Me & Mrs, fun touristing at Gadebridge parkrun in Hemel Hempstead (photo by Tony Streams)
Lately though I've missed the buzz of racing, running with a number pinned to my t-shirt. Mrs has been away a lot lately (she has a new job now too) so I found myself at a loose end a couple of weekends ago. Turns out Thames Hare and Hounds, one of the many local running clubs, were starting a new series of 5-mile events. To be held on the second Sunday of every month they named the series 2nd Sunday 5.
The "2nd Sunday 5 pioneers" (photo courtesy of Thames Hare and Hounds)
I signed up for the first one, turned up, and ran it. It was small and low key, with just 22 entrants I came a respectable 14th after busting a lung or two trying to catch the person in front of me for the last mile and a half (I did, with just 20m to the finish line). My 43:46 time sets a new PB for 5 miles (by default, as I've never run a 5 mile race before!). Strava log is here.
Run down, complete the loop twice, then back to the start for a total of 5 miles (a little over 8km)
I enjoyed the course, and learned a new bit of Wimbledon Common. I shall certainly return on June 14th to try and better my time - and every other 2nd Sunday I can make it. I reckon it'll be a mud-bath in the winter, great fun.
Yesterday I again ran with a number pinned to my t-shirt. This time it was the Bupa Westminster Mile - a 1-mile event round St James's Park. I was running in the parkrun wave so there were many familiar faces. After a very enjoyable and scenic ride down the Thames Path I ended up in a bit of a panic jog to get to the start on time! I was really bringing my personal parkrun spirit to the day.
The start pen for the parkrun wave (photo by Steve Darby) - me in the middle talking to Mike!
So it turns out running a mile is really hard. I had set myself a target of under 7 minutes - based on some finger-in-the-air estimation of finding a time in between my fastest ever 1km (3:45 but in much better/lighter shape than I am now) and my normal "fast last km" at a parkrun, which at the moment is around 4:40. 7 minutes equates to 4:21 which felt about right.
Bumped into "parkrun pioneer" James Russell, one of the first 13 runners at Bushy Park event #1
Nice to have another medal for the collection
After a lung-busting first 800 yards (yards!, what's a yard?) I could feel my legs complaining - I haven't run hard for a long time. My pace dwindled a bit towards the end, but I managed a little push in the last 50m. I finished 549th of in an official time of 6:53 - happy with that, and another PB (seeing as I've never run a mile race either).
Play with the awesome Strava labs flyby tool here, and see how I stacked up against all the other starve users.