Lauren and I were up North for the weekend to celebrate Jan's Bday with her, so I thought I would fit in the Albert Parkrun on Saturday morning before heading off to Dalton Park to pick her out a pressie.
The nearest Parkrun to Lauren and I in Rayleigh is London or Cambridge and so I am bereft of opportunites to run a 5K at home and so like to squeeze one in when the opportunity presents itself.
I struggled to get myself out of bed for the 9 O'clock start and Lauren looked a little disappointed when I arrived downstairs in my race gear ready to go. But the troops hussled and Lauren, Jan and I headed for the race. Not having to wait around at the start really worked, and I found myself a good spot on the start line.
We were set off, and I went hard, it felt good and others around me weren't really attacking it so I moved up and was in about 6th place after the first 250 metres. The leader was in a yellow vest, there was a good female in a pink top a young kid and two gents strung out ahead of me and I had dreams of going for the win. I've told Lauren I want to win a race before I pack it in and I think a Parkrun could be it. Christmas Day 2010 69 hardy souls turned up and the race was won in 20:01. Unfortunately today 288 people turned up and by the time I got to 500m's I knew my maiden win wasn't going to be today as I had slipped down to 10th.
I passed Lauren and Jan sipping their coffees at the 1K mark and the Garmin showed me going through the first Km in 3:30 an eyewatering 17:30 pace, over 2mins quicker than my race effort of just 5weeks ago. Something told me that wasn't going to be sustainable! The next Km is up the slope and I settled into my rhythm of a more realistic 3:50 Km pace, not too concerned with the occassional runner now passing me. Back down the slope for the 3rd Km and past the pond and the supporters still on for a PB but that early Km was starting to bite!
Now as I headed up the slope on the final lap, I was just taking it steady and with the 4K marker in sight I felt a stitch coming on, thankfully the last Km is downhill or flat and so I took my foot off the gas but managed to maintain sub 4min Km speed. The stitch was hurting and on more than one occassion I contemplated walking, but as I continued to lap those at the back of the field I pushed on. With 300 metres or so to go I looked over my shoulder to see this kid in an Athletics Club vest who I had seen at the start, and I thought he would be good. I was in about 20th place at this point but I wasn't going to get beaten by a 14 year old! I kicked and I kicked hard leaving him behind and taking over another runner or two as we came into the finish.
Final position of 18th out of 288 and a new PB of 19:21 taking 21 seconds off my PB of 5 weeks ago. Was really pleased with the time and felt good for having worked through my issues as the race wore on. I've now gone out hard at both Half Marathon and 5K and managed to hold on for good PB's, that is definately my natural style, but in the coming months I might play around with the formula and aim to run a bit more even pacing.