Wow, what a way to kick off the New Year – really kickstart my running in 2012. Thanks to a nonsense off-hand comment by Danny Norman on the Parkrun Show recently I was hooked on the idea of doing three parkruns on New Years Day as, because it is a special event, they are run at different times rather than the standard 9am.
I’ve spent a couple of weeks umming-and-ahhing about it, whether the logistics would work out, or indeed whether my legs would manage it, and sometime in the last week I decided I was going to go for it. Checking Facebook last night, the discussion was about the handful of idiots who were going to do the Trifecta – cycling the bits between each run!! Mental!! I just decided to get the satnav sorted instead.
I planned everything, got it all sorted last night, didn’t even wait up to let the new year in (although in the end I did welcome it in as the firework display up the road woke me up). But me and the wife were up and out the house bright and early, first up:
The drive in to Bushy Park is pretty inspirational as you pass Hampton Court Palace, and the weather helped on such a mild (and more importantly; dry) day. There were certainly plenty of people around, although evidently nowhere near record attendance as 350 people toed the startline. A presentation was made by the Race Director to a lady completing her 250th, and a fair sized group stuck their hands in the air when asked who was planning one or more extra runs after this morning, and without much ado, Ready, GO!!!
The problem with a flat course is that you are just on it at all times. Its not like the nice downward gradient I am used to at Banstead where I can ease down the slope without losing too much time. Also, being a single lap meant no time check at half way. I felt pretty tired though, and was questioning my ability to run all three events. I was also a little annoyed that I had gone with my regular road shoes (the outgoing pair, no way I was getting the new boys muddy) and whilst they had served admirably for 4000m, as the course neared its end the route was so boggy and wet that I struggled for grip – possibly owing to the lack of PB by 18 seconds :-( This is a shame really, as this was the only chance I thought I had today for a PB.
I really enjoyed the route, and will definitely be back for a PB smasher attempt I think.
Didn’t have much chance to stop and wait though, Lyndsey was already in the car, satnav on and we zoomed out of the car park, rice cakes with peanut butter stuffed in my gob, and some drink. As we followed a few other cars to:
Running a little short of time, the car park at Nonsuch was a good 10 minute walk away from the start, so a few of us stragglers had to jog to the start, and this did not bode well for my legs. Race Director and (skeleton crew) Marshalls were really enthusiastic, although the cheer from those of us doing the trifecta was a little less enthusiastic than it had been an hour ago.
For this race, seeking advice from other runners in the car park I went for the trail shoes. But I also tried to pace myself a lot better (read: slower). Nonsuch is a beautiful park, and the parkrun takes in very nearly two full laps of the course. Maybe 2/3rds of the course is paths, but the remainder of it was such bogland, it was so think and slippery, and my blooming trail shoes weren’t up to much. Sadly, looking at my mile splits I still went of a little too quick with an 8:15 1st mile, and I slowed considerably after this. I was even taken on the line :-(
Luckily though, me and him were awarded the same time hahaha, so more fool him!!!
The real problem now though, was that the car park was so far away from the finishline and we only had 20 minutes total. Lynds was struggling in her boots to walk very quick, and when we made it back to the car and go the satnav on, it predicted an arrival time of 11:10. But I told Lyndsey to break some speed restrictions and get me to:
Not a lot of traffic obviously on New Years Day morning, and we arrived a little earlier than predicted by the satnav, but still gone 11am. As we pulled in to the event car park though, the marshalls advised they had postponed the start for us nutters making our way from another venue. Another trek to the start line though added at least a few hundred meters jogging on to the route.
This was a real bog, and the route was perhaps not the most enjoyable, although I won’t deny that this may simply be because I was pretty darn knackered at this point. Another almost two lapper was a little drain on the legs through the bog where I could get no traction, and the rocky strewn path where my feet took a battering.
I was so tired, but was never going to walk – I refused to allow myself to do it, but my pace dropped dramatically on this run. but at least I didn’t have somewhere to be after this!
On the bright side though, The guy who pipped me to the post at Nonsuch must have tried too hard there because he was miles behind me at the end of Riddlesdown.
Finished at Last
And so it was that I finished the morning stuffing my face with biscuits from the organisers at Riddlesdown.
Thanks have to go out to the wonderful volunteers at every one of the park runs who did a sterling job of cheering everyone on – especially at Riddlesdown where we needed more inspiration than earlier in the morning :-)
Cream-krackered I ordered my co-driver to head to the nearest McDonalds drive-thru for what was possibly the best (and certainly most deserved) McDonalds I have ever had :-)
A big thanks definitely to my lovely wife for coming out with me this morning. She barely understands my desire to run, let alone the reasons for putting myself through the fun that I did this morning. But there was no way I could have hit all three venues in time whilst refuelling and changing shoes etc without her support this morning :-) now if I could actually walk I would go make her a cup of tea, but I can’t!!
So the full details of the events can be found on the Events Page, but in summary, my three times are as follows:
Bushy Park – 24:27 (fastest mile 7:32)
Nonsuch Park – 27:23 (8:15)
Riddlesdown – 28:32 (8:59)