Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Westerfolds Wednesday: The Anniversary Half Marathon

My first parkrun was 12th January 2013, which makes Wimpole Estate (UK), Harrow Lodge (UK) and Modderfontein Reserve (South Africa) parkruns my "spiritual" parkruns as we share our parkrun birthdays. In Australia, Shepparton parkrun helps me keep track of when my anniversary happens, although I'm one year ahead.

That being said, I have decided that I don't enjoy attending parkrun birthdays - I prefer smaller parkrun events, and thus I now avoid birthdays (and inaugurals) where possible due to the higher-than-typical numbers. So I spent my parkrun anniversary at Westerfolds parkrun.

Lately I've been planning to head to parkrun earlier to get some extra mileage out of the morning. With grey skies and light rain, I attempted to arrive at parkrun a little over an hour earlier so that I could squeeze in 10km, meaning I'd have 15km by the end of parkrun, and possibly extend to a half-marathon if I did another parkrun-lap and a bit. While I arrived at Westerfolds Park in time to do this, I realised my house keys were no longer in my pocket! After a few texts to home (I thought perhaps they fell out of my pocket in the driveway when I pulled out the car keys), and a lot of moving about in the car I finally found the keys under the driver's seat.

Grey skies = fake early morning = kangaroos!
Uuugh - that lens aberration, or whatever it is, is beginning to annoy me...
It was after 7am at this stage, and while I could theoretically fit in 10km in under 55 minutes, I was hoping to go for a cruisey run in order to give myself the chance of hitting the Half Marathon. I could also fit in the cruisey run but just start well after everyone else had gone... I started with a lap of the parkrun course in reverse, which meant covering the hill in the first km. I hoped that the slower pace up the hill would set me up into a good rhythm for the rest of the run. Of course it came undone on the downhill, although doubling back for a wet kookaburra helped.

A little after the bottom of the hill I encountered Rob, who was setting up the course, in a very hard-to-miss fluoro yellow boiler suit. I understood why he wore it (it had been raining), but I also wondered why he wore it (it was humid and thus the boiler suit would have been very uncomfortable and muggy). I then found Michael a couple of kms later at bottom of the hill which marks 1km of the parkrun course, and he commented that the kangaroo on the corner (who was munching away at what must have been some very tasty grass) was one of the largest he'd seen at the park. While there had been plenty of roos about near the start, none of them were the size of this one - nor were they as "cool" with humans. As I said, that grass must have been particularly tasty.

With my first lap complete, I started the second lap but the "right way" around. The large kangaroo was still there, so I decided to slow down, smoothen my stride, and take a video of him. I'm not very smooth going downhill, even when walking!

Keeping an eye on the time, I decided to cut through the middle of the course via the central trails that I'd been meaning to explore for some time.

The north-south trail that cuts through the middle of the park, sitting south of Kestrel Creek (although only the northern portion of this trail is on this map).
More kangaroos on the trail, which intersects the Kangaroo Views Strava Segment. Aptly named, huh?
It ended up being 9km by the time I reached the parkrun finish line. It wasn't too far off my planned 10km, and allowed me to catch the parkrunners as they moved from the pre-run briefing to the start line. I briefly said hello to Narelle, who had spent Christmas in the UK with her brother (and leaving the children here in Australia for her husband to look after - on his own!), and she told me she had only arrived in Melbourne a few hours earlier! THAT is parkrun committment! After finding my run with Wendy a few weeks ago nicely paced, I sought her out again, figuring that it would maximise my chances of accumulating 21km throughout the morning.

14km... so another lap of parkrun would get me a lot closer to that HM. By this point I was completely knackered. I had planned to have a banana between the first 10km and parkrun, but time meant that it didn't happen. I figured I would be able to complete the final 6km without the second banana... but it wasn't pretty and I needed to walk a lot of that fourth 5km split. By the time I reached the parkrun finish line again, Nicole Emma Rohan were still about packing up and processing results. I stopped and had a chat to them walking to their cars before heading off for my final 2km.

Run Director Nicole was heading off for a lap, so I thought I'd run to 20km with her and then do the final 1.1km to get to my car. I was very tired at this point so I went directly to the car rather than retracing my steps, so I still needed mileage by the time I got to the car. I grabbed the banana from my car and ate it as I walked down to the parkrun finish line... nup, still not 21.1km... back to the car... nup...  After a few laps of the carpark, I finally got it done.

My parkruns for the day were 28:56 for the reverse parkrun, [let's exclude the not-5km 4km], 32:07 for the actual parkrun, and 36:13 for the solo trip around the parkrun course. Tiredness obviously kicked in...

At least I now have a benchmark of where my HM time is at - although the lack of proper breakfast contributed to it. Also, as it was only my second HM, Strava recognised it as an achievement! Yay. Still, I'd rather that than an annual-based achievement. I know I've mentioned Smashrun having annual notables, but they're based on the past 12 months and not the actual year. It's what makes all this Strava treasure that'd being accumulated right now completely bogus, and annoying.


  1. We share a similar runner’s trait. An inability to cut a run short no matter how small the distance. A 4.95k or 9.95k run is absolutely not even worth recording. Super effort on the HM.

    1. :) Well, I was so pooped on Tuesday during our trail run (I'd slept awfully during the warm night, and it was quite humid on the day) that I stopped at 8.8km and didn't do my "Oh I'll just run to the toilets and back," thing that I normally do. But I suspect that wouldn't have been the case if my watch had read 8.95!

  2. Just catching up on your crazy half marathon - well done! At least you didn't resort to laps of your car to get the extra distance. Ruth (Strewth on blogger) who I run with always adds on 0.1 to her Garmin distance even if it means running in circles at the end of a run - so you're not alone in that respect!

    1. Is there really that much of a difference between laps of the car and laps of the carpark?!? I tend to add a bit more too just in case the run is a little shorter once it's uploaded to Strava/Smashrun, so Ruth makes sense! :)