So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Saturday was my last regular Oldham parkrun, for at least for a while and the last one as my home run as my allegiance switches to a new parkrun. Although my first parkruns were at Heaton Park, it wasn’t until Oldham parkrun started that I caught the parkrun bug, and even then it was a while before I really got what parkrun was about.
So event #197 rolled around, with a typical late arrival, just time for a quick jog to the loo and an inadequate 5 minute warm up – why change bad habits now! A record turnout of 194 runners was some difference to almost 4 years ago when 18 runners gathered on a sunny July morning outside the Lion’s Den for event #2 (We missed the inaugural as were away).
On that day the brief words of the run director’s course description had barely echoed in my ears “just follow the runner in front” before I found myself in the front at the first corner. With no idea where to go, I eased back and happily followed someone round the first lap. Dreams of a ‘win’ vanished on the 2nd lap as the unknown lead runner pulled away until on the 3rd lap I was on my own, no-one in sight ahead or behind.
With a different path on lap 3 to follow through the ‘Woodland Walk’ and no signs to be seen it was with uncertain hesitance I emerged from the woods at the other end wondering where now? Somehow I found my way back to the finish with only a minor detour.
It seemed fitting in my last regular run that I finished 18th – what would have been last position 4 years ago, now being followed in by another 176 happy runners. Completely unimaginable in the early days when at times it felt the future of the event was under threat due to a lack of volunteers and 30 was considered a big turnout.
As it was a kind of farewell run, I kept it quiet and slinked off quietly with my 4th best age grading at Oldham parkrun – exactly 1 minute slower than my PB – I’ve had 4 PB’s there. It was my 15th fastest time, due to a mixup I was handed token 15. (so don’t feel bad Mr Tokenman, it was fate!)
I actually finished in 18th position in my last regular run there, at my first ever Oldham there were a total of 18 runners.
I’ve completed 195 laps of the park and today there was a record 194 runners. I’m searching for lazy runner 195 who stayed in bed and spoilt my stats! You are on my list!
The promise of heavy rain propelled me out of bed on Sunday and clocked up a 20.5km flattish road run – my longest for years. Another zero breakfast run (discounting the cup of coffee, 2 toffees and a swig of sugar water). Felt strong to 11km, kept sub 5min/km’s going to 14km before tiring a little with a pain in right foot making me ease off to 19km, pushed harder on slight uphill to get km 20 back under 5 mins. The weather switched from light rain to heavy rain plus a bonus couple of torrential downpours and the odd sunny interlude – only 1 other runner seen on a magnificent day for running – probably my favourite run this year. Overall averaged 4:55/km to 20km as I continue to follow the 5 min plan for another 3 months. Hopefully might be able to look at speeding up in Autumn?
The previous Tuesday had been a Tod Grand Prix race at the Diane Modahl Brownhouse Wham Trail Race with a sizeable 96 runners. Arrived late, inadequate warm up, too humid, too fast a start resulted in severe breathing difficulties that I never got on top of. I hadn’t planned on all out effort but with points on offer it was frustrating to have to back off to get pain levels down.
It wasn’t too bad a run considering how much my chest was hurting but the decision to go with trail shoes probably cost me a place and caused a sore right foot from the reduced cushioning on the steep road finish. Legs felt fresh at end as I never really tested them but continued to ache all week from that final descent. Back to road shoes next time!