My turn for Parkrun today and I decided it was about time I did my “home” one after three months of doing the tourist thing. The last time I ran Bexley Parkrun in Danson Park was in mid-March and I wanted to know if I could beat my previous time. I have run two other courses faster, but one was completely flat and the other, well I don’t know if I was just having a good day or if the pacer helped or if it was the speed I picked up downhill!
My previous course PB at Danson is 29:19. I had been hoping to better that, but didn’t think I would realistically run another sub-27. It would be nice, but not today, not least because my legs are still tired from my 11-mile epic on Wednesday and then two days of standing all day on Thursday and Friday. I was at work! That might be no big deal for most, but having been made redundant back in April and taking the huge-for-me decision to become self-employed and go freelance, I actually had three days of work this week, was offered another but had already made family plans, and have two booked for next week already. But that’s by the by…
After a warmish sunny week, this morning started out overcast and cooler, about 16°C, which was quite pleasant for running. Bexley Parkrun is a big one, 500 or more runners are becoming commonplace now, and I do find that huge kind of crowd a bit intimidating. I was both surprised and relieved when my children’s after-school childminder came over while we were all waiting to start to say hello. She is a serious runner, competes for a club, but has taken a generous interest in my fledgling running career such as it is. She’s also been out injured for several weeks, so we’ve never bumped into each other at Parkrun before. And then I spotted two of my son’s Beaver scout leaders there too. Again, I knew they ran but hadn’t met them in a running capacity before, and a quick chat until it was time to start really helped my nerves.
The run started, and it did not start comfortably for me. I ended up getting boxed in behind a lot of slower runners and people with pushchairs and had to run the first quarter of a mile on the grass beside the footpath which is never ideal for me. There’s also a bottleneck as the path goes around the end of the lake. Unless you want to swim with the ducks, you’re forced to wait your turn. The course looks flattish but there are a couple of hills, the first of which is deceptive as it’s a long slow one that doesn’t feel like a hill so much as “I didn’t think I was this unfit, what’s going on?” until it flattens out and you realise what the problem was! I picked up some speed on the second mile, running that in 8 minutes dead, but by the third mile I’d started to cough (I have asthma, although I had used my inhaler) and was struggling. Excuses, excuses, but the run felt really tough pretty much from start to finish. I did manage a sprint finish though, which was good because I like to finish strong, but disappointing because if I had the energy left for that, I could have run the rest of the course faster.
Result- 28:29. 1 minute 37 seconds slower than my Parkrun PB, but 50 seconds faster than my previous time on that course, and my third fastest Parkrun overall.