Easter weekend saw my friend and I head to our local Lincoln Park Run. I had not been to Park Run for a few weeks, and on my last visit recorded a fairly respectable 23:56 - much better progress in my quest to return to my PB of 22.37. In 2016 I have literally been all over the place, predominantly stuck in the 24 minute time zone, sometimes getting closer to 23 minutes, but other weeks slipping closer to the 25 minute mark. And this week? Well I managed a shockingly poor 25.28.
I understand many would still view this as a good time, but I hope you can also see as someone who was once running 22 minute times, its a little bit frustrating! Why am I becoming so inconsistent? To be honest I am not really sure. I know I do struggle to maintain my speed when I am am marathon training, but that does not really account for my erratic times. Why was this week in particular so poor? Well that I may have some ideas about...
Before Park Run I was a little apprehensive of how I could/should approach the run. With the Manchester Marathon just two weeks away, any form of injury or unnecessarily tiring myself out I knew I would rue. My troublesome quad was also not perfect, and with the TFL tightness slightly spreading to my knee, I was not sure how much pain I might be in when running. So there were doubts in my mind before the clock had even struck 9am.
As the 'go' signal was given I went off as normal though. It was an amazingly busy Park Run, and I did struggle to find free running space for a lot longer than previous weeks. My first km split was therefore fast as a nipped past runners at any available opportunity. It was a speed I knew I could not sustain, and thus I settled for the next kilometer, feeling quite comfortable. Then it all rapidly went downhill. My legs started to feel heavy, my calves getting that tight brick like feeling - I knew what was coming. My strides become less effortless, I struck the ground with much less power and drive, and my pace dropped. As I slowed, people started overtaking me. I don't know why but this really affects me at Park Run, it gets me down and seems to reinforce that I am slowing.
I trudged on - it definitely felt more like trudging than running. I don't know if I looked like I needed some encouragement, but two runners spoke to me. One jokingly pointed out the strong head wind whipping on one corner of the course - I smiled, but was not in the mood to joke sadly! Then another runner told me he felt like he 'was dying ' - not really what I wanted to hear! Mentally I was fading almost as fast as my legs, the frustration of my limbs not going as fast as the rest of my body wanted to go taking over.
The final kilometer came and I drew some determination for a kick. It was a bit of a pathetic kick as my legs had nothing to give, but a kick nevertheless. However, with about half a kilometer to go, a glance at my watch told me I was heading towards a 25min + time - unless I suddenly became Usain Bolt that is! At this point I was resolute, I was not handing in my barcode, I was not having this time recorded - not exactly the right finishing mentality! Luckily my friend was stood at the funnel waiting for me, and this spurred me on to grit my teeth and actually push for the line, saving what could have been an even more disappointing time.
So not a great run at all! Positively, my quad did not hurt whilst running.... and that's about it! Actually I lie, the best part of the morning was my friend's return to Park Run after injury, managing a hard earned 22 minute time and maintaining her rather more consistent Park Run record! I had to smile when the Park Run director pointed out as I stumbled into the finish funnel that my friend had still beaten; firstly I was more happy for my friend than anything else, and secondly, the only person I seem to be competing with at the moment is myself/my legs!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...