Coming back, ever so slowly
At the rather casual command of 'Go!', 225 runners (and walkers) set off on the twisting out and back course by the shores of Lake Tuggeranong. The first 300 metres was the usual somewhat chaotic scramble through the town park. I found myself running behind Brian Wenn (who quickly gathered himself and made his way up the field, eventually finishing in 22:53). Just before 1k, Leonie rounded me up on a sharp corner so I settled in behind her (told myself that at the time!) as we ran over the footbridge to the eastern side of the lake. The midfield of our Parkrun is popular, so there were many other runners to overtake or be overtaken by. Not long after the 2k mark I forged ahead of Leonie, using Gareth (pushing a stroller) as a bit of a pacer for a while.
Around the turn and back towards 'home' I huffed and puffed away, mainly passing people at this stage. I sensed Leonie running at my shoulder and just before the 4k mark she surged ahead. I ran hard, but it was all I could do to keep the elastic from breaking as we ran back into the park. Finally I was running over the last deceptive hill before an attempted sprint finish. I ran 24:33 for 57th place, with Leonie running a 5k PB just 3 seconds ahead. Next time! My splits had been 5:02, 5:02, 4:53, 4:48 and 4:47.
My comeback to full fitness is progressing well, but ever so slowly. This past week I noticed a sudden improvement in heart-beats per km for one of my 10k courses — 748, down from the 800 or more it had been a couple of weeks ago. If the improvement continues, I'd expect another jump down to the 720s, before another to the 700s. My 5k Parkrun races have also been improving — 26:07 at an average HR of 147 on January 4 down to 24:33 at an average HR of 148 yesterday. My advice to anybody reading this is to never (if you can help it) have more than 3 weeks off running. It takes a long time to come back!