“parkrun – Hard effort please. Way above half-marathon pace, if not all out.”
With Lakeland 100 less than 5 weeks away (gulp), my training plan is feeling a little relentless. There’s nothing massive in there – the idea is that no single session is so hard that it couldn’t be repeated within 48 hours – but there are precious few rest days, rolling has been replaced with hilly and parkrun tourism has been firmly on the back burner.
I re-read the instructions. All out. Fulham Palace again? A long-overdue return to Dulwich? Idly, I checked my nearest new-to-me parkruns. Ellenbrook Fields: mainly grass. Thurrock: all grass. Sittingbourne: gravel, trail, grass and complicated as all hell. So far, so unpromising. Panshanger: entirely off-road with a 700m incline at the start. Bedgebury Pinetum: undulating. Worthing: all tarmac, pancake flat.
I updated my sacrifices to the parkrun weather fairies and made plans*.
It was glorious. The weather fairies accepted my sacrifices and rewarded me with sunshine and a gentle breeze. The warm-up jog over the shingle beach made the tarmac prom feel super-fast**. The cow cowl worked its magic and allowed me to stalk a couple of unsuspecting locals***. I even managed to muscle in on some token sorting action at the end.
I will be back.
* Set alarm for not-too-early o’clock. Park on the seafront a mile from the start so I had no excuse to skip a warm-up jog. Locate toilets. Take barcode and cow cowl.
** It was an illusion. I’m still a good 30 seconds / mile off PB pace.
*** They weren’t sporting their cowls, but I recognised them from their photos, poor souls.