This week was the inaugural Portobello parkrun. With a good run the previous weekend and nothing on, I was eager for a fast blast. Also eager to welcome the new parkrun so close to me, closer than Edinburgh.
Portobello is a 3-lap course, around a pond and out and back along a burn and turning over a bridge. The first lap I went out hard, probably too hard, and yet falling ever behind the one in front (who ended up a minute ahead). I felt like I was going out as hard as when I ran 16:30, but realistically I thought 17:00 was on the cards if I ran hard.
By the 2nd lap I was starting to lose the pace, but had Bob on my shoulder keeping me honest. For a while he passed me and I stuck on his shoulder, but for the 3rd lap I pushed back ahead.
This is where the 3 lap format is a bit unfortunate in a park with not overly wide paths. By this point those of us at the front were starting to pass people in more numbers, and people are never on one side of the path but left, right, left, 3 abreast across the path. And by the 3rd lap it gets harder to give a cheery shout or pick the best path to go around. Particularly on a narrow path under a bridge! Couple of close-call incidents with small dogs suddenly deciding to be underfoot.
I crossed the line 2nd and looked down to a 17:30 which felt closer to 17, to my surprise. Definitely will be back here often enough in the future, but maybe not when I want to run hard, stressful as it is.
A week before London and nice weather, I had to go up on the 16 mile standard reservoir loop. There was only 1 taker as plenty were taking London seriously, but unforunately he was looking for 6:50s, a bit tasty a week before London and I was hesitant to agree.
So 16 miles at 3-hour pace happened anyway. Good plan.