Posts Tagged ‘parkrun’

Armley Parkrun

Monday, October 22nd, 2018 | Sport

Earlier this month I went up to Armley to do the Parkrun there. It’s about three kilometres away from the city centre, so just a little further than Woodhouse Moor.

Armley Parkrun launched over the summer, albeit with a “soft launch”. When I mentioned it on my blog I volunteer contacted me and asked me to remove the reference and when I asked about it in running club everyone spoke in hushed tones. Apparently, when a new Parkrun launches there is an unwritten rule about not telling anyone. It’s one of the weird rules that makes me a little uncomfortable at how Parkrun operates as an organisation.

Nevertheless, having been running for over four months, it is now a well established and welcoming run. They seem to have an army of volunteers, based on the sample size of one event.

The course is a mix of tarmac and grass. Having run past Gotts Park many times I assumed the course would be very hilly. However, Armley Park itself is really flat: probably flatter than Woodhouse Moor. It’s three loops with a bit of a crossover between the start and finish. It seems a good option to go for if you’re looking for a PB.

Parkrun 100 t-shirt

Friday, September 28th, 2018 | Sport

It’s been three years since I earnt my Parkrun 50 t-shirt, and, at the very start of 2017, I completed my 100th Parkrun. Since then I’ve been waiting for my t-shirt. Well, that days has finally come.

I’m pretty annoyed at Parkrun, as an organisation, over the whole affair. 21 months I’ve been waiting for my t-shirt to turn up. I feel a little lied to and let down. Arguably, they are a charity and the t-shirt only costs £4 (which is a delivery charge). But if anything, their charitable status only means they should hold themselves to a higher level of integrity and if they promise a t-shirt, they should deliver on that.

Of course, now they have. And it’s a pretty nice t-shirt, too. It is more of a mesh than the previous ones: if you hold it up to your eye you can see through it. I took it for a spin at Parkrun #169 it it felt good (inspired me to a PB no less!).

I’m really pleased to finally have it. The next stop is 250, which I will hopefully hit sometime in 2020.

Parkrun #169

Thursday, September 27th, 2018 | Sport

Surprise Parkrun PBs (personal bests) are the worst PBs. It’s like drafting Tom Brady in the sixth round. Sure, you’ve accidentally drafted the greatest quarterback in the history of American football, and you’ve done it for an almost-worthless draft pick. But it shouldn’t be an accident. An accident suggests you got your planning wrong.

So it is with Parkrun PBs. My existing PB of 22:39, which I set in May, felt like my best effort. I had gone out to set a PB and I had achieved that, and now I could die happy knowing that the time reflected my best performance.

When I started Parkrun #169, I had no intention of beating it. I didn’t think I could. But I did know that my training schedule said I had to go hard. So, I did. And my time was:

22:06

A good 33 seconds faster than my previous time and giving me a 58.67% on the age grading.

Having said all of that, I’m pleased with the result. I spent the summer doing a lot of training and in the past few weeks I have been focussing on my running, so maybe that is paying off.

Here’s an updated graph because everyone loves a graph:

Pride Parkrun 2018

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 | Sport

Every year, the Pride team turn up to Parkrun to cheer people on and hand out free goodies. Last year, I got a pair of rainbow laces, which I was wearing at this year’s Pride Parkrun.

I had a triathlon to so the day after, but I also felt like I was losing fitness. So, I decided to forgo the “take it easy” approach that would involve resting my legs and instead, go hard and hopefully give myself a confidence boost that I was still performing well.

I did and I got it. Thanks to a sprint finish when I realised I might just make it within the minute, I managed to run:

22:58

This is 19 seconds off my personal best, but it is only the second time I have managed to go sub-23 so I was very pleased with it. Did it give me the confidence to smash it at the Allerthorpe Classic triathlon? Find out soon…

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 another launching soon. 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.