Slow and steady does it, so they say. I’d struggled all week to keep my pace down. I’m like a coiled spring, ready to go. Mentally, it’s frustrating. Physically, well…
A lot of injuries require complete rest, so I should be counting my blessings that I’m allowed to do any running at all. Kniggly Knee™ has been loosening up, but not quickly enough for my liking. My sciatica is not good, especially first thing in the morning.
I didn’t have a plan for parkrun this week, other than to take it steady. There was the possibility of pacing someone at 9min/mile pace, which would’ve been ideal, but it didn’t happen. It looked like a glorious morning for a run, as well, from the warmth and comfort of the lounge, but we have those weather stations, and they didn’t back up the perception that it was a fine, spring morning. More like late winter, the temperatures said. This posed the question, what to wear. The forecast was set to warm up throughout the day, but I had no faith it would warm up that much, and stuck to my many layers. Ne’er cast a clout, ’til May is out. You can’t go wrong with that.
Local running club, Desford Striders, took over the running (pun intended) for this week. There are some mixed feelings on club involvement at parkruns. Some believe that it goes against the ethos of parkrun; that runs are “free”, and purely for the individual. Further, running club shirts, let alone takeovers, can put off runners and joggers, for a variety of reasons, from feeling that club camaraderie is “intimidating”, and/or “cliquey”, to making the event feel like a race, therefore putting pressure on runners. On the other hand, the running clubs are not exclusive, and can be seen to be encouraging (cynics might say that would be to attract new members, as if this a bad thing). Some clubs also provide pacers, which are good if you are trying to reach a specific goal. The atmosphere seems to be lifted, and if you’re into it, there’s normally cake at the end!
I didn’t see any pacers this week, and I apologise if Desford Striders provided any. I wasn’t going to be following any. There were 352 runners lined up, and whilst I was slack in getting to the start, I did find I was stuck behind much slower runners, again. It’s a grey area, and I’ve written about it in the past, but some runners really don’t think about where they start from. I was boxed in, and whilst I didn’t want to push myself, I found it hard to get round the slower starters, as quicker runners were streaming past. I didn’t want to push in front of them, as they could be going for a time, and I wasn’t. It meant I got frustrated, and when I get frustrated, I can become more impulsive.
On the first lap, each area that could be a bottle neck, was. I ended up taking advantage of any space, to get around those slower runners. I didn’t pay attention to my Garmin, but the first km wasn’t particularly quick. The problem was, I found it hard to settle down to the kind of pace I should have been running at. I caught up with a running club mate, Elaine, and we chatted for a bit, but I did go off.
There’s a small hill (I call it Brick Hill, because it’s walled), which I’ve noticed has become far easier to run up, in recent weeks. More encouraging, I recorded my fastest time up The Hill. Even though I wasn’t trying, or pushing it. It just goes to show the importance of quality hill sessions in training. I only have to look at my mate, Sam, who has been looking so strong in races lately, to see the benefits. I can’t wait to be fully fit, and to be able to really push myself. I’m still not a fan of hills, but I’m beginning not to dread them. Maybe one day, they will lose their daunting factor.
Despite the advice not to push myself, and I didn’t, I didn’t exactly hold back, either. My parkrun was a negative split, where the second half is quicker than the first. I was quite naughty, really. My average pace was 8:14min/mile, or thereabouts. Far quicker than the 9min/mile pace I should have been targeting.
Thankfully, Kniggly Knee™ didn’t play up at the time. It did twinge during our walk to the footy, and my sciatica did flare up, once we arrived at the pub, but that could’ve been the walk. Yeah, it was the walk.
It was concerning, though, that I found that pace hard work. I know, I know, I have an injury niggle, and I’ve not been doing the quality sessions, but my fragile confidence has been shattered. In terms of times, I’m probably on a par with last year, but I was fully fit then. This must bode well for the summer, if I get myself right! Yes?
Until I can fully bend my knee, I need to reign in my desires to run quickly. I’m not going to help myself. Patience isn’t one of my strengths, but I’m having to learn to exercise it. Ha!