>checks sides of body for signs of go-faster stripes< Well, I smashed my Hilly Fields Parkrun PB on Saturday! The previous week we had made the decision to change the course slightly, to avoid sending runners along a dangerously slippery stretch of
grass mud. This meant a more speed-inducing stretch of concrete path, but we did have to increase the time spent on our most challenging hill (which is met three times around the 5k route). That week I had marshalled, directing people down to the bottom of the hill and watching them grimace as they had to grit their teeth and get themselves to the top. The feedback was good: regulars enjoyed the change and there was buzz in the air at the finish line. On Saturday I thought I’d give it a go too. It’s amazing the difference a little extra hill can make, oh it was tough! But somehow this pushed me on (I do seem to have something in me that allows me to overtake on hills and I find I can gain ground here…hmmmm) and I found myself half-way up the last hill, looking at a possible PB on my watch. This is where I started to feel sick, like really sick, like ‘Oh no, I really am going to chuck!’. A quick pep-talk with myself about not showing myself up and not getting a PB soon got me breathing hard and pushing to the finish: 26.21, just under a minute faster than my previous PB! Yesssss!
One of my favourite/most used running routes has taken an interesting turn recently. The Waterlink Way, along the section between Lower Sydenham and Catford, has been brought to life by Close and Remote. Starting at the southern end of the walk, you can listen on your phone as you hear a drama unfolding alongside the ambient sounds of the river and nearby railway line (I would recommend headphones as I lost some of the words to a passing train). As you reach the bridge where the River Pool and the River Ravensbourne meet, you can scan some QR codes and enjoy the results of various workshops that took place over the summer – you might spot the little paper boats that Hector and I made, floating along the river. It’s interesting when somewhere familiar, somewhere you feel a sense of ownership over is given a new role, when the things you pass all the time take on new meaning and are given a new depth that will come back to you every time you pass by.