My legs are tricking me. Or my mind is scrambled.
I went out for my 5k 'recovery run' today. I love saying that; like 5k is now the new norm, when once it was a mirage in the distance, in an unforgiving desert.
But I have a new target. C25k done, 10k completed on Monday (and that is NOT going to become the new norm, despite ASBO insisting we continue to run further and further), so now it is the elusive and arbitrary sub 30 5k I'm reaching for.
Surely this must be possible? Some Ethiopian chap who looked like he needed a good hot meal, a cup of Horlicks and bloody big cuddle, managed 5k in 12:37 minutes!!! Surely 30 minutes isn't overreaching!
Or, I'm deluded and it is a simple law of physics. Pure mathematics. Nothing can travel faster than the speed of light (not even ju-ju-) and I cannot perambulate 5k faster than 30 earth minutes.
Have I been tricked into believing I can defy physics?!
The Madness of Crowds - an early study of crowd psychology, would suggest that in large groups, people would feel power, strength, belief, boldness and strength of will that was greater than the sum of the parts.
The spirit of the crowd imparting some performance-enhancing drug like a tribal alchemist.
I think this is what must happen at Parkrun! A communal spirit of togetherness and fighting for a common aim, helping us to raise our game, beyond the solo norms.
Each and every time I have done Parkrun (ok, it's only 5 so not statistically a sound experiment!), I have improved my personal best time and slowly been creeping down towards the magic 30 number.
And what's strange is that I haven't particularly been consciously trying to go 'fast' - just trying my hardest to get around as best I can - or just, at all! They all hurt! Particularly the most recent one, no shade and the searing sunlight that we have all had to adjust to these last few weeks. And I did a great time (for me), and it really hurt - but I didn't at any time consciously think "I must try and run fast(er)", I just did the best I could to keep up with pianoteacher ! I gulped down the crowd elixir, and I was duly rewarded.
Well, today I tried. I properly tried. I committed to trying to run sub 30. Consciously aimed for it. Set my watch/pacer up for it. Went for it. I felt like I was running fast (relative to a lion that has just eaten an antelope and is settling down for a 6-week kip). I felt like I was pushing myself. Striding longer, pacing faster, haemorrhaging energy quicker, panting harder. I MUST BE GOING QUICKER. I was so close to 30 minutes on Saturday - this MUST be quicker.
NOPE. Dead same time.
But I was alone. Never stood a chance. Deluded.
I will cross this desert and drink from a sub 30 fountain one day.
And I'm convinced it will be in a mad crowd.
Have fun out there! x
#you can do it