Tag Archives: running

My first “parkrun”

Today I ran my first parkrun. If like me you’ve never heard of them:

parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in.

Pretty simple really. You just register for free on the website for a personal barcode, print it out then turn up and race. You just register as a runner, not for individual races, it’s up to you which races you attend.

The parkrun in Bristol is held in Ashton Court, a pretty simple out-and-back course that takes you up a hill then back down it.

The races starts at 9am so I left the house a little late at 8:40 but thought I’d be ok. I underestimated how rubbish my bike is, how strong the wind was and how slow I am. It too me 22 minutes of flat-out cycling to get to the start line. Luckily the race started 5 minutes late so I was able to join in (heart still beating like mad!).

As usual, I started near the front over-filled with optimism. Half way up the climb my pace slows to a crawl and I realise I left all my optimism at the start line. I plod on.

At the half way point of the course you’re at the top of the park and turn back on yourself. Panoramic views of Bristol spread before you and you realise it’s all downhill from here. The optimism has caught me up and I smile. I probably look like a complete idiot when I run downhill, bouncing with huge lanky strides. I don’t care, it feels great, I love running downhill. The wind is also on my back and it just feels like flying. I start picking off the people that overtook me on the climb. Clap clap, my feet pound the path picking up dangerous speeds. This can’t be good for my bones. It doesn’t even feel like hard work, I can feel my heart rate dropping. Did I mention I love running downhill?

If you’re expecting me to say I won the thing, well, I was nowhere near. I guess I finished about 30th and I forgot to stop my watch so don’t really know what my time was (although it’ll be on the website later). That doesn’t matter though, it was a good, fun race. Well, I say it doesn’t matter but I’m far too competitive to leave it there. I wonder if I can get into the top 20 before the end of the month… 😉

Challenge Conclusion…

Back in April I challenged myself to run 5km in under 19 minutes and gain 1.5 stone by the last Bridge Inn 5km of the summer.

Tonight was the night.

Being too busy disorganised, I didn’t realise that tonight was the deadline until today. If I had realised I would probably have prepared a little better. Two days ago I ran my first Kymin Dash, a ~7 mile run but includes a decent hill. Four days ago I ran in a 10km race between local clubs and broke 40 minutes for the first time.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t have the highest hopes before tonights race, my legs were tight and still a bit sore. I got chatting with another runner at the start line and we exchanged excuses as to why we weren’t going to do very well (an unwritten custom). I was mid-sentence when the whistle blew.

Woah! Quick! Start the watch and run!

Maybe it was being caught off-guard, but I shot off without any time to get nervous and build thoughts of self-doubt. I reached the half-way point, and glanced at my watch. I was on target. I was better than on target, I was going too fast. It didn’t matter though, I felt good. I dug in for the return to the finished line. Although the course is a simple 2.5km out, then 2.5km back, I’m pretty sure that the return leg is longer 😉

I can see the finish in the distance now, another look at my watch, 17 minutes. 2 minutes left if I’m to hit my target. The finish looks far away and although I’m running as fast as I can, I know I’ve slowed down. I pick out a road sign ahead that I think is half way between me and the end. I tell myself, “If I can reach that in 1 minute, then I can do it”. 1 minute and 15 seconds later I run past the sign. Damn. “Forget that, it probably wasn’t half way”, my legs are burning, “it’s only another 45 seconds, just sprint like mad!” I fly over the finish line and tap my watch. It takes me a second or two before I’m physically able to look at the watch because my arms are still flailing around trying to slow down. 18:58. Whoop! I punch the air like I’ve just won the thing as other runners who finished earlier clap slowly and politely.

So, I hit my target with 2 seconds to spare. Well done me. That’s that then. Thanks for reading. Bye.

Ahem. Oh. You’re still here. “What about the weight thing?”. Erm, yeah, well, I kinda focussed more on the running. I just weighed myself and I’m exactly the same as when I started.

Yeah, I failed the challenge really, but I don’t care. It was great fun and with my fresh personal bests I’m buzzing!

The Challenge: 1.5 stone heavier and 2.5 minutes faster

Last night I ran a pretty shonky 21:33 (~7m/mile) for the Bridge Inn 5km. I used to be faster but haven’t really been running since last year.

I also need to put on some weight because at 6 foot I’m pretty puny weighing in at 10st 9lb. According to the NHS weight calculator I should be over 12 Stone.

I’m setting myself the challenge of knocking 2.5 minutes off my 5km time (I’ve never run it under 19 minutes before) and reaching 12st 2lb before the Bridge Inn 5km summer series finishes on July 27th (the website hints there’s one in August but I’m pretty sure it’s wrong…).

I’m not sure how hard this challenge is going to be since I pretty much plucked the numbers out of the air. I also don’t know how to find out if I’m on track. Should I aim for linear gains and therefore expect to be half way to each of my targets halfway through the challenge? Or is there some kind of curved graph in which I get most the way very quickly but it soon flattens out?

Anyway, I’m sure it’s going to be tricky since they are both conflicting targets. The heavier I get, the harder it will be to run faster, but the more I train, the harder it’ll be to get heavier.

I’ll track my progress on here as often as possible. It should be an interesting experiment…