Yesterday I participated in what was, I’m embarrassed to admit, my first Parkrun* at Crissy Field in San Francisco. I’ve always been fascinated by this concept and wanted to run one (or more) in the UK, but I’ve ignored the one in my own backyard. Random 5k races are hard for me to fit into a schedule when I’m focusing on longer runs, so I never make the short trek to San Francisco to do this race.
*For those who don’t know what this is, check out the Parkrun main website and links to individual country sites from there.
This was an unplanned race. I decided to do it after a very strong run on Thursday.
My recent training has been very inconsistent due to a new job and two separate though possibly related illnesses, each of which caused me to lose approximately a week of running. This last week, I did two easy treadmill runs of three miles. On Thursday, I picked it up for what was a very fast six miles. This made me think I’m in better condition than I previously believed and convinced me to race this weekend. I knew, however, that I would not fully recover by Saturday.
Arrival and Warmup
Traffic was light and parking surprisingly easy on such a beautiful Saturday morning (7am).
I was able to park next to the start and get a lay of the land, even take a picture and tweet. I then went for a two mile warmup, which is on the long side for me but I was pretty tight from Thursday, wanted to work that out, and also wanted to get extra mileage in.
While I had a decent warm up, I was milling about the start for a long time and my HR had come down to resting, so race pace came as a bit of a shock. However, I quickly settled into what was my intended goal pace.
My second mile was about 10 seconds faster, which was a big surprise, though could have been a result of no longer having a headwind. I also felt like I was running alone at this point, but I then learned there was a bunch of people sitting in my ‘wake’ (because someone stepped on my heel and I turned to look).
The third mile I slowed down by about 20 seconds (10 off of goal pace). Towards the end, the group of people who were bunched up behind me all passed me, quickly. I wasn’t too worried about this but it is a bit uncommon for me.
In the end, I finished at almost exactly goal pace, wasn’t too beat up, and knew I’d done all this on less than ideal training. I also haven’t run this fast in months as I’ve done mostly endurance training.
I loved this race, and will be back, possibly as soon as next weekend. The atmosphere is great, it’s like a Turkey Trot that happens every weekend, and is free. It’s interesting how many people travel to these, or at least run them while traveling. There were approximately 100 finishers, and I’d estimate a quarter were Aussie, a quarter were Americans, one half from UK (or maybe they were just the loudest?) and a few others thrown in for good measure. There was a couple on their honeymoon and it was announced that this was the third race in a row with such a couple.
Note: I made the impulse purchase of a Parkrun race singlet (with crissy field customization), as I’m hoping to get a Parkrun in while in Europe in a month and it would be nice to have this to wear.
I was going to title this section “Munich Marathon Training Update”, but that’s sort of the point. I’ve decided to not run the full marathon, and have even decided to not run the half. My training has not supported finishing a full without hurting myself, running a half about which I could feel good, or doing either without adversely effecting my subsequent vacation. Therefore, I’ll be racing the Munich 10k (this decision was one of my motivators for having a fast run yesterday). I’m happy about this decision. I may feel bad when I get there and see the marathoners, but now isn’t the time for me to run a full. This decision has the added benefit of allowing me to run in each location I visit after, which would not be possible if I’d done the marathon. I will also hopefully partake in either an Amsterdam city run or Copenhagen Parkrun the following week, depending upon how the plan works out.
Training lately has not been a lot of fun, and therefore I’ve lost focus. I will shift gears, try to run more workouts, have fun and run faster. Caveat: This all gets thrown out if I win the London Marathon Lotto.