Reigate Priory parkrun (winter course)

Some parkrundays are better than others.  Today’s was better than most.

The course had less gooey grass than I had expected, as they were running their winter variation.  An ultra-running friend was down from Lancashire, some touring friends were visiting and a local friend had stayed local.  I spent the first lap chatting to my ultra-running friend and when she stretched her legs and dropped me at the start of the second lap, a new-to-me tourist in a 250-t took her place.

Nice course, convenient café, great company, and close enough to home to merit an 07:xx alarm call.

Today’s parkrunday was better than most.

 

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Homewood parkrun

After a fabulous parkrun featuring friends, mud, tree roots, trees, coffee cake and token sorting, I was sitting in the café when my results text came through.  “Your time in position 57 today at Homewood parkrun was 33:00”

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Finally.  After 286 parkruns I have completed my set of seconds.  My penultimate one, xx:05, came at Bognor Regis in April 2015 and since then I have been taunted with two xx:58s, four xx:59s, three xx:01s and two xx:02s, but never, until today, an xx:00.

seconds

\o/

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Polesden Lacey 10k

There was a time when I wouldn’t have given the Polesden Lacey 10k the time of day.  It has no bling, no goody bag, no results – in fact no evidence of participation at all.

Who would want to go to a beautiful National Trust property on a gorgeously sunny day to join a small group of other runners for a free, waymarked 10k run through the British countryside?  Seriously?  Who would do that?  Granted it sounds like great fun, but if there isn’t a useless piece of tat at the end then WHAT IS THE POINT?

And who, having run one, would be hatching plans to visit the other nine?

Answers on a National Trust postcard to:

Abradypus Sloth
The Sofa
Snug-under-Cat
ME4 0NE

 

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Box Hill Fell Race

One of the nice things about a personalised training plan is that it encourages me to climb out of my rut from time to time.  For example, last Sunday’s hilly trail run came with the phrase “somewhere new and exciting perhaps?” at the end of it.

As it happens, I’m in the middle of a cluster of deadlines at the moment, both work related and personal, and the level of effort involved in trying to find somewhere new and exciting that was hilly, would work for the suggested session and which wouldn’t end up with me being hopelessly lost was beyond me.  The best I could muster was newish and not wholly dull, so I loaded the route for the Box Hill Fell Race onto my watch and set off for a recce.

It turned out to be a nice enough run.  Bits of the route were familiar from Midsummer Munro, XNRG’s Pilgrim Challenge, Centurion’s NDW100 and various training runs in that neck of the woods.  The other bits (mainly the steep ups and even steeper downs) were less familiar but much the same, and I came away thinking “that was fun, but I could probably live without running the race itself, I’ll see if I can find anyone who’d like my (perfectly legally transferable) place”.

I couldn’t.  The gods of running are obviously more powerful than the gods of productivity.

Not wanting to anger them, I set my alarm and headed off to Box Hill.

Best.  Decision.  Ever.*

It turns out that a nice enough solo recce run on a very wet day translates into a hugely enjoyable race on a crisp and clear day of gorgeousness**.  Especially when the race is a small, low key, local race organised by runners and comes complete with a fair turn out of Windmilers and a handful of familiar faces from elsewhere in my running world.

Flat road races have their place, but it’s the hilly trail ones that remind me just how much fun running can be.

* Okay.  Probably not really, but definitely one of my better ones.

** The views were stunning.  So I’m told.

 

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Run or go crazy

Dust.

Boxes.

Dusty boxes.

Boxes of dust.

And PEOPLE IN MY TERRITORY.

After a teeny tiny meltdown on Sunday*  **  ***, I was feeling in need of a little bit of calm, so when a friend suggested a run and a chat, I leapt at the chance.

One run later, and everything is right with the world.  Other than the dust, boxes, dusty boxes, boxes of dust and the prospect of another week of PEOPLE IN MY TERRITORY, but at least they’ve returned to being slightly tedious.  For the time being, at least.

 

*  “My my, living out of boxes while surrounded by dust is beginning to become slightly tedious.”

** Andy B, Kat M – for reference, similar to the teeny tiny meltdown I had around mile 100 of NDW100.

*** My Andy – contradict me at your peril

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Crossed wires (#janathon day 9)

One of the lingering effects from breaking my ankle years ago (aside from a lack of flexibility which makes miracle stretching programmes almost irresistible) is a slight distortion to my sense of touch: pressing my scar triggers a short circuit which makes the sole of my foot tingle.

Our house seems to have developed a similar problem: pressing our doorbell triggers a short circuit which makes all the lights and electrics go out.

Oops.

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Regent’s Park 10km (4 of 6)

After my third fastest parkrun ever last weekend, I went into today’s Regent’s Park 10km wanting a shiny new 10km PB, or at least a time that was better than last month.

Alas it was not to be.  By the second kilometre it was clear that the PB was off the table, by the fourth it was touch and go whether I’d manage to beat last month’s time, and by halfway I realised I was so far off the required pace that I’d be lucky to match even November’s time.

Fortunately, it was at that point that I was overtaken (again) by my in-race nemesis.  We’d been playing leapfrog for a while (she was stronger on the slight rises, I was better on the slight downs) and her apparent obliviousness to all the runners around her combined with a slightly elbow-jabbing running style had started to grate.  I chased her down, overtook her and then knuckled down to try to salvage some sort of dignity from the race.

I managed to stay clear of her for the best part of a lap, but then, somewhere between the 8km and 9km markers, she was back.  Aaargh.  I tried to reel her in, but as we turned the final corner, she remained stubbornly in the lead.  One last push!  It’s downhill!  There’s the finish!  COME ON!  After 9750m of not-quite-thereness, I finally found a dribble of energy and picked up my pace, overhauling her about 2m from the line.

It was almost certainly a notional victory – it’s a chip-timed race and I have a sneaking suspicion that she started behind me – but it was the only scrap of “Yay!” on offer and I’m taking it.

Here’s to a better run next month.

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