Festive parkruns and my first goal of 2016
January 2, 2016
It’s been a busy festive season and I haven’t been too bothered about training regularly, but I have fitted in quite a few parkruns.
My first parkrun of the holidays was at Southampton on Christmas Day. I took it as an opportunity to wear my new SOAS top (even if it is really a cycling jersey):
At the event, I met up with my friend, Teri, and ran with her and her children. They were all in festive fancy dress, which was really cute, but didn’t help us to go quickly. Teri’s daughter wanted to go under 30 minutes, so she completely smashed that goal.
Getting up for Boxing Day parkrun was a little tougher, but I surprised myself by doing OK. It wasn’t a super quick time, but it was one of my better runs of 2015!
My first run of 2016 was at Queen Victoria Country Park, which is a stunning location. I could have gone to Eastleigh parkrun, but that’s a muddy cross country location and my memory of Netley Abbey was that it was mainly on gravel and tarmac paths with a short finish section on grass. I didn’t realise that the course has changed since I was last there…
It was great to see some of my friends at Netley Abbey, including Sharon and Loraine, who I haven’t seen for a long time. I also saw my work buddy and Thunder Run team-mate, Rikki, who ran with me for a short while.
I was also delighted to see my friend, Paul – he’s a fellow runner and a brilliant photographer. It’s thanks to Paul that this blog post has so many pictures.
The course at Netley Abbey is three loops, with much of it being on a very muddy path. At first I tried to dodge the puddles, but I quickly realised that it was impossible and that I might as well plough through them.
I played a bit of a cat-and-mouse game with the chap in the blue t-shirt. We kept passing each other on the hills, but he had a superior sprint finish, whereas I wanted to save some energy for later in the day!
Although I didn’t run very quickly, it was nice to get a PB for this course.
My second parkrun of the day was at Southampton, so I had a quick chat with my friends at Netley Abbey and then hopped back into my car.
Yet again, I met up with my friend Teri, who was chaperoning a mini Saints squad – her two children and her friend’s son, all dressed in their football kit. It’s great to see three children all under the age of 10 who are so excited about running. The only negative is that they are so enthusiastic that they don’t always look where they are going and tend to weave around on the path a bit, so it kept us on our toes!!!
After setting a PB on Christmas Day, the children amazed us by running even harder and setting new PBs.
Although my finish time was slower than at Netley Abbey, my Garmin stats showed that I had run significantly faster at this event (I clearly didn’t follow the racing line!)
My last parkrun of the festive season was this morning at Southampton parkrun.
I spent much of yesterday feeling ill and sorry for myself, and was feeling fatigued this morning, which wasn’t a great start. I started with Teri, but it was tough going, so I let her go on the first hill and just tried to maintain an even pace without looking at my watch.
I chatted to lots of people on the way around and managed to spur on a couple of people who had stopped, which made it feel like a worthwile run.
In the last 400m, I was passed by lots of people but my breathing wasn’t good, so I kept at a steady pace. After I finshed and looked at my watch, I felt annoyed with myself for not pushing a tiny bit at the end:
So, my first two parkruns at Southampton have been 28:11 and 27:03. My goal for my next parkrun is 26:XX so I’ll need to run 5:12-5:23/km.
It’s going to take a bit of effort, but I’m back at work this week, so my training schedule will be getting back on track. I’ll be swimming on Monday, doing some running on Wednesday lunchtime, coaching on Wednesday evening and doing a stretching session on Thursday with Liz. It’s not a full schedule, but I’m excited to get started.
What’s your first short-term goal of 2016?