Feb. 4th, 2017

sawyl: (A self portrait)
With Duckes Meadow flooded and Riverside Parkrun cancelled, I finally had a good excuse to try the run at Killerton. With D&P away for the day, I talked E into going for her first parkrun. Unsure how long the journey would take, we arrived massively too early and hung around talking to the volunteers while they set up their scanning gazebo. We got an early briefing on the course, complete with a couple of hints as to what line to take and including a dire warning about the mud. Checking out our footware, my Fellraisers got the thumbs up but E, wearing slick-soled ASICS, got advised to take care on the very slippy downhill section around the 1K mark.

We wandered up to the start with both of us wondering what we'd let ourselves in for. I was worried about the mud while E was concerned that she wasn't going to be good enough. There were plenty of familiar faces in the crowd, mostly Riverside regulars and fellow climbers, while E bumped into a friend who was doing her second parkrun and aiming to finish in 35 minutes. Given that this was E's target time too, I think it buoyed her a little and convinced her that she really could do it after all.

Video of Killerton run on 28th January )

It was nice to have a relatively open start after the logjam of Riverside, but thanks to the mud, my ignorance of the course, and my lack of a warm-up run, my pace over the first couple of kilometres was a solid 50-60 seconds off my usual pace. I started pulling things back towards the end &mdsah; thanks to the slower pace, I had buckets left in the tank — but I didn't push hard enough going along the road where traction was good, so I found I'd kept too much back for the final field where the going was too soft and uncertain to accelerate hard — although, thankfully, I remembered the hint from one of the volunteers who told me to keep out of the gully and run along the top of the bank instead.

In the end, I finished in 21:42 and 19th over all. Which seems respectable for a first attempt in poor conditions, even if it was just outside TN's suggested goal of 21:30 — I can imagine him even now, shaking his head and, in best primary teacher fashion, expressing his disappointment. I was very, very cold by the time I finished — my lips were so numb I could barely talk! — so I got myself scanned early and then started jogging back down the course in search of E. We met up around 500 metres from the finish and I ran back with her as she got to the line, finishing in 31:30; well within her assigned goal of 35 minutes.

Afterwards we stopped to warm up with tea in the National Trust cafe before spending the rest of the morning wandering round the grounds. Going through the gate E, as a member, breezed through; I, as a non-member, had to be a wince-inducing sum. As I was paying, the woman on the desk asked me if I'd considered joining. I said that we'd just been talking about it and I was certainly thinking about it. She pointed out that if I was going to do the parkrun regularly, I'd need to pay for parking unless I was a member. I just smiled, put my arm around E, and said, "It's OK: she's already a member and I don't have a car!"

The grounds were very pretty with plenty of snowdrops and daffodils and the start of crocuses planted around the larger trees. Quite a lot of small branches had come down in Friday's storm — the parkrun volunteers had run the trail ahead of time to clear the windfall — while the area under the Davidia involucrata was covered in soft and squidgy nuts.

With lunch rapidly approaching we headed back to town ready to take on the rest of the day. Even just crossing the road to my place I got some funny looks and, when I finally made it to the shower, I realised why: my legs were still completely coated in mud. So much so that the water running down the plughole looked like nothing quite so much as a muddy version of the Psycho shower scene...


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