A muddy parkrun and keeping my fingers crossed

This week’s parkrun of choice was Ellenbrook Fields. With the recent bit of rain, both Ellenbrook and Panshanger are muddy ones, but Ellenbrook is much flatter and probably the less muddier of the two as it is generally wider, so easier to find a less muddy route.

I was planning on running a mile beforehand to warm up (half a mile from the car park to the start, and then up and down the taxi-way until the start) but I ended up seeing an OH lady (she was chip scanning) so we chatted for a bit instead. It was so cold- I’d taken my long sleeved top with me at the last minute, to wear at the end, but I ended up keeping it on the whole time. Some of the puddles had big bits of ice in them- I wasn’t expecting that as this week has been fairly mild.

I saw another runner (Denise- our OH runner of the year) – she is usually a bit faster than me so I decided to try and keep her in sight and see how fast I could go.

It was very muddy- I was trying to dodge the puddles but after about a mile ended up putting my whole foot in (ankle deep)- cold wet feet for the rest of the run!

I had no idea how fast I was going as I had left my watch on from the warm up (I prefer to leave it running rather than stop-start it, as then Strava takes out all the still bits, plus my watch is a bit ropey now and does not always save things properly if I fiddle about), but as we ran through the cow field (about half way, or a mile to go possibly) I overtook Denise. I did wonder if I was going too fast, but I felt OK so pushed on. After the cow field there is the “water feature”, which is where the track narrows (between fences) and dips down- it’s really boggy there, and then afterwards you run slightly uphill, and it lulls you into a false sense of security as you think the mud and bogs are behind you, but then you realise that what looks like a rutted field is actually more bog. (It’s also where I fell over on the Sweatshop run years ago and gave myself a black eye and scraped all the skin off my shoulder).

At this stage you then run past heaps of gravel (?) from the old quarry, and again the path was basically a giant puddle with smaller and more boggy puddles around the edge. By this point I had given up avoiding the water and was just trying to not slip over. I passed the final marshal (with a tambourine- I love that they have instruments here!) and then onto the taxiway. I think it’s about half a mile from there to the finish, and you can sort of see it as it’s so straight. I glanced at my watch then and saw 8.08- then I spent some time wondering if I had selected current or average pace, and then I tried to pick up my pace a bit. I ended up counting to 100 in my head, and then again (I think I got up to 40).

A few runners who had finished were walking the other way and cheering us along, and there is always a big crowd of marshals at the finish- last week they slightly changed the finish so it’s straight on instead of a sharp right turn, so they were all shouting to keep going to the end of the line and not stop where the flags were as that was just showing the way. It felt good to stop!

Even when I finished I didn’t know how fast I had  gone- it felt fast but also the mud makes it hard, and your legs feel tired so it’s hard to gauge.

After getting my token scanned I jogged the long way around back to the car, so in the end I did about 4.5 miles. I had taken shoes with me to change into for the drive home, but I should have also packed spare socks- they were so soggy.

I think I need to get some dark coloured running socks, as the mud never seems to properly come out of them either.

When I plugged in my Garmin, it told me I had achieved a segment “PR” for the parkrun course, but I had to wait and see for the official results!

4 segment PR’s including 27.03 for the parkrun course (my previous pb was 27.16 which I got at the start of August). The email came through a bit later telling me I had a new shiny pb of 27.06! Hooray!  My all time 5k pb is 26.29, but from St Albans in 2013, so I didn’t know if I could get close to that With less mud, I think I can! I’ve looked at my results and I think that is my fourth fastest time, as I also ran 26.50 and 27.05 at St Albans. (In fact, it is, as I just worked out you can sort by time on your parkrun table. I also have run 27.12 three times and 27.16 twice, and then my eyes went funny looking at all the numbers and I had to stop).

When I was looking through the results, I saw this running club name- Derek Zoolander school for kids who can’t run good. Best running club name! (Also seen- Pirate ship of fools, and 5K fairweather runner support group). A few runners were wearing the cow cowl, adding Ellenbrook to their tourist list.

I had a lot of work to get through, and then I went for a back and shoulder massage (my incentive to get it all done)- this was very much needed! Later my dad and brother picked me up and we visited my sister, as she had just had a baby on Friday (Mum had been with her for most of the day)- I don’t think I have ever held a baby so young before. I am so used to seeing our niece (on Andy’s side) who is coming up to a year old now, so it was strange holding someone so teeny and fragile (with such a floppy head). So lovely though, and my dad was of course over the moon (as she is his first grandchild).

On Sunday morning I had a shorter run in the fog- I did an out and back for 7 miles. Around half way my leg started to feel stiff- I got this in the Brighton 10 miles and during a few long runs since then- all that seems to help is stopping and stretching. I did a lot of yoga stretches when I got home to try and help.

While we were having breakfast we saw that the fox had come back in to our garden again (right in the middle at the back of the garden). Seeing them in the middle of the day is a bit weird- I was thinking about how I would react if I saw one up close when I was running- I’ve seen them from a bit of a way away, but as someone who is nervous of dogs, a wild fox would rather terrify me if it came close.

Later today we are off to the cinema- the perfect activity for a cold and cloudy day.

What is the best running club name you have seen? Do you have some times that you keep on getting at parkrun? Do you mind the mud? I don’t, but I really should pack a towel in my car to sit on for the drive home!

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