This is the backdrop awaiting you as you arrive in Gunnersbury Park. 6 towers furnishing the southern most point, arms up to the sky. I don’t know what purpose they serve but they have been there ever since I can remember on my earliest visits to the park. One of them may be a Sega building but I can’t be sure. Does anyone still play the megadrive? As you approach them, the rumble of traffic increases and in such lazy and unfurled grounds it’s easy to forget that the M4 comes into existence here in it’s storming relentless passage to Wales. It is quite abundantly, a classic example of life in London; we play under the smog of traffic that surrounds us.
After yesterday’s yuletide 5km personal best in southampton, today was to be a gentle affair. The plan had been to do the ParkRun in Gunnersbury as a warm up and then retire to it’s mid town neighbour for a series of 10x1km repetitions at 10km pace. That was the plan anyway.
As soon as I left the house, I knew this wasn’t going to be easy or even possible. As I cycled through South Ealing, the wind reminded me that even though South England might not be flooded, it wasn’t going to let me get away without a slap in the face. My legs, stiff, heavy and unrecovered grumbled beneath me. They’re never particularly happy with most things, I didn’t expect any different now.
I ran the park run at a gentle-ish effort. The 5:00min/km I was aiming for quickly became 4:40min/km odd and I registered a final time of 23:34. I would link the Strava data here but, pleb that I am, have lost my ANT+ stick and so have been using my iPhone instead. Looking at the splits, they couldn’t be more dissimilar to my watch and so there’s not point in commenting further. The race itself was seasoned with a good helping of wind throughout, with little to no crowd cover. The field itself was only of 172 odd patrons and so there weren’t too many running groups.
Just some pictures of the end funnel there. There was quite a big bridging pause between the <25 and >25 runners in my mind. Not sure as to what the reason for this discord was. As I left, some runners were still trickling in. I have to admit, I didn’t give any encouragement as I was more concerned about the repetitions awaiting me.
By the time I arrived in Walpole Park I felt tired and the decision had been made, with extreme guilt to reduce the workout to only 5 repetitions. This guilt was consolidated by the circulating runners whirring their way across the park’s perimeter. Clearly lots of folk trying to lighten the Christmas day dietary damage. I locked my bike up and began the workout which is here (and remember this is iPhone data which is about as useful as taping a cat to my wrist and getting it to pace me).
Needless to say, I was fucking dying. If you look, and you really don’t need to, the pace drops off incrementally and by the final rest I have succumbed to walking. The pace was supposed to register around the 4:30min/km mark but it was way off and I think on average it would have been closer to 4:35 or so. I was disappointed to have performed so poorly and perhaps the smarter of you might have suggested leaving this workout out altogether. Personally I think that you need to identify your running needs and a big weakness of mine is running whilst fatigued. Clearly we can’t all have the burst of acceleration of a certain Mo Farah but it would be nice to be able to hold a reasonable pace with out flapping like a fish, long out of water, being prodded by an idiot toddler.
I leave you with the new improved Walpole Park.
This was what I previously and lovingly called Paedo lake (please note, I don’t know if any bonafide paedo-ing went on here). There was a conglomerate of bushes that had once stood in quiet contemplation around this water whilst all sorts of naughtiness went on under the drooping arms of the English Ivy canopy. Basically I think this was the place to be if you either wanted a little bit of drugs from that bloke Trevor or to lose your middle class virginity. I did neither of those, in case you were wondering. Still haven’t.