Blue Runnings

Race Reviews, GPX files and more from North-East England

Blackhill Parkrun – 22-8-15

on 23 August 2015

I’ve been telling myself for weeks that I should start going to Blackhill Parkrun or Great Run Local at Gibside – they’re both short 5k runs, but both are very hilly so they’re excellent endurance training for the longer distances. As usual, the elevation graph doesn’t do justice to how it feels to do. A combination of travel, other events, it’s too hot, and general bone idleness mean I haven’t done Blackhill Parkrun since April and it’s longer than that since I’ve popped my head up at Gibside! No wonder my running feels like it’s slacking off.

Saturday morning came around, I was awake in plenty of time and even got up and dressed for it in time, then had a moment of ‘I really don’t feel like running this morning’. The problem with event-type runs, is if you dawdle long enough suddenly it’s too late and you’ve missed it, what a shame. I knew I needed to do something today, and half an hour first thing would be a good way to get it ticked off early in the day. I could tell I was dawdling so hurried myself out the door without even doing my trainers up before the out-of-time excuse became valid. I got there with only a few minutes to spare!

It was overcast, and with it being a 9am start I’d decided this meant it should be cooler and had dressed in capris and t-shirt. You’d think I’d have learnt by now, I should just go for the shorts and vest by default until October I think. It was of course, very muggy. I concentrated on just keeping my pace steady and getting around all the hills without a walking break. I suspect this is how I looked for most of the route…


It’s been that long since I did it, I couldn’t actually remember if it was two laps around the park or three, with a sneaking suspicion it might be three. A glance at my watch at the top of the hill from the first longer lap showed only about 1.5km so I resigned myself to three and didn’t bother looking at my watch again until the finish!

I obviously found something to smile about at some point, presumably the last long downhill stretch to the finish as one of the photographers has managed to catch me with an exuberant grin on my face where I don’t look more like I’m grimacing as I normally do!


I crossed the finish line with no real time in mind other than ‘under 35 minutes please!’, it took me 34:28 at a very steady gentle pace – and I still felt like I was cooking on the third lap. My previous times in April for this course are in the 32 minute range, so hopefully I can get back down to that and then faster.

It was good to see some familiar faces at the end and catch up with some people I haven’t seen for a while. Apparently I am the only Bounder on the participant list for the Outlaw’s Urban Trail at Washington in a fortnight – most of them preferring the speed demon road races to the tougher trails. I hadn’t really thought about it before but my dubious calling as a runner might be trail over road – I enjoy pb’s as everyone does, but I don’t need one on every race I go to, and I get far more out of enjoying the course than I do out of the mad dash to the finish line. I’m more of an enjoy the view and scoff all the raspberries runner and like to be able to see something on my runs – wildlife, flowers, scenic views. I think that’s why my favourite races haven’t been ones like the Blaydon Races, the Thirsk 10 or fun runs around Exhibition Park, they’ve been the Bamburgh beach run, the Gateshead Trail and the Kielder Beat-the-Bull – races where I’m unlikely to get my best ever time on anything other than that route, but I can slow down, take a deep breath of fresh air and just live in the moment. I’ve even enjoyed running at Hamsterley Forest! Food for thought anyway.

I’ve been sticking to my no junk food pact with myself. So far I haven’t really noticed any difference other than I feel hungry except immediately after eating – I’m still eating plenty, not skipping meals and eating fruit between them but I still get hungry very quickly for some reason. Maybe what I am eating is digesting quicker or something. I’m certainly not burning it off any quicker with exercise! I’ve at least been doing it long enough now that I don’t really get junk food cravings, the occasional ‘some Minstrels would be nice about now’ but easily dismissed. I’ve been filling the gaps with Nutrigrain bars, which for the moment we’ll pretend are healthy.

Saturday was day 10, so on Wednesday I got my extra £3 for hitting seven consecutive days, and with J and I having a 10k run at Stamfordham last Weds, it meant I hit the maximum amount of £5 on this day – £1 for no junk, £1 for exercise session, £3 for a week junk food free.

Campervan cash:     Food – £10     Exercise – £6     Bonus – £3     Total: £19



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