My Year Of Running 2018 (Link Up)

For the last couple of years I’ve linked up with Courtney @ Eat Pray Run DC to recap my year in running (2016 and 2017). To be honest, it’s one of my favourite posts as I get to think back over all my awesome adventures from the year just gone by. Here’s how 2018 looked…

Best race experience
Hands down the Disneyland Paris half marathon. I know I’ve gone on about it A LOT, but it was probably the best race experience of my life. No pressure to run a certain time, it was all about celebrating my Big Birthday by combining all my favourite things – running, Disney and Paris.

Best run
For this one I’m going to choose the Stirling marathon. My training was really consistent and I came super close (as in, less than a minute) to the PB I set back in 2014. This is probably the best I’ve paced a full marathon and it really gave me a lot of confidence in what I could do.

Best new piece of running gear
I’ve bought several pairs of amazing, funky leggings this year and you would be forgiven for thinking I would choose one of those…but I’m not! The best thing I bought all year was this reflective “vest” which means I’m visible on my runs through the winter darkness but can wear whatever top I want, rather than being tied to the same old “high viz” one all the time.

Best running advice you’ve received this year
To switch from running after work to running before work. I’ve always been an evening runner, but was feeling increasingly pressed for time so began to consider early morning runs instead. With Steve’s encouragement, I took the plunge and have to say it’s been one of the best things I’ve done for my running as it fits so much more easily into my day. I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed getting up early, but so far it’s been worth it for the extra time it creates in the evening.

Most inspirational runner
This year I’m going to choose my friend Tina Muir, founder of Running for Real. The Superstars community she has created on Facebook is so inspiring and uplifting. I’ve made new friends there and love some of the random discussions we have. Tina herself has been a fantastic role model in her decision to stop running in order to overcome amenhorrea and become pregnant. She will shortly be taking part in the WDW half marathon as her comeback race and I’m so excited for her to have this experience (and, admittedly, a little jealous as I’d love to be there too!). In case you missed it, Tina interviewed me earlier this year.

Favourite picture from a run or race this year
Duh! Obviously a Disney one! The hardest part was narrowing it down…

Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat
Can you guess? Why DLP, of course! I would repeat that experience any time. Good thing it wasn’t a one-off event!

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?
Freakin’ awesome! 2018 was the self-styled Year of Me!!!. I set myself some fun goals, and celebrated a milestone birthday with an amazing racecation. There was also a marathon, lots of parkrunning (including in Florida) and the chance to connect with lots of amazing people both online and IRL. Here’s to an equally awesome 2019…!

Want to join in? I’d love to read about your year in running.

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My Year of Running 2017 (Link Up)

This time last year I linked up with Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC to reflect on my year of running. I really enjoyed writing that post so am joining in again this year.

  • Best race experience 
    Apparently I’m getting fussy in my old age and hardly raced this year even though I ran loads. It would be tempting to choose Paris here (as I did last year) but I’m going to mix things up and choose the Loch Ness marathon. It was third time lucky for me having previously entered the race and not made the start line and although I didn’t quite reach my goal of a marathon PB, the scenery was stunning and I finished with my second-fastest marathon time ever (and the only sub-4:30 outside of my PB). I have to be pleased with that!

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  • Best run
    My best run came in September, just one week before the Loch Ness marathon, when I wanted to test myself at parkrun. I had no expectation of a PB but felt in shape to run my fastest time of the year. I ran well, felt good all the way round and was stunned to find myself just 5 seconds outside of what had been, until that moment, a “rogue outlier” of a PB. Most unexpected result of my life and I was probably just as pleased as if I had run the PB!

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  • Best new piece of running gear
    Got to be my Aftershokz Trekz Titanium headphones. I love to listen podcasts when I’m running and had begun to move away from wired headphones, but all the wireless ones had fairly bulky earpieces and/or plugged my ears too much. I love my Aftershokz as they’re not only comfortable, but use bone conduction to send the sound to my ears so I am fully aware of noises around me. Out of all the new kit I’ve bought this year, these have been the biggest game changer. Pricey, but worth it.

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  • Best running advice you’ve received all year
    Not strictly advice, but this year I did try out a method of approaching my long runs that my husband has found useful. Combining the idea of running at a slow pace to build endurance with the idea of faster pick-ups during the run, I ran every 3rd mile at a quicker pace. This taught me that I could pick up the pace when I needed to and was a useful strategy heading into my goal race.
  • Most inspirational runner
    I’m inspired by many people, but for this one I’m going to pick Laura Muir. Laura has had an amazing year of setting records, challenging records and stepping up to the mark against strong competitors. I have been impressed by her attitude as she never shied away from her goals but was upfront about what she wanted to achieve. Even more impressive is that she has done all of this around her studies to become a vet. Incredible!
  • Favourite picture from a run or race this year
    More of a post-run choice, but I loved the pictures Steve and I took in the Champ de Mars after the Paris Breakfast Run. I think my favourite is this one of me in Warrior Pose!

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  • Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat
    If you don’t race very much but one of your race experiences was in Paris, what else are you going to choose? It may have been a ridiculously hot day, but even though my time wasn’t as I had hoped I was still running through the streets of Paris on a glorious spring day and there’s not much that can top that!

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  • If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?
    Making progress. I had a very consistent and solid year of running, with a new half marathon PB, improvements in my marathon time and some very pleasing parkrun results. I tried a bit of international parkrun tourism and just this month reached the milestone of my 100th parkrun. All in all it’s been a great year!

Despite a pretty light racing schedule, 2017 was an awesome year of running. I kicked it all off with a mega New Year challenge, went to Paris, raced in Florida and racked up my highest yearly mileage yet. Now bring on 2018…!

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Want to join the linkup? All the instructions are here.

Eat Pray Run DC

Week In Review – Festive Fun!

Another week and just 7 more days until the big Ho Ho Ho! It was another reasonably restful week for me as I was suffering from some lingering discomfort around my ribs and torso from all my recent coughing, but the cough has finally subsided and by the end of the week I was ready to start enjoying the festive season.
I’m linking up once again with Jessie @ The Right Fits and Jess @ Jess Runs ATL to share more about my week.

My aim at the start of the week was to shift the last remnants of the cough and give the muscles around my ribs a chance to recover as they had clearly been under strain. I have to admit, I was pretty happy to have the time out as it was pretty chilly outside!

fullsizeoutput_2309By Thursday the cough had pretty much subsided and I was keen to try some yoga to see if it helped to stretch out the muscles in my upper body. I also knew it would be the last Ashtanga class before Christmas so really wanted to be there. I took it easy and just did what my body wanted to do, which meant moving slowly and choosing easier options for some postures. By the end of the class my left hand side felt so much better, but my right, which had been flaring up a bit more that day, was still feeling uncomfortable. Still, it was good to do something within my usual routine again and although I couldn’t participate at the level I normally would, I enjoyed the class and still felt that I got something out of it.

I had hoped to return to parkrun on Saturday, however thanks to the icy conditions the event was cancelled. If I’m honest, this was probably for the best as it made me take another day to rest and allow my sore side to settle. My day consisted of getting my hair done, doing some food shopping and then settling down for the serious business of the Strictly Come Dancing final (Dancing with the Stars for my readers outside of the UK). It was an evening of glitter balls, dancing and kitty cuddles!

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IMG_4882It was Sunday that was the real highlight of the week. It is our tradition to visit Edinburgh one Sunday close to Christmas. We did this for our first date back in 2008 and have repeated it every year since.

It was raining when we set off for the station and the rain was falling on already icy surfaces creating really treacherous conditions underfoot so our walk was a bit slow. Luckily we had left enough time as we had hoped to grab a coffee for the journey, but in the end only had a minute or two to spare so had to go caffeine-free!

Once in Edinburgh we headed straight to the festive ice rink at St Andrews Square as we had booked our tickets in advance. It’s always a bit strange getting onto the ice, but after a slightly wobbly lap sticking close to the sides, things usually click into place for me and I can skate with enough confidence to move away from the hand rails. Steve, on the other hand, has never yet grasped the mechanics of moving around the ice, but this year did make some significant progress!

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IMG_4903Once off the ice we were channelled right into the bar where we were keen to enjoy a hot festive beverage. We chose the hot gin and apple toddy which was delicious!

IMG_4886From there we visited a couple of shops before it was time to go for some food. And where else would we go but the Chocolate Lounge on the top floor of Harvey Nichols? I was in the mood for something savoury so had the dipping plate which had olives, hummus, bloody Mary chutney and chocolate balsamic vinegar with some delicious bread. Yum! And to drink? Why a strawberry bellini of course – standards must be maintained 😂

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IMG_4892After lunch we had a walk around some of the Christmas market stalls and assorted festivities before heading to Hotel Chocolat for a hot drink. I decided on their winter spiced hot chocolate which was delicious!

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The lights at The Dome are always worth a look!

IMG_4897Full of yummy goodness, we headed back to the station for our train home. Turned out we were pretty tired (or full!) so both of us had a nap since we had a while before getting home.

IMG_4898Fortunately the morning ice had melted so our walk home was much easier, but we did make a pitstop at our local Chinese takeaway. Neither of us were massively hungry but we did fancy some food and for some reason fried rice and curry sauce sounded perfect – what a classy pair we are lol!

Any weather-related disruptions to your running lately?
What are your pre-Christmas traditions?

Week In Review – Beaten!

I think this might be my briefest Week in Review yet! Thanks to being ill I really haven’t done anything all week, but I’ve written a weekly roundup every week this year and don’t want to stop now. As ever, linking up with Jessie and Jess to share the details.

If you read my post last week then you’ll maybe remember that by the end of the week I was really struggling with a chesty cough, and it was getting worse. After giving in on Sunday and staying at home resting, Steve insisted that I wasn’t well enough to go to work on Monday (and my protests were rather feeble!) so I called in sick. As it turned out, that was going to be the case for a few days.

I spent Monday in bed trying to rest and catching up on some TV programmes I was a bit behind with (in case you’re interested, Once Upon a Time, Nashville and Will & Grace). I had coughed so much the night before that poor Steve had gone to sleep in the spare room and he did the same on Monday night which meant that if I wasn’t sleeping I could read or use my laptop without disturbing him. Not a very exciting day and when I eventually fell asleep that night it was through sheer exhaustion from coughing.

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Ridiculous cat checking to see if she liked tomato soup!

Tuesday followed a rather similar pattern, however after lunch I felt well enough to get up and head downstairs to my comfy armchair instead…just in time for Steve to head to bed having picked up the bug from me. I felt bad as it was his birthday and rather than celebrating he was heading to bed with hot drinks and a bit of a fever. My turn for the spare room!

I stayed off work again on Wednesday as I knew it would be too much for me to spend all day teaching at that stage. I did, however, manage to spend the whole day out of bed. I did a little work, watched some more TV, read and tried to eat a bit more to get my strength back. Meanwhile Steve stayed in bed and I did my best to take him the things he needed. We were quite a pair!

On Thursday I went back to work. I knew I was too “well” to be at home but a day at work is a whole other story and by the afternoon I was really tired. The school has really been hit with this bug so loads of pupils (and staff) were off and I got through the day with the help of my lozenges and the good will of my pupils who were pleased to have their teacher back rather than a cover teacher. I decided not to go to yoga at night as I was not only tired, but still coughing and all the muscles in my upper body were really aching from the force of the cough. A quiet night in front of the TV beckoned for us both as Steve was getting himself up and about when I arrived home.

I felt a bit better on Friday and had a relatively light teaching commitment so survived another day. Steve went back to work too so both of us were feeling the impact of following a “normal” routine. We did still go out to eat as we usually do, but were both conscious that we didn’t need as much to eat as normal – highly unusual for these two runners!

The weekend plan was to relax. Without parkrun to go to (no running until I’m sure the cough has settled and I’m no longer sore) I was able to sleep until I awoke naturally and take my time getting ready. Steve went to meet his brother for a coffee and I walked into town to meet them as I thought the fresh air would be good for me. This meant we could get some food shopping done then relax at home for the afternoon.

After an earlier meal than usual, Steve drove me back into town as I was going to the pantomime with my sister. She works for the theatre and concert hall, so gets comp tickets for shows and I usually go with her. This year the panto is Aladdin and it was the opening night in the newly refurbished theatre. I still find it really strange as I worked there for a few years as a student so knew the old building really well and now it feels like all the doors lead to different places as there is basically a whole new building around the auditorium! Since I’ve been ill I’ve not been feeling too festive so it was nice to do something tradionally Christmassy and make me feel a bit better.

Sunday was another lazy morning (I feel so much better but this bug has left me really tired) and some chores before heading out for a coffee. Once home I spent some time putting up our Christmas tree, something that fell by the wayside last weekend!

IMG_4873So overall not the best of weeks for me. I am feeling a lot better now, but am incredibly sore from coughing and I can feel myself getting grumpy and irritable because I’m not getting the endorphins  from workouts. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to some training soon as heading into Christmas without any training does not sound appealing! On a more interesting note, this week my photo has been used in some of the emails and social media posts for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival. This was taken during my 2nd of 4 events that weekend (10k, 5k, half marathon and final relay leg in 2015) and remains one of my greatest running memories. If you’re a newer reader or somehow missed it, you can read al about that particular adventure here and here.

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Fame at last lol!

Have you put your Christmas decorations up yet?
What’s your favourite running memory?

Week In Review – A Bad Cough Means Time Off!

Sorry for the terrible rhyming title, but I needed something to liven up my post this week. Sadly the illness well and truly caught up with me and I had to take a complete week of rest. The only thing I did was one yoga class so I’m afraid there’s not much to include workout-wise this week, but my week in review should be there to share the good weeks and the bad weeks, so I’m still taking part in the weekly linkup with Jessie and Jess.

I’m really not kidding when I say it was a week of rest:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – rest
Sunday – rest

I’ll not take you through the details of every day as let’s face it, you can probably already see the pattern! Basically I went to work, came home and got comfortable to read or watch TV. Despite feeling better at the end of last week. on Monday I was treated to the beginnings of a chesty cough that stayed with me through the week.

On Thursday I thought a yoga class would be worth a try. As it turned out my teacher was absent and the teacher who was filling in taught in a rather different way, so the same sequence of asanas actually felt a bit more restful. Probably just what I needed. Thankfully I made it to the end of savasana before needing to cough so thought I was on the mend, but ended up having an awful coughing fit in the night and not sleeping very well.

As a result, I felt tired on Friday but knew I had to keep going as I was going to a colleague’s retiral dinner that night and it was important to me to be there. Although tired, I felt otherwise fine, but the cough sounded awful and people kept asking if I was ok. I could have done with an earlier night, but it was a lovely evening and the food was delicious. We had two courses plus a canapé and palate cleanse.

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IMG_4855I had already decided to give parkrun a miss (I was supposed to be pacing) as I knew I shouldn’t be running, so had a more leisurely start to the day. Steve and I had cinema tickets for later in the morning as our local cinema was showing our favourite Christmas film, Elf!

IMG_9132The remainder of the day was really restful then we were out again in the evening as I had booked a meal to celebrate Steve’s birthday. I felt much better than the night before, despite still coughing, and really enjoyed the food – a 5 course tasting menu.

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IMG_4862On Sunday I knew I was going to rest again and had grand plans to maybe walk to the gym to sit in the steam room for a bit. As it turns out, things worked out a little differently…

I awoke quite early as I was coughing and lay in bed for a bit catching up on some vlogs I wanted to watch…until I fell asleep again. Steve had been out and when he got home called out to me. When I didn’t answer he assumed I was out until he found me fast asleep in bed. At noon! I got up about an hour later but to be honest I felt awful and spend all my time in my comfy chair watching TV. My 500+ step streak came to an end 😦 I knew I was only going to give up the streak if I was incapacitated by injury or too ill to go out for a walk, so that maybe gives you an idea of how I was feeling. It was still disappointing to end the streak though.

fullsizeoutput_2304I guess after working all week my body finally gave up and succumbed to whatever bug this is. I’m not a great patient as I’m rarely ill and hate feeling like this. As someone who is generally healthy and fit, it’s hard to find that climbing the stairs is such a drain, but I’m listening carefully to my body and making sure I recover properly. Fingers crossed it’s soon…!

Any remedies for a chesty cough?
What’s your favourite Christmas film?

Week In Review – Stop The World!

What a week! Sometimes the world just feels a little too much and with lots to do and a cold doing its work on my immune system, much of this week outside of work was a real “time out” to give me a chance to recover. I may not have worked out much, but I’m still linking up with Jessie @ The Right Fits and Jess @ Jess Runs ATL to share how I spent my time and remind us all to listen to our bodies and take a rest when we need it!

Just to prove how little I did, here’s how my week turned out:

Monday – rest (parents’ evening)
Tuesday – bike @ the gym rest
Wednesday – short run rest
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 5 miles

Monday was always going to be a “rest” day as I had another parents’ evening. Unfortunately, by the time I was finished the demands of teaching all day and speaking all night had left me wiped out. Although I started the day feeling perfectly well, by the time I arrived home I was feeling stuffed up and rather hoarse. A cold had arrived and from that point on it was quite clear the cold was going to stay!

On Tuesday I had thought I might have a gentle cycle then sit in the steam room to clear my head – I even took my kit with me so I could go straight to the gym after work! – but by the time I was driving home this was the absolute last thing I wanted to do. The cold was making me feel exhausted as all my energy was going on teaching my classes during the day, so I decided to call it quits and head home for a relaxing evening catching up on some tv. Definitely the right decision.

I carried on in a similar vein on Wednesday as I knew I was just too congested to run. While my symptoms were technically “above the neck” and a gentle run would have been ok, with nothing specific on the horizon to train for, I knew I would benefit far more from the rest. No run, no orchestra, just another night cuddled in with the cat and watching tv. A little frustrating, but for the best.

By Thursday I felt a little more like getting on with things so went to yoga as usual. Theoretically fine, but as it turns out breathing through a congested nose whilst in downward dog is a bit of a challenge! I took it easy and didn’t push things so by the end of the class I did feel a bit better.

And by Friday I knew it was time to do a bit more again. Yes there was still a bit of congestion, but this was more the residual effects of the cold rather than me still feeling ill, so I headed over to the studio for a PT session with Steve as I knew this wouldn’t need much exertion and I could stop to blow my nose any time I needed to. Since I want to build a pre-marathon training base, we did some work with the TRX.

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IMG_4753After a good sleep on Friday night I was feeling pretty good on Saturday morning so there was no way I was going to miss parkrun. It was Perth parkrun’s 4th birthday and lots of runners were going in fancy dress (sadly I had no time to turn my attention to that this year, but sine the theme was “wacky runners” I decided this was a good day to break out some of my more “interesting” running tights). Due to the effects of some work going on around our usual route, this time we were on the alternate course which is 2 laps of the park on the tarmac path – no mud splashed on my nice running tights 🙂 It was also freezing cold so I picked thermal tights and cold weather gear to keep me as warm as possible.

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With a guest appearance by the cat!

Given I’d not run for a week I had no idea how I would feel so my plan was to start out easy then push on if I felt ok. This resulted in a huge Royal Flush Negative Split (8:38, 8:13, 7:56 and 7:10 for the last nubbin). It was never going to be my speediest day, but it was good to know that I was ok to run and could up the pace a bit without pushing hard.

I have to say, I never really felt like I got properly warm and was aware of the chill in the air the whole time. I had been worried that I might have overdone the warm clothing, but in the end I was glad of it all!

IMG_4755Run done and barcode scanned there was the much more important business of cake. All the runners had been asked to contribute something for the table so there was lots of home baking (ours was shop bought thanks to time limitations) but to offset the gluttony we were also donating to the local foodbank. Having listened to a talk from the manager of the nearest foodbank to where I work earlier in the week, I was utterly horrified at the numbers of people who were needing to turn to such facilities and how this compared to the donations they received. I duly went straight out to stock up on suitable items to donate. In the grand scheme of things I spent an amount that I barely notice as I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to not have to think about food bills, but everything that was donated by parkrunners this weekend should make a huge difference to local people at this time of year.

Back at the cake table, I chose something that bore a passing resemblance to the cake version of sticky toffee pudding and I was NOT disappointed (no photo as I was too cold to try and fish my phone out and was scared I might drop my cake which would have been a DISASTER!). I followed that up with a piece of mint traybake which was a bit like a minty brownie. Since I tend to run parkrun fasted, I basically had cake for breakfast. No complaints about that from me!

IMG_4836After a few errands the rest of the day was pretty chilled, although I did hear that Santa’s furry friends were back in town so went for a look while we were there and was pleased to find that unlike last week the reindeer were in attendance (I think they might be tapering for the Big Night since they were just lying around eating!) along with alpacas, donkeys and pygmy goats (so cute!).

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IMG_4828I had another great sleep that night and awoke feeling great (if still a little phlegmy) on Sunday. I was keen to get back to normal and have a run but wasn’t sure how far to go. In the end I chose a route which would allow me to make a decision that would either result in 3.5ish miles or extend in a variety of ways to add a little more.

It was cold again so I layered up and through the first part of the run the ground alternated between covered in leaves and covered in frost. It looked beautiful.

IMG_4837In the end I chose to extend the run as I was feeling good and enjoying being out catching up with the Marathon Talk podcast (it wouldn’t be a Sunday run without Martin and Tom!) so ended up with 5 miles. I certainly could have gone on, but that felt right for this point in time.

IMG_4839Later in the afternoon we ventured out again to to enjoy the St Andrew’s Day celebrations in town. We were really just interested in seeing a bit of “bagrock” from the Red Hot Chilli Pipers who never disappoint.
IMG_4840Rather than some shaky phone footage, here’s a taster of their usual material. Performed live there’s also a singer, dancers and, of course, they wear kilts.

Overall a pretty quiet week, but I made up for it a bit at the weekend!

Would you run or rest with a cold?
Any exciting festive events where you live?

Week In Review – New Wheels!

Hello! I hope you’re well. This week was another busy one for me and not overly exciting on the running/fitness front, but still a lot of fun. Join me as I link up with Jessie @ The Right Fits and Jess @ Jess Runs ATL for their weekly linkup.

Thanks to lots of things going on, I had to be pretty efficient with my time this week. Unfortunately by the end of the week my body was screaming at me to take a break so I listened (I know, who am I?!?) and made some changes. Here’s how things ended up:

Monday – swim
Tuesday – 5 miles
Wednesday – rest (parents’ evening)
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session rest
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 10k rest

I suppose the general tone for the week was set on Monday. I had it in mind to go for a swim after work since there were no meetings. I also had to nip to the supermarket for a few bits and pieces. As things turned out, I went a little “off piste” with my shopping list!

In brief, I lease my car and my current agreement is coming to an end in March, however the garage had contacted me with an offer they thought I might be interested in which would mean changing earlier to get a better price. I agreed to go in and take a look at the car/run some numbers and the upshot was that in addition to porridge oats, honey and teabags, I also ended up buying a car on Monday! All that and I still managed to squeeze in a swim before heading home – efficiency at its best!

And to cap it all off, Monday was also day 500 of my step goal streak. That’s a lot of steps!

fullsizeoutput_22eaOn Tuesday I had a decision to make. I knew that thanks to a parents’ evening on Wednesday I could only manage one of my midweek sessions – either the bike or a run. I decided that a run would be of greater benefit and took advantage of our slightly earlier finish on Tuesdays to get out and run 5 miles. It was dark, of course, but I was nice and visible thanks to my flashing shoe light!

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IMG_4722No workout at all on Wednesday. Frankly it was just long as I left at 7:45am and didn’t get home again until about 8:45pm!!! All I had time for was a cup of tea in front of the tv then straight to bed.

As a result of an intense Wednesday, Thursday felt like it was just a continuation of the same day. I was knackered and couldn’t wait to get to my yoga class. For some reason our teacher wasn’t there and there was another teacher covering, but I’ve done a few classes with her before. I like her but her approach is slightly different so the class is never quite the same. Not a problem through as I still get my yoga fix and it can be interesting to get some different tips for progressing through postures.

On Friday we had an inservice day, which means the pupils were off and we had a day of meetings and planning. It’s not my favourite kind of day, but things improved dramatically at morning interval when one of the office staff brought her puppy in for a visit. Of course I was straight in for puppy cuddles (and lots of puppy kisses!) and headed into the next part of the day with a smile on my face.

Unfortunately, by the end of the day I was starting to feel the effects of the busy week. When I get really tired I tend to experience similar symptoms to the start of a cold – sore throat and aches – but listening to my body and resting quickly resolves it. In this instance, I cancelled my planned session with Steve and headed home to relax. I had a few things I wanted to get done but wanted a nap first so got settled in my favourite chair and closed my eyes, thinking I would nap for about 30-40 minutes. But when I opened my eyes it had been almost 2 hours!!! I DEFINITELY needed that sleep!

I was feeling better so Steve and I headed out to eat. I had thought it might be “steak week” (my favourite) but instead the special was a mixed grill. I wasn’t sure if I would manage it all with a lower training volume, but also knew that if Steve ordered it and I didn’t then I would regret it!

fullsizeoutput_22e9I didn’t quite finish the chips, but ate all the rest and it was awesome!

After a good sleep I felt much better on Saturday morning so saw no reason not to go to parkrun, but rather than push for a time I decided to run to feel and plan to be a bit slower. This meant finishing closer to 25 minutes than sub-24, but it was what my body needed that day. I also broke out the Salomon Speedcross shoes for the first time this winter – a definite seasonal marker!

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IMG_4725Post-parkrun Steve went into town to meet his brother but I decided to take some time for myself and meet him later on to get the food shopping. But first, I wanted to explore some of the events happening in town as part of the Christmas lights being switched on.

First, it was open house at the theatre. It has been closed for two (maybe three, I can’t remember properly) years for a major refurbishment/extension and since I worked in there as a student I was keen to look around the newly re-opened building. It really felt like the beautiful, refurbished auditorium I’m so familiar with had been put into a whole new building, but the updates are fantastic and offer so much scope for future events.

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IMG_4731After that I set off in search of reindeer but only found camels(!), ponies and donkeys.

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IMG_4738I also went to watch a giant ice sculpture being created.

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IMG_4740My last port of call was less exciting as I went to the chemist to get my winter flu jab (amusingly, the pharmacist recognised me from parkrun and told me I had helped her on a pacer week. Apparently I had “gently encouraged” her!). After having the flu in 2013 I make sure to get this injection every year as I really don’t want to repeat that experience. I’ve never had a problem with the jab beyond a slightly achy arm, but this time I didn’t feel too great for the rest of the day (a known side effect), perhaps because I had been feeling a little run down.

But later in the afternoon I had an important appointment so had to pull myself together for that. Can you guess? Yup, I went to collect my car…

The garage is family run and always provides nice little touches to make you feel appreciated. I was given a glass of fizz (non-alcoholic as I had to drive home!), had my name on the big screen and my car was waiting for me in the handover bay all under wraps – exciting!

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IMG_4745I also got a lovely bunch of flowers to thank me for my custom.

IMG_4746It’s basically a newer model of the car I already had, and a different colour, but that’s ideal for me and it’s quite nice to have something to brighten up these cold winter days. I just have to work out all the entertainment system as that’s had an upgrade since my last car so is really the only thing that is different for me to get to grips with.

Once home I had really had enough so got my pyjamas on and got comfy in front of the tv, not really feeling my best.

On Sunday morning Steve headed off to run in a club event and I took advantage of the chance to have a lie in and a pretty lazy morning. I was feeling pretty much back to normal but had made the decision not to run and give my body a chance to reset. Instead, I put all my things back in my car then headed off for a walk in the crisp November air as I wanted to get a bit of fresh air and exercise. I maybe didn’t achieve lots with my day, but sometimes you need to take a step back and relax. I’ll catch up on everything else now I feel more refreshed.

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IMG_4747My week ended, as ever, with a nice bubble bath to set me up for the week ahead. It’s going to be another busy one!

How do you know when you need to slow things down or take a break?
Ever had the flu?