Monday, 24 February 2014

A new parkrun volunteer and the Huddersfield 10k

This weekend saw a few firsts and some familiar sights and faces.

It all started at parkrun where SJ made her volunteering debut as a barcode scanner, she had a great time but nearly managed to scare one man into never coming to Huddersfield parkrun ever again. Dexter and I were running together and managed a respectable 32.52 time. 

When we crossed the line we headed straight to S-J's scanning queue and waited until it was our turn, and we got a great welcome.   After Dexter and I had had our barcodes scanned we each received a kiss from SJ (Mummy) and moved on. The bloke behind us was a little scared and could quite easily of jumped scanning queues until SJ reassured him that he didn't have to give her a kiss and it wasn't a mandatory part of the barcode scanning process. We all had a bit of a giggle about it and hope it doesn't put the guy off.

There was also a Huddersfield parkrun debut of our friend Ben, and with his participation pushes my total of friends and family introduced to parkrun to 20. He made a great debut with a 25 min run and managed to get in a few photos along the way too.

Let's hope that Ben returns to try and beat his PB, I'm sure he will. This week also saw PBs for Paul (Spuggy) and my sister Jodie, awesome job guys.


Not everyone had such success this week and this weeks failure goes to my friend Steve who was suppose to be the 25 min pacer, but because he didn't have a bib and only a few people knew this was his role he failed to hit his time. Not by a few seconds but a few minutes, and not even slower he ended up with a 20.41mins utter fail, but we had a laugh about it. He was supposed to be resting his legs ready for the Huddersfield 10k the next day but just couldn't quite contain himself.

On Sunday it was the annual Huddersfield 10k organised by the Huddersfield Road Runners, it was also a very windy day perfect for a tough hilly 10k run!  Last years Huddersfield 10k was my first official 10k race I had taken part in and was a completely different experience for me. If you want to read my blog about that day to compare the two then please check out my back catalogue. This year was a lot different but at the same time there was many similarities. I met Steve there about 10 o'clock and we collected our numbers then we wandered about for a bit looking at everyone's warm up routines and rituals. As like last year I barely did any warm up, a few stretches here and a little jog there, but some of the other runners were taking it a lot more seriously. There was many familier faces whether it was from parkrun or from last years event which helped make it a more relaxed and friendly event compared with the unknown feeling of last year.

The layout of the start/finish this year was different and that was mainly because they were using chip technology for the first time this year. This meant that there was big blue mats lying across the road in front of the rugby club house and there was lots of buzzers and beeps going off as they were testing the set up. The last thing you need is the technology to fail at the last minute especially as there was nearly 600 runners looking forward to getting there times at the end of the day. As the start time got close everyone started to claim there starting grid positions in the funnel and then Matthew Kelly (not the famous one!) gave a run brief before we set off.

At the sound of the air horn 600 runners set off up the 3km hill towards Netherton, because the road was closed off for a small period of time people could quite easily jostle for postion and not have their pace affected too much. About halfway up the hill there was some road works that the race organisers didn't know about until the day, but luckily the workman that was there had stopped the traffic lights on red so we could pass with ease. At the summit you get another kick in the teeth as the strong winds that were forecasted blasted you in the face with grit and dust from the road but as we headed back down the other side of the hill it eased off. The cheers we all got from the crowds watching at Netherton was great and really does help no matter how tired you are, so as we hit the bottom of the hill again you kind of miss it and could really do with another boost as you get to the bottom of the next  one. This hill was the killer hill last year so I was determined not to let it beat this time, so I slowed my pace so that I didn't over do it and throw up at the top again!  All was going well and I was feeling ok there was no way I was going to throw up but I had slowed my pace too much and I ended up walking the last 10/15 metres of the climb. It still beat me a bit but the happiness of not throwing up made up for it and as soon as I reached the top I was off running again.

I don't know if it's age or whether the loss of my breakfast last year but I didn't remember there being so many downhills on this section but it was great to get back into a pace and breathing rhythm before having to climb the next steep and long hill back up to Netherton. Back at the top there was yet more great support from people on the street just cheering you none stop, it was ace. Also at this point I had started a friendly rivalry with a woman, as we kept switching places, I would be in front then she would find another gear and overtake me, then at the hills I would again pass her then at the top and on the flat she would catch me and pass me again. It was also useful for taking our minds off the tiredness in our legs and at the same time it was helping us to push that little bit extra. We kept with each other down the really steep hill into Armatidge Bridge and swapped place on the slight hill upto the main road and I managed to pick up my pace all the way down the road until I reached the road leading to the rugby and health club. Just as we turned into the road she passed me and I said to her that I'm gonna push you all the way, but that was an empty gesture as I was spent. I was overtaken by a couple of other runners and cheered on by a growing crowd before I crossed the finish line in a time of 51 mins. I was in two minds about my time as I was aiming for a sub 50 min time but then at the same time I was 8 minutes quicker than last year and managed not to throw up. There were lots of positives to take out of this run but at the same it made me realise that if I'm going to do the Huddersfield half marathon then I'm gonna have to up my training.

I must thank everyone who tried to talk to me afterwards and give me pats on the back etc. I wasn't the most talkative or responsive for at least 10 mins after.  It's nice to know so many fellow runners that will cheer you on, congratulate you and pick you up when your feeling crap after putting everything into the last sprint of a run. Most of you I have only met over the last year and I look forward to growing these friendships and find new ones too. Roll on the Huddersfield 10k 2015 to see how things have changed again in only a year

And as always Keep running everyone

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