Sunday, 11 January 2015

Park runs and more

Wow. An odd week- not at work, 2 sessions on the indoor climbing wall and the decision to inject some speed. I signed us both up for Park runs and that of course meant finding some local 5km loops from the house. For me these will never take over from long runs and the hills but I can see they might have a place. When the run is from the door there is little excuse not to just go and when the run is going to take less than 30 mins there is no excuse at all.
My first effort at finding a nice loop from home was comical. I ran out along the Guild Wheel and didn't think too much about pace or hills at first. Then I checked my garmin (which I have barely used except for 2013 when I did my ultra challenges). How could I be so slow? Oh well, half way so start finding a route home and try a bit harder. By the time I was half way back I was putting in serious effort and still the time was ticking by. Surely ultras have not made me THIS rubbish at short distances? And then the penny dropped....  my garmin was set for miles not kilometres! Thank god for that, I had been really worried. So I arrived home knackered  and with what would be a very poor 5km time but quite a respectable 5 mile effort. Once I had recovered we went out for a walk to sort out a possible 5km route.
On Thursday I decided to check out the nearest park run route in Preston's Avenham and Miller parks. It would all be on tarmac but nevermind. I wanted some idea of what it would be like plus the parks and the river are not such a bad place to run. A shade under 26 minutes without much of a warm up and just doing my own thing. Not too bad a start but I want to be faster than that.
Christmas decorations? the tree is not even on a path
On Saturday I bit the bullet and drove to Cuerden. My first Park run. I got there very early and did one lap just to get it clear in my head and in the hope that a warm up would help me go faster. It rained on me so I kept my cag on which was probably a mistake as it was then dry and I was too warm. It might have done if I had not then hung around for 20 minutes. It was nice to see a few faces I recognised and a surprise to see the NW junior orienteering squad there training. I know that speed is not my thing and I know from bitter experience that going off hard will just cause problems before long but somehow I cannot help myself. The gun went and we were off. the downhill start is tempting but soon turns into a steepish uphill. The loops through the woods are beautiful and then it's down to the river before another climb and some more woods. Much of this is soft underfoot and so I prefer it, although I have to confess to a brief walk on both hills. I knew I would pay for the pace.  The course is two laps and on the second I realised that the NWJS kids that had pulled away were now only just in front of me. It made me work harder. The finish is a long steady climb and I almost caught Hannah etc. A quick chat at the finish and then a short drive home. Odd to be back by 10am but quite satisfying to have made my debut.

Not part of the Parkrun course... now that would be fun
Sunday morning saw me back there again with Bob. A nice warm up through the woods and then up to the park run start. This time I did not leave space to get chilled but set straight off. I made a determined effort not to charge off and to be able to run each hill. It did work. I lost a little time at the end of the first lap as an out of control puppy would not leave me alone. I managed to keep going on the second lap and once I reached the woods I was really enjoying myself. Towards the end of the second lap I met the puppy again. This time it had scared a toddler and was all over me. It ignored shouts of "come here" and I ignored shouts of "it just wants to play"... as it charged after me on the downhill it tried to jump up and bite and I lost my temper with the owner.
Blurry- I was shaking with anger at the stupid woman
At long last once I took a photo and said I would name and shame she put it on a lead. So my time of 26.32 should be minus 10 secs or so from lap one and closer to a minute on lap 2. Hmmm maybe going slower and running not charging and then having to stomp the hills would be better.

 I then spent the next hour jogging around the area and just enjoying being out before the rain.

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