Hello! I’ve been away for a few weeks. When I say away, I’m not speaking particularly literally… I’ve been to some places, but just haven’t really done anything particularly of note.
I did, however, get myself to London on a sunny Saturday morning to run round Regents Park in aid of the British Heart Foundation. A short note/whinge at this point, if I may… I run because I enjoy it. And for that reason, I don’t bother people for sponsorship. I suppose this could be seen as a tiny bit selfish as the entry fees for these races only usually cover the set up costs and it’s not very charitable to run a race but donate nothing, so for that reason I gave a fiver at the baggage drop instead of the suggested £1 and left it at that. I have an inerrant hatred of people who do things they want to do and demand money ‘for charity’- stuff like parachute jumping, where you get a cheap/free jump if you raise x amount- if you want to do it that badly, pay for it yourself and don’t expect me to part- fund your revels. End rant!
Anyway, back to Regents Park. It was a gorgeous day- sunny, but a little bit chilly, and I was hoping for good things. I screwed up immediately by leaving the house late and having to sprint off of the bus, into the station and up two flights of stairs to make the train (a little unexpected speed training). Happily I made it in time, met my buddies and we got to the park in good time for a pre-race wee IN AN ACTUAL TOILET! Not for Regents Park a grim little portaloo, the park was amply equipped already, so that put me in a good mood from the off. The queue to store baggage was a little on the slow side but we still had enough time to watch the warm up (i’m not really one for pre race aerobics!) and elected to pick up our free red tshirts at the end.
The course was one lap for a 5 k and you could peel off and do two for a 10 if you desired. I’d pre decided to do to 5 and set off slooowly over the start line (there were timing chips so I want bothered about clamoring to get over the start line at speed) before opening up into the park. We ran mostly on pathways and a lot of the first half seemed to be sloping downhill which was nice. AND we ran past London zoo- I saw a camel and what was quite possibly a pygmy goat. Exciting times. There was a longish section that went back on itself, giving me the opportunity to wave at my speedier friend and, inevitably, because what goes downhill must come up, a bit of a climb to the end. I really pushed out on the last k… possibly a bit too much because about 200m from the finish line, I’ll swear I was going backwards, I’d slowed down that much!
The overall result- 31.06. I’ll be honest, when I signed up for this race I was sort of hoping that it would be the day that I broke the magic 30 minute barrier, but I reality I knew I hadn’t trained enough so was quite content to post my second fastest 5k time since records began (in September last year!) and am pretty happy that I’m still improving, albeit at a slow rate. My regular parkrun buddies agreed that there’s definitely something comforting about knowing the course you’re going to run and I’m looking forward to going back to home turf again the week after next to see if I might be able to crack the 30 minute barrier.
In the meantime, it’s time to set myself a distance goal and I’m looking at signing up for a 10k, with no aspirations to do anything more than get around the course- I already run 7 or so k on my longer runs so think the battle here will be purely psychological, but sometimes the battles in your head are the hardest ones, right!