I actually can’t believe it’s November already. The weeks since returning to school after the summer just seem to have flown by, and at this rate the festive season will be upon us imminently! Training-wise I’m still out there being consistent and building a really solid, strong base which I can easily build on in future should I want to. Reflecting on what I’m up to, I’m feeling really strong and running well, probably because there is no pressure on me to perform or hit certain paces or distances. I know it’s mainly working for me because I’m happy to go out and train, I want to, whereas for others the race goal is more necessary as a motivator. I think I’ve said it before, but I seem to be at a point where it’s more about the process than the end point. I’m happier just running and have no real desire to race. That may change in future, but right now I’m fit enough to go out and run a decent half marathon and that’s a good place to be both physically and mentally.
So what have I been up to this week? Here’s the breakdown:
Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – drills + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 14 miles
Monday isn’t usually a rest day, but my Hatha yoga class in on holiday for a couple of weeks. I stayed back at work to help a pupil with some extra study then came home and did a Yoga With Adriene video to make sure I still got my yoga fix.
I knew Tuesday was going to be cold so I had to lay out more wintery kit for my run – bye bye shorts 😢. The air was really bitter and I actually wished I had chosen a thicker pair of gloves as my hands were still pretty cold, as was my face. It had been a super clear night, hence the bitter weather, but at least I saw the distant glimmer of daylight when I finished the run, thanks to the clocks going back. I did enjoy the run, but didn’t relish having to scrape ice from my car before driving to work. I guess that’s going to be a regular occurrence now. Sigh!
We had a meeting after work but since we have a shorter day on a Tuesday, even with a meeting I was still able to fit in a session down at the studio. For this session’s mix of arm exercises I had the resistance band, weight, barbell and a press up variation. The barbell was so tough and I couldn’t believe it actually weighed the same as the weight I had been using. Incredible the difference the grip and movement makes.
Wednesday remained my rest day and I took advantage of this to finish up some reports at work without having to rush away. This meant I could then have a restful evening, having ticked a big task off my to-do list. And there was a treat in store since I had asked Steve to pick up some milk on his way home, but he had no cash on him and didn’t want to use his debit card for such a snail amount. He said he was “forced” to buy something else and his choice was a pack of Black Forest crumble mince pies. You’ll be pleased to know I’ve done a thorough taste test and can recommend them!
Thursday morning was still cold but not as bitter as Tuesday. I had learned my lesson though and had a slightly thicker pair of gloves on to keep my hands toasty. I’m trying to get in the habit of doing some drills on my Thursday run so added a couple of reps to the workout I did last week. Somehow I messed up starting my watch and had run almost a half mile of my warm up before I noticed. D’oh! Luckily I realised in time so that I still had the watch bleeping to keep me right with my 8x 500m reps. Lesson learned to check more carefully after I start running when I have my watch set for intervals!
When I synced my watch I got a notification that I had earned the Halloween badge on Garmin, then thanks to a post I saw on social media I learned that if I shared that badge on Halloween then I would get another. So I duly shared it just so I could have a picture of a pumpkin in my Garmin account 😂
I had Ashtanga yoga that evening but my regular teacher was away and had arranged cover (which I knew before heading down). I have been trying to remember to take my yoga stuff with me so that if I get delayed at school I can still make it as it’s going home, getting changed, then battling traffic which has led me to missing class, whereas on the occasions when than has happened I could have made it if I had my stuff with me and went straight to class. This week it was Sooty’s turn to make sure I had all the essentials:
Yoga mat ✅
Yoga kit ✅
Cat toy ✅
I guess that covers everything!
The cover teacher was the same lady we have had before. She’s lovely, but not as experienced with the Ashtanga sequence. This time I actually enjoyed the class a lot more as she seemed a bit more confident with it and had perhaps realised that everyone in front of her attended regularly and was pretty experienced. One of the postures we did was one we don’t often do and I was pleased to find that I moved far more deeply into it and was able to take a bind I haven’t managed before. It’s so satisfying to see a difference like that.
On Friday I was back at the studio for another arm workout. This time the resistance band, TRX, barbell and press ups.
Even better, we had a dessert for that evening as it had been book group day at work and we always chat about our reading over a bit of cake (we take turns to provide the treats). This time it was a homemade Victoria sponge and the baker didn’t want to take the leftovers home (I know, I don’t understand either). Another colleague took a slice for his wife and I said I would take a piece for Steve. But that left one, lonely slice of cake and my arm was
reluctantly easily twisted into taking both. What can I say, I’m a sucker for cake and it was delicious!
I also got home that evening to find I had received a really cool medal from a virtual event I had signed up to. This one was in aid of Cats Protection, the charity I supported in 2018 (and where I got my kitties from later that year) so I was keen to do it. It’s a really lovely medal.
Very unusually, I had to drive to parkun on Saturday as I had to dash off right after (more on that later). The good news was the weather was relatively mild again so the shorts came back out – not quite in hibernation for the winter just yet. It was pacer week but the local running club had taken over all the volunteer roles this time so my pacing services weren’t needed. I decided instead to run quite hard and see how my time would compare to last week. I thought I might be slightly slower since the warmup of the run there means I’m more ready to go, so was pleasantly surprise when this came in:
Those who use the Running Challenges extension on Chrome/Firefox will no doubt recognise this as Groundhog Day, one of the additional badges you can earn via that extension. For me, it’s my THIRD Groundhog Day and the second time I’ve done it this calendar year. Not quite sure how I managed that, but at least it confirms my consistency!
Some kind soul has been bringing bags of dried apple to parkrun and leaving them by the table we return our tokens to, so I made sure to grab a snack for later then headed straight back to the car.
The reason I dashed off so quickly was I had a ticket for an event up at the college. My friend had organised for Lisa Jackson (author of “Your Pace Or Mine”) to deliver a talk and it was starting at 10:30. Since parkrun in Scotland is at 9:30, it was around 10 before I was heading up and I needed a few minutes to tidy myself up a bit. I have no objection to being “parkrun fresh” but I knew not everybody there would have been for a run already (although I wasn’t the only one to dash up from parkrun) and didn’t think people would appreciate sitting next to a smelly runner for an hour and a half!
The talk was fantastic and I’m really glad I went. If you’ve read the book then you know that Lisa really likes to find the fun in the races she does, and that part of her personality really comes through when she speaks. Not only was she entertaining, she was warm and friendly, happy to chat to people afterwards and give out loads of hugs. I would happily have spent even longer chatting to her and as it was I was the last one away as I stayed to help my friend get some picture and tidy up at the end. Lisa had books with her for people to get signed copies, however I took mine with me to get it signed and we had a picture together. I really recommend her book and if you get the chance to see her talk somewhere, definitely try to go along.
Lisa is known for wearing fancy dress or a themed hat when she runs a marathon and her favourite is a flamingo (hence the flamingos in the picture). When I got home, I discovered that Smokey, who likes to take his toys to the front door to play with while we’re out, had actually selected his flamingo toy for that day. Sometimes I think that cat is far too clever for his own good!
The talk was so good that I was on a high for ages afterwards and poor Steve had to listen to me yacking away non-stop while we got the shopping. I then headed off for a bath to relax and feel a bit fresher since I was still in my parkrun kit!
I woke up on Sunday to discover a pretty miserable day. My weather apps were all saying it was going to be dry at the time I was heading out to run, but a look out of the window suggested differently so although it was mild enough for shorts, I did make sure to add a lightweight gilet on top to try and ward off some of the worst of it, but by the time I got home the relentless drizzle had soaked right through. My kit was drenched (it will be drier AFTER it’s comes out of the watching machine!) and rain was dripping off the peak of my cap (at least the rain meant I could debut my new running cap) to the point that Smokey was actually licking the water off the brim! Steve had to bring me a towel and dressing gown to the front door so I could peel it all off straight away and not drip my way through the house. He also made me a nice hot cup of tea (well trained husband!) and I headed straight to the shower before I cooled down too much.
Despite the conditions I actually had an enjoyable run. I was running to feel and my effort level felt consistent. What was most fascinating me the whole time was that 14 miles just felt so do-able. I felt like I could easily have carried on, that I had more miles in me, and my legs felt fine afterwards so clearly the extra running day per week in my routine over the last year, and my consistent training, has left me feeling strong. Now my aim is to sustain that.
I don’t know how many times the word “consistent” has come up in this post, but it feels like a lot. Just call me Little Miss Consistent!
Have you earned the “Groundhog Day” badge?
What are you training for right now?