Friday 6 March 2015

Parkrun and the usual fun

Started this week with my very first ever Parkrun. Parkrun are a kind or organisation that organise free, weekly timed 5k runs around the world. They are open to everyone and relatively easy to take part in. All such events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and my event was held at Arrow Valley Lake. These events aren't races as such, however, I really wanted to beat all the best expected 5k times for my buddies on Strava. Out of my list of friends, I am currently the slowest. Phil B is top of the leader board with a time of 19:39 (of which I'm spurious curious), followed by Alex 24:10, Trev 24:54 and John 'Mitchum' 24:49 who I most want to beat. John and I have spoken about this Parkrun event and hope to meet up one time in the future and 'race'. Ha! My current best expected time is 26:01. Hmmm.
The weather was a bit grizzly on my first Parkrun but that didn't stop approximately 300 people taking part. I started near the front and man, it was a little congested. Not long into the run and everyone was a little more spaced out. I ran so hard, I felt 'spaced out' in a different sense! It was 2 laps around the lake and a little extra to the start and finish to make it 5k. Only thing was, my Garmin forerunner watch recorded route as being only 4.9k. Grr! Because of this discrepancy, my estimated best 5k time remained unchanged. How annoying, especially considering my finish time was 23:29 (according to watch), or 22:18 according to Strava. My official time was 23:28, and I finished 49th out of 282. Very pleased with my first Parkrun.
Whichever time I choose to use, they all beat the estimated 5k best efforts of the majority of my Strava buddies. Phil B, in fact, was the only exception - he remained ahead. Most importantly Johnny Mitchum was beat, however, due to the distance discrepancy, John was still ahead. Our comparisons were as follows:
Mitchum vs Doo
As can be seen from the table above, our 1 k distances matched. I'm currently a second behind on the 1 mile best effort. The 5k remains unchanged. Hmmm. Just wait for our first race! (Since posting, John has upped his game and has even better estimates. Grrr).

I ran once more in the week. This was my now familiar towpath run between Bournville and work. This time I ran from, rather than to, work. Just as I was nearing the finish another runner caught me up and engaged in conversation (couldn't he see I had ear phones on?!) which was kinda nice but rather unexpected. This other chap had also ran from town but his finish was Solihull - he was doing a 12 mile trip!

Even more unexpectedly was a message from Phil B (via Strava) which read ''I wish you hadn't beaten my best time on your first one!''. How cool. I'm so pleased I did. I think I will run further Parkrun events just to experience faster running. Maybe I'll cycle to and from future Parkrun events too.
Feeling like a proper, real runner and all, I got the latest edition of Runner's World magazine (March 2015). Quoting from p27 it read 'Fitter muscles can help you combat stress... Mice bred to have well conditioned muscles didn't develop depressive symptoms when they were exposed to prolonged stress, while normal mice did'. The study indicated that well trained muscles have higher levels of an enzyme that purges the body of kynurenine, a substance produced during times of stress that's linked to depression. Same page also stated that 15 weekly miles is 'associated with a 40% reduction in deaths from Alzheimer's disease'. I found this most interesting, as I am a Psychiatric Nurse, who's currently into running and feeling really quite stressed out!
Work had been quite challenging of late, and as this is a blog about my challenge menace's, allow me waffle on a little. End of April last year I was fortunate enough to start managing a small team of nurses (4 including myself) on a suicide prevention pilot. We were all seconded for a 12 month period and have made good progress to date creating, developing and maintaining this service. Sadly, all 3 of the nurses in my team are leaving as they have all applied for new posts and been successful (which is great), moving on to higher graded positions. This has left me with a huge gap to fill - I require 3 nurses to join a newly developed team and have had to advertise vacancies in a speedy manner and am looking to interview next week. Seconded posts only require a months notice and the training of new staff will take some time. On top of that, there has been little interest largely because I can only advertise a 3 month secondment to those joining my team (as funding has not yet been confirmed). I think I best keep running!
Cycled to work commuter style on two occasions throughout the week. Largely uneventful. Jenny Genesis had been kitted out with a rather funky new Fender front mudguard thing though (£3.33 Plane X). It didn't fit properly initially, but with a little 'Tim Tool-man Taylor' trickery it fitted just fine. The black bands are gone, it attached using allen bolt screws on the down tube. Also fitted a new Cambium Brooks saddle to this bike too! Well, it felt so good on my other bike and I figured I spend more (most) days on this bike. I chose the darker slate colour this time around. The neutral colour looked better but slate suited this bike. Strangely, this saddle did not come in a fancy box like the last and the saddle felt slightly different too - it was more flexible than the other one. Hmmm. Yet to test this new saddle but will report back soon! 

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