HILLS AND PLATEAUS

On the day before the first anniversary of my starting C25k I set a parkrun PB of 25:41 at Killerton parkrun. Where this came from I have no idea, since it was forty seconds faster than my previous PB. I said at the time that it would probably be a long time until I bettered it. That was June 7th last year.

The intervening year has seen me injure my achilles and suffer (what seems like) the same cough that Danzargo has been battling with for months. However, I am pretty much up to speed again now and over the last couple of months I came within five seconds of that PB on two occasions, but it remained frustratingly out of reach, despite my avowed intent to beat it this summer.

Killerton parkrun is basically a cross country course through parkland, woodland tracks and grassy fields, with plenty of hills, but in fact a nett descent, since the finish line is below the start line. We are lucky enough to also have Exeter Riverside parkrun just about the same distance from us, although, until today, we have never run there. Exeter Riverside is a completely different kettle of fish. It is dead flat, apart from the bridge over the river and is mainly tarmac and about 1.5k on grass around the perimeter of the University playing fields.

Today happened to be the first anniversary of Exeter Riverside parkrun and they had, unknown to us, decided on a beach theme to go along with the cakes on offer to all and sundry. The British summer provided typical beach weather....overcast with with occasional spits of rain and a cool but gentle breeze......perfect for running, if not for beaches.

Madame Truffe et moi were both determined to get PBs on this pancake course and so we did not run together. I had hoped to keep the 24 minute pace setter in sight for as long as possible, but managed to lose sight of him before we crossed the start line. Out of sheer habit I set off knowingly too fast. At Killerton this is worthwhile as the numbers can reach 250 or more and there is a gateway to negotiate within 20 metres of the start, whereas at Exeter there were only 160 runners and no constrictions to deal with. I cannot read the current pace on my watch, so never bother looking at it, but I knew that I could not sustain the pace for long. At about halfway the 24 minute man came past me, and there was no way I could stay in his wake. Looking at my splits afterwards I saw that I did a stupidly fast 4:34 for my first kilometre and then it settled to a remarkably consistent 5:21 for three kilometres, although number four surprisingly came out at 5:15. The arithmetically adept amongst you, dear readers, will have already worked out that my 5k time was 25:32........at last.....a new PB!

What I found hardest about this run was the lack of hills. Hills are bread and butter. Hills are grit and perspiration. Hills are en route challenges, where you have to knuckle down to get to the top and then have the joy and exhilaration of descending on the other side. Exeter Riverside gives non of this mid run variety and encourages a steady and sustained pace....hence the splits, I suppose.

So having conquered the foothills of C25k, I arrived in June last year, on a plateau bereft of PBs on which there rises the molehill of today's achievement, of which I am still proud, but somehow I expected the flat course to deliver something more than a nine second improvement over my Killerton best. Still, I now have two PBs to work on, after I have despatched my next target of a full HM distance.

The most notable accomplishment of today's run was however not mine, but that of my other half, the indefatigable Madame Truffe. Normally I seem to have quite a wait for her after I finish.....not today.....she came steaming in, strong to the last, smashing her PB and doing her first sub 30 minute 5k, (29:55) exactly two years to the day since she started C25k. What's more, she beat me on age graded score too, for the first time, with a score of 63%, so we have some gentle personal rivalry to look forward to in the future.

If you had told us two years ago that we would be celebrating 5k PBs in our sixtieth year, neither of us would have believed it, nor the fact there is the amazing network of runners that make up the very wonderful organisation that is parkrun.........all that could only exist in some kind of Nirvana........which is probably somewhere over a hill.

Keep running, keep smiling.

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  • What a brilliant post. Many congratulations to you both and thank you so much for sharing. It really is inspirational :)

    I love the hills too - I live in a village that the name literally means "on the hills" so I've really grown to appreciate what they give me. Conversely, my nearest Parkrun has 3 mini inclines that every one else calls hills! I'm quite a new runner and don't get to do Parkrun very often but I've got a PB every time.

  • The secret of PB bliss is, as I have found out, to not knock too much off in one go, otherwise you have to wait a long time till the next one comes along.

    Today I had a runner at my shoulder for a long time, but when we ran up onto the bridge (not a hill in my book) she dropped back out of hearing range. Hills are good for you!

  • That is a seriously excellent time for 5K Signor Truffe! Incredible achievement indeed - and fro Madame too, coming at under the magic 30 mins. How the heck did you manage a 4'30ish lap? Gordon Bennet.

    Hope the cough has gone now. I bet it was that, that slowed you down. That's what I'm blaming for my slowness this year!

  • Thanks Dan. Any PB is good for the ego but the fact that my Killerton PB still stands does bug me a bit.

    4:30..........for some reason Endomondo has changed that to 4:26!!!! I'll take that! It may be down to the fact that I forgot to get a fix before I started running and the watch only returned a run of 4.9k, but the time was recorded spot on with official time, so my feeble brain can't work it out and I'm quite happy to believe the technology. It is just about within my range......I like to think.

    Cough took about three months to clear and even then I was aware of a tickly throat for some time longer, so I can't blame that. There is definitely a bit more pace to find, I reckon. I am sure you will too when you eventually say ff-cough to cough.

  • That's a brilliant post Ian! Hills make life interesting :) and PB's can make your day :)

    And chapeau to Mme Truffe for her PB

  • Thanks Pigivi. What would life be without ups and downs?

    I am proud of my running lady and she is delighted to have broken the 30 minute barrier today.

  • Fantastic Ian, both you and Mrs Truffe! I know parkrun isn't about PBs...but it does feel rather good, doesn't it! And it's those little victories that spur us on and make it even more fun.

  • A PB is a PB and this is the place to brag about them because we all know what effort and dedication they take to achieve.

  • Chapeau, les Truffes!

    A PB is a PB, regardless of terrain. Most elite runners deliberately targe the flattest courses thy can find for PB attempts - it is amazing to read of the little advantages they gain by taking tighter lines on corners and how that adds up in time terms over the course of a race.

    looking forward to you killing your Killerton record in the future.

    And quel achievement Mme Truffe! While every PB is somethng to celebrate, psychologically the landmark ones feel so rewarding.

  • Thanks Rigs. Seeing my better half running so strong at the finish, with a big grin on her face made it even more special. She only got there, I reckon, because she has gradually increased her distance recently, putting the "I am knackered, I have nearly run 5k" excuse firmly out of her mind.

    There is always one more challenge to work for in this game, which makes it so rewarding and satisfying.

  • What a brilliant report and many congratulations on the new PBs to you and Mme T. It's particularly good to know there is life (and the possibility of PBs) after bothersome achilles stuff. Strangely enough today is the 1st anniversary of my still unbeaten parkrun PB. I've been within a couple of seconds of it (and technically I have beaten it on the flat, during a 10k race of all things) but as a parkrun PB, for that course, it still stands, sticking its tongue out at me... I guess even if most of the time we all run simply for the sheer love of it, we can't help that little competitive streak - and why not? It's something to strive for, and celebrate when we get there.

  • It is that self competitive streak that pushes us on. I have the disadvantage of hitting sixty this year (only a number) after which all the authorities say you have to accept a decline in performance, so any PB gained now may last for many a year, although I am not giving up without a fight.

    Coincidentally, I have a faster 5k time, recorded during a PB 10k there and back run, which I set last year, but I only count my parkrun times as "official".

    You will crack that impudent little PB, but now sounds like the time when you need to do that "listening to your body" thing, TT.

  • Oh it is indeed only a number (though a good excuse to crack open something expensive and fizzy) - and don't the authorities also say if you are a beginner runner, starting at any age, you can continue to see improvements for seven years?

  • I hope so.....on both counts!!

  • On the topic of ageing ... that is why I like the Parkrun age related percentage. I don't have a clue how they calculate it but the idea that you can maintain your performance and see that number improve is fab.

  • Later this year I will enter a new age bracket, so presumably my age graded score will increase, if my times remain the same, but now I am in competition with Mme Truffe that isn't going to help for more than a few months.

    Your age graded score is the world record for your age and gender group, divided by your time. Effectively it shows a percentage of the pace of the world record, ie. 100% is world record pace, while 50% is half world record pace.

    It is a great way to maintain a competitive edge as you age, although I do think it is biased in favour of older runners.........but I am not going to worry too much about that.

  • Congratulations both of you on a fantastic run! :) it must have been meant to be, for your wife to get her first sub 30 today on her anniversary! :)

  • Thanks aliboo, 'er indoors is tickled pink.

  • Well done to both of you on your repsective pb's, but particularly to your spouse. That 30 min barrier is such a HUGE one to break - I know because I did it for the first time a couple of week ago, knocking close to 30 sec of my previous pb. I was certain that I wouldn't get anywhere close ever again (but was happily resigned as at least I had broken 30 once). Today felt like a shocking run (I'll admit, there may have been a little over imbibing last night), but staggeringly enough, I got within 1 sec of my new pb (so yes, broke 30 mins again!).

    I'm sure if you were to go back to the Exeter run again, you would better your time easily. For some reason, the first time around always ends up slower than it should. Regardless, I'm sure you will beat your own home pb now that you know you can get there anyway. And as for slowing down once you hit 60 - I wouldn't worry about that just yet. I think you determination will see you right for a fair few more parkruns yet!

  • All those barriers are pretty arbitrary, but it is only human to attach greater significance to some. With that determination that you describe, I have 25:15 to hunt down, followed by the biggie......25:00.....which might take some time, as the Antarctic explore said to the Antarctic explorer.......

  • Brilliant post Ianno ! Really enjoyed reading that , it was an absolute joy :-)

    Many Congratulations les Truffes !

    I am in awe of Madame Truffe, that is amazing , and you of course xxx

  • She is one determined lady and now she has gone and beaten me! If we can't sort out some kind of etiquette here, I fear a divorce in the not too distant future.

    It is amazing that running keeps delivering rewards.

  • Well done to you and the missus! You must be fair chuffed with today's event. All smug and glowy I bet

  • Smug and pink was a phrase that I hijacked form someone else on here, some time ago. It says it all.

  • Hey Tim,fab post😊

    Well done to you and Mme.Truffe...what a result !

    Hope you both indulged in some post-PB cake 🍰

  • We have been together such a long time that WE have an opinion on most things and strangely enough, WE didn't want cake after the run. It was memorable without cake. A bacon sandwich was consumed pretty rapidly after arriving home.

  • That is amazing, I can only ever dream of such times but I've stopped trying! Having done Killerton I know it's a trail run with lots of uneven terrain which is tough... And I'm so with you on the flats, I am so used to hills doing a flat course is really tough mentally. A huge well done to you and Mrs Truffe, and I'll be thinking of you both when Leon and I do Killerton next week...

  • We just don't seem to manage this Killerton run together do we? We will be off celebrating my Mum's 92nd birthday next weekend, so it will have to wait. I have previously set out to run alongside the canal and river in Exeter, to establish a base time for both 5 and 10k, but I was so bored I gave up after 7k. Give me hills any day!!

    Have a good weeks running.

  • We must one day...I so miss my second home there... And I agree I love the hills... Makes it more fun and interesting!!

  • Well done to both of you !

  • Thank you sir. Have you discovered any joy from running yet?

  • wk 9 run 1 was weird.. breathing easy v quickly. and i just constantly felt i could run faster than i was going.. speeded up slowed down.. started playing with it.. for last minute i let my legs rip loose and for just a minute felt ' i am actually running like a proper runner here' this is what people who CAN run look like when they do it...

    then laura told me to stop.. so of course I did...

    bizarre.. then of course... next run was a rubbish one....but for a brief minute.. i could understand... if not actually FEEL , does that make sense?

  • It sure does. There is masochistic streak in all runners, I believe. With your extensive background in gym work, you must know about slogging through exercises that are tough and unpleasant, but satisfying for the gains made. The same with running. In a few weeks or months you will magically find yourself in the zone, moving effortlessly and enjoying your environment in a way that could not have been possible previously..............let's hope.

  • I DO understand.. yes as you say I was at least prepared for the apparent unpredictability of it all.. you cn never tell when the GOOD run hits any more than you can tell when the BAD one knocks you down.. what matters is the PROCESS.. it takes time to achieve any goal.... or at least any worth achieving..

  • Oh my word!! Congratulations to the pair of you, for 2 very impressive PBs. I'm guessing there was much celebrating in the Truffe household yesterday :)

    So glad that pesky cough has finally gone x

  • Apart from my missus giggling like a schoolgirl half the day and my imbibing an extra half pint last evening, then the normal decorum of our household was not disturbed to any great degree............but we were both feeling pretty smug, yeah.

  • Quite right too. One does have standards to maintain! ;)

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