This is a tardy report of the first Parkrun that me and my missus, MadameTruffe, ran together, last Saturday. It was her first one, having wanted to be very confident of her ability to complete in a respectable time. Neither of us slept much the night before and with it raining, I would happily have foregone the Parkrun and gone off for a 10k later in the day. MadmeTruffe, though, had built herself up for this one and so off we went to Killerton.
There was a light rain at times, which was wonderfully cooling, but the course was pretty muddy and it was not a prime PB opportunity. Well, we didn't run together, so I don't know a lot about her run and she hasn't posted about it on here (I don't think), but I was there to watch her running in strongly and finishing in 35:15, which was a PB. It was brilliant to see her beaming smile throughout the last couple of hundred metres. Typical of her, she didn't want to overtake another first timer in a sprint finish, a younger man, in case he was demoralised by being overtaken by "an old lady". What impressed me most was when I looked at her time on the results page and saw that her age grade score was 52.77%, while she was running amongst runners with scores in the mid forties. Age grading effectively shows how much effort you are putting in.....which brings me to blowing my own trumpet.
My run was great, with the first 3k being so easy, that I didn't think I was going very fast. I make a point of not looking at my watch while running and had no tracking, so I was just out for an enjoyable run in the mud. What's new. My previous Parkrun PB was 26:18, which has stood since December last year. With all my recent 5ks being quite slow, I had no expectation of a PB as I slogged through the last 2k. One thing that was new, maybe because of interval training, was my ability to up the pace in the last couple of hundred metres to the finish line. As I stopped my stopwatch, my involuntary swearing unsettled the runner in front of me, as I saw a time of 25:41. I can't write the expletives in polite company, but they expressed my genuine shock at knocking off 37 seconds from my PB.
I honestly don't know where it came from. One of my medium term targets had been to get this time down to 26m, which would get my age grade up to a satisfyingly round 60%. I had expected it to be a struggle, but here I am with a time that gives me 61.39%. This PB is going to take some beating but it puts me within striking distance of getting onto the Killerton top 1000 age graded table; position 1000 at present being 62.9%. Isn't it wonderful how new running targets pop up out of nowhere?
So, the da Truffes have started their joint Parkrun adventure and I have also challenged my 32 year old son to match my age grading. He is not far off and is a keen cyclist rather than a runner, so I don't expect him to hang around for long. The dust (or mud) really will be flying, next time we hit Parkrun as a family. Stand clear!
Keep running, keep smiling.