Saturday saw me complete my first Lincoln parkrun post the Manchester Marathon. A combination of other races, watching the London Marathon, and importantly having my turn at parkrun volunteering meant this was my first real opportunity to try out my legs. During 2016, and in the midst of marathon training, my parkrun times have been neither fast or consistent. I have ranged from late 23 minutes (once) to over 25 minutes. The latter time of 25.28 being my last visit before the marathon.
With marathon training temporarily on the back burner, my aim for the next few weeks is try and get as close to my 5k PB as possible - a slightly daunting 22 minutes 37 seconds! I set this in June last year, so it feels like a long time since my legs were that rapid! For today's parkrun I wasn't expecting greatness or a PB, as my legs are definitely not back to their best, let alone capable of knocking some three minutes off my last 5k time. However, I knew I wanted to be faster than my pre-marathon run and thus set myself a sub 25 minute goal.
Saturday was a beautiful sunny morning, and standing by the bandstand I remembered how during the summer months its so easy to forget you actually have to run still! I chatted away to my friend and clapped runner's achievements, enjoying the overall warmth of the atmosphere. The weather had bought out lots of runners, and there were in fact a record 404 finishers for the Lincoln event.
I reluctantly edged my way to the front of the start, not feeling like I really deserved to be there, but encouraged by my friend. On the 'go' signal I surged off like always, beginning my first lap of the three loop course. I kind of expected to feel a sudden heaviness or tightness hit my legs but to my slight shock I actually felt ok. I knew I must have been running reasonably well as my friend who in past weeks has been too far in front to even spot, was in my eyesight. The first lap was comfortably hard, and I had not even felt the need to check my watch. When I did glance down at it I realised I had it on some strange setting which did not show me my overall time. So I was now running blind.
I think the absence of my watch was actually a good thing, as from then on I just ran to how I felt rather then nervously checking what my pace was and trying to mentally do calculations in my head. The second lap again felt ok, although I knew towards the end my pace must have been dropping as my friend was edging further into the distance. By the final lap, my legs were feeling tired and their power was beginning to fade. I have got used to this feeling occurring a lot earlier in the run though, so I pushed myself to keep going.
Without my watch I had no idea what time I was on as I headed into the final sections, so just went with the mentality of pushing as hard as possible! I crossed the line and buckled over catching my breath - weirdly it was good feeling! I didn't know my time at this point, but the fact my friend was not stood waiting for me gave me a little glimmer of hope that I might have done alright. After gathering myself I managed to review my watch. My first two kilometres were both sub 5 minutes, the next two I slowed to just over 5 minutes, before recording a final kilometer of 4 mins 20 seconds. There was clearly something in my legs a the end! My overall time - 24 minutes 26 seconds; 1 minute 2 seconds quicker than my last parkrun. I was very happy.
Whilst there is still a long way to go to get back to running a 22 minute 5k - I feel this week positive steps were made. I was happy with my time, bit I think I was more pleased with generally how much better my legs felt during the run. The PB hunt is on!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...