On Saturday morning I raced my 44th Parkrun 5k, which happened to be on
International Parkrun Day. There were a record 320 finishers at
Tuggeranong, no doubt helped along by the beautiful calm morning with a
hint of Spring warmth in the air. My pre-race plan was to run hard and
see if I could improve my 22:52 Parkrun PB.
I arrived a little late so warmed up with a short jog and 3 strides. Our
race director had set up a rather narrow start chute so my usual grid
position produced a momentary delay of 5 seconds or so before I was up
and running. I was wearing the Hoka Cliftons — the super
cushioned and stunningly light (265 grams, size 13) training shoe. The
harder Kinvaras may have been faster, but my legs are liking cushioned
shoes! After 500 metres I found myself running behind a lady with a dog
on a lead — she on one side of the path and the dog on the
other. Should I resurrect my steeplechase skills and hurdle the lead?
Ah, maybe not!
It wasn't long before I was able to get past and settle
into a steady (hard) tempo.
Passing the Maccas morning breakfast crowd I looked up ahead and saw my
rival Jim taking the sharp left turn that leads under the bridge. Wow,
that's quite a lead!
As we turned onto the concrete footbridge I could
see that Jim had formed a group with two other old blokes, Paul and
Graeme, with younger bloke John along for the ride. Their advantage was
about 75 metres but I could sense it was slowly reducing. I didn't feel
like I was speeding up (which was proved by my post-race splits). Maybe
they've started too fast?
At the half-way turn I was closer and felt
like a catch was inevitable. I hope it happens before the last 100
As we ran off the bridge onto the west side of the lake the
small downhill gave me the momentum to overtake John and Graeme then
Paul and Jim in quick succession. 1k to go!
I ran as hard as I could,
fearful of Graeme's final sprint (which he used to defeat me in an
Now I was using young blokes and kids as unofficial pacers, racing along
beside the lake and readying myself for the final speed-bump of a hill
into the park. Up and over, then a modest (it felt devastating!) sprint
to the finish. Stopped the Garmin after the line, pretty pleased to see
22:52 (official time was 22:54, so agonisingly short of a new Parkrun
PB). Never mind, I'd had a good race! I think the additional cycling
training I've been doing is starting to produce results. I still don't
feel 'fast', but I feel strong which is a good place to be. My average
heart-rate for the race had been 146, so a pleasingly low 669
heart-beats per kilometre. One kilometre splits were 4:38, 4:34, 4:34,
4:35 and 4:33 (the first closer to 4:32 taking into account the delay at
the start). This coming Sunday I'm racing the Melbourne 10k, looking
forward to it as a catch-up-with-friends holiday rather than a race. I
hope the weather is typically Melbourne-perfect!