Saturday, 10 September 2011


(Apologies for two posts in the same day, but I am going to post this to the Basingstoke parkrun Facebook page, and people there might not want to read my ramblings about my first week at work. If they do feel so inclined, they can read all that nonsense here! )

So, after my first week in full time employment in 16 years, which necessitated getting up at 6am and doing prep work until late every night (think midnight most nights!), what else would I do on a Saturday morning than get up at 7am and head on off for parkrun? Given that I had collapsed, exhausted, into my bed at 9.30pm last night and that the alarm didn't sound until 7am one could argue that I had not only had a lie in, but I had caught up on some missed sleep from earlier in the week. It didn't feel like that. Especially when I had to fend off short people from about 5.30am. They may have thought it was nice to come into my bed proffering 'cuddles' but I was not impressed!

Still, by 8.20am I was in the car, and by 8.50am I was at War Memorial Park ready, if not eager, to get started. The weather was deceptive. It appeared that it would be quite chilly, but soon became warm and humid. I set off at quite a pace, as is my (bad) habit. It isn't that I plan to do this, it just seems that I can't help myself! I pulled myself up after a few hundred metres and slowed down a bit. Glancing at my Garmin had told me that I was running at a speed well below 7 minutes per mile, and I knew I couldn't sustain that!

It was hard work today. After the first complete circuit I considered stopping. I've never felt like that before, but I really hate running through that wooded bit, and the thought of having to do it again was almost too much! What I did instead was to decide that, as there was no way I was on for a PB today, I might as well take it easy. Relax a bit, run for the sake of running and all that malarky! I was yawning as I was running - so knew that tiredness was a big factor in the way my legs were feeling! I coasted around the second circuit, my Garmin says that I ran the middle mile in a pace of 8.21 minutes per mile. I only accelerated when my nasty, competitive streak reared its ugly head!

I was running past the play area when I heard footsteps approaching, accompanied by heavy breathing. A quick glance over my shoulder revealed a pink shirt. I decided I wasn't going to let yet another lady overtake me! I'd been coasting, so I had some reserves in the tank. I waited until she drew level, paced her for a few strides and then accelerated. Coming up through the dreaded wooded area, I passed a few more people, and managed to finish in 24.08 minutes - not too shabby for an off day when I wasn't expecting any thing special!

Coffee afterwards was lovely. It is nice to have a few minutes to relax and chat about races run and races planned. It seems to me that there are a hard core of 'coffee regulars' meeting every week. If you are reading this and haven't been along for a coffee yet please do think of doing so. Cafe Giardino do the best lemon & poppy seed muffins I've had for a long time!

Congratulations to all those who got new PBs today! Thank you to all the volunteers. What would I do without parkrun to look forward to every Saturday?

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