Our race for April was the Darent Valley 10k which hosted by Swanley & District AC. It's a tough course and I'm not fully fit but I came away with a GP score of 67 points (66.04% rounded up). Earlier in the month of April I had put in a 20:01 parkrun time which gave me an age grade of 67.19% and a potential parkrun bonus of 68 points. With this weekend being the last in April it was a chance to try to squeeze another point out of Dartford parkrun.
|about 1.8km into the run with adam right on my tail [photo: brian page]|
So, the day before parkrun I did a little maths and worked out that in order to move up into the next percentage number I would have to run 19:46, which would give me an age grading of 68.04% and would be rounded up to 69 points. The problem was that I busted a gut just reaching 20:01 and I was sceptical as to whether I could actually knock another 15 seconds off. Anyway, it was worth a try.
So on the day I set off at an aggressive opening pace in the knowledge that within a few short minutes the run would become very uncomfortable and maybe a little painful. According to my stopwatch I hit 1km in 3.50 which was a tiny bit faster than the required pace, then after running through the gardens I headed around the bandstand and reached 2km with the stopwatch displaying 7.40 (another 3.50 kilometre). I was happy with those but knew that it was a tad faster than my actual 5km fitness level.
|slightly different shot from the same point [photo: brian page]|
By the time I had crossed the bridge for a second time and reached 3km things were getting very tough. The stopwatch time of 12:42 (4.02) at 3km confirmed that my pace had started to slow. All I could do from here was try to hang on. I somehow ran a cracking 4th kilometre (this one includes the second trip around the grass and incline section) and reached the 4 kilometre point with the stopwatch at 15.38. That left 4 minutes and 8 seconds to reach the 5km point.
By four-and-a-half kilometres I had started making involuntary sounds while I was running - I think this may be a first. As everyone that has run a hard 5km race or time trial will know, this last stretch can be complete agony and this really is the best way I can describe it. My running club chairman, Brian, even got some photographic evidence as to how hard I was pushing. Turning onto the grass right at the end I glanced at the stopwatch and it showed a time of 19.36 - so I gave it everything I had left...
|at 4.5km and just wanting it all to be over [photo: brian page]|
After the run it took me a good five minutes to get on top of my breathing and to start feel fairly normal again. Incidentally my GPS readings tell an ever-so-slightly different story as far as kilometre splits are concerned but it's pretty close. So after standing around and chatting for a little bit, I linked up with Adam - who himself had put in a stonking effort and finished just a few seconds behind me - and we went to collect any remaining signage from around the course.
There were a few problems with the parkrun laptop after the run so the processing was a little delayed and we ended up stuck in the processing queue. So it wasn't until a few hours later that my confirmed official result came through and much to my delight, it was bang on 19:46. This gave me that 68.04% age grade score and an extra point in the Grand Prix. There were a whole load of other really good performances from my team mates so we were all pretty chuffed with ourselves.
|please make it stop [photo: brian page]|
All over and done with for another week and I started to feel a little sad, fortunately I had put my name down for a spot of junior parkrun volunteering the next day so that's two parkrun days in one weekend, which is just about the right amount if you ask me.