Today was my tenth parkrun! I had originally planned to go to Barking parkrun today, but there were engineering works on the Barking to Gospel Oak line. So I looked at parkruns I could get to on the tube. And then I checked the weather forecast and decided I wanted to be outdoors for as little time as possible and opted for my home parkrun, Finsbury Park.
Although I call Finsbury Park my home, it’s actually the 5th closest run to where I live (Walthamstow). I have rejected the four closer ones: Walthamstow (too grassy), Pymmes (no toilet), Wanstead Flats (too traily) and Hackney Marshes (too flat). Finsbury Park is just perfect – it has a nearby tube station, toilets (not terribly hygienic but always have paper), beautiful hills and most importantly nice wide flat paths with a minimum of camber and trip hazards. The course is as follows:
KM 1: Starts on a nice gentle downhill, then goes back up equally gently. The second part of this is my least favourite – I like monster hills that you can really get stuck into, not slow drags. It’s also completely treeless, and gets very hot in summer. This, obviously, was not a problem today with the weather at an icy 2c.
KM 2: The best bit! A steep, leafy downhill where you feel like you are flying, followed immediately by The Hill of Doom. This hill doesn’t actually look too bad in photos; there’s not much on it to give perspective so you can’t see how steep it is. I think I should take a photo from the top at some point, this would give a better idea. Every time this hill utterly defeats me. I thought that with my improved running recently I would be better at it today, but no, I still had to walk the bloody thing.
KM 3: A simple flat bit around the gardens, past the lake and children’s playground, then on to the gentle downhill where it all began. Annoyingly, I got lapped by just one person this week, right at the point when I started thinking “there’s no way I’m going to get lapped this time, I am Mo Farah and I am much too fast for that”.
KM 4: Ugh, that slow drag uphill again. Feels much worse second time round. Then the steep downhill again.
KM 5: Second time up the Hill of Doom! This time I didn’t even try to run it. I must practice my hills before I come back again – I haven’t really been doing them at all lately, as downhills irritate my leg, and it’s hard to do uphills without doing downhills, unless you want to run up a mountain and get a ski-lift down. Which I don’t. Then the loop around the gardens, and a short path to the finish. This is on a very slight downhill so it’s perfect for a sprint finish. I do love a good sprint finish.
My final time was 35:34 (Garmin time 34:59) which I was very pleased with – faster than my last parkrun at the much easier Valentine’s Park, and three minutes quicker than my previous best attempt at Finsbury parkrun. Fingers crossed for a sub-35 next time, and more importantly, being able to tackle The Hill without walking.