Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 83

The second week of my October break and a chance to rest, recharge and catch up on a few tasks at home. It was also a week that ended up with a bit of excitement as I finally felt confident enough to go to a couple of venues I haven’t been to since before Covid. Still taking those baby steps back to normality!

Monday – 1.25 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 2.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 3.25 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4 miles + home yoga
Friday – 3.2 miles + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 8.5 miles

I began my week as Captain Sensible. With my hip playing up a bit after a couple of miles on my Sunday run, I restricted myself to just 1 mile (well, a mile and a quarter) on Monday. The hip was fine and I felt like I could have gone on, but my decision was to listen to my body when it was whispering at me rather than being forced to listen when it was shouting. That said, keeping moving definitely helps, so once I was ready I headed out on some errands in town. I had to take the car since it was POURING but I still walked around plenty. The reward for this was treating myself to a new Pandora charm that had just been released. After visiting Disneyland Paris during the Halloween season it’s a lovely reminder of the trip (and really cute).

Of course before running I also took advantage of it being a day off to have a cup of tea in bed and finish off my book. I had chosen this one to be reading while I was away at Disneyland Paris as I like to theme my reading a little while I’m travelling. I enjoyed this one. I liked the idea of visiting all the Disney parks worldwide, and although some of the Disney history included wasn’t new to me, I could still see that the writer was taking his research seriously and can see it being useful to a reader not quite so immersed in Disney history as I am.

In the afternoon I took things a little easier and Smokey and I (yes, he was still desperate for cuddles) watched a couple of things on Disney+. First, the new animated Descendants short Descendants: The Royal Wedding (I really enjoyed these live action movies last year, but get why this one was animated). It was good to catch up with the characters. Then we continued our Halloween viewing with Hocus Pocus. The previous week in Disneyland Paris my sister wore some Sanderson Sisters clothing and it got a lot of attention from cast members!

Later in the afternoon I wanted to move a bit again so headed out for a walk with Steve before settling down for my yoga class.

On Tuesday morning my hip had improved further so I wanted to run just a little further. Not often you can casually double your mileage, but this time I went for 2.5 miles. I wanted to be confident that my hip was ok with this (it was) before going any further since it didn’t take long for it to flare up on my Sunday run.

After that, I made Tuesday my day of sorting out the things I had bought in DLP and doing a little bit of admin. I also took some time to watch the final episodes of Only Murders in the Building. Definitely a recommendation from me and I can’t wait for season 2.

Mail-wise, I received my parkrun 25 run T-shirt. I may be closer to 250 than 25, but with the new milestone tees being available now, the completionist in me needed to add this one to the collection.

After a successful Tuesday run I was ready to go for a half hour on Wednesday (and thus around 5k). Again, no issue with my hip so the work I’ve been doing to loosen it off is definitely working. It was the right decision to back off a bit and build my mileage slowly to make sure I didn’t overload the tight muscle. Running a little further also gave me a good reason to go by the waterfall and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere for a moment.

I had a few more tasks to take care of around the house, then decided to watch another Halloween movie. I know this one is generally considered a bit silly, but it’s based on one of my favourite Disney park attractions and I’m fairly certain I’ve only seen it once (long ago) so wanted to have a reminder of it. It’s not the best, but passed an afternoon while I completed a couple of other tasks on my laptop and I’m sure I noticed more nods to the attraction than I would have done in the past.

I needed to move a bit again so headed out on a walk with Steve. We had some glass containers that needed to be recycled so we took those and went via a nearby recycling point as part of our walk. Then once home it was time for some yoga before dinner.

With the progress I was making with my hip I was happy to go to 4 miles for my Thursday run. Again, no problems. I was really happy that despite going a little further each day, the tight muscle was also feeling better and better each day, confirming that I was taking the right course of action.

Post-run I got organised then had to put together a batch of chilli for the slow cooker. We actually had a couple of portions still in the freezer, but we’re eating this once a week right now so I realised my life would be much easier if I could make another batch while I was still on holiday rather than early in the new term. This meant a day of smelling the aroma of chilli filling the air.

After that I settled down to catch up with a couple of vlogs, have lunch and have the excitement of a delivery from Shop Disney. Yes, I did just go to Disneyland Paris, but these were items I had my eye on which were not available to me there, so I took advantage of a couple of offers to get my order in.

I also watched another movie. This time one which was released last year but I didn’t get around to watching. A bit silly (a fairly standard Adam Sandler offering) but it was ok as a one-off. Smokey was just content that I was sitting still for a bit again!

This was my last day of the holidays that was more or less all at home as we had plans for the Friday morning which meant getting an earlier start for my morning run, Not as early as a work day, but earlier than I prefer for holidays! I had time for about 5k before grabbing a shower and getting on the road to…Ikea!!!

We’ve been needing to head down there for a while to get a few bits and pieces but when it first reopened it always looked so busy and I was reluctant to go on a weekend when it would be even busier. A Friday morning, arriving in time for the store opening, seemed much better. We were there a little ahead of when they open up the restaurant so we could be among the first to get inside and have a cooked breakfast to fortify us for a trip around the warehouse.

Obviously we came home with a few additional items to what was on our list, but is it really a trip to Ikea if you don’t?

I didn’t need any lunch when we arrived home, but I did have a couple of other more local errands so I headed out on those and then Steve came to meet me so we could go for a coffee. I even sat in for my coffee at Nero’s this time (it was pretty quiet upstairs so I felt I had plenty of space).

Once home, I got on with the main task I had after the Ikea jaunt: framing loads of pictures I want to put up. Honestly, who knew it could take so long, especially with two overly inquisitive kitties trying to get involved 😹

After all that I was glad of a quiet evening in front of the tv before heading to bed.

Since my hip felt so much better I was happy for my run to be my usual parkrun sandwich (but with the proviso that I wouldn’t run hard at parkrun – no faster than an 8 minute mile which would put me about 90 seconds slower overall than last week).

I’m pleased to report that I behaved myself and kept the pace in check (8:05 average). My hip was fine and even after stopping for a while post run (it was a bit busy so I jumped on to do some barcode scanning with the volunteer app) it was fine for the run home and that was the point I really started to feel it last week. Looks like it’s going to be ok.

I had planned a quiet afternoon at home, but my sister had let me know that I could accompany her to the current play at the theatre (she works there so gets a couple of comp tickets) and that the Saturday matinee would be a socially distanced performance. I knew it would be quiet so that seemed like a good time to go to the theatre. When I went to the concert hall a few weeks ago I knew the air was being changed frequently but didn’t think the same would be true of the theatre, a much older building. A quiet and socially distanced show felt right for me. I was still double masked though as it makes me feel more comfortable in these situations right now.

The play was a new version of Don Juan, written by one of the actors who performed in the production of The Importance of Being Earnest which I saw shortly before we went into Lockdown last year (thus connecting the last show I saw pre-Covid with the first I returned to). It’s a comic version with a Scottish setting and was really good. If you’re in the area you should check it out.

Once home I had time to enjoy a cup of tea then it was time to get changed again to head back out. Yes, another outing!

My dad had a milestone birthday earlier this year but since we were in Lockdown we weren’t able to do anything to mark the occasion. With things opening up (and all of us feeling a little more confident in going places) we were going for a family meal as a late celebration. The venue was a place we all like and my parents have been in a few times since they reopened. Mum had previously sent me pictures of how the interior had been adapted to the current circumstances, and the fact that they had incorporated decorative screens between the tables meant it felt appropriately safe even whilst busy on a Saturday evening.

We actually all made fairly similar menu choices after dad recommended a couple of things: pan-fried scallops on black pudding, topped with prosciutto with a kiwi & lime sauce to start, then a main course of fillet steak and peppercorn sauce served with fries and rocket salad.

It was all delicious and the steak was cooked so beautifully that the knife went through it like butter.

We had a lovely evening, but it did mean being up later then normal and on top of a fairly busy couple of days – I’m just not used to this any more haha!

As a result of being up later we did take things a bit easier on Sunday morning. I was in no hurry to get out for my run and wanted to enjoy the last chance to have a leisurely start to my day before the new term. I read in bed and enjoyed a cup of tea, then got organised to head out. In all honesty I had no idea how far I was going to run, but felt confident I had left the hip issue behind me. I checked my mileage for the week and settled on 8.5 miles to bring me to 30 for the week. A bit less than usual, but worth it to get the hip issue in check.

It actually felt a bit strange to run further again after a couple of weeks of shorter distances. That coupled with a later night (and some wine!) meant it didn’t feel like my greatest run ever, but it really cleared the cobwebs and made me feel more confident to go into a more “normal” week of running in the days ahead.

I had thought maybe the afternoon would be more relaxing (and a chance to catch up with Strictly!) but after getting the shopping we nipped up to mum and dad’s to collect a couple of things and dad was quite keen on us staying for a cup of tea. It was nice to sit and chat, but I was cutting it fine to see Strictly before the results (spoiler: I managed).

I wrapped up the day with a nice bath and got my things ready for the first day of the new term. And so the regular routine resumes…

Have you returned to any more venues/activities recently?
How is your running going?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 78

Another week done! It was a pretty consistent week when it came to running, yoga and workouts. There was also some excitement as I ACTUALLY WENT SOMEWHERE at the end of the week. Wonders will never cease!

Monday – 4.1 miles + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.65 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4.1 miles + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

Monday came around once again! I actually slept really well as I had bought new pillows for our bed and they were soooooo comfy and squishy. I didn’t want to get up! However I really did have to so was soon changed and out the door for an easy run. I changed up my route slightly from the previous few Mondays as it’s a bit darker first thing now, but the upside to that was deciding to run by the waterfall. I always love how peaceful it is there early in the morning and the pre-sunrise sky looks quite dramatic in my pictures!

When I arrived home from work and got organised there was time for a quick living room workout before yoga. Steve’s really packing a punch with those ones – fatiguing arm muscles with the resistance band then piling on challenge with press ups. Tough stuff! I was glad to hit the yoga mat for a lie down!

Post-yoga we put on Clickbait and ended up watching the last two episodes. I did NOT predict that ending! Worth a watch.

And then back to those squishy pillows to sleep. Unfortunately it was wet when I woke up on Tuesday so I needed a quick alteration to the kit I had laid out in order to keep dry, but the rain did ease off while I was running.

It was a pretty busy day at work and Steve was out seeing a client when I got home so I took advantage of having the place to myself by doing some yoga then watching an episode of Only Murders in the Building. It was just finishing when Steve got back then after dinner we caught up with the latest episode of Vigil – they’re really piling on the tension there!

I had another good sleep thanks to my new pillows, and was ready to head out on Wednesday morning for the latest Together Run (from the Running For Real podcast). I was pleased to see it was dry once again so was able to enjoy the changing colours in the sky as we got closer to sunset.

Somehow I managed to work fairly late (there’s ALWAYS just one more thing to do!) but once home there was enough time for another workout with the resistance band, similar to Monday, before a short yoga video then settling down to dinner. Our viewing this time was the latest episode of Annika with Nicola Walker. A lot of it was filmed in an area not far from where my parents grew up so they know it reasonably well and it’s always good to spot filming locations.

On The Thursday morning the sky was really clear so I ran down to the river to take in some of my favourite views. I’m glad I did as I was rewarded with this:

And then it was onwards into my busiest day of the working week. I was definitely glad to get home!

Perhaps because Thursday had been busy, I felt pretty sluggish on the Friday morning. I still did my usual run but wasn’t feeling at my best. No workout that evening, but I did still do a little yoga before settling down to unwind into the weekend.

I’m glad I took things a bit easier as by the Saturday morning I was feeling much more energised – good thing too since I had a busy day ahead! I made sure to have an easy start finishing up my book.

I only chose this one as I needed something with the month in the title for my challenge this year. I’m not sure I read it carefully enough as my perception was mostly the surface details of the “big house” and the discussions of relationships and marriage which seem to occupy those living there. But it was set against the Irish troubles of the 1920s and the effects of that were constantly there beneath the surface. Perhaps one to return to when I can concentrate on it a little more.

Then it was off to parkrun where I was surprised to run just a little over 24 minutes. After feeling so sluggish the day before I had expected to be slower than that. Just goes to show the difference a little rest can make.

After a quick breakfast at home I was on the move again to go and get my hair done. Actually sitting in the chair is something I find quite relaxing as I can read while waiting for the colour to be rinsed off and it was good to be in one place for a bit.

When I arrived home Steve had got us a little afternoon treat of a fudge doughnut which was delicious.

We ate early as my parents and sister were picking me up to go to a show at the concert hall. I was comfortable with this as thanks to my sister working there, we were able to get seats well away from anybody else. In addition, masks are still required here (I actually doubled up – disposable mask with a cloth mask on top), there were loads of hand sanitiser stations (which were really cool with lots of lights and music – I want one!) and the air is being filtered constantly. My sister actually commented that the air inside the venue might be fresher than the air outside  😂.

But first there was a challenge: what does one wear to go out? I hadn’t been anywhere since early March 2020 and since then have only worn work clothes or workout clothes! In the end I opted for a smart-casual look:

Th show was a group called Beyond the Barricade. It was started by two guys who met whilst performing in Les Miserables and they have been touring since the early 2000s. We’ve seen them before and they are always excellent. They were actually due to play here around when we went into Lockdown last year and at the time we had planned to pick up some last minute tickets. It was good to finally be able to see them. They began with The Show Must Go On, which was a very appropriate choice.

Going to a show meant a slightly later night for me, but it was worth it to see live performers again. I slept well and was ready to run on Sunday morning. I did make a bit of an error in not wearing my cap as there was a fairly heavy shower when I was at the furthest possible point from home, but I enjoyed running through the woodland park and beginning to notice some of the seasonal markers like some of the leaves beginning to change.

I was ready for a relaxing afternoon after that, and Smokey was more than happy to keep me company to make sure I took it easy 😹

Overall, it was so good to have something a little different in my week and a big step for me to attend a public venue (albeit with my own “distancing measures” in place to ease me in!).

Have you been to any live events recently?
What’s your favourite thing to see when you’re out running or walking?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 75

This was the first full teaching week of term and the first real test of how my new timetable would feel. The short answer is exhausting! There just always seems to be so much more to do than there is time for! Although I was able to put in some decent running mileage, you will notice that towards the end of the week the yoga and home workouts tailed off as one or two other things got in the way – something to work on moving forward:

Monday – 4.3 miles + home yoga
Tuesday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 6 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles
Friday – 4 miles
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

Despite my indulgence in cake and fizz on the previous Sunday, I was up on Monday morning ready to run. I often feel a little sluggish for the first few minutes but after that I felt good and enjoyed my run. I had a rough route in my mind for 4 miles but once again I slightly underestimated!

My work day began with some non-teaching time which let me catch up on a few tasks, then at lunchtime I was given a card and chocolates from my colleagues (we’re still not allowed to gather together for lunch). We had meetings after work so this was a real bright spot in the day!

Because of the meetings I was later getting home and my yoga teacher is having a little break so no class this week, but I still had time for some home practice before dinner. We then started a new box set for the week: Hit and Run on Netflix. Quite an intriguing first episode.

On Tuesday I began with a 5 mile loop. The first mile (uphill!) felt a little sluggish but after that I felt like I loosened up and enjoyed the run. Once at work I had the lovely surprise of another belated birthday gift from a colleague who doesn’t work on Mondays. I do love stretching out the birthday joy!

It turned out to be quite a warm day so when I got home I was able to have my workout in the garden – a combination of press up bars and TRX – then a little yoga before dinner.

Waking up on Wednesday it was pretty foggy so I opted to run down to the river to see what it looked like. The water was flat calm and I could barely see one bridge from the other.

There were also glistening webs running the length of the bridge along the rails – very autumnal even though it still feels like summer!

I had a training course (via Teams) right after work so was home a little later. I had time for my lateral flow test, a quick yoga session and then it was time for dinner. I was definitely ready to sit down and relax!

By Thursday morning I was beginning to notice that it was getting a bit tougher to get up in the morning, but I still got myself out the door in good time for my run. Less foggy this time, but it was still in the air. Just another solid 5 mile run for me, then time to get ready and on my way to work.

Thursdays are probably going to be my hardest days this year as they are chock-a-block with classes, all of them from the junior school and that takes a lot of energy! I had a couple of bits to do at the end of the day, but had promised Steve I wouldn’t be too late as he was going to the football and we needed to eat a bit earlier than usual. Rather disconcertingly, he just laughed at my assertions that I would be home quicker, but I kinda get where he’s coming from. I made a proper effort to not do that “one last quick thing” and headed home in time to catch up on the day and have some food before he headed out. That meant no time for yoga, but a longer evening for me and I used the time to chill out with some tv programmes and vlogs.

That evening to myself was probably just what I needed, but I still kept to an easy pace for my Friday morning run as I knew I had a busy day ahead. Ordinarily I would have headed home for a workout and some yoga to unwind into the weekend, but since it was my sister’s birthday (yes, our birthdays are close together), I called in at mum and dad’s on my way home to drop off her present and catch up with my family for a while. I always end up staying longer than I mean to, so it was pretty much home in time for dinner with no space to fit in any yoga.

There was a fun package waiting for me. The same company I recently ordered a mystery box from ran a “Julymas” promotion in late July. Basically a kind of Christmas in July Secret Santa: you paid £10 to join in and all you knew was that it would be a T-shirt so you chose your size, selected a general colour palette (pastels, neutrals, brights, etc) and wrote a Julymas message. The items were then packaged up and you received yours with a message from someone else. A really nice idea and my T-shirt was perfect for me!

Definitely true!

I was also excited as it was the first day that Cruella was available on Disney+ without the additional fee and Steve had agreed to watch it.

It was FANTASTIC! I’m not normally a villains fan, but love these “backstories” that show how they became evil. In the case of Cruella, I loved the character, I loved the costumes and I loved the soundtrack. An evening well spent and if you haven’t seen it yet then you definitely should.

After the excitement of Friday evening, I was ready to enjoy a Saturday “lie in” followed by parkrun (still so excited we get to do this once again). I left a little later than I meant to so was only in the park a couple of minutes before the briefing, but was impressed that the RD, who is notorious for giving the briefing in verse (it earned him a mention in the Eileen Jones book about parkrun which was published last year!), was able to convey the key messages in super quick time. I thought for sure he would find that tricky!

I have to say, I actually believed I was running a touch slower than the week before, but in the end I was about 3 seconds quicker overall (and dead even on my pacing!) so that’s a 3 week streak of getting a “fastest time this year” email. I suspect that streak may be at an end now, but I’m definitely pleased with that progress in pacing in such a short time – I guess my body is remembering how to parkrun!

However when I finished I realised that my Garmin was close to running out of charge – 1%!!! I guess I should get in the habit of charging it after my run on a Friday to make sure I have plenty of battery for Saturday morning! I didn’t think it would last for my run home so switched to the Strava app to record instead.

 

After the excitement of another parkrun, it was good to have a relaxing afternoon and I think Smokey had been missing having me at home as he got settled on my lap while I watched some tv:

Further excitement came later in the afternoon when a delivery arrived. I just HAD to have this new Disney cushion with cats on it…

…and the kitties laid claim to both the box AND the packing paper inside it. I only managed to get pictures of Smokey, but they kept swapping around every few minutes 😹

On Sunday morning Steve was away sharp since it was the 10k race he organises (and it was actually happening in person this year) so I had a bit of time to myself to read then head off for my own run.

I was feeling really good and my run felt strong, the only issue being I still had auto pause on from parkrun the day before and had forgotten all about it what with the battery dying. Oh well, at least I know how good it felt.

Later in the afternoon I found some time to finish up my book. My reading really slowed down as school returned and I got back into the swing of things, but I didn’t have much left and wanted to see how things resolved. This one was my August book for my challenge of reading a book with each month in the title. It had an interesting premise which I couldn’t think about too deeply or it made my head feel like it was going to explode, but the storyline itself was pretty gripping.

All in all, a busy week but there’s nothing quite like a weekend to restore and reset.

Have you seen any good movies recently?
Autopause on or off when you run?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 71

Sadly the sunshine was largely absent this week but that didn’t stop me getting on with running, workouts and yoga. Ordinarily I would probably have pulled the mileage back a bit this week, particularly since the previous week actually clocked in at my highest weekly mileage ever (45 miles), but I knew that the following week would definitely have lower mileage due to having some plans that would cut down my available running time, so decided just to go with what I was already doing (so long as I felt fine, which I did). Here’s how it ended up:

Monday – 4 miles + garden workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5.5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 6.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – form drills + home yoga
Friday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday –  10 miles

The weather wasn’t actually too bad at the beginning of the week and we were able to squeeze a couple of bonus afternoons outside out of the sunshine. As you can see from the photo above, the sun was already out when I went for my run and I noticed that I had recovered really well from my higher mileage and slightly longer run the week/day before. My legs had been a little weary towards the end of my Sunday run but felt fine for this run (during which I was, of course, getting started on the weekly scavenger hunt).

I popped into town to use my Nero’s voucher then enjoyed my lunch outside on the decking before setting up my sun lounger and spending the afternoon finishing up another book. Still on my mission to get up to date with this series.

Later on Steve brought out the TRX and press up bars (I don’t know what else to call those) for a workout in the garden before my yoga class. I toyed with setting up my yoga mat on the decking and using my wireless earphones, but the forecast kept insisting it would rain so I thought I’d best stay inside.

As it turned out, the weather stayed dry so we ate our dinner outside and enjoyed the cooler evening air before bed.

On the Tuesday I was still feeling good on my run and enjoyed going round by the waterfall on my loop.

So little water after the really dry weather, yet it can be quite intense when the weather is really wet.

Once I was ready I headed out as I had a couple of errands then an appointment at the hairdresser. The sun had really faded the colour I had done the last time and there were bits at the front that were practically blonde! I was REALLY needing it done so it would look tidier.

The weather was still ok so again I was able to have lunch outside then read in the garden for the rest of the afternoon (but did go in for my yoga and we had to eat inside as it wasn’t looking so nice anymore). It was looking likely that other than a run, Wednesday would be an “inside” kind of a day 😢

And sadly I was right. I had a fairly soggy run, but I actually didn’t notice too much as I was enjoying my weekly Together Run.

But after that I got on with a few things I needed to do inside until the weather improved later in the afternoon. Smokey took his chance to snooze nearby!

The new Minnie Mouse ears that had arrived a few days previously had a similar pattern to the outfits my nuiMos were wearing and I wanted to do a little photoshoot when the rain cleared (you can tell I had a bit of time on my hands ha!).

It was nice enough to bring the TRX and press up bars into the garden again, but I once more had to go inside for yoga. I much preferred being able to roll out my mat on the decking for outdoor yoga, so I hope I can do that again before the summer ends.

The weather was fairly similar on the Thursday and I was definitely missing the sunshine. At least it was a little cooler for my form drills as I was adding another rep on to the set!

But post-run I was in the house again for much of the day. I did want to clear out some old papers to shred so took the chance to sort that out and get started on the third series of Cobra Kai. Still an amazing revival!

I also found time to finish up another book.

And in the evening we started watching Behind the Attraction on Disney+. I knew I would enjoy it and the first episode was on one of my favourites: The Jungle Cruise.

On the Friday morning I felt like running down to the South Inch (where junior parkrun happens on Sundays) to spend a few moments by the pond. I always love the scenery here:

I was aware of the swans here, but this time I noticed two cygnets as well. The swan family is expanding!

This visit made me feel really calm and ready to get on with my day. Funny how some places can have that effect.

I had fallen a little behind with the Christmas movies podcast I had been listening to (mainly because I hadn’t yet watched a couple of the movies being discussed) so spent the afternoon overhauling a couple of my bookcases (I’ve read so much recently they were needing some attention!) whilst watching the musical Scrooge (the 1970 one with Albert Finney). I don’t think I had ever seen that one before but have meant to for a while and it was good. Reminded me a bit of Oliver in places and I think that was actually deliberate!

We chanced a workout in the garden and I was able to do some work with the TRX, but then it started to rain and was getting heavier so we had to move to the living room to do some core work instead. My abs were making me aware of their presence for a few days afterwards!

The rain meant I was inside once more for yoga and dinner, so we rounded the day off with more Behind the Attraction.

It was still a little drizzly on the Saturday morning, but that didn’t stop me getting out for about 6.5 miles including a (not)parkrun. With it looking more likely that we might be able to get back to parkrun soon, I might not have too many more of those to go. That actually feels a bit strange as it’s been so long now that I’ve established a Saturday morning routine which will get changed up a bit again as parkrun comes back (not that I’m complaining!).

We watched Behind the Attraction while we had our post-run breakfast then with no sign of the sunshine, I followed the same routine I had been before the heatwave started: Disney quiz on YouTube, some episodes of Cobra Kai and then a bath where I watched the other movie I needed to catch up on before listening to the podcast: Serendipity. I’m not sure how I had managed to miss seeing this one before, but it was a fairly classic rom-com and an enjoyable watch.

It was actually a bit nicer later on, so we took a drink out onto the decking and were there until it got dark and we realised it was time to go in to bed!

My Sunday run took me out to the woodland park I like as it had been a few weeks since I had been out that way. Much like my visit to the pond on the Friday, it was really good to run through there and have an awareness of the stream bubbling along beside me.

I stuck to 10 miles, which felt perfect for the day, then had a relaxing afternoon finishing up the final book in the series I had been catching up on. There’s another one due out in the autumn, so I’ll need to wait a bit to catch up with the characters again!

I may have been stuck in for much of the latter part of the week, but it was still a relaxing one, with my visits to the pond and the woodland park being highlights from my runs. Two more weeks of holiday to go and then back to the school routine again. Oh well!

Are there places you find calming that you like to run/walk to?
How has the weather been in your part of the world?

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 68

This was the second full week of the holidays and I had most definitely engaged holiday mode! It used to take me a bit longer to settle into being away from work and not having lots going on, moving at a million miles an hour all the time, but this time I found it very easy to get into a more relaxed headspace. As you can see, the streak continued (with slightly altered distances), yoga continued and I managed to fit in a couple of workouts:

Monday – 4 miles + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5.5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 4 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun + SUP yoga
Sunday – 10 miles

The week began with some fairly miserable weather. It was disappointing not to have sunshine, but I didn’t mind having an easy day. I began by finishing up my book. I picked this one as my July choice for “reading the months of the year” and although I’ve not previously read anything by this author, I enjoyed it and will probably try some others at some point.

The indulgence of a cooked breakfast the day before meant I felt a little sluggish for my run, but Monday is always a recovery run so it didn’t really matter. I was getting started with my scavenger hunt and with no pressure to do anything else, even a rainy run felt really good.

Since I was confined to quarters by the rain, I took the chance to tidy up some bits and pieces around the house then had a relaxing afternoon watching Cobra Kai – so much so, that I got “Netflix shamed” with the still watching? message. Oops!

To counteract that, I had a workout in the living room before doing some yoga, then later in the evening Steve and I headed out for a quick walk to get some fresh air. We ended up being followed by a particularly infamous cat from our area – he’s some boy who gets up to all sorts! Apologies for the blurry picture – I was taking it quickly as I walked.

I had hoped for improved weather on the Tuesday but sadly it wasn’t to be. I read in bed for a bit then headed out to run. I had chosen the latest Together Run podcast from Running for Real and was also in the mood to switch up my route a bit so I headed off with a rough idea of where I might go, but to be honest I was just seeing where my feet took me. I ended up running by the harbour and it was not at its most “fragrant” on this occasion!

Post-run I did a little tidying up and at one point realised I couldn’t find Smokey. It happens from time to time as one or other of the kitties finds a new hiding spot (there’s no way for them to get out of the house) and I eventually tracked him down:

For clarity, this shoe box is behind a chair in a spare room and is still occupied by a pair of shoes, but he was determined to try and squeeze in. Cats are so weird sometimes 😹

After lunch I had a Very Important Appointment: my second Covid vaccine.

It was so good to know that I was fully vaccinated (or would be a few days later) and even better that it was sooner than expected after the gap between doses was reduced from 12 weeks to 8. Compared to the first dose, i had almost no side effects. I did feel tired that night (at a level I just would not have noticed during term time but was aware of it because I was off and therefore better rested) and deliberately kept my running pace easy for the next couple of days to make sure and not overtax my body. Other than that, just the standard sore arm at the vaccination site for a couple of days. Nothing unusual there since that’s the same as I get when I have a flu jab.

Steve was going into town to get a coffee and I decided to join him. I had the car since I had a couple of errands planned as well, so I got parked and went to meet him.

I still prefer takeaway to sitting in, but seconds after taking this the heavens opened and we experienced the sort of rain I would normally expect in Florida at this time of year. If you’ve ever visited the Sunshine State in the summer, you know exactly what I mean. We took shelter under the doorway of the shop you can see in the background and waited it out until things eased. Eventually, we decided it was time to make a break for it. Steve had his bike and I was on foot (without an umbrella – doh!) and I hadn’t gone far before the rain returned at full force. I was quite a sight by the time I got back to the car!

I decided to abandon my errands until another day and just got home to change.

The rest of the day was pretty chilled. I didn’t want a workout while my arm was sore, so stuck to a little light yoga and an evening in front of the tv. Smokey was pretty interested in watching the football!

Having had my vaccine I made sure to take things pretty easy on the Wednesday: I read for a bit in bed then had a short run at an easy pace. Similar to my first dose, I don’t think my body would have responded well to any more effort but that was fine. I then made it a tv day. First, I caught up on a couple of episodes of Loki (which I really enjoyed) then finished the second series of Cobra Kai (which had quite the dramatic ending!).After that I read for a bit but that actually made me feel sleepy (perhaps a further effect of the vaccine; perhaps my continued recovery from the school year) so I had a short nap and felt much better afterwards. No workout again as my arm was still sore, but I did do some yoga and had a relaxing evening watching football again. I suspect that quiet, easy day was just what I needed – and apparently the kitties needed it too. I found Smokey getting up close and personal with my Minnie Mouse cushion and it looks like she’s whispering in his ear!

After a restful day I was ready to be a bit more productive on the Thursday. First, I finished up my book. I do like a thriller and I liked the narrative style of this one as you know from the start that a body has been found but the narrators and time points shift so it’s only right at the end that you know which character has been killed, who by and why (and almost every character has motive/opportunity).

I kept the pace easy for my run as not only was I conscious of my recent vaccine, it was also quite humid and that makes running feel much tougher. I stopped to look at some decorated stones I haven’t looked at in a while and noticed one I don’t remember seeing before which made me smile:

After lunch I took care of those errands I had abandoned after my soaking on the Tuesday, and since I had a voucher for a free coffee to use up, I nipped into town to grab a drink. I actually decided to try one of their more frozen-style drinks and it was really good. This was the salted caramel and pistachio frappe creme and will likely be my drink of the summer!

Meanwhile, Smokey worked on his audition for the “cats and books calendar” (a real calendar – I got the 2021 version in a secret Santa gift!).

My arm was feeling much better so I had a workout with the resistance band and some press ups before doing my usual yoga session. Then it was an evening of tv and a bit more reading.

The Friday morning was still humid but I noticed that I felt MUCH better on my run so there must have been a minor effect of the vaccine at play in the previous couple of days. I then spent some time sorting out a few odds and ends around the house while catching up on some podcasts.

After lunch I got on with something a little different. Since last year I have been keen to go back to some of our old photos from family holidays to Florida. We’re talking about trips in the 90s (which I still think was fairly recently haha!), so before digital photography. I had a few pictures from the basic film cameras I had (often blurry/covered with my thumb or in serious need of some zooming in to make sense!) but I knew that my parents had loads of photos. My sister also wanted to go through and digitise all my parents’ photo albums (to keep the images safe and backed up) so I went to spend the afternoon with her and help form a kind of production line as it involved removing photos from albums, keeping them in order while we scanned them and then returning them to the right spot. Working together we got loads done and it was such fun looking back at photos I haven’t looked at in ages and remembering the moments.

I arrived home in time for dinner. We had fancied having steak for a change and Steve made chips to go with it – delicious!

I was up early again on the Saturday to fit in a quick (not)parkrun before a SUP yoga session. It was kind of soggy so I was glad not to be running any more than 5k. I actually kept my cap on for the SUP session. I had a wetsuit so wasn’t bothered about getting wet, but I knew I would appreciate keeping the rain off my face. As it turned out, we were lucky and it stayed dry for our session.

Sadly the weather didn’t improve so I was inside for the afternoon. I worked on a playlist I wanted to change, did the weekly Disney quiz I like on YouTube then watched Arthur Christmas so I could listen to the Christmas movie podcast episode discussing it. I actually hadn’t seen it before and really enjoyed it.

After that I needed some air so took a walk before heading off for a bath. Meanwhile Steve worked on dinner, He always makes pizza on a Saturday night and back when he was a pizza chef one of his favourites was a bolognese pizza. He doesn’t often make it now but for some reason we had both thought of it and fancied having one. It was yummy!

For my Sunday run I was keen to go somewhere a bit different. Steve had shown me photos of some new murals on the supports of the bridge taking the A9 over the river. I knew I could see them by running out the riverside path, so decided to run an out-and-back course (unusual for me as I usually prefer a loop). I shared some of the murals on social media, but there are 16 in total and getting all of them involved crossing over the footbridge so I would be able to see them all:

My favourites are the ones of birds and animals. So impressive up close so I’m glad I decided to head out that way, especially since it was super humid and running by the river felt very warm.

Of course we had to head out to get our food shopping, but the rest of the day was nice and relaxed so I finished up another book. This one dealt with some quite disturbing subjects, but was balanced with some beautiful descriptions of scenery.

And for a final check-in with how the kitties spent their time, I found them cuddled up together (despite it being pretty warm). It was like a two-headed cat!

Then just like that, another week drew to a close. An exciting one since I now had both doses of the vaccine and while I will continue to be cautious, it’s good to know I have more protection against the virus.

If you’ve had the vaccine, how did your body react?
Have you explored anywhere new recently?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 66

Let’s start by addressing the obvious: I am VERY behind with these posts! In all honesty, writing blog posts has been the last thing on my mind as we have been experiencing some honest-to-goodness hot weather here in Scotland so I have been largely on my back garden sun lounger, devouring books like there’s no tomorrow. I will get up to date before the end of the summer, but given the changeable nature of the the weather during the Scottish summer, there’s no way I’m wasting sunshine by staying inside glued to my computer. I’m sure you understand.

And now to the post. This was the last week of term, meaning there were just 4 school days to make it through and then a much-anticipated rest. I couldn’t wait!

Monday – 3.2 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.1 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun + SUP yoga
Sunday – 10k

I knew that at this point I was as tired as I would ever be in the school year, and coming off the back of a 40 mile week it seemed the ideal time to cut back the miles and effort level to have a recovery week. That would give me a chance to feel better rested and run more strongly during the holidays. I actually felt pretty good on my run, given the bigger mileage the week before, but perhaps that was because I knew I was giving myself a bit of a break this week and there was no pressure of any kind on what I did. As for the work day, by this point it was all about that final flurry to complete and mark work before the end of term – funny how the pupils never have quite the same level of urgency as me when it comes to these things! To be honest, the biggest “hurdle” in the day was Smokey deciding I should just stay at home and thinking that lying on the clothes I laid out would do the trick. Good job they were also grey haha!

It still felt good to have my yoga class (still via Zoom) in the evening and then Steve and I got underway with a new boxset: The Beast Must Die which is exclusively on BritBox.

On the Tuesday morning I set off on a bit of a mission to find the last items for the weekly scavenger hunt (I was successful!). It was a beautiful day and I was pleased that this meant I could have a workout in the garden when I got home from work. You would think in the final week of term I might be leaving earlier, but somehow I was there just as late as usual, partly because of a meeting of the professional reading book group I joined.

Since we were in the garden, the TRX was in action. It’s one of my favourite bits of kit as you can really target specific muscles, but it is also great for an all-over workout.

I then went off to do some yoga ahead of dinner and a Scotland match (versus Croatia), but the less said about the football, the better!

Wednesday was my chosen day for the now weekly Together Run from Tina Muir. As ever, there was a moment when we were told to take a photo, this time of both our view and a selfie. As you can see from the early morning sky, it was shaping up to be another beautiful day:

It was a bit of a trying day at work, with everyone clearly in need of a break by this point, but I felt better after a walk with Steve and some yoga. In the evening we watched a bit more of The Beast Must Die then tuned in to some of the football.

And then, oh joy of joys, it was the last day of term. I had a lovely run then got ready and headed off to work. The area I work in had a full day (many other areas have a half day) but there was a palpable feeling of having made it!

The day began with another lesson with the therapy dog in attendance. Up to this point she had remained on her lead, but to progress her training it was important that she try a lesson where she was allowed to roam the room freely. The pupil she was accompanying had asked if we could try it in this last lesson, and the rest of the class was keen, so the dog was free! After a cursory circuit of the room she decided that a nap was far preferable haha!

Although I ended up with a full day of classes, it was manageable by this point as attendance is always lower on the last day. A real highlight was an al fresco lunch with my colleagues since the sun was shining. If only we could have done something about those pesky seagulls!

When I finally collapsed in the door at the end of the day I had a cup of tea, did some yoga then relaxed with a couple of vlogs before dinner. After some tv I decided to read a little and promptly fell asleep in my chair. I’ve done so well with avoiding doing this throughout the term, but clearly my body got the message that I could finally stop, so did precisely that! I was well and truly done after a school year even more trying than the one before.

With the holidays actually beginning on a Friday I knew this was going to feel like the best part of the break and made sure to luxuriate in it a bit. I slept later and read in bed with a cup of tea before heading out for my run. Funnily enough I noticed much more spring in my step than of late after a better sleep and the removal of the mental pressures of the year. I even had time to nip out on some errands before lunch!

A fun delivery was the medal from the virtual race I had done the Sunday before. I HAD to have this one since it’s themed to my absolute favourite book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

In the afternoon I headed up to mum and dad’s as my sister and I needed to get together. We had plans in mind for a couple of nights away later in the summer so needed a chance to sit down together and get it booked. I know things could very easily change again, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed we are able to go.

The evening was still very much as my normal habit: yoga, dinner and some tv before bed. The most important thing was that I could spend the day at my own pace rather than being tied to a timetable and bells marking my movement from one thing to the next. It always feels so liberating!

I actually had to get up early on the Saturday as I had SUP yoga at 9am and wanted to fit in my run beforehand (I knew I wouldn’t want to run later on, especially since I would want something to eat when I got back). I made the decision to limit my run to 5k to log my (not)parkrun, and that fitted fine with my cutback week anyway. I nipped around fairly quickly then got down to the outdoor centre for the SUP yoga session.

It was great to be on the water and a lovely way to get the summer holidays underway.

When I arrived home we had our usual Saturday bacon rolls and watched the first episode of Long Way Up on Apple tv+. I remember watching Ewan McGregor (a local boy!) and Charley Boorman in their previous adventures a number of years ago and mum had been recommending this so we decided to watch it. I will add my voice to the recommendation if you have access to it. I then settled in to a restful afternoon, starting with finishing my book.

This one was really powerful, dealing with a variety of issues including racism and privilege. A definite recommendation from me.

After that I did my weekly Disney quiz on Youtube and watched a couple of episodes of The Crown before heading off for a bath. In the evening I finished off a book I had been looking at for some professional reading, as well as tuning into some football. It may have had an early start, but it was a lovely day.

On the Sunday I returned to form with some reading in bed before my run. I kept it to 10k to round off my recovery week and, as noted on the Friday, was already feeling so much better with the combination of an easier week running-wise and a couple of more restful days.

Post-run we headed off to get our food shopping, with a detour on the way home to pick up a couple of sun loungers for the back garden. The weather at this point wasn’t quite was I was looking for to use them (although that didn’t stop us spending the remainder of the afternoon reading in the garden!) but I was certain there would have to be at least a few good days and wanted to be ready.

I also had a fun delivery. I had taken part in another book exchange in a Facebook group and my surprise package arrived. With the summer stretching in front of me, I was looking forward to having more time to read and added these straight to my pile.

After dinner I headed off for another bath (where I set my laptop up to watch the latest episode of Loki) before bed. While I was doing that Steve ironed some clothes and I came out of the bath to find that Smokey was keeping them safe 😹

Of course the absolute best thing was it being Sunday night and I had no need to set an alarm for the following morning. Bliss!

Did you follow much of the Euro football tournament?
Are you taking any trips away this summer?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 65

Closing in on the summer holidays! This was the last full week of term but not much sign of winding down. By this point I was digging pretty deep for the energy to keep on going and was accepting that my running would probably be fairly sluggish until I had time off. That said, I was pleased to fit in a couple of workouts this week, as that has tended to fall by the wayside of late. Here’s the breakdown:

Monday – 3.6 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 12.5 miles

On the Monday morning Steve and I set off in opposite directions to get the weekly scavenger hunt underway. There were a few items I knew we would easily find and some which would come down a bit more to chance, but it always feels good to start ticking off the finds. Monday is a great day to do as much of this as possible since it’s always a recovery run for me and the pace is entirely irrelevant. Between us we got a fair few and picked up a couple more later in the day when I arrived home from work as we took a quick walk around the area before my Zoom yoga class. Very satisfying!

Despite everything still trucking along as usual at school, we did get a bit of a treat on this day. Scotland were playing their opening match in the Euros and after initially being told we shouldn’t be streaming it in school, things changed and we were given permission to put the match on for our final period classes (kick-off time meant we could watch the first half before the end of the school day). It looked pretty good on my big Smartscreen, it’s just a shame the team didn’t play so well.

Oh well, at least I had the bonus of an ice lolly at lunchtime after one of my colleagues nipped out to the shop. Very refreshing!

On the Tuesday morning it was time for one on Tina’s Together Runs. Apart from the feeling of connecting to others whilst running alone, a highlight of these runs for me is the moment we’re asked to take a photo to share. What I like about this is that taking a photo in that moment means there’s no “perfecting” where I take it, so it really could be a picture of anything! On the occasion, I was here:

But we were also encouraged towards the end of the run to find something like a tree to reach out and touch – basically touch nature. I may still be super cautious about touching things while I’m out and about during the pandemic, but I figured a tree close to home (where I could quickly wash my hands) would be ok.

After a rather epic faculty meeting I was in need of a mental break so Steve took me through a resistance band workout (back in the living room again) before I relaxed with some yoga.

The most important thing on the Wednesday was that it marked day 450 (!!!) of my run streak. I actually can’t believe that my little Lockdown experiment from March 2020 is still going! Sadly it was a bit drizzly, but still a pleasant enough run for the occasion.

Less fun was my first experience of a “void” result when I took my lateral flow test that evening. I knew pretty quickly that it hadn’t worked (you can tell by watching for the reaction on the test strip) so rather than wait, I reported it as void and immediately took a new test. To be honest, I was fairly used to them by this point so it wasn’t quite such a big deal as it would have been early on.

After some yoga and a fairly relaxing evening of reading and tv, Steve and I took a quick walk to get some fresh air and then it was time for bed.

The Thursday – both in running and work – was pretty standard, with the real highlight being my lesson with our therapy dog in attendance. After the “novelty value” of her first time in class, she was much more settled this time and the class found it easier to keep their focus on their work rather than whether or not they would get a doggy cuddle!

I also finished up my book that day. I really enjoyed this one and if you have read/seen the author’s other book (Little Fires Everywhere) then I can recommend this one too.

Further excitement came from a little Disney delivery. I had spotted these ears and since The Haunted Mansion (Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris) is one of my favourites, I HAD to have them!

And of course Sooty was happy with the arrival of a new box…as if she doesn’t have enough already!

I was glad of my run on the Friday morning as through a bit of a quirk of my timetable and the cover requirements for the day, I spent most of my day with second year classes. Kinda exhausting for a Friday close to the end of the year! Once home I redirected my energies to another resistance band workout and a bit of calming yoga before settling in for the evening. This was Scotland’s second Euros match and the most highly anticipated since it was against England. All things considered, a 0-0 draw was a pretty good result and gave us hope that we might move to the next round.

After all the football excitement, there was more to come on the Saturday as it was our wedding anniversary. Options for celebrating remained limited so we made our own plans to mark the occasion. The day began with a cup of tea in bed whilst reading a book, then we both headed out for our Saturday morning runs. I followed my usual route but paused a moment during my cooldown to admire one of my favourite gardens. This always makes me smile:

Once home, we supplemented our usual Saturday breakfast with some Buck’s Fizz.

The afternoon was much as usual, with Steve catching up with his brother while I relaxed at home, but later in the evening we settled down with our homemade pizza (courtesy of Steve the pizza chef) to watch Luca. I really enjoyed the movie and thought the colours and scenery were beautiful.

Steve had also baked a cake for dessert. Yum!

A fairly low-key day, but still enjoyable.

I had kept my Saturday morning run to a steady pace as I had plans for something a bit longer on the Sunday. Ages ago I signed up to a June virtual race of 20k and I wanted to complete it on this Sunday. It was warm, but I didn’t want to leave it until the following week as that would be my last opportunity to complete the distance. Unlike my virtual Edinburgh half a few weeks before, I didn’t run hard and instead just enjoyed being out running on a nice day. Job done!

Later in the day we paid a visit to my parents (it was Fathers’ Day) where we were treated to a cup of tea and piece of cake. It’s still a novelty to go inside someone else’s house so it was good to catch up.

The day ended with my usual Sunday evening bath to set me up for the final days of the school year.

Have you been watching the Euros?
Is there something you like to stop and look at on any of your running routes?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 64

This week began with a much-needed Monday holiday. The area I work in takes the first Monday in June (Victoria Day) as a holiday and for me it’s always the last “mile marker” before the final sprint to the summer holidays. I definitely feel much more tired than usual this year thanks to all the additional stresses of pandemic teaching and ensuring senior pupils achieved the qualifications they deserved. I’m sad that I won’t be able to do anything particularly exciting this summer (I would SO love to go away somewhere, but it’s not on the cards right now) but I very much need the rest. My running definitely feels slower and it’s tough to fit in evening workouts just now. Once school finishes I will be able to hit reset on that and get things back to how I like them. In the meantime, here’s how my week looked:

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

The Monday holiday was EXACTLY what I needed for a bit of an energy top-up to see me through the last weeks of the school year. I made sure to take full advantage of the opportunity by sleeping a little later than on a work day, reading in bed with a cup of tea then heading out for my run (with new scavenger hunt list in tow, of course!). It felt so good to have a leisurely start to my day and I’m more than ready for this to be my life for a bit!

Post-run I got showered and changed then set off to walk into town. I last did this on the early May bank holiday when I was off work, but since the shops had not long opened I found it a bit busy. This time, I was off for a holiday not taken in the area where I live so I anticipated things being much quieter and I had a few things I wanted to get (plus I fancied having a quick look in a few shops while they were fairly empty). I was able to get everything I needed, then used my Vitality reward to pick up a free coffee for my walk back up the road again.

I was pretty hungry by this point so I got my lunch organised and headed out to enjoy it al fresco since it was another lovely day.

Since it was so nice, I spent the afternoon reading my book in the garden, and Steve brought me out a little treat of an ice cream cone. Yummy!

It was such a relaxing day, rounded off beautifully with my Hatha yoga class on Zoom.

But of course it was back to the usual routine on Tuesday. My run took in a loop around the bridges over the river and I was listening to the latest “together run” podcast from Tina Muir. Once again there was a point where we were encouraged to take a picture and once again I wasn’t in quite the position I would have liked, but took the picture anyway:

After work Steve and I took a walk to get some fresh air then I made sure to do some yoga while our dinner was in the oven. Being back in work after a day off is always a wrench, especially at this point in the school year, so I must make sure to take care of myself through the rest of the month.

The next couple of days felt quite hard as I’m just so tired now and found it difficult to get out of bed. I even had to shorten my Wednesday run a little so I wouldn’t be late for work! I had toyed with adding the distance back onto Thursday’s run (basically swapping around the distances) but I couldn’t get up any earlier then either. Oh well, rest is more important than miles right now.

By the Friday (a shorter run anyway) I was more than ready for my weekend. I began with a living room workout (how have we only managed to get ONE garden workout so far?) then a little yoga before relaxing in front of the tv. We began to watch the Jimmy McGovern drama Time starring Sean Bean and it was very good.

Unfortunately I did get word that evening that the SUP yoga session planned for the Saturday would need to be postponed because of the wind. It had been super windy all day and was only going to be worse, so for safety reasons we just couldn’t go ahead. Disappointing but safety has to come first.

That did, however, mean that I was under no pressure to get myself up and out on Saturday morning. That meant time to read in bed before heading out into the wind for my (not)parkrun. The wind was actually quite refreshing as it was clearly going to be an otherwise lovely day. So much so, that I spent the afternoon in the garden again finishing up my book.

This one was really good. Two authors who had experienced a short but intense relationship in their teens are brought together again for an equally intense few days exploring their past, their flaws, and the impact of history on their lives. It read as very “current” and was well worth reading as my June choice in my “reading the year” challenge.

Saturday was also World Gin Day so we made sure to mark the occasion with a little tipple in the evening.

It was still windy for my longer run on the Sunday, but as it turned out I was quite grateful for it since it was once again pretty warm. I made sure to have some sunscreen on since it’s so easy to forget how strong the sun is when it’s windy. It was actually a really nice run and I couldn’t help noticing the difference between my weekday and weekend runs right now. That end of year tiredness has me pretty sluggish through the week but much fresher at the weekend when I can head out a little later (and better rested). Roll on the holidays!

After our Sunday errands we spent the afternoon in the garden again. We treated ourselves to another ice cream cone then later on a refreshing hard seltzer we had come across while we were food shopping. The perfect “warm day in the garden” drink!

I finished my day with a nice bath so I could relax and watch the first episode of Loki. It looks like it’s going to be another enjoyable Marvel series. When I emerged, the kitties were clearly in the middle of an important meeting 😹

And that was it. At this point, just under two weeks to go until those much-anticipated school holidays.

How are you feeling just now?
Do you have a favourite drink/treat on warm days?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Week 59

Everything felt a bit different this week since we began with a Monday holiday (woohoo!) and had an inset day on the Thursday so there were just 3 teaching days meaning the rhythm of the week felt a bit off. On the plus side, it was a bit more restful and allowed the space for slightly longer runs (even if workouts didn’t feature quite the same way):

Monday – 4 miles + home yoga
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4miles + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

Oh my, did I need a holiday Monday! It’s actually astounding how tiring the first few weeks of term were, and there’s much more to come as we work towards providing grades for our senior pupils in place of exams this year. With this in mind, I made sure to take advantage of the time to myself to get some rest but also take care of a few tasks which needed my attention.

The day began with the “cat alarm” followed by some reading in bed with a cup of tea. This also gave me time to have a good look at the scavenger hunt list for the week and when I headed out for my run I was able to take my time, run a teeny bit further than I normally do on a Monday and find the majority of the items. Very satisfying.

Once ready, I walked into town on a mission: to get a passport picture! My passport expired during lockdown and although you have the option to upload your own when renewing online, actually getting a picture that meets the requirements is really difficult so I decided just to wait until I could get to the camera shop to have a proper one taken. It’s a small shop so I had to wait outside while some other customers were served (a fairly steady stream of people in the same situation as me right now!) but getting the picture was easy enough. Whilst out, I also nipped around to Caffè Nero to use my Vitality voucher and get a hot drink for the walk back home.

When I arrived home I decided to complete my main task for the day by applying for my new passport, then took care of a few bits of personal admin before making my lunch. No sooner had I finished that, than Smokey decided he wanted to have a nap on my lap – good thing I had planned to finish up my book! This one was a really lovely read. Definitely uplifting.

A little later I nipped out again (by car this time as the weather had become truly awful) as I needed to go to the Post Office to get my old passport sent back – the passport office won’t process the new one until they have the old one back so I was keen to get things underway.

Sadly no Hatha yoga, so it was a Yoga with Adriene video then we got settled down for dinner and the Line of Duty finale. To be honest I was a little underwhelmed after a couple of fantastic weeks, and now I’m wondering if there’s going to be another series. It’s certainly been left in such a way that there can be.

But all good things must come to an end so after a lovely day off, it was back to the usual routine on Tuesday morning. The plus side was that I felt much more refreshed after that extra day to myself so it wasn’t quite so hard to get up and out the door for my run. I always listen to podcasts on my run (although I’m a bit behind on some of them right now) and for this run I picked something a little different. One of my favourites is Running For Real and for this bonus episode Tina had tried something new – a kind of “guided” run which took the form of her talking as if we were running together and her cueing listeners in to focus on particular things eg a scan through the body, an awareness of the senses, our feelings at various points of the run. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it so I’m glad she has continued to produce these.

Tuesday was Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!) and I was ready with a Star Wars mask so couldn’t resist a quick picture with Baby Yoda before leaving for work. A few pupils commented on the mask and I was pleased to find that they knew why I had picked a Star Wars one for the day.

I arrived home to a Shop Disney delivery (I know…again! I can’t help myself and ordering Disney merch is cheering me up in all the madness).

Disney distractions aside, it was time for a quick workout. There was time for a set of press up/resistance band work then I completed a yoga video before dinner. We had time for a couple of episodes of Viewpoint then I watched one or two vlogs before bed.

I actually had to warm my bed up with a hot water bottle before getting into it (nothing worse than a chilly bed when the weather is cool) as the temperature was dropping again. I had spotted that Wednesday morning was set to feel below freezing (even though the actual temperature was predicted to be a tiny bit over) so I had gone so far as to leave out leggings for my run. In the end I was glad I did as it did feel pretty chilly when I headed out for my run (but at least the sky was clear and bright).

When I got back I spotted we had two little birds at our bird feeder. The feeder is quite a new addition to our garden (and I plan to add another so I can offer two different types of food) so it’s been a little quiet so far. I was really pleased to see that we had winged visitors!

I was sticking with my Star Wars theme for my mask choice since it was “Revenge of the Fifth” (😂). Never let it be said that I don’t embrace a theme!

But by far the most exciting part of Wednesday was the arrival of my blue envelope. In Scotland, this is how appointments for the Covid vaccine are being distributed. Rather than wait for an age range to open up then call to make our own appointments, we are being sent a letter with the details of when and where ours are. They can be changed if they are really inconvenient, but in the main you are encouraged to stick to the time you are given. We have a large vaccination centre here, so I knew that’s where I would have to go and more than likely by the time you read this I will have had my first dose of the vaccine. A huge step forwards!

I worked quite late as I had a study support session with some of my seniors, then when I arrived home it was time for the good old lateral flow test (still a bit yucky, but it’s amazing what you can get used to!) then Steve and I headed out for a short walk. It was nice to have some fresh air after a busy day, then I did a yoga video while Steve organised our dinner.

Thursday was our inset day and we were given the option to work from home if we preferred it. Although I had a faculty meeting, it was taking place on Teams and everything else I was doing that day was largely solo so I opted to work from home. The advantage of this was I could get up an hour later (no commute to fit in) and had time for a slightly longer run. Still chilly so still in leggings, but I was in a good mood ahead of a day at home.

Of course having me at home AGAIN, even if I was working, meant the kitties were pretty excited in the morning and Smokey made sure to make his appearance in our meeting (good thing my colleagues are used to it now and just laugh), while Sooty found an interesting new place to settle herself down:

I also found the pair of them being all cute by pressing together to supervise goings-on in the street 😹

When work was finished I had a couple of additional tasks to do. First up, my monthly antibody test for the Scottish study of Covid in education settings, then a walk to the polling station to vote in the Scottish Parliament elections (via the priority postbox to get my antibody sample on its way back to the lab). I know what to expect in terms of safety measures since we had a local election a while back, so I was happy to vote in person (with my own pencil!).

I had an early evening appointment so there was time for yoga but not a workout, then we settled down for dinner and some tv. We were needing something new, so started watching The Innocent on Netflix. It’s a Spanish adaptation of a Harlan Coben novel and is pretty gripping.

Friday was another run in leggings (come on weather, it’s May!) but back in school things felt fairly calm for once as the inset meant I had been able to clear the decks a bit ahead of the huge pile of marking coming up after the imminent period of assessments. It was nice not to feel like I had a million and one things to do, but this will be VERY short-lived!

I also made sure to debut another of my Star Wars masks since I was on a roll. This one is so cute!

I arrived home to find Steve getting ready to head out for a walk, so I got changed and joined him to get a bit of fresh air. We hadn’t given much thought to a Friday movie and all the ones we fancied were going to go on a bit too late for us, so we continued with The Innocent and after a couple of episodes I was feeling pretty sleepy so it was time for bed.

Saturday began with some reading in bed and I had a plan to finish up this one:

I’m lucky enough to be on the advance reading team when Anna McNuff releases new books. That means I get access to an ebook copy to read then review at the point when it goes on sale. I love Anna McNuff’s style – she’s so warm and entertaining – so I really enjoyed all these bite-size accounts of her adventures (and misadventures) which have not featured in her previous books. If you’ve enjoyed any of her others then I would definitely recommend this one.

Heading out a little later than weekdays meant that the temperature had crept up enough for my shorts and I enjoyed my run (the usual warm up/(not)parkrun/cool down). I even remembered to look out for a new message on the lightbox I discovered last week. It was a good one!

Conscious of how busy the next couple of weeks are going to be, I allowed the rest of the day to be super restful and spent most of it watching tv. We began over our post-run bacon roll with another episode of The Innocent, then Steve headed out to meet his brother so I did my weekly Disney quiz on YouTube (this one was filmed at Galaxy’s Edge and was fully Star Wars themed since it had been posted live on May the 4th) then watched the season 1 finale of Cobra Kai (so good!). As if that wasn’t enough, I started series 4 of The Crown and had time for THREE episodes before heading off for a bath. Later in the evening Steve and I watched another episode of The Innocent so it was definitely a tv-focused day!

On Sunday morning I got up to feed the kitties then read in bed for a while. I did, however, get myself moving a little sharper than usual as our local football team was playing in a cup semi-final and Steve wanted to be back from getting the food shopping in time to watch it. I still had time for 10 miles and was treated to quite interesting weather! When I set out it was sunny and fairly mild – mild enough for shorts and T-shirt – but halfway through it POURED and I got a bit of a soaking. The sun reappeared for a while, but as I finished up there were definitely some raindrops around again. One of those days!

You’ll be pleased to know that we managed to eat lunch, get the shopping done and put away as well as complete my lateral flow test in good time for Steve to watch the match. I kept an eye on the score whilst working on a few things on my laptop and watching some vlogs on my iPad to pass the time. And yes, I did have company!

As ever, I rounded off my day with a relaxing bath and got my things ready for the following day. It was set to be another slightly unusual day.

Have you had the vaccine yet?
Did you do anything for Star Wars Day?