Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Albert Melbourne parkrun

I should start this post by pointing out that:
  1. I was coming back from an upset tummy
  2. I made to the trip to Albert Park as some women who appeared keen on parkrun weren't keen on making their way to Westerfolds Park
  3. 11 of the women who said they'd come were No Shows
  4. I took it super easy with a First Timer who ended up walking most of the course
  5. My GPS glitched after 3.5km and so I need to go back at some point to add to my Veloviewer parkrun map set.
Most of the above irritates me. I know it had rained almost non-stop the day before and that the skies were drizzling before parkrun, but 11 No Shows irritates me. Significantly.

I've never been keen on Albert Melbourne parkrun (as there already was an Albert parkrun in the UK) as it's quite simply not somewhere I want to run. I don't like crowds and busy places, I don't like driving into the city (as I had to on this occasion due to the weather), and I've run around Albert Park on many occasions before. 

I ended up going around the course with a First Timer who was lacking fitness. I didn't mind too much as I knew I couldn't push myself around the course even as a tempo run due to my upset tummy and subsequent lack of eating for the previous three days. But I was in a foul mood thanks to the No Shows (which I think occurred because they were scared of the rain, pfft) and it irritates me when people run with iPods in groups. I just don't understand it. Long solo run, acceptable. 5kms with other people, wtf. The First Timer was carrying an iPod around, and dropped it a few times. Hence, irritation. I am known for being grumpy when sick and tired, but I think you can see that I had irritation coming at me from all kinds of angles. ALL KINDS.

So, as for the parkrun itself? Well... the morning was pleasant, and the weather perfectly fine for running. 

The First Timers' run briefing was adequate - although you then need to hurry over to the start line (with parkrun volunteers telling you to hurry up) which was about 300m away. In all honesty, I think the First Timer and I covered these 300m faster than the average speed we went around parkrun. Not exactly the most welcoming start to unfit First Timers. 

Albert Park is similar to Westerfolds Park in that a lap of the existing circuit just isn't quite long enough, so there's a little bit of overlap between the start and finish in order to get the 5km. While we can take the direct route from our pre-run briefing area to the start line at Westerfolds parkrun, Albert Park Lake stops this from being possible at Albert Melbourne parkrun. It would make a lot more sense to me if the run briefing and First Timers run briefing were held at the start line in this scenario, or if the briefing started earlier so there'd be no rush to the start line.

Then there was the course. It's mostly flat on soft fine gravel and would be a lovely surface in dry weather. When it's rained extensively you end up with puddles. I'm sure that some of the parkrunners in the main pack would have just run through it (heck, I would have), but some would have avoided it. There are also plenty of other users at Albert Park during parkrun o'clock, so the puddles didn't really help with sharing the limited space available.

There's a little bit of wildlife with tagged swans and other water birds, but they're more accustomed to humans (which always makes me sad*), and Albert Melbourne parkrun is simply not as peaceful as the other parkruns with suburban wetlands and their less-human-curious water birds (Frog Hollow, Berwick Springs). No kangaroos though. ;)

My GPS glitched at about the 3.5km mark, so I need to go back at some point in order to add Albert Melbourne parkrun to my set of Veloviewer maps. I'll likely head down during a dry spell in spring so I can comfortably cruise down and back on the bike and not worry about being cold and wet during the return trip. Who knows, perhaps I'll be in a better mood by then and thus give Albert Melbourne parkrun a more favourable review (at least they have toilets near the finish area).

*A related aside, but an aside nonetheless: While dogs that do tricks are cute, how is that any different to training a bear to dance? Domestic dogs do need some training to keep them and people they interact with safe, but "tricks" are just stupid IMO.

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