Meet a member at a distance – Mel in Wales

I have really enjoyed reading how everyone is doing and I’m thrilled to have been asked to write about me. I am Mel and I swam with Spencer in London for the whole two years that I lived there and now I just join you at competitions. 

I am now based in Cardiff (that’s in Wales in case you didn’t know) after moving back home last summer. For those of you who didn’t know, I was having a pretty shitty time in London because of my work situation and my usual bubbly, happy personality took a bit of a hit for a while. Spencer and everyone there were my absolute rock the whole time and I loved swimming with you all. It is the best club I have ever had the pleasure of swimming for and everyone is so encouraging and lovely. Moving back to Cardiff and quitting my job after less than three months with a week’s notice was not necessarily something I’d recommend, but a great decision for me and I am far happier for it! Since moving back I have found a job in events (food festivals), been on a fabulous group ski holiday and represented Wales at an international bridge competition (we didn’t win). During lockdown, I have been listening to lots of podcasts featuring people talking about their weaknesses, failures and mental health hence the out pour – I would thoroughly recommend “How to fail with Elizabeth Day” for a truly eloquent and interesting conversation on why your failures make you successful and the “Tough Girl” series which will appeal to the adventurers among you (Georgie (a fellow Spencer out of towner) and I are currently in the midst of planning an adventure that will one day get us on the podcast). 

Wales has stayed in lockdown for three weeks longer than England and I am hoping to get a more positive update about being allowed out tomorrow! Although not seeing people has been hard, lockdown has really been bliss. I was furloughed, so I just read, ran, walked and played, it was fabulous and started working again a couple of weeks ago to plan the events that will hopefully be happening at the end of the summer.
I always enjoy having a break from swimming and love going back to it after. I have used the break to focus wholeheartedly on my running and have been going 5 times a week pretty consistently and am determined to break my 22 minute 5km pb when parkrun commenses. I did try Steve’s gutbusters for a week or two, but I have never been much of a gym bunny so prefer to stick to the cardio. Although we are in Wales, I come from a family of rule breakers (are you surprised?!) and we took off last weekend to Dawlish, Devon to my mum’s partner’s home and I had my first sea swim of the year, which was fun and terrifying (you know, in case the sharks got me) and people even cheered! I only did about 600m I think, just round to the next bay, but it was so refreshing and has definitely got me thinking that I need to find an open water club in South Wales. 

At the start of the year I decided that work wasn’t really my life calling and so I needed to create goals outside of that environment to appease my ambitious nature. I decided races would be my thing, so I entered the Welsh 10k series (4 10km runs across the summer), three Castle series triathlons and the Etape Caledonia cycle race in Scotland, all of which have now been cancelled or postponed! So that was a bit upsetting, but at least I get to do them next year! Georgie and I are still hoping to go to a 5km open water swim near Paris in September, but who knows! 

I am very much looking forward to the imminent lift of the strict lockdown so that I can try some more open water swims, I just have to find some friends who will join me. And when we finally get back in the pool, I am of course most looking forward to the people. Much to Steve’s dismay, I love a chit chat in the pool and I think the camaraderie you get from your swim team is something that you can’t find anywhere else. So I look forward to being reunited with all of you at a future competition or perhaps the Oxford mile if that goes ahead!  

Leave a Reply