I hadn’t run competitively since October last year so an outing at Edinburgh parkrun last Saturday was eagerly anticipated. My half marathon training had been going so well that I fancied seeing where I was in terms of pace at 5k. The weather forecast was decent so everything seemed well placed for a successful run. As we lined up the only recognition of it being Valentine’s Day was the announcement that one of the runners was getting married later in the day. As the applause for the condemned man died down, a wag beside me shouted out : “Keep running mate – as fast as you can!”
Now if you’ve any familiarity with running and runners’ blogs then you’ll know that despite my pre-race optimism, you can take nothing for granted when you’re running. The first problem on Saturday was that it was damp overhead and wet on the running surface. Secondly a nasty 8mph easterly wind had decided to make a rare appearance. That meant running into the wind for the first half. My third difficulty was that I had forgotten how physically hard running a 5k at top pace actually feels. On the plus side I kept going and despite low periods during the race never contemplated giving up. The final result was 20 minutes 40 seconds – 39 seconds slower than my personal best and 41 seconds outside the time I desperately want to run. Only two of the five kilometres were run at the required pace and the middle three of 4:16; 4:16 and 4:14 were way slower than the required pace.
However I’m not too discouraged. I’ve only been training for six weeks and I will get stronger and hopefully faster. The half marathon training continues to go really well and I think my first goal is to run a decent half marathon three weeks on Sunday. Then I can worry about the 5k after that!