I’d already done a bit of research to find that just over a mile away was Little Stoke parkrun, which is very flat. I was sold! I had originally planned to run there and back on Saturday but I was worried about the extra miles on my legs with Ultra that evening and I wanted to get back quickly to my friend’s. Plus I have a satnav in my car…
Little Stoke parkrun had lots of parking at the community centre where it’s located but I wasn’t sure if it required money to park (and I didn’t bring any) so I parked in a nearby road and walked down. Lots of people (257) were there and it was lovely and friendly. We also got to see some of the new parkrun T-shirts by Tribesports. Very nice indeed. I should get my 50 T-shirt at some point!
Before I’d signed up to Ultra12 (which was fairly last minute) I’d planned to really go for a sub-20 for this parkrun. It was super flat, three laps and no major twists or turns…But after a humid 8 miler on Thursday with the club I was feeling tired and a bit concerned about Ultra12. Saying that though I was going to give it a good go.
(Photo credit: Harleyjonn)
I made sure I got near the front and started really strong. I looked at my watch and saw around 6.30min/miles and felt comfortable. Ahh the joys of the first 0.5 miles of a 5k. The pain hadn’t quite started yet.
(Photo credit: Harleyjonn)
Those happy feelings quickly disappeared into the second lap as it suddenly became so much harder. 7min/miles pace started appearing on my watch as Istarted to fade. I pulled it back somewhat in the third lap but as it was around a field I could see the finishing funnel so far ahead and knew my sub-20 was never going to happen. Not even close. To be fair, by the second lap I knew it wasn’t going to happen. I needed to be running 6.30min/miles strong for most of the run and I wasn’t. I gave up a little towards the end and consoled myself with the fact that I had been lead female all the way round and wasn’t in danger of losing it.
Finishing straight (photo credit: Harleyjonn)
Nowhere near my PB or sub-20 on a completely flat course: 20:43, first female.
I think this tells me my marathon boost from Liverpool is over and I need to rest a bit. If I want to target a sub-20 5k I need to target it – as in, I need to train for it. I don’t enjoy these constant pain trains to try and get there and I was naive enough to think that after the marathon I’d be able to achieve it ‘naturally’ without too much trouble. This is not only an arrogant thought but it’s also unrealistic for me. So for the moment I’m putting that ambition to bed and going to focus on marathon training without distraction. If a sub-20 happens organically and through the process then hurrah, but I’m not going to worry about it anymore. parkruns will still be used for good speed training but as long as I put in a good amount of effort I’m happy. I don’t want to be disappointed after every parkrun anymore! parkruns for me are supposed to be fun.
After finishing I quickly headed back to the car and was back at my friend’s house for 9.30am. Pretty good timing!
As the weather was so lovely it was a great day for one of my new summery dresses from H&M (such a bargain at £8!).
No it’s not a belt, that’s my skin – it’s a ventilation panel 😉
Then the rest of the gang arrived. One couple came from Brighton and one came from Cardiff – so we’re all very much spread over the country (well, Southern UK anyway).
The BBQ was ahhhhmazing. Because this BBQ had been in the pipeline for ages and I’d only really signed up to Ultra12 a couple of weeks ago I didn’t want Ultra12 to overshadow the food choices I made. In my opinion, the BBQ fun was the priority over having fast, speedy laps at Ultra12. Basically I didn’t want to go “oh I’ll just have a small plate of food to be sensible for running tonight”. That is not the Anna Way. Especially as Kate and Jamie, our hosts, had provided such an INCREDIBLE spread of food.
Ultra12 was going to start at 7pm (I’d be arriving at 6ish). I was pretty sure I wasn’t the first person because of my late arrival – I thought I’d be like fourth or fifth so not running until at least 9pm onwards. So I ate what I wanted without worry.
Kate and Jamie bought two £20 packs from the butchers which contained sooo much meat: burgers, sausages, marinated drumsticks, lamb, peppered steak, pork belly and pork ribs. And my friend, Charlotte (a vegetarian), brought halloumi skewers and there were also veggie burgers and sausages.
With crisps and dips, my salad contribution and some incredible homemade salsa, mango chutney and apple rainbow slaw from Jamie’s friend, Tom, we were well and truly set.
Fried onions for the burgers as well
The sun was shining, we were all chilled and the Pimms was flowing. Sadly not into my cup though as I was driving later.
One plate of many I assure you
I stuck to my favourites and maxed out on those: peppered steak, ribs and pork belly (and a cheeky lamb skewer as well). With lots of salad of course to keep the balance 😉
I was sensible enough to not eat until I was really full as I knew we also had some unbelievably tasty looking blueberry cheesecake for pudding made by Charlotte’s husband, Paddy.
My one mistake was probably having two slices when I should have stopped at one, but it was just too good not to. I felt a little too full afterwards but it was worth it. And I had hours before Ultra12…I was really sensible though in wearing suntan lotion and drinking lots of nuun water to keep me hydrated. So that’s something I suppose.
In your dreams little furry pug
Kate’s pug, Doug, was adorable and I wished Alfie could have come as well (as I had originally planned) but because of Ultra12 I had to leave him with my parents.
So so cute
I was sad to be the first to leave but I was glad to have come the night before as otherwise it really would have been a flying visit. I got back into my car and headed to Reading. I got to the campsite for about 6pm and met up with the other Hedgies and my teammates.
L-R: Claire, me, Mark, Mike and Kate (another Kate!)
The atmosphere on site was great. It’s smaller and more low-key than Endure24 was but still has a great buzz and lots of people camping and having BBQs. And thankfully NO rain, just beautiful sunshine and a nice temperature.
After sorting my stuff out I sat down for a nice cup of tea before the madness began.
Have you done many different parkuns?
What’s your favourite BBQ food?
How do you prepare for a race that’s in the evening?