Getting back to training

A frosty view of Southampton Common withe the text 'Getting back to training'.

It has been immensely frustrating being unwell. I’ve not run for nearly three weeks and am still not completely well but am determined to get back to training.

Run Directing at parkrun

On Saturday 3rd December, I was Run Director at Southampton parkrun. M agreed to volunteer with me as a barcode scanner. It’s one of her favourite volunteer roles as she gets to cheer people on as they complete their first loop. Then she gets to use one of our mobile phones, which is a rare treat!

A group of around 30 people standing on grass. Several have their backs to the camera and are wearing pink high-vis vests that say parkrun Volunteer.
Email from parkrun that says 'Hello Tamsyn May. Thank you for volunteering at Southampton parkrun, event number 469 on 3rd December 2022. You've now volunteered at this event on 126 separate occasions.'

Lordshill Road Runners Monday night training

I decided to drop down a group for LRR’s Monday night training. This would mean that I was under less pressure and it was also scheduled to be a track session, which is one of my favourite training sessions.

I arrived at the track quite early and couldn’t see anyone from Lordshill. I jogged back to the office and checked whether LRR were scheduled to be on the track. I’m not sure whether the person there understood me as he confirmed that Itchen Spitfires were holding a track session. I then ran back to the track. In the distance, I could see a group of people wearing head torches. I jogged to meet them, but as I got close, I realised that it was a group from the University heading down to the track. I jogged back and waited around for a little while before heading back to the office.

There were no runners waiting at the office and I couldn’t see them on the hills. Instead, I saw a colleague, Patrick, who was doing a hill session. I told him how disappointed I was that no one had turned up and then I headed home. What a disappointing evening when I’d expected to be back to training.

A delivery from Australia

Months ago we ordered Ugly Christmas t-shirts so that we could take part in International Ugly Christmas Singlet Day on 17th December. You’ll have to wait and see which ones we have chosen as there were two designs on offer.

parkrun Adventurers Ugly Christmas t-shirt in the reimagined 2018 design. It is mainly purple and apricot with Christmas images on it.
parkrun Adventurers Ugly Christmas t-shirt that looks like a gingerbread man. On the back is an image of a Christmas tree withe the words run run as fast as you can.

Back to running at parkrun

Having had a busy week, I haven’t managed to get out for any runs, so I was looking forward to parkrun. It was very frosty on Saturday morning.

A view across The Flats at Southampton Common. The grass is in the shade and is white. The trees in the distance are glowing in the sunshine.

Stu was the Run Director (with M as his assistant). Technically, M was barcode scanning, but I made sure that she stood with Stu at the start as we didn’t want her to get lost in the crowd of 600 people. Stu had a lot of milestones to read out. I was the volunteer coordinator this week, so I was looking after the event’s inbox and saw all of the milestone announcement requests coming in. My friend Laura was running her 400th and volunteering for the 100th time, Khalid was running his 250th and Andrew was running his 50th. Last, but not least, M was volunteering for the 10th time. She’s completely confident as a barcode scanner now and doesn’t need an adult to help her (although we make sure that she is standing next to another volunteer that we know).

Email from parkrun that says 'Hello Tamsyn May. Thank you for volunteering at Southampton parkrun, event number 470 on 10th December 2022. You've now volunteered at this event on 127 separate occasions.'
Stuart holding a microphone and clipboard. He is wearing a black and white Run Director's vest. Next to him is M. She is bundled up in many layers of clothing, including a coat and hood. On top she is wearing a pink volunteers vest.

Because of the cold weather (and also probably festive activities kicking in) numbers were down on recent weeks. I had layered up more than I usually do and was hoping that I wouldn’t overheat on my run. It’s quite rare for me to run with gloves on and I don’t often wear a base layer.

A crowd of runners at the start line of Southampton parkrun.

My goals for this parkrun

My main goal was to finish the run because I have two mini-goals. The first is to complete my 400th parkrun on Christmas Eve (so I also have to run on the 17th December) and the second is to complete 50 parkruns this year. I’ve never completed so many runs in a year because of volunteering regularly. To reach my goal, I’ll need to run on 17th, 24th, 25th and 31st December. I really hope the weather is on my side as it looks like Penrose will be the only Christmas Day parkrun in Cornwall.

I decided that I would just keep myself moving and not worry about my time, which seemed like a good strategy. As I got to the playground I saw my colleague, Andrew, just up ahead, so I picked up my pace slightly. We then fell into step and I didn’t notice much else about the run as I was enjoying our conversation. At the very end, Andrew picked up the pace for a sprint. I couldn’t quite match him, but also managed not to over-exert myself.

Andrew and Tamsyn posing with their barcodes after parkrun. Andrew is dressed in neutral colours. Tamsyn is wearing a rainbow striped Christmas t-shirt with a wreath on the front (and a matching buff on her head).

After the run, I checked my stats. I was shocked to see that my heart rate had hit 198 bpm. I don’t think that’s happened before and I felt quite comfortable during the run. According to my Garmin, the run had an aerobic training effect of 5.0 (overreaching) and an anaerobic training effect of 3.1 (impacting). I’m guessing I’m not fully better yet!

Tamsyn's results email from parkrun - event #470 at Southampton. Tamsyn's finish time was 31:29.

Tomorrow I hope that I will actually get back to training with Lordshill. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

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