Saturday’s parkrun at Parke was clearly not going to be a PB run.
For starters, I was still in bed at ten past eight. Yes, I had dragged myself out of bed to eat a tactical breakfast at around 7:30, but the lure of the duvet had soon called me back once again. I was clearly tired, and also very full of curry from the night before. And I had exerted myself less than a week before with my first ever 10k race. This parkrun was therefore one just to be enjoyed for its own sake.
Having finally pulled myself together and, more importantly, pulled myself into some clothes, I jumped into the car and made the short journey to Parke. Arriving at the car park we were asked by one of the volunteers to make sure that we parked closely together. It seems that this parkrun is growing in popularity and they had run out of space in the car park the previous week. More importantly, Kieran, the organiser, told us that the cafe had actually run out of bacon rolls the week before. Before he had managed to get his. Popularity is clearly a double-edged sword.
Looking at the facts and figures on the parkrun website, Parke averages 98 runners at an event. The first Parke parkrun was attended by 103 runners, and the numbers have risen to a high of 108, with a lowest attendance of 73. Until August, that is. The last three events have seen the numbers jump to 153, 138 and 141 runners. Best get a quick time in if you want to be sure of getting back in time to get a bacon roll.
On this occasion my start did not feel quick and I was happy to sit behind the leading group as we headed down towards the Really Big Hill (I have decided that it really does deserve capitals). Up the hill and I eased into the run a bit more, passing a few people and being passed myself. Now that I know the course I was free to open up on the long, lolloping downhill section and I moved away from some of those whom I had been running with. Across the river and around the second loop and I was still feeling pretty good. Finding myself on the homeward stretch with a bit of energy still in reserve I tried to catch up with the group in front, catching the back markers as we descended a short hill. Back across the river and up the final hill before a final spurt of energy to (almost) sprint home along the flat final 150m.
It turns out that it had definitely been worth getting out of bed for, even if I really hadn’t felt like it at 8:00 that morning. It was a lovely sunny morning and I had enjoyed the run. All of the parkruns around Devon are in really scenic spots but I particularly like the surroundings of Parke. I didn’t spot the sheep on this occasion but there is always something to look out for whilst you’re running and I enjoy being in and out of the trees and running alongside the big open parkland near the start/finish. So however I do, time-wise, there is always going to be something enjoyable to get out of the run.
And, somewhat improbably, it was a PB run after all. Just goes to show, I’m really not that in tune with my body at all.