my running adventures – barefoot or otherwise

Racing versus running, responses and my heart rate monitor!

1st place at Beeston parkrun

1st place at Beeston parkrun


Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend Beeston parkrun with a friend of mine. As I’d experienced the last time out (a few weeks previously), the organisation was brilliant. Everything went smoothly…apart from my run!

I started off a bit too fast, and within 500 metres of the 5k distance, I was out at the front on my own. Yikes!

My first kilometre split was 3:18 – way too fast for me to sustain at this time! But this isn’t the main reason for this blog post…

I didn’t want to show any weakness, so tried to keep that pace going. 2nd km split was 3:25, and at this point I was seriously debating stopping! I’d gone out too fast and now, because of how I am, I was too stubborn to stop or to slow down and recover. So, I had to get through kilometre 3, which I was pleased with at 3:34. Slower, but not significantly.

I really felt like I had to hold on in the final two kilometres, ensuring I kept my form as best I could and just keep my legs whirring.

At 4.5km I was looping back on myself and could see the guy in 2nd place. I was determined at this point that, having led for almost the whole run so far, I wasn’t going to be happy coming second and letting him get ahead of me. But that’s not the main reason for the blog post…

Fortunately, that fear helped me kick on to 3:33 for the final kilometre (3:35 was my kilometre 4 split), and I ended up with an unofficial 5k PB of 17:24! As the 5km course was slightly further, I crossed the finish line in 17:40…in 1st place! I finished 18 seconds ahead of the 2nd placed runner. But that isn’t the main reason for this blog post…

There were 148 runners, and it was only after the results went up online that I saw that the guy who finished second was in the age category 45-49. Wow! If I can run that fast in another decade’s time, I will feel seriously fit!

The real reason for this blog post:

The real reason for this blog post is because I was so amazed, cajoled and encouraged by other runners along the home straight. The last kilometre is an out and back 500m (or so). As I came back past some of the quicker runners on the course, I must have looked like I was hurting and in need of help! I lost count of the number of ‘well dones,’ ‘great running,’ and other positive comments from my fellow runners. If I hadn’t been so tired, I would have been smiling from ear to ear, given the warm feeling about humanity I was feeling at the time and replying with equally positive comments. As it stood, all I could do was to give a lame thumbs up in between exhausted breathes (I’m sure I sounded like a quiet Monica Seles!) on my way to the finish line.

All along the course, I’d experienced the most encouraging of volunteers, who make all parkrun events happen, willing me on to dig deeper and to maintain my pace. If it hadn’t been for my fellow runners and the tremendous ‘magic makers,’ I would definitely have crossed the line in a slower time.

Having the support of other runners really spurs you on!

Having the support of other runners really spurs you on!

At present, 5k parkruns are my races. I don’t have much free time to enter many formal events (my three children and full-on job see to this!), and while I understand completely that parkrun is a run and not a race, I do use the event to push myself. One of my running goals for this year is to run a sub 17-minute 5k. This seems a way off for now, but I think I can get closer when conditions are more conducive (the wind and wet ground made the run harder in this instance).

The other reason for my blog post was that, after I’d uploaded my run to strava, I checked my heart rate. It got as high as 193 bpm!! It has NEVER been that high before. One suggestion I’ve been given as to why it was so high is because of the asthma medication I use (beclomethasone diproprionate) – I take 2 puffs in the morning and the same again in the evening. However, when I read the information that comes with it, none of the side effects said anything about increasing your heart rate. So, why am I telling you all this? Well, for three reasons really:

  1. Links to my run are included in most of my blog posts. I’d love to invite you to check out my runs and see what you can discern from my heart-rate data!
  2. If you have any publications that you think would help me learn more about using heart-rate data to help me become a more efficient runner, I’d really appreciate it!
  3. It reminds me about an idea for a blog post I had related to food that I must work on!

A few other runs I’ve done recently:

Pacing myself at 4:30/km pace for 10k –

3 x 1km efforts within a 10k commute –

My latest barefoot adventure! –


Have you ever been surprised by your heart-rate data after exercise?

Have you experienced similar fellow-runner loveliness in terms of support and encouragement in races?


6 comments on “Racing versus running, responses and my heart rate monitor!

  1. runninginnj
    May 5, 2014

    I never manage to track my heart rate because I always forget to put on the strap (not even sure where it is any more). As for encouragement, runners (and their families) are the best people and being in a running club is huge for that added boost in races where members who aren’t running come out and cheer.

    • barefoottc
      May 6, 2014

      I completely agree. Even though I’m not a member of a running club, when I hear the crowds cheering for members of their own running club, I find that it lifts me too! I find the heart rate data interesting, but without reading more about it, it doesn’t affect how I train too much. Hoping to find a useful resource to help me learn more about how to use the data, and what it suggests.

  2. The running schlub
    May 6, 2014

    Congrats on the great time. I actually had the same challenge on Sat and used a fellow runner to pull me through a tough third mile. The other runners and crowd are huge in boosting energy along the course

    • barefoottc
      May 6, 2014

      Thanks! Yes, looking forward to running 5k again this Saturday – hopefully I can pull some people round to a sub-20 minute time! How did you do in your challenge?

      • The running schlub
        May 7, 2014

        Ran to a new 5k PR, really good outcome but came out thinking I could of done better which will lead to better training next go around.

      • barefoottc
        May 8, 2014

        I think your natural reaction after a run is always ‘I could have done better’ – but I think sometimes we can be hard on ourselves. The pain we sometimes go through to get a PB can soon appear an illusion afterwards when we feel better and have recovered. It is good natural motivation to do better next time round though! Congrats on your PB, great effort!

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