I knew Saturday would my last best chance at getting a personal best in the ParkRun. There's only two more left before the end of the year and both of those will be proceeded by a boozy Friday night for me. Sian was out getting her annual Old Testament hangover so I had the opportunity to stay dry and get an early night. After cycling back from work I still somehow managed to drag myself out for a 40+ minute trot. I've also been on the 2/5 diet this year which has helped me drop around 3 stone and keep it off and the Friday had been a lean day, so exhausted I collapsed into bed fairly early.
It was a perfect day for a run but as I left Saturday morning layered up the cold almost took my breath away. This time of the year when I'm cycling to the start line I always think 'There ain't no way I'm taking this hoody off." but inevitably I do before I set out. After I'd chained my bike up I had a little trot up and back, and the omens weren't looking good. I was pretty stiff and wasn't feeling brilliant, then again I never do but I’ve had my running feet on recently so I knew I was going for it.
The organiser did drop a hint before the race started about marshalling and I have been shit this year, it’s run away from me (if you’ll excuse the pun) I haven’t volunteered once, which is something I’ll rectify in the New Year.
We were off (I may have just off just before the shout of “Go!”) and I started like a bullet going at a pace I knew I couldn’t keep up, but around two minutes into the run I was hitting just under my target pace and thought “Yeah I feel okay, I think I can manage it.” Having said that I was coughing and gobbing all the way round, it wasn’t a pretty sight (or sound). I normally have a bit of a wobble when we turn at the nursery and especially at the bridge which leads to North Road, but not today. It was a push but comfortable. I kept a close eye on my Garmin and gave myself an extra push when it beeped a warning. The last K is always the killer and normally where I lose it and slow down. It was the slowest leg of the race for me, but I kept an internal monologue going, telling myself I didn’t have far to go, that I could do it and that I was on for a PB. In the last 400 meters I knew I was making a good time and although I was feeling a little queasy I kept up the pace. I don’t know if I did a sprint finish, but I got in on 20:50, 22 seconds quicker than my previous PB and my first sub 21 5k! I was knackered but happy, doing a half-hearted arm raise salute as I went to hand my chip in. Although the queasiness increased I wasn’t sick, which did happen with my previous PB.
Very happy, 20:50 is a good time, it’ll be a tough one to beat, but for now I’m just happy to have done it.