So, after last week’s debut experience, I went back and did the Parkrun again this week!
Up at 7.30am, which gave me enough time to get sorted and have breakfast (yoghurt and lots of fruit) before I left. Fortunately, it also gave me enough time to put some more charge into my phone as I wanted to use Runkeeper again. I hadn’t realised my phone had been left on for a while and could tell, by the indicator, that the battery wouldn’t last today’s distance….
Once again, my neighbour gave me a lift but this time, her teenage son came along with us too (he’s done a few Parkruns). On the way, he was explaining to his Mum how his Garmin running watch worked, so she could use it. We also spotted my husband as he ran to the park. He wanted to do 6 miles today, so treated the Parkrun as the second half of his required distance.
Weather conditions were very similar to last week: bit breezy but warm with sunshine and showers. Generally, it was more overcast than not, and we’d had some heavy rain in the morning, so I was wondering how damp the ground would be underfoot.
After doing some stretches, we assembled in the same start location and discovered our other neighbour had come along with her son. She’d told us she wasn’t doing it this week, but her son persuaded her to come along! See kids? You too can get your parents running the Parkrun!! 🙂
There seemed to be fewer people around, but it’s difficult to tell until right before the start. Meanwhile, a new group of “first timers” were getting their briefing. Seemed to be a good number of them too! Worth bearing in mind that being a “first timer” doesn’t always mean, someone who’s never run a Parkrun before. It can also refer to someone who’s not run a particular Parkrun before. Parkruns take place all over the country, so people can still rack up lots of runs but still be a “first timer” if they turn up in a location they’ve not been to before.
So, whether it’s your very first ever Parkrun or your first ever in a particular location, it’s always worth attending the pre-run briefing. For the former, it’s important so that you know the route, how the timing system works and generally, where stuff is. For the latter, you’ll pick up information about the course as well as where to go once you’ve got your finish token.
I almost felt nostalgic as I looked at the new group getting their briefing from the same hi-viz jacketed volunteer who briefed me last week…..
There were a few words of welcome from someone at the front, and then the air horn sounded and off we went!
This time, as well as running the Runkeeper app on my phone, I made the decision to listen to some music, which I’d not done last week. I have a dedicated “running” playlist of songs, with a specific bpm, which I’ve been using to try and keep me at a certain pace.
Once the Parkrun started, I soon discovered that trying to use the music to stay at a certain pace, was a bit of a lost cause (for me, at any rate). Thing is, once the colourful tide of runners sets off, there’s a bit of jockeying for position where everyone finds their space. Once the pack thins out a bit, you can begin to think more about how fast you’re going and if you’ve got a running app or a watch, you’ll know what your pace is or should be. However, it’s easy to get carried away with just following the pace of the person in front of you. It’s a bit like listening to a song, and trying to sing a different song at the same time….
So, I found myself overtaking more people than I did last week. Of course, I was ever conscious of the “keep left” rule to allow faster runners through on the right (I’m sure one chap lapped me twice!!)
Conditions underfoot were damp, but not as wet and muddy as perhaps I was expecting, given the overnight rain. The woodland paths and grass were still quite firm to run on with no big puddles to avoid. The air was quite fresh, without being really cold and I remembered, every so often, to inhale big lungfuls of it through my nose.
Runkeeper seemed to indicate that my average pace was getting slower and, on hearing a time check from a marshall, my heart began to sink as I thought “oh no, I’ve got another lap to go, I’ll never beat last week’s time”, only….I didn’t have another lap to go. I’d forgotten that the main route round the lakes were laps 2 and 3, and I was already on lap 3 and approaching the finish! By the next time check, I’d cheered up and felt ready for a strong run for the line. I must admit, I opened up my stride a bit and, while not sprinting, I at least sped up towards the line. My husband was, of course, already waiting for me, and managed to take a brief video snippet of me as I approached (with my red face).
Me and my neighbours, finished in the same order that we did last week and, as we trooped off to get our barcodes scanned, it started to rain….just as it did last week.
My debut time last week was 32:28. So, what was this week’s……?
A new Parkrun personal best!! 🙂
There were about a hundred fewer people running today and not so many families running together, but it’s possible the weather might have been a factor in that, as there was more cloud and rain around.
Well done to everyone who ran today and thanks to the supporters who cheered and clapped us on our way (and took photos) and the volunteers, without whom, Parkrun couldn’t happen!
See you again on the start line!
P.S: While I was lining up at the start and chatting to a friend, a chap wearing a fluorescent yellow top, tapped me on the shoulder and said “are you the person who wrote the blog post [about my first Parkrun], last week?” I said yes, and he said how much he’d enjoyed reading it. Fame at last! If that chap happens to be reading this – *waves* Thanks!!