Down South we are having some gorgeous weather lately.
Crisp and cold in the morning and then beautiful sunshine later in the day. The temperatures are still chilly but this only means perfect running conditions for me! I love it. It puts a spring (ha!) in my step.
Do you remember that time I briefly went to track for a bit? Yeah neither do I. A distant memory. It was never going to last due to the amount of faff it took for me to get there. I had to leave work later, drive to Southampton, park 3 miles away and wait for about 15 minutes before running there. My entire evening disappeared. Totally not worth any of the speed gains in my opinion. Yes I did enjoy doing regular speed work in such a controlled way but realistically it just didn’t fit into my routine or make me particularly happy over all.
But anyway, I do know I need to do some speed work. Doing it regularly makes me happy. It breaks up all the samey runs I do and makes me feel strong. At the moment I plan to do them once every two weeks to keep an eye on stressing my body too much and avoiding injuries but I’m quite excited about it.
Kyle and I actually did a speed session last week together round the lake at work. It’s a perfect area to do it as it’s fairly soft underfoot (so less stress on the body), there are no cars, no traffic lights, it’s flat and one loop is about 1.5 miles.
I thought we should test out some mile reps. We started with a one mile warm-up and then the reps would begin. We weren’t going to run together but just run at our own speeds. Incidentally these paces were very similar and actually having Kyle ahead or behind me really helped motivate me to keep up or keep him from catching me. After the rep we’d do a cool down jog for 0.5 miles until we got to the start point again. And then we were off once more.
The reps were hard (to be expected!). I felt it in my lungs and legs. It look a lot of concentration to hold on (but also not to blow myself to pieces too soon).
But I’m really proud of myself for reaching the paces I did. I’ve never done mile repeats this quickly. Genuinely think it helped doing it with someone else. Hugely more motivating than doing it solo.
Speaking of Kyle, we had a lovely Valentine’s Day together. We had a very relaxed evening not doing too much.
He cooked my chicken wings and ribs, which of course are some of my favourite foods. And then we chilled watching Sex Education – which is hilarious by the way (tho a weird blend of British and American-ness).
He bought me some lovely gifts, which included some of my favourite chocolate.
I adore Hotel Chocolat! I was very chuffed. Of course they didn’t last long…
I know I’m a bit of a weird creature in that I really do enjoy marathon training.
In general it’s enjoyable, it’s fun and I like doing it. But it can be hard. My motivation can dip and I can find myself wondering how am I going to do it.
Usually it’s the long run that I dread (though it’s also the one I feel most accomplished with and happy about usually). The thought of running 18 miles, almost three hours of running for me, well, it’s a long time. It’s a long way. It also means waking up on a Sunday morning and not being able to just lay there, or get up whenever. Because the later you leave it the more it eats into your day.
I felt this way
leading up to my weekend long run this week. I had 18 miles planned and
originally I was going to do it on Sunday. But the thought of going to bed
Saturday night knowing I had to wake up and run all that way seemed really
unappealing. Kyle offered to run a bit of it with me which was lovely but the
route we’d go would mean he’d run 9-10 miles with, still leaving me with a good
chunk left on my own. Urgh.
I decided to float
the idea of running to parkrun on the Saturday. We’d have to set an alarm and
get up relatively early anyway on the
Saturday and by combining the long run with parkrun would break it up and
mentally seem far easier because all you were doing was travelling to parkrun –
a destination run is far easier, mentally, than just a big loop. However this
would mean that Kyle would be running 15 miles in total rather than say 12-13
miles. Bless him, he agreed to do it.
So I woke up Saturday morning just after 6am to run about 5k beforehand, then picked up Kyle to then run to Havant parkrun. Though Havant parkrun is actually only four miles away from where he lives we needed to run a bit of a long-winded route to get there to get the extra miles. Actually it was very similar to the route we did last week to Southsea. The very hilly route through Waterlooville, Purbook and up the dreaded Widley hill…
As soon as I started running I realised this run was not going to be easy. My legs felt heavy and I felt tired. I was a lot slower than the week before. Annoyingly the thing about running an almost identical route is that you have an identical comparison. After the first three or so miles after Kyle joined me we both moaned that it felt so much harder. It could have been because earlier in the week we’d done our first speed session in a while… or the fact that we’d gone to the cinema the night before and had a Subway quite early for dinner. Either way, it was like running through porridge. We were probably 30-40 seconds per mile slower.
But we got to Havant
with 10 minutes to spare
We were both dreading parkrun at this point. I’d just run 15 miles and Kyle was on almost 12. The run there had been so hard and such a grind. And Havant wasn’t a particularly easy parkrun. It wasn’t flat and had an especially steep downhill section which would be brutal on our legs. The ground was also very uneven and hard.
Zack, Kyle’s brother, met us there. He was just going to run parkrun (never “just” but you know what I mean) and was very kindly going to give us a lift back. He’d forgotten his barcode and wasn’t feeling very well so all of us were a bit “meh” about starting the run.
Kyle and I decided to run separately as neither of us wanted any sort of pressure to run at a pace we didn’t fancy. We just wanted to zone out and run however we liked. I was amazed to find that as soon as we were off my legs felt a lot better. Maybe the mini-break had helped? Whatever it was I was able to find a nice rhythm and run quicker. Perhaps I just wanted to get it done and finish the run.
I caught up with two men who were chatting about one of them surprising his partner with a trip to New York and I was able to zone out and listen to them chatter. I briefly considered telling them about the best cookie place (Levain Bakery) but decided not to interfere. Though when I went past them I wished the guy a lovely holiday and he laughed and said thank you.
I finished, HUGELY
surprisingly to me, in 23:24. Kyle wasn’t too far behind, having cruised nice
and easily in, followed by Zack who hadn’t had struggled a bit but still
managed a stellar strong time. We were all glad for it to be done though! What
a feeling to have 18 miles under my belt! And no injuries or niggles. I was
quite surprised my calves didn’t feel too bad considering I’d forgotten my
compression socks… perhaps it is all in my head that they work on long runs eh!
I enjoyed a truly
wonderfully hot bath when I got back to Kyle’s. I wanted to lay in there
forever it was so good. And then enjoyed a giant mug of tea and steaming bowl
of porridge. Honestly, these are the simple things I really crave after a long
run. So good.
For the rest of the
day though I felt so drained. I was exhausted. I haven’t run that far since the
Portsmouth Coastal Marathon at the end of December and I could really feel it.
I even had a 40 minute nap later in the day. I was just absolutely shattered.
It’s amazing how quickly you lose the adaptations your body makes during
Luckily though I was able to significantly refuel with a solid dinner with Kyle and my parents that evening at the newly opened Hancock’s in Whiteley. It was my dad’s birthday on the 14th (yes, Valentine’s Day) so we went out to celebrate.
The meal itself was a bit “meh” but the company was lovely. I went for cauliflower bites to start which were a little boring. Basically just cauliflower with buffalo sauce on.
My dad was disappointed that they weren’t able to do steak (something was wrong in the kitchen apparently?), so instead we both ordered the whole chicken (each). It was about the same price as a full rack of ribs so we were both SUPER surprised at how big it was. I mean, it was literally like they bought a family sized chicken from Asda! It was quite tricky to eat to be honest. Like carving straight in on your plate.
But the pudding was the star of the show. Chocolate fudge cake brownie. I mean, wow.
I think Hancock’s needs a few more weeks to find it’s feet if I’m honest. The food was OK but nothing to scream and shout about. My pudding was amazing but Kyle had the waffles and really it was just a waffle with a blob of ice cream on and some sauce. But as I said, it was the company that was the best bit. My parents, Kyle and me had a really nice evening together. Crazy I know, but sometimes food is secondary for me 😉
So apparently I don’t write into the void of nothingness and occasionally more than my mum reads my blog…(I am joking somewhat, I know I have some amazing incredible readers who I love to chat to virtually and in real life).
I’m not entirely shocked and it does make me feel somewhat better – I’m not the only loser! (I’m joking, I’m joking). So yeah the chap, Theo, asked if my parents and I would be happy to be interviewed about it for BBC South Today, like the next day! I mean, sure I’d love to be on telly for a different reason than my incapability of flying the nest completely but ehhhh it sounded fun.
My dad was unfortunately away in Bradford on business but my mum was off of work because of her arm (she’d sliced a tendon accidentally the other week by a silly picture frame related incident). I told Theo I’d double-check but I was more than certain it’d be fine. My mum would love it.
Well, it turns out my mum was actually getting her hair done the next day and couldn’t possibly rearrange. CAN YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT. Our chance for fame and fortune and she was BUSY. Eventually though I managed to rearrange the interview to be in the afternoon so she would be free. I’d have a half day at work, pick my mum up from the hairdressers and then we’d go home for the interview.
When we arrived at the house they were already there with this GIANT satellite bus thing. What we didn’t realise was on top of the interview segment thing (which would be aired that evening) we were also doing a LIVE bit at 1.30pm as a sort of mini trailer. WHAT.
This was incredibly nerve-wracking I can tell you. What I can also tell you is that three people from the BBC we met were super friendly, accommodating and lovely. The reporter, Anjana, was so nice. She didn’t push us or make us feel uncomfortable. We were very much put at our ease.
We had a few rehearsals before the live bit and then we were ON AIR. Please do not swear. Eeesh it was nerve-wracking. I had the panic moment of my brain going entirely blank but then I was fine. It was literally only a minute a half so it went quickly. My mum didn’t fluff it up either, happy days.
Then we filmed the longer bit. This involved more questions, more interactions and then a walk upstairs to show my bedroom (god how embarrassing) and a bit with our dogs as a kind of “scene setting” context thing.
All in all it was a really fun experience. It was cool to see how these segments are produced and how adaptive and quick thinking these TV people are. How they can come up with how to do an interview and “set the scene” so quickly.
Seeing it back? Mortifying and cringe-worthy. THAT’S what my face looks like? THAT’S what my voice sounds like? God almighty. I could only watch it once and I just felt very uncomfortable. We came across fine I think. Nothing controversial or crazy. Just watching myself speak or “relax” my face into it’s apparent resting bitch face was just an awfully enlightening process. Hey ho, my 5 minutes of fame. I can be grateful that I wasn’t be trolled online I suppose!
I love a weekend like this, packed full of running, lovely people and good food. Shocking for me I know.
Kyle and I headed to Netley for parkrun on Saturday morning. It was going to be my 200th! I wanted to spend it at my home parkrun where I knew I’d see lots of lovely familiar faces and have a coffee afterwards. My intention was to bring cakes to celebrate but then decided against it due to a mixture of a) not being able to bake because I’m horrendous at it, b) not wanting to buy crappy ones from the supermarket, and c) I worried that the weather would be awful and no one would want any because they’d be too busy dashing off home to get warm.
Well, when we turned up the sun was shining and the skies were blue. My lack of cakes did not get unnoticed and I got quite a few comments. Apparently I’m the least likely person to not bring cakes for a milestone. Whoops. I saw my friend, Joe, briefly – he was very busy being the run director. But he did shout out my 200th in the pre-run bit which was nice (YES I KNOW IT’S NOT AN OFFICIAL MILESTONE).
My plan was to push my legs a little but not go as fast as Southsea parkrun the week before. As soon as I started running I could tell things were going to be harder. I’d done a legs day at the gym on Friday and consequently my they felt heavy and clunky. Netley’s winter course has two hills and you do the lap three times, so it’s quite a tough run. The wind was very strong but thankfully it wasn’t dead against us, and actually when we had to go up one of the hills it helped push us up. So not too bad at all.
Kyle and I ran together and we managed to overtake the local celeb and Olympic athlete, Iwan Thomas. He nicely shouted “well done” to us but then exclaimed “oh blimey, mate, those shorts are a bit short! I think I need to burn my eyes out now”. This was directed at Kyle, not me, which was immensely funny. Giggling definitely helps you forget the pain of trying to run fast!
As we got up the final hill my legs were burning but I could feel Kyle on my heels and though we weren’t really racing I didn’t want him to overtake me at the last bit. So our sprint finish looks quite epic!
Though to be honest, Kyle looks quite relaxed!
I finished in 21:25, Kyle one second behind (the gentleman). This is good progress for me, considering I didn’t want to go faster than Southsea, because the course is a lot harder at Netley. I mean it definitely FELT harder I will say!
After a lovely coffee and catch-up with some of the other guys, we headed back to shower and get sorted.
That evening we headed to one of our favourite restaurants, Red Dog Saloon. Their menu had recently changed so we decided to check it out. For starters we had chicken wings (Buffalo sauce with blue cheese dip, so good).
And then for the main I had St. Louis ribs, smoked sausage and a few more chicken wings. I honestly think chicken wings are one of my top five foods. I managed to persuade the waitor to give me three chicken wings on the side instead of a usual side (chips, onion rings etc.). He very kindly sorted this for me!
Kyle had Southern fried chicken. We were happy! When we like somewhere we struggle not to keep going back, as you’ll see in a bit…
We then headed to a friend’s 30th birthday party. I managed to scavenge a free pudding from the birthday man, Ed, himself. I was devastated when I tried to order pudding and found the kitchen was closed, but Ed told me he wasn’t eating his so I could have it. I was super grateful, but also now extremely full after also eating a birthday cupcake AND a brownie. Ooooof.
We got up the next morning and I headed out for a quick pre-long run run. I wanted to get about 16 miles in but Kyle didn’t fancy running that long so we worked out if I ran 3ish miles beforehand and then we ran to Southsea together that should be perfect.
The first 3.3 miles were quite hilly around Clanfield and it was spitting a little but otherwise it went quickly. I then “picked up” Kyle and we headed on the road to Southsea. I’ve run a lot of this route before when I ran to Fareham from Kyle’s, but as we got to Cosham we then had to veer off towards Portsmouth.
It’s quite a hilly route – one particularly hill in Widley was one of those grit teeth head down kind of hills but otherwise it was fine. It was nice to run with Kyle and chat and relax into it. Though the wind seemed to be against us the entire way. I had to briefly stop at a petrol station to buy a water, which I almost downed the entirety of standing in the queue! Must have been all that salty food from the night before.
We eventually got to Southsea where we finished the run at the Parade Tearooms, ready to meet Kyle’s mum and brother, Zack, for brunch (well, more like lunch as it was now past midday!). 16 miles for me, 12.5 miles for Kyle. Solid running! Kyle’s longest run since the marathon in December so he smashed it. Though he was a little pooped afterwards (I mean, so was I of course!).
We’d been to the Parade Tearooms last weekend and obviously loved it so much we wanted to go back. My stomach wasn’t really knowing what it fancied and wasn’t hungry at all as we stood waiting for a table (it’s very popular at the weekend). But I knew I would be hungry soon so I never make the mistake to reject food!
I decided on the Jayne Salad again because it was so epic and I thought that the combination of good nutritious salad, carbs and protein would be ideal post run. I also ordered a pot of tea, which is something I crave after a winter long run.
The salad did not disappoint. If anything it was larger than last time – if that’s even possible! I also ordered the chicken to go with it (an added extra) which they’d forgotten. To be fair, it didn’t look like ANYTHING more could be added to the ginormous portion, but out came a separate little bowl with the forgotten chicken. Unbelievable.
And yes, I did polish it all off. It took me some time but I powered through it like the warrior I am 😉
My stomach was pretty jam packed full of salad and I wasn’t really fancying cake (SHOCKING I KNOW). I decided to employ some self-control and avoid the cake while I wasn’t in the mood (though I did regret this later in the day). After last night’s epic feast of food, sometimes you need a little bit of health (and a break for my bank account)!
So a solid weekend. I’m feeling in the groove of marathon training again!
What do you crave after a long run?
How many parkruns have you done?
Do you bring cakes for your different parkrun milestones?
This was the title of a BBC News article online. But this is also my life. Is this so shocking? I guess if you’d have asked me this 10 years ago I might have been concerned, shocked and disappointed with my life. Jesus, 30 years old, AN ADULT, living at home WITH MY OWN PARENTS.
Someone at work leaned over to me and pointed to this news title and went “ooof imagine that”. But I replied, “well that’s me and I don’t actually see the problem”. I was quite happy to say I wasn’t bothered and that I’m enjoying life. I’m very happy right now. It was a big decision that I made over a year ago, but one I’m 100% content with and have no regrets about.
I first moved out about a year after I finished university. I moved out with my fiancé. We bought a house, we got married and we lived there for about 2 years. The marriage didn’t last and we separated, amicably. We sold the house and split the finances 50/50 and went our merry different ways. I bought a flat and lived there for about a year. At the time I was working in a job I really wasn’t enjoying. I found another job that paid significantly less. We’re talking a 13k pay cut, yes really.
I was very well paid in my previous job but the money wasn’t enough to make me happy. Though I could continue to afford to live in my flat on my own I would be limited to what I could do. I wouldn’t really be able to go on holiday and I would have to monitor my money VERY carefully. Quite the change in lifestyle.
My parents very
kindly offered to have me move back home and I could then rent my flat out.
This meant I could continue to pay my mortgage but also buffer up my salary so
this difference in money wouldn’t be that great. So I moved back home.
I am in a very
fortunate position in that I get on extremely well with my parents. We can
easily hang out together and have long chats about just about anything. We go
to the cinema together, for food together, go walking, go shopping. I enjoy
spending time with them. I get their opinions and advice on big and small
things. But they ask for my opinion and advice too. I genuinely love spending
time with them. Even after I moved out I would speak to them daily and see them
most weekends. I never wanted to move too far away from them.
I won’t lie. There
was an initial time that I felt like I’d failed at my life. I was embarrassed
when I told people what I’d done. I was embarrassed when people asked me if I’d
be seeing my parents for Christmas and having to explain, well yes, like every
single day. But I got over it when I realised, firstly no one really cared, and
secondly I’m still independent and I’m happy. Crucially one of my main focuses
in life is to be happy. I mean, if I’m honest, my parents should really make my
life a little bit uncomfortable to encourage me to move back out… I’m working
I think the important part is the mutual respect, love and understanding that we all have to each other. My mum does not do my washing. My parents do not cook me dinner. They do not buy me food. I have my own fridge out in the garage. I come and go as I please. Of course I treat them and the house with respect. I clean up after myself. I let them know when I’ll be coming home so they’re not surprised. I give them space. They give me space. I maintain a level of independence and self-sufficiency that means I don’t feel like I’m 15 again.
I love living at
home. I mean, I loved living in my flat too, but there is something so lovely
about coming home to people rather than an empty house. It’s nice that Alfie
gets a garden. It’s nice that I can leave him with them when I go out and not
worry about him being left alone. And likewise, my parents like that I’m there
looking after the house and dogs if they’re not in (they have three dogs).
I could go on. My point is: I’m 30 and I live at home with my parents and this is not a problem. It’s just a stepping stone.