Hackney GoodGym go to Parkrun

Hackney Marsh ParkRun

Hackney Marsh ParkRun

It was a crisp but beautiful Winter morning which was for the setting of my latest Hackney Marsh ParkRun. I had only previously ran one ParkRun 7 weeks earlier and recorded a time of 22:12. This week I cycled along to the race with a bunch of friends from Hackney GoodGym (Aimee, Lauren, Phil and Shaun).

Running has been great for expanding my social circle and I have found the organisers/volunteers of all of the races I attend brilliant and friendly. It really is a great way to get to know people living active healthy lives in your area.

I was definitely attending this weeks race expecting to run a PB. I decided that my tactics would be to start fast and hang in there. I haven’t really been running 5K’s in the past 6 weeks with training being more geared towards the 10K races of the previous couple of weeks and my upcoming half marathon. Therefore I wasn’t confident of being able to consistently put down 7 minute miles.

ParkRun Splits

ParkRun Splits

The pace at the start of the race was blistering I wasn’t surprised when I peaked at my Garmin to see my 1 mile split was 6:30. The cold air was tearing through my lungs and my legs felt heavy; the fear had set in at this point. All sorts of crazy notions flashed into my head, including getting overtaken by everyone and dropping out. Race confidence is definitely something I need to work on.

Anyway that didn’t happen and despite a slight dropping in my pace I was still able to put in some fairly decent miles and end up with a PB of 21:04 with a placing on 17th and knocking 1:08 off my previous 5K PB. I finished with a strong sprint going past two other runners and was slightly aggrieved to not have gone under 21:00 minutes but I am confident of doing this in the not too distant future.

ParkRun results

My GoodGym friends and I had a fun time and I think ParkRuns are going to become a more regular fixture in our running diaries.

Lauren (on the right) goes head to head with another runner

Lauren (on the right) goes head to head with another runner

Afterwards Aimee and I went for breakfast, I had some tasty avocado on sourdough bread and decaff coffee. All in all it was the perfect way to start the day.

Aimee gliding along

Aimee gliding along

Did you run a ParkRun this weekend? If so, how did you get on? Leave your comments below.

Until the next time…

Damien x

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The Magic Mile

GoodGym Track Night

Recently the running/volunteering group I attend GoodGym announced they were holding a  track night. At the grand old age of 29 this would be the first time I had ever ran on a real running track. It was safe to say I was pretty excited and as we arrived at the track in Mile End the floodlights switched on; It felt proper. For a brief moment I was expecting Mo Farah to pop his head around the door and announce he would be joining us a for a run.

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

I had been thinking a lot about what my mile time would be mainly whilst listening to the Marathon Talk podcast. And to be honest I didn’t really have much of a clue. My race 5K PB is only 22:12 but I have ran 19 min 5k’s in training runs all be it with downhill involved. So I had a suspicion I might be capable of doing something half decent. The problem being I literally had no idea about how to pace it. Of course I had read a little bit beforehand and Ade one of the GoodGym coaches gave us some valuable advice before we set off.

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

There was only about 11 of us taking part but some serious runners were in the group so I was curious to see how I would match up to the tough competition. After doing some fun dynamic warms ups we got ready to start our race. I remember thinking this is amazing, why haven’t I done this before, followed by thinking I hope I don’t false start. Then before I knew it we were off and all I could think was; “wow! this is fast”. A couple of the runners set off at a blistering pace probably sub 5 min, so within a 100 metres I knew my race would take place somewhere in the middle of the pack.

I tried settling down into a nice rhythm trying not to worry myself with what the other runners were doing or how I was quite close to the back of the pack. Honestly after 2 laps I remember thinking I can’t believe I have to run two more of these. I was definitely feeling the burn but on that third lap my body realised it would all be over soon and I realised Ade and I had reeled in the runner in front and as she went past I went with her. All of a sudden I felt a bit more optimistic, perhaps I was fitter than I realised and capable of not collapsing in a pathetic heap.

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

Pictures courtesy of GoodGym

After that I felt we picked up the pace and all of a sudden I felt I had rhythm, I was still in the middle of the pack but the runners in front were in my sights. Basically I left it too little too late I went with about 150 metres to go overtaking Ade (who I am sure could have caught me if she wished) and sprinting hard to the finish. I nearly caught Callum in front but he had a great sprint at the end as well.

My mile time was 6:12 and I think I finished 6th.

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I will definitely be trying more track races in the future. With a bunch of good people it can make for a great way to vary your training and practice that extra kick at the end of a race. We ended the evening with fun 100 metre rely which I really enjoyed, although running fast around a corner was a strange experience. Afterwards we headed to a lovely pint in a great local pub, fun running with great people. All in all a perfect Friday evening.

If you have ran a mile race what was your time? How do you go about pacing yourself? With how far left do you normally accelerate? I would love to hear your stories and strategies.

London Marathon

London Marathon

Well I am not going to lie I did feel blue on receiving my London Marathon ballot application rejection last week. In fact I felt the Smurf was quite mocking, I wasn’t a fan as a kid and certainly I am not now, I would have much preferred a Womble.

Seeing several friends getting ballot places made me realise how much I had set my heart on running this event. I know there are loads of great marathons out there but having been along to watch the London Marathon it clearly has a special atmosphere.

I live in London, studied in Greenwich and I am originally from the outskirts of south east London. So the streets the London marathon explores are places I have grown up around.

However slowly over the past couple of days I have started to feel less despondent. I been lucky to spend time with some great friends and family and spoken to other friends online and they have encouraged me to apply for a charity place.

My friends and family are the reason I have had my heart set on doing the London Marathon. I remember the huge lift seeing friends and family gave me when I struggled around my Royal Parks half marathon 3 years ago. So I think that is what I am going to do, I am going to try and get a charity place. My Dad died from Motor Neurone Disease in 2011 and running the London Marathon in front of friends and family and fundraising for that charity is something I am sure he would have been proud of me for doing.

Training in the last week has been varied and enjoyable. I have started preparing for the Capital Runners Bushy Park 10k on the 20th October. I am looking at definitely ducking under the 48 minute mark and I hopeful of perhaps ducking under 46 minutes.

My recent 10k runs have have seen me exploring the beautiful Walthamstow and Hackney Marshes. Discovering new parts of your local area has to be one of my favourite things about running. I would love to hear about the most amazing places you have discovered whilst running, please leave comments or tweet me.