As I shared in a previous blog post I managed to secure a new personal best time for my 5K.
This was down at Ashton Court Park Run and was my second visit there. Both times there were more than 350 people in attendance which shows the popularity of the event. The course is an out and back route with the out section taking you up some lovely challenging hills. However, what goes up must come down and the return leg is all down hill which is a great chance to make up for going slow on the way up. This week, Dani was away with the car which meant I had to cycle to the Park Run. It turned out to be a longer journey than I thought it was and took a bit more out of me than I expected, as I was not sure if I would make it on time so couldn’t ease off the pace. Ultimately I got there in plenty of time and had a bit of a running warm up.
When I came last time, I started in the middle of the crowd as my expectations were lower and I felt that I got slowed down at the start. Now I know Park Runs are not all about chasing PBs but I wanted to give myself a good chance of showing what I could achieve after being surprised by my time in the previous visit. Therefore, I placed myself closer to the start to hopefully gain some space so that I could get into my rhythm. This worked well and I managed to find some space as I made my way towards the start of the incline, whilst still having people in front of me to pace myself against.
It was really hard on the way up and spent most of the time regretting my cycle and just trying to keep myself from slowing, or even worse stopping. I kept telling myself that if I get to the top it will level out and then I can chase the time down on the descent. I had to let a few people go past me on the gravel path at the top of the hill but come the turning point I had recovered enough to get into a smooth rhythm. I find that this point of the race requires my greatest attention as the gravel path has a mixture of stones that could easily turn an ankle, or twinge my knee.
On the last part of the downhill, I find that I can easily go faster than I want and have to focus on controlling my speed to keep my body from being too erratic. The last bend took a lot longer than I thought it would as I hoped it was just round a little corner but the corner went on for a bit more than I really wanted it to. Getting towards the finish line I held off a super fast sprint finish because I looked at my watch and saw 21 minutes just ticking over. I stayed strong towards the line and then crossed the line.
Later in the day when I got notified of my finish time I was really delighted because of the limited running I had been doing. It has made me feel really positive about what I can achieve when I get back to training and it makes me more determined to stay injury free.