I won’t usually blog about the Park Run 5ks as they aren’t a ‘proper’ race, i.e. they are free and I usually decide the night before to do it without any tapering. However, this week WordPress are hosting a Worldwide WP 5k this week, so I thought it would be appropriate!
For those of you that don’t know, Park Run host a series of free 5k races, every Saturday at 9am all around the country. They are a good way to test yourself easily and I tend to use them as a good speed session.
Unfortunately today, I decided to oversleep, so woke up 10 minutes before the race start… quickly throwing on my kit and grabbing a bottle, I jogged to the start, which thankfully is only about a mile from my house. The legs felt tired and empty, it seems to have been a pretty tough week, without enough sleep so I wasn’t expecting much.
After the last race, where I was 4th, I decided to be a bit more optimistic in my starting placings this time, I put myself middle front, lining up against all the serious runners and a guy with a baby jogger….OK! The race started, and I set off hard with a couple of other guys to try and get the legs awake. They soon came by me, but I managed to stick fairly close to them. After a couple of hundred metres I heard some excitable kids behind me, and sure enough, the guy with the baby jogger came past me, happily chatting away to his kids about the race! Fair play to him!
After the first kilometre I managed to pass one guy, but was then soon passed by another guy and sat in 5th. I held the people in front of me fairly closely, and never lost sight of them, but the legs couldn’t make the jump to bridge the gap, and they were all running fairly close together, including baby-jogger-man. And that’s pretty much how it stayed all the way to the finish. I had put a big gap between me and everyone behind me so had no worries of being caught, and I got a bit closer to the group but they had spread out a bit by the end and I ran out of road.
I came home in 5th, and 2nd M20-24, but ran 17.46, which is a 24s PB so can’t really complain, especially with the feeling of my legs at the start. It appears all the training is finally beginning to pay off!
The rest of the day will consist of an easy spin on the bike for a bit and a BBQ to make the most of this weather, and then the Man Tri Club Gala tonight! It will be my first gala since my abysmal attempts to splash up and down a pool at school, and I am fully prepared to get beaten by people half my age, but it should be fun!
For the WWWP5K here is the Garmin File: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/78019495
So today is a slightly off-topic post as I’m going to take a look at the lighter side of training. And yes, you did read that correct: Quidditch; the game from Harry Potter, with people flying on brooms and a tiny ball with wings whizzing around. Unfortunately due to technical limitations not all of this was possible, but it doesn’t stop people trying!
So today I took part in the inaugural University of Manchester Quidditch Championships! Unsurprisingly, the game was conceived by some American students and is essentially the same as the Harry Potter version, except we can’t fly so the game is confined to the ground. It is basically a mix of handball (for scoring in the 3 hoops), dodgeball (for the beaters), and extreme cross-country (for the seeker). Oh yeah, the snitch is a person! I had been drafted in to play seeker by the dodgeball team as they wanted someone who could run. All being dodgeball players, and one of them a GB handball player, we thought we had a pretty good chance, not that we were taking it particularly seriously, rocking up with our multi-coloured mops, dusters and brooms!
My job was essentially to catch the snitch, who had a 30 second head start, and could hide anywhere in the grounds of where we were playing. I also played as the snitch, and spent the day running around trying not to get caught! It was a little unfair as the other teams were your usual students, and not those who put in 20 hours of training a week, but with 6 teams in the tournament, I played every match in one guise or the other and it was tough work by the end! My garmin file (yes I did wear my GPS…) shows the random running, but also shows how hard work it was! It was an extremely good interval session, and I don’t think I have run that quickly for a long time in parts, going from full-on sprinting to easy jogging. I’m not used to that anymore, and the legs are feeling it now.
We won every game we played, and I also had great fun playing the snitch. It was nice being back off-road again, even if it was fields, and very nice to be playing team sports for a change again, something that as triathletes we really don’t get to experience enough, despite all the squad sessions.
So next time you get asked to do something a little wacky, consider it. We can all use a mental break from structured, confined training, and the cross-training can be just as hard! You never know, you might have some fun as well.