I ran the Robin Hood Half Marathon on 30th September, and then took a few days out from running to recover. I tried to run on the Thursday, but struggled and called time after only managing 1 mile (1.5 mile with the warm up walk and cool down). Feeling a little deflated, I decided to enter my local Parkrun on the Saturday as I needed to get some miles back in my legs and also need to do more outdoor mileage; since purchasing a treadmill I have rarely ran outside apart from the odd run commute and Parkrun.
The alarm went off at 7:30 am on the Saturday morning… rain ricocheted off the window and the wind howled. It was too cold and too early. Part of me was so tempted to stay in the warm, but I told myself that if I want to make progress with my running, I need to stick to my plans and not just do what I feel like doing on the day.
Chris made breakfast – apple and blueberry porridge for me and a bacon sandwich for himself, whilst I got dressed and sorted my hair. We ate breakfast together and then he decided that actually, he was going to run Parkrun too, as usually he just takes me and has a walk around for some fresh air. His last Parkrun was in January 2017, and his last run was the Lichfield 10k in September 2017.
We made the 25 minute commute to West Park and hid under a tree to try and avoid the rain, all the time asking ourselves why we were up this early and standing in the freezing cold on a Saturday morning. As late as possible, we made our way to the starting area and wished each other good luck before the claxon sounded.
The start of the run is always a bit congested, especially as there is a turn at the very start which is quite narrow. I started off trying to keep my pace no quicker than 12 minute miles, however I ended up running alongside Chris, and he picked his pace up so I stuck with him, promptly advising that he was going a bit quick for someone who hadn’t ran for a while.
I completed my first mile with an average pace of 10:29 and started to feel like I could get a personal best. My previous best 5k time was achieved 2 weeks ago – 34:10 (34:07 official Parkrun results). My second mile was a little slower at 10:33, however this actually included two 60 second walking breaks as I had a little bit of stitch. The third mile was the slowest at 10:56 as I really started to struggle with the marginal uphill sections and the final hill before the finish line.
Due to the rain, I wasn’t able to really check my watch too often as I had to keep wiping the droplets from my glasses, so I just tried to keep up a sustained effort, and was pretty confident of netting a new personal best, even if it was only by a few seconds. I started my final sprint a little later than usual but powered on through to the finish. I collected my finishing chip and checked my watch… 33:05, so close to being under the 33 minute mark. My official Parkrun result was 33:07. Chris finished in 35:37, which was only 10 seconds slower than his personal best despite him not having ran for ages and not going all out on the day.
I was glad of the personal best, especially given the weather conditions and my poor midweek run after the Robin Hood Half Marathon, but was a little disappointed to be so close to sub-33 minutes. Considering my first ever Parkrun was 46:11 and I literally felt like I was going to be sick afterwards, I actually felt fine after completing this one; in fact, I probably could have ran further or harder and my Garmin agreed as previously my recovery time would have been recommended at 72 hours, whereas this time it was showing 31 hours.
I didn’t want to race too hard though as my body was still recovering somewhat from the half marathon and I have also entered the Birmingham Half Marathon which is next Sunday. I ran 6 miles the next day (well, 0.25 mile warm up, 2 mile run, 0.25 walk, 2 mile run, 0.25 walk and then a quicker mile before a 0.25 mile cool down) and would like to beat my Robin Hood Half Marathon time, however that may be a little optimistic being so soon after my last half so I am just aiming to enjoy the run and atmosphere on Sunday as it was a great event last year.
Splits and Official Time: