The life of a runner, mother, radiopharmacist and vicar's wife – that's me!

Sub 20 parkrun

It’s been some time since I went under 20 minutes at parkrun. In fact, it was in January last year when I was quite fit. I ran 19.31 at Princes parkrun and hoped that I might be able to get close to my best time ever of 19.08 (which I ran in London at Oak Hill). But that was before we moved over to the Wirral and I seemed to catch every cough and cold going round. Since then it has really been a struggle to regain fitness but the last few months have seen me relatively well and I’ve got some good running in.

So far this year I’ve run 5 times at Birkenhead parkrun and each time my time has improved. Here’s a little graph to show what I mean.


Well, it’s not quite a straight line but that’s really because the first week was pretty slow (21.12) compared with the other weeks. If you take out that point then the R-squared improves to 0.98 (that means that the data fits the line better) and the equation of the line changes to y = -0.1683x + 21.01. What does all this mean? Well the graph predicted that this week I would go under 20 min!! OK, I’m sorry if you don’t like maths and stuff but I love it!

Anyway, all I had to seemingly do was to get my kit on and head out the door and a sub 20 parkrun was guaranteed. Maths doesn’t lie – ask your maths teacher.

I don’t actually seem to have done much running this week. I did 5miles on the treadmill on Tuesday, starting off nice and easy but by the end I was running at under 7 min per mile so that wasn’t too bad.

I had the day off on Wednesday. It didn’t look too promising first thing…


You could hardly see the river, let alone see Liverpool on the other side. By the middle of the morning things were looking a bit brighter.


By lunchtime it was gorgeous, the sun was shining and the sky was blue – perfect for trying out my new trail shoes.

After slip sliding around last time I ventured off road (due to the fact that I was wearing racing flats with no grip), I decided to purchase my first ever pair of trail shoes. I decided to buy a pair of Nike Terra Kiger 2 shoes. My choice was, I’m afraid to said, based mainly on price – they were special offer at Sweatshop! Also, the reviews suggested that they were fairly lightweight, which suits me.


I took them back to Thurstaston and ran pretty much the same route that we walked last weekend as a family (read about it here – there are some nice photos too) although starting from the other direction along the Wirral Way.

The shoes were amazing.Where before I had slipped around and had to hang onto trees  (see my blog post “running or tree hugging”) this time I was having no problem at all. The grip was brilliant and I ploughed through big muddy puddles without even thinking that I might fall flat on my face into a pile of mud.

The shoes were really comfortable too and they were, as the review had said, nice and light weight. I’d kind of imagined something of a cross between walking boots and trainers and, although the grips on the bottom were quite similar to those on my walking boots and the tops/laces also have a walking boot feel to them, they were far more like running shoes.

By the end of the run, they weren’t quite as clean as when I started…

IMG_4381 (1)

I ran pretty well, especially since there is a big hill in the middle (4.3 miles at 7.30 per mile). I would have liked to run for longer but that was good enough for a start.

Thursday night is the training night for the group that I have joined from Wirral A.C. It is such a great group to be part of with a mix of abilities but very supportive and encouraging. It was our first time on the track as a group and my only my second time on the track since we moved up north (about 18 months ago). I have to say that I was a little nervous.

However, Sarah set up probably the perfect session to introduce us back onto the track and get our legs moving fast. Not the 8 x 400m with 1 min rest that I had feared but some really short sprints starting off at 120m then increasing by 20m each time up to 200m and then back down again. I didn’t time them but my GPS watch suggests that I was going at a reasonable pace. It was a good session on a lovely evening.


Mileage wise it has been a pretty light week. I haven’t done much of the short commutes from my car to work because my knees were beginning to complain but I did have to run/walk from work to the school to pick up my kids on several occasions due to leaving work late! So, Friday ended up as pretty much a rest day, if you don’t count me having to jog over to the school in my scrubs (like operating theatre outfit) as I’d left work too late again to be at the school on time.

I was feeling a bit tired though by the end of the week so, I decided not to set my alarm this morning to get up in time for the parkrun. I figured that if I needed the sleep then I should sleep and, if I woke up on time then I would go to the parkrun. As it happened, I woke up around 7.30, just about enough time for my legs to wake up, enough time to eat breakfast and hopefully enough time to warm up before the run.

I had a bit of a panic when I couldn’t find my parkrun barcode. I didn’t want to run sub 20 and it not be recorded! I mean, the maths said that I would run sub 20 after all so it was going to happen. I did a bit of a warm up on our treadmill at home as I was OK for time but then I ended up in a conversation with Peter about what we’d do with the rest of the day and set off far too late. I had just about enough time to do a couple of strides and we were off.

I forgot that my watch was set on distance not on time. I don’t like fiddling around with it too much while I’m running so I didn’t really know how fast I was going. I’d spoken to a few people I know at the start to see if there was anybody that I could hang on to to pull me through to under 20 min. There was a young girl who said that she normally ran around 19 min and there was Caz’s other half, Kelvin, who is running the London marathon next week who told me that I shouldn’t rely on him as he might run the first lap in 6 min and the next in 8. So, I was on my own.

The young girl predictably set off nice and quick and was well ahead of me and Kelvin was close to me but went ahead after we went round the twisty lake bit (I don’t like that bit, too many sharp bends). I just ran as well as I could and even though I didn’t know exactly how fast I was going, I figured that I was doing OK.

As it happens, I did slow down a little bit but the pace was relatively consistent. I overtook the young girl near the lake on the second lap and thought that I was gaining on Kelvin though that second lap but, either he sped up on the third lap or I slowed down, and he moved further away from me. He actually finished in 19.35 so I guess that he’s in pretty good shape for London next week. I was very happy with 19.47. Not just squeezing inside 20 min for the 5km run but pulling right under that 20 min barrier.

I’m not sure how much training will get done in the week ahead because I am away from home for most of the week and training might prove tricky to do but I will try to get some running in. I would love to be able to get out in my trail shoes again but I might have to wait a bit for that, maybe at the end of next week.

If you want to listen to my running podcast that I do with my husband, Peter, then you can find it on iTunes (Maggie’s running podcast) or on Spreaker (there’s a link below). It’s quite short and I hope that people will like it.







One comment on “Sub 20 parkrun

  1. jonrum72
    April 16, 2016

    You’re right about the twisty bit by the lake.I’m hopeless at judging my pace right for corners.


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This entry was posted on April 16, 2016 by and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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