Back to the ‘normal’ Saturday pattern after deviating for last week’s Rowbotham’s Round Rotherham effort.
Wanting to do something local, my nearest, unvisited, parkrun was Cannon Hill Park. I didn’t want the hassle of driving across town then parking up etc. so drove to work in Digbeth and used the couple of miles walk to Cannon Hill as a warm-up.
It was a straight forward route to Highgate then Balsall Heath before passing Edgbaston Cricket Ground and into Cannon Hill Park.
I arrived a bit early, as usual, so once I’d discovered where the start was, I walked down to the lake for a few photos of the wildlife.
I returned to the start, spotting an unusual feature for parkrun, namely some Portaloos.
On the course, itself, I later spotted another set. Perhaps because of the size of this event (around five hundred runners, joggers and walkers) these are needed – there are only so many bushes to go around.
As I was waiting, I chatted to a small group of runners. We talked about some of the other local events and I was quite knowledgeable having done a fair bit of parkrun tourism of late.
At the chosen time and after the safety talk for event number four hundred and ninety five, some four hundred and eighty six participants lined up and after a short “Three, Two, One, GO!” we were away.
I started a little back from the middle of the pack and had to negotiate my way through those in front who were yet to get up to speed.
It is quite difficult to know where to start; too far back and you’ve got to get past slower people or too far forward and it you who’s in the way. Being a nice chap, I don’t like to inconvenience others (most of the time).
I am alway dubious of starting at the front, in case I get lost with no one to follow !
My first mile was completed in 11:35 – a little slower than I’d have liked due to the reasons above but mile two wasn’t much better at 11:30 and I can’t use the same excuse.
Now the third lap, I shot around in 11:05 hopefully helped by a bit of hip rotation (a la race walking). Could a sub eleven minute mile be possible soon ?
At one point on this lap, I came along side a chap who exclaimed that I was walking faster than he was running.
“I’m your incentive”, I explained, “You don’t want to be beaten by some old guy walking, do you?”
Shortly afterward the chap inched ahead. “It’s working!” I assured him.
“Not for long!” he replied.
And he was right as I soon passed him and didn’t see him again.
I should have, perhaps, read the course description, especially the bit that said ‘up the hill to the finish line‘. It was only a short incline AND I managed to pick off another couple of runners to cross the finishing line in …
I stopped my watch as I crossed the line and looking down noticed that I finished in 35:56 and a bit – Strava rounded it up to 35:57 – one second off by best ever walking time 😩.
After having my barcodes scanned, I spent a couple of minutes cooling off before resetting my watch for the walk back to the car.
Normally, the walk through Balsall Heath and Highgate is pretty uneventful but as I was walking up one residential street, I did spot something a little unusual for inner city Birmingham.
There was a youth with a horse standing in the street chatting with the inhabitants of one of the dwellings.
This is just one of the many reason, people should spend time outside, moving around and exploring. You wouldn’t see that sat in the house with your nose in an iPad (unless you’re reading this blog, I suppose) but you know what I mean ?
Arriving back at work, I changed clothes before having a cuppa with my fellow workers then driving home.
When the official results came through, I had been robbed of another second (35:58). Even before the results pinged in, I’d received Kudos on Strava from one of the women I’d been chatting to before the start.
Even though I failed to set a new walking PB, I managed a mile in just over eleven minutes so a sub eleven Mile must be on the cards.
I am over my recovery from the RRR so need to start a different training regimen to concentrate on the race walking. This will be like some of my old running schemes with speed sessions and tempo walks and subject to another post.