May. 22nd, 2016

purplecat: Hand Drawn picture of a Toy Cat (Default)
That's 2 minutes faster than last year so I'm pretty pleased.

I actually started out going pretty fast, around the speed I normally run when practising for 5km, but since I was feeling pretty good and I know I run faster than practice in actual races, I decided to go with it and maintain that general pace as long as I could (which, it transpired, was around 7km). Despite the doom-laden predications of at least one of my weather apps it was hot and sunny. I was glad I hadn't worn a long sleeve top. I did wonder if it was a good idea to skip the water station at 4km but I don't habitually drink when running and now didn't seem to be the time to start. I did go through the run-through shower at 5km, though regretted it a little as my new (vari-focal) glasses spent the next 500 metres slipping down my nose.

It was around 5km I started noticing people, most notably children in, I would guess, the 6-10 age bracket standing in the crowds with their little hands held out hopefully for high fives as people went past. So I amused myself for the next 2-3km by obliging. I was actually a little surprised that more people weren't interacting with the crowd, though I don't think it is something I would have thought of had I not read [personal profile] nanila's account of the Worcester 10k. But hey! I wasn't going to win any medals and spreading the fun seemed like a worthwhile thing to do.

Around 7km the faster than normal pace started to hit home and I slowed down to about 5minutes 15 seconds per kilometre, which was the pace I'd been practising at, but everything definitely began to feel rather like hard work. I was cheered up by spotting one of the regular Park Run directors cheering in the crowd around 7km, and the Team Humphrey bus at about 8km ("Team Humphrey" is the name coined by the Manchester Children's hospital for whom I was running - I've no idea why) - in both cases it was a boost that someone in the crowd recognised me (or my T-shirt). About this point I also spotted one of the regular park runners just ahead of me and keeping her in sight, helped me keep the pace up. I was mildly perplexed that I couldn't catch her up, because these days I'm faster than her at park run, though when I first started out I often used to follow just behind her - I guess she's my informal pacing mascot. Looking at the results I was over a minute faster than her overall so she must have actually started ahead of me. I managed to speed up a little in the final few hundred metres, but I wouldn't claim to have sprinted for the finish.

This year I experimented with listening to podcasts as I went around the course, the idea being that they wouldn't drown out the various musical acts one passes en route but would be more interesting than silence. As a result, I had the slightly surreal experience of listening to [twitter.com profile] JonnElledge (with his CityMetic hat on) discussing public transportation in LA for a large part of the run (shortly after leaving the bold reporter from Welcome to Night Vale cowering under his desk because Management had left their office). It was certainly easier to switch attention into and out of spoken material, but it happened to the extent that I don't recall a great deal about public transportation in LA - nor the nature of identity in the suburbs of large cities. By the time I remembered to switch podcasts off I was, apparently, into an episode of "From our Own Correspondant" but I hadn't heard any of it because of the noise around the finish.

Each year, I've been fascinated by the loot that is put into the finishers bags. Presumably it is all provided by sponsors and mostly it consists of obvious things like energy snacks, but there's often something a little left-of-field. This year that was a 500g bag of basmati rice. I'm assuming carbo-loading was behind the reasoning there.

According to the website I was 5,082th overall, 53rd woman between 45 and 49, 470th person between 45 and 49 and 630th woman overall. My nemesis (i.e., the woman between 45-49 who regularly as clockwork beats me at park run) was exactly 2 minutes faster than I was and came in 3,695th overall. Since she volunteered at park run yesterday (as did I), I have now identified her. As well as running faster than I do, she has a very cute umbrella. Another park run regular spotted me as I wandering around central Manchester afterwards. He'd managed a time in the 46-47 mark, my neighbour of the Manchester Museum and Art Gallery Mafia managed 45 minutes, 47 seconds. But they're both men and so sadly, but frankly, in a different league.

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