March brings with it some interesting stuff. First of all, week 50 of my posts tracking life in Lockdown/under Covid-related restrictions. Week 50! That means we’re coming up on a year since life bore any resemblance to what we previously knew as normal (I’m not a fan of the term “new normal” – I know we will likely make choices to change some aspects of our lives, but there are far more things that we would hope can return, races and parkrun being just a couple of those which involve face-to-face human contact). But March also brings with it Spring and the hope of better days ahead, even if that just means more daylight and the chance to enjoy the outdoors without freezing to death (well, that can still happen, but we can’t be too far away from warmer weather!). Finally, I have a new running-related challenge (and fun virtual event) to occupy me through the month. Read on for the details!
Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4.5 miles + walk after work + home yoga
Saturday – 6.5 miles
Sunday – 9 miles
Like February before it, March began neatly on a Monday – fresh start for a fresh week. I’m part of the Facebook community associated with the Tough GIrl Podcast and for March we were challenged to run a mile a day. Since I’m already running every day that was pretty straightforward for me, but to go alongside that we were given a bingo card to tick off. There was the option of coming up with our own challenges to add to a blank card, but that was a step too far for me around work right now (I just don’t have the additional brain capacity to be creative), so I decided to stick with the pre-prepared card and make one or two minor adjustments where necessary:
To start, I took the path of least resistance and crossed off “listen to a podcast”. My running time is when I like to listen to podcasts. I’m happy to run with nothing, but to make good use of my time I like to tune in to a running or Disney podcast while I run, so this was an easy starting point.
The rest of the day was pretty productive, then after work I took a walk up to mum and dad’s since it was dad’s birthday (a milestone one this year – to be properly celebrated later) and I needed to drop off a present and card. I was able to chat to my parents for a bit (at a safe distance) before heading back home, where Steve had been occupying himself with baking another cake, which we had after my yoga class. It was intended as chocolate fudge cake but there was a little over-cooking of the ganache so the filling resembled cinder toffee. It tasted good but we referred to it as “questionable cake” for the rest of the week 😂
Still keeping things easy, I ticked off “head out west” on my bingo card after my Tuesday run since it fitted well with the route I was running. Much more exciting was the arrival of my new laptop that evening (fortunately AFTER I had done my workout and yoga so I didn’t get distracted from them), so I got the initial setup and transfer of info underway, but knew I would need to wait a day or two before starting to use it for work since the adaptor I had ordered to connect my external drives hadn’t arrived yet. In some respects that was probably a good thing as it gave me a bit of time to make sure it was all set up the way I wanted. Actually very easy since Apple tends to make things like that pretty straightforward and there was little for me to do other than wait while my laptops worked through the process.
For my Wednesday run I planned to head down to the river and take in the view of the bridge. I’ve done that quite a few times now but that view is basically what you see on postcards of Perth so I was counting that as my “run to a local landmark”. I ended up with this picture:
Given that it was a bit of a grey start, it did the job, but I was slightly disappointed as Steve had run down there a little earlier than me and not only were the lights still switched on, but the sky was a beautiful colour and the water was a flat calm. His picture, about half an hour earlier, looks VERY different!
It just shows how it can be worthwhile to get out the door a bit sooner!
I actually felt really tired at the end of that day so decided to skip my workout (not something I often do) and do some gentle yoga instead. I felt much better after that so it was definitely the right thing to do. I then settled down to finish off my book. I really should have read this one long ago, around when I read Chocolat, as I really enjoyed it, especially the sensory descriptions.
When I got up on the Thursday I was still feeling a little sluggish and had no idea what I was going to tick off on my bingo card, but as I was choosing my kit I spotted my pink Run Disney top so decided to tick off “wear pink” this time.
Despite feeling a bit tired as I ran, I actually had a productive work day. It was World Book Day so I was encouraging discussion of books in my live lessons and some of my juniors had a fortuitously timed reading period, so it was really enjoyable.
A fun surprise came at lunchtime. Steve has really been looking after me well as his working day is much more flexible than mine so I have often come downstairs to find he already had my lunch underway. On this day I could smell something different cooking and it turned out that having set out to make some bread (not unusual for Steve) he had also decided to make some garlic pizza bread to go with our lunch. It was yummy!
I felt much better that evening so my workout was back on. We had been continuing to focus on my hip flexors since it was clear that this was the area needing work again. Working from home and being on my feet less has made such a big difference and that needs to be counteracted.
Continuing with my strategy of crossing off all the easier bingo squares first, on the Friday I headed off in the opposite direction to my Tuesday run to cross off “head out east”. Nothing special, just a pleasant morning run.
Having made sure that everything was set up ok on my new laptop, this seemed like the ideal day to switch over to it for work. My live lesson commitments were fewer, with the main one being my senior class who I knew would be much more forgiving if something wasn’t quite right (I had my old laptop handy and ready to go just in case!). Of course it was all fine and I enjoyed my day working with the new machine. I had been asked by a colleague who has been running loads of CPD sessions during this Lockdown to write a piece about some of my experiences so I turned ny attention to that for lots of the day – ably assisted by Smokey who seems to think he is now an expert on teaching via Teams!
Rather than a workout, Steve and I headed out for a walk after work then I did a little yoga before dinner. Rapidly nearing the end of my Marvel project, it was the first part of my Avengers double-header to complete the Infinity Saga. It was great!
Then it was Saturday – and a much more exciting Saturday than I’ve had in a while! Steve had received an email from the Paris half marathon which usually takes place in early March but this year, like almost every other big race you can think of, is planned for the autumn. However they had come up with a great (and free!) virtual event for what would ordinarily have been race weekend: to cover the distance “en duo”. With the aim of getting people back into running again, the idea was to split the distance between two people (it didn’t have to be an even split, but we did divide it 50/50) and run at any time over the race weekend. The pairs didn’t have to run at the same time, they just had to sign up and link their race accounts together then the whole thing was tracked via an app.
I was already looking forward to just having a slightly different focus for my Saturday run and since I was pretending to be in Paris, I opted for appropriately themed running attire.
But when Steve set out I realised that the app was designed to give a pretty immersive experience. I got an alert to let me know he had started his run then a further alert every kilometre, with time and pace – a bit like real-time tracking of a live race. It also told me when he was finished and gave me his time.
The app also had maps in it. I had the option to see where Steve really was but also to switch to a map of Paris so I could see where on the actual course he would be. Pretty cool.
When I was ready to go I had my first issue of the day – my Garmin was dead. Oops! I really should have charged it the day before. I fished out my old one in the hopes that it would be ok but there wasn’t much charge in it either. Still, I thought it might hold so gave it a go. I knew my run was being tracked in the app so the watch was just for me to record my miles and clock a time for my (not)parkrun that week. The watch ended up dying shortly before I finished the 2 miles I count as my warmup, so I timed my (not)parkrun and cool down using the Strava app on my Apple Watch instead. Once my Garmin was charged I was able to retrieve what it had recorded so I could create a manual entry using the average pace it had recorded (I already knew what the distance would be since it was my usual route and actually that ended up giving me a time comparable to what I normally run for those opening miles). In the grand scheme of things it’s not that important, but I like to have an accurate record of my mileage so I’m glad I had a way to work around.
Since I had the event app open to record my run, I got to find out what the runner experience was like using it and I was pretty impressed. Just like when Steve was running, I was getting alerts every kilometre to let me know how I was doing, plus at both 5k and 10k there was a verbal alert letting me know where I was. This had clearly been put into some kind of translation system since I got a “sat-nav” type voice in my ear, but this was immediately followed by a better recorded message in French congratulating me on my progress. The “sat-nav” voice also told me when there was 100m to go and congratulated me by name for finishing. My route actually meant I finished my distance at the bottom of the road rather than outside my front door, but since Steve had received the message saying I was done he was looking out for me arriving. Later I was able to go back into the app to see a kind of “fly by” video of my run which was pretty cool. The app also had a selfie frame built in for a post-run picture. I had to get an appropriate prop for mine!
You could download a finisher badge too.
I actually really enjoyed this so took the chance to tick off “run for fun” on my bingo card. I’ve taken part in lots of virtual races but mostly the kind where you go at any time you like and submit evidence to receive a medal. This one may not have had a medal (there were spot prizes but we weren’t lucky enough to win anything) but the app functionality made it feel much more connected and as close to a live event as we can probably get right now.
After all that excitement the rest of the day was pretty chilled, mostly with Smokey camped out on my lap while I started series 2 of The Crown!
i also had a quick doorstep (and distanced) visit from my mum who was dropping off some leftover chicken for the kitties and some homemade banana and nutella muffins for Steve and I. They were yummy!
The Sunday was much more low key. I actually felt quite flat on my run so despite being able to tick off “run in the sunshine” I actually made the decision to cut the distance back a bit – I think both my body and my mind were needing it.
I took advantage of the opportunity to finish up another book – the third in the series of crime novels set in 1970s Glasgow which I have been reading this year.
Then in the evening the rather bittersweet moment of watching the last episode of WandaVision. I really enjoyed the whole series and might go back and rewatch it some time to see if I can spot any details I might have missed.
And with that, my week drew to a close.
What’s the best virtual event you’ve taken part in over the last year?
What could you tick off easily on the bingo card?