Position: 7th Time: 18:47

A small PB, but a PB nonetheless. To be honest, the next milestone I’ll really celebrate is a sub-18:30, but today’s parkrun shows I’m getting there.

At the moment I’m plateauing at about 40 miles a week so these times are what I expect really. When I did an 18:56 in Cardiff back in Easter it was a major boost, but now I know I’ve got the stamina to run a lot quicker. Although I paced it well today I didn’t feel like I really pushed it like I have done in the past.

Anyway enough of that, so hows my running been going since Hastings 5 mile? Well the week following that race didn’t feel great, at training my legs felt heavy and last Saturday I had to abandon going for a parkrun PB. After warming up around Grosvenor Gardens with my legs feeling like lead, I decided to take up pacing for 24 minutes instead.

For some reason at the end, I had 23 minutes in my head and decided to power through the last 400 metres and finished with a time of 23:15. It was only when a guy, who to be fair said it as more of an observation rather than a criticism, told me that I finished ahead of schedule.

So on the way back I’m slightly annoyed at myself, but then when I get in and check Strava I see this woman has left me a comment on my run. “Here we go”, I think.

But no, the comment reads, “You paced my son Daniel to a huge PB this morning – 1min 10 secs faster than his previous best. Thank you.” This did really make my day, also I find it quite funny that Daniel might’ve thought he’d just sneaked under 24 when really he ran so much faster thanks to my questionable pacing.

As a sidenote, the long run the following day was a tough one. I got the train up to Battle and ran back through trails and looped up and down and a couple of culdesacs. When I next boost up the mileage, lengthening my long run, even if I have to run it slower, is the main way I’ll do it. Thinking of that, I’m doing a long run with Chris tomorrow so I might extend it a bit on the way back.

Anyhow, this is a blog about parkrun, so let’s get back to that. Beforehand I spoke to Rachael from Nice Work (my internship) and Sam who I was joking about “running it properly” to, when I was pacing last week I think he was looking to stick with me to get under 20. Then I also saw James from the AC at the start line who was planning to tempo the run at a ridiculously fast pace (around 17:30) – he ended up finishing second.

For once I kept it calm and relaxed at the start. During the first kilometre and a half I tucked in behind a tall Hastings Runner who was helping me out a bit with the wind.

Then it was time to push on. I kept a good pace going through bottle alley and reached the halfway mark at about 9:24. There was a good group of us all running about the same speed which I think helped me a lot – everyone who finished from 3rd to 8th came in between 18:35 and 18:55.

My third kilometre was 3:42, as fast as my first. I wasn’t really looking at my watch too much either, hopefully illustrating that my ‘watchitus’ (looking at your watch too much in a race) has been cured.

3:49 was the time of my fourth kilometre which showed I was slowing down. Luckily, I heard Pete cheer my name toward the end which pushed me on to pick it up and finish on a 1:26 last 400m.

That’s what I love about parkrun. Despite the fact you’re running around the same course every Saturday, there’s always a story to tell – with 357 people and the volunteers, onlookers and whoever each having their own personalized tale.

Like I said I don’t feel like I really pushed it today but running at a faster pace is starting to feel easier. Anyway, tomorrow I’ll be doing 11 plus miles at a much slower pace but that’ll be just as tough – maybe tougher. As they say, it’s all about the journey though!