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 70

Hurrah! The weather improved again for this particular week so I was able to return to my sun lounger a fair bit. I didn’t read quite as much as the week before, but it was still good to get out first thing for my run, spend a relaxing day reading and soaking up the sun, then take my yoga mat outside. I could definitely get used to this!

Monday – 4.4 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 10k + home yoga
Thursday – form drills + garden workout
Friday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 12.5 miles

Obviously my Monday run meant getting started with the weekly scavenger hunts I do. I got a little carried away with tracking a couple of things down and ended up running a tiny bit further than I planned. I felt good and was having fun so I could easily have stayed out there longer!

Although the weather had improved, I was unfortunately confined to indoor activities for the bulk of the day as we were FINALLY getting our decking laid in the back garden. We set the wheels in motion for this at the very start of May, but with shortages of materials and so many people getting work done right now (great for the contractors!) we had to wait a little longer than normal until we could get the work done.

Here’s a “before” picture of the space:

The frame for the decking was ready quite quickly, but preparing/levelling the ground and cutting the timber for the decking itself took up the bulk of the day.

Meanwhile I took care of some bits and pieces inside then went out for a walk before my yoga class (still on Zoom) as I was really needing some fresh air after a day mainly inside.

For my Tuesday run I went for a bit of an explore. I was aware of some roadworks on a route I often take and while I thought the pavements would be available, it wouldn’t be the most pleasant to run through. I wasn’t sure precisely where the road closure would be so decided just to make a decision about my route when I got to the area. But once there, I remembered about a lovely path that runs behind the houses. I explored it a bit when we first moved into our house, but don’t really use if for running since I prefer to be in more populated areas when I’m out early. This was the ideal chance to try it out.

I really enjoyed the path and found that it actually added about a quarter mile to my route by the time I rejoined the road I would normally take. I suspect I will use it more often now (but not when it’s early/dark).

While the work on the decking was finished off, I headed off into town on some errands, which included picking up a table to match our outdoor furniture so that we could enjoy eating on the finished decking. By the time I got back, it was done!

While I made my lunch, Steve took the new folding table out of the box and set it up beside the chairs and side table so I could have my lunch outside. It was so good to just sit out there without having to mess around with a tray or balancing things on my lap.

And since the weather was good, I got my sun lounger out, set it up on the decking and enjoyed an afternoon finishing up my book, having a cheeky nap and enjoying an ice cream cone.

Reading-wise, I was carrying on with my goal of catching up on the Scarpetta novels and this was the next one in the series.

We took the TRX into the garden for my workout, then I set myself up for a yoga session on the decking. Another thing that felt really good.

We even enjoyed our dinner outside. Eating on the decking really made it feel like a summer holiday.

The Wednesday morning was a bit overcast, but that made no difference as far as my run was concerned. I ended up running 10k whilst enjoying the latest Running for Real Together Run. This one began with the suggestion that we “touch nature”. I was right at my front door so put my hand into the grass for that immediate connection.

And then took a photograph of my surroundings later on:

The remainder of the day was very much the same as the previous day as the sun had returned: lunch outside, sun lounger, yoga, dinner outside. I’ll admit I could have done with the house being a bit cooler overnight (UK houses are designed to keep the heat IN and we don’t have AC so the best we can do is a fan) but I was loving being outside in the warm sunshine.

On the Thursday morning I headed out for another set of form drills, adding another rep to the session, It was humid, but I still enjoyed it.

After that, I spent the bulk of the day with my family. It was mum’s birthday so I walked up to deliver a card and gift, thinking I would maybe be there until lunchtime, but ended up staying quite a long time. Dad made us Arnold Palmers (iced tea with still lemonade, a staple when we are in Florida) then mum asked if I was staying for lunch. She was making a big salad which included lettuce and radish she had not yet picked from her flourishing garden, so I stayed and we sat out on mum and dad’s decking for a family meal. Another really lovely way to spend time.

By the time I went home there was really only time for one activity – workout or yoga – and I opted for a workout using the TRX in the garden before we ate our dinner on our own decking.

I was already having another day that felt holiday-esque, but there was further excitement when I got back from mum and dad’s to find my order from the Disney sale had arrived. My sister had actually ordered very shortly after me and hers had arrived first thing. I think hers was loaded up with the morning deliveries and mine was on the afternoon run! Steve had set the box on top of an old box the cats like to play in and it had immediately been claimed by Sooty!

It was actually after dinner before I was allowed access and could unpack my order:

As for the empty box, first it was inspected by both cats:

Then Sooty decided to settle down in it:

While Smokey, inexplicably, decided he wanted to lie on the paper packaging 🤷🏻‍♀️

Order unpacked, I finished up another book (the next in the Scarpetta series).

We stepped outside for some fresh air before bed and I was able to get a picture of the finished (for now) garden with all the solar lights on. It made me so happy to see it like this after waiting for so long. What I wanted was a space that is easy to use to go out and sit, which wasn’t the case before and I’m really pleased with it.

On the Friday morning I wasn’t sure where I wanted to run to, then Steve came in and told me the water level on the river was really low so I decided to go down there and see for myself (as soon as I removed Smokey from my shoe – anyone would think he didn’t want me to leave 😹)

The section on the left of the photo with all the stones running under the first arch is usually all underwater but at this point you could actually walk under that archway (Steve went back down later in the day and did so).

I went further along to the other side of the bridge where there are markings in the stone to indicate the height of flood waters in the past. In the picture below I’ve marked the height of the famous 1993 flood which was a big factor in the flood defences we have now. When you see how low the water level was as I stood there, it was strange to think about how high it has been in the past!

The morning remained overcast so I did some bits and pieces inside then headed out to read in the garden when the sun put in an appearance. I was able to have a workout with the TRX in the garden later on, but both yoga and dinner were inside this time (although we did take our Friday night beer out onto the decking later on as the weather improved a bit again).

And not to be outdone in the photo stakes by her brother, Sooty attempted to squeeze herself into the world’s smallest box. Seriously, cats are so weird sometimes!

The Saturday was another really relaxing day. Of course I started with a run, sandwiching a (not)parkrun into a warm up and cool down which added up to 6.5 miles. I was really pleased with the (not)parkrun section as I ended up with the fastest time I’ve recorded since March – clearly being better rested and including some form drills has made a difference! This was also the day that parkrun restarted in England and while we wait for confirmation of a restart date here in Scotland, it felt a lot better to know that I ran well on that particular day when I was a little envious of all those who were able to go to a parkrun again.

With the sun back we were able to have our post-run breakfast outside then spend the afternoon outside again, including having our dinner. I had come back from mum and dad’s on the Thursday with some rhubarb and normally Steve turns that into a rhubarb crumble, but it really wasn’t crumble weather. Instead, he experimented with making a rhubarb fool and it was delicious! Food just tastes so much better outside in the sunshine.

For my Sunday run I was in the mood for something different again. Steve described a route to me that would take me out to a newly developed “village” outside of town. It involved running via paths I was vaguely aware of but hadn’t used before, then after a loop around the new area I rejoined the riverside path for my return.

It was good to do something different as I can be bad for sticking to very similar routes. I’ll probably use variations of this one more often now.

It being Sunday, we had to head out for our weekly food shop but the weather remained good so we spent the rest of the afternoon outside on our sun loungers reading (and dined al fresco once more). After being stuck inside while the decking was built, I was really enjoying being a “proper grown up” with a deck and patio furniture haha! I even finished up another book while I was out there.

And with that, we wrapped up our week. It was looking like that was the last of the sunshine for a bit, but it was a great couple of weeks having a “back garden holiday” and I was feeling refreshed and rested as a result. Hoping for some more sunshine before school starts again in August 🤞.

What’s your favourite way to spend a hot sunny day?
When was the last time you tried running somewhere new to you?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 50

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?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 48

And just like that, the snow was gone. It was mad how much snow fell in such a short space of time last week, but equally mad how quickly it disappeared as the temperature crept above freezing again. Scottish weather is nothing if not interesting! It made for much more satisfactory running (and the triumphant return of my shorts – hurrah!):

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 6.3 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

The forecast for the week, while still a bit damp, promised milder temperatures than the previous week. As the week began there was a slight increase (only enough to ditch the hat!), but still quite a lot of patchy ice and snow to slow things down. I kept the pace easy and was amused that my fastest mile was actually the final one which was mainly uphill, but also on the quietest streets where I could run on the road.

On my way home I spotted what was left of someone’s snowman, basically a mound of melted snow with a satsuma and some twigs on top. I didn’t get a picture, but it reminded me of the end of The Snowman by Raymond Briggs!

As the day progressed the temperature clearly rose (hard to tell from inside) and I was fascinated to see that every time I looked out the window the snow had receded more and more. This made me hopeful of clear streets for my run the following day.

Monday ended with my yoga session via Zoom. It was the start of a new block (although realistically it all feels like one ongoing block right now since time is such a constantly shifting entity) and I enjoyed that bit of time to myself without a screen in front of me or tasks on my mind.

And eating dinner afterwards Steve and I started to watch the four-part drama The Drowning which was on a couple of weeks ago. My mum said it was gripping but we had waited until we finished our previous box set before watching it.

Waking up on Tuesday morning I checked the temperature straight away and it looked mild enough to wear my shorts – amazing!

Heading out onto the streets was a little strange as there were still a few piles of snow from clearing driveways, etc that hadn’t melted but I wasn’t at all cold. Bearing in mind the low temperatures and layers of kit last week, it was so funny to be looking at snow yet running in shorts (and regular road shoes – the winter shoes finally getting a rest!). It felt great to be able to run properly and even though I was running fairly steadily, it amused me to find that my first mile – uphill and usually the slowest – was still quicker than pretty much anything I ran the week before! It just goes to show the difference the conditions make.

That run was just what I needed. I felt great coming in the door afterwards and it really set me up for the last day of online lessons for the week. The weather actually stayed quite nice and I was treated to the most beautifully placed rainbow out my window when I returned to my desk after lunch.

I also got my “consolation prize” from the London Marathon. I always donate my fee so if when I’m unsuccessful in the ballot I get a top from them. This year’s version feels quite cosy.

We had a faculty meeting after school (a little shorter than the previous couple of weeks) then it was workout time. Of course with the improved conditions no need to rest those poor hip flexors anymore so it was a hip flexor circuit for me. It’s fascinating to feel the wearying in them as the workout goes on. I followed the workout with some yoga then we settled down for the evening. Since it was Shrove Tuesday we had thought about making pancakes (at one point we joked about “Shrove Valentine’s” but those cards hadn’t arrived yet – they did arrive the following day) but we still had some of Steve’s chocolate beer cake so decided to postpone the pancakes until Thursday (Shrove Thursday? I mean, what is time right now?).

On Wednesday morning there was rain forecast. It was a bit drizzly but by the time I was getting ready to go out (around when Steve arrived home soaking wet!) it was pouring. Somehow I struck it lucky and the rain actually stopped before I headed out the door and stayed off for the duration of my run. Incredible!

This was an inservice (inset) day at work which mostly meant meetings. Under present circumstances, a day of Teams meetings. I find all that sitting and listening really difficult, but Sooty was on hand to keep me focused 😹

My post that day brought with it a long-awaited medal from a virtual run. It had been sent to me about three weeks previously but when it didn’t show up I got in touch with the company and they sent a replacement. It’s part of the princess-themed set I have been collecting so I’m glad we were able to resolve the problem so easily. Great customer service.

Wednesday was also Random Acts of Kindness Day. I was alerted to this by a post in the Facebook group I’m in which has previously run the book exchanges I have enjoyed. To mark the day, someone started a post where group members were invited to share an Amazon wish list then pick someone (maybe even more than one) to gift a book to. I thought it was a lovely idea as you could pick a total stranger, click through to their list, choose a book and arrange to have it sent to them. To ensure the RAOK gifts were distributed fairly evenly, we wrote “gifted” below the post of someone we bought for (so as not to ruin the surprise of what we actually got them). I posted a list and immediately noticed someone above me in the thread who hadn’t been gifted a book so I clicked through on their list and organised a book for them. I actually had two people write that they had sent me a gift so I made sure to pay it forward and gift somebody else. It felt so nice to know that a couple of people would get a surprise delivered to them the following day and seeing how keen group members were to take part really renewed my faith in the goodness in people during a time when many are finding things tough.

That sent me into the evening (the start of my long-weekend for half term) in a really good mood and made the upper body workout using that more challenging black resistance band more bearable.

Since Thursday was a day off, I indulged in some reading time in bed before doing anything else. That meant it was a little later in the morning before I headed out for my run. In a way I think this worked in my favour as I felt more awake and fresh, a bit like I usually do on a Saturday. I set off with the idea in mind that a Thursday run is usually around 4.5 miles, but as the first couple of miles ticked by I realised that I was really enjoying my run: the weather was decent (still in shorts!), I had nothing to be home for urgently and I just felt good, so I decided to extend my loop and see what my distance came in at. Arriving home a little beyond 10k was perfect. Along the way I ran down to the river to see how high the water was with all the melting snow. Answer, pretty high!

With a little time available, I had a couple of projects in mind (as well as taking some time to relax) so once I was showered and changed I got on with the first couple of those: tidying up and rehanging clothes in the wardrobe and sorting out a few things around my online teaching workspace to make it a little more comfortable and convenient. This took me until lunchtime, at which point I got settled in to watch a couple of one-off tv programmes I had saved.

I also had a bit of time to finish the book I had been reading. This one was from an Amazon First Reads selection with my Prime membership and it was the kind of book which makes me feel a bit uncomfortable yet at the same time compelled to keep going until the mystery at its heart is resolved.

But just because I had a day off work that’s didn’t mean I had a day off working out! At around the usual time Steve set me up to do one of his hip flexor workouts. They may be tough but I am feeling the benefit so I guess I’ll have to put up with it! The yoga session on the calendar for this day had an upper body focus so I ended up with a pretty comprehensive workout!

A big excitement on Thursday was the continuation of the RAOK from the day before. I was thrilled to see the recipients of the gifts I picked out sharing that they had arrived and had my gifts arrive too. I set my wish list so I wouldn’t know what had been bought so it was a great surprise. Very different types of book, but I’m looking forward to them both.

Friday was also a day off, affording me another easy start with some reading in bed. The weather wasn’t looking so great outside this time so I suspected I wouldn’t be looking to extend my run. I think I got lucky again with just some light drizzle so covered 4.5 miles. That’s a little more than I would usually do on a Friday, but it’s what I planned when I set out rather than a mid-run change.

Once I was ready I decided to tackle my “to do” list of things I just needed a bit of headspace to sort out. The first task was to (try to) renew my passport. I discovered that you can now take your own photo for this (subject to some specific requirements) but as it turned out this was not all that easy. After several attempts we just couldn’t get an acceptable photo and it seemed to be lighting that was at fault. We’ll need to try again on a brighter day as all the rain and drizzle meant it was just too dark no matter what we did.

I was, however, a bit more successful with my other tasks: booking a dental checkup (I was due to go last year right when we went into Lockdown but I had received a text telling me I was now able to book – not until May, but a least there’s an appointment in the books!) and ordering the new laptop I’ve been saving for. Mine is getting pretty old now and is coping remarkably well with the demands of online teaching, but I’ve known for a while that a new one was in order. I needed to do a few things to get a discount for being a teacher – not difficult, just a little fiddly – so now I’m just waiting for an exciting delivery!

My final project was to sort out a couple of jar candles that were tunnelling right down the middle and wasting loads of wax. I’ve developed quite a thing for candles recently and didn’t want to waste the wax so I looked into how to melt it to level it out or even create a new candle with it. I had bought some wicks so just needed time to actually get the job done. Very satisfying to see the finished product!

Another satisfying thing was the arrival of some new YakTrax. My decade-old ones snapped a few weeks back (I was missing them during all that snow the week before) and although I don’t expect to need them again until next winter, I got a tip-off about a retailer that still had them in stockand when I took a look, they were on sale so I decided to grab them now so I know I’m set for next winter. I do like to be organised!

Since I was on a roll, after lunch I tidied out the wardrobe in the spare room and by the time I was done it was more or less time for my workout – the resistance band again – and yoga session.

Friday night is still Marvel night (although not for too much longer) and this week was a return to the world of Thor:

I had heard that this movie was pretty funny and I found it HILARIOUS! A fun Friday evening watch.

Having a couple of days off meant that the weekend could feel even more restful. Saturday began in an leisurely fashion with some reading in bed then I got ready to head out for my run. The weather was dull but quite mild, perfect for my usual 2 mile warm up, (not)parkrun, 1 mile cool down. I was feeling strong and it was great to be able to move a bit more quickly for that (not)parkrun in the middle. Not my fastest, but more or less back to the sort of times I was putting in back in early December (before I was slowed down by the never-ending cold snap!). One thing I did notice was that a lot of other people seemed a bit overdressed for the milder weather. I noticed some people looking at me like I was mad to be wearing shorts, but I was regretting my (lightweight) long sleeved top. It’s funny how perceptions can be so different!

Over our post-run breakfast Steve and I watched the latest episode of This Is Us (an emotional one, but then aren’t they all!) then when Steve headed off to have a walk with his brother I got on with my weekly Disney quiz on YouTube then a new (to me) series: The Crown. Yes, TOTALLY late to the party on this one, but I think I’m hooked already! I watched 3 episodes then headed off to have a bath where I watched another 2. It’s so good!

The rest of the evening was equally restful as we had dinner, watched some tv and I read for a bit again before bed. Perfect!

Sunday also began with reading and I finished up another book. This one has been on my pile for AGES (I read Half of a Yellow Sun years ago but somehow only just got around to picking this one up). Another vaguely unsettling book, with an undercurrent of oppression running through it, but I’m glad I read it as it was very well written.

And then it was time for my run. Steve had mentioned the route he was thinking of running and it was one I haven’t done in a long time. I was in need of a change, so decided to do the same and was so glad I did as I really enjoyed myself. The route features a stretch with a fairly steep hill, but by the time I got there I was in such a good mood from all the other runners I had seen/exchanged greetings with that even a hill wasn’t going to dampen my spirits!

This route also gave me a chance to see the water levels at the river again, which had risen since Thursday. Some of the floodgates were closed and land close to the riverbank was flooded.

The plan was 10 miles and I knew I would have to add on a little jaunt around the block when I got home to round it up. Just as I turned into our street my headphones died (no big deal and they had been announcing a low battery status for a couple of miles!) but then – HORROR – my watch battery died when I was right at the end of my run! Seriously, right at the end. When I plugged it in and saved my run it had recorded 9.85 miles, but I had finished my route so it would have been 10. Thankfully 9.85 was just enough to take me to 40 miles for the week, which had been my aim anyway. If it hadn’t, I might have had to charge my watch a bit then go and run around the block again haha!

But even that little hiccup didn’t spoil what had been a really good run, especially when I discovered a Strava PR on that hill!

Later on, once we had sorted out our food shop, we settled down for a couple of episodes of Finding Alice, then Steve has some things to do so I watched another episode of The Crown (when I got in my bath after dinner it was WandaVision followed by The Crown – I watched nearly all of season 1 in a couple of days!).

I finished my weekend feeling rested and ready for the next 5 weeks of teaching. It remains to be seen if that’s 5 weeks of online teaching or if we’ll be back in the school building prior to the Easter holidays…

What have you been watching on tv recently?
Do you have any forgotten running routes that you could revisit?
Ever have your watch die before you finish your run?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 47

What a week! The forecast was for “The Beast From The East 2” so I accepted from the outset that conditions may be tricky and just getting out there for any distance would be a win! As a result my overall mileage was down, but that’s in no way an indication that it was an easier week – far from it! With deep snow, super cold temperatures and slippery/snowy paths it was pretty challenging! Here’s how things ended up…

Monday – 3.3 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.2 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5k + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5k + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 8 miles

After the miserable conditions the previous day, we began Monday with quite a lot of snow (and the knowledge that there was much more to come!). My run took me to a bit more than 5k and I was fine with that as the snow continued to fall throughout the day. I made a point of taking photos regularly through the week to chart the conditions and by Wednesday what seemed a lot on Monday had become a mere dusting!

Work-wise I had a fairly stressful day trying to sort a few things out and was glad of the chance to talk to a couple of my good friends from the faculty to help me. I also had my faithful furry companions nearby to keep an eye on things (taking turns to lie on the blanket I left on the spare bed).

And, of course, I got one of these. Expected as ever, but always a disappointment (maybe less so this year – I’m in no hurry to commit to anything!):

Thank goodness for my evening yoga session via Zoom to help me unwind and de-stress!

Inevitably all that snow on Monday meant we woke on Tuesday to the most snow we’d seen yet – even the main routes were pretty covered!

I ran (well, plodded carefully) into town as I thought maybe it might be a bit more clear, but not really. I actually just spent my time taking some pictures: check out those icicles hanging from the traffic lights!

Steve took this one on the North Inch (where, in better times, we would have parkrun). It looks like a Christmas card!

And I made sure to get pictures in our street to have a point of comparison to the day before:

I was having quite a nice time out in the snow but knew I had to get home and ready for work. And that’s when the biggest disappointment of the day came…it should have been a snow day! Although we’re all working from home and delivering lessons online, the school has been open for a small number of pupils. Thanks to the snow, the school was shut! What a waste of a snow day 😫. Rare enough as it is, I fear the dawn of digital learning has sounded the death knell for the snow day.

I got on with the day and when I was done with work Steve took me through a workout. We were using the resistance band but I got an “upgrade’ to the thicker (i.e. more difficult) band for this one. Ooft! In hard workouts I look forward to the soothing tones of Adriene in the yoga session I will head into afterwards, and I certainly needed that on this day!

One thing we did notice that evening was the colour of the sky and odd light it was creating. It was difficult to have a photo do it justice, but it was clear there was A LOT more snow still to come – this was taken at 9:30pm!!

And there was, bringing chilly temperatures with it as this was the state of play first thing on Wednesday:

It was really cold (feels like -8C! 🥶) and the snow was even deeper, so I made the decision that 5k would be plenty as despite the fact that the school building would remain shut (a SECOND wasted snow day 😫) online teaching stops for nothing so I had to get to my computer as normal and wasn’t sure how long my run would take. My stats for the day show a slow pace, low heart rate and nothing special in the calorie burn; in reality this was a tough 5k – check out the depth of that snow!

But throughout the day it was quite bright and the view from my window was beautiful.

Inside my at-home classroom, however, I had the challenge of trying to teach a live lesson with Smokey sitting between me and my screen. Thank goodness I wasn’t using my camera at this point!

I had an after school CPD session then got ready for my workout. I had expected more work on my hip flexors, but Steve decided to give me a break on this occasion since my hip flexors already had quite the workout on my run – you need a lot of high knee running when the snow is that deep! But that “break” turned out to be a core workout. Oh well! I did, however, appreciate the short yoga for runners session that was on the calendar right after.

Snow-wise conditions were about the same on Thursday morning, but somehow it was EVEN COLDER!

For the second day in a row, 5k seemed like plenty as that was a pretty low temperature to be out in (-10C that felt like -13 🥶🥶🥶). My face (the only bit of skin exposed to the elements) felt numb within the first mile and I could feel my hands starting to get pretty cold inside my thick gloves as I came to the end of my run. I don’t think I could have been out there for any longer! But because the sky was so clear there were some beautiful colours to take in:

My workout that evening saw a return of the more challenging black resistance band (I’m going to take that as a sign that I’m stronger now so need to move up a level). It definitely feels much more challenging but I’m just impressed I can manage it at all! As ever, I went from there to a short yoga session to mark the transition between the work day and my evening.

By Friday morning the temperature had picked up again – still below freezing, but in comparison to the day before it actually felt quite mild. Isn’t it funny how perceptions can change! I didn’t take any additional pictures of the snow since that hadn’t changed any further, it was just a case of looking for somewhere I could manage to run. Steve had headed up the main road but noted that he really needed to run on the road itself as the pavement wasn’t great. By the time I was heading out I knew there would be more traffic so I opted instead for a parallel street which was clear but much quieter. There was an odd moment where I thought it was snowing again but then I realised it was actually snow blowing out of the trees lining the street and creating that effect. So strange!

Because I was mostly able to run on road (with only a few leaps onto the pavement to dodge cars) I got in 4 miles and although still slow, it was my “fastest” run all week!

My online teaching commitments on Fridays are a bit less so I have a chance to get some admin and marking sorted out. I had a fairly productive day, despite the interventions of the kitties:

I was trying to teach a live lesson with this book!

Fortunately by the afternoon they had clearly decided to knock off early, removing the obstacles from my path!

Once my working day was done (I had another after school CPD session) it was workout time. Steve was feeling tired so made it a quick hip flexor circuit then I headed off to a very welcome wind-down yoga session while he started the dinner.

It being Friday, it was Marvel night and this was one I’d been looking forward to:

Having followed the story of Chadwick Boseman last year, I was conscious that while I recognised the sadness, I hadn’t seen the movie to help me understand more about him. Finally, I had reached it in the timeline and I really enjoyed it. Outside of the ensemble pieces, my favourite thus far has remained Captain Marvel, but this one was right up there with it. What a great movie! And now I’m really sad that we won’t be able to see more of Chadwick Boseman in this role.

Saturday morning started with a bit of reading in bed. I’m following a couple of reading challenges this year. One I will probably complete fairly quickly as it involves choosing particular categories of books to read, but the second will take all year as the aim is to read a book each month with the name of the month in the title. I discovered this series of crime thrillers which has me covered from January to April, and I finished up the February book this morning.

It would be described as “tartan noir” and can be pretty gritty in places, but I’m curious to follow the character stories running behind the crimes at the centre of each book.

When I got up and ready I knew that the length of my run would be dependant on the conditions I found. I knew I would complete a (not)parkrun but was prepared for that to be about all I did. As it turned out, I was able to follow my usual route which is 10k total, albeit a bit more slowly as I couldn’t run on the road the whole time and going onto the pavement slowed me down because they weren’t fully clear. Still, I was just pleased that it was possible to stay out without freezing to death or feeling that it was a struggle to stay upright!

Still deep!

Steve took this pic of an icicle by my car – it’s not actually attached!

Even better, there was a new episode of This Is Us (at last!) so we were able to watch that while we had our bacon rolls. We also had a quick (doorstep and distanced) visit from my dad who was returning the phone he had been using prior to me giving him an upgrade last weekend. The good news is that he and mum had their first dose of the Coronavirus vaccine that morning, so now I know they have a degree of protection.

I was feeing a little chilly so I got bundled up with a hot water bottle and blanket. Steve was heading out for a “coffee walk” with his brother so I settled in to watch the last two episodes of Bridgerton. Have you watched it yet? I really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the second series.

I also did a Disney quiz on YouTube before heading off for a bath. I’ve been watching a Christmas movie in the bath on Saturdays, usually the next one to be discussed in the weekly podcast I’ve been listening to, but this week’s movie was one I watched fairly recently so I had “free choice” when it came to a my movie pick. When it came down to it, I still wanted those festive feels so picked one from my watchlist – The Mistle-Tones. I was drawn in by the idea of it being musical and although it was faithful to a number of common Christmas movie tropes, I really enjoyed it.

Meanwhile Smokey was curious about the bath water 😹

The day finished with dinner and tv with Steve, before turning in for the night.

Sunday also began with some reading in bed, but with a careful eye on the weather as we knew some rain was expected (there had been a dusting of snow/sleet overnight but with the expectation that the temperatures will come up in the days ahead so it looks like it’s all set to melt). We figured the roads would be about the same as the day before so planned between 6 and 8 miles depending on how things were. Steve headed off before me and let me know that it was a bit slippier so I knew I would need a route that would keep me mostly in quieter places where I could run on the road. I ended up covering 8 miles at a similar pace to my (not)parkrun the previous day and even though it was slow (for me) it felt quite satisfying after the struggles to run throughout this week.

Steve sent me a picture from his run and I HAVE to share it with you. So cool! I love the detail on the dog as it gazes lovingly at its human ❤️

Throughout the week we had been watching the most recent series of Marcella, so once we had eaten lunch and got the food shopping (Steve cleared the drive and dug out my car when he got back from his run!) we watched the final episode. I’m not sure if it’s been left as all tied up or open to another series, it could kind of go either way…

Sunday was Valentine’s Day but for the first time ever, no cards! Now it wasn’t that we forgot – far from it – but we both fell foul of the postal system being slowed up by the weather so although we had ordered cards in plenty of time, they hadn’t yet arrived. On the plus side, we did pick up the Valentine’s Dine In from M&S so we had a lovely dinner to look forward to: Runny Scotch egg followed by linguine and meatballs (very Lady and the Tramp!) with a side of frites.

There was a dessert but we didn’t open that up as Steve had tried some more baking: a chocolate beer cake The sponge was really moist and the flavour amazing. He does need to work on his presentation a bit as he put the ganache on before the sponge was properly cool so the look wasn’t the prettiest! Still tasty though so I’m not complaining.

The whole time we were eating I had Smokey sitting at my feet. He reminded me of a dog hoping for a table scrap!

And when Steve got up to serve the cake, he spotted his chance to join me at the table 😹

Our meal also included Prosecco and chocolates. I took my Prosecco with me to the bath where I watched the latest WandaVision (!!!) followed by the AWRC seminar which was shared on the parkrun YouTube page. Did you watch it? It was a fascinating breakdown of a participant survey charting what motivates people to first go to parkrun and the impact it has on them. It really made me miss my parkrun chums!

And that was my week. With the February long weekend ahead, I was looking forward to a shorter working week and a chance to stop away from my screen for a bit longer the following weekend.

How was the weather for you this past week? Any impact on your running?
Did you do anything for Valentine’s Day?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 42

What a week! It began with the tail end of my Christmas holidays and ended with a return to working from home (no pupils yet, just lots to do to get organised for online teaching). It meant a return to earlier runs, although not quite as early as when I have a commute (or at least a commute longer than walking upstairs to the spare room!), Here’s how it went:

Monday – 3.5 miles + home yoga + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – 10k + home yoga
Sunday – 10 miles + home yoga

I was still on holiday on the Monday so made the most of one of the final opportunities to start my day with some reading in bed before heading out for my run. This is a luxury I love to indulge in when I don’t have work. It also let me delay my run a little while to allow the weather to improve a bit. Sadly, it did not. I was keen to try out my new Winter Ready shoes (a winter version of my regular road shoe, but with a waterproof outer, fleece inner and more grip) but frankly the only “shoe” that would have done the trick on this day was ice skates! I covered 3.5 miles, but it was very stop-start with a lot of walking over the dodgy bits!

Since we were nearing the end of the school holidays, there were a couple more “projects” I wanted to take care of. First the not very exciting (but ultimately rather satisfying) rearranging of my food cupboards as the way they were just didn’t feel “right” anymore in terms of easily accessing things. And then, the big one…taking the Christmas tree down. I have to say, I wasn’t really wanting to, but I like to take it down before term starts and with the kitties still young, it wasn’t looking quite as great as it did when it first went up. As it turned out, I maybe should have left the Christmas cheer around for another day since I realised the First Minister was making a statement and switched it on to watch while I sorted out the tree. This was the announcement where we basically went back into Lockdown and were told the schools wouldn’t be opening as planned (we were previously to have a week of remote teaching and then be back in the building). Sigh! At least Smokey was happy. This is the face of a cat who has just been told that his mum will be around the house for a bit longer 😹

At least there was some good news.While I was vacuuming all the tree-related detritus, I got a delivery with the items I had spent my Christmas money on: the Pandora Star Wars bracelet and Baby Yoda charm. Now i just need somewhere to wear it to…🤔

I rounded out my day with a Christmas movie (not ready to let that one go just yet, some yoga – both my own practice and my Hatha class – before Steve and I relaxed in front of the tv watching Cardinal.

The Tuesday was the final day of my holidays so I made sure to take it easy. I actually slept a little bit later than I meant to (oops!) but still read a little in bed before heading off on my run. Fortunately, conditions underfoot were better than the day before so those winter shoes seemed ideal. After that I did take the time to do a bit of tidying up and getting my work space ready for the following day, then spent some more time reading before my yoga session. Having finished the first season of Cardinal the night before, we watched the New Year Bake Off then most of series 2 of Staged – loved it!

With work starting again on Wednesday, I made sure to be up sharp for my run – no more lounging about in bed with my book! There was still some patchy snow, but at least the sky looked interesting while I was out. There was some low-lying fog and the lights from the city seemed to be turning it orange!

The pupils weren’t starting back until the Monday, but as teachers we returned to work as planned and thus had time to meet via Teams to prepare and think about how best to approach this indefinite period of online teaching. I did, however, have Sooty keen to be involved in proceedings!

The first day is always a bit of a shock, but sitting down at my desk in comfy clothes after my run did make for a softer start! By the end of the day I was definitely feeling fatigued from all the screen time, so it was good to step away and have a workout and some yoga time to refresh my weary eyes before embarking on the second series of Cardinal in the evening.

Thursday unfolded in a very similar way. Overnight sleet meant more patchy slippery bits but at least it wasn’t as bad as Monday! I had plenty of work to be getting on with but it was nice to chat to a colleague over the phone – video conferencing always feels a bit tricky for this sort of thing when there are lots of others in the call. Oh, and it was Smokey’s turn to supervise me!

Once again, a workout was welcome. Steve is trying to mix things up so each day is a little different and I always know that when the workout is done I have yoga to look forward to. I’m really enjoying this year’s Yoga With Adriene 30 day journey. I always do, but something is really resonating this year, perhaps the focus on the breath in these difficult times.

There was more overnight sleet (honestly, why does winter seem to go on for so long!) but I was still able to cover my usual Friday distance (not always the case in poor weather) before getting stuck into the final work day of the week. Lots of screen time and lots of planning, so I was definitely ready to step away from the computer at the end of the day and be more active. Steve took me through a workout with the resistance band and a medicine ball, then it was yoga time before settling down for a restful evening. I was ready to engage “weekend mode”!!

The Saturday morning was really cold so I enjoyed reading in bed for a while then headed out the door with no expectations for my run. I thought I would probably just run 5k, but as it turned out the pavements were ok so I was able to cover 10k for the day. It felt good to go a bit further than expected.

-2 that feels like -7 🥶

I warmed up with a cup of tea, a bacon roll and the latest episode of This Is Us before completing a Disney quiz on YouTube. Finally I was able to settle down for an afternoon movie. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this one. I had read lots of good reports, but my sister had got bored and switched it off when she tried it. In the end I did understand why that might be, but it was definitely worth watching all the way through.

And while I was watching it my order from the Shop Disney sale arrived – a couple of items from the Minnie Mouse collection, a 2021 collectible key and the backpack (which was a special offer and did just enough to take me over the free shipping threshold. As it turns out, it’s a great bag for keeping all the textbooks, etc I brought home from work for this period of online teaching!).

Of course I had my Saturday bath and then Steve and I had a nice evening watching some tv.

A (probably brief) thaw meant that my Sunday long run wasn’t hampered in any way. I got to wear regular road shoes, start and finish outside my house (rather than walking out onto a cleared route) and enjoy my 10 miles. It felt great!

We had all the usual Sunday stuff, then our afternoon treat was a new product – extremely chocolatey hot cross buns. They were yummy!

Then I did my best to relax ahead of my first day of online teaching. I was feeling pretty nervous about live lessons via video conferencing as I knew I would have to manage all the technical aspects of the call, sharing my screen to display resources, etc, as well as teach the lesson and find ways to engage my pupils. Yet more upskilling courtesy of Covid!

Have you learned any new work-related skills whilst working from home?
How has your running been affected by the weather this winter?

My Year of Running 2020

For the past few years I’ve written this roundup post looking back over my running in that year (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). Even as I write this introduction I feel like this year’s post will be a little different (what isn’t in 2020, right?) but there has been a huge shift in my running this past year so I still wanted to create a post to reflect on that. Here we go…!

Best Race Experience
Well that’s an awkward one to start with! I had very few race plans as the year began (and those I did have were cancelled) so there are pretty slim pickings. Loads of events went virtual (and I took part in a few) but I think I’m going to choose an actual race experience – yes, those did happen in 2020, so long as you got in early! 1st January 2020 as part of our usual NYD adventure (three runs in one day), I ran in the Blairgowrie Ne’er Day Fun Run and put in one of my best performances in that event to date. It’s a very low key and simple event with no T-shirts or medals (the post-run soup and sweets are always very welcome though). It’s so strange to think now of all those people together in a hall before and after the event: no social distancing, New Year handshakes and lots of sweaty hugs. Unthinkable now! I’m sad that for the first time in its 30+ year history that this won’t happen in 2021, but fingers crossed it can return for 2022.

Best Run
By some miracle, I actually got to go on my planned long weekend trip to Disneyland Paris with my sister in August. Although I ran each morning, my favourite run was on the last day when I ran to the Disney gates and back on a warm and sunny morning. Hopefully this is something I’ll be able to repeat in the future as it was such fun to see familiar landmarks such as the Tower of Terror, Disney Hotels and Disney Village as part of my route.

Best New Running Gear
When you accidentally start a run streak, having plenty of running gear is a must. I’m certainly not short of kit, but a crucial cog in the wheel when you run every day is shoes. I always rotate my shoes and was in need of a couple of new pairs anyway, but I think my favourites from this year are these Adidas Solar Boosts with space-inspired soles. I wear them for my long runs and they feel great!

Best Running Advice You’ve Received This Year
Do you know, I can’t think of anything in particular, but when I first floated the idea of running every day as the UK lockdown began back in March, Steve told me to go for it. To be honest, whenever I come up with an idea for a challenge I would like to undertake, he supports me all the way and sometimes being told to go for it is just the advice you need.

Most Inspirational Runner
Ok, I know he’s my husband and I’m biased, but I’m going to pick Steve. As his 50th birthday approached at the end of this year, I made the (slightly mad) suggestion that he should mark the occasion by running 50 miles in one day. Not only did he do it, but he picked a day when the weather wasn’t all that great and STILL did it. I don’t think I’ll be replicating this feat when my big birthday rolls around, but it’s still an inspiring achievement.

Favourite Picture From A Run Or Race This Year
When the inaugural Disneyland Paris Princess Run Weekend was cancelled, the admins of a Facebook group I’m in created a fun at-home version. We created our own costumes, medals and photo ops and shared our pictures in the group. I had plenty of time for some arts and crafts in advance to prepare and had a great time on my run (for which I resurrected my Anna running costume from the 2019 Magic Run Weekend 10k). While it wasn’t quite the same as being at DLP, it certainly created a sense of community and fun to keep us all going and I love this picture I took of my “meet” with Mickey Mouse:

Race Experience You Would Repeat In A Heartbeat
Um, a little short on race experiences so I’ll choose a virtual one instead. Although completely unofficial, when my second planned Run Disney experience of the year (Magic Run Weekend in September) was cancelled, the same Facebook group that created an at-home version in May did the same thing again…but bigger! It was still a free event where we created out own costumes/race bibs/medals etc, but I went all in for this one by mirroring the 36km challenge: 5k on Friday evening, 10k on Saturday morning and a half marathon on Sunday morning. Based on the group themes I created all-new costumes for each and basically spent my weekend running around wearing crazy costumes (which nobody seemed to bat an eye at!). While I would MUCH prefer to be back running in DLP again soon, this was a great experience and I loved checking in with the group all weekend to see what others had come up with for their own Run Disney at home experience.

If You Could Sum Up Your Year In A Couple Of Words, What Would They Be?
Run Streak. If you had asked me this time last year, there is NO WAY I would have predicted this would happen. I never intended to start a run streak, it just sort of…happened. When we went into lockdown in March we were told one of the reasons we were allowed to leave our homes was for exercise each day. I knew that if I could get some fresh air then I would cope ok with being at home all the time and originally planned for this to be a walk on days which weren’t “running days” (I was running 4x per week at that point). The first official day of lockdown was a running day and when I got home, I floated the idea of seeing what would happen if I ran the next day, and the next, and the next… I genuinely thought it wouldn’t suit me, that I would struggle or get injured, but it was fascinating to observe how my body adapted to daily running and now I think I would feel strange it I DIDN’T head out each morning. Over 280 days later and I’m still enjoying my daily runs. It feels like part of me now.

How was your year of running in 2020? I’d love to hear all about it…

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 32

The start of a new term. Who knows what new challenges lie ahead in the next couple of months and this week was certainly full of ups and downs. It actually started quite well but there were some pretty tough moments and being back in the work routine was rather tiring. I didn’t feel great on my runs as a result of feeling tired, but this was a conveniently-timed cutback week and I was keeping the distance and effort lower so it wasn’t too bad. I was also pleased to still fit in a couple of workouts and plenty of yoga:

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

With the clocks changing I decided it was time to start using my Lumie light to help me wake up on these dark mornings. It actually felt much easier to get out of bed when my alarm went off on Monday, although perhaps being fresh for the new term helped! That said, my body still noticed the difference in being out earlier so I did feel slower. I always forget that the earlier I run, the slower I move until my body gets used to it again!

The first day back was ok. It was a non-stop whirlwind of classes and remembering things, but still ok. Probably the best thing to happen was I received a lovely note from a pupil I taught a few years ago. He has on occasion popped in to see me and update me on what he is doing, but can’t right now so sent a note instead. It was so nice to know that I made enough of a difference in someone’s life that they would still think of me right now and want to send an “old-fashioned” message, rather than some digital communication.

I also got home to find a medal waiting for me. This is the second one in the princess-themed collection I want to complete.

I had some errands on the way home so wasn’t in the door long before my yoga class. It was probably my first chance to stop all day! Then after the class Steve and I watched the last episode of Shetland. I think I miss it already!

However I think all the energy of Monday took its toll and while I felt fine when I woke up on Tuesday morning, I had one of those runs where my legs just wouldn’t move. They weren’t sore, I didn’t feel particularly sluggish, there just wasn’t any oomph! I guess it happens sometimes, but on this occasion I think it was just the start of an “off” day for me as work was a bit stressful and when I left at the end of the day I was feeling rather fed up. An upper body workout with the resistance band and my body weight certainly gave me a different focus, and following that with a relaxing yoga sequence made me feel much better. I was then able to relax a bit as we watched the first couple of episodes of Life. Have you seen it?

I did feel much better after a good sleep, but still took it easy on myself for my Wednesday run – this is a cutback/recovery week after all! I enjoyed an easy-paced 5 miles and with a super long and busy day ahead, it was the start that I needed.

Wednesday should have been the first of our parents’ evenings for the year but since we can’t do those right now, we were using the time for some development work instead. This meant being in school for almost as long as I would be meeting parents, although I have to say I had a task which was just the kind of thing I enjoy so it was fairly pleasant. More excitingly, I arrived home to a Disney delivery: some new ears (I couldn’t resist these – Wishes Come True Blue, with 25% of the cost going to the Make-A-Wish foundation. A worthwhile cause) and a Minnie plush. She is part of a monthly attraction-themed collection and at the start of the year I had planned to get the ears each month. Then 2020 happened and I couldn’t get hold of the ears so didn’t bother with any other part of the collection (usually a plush, mug, pins, some kind of Loungefly bag)…until now. I LOVE the Haunted Mansion so decided to treat myself to this plush – she’s so cute! Arriving home to a parcel, having Steve put a cup of tea in my hand and be served my dinner made for the start of a pleasant evening.









By Thursday I was quite enjoying the easy pace as a way to let my body adapt to the routine of being back at work again. It’s always such a shock to be back in the intensity of school life so it’s probably fortunate that my cutback week coincided with the first week of term. I was also really starting to notice lots of carved pumpkins outside houses ready for the weekend.

Sadly we also got the official confirmation that with the new national lockdown measures in France, Disneyland Paris has to close again. As with everything else this year, I totally understand why, but even in times when I can’t be in Disney, I like knowing that it’s there and the possibility of going is available. Sadly it’s not looking like I’ll be getting back there any time soon 😭.

Steve and I actually headed off on the same route on Friday morning, with me leaving first which meant he not only passed me, but with it being an out-and-back he then ran by me again. I was noticing there was a bit of a headwind, but at least the weather felt fairly mild so I was able to wear a short-sleeved top again.

Friday is my lightest teaching day so I actually had quite a productive day, ticking a few things off my list before heading home. Once back I had a similar workout to the one on Tuesday (using my resistance band and body weight exercises) before heading upstairs to do some restorative yoga while Steve organised dinner. This week’s instalment of the Marvel MCU was Captain America: The Winter Soldier and as a movie I hadn’t previously seen, I quite enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the beer I had whilst watching – definitely felt like I had earned it!

We had been expecting terrible weather on Saturday morning, but although dull and windy, the rain was actually holding off when we woke up. I read for a bit in bed (a real luxury when it’s term time) then got dressed in my Hallowe’en leggings to head off for my run. I still wanted to do a (not)parkrun, but built it around an easy-paced exploration of some of the nearby housing areas where I knew there were lots of fun Jack o’lanterns and Hallowe’en decorations. I had a great time checking them all out.

Once home it was time for our now-traditional bacon roll and weekly parkrun quiz. Another 10/15 which was pleasing as I wasn’t feeling confident about some of the answers. I followed that up with a Hallowe’een-themed Disney quiz which was good fun (and one of my better scores) before settling down for an afternoon movie. I can never decide which season I’m supposed to watch this in – Hallowe’en or Christmas – so decided the 31st of October was as good a time as any. I know I’ve watched this before but it must have been years ago as I had only the vaguest recollection of the plot. Like with many other movies I have been revisiting, it was good to have a refresher.

But after the movie I had to do some work before enjoying a relaxing bath and en evening watching Strictly. I actually realised during Strictly that I was exhausted so as soon as it finished I was off to my bed! How rock ‘n’ roll!

As it turned out, that was a great decision as when I woke up (ok, when Smokey woke me to get his breakfast!) I felt so much better. I lay in bed and read for a bit then got ready for my run. It being a cutback week (and with the possibility of further rotten weather) I had already decided to knock the distance right back to 10k so that I would feel fresh going into the new week. In the end the weather was windy but otherwise quite nice and I finally felt like myself again, enjoying my run and feeling a bit of life in my legs again. I could certainly have run further, but stuck to my plan of 10k as I know I’ll feel the benefit of it on my early runs.

Sundays are full of domestic tasks as we plan our meals for the week ahead and get the food shopping, then we settled down to watch Bake Off Extra Slice (with some hot cross buns as we found ourselves between home baking batches 😂 ) then I really wanted to watch the first episode of the new series of The Mandalorian. I think Baby Yoda might be even cuter tis time around – how is that even possible?!

The day finished in a fairly leisurely fashion – getting ready for the week ahead, watching the Strictly results and having a lovely bubble bath. Now to see what the second week of term has in store!

Did you do anything for Hallowe’en this year?
Are you good at backing off and having some recovery time?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 31

Last week of my half term break. It’s been so good to have a bit of time to myself after a really tiring term, and I fully expect even more to come at me in the weeks ahead. But for now, my only aim was to continue with my holiday routine and make sure I was going back as rested as possible. Here’s what I got up to:

Monday – 4 miles + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 10k + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – 6.2 miles
Sunday – 10 miles

On Monday morning I took a look at the new scavenger hunt list and initially thought it might be a bit tricky, however once I had engaged my brain (and discussed some of the items with Steve) I realised that most of them could be found reasonably close together. I headed off to try and get them and while I was out thought it might be fun to try and complete the hunt all in one run. I actually ended up doing just that and was the first to submit my pictures to the group this week. I’ve found all the hunts fun but this was a nice way to change things up while I was still on holiday from work.

I spent the rest of the day working on a blog post, catching up on some tv and then opted for Hocus Pocus for my afternoon movie. I know I’ve seen this before but it must have been YEARS ago and I know lots of people, especially in the US, get really excited about this one every Hallowe’en so it was fun to remind myself of it. I don’t think I’ll leave it so long before watching again.

It was another living room workout thanks to the dreary weather, then my usual Hatha yoga class. I also discovered that it was International Gin and Tonic day, and it seemed rude not to mark the occasion.

Tuesday was also pretty miserable weather-wise and I was fairly wet when I got in from my run thanks to that fine drizzle that makes the entire air around you wet. It would have been easy to feel sluggish and lethargic with this weather, but I actually ended up having an incredibly productive day. I worked on two blog posts then did two Disney quizzes on YouTube whilst working on making two new Minnie ear holders (I made a couple of these earlier in Lockdown but my trip to DLP meant lots of new pairs of ears and nowhere to keep them!). No workout as Steve had a project of his own – his first go at making tiramisu. It was delicious!

Thankfully much better weather on Wednesday morning (although I wasn’t convinced it was going to last all day!) so I headed out to start my day with a 10k. I enjoyed not having to be in rainy day gear and just enjoyed the autumn air. 

I hadn’t slept too well the night before (no real reason, just one of those things) so wanted to have a fairly lazy day. After lunch I settled down to watch Maleficent for the first time and really enjoyed it (I’ve head the sequel isn’t quite so good). The start of the film really reminded me of the scenery in Flight of Passage (the fantastic Avatar ride at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World). Really pretty and green with a few more unusual touches to show us it wasn’t our world. I wonder if that was a conscious decision? I actually felt sleepy about half way through the film so paused it for a quick nap and felt much better afterwards.

I also had to pause the movie when my package came from Disney – a new selection of face masks to cheer me up into the new term:

Steve had suggested getting fish and chips for our dinner so he went away out to pick that up. We don’t often get takeaway food these days and definitely haven’t had a takeaway since Lockdown restrictions were imposed in March, but I suspect we haven’t actually had a takeaway at all in 2020 so far so this felt like quite a treat. Sometimes it’s the simple things like a “chippy tea” that liven up a day. Steve had had a really good day work-wise so he wanted to have a mini celebration (work has been tough for the self employed this year) so it was fish and chips, the leftover tiramisu (things like this are always better on the second day) and a beer whilst catching up with the latest from the Bake Off tent and another episode of Shetland – we’re in the last series of this now so we’ll soon be looking for our next box set. Any suggestions? I had a really nice day chilling out and then being a little indulgent in the evening. Simple pleasures.

Thursday actually ended up being fairly lazy as well as Steve had quite a lot on so he was in and out the house all day. I started with a run and was happy that the weather was good enough for shorts and T-shirt with no gilet/hat/extra layer needed. Always a win at this time of year! I also spotted another fun Hallowe’en display:

Post-run I put together another pot of chilli so we would have lots of batch cooking in the freezer and stretch out the time until I would need to make another batch once the new term gets underway (I was proud of myself for that plan!). Then in the afternoon I decided to give Maleficent: Mistress of Evil a go. I think I agree that it’s not so good as the first one, but I still enjoyed watching it. I wonder if the first one is better because it’s a re-imagining of the familiar story, whereas this one is something new? 

I also spent some time reading my book before heading upstairs for my yoga session.

Friday was grey and damp and the route I chose had so many wet leaves on the paths that I had to take it easy for fear of slipping. I always forget about this until the leaves start to fall en masse and the weather is wet. I wouldn’t want to slip and get injured!

More fun, was Steve making a fresh batch of cookies. I had ordered some Disney-themed cookie cutters so he made me a Mickey Mouse-shaped one.

For my afternoon entertainment I began with Once Upon a Snowman (the new Frozen short with Olaf’s back story – I do love him!) then decided to give Descendants a go. It really reminded me of High School Musical but with the “villain children” (no surprise there since it’s the same director) and I really enjoyed watching it. My sister has been on at me to watch this for ages and now I see why!

I also had another delivery that day. Have I been doing too much online shopping??? This one was a pair of Minnie ears I wanted to complete my “2020” themed collection. A funny year to want to remember, but no doubt interesting to look back on in future.

Steve was able to take me through a living room workout using my resistance band and some body weight exercises, then since it was a nice evening I nipped out for a quick walk before settling down for some relaxing yoga. Later it was Friday night movie time (I suggested to Steve that we try to carry on our Marvel MCU project on Fridays rather than Saturdays now since Strictly Come Dancing has started the live shows). This week’s movie was Thor: The Dark World, which was another great instalment.

I had been aware that the weather forecast for Saturday morning wasn’t too encouraging, and when I got up to feed the cats it just sounded hideous outside. Confident that it would clear up later, I opted to go back to bed for a snooze then read some of my book for a while. It meant going out slightly later for my (not)parkrun, but it was worth it to avoid being soaked as soon as I stepped outside!

Fortunately, it was another good week for us on the parkrun quiz and we scored 10/15. My proudest moment was being able to figure out a speed/distance/time calculation and come up with the right answer! ☺️

My afternoon was really lovely: I read a bit more, finished up my Minnie ear holders (they needed the “feet” glued on and the clay was dry ready to do this) then settled down to watch Descendants 2. It was a fun sequel and there’s one more movie in the franchise for me to watch when I get a chance.

After my bath it was time for dinner and the opening night of Strictly. I was soooo happy to see a bit of sequin and sparkle again – we REALLY need it this year!

We headed off to bed knowing that there was the opportunity for an “extra hour”, but knowing realistically that there was no way to reset the resident “spokescat” who would start making a fuss about breakfast at his “normal” time. In the end, he actually managed to hang on about half an hour longer, which made it a bit easier to adjust the routine. Once he was fed I snoozed a little longer then finished up my book – really enjoyed this one. I recommend it for anyone who likes Claudia Winkleman.

My run was my usual 10 miles, but since I had entered the virtual Vitality London 10,000 I actually stopped and reset my watch after 10k so I had the evidence to upload, then restarted my watch for the remaining 4 miles to finish the run.

After that it was time for all the “domestic duties” – food shopping, tidying up the house and getting organised for my return to work tomorrow. Who knows what the term ahead will bring…

Do you enjoy any arts and crafts?
What have you been reading lately?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 30

Yippee! School holidays! Despite the freedom of not having a timetable to follow for a couple of weeks, I did quickly establish a routine as there were some very particular things I wanted to get done whilst off. First, I wanted to catch up with all the blog posts I hadn’t written (not a spoiler to say I was successful there) and that became my morning job when I was feeling motivated after my run. Second, I wanted to catch up with a tv programme I had lurking about in my TiVo box (again, a success as I watched it over lunch most days). And finally I had a big stack of Disney trivia quizzes saved in YouTube – a blogger I follow has been doing them each week and I was quite a bit behind – so my aim was to complete one of those most afternoons. As a bonus, I had some movies in mind that I wanted to watch and with the weather less than ideal for being out and about much, this felt like a good time to snuggle in a take advantage of my Disney+ subscription! Of course I also maintained the run streak, did some yoga each weekday and made sure to fit in some workouts. For me, all of that is the perfect way to unwind.

Monday – 4 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 6.2 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – 6.2 miles
Sunday –  10 miles

Yay for daylight running all week!

I began the week as I meant to go on – with some reading in bed. The weather was pretty grim but was due to improve a bit later on and since I had an appointment and errands in town, I decided to postpone the run until afterwards. Instead, I got started on my blog catch-up mission and while I was doing that, Steve had a go at making soda bread for the first time. He brought me a slice still warm from the oven and it was delicious!

When I got home from my errands I decided just to head straight out on my run before having some lunch as I knew waiting would mean an even longer time until I could run. It was still a bit drizzly, but it was nice to be out. I had received a medal through the post that morning, so proudly sported that for a while post-run. It’s part of a set inspired by Disney princesses and my new goal is to complete the set.

My mum had said she had a couple of things to drop off and she arrived shortly after I got in the door. The delivery included a banana loaf. She had been using bananas to help ripen her homegrown tomatoes then made some banana loaf once the bananas started to go brown. We actually haven’t made any banana loaf/bread (does this mean we’ll be trapped in 2020 until we do??) but this was delicious.

It was a fairly busy day given I wasn’t at work (my plan was to get all the appointments and errands out of the way at the start of the holiday to free up plenty of time to relax afterwards) so it was good to have my yoga class as usual in the evening.

Tuesday was a lovely morning for a run and I was in no hurry to complete it, so took my time and enjoyed being able to notice things in the daylight. A real highlight was spotting this seasonal display. It’s the eyes that get me!

I then had to nip into town again to get my flu jab (I aways have this since the year I got the flu – a hideous experience I have no desire to repeat) but this year it seemed even more important. I’m glad I did as right after this it was announced that pharmacies were suspending bookings for private vaccinations. I booked mine weeks ago when the pharmacy got in touch to let me know I could and this was the first suitable slot, but I had been worried about whether or not it would actually happen. Thankfully my booking meant there was a vaccine set aside for me and I had paid at the time of booking. I had originally thought I might have a workout in the afternoon, but my arm was sore from the jab so this didn’t seem like such a good idea. Instead, I settled down to watch The Aristocats (I wanted to watch any of the movies connected with my virtual Run Disney adventure which I hadn’t watched any time recently) so started with this one. I have seen it before but not for many years.

And my own “aristocat” joined me for some of it 😹

With all the appointments etc taken care of, I had a bit more space for leisure on Wednesday. After some reading in bed I set off on a really random running route as I was trying to track down some trickier scavenger hunt items. I had no idea where I was going to go, but had a rough distance in mind and it worked out fine. 

My next job was to make a batch of chocolate fudge. It was chocolate week on Bake Off so for once we were going to be prepared!

And this time my afternoon movie choice was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I know my sister and I used to have this one (or the soundtrack) on quite a lot when it first came out, so it was nice to revisit it. Again, I had kitty company. I think he was pleased to have me at home again.

I think we might be past garden workouts now as the ground will be squelchy until the spring, but I did have a living room workout between the film and my evening yoga session.

My Thursday run was another good one as the sun was out (love some autumn sunshine!) and I was rewarded with the delivery of another medal. I have taken part in the Platform 9¾k run every year and this was the final year (year 7: one for each year of Hogwarts). The medal has had a different design each year so is a really nice set to have.

After that my task was to prep a batch of chilli for the slow cooker. This would be our dinner then the rest frozen in portions to last another couple of weeks. To relax, my afternoon movie was Ratatouille. Again, one I have seen before but since visiting Disneyland Paris a few times in the last couple of years and going on the Rémy-themed ride there, I was keen to remind myself of it. The Parisian scenery is just stunning and I love the music.

I was surprised that my “company” didn’t appear – I thought a film about a rat might be appealing to a cat! – but he did show up at the end. Typical!

I rounded out my day with another living room workout and yoga session before settling down for dinner and tv with Steve.

My Friday run felt great. I have no idea why, but I was feeling good and my legs were turning over beautifully. I love it when that happens! It really made me happy for the rest of the day.

That afternoon I plumped for the live action Aladdin. I hadn’t seen this one before but love the original animation, so having heard good things about this one (a lot of people aren’t keen on the live action remakes) I wanted to give it a go. My verdict is that I really enjoyed it. Will Smith knew better than to try and mimic Robin Williams as the Genie, instead making the role his own, and I was pleased that Princess Jasmine got a stronger role. 

I was initially watching by myself, but Smokey arrived in time for one of my favourite scenes!

And just to prove that pictures of my cats don’t always go to plan, here’s an out-take from when I tried to capture him sitting on my lap watching the film 😹

By the end of the film, I had somehow attracted both cats, and I was amused at them hanging around:

Steve came in at this point and started laughing at me, saying that my “crazy cat lady” training was going well. I have no idea what he means 🤣

After this, another living room workout, a yoga session, then a relaxing evening with Steve. One week in and I was feeling pretty content with my holiday “chez moi”.

The weekend, of course, was much as it usually is. Interestingly my (not)parkun time was the exact same as the previous week (when it was a PB). In parkrun challenges terms, that would be Groundhog Day. Is it the same for a (not)parkrun?

It was a good week for us on the parkrun quiz again with 10/15 (yay!) then I had a restful afternoon of watching vlogs, reading my book and taking a quick nap while Steve was meeting his brother.

Our day wrapped up with the next Marvel MCU movie (Iron Man 3 – a new one for us) and it was overall a really pleasant day.

On Sunday I lay in bed to finish up my book (Midnight Sun – the Twilight retelling. It was ok but nothing special). This book was the last one on my 2020 challenge sheet (from a Facebook group I’m in) and it was satisfying to see the completed sheet. I’ve read plenty of other books this year which don’t appear on here, but here are the ones which fitted the categories set for 2020:

Then I headed out for my run. It was a fairly typical autumn morning and it was nice to trot around 10 miles.

Once the shopping was done and put away we settled down to watch Bake Off Extra Slice and for this one we had a real treat – Steve’s inaugural batch of mince pies. He had prepped the pastry on Saturday then filled and cooked them on Sunday (he used a jar of mincemeat – not ready to make that from scratch yet!). They were really good!

Next, a little bit of allen key action as I had bought a new scratching post for the cats (the sisal gets destroyed and unwinds eventually so I usually buy these at least once a year) and it needed to be assembled. This one had been in the middle aisle of Aldi (I love that place!) and they seemed pretty happy with it.

Then after dinner I had a bath and watched the Strictly launch show. I’ve been finding it hard to get excited for it this year – perhaps because the build up has been a bit more low key and the show will run a bit differently this year – but this made me feel ready to see some sparkles and sequins again.

By this point I was feeling pretty relaxed and refreshed. One more week of holidays to go…!

Are you a “Strictly Come Dancing” fan?
Any running or other achievements lately?