This weekend has been a bit different to normal.

Saturday AM: Parkrun (Okayish time, wasn’t pushing it, but got overtaken on my sprint finish by somebody doing a more impressive sprint finish, which I was a bit miffed about).

Saturday PM: Went to see Downton Abbey. It was my mum’s birthday on Friday so that was part of her birthday celebration. I love Downton Abbey and I enjoyed the film. My one criticism is that I’m pretty sure that Maggie Smith wasn’t just a walking punchline in the series (though she did get a serious scene towards the end). I liked that despite being a film, it was still Downton as usual. It continued naturally from TV, and it also wrapped itself up in as much as a series about a family’s progression through life can ever be wrapped up. They could easily follow it up with more films (and I hope they do!), but they didn’t set it up for a sequel.

Saturday evening: Then we went to a restaurant for dinner afterwards. I had a burger because I’m doing a survey on burgers (actually because when you run as much as I do, burgers being full of protein, iron and calories make a lot of sense, but as this means I virtually always choose burgers when I eat out, it feels like I’m doing a burger survey). It was by far the worst burger I’ve had when eating out. It was small and burnt on the bottom; I was underwhelmed and had it not been for a mix up with the chips giving us a double helping, I’d have been left hungry. I did not leave full of iron and protein, I left full of chips. But I do like chips, so…

Mum had salmon though, and she was quite happy.

(note: the best burger I’ve had is in a fairly expensive restaurant near Torquay, but in second place, and not requiring me to travel 200 miles, is The Boss Burger from Boston Tea Party)

Sunday: 10k race – the reason I wasn’t pushing it at Parkies yesterday. It was a tiny local race that I only found out about a couple of weeks ago because I saw a sign on a lamppost. The course was two laps around a few little country roads and then around some housing estates – not the most interesting course, but not the least interesting 10k course I’ve run recently (cough Birmingham). Not flat but not hilly either. The weather was promising rain and threatening thunderstorms, but we’d had a lot of rain ahead of schedule overnight and at the start time it was just cloudy and muggy. Not exactly warm, but the sweat just sits on your skin so it’s not ideal running weather.

There was a water station half way around and I elected to pour the cup over my head, slightly underestimating just how wet I would get and feeling faintly ridiculous for the next few minutes as all the spectators presumably thought I’d fallen into a river along the way. By the end of the second lap, however, everyone else looked the same because it started raining very heavily. I was ahead of the curve. Someone tried to overtake me on my sprint finish but I was having none of that today, thankyouverymuch. Overall I smashed my previous 10k personal best (from May) by a minute and a half, taking it down to 41 and a bit minutes.

I’ve done a few 10k tempo runs lately which have all seemed like harder work than they should have been for the paces I’ve been hitting, so this was a nice confidence boost for the half marathon in three weeks today.