Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 86

This was a tiring week. I think being busy at work was beginning to catch up with me so by the end of the week I was really thinking about dropping my running mileage back a little in order to feel a bit more rested. As you can see, with lots of things going on my yoga really suffered so I will have to make sure I get back in the habit of regular practice again.

Monday – 4.25 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles
Friday – 4 miles
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 7.75 miles

Monday morning was quite chilly so a more “wintery” top was in order (with my shorts of course – it wasn’t THAT cold haha!). I was feeling sleepy when my alarm went off and it was tempting to stay cuddled up in bed, especially since one of the cats was pressed in against my side, but I got myself up and out to get my brain in gear for the day ahead.

As it turns out, I was so glad of the run as I had one of “those days” where everything felt a bit difficult. I was so pleased to get home and have my yoga class. My brain felt fried and I really needed the time to unwind and reset.

I slept well that night and although it’s definitely harder to get up on these dark mornings, I was feeling much more able to get on with my day. I listened to the latest Together Run, which was a bit different this time as Tina took part in a run ahead of the New York marathon and changed things up by speaking to other runners throughout it. It was fun to hear from the people she approached and learn about their stories. It was much milder so I left the long sleeved tops in the drawer and opted for a T-shirt again.

I also had a much better work day and arrived home just as Steve was heading off to see a client. I quite like that little bit of quiet time just when I get home on a Tuesday as I can get a few bits and pieces organised, do some yoga and relax for a short while before dinner.

On Wednesday morning I had time to run a similar route to the Tuesday morning. Typically of this time of year, the weather changed once again so I needed a long sleeved top and my gloves. Sometimes I wish it could be a bit more consistent – much easier to lay out kit the night before! I still enjoyed being out and listening to a podcast. I’ve been a bit behind in my listening and have actually started listening to them at 1 1/4 speed after accidentally speeding the player up the other day. I’m really loving being able to get the same content but fit more listening into the same time.

I was at work a bit later then arrived home to a living room workout with the resistance band and some press ups. I then managed a short yoga video before dinner. We had begun watching psychological thriller Angela Black so went on with that. I did read a little bit before bed as well, but my eyes were just so heavy so off to bed I went.

I woke up on Thursday to find I had a cat pressed against me again – I think he had been at my feet during the night too. Despite wanting to stay put, I got myself up and ready to head out. It was too cool for a T-shirt, but at least the gloves could stay at home.

I headed towards town as I wanted to loop around the bridges – the lights on the bridge were red for Remembrance Day.

And on the way back home the sky was looking beautiful.

I then embarked on an absolutely mad day. Between meetings, problem solving and the small matter of teaching all my classes, I just didn’t have a moment to myself and even at the end of the day I was in a meeting until the time came for me to leave so I could make it to the garage in time to drop my car off for its service the following day. By the time I got home my head was spinning so when Steve headed off to see his client I decided to sit down and relax for a while. I had a cup of tea, watched tv and caught up with myself a bit. It was so good to stop! To make me smile, Sooty decided to “hide” in the box from my recent delivery 😹

The Friday was an inservice (inset) day. We had the option to work from home but I wanted to take advantage of the emptier building to get a couple of things tidied up in my classroom so went in for the morning session. This meant a run at my normal time and although the forecast was for rain, it actually wasn’t as wet as I had expected.

I headed home during lunchtime so I could take part in the afternoon session from home. The kitties weren’t expecting me, but Sooty quickly settled back into the “working from home” routine (i.e. sitting on the windowsill beside me waiting to see what meetings she could infiltrate!).

It was also Disney Plus Day and I was keen to watch some of the new content that was available from that day, starting with a Friday night movie:

I really enjoyed it so if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it.

Once again, a busy Saturday but it started with the important business of parkrun (and day 600 of my run streak!). The ground was a bit squelchy so not a day for a fast time, but I was happy with my finish as I was able to speed up on the path.

After some food I was off into town to go to the hairdresser and run a few errands, so I was glad to get home and relax. I was really keen to watch these Olaf shorts and thy didn’t disappoint. I think the Tangled one was my favourite – worth it for Olaf doing the Fynn Rider smoulder!

We then celebrated my 600th consecutive day of running by breaking out the new toy I picked up the weekend before:

Not quite the Mickey waffles you get in the US Disney parks, but a decent substitute and well worth the £22 I spent.

Yes, I have switched to my festive Mickey & Minnie!

It being a celebratory kind of day, I enjoyed a glass of prosecco in my bath, then Steve and I shared these new M&Ms my sister had told me about. They were delicious!

On the Sunday I began my day finishing up my book in bed. I have to say, this one is not the cheeriest of books – in fact it layers on the misery throughout – but it is absolutely compelling. If you’re ok with the sometimes upsetting content, I definitely recommend it.

I was in need of an easier run so even though I felt strong, I kept the mileage down and just enjoyed being out there. I was conscious of how tired I had felt during the week so wanted to go easy on myself.

Then in the afternoon we went to see my mum and dad for a bit.

I rounded off my week with another bath, accompanied by this fab wee candle. For me, it smells like Christmas! Not long now!

Are you still working from home are back in your workplace?
What are conditions are your local parkrun(s) like over the winter months?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 85

Ah the seasonal shift from Halloween to Christmas. Days are getting shorter, the sparkle of Strictly is in full swing and I’m starting to eye my festive running attire! Ok, so there are still a few weeks to go yet, but right now I’m in need of something to look forward to as work is feeling pretty tiring. The good news is that my hip issue seems to be gone and I’m back in the swing of my usual running distances again. Here’s my week:

Monday – 4 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.2 miles
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

After successfully running a little further each morning the week before (in comparison to the two previous weeks to that) I felt happy to up things a little bit again this week, starting with my usual 4 mile easy run on the Monday morning. With the clocks changing it was still dark (I had hoped I might just sneak a little hint of daylight at the end) and the weather is definitely getting cooler. Still in shorts, but a lightweight long sleeved top rather than a T-shirt was much better. Oh, and I ran through town where I noticed that the Christmas lights are going up now – hurrah! Of course there was still plenty of Halloween decor too, including at the Sir Walter Scott statue.

Basically, we were here:

I had a couple of things to sort out at the end of the day so only had a short time to myself when I got home from work before settling down for my yoga class. After having a week off the class the previous week it was very welcome.

If anything, the Tuesday morning actually felt a bit cooler. I still had one more Together Run to catch up with (plus this week’s episode) so that was my company for the run. Tina was talking about how this is “our” weekly run together, albeit in a remote format, and I was reflecting on how nice it has been to have TWO runs with her in the week while I caught up!

Steve was heading out to a client when I arrived home so I got changed and organised then did a really relaxing yoga video (I was feeling pretty tired!). I even had time for a little tidying up afterwards before it was time to eat.

As it turned out, my grand plan to return to more “normal” mileage this week hit a speed bump: I was REALLY tired. It was just one of those weeks where there was lots of stuff going on that was mentally taxing and I was feeling the impact of it. This meant that I woke up on Wednesday morning still feeling really tired so I gave myself slightly longer to rest, which had the knock-on effect of reducing the time I had available to run. 4 miles rather than my planned 5 it was. At least the sky was beautiful:

I don’t think I ever really shook off the tiredness through the entire day so headed home reasonably sharp since I wasn’t achieving anything at my desk. Steve took me through a workout with the resistance band, then I did some yoga as normal before relaxing for the evening and making sure to get an early night.

At least I had a bit of cheer when my Disney Halloween sale order arrived. It may have been after Halloween, but I saved more than I paid, so worthwhile picking up a couple of items I had my eye on while I had that chance.

I did feel better on Thursday morning, but to make sure I still got up a little later and knocked around a quarter mile off my running route by running by the river (rather than looping around the bridges). This still let me see my favourite view but without making me late.

But for various reasons I was feeling pretty fed up when I arrived home and when Steve headed out to a client he instructed me to put my feet up and relax. So I got changed, made a cup of tea and caught up on a tv programme. It was really nice to stop and just be still for a while.

On the plus side, this arrived:

And Steve conducted another sticky toffee pudding experiment. He’s determined to hit on the PERFECT combination of sponge and sauce!

This “night off” was clearly exactly the right thing to do as I felt so much better on Friday morning: my mind felt less tired and my body felt stronger on my run. For the first time in days I felt good on my run and ready for the day ahead.

I needed to stay at work a little later so there was only time for a very quick workout when I got home. Steve made sure to still work me hard with a variety of press ups so my poor arms and abs were really feeling it! Thankfully Adriene had my back with a restful yoga video to follow it.

We spent the evening catching up on a couple of tv programmes then I spotted a Facebook post announcing that the Disneyland Paris fireworks (which have not yet returned since the Covid park closures) had been added to Disney+. Having spent the evening listening to back garden firework displays for Bonfire Night, it was good to watch what I would consider a “proper” display – co-ordinated to music and so on. It might not be my beloved Happily Ever After display from Walt Disney World, but still enjoyable to watch.

After a good sleep we were awoken by Smokey when the appointed hour for his breakfast arrived (honestly, how to pets know how to tell the time???). Steve went to feed the kitties and came back with a cup of tea for me so I enjoyed that whilst reading in bed for a bit before it was ready to get changed for parkrun. The forecast suggested some rain and I could hear a pretty strong wind outside so dressed for rain and adjusted my expectations to account for the wind.

I got a little held up at the start of the run but once I had some space was able to stretch my legs a bit and pass some people. I ended up only a few seconds slower than the week before, which feels fairly consistent (and that week we were on our all paved alternative course) at a time of year where the weather really starts to affect times. I’m happy with that. I’m most happy, however, with the fact that we had a photographer and for once I was actually paying attention and got a reasonable picture rather than a gurning mess 😂

There was also a really lovely parkrun moment. When the team was setting up, a couple approached them to find out what was happening. It turned out they were visiting from Salt Lake City and they asked if they could help out. To be clear, these were not parkrunners. They had never taken part in an event before and I’m not sure if they were even aware of parkrun. But nevertheless they donned the pink volunteer vests and helped out at the finish. It was so nice to come into the finish funnel and hear a friendly, enthusiastic American voice telling me, “good job!” and noticing that I was still smiling. I know they won’t see this, but thank you to that couple for joining us. One of the really lovely things about parkrun is how it connects people together in new ways.

With my token scanned I actually went over to help out with a bit of scanning myself as we were running on a minimal number of volunteers this time. I tend to finish at the time when the numbers build up a bit, so a few minutes of scanning helps to keep things moving quickly. I like to do this as it means I can run and also find a useful way to help out.

Steve was also scanning and when we were done he got set up to take a photo. After all those times he ducked into my post-workout selfie, it was my turn to infiltrate 😂

The rest of Saturday was restful. I watched some tv, had a bath and enjoyed another week of Strictly Come Dancing.

Sunday began in suitably relaxing fashion with some reading in bed (I’ve been struggling for reading time during the work week so appreciate this time at the weekend) before getting ready to run.

Yet again, I wasn’t entirely sure how far I would go but figured I could go to at least 8 miles (I’ve still been building up again after that niggly hip issue a couple of weeks ago). I headed out of town and had a lovely time visiting a pond I was aware of but had never stopped at before. There were so many ducks and a family of swans.

I then ran through the woodland park and noticed the autumn leaves carpeting the ground.

In the afternoon I had an eye test booked so Steve went for a coffee while I was there and I went round to meet him and pick up my free coffee with my Vitality voucher. Our route back to the car took us by the river just as it was getting dark and the bridge lights were coming on, and we both liked seeing it at this time of day.

And with that, the week was done. I got organised for the working week, had a bath and got to bed to try and get a good rest.

Halloween or Christmas?
Where are you enjoying running just now?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 84

And just like that, the October break was over and we were back to school. With everything the past couple of years has thrown at us it never feels like any break is long enough right now (and I say that knowing how fortunate we are in the amount of holiday time we have) and I know there is a busy term ahead. I’m going to have to work hard to continue fitting in my workouts and evening yoga as the temptation will be there to come home and do nothing else. Things started reasonably well:

Monday – 3.5 miles + home yoga
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10k

Unsurprisingly, the early alarm call was a bit of a shock to the system but I had remembered to lay my kit out the night before to make it easier to get out the door quickly. I knew I wanted to have a more “normal” week of running, but also didn’t want to launch right back into a 40 mile week after a couple of lower mileage weeks (and minor hip issue) so made a plan to keep each run just slightly shorter than previous weeks. For this day, 3.5 miles was perfect and everything felt good.

Work was fine and it was good to catch up with my colleagues. Still a lot ahead this term though. When I arrived home Steve was heading out to see a client so I got myself sorted out and did a little yoga before catching up on a couple of things.

Funnily enough, returning to work meant I slept well that night and actually felt reasonably fresh on the Tuesday morning. What with my time away then taking it easy on my hip, I had fallen behind with my Together Run podcast episodes so wanted to catch up a bit. I’m really noticing how dark it is in the morning now, but in this episode we focused on gratitude and I realised that I am grateful to be able to get out and run each morning. I may feel a little differently when the weather really begins to bite, but right now I’m still out there in shorts and T-shirt most of the time.

It was a fairly busy day (aren’t they all?) and Steve was just heading out to see a client when I arrived home. I got organised and enjoyed a yoga video before getting dinner organised.

On Wednesday morning it was actually fairly mild for the time of year. I got dressed in my shorts and T-shirt and headed out to cover 5 miles. I must admit, I didn’t feel like there was much in the way of available pace in my legs, but I know from experience that this is pretty typical of returning to early runs after a break so I’m not too bothered by it. It’s more important to me to get the mental health benefits of running right now rather than being able to run fast and having a couple of weeks of lower mileage is making me appreciate being able to run a bit further/longer again.

Somehow I got caught up in a task at work and ended up leaving a bit later than I had meant to. It was a pretty miserable evening, but Steve was ready to “brighten” things up with a workout using the resistance band. I’m very much aware that I’ve not had so many workouts lately and there were points when my poor arm muscles were burning (I’m talking to you, triceps!). I made sure that my yoga video afterwards was not one that would involve too much weight bearing through my weary arms!

When I went to bed on Wednesday night I had expected a dry morning, but waking up on Thursday it soon became apparent that this had changed. I quickly grabbed my hat and gilet to add to my kit before heading off into the rain for another Together Run. I had planned to run down to the river to loop around the bridges and although I didn’t expect the greatest view, I stuck to my plan and was pleasantly surprised to find a reasonable view after all.

From there, I was flung into what is always my busiest work day of the week and there were one or two additional challenges this week which caused me to wonder if it was a full moon! Thankfully I was able to get away fairly sharp to get back for an appointment, but I was definitely pleased to hit my yoga mat for a quick practice when I got home. Even better, Steve experimented with a new approach to sticky toffee pudding. It’s my favourite dessert so I was more than happy to do some extensive taste testing haha!

I also had to pull together a last-minute outfit for Halloween dress up day at school the following day. It’s been planned since before the holidays, but there hadn’t been much chat about it amongst the staff until the Thursday and a few of us decided to at least give a nod to it in our Friday outfits. Funnily enough, I was fairly quickly able to rustle up a Disney-inspired number 😂

But before that, the small matter of a Friday morning run. The weather was better but with a chance of rain and I was glad I opted for my hat when there was a brief shower right when I set off. By the end of the run it felt like something had clicked into place and that “back to early running” sluggishness wasn’t so noticeable. Shame it waited until the end of the last early run of the week!

And then time to don my outfit and head to school. I quite enjoyed wearing it and everyone knew EXACTLY who I was!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anything involving non-uniform tends to cause a bit of restlessness in pupils so it was an interesting day, but once home there was another workout on the cards with the resistance band and some push ups on my weary arms. Then a little yoga before settling down for a relaxing evening catching up with some tv.

The Saturday was, of course, parkrun day. There had been a lot of rain so I was mulling over which shoes would be best when Steve let me know that there was some flooding on the course (ironically, the section that caused us to be on the alternative course prior to the Covid pause while the council conducted some drainage works was absolutely fine – the flooding was elsewhere in a low-lying section) so we were using our alternative course of two and a bit laps around the park.

But before setting off I finished up my book. This was one I was reading as part of the little social book group I’m in at work (inspired by Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club books I’m now referring to us as “The Thursday Book and Cake Club”!). I can highly recommend this one. It was written as a kind of chronicle of the 20th Century, but through the medium of fictional journals. The main character, who in many ways is not all that likeable, particularly in his youth, encounters so many important figures from the century – Iain Fleming, Pablo Picasso, Virginia Woolf and the Duke & Duchess of Windsor to name a few – that it is a fascinating read. Many parts are set abroad, including my beloved Paris, and all of this conspired to make me really love this book If you haven’t read it, add it to your list now!

And then, to parkrun. I probably ran down a little too quickly as I left slightly later than planned and definitely felt it during the run. Being on a completely paved route does tend to make me try to go a bit faster as there’s no grass or mud to slow things down and I was happy to come in around 24:13. Numbers were down, no doubt because of the poor weather and a lot of people would have assumed we would be running our normal route which includes a grass section, but that’s probably just as well when we were contained within the main park and more likely to meet other park users.

After my morning efforts I was glad of an easy afternoon, bath and evening of Strictly – what an A-MA-ZING Halloween special!

On Sunday morning the weather was pretty miserable again. I headed out for my run with no real plan of how much I wanted to do, but it soon became apparent that it was going to be about how long I was prepared to be soaking wet (and have cold hands). I was distracted by some things I had to do in the afternoon and just couldn’t get my head into the run. Perhaps if the weather had been nicer it would have made a difference, but I ended up deciding to finish after 10k. I was soaked through and pleased to find that Steve had left my dressing gown hanging on a hook by the front door so I could get out of my wet kit as soon as I got inside. You could have wrung it out and I think I was drier coming out of the shower than when I went in!

Once dried and fed we headed out to the car showroom. My current agreement was due to end soon and I needed to make arrangements for the next step – leaving it would be an expensive mistake as they would take a sizeable final payment from me! There’s a huge delay on new cars right now but I have a new one ordered, the payment schedule sorted out so I don’t have an unpleasant surprise and my current car booked in for its service/MOT since the delay means I’m hanging on to it about 6 months longer than planned. I hate having things like this taking up big chunks of my weekend, but I’m glad it’s all sorted now as it was stressing me out a bit.

After that (and getting the food shop done) I was able to relax a bit. I found a fun Disney filter on Instagram which made you look like one of the singing busts in The Haunted Mansion so gave it a go. Basically it was further confirmation (as if I needed it) of how much I look like my dad 😂

I was pleased to get to my bed that night after a busy day. I’m getting the sneaky suspicion that the next few weeks as we head towards Christmas could get pretty hectic!

If you had a Halloween costume this year, what was it?
Is the changing weather affecting your running?

Back To The Magic!

Last year my sister and I were fortunate amidst a sea of cancelled plans to be able to take one of our planned trips to Disneyland Paris, and when sharing details of the trip I included the above image. Little was I to know at that time that we would have another extended period of Lockdown in Scotland (including a return to working from home and the new skill of teaching live lessons online) that would put paid to much in the way of advance planning for 2021. The bite-sized Disney fix of the Magic at Sea cruise (you can read about that here, here and here) certainly helped me to feel better, but it also whetted my appetite for a more sustained dose of pixie dust. With the rules around travel and testing easing a little bit, we were able to make a pretty last-minute decision to visit Disneyland Paris for a few days at the beginning of my October break from school. As it turns out, it was just what I needed and the sentiment in the above picture remains very much true!

I mentioned a few trip highlights in a recent Week in Review post, but I wanted to take the time to share some more of the details – including the Covid-related measures in place at the time of my trip – and share some photos. If you love Disney then this is the post for you (and if not, I won’t hold it against you if you skip this one!)

At the time of writing only fully vaccinated travellers are allowed to enter France, so our vaccination status was checked at the airport before boarding our flight. It was also checked at passport control once we landed in France. To be honest, it was the removal of the need for a test before returning home and the strict rules around vaccination status that made me feel comfortable to take this trip. We both downloaded the French app Tous Anti Covid, which we were able to use with our NHS Scotland QR code from our vaccination records. Although we could have used paper copies (and no doubt our Scottish Covid Status app) this made everything much easier once in France as the vaccination status was verified at the security check points to enter Disney, at our hotel and at the airport again before boarding our flight back, so having it readily available on our phones meant much less rummaging around for papers.  Entry to so many places in France (including public transport, so there were spot checks on the TGV) required a Pass Sanitaire (Health Pass), which basically means you have a QR code proving full vaccination (or, in the case of those not old enough to have been fully vaccinated, proof of a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old). This meant I felt comfortable being around lots of people – more so than at work since I knew that everybody had a valid Health Pass, had a mask on and a degree of social distancing was still in operation. (You can read more about the current health and safety measures at Disneyland Paris here.)

Beyond the Health Pass, capacity at the Disney parks is still reduced so a reservation continues to be required in addition to your park ticket. My sister still has the world’s longest-lasting Annual Pass (time was added on to make up for the periods of park closure) so she had booked her slots and reserved Privilege Tickets for me. These are 1 day, 2 park tickets at a significantly reduced rate which are associated with an Annual Pass and must be collected and paid for on the day they are reserved for. It meant a brief queue each day to get my tickets, but it was worth it for the price and the fact that it also allowed me to join my sister in entering the parks early for Extra Magic Hours. I will get an Annual Pass of my own when the time is right since that was my plan in 2020, but with such a late decision to go the Privilege Tickets were the best option this time.

We were through the turnstiles and in the main park around midday, which was about what we expected. With the early start and travelling we hadn’t really eaten so knew we should make our way towards our chosen lunch venue (Cafe Hyperion in Discoveryland), but also knew that it might take a bit of time as we would inevitably take lots of photos along the way (and something about seeing the castle and hearing that Main Street music always means I need to pause for a little Disney cry!). Basically we needed food, but we also needed a moment to take in the surroundings of this special place which was all decked out for Halloween.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we made it over to Cafe Hyperion (a big enough space that we could feel comfortable eating indoors) we found that each restaurant had a QR code to scan which added that location to our Tous Anti Covid app – a but like scanning in/out of venues at home for Test and Trace. If you aren’t using the app, I believe you can simply right down your details much as you would here. Menus were also available via QR code, displayed inside and were in the Disneyland Paris app. We both opted for the Wickedly Delicious Menu (a burger with red cabbage pickles, rocket, tomato and a barbecue sauce all served on a darker bun, fries, a drink and a Wickedly Sweet Apple dessert – an apple mousse with stewed apple filling). It was pretty good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also noticed that each table had a large pump bottle of hand sanitiser on it, and we found this to be true of everywhere we ate during our trip (there were still sanitiser stations around each attraction too). And interestingly, the disposable cutlery has been changed from plastic to wooden in a bid to reduce single use plastics.

Stomachs satisfied, we headed off to see how many attractions we could fit in, starting with nearby Mickey’s Philharmagic. I love this 4D show anyway, but a new scene has recently been added which features Coco and I was keen to see it. The colours were so vibrant and I really liked it. I wish we could have found time to fit in a second viewing. Next time!

We also checked off Buzz Lightyear (“broken” gun for me as usual 😂), Snow White, It’s a Small World, Le Pays de Contes de Fées, Casey Jr, and Pirates of the Caribbean.

On our travels we managed to see one of the cavalcades and I was really pleased that it was the one with the fire-breathing Maleficent dragon.

And we visited some of the selfie spots – the Princess Pavilion (currently a photo op with the red throne), the villains by the castle stage and we spotted Mr Smee as we came out of Pirates of the Caribbean.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But by far the best was Jack Skellington who was meeting guests over by the Phantom Manor. Such an amazing interaction with him – “horrible” to meet you too, Jack!

Throughout our trip we also used the Photopass service (my sister added that to her AP) which is still being done in a contactless fashion with guests setting their pass on a stand to be scanned. The difference this year is that at designated outdoor photo spots you may now remove your mask once in position for your photo (and distanced from others) so you will see me maskless in some outdoor photos (although usually I had to be reminded by cast members that this was ok to do!). The Photopass also allowed us to claim our ride photos. Last year if anyone in the picture was maskless then nobody was allowed it, but this year they were digitally adding masks to those who had removed them (tut tut!), so those of us sticking to the rules didn’t miss out on photos. We knew there were a number of Photopass Magic Shots for Halloween so made sure to get all the ones that were available during our visit.

For dinner we went to one of my sister’s favourite spots, Fuente del Oro in Frontierland, where we got a beef burrito, drink and some churros with Nutella. Yum!

It was then time to ride Phantom Manor (the Disneyland Paris version of the Haunted Mansion from the American parks) which is one of my favourites. And since I was wearing my Haunted Mansion ears (yes, I brought a couple of pairs from home this time!) I needed a quick photoshoot outside of the manor afterwards.

By this time we were ready to have a look in the shops on Main Street, say goodnight to Mickey and Minnie who were above us on the train station and head off to find the free shuttle bus to our hotel.

We made sure to arrive early on the Tuesday in order to take advantage of the Extra Magic early entry we had. Our plan for the day was to begin in the Walt Disney Studios then hop on over to the main park later in the day, but there was no early entry to WDS at the time. Instead, we enjoyed seeing the characters greeting us in the main park, headed over to the selfie spot with Max (Goofy’s son) and made sure to ride Big Thunder Mountain while it was quiet (the queues for that one can stay stubbornly long later in the day).

After that, it was time to go over to the Studios and this meant a second greeting of the day, this time from Mickey Mouse.

Attraction-wise we prioritised our favourites – Ratatouille and Tower of Terror. We also went on the new Cars Road Trip ride, went to a drawing class in the Art of Animation building and took photos with the villains and some of the Toy Story stars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There were also a couple of fun new Toy Story murals which make for some great photos.

By this time we were about ready to head back to the main park, so we got a Photopass picture (which they made look “old time-y”, had a quick snack break (a Halloween cookie) then switched park.

We had a reservation for something to eat later in the afternoon, but there was plenty of time for some attractions before that. We began with a trip around the park on the Railroad since we hadn’t managed to fit it in on our previous trip and prior to that it was closed for a while. This gave some interesting views of the park and I would enjoy doing it again. We also went to a couple of selfie spots, first with the Star Wars characters (my sister had a BB-8 themed outfit on and the reaction of the Stormtroopers was amazing!) and then with Eeyore who happened to be right outside the restaurant we were heading to for dinner.

Our reservation was at Plaza Gardens which would ordinarily be a buffet, but when we visited it was a fixed price three course meal. We were greeted at the door to check in for contact tracing, then moved forward to pay for our meal, order our drinks (included in the price since we chose soft drinks) and wait to be seated. Again, the menu was in the app but we were also given a paper copy which we could take with us or it would be disposed of later. I’m glad we saved ours since the restaurant has since reverted to a buffet so we have a souvenir that captures that time when things were different.

We opted for the selection of starters to share. For the main course I chose the Halloween offering which was pork with a pumpkin stuffing, slightly spicy sauce and served with crispy sweet potato gnocchi. (there was supposed to also be mushrooms, but our reservations was right at the end of service for the day and they had run out). Again, we went with the shared dessert selection which was very photogenic (and delicious!).

It wasn’t quite park closing time when we finished, so we took a walk over to Pirates of the Caribbean. Looking at the wait times we thought we would have enough time to ride that then nip over to Phantom Manor – basically two favourites to round off the day. But it was not to be.

During our ride on Pirates the boats did get a little backed up. This happens sometimes so we weren’t too concerned, but after we had completed the actual ride and were just waiting for our boat to enter the unloading dock, everything stopped and the lights came on. This was when we realised something was definitely wrong. We’re fairly certain they tried the ride equivalent of switching it off, giving it a minute and restarting, but to no avail. Everyone on the ride was going to have to be rescued!

I’m not going to lie, as someone who knows the Disney parks well and has experienced a lot of the rides before, getting rescued from a ride has been on my wish list of experiences for a while now. In some respects it was quite good – we had completed the ride, it was the end of the day so the delay wasn’t really cutting into our park time (it was probably only about half an hour all in from when we got stopped to when we exited the show building) and we were perfectly comfortable passing the time chatting to the group seated in front of us.

I’ll not go too much into the details of the rescue in case anyone doesn’t want to know much of what happens behind the scenes, but it involved a cast member in waders (we were in a boat ride after all, therefore there was water) and the use of a long pole to reach one of the rescue docks which lead into an emergency exit. These docks are well disguised throughout the ride so under normal ride operations you don’t really notice them. We emerged from the building in a backstage area and were directed back into the park by waiting cast members. We then made our way back to Main Street (too late for Phantom Manor now) and out into the Disney Village for a little shopping before heading back to the hotel for the evening. Of course we had been updating family back home throughout our experience so they were all interested to hear more about what had happened.

Our final day in the parks together began in a very similar fashion – greeted by the characters on our way in, a selfie spot (this time with Stitch – love him!) and another ride on Big Thunder Mountain while the wait was short. It is another favourite attraction after all.

Our main aim for the day was to visit as many of the character selfie spots as we could as well as any rides we hadn’t yet been on and repeating a few favourites. The rides we went on included Phantom Manor, Hyperspace Mountain (I’m not a massive fan of rollercoasters with inversions, but the Star Wars theming is so cool!), Star Tours, Buzz Lightyear and Pirates of the Caribbean (this time without incident 😂).

We also had great success with meeting characters: The Queen of Hearts, King Louie, Mickey & Minnie (dressed for a fiesta), Chip ‘n’ Dale (twice!), Tigger, Mickey & Pluto (in their Halloween garb), Jack Skellington (because he had been so good the previous time) and Goofy. Although these were socially distanced meets, all were excellent and I really enjoyed the interactions with these characters who all did such a good job of making it feel like that distance wasn’t there.

Along the way we stopped for one of my favourite snacks  – a Mickey waffle with Nutella and bottle of Tropico. I just love these! It’s fast becoming one of my rules (alongside wearing Minnie ears) to have a Mickey-shaped food at least once on every trip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had time to take some photos around the park, starting in Frontierland with it’s Coco-inspired decor for Halloween.

And we got the remaining Halloween Photopass Magic Shots we wanted:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had a stroke of luck whilst waiting to see Chip ‘n’ Dale in Fantasyland. The characters left and a cast member let us know that it was only for a few minutes as the Princess cavalcade was about to come through – and the cavalcades come out precisely where we were standing in our roped off queue so we were in the perfect spot to see it!

We ate in the early evening at another of our favourite quick service locations, Hakuna Matata. It’s got plenty of seating so we were able to remain well away from other parties while we ate. I chose a meal deal of beef meatballs in a tomato sauce served with rice, another Tropico and a mini Magnum ice cream. I may also have helped my sister to finish her sweet corn fries 😳

By this point in the day we were ready to finish up the last of our shopping and head out. But another stroke of luck occurred whilst we were in the Emporium on Main Street. I had been lamenting the fact that we had not caught the other Halloween cavalcade, Illusion Manor, but as we browsed the store we heard music from outside on Main Street. My sister nipped out to see what was happening and came back to beckon me out, exclaiming that there was a huuuuge float coming along the street. I set down the items I had picked up and dashed out in time to catch the very cavalcade I had hoped to see! I couldn’t believe my luck that I saw it right as my time in the park was coming to an end – perfect timing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fortunately the items I had set down were still waiting when we went back inside a moment later (and it appeared we were not the only ones who had ditched stuff to run outside!) so we were able to make our purchases and begin heading back to the hotel. As usual, I had a few new bits and pieces to get packed in my bag!

Yet again this was a fantastic trip. For me, Disney continues to be a place of fantasy and escapism, thus fulfilling Walt’s original vision for the parks, and I need it more than ever these days.. The real world continues to be a difficult place, but once in that magical bubble it’s easy to forget these things and focus on fun. Some aspects were a little different to last time – the Health Pass, for example – but in the main the safety measures in place were very similar: hand sanitiser, the wearing of face masks (I saw this being enforced by cast members), and reminders about social distancing. I did notice that many people were less vigilant about social distancing in attraction queues, but there was always enough room that I could take responsibility for myself and leave some space in front. I’m sure other guests would have given me more space if I had asked, but in all honesty the Health Pass made me feel much more confident than last time about having people a little closer. In actual fact, the week after we were there the French regulations eased enough that social distancing is no longer required in the same way, and the distancing markers are now being removed around the parks, so I guess we were there in the final week that it was still part of the measures. For similar reasons, I was also more comfortable with indoor dining this time, but did make sure to choose a table reasonably far from others – baby steps!

If you have a trip planned (or are thinking of booking) then I can still recommend going just now. Things are changing all the time and as they do, more and more of the “old” ways can return. An example would be that we now have dates for the return of parades and fireworks for the first time since the parks closed in March 2020 and I can’t wait to see them. I would definitely recommend that you do your homework in order to have a stress-free trip: watch vlogs, join relevant Facebook groups to chat to others about their recent experiences and, above all, keep a close eye on relevant government advice around travel, testing and any admin you need to do such as the current Sworn Statement to enter France and Passenger Locator Form to return to the UK. None of these things are difficult, but I can vouch for the fact that they can cause a little anxiety when dealing with them for the first time – I lost count of the number of times we checked and double-checked that we had done everything! I think some of these measures will be around for a while yet, so we just need to get used to that being part of our planning alongside having a valid passport, EHIC/GHIC and insurance if we want to travel. In time it will just be part of the routine.

Who knows how things will go with Covid over the winter, but I’m really hoping to get back to DLP in the first half of 2022. I’ve got to have something to dream about, right? I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that I can see my favourite Mouse again real soon.

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 83

The second week of my October break and a chance to rest, recharge and catch up on a few tasks at home. It was also a week that ended up with a bit of excitement as I finally felt confident enough to go to a couple of venues I haven’t been to since before Covid. Still taking those baby steps back to normality!

Monday – 1.25 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 2.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 3.25 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4 miles + home yoga
Friday – 3.2 miles + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 8.5 miles

I began my week as Captain Sensible. With my hip playing up a bit after a couple of miles on my Sunday run, I restricted myself to just 1 mile (well, a mile and a quarter) on Monday. The hip was fine and I felt like I could have gone on, but my decision was to listen to my body when it was whispering at me rather than being forced to listen when it was shouting. That said, keeping moving definitely helps, so once I was ready I headed out on some errands in town. I had to take the car since it was POURING but I still walked around plenty. The reward for this was treating myself to a new Pandora charm that had just been released. After visiting Disneyland Paris during the Halloween season it’s a lovely reminder of the trip (and really cute).

Of course before running I also took advantage of it being a day off to have a cup of tea in bed and finish off my book. I had chosen this one to be reading while I was away at Disneyland Paris as I like to theme my reading a little while I’m travelling. I enjoyed this one. I liked the idea of visiting all the Disney parks worldwide, and although some of the Disney history included wasn’t new to me, I could still see that the writer was taking his research seriously and can see it being useful to a reader not quite so immersed in Disney history as I am.

In the afternoon I took things a little easier and Smokey and I (yes, he was still desperate for cuddles) watched a couple of things on Disney+. First, the new animated Descendants short Descendants: The Royal Wedding (I really enjoyed these live action movies last year, but get why this one was animated). It was good to catch up with the characters. Then we continued our Halloween viewing with Hocus Pocus. The previous week in Disneyland Paris my sister wore some Sanderson Sisters clothing and it got a lot of attention from cast members!

Later in the afternoon I wanted to move a bit again so headed out for a walk with Steve before settling down for my yoga class.

On Tuesday morning my hip had improved further so I wanted to run just a little further. Not often you can casually double your mileage, but this time I went for 2.5 miles. I wanted to be confident that my hip was ok with this (it was) before going any further since it didn’t take long for it to flare up on my Sunday run.

After that, I made Tuesday my day of sorting out the things I had bought in DLP and doing a little bit of admin. I also took some time to watch the final episodes of Only Murders in the Building. Definitely a recommendation from me and I can’t wait for season 2.

Mail-wise, I received my parkrun 25 run T-shirt. I may be closer to 250 than 25, but with the new milestone tees being available now, the completionist in me needed to add this one to the collection.

After a successful Tuesday run I was ready to go for a half hour on Wednesday (and thus around 5k). Again, no issue with my hip so the work I’ve been doing to loosen it off is definitely working. It was the right decision to back off a bit and build my mileage slowly to make sure I didn’t overload the tight muscle. Running a little further also gave me a good reason to go by the waterfall and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere for a moment.

I had a few more tasks to take care of around the house, then decided to watch another Halloween movie. I know this one is generally considered a bit silly, but it’s based on one of my favourite Disney park attractions and I’m fairly certain I’ve only seen it once (long ago) so wanted to have a reminder of it. It’s not the best, but passed an afternoon while I completed a couple of other tasks on my laptop and I’m sure I noticed more nods to the attraction than I would have done in the past.

I needed to move a bit again so headed out on a walk with Steve. We had some glass containers that needed to be recycled so we took those and went via a nearby recycling point as part of our walk. Then once home it was time for some yoga before dinner.

With the progress I was making with my hip I was happy to go to 4 miles for my Thursday run. Again, no problems. I was really happy that despite going a little further each day, the tight muscle was also feeling better and better each day, confirming that I was taking the right course of action.

Post-run I got organised then had to put together a batch of chilli for the slow cooker. We actually had a couple of portions still in the freezer, but we’re eating this once a week right now so I realised my life would be much easier if I could make another batch while I was still on holiday rather than early in the new term. This meant a day of smelling the aroma of chilli filling the air.

After that I settled down to catch up with a couple of vlogs, have lunch and have the excitement of a delivery from Shop Disney. Yes, I did just go to Disneyland Paris, but these were items I had my eye on which were not available to me there, so I took advantage of a couple of offers to get my order in.

I also watched another movie. This time one which was released last year but I didn’t get around to watching. A bit silly (a fairly standard Adam Sandler offering) but it was ok as a one-off. Smokey was just content that I was sitting still for a bit again!

This was my last day of the holidays that was more or less all at home as we had plans for the Friday morning which meant getting an earlier start for my morning run, Not as early as a work day, but earlier than I prefer for holidays! I had time for about 5k before grabbing a shower and getting on the road to…Ikea!!!

We’ve been needing to head down there for a while to get a few bits and pieces but when it first reopened it always looked so busy and I was reluctant to go on a weekend when it would be even busier. A Friday morning, arriving in time for the store opening, seemed much better. We were there a little ahead of when they open up the restaurant so we could be among the first to get inside and have a cooked breakfast to fortify us for a trip around the warehouse.

Obviously we came home with a few additional items to what was on our list, but is it really a trip to Ikea if you don’t?

I didn’t need any lunch when we arrived home, but I did have a couple of other more local errands so I headed out on those and then Steve came to meet me so we could go for a coffee. I even sat in for my coffee at Nero’s this time (it was pretty quiet upstairs so I felt I had plenty of space).

Once home, I got on with the main task I had after the Ikea jaunt: framing loads of pictures I want to put up. Honestly, who knew it could take so long, especially with two overly inquisitive kitties trying to get involved 😹

After all that I was glad of a quiet evening in front of the tv before heading to bed.

Since my hip felt so much better I was happy for my run to be my usual parkrun sandwich (but with the proviso that I wouldn’t run hard at parkrun – no faster than an 8 minute mile which would put me about 90 seconds slower overall than last week).

I’m pleased to report that I behaved myself and kept the pace in check (8:05 average). My hip was fine and even after stopping for a while post run (it was a bit busy so I jumped on to do some barcode scanning with the volunteer app) it was fine for the run home and that was the point I really started to feel it last week. Looks like it’s going to be ok.

I had planned a quiet afternoon at home, but my sister had let me know that I could accompany her to the current play at the theatre (she works there so gets a couple of comp tickets) and that the Saturday matinee would be a socially distanced performance. I knew it would be quiet so that seemed like a good time to go to the theatre. When I went to the concert hall a few weeks ago I knew the air was being changed frequently but didn’t think the same would be true of the theatre, a much older building. A quiet and socially distanced show felt right for me. I was still double masked though as it makes me feel more comfortable in these situations right now.

The play was a new version of Don Juan, written by one of the actors who performed in the production of The Importance of Being Earnest which I saw shortly before we went into Lockdown last year (thus connecting the last show I saw pre-Covid with the first I returned to). It’s a comic version with a Scottish setting and was really good. If you’re in the area you should check it out.

Once home I had time to enjoy a cup of tea then it was time to get changed again to head back out. Yes, another outing!

My dad had a milestone birthday earlier this year but since we were in Lockdown we weren’t able to do anything to mark the occasion. With things opening up (and all of us feeling a little more confident in going places) we were going for a family meal as a late celebration. The venue was a place we all like and my parents have been in a few times since they reopened. Mum had previously sent me pictures of how the interior had been adapted to the current circumstances, and the fact that they had incorporated decorative screens between the tables meant it felt appropriately safe even whilst busy on a Saturday evening.

We actually all made fairly similar menu choices after dad recommended a couple of things: pan-fried scallops on black pudding, topped with prosciutto with a kiwi & lime sauce to start, then a main course of fillet steak and peppercorn sauce served with fries and rocket salad.

It was all delicious and the steak was cooked so beautifully that the knife went through it like butter.

We had a lovely evening, but it did mean being up later then normal and on top of a fairly busy couple of days – I’m just not used to this any more haha!

As a result of being up later we did take things a bit easier on Sunday morning. I was in no hurry to get out for my run and wanted to enjoy the last chance to have a leisurely start to my day before the new term. I read in bed and enjoyed a cup of tea, then got organised to head out. In all honesty I had no idea how far I was going to run, but felt confident I had left the hip issue behind me. I checked my mileage for the week and settled on 8.5 miles to bring me to 30 for the week. A bit less than usual, but worth it to get the hip issue in check.

It actually felt a bit strange to run further again after a couple of weeks of shorter distances. That coupled with a later night (and some wine!) meant it didn’t feel like my greatest run ever, but it really cleared the cobwebs and made me feel more confident to go into a more “normal” week of running in the days ahead.

I had thought maybe the afternoon would be more relaxing (and a chance to catch up with Strictly!) but after getting the shopping we nipped up to mum and dad’s to collect a couple of things and dad was quite keen on us staying for a cup of tea. It was nice to sit and chat, but I was cutting it fine to see Strictly before the results (spoiler: I managed).

I wrapped up the day with a nice bath and got my things ready for the first day of the new term. And so the regular routine resumes…

Have you returned to any more venues/activities recently?
How is your running going?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 82

Holidays at last! And not only that, but I went away on an actual break in another country!

When the rules around needing a PCR test to return to the UK from abroad changed, it made my sister and I feel much less cautious about taking a trip (previously we had been worried about testing positive whilst away and what that would entail) so just two weeks before the end of term we made a fairly last minute booking to go to Disneyland Paris. I’ll write separately about the details (and many MANY photos) of our trip, so will stick to a brief outline here and how I kept my run streak going whilst travelling.

Monday – 1 mile
Tuesday – 1 mile
Wednesday – 1 mile
Thursday – 1 mile
Friday – 4 miles + Hatha yoga (recording from Zoom)
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 4.5 miles

In order to maximise our time, we opted for an early flight on the Monday morning. We were going to get the TGV from the airport to Disneyland, put our bags (we had those little cabin-sized cases as we were travelling hand baggage only) into the guest storage and be in the park by about midday. And so just like when we took our trip last August, I invoked my “exceptional circumstances” streak rule which meant running a few laps around the block outside my house in the middle of the night to clock up a mile. I had everything packed bar a couple of things I would need first thing, my clothes and running kit laid out so it was easy to get out of bed and run. It may seem an odd thing to do, but that early mile definitely makes me feel much more alert through the rest of what becomes a very long day.

The airport was unfortunately rather stressful. We had checked in online but for some reason nobody was getting a seat allocation and had to still go to the check-in desk at the airport. We joined the queue at 4:40am (for a 6:10am flight) but the queue was incredibly slow. I have NEVER had to wait so long, particularly given we weren’t checking in any bags and it was 5:30am before we were done. We went directly to security where we were met with another huge queue and to be honest I was convinced we were going to miss the flight (and had no idea what we were supposed to do in that situation). Thankfully by the time it was my turn I was able to get through without any additional checks, but along the way I lost sight of my sister. I had put my phone and Apple Watch in my bag (to avoid setting off the sensors) so decided just to start heading for the gate. As it turns out, she had ended up behind me but made the exact same decision, so when I reached the gate (of course one of the far away ones) and called her, she was right behind me and by some miracle we were still able to board. Ironically we then sat at the gate for ages (they were still loading the checked bags for all the people who had been stuck in that check in queue with us) so we had a chance to settle down. Not the most auspicious start, but at least we were on our flight. Phew!

Despite a couple of further queues to contend with at passport control and to get my park ticket (I was using the reduced price “Privilege Tickets” my sister gets with her annual pass) we still made it into the main Disneyland park around midday as planned.

We took some photos and meandered our way towards Cafe Hyperion for lunch (our original plan was to grab a quick breakfast at the airport but with all the queuing all we had eaten was a snack bar each since my sister had the foresight to pack a couple). We then spent our afternoon going on some of our favourite rides, getting some photos with characters and doing a little shopping before getting the shuttle bus to our hotel (a bit of a scrum since we went at park closing time, but you live and learn).

Since I was using the Privilege Tickets this time (which have to be collected and paid for on the day you are using them) this meant I also had the benefit of the early park entry that comes with the Annual Pass. We had breakfast included with our hotel and knew we needed to be on the first shuttle bus in the morning in order to maximise our time, so I worked out that unless I wanted to get up as if it was a work day, the best thing to do would be to stick to a mile each morning.

On the Tuesday morning I wanted to try and explore the grounds of the hotel a bit. We were staying at the Dream Castle – one of the partner hotels – using the voucher we got when our booking for May 2020 (when we were supposed to go for the inaugural Princess Run Weekend) was cancelled. I could tell from looking out our bedroom window that there were beautiful grounds and a nearby lake, but it was just too dark to explore the way I wanted to. In the end the bulk of my run ended up being in the car park while I attempted to find a lit path around the back. Still, with views like this it’s safe to say there are worse car parks to run around!

I did, however, get a chance to appreciate the views from our bedroom before we headed off for the day. Quite the change from the usual brick wall/car park view!

We had planned to begin our day in the Walt Disney Studios, but they did not have the early entry option so instead we went into the main park, took some photos, rode one of our favourite rides (which always has a long queue) then switched park.

Again, we were checking off favourites, trying some new attractions and going to some character meets. When we were planning the trip we had hoped to book a table for our evening meal but hadn’t been able to get anything. My sister was checking on the DLP app and found something for a late lunch/early dinner that day so we just had a snack around lunchtime then after checking out a couple of our favourite shops we hopped back over to the main park again. This meant a few more rides and character photos before our meal.

We ate at Plaza Gardens which in pre-Covid times operated as a buffet but at the time of our visit was a fixed price three course meal. The highlights for me were definitely the starter and dessert!

After eating we still had some park time, then headed into the Disney Village to go to the shops before heading back to the hotel (much quieter on the bus this time).

On the Wednesday I took my run out onto the main street. Our hotel was the middle one of a strip of 5, so I simply turned left and the end of the road was conveniently half a mile away so a simple out and back gave me my mile for the morning.

And after breakfast I had a moment to nip out onto the patio in the reception area to grab a couple of pictures. What a beautiful sunrise!

Again it was straight to the shuttle, off to get my ticket then into the main park. Since we had been on the majority of the rides we wanted to do, this day was all about repeating some favourites and prioritising some of the character meet and greets we still wanted to do.

Mickey posed for me!

We actually ended up leaving around an hour before park closing as we wanted to get organised for our journey home the following day (packing and filling out our Passenger Locator Forms online) plus our hotel had a pool so we had packed our swimsuits to make sure we could have a dip.

In the end we found the pool to be fairly small. It had a little slide and was packed with noisy children so it wasn’t really possible to swim. HOWEVER we found out that we also had access to the steam room and sauna so passed a very pleasant evening in those. I stuck to the sauna and was pretty comfortable using it since everyone in the hotel had to have a Pass Sanitaire (the French Health Pass which proves you are fully vaccinated/have a negative PCR less than 72 hours old). It was quite a nice way to spend the final evening of our trip.

Although we were leaving on the Thursday, our flight wasn’t until 3:20pm so we didn’t have to get the TGV until just before 1pm. This meant my sister was able to go into the parks for the morning, but I didn’t feel the need to buy a further ticket (even at the significantly reduced rate of the Privilege Ticket) just for a short time. But since we still wanted to be on the first shuttle (with our bags to put into guest storage again) it was still just a mile for me, this time heading in the opposite direction along the street. Once again the end of the road was conveniently half a mile.

Once at the parks, we separated. I wanted to go and check out the revamped Hotel New York which now features The Art of Marvel and just recently reopened. If you’re a Marvel fan, you DEFINITELY need to go and have a look – it’s stunning!

I also spent €15 to go up in the Panoramagique balloon as the weather was really clear and bright so I knew I would get amazing views.

By the time I had done that and wandered around the Village a bit, it was time to meet my sister, get our bags and grab a quick snack before heading for the airport (and thankfully the airport was a far smoother experience this time!).

I actually arrived home around the same time I would if I had been at work and I can tell you the kitties were VERY pleased to see me home. Honestly, you’d think they had been abandoned (despite being at home, with each other and Steve the whole time) the way they carried on!

My day 2 PCR test had beaten me there, but before settling down for my dinner I wanted to quickly use one of my lateral flow kits to make sure I wasn’t going to get any surprises. It was negative.

It was a fairly quiet evening unpacking a bit and catching up with Steve (who is becoming very adept at avoiding seeing my copious holiday snaps haha!) then heading to bed fairly sharp. Going straight from an exhausting term into a few days at Disney is really quite tiring – but totally worth it!

It was good to take my time on the Friday morning with a little longer in bed, some time spent reading and then a run. The 4 miles I did actually doubled my mileage thus far for the week 😂

And when I got home I found that the medal for my Halloween-themed virtual run had arrived:

I had to have it since it’s inspired by a great movie.

I also took my PCR test and got it all packaged up to send off. It was to be done on or before the Saturday, but I just wanted to get it sorted out so I would know I had taken care of everything related to my trip. I then had a quiet day at home, mostly with Smokey plastered to my lap.

And since I wasn’t going anywhere I decided to watch a movie. After a couple of amazing meet and greets with Jack Skellington, this one seemed appropriate.

I then persuaded Smokey to move so I could do some yoga. I had missed my Monday evening class, but since we pay for a block, my teacher had offered me the choice of either joining another of her classes or being sent a recording of the Wednesday morning yoga class. I opted for the recording and it was good to have that to look forward to.

My sister had moved her PT session with Steve from Tuesday to Friday to work around out trip, so this meant we had a takeaway for dinner – quite a rarity for us these days. It was nice to have a treat and catch up on some tv.

Saturday morning meant a little reading in bed again before getting organised for parkrun. I wasn’t sure how my body would respond after a week of much lower mileage but lots of time on my feet. As it turned out, my legs wanted to move and I ended up with my fastest time of the year by 4 seconds. I’ll take that!

Further joy shortly after arriving home when the results of my day 2 PCR test came back: negative as expected. Still a relief though!

Later in the day I decided to catch up with another recent movie release. I had been keen to watch this one since completing my viewing of the previous MCU titles but knew that the holidays would be the best time. I enjoyed it.

Of course, Smokey was all in for another afternoon of cuddles 😻

I rounded my day out with a bath followed by Strictly Come Dancing. Perfect!

Sunday, however, did not go so well running-wise. In the last week of term a muscle around my right hip was a little tight for a day or two, but I was able to resolve the issue and it didn’t bother me at all while I was away. Unfortunately it flared up a bit again on Saturday and although I had done some work on it and it felt fine as I set off on my run, after a couple of miles it started to shout at me a bit so I cut things short to head home. Frustrating, but I also knew it was something I would be able to address fairly easily so long as I was sensible. Steve did some work with me to identify the right course of action and aside form the usual Sunday chores, I had a fairly restful day. Turns out, the combined forces of a school term and several long theme park days had left me pretty tired. Thank goodness for another week off before the new term!

Seen any good movie recently?
Do you try to run when you travel or do you prefer to take a break?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 81

Final week of term! Just 5 work days standing between me and a break much more badly needed than usual for this time of year. But first, another week of running, yoga and workouts.

Monday – 4 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.65 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10k

As the week began I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was still mild enough for shorts and a T-shirt as I ran. Dark, but not consistently cold weather just yet. That said, it did feel pretty chilly at work with the windows open to keep the room ventilated and sadly no sign off the heating being on yet.

We had a meeting at the end of the day then I was home and straight in to “efficiency mode”. I had some tasks I wanted to get done and impressed myself by firing through them all before settling down for my Hatha yoga class. It felt good to have reached the mat with things accomplished.

The Tuesday morning, however, was colder. I needed a long sleeved top again and when I woke up and re-checked the weather, the temperature was a bit lower so I opted for my gloves to avoid cold, numb hands again. Definitely not cold enough to put the shorts away though!

The high point of the day, however, was the school heating coming on! It felt pretty chilly in the classroom and I was so happy when the heating came on to take the edge off.

I also found time while I ate lunch to finish up my book. I came across this one in a Kindle deal and actually really enjoyed the eccentric cast of characters.

Arriving home I had a few bits and bobs to do again then while Steve was out working I relaxed with some yoga and a little tv before dinner.

Wednesday is one of my favourite runs. Since I don’t have a class first period (so can arrive a little closer to the morning bell) I have been using this one to listen to the Running for Real Together Run podcasts. I really enjoyed listening to it once more and noticing the beautiful colours in the sky.

Of course Wednesday got us over the hump of the week and within touching distance of the holidays. I actually arrived home to find a delivery, something I thought would make a fun little project while I’m off:

I don’t think I’ve done any Lego since I was a child (and in my day it was pretty basic stuff) but I couldn’t resist this set marking the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, particularly since it was a smaller model (theoretically easier to build and much less expensive than those snazzy giant ones!). Watch this space to find out how it goes!

We had enough time for a workout in the living room with the resistance band before heading upstairs for some yoga.

Thursday was actually back to being fairly mild again so it was definitely a day for short sleeves. It was a little overcast but I still wanted to run down to the river and around the two bridges. I was so glad I did as when I photographed the views the cloud looked far more dramatic than it did to the naked eye!

I arrived home feeling pretty drained (Thursday is my busiest teaching day and I always feel like I’ve poured a lot of energy into it) so I’ll admit to feeling pleased that Steve was away seeing a client so I could do some gentle yoga and relax with a little tv before dinner.

Then finally it was Friday. I do have a full teaching commitment, but had hoped for a fairly easy day. Sadly this was not to be as a couple of unexpected events meant a lot of running around and sorting out for me, but I managed to leave with everything important ticked off my list and my sanity (relatively) intact.

The first thing I did was collapse into my comfy chair with a cup of tea, then once changed Steve took me through another quick resistance band workout before wrapping up my yoga for the week.

I already knew what my evening’s entertainment would be as I’d had my eye on this one for a while:

Yup, that’s The Muppets taking on one of my favourite Disney attractions. You could totally enjoy it on face value, but for fans of the ride there are so many nods to it that it really adds to the enjoyment. I loved it and may very well watch again while I’m off on holiday.

Saturday began a little earlier than planned thanks to hungry cats making absolutely sure we were awake well in advance of their breakfast time. But once they were taken care of I finished up another book whilst relaxing in bed. Book number 10 in my “book with the month in the title” challenge and this one was actually a book aimed at 9-12 year olds. I really loved it. The story is beautiful and the prose so lyrical. I highly recommend it either for you or the younger readers in your life.

Then it was time for parkrun. Steve set off ahead of me since he was RD for the day, and I made sure I was well enough attired for rain since the forecast was pretty clear. It must have been a day off for the parkrun weather fairies!

I had intended taking it a bit easier this time, but in the end I was only about 20 seconds slower than last week so really not that much of an easier pace! Oh well, I must have been feeling better than I realised. It did, however, pour so I was fairly soggy and set off home pretty soon after finishing so I could get dried off.

Once I was dry I opened up the package that had arrived just as I was heading out the door. I had ordered a “surprise package” from Lucy Locket Loves which cost £25 and guaranteed me two pairs of casual leggings (so everyday ones, not activewear ones) and some other bits and bobs. The value would be more than I paid, so it was really just a gamble as to the pattern on the leggings. I actually really like both pairs and was pleased with the extras: a drawstring bag with zip pocket, multiuse neck warmer and a sweetie.

I spent a good part of the afternoon getting a few things sorted out, then enjoyed a nice relaxing bath before Strictly Come Dancing. It was movie week and SO GOOD! It featured a dance from my all-time favourite movie (Back to the Future if you somehow didn’t know) as well as dances from a number of Disney properties. The standard of dancing is so high this year. It was only week 3 but some of the celebrities look like they are weeks and weeks in. I can’t wait for the rest of the series.

On Sunday I read in bed for a bit again, then got ready for a run. Steve was heading off to a race about an hour away and I wanted to take advantage of some time to myself to get organised, so actually went for a much shorter run than usual. Normally 10 miles, I opted for 10k instead (but did run much harder than I normally would on a Sunday). I actually felt pretty good, but knew I had a lot I wanted to get on with.

But by far the funniest thing was seeing what my garden looked like when I got back. Steve had brought the volunteer kit home from parkrun and was taking advantage of the better weather to dry it off:

No mistaking all those pink tops!

When Steve got back we headed out for the shopping and to fill my car up, then I tried to take a little time to relax for the remainder of the day before heralding to bed early.

Do you enjoy Muppet movies?
What’s your favourite day of the week to run?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 79

At this point we were deep into the new term: far enough in to be noticing how tired we were all getting, but not yet close enough to glimpse the October break! Head down and dig in time. Work aside, my running was consistent and there was some fun in store at the end of the week:

Monday – 4.1 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles
Wednesday – 5 miles
Thursday – 4.25 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 10 miles

Monday morning was chilly and damp. It was the strangest thing as by our house it was actually clear so I headed out in my short-sleeved top, but there was this one low cloud that was sitting right across the town. As I ran by the river my arms felt chilly and I was very aware of the moisture in the air. It did look beautiful, but I definitely felt the changing season as by the time I got home my hands were cold and numb, making any tasks involving fine motor skills pretty tricky until I warmed up!

Conditions were much better on the Tuesday morning. A solid 5 miles before work and still a bit of daylight for me at the end. But as the day wore on I realised I was feeling really tired so opted to head home a little sharper than normal to indulge in a quick nap. Sometimes it’s the only thing to do!

The Wednesday morning was a Together Run day. Sadly I had neglected to charge my Garmin the day before (chalk that one up to being so tired) and it died about half way round so I switched over to the Strava app instead. A run in two parts!

Wednesday was a pretty long day as we had a parents’ evening. We still can’t have these in the “traditional” format so instead we trialled using a video system to allow us to have conversations around progress. Although I was a little wary, I ended up really liking it as the system automatically pulls up each meeting and ends them on time so we can’t over-run. That was definitely a plus point!

Also part of my Wednesday was finishing up another book. This one is a YA novel and loads of my pupils have been reading it so a colleague’s daughter lent me her copy so I could give it a go. Although there were a couple of things that bothered me from an adult perspective, it was a great story and did accurately capture how teenagers would likely respond in a variety of situations.

Unsurprisingly, I felt pretty tired on the Thursday morning so went for a slightly shorter run than normal. I did have these beautiful views to soothe my soul though:

During the course of the day I was actually able to get my flu jab done at school. Teachers are on the priority list for these this year, and although I’ve had a flu jab every winter since I got the flu (a hideous experience I’m in no hurry to repeat) the good news for me was that this meant I didn’t have to pay to have it done privately this year. With this added to my Covid jabs, I’m doing everything I can to help make my immune system as robust as possible as we head into the winter.

But a combination of a vaccination plus a late work night on the Wednesday meant I was pretty exhausted so made a point of heading home pretty quickly at the end of the school day so I could give myself a bit of a break and recharge.

The Friday began with a bit of a rude awakening. I woke up hearing “voices” coming from somewhere downstairs. At first I thought maybe somebody outside, for instance a neighbour heading out really early, but moving onto the landing I knew it was coming from inside our house. Too loud for an intruder, but a confusing moment until Steve and I checked downstairs to find the tv had come on! I have absolutely no idea how this happened. Easy to blame a cat, but the remote control was in a pocket on the arm of a chair so maybe some kind of power surge that tripped the controls? Either way, it was a weird wake-up call and once we had gotten up, the cats thought it must be time to start the day!

Fortunately after that the day improved. It was a pretty windy morning but I got my run done and felt refreshed ready to start the day. I can tell you I was pretty relieved to reach the end of the working week given how tiring it had been!

When I got home I did manage to fit in my first (and only) workout of the week and it was nice enough to be in the garden to work with the TRX and ViPR. I’ll miss garden workouts when the changing weather forces us inside again.

The Saturday, however, had a bit of excitement to look forward to. Of course I was going to parkrun, but this time doing something a little different. One of my friends who was a training buddy way back when I did the London marathon (back before I started this blog!) was getting married the following Saturday. She is currently undergoing treatment and asked that rather than presents, donations were made to Macmillan, a charity I have supported extensively in the past. She then came up with the idea of running this parkrun in a wedding dress and creating a  whole “wedding party”. I was one of many bridesmaids and actually borrowed a dress from the blushing bride. I can tell you, I NEVER expected to run wearing a Monsoon evening dress!

The run itself I took pretty easy as I was sticking very much with the others running as part of this group. Probably a good thing as I’m not sure how well I would have been able to breathe if I tried to run faster! It may be my slowest parkrun time to date, but probably the most fun.

Once we were done with “wedding photos” we were all treated to a hot roll from a nearby cafe which we enjoyed al fresco to protect everyone (especially the bride) from potential germs.

After all that excitement, my Sunday run was much calmer. I set off to head for the woodland park but along the way I noticed what looked like swans on the river close to the opposite bank. I don’t think I’ve seen that before so stopped to watch for a moment.

It was really peaceful in the woodland park and I enjoyed my run through noticing the signs of autumn. I actually felt really strong on this run which was a surprise after feeling so tired all week, but I’m definitely not complaining about that!

So one more week done. It was a tough one, but I made it through.

What’s your most fun running memory?
Have you ever run an event in “regular” clothes?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 80

This was an interesting week for me. The October break was inching nearer (not quite quickly enough!), I had Disney on the brain as I was following all the news coming out of Walt Disney World for the 50th anniversary, and I really started to notice the changing season as some chillier days came along. Here’s how my fitness activities looked:

Monday – 4.1 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4.1 miles + living room  home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

The week began with a pouring wet Monday morning. As if Mondays weren’t miserable enough! Fortunately I realised in time so had my hat and a rainy day top on, but there’s no staying dry on a day like this. After a start like that, yoga from home that evening was definitely appealing.

The good news was that conditions were much better on the Tuesday. I actually noticed that despite the creeping end-of-term tiredness, I still felt strong while I was running. A bit strange, but I guess it’s my mind that’s feeling tired rather than my body.

Some real excitement at work as my new PC was joined by a nifty new monitor. Now I have the complete set!

On the Wednesday I headed out with the latest Together Run lined up to listen to. The skies were clear so it was pretty chilly and I needed a long sleeved top and my gloves! But in return I got the most beautiful views at the river.

During the course of the day I managed to finish my book. This is the sequel to the previous book I read. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it – sometimes it’s clear a writer is trying a bit too hard to capitalise on a success – but I thought it worked well as it kept some of the same characters and introduced a few new ones. Worth a go if you enjoy the first one.

When I got home I had to swing into action to get some chilli prepped ready for the slow cooker the following day, then time for some yoga to help me unwind.

I awoke on Thursday to find it was once again pouring. This led to me making the error of not wearing my gloves as I thought they would just get soaked, but by the time I got home my hands were so cold they had gone numb and my fine motor skills were pretty questionable!

I had an appointment after work so was away reasonably quickly then managed to fill my car up. This was at the height of the petrol “shortage” and I was a little worried about having to wait ages for the petrol I normally get (and needed), but as it turned out the petrol station was quiet. A couple of pumps were off, but I had no problem filling up. Phew!

The Friday morning was still a little drizzly, but far far better than the day before. This was the day Walt Disney World marked 5 years since opening and I was excited to catch up with vlogs from those fortunate enough to be there on the first official day of the celebrations. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t be too much longer before I can book a trip to Florida again 🤞

The Saturday was parkrun’s 17th birthday and I enjoyed my run except for one thing: spitting. To be honest, I think spitting is pretty gross at the best of times but with an airborne virus it’s downright inconsiderate and is clearly highlighted as a “no” on the parkrun Covid framework. Sadly I found myself running near to a couple of others who kept on spitting and eventually got so fed up of it that I resorted to using my “teacher voice” to give them a bit of a row (or as much of a row as I could manage whilst running fairly hard!). Normally I wouldn’t be likely to do something like this whilst running, but it was really bothering me so I felt it needed done.

In the afternoon I headed out again as the friend whose parkrun fundraiser I had participated in the week before was getting married and I wanted to go down to the venue to see her going in wearing her proper wedding dress (as opposed to the one she ran in the previous week!). It was so nice to see lots of others turn out to see her as well and she looked amazing.

Steve didn’t mind waiting to see her and her new husband come out again, but we knew we had about half an hour so I took the big step (for me) of sitting inside a cafe. I had planned to claim my free coffee from Vitality and get it to take away as usual, but it was pretty damp so I agreed to sit in for the first time since the pandemic began. We got seats completely out of the way and clear of anybody else and I actually only had my mask off long enough to eat the caramel shortbread Steve treated me to (I knew my coffee wouldn’t cool quickly enough so still got it in a takeaway cup to take with me). Just another baby step towards normality.

We actually timed things pretty well so were able to see the bride and groom coming back out of the venue and pose for some photos before heading off to celebrate. At this point we headed home and my sister popped round for a bit to sort out a few odds and ends.

On the Sunday I once more headed for the woodland park for my run, but didn’t stop for any pictures this time. I was feeling strong again and was enjoying powering through my run. I was on a mission to have a pretty big tidy and get the house dusted and vacuumed, so cutting out lots of stops really helped. I also wanted to change my bedding to this seasonal new option I had ordered:

With everything done I could relax a bit and get ready for the final week of term.

Would you have spoken up to the spitters?
How are you feeling about going to cafes and other public places now?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 78

Another week done! It was a pretty consistent week when it came to running, yoga and workouts. There was also some excitement as I ACTUALLY WENT SOMEWHERE at the end of the week. Wonders will never cease!

Monday – 4.1 miles + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.65 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4.1 miles + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

Monday came around once again! I actually slept really well as I had bought new pillows for our bed and they were soooooo comfy and squishy. I didn’t want to get up! However I really did have to so was soon changed and out the door for an easy run. I changed up my route slightly from the previous few Mondays as it’s a bit darker first thing now, but the upside to that was deciding to run by the waterfall. I always love how peaceful it is there early in the morning and the pre-sunrise sky looks quite dramatic in my pictures!

When I arrived home from work and got organised there was time for a quick living room workout before yoga. Steve’s really packing a punch with those ones – fatiguing arm muscles with the resistance band then piling on challenge with press ups. Tough stuff! I was glad to hit the yoga mat for a lie down!

Post-yoga we put on Clickbait and ended up watching the last two episodes. I did NOT predict that ending! Worth a watch.

And then back to those squishy pillows to sleep. Unfortunately it was wet when I woke up on Tuesday so I needed a quick alteration to the kit I had laid out in order to keep dry, but the rain did ease off while I was running.

It was a pretty busy day at work and Steve was out seeing a client when I got home so I took advantage of having the place to myself by doing some yoga then watching an episode of Only Murders in the Building. It was just finishing when Steve got back then after dinner we caught up with the latest episode of Vigil – they’re really piling on the tension there!

I had another good sleep thanks to my new pillows, and was ready to head out on Wednesday morning for the latest Together Run (from the Running For Real podcast). I was pleased to see it was dry once again so was able to enjoy the changing colours in the sky as we got closer to sunset.

Somehow I managed to work fairly late (there’s ALWAYS just one more thing to do!) but once home there was enough time for another workout with the resistance band, similar to Monday, before a short yoga video then settling down to dinner. Our viewing this time was the latest episode of Annika with Nicola Walker. A lot of it was filmed in an area not far from where my parents grew up so they know it reasonably well and it’s always good to spot filming locations.

On The Thursday morning the sky was really clear so I ran down to the river to take in some of my favourite views. I’m glad I did as I was rewarded with this:

And then it was onwards into my busiest day of the working week. I was definitely glad to get home!

Perhaps because Thursday had been busy, I felt pretty sluggish on the Friday morning. I still did my usual run but wasn’t feeling at my best. No workout that evening, but I did still do a little yoga before settling down to unwind into the weekend.

I’m glad I took things a bit easier as by the Saturday morning I was feeling much more energised – good thing too since I had a busy day ahead! I made sure to have an easy start finishing up my book.

I only chose this one as I needed something with the month in the title for my challenge this year. I’m not sure I read it carefully enough as my perception was mostly the surface details of the “big house” and the discussions of relationships and marriage which seem to occupy those living there. But it was set against the Irish troubles of the 1920s and the effects of that were constantly there beneath the surface. Perhaps one to return to when I can concentrate on it a little more.

Then it was off to parkrun where I was surprised to run just a little over 24 minutes. After feeling so sluggish the day before I had expected to be slower than that. Just goes to show the difference a little rest can make.

After a quick breakfast at home I was on the move again to go and get my hair done. Actually sitting in the chair is something I find quite relaxing as I can read while waiting for the colour to be rinsed off and it was good to be in one place for a bit.

When I arrived home Steve had got us a little afternoon treat of a fudge doughnut which was delicious.

We ate early as my parents and sister were picking me up to go to a show at the concert hall. I was comfortable with this as thanks to my sister working there, we were able to get seats well away from anybody else. In addition, masks are still required here (I actually doubled up – disposable mask with a cloth mask on top), there were loads of hand sanitiser stations (which were really cool with lots of lights and music – I want one!) and the air is being filtered constantly. My sister actually commented that the air inside the venue might be fresher than the air outside  😂.

But first there was a challenge: what does one wear to go out? I hadn’t been anywhere since early March 2020 and since then have only worn work clothes or workout clothes! In the end I opted for a smart-casual look:

Th show was a group called Beyond the Barricade. It was started by two guys who met whilst performing in Les Miserables and they have been touring since the early 2000s. We’ve seen them before and they are always excellent. They were actually due to play here around when we went into Lockdown last year and at the time we had planned to pick up some last minute tickets. It was good to finally be able to see them. They began with The Show Must Go On, which was a very appropriate choice.

Going to a show meant a slightly later night for me, but it was worth it to see live performers again. I slept well and was ready to run on Sunday morning. I did make a bit of an error in not wearing my cap as there was a fairly heavy shower when I was at the furthest possible point from home, but I enjoyed running through the woodland park and beginning to notice some of the seasonal markers like some of the leaves beginning to change.

I was ready for a relaxing afternoon after that, and Smokey was more than happy to keep me company to make sure I took it easy 😹

Overall, it was so good to have something a little different in my week and a big step for me to attend a public venue (albeit with my own “distancing measures” in place to ease me in!).

Have you been to any live events recently?
What’s your favourite thing to see when you’re out running or walking?