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I’m Back!

After foolishly taking a break for the winter (and some of the Spring), I’m back, running 3 times a week and just yesterday ran my first 10k of the year.  I’ll soon be back to where I was last year.

Lots has happened, firstly and sadly I lost my dad, he was only 63 and died of a lung condition that had robbed him of his ability to exercise, walk, hike and do all the outdoor things that he loved to do.  Knowing that he wasn’t doing so good I went to Morecambe to see him in January, the last thing he said was ‘next time I sithee, I’ll be racing thee t’seafront’  (he was the most Yorkshire Yorkshireman ever) I wish this could have happened, he passed away on April 7th.

The day after the funeral me, my excercise-hating sister and her 3 kids did Lancaster parkrun, I took mum to watch and we had a great time; blue skies, stunning views and lots of laughs. Dad would have loved it, the looks on their faces when they realised it was 2 laps and they had to go round again, the relief when they realised they weren’t in last place, the joy when my 2 neices finished 1st and 2nd in their age category (yep they were the only 2).  Lancaster is a really scenic parkrun, set in hilly Williamson Park with the iconic Ashton Memorial and Butterfly House and views over Morecambe Bay and the Lake District.

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Lancaster Parkrun

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Williamson Park – Lancaster

I’m doing Upton Park (Slough) parkrun this coming Saturday and my sister, the kids and some of their friends are joining in too.

So what else happened….

I beat my Parkrun PB at Maidenhead by 4 seconds (my previous PB was the day I ran a marathon distance, and I was perfectly fuelled for 26 miles so 5km was a breeze).

I came across a dead dog when running by the river, a grizzly find that I reported to the police who subsequently found more animal bones.

I developed a real intolerance for ‘vapers’, people puffing out huge clouds of apple flavour crap, I hate running through that just as much as smoke, yeah I’m a grumpy old woman!

A squirrel fell out of a tree and splattered on the floor in front of me, not sure if it died and fell or fell and died.

I booked trips to Malta, Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur – pleeeeaaaase can someone get Parkrun ‘up and running’ before I go (October).

I stuck an application in for the 2018 London Marathon, not sure what my odds are but I’m toying with the idea of running for the British Lung Foundation. We’ll see. I don’t think I know enough people to raise the required amount.

I’m still listening to podcasts while running… Running Commentary – Rob Deering and Paul Tonkinson. If you haven’t listened, I really recommend it. Babysitting Trevor with Carl Donnelly, Chris Martin and Trevor Crook.  Walking The Dog with Emily Dean. Justin Moorhouse – About 30 Minutes No More Than 45.  Elis James and John Robins on Radio X.

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I’ve been fully appreciating everything that spring running has to offer from daffodils to bluebells to cygnets and ducklings and I love running in the rain, which is good as we’re having tonnes of it at the moment.

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‘Sunny Morecambe’ – RIP Michael

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Gym?

It’s a new year and I’m seeing tonnes of people joining gyms, signing up for fitness classes and buying exercise gear, I’m cynical, I’ve never understood why people pay to exercise.

There’s not much you can do at the gym that you can’t do at home or in the park. It’s like joining a gym ticks the ‘get fit’ box without actually doing anything, when really the most proactive thing you can do is just put your trainers on and go outside NOW!

I’m saying this from my bed at 11am! Everyone has gone back to work and I’m between contracts, with 10lbs to shift. There’s a kettle bell in the corner, a pull up bar in the doorway, a wardrobe full of winter running gear and a bike in the garage. It’s a real effort to exercise after 10 hours at a desk job and here I am with all this free time and I’m back in bed with Netflix and a Gilmore Girls marathon!

Before Christmas I went along to a Crossfit gym, I never saw the point of Crossfit, it’s expensive, a bit ‘culty’ and really what can you do there that you can’t do for free at home.

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This was a free taster session and only a mile away, so I signed up and ran there (Rule: I never take the car for any journey under 2 miles).

The lady taking the session was super fit and strong, doing things on the pull up bar that put my 30 second dead-hang to massive shame.

I was right, we didn’t do anything there that I couldn’t do at home for free: skipping, squats, squats with weights, burpees, box steps, difference was though I was knackered by the end, my legs were like jelly, I struggled to run the mile home and for the next 2 days my whole body hurt!  My body never hurts after a home workout!

I was SO competitive at that Crossfit session, I was the oldest but I wanted to be the fastest and the strongest and I pushed myself so hard!

I still don’t want to pay to use someone else’s equipment or to have someone tell me to keep going, I shouldn’t need to do that I just need to motivate myself to work as hard on my own as I do when other people are involved.

And just as soon as I’ve finished watching this episode I’m gonna swing the kettle bell, hang from my pull up bar and then I’m off to the track to work on my sprints 😳

It got dark!

It’s been a while since my last post and that’s because it’s been a while since I went running.

As the evenings got darker I thought the biggest obstacle would be finding somewhere safe to run, the usual riverside, woodland paths were out of the question. But actually the biggest obstacle was finding the motivation to get out and run in the cold and dark when all I wanted to do after a long day in the office was get in bed.

I focussed instead on kettle bells and installed a pull up bar, I’m determined to do 1 pull up 😂 (currently at 30 second dead-hang).

I lost my running fitness, it’s amazing how quickly you can go from running a marathon to struggling with 2km, but I know that, just as  running fitness goes quickly, it comes back quickly and last night I did a comfortable 5km and I’m ready to get back to park run this Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day!

It’s good to be back!

 

Pain

After 9 years of skating anti-clockwise (playing roller derby) along with a leg length difference  I often feel pain in my hips.

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Marie Melvin – Roller Derby – Windsor Rollergirls

It hurts to get up from my desk, but I just need to limp for a few steps and then I’m good to go.

Obviously after a long run this is a lot worse, so instead of limping for just a few steps it takes a bit longer to ‘walk off’.

2 days after the half marathon I realised someone from the office was following me as I left for the day: out the office, across the car park, into the High Street, obviously all the way to our out of town car park, and even though I was by now,  perfectly fine, I limped the whole way just to avoid a Keyser Söze moment 😱

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Anyway, I’ve finally ordered a foam roller 👍🏼

Devon

1 week since plodding a marathon distance and I was ready to run again, I was actually ready 3 days ago but was just too lazy.

I was spending the weekend in Devon so decided to do my first ‘away’ Parkrun. The nearest event to the tent (actually a wood-framed, 3 bed cabin with canvas walls and ceiling) was Parke in Bovey Tracey; part trail, part Tarmac, part gravel and (according to Twitter) part fucking big hills!

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The ‘tent’

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I certainly wouldn’t be getting a 5km PB 👎🏼 but I would definitely be getting a Parke PB 👍🏼

My home Parkrun in Maidenhead is pretty flat, with just 1 tiny hill (that you have to tackle twice). I’ve noticed I seem to have an extra gear when it comes to hills, maybe thanks to 9 years playing roller derby or maybe because I run so slowly that I still have a little energy in reserve, but the tiny hill usually means I can overtake a couple of people (before they overtake me again on the flat).

So, taking the hills into account I set a goal of 35 minutes. My feet were still a little shredded from the previous Saturday (sexy photos below below) but no pain.

I was not prepared for the hill that greeted me as I turned the first corner, impossible to capture in a photo, I tried to jog it but soon figured out as others overtook me, that it was quicker to stride out and walk it.

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Marie Melvin – Parke Parkrun

More ups, more downs and then around 4km another steep hill, I found my extra gear and overtook 10-15 people.  With less than a km to go I managed to keep going with only 1 of the runners I’d overtaken on the hill passing me again on the flat.

Thank fuck for that hill, as the results showed I was seriously near the back, I know I shouldn’t care, but I’m so scared of finishing last. I actually finished in JUST under 35 minutes.

These are the images from MapMyRun comparing the elevation at Parke and Maidenhead.

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Maidenhead
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Parke – Devon

And these are my feet👇🏼

Sorry 😂

(Thanks Josh for the lovely holiday.)

Where’s my f***ing six pack!

Seriously, 2 days after completing a marathon distance and I’ve gained 5lbs.

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I already live on a relatively low calorie diet, I gain weight easily! Admittedly keeping it low cal’ usually means substituting a 500 cal’ sandwich for a 230 cal’ chocolate bar.

Of course it makes sense that after 2 good prep’ meals on Thursday & Friday a celebratory/recovery meal on Saturday that I would gain weight!

Just because my Fitbit says I burned 4,500 calories, it doesn’t mean I can get away with a 4,500 calorie blowout.

I guess I’m just not running often/far/fast enough, I don’t follow training plans, I fit in running where I can and if my body says stop, then I stop.

The runners that are finishing while I’m only half way round are lean as f**k! I want that! But there are also runners with more ‘jelly’ than me kicking my ass every week at Parkrun!

So, am I gaining muscle, I don’t think so, do I need to do weights, Pilates etc. Well, I’m not 😠

I know I’ve got the food right for running, energy wise I felt great doing the 42km. I just have to hope the 6 pack follows.  Maybe it’s already there and just hiding!

Anyway, this is the last time I’m gonna bang on about food, calories and 6 packs.  Back to pain, recovery and buying stuff! 😁

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So I did a marathon..

I say ‘did’ rather than ‘ran’ as there was definitely some walking involved.

So, 2 weeks ago I did the Maidenhead half & said I was through with running, a week later I saw a yellow/pink sign on a post outside my house with the words ’71km’.

I googled it and discovered that the Thames Path Challenge was happening that day. A 100km run/walk/jog, it sounded like something I should be doing, clearly forgetting how I struggled with a 5km that same morning.

So Saturday I watched the race leaders cross the bridge around 4.30, Sunday I googled other 100km challenges as I realised that passing my own front door at 71km could be a huge mental obstacle, I found the Race to the Stones and registered my interest. Tuesday I decided that I should see what a marathon feels like, Wednesday I bought a runners rucksack and read about Eddie Izzard and how he tackled 52 marathons in 52 days with very little training/preparation (he jogs/walks and takes an hour long ice bath after each one), Thursday I ate pizza but then only got 1 hours sleep thanks to the crazy storms. Friday, I struggled through work, went to my local for chicken and vegetables and then straight to bed.

Saturday (yesterday) the plan was to run to parkrun, get a PB (which I did – I think running there rather than cycling was a good warm up), and then just keep running – into Windsor along the Jubilee river then back down the Windsor/Maidenhead road.

There were a few small hold ups along the way.. traffic, crossing roads, people asking for directions (this may be an indication of how slow I was going), buying Lucozade in Windsor and after 25km stopping twice to stretch as my hips were killing!

I ran with the rucksack containing a rain coat, blister plasters, plug in headphones in case the bluetooth ones died, taxi cash just in case, spare socks (none of which I used) & dextrose tablets which I did use at 10, 20 and 30km. Once I’d adjusted all the fastenings etc the bag (Salomon trail 10) fit fine with no rubbing etc.

I never felt tired but could feel blisters coming, a pain in the bone in my left foot and of course my hips!

At 25km I realised my phone would die if I kept listening to the radio (Elis James & John Robins would have to wait til the podcast), I needed the MapMyRun stats so had to turn the radio off 😕

With 10km left to go I felt strong and happy to be ‘almost home’, with 5km left the pain was getting quite intense and I was a little light headed. At 40km I reached my front door but still needed another 2 to call it a marathon, that was really tough 😕 but I ran past and up to the jubilee river again. I considered having a little cry but figured no one would see me so what’s the point 😂

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Marie Melvin – Marathon run – About 20 miles in

I had a quick ice bath when I got in, which was surprisingly  fine, I’d been dreading that but after limping badly for 2 days after the half I was happy to give it a go.

I’d said I didn’t want to do organised events again but it would have been nice to not stop for traffic and a medal at the end would have been really appreciated  🏅😂

It’s Sunday morning now and my hips feel a million times better than 2 weeks ago, maybe the very quick ice bath did help. My shoulders, chest & back are a little sore, I never thought to bloody lay down in the bath 🙄.   The worst pain is in the bone in my left foot, hopefully that will sort itself out.

I’ve obviously gone off the idea of ultra running, this may change in the next few days, but I’m really pleased with myself to have got a PB at Parkrun and to have DONE a marathon.

I wanted to do it in six hours and managed 5.45, I know this is crazy slow but ya know I’m new to this but also very impatient to tick boxes.

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