Until 3 weeks ago I hadn’t ran a Parkrun for around 18 months as I found that I would push too hard on them and then spend too much of the week recovering, so after 6 runs I decided to cut back on running them. I wanted to run one a month as a bit of a progress test or as a way of trying to beat my personal best at the 5k distance, however this never really materialized as I have got into the routing of running at home as I now have my own treadmill and getting up that early in the cold on a Saturday morning isn’t an easy task!
On August 25th I set off for my 8th Parkrun, the reason being that my cousin had recently started running and wanted to give it a try. At the point, her longest non-stop run had been 2 miles and she was hoping that with my company, she would be able to run the full 3.1 mile distance at Parkrun non-stop. We approached the 1.8 mile mark and she was starting to struggle, but with some gentle encouragement she managed to keep moving and we made it to the finish line without a walk break in site and in a time of 41.40. As you can see below, our splits were pretty much even throughout the run, with the exception of the sprint finish!
Today, September 15th, I decided to head back to my local Parkrun to see if I could beat my 5k personal best, which at the time, was 36:03. I arrived at the park and was still debating my race strategy – do I run two 12 minute mile splits and then speed up for the last 1.1 miles to get under the 35 minute mark, or do I try to run steady 11:45 minute miles? Before I could really make my mind up, it was time to start, and off the klaxon went. I usually start at the back, however today I decided that I was going to start mid pack so that I didn’t get stuck behind too many people and have to make up lost time. I set off with an average pace of 11:08 for the first mile, and I was feeling good – my watch vibrated to inform me that my performance was +3 and that I could be on for a personal best today. Mile 2 I pushed on and my average pace worked out at 10:55 – despite suffering from stitch due to not taking on enough fluid the night before or the morning of the race. I took a thirty second or so walk break to try and get my stitch to ease up and then set off for mile 3, which clocked in at 10:42. The section before the last 100 metres or so is an incline, which I really struggled with. I pushed on to the finish but it wasn’t as strong as my usual sprint finishes, nevertheless my Garmin clocked me at 34:10. I was delighted as despite struggling for the last mile, I managed to get under 35 minutes for the first time, and could have even gotten under 34 minutes if it hadn’t been for getting an on-set of stitch. My official Parkrun time was 34:07. This was the first time where I felt I had achieved a time worthy of ringing the Parkrun personal best bell!