Sunday, November 7th, 2021 | Sport

A sub-20 5k has always seemed like one of those mystical things for club runners to me. Almost up there with a 3-hour marathon. It’s super fast and something I never thought I would get anywhere near.

Then Nike produced their super-shoes and in the first month of lockdown I took a minute off my PB to bring it down to 21:06 and it didn’t seem so far away anymore. But 66 seconds is still a lot of time to shed.

I made an attempt at it in April of this year but had to fail out 2 kilometres in when I realised I hadn’t set my watch up correctly (I turned on ultratrak which, despite the name, actually turns off GPS intermittently). Unfortunately, I had a small window before the 7in7 challenge and Evolve Trio and that was that.

Now it is November, the triathlon season is over, and I decided it was worth a crack before I dropped my training down over winter. It wasn’t the best start: my digestive system woke up unhappy which meant I marched up to the start not feeling great. But I thought I would give it a go anyway because perfect days don’t come along by accident very often; they’re made.

As such, I tried to go through all of the preparations for assuming it would be a good day. Carb-heavy breakfast of Frosties 90 minutes before, a caffeine energy gel 30 minutes before, I took my coat to keep my warm before the run, did a 15-minute warm-up and some activation exercises to get my body ready.

I got myself right on the start line to get a good position and ended up going out too hard. This was sort of the plan though as I didn’t want to get held up by other runners. And despite all this talk of negative splits, many PBs are run by someone running beyond themself in the first half and then somehow managing to hang on.

I clocked through the first kilometre in 3:48, so with some sliding room, but with it also being downhill and going out too hard. The second one was 4:08 but this wasn’t disheartening because I realised I had forgotten to turn GLONASS on for more accurate tracking and thus the course was likely to read short.

By the 2k mark, I was hurting and suspected my pace was unsustainable. I wanted to give up and walk so many times. There was wind. And the slight uphills feel like a lot when you’re already on your limit. I managed to go through kilometre three in 4:02 but the pain just got worse and my fourth kilometre was 4:17.

By this point, I didn’t really know where I was at. I knew I was behind the 4:00 per kilometre mark, but given my GPS was off, I felt like I was still in with a chance if I just kept the legs turning over.

As I got to the bottom of the final hill I checked my watch and saw I had 90 seconds left. It’s all a gradual hill but the first 2/3 is very gradual and the final 1/3 is a little steeper. I allocated 30 seconds to each section and knew that if I got to the bottom of the pivot point with 30 seconds to go, I could sprint to the finish.

I made it through ahead of that and opened up everything I had left. I closed the line in:

19:39

I had done it, I was a sub-20-minute runner!

My final kilometre was paced at 4:04 so about in line with the rest given the slight changes in elevation. My watch registered 4.83 kilometres meaning that the 4:04 pace it said I was running was actually more like 3:56.

My calves were screaming after I stopped. Even walking down the finish funnel was a strange limp of not bending my legs and they didn’t stop hurting for the rest of the day.

It turns out I wasn’t overestimating the pain I was in. My average heart rate for the run was 198 and it reached a maximum of 209. I’ve held an average of 190 before at the Abbey Dash, but it usually maxes out at 205 and I’m several years older now. As a little bonus, I was also 1st place in the VM35-39 category.

Thank yous: thank you to all of the marshalls that make parkrun possible. I try to thank them as I run past but today was just a head-down day with an occasional wave of thanks. I hope that’s understandable!

Birthday wishes: happy birthday to Poppy! I shamelessly went for a PB rather than joining the birthday run train and she still gave me a birthday biscuit. Also thank you to Anne for handing out the chocolate mini bites.

250th parkrun

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021 | Sport

I’ve joined the 250 club! Thank you to all of the marshalls, my parents for coming over and running it with me, and everyone who hung around at Coffee on the Crescent for a chat after the run.

Chevin Forest parkrun

Sunday, September 19th, 2021 | Sport

First time at Chevin Forest parkrun. It’s beautiful. Every time I go there I think I should go there more often. The parkrun course is pretty hilly but no worse than Temple Newsam. Muddy, though, even in summer, so it is going to be a challenging course in winter. Great to see plenty of fellow HPHers there, too. And I’ve increased my Wilson Index to 4.

Andover parkrun

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021 | Sport

Last weekend, we headed down to Wiltshire for a Questars race. However, as my start time was not until noon, we headed over for a cheeky parkrun in Andover. I successfully managed to take it easy (for my newfound speed, anyway) and took 26 minutes to get around. It’s a nice course: flat and reasonable scenic. Very well organised and marshalled, too. Thank you to all of the volunteers that made it a lovely experience.

Junior parkrun

Monday, August 30th, 2021 | Family & Parenting

Yesterday, Venla ran her first junior parkrun. The junior parkrun events are set over 2 kilometres and in such a way that children can run by themselves as there are marshalls watching them at all points. It is open to children from 4-14 years old.

I wasn’t sure how she would cope with the distance. She has no problem covering longer distances but usually, that is walking and with plenty of breaks. But she ran most of the way and finished in 15:57. Great work, Venla!

parkrun PB and Leeds Dock swimming

Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 | Sport

Last Saturday, Leeds Dock opened up for open water swimming. Jp, Graeme and I completed Woodhouse Moor parkrun then headed down for a dip.

As it was only my third parkrun back, and I have got a lot speedier since I ran a 22:06 in 2018. So, without meaning to but simply trying to keep JP in sight ahead of me, I ran a PB of 21:05. I think I could go faster as I was held up at the start, but I don’t want to pretend I wasn’t working hard!

I would sum up the swim at Leeds Dock as cold. But nice. I am dubious of their self-admitted guesses that it was 17 degrees. I would have guessed at 15-16 but could be mistaken. Once I was swimming, though, it wasn’t too bad. It was mostly the initial getting in and warming up as it was jumping in or use the ladder: no gentle bay area like you get at the Blue Lagoon.

They have a 240-metre loop and there were only a few other swimmers in the water so no traffic to navigate. The water was clean and weed-free. You couldn’t see the bottom but that’s true of basically everywhere I have swum.

parkrun is back!

Monday, July 26th, 2021 | Sport

After months and months of allowing people to cough all over each other as a sacrifice to the gods of the economy, we’re finally allowed to get fit again.

Virtual parkrun PB attempt

Saturday, April 25th, 2020 | Sport

The lockdown seems like a good excuse to do some fast running. And, now that I have decided that I can live with the Nike Next%, I was eager to see if they really could reduce my 5km PB time. So, I decided to go out early Tuesday morning while it was still cool.

I felt crap when I got up. I didn’t think about abandoning, but I did think “remember this feeling for the next time you’re feeling crap, in case you ace it”. The weather was pretty good: nice and cool but there was also a strong headwind on the finishing straight.

I jogged up there but had to come down to a walk on Clarendon Road because the shoes were really digging into my feet. As I reached the top, it eased off a bit, and I figured it was going to hurt a lot anyway, so I might as well give it a go. After a few minutes sit down in the park, I counted down from 10 and set off.

My first kilometre came in at 4:08. After that, I had to back off a little as my chest started to burn. My previous PB was 22:06, so even on a great day, sub-21 was unlikely. Therefore, anything near 4:12 was acceptable. I settled in around the 4:20s, which I was fine with as even a 22:30 would show I could still run at around my best.

As each kilometre went by, where my watch said I was and where I knew the parkrun markers would be, drifted apart. I had specifically turned GLONASS on, as well as GPS, to get a more accurate reading but it was to no avail.

As I fit the final straight I smashed into the wind and felt like I was sprinting while simultaneously feeling like I was slowing down. I crossed roughly where the parkrun finish line is at 21:06, although I had to keep running to 21:29 until my watch registered 5km.

21:06

Which was one was correct? I’m going with the official parkrun course, which I assume they have carefully measured. It was a clear day, though, so there should have been a good satellite signal.

After the run, I collapsed on the grass and took 5-10 minutes before I could get up and walk again. Based on the parkrun line time, I was exactly 60 seconds faster than my previous PB. At 4%, the shoes would give me 53 seconds. That means I was the other 7 seconds of improvement. Or at 5%, 67 seconds, in which case I lost 7 seconds. But either way, my fast running is still in good shape. Of course, it is easier without the crowds, too.

And that’s the story of how I got up before 9am for the first time since the lockdown started.

Weymouth parkrun

Saturday, September 28th, 2019 | Sport

Our holiday in Weymouth gave me a chance to do some parkrun tourism. I wondered whether it would be incredibly busy with 2,700 athletes descending in the town for IRONMAN. However, it turns out most of them were too serious to do a parkrun the day before.

The course is a mini loop through the trees of Lodmoor park before and out and back that goes to the far side and then back to the loop. The sun was shining, and once you hid from the coastal wind, it was hot.

Everyone was friendly, and it was an enjoyable run.