I blog when I go abroad, and occasionally when I do stuff in the UK too. There's a nicer interface over here.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Park ton

This post is ONLY ABOUT RUNNING. No flights, no booze. You have been warned!

Bushy parkrun start area
Bushy parkrun start area

I ran my 100th parkrun this morning! Bit pleased with that. For them that don't know, parkrun is a free, weekly, timed 5km run at 9am every Saturday with the occasional Christmas or bonus bank holiday. There's loads of the bastards, all over the country and world; my local event happens to be the one which started it all - Bushy Park, Teddington, aka the cradle of parkrun - and it now regularly tops 1,000 participants. I've done 86 of my runs at Bushy, with the other 14 split between 11 events around London, England, and the world - my overseas exploits in Russia in Australia have already been written up. Already plotting how to reach one down in New Zealand.

When I first started, doing a 9am Saturday run had dual benefits: the run itself was a good way to lose weight and get fit, and the time put me off getting drunk on Fridays because I didn't want to miss them. But after a year or so I thought, hang on, I already don't particularly enjoy running itself - how much worse can it be with a hangover? Turns out, not much at all. And since then I've never pulled out of a run because of a hangover. Laziness, depression, holiday, work, sure, but never a hangover. Steve actually called me "champion hungover runner" once.

Proper parkrun weather.

Weather rarely puts me off either. In fact I prefer running in the cold, with a bit of rain. I've run in -6ºc, in deep snow,in cross-country style mud, through deep puddles. Heat is much worse. I'm glad parkrun in Australia is at 7am instead of 9am.

Aaaanyway. Making it to a hundred means I get a new (free!) shirt and jacket (maybe), emblazoned with the parkrun logo and a big fat 100 on the back. I never need to wear my 50 shirt again, I guess. But it also feels like a good time to do a bunch of pointless analysis and generate some stats porn. Hurrah for stats! My parkrun profile page has some but really not enough to satisfy me.

First, stuff I can't easily graph. Reaching 50 took 110 weeks, a milestone I hit on October 27th 2012. I immediately started to look toward when I might hit 100 and discovered that my 40th birthday falls on a Saturday, 87 weeks on from then. Obviously it became my target to reach the century on or by then - and making it today means that from 50 to 100 took 81 weeks. Achievement unlocked! And also obviously this means I've taken 191 weeks in total, so on average I get out just a bit more often than every other week. 191 weeks is roughly 3 years and 8 months.

The only day of a month I've not done a parkrun on is the 28th. My birthday is on a 28th. Huh.

Clearly, I've run 500km. For people who prefer other units of measurement, that's 310.86 miles, 59651.63 double decker buses or 4754.84 football pitches (thanks to this calculator).Practically, this means I could run to anywhere in Belgium, most of the Netherlands or Luxembourg, easily reach Paris and just about get to Hellfest outside of Nantes. I could almost get some kölsch in Cologne, but no haggis in Glasgow.

500km from my flat

Now, graphs! I'm no statistician but I like the number of things you can tease out of 100 pieces of data with only 3 variables: location, date it occurred, and time it took. And google's graphing library sure makes them look prettier than I could ever do by myself (though some of the automatically chosen colours are a bit ropey).

Actually, not graphs quite yet. What a fucking tease, eh? Anyway, I can't easily embed them in this page so I've had to put them elsewhere - so first, some headlines before I send you on your way.

  • Best time: 26:14; worst: 39:57; average: 29:46 (very happy to be below 30:00!)
  • October is my favourite month, July and August my least favourite
  • I managed a 5-Saturday month in March 2014
  • There have been 5 months since my first run where I've not managed a parkrun at all. Lazy depressed Darren is lazy and depressed.
  • My 30s are ending on a high

OK, so, now, graphs.

Huh. £68 for a day trip to Rome sounds like a decent way to tick off the Holy See...

No comments: