Saturday, 21 September 2013

Holiday! Southwick Country Park parkrun

Me and Mrs are on jollydays this week. We've come to Frome (apparently pronounced Froome, as in Chris) in Somerset to relax (although somewhat predictably the car was mainly full of bicycles, shoes, and sports clothing).

We drove down after work yesterday and today was our first full day - it's Saturday, and that means parkrun day. The nearest parkrun is Southwick Country Park parkrun, a 30 minute bike ride from where we're staying. Up and off, slightly foggy head after an unexpectedly good meal and wine at The Archangel (we'll be back there for sure - incredible onion rings), and with google guided navigation chattering instructions from my chest pocket. We got there with 10-15 minutes to spare.

Today's Run Director, and overall Event Director, Sean Price came and introduced himself. He explained Southwick Country Park parkrun was just over two years old, and told us about the course route. When I said my home run was Wimbledon Common he remembered Abradypus coming down for their inaugural run (and he was right, she did!) - good memory, Sean! He also said he recognised my name from somewhere (uh-oh!) and knew about my blog. We talked about parkrun tourism a bit, I just love trying out different parkruns.

Today was my 79th parkrun and my 64th different course (including 26 inaugural events). Some people are far more accomplished parkrun tourists. There's a most events table, and I'm a long way from the top! Ordered by number of different events I'm languishing down in joint 26th place, but ordered by inaugurals attended I sit 9th.

The top 4 as listed by number of different events, the competition is hot at the top (I'm joint 26th)

The top 4 ordered by inaugural events attended (I'm 9th)

I'm not quite challenging for the title yet, but I'll keep plugging away

The run went very well. Mrs and I ran perfect 25-minute pacing for the first 3km (5:00, 4:57, 5:00) and then I wound it up a bit to cover km 4 in 4:42 and then km 5 in 4:36 (Garmin data here). This was my strongest and best managed performance since injury. With an official time of 24:27 I ran faster last week at Southwark in 23:36 (but I measured that as 120m short, so I was on 24:12 5km pace really) but had it all on the line in terms of effort, I was far more comfortable this week.

We cycled there (and back) and ran "fasted" (no food, only water and black coffee). Fasted sessions encourage your body to burn fat as a fuel rather than relying on carbohydrate stores. I was very pleased that I felt no loss of energy throughout the morning - I must go and get myself tested at some point. Mrs did it recently - her blog on it is a fascinating read.

A happy café stuffed full of happy parkrunners - just how it should be on parkrunday

£2 for toast'n'tea? A pleasant change from London prices!

After the run we enjoyed a cuppa at the wonderful little café. There's a really strong sense of community at this parkrun - lots of encouragement (it's always a good sign when the early finishers stay around to clap everyone else in).

The only parkrun with its own statue: L to R - Me, Sean, Mrs, and Forrest

I asked Sean if Danny Norman (presenter of The parkrun Show podcast) had been down, but although he's been invited a few times he's yet to get here - come on Danny, I think you'd love the community here!

Forrest has his own olympics inspired torch and his shape seems inspired by the London 2012 font

Thank you to Sean and the team, you made us feel very welcome indeed - particularly with the "come on, Wimbledon!" encouragement.

He represents the spirit of the parkrunner

This certainly have a wonderful parkrun, I look forward to running it again one day.

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