As you have probably noticed my Essex parkrun tour hasn’t been progressing particularly well, this is mostly due to time issues and the dark mornings are not appealing to me! However, this Saturday myself and Phill took a trip over to Burnham-on-Crouch for the first time. There was plenty of parking & some public toilets 🚽 for those that needed them available near the start (Riverside Park).
I am still not sure if the new starter briefings are for those who have never done a parkrun before, or for those who have never done this parkrun before – so I only half listened 🤷🏻♀️. I grasped that it was a 2 lap course but not knowing what to expect of the route is half the fun of going somewhere new. Having not been to a parkrun for what felt like weeks, in reality we are talking a maximum of 3 for myself and 4 for Phill although in fairness we’d taken it steady since before Christmas, so we decided we would aim for under 26mins. Walking to the start I changed this aim to 26ish mins, which I guess we should call under 27 mins – Phill seemed happy with this and set me straight that “even if it felt good there’d be no rushing off to try and grab an under 25” (my target for the end of Feb 🎯).
Being used to Maldon Parkrun with an average of between 200 and 300 runners it was quite a difference with just 98 which makes the start a lot easier and prevents any backlogging of people. I didn’t have to worry about catching the back of anyone’s ankles / feet like I would normally be keeping an eye on.
It was however a bit of a shock to be approaching a winding hill very early on into the run, this then lead to the seawall which was nice, if a little breezy. We came off the seawall along a gravel path which slightly zig zagged before looping back round on grass and coming back along the seawall, to turn left along a winding downhill gravel path back past the start and round for the second lap.
I didn’t look at my watch once, I often find I do this – it’s not something I tell myself to do, I just don’t have enough time to look at it over a 5k distance! With Phill being my pacer I just tried my hardest to keep up with him, I am not going to lie this was difficult – particularly approaching the seawall for the second time. Knowing that he’d said “no rushing off even if it feels good”, I assumed I was just having a tough run & was struggling with the 26ish aim 🤦🏻♀️. We did take the opportunity to do some overtaking which always feels nice, but I was really starting to lag behind as we hit the seawall on the way back for the last time and even though I was trying to tell Phill to go on ahead I am pretty sure it just came out as “gah, jst gah” with a deep in breath and a flap of my arm 🙈. I do however really appreciate that he didn’t run off ahead and instead encouraged me along that last stretch to the end, which I’m convinced I upped a gear for a sprint finish but it would appear that gear doesn’t work in my engine 😬.
To say I am happy with my time is a bit of an understatement, having hit my February target of getting under 25 mins 🎉 and coming in with a 24min 21second time and my very first (and possibly only) first lady (there was at least one other lady there so it counts! 😁), how could I not be happy with that! It has given me confidence to continue hitting my goals over the next 6 months and I have to admit it’s given me a bit of a boost for wanting to get cracking with the Essex parkrun tour.