parkrun - sometimes you just need to go with it!

When the wind is blowing, lets not head to Edinburgh parkrun. That's my usual thinking. Edinburgh parkrun's route is along the seafront at Cramond and if it's windy you will either have the wind in your face going out or worse, on the way back. Last Saturday was one of those windy days where we would normally opt for a different, more sheltered, parkrun. 

Buzzing after a really fun Edinburgh parkrun this morning. Windy on the way out before heading back. Worked as a group to shelter from the wind but also enjoyed running hard and making silly moves e.g leading when I know legs weren't up to it. Great fun. That's what parkrun is all about, making running fun! .............. Spotted someone else wearing @ashmei_sportswear socks and another out wearing a softshell jacket. 👍 Love how the kit stands out amongst 500 runners! ........ #ashmeirun #teamiamrunbox #fit #fitness #furtherfasterstronger #happyrunner #instagood #instarun #instarunners #marathontraining #dailyrunpic #run #runchat #ukrunchat #runhappy #runner #runners #running #runtoinspire #seenonmyrun #time2run #trailrun #trailrunner #trailrunning #training #runtagit #parkrun #runshots #runthroughuk #runnersofinstagram

A post shared by Owain Williams 🏃 (@scottishrunner) on May 6, 2017 at 3:53am PDT

However, we wanted to congratulate a friend on her 250th parkrun and so we got ready and headed along. 

I'd done my last marathon paced run the night before and with the wind, I wasn't going for a PB. I just fancied getting a bit of speedwork in my legs. 

I headed out for a warm up and then met Mandy briefly before the start. I headed towards to the front of the runners and spotted fellow Edinburgh AC runner, Iain Craven, standing with his toe on the start line. We had a quick chat and he asked if I was racing today, I firmly said no. He had also raced the night before at the Scottish Athletics 5k champs. That should mean we were both not racing. 

The starter announced his start command and then "3,2,1, Go!" and we were off. 

Instantly I noticed the wind and thought to myself, the only way this is going to be enjoyable is if I shelter behind someone. Let them do the work and then at the 2.5k turning point, make a dash for home, but then I realised, I can't and wouldn't do that, maybe I'm not aggressive enough or cheeky enough to do that. I looked up and noticed Iain was leading the charge away from the line. Possibly going for his 1 mile PB, even with the head wind.

Only a minute or two had past but there were two groups already forming and I wasn't in either of them. I made a decision, put the foot down, get past the second group and join Iain up front. 

Before I knew it, I was sitting right behind him with a small group of runners around me. We all had the same idea, shelter. I decided the pace was comfortable but I'd take my turn as 'the wall'. I came up beside Iain and said I'd take my turn. He dropped in behind me and then the group were around us again and out of no-where, someone decided that 1.5k into the run was when they were going to make a break for it! 

I sat in the group and thought, good on you if you can take on the wind and still go for gold but then, the madness started. Iain decided he wasn't having any of it and went chasing the new lead guy who had already put a gap between our pack and himself. The two guys ahead of me, acting as my windbreak, had a laugh to themselves and muttered something along the lines of, this is madness.

I thought to myself what the hell, it's a free run, let's have fun! I ran around the side of the two guys and went chasing Iain and the new leader. As soon as I came out from the shelter I was hit with the full force of the wind and trying to make up the gap was not easy. Eventually I caught them and as soon as I had, the group I'd just came away from circled around us again! I presume they had came along for the ride using me as their windbreak.

We were now all as a group again, the single guy who made a break for it faded fast and heading towards 2k the group were actually all in good spirits. Some of us having a quick chat about the Nike #breaking2 marathon attempt and at this point I thought, I probably shouldn't be able to talk this easily, so went for the lead again. This would be my final time in the lead because as soon as we hit the 2.5k marker, two guys put the foot down and headed back towards the finish line. They had ran sensibly. They had kept sheltered behind us idiots out front and just bided their time.

Fresh legged, they disappeared into the distance. Iain passed me, put a gap between us and all I could do was try and keep the gap from growing. 

I had someone else running close to me and my focus was just to keep him behind me and if I could get closer to Iain, then all the better. 

I did manage to close the gap but there just wasn't enough distance left to catch him or maybe just not enough juice in the tank to speed up. 

It was a really fun run though. Going off hard and mixing things up for the first 2.5k was brilliant fun. I reckon it will be a day like that, in better conditions, where I could get a PB. Going out hard, harder than is advisable, from the very start and just holding on for the final 2.5k back. Keeping the throttle down and just completely emptying myself during the run.

I love the attitude Iain takes to parkrun, every time he is there it's "Go hard or go home" and I can understand why. What's the worst that is going to happen? You're going to blow up and have a tough run back to the finish. What's the best that can happen, well, one of two things, the first, you have a great time trying something new and secondly, you may just get a shiny new PB! 


Owain Williams

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