It had been five weeks since my incredible run of five consecutive PBs at Parkrun and I’d settled down to running 5k in sub-23 minutes every week. I was very happy with that. But I didn’t seem able to chip any more seconds off it.
It had taken nearly a year to beat my old PB of 23:23, so maybe it was going to take another year of running before I could get another PB.
I come first in my age category about three weeks out of four, but I have a rival. On that one week out of four, she beats me. And I’ve shown her my hand. We’ve started talking. So we both know who the other one is. The sight of her in front of me will spur me on. Sadly, the sight of me in front of her will spur her on too.
But I still had the fastest time.
Until four weeks after getting my PB of 22:31, when she had not only beat me by nine seconds (I’d finished in a very respectable 22:35), she had also BEATEN MY PB. Was that it? Was I ever going to be able to beat her time again?
As it happens, she wasn’t there the following week.
And I set off fast as I always do and ran fast until I felt I could do it no more and settled down to my regular pace. The sun was shining and it was quite warm. Both of my boys and were my daughter were out running too.
As ever, I looked at my watch about halfway and did some maths. I always do some maths around the 3k mark which seems to suggest I’m going to finish in 24 minutes. I’m not sure if my maths is incorrect (dehydration affects the brain) or if I run more slowly on the middle lap. I never feel like I’m running slower, but I trust the inaccurate maths and start to question myself.
But, close to the end, I looked at my watch again. I had over a minute left to equal my PB and it didn’t look like I had over a minute’s worth of distance to run. So I went for it.
Sometimes, when I cross the line it’s a bit too close to call to know whether or not I’ve got a PB. If I think I’ve beaten it by two seconds, I may not actually have beaten it at all. But this was clear.
I finished in 22:23, knocking another eight seconds off my time. I was 75th out of 553 runners, 12th female and won my age category by over a minute and a half. Just as importantly, I’d beaten The Woman Who Wasn’t There by five seconds. What can I say? You snooze, you lose.
I’m not sure what made me run so fast that day. Maybe it was pizza and chips for tea the night before – the exact opposite to the sort of food I would choose to eat before running. I guess that’s what you call carb loading. Maybe it’s because I was wearing my old trainers after my new trainers got drenched the previous day. Who knows? I just know I was glad to have recorded my sixth Parkrun PB this year.