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Leave it in ‘Park’


This weekend I re-visited my local Parkrun.  Hillsborough Parkrun.

Last time was in 2015, which I find hard to believe.

Anyway, I remember that I set off too quickly and almost blew up, so this time I thought I’d use the run to build up slowly.  It does involve 3 laps of the park, so I had plenty of room to improve as I went.

I’ve been a little out of shape recently, as we’ve a 9month old baby at home and all the associated obstacles.

That said, with the circumstances surrounding that 2015 slog, I thought I’d stand a better chance at enjoying myself if I avoided the same mistakes.

I turned up at a jog.

I settled away from the start line, among the masses, to avoid setting off like a lunatic surfer – riding a wave of runners behind me.

My plan was to enjoy the run, while gradually building my pace as I became more comfortable with the effort.


Off we went.  I started at a casual 7 min/miles and some change….

First couple of bends, taking things nice and easy.  Stuck behind a few folk going even slower, but hey – I’ll pass when the time comes…

No, I’ll run on the grass and go round them all now.

Actually, I’ll weave through the crowds and find a nice space ahead of these ‘stragglers’.  No, actually……

There I am in the yellow shirt, trying to keep up with the children.

The deal

I reached the first climb, the entire length of the park.  I generally enjoy climbs and know that I can pass people thanks to a reasonable ability to push.

So I pushed.

The Marshall announced part way up that we’d been running for some 4 odd minutes, so I started to agonise over my Maths.

Round the top corner and we were once again on the level, approaching the library.

I hadn’t exactly cleared the field.  In fact, I was hurting a little, trucking along slowly and still in the 7min/mile region.  At least the hill hadn’t slowed me down.

Now to the downhill section back to the start line for completion of Lap1.

Coming out of the downhill… deep in thought/anguish

A glance at the watch now and confirmation of race plan effectiveness…..  well, still 7 min/miles, but feeling okay.

Second climb, still 7min/mile.

And by the third climb….. the same.

Eventually and rather awkwardly, I reach the finish funnel.  Scrambling to retrieve my barcode from inside the elasticated fabric near my knee, but producing a slow march with one hand half way up my shorts!  If you were there, all I can say is sorry.

Thankfully – no photo of me ‘rooting’ about in my shorts.

So, 2015 result – 20min.

2018 was……. 21:53.     WTF!   I really expected to get a better time for having paced myself in the first lap.  I thought that to build gradually was a sure way of coming out at full speed by the finish.  Goes to show.  You can definitely mistake fatigue for performance.  Just cause you’re incapable of producing more, doesn’t mean you’re flying, it just means you’re knackered.  End of.

Anyway – I obtained what I went there for.  Something to build on.

The shakiest of foundations sure, but all the same, a start.

I just need to go back in less than three years to measure my progress.

Oh and it was hot and I’ve been tired all week and……blah, blah, blah…..


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