Hello! I hope you’ve had a great week. My week, for various reasons, felt really festive and I’m getting so excited for the Christmas holidays now and a chance to chill out at home with a bit of festive telly (when I’m not out running, that is!). Here’s what I got up to this past week:
Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + PT session with Steve
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 6.5 miles
For our last Hatha class before Christmas, our teacher encouraged us all to wear something Christmassy. Knowing that both she and another of my friends would embrace this wholeheartedly, I was happy to throw myself into the idea with enthusiasm and ended up dressed like this:
Christmas from head to toe!
And just to prove it wasn’t just me, here’s a photo of the Christmas dafties after the class 😂
It was a really nice class to end not just the term, but the year. Our teacher brought along glittery LED candles for us to place by our mats and we were told we could take these home at the end of the class to maybe use for our home practice over the festive season. It was such a nice touch – simple but thoughtful. I’m already booked in for the first block of 2020 and can’t wait to get back to this class again.
Tuesday, of course, began with a run and with the forecast being for a wet morning, I was back in my jacket and cap to try and ward off the worst of it so it would be a bit quicker to then get ready for work. It actually was a bit drier than I expected, but still some rain so I was glad of the cap!
And after work I headed down to the studio for my workout. Steve set up a session using the gym ball again, but with a finisher using the Bosu. The sessions now are targeting arms and abs, but that feels right and I’m happy with the progress I am making – I certainly don’t think I would have been able to do some of the things I’m doing now when I began this focus back in the the summer.
When I got home I was thrilled to find that my new Christmas tree topper had arrived. The decorations on the tree might be scaled back a bit this year for cat-related reasons (the wee monkeys have now worked out how to knock the decorations off the treee to play with, thankfully without the tree itself toppling over!) but at least the topper can firmly stamp my personality!
On Wednesday Steve was at a Christmas do and I had initially thought I might watch a Christmas movie, but in the end brought a few essays home that I needed to mark. I really want to clear the decks marking-wise before the holidays so taking a little time in the evening to mark a few pieces will make a big difference.
And then another early run on Thursday. I had thought I might do some form drills but the weather forecast hadn’t been too encouraging so I had kept my options open. In the end I would probably have been ok for the drills so long as I was careful where there was the odd slippery patch, but having woken up feeling a bit sluggish a nice easy run was far more appealing and helped set me up for the day ahead.
That evening I made it to Ashtanga for the first time in a couple of weeks (thanks to work stuff I missed the previous two weeks) and I’m glad I did since this was also the last class of the year. I had gone in fully expecting to be stiff and and less flexible, and found that initially I couldn’t move into postures as much as before since I hadn’t been doing as much yoga, but as the class went on I felt that flexibility unlocking again and I felt strong. When we got to the headstand I decided to see where I was without getting my teacher to support me and was able to balance in the posture for 5 breaths with my legs still bent (basically a headstand but without extending my legs up). That’s definitely good progress towards being able to do that particular posture again and is likely due to the additional core work in my sessions with Steve, which in turn is giving me the confidence that I CAN hold that posture (I really do believe part of the issue here is mental rather than physical, hence going right back to the beginning and trying to focus on taking my time rather than rushing into it – good advice in general anyway!). A focus over the festive break will be to get back to more regular home yoga again and I really want to sort out my routine a bit again since I’ve let that slip recently.
Friday was a great day at work. It was super busy as I had extra classes to cover, but at lunchtime the staff book group met and we also had the lucky dip book exchange that I had organised (inspired by our former librarian having done something similar last year – she has been greatly missed since moving to another post). Interested staff wrapped up a book they had enjoyed reading and then we all picked out a book with no knowledge of what we would unwrap. I think everyone actually got something they hadn’t read before and it’s a great way to read something you maybe wouldn’t have read otherwise. I got a book by an author I’ve never read, but I’m looking forward to giving it a go some time soon.
I then finished my day with another session in the studio with Steve. This time he mixed things up a bit with a resistance band/weights warm up before moving to a circuit of barbell, TRX and press-ups with my hands quite close together – much tougher than with a wider stance!
Conditions weren’t too bad on Saturday morning and after my run down to parkrun I was feeling pretty good and planned to run quite hard. I always find it hard to get faster times over the winter as conditions just aren’t as conducive to running fast thanks to wind/rain/snow/mud etc, so I was really pleased with my 24:13. That’s the fastest I’ve had since my sub-24 runs in early November as conditions have been pretty hard since then. I think that suggests my fitness is still decent and I know that if I keep working hard over the winter I’ll see the benefit in faster times come the spring.
For this week’s run I chose my most “elfy” leggings and my Christmas pudding hat – one of my running friends commented that I “never disappoint” when it comes to my running attire 🤣 – the reason being that I was really excited for the evening ahead. No, not the Strictly final (although I was excited about that) but a trip to the SSE Hydro in Glasgow to see the arena tour of Elf: The Musical!
I saw a recording of this on TV 2 or 3 years ago and have kept it in my TiVo box to watch each year, so when I spotted an advert for this touring arena spectacular I knew we would have to go. It was only in Glasgow for this one weekend and when I booked the tickets back in August I realised that I would miss Strictly, I just didn’t realise it would be the final. It’s not like me to voluntarily go out on a Strictly nigh – especially the final – but there was no way I was going to miss Elf!
We had considered going through to Glasgow earlier in the day, but the thought of trying to park and get about on a Saturday in December didn’t appeal so we ate an early dinner then headed through some pretty awful weather to get there in time for the show. This time we decided to park at the venue (it can be slow to get out afterwards, but it would have been miserable to walk back to the car somewhere else at this time of year) but when we arrived the traffic was queuing up to get into the car park and as the minutes ticked by I was getting anxious about making it inside in time. In the end Steve said I should go on in so I left him his ticket and braved the wind and rain to run round into the venue. Thankfully Steve was able to get in before the start, but the show was actually delayed to allow those trying to park to get sorted out and I think after I got out of the car the parking marshals started managing the car park in a different way to speed things along. Phew!
The show itself was amazing. I knew it was slightly different to the movie since I had seen it on tv before, but for the arena tour there were also acrobats and other entertainments between the scenes so there was always something going on. I loved it! And since I had rushed inside at the start of the evening I hadn’t been to the merchandise stand so made sure to stop on the way out for a programme and a couple of amusing hats for Steve and I!
If you’re wondering, of course I had something suitable to wear:
I even had an Elf T-shirt under my Elf sweatshirt and a pair of Elf socks on my feet. I do love that movie!
With the Strictly final still to watch I was on a total media blackout to make sure I didn’t find out the winner. That meant no news or social media and it was actually quite refreshing not to be sucked in to scrolling through nonsense on my phone. Instead, I began Sunday with a lie in (we were much later to bed on Saturday than usual) and enjoyed a cup of tea in bed whilst reading a bit of my book. This was also a ploy to see if some of the ice and frost outside might melt a bit before I went out for my run, but it was still looking pretty slippery when I wanted to head out. However I remained conscious that I should have an easier week – I’ve been really consistent with 10 mile runs on a Sunday for a few weeks now which is fine for maintaining my fitness, but it won’t make me fitter or faster. With no race in the diary right now that’s not really a problem, but I would like to have a bit more variety and start to push my Sunday mileage on a little in the new year, so I knew I should have a cutback week to let my body reap the benefits of all my recent work. After all, it’s not when we run long that we get fitter, it’s when we ease off to let our bodies recover. With it looking pretty slippery outside, this seemed like the ideal time so I set off thinking anything over 5 miles, ideally about 10k, would be good. The route I picked ended up being 6.5 so that was perfect, and the pace was slow thanks to part of the route being untreated so I had to go easy to make sure I didn’t slip.
You’ll be glad to know that I did manage to avoid finding out the Strictly result and spent a happy afternoon catching up with the final.
All-in-all a pretty fun week which left me feeling really festive. Now just one more week of work before the big Ho Ho Ho!!
Are you feeling Christmassy yet?
What fun festive things have you been up to?