After doing the York 5k race on Thursday night, John had planted the seed regarding coming back up to do the parkrun at the same venue. All I needed now was for a decent weather forecast and to get the boss on side (aka the wife). Thankfully the forecast was excellent and despite a very hard Friday, Sarah was happy for us to travel up early Saturday morning to have a crack at it.
Now for us it meant a 6am start so we could both have a shower and put the mohican up. We stopped off for breakfast and petrol on the way and we arrived after a rather steady drive up at 8:15. It allowed me time to go to the toilet. I actually managed two trips. For me racing flat out at 9am still does not work well with my digestive system, despite trying everything. However, going without breakfast isn’t an option as i’ve got no energy. Any how unlike the road race, this actually leaves the cycle track. The course was 1 lap of the track, out onto the access road, around and back, then finishing with a further lap of the track.
Having seen the previous times, it had serious potential to be fast. Again as I sat talking to wife in car, I set myself 3 targets. Bronze was to clock a season best, Silver was to beat my PB from 2015 and gold was to go sub 18. Having already clocked over 50 miles by Saturday morning, I wasn’t feeling fresh but having always given 110% and while frowned upon by others I have raced every parkrun I’ve done. I don’t see the point of dragging myself and my family out of bed early on a Saturday morning not to give it my all. This is why parkrun is good as you can treat it however you want and what works for you. For me it has always been a measuring stick to see how training is going. This year it’s been a godsend as I’ve used them to rebuild race fitness. Although it still kills me I have a 17:06 PB that I can’t touch, course was only 2.9 miles that day and average pace on watch meant on a full course would have been around 17:40. That’s why I’ve set myself a goal to break 17 before I hit 100 parkruns. It wasn’t until I finished and got my result did I realise that Saturday was my 80th parkrun.
After taking to others and listening to the run directors instructions, it was go time. I set off knowing the course and by the end of the first bend that took you along the back of the circuit, I was sat on the back of the front two. I opted to stay here and not go off on my own. It meant the lap round the track felt very comfortable and as we exited the track up the path and then on to the paved road I felt I had another gear. I however let the leaders set the early pace as we ran along the road. I could already feel the sun as we took a good racing line around to the right. The route while flat wasn’t the easiest surface, you could see how the weight off the buses had worn a groove into the road. The first mile buzzed for 5:32, I then made a move and took the lead. I could tell one of the others stayed with me, just off my shoulder. The route continued before I had to shout to marshals where to go. The lad behind said to loop round and back. I thanked him and cracked on. I could then see the stream of runners coming the opposite way and it was good to be cheered on as I raced back towards the track. This seemed further away then it did going out. I maintained the lead as the watch buzzed for mile 2 in 5:48. I knew I was tried but was determined to get my goals.
I had hopes of holding first place but I could not shake the lad in second. As we entered the track I lost a bit of momentum on the back straight, allowing him to close the gap. This meant as we turned round the bottom bend he made a move and I had nothing in the tank to respond. I dug in though and gave chase all the way to the line but had to settled for 2nd. I wasn’t disappointed to miss out on the 1st finish because I had clocked a 17:45 less then 48 hours after racing a 17:34. It shows the extra gym work is helping my general fitness and I am getting back some race fitness. I lost a lot of time in last mile, so I know I can knock a good chunk off my time here. I do plan on revisiting this venue soon but weather will always be the deciding factor.
As parkruns go, it is up in my top 3 venues. Fab set up, friendly people plus it has a changing room and shower facilities which means I can do it, have a shower then be clean for rest of the day.