Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Week 76

Another week done! I’m definitely noticing that school is busy. I mean, it’s ALWAYS busy, but this first term used to feel just a teeny tiny bit lighter. Not so now, with so many things to do and a really packed timetable. What this means is I will need to take care to listen to my body, prioritise sleep where I can and make sure to have some r’n’r at the weekends. So far I’ve been able to keep fitting in the running/workouts/yoga I want to. I wish there was space to work out more frequently, but for now it will do and I’m pleased with how well my body has adjusted to the early morning runs again. Here’s how it looked:

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

Sometimes I wonder where all these Mondays keep coming from! I think Monday morning must be the toughest alarm call of the week, but I got myself up and changed ready for my run. It’s still on the darkish side when I step out the front door at the moment (although only for a few minutes) and I’m really not ready for all the weeks of running in darkness just yet.

My legs felt a little heavy at first, probably after running a bit harder over the weekend, but they soon loosened up and I enjoyed my run. Not sure how I managed to pick up a Strava segment PR on a recovery run though 😳

When I got home from work I was able to sit in the garden for a few minutes to get some air, then it was time for yoga. No class again this week so my own home practice before dinner.

Later, we built the new scratching post platform I had bought for the kitties (the sisal eventually gets destroyed by their claws so at least once a year they need a new one). I think it got the thumbs up from them 😹

Tuesday felt a little chilly first thing. Absolutely still shorts and Tshirt weather, but nevertheless a slightly autumnal nip in the air until the sun was up. It was a fairly standard run ahead of my work day and sadly no opportunity for a workout in the evening as Steve was out. I settled for some yoga instead before dinner.

I opted once again to make Wednesday my weekly Running For Real Together Run, but I was a little pushed for time so couldn’t go for the 60 minute run which would have been my preference and stuck to 45 minutes instead. When I stepped out the door there was a really beautiful sky:

I picked a route which took me uphill and noticed when I reached the highest point that there was a lot of low-lying fog in the valley below – it almost looked like a body of water but it’s most definitely fog/cloud:

And as has become a staple part of this run, I responded to the prompt to take a pictures to share at a certain point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much excitement when I arrived at work to find that The World’s Slowest Computer had been replaced. We had been expecting the roll-out of new teacher PCs and mine was one of the first to be done. It seemed so quick to get started and logged in compared to my old one, plus I can do exciting things like have more than one file open without it crashing. Revolutionary!

It was a busy day, which began with observing a lesson taught by the new teacher I am mentoring this year. I love taking on this role and missed it last year. But by the time I got home I felt like I’d had a pretty long day and I still had to prep a pot of chilli to cook in the slow cooker the following day. I felt pretty sleepy so Steve took me through a quick TRX workout before dinner to wake me up a bit, then I made sure to take things easy for the rest of the evening. We were able to finish watching Hit and Run on Netflix, which I recommend.

On Thursday I wanted to run down to the river as Steve had been getting some lovely photos there in the lower light. Last time I was there it was foggy, so I was pleased to be able to see a different morning scene this time.

It was another long day (we have more lessons on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so it’s not just me thinking those days feel long, they actually are!) but I was cheered when I arrived home to find that the Pandora jewellery I had ordered with my birthday money and vouchers had arrived. It made it feel like I was still keeping the birthday joy going!

By Friday morning I noticed that it seemed particularly dark at the start of my run. Sunset is now towards the end of my running time, so I might have to think about high-viz quite soon.

The work day was packed, so I was mentally ready for a change when I arrived home. It was a bit murky-looking outside, so it was a living room workout with the resistance band and some press ups. I had thought I might do some yoga next, but my sister dropped by to pick up something I had ordered her as an additional birthday gift: a cup cozy. I had been meaning to order from this small shop for a while and spotted something ideal for her. Of course I couldn’t resist a couple for myself at the same time!

For the rest of the evening we watched a bit of TV, but I actually ended up falling asleep towards bedtime – a sure sign of busy work days!

After that I felt ready for parkrun day. After running well the previous week I really didn’t expect to have anything more right now, so I was surprised to realise that the pace I was running at would see me finish in under 24 minutes if I could sustain it. Ever since I began parkrunning in early 2015 my best time each year has been 23:XX (including 2020 when we paused in March) so I was keen to add 2021 to the “streak” (and you know how much I enjoy a st. I had assumed I would need to put a bit of work in with a view to achieving this in the autumn, so was delighted to finish in 23:38.

Goal achieved (and a continuation of my “fastest time of the year streak to boot haha!).

My friend who works on the Disney Cruise Line (I saw her when I was on the Magic) was home and had come to parkrun so it was really nice to get a chance to chat to her for a few minutes too.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxing, mainly spent with a little tv. I was keen to finish watching Lupin but oh my did those final episodes make me miss Paris! It crossed my mind that under different circumstances this would have been a French Trip year and that realisation that I don’t know when I’ll next get to Paris did make me a little sad. I fully support all the restrictions that are in place right now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a bit fed up with it all.

After a good sleep and an easy start to my Sunday (cups of tea in bed while I read) I was ready to run and headed off to run a loop taking in the woodland park. I felt good on the run again, but didn’t have much time to stop since I knew my parents were going to visit later in the afternoon (I’m still not sure if they were visiting me or the cats 🤔). Still, I enjoyed running through the park then along by the river for my return home.

And just like that, the day was done. I only had time for a quick bath before bed, but knew it had been a good week overall.

How are things with you right now?
What’s’s your current running/fitness goal?

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 53

Well if I thought the end of term before Christmas was the weirdest ever, we have a new winner! This final week of term continued with the same pattern of 25% in school and a blended learning model. Because of this there were some groups of pupils I was seeing for a second time and some I was seeing for the first time (if their day in school the previous week was a day they didn’t have English). It felt so strange as there was no real flurry of finishing things up followed by a feeling of winding down, instead it continued to feel like Groundhog Day as lessons were repeated with different groups and planning was underway in earnest for next term. It was a pretty strange term overall and I was definitely ready for a break! But around that, my run streak continued and I had more boxes to tick off on my March bingo card.

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

Of course the best way to begin any week is with a run. I was progressing well through my bingo card and had decided to tick off a slightly odd one: run backwards. Now as you know, I was putting my own spin on some of these to make them work for me and the idea of actually running backwards did not appeal. For one thing, I thought it highly likely that I would fall over, and for another I would have to sustain it for a decent distance and that felt like a pretty big ask. So instead, I opted to run my route backwards. I’m a creature of habit so tend to run my routes the same way. For this run I took my usual Monday route and ran it in reverse. It was actually quite an interesting experience as it makes you see things slightly differently.

The rest of the day was fairly unremarkable, but I did have my much-needed yoga class via Zoom in the evening.

The Tuesday, however, was much more exciting. It was day 365 of my run streak (you can read my reflections on that here) and I had decided this was the day to tick off “fancy dress” on my bingo card (because if you can’t wear fancy dress on day 365 of a run streak, when can you?). It was strange to think that what I originally thought would be a habit for a few weeks while we were in lockdown would still be continuing a year later (and we would essentially still be in lockdown) but it’s now as much a part of my life as eating and sleeping so it looks like the streak is set to continue.

We celebrated in the evening with one of Steve’s tasty treats: sticky toffee pudding (my favourite!).

Good thing I had managed to get home in time for a resistance band and press up workout before diving into this!

On the Wednesday it was time to begin year 2 of my run streak and I wanted to tick off “silly socks”. I had been giving this one some thought in terms of how I would define “silly”. The majority of my regular running socks are the no show kind, so even if I wore odd socks it wouldn’t be seen. and though I have plenty of pairs of novelty socks, there was no way I wanted to run in a regular pair of socks as that would be running the risk of blisters. In the end, I remembered I had some knee length compressions socks in bright colours and mixed 2 pairs so I had odd socks on. That probably looked pretty silly!

It being Wednesday, my evening began with another lateral flow test. It’s so nerve-wracking waiting the 30 minutes for that result! We don’t need to take them during the holidays so after this one I would have a couple of weeks without it and it was a relief to log another negative.

For my Thursday run it was time to tackle one of the less enticing bingo squares: hill runs. It’s been a while since I did a specific hill session but Steve gave me the workout to do (warm up run down the road to the bottom of a suitable hill, then a “lamppost pyramid” of 5-4-3-2-1 before jogging home). I had forgotten how brutal those hill reps can be (this hill has a real sting in the tail), but they do make the run home feel like an absolute breeze!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After work I had to pay a visit to mum and dad. Mum had sent a text to say she had leftover chicken for the kitties, but rather than go straight there I had to nip home first as one of dad’s birthday presents had been delayed but had arrived the day before so I wanted to pick that up and take it to him on the same visit. While I was in the driveway chatting to them we were joined by a cat. Mum hadn’t seen this one before but it was super friendly, responding to being petted and actually marching right in the front door at one point! I had to get mum to watch it so I could get my car out of the driveway as I was terrified it would move into my path and I wouldn’t see it, but thankfully it stayed still long enough for me to get away.

I actually only got in the door for a few minutes before I had to head out yet again. Steve had made an appointment to give blood for the first time in ages and had walked there before I got back. It was only on the way home again that he remembered how much it can drain you so called me to go and pick him up. Thankfully after that I was finally home for the evening so was able to do some yoga before dinner.

On the Friday I was FINALLY able to tick off “run in the rain” on my bingo card. I had originally expected this to be an easy one to get, but while there had been some rain in March, none of it was at a time I was able to run and as the end of the month was getting nearer I was worried that I might not get this one. It was fairly light rain, but good enough to claim that box.

After what felt like a very strange last day of term, I drove home and had another workout with the resistance band and some press up variations followed by some yoga.

Friday night is still movie night, but with no more Marvel movies to watch I was in need of a new project. I’m actually quite keen to watch Cobra Kai but thought I should re-watch the Karate Kid movies first so this seemed as good a time as any. Somehow Steve had never seen The Karate Kid (no, I don’t understand that either) so we sat down to spend some time with Daniel and Mr Miyagi. I had forgotten how good the movie was and really enjoyed seeing it again.

Technically I was on holiday as we headed into the weekend, but my weekends tend to be the same whether it’s term time or holidays so this was a fairly typical Saturday. I read in bed for a while then set off for my run. For this run, I used my warm up-(not)parkrun-cool down structure to tick off “fartlek run” on my bingo card. It was super windy but there is a clear difference in pace for each stage of the run so that counts.

When I got back I discovered I had received another princess medal in the post – this one inspired by Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

This was followed by a relaxing day – This Is Us, a Disney quiz and finishing series 2 of The Crown before going for a bath, after which we started the new (final) series of Keeping Faith.

The Sunday began with that twice yearly check on which clocks had moved forwards by some kind of internal sorcery, and which would require our attention to change manually. It’s one of my proudest achievements to say that I can change the clock on the oven without the need of the instructions!

When it was time to run I was looking to tick off “trail run” so headed out to the woodland park to follow the trail through there. It was still really windy, but it was a good run.

Later in the day we had some more of those chocolate hot cross buns whilst watching more of Keeping Faith. I was accompanied through all this by a very cuddly boy who seemed pleased to have me at home again. I even had a quick nap with him!

Then I rounded off my week with a bath where I watched The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The best part was not needing to set an alarm for the following morning.

What are your reflections on the past year?
Do you like The Karate Kid?

365 Days Later…

Today is the 23rd of March. It has never before been a significant date for me, but on the 23rd of March 2020 the announcement was made that the UK would enter a period of lockdown to help slow the spread of Covid-19. That was when everything changed.

Under the rules of the time there were very limited reasons to leave our homes: essential shopping, medical care or exercise (once a day). At that time the schools had already closed so I knew I would be teaching remotely for the foreseeable future and as we headed into that period of working from home I knew that I would need to get out for some fresh air every day in order to stop the cabin fever setting in, making me feel sluggish and disrupting my sleep patterns. Even as I listened to the speeches from our political leaders outlining the measures being introduced, my plan was to continue to run on my usual days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) and to take a walk on the other days so that I would get outside. But as the country awoke in lockdown on the morning of Tuesday 24th March and I headed out for my run, I began to think differently.

I enjoyed that run. I had been feeling very anxious for a few weeks as I followed the news of how Covid was spreading, fearful of what that might mean. But with firm measures in place I felt much safer as there was a new clarity around what to do. Yes, there would be lots to learn when it came to how to continue teaching without the traditional face to face model; yes, going to get my weekly food shopping would cause some anxiety; yes, I would miss social interactions, but I vividly remember thinking that so long as I could run, I would feel ok. And as that particular run came to an end, I began to wonder what would happen if rather than walking, I ran again the next day, and the next, and the next…

What would happen if I tried a run streak?

What happened is I ran for 365 consecutive days and have no plans to stop. Today, as I mark one year of my #accidentalrunstreak I want to reflect on some of my main takeaways from the experience.

  1. Running every day actually IS for me
    I’ve always considered myself an injury-prone runner and the number of injuries/niggles I picked up through the first decade of my running are testament to that. For this reason, I’ve always shied away from run steaks. I thought running every day would be a one-way ticket to injury and when I observed others taking part in streaks such as Marcothon, RED January and other similar initiatives, I saw broken people dragging exhausted bodies through their daily runs and wishing for the month they committed to to be over. Why would I want to put myself through that? But as I began my streak I made the decision that I would stop if it became apparent that running every day was causing me issues or I felt an injury brewing. By listening to my body, building up gradually and backing off the distance/intensity when I needed to, I soon adapted and found that I was craving my daily run rather than resenting it ike those I had observed. Even today, one year on, that hasn’t changed.
  2. The human body is amazing
    Observing the adaptations in my body in the first weeks of the streak was fascinating. It took until about day 5 or 6 before I began to feel the effects of running every day, but actually that manifested as a tired heaviness in my legs rather than anything untoward. I kept the distance short and the pace slow for a few days to allow my body a chance to recover, and as I came out the other side of that initial weariness I felt stronger, better adapted to running every day. It was like my legs caught up to my brain in realising that this was what they were doing each morning and got on board with the plan. I had run several marathons before and my legs had carried me through weeks of focused training and increasingly lengthy runs, but this was something different to adapt to and I remember thinking how amazing it was that rather than continuing to feel weary, my legs found a new energy and settled into this new routine.
  3. If I want to do something badly enough I will find a way
    As my streak continued I began to make some decisions. I had set myself clear “streak rules” (minimum of 30 minutes – the length of time I need to get my points on my Vitality Fitness Rewards policy – or 5k per day) but built in an “exceptional circumstances” fallback position of just 1 mile to keep the streak alive. Out of 365 days, I only used this fallback twice, on two consecutive days when I travelled (unheard of these days!) to Disneyland Paris in August, that moment in time when the world was a little more open. Knowing that I had a super early start on the day I travelled, but unwilling to let my streak end over one tricky day, I ran laps around the block to complete one VERY early mile before heading off (the following day was also one mile as I was conscious of having had a long day on not much sleep, with another busy day ahead). Similarly, when we returned to school in August I didn’t want to end the streak, in fact I thought I would find it mentally helpful, so committed to getting up early, as I had been doing previously on my running days, to fit my run in before work. I still knew that I would stop if it was becoming untenable, but by this point I knew that I wasn’t going to make a decision to stop the streak, rather it would be stopped by outside forces such as illness, injury or a change in restrictions that would mean I was no longer able to get out to run. Stopping would have to be taken out of my hands – I even worked out what I would do if I was told I would have to self-isolate but was actually well (up and down the garden path!). In the same way that I wouldn’t want to skip a meal or skip sleep, I didn’t want to skip a run. That’s how much a part of my life it had become.
  4. I feel better for the whole day when I start with a run
    I think the main reason I have no desire to stop the streak is how it makes me feel. Before Covid there were two days in the week when I was getting up a bit earlier to run. This meant different alarm times for different days – running days, non-running days and weekends. Looking back, I don’t think that was really a good idea. Far better to have a regular alarm, at least on work days, and running before work every single day helped to even that out. Even when working from home, I was still tied to the bounds of the school day so my time felt very structured. The same is true when I am travelling to school for a more “normal” day, I just have to get up a little earlier than when I have worked from home. At the beginning of the school year in August there were actually two days when I was unable to run before work because of the weather – really stormy with significant flooding and on one of the days there was still thunder and lightning around so it would actually have been dangerous to run. On both occasions the forecast was much better later in the day so I delayed my run until after school and I really noticed the difference in how I felt all day. It was like I didn’t wake up properly: my mind was less alert, my body felt sluggish and I just had this sense of being “off” all day. Starting the day with a run wakes me up, gives me a chance to reflect on things I need to do and the endorphins to send me into the day feeling positive, with a bit of oomph to get things done. It may be a bit of a shock to the system to get up on a dark winter morning, but by the time I get back from my run I feel ready for anything!
  5. Pace really doesn’t matter
    It’s easy to get bogged down in numbers and stats, to compare ourselves to past triumphs and feel down when a run feels hard even though we are actually moving more slowly. But when you get out there every day, you can’t expect to be running fast all the time. I learned quite quickly that my best runs come later in the week, especially on Saturday mornings, when my legs will have had more time to recover from a longer Sunday run and, certainly in the case of a Saturday, I’m better rested so there’s more of a spring in my step. I’ve learned to be more appreciative of the time out there in the fresh air and forget about pace. Ok. so I’m probably running a bit slower right now than I was this time last year, but I also have no specific event to target and I know that at any time I could tweak my training to include specific speed work and get a bit of pace back if I wanted to. I have to ask myself why I am running: is it to be faster, or is it because I actually just enjoy running? The past year has overwhelmingly been about the joy of the run, with little regard to pace.
  6. Even when you run every day you can still cycle your training
    Related to that is the idea of how I approach each run. A traditional running week would have a mixture of easy runs, hill runs, speed sessions and long runs. A training cycle, especially in preparation for a marathon, would go through a period of building mileage and intensity, followed by a period of cutting that back to allow for adaptation – this is where the body reaps the benefits of that hard training. But how do you do that when there are no days off? From the earliest days of the streak when I consciously kept the pace and intensity down while my body adapted to the demands of running every day, I realised that there would have to be some light and shade in my running. Heading out the door every morning to run the same route at the same pace might tick the box of running every day, but it’s not very exciting and offers no real scope to stretch distance or pace. My running would stagnate. Instead, I began to create a pattern in my week which developed into a rolling cycle of training. Monday remains a recovery run since I have my longest run on a Sunday. Tuesday-Friday are still at a fairly easy pace, but with the option of including some form drills, fartlek work or hill training on a Thursday to mix things up if I want to. Saturday is my faster run as I like to record a 5k (not)parkrun and then the cycle comes back around to my Sunday long run (anything from 8-14 miles, but mostly 10 miles – it’s a good distance). The work week actually looks like a bit of a “pyramid” in terms of distance, something like 3.5 miles – 4.5 miles – 5 miles – 4.5 miles – 4 miles. This lets me build a little distance up to the middle of the week then pull back ahead of the speed and longer distance of the weekend. Across a series of weeks I will build in the same way I would for marathon training: 3 weeks of gradually increasing long run distance followed by a cutback week where I drop mileage and keep the pace easy all week. I’m not a coach, nor am I qualified to tell you how to structure your training, but I AM qualified to know what works for me and after 365 days I think we can safely say that this does. Of course I can play around with things a bit, run a shorter distance if I’m feeling tired or otherwise not at my best or stretch things out if I’m feeling good and I don’t have to be anywhere any time soon, but having this pattern has really helped me as even though I might stick to similar routes, I’m not always doing the exact same thing.
  7. There are a surprising number of new routes and challenges to try
    I’ve never particularly minded covering the same route over and over again. There can be something quite comforting in knowing where you are, what the terrain/elevation ahead looks like and the precise distance to complete the route. But that’s not to say I don’t also enjoy finding new places to run. When we moved into our house 5 years ago one of the great joys at first was having a different starting point for my runs, so even familiar loops would feel a little different as they would start and end at a different point. These days I often stick to familiar routes; I like to have a distance in mind and know precisely where to head to cover it. Yet when you’re out there every day, sometimes it can be fun to have something different to do in order to mix things up. Whether that’s a new route (something I did at the weekend), running a familiar loop in reverse (that one can feel a bit odd) or a fun challenge, it’s surprising how many different ways you can find to add a little interest to a run. Over the past 365 days I have taken part in virtual events, themed my running tops, hit new mileage goals, played “postbox bingo”, spelled words using the first letter of street names, taken part in scavenger hunts, created homemade running events and am currently ticking off a daily bingo card. Wearing a particular colour of top or taking a photo of a random object may not show up in the stats, but these have been the things that have made my running fun, provided a focus when the world has felt like Groundhog Day and connected me to a community even though I’m running solo. They are the things that add depth and colour, create stories and form memories. I can recommend it!
  8. I can run in (nearly) every kind of weather
    When you run for a full year you will inevitably encounter all sorts of different weather – sometimes in the same day since this is Scotland! Having considered myself a runner for over a decade, encountering various weather conditions is nothing new, but in the past I might have shifted my running schedule around if the weather wasn’t looking too great. This past year I didn’t give myself the choice. Other than those stormy days in August where heading out would have been reckless, I have run in sunshine, rain, high winds, fog, snow, ice, very hot weather, freezing weather and many combinations of the above. As it turns out, the old adage “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing” is true. And as a side note, if you plan to run every day it’s a good idea to have enough kit to see you through a week in a variety of weather conditions. It really takes the pressure off on laundry! Oh, and laying it out the night before really reduces the mental fatigue of figuring out your kit in the morning – I leave mine in the bathroom to make things even easier when I roll out of bed.
  9. I’m much happier in shorts!
    But with all those weather conditions, it turns out that my happy place is when I can run in shorts. I remember the days when I would spend chunks of the year in full length leggings or capris, afraid that I would be far too cold in shorts, but these days I much prefer my running shorts. People often think I’m mad and assume I must be freezing (I’m not), but my arms are far more likely to feel cold than my legs, so it’s not unusual to see me in shorts and a thermal top! So long as the temperature is above freezing, I’m probably out in my shorts. Thinking about it, I’m not sure why that’s become my preference. Maybe I feel more free. Maybe I can more easily fool myself that the weather is good. Maybe I’ve just become one of “those people” who switch to shorts at the earliest possible opportunity and refuse to go back – like switching the heating off and leaving it off until winter rolls around again. Whatever it might be, that month or two in winter when it gets far too cold for shorts is probably my least favourite of all since it takes so much kit to get me out the door – nothing beats shorts and a T-shirt for ease of planning!
  10. Sometimes the journey really is more important than the destination
    Perhaps most important of all is the fact that there doesn’t need to be a goal race or other arbitrary target for a run to be worthwhile. This wasn’t entirely new to me as I had already cut back on the amount of racing I did as just wasn’t feeling a need to be in a constant train-race-recover-repeat cycle. I was picking events based on what I felt they might add to my life, such as Run Disney events, or because they offered an interesting experience. Of course it has been a year now since racing was even a possibility and while I know I WILL go to in-person races again, that really isn’t what’s motivating me right now. As I hope I’ve made clear throughout this post, my motivation is coming from the fact that I enjoy pulling on my shorts, lacing up my shoes and getting out in the fresh air. The next time I choose to race it will be a fun bonus rather than the reason I run, and that’s an important distinction.

And there we have it. 365 days and 1938 miles later, I find myself feeling a range of emotions: proud of what I have achieved, shocked that my body has held up to running every day, disheartened that the world around me has not changed that much in all that time and excited to see how the streak continues to unfold.

Here’s to the next 365 days…!

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 30

Yippee! School holidays! Despite the freedom of not having a timetable to follow for a couple of weeks, I did quickly establish a routine as there were some very particular things I wanted to get done whilst off. First, I wanted to catch up with all the blog posts I hadn’t written (not a spoiler to say I was successful there) and that became my morning job when I was feeling motivated after my run. Second, I wanted to catch up with a tv programme I had lurking about in my TiVo box (again, a success as I watched it over lunch most days). And finally I had a big stack of Disney trivia quizzes saved in YouTube – a blogger I follow has been doing them each week and I was quite a bit behind – so my aim was to complete one of those most afternoons. As a bonus, I had some movies in mind that I wanted to watch and with the weather less than ideal for being out and about much, this felt like a good time to snuggle in a take advantage of my Disney+ subscription! Of course I also maintained the run streak, did some yoga each weekday and made sure to fit in some workouts. For me, all of that is the perfect way to unwind.

Monday – 4 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 6.2 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – 6.2 miles
Sunday –  10 miles

Yay for daylight running all week!

I began the week as I meant to go on – with some reading in bed. The weather was pretty grim but was due to improve a bit later on and since I had an appointment and errands in town, I decided to postpone the run until afterwards. Instead, I got started on my blog catch-up mission and while I was doing that, Steve had a go at making soda bread for the first time. He brought me a slice still warm from the oven and it was delicious!

When I got home from my errands I decided just to head straight out on my run before having some lunch as I knew waiting would mean an even longer time until I could run. It was still a bit drizzly, but it was nice to be out. I had received a medal through the post that morning, so proudly sported that for a while post-run. It’s part of a set inspired by Disney princesses and my new goal is to complete the set.

My mum had said she had a couple of things to drop off and she arrived shortly after I got in the door. The delivery included a banana loaf. She had been using bananas to help ripen her homegrown tomatoes then made some banana loaf once the bananas started to go brown. We actually haven’t made any banana loaf/bread (does this mean we’ll be trapped in 2020 until we do??) but this was delicious.

It was a fairly busy day given I wasn’t at work (my plan was to get all the appointments and errands out of the way at the start of the holiday to free up plenty of time to relax afterwards) so it was good to have my yoga class as usual in the evening.

Tuesday was a lovely morning for a run and I was in no hurry to complete it, so took my time and enjoyed being able to notice things in the daylight. A real highlight was spotting this seasonal display. It’s the eyes that get me!

I then had to nip into town again to get my flu jab (I aways have this since the year I got the flu – a hideous experience I have no desire to repeat) but this year it seemed even more important. I’m glad I did as right after this it was announced that pharmacies were suspending bookings for private vaccinations. I booked mine weeks ago when the pharmacy got in touch to let me know I could and this was the first suitable slot, but I had been worried about whether or not it would actually happen. Thankfully my booking meant there was a vaccine set aside for me and I had paid at the time of booking. I had originally thought I might have a workout in the afternoon, but my arm was sore from the jab so this didn’t seem like such a good idea. Instead, I settled down to watch The Aristocats (I wanted to watch any of the movies connected with my virtual Run Disney adventure which I hadn’t watched any time recently) so started with this one. I have seen it before but not for many years.

And my own “aristocat” joined me for some of it 😹

With all the appointments etc taken care of, I had a bit more space for leisure on Wednesday. After some reading in bed I set off on a really random running route as I was trying to track down some trickier scavenger hunt items. I had no idea where I was going to go, but had a rough distance in mind and it worked out fine. 

My next job was to make a batch of chocolate fudge. It was chocolate week on Bake Off so for once we were going to be prepared!

And this time my afternoon movie choice was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I know my sister and I used to have this one (or the soundtrack) on quite a lot when it first came out, so it was nice to revisit it. Again, I had kitty company. I think he was pleased to have me at home again.

I think we might be past garden workouts now as the ground will be squelchy until the spring, but I did have a living room workout between the film and my evening yoga session.

My Thursday run was another good one as the sun was out (love some autumn sunshine!) and I was rewarded with the delivery of another medal. I have taken part in the Platform 9¾k run every year and this was the final year (year 7: one for each year of Hogwarts). The medal has had a different design each year so is a really nice set to have.

After that my task was to prep a batch of chilli for the slow cooker. This would be our dinner then the rest frozen in portions to last another couple of weeks. To relax, my afternoon movie was Ratatouille. Again, one I have seen before but since visiting Disneyland Paris a few times in the last couple of years and going on the Rémy-themed ride there, I was keen to remind myself of it. The Parisian scenery is just stunning and I love the music.

I was surprised that my “company” didn’t appear – I thought a film about a rat might be appealing to a cat! – but he did show up at the end. Typical!

I rounded out my day with another living room workout and yoga session before settling down for dinner and tv with Steve.

My Friday run felt great. I have no idea why, but I was feeling good and my legs were turning over beautifully. I love it when that happens! It really made me happy for the rest of the day.

That afternoon I plumped for the live action Aladdin. I hadn’t seen this one before but love the original animation, so having heard good things about this one (a lot of people aren’t keen on the live action remakes) I wanted to give it a go. My verdict is that I really enjoyed it. Will Smith knew better than to try and mimic Robin Williams as the Genie, instead making the role his own, and I was pleased that Princess Jasmine got a stronger role. 

I was initially watching by myself, but Smokey arrived in time for one of my favourite scenes!

And just to prove that pictures of my cats don’t always go to plan, here’s an out-take from when I tried to capture him sitting on my lap watching the film 😹

By the end of the film, I had somehow attracted both cats, and I was amused at them hanging around:

Steve came in at this point and started laughing at me, saying that my “crazy cat lady” training was going well. I have no idea what he means 🤣

After this, another living room workout, a yoga session, then a relaxing evening with Steve. One week in and I was feeling pretty content with my holiday “chez moi”.

The weekend, of course, was much as it usually is. Interestingly my (not)parkun time was the exact same as the previous week (when it was a PB). In parkrun challenges terms, that would be Groundhog Day. Is it the same for a (not)parkrun?

It was a good week for us on the parkrun quiz again with 10/15 (yay!) then I had a restful afternoon of watching vlogs, reading my book and taking a quick nap while Steve was meeting his brother.

Our day wrapped up with the next Marvel MCU movie (Iron Man 3 – a new one for us) and it was overall a really pleasant day.

On Sunday I lay in bed to finish up my book (Midnight Sun – the Twilight retelling. It was ok but nothing special). This book was the last one on my 2020 challenge sheet (from a Facebook group I’m in) and it was satisfying to see the completed sheet. I’ve read plenty of other books this year which don’t appear on here, but here are the ones which fitted the categories set for 2020:

Then I headed out for my run. It was a fairly typical autumn morning and it was nice to trot around 10 miles.

Once the shopping was done and put away we settled down to watch Bake Off Extra Slice and for this one we had a real treat – Steve’s inaugural batch of mince pies. He had prepped the pastry on Saturday then filled and cooked them on Sunday (he used a jar of mincemeat – not ready to make that from scratch yet!). They were really good!

Next, a little bit of allen key action as I had bought a new scratching post for the cats (the sisal gets destroyed and unwinds eventually so I usually buy these at least once a year) and it needed to be assembled. This one had been in the middle aisle of Aldi (I love that place!) and they seemed pretty happy with it.

Then after dinner I had a bath and watched the Strictly launch show. I’ve been finding it hard to get excited for it this year – perhaps because the build up has been a bit more low key and the show will run a bit differently this year – but this made me feel ready to see some sparkles and sequins again.

By this point I was feeling pretty relaxed and refreshed. One more week of holidays to go…!

Are you a “Strictly Come Dancing” fan?
Any running or other achievements lately?

Homemade Run Disney – A (Virtual) Magic Moment

Oh 2020. Remember when I thought I was going to have Disney-filled year? Turns out that wasn’t to be, and although my miracle trip to Disneyland Paris in August was just the pixie dust I needed to assuage some of the sadness and frustration of this year, the opportunity to bring a little homemade Run Disney magic into one of my weekends was a welcome distraction. I summarised my virtual Magic Run Weekend experience in my last Week In Review post, but here are more of the details (and photos – lots and lots of photos!) for those craving a little more.

This was set up by a Facebook group I’m in – Run Disney Paris Fans – and was simply a free bit of fun to inspire those of us who love going to DLP for Run Weekend and were missing t this year. It was great to see how everyone got creative to put together their own events and photos.

The first thing I needed to do was decide on my running costumes. Had I actually been going to DLP I would have spent much more time over the details of this, but since this was just going to be me running around the streets of Perth, it wasn’t quite so important to have the details just so. Besides, there’s only so far I’m prepared to go in what I wear running around town by myself 🤣

Knowing the chosen themes made it a bit easier to decide and I settled on Marie (The Aristocats), Cinderella and Rémy (Ratatouille).

Then the next bit of prep was to make my race bibs and medals. We were able to download the designs from the Facebook group, then I set to work laminating the bibs and getting creative with cardboard, tinfoil and ribbon to make my medals. A little fiddly, but I actually found it quite good fun! If I had been taking part in one of the challenges (31k or 36k) in the live event I would have just had one bib for all of the races I was running, but I liked the idea of having all of them since this made it more unique, as well as connecting with my chosen costumes.

As the weekend rolled around, my aim was to recreate as closely as possible the way the event would unfold. That meant 5k on Friday evening, 10k on Saturday morning and a half marathon on Sunday morning. To keep me organised, ahead of each one I gathered together everything I needed for my costumes as well as some additional props for post-run photos of “character meets”. Yes, I was going for it 100%!

Beginning on Friday, my Marie costume was fairly simple: white tech top, white sparkle skirt (with shorts underneath), white compression socks, pink trainers and the Marie headband I bought at DLP.

 

I actually had great fun running my 5k and even though it was my second run of the day (I had run a super easy 5k in the morning before work) I felt good. Interestingly, nobody seemed to be paying me much attention as I ran around at 5pm on a Friday in my Marie costume (and no, I didn’t wear the ear headband to run) 😹.

After my run I added a couple of additional details to my costume: I put the ears on, tied a pink ribbon around my neck and donned my Marie face covering that I got on Shop Disney. Fully costumed up, it was time for my post-run photo shoot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And, of course, no Run Disney event would be complete without some character meets. My observation from previous years is that there aren’t so many in the 5k. For my homemade event I was welcomed to the finish by the Beast, my princess Belle-themed (pre-Duffy) Disney bear and The Big Cheese himself – Mickey Mouse in his running kit.

For my final flourish, I chose one of my Disney T-shirts to act as a “finishers’ top”. Given my theming, my Disney cats one seemed the best choice.

It was such a fun way to start my weekend and definitely made me feel a bit less sad about not being on a flight to France.

For my 10k on Saturday I was going with Cinderella. This costume was probably the least precise to my perfectionist mind, so I think of it more as “Cinderella-inspired”: pale blue (ok, turquoise) tech top, pale blue tutu (with shorts underneath), white compression socks, black trainers and my silver tiara running hairband. It was a little chilly so I ended up adding white arm warmers before I headed out.

This time I did get a little attention as I was running, but it was a friend of mine (who also runs) in her car. I guess when she spotted someone running in a tutu on a Saturday morning she figured it could only be me 😂

Once again there was a little adjustment when I arrived home as I added a homemade black ribbon choker (I hadn’t fancied running with something tight around my neck) before taking my medal pictures.

Getting carried away with the shoe theming!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time I included a “castle shot” as well:

Character-wise, this time I “met” Minnie Mouse (in her Belle-style gold ballgown) and Mickey, who had a different set of shorts and T-shirt on. Thank goodness, I wouldn’t want him to be whiffy!

And thanks to some Disney magic, Mickey was able to transform to a bigger size in order to give me a post-run hug haha!

This time my choice for the “finishers’ T-shirt” was my Princess Power one since it features Cinderella.

Not quite the Saturday morning I had originally planned, but good fun nonetheless.

The pièce de résistance was my Sunday morning half marathon. The event at DLP is always such a highlight with loads of characters and lots going on (you can read about my previous experiences here and here). I had known the overall theme for the weekend when I was in DLP so when I spotted a hat on sale that would make for an easy (but fun) costume idea, I bought it. For the rest of my Rémy costume I needed: grey tech top, grey capris, pink socks and I even set out a wooden spoon for my post-race photos! Again, it was a little chilly so I added some grey arm warmers at the last minute.

For this one, I had Steve help me out with a “start line” photo, with Mickey Mouse (in his finest Breton stripe) acting as race starter (although I didn’t actually wear my hat for the run itself).

With the hat safely back on my head at the end of my run it was time to take my final “Run Weekend” photos:

An attempt to recreate the post-race picture with all the medals attached to the castle railings. You get the idea!

There are always loads of characters around at the half marathon, so my event was no exception. I was pictured with Rémy (of course!), Duffy Bear in his French outfit and, for reasons best known to himself, Stitch (I mean he has nothing to do with the theming, but he’s a cheeky scamp who likes to invade photos 😂).

I was also pleased to see that Mickey had changed out of his French outfit and was back in his running kit (another set, he must have almost as much kit as me haha!) and we got a few pictures:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And for my “finishers’ T-shirt”, I stuck to the fact that at DLP the half marathon swag is always Mickey/Minnie themed regardless of the race theme. The “Best Day Ever” T-shirt I got in August seemed perfect.

I was also keen to get a decent “castle shot” and came up with a way to manage just that. Almost believable!

All in all, I had great fun putting this together. No way as much fun as actually going to Disney for a running weekend, but a nice way to add a bit of magic to an otherwise mundane weekend and it gave me something a little different to focus on for a few days. I recommend it!

Fingers crossed that next time we get to run in Disney for real…! 🤞

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 – The Corona Chronicles Part 25

As I continued to develop my “back to work” routine, I did manage to fit in a little more yoga this week. It’s important to me to find even a few minutes for this as I know it helps me to unwind and mentally settle at the end of the day and work can feel pretty fraught in these strange times. I did only manage one workout though, but that was due to other work-related commitments.

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – 6 miles
Sunday – 10 miles

Monday’s run meant getting the weekly scavenger hunt underway – so much easier early in the morning and with daylight as it’s easier to spot and photograph some of the items close to people’s houses when there’s nobody about! I had some errands in the evening then a bit of work to do before my evening yoga class. Definitely needed the me-time this week!

It was really windy again on Tuesday morning but I was happy with an easy run to clear my head since I knew it was going to be a busy day. Aside from all the usual teaching/marking/prep demands, I also had the final 1:1 coaching session for the professional development programme I was completing (it involved a coaching session after each filmed lesson) then after school everyone involved gathered (in a socially distanced fashion) to give a final presentation to complete the programme. It’s always so much more nerve-wracking to speak in front of colleagues as opposed to pupils, but it was really interesting to hear more about what everyone had been trying in their different subject areas. Even better, we all received a framed certificate to mark our completion of the course. LOVE a certificate!

The session did mean a later arrival home so I relaxed with some vlogs while dinner was in the oven then enjoyed an evening of tv.

Wednesday didn’t feel like such a good day, sadly. I was tired from Tuesday’s mental exertions but it still felt good to get out the door for my run. However work remained busy and I felt a bit frustrated with technology all day as things just seemed to be moving so slowly and making things tricky for me. On the plus side, I came across this when I covered a lesson and it made me laugh – one for the Father Ted fans. Steve suggested I should add “Down With This Sort Of Thing” beside it 😂

I was still grumbling when I got home and Steve fairly swiftly packed me off upstairs to do some yoga. Definitely the best course of action as I felt much better afterwards. He also surprised me with his latest baking experiment – homemade sticky toffee pudding. It was delicious! 😋

Things started off ok on Thursday, but I did notice an autumnal nip in the air and that there was a bit less light while I was out – the seasons clearly changing. Work was still frustrating as not only was it my busy day, but I was still struggling with slow tech (we had opened things up for a BYOD policy and it was slowing everything down. Steps have since been taken to improve this, thank goodness!). I also had some additional meetings so I was shattered by the time I got home. Sometimes, that’s just how things go.

Friday began kind of dark and windy, but at least my day felt a bit more productive! After work I was able to have a TRX workout in the garden and Steve also had me using his new paralettes for the first time (like freestanding press-up bars) before a bit of yoga to unwind from the week. But being at home is giving Steve plenty of time to experiment in the kitchen (he really enjoys cooking, whereas I find it a bit of a chore) and he made us jambalaya from scratch for dinner. Another success!

Meanwhile the kitties also had a treat for dinner as my mum had dropped off some leftover chicken for them earlier in the day. I think they were keen to get stuck in 😹

I was definitely ready for my weekend and enjoyed starting my Saturday with a bit of reading in bed before heading out for my (not)parkrun run. When I got back the kitties found an all-new way to create havoc when they discovered that the gym ball Steve uses in place of a chair when he’s working at his computer upstairs, could be moved. At first they just batted it around a bit, but before we knew it the ball was bouncing downstairs and they were doing their best to look innocent 😹

We had a good week on the parkrun quiz though – 11/15! Not a PB, but after weeks and weeks of 8 or 9, it was a welcome change.

I was able to relax throughout the remainder of my day – I finished my book, did a Disney quiz, caught up on some life admin and had a bath. Then in the evening it was time for the next part in our Marvel MCU project: Captain Marvel.

I LOVED this one. Strong female lead and a 90s soundtrack/setting made it perfect for me. I know it’s only the second one in the timeline, but we have previously seen a handful of the other movies and right now, this one is my favourite.

Sunday was the day that would, in an alternate reality, have been the Great North Run. I’ve actually never taken part in this race (it’s on my race bucket list though) and had not entered this year, but I did decide earlier in the summer to take part in the GNR Solo virtual event. It began on the date in June that was the official “birthday” of the event and ended 78 days later on what should have been race day. In those 78 days we were to record 40 runs (for the 40th year of the event). Given my run streak I had reached the 40 runs a while ago, however I was curious to see what my cumulative mileage would be over the 78 days so waited until after my Sunday run to submit my evidence. After a bit of adding up my stats were: 414.5 miles/66 hours of running over 78 days. That rather surprised me.

I did my best to relax for the rest of the day as I was beginning to recognise that the working week was going to be consistently exhausting right now.

Did you take part in GNR Solo/virtual GNR?
What is the best movie you’ve seen recently?

Just Checking In!

Hello there!

You’ve probably noticed things have been a bit quiet over here in Running Princess Land for the past few weeks. No need to worry, I’m absolutely fine but this school term has been super busy and my brain has been feeling fried! I have just one more week of this current term (I know – how has it managed to simultaneously fly by yet feel endless???) and then I have grand plans to get up to date when we break up for the holidays – not like I have much else planned right now 😂

Once I feel back on track it will hopefully be easier for me to get back into a regular posting routine again. Right now it just feels a bit much to sort out, even though all the post outlines are set up and taunting me from my drafts folder – eek! It’s sure to feel different when I’m feeling a bit fresher and better rested.

So look out soon for more running, more garden workouts, more home yoga and a few fun bits and bobs like the rest of my DLP trip, our latest movie mission and my virtual racing exploits.

For now, I’ll leave you not with goodbye but with the preferred farewell of a certain Mr W Disney: See ya real soon!

Friday Finds – 31st July

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.

I have DEFINITELY dropped the ball on Friday Finds recently. What with at least one sunny Friday (can’t waste those rare opportunities to spend the day reading outside) and visits from family, I just haven’t managed to fit it in – ironic, I know, in a time when my days are not exactly packed! But I’m back today with a roundup of a few Covid-related pieces from within the world of running. Let’s go…!

First, I think we were probably all aware that lockdowns and restrictions around the world led a lot of people to begin running as access to gyms and fitness classes disappeared. It was only when I saw this piece with some of the numbers around the Couch to 5k app that I realised just how big of an increase there had been. It wold be interesting to know how many of those downloads were converted to active C25K participants.

Also confirming my suspicions is this piece about virtual races. With so many races being cancelled this year, many have now shifted to being virtual events, while I suspect companies specialising in virtual events have probably seen a boost in registrations. I would imagine there are several reasons for this, including having a training focus, retaining a sense of community and injecting a bit of competition into runs. Are you taking part in any virtual races?

Next up, some interesting news for those of us wearing a fitness tracker, as it looks like a number of companies are turning their attention towards public health matters and the possibility of harnessing data to predict Covid-19. Something that is of concern to me is the idea of asymptomatic cases and/or those who might spread the virus before actually showing symptoms. With so many people using fitness trackers these days, perhaps some of the metrics measured might provide an early indication that the wearer should be tested. I will be watching with interest to see how this unfolds.

As things begin to open up, more and more people are wondering how long it might be before races return and, crucially, what those races might look like. Looking at the guidelines from UK Athletics (worth noting that the dates for various activities to resume here in Scotland – and presumably Northern Ireland and Wales – are different, but I would imagine Scottish Athletics will follow similar guidelines) I’m in no hurry to get back to mass participation racing, although fully acknowledge that the guidelines are necessary to protect public health. That said, it’s just not worth it for me right now as I continue to be super-cautious about everything.

And finally, we might not be heading to a marathon any time soon, but I’m pretty sure Sunday long runs are continuing. How many of these are things you have either heard or said? The one about food is definitely me!

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess