Happy New Year! I know this isn’t the first post I’ve published in 2020, but it is the first Week In Review and maybe you only stop by to read these ones. Anyway, I hope your year has started well. I’m here today with my usual weekly roundup, and of course it’s a week that spans two years since New Year was in the middle of the week – a fact which amuses me as it means my mileage for the week is, for this one moment, higher than my cumulative mileage for the year haha!
After some indulgence around Christmas Eve/Christmas Day/Boxing Day I was keen to get back to a more regular eating pattern to support my exercise plans – I definitely felt a little sluggish the previous weekend since nothing I had eaten made for the best running fuel! Here’s how my week ended up (it was a busy one!):
Monday – Advent window run + home yoga
Tuesday – PT session with Steve + home yoga
Wednesday – New Year Triple!
Thursday – home yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun pacing + home yoga
Sunday – 10 miles + home yoga
Probably the most unusual week of the year as there was a bit of moving around of workouts and some different things going on. In fact, the week began rather differently to normal with a run. And an evening run at that. With Steve! Normally I run on my own and have been running in the mornings since the tail end of 2018, but I was keen to run a route around the Advent Windows we had popped along to a couple of times, and since the organisers had walked/run them all on Boxing Day (we couldn’t go that time) there was a route that although not consecutive, created a route around them all with very little doubling back. So I suggested to Steve that we move our Tuesday morning run to Monday evening and run around them together. It did feel a bit odd to be out running in the evening, but it was the only time the windows would be lit and it was nice to run together. It was also a bit different to have a focus for the run as we were looking for specific things, a bit like a treasure hunt. To be honest, I felt a little like Anneka Rice haha! (Although that reference firmly dates me 😮).
(Photo Credit: Jaime Lidstone for the Advent Window Facebook Group)
Prior to the run I made sure to do some home yoga. I was really feeling like I needed to do some yoga again so as not to feel stiff and inflexible when classes start back and I had a couple of sequences in an old 30 day series I had been working through so it seemed like a good idea to finish those off ahead of the New Year and the new 30 day series I wanted to start as part of my goal to renew my commitment to a home yoga practice.
Tuesday was a better fit for Steve this week for my PT session so I headed down to the studio mid-morning for my workout. Of course he had another challenging circuit for me, this time the gym ball walkouts on my forearms, the bear crawls with press ups, the bar bell, star crumps, weight, a sort of walk out/squat thrust press up and squat crumps. Phew! I definitely felt like I had worked, making some home yoga later in the day a great idea to stretch it out ahead of what I had planned for the following day.
That day was New Year’s Day, alternatively known as Wednesday, and as has now become our tradition, we were once again going for the triple run challenge. This meant we had eaten well the night before and eschewed staying up for the bells in favour of an early night.
The day began at Camperdown parkrun in Dundee which was going off at the usual (Scottish) parkrun time of 9:30. We were there in good time to get a parking space close to the start/finish line (rather than a trek across the park) and chatted to a few other Perth runners/exchanged New Year greetings while we waited. I knew that this course would be trail, with some muddy patches and there’s a fairly steep hill about half way round, so with two further runs to go I was taking it fairly easy. But as the run progressed I realised that I was on for a pretty good time (I had checked my previous times from Camperdown, all as part of NYDD, in the car on the way through) so probably upped my effort level a tiny bit. And it paid off, because my time of 26:42 was a PB for me on this course (the nature of this course means they tell you you can expect to add a couple of minutes to your time in Perth). I do sometimes wonder how I would get on at this one if it was the only run I was doing that day, so maybe one Saturday we’ll head down there to find out.
After a very quick pit stop at home to change shoes (trail shoes were needed at Camperdown but road shoes were fine for the rest of the day) and go to the loo, we arrived at our home parkrun in Perth ready to run again. One of the big challenges in the NYDD is getting access to a toilet as everything is generally closed that day, but since we near enough drive past our house travelling between the runs we can have a very swift comfort break.
The run in Perth was at 11am and again we were there with a bit of time to spare for a quick chat. I have to say, it did feel strange arriving by car and parking so close to the start since normally we run down, or on the odd occasion that we need a car it’s parked a bit further out where we can park for free.
We were repeating the reverse loop that we had done on our previous parkrunday, and I found myself a starting position ready to go. It was REALLY busy (turned out we had 395 which, outside of a couple of occasions when we have hosted charity events which brought a huge turnout, this is our highest in Perth). I set off thinking I would run fairly steadily, but my legs seemed to have other ideas and as the first mile ticked by I did wonder at what point in the day I was going to regret my recklessness in not running more conservatively. I clocked 24:36 for this one – about a minute outside my recent best but only about 15 seconds slower than on the Saturday just gone. Having checked my stats, it’s the fastest I’ve run in Perth on a New Year’s Day run.
Some kind soul had brought some flapjacks and it was good to get a little something to eat while we chatted to some of our Perth friends who hadn’t been with us in Dundee earlier that morning. And then it was time to get back in the car and head to Blairgowrie for the final run of the day.
The Blairgowrie New Year Fun Run has been going for over 30 years without ever missing a year. That’s pretty impressive! Last year was the last one under the original organiser, but the local running group who had taken it over had kept the exact same model – a 6k route with walkers going out about half an hour before the runners, for a mere £2 entrance fee.
We got ourselves parked and registered, enjoyed access to toilets once again and spent some time catching up with a combination of those who had been on the same circuit as us that morning and those who were arriving to start their 2020 running. The run itself started at 1pm and it was nice to see the original organiser had been asked back as starter.
I have to say, my legs didn’t feel too bad. Yes a bit weary, but it was fine. The thing about this challenge is not the distance – 10 miles is really comfortable for me right now – but the fact that it’s in three bits and I had been running a bit harder than if I had been out for a regular 10 mile run. There’s a short hill about half way round the course and that’s the point at which the legs tend to protest a bit, but I had been running so well in the morning that I was determined to see what I could do around this course (my 5th time at the Blairgowrie event and 4th as part of the NYD challenge). I kept digging in and stopped my watch at 30:08 – my fastest around this route by over 45 seconds! (This run is untimed except for the prize winners, but of course I was using my Garmin).
Ahead of this day I had mentioned to Steve that I was really interested to see how I would perform. In 2018 and 2019 I had suffered chesty coughs in December which set my running back, so I was comparing my times with 2017, the first year I took on this challenge and the last time I ran it off the back of decent training. Three years down the line and I scored 2x PBs, one NY best and thus my fastest cumulative time for the challenge. That’s incredibly satisfying and gives me a real sense of how much I have benefitted from consistent training even without really running more than 10 miles in any one run for several weeks. Clearly I have a sound base to build on now.
Post-run there’s always soup/juice/biscuits available back at the hall and it was nice to warm up with some soup and have conversations with others about how they had done. There were prizes for the top finishers (never going to be me when it’s my third run of the day!) but there were some spot prizes and I actually won something!
By this time we were starving so it was time to head home for some food, starting with an “appetiser” of bacon rolls since I had bought an extra pack of that delicious Christmas spiced bacon for us to have.
And fairly soon after, our New Year dinner of French Onion Soup followed by steak pie, homemade chips and steamed veg.
We did have another of Steve’s sherry trifles for dessert, but were actually full by this point so saved it until the next day.
I was feeling really tired – not helped by us finally toasting the New Year with a couple of glasses of Prosecco – so headed to bed pretty early.
Thursday was a super lazy day – I barely passed 1000 steps! I had a long lie, reading my book with a cup of tea, watched some vlogs, had a bath and did the first day of the new Yoga with Adriene 30 day journey while Steve met up with his brother for a couple of drinks (it was his brother’s birthday). I basically spent the entire day in my pyjamas. Uncharacteristically lazy, but nice for a change and I kind of feel like the Christmas holidays are the only time I can be so indulgent.
But on Friday I needed a bit more activity – or at least to go outside – so had another workout down at the studio around lunchtime (after sending the morning taking down the Christmas decorations 😢). This time Steve gave me walk in/out press ups in the pike position, bear crawls with press ups, the weight and squat crumps. Apparently not going easy for the New Year 😂
And day 2 of the YWA journey in the afternoon before heading out for some food.
Then it was parkrunday. Again! They sure do come around quickly at this time of year! Following the exertions of Wednesday I was happy to take it easy so volunteered as the 28 minute pacer. I still ran my parkrun sandwich, but there was no pressure – internal or external – to run fast and it was nice to have an easy run around the route. Hopefully I helped someone to a time goal.
In the afternoon I treated myself to a bath, then did YWA day 3 before settling down for a relaxing evening of homemade pizza and a bit of tv.
Sunday felt much more back to the normal routine, although I confess to a pretty lazy start to the day as Smokey cuddled in beside me on the bed so I lay there for longer than intended reading my book. When I did eventually get up and organised, I headed out for 10 miles on a fairly staple route where I can just zone out and run without really having to think about where I’m going. I felt really comfortable despite a fairly decent pace for a longer run, so I think it’s probably time I began increasing my long run mileage a bit again to boost my endurance and fitness. Incidentally, it was mild enough for shorts again. In January. Unheard of!
And then a relaxing afternoon of coffee, a bit of food shopping, tv and a bath. With day 4 of YWA squeezed in as well.
A busy week but quite a lot of running which felt good. Now it’s time to go back to work for the new term.
Did you stay up for the New Year or head to bed?
Did you take part in parkrun (or the double) on New Year’s Day?