Week In Review – Winding Down??

Ah the last week of term before the Christmas break. The one where well-meaning folk from outside of education imagine we are somehow “winding down”. Winding down? All I can say to that is, “ha!” To be honest, it’s quite the opposite as we frantically try to finish assignments, set assessments, seek the bottom of the marking pile, attend Christmas dances, go to Christmas assemblies and organise activities for the last day of term – all whilst trying to peel over-excited young people who are acting like they’ve had 10,000 espressos off the ceiling for long enough to explain the lesson, amid moans of, “are we still doing this?” (Answer: yes we are. We will be doing it until you actually GET IT DONE so stop asking!) and, “can we do something fun?” (Answer: my job is to TEACH not entertain. Plenty of time for fun in the holidays!). It can all feel a bit full-on so it was important that I still fit in a bit of training to keep me in balance. Here’s what I managed:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – form drills
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun open sandwich
Sunday – 8 miles

With no yoga class to get to on Monday, I used the time to get some work stuff up to date. After school I worked with a pupil who had asked for a bit of extra help then got on with a bit of admin to help clear the decks for the holidays. I had thought I might try to squeeze in some home yoga but there wasn’t time as I wanted to fit in a little festive activity – the lighting of an advent window. A nearby part of town organised 25 windows to form a different kind of advent calendar, with a new one being lit each evening. The “host” for each lighting provides drinks/snacks for everyone gathered to see it and while I might feel a little uncomfortable showing up to something like that at the home of a total stranger, this one was at a friend’s house and I was keen to go down and support it. I actually spotted a couple of the other windows on our way over there and I’m hatching a plan to run around them all once they’re all lit (there’s a map of the houses and they will all be lit each evening until the 1st of January). I think it’s about a 5k-ish run in total and will be a nice alternative run during the Christmas break – I just need to figure out when to go!

I did, however, stick to my Tuesday routine of an early run. It was my usual 4 mile easy run and after having a mileage cutback on Sunday, I definitely felt my legs much fresher than they have been a in a couple of weeks, which is always a good feeling!

Then after school (and giving that extra study support again) I headed to the studio for my workout. This time the exercises Steve gave me included hand weights, the bar bell, something I can only describe as bear crawls with a press up, and the Bosu. He’s definitely making these more challenging again!

I did a little more marking when I got home, but was completely distracted by this pair sitting in a box together and looking unbelievably cute!

I made Wednesday a rest day and not only took some extra time after school to catch up on work, but managed a few errands before getting my nails done for Christmas. Priorities lol!

I also had to wrap my Secret Santa gift for the following day and, unsurprisingly, it was a bit of a challenge with two young and inquisitive cats around!

Thursday was actually fairly mild (for context, I had to scrape ice from my car on Tuesday morning and was in winter kit for my run) which meant I could run in my SHORTS! I leapt at the chance to run a set of form drills again since you never know at this time of year if the underfoot conditions will allow it. I did the 8 reps of 600m drills I had intended to do last Thursday and felt good heading into the day.

It was probably a good thing since my interval apple was “sacrificed” for a mince pie while we did our Secret Santa (a colleague who works part time was able to come in at that point in the day, hence the interval gift exchange rather than lunchtime). It was another great Secret Santa year for me with some Disney-themed gifts – thanks Santa!

Then at lunchtime was had our festive pot luck lunch which was lovely, but a real thought to go back into the classroom for the afternoon!

With the bottom of my marking pile in sight, I took the last of it home to finish off and by the time I was done I realised it had been a pretty exhausting day and was in my bed just after 9pm. Rock and roll haha! On the plus side, I had a great sleep and felt refreshed on Friday morning ready to face the madness of the last day of term (we had a full day this year rather than a half day). It was our Christmas jumper day and I debuted a new jumper I bought. As far as I’m concerned, this one wins Christmas!









I was also wearing my third and final pair of Elf socks:

Thanks to my efforts throughout the week I had nothing that I really needed to get done so was able to enjoy some of the activities we had laid on for the pupils, although by the afternoon the hysteria was definitely setting in and the pupils REALLY needed to be on their way home, such were the excitement levels among many. On the plus side, as a school we collected over 2000 items for the local food bank. I’m heartened by the generosity but sad that we live in a world where we need to do this. It’s heartbreaking to think that there will be pupils in our school whose families will rely on those donations this Christmas. It’s just not right.

At the end of the day I was out the door pretty sharpish to go for my workout. It was a mini circuit with the bar bell, bear crawl things, a kind of plank position/step up (with hands, not feet) on the step and those press ups with my hands close together than I find pretty challenging. Apparently Steve doesn’t go easy at Christmas time!

And since it was the Friday before Christmas, I went with my tradition of recent years and picked Christmas dinner when we went out for our usual meal booking. Turkey and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding and a delicious candy cane gin cocktail to finish. Yum!

Steve was RD at parkrun on Saturday morning and I persuaded him that a Santa suit was necessary. Of course that meant I was “forced” to match him in my Mrs Claus outfit and new candy cane leggings!

Yes, I did run to parkrun in that outfit. Yes it did attract a bit of attention 😂

We have been running on an alternative course for a while now since the work the council was doing on our regular route isn’t finished yet. No idea why not, it was originally scheduled to be finished in the summer, but I suppose they didn’t specify which year 🤣. But as a result, the grass on the alternative route is now getting quite churned up and squelchy. We often “rest” the grass on our main route for a bit in the winter and use the route that comprises 2 laps of the park and it was decided that we should start doing that now. The conditions were cool, but not cold enough for ice, pretty still and our route was all paved, offering the chance to run a bit harder. So despite my crazy get-up I ran fairly hard and was thrilled to come in at 23:37 – a winter sub-24 and my fastest time of the year! I wonder if it was my dinner on Friday night that powered me to a fast time? The only irritation is that I need 38 for my parkrun bingo so I ran a second too fast – d’oh!

I didn’t run home as we were going straight to the cafe so Steve could process the results. He had a change of clothes in the car for me, but we both stuck with our Santa suits while we had our bacon rolls and I just changed from the Mrs Claus dress to a hoody before heading off to grab some food shopping.

The rest of the day was nice and relaxing. So relaxing that a certain little mummy’s boy made himself comfortable 😻

I took my time getting out the door again on Sunday morning so that it would be properly light (although a bit grey – one of those days where it isn’t actually raining but the air feels damp) and figured 8 miles would be plenty, so I donned a pair of festive leggings and a Santa hat and headed off. It was a lovely run and I felt great afterwards – good thing too since we were braving the shops to get the Christmas food in 😫.

Fortunately we survived, and after a quick FaceTime call with my parents and an early dinner, we headed out again to see our second advent window lighting. This time we didn’t know whose house it was, but as well as the window and snacks they were hosting a donation point for the local food bank so I felt by contributing it would be ok to turn up. Besides, the clue to this window suggested it would be Elf themed so of course we wanted to go!

Some of the details will be easier to see in daylight. The skyline along the bottom is our city’s skyline!

Even better, the snacks were all from the elves’ major food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn (ok, we don’t have candy corn in the UK so it was popcorn instead) and syrup.  I enjoyed a candy cane and a chat with some people I knew before heading home for a cup of tea followed by a nice bath. The perfect end to the week.

Do you get much time off over Christmas?
Do you have anything like the advent windows or some kind of festive walk/trail where you live?

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