I felt strong this morning.
I hadn’t managed to fit in a run all week but the Cambridge half marathon run last weekend had left me feeling strong and confident. I did a little warm up and had a sneaking suspicion that today might be a very good day indeed.
I set off faster than usual. It’s always difficult trying to work your way through so many runners at such a popular Parkrun but today I slipped through nice and easy.
I came past the 1K marker feeling that things were going well so, as we turned left back under the cover of the trees I decided to speed up a little. It twists and turns and that slows down your average pace but it’s all part of what makes it such a delightful run. The trail around the park is quite a narrow track and I’ve often found myself just falling in behind someone and moving along at their pace. Today felt different though. I had strength in reserve and so started moving out to pass the person in front and then chase down the next runner. It was a fantastic feeling. There was something almost predatory about it as I moved through the field picking off runner after runner. I came around for the next lap and I found tiredness taking its toll. My brain is telling me to just take it easy. There was a noise in my head going tick-tock tick-tock just counting off the paces to get through to the end. My pace dropped and I stopped passing people. I’m breathing quite heavily now and my lungs are gasping for air. It’s not until I pass the 4K marker that I start to think that perhaps I’m being a bit lazy. I ran the Cambridge Half Marathon last week and here am I feeling sorry for myself on a piddling little 5K run around Milton Country Park. I look up and see a long straight path down by the Cambridge Evening News building. I move out to the right and start to pass other runners yet again. I turn at the bridge and the chap there mentions something about the time being 23:35 by his watch. I look at him in disbelief. I knew this was a good run but we were less than three minutes away from the finish line. My personal best was 27:07 so there was no way I could be beating that by thirty seconds. I was sceptical but thought maybe it’s a possibility. I dug in and surged forward and as I turned right toward the finish cone I let out a roar of delight and piled on a last great effort to reach the end.
I took my finish token and checked my phone. It said I’d done a time of 25:49. I still couldn’t quite believe it. Surely I can’t have knocked off over a minute from my personal best. Over the last couple of years I’ve been chipping off a few seconds here and a few seconds there.
Richard is certain I must have done a good time. He’s finished and is waiting there to cheer me in. He hasn’t been standing there long so feels that my time must be something extraordinary.
I checked my time on the website and it was 25:54. It was true. I’d knocked off more than a minute from my previous personal best time of 27:07.
I’m still slower than the rest of the crowd that I run with but I think I’ve turned a corner. I’m definitely stronger and fitter than I was and I’m really looking forward to my next 10K run. I think I can improve my personal best at that distance quite considerably.
I am a very happy chap indeed.