In between finishing my Spring marathon and starting training for my next marathon, I am attempting to edge nearer to my 5k parkrun PB of 22.37 - the parkrun PB hunt. I do not have that many weeks to do this if I am honest, and last week in my first post marathon parkrun I managed a 24.26 time. This week the aim really was to knock some extra seconds off...
parkrun morning arrived and I was feeling a bit more confident in myself after a week of running in which I had managed to quicken my overall running pace slightly, and my legs also seemed a little better. Could I go sub 24 mins? A tiny part of me believed I could do this, and I tentatively mentioned it as my goal as I stood with my friend at Lincoln parkrun. We were not blessed with quite the gorgeous sunshine that last week brought, but it was still a pleasant morning. As 9am crept closer a little bubble of nerves started to rise inside me - this is what happens when I start putting time pressure on myself! Taking my place near the front of another huge field of Lincoln parkrunners I composed myself and prayed my legs would play game.
The first loop of the three lap course whizzed by, my legs felt good and I was really enjoying myself. I had debated running watch-less, as last week with my Garmin on a strange setting and no knowledge of my pace, I felt a lot happier. I couldn't quite bring myself to run 'naked', although I did not find myself referring to my watch; I could feel I was running ok and thus didn't need numerical reassurance. The second lap was a bit tougher, not on my legs so to speak, but I started to get a feeling in my stomach which I can only describe as if someone has punched their fist into the middle and is just keeping the pressure - its lovely as I am sure you can tell!
The feeling in my stomach was not going to fade, but I was determined not to let my legs fade. I entered into the third lap and overtook another female runner - this was my first motivation boost. I was not going to let her re-overtake me!
I dug in and started to catch up another parkrunner who I often see and know usually finishes around the late 23 min/early 24 min mark. Here was my next motivation. I made sure I kept within touching distance of him going through the final sections, and turning into the last 300m I exerted an optimistic early kick. It hurt; but hitting the final few metres I really went for it, in my head hoping this surge could help me dip below 24 minutes.
I was gasping for air in the finish funnel, doubled over, but also wary to keep moving as from volunteering to hand out finish tokens, I know its not good to stop in the funnel as can cause a runner backlog/potential token mix up! I was still hands on hips when my friend found me and asked how I had got on - I had not even checked my watch by that point! My time 24:11 - I was clearly happy to have knocked another 15 seconds off my time, but just a little disappointed it was not sub 24 minutes. It felt like I had ran hard enough to get that time, however I had certainly given it my all, so had to be satisfied with myself.
The park PB Hunt is going to be disrupted slightly over the next couple of weeks. I am volunteering next week and then have a half marathon the week after... but I never used to run parkrun this regularly, so am hoping a little break from racing around Boultham Park may recharge my legs ready for a 23 minute time next visit...!
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...