parkrun tourism @ karkarook

First day of school holidays and what a better way to celebrate than get up early, pull on some warm clothes and head to the other side of Melbourne for a run! Karkarook was today’s destination, a smidge over an hour from home so not too far when I was feeling rather sleepy from a long term.

We arrived in plenty of time, made use of the ‘facilities’ and strolled on over to the meeting point. It was certainly rather fresh – the car had helpfully told us it was 1 degree and the frost everywhere you looked backed this up. However I had come prepared – long sleeves and gloves as it’s usually my fingers which are the worst on days like this.

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We were welcomed by the run director and introduced to the various pacers who would be encouraging and helping everyone out on the course today. Various milestones were also shared and visitors welcomed. And then we ditched our top layers and headed to the start line.

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I didn’t feel up for a PB – too cold, too ‘end of term’-ish but I hung around the 36:20 pacer anyway, just to see how long I could keep her in my sights. And off we went.

Before starting, I’d already decided I wasn’t running any set intervals – just running when I felt like it, walking when I didn’t. So I ran most of the first kilometre. Just fast enough to get warm and to keep up with my pacer. Surprisingly, it felt pretty easy and I looked at my watch to see exactly how easy. I was shocked to find it was actually fast (for me) and not the plod that it felt like. So I kept going.

Somewhere around the end of the 2nd kilometre, we approached a little bit of a downhill (on what is really a rather flat course) and I just felt like letting my legs go, so I did and overtook the pacer. I was fairly sure she’d be back past me before long and that was ok – it was all part of my ‘just run what you feel’ strategy. I felt good.

First lap done and, heading out on the second, the sun was starting to warm things up nicely and I still felt strong. My stomach did not feel quite as good, giving me all sorts of dodgy pains. Probably a result of me messing with my breakfast routine (note to self – no cereal with milk before a run). So I walked a bit. Ran when I could, walked and grimaced when I couldn’t. Mostly I was just annoyed – typical to be feeling strong and have something like that get in my way.

By the 4th kilometre, I was feeling a bit better so I kicked into gear and ran it in. I did walk a bit over the bridge before the finish (which was icy and I didn’t trust myself not to end up on my backside) then made it over the line in 36:09 – a 5km PB.

Obviously Karkarook will now be remembered as a PB spot but, aside from that, it is a great little course and fabulous parkrun community. They’re a friendly bunch and very welcoming and the course is unexpectedly pretty, tucked in amongst suburbia. It is a two-lap course around a lake and is pretty much flat and obviously quite fast. Add in the fact that it’s easy to get to and has ample parking and facilities – what more could you ask for?