Mid-week(ish) non run run report - Early April 2020
Like you, if you’re reading this, I’m really missing my Saturday morning fix of endorphins with all you lovely people at Conkers. Ok, it’s the right thing to do to put it on hold, but that doesn’t stop us wanting to work up a sweat, aim for a better PB, and generally enjoy the company of (about 667 other) like-minded people!
So, this Saturday morning, I thought I can certainly do the first two of those items although the third is a no-no. Now, I’m fortunate to have - in a shed in our garden - a treadmill that I am using to keep the running legs going. I’m on there most mornings (at around 6am!), doing 5k three times a week and maintenance jogs on the other days. I have a TV in there which I usually have on, helps to pass the time while drowning in the sea of Coronavirus news. But today, I left it off and decided to visualise the Conkers parkrun as I did my 5k. By 9am I was in my kit, stretched and warmed up, and ready to go. I missed Roger’s briefing and I missed your company at the start line. I usually start just behind the 30-minute marker (I run in the VM 65-69 category).
Steve's set up in the shed. Treadmill, drink at the ready, towel to wipe down, trainers in place, TV on the wall and a fan to cool the err... upper leg area. :-)
At 09:00, I pressed the Start button. Kept the speed low at first (4-6 kph), to emulate the initial trickle until the field thins out enough to run. By the time I had gone under the bridge, I took it up to 8kph and cranked up the incline to acknowledge to gentle climb. Then the left-hander (no smiling marshals for me to greet and thank today) and onto the long outward straight. This is technically a downhill (as we’re cruelly reminded by the long slow incline on our way back!) so zeroed the incline and took the speed up to 10kph. Feeling great.
I usually have some Ibiza dance tracks pumping into my ears but not today. Pass the YHA on the right, then over Bath Lane and then Shortheath Road. Past the junction where the loop joins up then coast downhill, building up energy for Cheeky Hill. Which I’ve just got to. Max incline here (10% on my machine, which is not as steep as Cheeky Hill) and take the speed down to 6kph to reflect that I shorten my steps as we grind upwards. Temptation to walk – don’t! – but keep going. At the top, made it to the right-hander, take the incline down and the speed back up to 8kph as I’m usually a bit knackered here, until we get to the canal.
This is my favourite stretch, with the canal on the right, speed back up to 10kph and time to lose myself in some thoughts. Reflect on the past week, think ahead to the rest of the day, plan the week ahead. One advantage of running like this – no puddles to avoid! In no time, get to the left-hander, again missing the smiling marshals where I generally do a high-five. Through the trees and soon at the right-hander back on the main return straight.
This is where it gets to a bit of a grind. It’s a long gentle ascent, and the legs are beginning to protest. Ramp up the incline, 4% should do it. At Conkers, this is where we give and take encouragement to one another – no such luxury for me today! Past the 4k mark (on my display) so this is the final stretch. Press on to the top, that eagerly-awaited right-hander. Still a gentle ascent, so hold the incline there but up the speed back to 10kph.
Under the rail bridge and the final dash to the funnel. Incline at zero, speed up to 11kph. Blimey, this feels fast! 4.8k…, 4.9k…, keep going…, 5k - done!
No need to wait for the text or e-mail this week, my display tells me that I did 32:16. Ok, not the best (my PB is 28:52, set last September) but still satisfactory. It’s amazing how my times at parkrun are always better than on the treadmill, that’s due to the pack spirit. Which is why we love parkrun!
Hope you enjoyed this as much as I have. Please stay safe, keep that distance and keep washing those hands!