Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 62

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding the weekends are getting just a tiny bit more interesting. After all these months of not having very much to do, it’s been refreshing (if a little tiring!) to have something planned, even if it is just a small thing. I had a great week of running – including a virtual race – so here’s the breakdown:

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.25 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich + SUP yoga
Sunday – 13.1 miles

On Monday morning it was POURING! I usually use my Monday morning recovery run to get started on finding the new list of items on the weekly scavenger hunt, but it was so miserable that I didn’t want to stop and take photos! Instead I focused on noting/thinking about where some items might be for later in the week, that way I could complete the run as swiftly as possible. I did stop for one picture as I ran by what is usually a gentle waterfall looking like this:

But on this day looked like this:

It was so wet that I left a towel and my dressing gown at the front door so that I could strip my soggy kit off as soon as I got in and stay warm while I grabbed a drink before getting in the shower. Yup, that bad!

My work day was fairly standard, but once home it was time for my yoga class via Zoom. The weekly check-in with all the “yoga pets” is a highlight of the week!

It was also time to start a new tv programme again, so once Steve and I were settled we watched the first episode of The Pact. Looks like there are going to be a lot of secrets to uncover!

Thankfully the weather was much better on Tuesday morning. I really enjoyed my run as not only was I doing some serious scavenger hunting, I was also listening to another of TIna Muir’s “together run” podcast episodes. I do really enjoy the sense of community these bring in what has been a very isolating time, and she has been including more and more to build on that, starting recently with including some strides in the run and in this one, taking a picture wherever we were at the point she said. I had really hoped to be by the river when she asked for the photo but I was still a couple of minutes up the road so ended up with a picture by the old city hall which is undergoing development work right now. I’m not a fan of this building (it’s been rather controversial around here for years) but the most important thing was taking part and adding my picture to the others to create that community feel.

After work I managed to arrive home at a decent time and Steve took me through a quick living room workout (this time last year I was definitely having workouts in the garden but it really hasn’t been nice enough for that yet). It was a combination of resistance band exercises for upper body and some press ups. I know I need to try and pick up my workouts again so as not to lose the strength I built whilst working from home. That said, I was pleased to finish and head off to do some yoga upstairs before dinner.

I laid my running kit out for the morning, but a quick check of the weather forecast later in the evening revealed a bit of a change and all of a sudden it looked like to might be wet on Wednesday morning. I left out a wet weather kit option, but as it turned out it was perfectly dry when my alarm went off.

Setting off down the hill my eye was caught by a movement in the land off to the right so I glanced over and saw a beautiful deer. They are often in that area but it’s been a while since I spotted one through the greenery, and this one stood for ages with its eyes meeting mine. I had my phone handy so was able to grab a picture, but otherwise stayed still and quiet, enjoying the early morning encounter with nature. It really put me in a good mood for my run.

I had a pretty productive day so treated myself to the luxury of leaving work by 5pm and arrived home to find that Steve was out meeting a client so I had about half an hour to get myself organised and keep on listening to the podcast I had on in the car. Of course when Steve arrived there was a lateral flow test to do, then a little yoga before dinner. It actually felt like quite a relaxing evening and I’m really starting to notice how light the evenings are – it is nearly June despite the weather looking like March!

Thursday morning turned out to be a little more eventful than I had anticipated. It all started fine as I got up and organised to run, with plans to join the most recent of Tina’s “together runs”. This time it included a workout of 5×1 minute pickups, which I intended to do as form drills. So far, so good.

I headed off into town, thinking to loop around the bridges and home again, and enjoying the 1 minute form drill efforts. Until disaster struck. Or, to be more precise, I somehow fell over my own feet like a clumsy clot!

Yes, I fell over. Again. Not that it’s something I make a habit of, but you may remember that day early last summer when I tripped on a kerb and went down like a sack of spuds, skinning my knee, taking a chunk out of the heel of my hand and wounding my pride. Nothing quite so dramatic this time, but as I was in a recovery phase of the drills (a JOG ffs!) I somehow managed to catch my foot and took a slow motion, but rather graceless, tumble to the tarmac. The heel of my opposite hand bore the brunt this time, with a graze that meant I had a stinging hand for the rest of my run (and me cursing my choice of a white top since the graze was bleeding – thankfully it was ok and I spared myself a laundry nightmare later). There was no other reason not to carry on, and I was almost 2 miles from home, so I made an adjustment to my planned route and started along a return path so I could get my wound washed out sooner rather than later. I’m absolutely fine, just irritated that I somehow contrived to fall again. Sometimes I am so clumsy!

My day picked up when I arrived at work and was treated to the school therapy dog joining my first period lesson again. She was much more settled this time and a little less of a novelty for the class who definitely found it a bit easier to focus, but I had to laugh at her choosing an otherwise silent classroom to start gnawing loudly on a chew toy haha!

Thankfully the rest of the day passed without incident and I made it safely home to a little yoga in the living room while Steve was on a client call, then I took the chance to relax with a couple of vlogs before dinner.

After taking a tumble on Thursday I definitely took more care on my Friday run. I went for a simple out-and-back and was pleased to be able to opt for a T-shirt for the second day in a row. Dare I hope for more summer-like weather?

And a little highlight from work was a cupcake from one of my seniors. It was delicious!

Arriving home from work I had time for a quick living room workout (resistance band) before a really relaxing yoga session. We then spent the evening watching the last couple of episodes of The Pact. I really enjoyed it – lots of twists and turns as more secrets were revealed.

Waking up on Saturday morning I knew I had another reasonably exciting weekend ahead of me. I began with a little reading in bed then headed out for my run, including a (not)parkrun sandwiched in the middle. From the weekly (not)parkrun results email which gets sent out I had noticed that this was going to be week 50 of (not)parkrun. It was also going to be my 50th (not)parkrun so for once in my life I was prepared and looked out my 50 milestone T-shirt to wear.

I kept the pace comfortable for this run as I was planning a bit more intensity for the following day, but it was a good leg stretch nonetheless.

Post-run there was time for a quick bite to eat then I got changed and headed off to the outdoor centre for a SUP yoga session. The weather by this point was warm and sunny so I was finally able to wear my shorty wetsuit (and felt pretty warm in it!). I could have stayed out on that paddleboard for hours soaking up the sunshine, but all too soon the session was over and it was time to head home.

Since the sun was still out I decided to get changed, put on some sunscreen and spend some time sitting in the garden. Our garden is a bit of a mess right now as we’re midway through a project to get it feeling like a nice space to be in, but I was still able to find myself a spot in the sunshine to relax. Steve was out, but when he arrived home we decided to have a nice cold beer in the sunshine – it really felt like summer! It was an intriguing beer since it was marketed as “carbon negative”. Wow!

When the sun disappeared I headed in and enjoyed a nice bath, then we settled down to watch something I was super excited about: the Friends reunion. I loved it! So good to see the cast back together again to reminisce and look back to some favourite episodes. In these days of on-demand tv it seems so strange now to remember the clifhanger endings to the seasons and having to wait months to find out what happened next. I’m always a little envious when pupils tell me that they are starting to watch Friends as they have all that great content ahead of them.

I was also able to open up my latest delivery from Disney which had arrived while I was enjoying the sunshine:

I made sure to get a good night’s sleep as on Sunday I had an actual event planned. Ok, it was a virtual event, but I was treating it pretty seriously and wanted to give myself the best chance to run well.

Earlier in the month I had decided to enter the virtual Edinburgh half marathon event, having taken part virtually last year as well (I logged my 2020 run in September). With that benchmark in place (I hadn’t really “raced” that one) I wanted to see if I could sustain a harder run and log a faster time over a similar route.

Of course I began by laying out my kit for that authentic race day experience:

And set off on my route. The sun was out and it was set to get pretty warm. Typical! I spent all that time wishing for warmer weather and it came along out of the blue right when a cooler day would have been ideal. I set off fairly swiftly and wasn’t sure if I would be able to sustain a brisk pace in the hot sun, so was really pleased when I was able to complete my run in under 2 hours. I was GASPING for a drink by the end, but I made it!

On a bit of a runner’s high, I suggested to Steve that we add an additional errand to our Sunday afternoon roster and after getting the food shopping we called in at the retail park to see about getting the garden furniture set we had been eyeing up. I was really conscious that garden stuff was getting pretty hard to come by and with the combination of nice weather and a bank holiday weekend in the UK, I didn’t want to leave it any longer. Fortunately, we were in luck. Although the set we wanted was gone, the one on display was still there and we were offered it at a discount. The condition was fine (and let’s face it, it’s going to mostly sit out in the elements) so we went for it. It will be perfectly fine for the time being and makes it much easier to grab a seat in the garden on a nice day.

To celebrate, we enjoyed a cold beer in the sunshine, accompanied by a sweet treat.

I then stayed in the sunshine to finish up my book. This one spanned the post-war years and followed the main character through Prague in the 1980s, Berlin in the 1990s and present day Paris, taking in the effects of the communist regime on people’s lives. It was a good read.

Eventually Steve told me that playtime was over and it was time to go in for my tea haha! We also wanted to watch the finale of the most recent series of This Is Us. I won’t spoil it, but if you’re a fan you won’t be surprised to know that it ended with a bit of a surprise to keep us hooked for the sixth and final series. I can’t wait to see how it unfolds!

And as ever, I finished my weekend with a relaxing bath. In real terms there aren’t too many teaching days left until we finish for the summer, but we’ve reached that point where it all feels a bit never-ending. Time to dig deep!

Did you watch the ‘Friends’ reunion?
Have you got any races (real or virtual) in your calendar?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 27

I must admit, this really was a week of two halves – little of note in the working week and then a bit of homemade magic at the weekend. Here’s how it went:

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5  miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4 miles + home yoga
Friday – 3.2 miles + 5k
Saturday – 10k
Sunday – 13.1 miles

As the week began I was pleased to note that while my body felt a little weary from running 13.1 miles the day before, my legs actually felt perfectly fine. I continue to be fascinated with how my body has adapted to running every day and how well I seem to recover. Probably because generally I run at a fairly easy pace and don’t push things too much. Between my morning run and a walk with Steve when I got home from work, I pretty much wrapped up the bulk of the weekly scavenger hunt and it was nice to relax into my yoga class afterwards.

Strangely, though, I felt more tired and sluggish on Tuesday morning. Perhaps a busy Monday had an impact as I headed into a day featuring lots of admin and meetings. That evening was fairly restful and we began watching the adaptation of Us on tv. For some reason this attracted kitty attention, even if one of them was facing the wrong way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday was better as I felt much more awake and was able to have the workout I had postponed from Tuesday. More excitingly, we settled down to watch The Great British Bake Off which had returned to our screens the previous evening. It was so good to watch something that felt “normal” (even if things were a bit different behind the scenes this time to make that possible). Unfortunately we hadn’t had the foresight to sort out a sweet treat in advance and GBBO always makes us crave something sweet so poor Steve had to go out and get some “emergency cake” 😂. We will need to be better prepared in future!

On Thursday morning the weather was much chillier and I had to wear gloves for my run. Back when we first went into Lockdown I wore gloves on all my runs as a reminder to not touch anything (e.g. the button to trigger a pedestrian crossing) while I was out, but as the weather improved it was too warm for gloves and they had been tucked away in the drawer for many weeks. I don’t think I’ll need them all the time just yet, but I think I will need to check the forecast much more carefully in the evening when I lay out my kit to make sure I’m ready for whatever the weather has to throw at me.

An exciting thing on Thursday was that my finisher pack from the virtual Edinburgh half marathon arrived. This is the same swag I would have got in the event of the live event taking place – medal and T-shirt presented in a lovely little box. I got something like this in the 2019 event and it was exciting to get this through the post. The box also contained sample packs of hot/cold gels and an armband that lights up – useful with all the dark mornings ahead.

Friday was pretty productive. Most of my non-teaching time is on a Friday and if I’m not needed to cover a class it allows me a good chance to get caught up on lots of fiddly bits and pieces. My day had started with an easy-paced run of just over 5k – less than I would usually do on a Friday because I was hatching a plan for a second run when I got home from work.

Why the second run? Well, this would have been Magic Run Weekend at Disneyland Paris and much like in May when the cancelled Princess Weekend came around, I was going to take part in a “homemade” version set up by a Facebook group I am part of. This was entirely free as there was no medal or anything like that, it was all about the admins creating a theme for the weekend and those of us who wanted to take part trying to be as creative as we could in pulling together costumes and re-creating aspects of the Run Disney experience. I’m going to publish a separate post with some of the details (and one heck of a lot of photos!) but will include some of the basics here.

The overall theme settled on was “Disney movies associated with France”. It was then sub-divided into the different races and challenges, in the same way it would be in the actual Run Disney event. There was a kids’ race themed to Beauty and the Beast (yes, I was a little put out that my favourite movie was associated with the one race I couldn’t legitimately take part in), the 5k was The Aristocats, 10k Cinderella, half marathon (21k) The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 31k challenge (10k + 21k) Sleeping Beauty and 36k challenge (5k + 10k + 21k) Ratatouille. I had been booked to take part in the 31k challenge (because the 5k would have been on the Friday evening and I can’t get to DLP in time when I’m at work) but since I was making my own fun, I decided to go for the 36k challenge, hence my second run on Friday. I could have just waited to go out in the evening, but I had learned very quickly earlier in the term that I feel much better all day when I get a run in the morning, so a double run day it was!

I had done a little prep the weekend before and back when the theme was announced I had started pulling together some costume ideas from the stuff I already had (and one teeny little purchase which could be used again at future Run Disney events). 

For my Friday 5k I was Marie from The Aristocats:

Then on Saturday morning (after a bit of reading in bed) I headed out in my best Cinderella-inspired outfit:

The top wasn’t quite the right shade (I got this one for my Anna from Frozen costume in the 10k last year, which I recreated for my virtual Princess Run in May) but it was as close as I could get with my existing kit.

I did have to step out of the magic a little for some “regular” Saturday activities (and our appalling 6/15 for the parkrun quiz definitely burst the bubble somewhat) including going for my second haircut since the hairdressers were allowed to open again in July. She styled my hair straight, which was novel for me as I haven’t bothered straightening my hair in ages!

Then I spent a bit of time reading my book. Smokey had been lying on a different chair looking kind of pleased with himself for “catching a mouse” 😹:

But he soon joined me for a little nap:

And we rounded out our evening with our next Marvel MCU movie. This time it was Iron Man 2 – another one we had previously watched but had little memory of.

Sunday began with a little more reading in bed, then it was time for me to run the half marathon distance. This time I was Rémy from Ratatouille and again, stuff I had (the hat I got on a super-cheap deal when I was in DLP in August). It’s not very obvious from the picture, but the capris are actually grey:

It was a bit weird wearing capris since I normally wear shorts unless it’s really cold, but it was all really comfortable kit for the distance. And of course, I was probably about an hour quicker than I would have been at DLP since I wasn’t stopping all the time 🤣

When I got back I had “completed” my 36k challenge so did my best to take a photo with all my homemade medals (look out for my separate post on my homemade challenge to see more photos). Not as easy as with actual Run Disney medals since my cardboard-based ones lacked the weight to help me separate them out along my arm, but you get the idea.

Th weekend finished in fairly standard fashion with food shopping, a bit of tv and my evening bath, but a bit pf Disney magic, albeit homemade, was just the boost I needed to see me into the last couple of weeks of term.

Do you have a favourite Disney movie/character associated with France?
How easily could you pull together a themed running outfit from stuff you have about the house?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 26

It finally happened. After realising the light in the morning was getting less and less, in mid-September I realised I would need my hi-viz as I was heading out into the darkness. Winter is well and truly coming! Generally speaking, I was pretty much settled into a routine with the intent to fit in a couple of workouts each week and as much yoga as possible around days when I felt I needed to work a little later. Here’s how it looked:

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles
Thursday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout
Saturday – 6.3 miles
Sunday – 13.1 miles

There was very little of note on Monday. I started the weekly scavenger hunt on my run, noted that I should probably start wearing my hi-viz, then got on with a fairly typical day. It was good to get to the evening and my yoga session and I was happy to get into bed at night so I could continue my book. This was a gift from my head of department when she retired at the start of the summer and comes from a publisher called Persephone Books. They reprint neglected books by (mostly) female authors and have these really pretty inside covers. This was my first one of these books and I was really enjoying it. I know this book was made into a film so I must look into watching it some time.

Tuesday was pretty soggy with a downpour in the middle of my run, and also the first morning I wore my hi-viz. It really marks a transition point in the year when this is needed, but at least at this point there was still a bit of light at the end of my morning run. It was another busy day at work so it was good to be able to fit in not just a workout (in the garden since the weather had improved) and some yoga (although I was almost thwarted by “yoga cat” who plonked himself right where I wanted to be 😹)

We had been given some cooking apples so Steve made a crumble with them, which made for a nice dessert whilst watching some tv.

Wednesday was super busy so all I managed was my run in the morning. I had an appointment in town after work and while I was there I was a brave girl and ventured into a couple of shops for a couple of things I needed (pretty quiet at this time of day) and ran one or two errands. When I got in I needed to prep some chilli to cook in the slow cooker the following day so had Steve chop up some of the ingredients for me so I could just quickly assemble it all then sit down to relax. I think Smokey must have had a busy day as well!

Busy again on Thursday, but I managed to get home a bit sharper so had time for a workout before my yoga. A real highlight was my new running shorts arrived and they have a pattern that felt ideal for me. They remind me of my wee cat Molly who left us a few years ago.

I was pretty productive on Friday and despite wrapping up a set of tracking reports, still had time for a workout when I got home (but not yoga). Steve had been to Dundee on an errand during the day and remembering that I had my “prize” still to collect from the Brooks Run Happy At Home challenges during the early part of Lockdown, I asked him to see if he could pick it up for me (this was the nearest place for me to have it sent). I knew it was a medal but had expected something flimsy and cheap so was pleasantly surprised to find a decent medal waiting for me when I got home. And this was for a free challenge! Well done Brooks.

In the evening we finished watching The Fall. I wasn’t sure where it was going to go, but we both really enjoyed the programme so recommend it if you haven’t already watched.

Saturday was fairly typical of current Saturdays. I headed out for my (not)parkrun then in the parkrun quiz we were pleased to get 10/15. Later in the day I had a bath and watched back the feed of parkrun returning in the Northern Territory of Australia. I’ve enjoyed watching these live feeds (although I don’t actually watch live) as it was so nice to see a parkrun happening and observing familiar things happening in a different part of the world. One day that will be us again…

In the evening we continued with our Marvel MCU project, this week with Iron Man. This was a film we had watched years ago, but had very little memory of it so I enjoyed seeing it again. At the same time, I also took care of a little arts and crafts project ahead of a fun running adventure I had planned for the following weekend (more on that next time).

On Sunday my original plan had been to run 12 miles as part of my mini-build to a half marathon the following weekend. But once I was out I realised that the route I had in mind was going to be a bit longer and the least I would run was 12.5 miles. When I realised that I decided just to add on a bit more and complete the half marathon distance a week earlier since I was feeling good. This meant I could submit my time for the Edinburgh Half marathon (usually part of the marathon festival, a weekend I have taken part in a number of times, including the half marathon last year) which this year was a virtual event. I hadn’t entered the live event (although often put in last minute entries for the Edinburgh races since they are fairly close to home) but when I was sent the details fo the virtual event I realised we would receive the exact same medal/T-shirt/pack as we would at the live event. This appealed to me and I also wanted to show my support for a long-standing event so that it will still be there in future. Like some other events, we were still sent race numbers, although I didn’t actually wear it when I was out. Still a nice touch though.

I noted that I felt pretty good after my run, even with the little extra bit I ran. It wasn’t my fastest half marathon time (although decent), but then I hadn’t gone out to “race” so I can only assume that my run streak has put me in a pretty strong position to be able to comfortably run a half marathon. That makes me happy.

And so another week drew to a close. It was good to complete a running challenge and I had exciting plans for the following weekend too…

Have you taken part in any of the virtual events organised in place of a live event this year?
Are you still able to run in daylight or are you getting some darkness now?

Week In Review – End Of Term Already And Feeling Jetset!

With the slightly longer summer holidays this year to adjust the calendar for the school year, the first term became quite a short one at just 7 weeks. Perfect for those counting down to the holidays, but quite quick in terms of getting back in to the routine. That said, in one of the most jetset moments of my entire life, just two weeks after my Disneyland Paris trip, I was going to be immediately getting back on the plane to Paris…this time with 37 pupils and 4 colleagues in tow! I’ll confess I didn’t entirely unpack since many of the bits and pieces I needed for the first trip would still be needed for the school trip (plus any number of additional things to make sure the needs of such a big group, on a packed schedule, could be taken care of easily), resulting in my suitcase doubling as a cat bed In between! But even with the excitement of a return to Paris ahead, I did manage to fit in plenty of training:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – travel to Paris
Sunday – Paris!

As you can see, much of the week was my usual routine. A new block of Hatha yoga started so that returned me to my habit of some quiet headspace on a Monday evening and was most welcome.

On Tuesday I got out for my usual pre-work run of 4 miles at an easy pace. Nothing unusual here but I did notice the air feeling a bit cooler and wondered how much longer I would get away with shorts for.

No workout with Steve that evening as he had another event to go to so I took the chance to get on top of a few things at work then had a relaxing evening at home. The trip is always really busy so being sure to get some extra rest ahead of time is a good idea.

With Wednesday still scheduled as a rest day, I took the chance to sort out my packing. Or at least, have a first go at it. I always take much more when I’m travelling with pupils (and in a situation where looking reasonably well groomed is expected, as opposed to a largely running-based weekend where I can get away with being a bit more sloppy!) so I like to pack everything a few days beforehand then go back through it the night before we leave to jettison a few bits and pieces I really won’t need. I’ma list maker, but also a “just in case” packer so for me it’s worth doing.

I actually didn’t sleep too well on the Wednesday night. I’m taking part in a programme through work this year which involves some training/coaching session and filmed (yes, FILMED!) lessons where I use some of the new ideas I’ve been trying as a result of that training. The Thursday was the first of my filmed lessons and I didn’t think I was particularly on edge about it – being observed doesn’t tend to worry me too much – but I woke up far too early with the lesson running through my head. I suspect it was because I was taking a risk and trying something completely new so I had no idea how it was going to play out and it was useful to think things through once again to be sure I had considered everything.

To clear my head a bit I still went for my run – definitely needed on this occasion – and for the first time this autumn it was far too cold for shorts at just 3C! In hindsight, had I worn gloves I would probably have been fine in my shorts, but it just hadn’t crossed my mind to look out any gloves yet and my hands were really cold. The condensation on my car windscreen looked suspiciously solid, and this was confirmed when Steve had to scrape ice from his car before going to work!

Cold front aside, it was a good run and the last I would get for at least a week, so I made sure to enjoy it.

Since it was Thursday I had Ashtanga that night. I was really looking forward to it after the extra early start and filmed lesson (which went really well – so proud of my pupils) as I had expected to totally crash afterwards, but I was still on the go and ready to use the yoga session to help me relax and settle into the evening. That said, I did feel tired so my headstand remained pretty poor. I’ll be turning my attention to this post-trip again.

Once again it was a dash from yoga to get my nails done ready for the trip – priorities! I couldn’t possibly got to Paris without a fresh gel manicure!

Friday was the last day of term and a really busy day. I had my own classes, a cover class and the feedback/coaching session from my filmed lesson which was a really positive experience. At the end of the day all of the staff involved in the trip got together to make sure we had all the admin sorted out and had all the things we needed before leaving school, so I was a bit later (for a Friday) in getting away, but still had time to head down to the studio for a workout. This one was the TRX and a resistance band.

I had enough to time to then take a second look at my packing and re-think some of it before we went out for some food. I know we do this every Friday but it feels so good at the start of a holiday!

For the trip this year we had actually been booked onto much better flights – Edinburgh rather than Glasgow – which meant we didn’t have a really early start. I had to be at school around the time I would normally get there in the morning and once we had all the pupils on board the coach to take us to the airport, we were off!

I had realised that with our flight being at lunchtime, the first meal that would form part of the trip itinerary would be our dinner at night. That seemed so far away so I made the obvious decision – a full cooked breakfast at the airport to see me through (and some emergency snacks in my bag!). It didn’t take much arm twisting for my colleagues to also see the sense in the full breakfast, and with plenty of time to spare before our flight, we got settled and ordered. There were actually 2 breakfast options: the small breakfast (who were they kidding!) or the full one with more items and some toast – obviously I ordered this one!

I also made a point of popping to the duty free shop to get some salted caramel M&Ms. As it turned out it was a far better offer to buy two bags than just one. One of my colleagues was also buying some and there was a comedy moment when we both picked up two bags and another colleague confessed that she had assumed we were going to get a bag each and split the deal. Oh how we laughed! 😂

Before too long it was time to board.

The flight itself was fine. I read a bit of my book and had a little doze, then before I knew it I was back in the familiar territory of Charles de Gaulle airport. We collected our bags, cleared passport control and found the coach for our transfer to the Paris centre. Then from the second we arrived it was pretty full-on. I barely had time to put my case down in my room and quickly transfer some essentials to a smaller bag, than it was back down for dinner, which was edible but nothing special.

Our evening excursion was to the Arc de Triomphe and part of my role on the trip is to navigate us around Paris – I know, it surprises me too, but if there’s one thing I can do it’s find my way around the Paris streets and Métro system so on this occasion, I’m your girl!

Although I’ve been to Disneyland a couple of times in the last year or so, I actually haven’t been in Paris itself since the last school trip in 2017 so it was nice to be straight up on a high platform to see the city below me and the Eiffel Tower in all her nighttime glory. The pupils who had never visited Paris before were so excited to see it!

Of course we hit the gift shop and spent a few minutes on the Champs Élysées so that we could get a drink/snack, but then it was time to head back to the centre to get a bit of sleep before a busy Sunday.

Sunday actually began with rain, but we had been expecting that and there were actually no complaints.

The worst of the weather was while we were waiting to get on the Eiffel Tower and by the time we were up at the top, the rain had cleared and we had fantastic views. Having missed out on this part last year as I drew the short straw and waited with a pupil, I had been really looking forward to getting back up there.

From there, we had a boat trip on the River Seine. I’ve done this one many times so initially sat inside to eat my packed lunch but made sure to go up on top in time to see Notre Dame. So sad to see the beautiful cathedral so damaged, but I’m glad efforts are being made to restore her. I’ll never forget watching the news unfold earlier this year as the fire took hold and those spires looked like they might fall.

Next was a walk via the Trocadéro to see the Tower from a raised platform.

Then back on the Métro to head up to Montmartre and the Sacré Cœur.

I had a lovely bowl of onion soup up there as well as picking up some souvenirs. Top tip – the best prices for Paris souvenirs tend to be up there so don’t be fooled into picking things up elsewhere unless you really need to.

We were back at the centre for dinner, which was passable but not the most inspiring (although I did enjoy the dessert!).

Then we were off out again, this time to walk (under my navigation!) to the Monparnasse Tower.

I love this one as it’s the highest point from which you can see the Eiffel Tower. Let’s face it, if you’re actually ON the Eiffel Tower than you can’t SEE the Eiffel Tower. When people ask me for Paris recommendations, this is always the one. Stunning views!

And this time I found this incredible model of Paris. The colours are so vibrant and you can pick out all the key landmarks. Amazing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I could stay up there for hours, but after a quick poke about the gift shop it was time to gather everyone up to return to the centre. It had already been a couple of packed days with much more to come…

When do you know it’s time to put the shorts away for the year?
Have you visited Paris before? Any highlights?

Race Report – EMF Half Marathon 2019

The races in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival are hardly new to me, however this year was the first time I had returned since the infamous four races in one weekend extravaganza of 2015! (You can read about that here and here). Since that time the starting point (and therefore the first handful of miles of the route) has changed so this was an interesting combination of the new and the familiar.

The 8am race start meant an early departure for our drive to Edinburgh. We opted to park in our usual Sunday spot in town then walk from there to the start area around the university. The weather forecast had not been encouraging and the drive through was pretty miserable, but at least it wasn’t cold.

Once at the start area there was a slightly chaotic feel, probably because by this point I REALLY wanted to find the toilets and although there were plenty of giant maps up, I was struggling to get my bearings. In the end we got a race volunteer to point us in the right direction and headed to one of the university buildings that had been opened up. We then went our separate ways as Steve and I were in different start pens and we had to find the right baggage lorries (which were also in different places). This was also a bit chaotic as I quickly found myself part of a group of runners desperately seeking baggage lorries and not finding any volunteers who actually knew where we had to go! After much pushing through crowds, I eventually found the right place but the lorry I should be using had already been closed up. Fortunately, a volunteer at another one took my bag and assured me they would take it to the right place in the finish area. With that done, I made my way to my start point and waited in my disposable poncho and “emergency hat” whilst listening to all the pre-race announcements.

From where I was I couldn’t actually see the start line as the road curved around a corner, however I did hear the starting horn and could see people begin to inch forward. The pen I was in was actually pretty well organised, with event crew at the start walking everyone forwards towards the line. It probably took me 6 or 7 minutes to get there and get underway.

However I still found the first part of the route quite congested as there were sections that changed from quite wide streets to much narrower ones and this led to some sudden halts. As a result, I kept my eyes on where my feet were going so missed some of the key points of interest – the photos are from later in the day when we were returned to the start by the event buses.

Greyfriars Bobby

I had worn a lightweight waterproof jacket, but within the first couple of miles it was off and tied around my waist. It did rain again later, but by that point I was past caring about being wet and just accepted it. It was actually quite refreshing!

Once we were through Holyrood Park, I did feel like I had a bit more space and enjoyed winding my way towards the coast. Although early, there was still some pretty good crowd support, with lots of really encouraging people along the route. I very much enjoyed some of the signs, my favourite being “Don’t Quit Like Theresa!”. It took me a moment, but once I got the reference I was giggling to myself for the next few minutes. 

At this point I was ticking along nicely with the aim of a sub-2 hour finish. I knew I wasn’t in PB shape (anything under 1:53) but thought a sub-2 was within current my fitness level.

Reaching the coast, I was returned to familiar territory and knew I would keep running along there – past plenty more vociferous support – to about the 11 mile mark, then there would be a turn back to the finish. This meant that from about 9 miles onwards I could see the faster runners heading back towards the finish line. I spotted Steve but he didn’t see me despite my manic waving, and noted that everyone I saw was grimacing. I was still pretty comfortable and on-pace for my sub-2 so figured they must all be working pretty hard.

And then I reached the turn.

Suddenly, the reason for the grimaces was abundantly clear as I ran smack into a headwind that I knew I would be running into for the rest of the race. Ok, so it was “only” for 2 miles, but that’s still quite an effort after 11 miles of running! Fortunately, there was a water station so I walked through that to grab a drink and take a moment to gather myself before getting my head down and pushing on. I had my watch set so I could see my average pace and while I knew my last couple of miles would be slower, I still thought I could sneak it under the 2 hours I had targeted.

Finally, I saw the point where the route turns off into the finish area. There’s always a great crowd here and as the finish gantry came into view I picked up the pace to run over the line. Another half marathon in the bag and my time of 1:59:09 meant I had reached my target. I love it when a plan comes together!

I collected my post-race goodies – medal, bottle of water, High 5 tablets and a little blue box that contained my T-shirt, foil blanket and some hot/cold gels. The boxes are a great idea as they are far more environmentally sustainable than plastic bags. Another thing I noticed was that while there were small plastic bottles of water available along the course (which we were encouraged to toss into recycling bins around the aid stations) the bottles were not labelled so perhaps this event is moving away from having a bottled water company as a big sponsor. An interesting move when so often this is one of the biggest sponsors.

I found Steve, headed over to the baggage lorries and collected my bag which actually had been taken to the right place for me. Because of the forecast I had packed a full change of clothes and was soaking wet, so a change was needed. There then followed the least glamorous change of clothes of my life…in a portable toilet! I can confirm that it is possible, but it wouldn’t be my first choice if another option was available.

On a nicer day we might have stayed at the finish for a while, but this time we just headed straight off to the event buses which are at a park and ride about a mile from the finish. Runners and spectators can buy a ticket in advance and while the queue can be quite long, there are loads of buses so it keeps on moving. This is generally quite well organised, but the hike to the buses is definitely one of my least favourite things about this event. I don’t think there are any better solutions though, so just accept it’s how it is.

I was pretty hungry by this point so ate the cereal bar I had been handed at the finish and began dreaming of the post-race meal we would get once back in Edinburgh. Clearly I wasn’t the only one as I could hear others talking about how they had been dreaming of Domino’s pizza for the last few miles and when the bus went past a McDonald’s there was an audible groan from the passengers!

We were delivered back to the start area, which by now was being dismantled as the marathon itself had started, and we walked back over to town to get some food – McDonald’s remains my post-race food of choice even though I would be unlikely to want it at any other time!

We then headed to Hotel Chocolat for “dessert” before getting back in the car for the drive home. Ironically, it was much nicer weather by this time!

Overall, I liked the variation in the route but definitely caution against being distracted as it can be a bit congested at the start. I would also recommend getting to the start as early as you can in order to get your bearings and drop off baggage without too much stress. And remember that once you’re finished, you will still have a bit of a walk to the event buses to get back into Edinburgh again. In my experience, race day in Edinburgh is either roasting hot or pouring. We got pouring on this occasion, but for me it didn’t spoil the race. Not an event I do regularly these days, but it’s nice to be involved from time to time and I’m sure this won’t be my last EMF experience.

Week In Review – Half Crazy!

This was an unusual week for me as my exam marking duties took me away from my normal routine, however I was still able to prepare for my half marathon on Sunday (and enjoyed having a break from the norm!).

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – half marathon

The week began with me on the train to Glasgow to begin preparations for the exam marking process. It was a day of fairly intense discussion mixed with quite a lot of walking about as I walked from the station to the venue, the venue to my hotel and then out for a look around the shops since I had a bit of time. Since we were based in hotels I was pretty well fed:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I was excited to find that my hotel gave you a warm cookie as a welcome. So warm it actually fell apart in my hadn’t, hence the lack of photo!

I saw this really cool street art when I was out for a walk:

And after dinner at my hotel I enjoyed a nice relaxing bath before heading to bed. Bliss!

On Tuesday morning I stuck to my usual routine of a 4 mile run, however this time I was leaving from my hotel and obviously was running somewhere different. I opted to run down to the river and head along the riverside path until my watch read 2 miles then turn and retrace my steps. I do know the centre of Glasgow fairly well, however this approach meant there was no need to map out a route in advance as I knew I wouldn’t have time. It greatly amused me that rather than my usual turning point of a lamppost, on this occasion I turned back here:

And saw this classic Glasgow sight on my return!

Once back and showered, it was time to make the most of the hotel breakfast. It was a buffet and since I take these things seriously, I made it a 3 course breakfast (because, you know, I needed the fuel after my 4 mile run haha!) and grabbed an “emergency apple” for later. Apparently I was concerned they might not feed us again lol!

The remainder of the day was back in the room discussing the exam paper… with a bit more food along the way!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we were finished, I grabbed a drink at Hotel Chocolat with a friend before getting the train home again. In case you were wondering, the kittens were perfectly fine with Steve, however my wee fluffy mummy’s boy was definitely being a bit pathetic and was glad to have me back!

I was back in school on Wednesday, but with a lot of catching up to do and things going on outside of school, I made it a rest day.

Thursday had me back to my normal morning run. I was happy to take it easy as a kind of “mini taper” for my race, but I was also feeling a bit sluggish thanks to all the food at the beginning of the week and probably not having as much rest as I needed.

That evening I had my Ashtanga yoga class, however when I got there I found that we had someone else covering the class. That doesn’t bother me at all, however on this occasion we weren’t doing Ashtanga, it became a Hatha class. At first I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that, but as the class went on I realised that while it might not have been the class I was expecting, it was most definitely the class I needed at that particular moment and I left feeling mentally restored.

I was back on the Glasgow train the next morning as it was time for the big meeting with all the exam markers. Once again a mixed day of walking lots and thinking hard. And yes, the good food was back again (although not pictured this time – it was basically the same).

Steve was Run Director at parkrun on Saturday so I decided this was an ideal time for a parkrun “open sandwich” i.e. I ran there but not home again as I went with him to the café right afterwards. By some miracle I managed to take the run fairly easily and then enjoyed my post-run bacon roll very much.

The rest of the day was pretty busy: we got the food shopping, I went to the hairdresser and then devoted much of the rest of the day to my marking duties whilst also preparing for my race the following day. We had all been sent a not-very-encouraging email with an adverse weather warning as it was looking pretty miserable for Edinburgh on Sunday morning. To be honest, running in the rain didn’t really bother me, but I was very conscious of making sure I kept dry before and after.

With this in mind, I packed a fairly extensive selection of stuff and organised my race kit.

As forecast, the weather was pretty rotten on the drive through and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had questioned my life choices at that point, however I knew once I got going it would be fine.

It was an “emergency hat” kind of a day!

We parked in our normal spot in town and walked over to the start area at Edinburgh university. The start area changed last year so this was my first time taking part in one of the EMF events since that change was made. I’ll post a separate race report with all the details, however I will say that I quite liked the new start as the university buildings provided proper toilets as well as some shelter from the rain.

Once organised, I headed to my start area (Steve and I were at different points) and waited to get underway. It was a little congested at first so I didn’t spot some of the main landmarks (although to be fair, most I had seen before) but once we hit the coast around 5-ish miles  I knew the rest of the route pretty well.

Prior to the race I had thought that while I might not be in PB shape, I should be fit enough for a sub-2 finish so had my watch set so I could see my overall average pace. I was ahead of the pace I needed for most of the race, but found the last couple of miles tough as we turned into a fairly brutal headwind which made it rather a battle. Still, I was pleased to cross the line with a time of 1:59:09. Yes, perhaps I could have been a minute or so faster, but this wasn’t a big goal race for me and I was quite happy with the experience.

I gathered all the post-race goodies, met Steve and collected my bag. There then ensued a rather inelegant change of clothes in the portable toilets (it was raining and I wanted some shelter for this) before heading up to the event buses to get back into town. After a half or full marathon my body craves McDonald’s (something I just wouldn’t want to eat at any other time) and the bus seemed to take forever. As it turned out, I wasn’t the only one with an eye on the Golden Arches judging by the audible disappointment as we passed by a branch. I suspect if the driver had offered to hit the drive thru there would have been little objection!

We were eventually returned to the start area, where the race crew was busy dismantling everything. It was quite cool to see this part of the event.

Of course we made a bee-line for McDonald’s, pausing only to take photos of a couple of the points of interest we had earlier run by:

Greyfriars Bobby

As ever, I can confirm that my McDonald’s was just what I needed to replace the salts and carbs. Amusingly, we followed it with a quick visit to Hotel Chocolat (well it would be rude not to!) before heading home – the ridiculous to the sublime! I took this photo on the way back to the car: I may keep missing Andy Murray’s gold postbox in Dunblane, but I did spot Chris Hoy’s in Edinburgh!

All in all, a pretty good week. Busy, but a lot of things different to the norm and sometimes that’s just what we need.

What do you crave after a long run?
Do you notice landmarks when you race or are you so focused that you never spot them?

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.

On 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.

Fortunately 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.

It 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!

And our faculty head gave us a little gift too. Perfect!

Once 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!

After 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.

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

That 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.

That 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!

The 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.

We 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.

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.

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

And 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.

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

After 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?

Week In Review – Summer!

Aside

Yippee!! I finally made it to the end of the school year! It’s funny how at the time, it seems to take forever and a day, yet as soon as those summer traditions roll around it feels like it’s only been five minutes!

The last week of term was quite busy and I needed to be creative in order to find time to run, so I was pleased with what I managed fitness-wise:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – early run 4 miles
Wednesday – evening run 10k
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – “parkrun sandwich”
Sunday – rest

Having TWICE had to nap last week, I really thought I was in for a struggle this week when I needed a nap between work and yoga. For some reason I just felt worn out when I got home and knew I had enough time to close my eyes for a bit. I pretty much walked in the door, set my things down and went to lie down for a while. I then got changed and headed to my yoga class feeling a lot more refreshed. It was a bit sad that this was the last Monday class for a few weeks but I know I’ve got this to look forward to when I get back from my holiday.

Despite my Monday exhaustion, I had figured out that the best way to find time for three runs this week was to go out early on Tuesday, after work on Wednesday and have a longer run on Saturday. I therefore laid out my kit on Monday night and was out the door quite quickly on Tuesday morning for a 4 mile run. Having run early on a couple of previous occasions, I did find it a bit easier (but the first mile is still a bit of a slog!).

A morning run also meant I felt like I had earned our department end of term gathering as we opted for afternoon tea at a nearby fruit farm. I made sure not to let any food go to waste!

While that morning run was nice and cool, since we’ve been having some ACTUAL SUMMER WEATHER it was clear I was going to have a much warmer run on Wednesday evening. I wanted to run 10k so kept my pace down and just enjoyed being out in the sunshine.

Thursday was probably the warmest day of the whole week and I was able to fit in an hour reading in the garden before my Ashtanga class. Having seen the forecast I had been really hopeful that we might take the class outside so I was thrilled when I arrived and it was confirmed that it would be an outdoor session. It feels so amazing to work through the sequence in the fresh air and with the sun on your skin. I even had a go at my supported headstand! And lying in savasana in a light summer breeze felt so good. Fingers crossed we can get outside again this summer.

I took Friday as a rest day. School finished at lunchtime then I made the most of the free afternoon to spend some more time in the garden with my book. There really is nothing quite like sunshine (and the knowledge that there’s no school for 6 weeks!) to start easing away the stresses of the year.

My final run of the week was Saturday morning. In order to fit in a long run and still get to parkrun, I opted for what I’m calling the “parkrun sandwich” – a run to parkrun, parkrun itself then a run home. Steve was in Edinburgh preparing for his Ironman 70.3 the following day so there was no time pressure at all. I adjusted my routes there and back to make sure I ended up with 10 miles for the day. I also wanted to find the penguins we have in the town right now as part of a public art event in the area. There are 80 in total and 4 are in my city so it was fun to add them to my run.


Despite the extra “warm up”, parkrun itself felt ok. It was another warm day and this was the middle 5k of a 10 mile run so I ran a bit easier than usual, and was quite surprised to still finish in under 25 minutes with an average 8 min/mile. Granted, it was a bit harder to get my legs moving again for the run home, but they soon got used to the idea.

Photo – Perth parkrun Facebook page

On Sunday morning I was up and on the train to Edinburgh to support Steve. He had set off super early for the swim start and I made my way to T2 in time to see him finish the bike leg and head out on the run. Last year I found it pretty hard going as a spectator as the weather got quite chilly and there was rain. This year’s warm sunshine maybe wasn’t best for the triathletes, but for me it was fantastic. I was able to see Steve on each of his laps and give him a cheer.

Earlier in the week Steve had decided that he would quite like to go for a post-race roast dinner so we were booked into the pub we normally go to on a Friday. We both had roast beef then I opted for a waffle with maple syrup for dessert. Delicious!


All that sunshine has definitely put me in the mood for a restful summer now…

Do you do the “parkrun sandwich”
Have you ever used a run to go in search of something?

Week In Review – Me Time!!!

Hola! Finally a bit of space in my week as we enjoyed a two day break for “half term” here in Scotland. That meant just two teaching days, one inservice day and then a glorious four day weekend to relax, read and recuperate. Perfect!

Of course training was still front and centre (this marathon isn’t going to run itself, you know!) but there was a bit more room to get things done without rushing around all the time:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – bike reps @ the gym
Wednesday – form drills
Thursday – Swim + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 16 miles

My week didn’t get off to the greatest start as I had hoped not to have to stay at school too late, but it turned out we had a meeting at the end of the day. By the time I got away I was REALLY ready for my Hatha yoga class. I decided this was a great time to try out some new kit to cheer me up. They both came from a website called Lucy Locket Loves and while I paid for the awesome Space Adventure leggings, the headband was a free gift as I volunteered as a product tester. I don’t normally wear this style of band but was really impressed as it was comfortable and stayed in place through the whole class. I loved how bright and cheery it was too.

I’m quite impressed with the company as the owner sends friendly, personal emails and the packaging is gorgeous.

The class itself was just what I needed to unwind – gentle stretching, relaxing music and dim lighting. Bliss!

We have an earlier finish on a Tuesday and I made a point of getting away pretty quickly. I headed straight for the gym to get my bike intervals done and since I had found the intensity level quite challenging last week, I took it down a notch in order to maintain the quality of my workout. I still worked hard as my red and sweaty grimace confirms!

That evening I took advantage of my sister’s comp tickets for the current play at the theatre. It wasn’t a play I knew but was pretty powerful.

On Wednesday we had our inservice day which meant no pupils, but a full day of meetings and planning. The real highlight of the day was the curry lunch laid on by the World Challenge group. They are preparing to go to Borneo and this formed part of their fundraising. It’s the third year in a row the curry lunch has taken place on the February inservice and it just gets more and more popular. It wasn’t the “done thing” to take too much on my first visit to the curry buffet, but I definitely didn’t hesitate to lead the charge and go back for seconds!

That evening I got straight home to head out for a set of 500m form drills. I was a little wary as there had been some rather unexpected heavy snow in the morning and while most of it had melted away, there were still stretches of pavement that were slushy and slippy. I still set up my watch to do the intervals and decided that I would aim to do the workout but was prepared to ditch it for a steady run if the conditions weren’t good enough. As it turned out the first few intervals were over slippy paths but I was able to focus on good form while keeping the pace down, then as the underfoot conditions improved I was able to get some quality intervals in in the second half of the workout.

I was also really entertained by this fantastic snow creation in our street (I think whoever built it must have used all the snow in the street as there wasn’t really much left!).

I then had a really quick turnaround to get to orchestra. I’ve probably managed every other rehearsal this term which is a massive improvement on last year when I had to accept that I wouldn’t be playing in our spring concert, but this time I am going to make it.

After all that Thursday was a welcome relief. I actually allowed my usual alarm to go off just so I could have the pleasure of shutting it off and going back to sleep! I started my day with a walk to the gym to have a swim. Being able to take my time and with no other pressures on my day, I felt I got into a rhythm pretty quickly despite very little swimming of late. I really must try to fit it in more often moving forward. I spent the afternoon on some bits and pieces of tidying up then headed out to my Ashtanga yoga class in the evening. It was a small class again so once more we were able to try some newer postures, including working on our headstands. I’m really enjoying having the opportunity to try new things and am feeling the benefit of more yoga throughout the week.

I had an appointment in town on Friday morning so I walked there and ran a few errands before heading home again. After lunch I had my PT session with Steve and since my right shoulder was feeling tight (it flares up a bit from time to time) we did a lot of work to help that before some more specific exercises to help my running. As usual, we used the TRX and the Core Momentum Trainer. For the occasion I chose to wear my Wonder Woman leggings, because it’s good to feel like a superhero from time to time!

Session done, I headed round the corner to have my nails done. I fancied something a bit different this time as I usually go for dark reds/purples. A sparkly silvery colour hit the spot!

And then the weekend. Having already had a couple of days to myself meant I didn’t have a stack of things to do and was able to relax and enjoy myself. First up, of course, was parkrun. We’re still on the alternative course to allow the grass section to recover and to round off a week of madcap leggings I chose to wear my latest, and possibly maddest, pair.

My favourite picture on them is the cartoon cats with unicorn horns!

I was certain that my parkrun streak of each week being a bit faster than the one before would definitely be over but somehow found another few seconds to keep it alive. So including the New Year parkrun double that makes my 2018 “streak” 29:16 (Dundee and a trickier course), 27:20, 27:01, 26:31, 25:34, 24:56, 24:50, 24:43. I was slightly faster this time last year but I also had a stronger starting point with more consistent training at the tale end of the year, so that just motivates me to keep working hard and see if I can keep improving and get back to sub-24 form.

The rest of the day was nice and chilled – coffee and bacon croissants with Steve’s brother, food shopping and some quality time on the sofa catching up on some reading. I finished reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and can highly recommend it.

On Sunday morning I got myself moving fairly sharp to head out for my 16 miles. I wanted to not only run my usual pattern of 2 easy, 1 harder with good form, but to break the bad habit I’ve been forming of having to stop for road crossings that could be avoidable. This made the run feel harder as I think I’ve been relying on those stops, but overall I was a little quicker than a comparable run this time last year so that’s a positive sign and I know the consistent running will make me stronger for race day.

Once home and showered/fed we headed off to Edinburgh (hence why I wanted to be out a bit earlier). Steve has been planning to upgrade his iPad ever since I got mine in the summer but was waiting until he got his new phone as he knew he could trade that in against the new device. Today was the day to go and sort it all out and there was no way we were going to go to Edinburgh after a 16 mile run and not visit Hotel Chocolat for a hot drink. This time they had Easter specials (perhaps a little early, but who am I to judge!) and the picture on the sandwich board sold me before I even walked in the door! I ordered the Hot Crossed Caramel Hot Chocolat (the caramel was mixed with almond, orange, cinnamon and molasses. Delicious!) and yes, it was the chocolate bunny on the top that sealed the deal for me 😂

By the time we’d done all that and driven home again I was pretty tired as my Sunday is usually pretty chilled after my long run. Good thing I had those extra days to relax beforehand!

And with that, another week came to an end. Apparently there are now 10 weeks until the marathon…

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Week In Review – Festive Fun!

Another week and just 7 more days until the big Ho Ho Ho! It was another reasonably restful week for me as I was suffering from some lingering discomfort around my ribs and torso from all my recent coughing, but the cough has finally subsided and by the end of the week I was ready to start enjoying the festive season.
I’m linking up once again with Jessie @ The Right Fits and Jess @ Jess Runs ATL to share more about my week.

 

My aim at the start of the week was to shift the last remnants of the cough and give the muscles around my ribs a chance to recover as they had clearly been under strain. I have to admit, I was pretty happy to have the time out as it was pretty chilly outside!

By Thursday the cough had pretty much subsided and I was keen to try some yoga to see if it helped to stretch out the muscles in my upper body. I also knew it would be the last Ashtanga class before Christmas so really wanted to be there. I took it easy and just did what my body wanted to do, which meant moving slowly and choosing easier options for some postures. By the end of the class my left hand side felt so much better, but my right, which had been flaring up a bit more that day, was still feeling uncomfortable. Still, it was good to do something within my usual routine again and although I couldn’t participate at the level I normally would, I enjoyed the class and still felt that I got something out of it.

I had hoped to return to parkrun on Saturday, however thanks to the icy conditions the event was cancelled. If I’m honest, this was probably for the best as it made me take another day to rest and allow my sore side to settle. My day consisted of getting my hair done, doing some food shopping and then settling down for the serious business of the Strictly Come Dancing final (Dancing with the Stars for my readers outside of the UK). It was an evening of glitter balls, dancing and kitty cuddles!


It was Sunday that was the real highlight of the week. It is our tradition to visit Edinburgh one Sunday close to Christmas. We did this for our first date back in 2008 and have repeated it every year since.

It was raining when we set off for the station and the rain was falling on already icy surfaces creating really treacherous conditions underfoot so our walk was a bit slow. Luckily we had left enough time as we had hoped to grab a coffee for the journey, but in the end only had a minute or two to spare so had to go caffeine-free!

Once in Edinburgh we headed straight to the festive ice rink at St Andrews Square as we had booked our tickets in advance. It’s always a bit strange getting onto the ice, but after a slightly wobbly lap sticking close to the sides, things usually click into place for me and I can skate with enough confidence to move away from the hand rails. Steve, on the other hand, has never yet grasped the mechanics of moving around the ice, but this year did make some significant progress!


Once off the ice we were channelled right into the bar where we were keen to enjoy a hot festive beverage. We chose the hot gin and apple toddy which was delicious!

From there we visited a couple of shops before it was time to go for some food. And where else would we go but the Chocolate Lounge on the top floor of Harvey Nichols? I was in the mood for something savoury so had the dipping plate which had olives, hummus, bloody Mary chutney and chocolate balsamic vinegar with some delicious bread. Yum! And to drink? Why a strawberry bellini of course – standards must be maintained 😂


After lunch we had a walk around some of the Christmas market stalls and assorted festivities before heading to Hotel Chocolat for a hot drink. I decided on their winter spiced hot chocolate which was delicious!

Full of yummy goodness, we headed back to the station for our train home. Turned out we were pretty tired (or full!) so both of us had a nap since we had a while before getting home.

Fortunately the morning ice had melted so our walk home was much easier, but we did make a pitstop at our local Chinese takeaway. Neither of us were massively hungry but we did fancy some food and for some reason fried rice and curry sauce sounded perfect – what a classy pair we are lol!

Any weather-related disruptions to your running lately?
What are your pre-Christmas traditions?