Having raced three times in eight days, and another race the following day, I’d already made the decision to take my 29th parkrun relatively easy. Talk about getting back in to the swing of things, eh?
The weather looked glorious from inside the house; blue sky, sunshine. But for some reason, the wind wasn’t noticeable. Not until I stepped outside. I’d dressed for the spring sunshine, braving a vest over a t-shirt, but I was glad I had my jacket with me!
I insisted on a brief warm-up, even though I wasn’t going to push myself. The Bloke, who also said he was taking it easy, seemed a bit surprised, but we had a little trot before meeting up with our friends at the start. I said that I’d probably see if I could aim for about 8min/mile pace, knowing I needed to pace at 7:48 pace to get near to my Gold standard in the race the next day. It would be a “leg loosener”. I’d felt the previous week that a hard run parkrun might have had a detrimental effect on the Livingston Relays the next day. As there are plenty of five mile races, I could experiment with my preparation.
I started from a wide position, and further forward than the previous week, despite wanting to run slower, to try to avoid the slower runners who start near the front. There was still far too much congestion. The Bloke said, afterwards,he overheard one woman telling her friend, “oh it’s all right, everyone comes bombing past you at the start”. Is it? Is it all right to have people flying past you? From my experience, it’s pretty demoralising having people flying past me, and shooting off into the distance! It can’t be good for inexperienced runners, either, you know, the ones who try and keep pace with those around, rather than focusing on their own pace. I have no problems starting behind the quicker runners, I’d rather not get in their way, and focus on my own run.
Yet again, I had to run down the Long Hill on the grass. I went past a couple of women, who decided to then bomb past me. Another woman, who’d barged right through me at the start, without a glance, or an apology, also did the same. I just did my own thing. I was slightly quicker on the first km, but it was mostly downhill, and I just stuck to my pace. The wind was in my face as I ran along the bottom of the park, it was hard work! I was glad I had my jacket on! On Brick Hill, I went past Rude “Lady”. I started to gain on the two other women at The Hill. My second km was on target. I found The Hill okay this week, and I’ve started to notice I’m overtaking people! Whoop whoop! Unfortunately, I was caught in congestion as I went to turn onto the dirt track, as the two women did what a lot of runners seem to do at the top of The Hill, and practically stop. “Just keep moving!” I thought. I may have said it, too, I’m not sure. Why do people put in the hard work, then just stop? I wanted to push on!
I overtook them, and carried on. A glance behind after the second time down Long Hill showed The Bloke wasn’t too far behind. We even had a little wave! The rest of my run was spent bunny-hopping Rude “Lady”, and I hoped I’d got the last of her when I overtook her before Brick Hill again. I know people slow down, and speed up, I do it, but this was beginning to annoy me now. Either go past, or don’t!
I half expected The Bloke to catch me up, but it was Rude “Lady” who went for the grandstand finish. Fair enough, love, well done, you. I wasn’t bothered about racing. I was more than happy that I had set out with the intention of running a steady 8min/mile pace, and had achieved it. I was the 15th finisher out of 143 women, and overall, was 132 out of 369, another big turnout. Funnily, I yet again topped my age group. When I try, I rarely do, but when I’m not bothered, I do!
I’m feeling better for running at a quicker pace. Kniggly Knee™ hasn’t totally gone, but it is happier. So am I. I feel like there’s light at the end of this tunnel.