03 August 2013

Indian Summer

I find this hard to understand. Off very little running, none of it really fit to be called "training", I had done a couple of fast Parkruns culminating in a personal fastest time, and a couple of 5 milers not far off 40 minute pace - one of them with a nasty cold (which lingered for nearly a fortnight). Nor am I any younger than I was, at any time before, naturally. So where did these performances come from?

With a fastest Parkrun time from an outing at Abingdon, which is definitely not the fastest course in the world, an attempt on my PB at Newbury (RAF Greenham Common, as was) was hard to resist. This morning the weather was perfect: no wind, and not too hot or sunny. I lined up in an unaccustomed spot a little bit from the front, eyeing a couple of young boys who perhaps should have been accompanied warily - will they get in the way of faster runners? - and worrying a little about the guy with the racing stroller (thank goodness they were not long invented when my daughters were small). I had already discussed running with a springer spaniel with the man who was doing precisely that, and it was clear from what he said to me that he'd be off into the distance (whereas Hugo would have had to be dragged along).

What can I say? It felt good from the start. A few people came past, and I passed a few optimists who should have started a little further back. My friend with the springer headed off at a storming pace until nature called and I passed them with the dog squatting and the runner rummaging in his shorts pockets for a plastic bag. Shortly afterwards they came blasting past me again, the bag grasped more firmly in his hand than ever such a parcel is in mine.

One mile, and the Watch beeped. 6:48. I don't know when I last saw that sort of pace on it. Another mile, another beep. 7:04. Could be more consistent, but that first mile was not a complete flash in the pan. But the third mile was tough, and the little bit at the end (not as little as it should be though: 3.14 miles means I can deduct a few seconds to give me a reliable 5K time) not inspiring enough to lift me - perhaps because the new finish was not as visible as the old one was. I was struggling, though the splits still look respectable. Perhaps next time I'll do it in metric and see what it gives me. But however you look at it, that's a big PB for a Parkrun, and 68.79 per cent a good age-graded result (though I have bettered 70 per cent in the past, something else to aim for). And Newbury's fast, but not completely flat and certainly not smooth ...

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