The season begins….

It’s half way through February already, and the end of winter is definitely in sight. I really don’t like the cold, I much prefer to sweat than to shiver, so the first signs of Spring are much appreciated. My sporting juices start to seep at this time of year, so along with thoughts turning to racing, I decided to try to get serious about my blog again.. assuming the writing urge lasts long enough, I’ll detail my challenges for the year (maybe a biggie in there), as well as update my training and adventures across the three countries I divide my time between – Japan, England and Spain.

I did my first Park Run this week. If you’re not a Brit and unfamiliar with Park Run, it is a community 5k run around a local park that takes place every Saturday morning at hundreds of locations across the UK. You register once online, and will be assigned a personal bar code that you take along to every race, which is scanned on completion to give you a time and place. This is subsequently loaded up into both a local and national database, allowing you to chart your progress across the weeks, months and years (I saw people with 250 Week t-shirts, meaning they had completed over 250 official Park Runs!!). It’s totally free and is attended by all levels, from serious sub 17 minute 5k-ers, through to parents with strollers and seniors with grandkids. It’s a fantastic idea, but one that doesn’t seem to have spread far outside of British Isles.

Park Run in Gunnersbury Park, Ealing
Park Run in Gunnersbury Park, Ealing

I had registered back in 2017, but as I’m constantly traveling,  I hadn’t managed to get organized enough to attend one yet. Encouraged by my daughter, I hauled my arse off the sofa and after faffing about we managed to get to the start line in Gunnersbury Park a few minutes before 9. I had no idea it would be so relaxed , nor that there would be so many people (over 500 at this less than prime course), but I can say I really enjoyed. Was low-key and convivial, with lots of people chatting and simply enjoying being out. My daughter and I ran the first lap together at easy pace(fast enough for my un-warmed up 53 year old legs) , then sped up for second half. Time and placement didn’t matter as I was just after the experience, but I can say it was a lovely way to kick-start the weekend and will definitely do it again next time I’m in the UK on a Saturday!

I’m writing this as I sit on the train heading to my home town after a few nights in London, planning to ride out into the rolling hills tomorrow and enjoy the slight Spring that I’m lucky enough to have hit in my short stay. I’ll have another couple of days in the Wiltshire countryside before heading to Costa Blanca again, a local 10k race, then back to Tokyo for a month, by which time I hope to have determined my A races and objectives for the year, which I shall share here

So that’ll do for my “warm up writing”, and will pop back along in a few days or so to take the next step back into the blogging community. Oh whats that you say?? Okay if you really wanna know – I managed to finish my inaugural Park Run in just over 25 minutes, the last two km pace around 45 seconds faster than the first three, for a position of 175 of 539. Nothing to write home about (nor recorded as I forgot my bar code), but a fun way to tp spend a Saturday morning.

Park Run Finisher chip
My first park run finish… although I forgot my bar code so will be lost from posterity
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2 thoughts on “The season begins….

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