So many people seem to be writing great blogs today - as a group we seem to be doing really well
Here, I went out and did that Park Run I was dithering about earlier in the week. It was the inaugural event in Winchester so it seemed a good place to start.
I set out from home about 15 minutes before the official start time (the park is very near here) and walked down. As I approached the entrance I could hear an intimidatingly large number of voices, and when I got past the last house I could see a huge number of people waiting to start, with more coming from every direction. Lots of club shirts (both local and from further afield) but a gratifying number of folks that looked more like me, and quite a few juniors too.
There was a brief speech from the organiser, a photo for the local paper (who has sent both a photographer and a very young reporter with proper notebook),then we all shuffled towards the start line, the horn sounded and we were off!
I purposefully stayed well clear of all the total fitties at the front, but soon settled to my normal, slow first km pace (my first km is always much slower than subsequent ones). The field became very strung out and I settled near the back. No music today - I just relied on Garmin to tell me my pace. I spent some time in the first lap chatting with a ParkRun "tourist" - she knew several other runners and they travel to try out all the different courses. She was clearly a good runner but going slowly because she planned to do another 20 miles on the South Downs (yikes) later in the day!!!
I started to be lapped by the fast runners soon after finishing my first lap (of 3). However, the course was nice and wide so this didn't present any problems. After my second lap the fast runners had all finished and only the slower ones remained. I followed an older man and he "towed" me in to the finish. When we stopped he also thanked me for chasing him as it improved his time as well
Unfortunately the promised coffee failed to materialise - but then I only had to stagger 5 minutes' home to get some.
Vital statistics: according to my Garmin 4.56km (not 5km) run in 31 minutes. This happened to many people and it seems that the course is a bit short. So for now they've added a bit to everyone's time and my "official" PB to beat next time is 5K in 33.40. To be honest I don't think they added enough (I was almost 500m short and running at about 6.5min per km, so 3 or so minutes would have been more accurate). I think 33.4 will be tough to improve on.
I suppose it's possible that Garmins are not 100% accurate although we never think of them having errors - my red line on the map does not overlay completely from lap to lap even though I ran almost exactly the same path. The course had been measured twice using a wheel so it's uncertain where the inaccuracy lies. Oh yes - I was 253rd out of 280 runners, so that's better than I ever was at school as well!
Hopefully I'll be able to run most weeks, family stuff permitting. I expect there will be fewer visitors next time, and it will be possible to start seeing some familiar faces in coming weeks.I know this is long, but I just wanted to encourage any fellow ditherers that Park Run is definitely worth a go!
So that was day 28 of 5x50 for me, and although I've been complaining about bad running during the challenge this one was about as good as I've ever done both in terms of distance and time. Happy bunny tonight