I need to remember that memory can fail you. (Shut up). For starters, I hadn’t run Pioneer parkrun since March and had somehow forgotten a few of the small inclines of the course. That bend near the finish line past the stairs was never uphill, surely?!
I put out the marking cones for Anna before parkrun with Milly scooting alongside, so I’d had a mile warm-up, and then started out on parkrun. I didn’t look at my watch and just ran on feel, and my god the feel was ARSE. It felt like a whole lot of effort, a whole lot worse than running had felt like for a while.
My PB at Pioneer is 25:26, dating from September 2014 when I was training for Six Inch, and I sort of ignore its existence because it’s going to take a fair bit of effort to get back to that. So I didn’t really know what finish time I expected today.
I can honestly say I’ve been quicker at parkrun these past few months after I decided to take the attitude of “I will run Tuesday darkrun, Thursday from work, Saturday parkrun and Sunday long run. And if I don’t want to run, I’m still going to run.” (That said, tomorrow I’m volunteering at Masters Athletics so might only get 5km in). I realised I needed to start to make ‘not running to the schedule’ the exception rather than the rule.
Anyway, I know I’ve recovered almost completely from last month’s ear infection and this month’s chest infection (my resting heart rate is slowly getting back to normal), and my overall speed is getting back to pre-illness levels, but the effort this morning felt harder than normal.
I wasn’t entirely impressed with my time when I got to the finish, and it wasn’t until we were in Dome after parkrun that I looked at Strava and it said ‘trending faster’ for the Pioneer parkrun course. I scrolled through my past results and realised that the last time I was in the 27 minute range on that course was July last year, and prior to that was March 2015. So in retrospect, it was actually bloody good work. Hard work, but good.
We’ve been running at flat parkruns because Jez has got a training program and needs to hit specific pace targets for his runs, and Tony, his coach, plugs in a parkrun with a warmup and a cool down, but the paces required are more feasible on a flat course. Pioneer was a last night whim and while I’ve been going to Kings Park on the odd Thursday, I haven’t been doing anything like what you could call hill intervals.
Now I’m going to do more hill interval sessions on a Thursday evening, and so when I run Pioneer again next time, I’ll have done enough hills at effort to know what a solid effort feels like, and I won’t be stupidly, mildly disappointed at the finish line for no good reason.