Finally back under 30 minutes at parkrun

Hands holding gold balloons in the shape of number 30.

It’s been a while since I’ve had enough time to write a blog post as I’ve been busy with work, studying and training. However, I have been making progress in all areas, including running parkrun in under 30 minutes.

Long run and Southampton parkrun 28/01/23

My long run was a bit shorter this week – I only needed to do 16.5km, so I decided to run 11.5km before parkrun as that’s the easiest time to fit this run in. Ending a long run with parkrun is nice as it really motivates me for the final 3.1 miles.

I left home at about 7:30am and decided to follow much of the same route as last Saturday with a jog down to Southampton Common. I then ran along Portswood High Street before heading down to Riverside Park. After going through Woodmill, I ran up Burgess Road before heading down Lovers Walk to the start of parkrun.

The weather is much milder, so my breathing has been easier. I also didn’t have to run with M, so I only had to worry about my own running.

My parkrun

I started off feeling good but didn’t want to go too fast. On the second lap, I caught up with Pete near the bridge. He had started walking, so I moved towards him and offered him some encouragement. At that moment, the chap in the grey London Marathon finisher t-shirt (shown below), decided to push past and swear. (I know his name, but have decided not to name him). Given that it was the second lap and he’s normally a 22-minute runner, I’m guessing he started late but was hoping to finish in his usual time. Whatever his reason, it doesn’t give him an excuse to be so rude to others around him.

A group of runners at Southampton parkrun. On the far left is Aaron Gallimore wearing a grey London Marathon t-shirt.

After the encounter with the rude runner, I carried on up the hill and then enjoyed my run towards the finish. I was pleasantly surprised to finish in 30:30, given the length of my run. I was 167th out of 376 women and 17/33 in my age group. (I’m getting close to being in the top half of my age group!)

Tamsyn's parkrun results email for event #479. Her time was 30:30.

After I’d finished, Stu and M scanned my barcode.

M and Stu scanning a runner's barcode.
Stu and M were busy scanning lots of barcodes!

Raking Sunday

As I’d done my long run on Saturday, my exercise on Sunday was limited to raking. It might not look like I made much of a difference, but I filled about 8-10 old-fashioned dustbins! I had blisters on my fingers from the rake afterwards.

A garden and patio area covered in leaves.
A garden and patio area with the leaves removed.

Flying 500s

On Monday night the Lordshill training session was Flying 500s. The perimeter of King Edwards School is almost exactly 1km with the main gate on one side and a gatehouse on the other. This made it the perfect location for this session. As it’s a loop, we were able to stay on the pavement with only a couple of minor crossings.

After each 500m run, we had a minute to recover. I had worn my new racing flats and felt really good. I thought my pace would deteriorate during the session, but I managed to stay quite consistent, which was really motivational.

Wednesday long run

I knew I wouldn’t be able to fit in my long run at the weekend, so I decided to fit in as much as possible on Wednesday. At lunchtime, I went out and then again whilst M was at gymnastics. I ended up going out for my lunch quite late, so I didn’t manage to fit in as much as I wanted to. I ended up doing 15.5km, which was not as much as I wanted to do. In the evening, I was too tired to go out again, so I thought I would spend the time studying instead.

My fastest parkrun since February 2020 (04/02/23)

Last Saturday was a parkrun Ambassador meet-up at Littlehampton Prom parkrun. Malcolm and Jill very kindly gave Kate and me a lift. I was excited about visiting a venue that I hadn’t before (my 67th venue). I was also excited that I would have a good opportunity to run a quick time on a flat course.

The sun appearing behind cloud over the sea at Littlehampton.
Beautiful Littlehampton

We arrived with plenty of time to chat with other ambassadors, find the loos and go for a warm-up.

Tamsyn with her back to the camera chatting with Kate and a parkrun ambassador.
Tamsyn and Jill at Littlehampton Prom.
Mark Brocklehurst smiling at the camera. he is wearing a pacer vest.
Regional Ambassador Mark getting ready for pacing us to under 30 minutes.

It wasn’t long before the first-time briefing started. I think more people were first-timers than regulars!

A rear view of Tamsyn and Kate. Kate is wearing a Team Hamwic hoodie; Tamsyn is wearing a green 250 t-shirt.

It was really nice to have a brief catch-up with Dave Williams. I’ve known Dave since my first year of parkrunning when he was a Run Director at Eastleigh.

A rear view of Tamsyn and Dave chatting. Tamsyn is wearing a green 250 t-shirt; Dave is wearing a green 250 volunteer t-shirt.

Running with a pacer

I lined up with Mark and Cathy who was also hoping to finish in under 30 minutes.

Throughout the run, I felt strong and wanted to run quicker, but I thought it would be more sensible to stick with Mark and definitely achieve my goal. The course is an out-and-back that you have to complete twice. Mark said that it would feel shorter than 1.25km each way and he was right.

When we got to within about 200m of the finish, Mark shouted to Cathy to go. We started sprinting and I felt really good.

Tamsyn's parkrun results from Littlehampton parkrun. Her time was 29:37.

I was delighted to get under 30 minutes. I feel optimistic that I can improve on this time in the coming weeks. Out of 107 females, I was 40th and 6th out of 18 in my age group!

After the run, I had the opportunity to chat with Julie, my roommate from parkrun conferences. It was so lovely to see her and finally meet her husband, Sandy.

Tamsyn's Garmin VO2 max data. Her result is 40 - excellent. Her fitness age is 20.
My VO2 max has now moved into the blue section!

Monday night track session – LRR/Itchen Spitfires

There was a track session on the LRR schedule for Monday night. I didn’t think I was going to make it as Stu expected to be at a work function, so I had to hurry to get myself organised to get there on time.

When I arrived, I looked around, but couldn’t see anyone from LRR, which wasn’t positive. I had the same experience last time I turned up for an LRR track session. I could see some fast runners I know from Southampton Athletics Club and a range of runners from Itchen Spitfires.

Eventually, a person came over and asked whether I was from Lordshill, I said yes, so she directed me to run a warm-up lap along with a couple of other women from LRR who had turned up. Nothing on the schedule had indicated that it would be a shared session with Itchen Spitfires and the coach didn’t introduce herself, so it wasn’t the most welcoming introduction. I can understand why others are reluctant to attend.

The main set

After the warm-up lap, we did a range of drills before moving onto the main set. The track always feels colder than other places in Southampton. I was wearing a long-sleeved top, long tights and gloves which I kept on for the entire session. The main set was 3x400m; 2x800m; 3x400m. After each lap (or pair of laps) we had 60 seconds recovery. We were directed to run at a 5km pace, which should have been easy to work out (just under 6:00/km for a parkrun in under 30 minutes). However, that felt incredibly slow, so I ended up running much quicker for the entire session.

I really enjoyed this track session. I was mostly running solo as there was no one else running at my pace, but it was quite easy to remain focused for 400m.

Running with M at parkrun 11/02/23

I missed running with LRR on Thursday night as I was chaperoning M’s school disco. I also didn’t run before parkrun this morning as Stu needed to do a long run and I’m planning to do Sunday Runday tomorrow.

Today, I did parkrun with M. She was delighted to find 5p on the first lap (“a silver coin!”) She was a bit more motivated than she often is and was pleased when Stu joined us on the final downhill.

We were a bit slower than I was last weekend, but at least I’ll have some energy for tomorrow’s long run. Hopefully, next weekend I’ll be able to complete parkrun in under 30 minutes again.

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