After getting a decent running block in during December, I allowed myself a couple of days to eat as much as I physically could on Christmas Day and Boxing day before getting back into my normal routine.
Katie and I were going up to Edinburgh for New Year’s to see my Mum and Dave the Lion (a person, not an animal), so naturally, the opportunity to parkrun was not one to be missed.
We actually were able to double parkrun, heading over to Portobello on New Year’s Day for a steady recovery run as part of marathon training, before jumping on the bus to Cramond the following day where we were both going to give it a hard effort and see what happened.
We’d actually already run at Cramond last February, so from experienced knew it was a relatively fast route, running 2.5km along the sea before turning around and heading back in the opposite direction. I had my sights on a potential PB after covering the second half of a 10km race last month in 18.05 – just 17 seconds off my all-time 5km best (17.48).
After a brisk warm-up, I lined up pretty near the front, hoping to get off to a fast start. I got chatting to another runner, as we both had the same GPS watch, and I found out he was a bit faster than me, so made a mental note to make sure I was running behind him! The weather was a little chilly to say the least, so it was a relief when the 10 second countdown to the start begun.
I went out hard from the off, but still found myself in about 25th position. Some people went out like the absolute clappers, but obviously weren’t the best at pacing a steady effort, as after a mile or so a fair few of them started slipping back down the field. I found myself running side-by-side with a 13 year old which is always quite motivating – you can’t lose to someone with legs half your size!
Getting to half-way I knew if I could hold it together I’d be on for a pretty quick time. We’d been running into a slight headwind up to the turn so I knew we’d have a bit of a tailwind on the way home. I saw Katie coming in the other direction and instead of the usual shout and wave I gave her a little thumbs up – I was in the zone and working hard. During the warm up I’d ran from the 4th kilometre marker to the finish and decided when I got to this point I’d go as hard as I absolutely could and just ignore the watch.
I hit 4km and just went for it – by this point I was running solo with a bit of a gap both in-front and behind. I absolutely buried myself in the last couple of minutes, crossing the line with a feeling of pure relief that it was all over. After composing myself I allowed myself a look at the watch – 17.31, and 15th position
To say I was pleased is probably an understatement – a year and a half ago I couldn’t have even imagined running a time this quick.
Once I’d got my breath back I jogged back down the course to see how Katie was getting on – she ended up with 24.26, her fastest time for nearly a year, and I can see big improvements coming in the next few months – all those Thursday morning interval sessions are starting to pay off.
During a quick cool down run I spotted the runner I’d had a brief chat with at the start. I asked if I could join him for the rest of his cool down and we talked a bit more. Turns out he’s an Ironman Hawaii qualifier and raced there last October! Once I found that out I bombarded him with ironman questions and was just generally in awe of his achievements. Some people know it’s a life goal for me to get to this race some-day – and seeing someone like Rob achieving that has really spurred me on to go out there and get it one day. Great to meet you Rob!
Its back into normal training for the next couple of weeks, with no races scheduled at the moment. No doubt we’ll be at parkrun but probably run at an easy pace. Less than 10 weeks to go until Barcelona!