Marathon training – week 7

Monday – no running

Tuesday – after the disaster that was my last try with a running club, my friend suggested that I come along to his running group. He runs with Run Dem Crew, a fairly high-profile group that I’ve always thought wasn’t really for me (too enthusiastic, maybe, for my misanthropic self, or just too cool). I turned up in Shoreditch feeling a bit apprehensive, especially when I found out that there was going to be lots of cheering and clapping beforehand. But actually, this bit was great, we cheered all the people who’d raced at the weekend, and there were some lovely race stories. Then we went out for a run. I joined the Greyhound group and we ran along at a very chilled pace, made even more chilled by having to stop at lights every 100 metres. We ran down to St Paul’s, then over the Millennium Bridge (“sprint if you want to!” Came a shout, so I did, but I was one of only a few) and along the Southbank to Leake Street, just behind the London Eye. Then we ran back, again with a sprint over the Millennium Bridge, and more traffic lights as we wound our way back to Shoreditch. People were very friendly and I enjoyed chatting and it was nice running along with someone else leading the way. The downsides are the location (Shoreditch isn’t convenient for work or home), having to run on busy roads/stop for traffic and a lingering feeling that I’m not cool enough. They said I can come back next week. 10km.

Wednesday – ate some cake, ran to a brewery, felt the beginnings of heartburn, ate a pizza, ran back from the brewery, had to take heartburn tablets. 3.7km.

Thursday – no running

Friday – no running

Saturday – did parkrun for the first time in ages. I ran over to Brockwell Lido and hung around feeling cold, but spurred on by the promise of mini eggs at the finish line, we set off. I find it hard to pace myself at this parkrun, but when I got to 4km and was done with the hills I tried to do some maths and work out how long it might take to finish but couldn’t figure it out so just ran, and managed to beat my time on this course by 45 seconds. Yes, still slow, but it was a little confidence boost that I can actually do it. 8.1km

Sunday – we went for a cycle during the day and had been lucky to avoid the showers, and I knew that I wouldn’t be so lucky with my run. It was very windy when I set out, and when I got to the top of Crystal Palace it started raining. I ended up sheltering in the doorway of a church for a minute at the top of Lordship Lane, and cut the whole run short as it was dark (turns out the clocks changing does not mean magic light!), wet and cold. 13km.

Total: 34.8km

Mum’s second Parkrun

This weekend my Mum was in town, and as we’d dragged her along to her first Parkrun back in December, I thought it was time for her to do another!

I normally do the Dulwich Parkrun, three laps of the entirely flat Dulwich Park. It’s a 10 minute cycle from my house, a nice warm up but one that involves the South Circular. Mum can ride a bike but hasn’t in a while and I didn’t think she’d fancy riding one of mine around one of south London’s busiest roads.

Brockwell Park is just a bus journey from my house, so trying to pretend it doesn’t have a whopping great hill in it, we went there. We were super organised and each had a flask of coffee, which we left propped against a tree as we listened to the safety briefing.

There were more than 300 runners, which felt very busy. We queued up on the path outside the lido, and soon we were off. Well, fairly soon – it took a while to get going. The path was very narrow for the number of people on it and I had started too far back and had a lot of slower runners to overtake, especially when it came to the first hill.

Feeling like a boss, I powered up the hill, glancing down at my garmin watch to check my pace – and noticed that the bloody thing had stopped! I’m slightly ashamed to admit it knocked my motivation (what’s the point of setting a new PB if you’re not recording it?) and I took it easier for the remaining 3.8km.

I managed a sprint finish – a bit lame as I’d really been jogging up until then – and joined the enormous queue to have my barcode scanned, chatting to another girl who was new to Brockwell Parkrun.

I kept checking the finish line to see when Mum was on her way in. I wasn’t sure when we’d set off or what time she was expecting to do it in but thought that the moment I saw her I’d jog over to her and run the final bit with her.

Suddenly I noticed the volunteers packing away the finishing chute. “Stop!” I shouted, trying to sprint across a patch of extremely boggy grass. “There’s still another runner to go!” Luckily they hadn’t stopped the timer, but they thought that the last lady in was the final runner, forgetting about Mum.

I left the coffee cups at the finish line and headed back along the course to track Mum down. Running in my down jacket is not much fun! I found her and we power walked to the end together. 54 minutes – more than a minute faster than her first Parkrun!

We went for coffee at the Blackbird Bakery (where we met a 12 week old pug, refusing to walk) and saw a painting of the park in the art shop window. I pointed out the route we’d taken: one big lap around the park and then turning left at the sports field on the second lap.

“Sports field?!” exclaimed Mum. “I didn’t turn left at the sports field!”

She’d done TWO big laps of the park. So not only had she beaten her previous time, she’d beaten it on an extra long (and hilly) course! Well done Mum!