Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 46

Another week of lockdown, another week of online teaching and another week of fairly miserable weather. I’m trying my best to stay upbeat, but my goodness that bleak winter weather isn’t helping! On the plus side, we did get a break in the weather towards the end of the week so I felt like I got to stretch my legs properly on my run.

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 8 miles

 

The week began with snow. Again. Monday is always a recovery run so pace isn’t really a consideration, but I did note a weariness in my legs and with my mileage being a bit up and down with the weather since late December, I’ve not been in quite the usual pattern of a three week mileage build followed by a cutback (I basically structure my mileage as if for marathon training but without all the BIG runs!). I made a mental note to listen to my body and cut things back a bit if it seemed necessary.

Monday also brought with it an exciting delivery. I had spotted that I could order the Valentine Minnie ears which I had been coveting since spotting them in some of the Disney blogs/vlogs/newsletters I look at regularly. And when I then discovered that ordering the ears would unlock the special offer price for the seasonal Mickey & Minnie plushes, I went for a full-on Valentine order. Clearly my new plan is to bring the fun merchandise to me since I’ll not be heading to a Disney park any time soon. I might also see if I can collect seasonal plushes throughout the year. That would be fun for me and I could keep changing which ones were out on display…

In my evening Hatha class we were focusing on back bends to try and counter all the sitting at screens we’re doing these days. As ever, I felt great afterwards.

But despite sleeping well I somehow just couldn’t wake up on Tuesday morning. I felt really sleepy as I got ready for my run and I was a mile in before either my mind or body actually felt awake. I felt fine after that but kept the run to an easy pace since I was obviously needing it.

It was quite a day as we had the latest review of restrictions from the First Minister (no real change just yet and even the aim of maybe getting some pupils back into schools is unlikely to affect me any time soon) as well as what turned into a rather epic faculty meeting. I was ready to step away from the computer and do something else after all that. Finding out that it was ACTUAL Groundhog Day (6 more weeks of winter, dang it!) was just the cherry on the cake!

For my workout in the evening we were using the resistance band so it was an upper body focus. Looking back, it was probably the “easiest” workout of the week given what Steve had in store for other days 😮. I was quite pleased to head off to some yoga afterwards!

Wednesday was a real delight. We stepped out the door into what can only be described as driving sleet. Driving sleet which only let up to briefly become snow. It’s a good thing I enjoy running and am fairly hardy, as it was a bit like having freezing cold needles chucked in my face (and that was despite me wearing my winter running jacket!). We had a digital break time on Wednesday and for some reason my colleagues just didn’t think I was selling the idea of running to them 😂

It was quite a full day, culminating in an after school CPD session (although I did get to have a nice chat with the new member of staff who is organising these and get to know him a little) and I went straight from that to prepping a batch of chilli for the slow cooker.

Then it was workout time…

Yup, it was another tough one! Steve was really making me work my hip flexors and I was beginning to doubt my ability to move the following morning, let alone run. Thank goodness the yoga session on the calendar was for neck/shoulders/upper back, giving the rest of my body a break!

As it turned out, I actually felt like I was running well on Thursday morning. It was like my hip flexors had remembered what to do and I had a sensation of getting more knee drive as I went. Even better, those weary hip flexors got a break in my workout that evening as we focused on upper body and put the resistance band to work.

Bringing a little excitement to an otherwise nondescript Thursday was this delivery:

Yes, that is a Frozen 2 Christmas jumper. Yes, I do know it’s February! I actually pre-ordered this back in October (from a website I’ve used several times before) and should have had it in November, but thanks to a couple of production delays (presumably due to Covid) they first told me it would arrive in December then had to revise that to February. In fairness to them, it was the 1st of February when I got the dispatch notice. Since all my Christmas stuff has gone away in the loft (and the jumper is not that festive) I think I’m going to wear it anyway. After all, the “eternal winter” idea the accompanies Frozen seems apt right now!

Also on Thursday I finished up my latest book. This one is the second in a series I discovered late last year. The writer is from not too far away and the books are set close to where I work so it makes for an interesting read!

Friday was pretty wet, but it was actually a really good run for me. That improved performance from my hip flexors was there again, particularly as improved knee lift as I ran uphill, and I felt like I was moving faster without having to make any more effort. Really pleasing after feeling pretty ploddy lately.

Of course I made the mistake of telling Steve that the exercises had made a difference which resulted in, you guessed it, another round of hip flexor work that evening. Sigh! Not my favourite sessions, but I suppose it’s worth it for the difference to my running. Thank goodness for another gentle yoga session (mainly low to the ground) after that one!

I was definitely ready to settle into my weekend with a relaxing evening watching tv. We had been watching the second series of Marcella during the week, but I like Fridays to be a movie night and lately that has been a Marvel movie. This week’s choice: Doctor Strange.

It was definitely strange, but then what exactly was I expecting?

As if the weekend wasn’t exciting enough, I woke up on Saturday to find decent weather. Well, it was actually kind of miserable, but there was NO ICE! After a bit of reading in bed I set off for a (not)parkrun (sandwiched between a warm up/cool down to total 10k) and it felt so good to be in regular road shoes (it’s been a while!) and clock the fastest 5k I’ve had in a few weeks. It was reassuring to know that my legs could still turn over more quickly (especially with all the hip flexor work) and remind me that it’s been the recent weather which has been slowing me down rather than my own fitness/ability.

After our Saturday morning bacon roll (whilst watching an episode of Marcella because This Is Us is STILL on a hiatus 😢) I settled down to watch a little more Bridgerton. It had only been my intention to watch another two episodes, but Smokey got comfortable on my lap and I didn’t have the heart to move him so two episodes became four!

And then, the real excitement of my day…setting up my new phone!

It’s actually only been a year since I got my current phone, but Steve and I were both contacted by our provider with an upgrade offer and after looking into it, we realised we could upgrade our phones with no upfront payment and reduce our monthly bills at the same time. Bit of a no-brainer! I always like to have a couple of backups in place before switching to my new phone, then I have to completely wipe/reset my old one as it goes to my dad (he was excited for an upgrade too haha!). While everything transferred over I headed off for a bath. This week’s bathtime Christmas movie was Santa Girl. It was ok. fairly predictable but fine for something to chill out to.

We rounded out our day with some tv while I made sure everything was as I wanted it to be on the new phone (nothing worse than going to use an app and you’re not actually signed into it!) so I could go ahead and hand over my old one to dad.

Sadly the weather on Sunday was not so encouraging. There was some snow forecast and it was windy so we both headed out knowing that our plans might change along the way. I had intended to run 10 miles but planned a route which allowed multiple opportunities to adjust and shorten it if I needed to. It was actually fine for the first 3 miles. It looked a bit like a daylight version of the Upside Down from Stranger Things with all the floating flakes, but it was fine to run in…until it wasn’t. “Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes” might be one of Maria von Trapp’s favourite things, but certainly not one of mine as I ran into a headwind which was flinging those flakes directly into my face, where they stuck to my eyelashes and made me blind. Not fun. Not fun at all.

After this I started adjusting my route a bit. The weather improved a little but I was feeling fed up and just had no desire to keep on going in the rotten weather. My head just wasn’t in it. The changes I made brought me back to my front door at a little over 8 miles and I decided that was good enough for this particular day. I have no need for particularly long runs right now and there was no point in forcing more – better to stop and reset for a new day.

We got on with the rest of our day (food shopping, dropped off the phone to my dad then settled down to watch a couple more episodes of Marcella) then while Steve had a couple of things to do I did my weekly Disney quiz on YouTube before dinner. As ever, I finished my Sunday with a bath (oh my goodness – what an episode of WandaVision!) before heading to bed. We were expecting some snow…

Have you cut any runs short recently?
In what way do you support your running e.g. strength work, yoga, etc?

Week In Review: The Corona Chronicles Part 40

Christmas week! There were just two days of school and then home for the holidays. Although Christmas for everyone felt a bit different this year, we were still doing everything we could to feel festive and celebrate. Plenty of time for running, but frosty weather had an impact as it made for slippery surfaces a lot of the time. Still, I got a fair few miles in and enjoyed the chance to run in the daylight.

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 3.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 4.5 miles +living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.1 miles
Friday – festive (not)parkrun open sandwich
Saturday – (not)parkrun open sandwich
Sunday – 5.5 miles

As the week began, the shorts were still in action and my Monday recovery run was a good leg loosener. Better, though, was my evening yoga session. It was the last one before Christmas (although there will be a couple of “drop in” sessions in the next couple of weeks before the new year block begins) as everyone was in the Christmas spirit. I opted for candy cane leggings and my reindeer hoody. I honestly thought I would have to remove it as I felt pretty warm as class began, but as we lay in savasana to begin with, I cooled down and it was fine.

I awoke on Tuesday to a dramatic change in the weather. The temperature had dropped and it was pretty slippery so I opted for a slow run into town and back as I thought those roads would be the safest underfoot. It also gave me a chance to focus on finding a couple of the latest scavenger hunt items as I knew I would spot them in town. The slow pace made for a shorter run, but that’s no big deal since this was going to be a cutback week anyway.

Tuesday was the last day of work and it was pyjama/dress down day. I didn’t fancy wearing my pyjamas to work so instead opted to show my affinity for elf culture with my Elf-inspired leggings and Elf sweatshirt (plus my Elf T-shirt underneath!). I was happy!

Right before heading off I also opened up the most perfectly-timed Christmas card ever!

It being the last day of term meant there weren’t many kids in and it was mainly an easy day of quizzes. We also got some detail on the plans for the start of term since the Scottish Government announcement on Saturday changed things. That helped to straighten things out in my head a bit, so once the bell rang at the end of the day (and I had taken down my classroom Christmas decorations) I was out the door at a reasonable time for once. I had a workout to do from my advent calendar then headed off for some yoga before sitting down to have dinner and watch an episode of The Valhalla Murders. I had thought we might watch a second episode, but I felt really sleepy so opted for the rock ‘n’ roll start to my holidays of an early night!

Apparently I needed that as I slept for about 10 hours! When I woke up Steve made me a cup of tea so I was able to stay in bed to read for a bit then headed off to run. It was still slippery outside, meaning taking it easy again, so I just enjoyed the chance to look at some of the Christmas decorations people have up that can’t always be seen so well in the dark.

Post-run I decided to make the first day of my holidays a bit indulgent so ran myself a bath and settled down to watch A Christmas Prince while I lay amongst the bubbles. I first watched this movie last year when my sister told me about it so had been looking forward to seeing it again. And after my bath I figured I might as well keep going to watched the other two Christmas Prince movies right after. A day spent mostly on the sofa definitely made me feel much much better!

The Thursday was Christmas Eve and even with us having a quiet Christmas at home, there were still things to do so I couldn’t be quite so lazy as the day before! I still read in bed for a bit then had a similar run to the previous day – the conditions were about the same so I picked a different route and enjoyed checking out more Christmas decorations, It made me feel so festive.

I arrived home to a well-timed delivery: the latest in the series of Princess-themed medals I’m collecting (appropriately for the season, one inspired by Frozen) and another Christmas jumper for my collection.

It was also the final day of my fitness advent calendar so I completed my medal. I’ve really enjoyed this over the last two years so will definitely plan to do it again in 2021. You earn the base medal, ribbon, an assortment of charms to hang from it and a couple of badges. Last year the medal was based around a Christmas wreath and this year it was a fireplace. So nice.

Once I was showered and changed I made a pot of French Onion soup for our Christmas Day dinner (it tastes soooooo good when made the day before as the flavours really deepen) and a batch of the peanut butter fudge that Steve likes. Then with that done I took in a little staple Christmas tv: The Snowman followed by Father Christmas. I tend to ignore how old they are now since they were released within my lifetime 😮.

I took a break at that point to head out on a delivery mission. I had presents to drop off to my parents and sister, plus collect their ones for us (by which I mainly mean gifts for the kitties!). Sadly I couldn’t chat to my parents for long as I had to stand at least 2m back from the front door and it was pretty chilly to be standing around in the driveway! Dad told me to go home, warm up and watch telly so I did as I was told and settled down at home with a cup of tea and watched The Snowman and the Snowdog. It’s much newer than the films from the morning but soooo cute! Then I followed that by watching The Disney Holiday Family Singalong on Disney+ for a little festive Disney magic.

We had bought some party food for dinner so we got that organised and settled down to watch the recording of Elf: The Musical which was shown on tv a few years ago. I kept the recording so we can keep watching it and it was so strange to think that last year we saw this at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow on its arena tour. An event like that just seems so unthinkable now.

It was a cosy, festive evening and I was really content.

There was no hurry to do anything on Christmas morning, so apart from getting up to feed the kitties we took things at a leisurely pace. For me, reading in bed for a bit is really nice so I stuck with that then Steve and I got dressed in our festive finery (including our special Christmas Day hats) to head out for a run. Christmas Day is one of the rare occasions when we run together and the plan was a run into town and back to finish off the weekly scavenger hunt (there were a couple of items left which I knew I would find in town but had been avoiding going there when it would likely be busy) and I wanted to record a (not)parkrun as part of it. Unsurprisingly, our outfits attracted some attention but it’s fun to have people give a friendly peep of their horn and wave from their cars as they go by. Christmas spirit!

And we managed a little Christmas Day “family portrait” when we got back:

Steve headed off for a shower and I started to get out some of the things we needed for our breakfast. I couldn’t resist a little picture with two of the four main Elf food groups: candy cane and syrup 🤣

Once I was showered we cracked open the festive Bucks Fizz (the clementine and cranberry one we like) and I switched on the recording of the Candlelight Processional from Epcot that was first shown last year. Unlike my parents, I’ve never seen this live, but it’s so festive and it’s a shame this event was one of the casualties of 2020.

It was the prefect accompaniment to our breakfast of pancakes, maple bacon and maple syrup. Yum!

But by this time the kitties were keen to get started on unwrapping presents (presumably realising that almost everything was actually for them – so spoiled!).

I mean just look at this haul No wonder they were over-excited all day and didn’t take a nap!

For the second year in a row I was very good to myself and treated myself to a new Loungefly bag for Christmas. I had to join an email list to get notified when it was available and it was less than 10 days before Christmas that I got my notification. Fortunately, when I went back to the website I got a pop-up saying I would get a code for free express delivery (worth £5.99) if I signed up to their mailing list, so that meant my order came super quickly. And what design did I go for? Why Elf of course! So excited!

But my favourite gift was from my sister who had taken one of my 2019 Run Disney medal photos and done some computer wizardry to create a watercolour print. I love it!

After all that excitement we played with the kitties and their new toys for a bit then I chilled out with my book for a while before dinner. We had once again opted for steak with homemade chips, peppercorn sauce and sprouts (because if it’s Christmas and you don’t have sprouts, did it even happen?). Dessert was Steve’s homemade tiramisu.

I also discovered that you can get an AR Baby Yoda in your house using the Google app (a bit like the AR animals and dinosaurs that were available in the first part of the March lockdown – they were really entertaining so I couldn’t resist having The Child in my living room!).

We rounded off our day with fireworks as Disney had re-released their 2019 recording of the Christmas fireworks and it was a really nice way to end Christmas Day.

Saturday was Boxing Day so another largely relaxing day. For the second day in a row I recorded a (not)parkrun but there was no Saturday parkrun quiz so we watched a game show we had recorded a few day earlier whilst enjoying our bacon rolls. My afternoon movie was one I hadn’t seen in a few years: Scrooged. I’m not sure I enjoyed it as much as I have in the past, so maybe it hasn’t stood the test of time as well as some other Christmas movies.

Yes, those are the kitties standing ok, sitting) guard while I watched 😹

Then in my bath I decided to watch a movie again and chose Christmas Inheritance. You name the cheese Christmas romance trope and it was in there. I still enjoyed it though.

Steve and I finished the day by watching One Night in Hamleys’, where 3 comedians spent the night in the famous toy store and were given some challenges to complete,. It looked like fun and would definitely have been my dream as a child!

Sunday definitely felt like a normal Sunday. I did need to cut my run back because it was icy again so I felt more like I was skating than running and I didn’t want to have a fall. We also had the food shopping to do later on, but I was pleased to find that the shops were lovely and quiet again. We had another quiz show to watch in the afternoon then it was time for my bath (without the need for work the next day – bliss!) where I watched yet another cheesy Christmas romance: The Princess Switch. It was fun, although I think I may now be addicted to these movies. Netflix Christmas Universe, you got me!!

And with that Christmas week came to an end. It may not have been a “normal” Christmas, but it was still fun and I really appreciated the chance to relax.

How was your Christmas?
Do you like to go for a Christmas Day run?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 38

Right now I seem to be existing in that strange “in between” way where work is not very festive at all (we’re a bit limited in celebrations in school this year) but at home I’m all-in for Christmas decorations, Christmas jumpers and Christmas movies. And on my runs I’m rotating through all my festive attire to make sure it gets plenty of wear this year (apart from some of my most “special” Christmas running gear which I save for a bit closer to the Big Ho Ho Ho!). I’m a Christmas fan at the best of times, but this year more than ever the Christmas spirit is really bolstering my mood – like Disney magic but with a bit more tinsel! I’m really looking forward to the holidays now so I can enjoy running in daylight and have some relaxation time watching all the Christmas things. In the meantime, I keep on going with my established routine:

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.3 miles
Friday – 3.5 miles + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10.5 miles

Bet you can’t guess how my week began? Of course you can guess – it was a run! The weather was still chilly, but the good news was that it wasn’t slippy anymore so I was able to zone out a bit more and enjoy the run without fear of falling! I’m going to be so happy when the temperatures pick up again and the days lengthen so I start to see glimmers of daylight towards the end of my run.

After a busy day it was time for my yoga class via Zoom. As ever, a welcome chance to relax and focus on breathing and stretching in order to rebalance.

In life updates, Monday featured a couple of exciting deliveries. First was my Black Friday order from Disney which included this new pal:

He’s the plush from the Disney Christmas advert this year. Have you seen it? One of those ones that tugs at the heartstrings! In the advert the plush is much smaller, but I love that this one features the same detail of a stitched ear. I’m not exactly short of Disney plushes, but this one is also part of the recent product line supporting the Make A Wish foundation, so that was an added incentive to buy one. Plus he’s just so darned cute! And of course he arrived in the perfect size of box for kitties to play in:

The second delivery was my T-shirt for the Run Up To Christmas virtual challenge. I’ve been aware of this one for a couple of years but this is my first time taking part so couldn’t resist ordering the T-shirt (I put my entry in quite last minute, hence not having it in time for the start of December). When I ordered it I don’t think I even realised that one of my favourite quotes from Elf is on the back, which just makes it even better!

I was quite tired on Tuesday morning so found it harder to get out of bed. As a result, I cut the length of my run a little and stuck to a 4 mile out-and-back route rather than my usual 4.5 mile loop. Half a mile doesn’t seem much, but running longer would definitely have made me late!

That evening I came home to a workout, but rather than having Steve give me a workout to do I opted for the ab workout (ouch!) which had been my Monday advent calendar challenge. There was no time to do it before yoga on Monday so I had saved it for a day. I could DEFINITELY feel my abs working hard!

Wednesday was a funny one. The temperature was right around where my “cut off” is to decide between leggings and shorts, and with the recent chilly weather I stuck with leggings but would probably have been ok in my shorts – at least it may not be leggings all the way to March!

On my way home that evening I took a slightly different route to normal so I could go for petrol and run a couple of errands. This meant that I could see the old bridge over the river from a distance and the lights (the colours of which are often changed) looked beautiful so I made a plan to run down there on Thursday morning. As it turned out I was in luck and was treated to this:

It was a long day as Thursday is my most packed teaching day and since under different circumstances there would have been a parents’ evening, we were working later on some development tasks. When I got home I was pleased to find some deliveries waiting for me again. First, this fun medal for an end of 2020 event:

And second another Disney delivery (because this wasn’t available at the point when I placed my previous order). I’ve been watching vlogs from Walt Disney World and been really jealous of all the vloggers with their festive Disney masks so was delighted when they became available online here. I ordered straight away to make sure they arrived as soon as possible and was excited to come home and find them waiting for me!

But after such a long day and very little downtime, waking up on Friday morning was tough. I slept a little longer than usual and so, for the second time this week, cut my usual mileage back by half a mile. On the plus side, I actually felt much fresher and bouncier on my run, so perhaps that extra snooze was worth it.

Friday was officially Christmas Jumper Day in the UK, so it felt like the ideal time to bring out my running top that looks like a Christmas jumper. And, after a couple of mornings of wondering if I should have been in shorts, the temperature was up by another degree, so I went for it and it felt good!

At school we normally do Christmas Jumper day nearer to the end of term (and I’ll donate to charity then) but I still wanted to join in so picked a more subtle jumper since it was technically still a normal (whatever “normal” is these days!) work day! I’m glad I did as I noticed a few other members of staff in Christmas jumpers too.

Since it was Friday and I had put in some long hours all week, I headed home a bit sharper and took on a challenging living room workout using the most recent 2 workouts from my advent calendar. I had stored them up as they didn’t quite fit in over the previous couple of days. I started with a core workout that had my abs screaming, then followed with a 30 secs on/15 secs off set of high knees – much harder having pre-exhausted my body with the core workout and my hip flexors were definitely making themselves known!

To recover, I selected a lovely “Blanket Yoga” session which had me all dozy and relaxed at the end. The perfect end to the week.

Still all-in for Christmas movies, our Friday night movie was The Christmas Chronicles. I watched this once before a couple of years ago and didn’t remember it too well (other than that I enjoyed it), but with a sequel released for this Christmas I wanted to rewatch it. I’m glad I did as I really enjoyed it once again. I do love a Christmas movie and there just never seem to be enough days to watch them all before Christmas Day!

Saturday started with a Smokey Special: an early morning kitty alarm clock designed to get me up in time to feed him and his sister. It’s very effective 😹. I actually went back to bed to snooze for half an hour then enjoyed some time reading in bed before my run. It was pretty soggy outside so I needed my cap and jacket, but I enjoyed my (not)parkrun sandwich despite my aching calves (I think that set of high knees the night before took its toll!) and took the chance to wear some Christmas leggings.

Post-run it was time for the parkrun quiz and it was another poor week for us with 7/15! Maybe the next one (the last this side of Christmas) will be a bit easier…

When Steve headed out to catch up with his brother I gathered up the things I needed and set about wrapping some Christmas presents. The kitties had been snoozing upstairs, but wrapping paper must be some kind of kitty siren call as they soon roused themselves from their slumbers to come and offer their “assistance”. At one point I thought I was going to be like Aunt Bethany from Christmas Vacation and end up wrapping a cat haha! Thankfully we got through the task without major incident, leaving me free to settle down (with my faithful companion on my lap) for a Christmas movie. This time I chose Jingle Jangle, another new one for this year, and really enjoyed it. Great music (kind of reminded me a little of The Greatest Showman in that way) and with a cool steampunk vibe. I suspect I will watch it again in the future.

When the movie finished there was no sign of Smokey moving any time soon (and I can never bring myself to disturb a kitty sleeping on my lap) so I popped Mickey’s Christmas Carol on for a second viewing of the season. After that, he did actually move so I headed off to have my bath so I would have plenty of time to soak in the tub before the Strictly semi final (yup, Smokey was back again!).

After that relaxing day I slept well and was woken once again by that furry but effective “alarm clock”. Just like the day before, I fed the cats then had another wee snooze in bed before reading more of my book – remaining there a bit longer once Steve headed off for his run.

I had originally planned to run 10 miles but when I spotted that my mileage for the week was sitting at 26.6 miles I decided to run an extra 0.4 (which in actual fact turned out to be 0.5!) in order to round it up. Luckily the rain had FINALLY stopped as that meant I could pair my Elf-inspired leggings with my Run Up To Christmas top which includes an Elf quote on the back. I looked like a little Christmas elf running around 😂.

But the best thing I saw was this decorated window. I think it might be part of the Advent Window Walk taking place nearby (we went to see the windows last year but it’s running a little differently this time in order to be more Covid safe and we just haven’t managed to go and explore since I often work quite late). It made me smile as that’s definitely an accurate depiction of Christmas with cats!

Later on, with the weekly food shop done, we settled down with some stollen bites and the first hot gin toddy of the season for my Sunday afternoon movie choice: The Christmas Chronicles 2 (the reason why we watched the first one on Friday!). A new movie for this year, I really enjoyed it and it was good to see the same cast and follow the characters again.

Smokey, however, had apparently had a tough day 😹

Oh, and while we were out getting the shopping, I picked up this Christmas essential:

I’m ready to tackle that with my Sharpie in the days ahead.

I rounded my week off in the usual way: dinner, Strictly results and a bath. Now just once more full week (and a couple of days) until the holidays…

Have you been watching Christmas movies?
How do you change up your running gear for the festive season?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 36

I’m going to be honest and say right from the start that this wasn’t a good week for me (hence the delay in getting this posted). There was so much to do at work that it left me feeling exhausted and out of sorts. Thankfully it was also a week I had planned a cutback in my mileage and intended to run at an easy pace, so my running this week was all about headspace and me time. Yes it might have felt nice to sleep a bit longer in the morning, but I also knew that skipping my run or leaving it until the evening would make me feel worse rather than better as I wouldn’t have those crucial endorphins to help keep me on an even keel. Writing this I’m feeling much better after a restful weekend, so let’s hope the week ahead is a bit better.

Monday – 3.5 miles + home yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – 4.5 miles
Thursday -4 miles + home yoga
Friday -4 miles
Saturday – (not)parkrun open sandwich
Sunday – 8 miles

Monday was a really gentle recovery run and a chance to get the weekly scavenger hunt underway. I had a full day of classes and some work to do at the end of the day so by the time I arrived home I was needing some yoga. There was no yoga class as my teacher was taking a well-deserved week off, so I turned to Yoga with Adriene instead and felt much better afterwards. It also helped that Steve had made a batch of cookies and I enjoyed one with a cup of tea.

Tuesday was also super busy so I was glad I had been for my run beforehand (even if I was too warm because the forecast said rain so I wore a jacket and it stayed dry!). Normally I have at least one lesson on a Tuesday without a class in front of me, but with a week of mock exams I was needed to invigilate since this was happening in classrooms rather than the big hall (because we can’t have gatherings like that right now). I arrived home quite late (something I would repeat as the week went on) and Steve put a cup of tea into my hand so I could sit down. No time for any yoga even though it would probably have made me feel a bit better, but it was nice to have a moment to myself. The real highlight of the day was watching the Bake Off final (my favourite won!) and this was the first time we watched live since we usually prefer to avoid the adverts and watch the following evening. We had some yummy Millionaire’s Pots as a sweet treat to accompany it and we both enjoyed seeing the amazing bakes.

I think Wednesday was when the wheels really began to come off for me. I knew it was going to be a long and busy day so fought the temptation to just run on and on (or away from all the things I had to do!) but enjoyed the fact that I was still able to wear shorts (the last time for a bit 😢).

As predicted it was a super long day with an exam to invigilate, a packed teaching day and an extended session of development work after school in place of the parents’ evenings we can’t have just now. By the time I got home I was shattered and still had a few bits and pieces to do before I could relax (albeit briefly).

It barely seemed like five minutes before it was Thursday and my alarm was going off. It was also the first properly cold and frosty morning of the winter which meant leggings (boo!) and my all-terrain shoes to have a bit more grip. At least the cold air meant I felt more awake when I arrived home!

There was some brief excitement in the evening as we were due to vote in a council by-election. I made an effort to be home a bit sharper, then Steve and I walked up there together. We wore our masks at the polling station and the safety measures in place made me feel comfortable – we had to queue up outside to wait our turn, sanitise our hands on the way in and there were screens separating the polling station volunteers from the voters. Once we had voted there was more sanitiser on the way out again (through a different door to the one we entered through). After that, for the first time since Monday I managed to fit in a short yoga session before dinner (which included one of Steve’s homemade apple crumbles 😋)

By the Friday I was DRAGGING myself out of bed as the week had felt busier than ever with the mock exams, cover classes and all the other pressures of teaching in the shadow of Covid. It was still cold so I was still in my leggings but this time the conditions were fine for my regular road shoes.

Somehow I made it through the day but felt like a zombie by the time I got home. Steve put a cup of tea in my hand and I headed off to have a bath so I could relax for a while. Steve used the time to have a go at making a curry. It was a korma which was delicious, but I think both of us prefer a stronger flavour for a curry so that’s maybe something for another week. We also realised that we should have bought some naan bread or poppadoms to go with it too – oops!

I definitely felt better after all that and enjoyed my Friday Night is Marvel Night movie, which this week was Ant Man. It was a little silly, but I don’t think I would have coped with a film needing much thought! Still, I was ready for an early night and I slept for a whole ten hours!

That long sleep meant I felt much more refreshed on the Saturday morning – good thing too since it was day 250 of my run streak and I wanted to enjoy it. I got out for my usual run, including a (not)parkrun portion, and we followed that with a score of 12/15 on the parkrun quiz. Happy with that! After that, my main focus for the afternoon was to bring Christmas to our house. I normally wait until the first weekend in December, but this year I am MORE than ready for a bit of Christmas cheer. So I set about putting our tree up whilst enjoying a new-to-me Christmas movie:

This was one of the things I REALLY wanted to see when Disney+ was originally announced, but since we didn’t get the service until March, I had to wait until now to see it. Totally worth the wait!

I was also pleased with the tree. I got some new lights in the sales last year since our old set was designed for a much smaller tree and didn’t feel like enough. But like last year, I kept the decorations to non-breakable ones since the kitties haven’t quite grown out of knocking them down yet!

I mean, look at that pretence at innocence 😹

And with the tree up, I couldn’t resist watching my all-time Christmas favourite: Mickey’s Christmas Carol. It’s only about 20 minutes long, but ever since I was little I’ve HAD to watch this every single year – that’s quite a lot of viewings!

The rest of the day was pretty restful and made me feel so much better than I had done all week.

The Sunday was also fairly restful, beginning with some reading in bed. The weather was still chilly and there were lots of slippery patches so I was fairly bundled up for my run, but my hands were sooooo cold – I was wishing I had chosen thicker gloves or taken some hand warmers out with me! I’ll not be making that mistake again!

Sadly I got a bit stressed out over our food shopping as for the first time I didn’t feel fully comfortable in the shop. I don’t know why it was suddenly much busier, but making it worse was the fact that so many people seemed to be in “shops at Christmas” mode so weren’t really keeping their distance. I was glad to get out of there, albeit worried that this will be what shopping is going to be  like for the next few weeks. If it is, I don’t think I’ll cope!

An afternoon treat of stollen bites whilst watching the final Extra Slice followed by the latest episode of The Mandalorian cheered me up though.

The week ended with an interesting bit of excitement. Teachers in Scotland are eligible to be part of a Covid antibody study, which involves being sent a kit to take a finger prick blood test and send a sample away to be tested for antibodies that would indicate you had at some point had Covid. It’s part of a study to track Covid in settings such as schools and I had received my kit towards the end of the week.

To take the test there was a little bit of prep – drinking some water and placing your hand in bath-temperature water before collecting your sample. I got Steve to help me with some of it since I suspected it might be a bit fiddly, especially packaging things up after three test if my finger was bleeding! Between us we were able to navigate it all ok and soon I was able to relax in my bath to feel rested ahead of another week.

Do you have your Christmas decorations up yet?
Would you take an antibody test if you had the chance?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 35

The first week of teaching under tier 3 restrictions meant one or two changes for us, most notably around masks as we now have to wear a mask while teaching senior pupils (who also have to now wear a mask in class). I actually decided just to wear my mask pretty much all the time and as the week went on I found I was starting to forget that I had it on! Outside of that, little else really changed fo me – I’m not meeting up with anyone or going to any places other than work so it was just another week of running, yoga and squeezing in a couple of workouts:

Monday – 3.5 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 miles

Monday’s run was fairly unremarkable: easy pace, short distance and a chance to make a start on the latest scavenger hunt. It was, however, as vital as ever to keep me sane through the busy school days and right now that’s the main thing I’m looking for in a run.

When I finally arrived home (after another of those video meetings held from our own classrooms!) I got myself organised for my yoga class. Next week there won’t be a class so I’ll have to make sure to still do a little yoga myself as it’s so welcome at the end of a Monday. It won’t be the same without a live teacher, but good old Yoga with Adriene will more than fill the gap. Sooty joined in this week and definitely got a good stretch – this was how I found her at the end of class:

I quickly discovered on Tuesday morning that it was reeeeeally windy again. Of course all the uphill sections of my route were into a headwind and there was no tailwind to be found anywhere – and I ran a loop! Still, definitely got plenty of fresh air and the temperature was really mild so it was shorts and T-shirt. In November!

Steve had an evening client so I got him to tell me the exercises I should do with my resistance band and had a solo workout when I got home (while catching up with It Takes Two – turns out upper body exercises are a bit less challenging when there are sparkles and sequins to watch!). Then while the dinner was in the oven I did a little yoga.

A touch less windy on Wednesday (although not what you’d call “still” conditions”) but it actually felt even milder so even though I hadn’t been keen to get out of my bed, I felt better and better as my run went on and would have happily run for longer had I not had the small matter of a working day to get on with!

It was actually quite a productive day, and despite staying late-ish I still had time to do some yoga, eat my dinner and watch BOTH the latest This Is Us AND It Takes Two. Bonus! We had originally planned to watch the semi-final of Bake Off, but without a sweet treat to accompany it we decided to postpone until Thursday evening instead. Priorities and all that haha!

Thursday was actually a really good day. I am part of “My Secret Friend” at work – something new a colleague started to bring a little bit of joy into our lives (very welcome in 2020!). The idea is to carry out 3 random acts of kindness for your secret friend over the course of the year and it looks like a few people have been finding gifts waiting for them when they arrive in the morning. On Thursday, I found a little package on my desk which contained this:

DEFINITELY a secret friend who knows something about me and it fitted in beautifully at home!

That really put me in a good mood ahead of my busiest teaching day of the week. It had been tough to get out of bed, but taking a run down to the river and around the bridges really helped, especially seeing this view:

And finding a thoughtful present really made me smile. The day actually whizzed by then I had to leave almost straight away at the end of the day to make it back for an appointment and run a few errands, during the course of which I got this:

It’s been a long time since I’ve burned any candles since I’m always afraid of kitties knocking them over or burning themselves, but I thought one like this in a deep jar would be pretty safe. With so much time at home (when I’m not at work that is) and dark nights, a candle seems like a cosy, Hygge treat. I think this may become a more frequent occurrence. I’m not sure this one smelt like apple pie to me, more like “Christmas”, but I still like it.

In the evening it was time for us to watch the Bake Off semi-final after postponing the day before. Steve had picked up some tiramisu so we had something nice and sweet to go alongside it. With the final looming next week, we will need to be organised with something nice to enjoy while we watch.

Friday was another good day, The weather had turned chilly at the end of the week so it was a sudden change from shorts to leggings for my Thursday and Friday runs. I stuck to a simple out-and-back on Friday morning then headed into work where I found ANOTHER gift on my desk! Not a Secret Friend thing this time, a little more bittersweet as this was from a friend whose last day it was. Since a leaving do is out of the question right now, she had delivered miniatures to some staff with the instruction to raise a glass at 8pm – which we all did on Facebook. A lovely way to mark this transition for her, but I am sad that someone I have worked with since starting in the school is now moving on.

The rest of the day was fine. Friday is my lightest teaching day and I had already done all the cover I am eligible for, so I had a bit of space to do some admin and was able to leave fairly sharp at the end of the day. I really need to make more effort to leave a little earlier on a Friday since I’m often in late throughout the week now.

When I arrived home Steve was still away with a client, so I had a cup of tea and watched a vlog until he arrived and it was time for a workout. He had bought a new resistance band but it looks WAY tougher than mine so I think I’ll leave that one to him for now! It was lovely to then unwind with some yoga before dinner. We’re still progressing with the Marvel MCU and it was the turn of The Avengers: Age of Ultron. I think I’ll pause my Marvel mission soon and switch to Christmas movies for a bit, but I’ve been enjoying the films so far.

I began Saturday, as per usual, with a bit of reading in bed while I had a cup of tea. I could hear that it was pretty windy outside so when I did head off for my (not)parkrun sandwich I had no intention of attempting a quick time. Instead, I focused on a harder effort for the (not)parkrun portion and didn’t worry about the overall time. Frankly it was just nice to be back in my shorts and running in the daylight! I also spotted this which really made me smile:

Somehow I arrived back before Steve so was all organised ready for him coming in. He made the bacon rolls and we got on with the weekly parkrun quiz (another good week for us – 11/15!) then I had to head straight out as I had an appointment to get my hair done. The hairdresser still feels like a safe place for me as there are so few people in at one time, temperatures are taken, hand sanitiser available and screens to separate clients when needed. This means I can relax and while I was there I finished up my book. I think I got this one on Amazon Prime First Reads and really enjoyed it.

I had considered nipping into a couple of shops afterwards and Steve had texted me to say the town was fairly quiet when he went to meet his brother, so I walked around to the High Street. But when I got there it was PACKED (we’re not in the tier of restrictions which means shops, etc have to close) and the shop I had wanted to go to had a queue. It might have been different if I needed to go in, but I was just fancying a browse and the crowds were a big fat nope for me, so I quickly turned around and headed back to my car to go home. It would be nice to look at a few Christmas things in the shops, but in the grand scheme of things it’s not that important and staying healthy is.

The rest of Saturday was pretty much my normal routine – I did a Disney quiz on YouTube, sorted out some bits and pieces (including some online Christmas shopping  – I’m on a mission to get it all done!), had a bath then watched Strictly. What did we think of Jamie?!! I also had company in the form of Sooty. Most unusual since she likes to retain an air of independence, but recently she’s been getting much more affectionate, giving me nose bumps/head butts and now this. I wonder if she’s missing me when I’m at work?

A similar start to Sunday (after an early rise for kitty-feeding duties!) with my tea and a book in bed, then I got organised to run. It was cool, but not cold enough for leggings and the sun was shining! I decided on a 12 mile route and had a really nice time. I think my favourite part was running though the woodland park I like so much. I always meet dog walkers, families and people out for a walk and everyone always smiles and says good morning. We don’t get much interaction with others right now, so I enjoy those brief moments of human contact and hopefully the people I meet enjoy the greeting too.

After all the usual Sunday chores we settled down for Extra Slice followed by the latest episode of The Mandalorian (was Baby Yoda eating macarons?).  Smokey’s nose was out of joint on Saturday when Sooty was on my lap so he made sure to stake his claim this time! Mind you, Sooty wasn’t far away as she settled herself on the back of the chair behind me. Cat Lady training continues to progress well 😹

I finished my week with the Strictly results followed by a bath, setting me up for another work week.

What made you happy this week?
What’s your main priority in your running just now?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 34

The third week of term meant I was feeling fairly settled into my routine, but there were a couple of curve balls this week to keep me on my toes. As a result, only one workout, but my day was still bookended with running and yoga so I’m pleased about that as these are the things I feel I’m relying on most to keep me feeling positive and find moments to unwind.

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.2 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

Monday began with a run (of course) before a pretty hectic day of teaching during every lesson followed by some socially distanced discussion at the end of the day. Like with recent weeks, I really wasn’t home for long before it was time for my yoga class on Zoom (a welcome chance to unwind) then Steve and I started to watch Roadkill which has been showing on BBC. I was pretty tired by this point and couldn’t quite believe it was only Monday!

On the plus side, I came home to quite the “bling haul” with my finisher pack from the virtual Vitality London 10,000m and a couple of the princess-themed medals from the set I have been collecting:

I must have carried some tiredness into Tuesday as although I felt fine on my run, after a couple of non teaching periods working at my desk, I felt super tired to the point that it was making me feel a bit “off”. By the time I got home I was almost of a mind to go to my bed rather than eat dinner (a true sign of how exhausted I was!) but instead Steve sent me off to do some yoga (I chose a really chilled out, relaxing sequence) then I pretty much went to bed right after dinner. In bed by 9pm on a school night and with no awareness of Steve coming to bed? Completely worn out!

But that early night made a huge difference as I was feeling great on Wednesday morning. Good thing too since I had to be sure to get straight out of bed and out for my run – no time to hang around since I was to drop off my car to have a service and MOT and this was going to mean cutting it fine for getting to work (fortunately I didn’t have a class first lesson so had a little bit of wriggle room here). Normally I get this done during the October holidays or, failing that, a Saturday morning, but despite calling the garage in SEPTEMBER neither of these were possible so to make things work I had to get a courtesy car. I’ve had this before, but this time it did make me a bit nervous to have a vehicle driven by others (although the garage assured me the cars are fully sanitised in between).

Sadly, the diagnostics at the garage popped up an issue requiring some work (by some miracle, still under warranty!) but it was going to take a couple more days. Luckily, I was able to keep the courtesy car so my first job was to figure out how to put some fuel in (why are all the petrol caps on all the cars all operated in a different way???). Once home it was a quick yoga session, dinner and the quarter final of Bake Off before bed. We were a little unprepared so had some flaked truffles for our sweet treat this week – a free gift I had been saving for a chocolate emergency!

On Thursday I felt like mixing things up a bit and taking a different route for my run. Rather than my usual residential areas, I headed into town and along by the river. Steve has been posting pictures of the old bridge all lit up and I wanted to see it for myself. I’m so glad I did as it looked beautiful.

Another full teaching day (last teaching day of the week) and some work after school, but I was able to fit in a quick living room workout using the resistance band before my yoga, then Steve wanted to watch the Scotland football match so I caught up on It Takes Two on my iPad while he did.

There was another delivery for me just after I arrived home too. After loving my Haunted Mansion Minnie Mouse so much, I also ordered the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad themed one from the month before (these plushes been part of a monthly limited edition collection). BTM is another of my favourite rides and I decided I wanted this plush for my collection. And while I was about it, I took advantage of a special offer and also picked up the festive Mickey and Minnie plushes to start my Christmas decorating.

True to form, the kitties couldn’t resist checking them out (they love to cosy in beside teddies and plushes) and I caught this picture where it looks like Sooty is giving Mickey a kiss on the nose to say hello 😻

Friday was an inservice (inset) day at work so no pupils. Normally this would be a day of meetings/training/development work but right now we aren’t allowed to have any face to face meetings or large gatherings, so anything involving collaboration was going to be via video call. So with that in mind, we were told we could work from home as the default position (but with the school building available for those who preferred it). I definitely preferred to cut out my commute and work from home, so that meant a slightly later start to my day (still dark for my run though!) and the extra bit of sleep was most welcome.

I had a morning of video meetings but enjoyed a lunch break where I actually got to walk away from my desk (we’re eating lunch in our own classrooms right now as, like with meetings, gathering for breaks is not allowed). I try really hard to do something different at lunchtime like read a book, but I often end up taking care of a couple of little work things so it was nice to take a proper break and watch a couple of vlogs while I ate. Good thing it was lunchtime as Sooty was EXHAUSTED from trying to appear in all the meetings haha!

I had a development task to complete in the afternoon (this time sans kitties as they had given up – part-timers!)

Then when the work day was done I headed out to collect my car since the garage had let me know it was ready. Again, I was certain it was all sanitised but still kept my mask on until I was home (to avoid touching my face), wiped the interior down and made sure to wash my hands thoroughly. Can’t be too careful!

I was conscious my day of working from home was less active than being at school (although in general an inservice day is a bit more sedentary anyway) so Steve and I went out for a little walk before I did a yoga session. After dinner, our Friday Night is Marvel Night selection was Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  Baby Groot was so adorable (although not quite as adorable as Baby Yoda!). Apparently the script for the 3rd movie is finished so I’ll be looking forward to that some time in the future.

My favourite weekend treat is to start with a little time in bed drinking a cup of tea and reading my book. I give myself around an hour of reading then get ready to head out for my run. It was, of course, (not)parkrunday so for me a 2 mile warm up, faster 5k and 1 mile cool down. Strangely, I quite like the faster section as it’s good to push the pace a bit more in a way that would feel like a much greater effort through the work week when I’m out so early.

As ever, post-run it was a bacon roll and the weekly parkrun quiz. We’ve been doing fairly well lately so were pleased with another 10/15. I’m even doing ok with all the maths questions, perhaps the most I’ve used maths in years – who knew it would actually come in useful!

When Steve headed out to meet his brother, I settled in for the afternoon. First I did my weekly Disney quiz on YouTube, then I finished up a pile of marking before a little Disney+. I watched Under the Sea: A Descendants Short since I had enjoyed the three films, then for the “main feature” I chose The Secret Society of Second Born Royals. It was quite good fun: think Avengers but with teenage royalty.

Sadly there was also a bit of work to do, which was rewarded with a bath followed by Strictly – some AMAZING routines this week (Bill Bailey!!). We rounded the day off with the latest episode of This Is Us. So frustrating not having all of them available to binge (as we have with the first 4 seasons) but at least it will make the series last a bit longer.

Sunday also began with some reading in bed. I had a book I wanted to finish and was just about there when I decided I really needed to get up and get my day started. It was dry but had clearly been raining and the forecast suggested more rain to come so I made sure I was prepared. As it turned out, I was almost finished my 10 miles before the rain came on and I didn’t get a soaking after all! While I was out I spotted this which seems to be new (and will probably be painted over shortly). Very effective as the red parts are all poppies.

Steve was on a much longer run (and had set off a little after me for once) so I had enough time to shower and still finish up my book (Case Histories by Kate Atkinson – I enjoyed it) before he returned.

Later in the afternoon (once we’d ventured out in the rain for the food shopping) we settled down to watch Extra Slice (with our now-traditional Sunday hot cross buns) followed by the latest chapter of The Mandalorian. Not so much Baby Yoda in this episode, but still good.

Then it was a quick bit of work stuff for me, dinner, the Strictly result and finally my Sunday bath. I’m not sure I would cope with the week now if I didn’t get my bath haha!

And that was my week. My area (and the area I work in) has moved up a tier level in restrictions so there will be a couple of changes for me in the week ahead, but hopefully as straightforward a week as is possible right now.

Have you bought anything for the festive season yet?
With changing restrictions in various places, how are you doing with your running and exercise?

Week In Review – A Very Merry Christmastime!

And just like that, the festivities are done. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t leave me feeling a bit sad as Christmas really is the highlight of my winter. I LOVE all the build up, Christmas movies, delicious food and opportunity to spend copious amounts of time in my PJs, but I know it can’t last forever. Yet even though I enjoy the celebrations, I do keep up my running and other training as I just wouldn’t feel like myself without them, so today I’m sharing how I spent Christmas week (and how I fitted some training around the festive fun!).

Monday – PT session with Steve
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – Christmas turkey parkrun sandwich
Thursday – rest
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 8 miles

My usual routine when it’s the school holidays is to switch to three PT sessions in a week, but with Christmas falling on a Wednesday this wasn’t going to work out so I just stuck with two, switching my Tuesday session to Monday as this suited Steve better in terms of the hours he was working. As a Christmas “treat” he mixed things up again so I had forearm rollouts on the gym ball (my poor abs!), those bear crawls with the press up, the bar bell and a finisher which involved something a bit like boat pose on the Bosu. Given that this is a posture I do reasonably easily on my yoga mat, whilst on the Bosu I did a fantastic job of making it look like I’d never tried it before in my life, and when Steve asked me to move my legs and arms, I inevitably fell off the back. Oh well! 😂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the afternoon we had to go out to the farm shop for a couple of things and since one of Steve’s clients had given him a gift card for there, we treated ourselves to a salted caramel hot chocolate and warm mince pie in the cafe there. They were both delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then spent the remainder of the day snuggled in at home watching Christmas movies.

Tuesday was Christmas Eve and after a leisurely start to the day (a cup of tea in bed whilst reading a bit of my book) I headed out for a run. It was so nice to be out in daylight after all those dark runs during the school term!

My sister was coming to us that evening for our usual Christmas Eve party food and board game fun, so I finished getting the house tidied up then had a nice bath to relax for a bit. As well as switching on my Christmas lights, I popped a fireplace app on my tv screen and was amused to then have one cat position himself in front of the “fire” while the other opted for a spot under the tree!

Our board game of choice was Frozen 2 Monopoly (well of course I was going to buy that!) and I jumped at the chance to dip into my collection of Minnie Mouse ears for an appropriately themed pair to wear. Well, it was Christmas after all!

Wednesday began with Christmas Day parkrun. As is now our habit, we ran there and back so we would get a decent length of run. And in case you haven’t seen it on social media, I was dressed like this:

We were on the lap course again but this time some of the path was pretty icy so I took it easy so as not to fall over. Then at the finish there were flasks of hot chocolate and a dish of marshmallows to add to it. With one of our bigger turnouts (338 Christmas Day parkrunners!) there was only a little left by the time I was ready for mine, but I still enjoyed having a hot drink before running back up the road again.

While I grabbed a shower to warm up, Steve organised our Christmas Day brunch – bacon rolls made with Christmas spiced bacon and a glass of clementine and cranberry Buck’s Fizz. Yum!

By which time the kitties were making it very clear that they wanted to start opening presents so there ensued a rather entertaining stretch of time while they pounced on wrapping appear, attempted to wrestle their new toys out of their packaging, jumped in empty boxes and ran around like a couple of utter lunatics! They were hilarious and, between mum and I, totally spoiled with toys, food, treats, a new bed and a play tunnel. Not to mention the wrapping paper and cardboard boxes which they saw as a bonus 😹

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since it was just the two of us for dinner, we opted once again for steaks rather than turkey as it’s so hard to get an appropriately sized bit of turkey, of decent quality, for two people (or two people plus two kitties!). I think we both prefer steak anyway and tracked down a couple of really nice ones. So to start we had a bowl of my French Onion soup (which I had made the day before so the flavours would be nicely matured), followed by beautifully tender steaks with peppercorn sauce, homemade chips, tenderstem broccoli and asparagus. To finish, it was Steve’s infamous sherry trifle – when you hit a sherry well in that stuff, you definitely know about it!

That evening there was one last window being lit as part of the advent window walk and this one was being hosted by our friends who had been organising it all. Walking over there seemed like a nice idea to help digest our dinner so we got changed into “proper” clothes (we’d basically been in our pyjamas since parkrun) and set off.

There were a few people there when we arrived, but by the time the window was revealed there were about 80 people squeezed into the front garden! We enjoyed a hot drink, some festive cakes and nibbles and, once most of the people had drifted away, we toasted Christmas with our friends and gathered around the fire pit to sing some Christmas songs, accompanied by the guitar. It wasn’t how I expected to spend my evening, yet it just felt like the perfect thing to do. So Christmassy and so lovely to see a different group of people who, like at parkrun in the morning, had come together to share part of their Christmas Day in a different way.

After all that excitement, Thursday became a rest day, at least from exercise! We both enjoyed a lazy morning – tea and a book in bed then I had a nice bubble bath whilst watching the Strictly Christmas special. We had some soup for lunch then set off to walk over to Steve’s brother’s house. They had invited us over for drinks, party food and, of course, we ended up playing games, including the maddest came of charades I’ve ever known! It was a great way to spend the afternoon/evening and so nice to catch up with Steve’s nephew. He’s undertaking postgraduate study at the Guildhall in London and is often away performing as well so I suspect I probably haven’t seen him since last Christmas!

Steve was back at work on Friday morning as he had a few clients lined up, but he managed to fit me in later in the morning for another go at the circuit he had set up on Monday. The only difference was that this time he added what he calls “star crumps”. A kind of press up type thing where you jump your hands and feet out and in. All I know is that they are exhausting when added onto the rest of that circuit!

I also devoted a bit of time to tidying out my chest of drawers. To entertain me whilst re-folding running tops, I popped a Disney Christmas parade video on and then this happened:

That’s right, a cat sitting in an open drawer, transfixed by the moving colours on the screen 😹

After a lunch of leftover onion soup I headed into town to spend my Christmas money from my parents (the Pandora shop was calling my name!) then I treated Steve to a coffee before we settled ourselves down for the evening. We still had some party food left in the freezer, which makes for the perfect Twixtmas dinner!

Unsurprisingly, party food left me feeling a little sluggish on Saturday morning, but parkrun was an ideal way to blow the cobwebs away. To mix things up whilst on the lap course, this time we went in the opposite direction. At one point I thought it felt quite hard work, despite the warm up of running down, but then realised that on the most exposed section of the course we were running into a headwind and as soon as we turned the corner it was much easier again. Despite feeling a bit tired and sluggish (I had been awake for a bit in the night for no real reason) I was pleased to finish in 24:11. It may be slower than the previous week, but was faster than I thought I would be on that occasion.

And mild enough for shorts!

Fortunately, the cafe we have been going to was open so after our run home to change we were still able to meet Steve’s brother for our Saturday morning bacon roll.

Sunday was the last longer run of the year and it was still really mild. I had my shorts on and a super-thin long-sleeved top but soon ended up with the sleeves rolled up, wishing I had chosen a T-shirt instead! With plans afoot for our usual New Year’s Day running challenge, it seemed sensible to stick to an 8 mile run so that my legs will feel reasonably fresh come Wednesday. This gave me an ideal opportunity to run out to the woodland park and back (once I’d had a lazy morning, drinking 2 cups of tea in bed and finishing my book – I do love holidays!).

And when I got back I had a bit of time so generated my Instagram top nine for the year. Obviously running features quite prominently (and that time I met Sir Ian McKellen) but what happened to all my Disney pictures and photos of the cats? Sometimes algorithms bamboozle me!

So that wraps up the final full week of 2019. All being well I’ll manage to post something a bit more reflective in the next few days, but the next time I publish a Week in Review post it will be 2020 – how weird does that sound?!?

Did you run/parkrun on Christmas Day?
What was the highlight of your Christmas week?

Week In Review – Winding Down??

Ah the last week of term before the Christmas break. The one where well-meaning folk from outside of education imagine we are somehow “winding down”. Winding down? All I can say to that is, “ha!” To be honest, it’s quite the opposite as we frantically try to finish assignments, set assessments, seek the bottom of the marking pile, attend Christmas dances, go to Christmas assemblies and organise activities for the last day of term – all whilst trying to peel over-excited young people who are acting like they’ve had 10,000 espressos off the ceiling for long enough to explain the lesson, amid moans of, “are we still doing this?” (Answer: yes we are. We will be doing it until you actually GET IT DONE so stop asking!) and, “can we do something fun?” (Answer: my job is to TEACH not entertain. Plenty of time for fun in the holidays!). It can all feel a bit full-on so it was important that I still fit in a bit of training to keep me in balance. Here’s what I managed:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – form drills
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun open sandwich
Sunday – 8 miles

With no yoga class to get to on Monday, I used the time to get some work stuff up to date. After school I worked with a pupil who had asked for a bit of extra help then got on with a bit of admin to help clear the decks for the holidays. I had thought I might try to squeeze in some home yoga but there wasn’t time as I wanted to fit in a little festive activity – the lighting of an advent window. A nearby part of town organised 25 windows to form a different kind of advent calendar, with a new one being lit each evening. The “host” for each lighting provides drinks/snacks for everyone gathered to see it and while I might feel a little uncomfortable showing up to something like that at the home of a total stranger, this one was at a friend’s house and I was keen to go down and support it. I actually spotted a couple of the other windows on our way over there and I’m hatching a plan to run around them all once they’re all lit (there’s a map of the houses and they will all be lit each evening until the 1st of January). I think it’s about a 5k-ish run in total and will be a nice alternative run during the Christmas break – I just need to figure out when to go!

I did, however, stick to my Tuesday routine of an early run. It was my usual 4 mile easy run and after having a mileage cutback on Sunday, I definitely felt my legs much fresher than they have been a in a couple of weeks, which is always a good feeling!

Then after school (and giving that extra study support again) I headed to the studio for my workout. This time the exercises Steve gave me included hand weights, the bar bell, something I can only describe as bear crawls with a press up, and the Bosu. He’s definitely making these more challenging again!

I did a little more marking when I got home, but was completely distracted by this pair sitting in a box together and looking unbelievably cute!

I made Wednesday a rest day and not only took some extra time after school to catch up on work, but managed a few errands before getting my nails done for Christmas. Priorities lol!

I also had to wrap my Secret Santa gift for the following day and, unsurprisingly, it was a bit of a challenge with two young and inquisitive cats around!

Thursday was actually fairly mild (for context, I had to scrape ice from my car on Tuesday morning and was in winter kit for my run) which meant I could run in my SHORTS! I leapt at the chance to run a set of form drills again since you never know at this time of year if the underfoot conditions will allow it. I did the 8 reps of 600m drills I had intended to do last Thursday and felt good heading into the day.

It was probably a good thing since my interval apple was “sacrificed” for a mince pie while we did our Secret Santa (a colleague who works part time was able to come in at that point in the day, hence the interval gift exchange rather than lunchtime). It was another great Secret Santa year for me with some Disney-themed gifts – thanks Santa!

Then at lunchtime was had our festive pot luck lunch which was lovely, but a real thought to go back into the classroom for the afternoon!

With the bottom of my marking pile in sight, I took the last of it home to finish off and by the time I was done I realised it had been a pretty exhausting day and was in my bed just after 9pm. Rock and roll haha! On the plus side, I had a great sleep and felt refreshed on Friday morning ready to face the madness of the last day of term (we had a full day this year rather than a half day). It was our Christmas jumper day and I debuted a new jumper I bought. As far as I’m concerned, this one wins Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was also wearing my third and final pair of Elf socks:

Thanks to my efforts throughout the week I had nothing that I really needed to get done so was able to enjoy some of the activities we had laid on for the pupils, although by the afternoon the hysteria was definitely setting in and the pupils REALLY needed to be on their way home, such were the excitement levels among many. On the plus side, as a school we collected over 2000 items for the local food bank. I’m heartened by the generosity but sad that we live in a world where we need to do this. It’s heartbreaking to think that there will be pupils in our school whose families will rely on those donations this Christmas. It’s just not right.

At the end of the day I was out the door pretty sharpish to go for my workout. It was a mini circuit with the bar bell, bear crawl things, a kind of plank position/step up (with hands, not feet) on the step and those press ups with my hands close together than I find pretty challenging. Apparently Steve doesn’t go easy at Christmas time!

And since it was the Friday before Christmas, I went with my tradition of recent years and picked Christmas dinner when we went out for our usual meal booking. Turkey and all the trimmings followed by Christmas pudding and a delicious candy cane gin cocktail to finish. Yum!

Steve was RD at parkrun on Saturday morning and I persuaded him that a Santa suit was necessary. Of course that meant I was “forced” to match him in my Mrs Claus outfit and new candy cane leggings!

Yes, I did run to parkrun in that outfit. Yes it did attract a bit of attention 😂

We have been running on an alternative course for a while now since the work the council was doing on our regular route isn’t finished yet. No idea why not, it was originally scheduled to be finished in the summer, but I suppose they didn’t specify which year 🤣. But as a result, the grass on the alternative route is now getting quite churned up and squelchy. We often “rest” the grass on our main route for a bit in the winter and use the route that comprises 2 laps of the park and it was decided that we should start doing that now. The conditions were cool, but not cold enough for ice, pretty still and our route was all paved, offering the chance to run a bit harder. So despite my crazy get-up I ran fairly hard and was thrilled to come in at 23:37 – a winter sub-24 and my fastest time of the year! I wonder if it was my dinner on Friday night that powered me to a fast time? The only irritation is that I need 38 for my parkrun bingo so I ran a second too fast – d’oh!

I didn’t run home as we were going straight to the cafe so Steve could process the results. He had a change of clothes in the car for me, but we both stuck with our Santa suits while we had our bacon rolls and I just changed from the Mrs Claus dress to a hoody before heading off to grab some food shopping.

The rest of the day was nice and relaxing. So relaxing that a certain little mummy’s boy made himself comfortable 😻

I took my time getting out the door again on Sunday morning so that it would be properly light (although a bit grey – one of those days where it isn’t actually raining but the air feels damp) and figured 8 miles would be plenty, so I donned a pair of festive leggings and a Santa hat and headed off. It was a lovely run and I felt great afterwards – good thing too since we were braving the shops to get the Christmas food in 😫.

Fortunately we survived, and after a quick FaceTime call with my parents and an early dinner, we headed out again to see our second advent window lighting. This time we didn’t know whose house it was, but as well as the window and snacks they were hosting a donation point for the local food bank so I felt by contributing it would be ok to turn up. Besides, the clue to this window suggested it would be Elf themed so of course we wanted to go!

Some of the details will be easier to see in daylight. The skyline along the bottom is our city’s skyline!

Even better, the snacks were all from the elves’ major food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn (ok, we don’t have candy corn in the UK so it was popcorn instead) and syrup.  I enjoyed a candy cane and a chat with some people I knew before heading home for a cup of tea followed by a nice bath. The perfect end to the week.

Do you get much time off over Christmas?
Do you have anything like the advent windows or some kind of festive walk/trail where you live?

Week In Review – The Best Way To Spread Christmas Cheer…

Hello! I hope you’ve had a great week. My week, for various reasons, felt really festive and I’m getting so excited for the Christmas holidays now and a chance to chill out at home with a bit of festive telly (when I’m not out running, that is!). Here’s what I got up to this past week:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 6.5 miles

For our last Hatha class before Christmas, our teacher encouraged us all to wear something Christmassy. Knowing that both she and another of my friends would embrace this wholeheartedly, I was happy to throw myself into the idea with enthusiasm and ended up dressed like this:

Christmas from head to toe!

And just to prove it wasn’t just me, here’s a photo of the Christmas dafties after the class 😂

It was a really nice class to end not just the term, but the year. Our teacher brought along glittery LED candles for us to place by our mats and we were told we could take these home at the end of the class to maybe use for our home practice over the festive season. It was such a nice touch – simple but thoughtful. I’m already booked in for the first block of 2020 and can’t wait to get back to this class again.

Tuesday, of course, began with a run and with the forecast being for a wet morning, I was back in my jacket and cap to try and ward off the worst of it so it would be a bit quicker to then get ready for work. It actually was a bit drier than I expected, but still some rain so I was glad of the cap!

And after work I headed down to the studio for my workout. Steve set up a session using the gym ball again, but with a finisher using the Bosu. The sessions now are targeting arms and abs, but that feels right and I’m happy with the progress I am making – I certainly don’t think I would have been able to do some of the things I’m doing now when I began this focus back in the the summer.

When I got home I was thrilled to find that my new Christmas tree topper had arrived. The decorations on the tree might be scaled back a bit this year for cat-related reasons (the wee monkeys have now worked out how to knock the decorations off the treee to play with, thankfully without the tree itself toppling over!) but at least the topper can firmly stamp my personality!

On Wednesday Steve was at a Christmas do and I had initially thought I might watch a Christmas movie, but in the end brought a few essays home that I needed to mark. I really want to clear the decks marking-wise before the holidays so taking a little time in the evening to mark a few pieces will make a big difference.

And then another early run on Thursday. I had thought I might do some form drills but the weather forecast hadn’t been too encouraging so I had kept my options open. In the end I would probably have been ok for the drills so long as I was careful where there was the odd slippery patch, but having woken up feeling a bit sluggish a nice easy run was far more appealing and helped set me up for the day ahead.

That evening I made it to Ashtanga for the first time in a couple of weeks (thanks to work stuff I missed the previous two weeks) and I’m glad I did since this was also the last class of the year. I had gone in fully expecting to be stiff and and less flexible, and found that initially I couldn’t move into postures as much as before since I hadn’t been doing as much yoga, but as the class went on I felt that flexibility unlocking again and I felt strong. When we got to the headstand I decided to see where I was without getting my teacher to support me and was able to balance in the posture for 5 breaths with my legs still bent (basically a headstand but without extending my legs up). That’s definitely good progress towards being able to do that particular posture again and is likely due to the additional core work in my sessions with Steve, which in turn is giving me the confidence that I CAN hold that posture (I really do believe part of the issue here is mental rather than physical, hence going right back to the beginning and trying to focus on taking my time rather than rushing into it – good advice in general anyway!). A focus over the festive break will be to get back to more regular home yoga again and I really want to sort out my routine a bit again since I’ve let that slip recently.

Friday was a great day at work. It was super busy as I had extra classes to cover, but at lunchtime the staff book group met and we also had the lucky dip book exchange that I had organised (inspired by our former librarian having done something similar last year – she has been greatly missed since moving to another post). Interested staff wrapped up a book they had enjoyed reading and then we all picked out a book with no knowledge of what we would unwrap. I think everyone actually got something they hadn’t read before and it’s a great way to read something you maybe wouldn’t have read otherwise. I got a book by an author I’ve never read, but I’m looking forward to giving it a go some time soon.

I then finished my day with another session in the studio with Steve. This time he mixed things up a bit with a resistance band/weights warm up before moving to a circuit of barbell, TRX and press-ups with my hands quite close together – much tougher than with a wider stance!

Conditions weren’t too bad on Saturday morning and after my run down to parkrun I was feeling pretty good and planned to run quite hard. I always find it hard to get faster times over the winter as conditions just aren’t as conducive to running fast thanks to wind/rain/snow/mud etc, so I was really pleased with my 24:13. That’s the fastest I’ve had since my sub-24 runs in early November as conditions have been pretty hard since then. I think that suggests my fitness is still decent and I know that if I keep working hard over the winter I’ll see the benefit in faster times come the spring.

For this week’s run I chose my most “elfy” leggings and my Christmas pudding hat – one of my running friends commented that I “never disappoint” when it comes to my running attire 🤣 – the reason being that I was really excited for the evening ahead. No, not the Strictly final (although I was excited about that) but a trip to the SSE Hydro in Glasgow to see the arena tour of Elf: The Musical!

I saw a recording of this on TV 2 or 3 years ago and have kept it in my TiVo box to watch each year, so when I spotted an advert for this touring arena spectacular I knew we would have to go. It was only in Glasgow for this one weekend and when I booked the tickets back in August I realised that I would miss Strictly, I just didn’t realise it would be the final. It’s not like me to voluntarily go out on a Strictly nigh – especially the final – but there was no way I was going to miss Elf!

Me all day on Saturday!

We had considered going through to Glasgow earlier in the day, but the thought of trying to park and get about on a Saturday in December didn’t appeal so we ate an early dinner then headed through some pretty awful weather to get there in time for the show. This time we decided to park at the venue (it can be slow to get out afterwards, but it would have been miserable to walk back to the car somewhere else at this time of year) but when we arrived the traffic was queuing up to get into the car park and as the minutes ticked by I was getting anxious about making it inside in time. In the end Steve said I should go on in so I left him his ticket and braved the wind and rain to run round into the venue. Thankfully Steve was able to get in before the start, but the show was actually delayed to allow those trying to park to get sorted out and I think after I got out of the car the parking marshals started managing the car park in a different way to speed things along. Phew!

The show itself was amazing. I knew it was slightly different to the movie since I had seen it on tv before, but for the arena tour there were also acrobats and other entertainments between the scenes so there was always something going on. I loved it! And since I had rushed inside at the start of the evening I hadn’t been to the merchandise stand so made sure to stop on the way out for a programme and a couple of amusing hats for Steve and I!

If you’re wondering, of course I had something suitable to wear:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I even had an Elf T-shirt under my Elf sweatshirt and a pair of Elf socks on my feet. I do love that movie!

With the Strictly final still to watch I was on a total media blackout to make sure I didn’t find out the winner. That meant no news or social media and it was actually quite refreshing not to be sucked in to scrolling through nonsense on my phone. Instead, I began Sunday with a lie in (we were much later to bed on Saturday than usual) and enjoyed a cup of tea in bed whilst reading a bit of my book. This was also a ploy to see if some of the ice and frost outside might melt a bit before I went out for my run, but it was still looking pretty slippery when I wanted to head out. However I remained conscious that I should have an easier week – I’ve been really consistent with 10 mile runs on a Sunday for a few weeks now which is fine for maintaining my fitness, but it won’t make me fitter or faster. With no race in the diary right now that’s not really a problem, but I would like to have a bit more variety and start to push my Sunday mileage on a little in the new year, so I knew I should have a cutback week to let my body reap the benefits of all my recent work. After all, it’s not when we run long that we get fitter, it’s when we ease off to let our bodies recover. With it looking pretty slippery outside, this seemed like the ideal time so I set off thinking anything over 5 miles, ideally about 10k, would be good. The route I picked ended up being 6.5 so that was perfect, and the pace was slow thanks to part of the route being untreated so I had to go easy to make sure I didn’t slip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You’ll be glad to know that I did manage to avoid finding out the Strictly result and spent a happy afternoon catching up with the final.

All-in-all a pretty fun week which left me feeling really festive. Now just one more week of work before the big Ho Ho Ho!!

Are you feeling Christmassy yet?
What fun festive things have you been up to?

Week In Review – A Busy Week!

There’s something about this time of year. Even before the festivities truly kick in, it’s really busy at work as there are parents’ evenings to attend, assessments to mark and the beginnings of other events to opt into. This past week was a fine example of one where I might have been better just sleeping under my desk For a couple of nights, but at least I knew it was going to be like that so just buckled up and went along for the ride. I even managed some training along the way!

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – form drills
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles. Again!

After a couple of fairly rocky weeks recently, Monday this week was really good. It was one of those days when everything just ticked along nicely and I felt calm and in control – more of those please! It meant that I was in a great mood when I left that evening. I even managed to leave fairly sharp (in the knowledge that I would have plenty of time to spend at work later in the week!) and did a little more festive decorating. I wrapped new lights around my wreath which I bought at a school event a few years ago and added lights to our still upright, but largely empty, Christmas tree.

I also added an LED candle that projects Christmas pictures onto the ceiling (Smokey was captivated by this one!)

And after all that I headed to yoga in a great mood. It still felt nice to take that time for myself, especially given that the remainder of the week was set to be pretty busy.

I was up early on Tuesday for my run. It was my standard 4 mile recovery run and a mild day so I was still in my shorts! I’m quite enjoying being able to wear my shorts in December!

I managed to leave work sharp again as I had evening plans (more on that in a moment) and Steve was able to fit me in quite early for a session. We used the TRX for a variety of press-up based exercises, including the pike. Ooft!

After that it was a quick dinner and change of clothes before my parents picked me up to head into town to join my sister in seeing the pantomime. It was quite early in its run, but that’s when my sister gets her comp tickets, and with my parents heading off to sunnier climes imminently, it was an evening that suited us all. This year’s offering is Sinbad the Sailor, and while that’s not normally one of the first stories we think of for a pantomime, I enjoyed it and felt it was a good example of traditional pantomime in Scotland (and I worked in that theatre for a number of years so have seen a fair few!).

Thankfully it finished at a reasonable time so not a late night. And a good thing too since Wednesday and Thursday were going to be the busiest days of the week. Wednesday may be my rest day from training, but after leaving for work before 8am, it was over 12 hours before I arrived home again so a pretty long shift!

The reason for the late night was that I had (stupidly?) agreed to be part of a staff act in the now annual school talent show. That’s right, I succumbed to the pleas of the nice group of senior girls who were organising the event as a fundraiser for their yearbook. Of course the staff act is not there to compete, more to find new ways to embarrass ourselves publicly and hopefully help the seniors to raise some money. This year we were to be embarrassing ourselves through the medium of dance and some other girls had put together a “straightforward” dance routine for us to perform to “We’re all in this together” from High School Musical. I put “straightforward” in inverted commas since there was little to no dance experience between us and our one and only rehearsal just over a week prior was unlikely to see us through! We did manage to run it a couple of times right before going on stage and thankfully a couple of the girls stood in the wings to call the moves out to us so we could get through it without incident. Our aim was to look like we weren’t taking ourselves seriously whilst still avoiding looking like total idiots. I think we managed to pull that off, and the fact that the stage lights meant we couldn’t actually see the audience made it all much easier. Mind you, there is inevitably a recording of it doing the rounds but so far the feedback has been positive. Phew!

Unsurprisingly I was pretty tired when I got home so simply had some food and headed for my bed fairly sharp. I think I fell asleep before I had even read a page of my book!

I still managed to get up on Thursday morning for my run and decided it was high time to change up my intervals so this week increased the distance of my form drills to 600m and cut the number back to 6. It was definitely an invigorating way to start the day (and yes, still in shorts).

But that was it for Thursday as a parents’ evening meant another late stay at school. Actually, I was away earlier than the previous evening as we began at 5pm and I managed to stick pretty well to my 5 minute slots, thus getting away before 7pm. I was still tired but thought I would have slightly longer to myself that evening before bed.

Thursday was also Steve’s birthday so when I got home his brother was there dropping off a gift and we chatted for a bit before he headed off. And then, disaster! Just as I thought I would sit down with some food to watch The Apprentice, one of our circuits tripped and we couldn’t get it to reset. There are actually a couple of electricians who live in our street but both were out so we couldn’t get any advice. The circuit was the one controlling pretty much everything downstairs plus the lights, heating and WiFi. So no cup of tea and no WiFi – Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was NOT being met! We ended up sitting upstairs where we had lamps plugged in, eating our dinner off trays (at least we got that organised before we lost power) and having a bit of birthday cake and glass of wine before deciding just to head to bed.

Despite my doom-laden expectations of no shower or breakfast in the morning (I had already made plans to head to the nearby Costa to grab something on my way to work) we awoke to find that giving the circuit switch “a little rest” had resolved the issue and we were able to reset the it. It’s actually been fine since and we still don’t know what caused the problem, probably an overload of some kind that caused the circuit to trip. Either way, a drama I could have done without!

Still, Friday ended up being another good day to end the week and this time I was away pretty sharp-ish after spending more than enough time there over the previous couple of days. My first port of call was the studio, where Steve gave me a press-up based workout again, but this time with the added peril of being balanced on a gym ball, a piece of kit around which I have even less grace than normal so I will be forever amazed that I managed to do the pike on it without killing myself 😂

As usual, we went out for some food at the pub down the road and since it had been Steve’s birthday I suggested that we have steak as a special treat. I’m actually quite fussy about where I will order steak from, but I really like this one so it was a great meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once home, we FINALLY managed to watch The Apprentice whilst enjoying a slice of unicorn cake (yes, I did buy Steve the cake I like for his birthday. I promise he does actually like it too haha!).

It was still mild on Saturday but I kept the shorts in the drawer as I wanted to break out the Christmas leggings. I suspect it won’t surprise you to learn that I have more than one pair, so this week opted for my Mr Men ones.

It was pacer week but I hadn’t been able to get a time that would feel comfortable for me, so instead took advantage of the mild weather to run a bit harder. The grass was pretty squelchy and there was a bit of a headwind in places, but I’m happy with 24:36 as that’s a fairly average time for me and winter conditions do tend to slow things down.

Once freshened up we headed back down to meet Steve’s brother for breakfast. We’ve been going to one of the “parkrun cafes” which happens to be at a venue associated with the Black Watch, but this sign (and a chap in kilted WW1 attire!) still bamboozled me:

Post-breakfast I chilled out for a while getting my hair done before zipping round the weekly food shop as I wanted to spend my evening doing this:

Oh yes, high time we watched a Christmas movie and we ALWAYS start with this beauty as I think it’s our favourite -we have a tendency to quote the lines throughout the year!

The weather on Sunday, however, was pretty miserable. Steve headed out fairly sharp, whereas I had noted a likely break in the weather around 10am so opted instead for a lazy start to the day, drinking a cup of tea in bed and reading my book. I got up around 9, got dressed, tidied up and headed out at the back of 10. The weather was actually much better at this point but I knew there would be more rain and strong winds to come. This led to some debate around the distance I would run. I’ve been fairly stagnant at 10 miles recently, partly because there has been no real need to go further and partly because conditions have limited my desire to do so. With it so miserable outside I did wonder about cutting that back to 8, but figured I would decide while I was out. In the end, although I was pretty soaked, I didn’t actually feel wet or cold so just went for the 10 miles. I was definitely glad to hit the shower when I got home!

Once dry and warm we had some lunch, went out for our Sunday afternoon then rounded off the afternoon with another Christmas movie and the last of Steve’s birthday cake.

And the festive songs inspired me to finish off the tree decorating. Keeping it low-key and simple to avoid cat-astrophe!

Have you put your Christmas tree up yet?
What’s your favourite Christmas movie?