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Vicki Milburn's Blog
Easter Monday was a more special day for me, finally getting to enjoy Easter. Still miserable about missing North Tyneside 10k, I went out and did a slow 3k along the river. With running and enjoying cooking our Easter dinner, I felt like a whole person again.
Wednesday evening was Start Me Up for Sunderland, or SMUFS for short. This event has ran one evening a month for 4 months. I attended the first in January and the last in April. This helps runners prepare for the Sunderland 10k or Half Marathon, with short group runs and advice. I struggled with the 4K run and just couldn't get into a pace. I was behind everyone else so thankfully there were 2 lovely tail runners. I have really enjoyed both events and met some people with real vision and passion for running and developing sport for all abilities in the area.
On Thursday I felt much fitter and did a 5 mile training run. I was happy with my time and enjoyed it. I began to feel like I am making progress again.
Saturday was time to put the pre-race experiment to the test. As Sunday was a 5k race, I decided it wouldn't be a disaster if my legs were tired the next day. I did 2.8k sprint intervals after I finished work. Feeling weak legged in the shower, I began to wonder if that had been over-ambitious.
Saturday also came with the realisation that I am 4 weeks away from the greatest and scariest physical challenge of my life: The Goatfell Race. I don't feel ready yet.
The week ended with a sporty day. My partner and I enjoyed the Terry O'Gara Memorial 5k at Cobalt Business Park. First it was the kids 1 mile race. I watched as they did it considerably faster than I could. Then again I am used to being overtaken by 7 year olds at Parkrun. Then the main race. I set off running and was surprised to find I had reached the 1k marker in under 7 minutes. A super fast first kilometre isn't always a good thing, I have been known to struggle for the second half of a race. I switched to sprint intervals for the final 4. I finished with a chip time of 36.55 which is my fastest ever 5k.
I later enjoyed watching the London Marathon on TV. I would love to do a marathon one day but I know I'm not ready for that yet. Maybe one day...
An article I came across on whether you should run the day before a race has provided a lot of thought this week. The basic premise is that it is good for us to run the day before as it loosens the muscles and prepares them for exercise, as long as we don't overdo it. I then did a Google search and found lots of articles supporting this and a few advising against running pre-race. I guess it very much depends on the individual runner.
Until recently, I was very much in the 'rest' camp prior to a big race. I feared that a pre-race run may result in being too tired to run well the next day. There was also an element of laziness too.
My 'rest' approach changed purely by accident. I am a huge Parkrun fan but I cannot do it often, so I grab any chance, even if the day before a big race. I have been surprised by the results. A few weeks ago, I did Stewart Parkrun the day before Temple Park 5k. I set out to do a slow plod around Parkrun but I got my best 5k time this year. The next day at Temple Park 5k, I beat that time. Last weekend I struggled around Rising Sun Parkrun then got my fastest 10k the day after at Blyth.
I was due to do a 5 mile run on Friday so I decided to experiment with doing a short run on Thursday afternoon. I only did 3k. A slow jog for the first km but then I got bored and switched to sprint intervals.
Unfortunately, I cannot comment if it helped or not. On Thursday evening I got my kit ready, went to bed early and prepared to get up at an uncivilised hour.
I did indeed get up at an uncivilised hour but the rest of the day's plans never happened. I woke up at 0400 feeling rough. From 0430, the effects of a horrendous D&V bug kicked in. While my partner enjoyed a sunny drive to Bridlington and a scenic off road 5 mile race on a beautiful bright day, followed by a lovely pub lunch, I absolutely was NOT enjoying my time at home very sick. My Good Friday tea was a rehydration sachet, immodium and a bottle of lucozade.
That was my first ever DNS. It was disappointing, but these things happen. Sickness bugs don't kindly give you advance notice of when they will strike.
Easter Sunday was spent moping and miserable because I wasn't recovered enough to run the North Tyneside 10k. I have wanted to do that race for ages. DNS number 2 :-(
All I can do is say onwards and upwards. I have plenty other events to look forward to.
Next Sunday I have a 5k, so I will repeat the pre-race day run experiment then.
My running week ended on a better note. My number for Blaydon arrived. That is exciting! It is my first Blaydon race :-) Also, on Easter Sunday, my partner did do the North Tyneside 10k with the rest of Newcastle Frontrunners, and brought my new club vest home. NFR changed colours on April 1st so I am looking forward to running in team kit again.
My running week started on Wednesday at the Monthly Mile in South Shields. I can't do it every month but I always enjoy it when I do. It is always great to catch up with people too. It is even better when the nights are lighter. I gave it my best shot but finished in over 11 minutes, compared to my best time of 10:17.
Saturday morning was Parkrun time. This week was Rising Sun Parkrun. As I wasn't able to train outside races this week, I was treating it as a training run rather than chasing a PB. I set off raring to go. 200 metres in and my legs felt like dead weights. After just 600m I was walking. By half way even walking was with heavy legs. I spent the rest of the course enjoying the scenery and a mixture of walking and jogging. I couldn't find the power - mentally or physically - to sprint. I finished in over 44 minutes.
It was not my finest hour. Knowing I had Blyth Valley 10k the next day created a sense of anxiety.
Sunday morning. I struggled to get out of bed. My muscles ached and even walking hurt. Not even the bright sun could lift my spirits. Getting dressed took ages due to rubbing in copious amounts of Deep Heat. Breakfast consisted of cornflakes, paracetamol and a Beet-It shot. I find the latter the most vile tasting substance I have ever known but I am willing to give it a go. My partners car stunk of Deep Heat within in a few minutes.
The unusual breakfast must have worked. I had decided to sprint interval the full distance. 1k in and I was finding the strength in my legs coming back. By 3k, I was really into it. I was loving the beach scenery. I felt at one with the beach, the warm breeze and the smell of the sea. The stresses of the previous week began to fade away. The sprinting intervals became much lighter. This lasted to the 5k point at Seaton Sluice when the race route left the seafront and turned onto the road that took us back to the finish. Less inspired by what was around me, I put my focus into keeping the sprint intervals strong to the finish.
I finished in 1:19:07, a time I was delighted with. I had spent ages trying to break the 1:20 barrier. My previous best 10k time was 1:20:38 and I couldn't get near it for ages.
My running week finished socialising with some really cool people from my running club who had also done the Blyth Valley 10k. We enjoyed sunshine, a brilliant chippy, cupcakes, ice cream and lots of laughter and chatter. Overall a great day!
My name is Vicki, 40 something runner, living in Sunderland. I've been doing running events since 2011. I do a range of races, parkruns, Great Run Locals, monthly miles, charity fun runs and various distances. Over the last few years, I have taken training more seriously. I am a member of Newcastle Frontrunners.