So, Mile End parkrun is my ‘home’ parkrun in London. Since it was just me running this week I thought I would give it a go and see if those hills really were as bad as I remembered them.
There’s a nice community feel at Mile End – they have pacer events, baking competitions, a coffee van at the start, and a few socials throughout the year. They do more than most, and it’s a very nice group.
The only downside is the course. It is two laps up Mile End park, and each lap contains two hills, a small and a fairly big hill (since part of the park is actually above the A11). Since the route is pretty much out and back per lap you run over each hill twice a lap, so four times over all. The paths are fairly wide (although with work being done on Regent’s Canal the towpath part of the route was a bit restricted), although sometimes busy, and you get to run past the Queen Mary campus where I work (and where I should probably spend more time…)
Anyway! My run went well. I wasn’t confident of a good time so I didn’t push myself too early, and saved some energy for the first big hill. I had a guy overtake me early on who I decided to hang on to. After about .75 miles I found myself thinking ‘I could go faster’ but decided to hold on and conserve energy. Then my app announced the one mile split – I was hitting 6’06/mile, which was a lot slower than the first half mile split, so I decided to overtake him. To be honest, I think that was a good decision, because the pressure of having him behind me kept me going and took my mind off the course.
I got to the halfway point at about 9’30, so I frantically did some mental maths and thought that a sub-19’20 was probably reasonable goal. Hitting the big hill again, I didn’t feel the course take it out of me that much but my splits were getting slower – 6’21 for the second mile. At this point I just decided to hold on and push through.
I crossed the finish line in 10th position, with a time of 19’19 – just about hit my target. Although it’s not as good as my course PB of 19’04, I think the fact that I wasn’t on top form (hungover the day before, could have done with more sleep, didn’t push at the start etc…) so didn’t try as hard is a good enough excuse. I am wondering if I had have committed early on I might have come within sub-19’10… oh well, plenty of time to give it another go!
I decided to run home too, trying to get my weekly mileage up for marathon training despite aiming for just 3 runs a week (is this madness? I guess I’ll find out in April…)