And so onto my second run of the morning. As I’d said in my Antrim parkrun blog Iverene and I had planned to keep on running afterwards to get some more miles in our legs as part of our half marathon training.
Because we were already in Antrim I’d suggested following the same route as the 10k last Saturday, albeit leaving out the Castle Gardens portion at the start/finish as we’d already done it earlier.
I also wanted to experiment running in heart rate zones, which would have meant running slower and with a fast parkrun already in our legs this seemed the perfect opportunity to give it a go.
So, after a short walk just to loosen up, we went out onto the Randalstown Road and set off. As we walked to the start we noticed these directional arrows had been placed all around for what appeared to be a race taking place later in the morning.
Most of the arrows seem to be pointing towards the gardens so we assumed that we would avoid the race and not get caught up in someone else’s event. After all, we were running away from the gardens, along a busy road and towards Shane’s Castle.
Convincing ourselves we were fine we started running … really slowly. It was a tad difficult trying to keep it right down and not have my Garmin constantly buzz me that I was outside my preset range but, by and large, we managed it.
As we were running along we noticed a few more arrows for something called ‘The School Run’, and they all pointed in the same direction we were going. It seems this was an event organised by a local primary school.
Oh bugger. We were only following exactly the same course as the race! Oops.
Because we had set off around 15/20 minutes ahead of the race we joked that we were ‘winning’ and quite enjoyed the novelty of that for a while! It was also funny to see the bemused looks of the marshals dotted along the course. They cheered and encouraged us as we approached and then looked slightly puzzled that we weren’t sporting any numbers on our shirts!
We wondered how long it’d be before the front runners caught us which, as it turned out, wasn’t for quite a while, almost until we reached the castle.
By that stage I think we had long since abandoned our plans to run within a specific heart rate. We were having a laugh, and whilst we thought we were running slower the stats later proved otherwise. But it felt good, and it felt comfortable, even after parkrun.
Getting to Shane’s Castle I stopped to take the pictures I didn’t pause to take last week because I knew a PB was a possibility, and at this point a few more of those in the race went past … again we received a few bewildered glances and, again, it was amusing.
We were imposters. We shouldn’t have been ‘in’ this race but, yet, we were.
This continued for the remainder of the run back, and we started to play along a little bit – encouraging other runners, thanking the marshals for volunteering etc. … slightly naughty, I know, but entertaining.
As we got back to the Castle Gardens – where the race also concluded – we decided to follow part of the exact route to the end, before turning off for a slight detour so as to avoid the finish and risk causing untold confusion, although this also led to a bit of concern for the volunteers so we stopped with a couple of them to explain that we weren’t competitors looking to cut corners … it was all good natured though.
In the end we did five miles and, looking over the splits later, I noticed that we were getting progressively faster than longer we ran. So much for slowing it down.
It was huge positive, though. We had done this after parkrun and had run eight miles in total whilst feeling quite comfortable, which was simply fantastic.
All told, a highly successful morning and another indicator that I’m continuing to improve and get fitter. Indeed, apart from the deliberately slow opening to the run I was actually quicker than my 10k run last week! I find that amazing.