A post on Twitter this week about a runner’s ten year anniversary of his first parkrun at Woodhouse Moor caused me to check back on my record.
His first parkrun in January 2008 coincided with my second – I’d made my debut the previous week.
I don’t believe in fate or any kind of pre-ordained life. We have a good measure of free will and we are exposed to the fundamental randomness of the Universe in my humble view; however, I did muse on how that simple decision to take myself down to Woodhouse Moor to try parkrun has changed my life.
It led me on a path to become a serious runner, I’ve made many new friends, I have travelled to places and done events that I could never have even conceived of and it also led to great happiness in my private life. Yes, digging out my trainers and dragging myself down to try out a strange new free 5K run over a decade ago is one of the best decisions I ever made.
After two high mileage weeks, I stepped it back this week. It felt the correct thing to do, I have been going OK and I still have 13 weeks until London and 21 until Comrades so there is no need to go mad with miles just yet.
The weather hasn’t been great in the North of the UK this week – with plenty of snow and cold temperatures leaving roads and pavements often ice covered.
I decided to have a crack at the fourth Peco cross country race in the series, a course of 4.8 miles around Middleton Woods in South Leeds. It was undulating with not many ‘killer’ hills that usually find me out and a couple of twisty technical descents that I can usually run quite well.
In my last cross country I was asleep at the start and got stuck too far back, causing me stress and extra energy trying to work my way through the field. This time I set off more purposefully, established a reasonable position in the pack and then just battled away for places.
A nasty short climb about half a mile from the finish sent my heart rate rocketing and I lost a few of positions. Back on the huge finishing field, I gathered myself and unleashed my best sprint to take most of them back. I finished in 63rd position, fourth in my age category, but overall I was satisfied with my effort. I’d kept focussed throughout the race and I don’t feel that I could have done much more.
It’s the Northern Cross Country Championships next Saturday, held at Harewood House, only a few miles from where I live. I might jog there and back to make it a long run day as well as a Championship race, we’ll see. A top half finish will be my ambition
Comrades 2018 -2 weeks
11 stone 4.0 lbs
36.3 miles, longest run 7.7 miles. No parkrun (bad weather)
RunBritain Handicap 2.9
Aerobic efficiency 1,087 heartbeats per mile