So I haven’t exactly been keeping this blog up to date, maybe due to my string of bad races going back more than 18 months, and maybe because I have been very busy moving house and starting a new job.

Some of the things I didn’t write about include my worst half marathon for about 5 years. The Mugglesee Halfmarathon, I ran 14km the day before and had dead legs and ran a 1:28, dying from the start! I did a Tug-o-Run event, which was a 2 lap 6.2km run with weird short chicanes in the airport hanger where it was staged. It was a fun event with free entry, free food and free drinks!

Another thing I wanted to do was Parkrun. There is a Parkrun in Berlin so on my first weekend in Berlin, I got the train to the start and ran to set a benchmark time. It was the day before the Berlin marathon and there were 750 runners, I had lots of people to run with and ran 18:30.

I week later, I realised that the week of the marathon is a bit of a one off, as I finished first in a field of 110 in 18:40, having slowed down after about km as I thought that I was off course! I started knocking a few seconds off my time until I ran a 18:15 in my 4th week, not a big improvement, but something.

I met a few people at park run who are decent runners and found out that they were planning a paced sub18 group at the end of November, that sounded perfect to me, in a group and well paced, I thought I had a good chance, though it wasn’t guaranteed.

I’ve been running a bit more, generally with a session and a longer run each week, but I’m still not running lots due to work stress and the new dog. I did a proper prep for the sub18 attempt though, meaning a 6am alarm so I could eat breakfast and not cycling to the start (also as it was -2°C when I wanted to set off).

So after a little warm up, we set off. Andy was pacing in his 100th Parkrun, Lukas and Johannes were in the group as well as a few others that I didn’t know. At the start there were really lots of people in the group, I was surprised, usually it gets pretty lonely pretty quickly! Soon enough though the group fell apart and we were down to the 4 named before. I was tucking in as much as I could and felt good, but near the end of the first lap I did feel like I was breathing heavy and could fall off the pace.

I hung on though even though the little rise from km2- 3 wasn’t too easy. By the time we hit the hill, Johannes was gone and the group was down to 3. I passed Lukas for the first time on the hill and Andy was a few metres ahead of me, but after the peak I could catch him back up on the downhill.

Lukas started drifting off the back but I was starting to feel strong. After the downhill we were on pace and soon enough were at 4km. I saw 14:20 on the watch, so I had 3:40 for the last km, I was feeling very confident. After Andy told me that we had 500m left, I told him that it was in the bag, I could even raise the pace quite a lot at the end and finished in 17:46, much better than expected and my best ever 5km (I might have split a better 5km in a 10km, but probably not).

After a quick celebration, I saw Lukas cross the line, I reckoned it was close to 18 mins and it was, but unfortunately in the wrong direction – 18:01.

So after 7 Parkruns in 9 weeks, I improved my time from 18:30 to 17:46, about 9 seconds per kilometer. I had said that if I could run a 17:30, I would sign up for a marathon, well that still seems like a reasonable goal, even though the course is possibly a bit slowed than I had realised when I set the goal!