I'm excited that the Parkruns showed improvement in my 5k speed. In the first on June 16th I placed 48th in 23:32, faster than recent 5ks and the 23:44 I ran at Hervey Bay in 2017. A week later it was 32nd in 23:14 and for the last run, 32nd in 23:19. I now feel like my goal of running under 23 minutes for 5k in 2018 is within reach. The last two runs were quite different in pacing but both give me encouragement.
The 23:14 race had John Street pacing for 24 minutes. John has run an amazing 20:51 in the 75-79 age category, over 90% age-graded. I started with John's group, the initial few hundred metres faster than the previous week. About half way to the turn on the flat out/back course I drifted ahead of John and found myself chasing a bloke wearing a '100 run' shirt, a lady and a couple of youngsters. Coming back I felt like I was running fast and relaxed, quicker than the previous week. The time of 23:14 was faster than expected. The following week I started perhaps a little too fast, 4:20 pace for the first 500 metres. Although I passed a few other fast starters, most of my race was a tale of gradually losing places and wishing it was over. The lady in 27th who ran 22:59 gained that 20 seconds over the second half.
Now I'm back in cold, sunny Canberra, waiting for warmer Parkrun mornings. While I was on holidays I finished reading Scott Brown's Samurai Running Book. A number of things resonated. Among them, that training is like the dripping of water that slowly carves out a rock. With distance running it's the cumulative effect of months and years of unspectacular but consistent training that produces success. And the tale of the apprentice swordsman who wanted to become great, asking the master swordsman 'how long will it take?' The answer he hears is 'ten years' but the apprentice doesn't have that long so offers to work twice as hard. The master replies 'if you work twice has hard it will take you thirty years to become great.'
A few steps from the finish on 30 June at Hervey Bay