Well, well, well that was unexpected.
Whilst in Northern Ireland, midweek, I decided which one of the two races this weekend to take part in. I chose the local parkrun 5k - partly to make amends for messing things up at the beginning of March.
This morning I made absolutely sure I arrived in time for the 9 o'clock start. I probably arrived a bit too early really but that's better than being late. Not having done this 'racing' thing for a while I wasn't sure what to expect time wise ... recent training couldn't help either as I had only done one fast run all year and that was 12 weeks ago. I decided 22 minutes would be a sensible target (4:24 per km).
After a good warm up and a few words from the race director we were off. Of course I was blocked a bit at the start and couldn't get properly into my stride for 15 seconds or so. But after that the first, downhill, kilometre flew by and as I approached the km marker I began struggling with the pace. My watch showed 3:59 as I passed the sign so I wasn't surprised to be struggling a bit. I immediately stepped off the gas and expected the next 2 to 3 km to be difficult.
The second kilometre was hard work but a 4:13 split was pleasing. At this point I was still struggling a bit from the too-quick start but I began to think that I could indeed run under 22 minutes. A 4:18 third kilometre confirmed this and by now I had very nearly recovered from the start and was running comfortably again.
The penultimate kilometre took 4:15 but is slightly downhill on the course around Woodhouse Moor in Leeds. At this point I was saving myself for the final push but in reality I didn't think I had anything left for that final big effort.
In the final 500m or so I had a race for the line with another runner and together we pushed each other hard all the way to the finish. I was surprised to find that my final kilometre took 4:13, my speed and effort at the end indicated something quite a bit faster than that.
However, I was well pleased with a time of 20:59.
Feeling pleased with myself I jogged down into Leeds for a well deserved coffee at Laynes.