On Saturday we headed back to Panshanger Park for their second parkrun event. Â After having taken it easy at event one I was looking forward to pushing a bit harder and giving myself a bit more of a workout. Â The Boyf and I arrived in plenty of time and parked up just down the road before having a brief walk over the first part of the course to stretch our legs. Â Lining up for the briefing just before the start I positioned myself mid-field, got my Zombies, Run!Â episode prepped and waited for the off. Â I didn’t really have a time in mind other than running faster than 34 minutes, but wanted to make sure I put in sufficient effort to challenge myself.
The parkrun started and we headed up the narrow track out of the car park, it was congested enough that I didn’t start too fast but there was still enough space for me to ease past people as I caught them up. Â I was feeling quite strong and decided to push forwards, making the most of the rolling downhills before we hit the right hand turn into the field and started to climb. Â I kept my pace on the hill & managed to complete the first kilometre at 6min/km pace. The gravel path was a bit slippery in places, but my trail trainers coped well. Â A couple of glances at my Garmin over the next couple of kilometres showed I was pacing under 6min/km pace and I started to wonder if I could sneak under 30mins, but as it was starting to feel a bit tougher to maintain I determinedly didn’t check my heart rate. Â I convinced myself it was only 5km, I was unlikely to overdo it and so pushed on blindly. Â It worked out OK, I made it to the finish without collapsing, so definitely the right decision. Â The last 1.5km was really tough, it was soft and soggy under foot and I was starting to get tired but I was convinced I could sneak sub-30 so managed to silence my inner quitty voice, didn’t take a walk break over the bridges and as I turned the corner into the uphill finish I saw The Boyf and pushed as hard as I could. Â Just past him I placed my left foot slightly awkwardly, rolling my ankle….a brief scream followed by a shout to myself to keep pushing, and I made it to the top of the hill. Turning right into the final strait I didn’t quite manage a full sprint but I was definitely still running, a strong finish and stop if my Garmin and it looked as though not only had I managed sub-30, but I was dangerously close to my all-time parkrun PB. Â Barcodes scanned, we headed home to wait for our texts to arrive.
Panshanger is a really nice course, and this week I paid enough attention to see both the sheep & cattle on my way round (they aren’t quite as “in your face” as they are at Wimpole Estate). Â It was already fulfilling the promise of being a tricky course in though, the last kilometre is across the bottom of a sloping field, so following a week of rain it was a bit soggy, still runable but I expect it to get worse if the wet weather continues.
Our texts arrived just after 11:30am, my official time was 28:52, just 2 seconds slower than the PB I set at ChelmsfordÂ in March. Â Given that my Garmin had Chelmsford elevation gain at 4m, and Panshanger at 41m I think that shows that the TrainAsOne philosophy of training smarter, not harder hasn’t harmed my speed at all. Â I think it’s time to head to Ashford for another PB attempt to see if I can trim some time off on a flatter, paved course. Â I also managed to shave 5.5 minutes off my time from Panshanger #1, so it shows there’s a big difference in pace between taking it very easy & pushing quite hard.
We’re having to skip parkrun for the next couple of weeks as we have the Endurance Life CTS Half Marathon in Suffolk next Saturday, and the following week sees us return to the Lakeland Trails “Dirty Double“. Â Hopefully the weather will behave a bit better on the Saturday allowing us to complete the full 15km course of the Helvellyn Challenge, and I am looking forward to attempting to beat last year’s time in Sunday’s Ullswater Challenge.