Remember that klaxon from my blog last Saturday? Do you still have it handy? Then go and give it another long, satisfying honk for me because I’ve only gone and done it again!
After setting a 10k pb in the Born2Run event a week ago I was back in Antrim for parkrun and, just like seven days ago, I bagged a personal best … and this was every bit as unexpected.
During the week Iverene from my club had asked if I’d be interested in going to Antrim to do parkrun and then go for a longer run afterwards. We’re both training for the Larne Half Marathon (although I’ve got one before that) so I was only too happy to go and get some decent miles in our legs.
Arriving in Antrim we met up with Parveen, also from my club, and off we set. I immediately felt very comfortable and tried to keep pace with Iverene. She’s slightly faster than me but makes it look so effortless whereas I tend to trundle along. My plan was to follow her as much as I could in the hope that I could record a decent time, I had no designs on a pb at this point.
The first kilometre was faster than I would perhaps do on my own but I felt ok. The same applied to the second km but, again, I wasn’t in any real difficulty.
Iverene started to pull away from me at this point but I still kept her in sight and, on occasion, began to close in before she got away again.
The third and fourth kilometres weren’t bad either and, by this stage, I knew I was doing ok and, like last Saturday, began to calculate mentally what I’d need to do even though I didn’t really expect to succeed this time.
Despite starting to feel tired I put a push on and went as hard as I could over the final kilometre, almost matching my split from the first one.
I knew what my pb was and when it passed at 4.97km I was disappointed with myself for twice stepping gingerly over the one big puddle out on the loop part of the course. Sure it was only a bit of water and mud, why could I not have just run through it like everyone else?
I was disappointed but not overly annoyed. I’d still recorded my best time for quite a while and had taken four minutes off my only other visit to the Antrim parkrun, I was happy enough with that but made a quiet promise to myself to come back soon to try and better it next time.
It was all fine. I chatted with Parveen and Iverene for a while, comparing runs etc. before Parveen headed for home and Iverene and I went to the starting point of our second run of the morning.
I was content. I’d had a good run and I’d improved. All was well. I thought no more of it until we were travelling home and the results text came through. I let out a little yelp (followed by a more vocal celebratory ‘roar’) as I scanned it and saw the words ‘new PB’.
That couldn’t be right. surely I was a few seconds outside it. But, no, there it was in black and white – I’d beaten it by 13 seconds! What can’t speak can’t lie.
I’m guessing what happened is that because parkrun isn’t chip timed I misjudged when to start and stop my watch, and this slight variation between what I thought and what the timing volunteers did accounted for the difference. After all, they know the course a lot better than me.
I wasn’t going to argue. I’d broken a parkrun pb that had bugged me since November 2015 … in fact, I’d been recording slower and slower times so I had thought any chances I had to better myself had long since gone.