Thirteen weeks! That’s thirteen weeks since the world has been in any way normal – work, social interactions, even getting the weekly shop have all completely changed. That’s a quarter of a year in which we have had to get used to a “new normal” and who knows how long it might be until anything resembling what we previously knew as “normal” might return. Don’t get me wrong, I have no desire to rush things and risk a huge surge in virus cases, but it would be nice to get the shopping done in a more leisurely manner, maybe browse the shelves or inspect a product I’m not necessarily committed to buying!
But I also want to acknowledge that, certainly for me, there have been good points to the last thirteen weeks. My sleeping patterns are really consistent, leaving me well rested; I’ve been able to catch up on lot of household projects that I never would have touched otherwise; we’ve become much better at meal planning and making things from scratch and, of course, I’ve been able to increase the frequency of my running and workouts. I might not be going anywhere any time soon, but at least I feel fit and strong!
Here’s what I got up to training-wise in the last week:
Monday – 3.1 miles + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – 6.3 miles
Sunday – 8.3 miles
I’m trying to follow a pattern of three weeks of around 40 miles followed by dropping the mileage and intensity back a bit in the fourth week to allow a little recovery and adaptation. This was one of my “lighter” weeks so my overall mileage was a little less (35 miles total) and I kept the pace fairly easy on almost all of my runs (more about that later). It was a really humid week so I was glad I was able to run first thing as it would have been really sticky later on, but even then I was aware of the humidity as I was running and was glad I could just run to feel at a comfortable pace.
My workouts were still largely focused on mobility, mainly at my hips. We’re all no doubt aware that lots of sitting can shorten our hip flexors and this can lead to problems when we run. Throughout Lockdown I’ve tried to keep stretching my hip flexors, but have still identified some issues along the way that were likely a result of my working day being entirely seated (compared to being on my feet in a classroom) so we’ve been building back in some work to increase mobility in my hips and counter the effects of all the sitting. This should hopefully prevent the occasional niggly things from turning into something that would stoop me from running, and I am definitely feeling the difference from it.
Thinking about the rest of the week, it was largely more of the same. Monday was a fairly non-descript day once again, but the highlight of a Monday is always my yoga class on Zoom in the evening. Even though I’m doing yoga most other days, it feels different to actually be part of a class rather than simply following a video. It’s much more personal.
Tuesday began with the usual “performance” from Smokey when I got back from my run. Honestly, the way he shouts and yowls you would think I had been gone for days, not less than an hour. He’s going to have some attachment issues when I go back to work!
And there was further kitty hilarity later in the day courtesy of a tiny fly that just kept outsmarting them!
On Tuesday evening we watched The Impossible Games after a friend had mentioned it to us. Did you catch it? It was a way of bringing back some athletics with a limited number of athletes competing in an empty stadium, but what really caught my eye was the race that took part in two locations simultaneously and the pole vault competition where some competitors were in the stadium and one French athlete was taking part from his garden!! He had the whole rig with the high bar set up for him and you could still see the swing set off to the side. That puts a whole new spin on working from home haha!
We finished watching The Morning Show on Wednesday and I was pleased to find that a second series is planned. Who knows when that will come out since filming of everything has been halted – frankly I’m concerned that a few things we normally watch in the second half of the year might not happen in 2020, or heaven forbid, we run out of new programming to watch! I know a few things are starting up again, but I’m not sure how you could make Strictly Come Dancing in the age of social distancing 🤔
Thursday brought the latest statement from the First Minister around entering the next phase of our exit from Lockdown and the further easing of restrictions. I have to say, there wasn’t as much of a change as I had thought, although I fully support a cautious approach having seen a lot in the media about a spike in cases in parts of the world where things have really begun to open up again. I’d much rather take things slowly to protect people’s health and really get this virus suppressed.
Meanwhile, the cats were more interested in who got to cuddle a teddy haha!
We also had the task of figuring out what our next tv programme would be (always a challenge to find something for both of us!). I looked through all the various platforms available to us and drew up a list of possibilities. In the end we plumped for Schitt’s Creek. It’s been mentioned to me a few times before by various people so we decided to give it a go. So far, it’s pretty funny (I mean, it’s Eugene Levy and *those* eyebrows, so of course it is!). While we were watching that, the cats were “hiding” so the massive pigeon in the garden wouldn’t spot them 😹
Friday, however, had a bit more interest to it since it was our 10th wedding anniversary. Spending it in Lockdown wasn’t entirely the plan for this year (I had intended for us to make a bit of a thing of it in Florida in July) but I did excel myself in my choice of card this year:
My day actually started far too early as I was woken just before 6am by a bit of a commotion. It turned out that Steve was already up and away for his run (nothing unusual there) but one of the cats had slipped into the downstairs loo without him noticing and was shut in. I think she was quite content in there for a while, but then her brother started yowling about it and woke me up. By the time I had figured out what was going on and sorted it out, I was awake. Unfortunately, it was pouring outside but I knew it was due to ease off around when I usually head out so I opted to read my book in bed for a bit before going for my run.
In the afternoon my mum dropped by for a quick doorstep visit. She brought us an anniversary card and some more rhubarb from her garden, but I think the main reason for the visit was to drop off some leftover chicken for the cats to have. Even though she can’t come in and see them yet, she is still spoiling them! good thing they’re cute!
We celebrated our anniversary in the evening with some nice steaks, peppercorn sauce, homemade chips and a dessert of freshly made rhubarb crumble (made from the rhubarb that had still been growing in mum’s garden earlier that day).
We then carried on with some more episodes of Schitt’s Creek whilst sipping on some celebratory prosecco. A perfectly pleasant day, but it’s still a shame we couldn’t do more to mark the occasion. I guess 11 years will have to be the new 10…
After reading in bed for a bit on Saturday morning, I headed off for my run. This week parkrun launched their (not)parkrun initiative – run 5k wherever and whenever you want then upload your time (all on the honour system) to your profile via the new link there. The times are then complied into a table alongside everyone else representing the same home parkrun. I thought it would be nice to have those times sitting in my parkrun profile as a long-term reminder of this year, but wanted to run more than 5k so decided to run the same route I usually like on a Saturday but make it a (not)parkrun sandwich – I ran a couple of miles to what I considered my start line (Big Six of course). I then stopped my watch to restart it fresh to run 5k. I also tried to run a bit harder for that 5k and that turned out to be quite a humbling experience. I may feel like I can run for ever at a nice easy pace right now, but my body is no longer used to moving faster. I felt like I was working quite hard for a time two minutes slower than I was running at parkrun before it was paused (even with the advantage of Big Six parkrun having a swooping downhill start before being largely flat!). What was most interesting was looking at the data from my watch after the run and noting that my heart rate was not much higher than my normal runs (and lower than it would be at parkrun) so I think that suggests my fitness is fine and I COULD go faster, my legs just aren’t used to turning over at a quicker pace. I already had it in mind to use the summer holidays to bring in a bit of speed work again, so clearly it’s time to mix things up a bit more rather than always running at the same pace.
At the end of the 5k I stopped and reset my watch again to take the remainder of my run home as a cool down – just like on an actual parkrunday when I run there, run parkrun and run home. I suspect this may be my habit for the foreseeable future since I don’t see parkrun returning in the UK any time soon.
And what happens after (not)parkrun? Why you got to the (not)cafe – aka your own house – for a bacon roll and the parkrun quiz. 8/15 this week. We seem to be hovering around the 50% mark with our scores with lots of guesses lately. Is it just me or is the quiz harder now than it was at first? Far more questions you just could not know the answer to (which is kind of the point, I know) but it’s fun to guess and some of the options are hilarious!
Since the weather was ok, Steve had arranged to meet his brother for a takeaway coffee and resume their weekly catch up in person (with appropriate distancing) rather than by video call. While he was away, I went to sit in the garden and finished my book. This one was nice enough, but not anything special. It’s a bit like The Keeper of Lost Things (which I loved) but perhaps a bit more predictable in places. I enjoyed it but it’s not one I would rave about.
When the sun disappeared I went inside for a bath then the evening was spent with our pizza, the rest of the prosecco and the tv. My mum had recommended The Salisbury Poisonings on the iPlayer, so we watched the first two parts. Another really good one to watch if you didn’t catch it yet.
Then on Sunday I read for a bit then headed out for an easy 8 miles. It was still humid, probably the most humid it had been all week, so it felt pretty sticky at times. I keep seeing a suggestion in the weather forecast of possible thunderstorms and while it hasn’t happened yet, it wouldn’t surprise me given how the air has been feeling.
One we had done the food shopping, we settled down to watch the final part of The Salisbury Poisonings and enjoyed a little treat we picked up while we were out. Not quite the same as the Disney treats I was looking forward to this summer, but still tasty.
And of course I rounded off my Sunday with a bath to set me up for another week of remote teaching.
Have you been reading more during Lockdown?
How have restrictions affected your exercise/fitness?