Week In Review – The Big Ho! Ho! Ho!

Christmas week! After our festive traditions over the weekend I was really ready to celebrate the season as well as enjoy a little downtime. It was a bit frustrating that my cough made a return late on Christmas day so I took the decision to have total rest in order to shift it, but I was still able to enjoy myself. Here’s how it looked:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – Christmas parkrun sandwich
Wednesday – rest
Thursday –  run rest
Friday – rest
Saturdayparkrun rest
Sundayrun rest

Although Monday (Christmas Eve) was a rest from training, it certainly wasn’t a restful day as I spent much of it doing various household chores to have everything tidy for Christmas. That evening we had my sister round for some party food and silly games – a bit of a tradition for us now that my parents are away at this time of year. My sister brought the cat treats my mum usually produces from her handbag so the kittens were pretty happy!

Tuesday was Christmas Day and we began with opening some presents. I already got a great mug (it’s my new favourite) in my work Secret Santa gift and this was supplemented by my gifts “from the kittens” of my Gary Barlow calendar (required annually!) and a festive Minnie Mouse hat that not only has ears but lights up too. I love it!

Since we hadn’t run on Sunday we decided to run down to parkrun and back so we could get a few more miles in. Of course I wore the new hat (and Steve had a matching Mickey one) as part of my festive running outfit.

It was a nice run, but I wasn’t looking for a spectacular time, just to enjoy being with my parkrun family on Christmas Day.

Once home I managed to get the kittens to wear their Santa hats long enough to take a photo (next year’s Christmas card?) as they were quite sleepy after enjoying a little turkey for their lunch.

We, on the other hand, had decided to have steak with veggies rather than the traditional turkey. We knew it would just be the two of us and had the revelation that as adults, we could eat whatever we wanted and it didn’t have to be turkey! Steve got delicious steaks from the farm shop and I made a pot of onion soup as a starter. We were pretty full after that so needed a bit of a time out before embarking on dessert of Steve’s famous sherry trifle (heavy on the sherry) and later some sweet treats we had made – chocolate/digestive biscuit bar, sherry truffles and peanut butter fudge. Yum!

But from that point on most of the days blur together as I had no specific activity to hang things on. We ventured out briefly on Wednesday (Boxing Day) and Thursday on some errands and I met a friend from work for a coffee on Friday, but most of the time I was resting and dosing myself with cough medicine/lozenges to shift the cough. You know it’s serious when I skip parkrun! Although, to be honest, I step until 10:30am on Saturday and Steve just left me alone so clearly there was something up. The fact that I then had an afternoon nap as well probably tells its own story, but it certainly did the trick and although I opted not to run on Sunday, I was feeling much better and coughing considerably less.

Somewhere in all of that I did take the time to get my top nine photos for the year from Instagram…and was not at all surprised to see they included running (in funky leggings mostly), the Stirling marathon, Disneyland Paris, yoga and the kittens. That seems to pretty much sum up my year!

So with that, I’ll wish you a happy new year and hope that 2019 brings you whatever you desire.

What did you eat on Christmas Day?
What sums up your year?

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Week In Review – Feeling Festive

The last week before the Christmas holidays is an interesting combination of winding down work-wise whilst simultaneously cranking up the excitement festivities-wise. Fortunately, I was still able to fit in enough activity to maintain consistency (and stop my head from exploding with all the things I had to do!).

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

The week got off to a decent start when I found a lovely Christmas gift waiting on my desk – a tin filled with homemade Christmas biscuits from one of my colleagues. It felt like I had a reeeeeeeally long week ahead so this was a nice start. Other than that, it was a rest day as there was no yoga class and I took advantage of the chance to take it easy.

vqT2xIPDRSSXUuJF5a1JTgOn Tuesday I stuck to my routine of an early run and got 4 miles in. But as I finished my stomach felt a little “off” and this didn’t lift all day. It was strange as it wasn’t sore, but I knew it wasn’t quite right. I still ate my meals with no adverse effects, I just didn’t quite feel like myself so an early night was in order to try and shake it off. But before that, a Christmas film to cheer me up.

AAAABdF-v0XmEiV41zDrPoWhErU24mYH_F385Ur9_fOfHqiSMPEjmZsuXmL_T-9MdUnNo7BnhJ3WnW8e0JfZQlN3vpPRGtX1TXWxKWeGP2F0g8DWQRmEXoJsOS0T_eLeT-IhuA2eu4u8XAFortunately when I woke up on Wednesday morning I felt back to normal and ready to get on with my day. It was Christmas jumper day at work so I was able to wear my brand new one.

BLc2lwmpQzqXxujIrzYFYwIt was also our department Secret Santa and I got a haul of cat-themed gifts, including one that managed to combine the holy trinity of cats, Disney and Paris. Well done Santa!

MvEpJMB8QlSa8s%VtpbzuQAnd our faculty head gave us a little gift too. Perfect!

VoaZKMihQqeI4jTnI5rRJgOnce more there was no evening activity, so after a home yoga practice I settled down for another evening with a Christmas film. Gotta love the classics!

XbD28XaGS9GGb%+AE6TR+AAfter feeling “off” on Tuesday I was a little wary about my Thursday morning run but actually I felt great. I even had a bonus sprint at the end as Steve had set off after me and was gaining rapidly. He was right behind me with 0.2 of a mile to go and we ended up racing up our street to see who could get to the front door first. It was an unexpected way to finish my run, but I just edged him out as he was “coaching” me.

IMG_4146And I wore my Christmas leggings to get into the spirit of the season.

%W7bK9HzQ+2BrKjXl+I31QThat evening I had my Ashtanga class and it was the last one until the new year. It was so nice to be in class and I knew it marked the end of term as I just had one half day left.

That half day was an interesting one which seemed to mainly involve a lengthy game of Friends Monopoly going on in my classroom with a group of seniors. It’s been a while since I watched any episodes of Friends and it really put me in the mood to catch a couple of episodes during the holidays. I might even have to get that game myself!

I ran a couple of errands on the way home at lunchtime (so nice to drive in daylight!) then later in the afternoon I headed down to the studio for a workout with Steve. Once again he had a circuit for me using the TRX and Bosu and it worked my poor abs pretty hard.

9VwSvQH6SHq138BsKYYoEQThat evening we began our festive celebrations with Christmas dinner at the pub down the road that we go to every Friday. We’d been eyeing up their Christmas menu for a couple of weeks but always wait until the Friday right before Christmas. There were a number of options, but of course we went for turkey and trimmings followed by Christmas pudding. Yum!

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TkLkEXAkQpe8baL5Hv2TggThe celebrations continued on Saturday morning with the last parkrun before the big day. That gave me the perfect excuse to don some of my festive finery.

M4mFOeWNShaxEbheb3OCeQWe were on our usual course and it looked stunning thanks to the cold air and some low-lying fog. The route had been in question in the days prior thanks to some significant flooding, but the waters had receded to reveal the path once more.

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Photo by Matt Ross on the Perth parkrun Facebook page.

Later on, we had breakfast with Steve’s brother then braved the pre-Christmas food shopping. I had to hum Christmas songs and plaster a smile to my face Kipchoge-style to try and keep my cool. I think I got away with it!

Sunday was the main event in our Christmas prep – the annual day out to Edinburgh. Despite a train cancellation, we got there on time for our booking at the ice rink and after 10 years Steve is beginning to show signs of figuring out how to skate.

IMG_4166Post-skate we enjoyed a hot gin and apple toddy in the bar to warm up.

Cf0icslzQICFG2ideQQJGwAnd then, some food. We love going to the Chocolate Lounge at Harvey Nichols as a festive treat. We ordered Strawberry Bellinis and I had a dipping plate while Steve had a seasonal special – Christmas pudding ice cream sandwiched between sticky toffee pudding and served with cream, chocolate shards and melted chocolate. I have to say, it sounded amazing but I really wanted something savoury as it was basically my lunch and I knew I would have a sweet treat later.

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48403190_10155911247530986_3096970736686858240_nThat sweet treat was a Hotel Chocolat festive drink – salted caramel and clementine hot chocolate. It was delicious!

Sy4Jc9WxRu267QSxXrYeRwAfter all that we headed back to the station for our train home and Steve promptly fell asleep from all the sugar! I think the kittens missed us as they were sitting in the window watching for us getting back. Awww.

We spent the remainder of the day relaxing and watching a bit of Christmas TV. A lovely way to round off a festive weekend and I was feeling really ready for Christmas after that.

What are your pre-Christmas traditions?
Have you dressed up for any festive runs?

Friday Finds – 21st December

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Happy Christmas! It’s the last Friday before the big Ho Ho Ho and a time of year when interesting articles can be a bit thin on the ground. But never fear, I do have some things for you to read this week, perhaps as your festive break begins…

A few weeks ago I shared an excerpt from the book The Happy Runner by David & Megan Roche, so I was interested to see this article in Outside distilling some of the key takeaways from the book. Looking at this, the book kind of appeals to me as these are a ideas I feel strongly about in my own running. One to add to my list!

Also in Outside, the latest column from Alex Hutchinson. This week the topic under consideration is Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record. Ever since Kipchoge was part of the Breaking2 project, there has been much debate surrounding the Nike shoes he wore and Hutchinson examines some of the data around best times to try and determine the role played by the shoes. An interesting one for the data geeks.

Speaking of Kipchoge, his achievements is 2018 have earned him a spot on ESPN’s list of the most dominant athletes this year. By taking second place Kipchoge certainly left some big sporting names in his wake, with only US gymnast Simone Biles scoring higher. It’s great to see a runner in this list as many of the others are from team sport backgrounds or sports which tend to have a bit more coverage. There’s a link to the full list in this article:

Another study being reported this week looks at the impact of various types of exercise on our cell biology. Evidence suggests that different activities have a different effect at a microscopic level, thus we may be influenced to make different decisions about how we move our bodies. Of course any kind of exercise has to be good for us, but I’m always curious about HOW different activities will affect me and what I might gain from them, so will be interested to see how this research progresses.

And finally, as the season of indulgence gets into full swing, you have perhaps seen some of the many images and articles making proclamations about how to burn off the calories from various festive treats. Yes, there is an issue around health and obesity, but personally I can’t stand these articles. The notion that a treat needs to be “offset” with something leads to the perception that exercise is some kind of punishment to be endured rather than something fun to experience. So with that in mind, I love this piece written by parkrun’s Global Head of Comms as it sets out exactly the issue I have. Well worth a read.

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Week In Review – Time Out!

The sensible hat was well and truly on my head this past week as I decided not to run so that I could shift the cough that was troubling me. I have to say, I did miss my morning runs and by the end of the week could feel that I was needing to get out there again, but I also know it was the best decision as it meant the cough cleared pretty quickly. It doesn’t give me so much to write about here though!

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 10k

Despite the time away from running, I still wanted to make sure I continued with yoga so on Monday night I popped a cough lozenge in my mouth and headed off to class. Apart from anything else, it was the last one before stopping for the holidays. All was good until we lay down in savasana at the end, at which point I began to cough and had to sit up through the relaxation. Thank goodness everyone there is a friend and was very nice about it. I hate being a disruption to the relaxation.

On Tuesday I opted for a home practice using a Yoga with Adriene video for when you’re feeling unwell. It was actually quite nice and did make me feel a little bit restored.

Wednesday was the last orchestra rehearsal of the term and I was keen to get there after missing the previous two. I wasn’t sure if I would stay for the whole thing or not, but there was a decision to finish earlier so I managed to last (and was enjoying it once I got there).

By Thursday I was feeling much better and the cough had been improving day by day to the point where I wasn’t really coughing much any more. I made to to Ashtanga yoga (if I had still been coughing badly I was going to give it a miss and stay at home) where I felt quite strong and actually drifted off in relaxation – quite a contrast to Monday!

I made Friday another rest day as my friend who does my nails was starting again after having her baby and I really wanted my nails done for Christmas. Of course I couldn’t resist a sparkly glitter called Winter Wonderland!

FD6L+EDERrilW%SpGhANAAAs the weekend began I was desperate to get running again and knew I would be ok. The forecast for Saturday was for some snow, but not until later in the day so parkrun was not affected. It was, however, very cold as there was an icy wind and it felt much colder than the actual temperature. This did mean we could use our normal route as the grass was nice and firm. I bundled myself up in warm gear and reluctantly removed my cosy jacket right before we started. I had no idea how I would get on – either the rest would have me feeling great or I’d go out too fast and pay for it. As I began I genuinely thought I was going too fast and was going to pay, but I was able to sustain the effort for a Royal Flush Negative Split (yes!) and a 24:22 finish. Much speedier than I expected, but possibly all in aid of staying warm.

IMG_4062That evening Steve was out at a festive gathering but for me it was all about one thing – the Strictly Come Dancing final. I had my disco diva leggings, a glass of prosecco and some snacks to see me through and I loved it. Only problem is, once it’s over I feel sad that I will have such a long wait until the next series 🙁

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56659412792__44AB02A0-3C0B-4FA2-9CA5-E9D3E6093632But while I was watching the snow did fall and lay on the roads. It was quite a surprise to see this when I looked out of the window!

z2fWv3YXTj+G02pv3Kt%mgIt was still there on Sunday morning, but the low overnight temperature meant it was actually quite slippery so I decided on a 10k route where I could run on main roads and hopefully avoid the worst of it. I also popped my trusty Yaktrax back on my shoes to give me plenty of grip.

oh5qg%IpRca6pgfFzPHs%AIt was quite a pleasant run, but I have to say it felt a bit too easy so I’m looking forward to getting some more running done during the coming week to make up for it.

RPUegNFkTYyeazFs3JF0mAAfter that, a few errands then time for another Christmas movie. You can’t go wrong with The Muppets and this one always makes me feel Christmas-y. A lovely way to finish the week.

z4EuG+xWTheJ8Tj3gnnpmQHave you had snow so far this winter?
What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Week In Review – Feeling Good!

Now that I’ve been running in the morning for 4 weeks, I think I’m really starting to feel the benefit as my body is more adjusted to the change and I’m starting to notice the impact. The pattern to my week right now is fairly fixed and seems to be working:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 8 miles

My Monday yoga class felt quite restorative. I think that time to focus on my breath and movement as the week begins is really beneficial. As Mondays go it was a decent one as there was no meeting at the end of the day, but most of the time my Mondays are pretty full-on so I think the yoga class is now key not just to my physical health but to my mental health as well because if things have got on top of me during the day, the class helps me to deal with it and clear my head.

Since I had cut my mileage back on the Sunday before, my legs were feeling fresh and as a result my morning 4 miles were a bit quicker than usual without any additional effort. I never thought I would enjoy getting up earlier to go for a run, yet I’m actually finding that I look forward to it in a weird kind of way and certainly notice how much better I feel for the rest of the day. It also means I’ve created a bit of space in the evening so I have a bit more downtime to refresh. Win win!

7JhurMc1QsiGeo%x7sf7WwAlthough Wednesday is my rest day, it was another less-than-restful one again as I had another parents’ evening. In short that meant no orchestra and a reeeeeeally long work day!

Despite this, I found a little more energy on Thursday morning for another strong run. Later  in the day I had my Ashtanga class where my work on Wheel and Headstand continues to pay off. I was actually thinking back to my earliest classes and how hard I found some postures compared to now. Back then I thought it was all about “just” finding more flexibility, but I now know it’s also about physical and mental strength as well e.g. my breakthrough with the headstand a few weeks ago totally changed my approach, yet realistically nothing much had changed physically from the few weeks before, it was a change in mindset which meant I was able to do it. Powerful stuff!

Friday was an inservice (inset) day at work so it was mostly a day of meetings/presentations, however it was also a day of atypical eating as there were bacon rolls at interval and a colleague brought cake for lunchtime. Fortunately I had arranged to go to the studio for a workout with Steve again so worked some of it off! Since we are focusing on knee drive/hip mobility, he gave me another circuit using the TRX and Core Momentum Trainer. Hard work but I know it will be helping.

Saturday’s parkrun also gave me a chance to run off the bacon rolls (yeah, I took one for the team and had a second since there were some left and the business manager was keen that nothing went to waste. Always happy to oblige when it comes to food!). Having produced a decent time the week before (24:18) I wanted to see if I could shave another few seconds off as the reality is that I’ve been hovering in the lower end of the 24-25 minute mark since about late June and wanted to see a little progress before conditions slow things down.

I set off quickly and although I slowed slightly in the second mile as I ran over the slightly squidgy grass (going from 7:43 to 7:50 per mile) I was stunned to check my stats later and find I had run mile 3 in a speedy (for me) 7:36! Combined with my usual just sub-7 finishing pace, I not only shaved a few seconds off, but was pretty convincing with a 23:40 finish time.That’s actually my second fastest time of the current parkrun year (our birthday is Saturday so this was the last run of the parkrun year) and it feels great to finish on a high.

IMG_0299We had our usual post-run treat of a cup of tea and bacon croissant with Steve’s brother, then ventured off into town for a short time before getting our food shopping. I normally can’t be bothered with the town on a Saturday and this week was particularly busy, but it was busy because the Christmas lights were being switched on that evening so there were loads of things going on.

We started with the chocolate and gin festival, enjoying a few samples of festive gins (which meant getting the shopping done whilst experiencing a lovely warm glow!).

f+vJbWVjTgWjDy8+15EWVwThen on our way back to the car we checked out the four-legged friends in attendance and the ice sculptures created for the occasion.

nU3LcTteR5qiiIdIKXCR8w
PxJ6eJKWRsK+PiXiuwhx3A
fZRBJei3TJieJ6LMZ44hWA
D3qvvPrmRvSncbW1hVW4Xw
3Kv+mQ%BREyezQa2t9GxvAAfter all that I needed an afternoon nap before my evening watching Strictly with the kittens. It was Blackpool week and I got a little overexcited haha!

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TxzruepbRRaHpAllTURitgSunday morning was a slightly longer run. Still not heading into the big miles of marathon training, but building a solid base for those miles so I opted for 8 miles after last week’s 10k. I was just running to feel and enjoying my podcast – no pushing the pace, simply feeling comfortable and expecting something like a 9:15 per mile average, so I was a little surprised when I finished with my watch telling me I averaged 8:59 per mile! The culmination of a strong week and no doubt coming from the consistency recently and work I’ve been doing to build endurance and improve my knee drive. Fingers crossed I can keep building on this.

h2uvJLXPSMCpNtENQuJV2gWe had a few errands and housework after that, then my parents paid a visit as mum had something for me. I had offered to pick it up as it was just a small thing, but I think she was keen to see the kittens a few more times before heading off for the winter so they came to us for a bit. It was nice to chat over tea and a slice of cake (the kittens had cat treats produced from mum’s handbag of wonders!).

Overall I’m feeling really good about this week. Perhaps my decisions about reorganising my training are beginning to pay off and hopefully I can see some real benefit from this as I continue.

Are the Christmas lights on yet where you live?
What’s your favourite kind of cake?

Week In Review – Christmas And The In-Between

What a week! We kicked off with Christmas Day then, with both Steve and I not at work, soon found ourselves lost in the “in between” limbo where most conversations seemed to revolve around food, drink or whether we were supposed to put the bin out! The week wasn’t entirely bereft of activity though, so this won’t just be pictures of Christmas turkey haha!

Here’s how my week ended up:

Monday – Christmas Day parkrun
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – 6 miles
Thursday – rest
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – rest

After all the excitement of running my 100th parkrun just a couple of days before, I was really keen on the idea of a Christmas Day parkrun. We’ve not had a Christmas Day event in Perth before so for the team this was a bit of a test. Our festive RD was very open in saying that he would have been happy if 30-40 people turned up, so imagine his surprise when we had 217 parkrunners in an assortment of festive finery! The course was pretty muddy which made for an interesting run, but it was Christmas, I was dressed up and a Christmas elf gave me a sweetie at the end, so what’s not to like? And by some weird coincidence I ended up with exactly the same finishing time as on Saturday. I’m nothing if not consistent!

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IMG_9237Post-parkrun we headed home to change and get started on the rest of our celebrations. This year was a Christmas Day à deux so I saw absolutely no reason to make any further effort with my clothing: cue me spending the rest of the day in my cosy Christmas onesie! We opened the Bucks Fizz, made our bacon rolls (with Christmas spiced bacon which was DELICIOUS) and got down to opening presents.

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Guess who was interested in the bacon!

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Steve was thrilled with his new trisuit and dry robe (Santa must’ve got his email 😂) whilst I was happy that Santa got my “subtle” hints about wanting to see the touring production of Wicked when it returns to Edinburgh in the spring. Oh, and there were gin baubles so that made my day!

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IMG_5031And if you follow me on social media, you may have seen that we managed (not for the first time) to buy each other the same Christmas card!

IMG_5011As for the cat, she doesn’t need much these days as she really just likes to sit on my lap and sleep (and her health conditions rule out any food-related treats) but the fleecy lap blanket I saw in a pet shop over the weekend turned out to be a big hit. (My mum bought some pouches of the food she used to enjoy as a special treat and told me to donate them to a local cat shelter on her behalf, and I was delighted to do so. It breaks my heart thinking about pets without a warm and comfortable home like my little fur baby has).

IMG_5015Christmas dinner didn’t happen until much later on as we were on a pretty flexible schedule. I had made a pot of French onion soup for our starter then the main course was turkey and all the trimmings. For dessert, Steve made his (in)famous sherry trifle, which I enjoyed in front of the TV after a short break while I descended into a food coma!

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IMG_5026It was a gloriously relaxing day, and although Christmas seemed to sneak up on me a bit this year, I was perfectly content.

On Boxing Day we decided we should really get out of the house so took a walk into town. Some shops were open and I ended up buying a Fabletics gift pack in the sales to re-stock my gym bag for the new year. I’ve never tried any of their products but was tempted by the half price offer.

IMG_5111Other than that it was Christmas dinner leftovers and hot drinks in front of the TV while I placed a couple of online orders. First, I was so impressed with the quality of the Christmas running tights I had for Christmas Day parkrun that I decided to jump at the chance to buy a second pair in the sales. These ones feature my childhood favourites the Little Miss and Mr Men by Roger Hargreaves. It will be next Christmas before I wear them, but I’m already looking forward to it!

IMG_5112My other purchase was my own pair of “the pants of perspective” as featured in Anna McNuff’s book by the same name. I loved this book when I read it earlier in the year (I’ll write a review soon) and thought it was brilliant that I could buy my own pair from her website. After all, as Anna herself says: “because everyone needs a unicorn and a robot having a fight under a rainbow, on their legs.”

IMG_5113The day after that was Wednesday (I think!) and I wanted to get a run in to build on my consistency of heading out every other day since getting back to running last week. It was pretty frosty so I decided to stick to main roads and wore my all-terrain shoes which have a pretty good grip. 6 miles without falling on my bottom was definitely a good run!

IMG_5044To be honest, I had to ask Steve what we did on Thursday as I had no pictures and all of the days have merged into each other! It turns out that we went into town for a bit to have coffee with some old friends of his who are here from Italy for a short time. Given that I can’t remember anything else, I probably spent the rest of the day watching TV, reading and working on blog posts!

On Friday we had considered a trip to Glasgow, but by the time we had been out for our New Year food shopping it was beginning to snow quite heavily and we thought it best to stay close to home (as it turned out, Glasgow airport was shut for a while and several Glasgow parkruns were apparently cancelled on Saturday so it seems like we made the right decision). Since we were out, we went out to the farm shop for a couple of things and went to the cafe while we were there. I had a cinnamon hot chocolate and mince pie whilst watching the snow coming down.

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IMG_5058I also enjoyed their display of the gin baubles:

IMG_5055Once home I got started on another pot of French onion soup (a great winter warmer), then we had a relaxing afternoon before going out for our usual Friday food at the pub down the road. This week we both fancied the not-very-festive chilli burger!

IMG_5062Saturday was parkunday again. I didn’t realise until afterwards that this was actually my 100th in Perth (102nd overall since I have a couple of runs elsewhere in my history). The snow had mostly melted but the paths were slippy in places, the grass section frozen solid and it was pretty chilly. I donned my warm kit and chose my all-terrain shoes again to give me some confidence on the paths but kept the pace down so I felt a bit more in control of what I was doing – no point in starting the new year injured! Fortunately, I remained upright the whole way around, although I did clock my slowest time (outside of pacing duties) for 2017. Oh well!

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Fun fact: whilst setting up for this photo a dog ran off with one of my running gloves. The dog was on a lead though so we were able to retrieve it! 😂

Post-parkun it was another bacon croissant with Steve’s brother. Good job too since I got a text from my mum later declaring it to be National Bacon Day. There’s a holiday I don’t mind celebrating!

IMG_5101We then had a few errands and I came across a very tempting book:

IMG_5106I amused myself that afternoon by joining a linkup about my year of running and claiming my Instagram Best Nine for 2017. Mainly running and some epic food = quite a year!

princessallison78_fullWe also decided that since we have plans to repeat the New Year Triple on Monday, we should have homemade pizza (aka running fuel!) on Hogmanay, so had our awesome Dine-In deal on Saturday night: salmon royale (basically a blini topped with a poached egg wrapped in salmon and served with hollandaise sauce. Delicious!), steak with peppercorn sauce and chips, then profiteroles for dessert. Yummy!

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IMG_5109Sunday was pretty chilled to save energy for Monday. Steve did brave Storm Dylan to get in 5 miles since Strava told him he had 995 miles for the year and he wanted the round 1000! While he was out I tidied up a bit around the house and we finished the chores together later on – we even hung some pictures we’ve been meaning to get to! Then an evening in front of the TV with nibbles and a couple of drinks before getting to bed early ahead of our New Year running. Don’t worry, we plan to celebrate the New Year after we’ve completed the challenge!

To finish, I want to thank you for joining me in my weekly roundups this year. Much more to come in 2018 I’m sure!

Have a wonderful New Year, however you spend it.
The Running Princess

Week In Review – Festive Fitness

Merry Christmas! I hope you are having a wonderful day and found some lovely new running kit under the Christmas tree. My big Christmas news is that I FINALLY got back to some running after my virus and the lingering discomfort I suffered thanks to all the coughing. My fitness levels might not be up to much, but getting a bit of consistency back was my main priority.

Here’s how things worked out (the word “rest” is used in the loosest possible sense as it was a pretty busy week and I was determined to find the bottom of my marking pile!)

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 3-4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 3-4 miles
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – rest

I had decided to make my short runs my priority and was timing them to work out at every other day, so the week began with a rest day. I had an appointment in town so that suited me fine and meant I could deal with a few errands afterwards.

On Tuesday I wasn’t sure how I would feel. The aching in my upper body had subsided but not fully disappeared, yet my body felt ready to run and I needed to know how it would feel. I chose a short loop (a little shy of 4 miles) that I like and set off at an easy pace. I figured I would know very quickly if it was too much, but everything felt great at first and I loved feeling my legs move under me again. It was only in the last mile or so that I began to feel a bit uncomfortable so made sure to do some stretching of my upper body when I got home and used a heat pad for the remainder of the evening. The most interesting thing would be to see how it felt the next morning…

IMG_4906Waking up on Wednesday I was worried that I would feel like there had been a setback, but interestingly the muscles that had been sore the night before felt significantly better. Actually, I would go as far as to say they felt better than they had BEFORE I went out for the run. Clearly I had reached the stage where “running it out” and more stretching would be the answer to finally settling things down. I took a rest day to make sure, but mainly because I was having my nails done for Christmas!

IMG_4909Unfortunately things took a bit of a turn after that. I got home to find my poor cat not very well and the vet was closed for the evening. We ended up needing an out of hours appointment for her to get some initial treatment to help her feel more comfortable overnight. Nothing life-threatening, but she was a bit distressed and there was no way I could let her be like that until the following day.

She was much more settled after that, but we did have a follow-up appointment when I got home from work on Thursday. We were able to see the lovely vet who has been treating her for her various health conditions (old age brings its trials!) for the last year and she decided it would be best for the cat to go in on Friday morning to be sedated and have a procedure to help fully resolve the issue she was having. I was a bit anxious about the sedation given her age (my cat is 17!) but knew it was better to have it done while she was reasonably strong rather than let things deteriorate and it become an emergency. Since she was still ok, I dealt with this by heading out for another run.

I chose the same route as Tuesday and approached it with the same effort level but didn’t really look at my watch as I wanted to really tune into my body. There was no issue with any discomfort this time and when I finished I found I was over a minute faster than on Tuesday which was really pleasing.

IMG_4907Friday began with dropping the cat off for her procedure before heading in for the last half day of school. It’s usually a fairly relaxed affair and I only had one class. I was glad I didn’t need to do anything too mentally taxing as I was a bit anxious about the cat, but was later reassured that she was doing well. I didn’t have to pick her up until later in the afternoon so Steve and I had enough time to get the festive food shopping done before it got scary-busy! The procedure was a success and the cat came home a little groggy but otherwise fine.

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IMG_4981Steve and I then headed out for some Christmas dinner at our “local”. Turkey with all the trimmings followed by dark chocolate torte with espresso anglaise and peppered strawberries. Yum!

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IMG_4919With the cat on the mend I felt much more relaxed on Saturday and a good thing too as I wanted to get back to parkrun and accomplish my goal of running my 100th parkrun before the end of the year. We had been encouraged to wear festive outfits and since I had missed out on doing a Santa run this year (as well as most of my December running!) I was keen to embrace the theme.

IMG_9184To be honest, I didn’t really care about time, I just wanted to enjoy my 100th run and complete it feeling good. I was running alongside a parkrun pal at various points and he kept calling out mini milestones like 99.2 parkruns, 99.5 parkuns and so on! In the end I was probably a couple of minutes off my “average” pace, but that’s not at all important right now. I was just thrilled to be back out there in time for Christmas.

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IMG_4947I was also excited to get a tweet from parkrun UK!

fullsizeoutput_231aPost-parkrun we got changed then met Steve’s brother for a coffee and to exchange gifts. We also had bacon croissants which I always enjoy.

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Then after a couple of last-minute purchases we headed home and spent the rest of the day in front of the TV. I’ve been trying to get Steve to watch Harry Potter (can you believe he’s NEVER seen any of the films!?!?) so took advantage of the first film being on to get him to watch a bit. After that one of the TV channels was screening a performance of Elf: The Musical. One of my favourite Christmas films turned into a musical? Awesome! I really enjoyed it and it felt so Christmassy. I also discovered a screening of the Take That tour I saw earlier in the year so I recorded that (but not until I’d watched a few minutes before bed!).

Sunday, unfortunately, was a bit more stressful. The cat was showing symptoms of a UTI and couldn’t settle, but we had to wait until 10am for the vet to open. Thankfully they were able to see her right away and she got some treatment that made such a massive difference. By the time we got back she was a different cat, although a bit spaced out from one of the meds they gave her so I took advantage of the opportunity to put her Christmas outfit on for a few minutes!

IMG_4986With her sorted out Steve and I got down to some serious pre-Christmas tasks: housework, odd jobs/repairs and some food prep. We finally got settled in front of the TV around 5pm, just in time for The Snowman followed by The Snowman and the Snowdog and, crucially, The Muppet Christmas Carol, another film I watch every single year even though I practically know it by heart!

My sister came round and we spent the evening nibbling on party food, pulling crackers and playing silly games. All intentions of taking photos went out the window, but a good time was had by all!

And with that, Christmas week came to an end. I’m so pleased to be running again and relieved that my cat is recovering. Those are my Christmas miracles. I hope you get yours.