So after all the rather piggy, albeit amazingly delicious, array of food the day before, we woke up Saturday to do, of course, parkrun.
I was so pleased when I found out a relatively new London parkrun had sprung up beginning with the letter ‘V’. The nearest V had been Valentine, but that was still ages away. Victoria Docks parkrun, however, was a mere 20-30ish minute journey from our hotel and only 10 weeks old. We both felt somewhat worse for wear after the beers and excessive amount of food the day before but we got ourselves together, checked out of the hotel and headed to the Excel Centre, where the parkrun was located.It was a fairly easy tube ride and short walk so we arrived in good time. The tell-tell signs of other parkrunners wearing their apricot and ‘100’ t-shirts could be seen so we knew we were in the right area.
Where the parkrun was based was a really pretty location next to, obviously, the docks and a pretty garden area (the Crystal Gardens).
It was already feeling very warm and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. There was a storeroom where there was a loo and free refreshments in the shape of tea, coffee and water. How posh eh!
Originally James had said he’d run with me and we’d test out a harder tempo effort (for me) of 6:50s to see how that felt. Well, within 30 seconds of starting he decided to run solo when he realised he could get a high placing (not that parkrun is a race of course). There were just over 100 people running and it seemed that the faster people weren’t super duper fast relative to James. In fairness I had said to James he didn’t have to run with me… Clearly not familiar with what a woman says and what she actually means, eh 😉 I was happy to run on my own in the end and actually found myself running 6.30min/miles rather than sticking to the original plan. It didn’t feel that fast strangely. I was surprised! I mean it didn’t feel easy of course, I hasten to add, but it didn’t feel like 6.30 pace.
Victoria Docks parkrun is super flat and is basically an out and back along the docks one side, then a shorter out and back the other side before finishing. I quite like this sort of course as you get to see other runners. You also never feel that far away from the finish so mentally it feels a bit easier. The only hindrance I felt were the cobbles on the pavement that were every so often. Running slower I’m sure I wouldn’t have noticed, but trying to run at a fast pace it seems any slight variation can be magnified.
James was well out in front and I was happy to be maintaining an even pace, so it was going well for us both. The last mile did feel somewhat like I’d be seeing doughnuts again and I got a terrible stitch. As I got to the finish funnel I stopped my watch and looked at it to see 19:59… oooooh would I get another official sub 20 minute 5k? I’d have to wait and see.
I then got my wrist band ready to scan with my finisher’s token…only to discover I’d stupidly packed my Berlin Marathon wristband instead.
What a numpty. Luckily I had a spare barcode in my purse (always have a spare, especially if you’re me and you can never truly rely on your own intelligence to get through). But finally got my ‘V’! Woohoo! James and I then did two miles cooling down.Though realistically there was nothing cool about the temperature now. It was nice though to shake the legs out a bit. As we came back round to the finish avoiding the funnel area to collect our bags, a couple of random men who were just chilling on the grass started cheering us in and then shouted to us that we were going the wrong way and that we needed to run through the funnel. We shouted that we had finished and were cooling down. They then started to cheer us again, chorusing a sing-song of “carry on, carry on!” It was quite amusing.We then got changed in the store room. I’d handily packed baby wipes as we weren’t going back to the hotel and had to survive the rest of the day now as we were. I hung my Barbour jacket on one of the marshal pegs with the high vis jackets on while I got myself sorted. We then went on our merry way to Southwark to have some brunch. I never picked back up my jacket from the peg. *sighs*
Blissfully unaware about this at that point, we headed off for some brunch in Southwark in a lovely restaurant called The Table Café. Southwark brought back amusing memories of a few months ago when we met up to do the Southwark parkrun and got out at the Southwark tube stop thinking it was there…only to find it was a few more stops away. I mean, why on earth would the Southwark parkrun be near the Southwark tube stop eh!?We luckily got into the restaurant before a queue outside the door started – very lucky! I ordered a full English (of course I did) and James ordered eggs Florentine. We also shared some pancakes (maple bacon and caramelised banana, but we skipped the banana as neither of us are a fan). Now I’m not a huge pancake fan but they were nice, though James said they were some of the best he’d ever had so there we go. My fry-up was fabulous.As it’s my mum’s *whispers* 60th coming up (she doesn’t want anyone to know her age…I personally think she should be proud!), I’d bought her tickets to see Phantom of the Opera so I was meeting my parents at 2pm to watch that at the Haymarket Theatre. So James and I had a leisurely stroll from Southwark to Leicester Square. We actually bumped into them in Leicester Square which was a bit mad considering how busy it was with the fever of the Royal Wedding being strong.
Phantom of the Opera was just amazing. I’ve seen the film but never the play and I was blown away. The singing was SO good. I mean the high notes were insane. And I even found myself getting a bit teary eyed during the love songs. Ahhh so good. My parents loved it too. I was so pleased my mum had a good time.And then afterwards I dashed off to Parliament Hill to meet back up with James and some fellow Marathon Talkers for the Night of the 10,000m PBs event. The event was basically a load of 10k races for elites while us non-elites could drink beer, eat pizza and cheer them on as they ran around the track. This event is now on its sixth year and its aim is to put a bit of fun back into watching races.
And fun it was indeed. The atmosphere was buzzing. Strava were sponsoring the event so there were a lot of large Strava ‘kudos’ foam thumbs (like the gladiator foam fingers) as well as food trucks, a beer tent, a pop-up bar selling gin… it was all going on. It was lovely to see the familiar Marathon Talk faces – Martin Yelling himself, Run Campers and Austria Run Campers. I had a few beers, enjoyed a goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomato pizza and just chilled out.I also managed to wrangle myself a free slice of rhubarb crumble. I’d spotted a man handing out slices of his homemade crumble to his friends (I think it was someone’s birthday) and I jokingly (not joking really though) asked how much I could pay him for a slice. And he readily handed me one over and said, “have that one for free!”. What a gentleman! When it comes to pudding, I can find it anywhere 😉I won’t lie. I didn’t really intensely watch the racing (though having looked it up the winner of the A race was Richard Ringer in 27:36 – wowza!). I was just enjoying the atmosphere, being with friends and the beer. But it was cool to see the super fast runners fly past us at different times.
It was a nice chilled out affair. I got to meet one of the hosts, Shaun Dixon, of the other running podcast I listen to (I know, cheating on Marathon Talk…) Let’s Get Running as James used to be coached by him. It was nice to meet him in person (always fun when you’ve listened to someone only and never seen what they actually look like in real life).
The Night of the 10,000m PBs was a fantastic event. It was great to be able to watch such a high standard of racing but in such a relaxed and fun environment. I’d definitely come back again. Sadly I did have to leave early though (before 9pm) to catch my train back to Southampton. I was shattered I can tell you! Such a jam-packed couple of days. Good times 🙂
Do you like to watch races?
What have you seen at the theatre?
What’s your favourite brunch option?