Having parked over at Speculation in plenty of time - no shoe issues this time - I was able to merrily wend my way through the forest to Five Acres and the Parkrun. I took it steady as I map read my way across in preparation for the race.
There were quite a few Harriers out for today's Parkrun, the final one of the year - it was my first of the year! Now I've not tried to run quickly for quite some time and it was a shock to the system I can tell you. The route is a bit twisty and windy but that suits me. On the sections of firmer going I struggled but on the rougher, muddier bits I gained ground. Not because I was able to speed up but because I didn't slow down. The course would have suited me even better had there been no firm going at all but you takes what you get and you deals with it.
I finished 7th in a time of 20:59. That sounds slow for a 5k but the nature of the course means it's never going to be a quick one. Even in mid summer I wouldn't expect quick times because of all the sharp turns, and even then I expect it's still a little soft underfoot in places. Still, it was good to push hard.
I started a little too ambitiously and quickly had to steady the ship. I got into it after a couple of minutes running and ran steadily hard for the first lap. By the second lap I had crept onto the shoulder of a group of three. Not wanting to go too soon I held off for a few minutes as I gathered my strength and then made my bid for glory - 'cept it wasn't all that glorious really. I edged past all three in quick succession and pulled out a gap. Then I was able to relax and run the final kilometre or so to the finish. All in all a good speed session.
Then after a bit of natter at the finish I got back out the map and compass and ran back through the forest, following a slightly longer route, back to the car.