10 weeks into the year. My training plan had pencilled in my home parkrun every Saturday and I’ve been using Hillsborough each week as a way to measure my fitness and improvement. I began the year running 20:54 and despite the conditions and a forever changing route because of said conditions, over the 9 I have done I have gotten my time down to 19:37. I’ve mentioned in previous reports I’d like to get a sub 19 at parkrun this year……
…..Well that’s exactly what happened on Saturday. Going into the weekend the plan was to do Hillsborough again for the International Women’s Day parkrun, however, Friday night we made a last minute family decision to go to York to do some shopping as we like to look in the charity shops for 2nd hand toys for my wife’s childcare business and I am always on the look out for any second hand Pratchett books, with conditions half decent for York, Sarah agreed to let me do York parkrun then catch bus into York. My week had been up and down training wise, at the moment it takes me longer to recover from a hard session and Tuesday I had nailed 6 miles at 6:30 pace and still felt the effects of that run on Friday. My aim for York was simply run hard and hope to beat my Hillsborough time.
I love York and it’s neighbour Heslington, both are fast parkruns on a good day. I knew I’ve done quick times here in past and always said it can be a good 30-45s quicker then Hillsborough. Sat in the car as I waited to warm up, I spoke to my running buddy Keith and said I was aiming for around 19:30. Honestly I didn’t think I had the legs to beat the recent 18:55 I set at the Leeds 5k race. After a warm up and a dash to the toilet, I had the opportunity to talk to some runners I’ve not seen in years. After a delayed start due to a few announcements, it was go time. The route started into a head wind but compared to recent wind I didn’t notice it much. I soon settled into a good rhythm, there was a good group just in front of me that I slotted in behind. I felt comfortable and it became a race that just felt smooth. In that I mean I felt in control without feeling I was pushing too hard.
I kept an eye on watch and if it dipped over 6:00 I pushed again. The first mile loops round far end of the course then a large left bend means you are facing the opposite way. After 1st K No one passed me and I was in fact able to claw a few positions up. The long straight towards the main grandstand allowed me to pick up pace as was out of the wind, then it was a left followed by a right turn to put us on the finish straight. By now the first mile had buzzed for a 5:57 first mile. Great, I knew a good second mile before I turned back into the wind would help me. As I ran through the finish line I could see my family on the bend. This put a massive smile on my face and my daughters wise crack made me chuckle as I headed round to the start.
Now this mile technically was out of the wind but turned out to be my slowest as I found myself on my own for a large section but as I got closer to the start line I began to get my second wind. The watch buzzed, I didn’t look at the watch (it was 6:02) but I felt good so pushed on. I began to close the gap and group in front were working together and they became my sole focus. One must have been pacing as he was barking instructions as we entered the last KM and it actually helped as I simply kept pushing every time he said anything and my paced picked and it meant my last mile was my fastest. Something I don’t think I have ever achieved. Then I kicked as hard as I could to cross the line in 18th place. A quick look down at my watch said 18:35 WTF!!! 62s then my time last week, where the heck had that come from. I was buzzing. I wanted sub 19 at some point in 2020 but to get it just 10 weeks in was/is a massive confidence boost that I’m slowly getting back to my best.
Now I switch my attention to getting my time down at Hillsborough and I know to run sub 19 at Hillsborough I need to be closer to 18:15 5k pace on a flat course. I think when we switch back to the normal route it will help but target now is to lower that 19:37 time.