On Saturday I was up early to walk down to parkrun before Body Pump at the gym. Within about ten seconds of leaving my flat, I wished I had brought my gloves with me, but the thought of going up ALL those flights of stairs made me think ‘whatever, I can live without them’. The forecast was for sunshine, so I figured it was early and it would heat up. Ha ha ha, foolish girl. Anyway, I arrived with heaps of time (I usually jog down, so had totally overestimated how long it would take to walk), so I sat in a sunny spot and admired the view while I waited for a guy from the gym, we’ll call him Connie, to show up in his car so I could ditch my stuff. This was going to be his first 5k (timed) and it was looking like a promising day for it (despite the bitter wind).
View from Aberdeen Beach toward the North Sea
What you can’t see from this picture is the approaching cluster of dark, ominous clouds behind me. I didn’t notice them at this point. Call it selective viewing…
Anyway, ‘Connie’ arrived and we had a quick moan about how cold it was before I dumped my bag and all unnecessary (for running) clothes into the trunk of his car and found my parkrun barcode. After nearly losing it, I stuffed it safely in my bra, and we went for a quick jog to warm up. My legs were still sore from the massage yesterday, so I wasn’t really anticipating any amazing pace, but I still had it in my head that I wanted to get under 25 minutes. After sub 8 mi miles at the Balmoral 10k last weekend, I kind of thought I should be able to manage that.
Just before 9:30, the crowd gathered and got ready to go. After a brief speech congratulating one of the local parkrunners for finishing the first female at the Balmoral 10k, and another for being the first Aberdeen parkrunner to attend 10 events, we were off! ‘Connie’ went steaming ahead, and I did briefly think ‘ouch, that’s going to come back and bite you in the ass near the end’. I picked a relatively fit looking male and decided to use him as a pacer, settling comfortably into his wake. After a minute or so, I glanced down at the Garmin and noticed 7:03/mile. Oops. Not wanting to totally burn out, I hit the breaks a bit, and settled closer to 7:45/mile. Sweet, right? That I’m casually saying I ‘slowed it down to 7:45’?! Don’t worry, that smug feeling was wiped out of my system pretty quickly.
Around the 1k mark, the wind picked up. Not cool, mother nature, not cool. I managed to keep it under 8:00/mile, but I avoided peeking at my heart rate. After a couple of minutes of wind in my face, it got worse. The dark, ominous clouds that had been off in the distance were now pretty much upon us, and as quickly as I thought ‘I wonder if this will be snow of rain?’, tiny, needle sharp hailstones came flying at us – HORIZONTALLY. I shit you not, this was beyond ridiculous. I could barely see ahead of me, but did notice the runners ahead as blurs, holding up their arms to shield their faces from the hail. This continued for about 5 minutes or so, and I did have to check my arms several times for blood, because I was convinced it hurt too much to not be bleeding (no blood, I’m just weak I guess). Once I’d turned down onto the promenade, I was shielded a bit from the hail, and checked my Garmin to read 8:xx. Balls.
I decided to just chug on, and happily noticed the pace speeding up as I neared the end. I saw ‘Connie’ on his way to the finish after he had turned the final corner back to the start and gave him a wave (He did very well indeed, 22:47 for his first 5k!). As I turned the corner back into the wind, I started speeding up in an attempt to make up for lost time and for the first time ever, remembered to stop my Garmin when I crossed the finish line.
And the results? 24:22, 7th female finisher (first in my age group!), and 46 seconds of my previous parkrun PB in February. Did I mention, through horizontal hail?
I’m pretty pleased my speed is coming back, and if I can maintain that pace for the Baker Hughes 10k later this month, I’ll be closer to my usual 47:xx finishing time than last year’s disaster! To be honest, if I can finish in under 50, I’ll be happy. As long as I keep seeing improvements!
Anyway, to reward myself for achieving what I’d set out to do, I enjoyed beef rendang and cider for dinner. De-freaking-licious! Beef rendang, for those who think I’m making up dish names, is a tasty malaysian dish that I first had when I lived in Indonesia as a kid. I’m not normally a fan of jar sauces, but if anyone wants to try, Marks and Spencer’s beef rendang paste is amazing. All you need to add is coconut milk. I normally add a pack of mushrooms and an onion to the frying pan (because mushrooms and onions are like my crack).