It seems the weather Gods don’t like us runners right now. Another weekend and another storm effects everyone’s weekend plan. After a cut back in mileage and a decent track session I felt fresh going into the weekend, my plan was to aim for last weekends time. Flooding around the tennis courts meant the back up course was brought into play. This is where we bypass them and run alongside the duck pond. A flatter route but one that is smaller so more overtaking would come into play.
I opted to do a warm up lap of the route so I knew what to expect. This gave me the chance to warm my legs up as both my wife and I had noticed it took me a lap for me to look relaxed and into a normal running rhythm and is something I have always avoided at races/parkruns. After the warm up it was a case of huddling around the start line waiting to go. After the briefing to explain the route change it was go time and I was out the traps fast for a change and I felt like my old self as I sprinted up the start line to the first turn. It didn’t take long for people to pass me though but it showed what a warm up can do and I know with a few more months of training, track work and consistency my top end speed would return.
My issues is the route down the park isn’t that great under foot and I’m still wary of my knee, this means I don’t attack it with the same vigure as I would have done in the past and it’s where I am losing time at the moment. As we hurdled past the new finish line I knew the grass finish would be a leveler, we then headed straight to the duck pond and then the climb up the park, before I knew it we were descending the park and into the second lap, The first mile buzzed just as I started to descend to the car park in 6:19. Again the first mile is where time is costing me, need to find another gear!
By now the heavens had opened and it was blustery as storm Dennis began to close in and the rain came, the second lap by the duck pond I was already lapping people, it didn’t effect me till the start of the 3rd lap down to the car park. On my second mile I only lost 2s compared to first lap which is excellent it shows I’m not blowing up. This time the grass was too wet to risk running on it, so was a case of shouting on your left to runners so we could pass, 90% move the 10% either have headphones on or don’t listen and it can be frustrating. The whole of the last lap was a fight to get round runners and fact that the finish required a 4th decent to the car park cost me a personal best as not only was traffic bad but then we had to go from left to the right and then onto the grass to finish. There was just no grip at all and was a case of staying up right to the finish. I was an agonizing 3s down in the end.
Thing is I know that on a better week I will better my 19:40. Personally they should have moved the start further up the start path and had the finish on the tarmac section at the side of the duck pond. However, I know we have to share the park with other users so maybe that wasn’t an option. I’m hoping we are back to the normal route this coming weekend, as my next target is sub 19:30.