Saturday, 19 November 2011

Another small victory

I did my second parkrun this morning.

It was on Hampstead Heath again, though a different route to the previous one I'd run. They sometimes change it to accommodate other events. As such, I had a small panic when I arrived because there didn't seem to be anyone else there. Had I got the wrong place? Did everyone else in the world know something I didn't? No. All was fine. I was just early.

And yet I was still caught on the hop when the 'starting pistol' went. It's tricky to run while trying to tie a sweater around your waist. I just did my best not to get run over in the pack. That's when I overheard the lady next to me: 'We've got stuck with the fast runners, let's slow down.' I looked around and realized I'd made the same mistake. Everyone was running very fast. I decided I'd try to keep up and see how it went.

It went downhill (metaphorically speaking) pretty quickly and I was soon making the same noise as an accordion with a hole in it. I don't think my lungs are as fit as my arms and legs. I slowed to relieve the wheezing and, at the half-way stage, a man shouted: 13.16. I assumed it was my split-time. If I could maintain that pace, I would beat my last run.

Unfortunately, I'd been giving it my all for the first 2.5k and didn't feel I had much 'left in the tank'. Thankfully, that's when I spied a rather handsome distraction a little way ahead. I soon forgot about my empty tank and focused on chasing him up the hill. This worked excellently and, even though he quickly disappeared into the distance, it was just the boost I needed to get to the finish. I think being chased by me was just the boost he needed too.

On a scale of one to 10 my face was as red as a Beefeater's uniform. I'd found it really hard work. But, for all that, I am delighted to report I beat my previous time by 44 seconds. Hooray! I have to confess, given how difficult it was, I had been hoping for a bit more distance between my last run and this one. However, at least I got a new PB. Plus, I went for a quick swim in the ladies' pond afterwards. In your face Sports Billy.

(Stats galore: 5k/3.10 miles; 26.44 minutes; 8.37 minute/mile; 34th out of 71; 8th woman out of 32; 1st in my age category (out of 5) woo hoo! And finally, pond temp: 10 degrees.)

(Pic: The London Cross Country Championships were also taking place on the heath today. Following last year's cross-country 'success', I had no desire to join them.)

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