Parkrun – second attempt

At some point on Friday night, Ms BikeVCar and I agreed to set the alarm clock and get up the next morning for a second attempt at the Ashton Court Parkrun 5km race.

I seem to have developed an addiction to Strava over the last few weeks and so found myself stood at the start line with my Garmin in hand eager to log my run. If anyone wants to share their Strava addictions then feel free to link with me.

The Ashton Court 5k run is an out-and-back with the halfway point at the top of a hill.  This means 2.5km of busting a gut uphill followed by 2.5km of busting your knees going down.

I paced myself by my heart rate trying not to top 180 bpm until the final finish. This resulted in sub-22 minutes and beating my last attempt by nearly 30 seconds. I hadn’t done much running since then so it’s good to know that the miles on the bike have improved my overall fitness.

Ashton Court Parkrun Elevation

My pace - slightly faster downhill with the turning speed of a juggernaut at halfway

Sticking to 180 bpm with a heart-busting finish

From the finish line we walked to a cafe in Clifton for breakfast. The essential part of our fitness regime is to take on essential calories as soon as the exercise is over. 😉 Three breakfasts between two followed by an afternoon nap seemed to greatly assist recovery. Hopefully it will be less than 2 months before our third attempt …

Breakfast in Clifton - mostly we were looking at the healthy vegetable stall while scoffing bacon & pancakes

Ashton Court Parkrun

I ran my first parkrun event on Saturday in Bristol’s Ashton Court. It had been 5 years since I’d participated in an organised race and having never run the 5km distance before I used it as a marker to gauge my running fitness. However it’s pretty difficult to just treat something as a private time-trial when you have a nasty, competitive streak and are surrounded by a hundred other runners!

The main challenge with the parkrun route in Ashton Court is that its first half is a non-stop climb and not something I was fully prepared for. I started too fast and felt a bit demoralised when a man running with his dog overtook me three-quarters of the way to the top, but I kept going and overcame thoughts of stopping to catch my breath which had been lost somewhere near the bottom of the hill. The profile of the run is below and borrowed from abradypus’s wordpress blog.

'Ashton Court Parkrun Profile' from

The parkrun event was well organised and unlike a dreaded ‘Charity Run’ you can just turn up 5 minutes before the start and run in a small group of participants. I completed the run in 22:21 which was a little slower than I’d hoped but had been expecting a slightly flatter route. I’ll be back again soon to take on the hill.