Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Week 59

Everything felt a bit different this week since we began with a Monday holiday (woohoo!) and had an inset day on the Thursday so there were just 3 teaching days meaning the rhythm of the week felt a bit off. On the plus side, it was a bit more restful and allowed the space for slightly longer runs (even if workouts didn’t feature quite the same way):

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

Oh my, did I need a holiday Monday! It’s actually astounding how tiring the first few weeks of term were, and there’s much more to come as we work towards providing grades for our senior pupils in place of exams this year. With this in mind, I made sure to take advantage of the time to myself to get some rest but also take care of a few tasks which needed my attention.

The day began with the “cat alarm” followed by some reading in bed with a cup of tea. This also gave me time to have a good look at the scavenger hunt list for the week and when I headed out for my run I was able to take my time, run a teeny bit further than I normally do on a Monday and find the majority of the items. Very satisfying.

Once ready, I walked into town on a mission: to get a passport picture! My passport expired during lockdown and although you have the option to upload your own when renewing online, actually getting a picture that meets the requirements is really difficult so I decided just to wait until I could get to the camera shop to have a proper one taken. It’s a small shop so I had to wait outside while some other customers were served (a fairly steady stream of people in the same situation as me right now!) but getting the picture was easy enough. Whilst out, I also nipped around to Caffè Nero to use my Vitality voucher and get a hot drink for the walk back home.

When I arrived home I decided to complete my main task for the day by applying for my new passport, then took care of a few bits of personal admin before making my lunch. No sooner had I finished that, than Smokey decided he wanted to have a nap on my lap – good thing I had planned to finish up my book! This one was a really lovely read. Definitely uplifting.

A little later I nipped out again (by car this time as the weather had become truly awful) as I needed to go to the Post Office to get my old passport sent back – the passport office won’t process the new one until they have the old one back so I was keen to get things underway.

Sadly no Hatha yoga, so it was a Yoga with Adriene video then we got settled down for dinner and the Line of Duty finale. To be honest I was a little underwhelmed after a couple of fantastic weeks, and now I’m wondering if there’s going to be another series. It’s certainly been left in such a way that there can be.

But all good things must come to an end so after a lovely day off, it was back to the usual routine on Tuesday morning. The plus side was that I felt much more refreshed after that extra day to myself so it wasn’t quite so hard to get up and out the door for my run. I always listen to podcasts on my run (although I’m a bit behind on some of them right now) and for this run I picked something a little different. One of my favourites is Running For Real and for this bonus episode Tina had tried something new – a kind of “guided” run which took the form of her talking as if we were running together and her cueing listeners in to focus on particular things eg a scan through the body, an awareness of the senses, our feelings at various points of the run. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I really enjoyed it so I’m glad she has continued to produce these.

Tuesday was Star Wars Day (May the 4th be with you!) and I was ready with a Star Wars mask so couldn’t resist a quick picture with Baby Yoda before leaving for work. A few pupils commented on the mask and I was pleased to find that they knew why I had picked a Star Wars one for the day.

I arrived home to a Shop Disney delivery (I know…again! I can’t help myself and ordering Disney merch is cheering me up in all the madness).

Disney distractions aside, it was time for a quick workout. There was time for a set of press up/resistance band work then I completed a yoga video before dinner. We had time for a couple of episodes of Viewpoint then I watched one or two vlogs before bed.

I actually had to warm my bed up with a hot water bottle before getting into it (nothing worse than a chilly bed when the weather is cool) as the temperature was dropping again. I had spotted that Wednesday morning was set to feel below freezing (even though the actual temperature was predicted to be a tiny bit over) so I had gone so far as to leave out leggings for my run. In the end I was glad I did as it did feel pretty chilly when I headed out for my run (but at least the sky was clear and bright).

When I got back I spotted we had two little birds at our bird feeder. The feeder is quite a new addition to our garden (and I plan to add another so I can offer two different types of food) so it’s been a little quiet so far. I was really pleased to see that we had winged visitors!

I was sticking with my Star Wars theme for my mask choice since it was “Revenge of the Fifth” (😂). Never let it be said that I don’t embrace a theme!

But by far the most exciting part of Wednesday was the arrival of my blue envelope. In Scotland, this is how appointments for the Covid vaccine are being distributed. Rather than wait for an age range to open up then call to make our own appointments, we are being sent a letter with the details of when and where ours are. They can be changed if they are really inconvenient, but in the main you are encouraged to stick to the time you are given. We have a large vaccination centre here, so I knew that’s where I would have to go and more than likely by the time you read this I will have had my first dose of the vaccine. A huge step forwards!

I worked quite late as I had a study support session with some of my seniors, then when I arrived home it was time for the good old lateral flow test (still a bit yucky, but it’s amazing what you can get used to!) then Steve and I headed out for a short walk. It was nice to have some fresh air after a busy day, then I did a yoga video while Steve organised our dinner.

Thursday was our inset day and we were given the option to work from home if we preferred it. Although I had a faculty meeting, it was taking place on Teams and everything else I was doing that day was largely solo so I opted to work from home. The advantage of this was I could get up an hour later (no commute to fit in) and had time for a slightly longer run. Still chilly so still in leggings, but I was in a good mood ahead of a day at home.

Of course having me at home AGAIN, even if I was working, meant the kitties were pretty excited in the morning and Smokey made sure to make his appearance in our meeting (good thing my colleagues are used to it now and just laugh), while Sooty found an interesting new place to settle herself down:

I also found the pair of them being all cute by pressing together to supervise goings-on in the street 😹

When work was finished I had a couple of additional tasks to do. First up, my monthly antibody test for the Scottish study of Covid in education settings, then a walk to the polling station to vote in the Scottish Parliament elections (via the priority postbox to get my antibody sample on its way back to the lab). I know what to expect in terms of safety measures since we had a local election a while back, so I was happy to vote in person (with my own pencil!).

I had an early evening appointment so there was time for yoga but not a workout, then we settled down for dinner and some tv. We were needing something new, so started watching The Innocent on Netflix. It’s a Spanish adaptation of a Harlan Coben novel and is pretty gripping.

Friday was another run in leggings (come on weather, it’s May!) but back in school things felt fairly calm for once as the inset meant I had been able to clear the decks a bit ahead of the huge pile of marking coming up after the imminent period of assessments. It was nice not to feel like I had a million and one things to do, but this will be VERY short-lived!

I also made sure to debut another of my Star Wars masks since I was on a roll. This one is so cute!

I arrived home to find Steve getting ready to head out for a walk, so I got changed and joined him to get a bit of fresh air. We hadn’t given much thought to a Friday movie and all the ones we fancied were going to go on a bit too late for us, so we continued with The Innocent and after a couple of episodes I was feeling pretty sleepy so it was time for bed.

Saturday began with some reading in bed and I had a plan to finish up this one:

I’m lucky enough to be on the advance reading team when Anna McNuff releases new books. That means I get access to an ebook copy to read then review at the point when it goes on sale. I love Anna McNuff’s style – she’s so warm and entertaining – so I really enjoyed all these bite-size accounts of her adventures (and misadventures) which have not featured in her previous books. If you’ve enjoyed any of her others then I would definitely recommend this one.

Heading out a little later than weekdays meant that the temperature had crept up enough for my shorts and I enjoyed my run (the usual warm up/(not)parkrun/cool down). I even remembered to look out for a new message on the lightbox I discovered last week. It was a good one!

Conscious of how busy the next couple of weeks are going to be, I allowed the rest of the day to be super restful and spent most of it watching tv. We began over our post-run bacon roll with another episode of The Innocent, then Steve headed out to meet his brother so I did my weekly Disney quiz on YouTube (this one was filmed at Galaxy’s Edge and was fully Star Wars themed since it had been posted live on May the 4th) then watched the season 1 finale of Cobra Kai (so good!). As if that wasn’t enough, I started series 4 of The Crown and had time for THREE episodes before heading off for a bath. Later in the evening Steve and I watched another episode of The Innocent so it was definitely a tv-focused day!

On Sunday morning I got up to feed the kitties then read in bed for a while. I did, however, get myself moving a little sharper than usual as our local football team was playing in a cup semi-final and Steve wanted to be back from getting the food shopping in time to watch it. I still had time for 10 miles and was treated to quite interesting weather! When I set out it was sunny and fairly mild – mild enough for shorts and T-shirt – but halfway through it POURED and I got a bit of a soaking. The sun reappeared for a while, but as I finished up there were definitely some raindrops around again. One of those days!

You’ll be pleased to know that we managed to eat lunch, get the shopping done and put away as well as complete my lateral flow test in good time for Steve to watch the match. I kept an eye on the score whilst working on a few things on my laptop and watching some vlogs on my iPad to pass the time. And yes, I did have company!

As ever, I rounded off my day with a relaxing bath and got my things ready for the following day. It was set to be another slightly unusual day.

Have you had the vaccine yet?
Did you do anything for Star Wars Day?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 57

The second week of term and although still tiring, at least I was feeling a bit better adjusted to the shape of my day and pretty much back into my routine. Obviously I continued to run each day (still not letting that streak go!) and made time for yoga each evening, but I was also pleased to get a couple of workouts back in there too:

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

I don’t know about you, but I just don’t know where the weekends keep disappearing to! Just like that, another Monday came around. Although tough to get up early, I was treated to a beautiful sunrise as I set off on my run and I had good fun getting the latest scavenger hunt underway

I actually had quite a good day. There was a brief window of opportunity for me to get on top of one or two tasks so it felt productive, and by the tIme I was heading out it felt quite mild so I decided to take a quick walk with Steve before dinner. Sadly no yoga class this evening, but I did a Yoga with Adriene video instead so as not to miss out.

Our evening mainly consisted of watching Line of Duty (another huge cliffhanger!) then I read a bit of my book before bed.

For my Tuesday run I opted to head into town and around the bridges, this time taking in the view of the river from across a park.

After work I really tried to get home a bit sharper, but right now it’s far too easy to “just do this one more thing”. Still, I was conscious of not having any workouts the week before so I asked Steve if he could come up with something quick but effective (knowing full well I would come to regret it!). The result was an upper body workout designed to fatigue my arms with a resistance band exercise followed immediately by press ups. I headed off to do some yoga afterwards and had a hard time holding my arms out in Warrior 2 for very long!

We were in need of something new to watch so I capitalised on our recent viewing of the original Karate Kid movies with starting up Cobra Kai. My goodness! I was hooked from the start with so many callbacks to the movies. With the episodes being so short it would be really easy to binge them all really quickly, so I’m trying to limit myself to 2 per evening.

The temperatures dropped again overnight and it was back down around freezing when I got up for my Wednesday run. Fortunately I had checked the forecast the night before when I was laying out my kit so had left out leggings otherwise I might have been a bit chilly. As it turned out, I had quite a pleasant run as even though it was cold, sunrise is early now so it was clear and bright.

Another long day at work brought me home a bit later so it was a lateral flow test and then straight off to do some yoga while I waited to confirm the result (still negative, phew!). I was so glad to settle down for the evening with dinner, a couple more episodes of Cobra Kai and a bit more reading. As a treat, we had homemade dumpling since Steve had called around to his aunt to drop off a birthday card and been sent away with some. Yum!

Thursday morning was still chilly so it was leggings again for my run. It felt so strange to have such low temps, especially when even on my early runs it’s now daylight and later in the day it’s actually really mild. I’m really looking forward to those mornings which should hopefully be coming soon when the air feels fresh but you can feel that it’s going to be warm.

With my working day done (the work itself is NEVER done!) I had some errands on the way home. I needed petrol and since the petrol station I prefer is at the retail park I combined that with picking up a few bits and pieces I was needing, including some things for the kitties who are about to turn 3. When did they get so grown up?

Once in the door Steve asked if I wanted a workout and I agreed to a similar session to the Tuesday. My poor arms! Luckily for me my yoga session right after didn’t call for much from my arms so I didn’t notice the after effects in quite the same way.

Once again my evening consisted of a couple of episodes of Cobra Kai and a little reading before bed. I’m so tired in the evenings now that I’m back at work that I fall asleep very quickly once in bed so if I want to read more than a couple of pages it will need to be before bed!

Miraculously the temperature had risen just enough to no longer have a minus in the actual or feels like on the Friday morning, and that was enough for me to go right back to my shorts again. It being the end of the work week I was feeling tired so a simple out and back at an easy pace was perfect to wake me up and get me ready for the day.

That day was actually quite productive – and not just with work stuff! Since we can’t gather in our base to eat right now, I’ve been reading whilst I eat lunch in my classroom (my Kindle works best for this). I had been hoping to finish my book the night before and hadn’t quite made it, but my lunchtime reading was enough to get me there. I know I’ve mentioned this series before as I’m really enjoying it. They are set in St Andrews, not far from where I work, and so many references are familiar. This one even included a scene at parkrun!

When I arrived home (a good 20 minutes earlier than usual – it was Friday after all!) I took advantage of the lighter evenings so go for a quick walk with Steve and get a bit of fresh air. It was then time for a little yoga (with my faithful “yoga cat” by my side) before dinner.

I thought I should probably let Steve choose a movie and he opted for Page Eight. I’d never heard of it but it had a stellar cast and was quite entertaining. My only issue was the main character was played by BIll Nighy and I can never see him as anyone other than BIlly Mack from Love Actually haha!

By the end of the movie I was actually starting to fall asleep in my chair so we headed to bed quite early.

After a good sleep I began a restful Saturday with some reading in bed then got ready to run. Fortunately still shorts weather and actually I think we’re now reaching that tricky weather where a long sleeved top is ideal for the start of a run but a T-shirt is looking much more appealing by the end. I may have to revert to following the mantra, “be bold, start cold” to try and get it right!

Sadly another gap in the broadcast of This Is Us so I opted instead for an episode of Cobra Kai and was rewarded with another nostalgic trip down memory lane. My sister has said on a number of occasions that this show is the best revival ever and the more I watch the more I agree with her.

I also wanted to get a little work done as the next few weeks are going to be packed as we gather our assessment evidence as part of the approach to replace this year’s cancelled exams. Usually I try not to work at the weekend since I do so much during the week, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. But once done with the task I had set myself for the day, I was rewarded with my usual Saturday habits of a Disney quiz and a couple of episodes of The Crown before heading off for a bath. I even managed to fit in another episode of Cobra Kai between my bath and the start of Casualty so I was pleased about that.

However I still felt super tired (I don’t think I’m drinking enough thanks to always having my mask on and really need to make a more conscious effort to sip on my water during the work day) so went to bed quite sharp. I was enjoying my book (the next one in the series I had finished that morning) but fell asleep really quickly. Mind you, it was probably the best sleep I had all week and I woke up feeling refreshed when the “cat alarm” went off and I had to get up to sort out breakfast for the kitties. I then enjoyed some reading time with a cup of tea in bed – such a nice start to the day and the busier work gets the more I appreciate the time I can relax with a book.

I planned a fairly standard 10 mile run but with the sun out I think I made a similar kit error to the day before as it felt much warmer than the temperature suggested. Oh well, still good training for any warmer weather we get this summer.

Of course the rest of the day was standard Sunday fare: food shopping, lateral flow test, afternoon hot cross buns whilst watching a tv programme (we decided to start the latest series of The Syndicate), the rest of the work I had brought home and planned for my Sunday afternoon, then a chance to relax with a few vlogs before dinner – even the kitties enjoyed a bit of relaxation!

I finished up the day with a bath where I watched the final episode of The Falcon and The Winter Soldier. The series was no WandaVision but I still enjoyed it and am really looking forward to Loki starting in a few weeks.

And with that, another week drew to a close with the promise of another busy week ahead.

How is your running going right now?
What have you been watching on tv?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 55

The second week of the holidays meant a further opportunity to relax, whilst also enjoying the time running in the mornings. Technically this should have been a cutback week in my mileage, but I was feeling good and wanted to take advantage of the space I had to run a little longer on the weekdays, so stuck to a similar pattern to the week before. The miles will naturally reduce a little anyway when I’m back at work next week. Here are the details of my week:

Monday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Tuesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 10k + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

Oh my goodness! After some quite pleasant weather last week (as in shorts and T-shirt to run in pleasant) the temperature PLUMMETED for Easter Monday. Even on the Sunday the temperature was ok and I just couldn’t understand how the forecast could have it dropping so low, but even as I was getting ready to run my weather app was still insisting on an actual temperature around freezing with a “feels like” below freezing. I was FORCED back into my leggings (yup, as cold as that) and was glad I wore them as even though the sun was shining, the air was bitter in the way you only get when there’s snow around (many places did have snow, but we got away with a few flakes while I was out running) and the wind was just as icy.

On the plus side, I had a great distraction from the icy cold air as the scavenger hunt, a weekly activity I was really enjoying last year, was back! I often still smile when I notice something that was on a previous hunt list so was pleased to be setting off in search of a new list of items. One of them was a swan so this gave me a great reason to return to the park I ran through a couple of weeks ago when I ticked off “run in the park” on my March running bingo card. It’s so pretty in there and I wanted a bit more time to explore, so this was perfect.

But before that chilly run I was cosy in bed with a cup of tea to finish up my latest book. This is one I DEFINITELY recommend if you haven’t picked it up yet – so heartwarming, like the parkrun spirit in a book. Oh, and one of our RDs gets a mention for his penchant for delivering the briefing in verse!

The book also completed my 2021 challenge sheet, so here’s a roundup of the books I read for that:

The rest of the day was much less exciting. I began with a really thorough dusting and tidying mission, then relaxed with some vlogs for a bit to update the blog.

I was conscious that despite being on holiday, I only managed one workout last week so wanted to fit in more this week. Steve announced that the workout would be “press up surprise”, the surprise being that it was a super set where I exhausted my arms with the resistance band before going right into a set of press ups to failure. It’s the kind of workout that’s really humbling as “failure” comes around quite quickly towards the end!

My yoga teacher is having a couple of weeks off so it was a new Yoga with Adriene video for my yoga session then dinner while we watched the latest episode of Line of Duty.

Tuesday was still cold so I enjoyed spending some cosy time reading in bed to start the day. It was cold enough to keep me in leggings for a second day and the air was just as bitter as the day before. I even had some further snowflakes (which continue to puzzle me as the sun was shining at the time).

My project for the day was to vacuum. Not just any old vacuuming, the kind you only do when you’re on holiday and do things like properly move furniture around and use the tools to get into all the nooks and crannies. It took AGES but was totally worth doing.

The rest of the day I chilled out with my book (and Smokey, he’s going to be really upset when I go back to work next week!) until it was workout time. Thankfully my arms got a break as it was a lower body workout, but I suspected I might feel that one the next day! I followed that up with a yoga video then I was ready to settle down for the evening, which included finishing up the book I had been reading. I’ve really been enjoying this series, but I’ve now read all that there are so far so I’ll guess I’ll have to wait a bit for the next instalment.

Wednesday was still chilly (we actually had to have the heating back on overnight) so still in my leggings for my run (and I’m sure there were a few more snowflakes while I was out). On the plus side, I ran by the Easter tree again and noticed that some of the eggs were “rocking’ the dots” so that made me happy – a Minnie Mouse egg!

I had another book on the go and actually ended up devoting the bulk of the day to reading it. It’s a YA book, but often these are really good and having previously enjoyed the Twisted Tales series, I was keen to try this one after seeing positive reviews. I really enjoyed it so am looking forward to there being more in the series.

I did, however, take a break to go on a little outing. Steve announced he was going to take a walk into town for a coffee (we usually have a variety of codes for a free coffee) and asked if I wanted to go too. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, however I haven’t been to any of the coffee places since before we went into Lockdown last March. I know they’ve been open for takeaway, but I’ve had no reason to go into town so just haven’t bothered claiming any of my coffees. It actually felt like quite a big step, even though the setup is so simple and safe.

Once home I returned to my book then it was time for a second “press up surprise” workout – this time with the more difficult resistance band. My poor arms! I can tell you my yoga video felt quite challenging afterwards and I was cursing Adriene when we had to move into downward dog!

It was super windy on Thursday morning but it was a much better temperature for me to be able to get back into my shorts again. I love my leggings, but by this point in the year I like to be firmly in my shorts! Once home I decided to straighten my hair (I’ve not been using the hairdryer or straightners throughout the past year) because I was due at the hairdresser the following day (hurrah!) so wanted to get a better picture of how much it has grown throughout the pandemic since it has been cut far less (and had a couple of long stretches of around 5 months between cuts when we’ve been in lockdown):

L-R March 2020 a couple of weeks after my last haircut before lockdown; July 2020 ahead of my first post-lockdown haircut; April 2021 ahead of my first haircut in 5 months thanks to the second national lockdown in Scotland.

It was so interesting to see the side by side comparisons since you don’t really notice hair growth day-to-day as it’s so gradual.

I had an exciting delivery in the form of some theme park-inspired wax melts. My sister discovered these and sent me a referral code so I thought I would give them a go. The little note enclosed with them is such a lovely touch.

Further Thursday excitement came courtesy of Steve who had been baking again. We had been watching Celebrity Britain’s Best Home Cook and there was an episode where Ed Balls (yes, former MP Ed Balls) made this fantastic sponge cake. Steve found the recipe and had a go for himself (I mean, if it was good enough to impress Mary Berry!). It was great – a really light sponge – so I think he will be making this again.

I also watched an afternoon movie for the first time during this holiday. It may have been the Easter holidays, but I watched a Christmas movie (The Grinch) since it was due to be discussed on the podcast I have been listening to and I spotted it wasn’t going to be available on Netflix much longer. It’s not a story I have ever been particularly into, but it was a pleasant enough retelling of it.

My Thursday workout was lower body again – mostly variations of squats/lunges with some stair sprints to add another layer of difficulty. It actually made me feel really hot so I was glad my yoga session afterwards was quite gentle and relaxing.

The forecast for Friday hadn’t been too encouraging temperature-wise and I had thought I might be back in leggings for my run, but as it turned out it was marginally better and just mild enough for shorts (although I think we were right on the cusp as the first half of the run felt quite chilly in the strong wind!).

I needed to have an early lunch so I could eat before my hair appointment and ate whilst reading the end of my book. I was curious to read this one after enjoying the series on Netflix and while there were certainly some differences (which I liked because then I didn’t know precisely how it would all unfold), overall it was pretty close to the book. I enjoyed it so will probably read more from the series now.

Of course the biggest excitement was getting my hair done. I actually didn’t want much taken off the length, but I was DESPERATE to get some fresh colour in it since it was getting washed out and patchy (as well as the roots growing in). I was starting to feel like a stripy cat!

When I arrived home I had a cup of tea then headed out for a walk since I felt like I hadn’t moved enough all day. It’s nice to get out in the evening now that there is so much more daylight. Once home it was time for my workout and Steve decided to mix things up with an ab workout. It was good to give my arms and legs a rest, but I suspected this one would make itself known the following morning (and thank goodness it was a chilled yoga session on the calendar again!).

Our Friday night movie was the third Karate Kid movie to complete the original trilogy. I know I have seen it before but really didn’t remember that one so well as the first two. I mentioned this in a text to my sister and she agreed that it was never a favourite when we were growing up, thus rarely watched. Still, it served as a useful reminder ahead of my planned watching of Cobra Kai!

It was another cold night but after some time reading in bed first thing, the temperature had climbed enough for me to wear my shorts again. It was also a great time to wear one of the two new pairs of running shoes that I had ordered. I like to rotate several pairs so I always have something different to put on and mix things up, and now that I’m putting the miles in every day I think that’s even more important. This pair was already reduced then I saved a further 50% thanks to my Vitality Fitness Rewards benefit, so they were a real bargain. The bright colour might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I love them!

Post-run I was thrilled to find a new episode of This Is Us to watch after which I did my usual weekly Disney quiz on YouTube (this one was marking one year of quizzes – madness!) then settled down for a couple of episode of The Crown, all the more poignant following the announcement of the Duke of Edinburgh’s death.

I wrapped up my afternoon with a bath where I watched The Santa Clause (it’s been a loooooong time since I’ve seen that one!), during which Smokey wandered in to sit at the side of the bath and I ended up with a rather funny picture of him just from the angle I took it.

In the evening we watched an episode of Intruder, a four-part drama which had been on during the week. Definitely more to things than meets the eye.

While we were watching tv we noticed that the snow, light flurries of which had been falling on and off throughout the evening, was actually starting to lie a little.

It was still there in the morning (and frozen to the car windscreens) so despite the sunshine we both opted for leggings for our Sunday runs. I had originally intended to wear my second new pair of trainers, but decided to save those since I planned to head out the the woodland park and wasn’t sure what it would be like underfoot – no point getting new trainers all muddy on their first wear!

The sun stayed out for the run, but things were much more changeable later in the day with more brief snow flurries then, in the late afternoon, we got HUGE hailstones. They were bigger than cat litter, kind of like those polystyrene things you get in packaging or beanbags. The thumping of them actually scared the cats who were both happily dozing, but they soon settled down again.

Of course with term beginning the following day it was time to get back to the regular lateral flow Covid tests (oh joy!) so I took care of that early in the afternoon and logged my negative result. I suspect I’m not really going to enjoy the term ahead what with lots of assessment for senior pupils and the regular tests.

Finally we watched a second episode of Intruder over dinner then I headed off to get organised for the return to school and have a relaxing bath to help me get a good sleep. Fingers crossed things go smoothly – it’s been a long time since we’ve been fully in school!

What crazy weather have you had lately?
What’s the longest time you’ve gone between haircuts?

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 43

This week brought with it a return to remote teaching, although a bit different to when we were first in lockdown last March thanks to being able to teach live lessons using meetings in Teams now. We’re not doing this for every lesson, but having the opportunity to speak to pupils, explain tasks and quickly answer questions makes a big difference. It still involves a lot more planning, but if we can’t be in classrooms then it should hopefully allow for a better educational experience this time around. I’m glad of my daily running, workouts and yoga though, because working to my timetable (in my own house!) actually feels quite sedentary as I’m in front of the computer screen all day.

Monday – 4.2 miles + home yoga + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5k + living room workout + home yoga
Friday -4.1 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – 5.1 miles + home yoga
Sunday – 10 miles + home yoga

Monday was a very exciting day. Why, I hear you ask? Because the thaw that began the previous day continued so that I was able to not only wear regular road shoes again, but also get my shorts back out of the drawer! Looking at the forecast for the rest of the week I thought it might be a short-lived thaw so was determined to make the most of the chance to run without fear of slipping over, hence the slightly longer run than I usually have on a Monday.

As you can see, it was still an early run as term started for all Scottish pupils on this day so I needed to make sure I was ready to be at my computer for some online teaching. Since we have been able to develop our use of various platforms, this was my first experience of live lessons using video conferencing and that turned out to be a fairly steep learning curve in terms of managing all the meeting functions alongside teaching the lesson and sharing resources – now I understand why vloggers often find live videos tricky when trying to keep up with comments in the chat! The biggest stress was that the platform we were using was struggling with the increased use (in Scotland and beyond) leading to some teething problems. I’m sure we’ll all gain in confidence as we get more used to it.

As you can see, the cats weren’t exactly riveted (and there’s always that one pupil who just wants to chat to their friends rather than pay attention 😹)

Still, it felt like quite an intense day so when I was finished with work for the day I was quite glad to have a double yoga session lined up. I started with the latest practice from Yoga with Adriene, finishing that with enough time to grab a drink and get set up for my regular Hatha class. I DEFINITELY felt much more relaxed after that quiet time. This gave me a chance to have a proper look at my Run Up To Christmas medal which arrived that day. I completed just over 200km to get the 200km ribbon on my medal, which is a lovely wooden one. And it came with a chocolate coin – bonus!

Steve sorted dinner out while I was in my yoga class, so I was quickly able to settle down to eat. We watched a couple of Episodes of Cardinal and enjoyed some home baking for dessert as Steve had his first attempt at a cake, specifically a coffee cake. It was yummy!

As it turned out, I was right about the short-lived thaw and Tuesday morning was back to much colder temperatures  (freezing with a “feels like” below freezing) and there had been frost overnight. I bundled back up in winter kit, complete with my grippy winter shoes, and decided to run into town (rather than the more residential run I had thought of) as I knew the pavements would be much more clear as they are prioritised for gritting. It actually wasn’t too bad underfoot, but there were definitely some dodgy sections so I was glad I wore the winter shoes and kept the pace down a bit.

Online teaching felt a bit smoother this time, but I was still ready to do something different at the end of the work day so Steve took me through a workout using the resistance band then I headed off to do some yoga to relax me ahead of our exciting “dinner plus tv” evening. The cats didn’t even bother to show up for class this time. Apparently all the talking was preventing them being able to sleep!

To be honest, Wednesday was very much the same. It was chilly but while the ground was frosty, it wasn’t too slippy so running was ok. I was able to fit in 5 miles ahead of my day of online teaching and was treated to a beautiful sky with the first hints of sunrise on my way home.

Steve went out for a walk just as I finished up work for the day so I took the chance to relax for a bit then had another workout, this time mainly work around single leg such as single leg squats. Building strength, stability and improved range of movement. Sometimes it’s a bit tricky to do these things in the living room though, as the kitties can be little overly interested in what I’m up to – I’m terrified I end up stepping on one of them!

There was snow forecast, which started in the evening, so by the time I was heading to bed there was a fair covering:

And waking up on Thursday morning things were even whiter!

It was still snowing so I got bundled up in my “snow gear” and headed out. The snow was actually fairly deep (those trying to take their cars out were getting stuck at the end of our street!) so I kept the distance down to 5k as it was quite hard work, despite what my stats for the run might suggest! Still, it’s great fun running over fresh snow and I was really glad not to have to drive to work – a win for online teaching!

By the evening it had stopped snowing but there was still lots around so it was nice to be cosy inside watching a bit of tv before bed.

I also had 2 more medals arrive on Thursday: the next in the princess-themed ones I am collecting and a fun “it can’t be worse” 2021 medal (although perhaps I was too hasty with that one since things aren’t exactly improving in the world!).

Low temperatures overnight meant that by Friday morning the snow was fairly crunchy which made for a different challenge to Thursday morning. I covered 4 miles in my run, but the pace was still slow and it felt like quite hard work even running more slowly as in places it was more like running over a rutted trail. Good for building ankle stability and working the core!

Since it was Friday, I made sure to finish work fairly sharp so I could unwind from all the screen time. We were nearing the end of Cardinal so watched the last two episodes before my living room workout (a core workout with the resistance band) and my yoga.

For my evening entertainment it was time to return to my project to watch all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in timeline order. I paused this particular endeavour in late November so we could turn our attention to Christmas movies, but I wanted to return to it and the next movie in the list was Captain America:Civil War. It was pretty good, but so far Captain Marvel remains my favourite.

Saturday morning presented further challenges with the snow as some light rain meant that it was much softer again, on its way to becoming slushy. I wasn’t sure how I would get on running so kept my options open with regards to a route. In the end, I completed a warm up of 2 miles followed by a (not)parkrun to give me just over 5 miles for the day. Normally I would go a little further, but that was fine given the conditions.

Post-run we settled down with a bacon roll to catch up with the latest episode of This Is Us then when Steve went to meet his brother for a socially-distanced outdoor takeaway coffee (how 2020/1!), I got on with a little dusting before relaxing with an afternoon movie.

I had heard mixed reports on this one but I enjoyed it. Pixar movies always bring a tear to my eye at some point and this one got me towards the end!

While I was watching I got a text from Steve to tell me that a photo he tweeted from his run in the morning had been used in a Sky News website piece! His brother had spotted it and let us know as we had no idea.

I love my relaxing Saturday afternoons, especially when I can fit a couple of movies in, and this week I had time to watch a movie in the bath (after my yoga, of course!). It was another Christmas one (Christmas Wonderland) as I planned to listen to a podcast about it on my run the next day. It was actually quite a nice movie.

After that it was dinner, Casualty on tv then we started a new series called Traces featuring Martin Compson. My parents had already watched it and said it was good.

By Sunday morning much of the snow had cleared (bar one or two random slippery patches) but it was pretty cold. I wrapped up (I can’t  believe the difference in my running attire all week as I transitioned from shorts, to full snow kit, to cold weather gear. Winter in Scotland in a nutshell!) and headed out the door for 10 miles. The most important thing, though, was that this was day 300 (!!!) of my accidental run streak. I started the streak as we went into Lockdown in March and not only can I not believe that I have run for 300 consecutive days, I also can’t believe that I’m back in Lockdown and working from home again with no sign of that changing any time soon. I don’t know about you but I’m getting a bit fed up of things now.

Run done, the rest of our Sunday is fairly routine: food shopping, a bit of afternoon tv (we carried on with Traces) and a few household tasks such as vacuuming.

I did some yoga before dinner then afterwards headed off for my bath where I watched the first two episodes of WandaVision on Disney+. Did you watch it yet? I’d love to know what you thought.

Thus the first full week of online teaching came to an end. It definitely got easier to manage as the week went on, but was quite a steep learning curve!

Have you had any snow recently?
How are you getting on with restrictions/lockdowns in your part of the world?

My Year of Running 2020

For the past few years I’ve written this roundup post looking back over my running in that year (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019). Even as I write this introduction I feel like this year’s post will be a little different (what isn’t in 2020, right?) but there has been a huge shift in my running this past year so I still wanted to create a post to reflect on that. Here we go…!

Best Race Experience
Well that’s an awkward one to start with! I had very few race plans as the year began (and those I did have were cancelled) so there are pretty slim pickings. Loads of events went virtual (and I took part in a few) but I think I’m going to choose an actual race experience – yes, those did happen in 2020, so long as you got in early! 1st January 2020 as part of our usual NYD adventure (three runs in one day), I ran in the Blairgowrie Ne’er Day Fun Run and put in one of my best performances in that event to date. It’s a very low key and simple event with no T-shirts or medals (the post-run soup and sweets are always very welcome though). It’s so strange to think now of all those people together in a hall before and after the event: no social distancing, New Year handshakes and lots of sweaty hugs. Unthinkable now! I’m sad that for the first time in its 30+ year history that this won’t happen in 2021, but fingers crossed it can return for 2022.

Best Run
By some miracle, I actually got to go on my planned long weekend trip to Disneyland Paris with my sister in August. Although I ran each morning, my favourite run was on the last day when I ran to the Disney gates and back on a warm and sunny morning. Hopefully this is something I’ll be able to repeat in the future as it was such fun to see familiar landmarks such as the Tower of Terror, Disney Hotels and Disney Village as part of my route.

Best New Running Gear
When you accidentally start a run streak, having plenty of running gear is a must. I’m certainly not short of kit, but a crucial cog in the wheel when you run every day is shoes. I always rotate my shoes and was in need of a couple of new pairs anyway, but I think my favourites from this year are these Adidas Solar Boosts with space-inspired soles. I wear them for my long runs and they feel great!

Best Running Advice You’ve Received This Year
Do you know, I can’t think of anything in particular, but when I first floated the idea of running every day as the UK lockdown began back in March, Steve told me to go for it. To be honest, whenever I come up with an idea for a challenge I would like to undertake, he supports me all the way and sometimes being told to go for it is just the advice you need.

Most Inspirational Runner
Ok, I know he’s my husband and I’m biased, but I’m going to pick Steve. As his 50th birthday approached at the end of this year, I made the (slightly mad) suggestion that he should mark the occasion by running 50 miles in one day. Not only did he do it, but he picked a day when the weather wasn’t all that great and STILL did it. I don’t think I’ll be replicating this feat when my big birthday rolls around, but it’s still an inspiring achievement.

Favourite Picture From A Run Or Race This Year
When the inaugural Disneyland Paris Princess Run Weekend was cancelled, the admins of a Facebook group I’m in created a fun at-home version. We created our own costumes, medals and photo ops and shared our pictures in the group. I had plenty of time for some arts and crafts in advance to prepare and had a great time on my run (for which I resurrected my Anna running costume from the 2019 Magic Run Weekend 10k). While it wasn’t quite the same as being at DLP, it certainly created a sense of community and fun to keep us all going and I love this picture I took of my “meet” with Mickey Mouse:

Race Experience You Would Repeat In A Heartbeat
Um, a little short on race experiences so I’ll choose a virtual one instead. Although completely unofficial, when my second planned Run Disney experience of the year (Magic Run Weekend in September) was cancelled, the same Facebook group that created an at-home version in May did the same thing again…but bigger! It was still a free event where we created out own costumes/race bibs/medals etc, but I went all in for this one by mirroring the 36km challenge: 5k on Friday evening, 10k on Saturday morning and a half marathon on Sunday morning. Based on the group themes I created all-new costumes for each and basically spent my weekend running around wearing crazy costumes (which nobody seemed to bat an eye at!). While I would MUCH prefer to be back running in DLP again soon, this was a great experience and I loved checking in with the group all weekend to see what others had come up with for their own Run Disney at home experience.

If You Could Sum Up Your Year In A Couple Of Words, What Would They Be?
Run Streak. If you had asked me this time last year, there is NO WAY I would have predicted this would happen. I never intended to start a run streak, it just sort of…happened. When we went into lockdown in March we were told one of the reasons we were allowed to leave our homes was for exercise each day. I knew that if I could get some fresh air then I would cope ok with being at home all the time and originally planned for this to be a walk on days which weren’t “running days” (I was running 4x per week at that point). The first official day of lockdown was a running day and when I got home, I floated the idea of seeing what would happen if I ran the next day, and the next, and the next… I genuinely thought it wouldn’t suit me, that I would struggle or get injured, but it was fascinating to observe how my body adapted to daily running and now I think I would feel strange it I DIDN’T head out each morning. Over 280 days later and I’m still enjoying my daily runs. It feels like part of me now.

How was your year of running in 2020? I’d love to hear all about it…

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 38

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smokey, however, had apparently had a tough day 😹

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

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

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

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

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 37

This was a much better week. Still exhausting and still plenty of pressures, but I felt I was coping with it all much better. Hard to believe the Christmas holidays are getting so close now, since it feels like there is so much to do before then. Fitness-wise I did keep my streak going, but some chilly weather towards the end of the week did make things a bit more difficult.

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 3.2 miles + home yoga
Friday – 2.75 miles + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

As ever, my week began with a gentle recovery run. This week I altered my route slightly so I could take my antibody test to the priority post box first thing. But the thing that made me happiest was that the temperature was milder again so it was a shorts morning – perfect!

Arriving home from work I had about half an hour to change and relax before my yoga class. After a week off last week it was good to be back under instruction for an hour and, as always, felt so much better for taking that time for myself.

I slept well that night and was ready to run on Tuesday morning. The temperature was lower again but it wasn’t slippy so it was a good wake-up call! I fancied running down to the river to see the lights on the bridge and was treated to it being lit in blue and white since Monday had been St Andrew’s Day.

It was a long work day with meetings after school, but I managed to squeeze in a workout with Steve when I got home. That workout included the instructions from the first day of my advent calendar. I got one like this last year and really enjoyed having a challenge (fitness, mindset or wellbeing) every other day and on the days between collecting the parts to create a medal. A bit healthier than a piece of chocolate every day and with a cool souvenir at the end! After that, it was good to unwind with a short yoga session before dinner.

To add to the festivities, Steve had made a batch of mince pies. Yum!

In a week of alternating temperatures, it was shorts again on Wednesday – bizarre! Sadly it was a bit drizzly and there was quite a headwind through the first couple of miles of the run, but after that I felt good and was enjoying being out there. It definitely had me in a good mood for the rest of the day – just as well really with so much to do!

I worked quite late after school (I knew it was time to go when the cleaner was asking if I had a home to go to 😂) and took the chance to fit in a quick yoga session to help clear my head and settle in for a relaxing evening.

Waking up on Thursday I was expecting it to be cold, but what I found was that there had been a bit of a snow flurry overnight and the snow had FROZEN to the roads and pavements leaving some stretches pretty treacherous. I walked out onto the main road and decided it would be best to run into town and back since that would be main road all the way. In actual fact there were still some stretches where I had to walk and my 12 minute mile average is nothing to write home about, but I got that all-important run done (at this point I honestly don’t think I’d feel like myself without it) and got back home in one piece. Job done!

Meanwhile, Steve was out on a totally different challenge. With his 50th birthday falling this week, he had been preparing for a big challenge to mark the occasion and this was the chosen day. You may remember in 2014 he ran all 4 races at the Edinburgh marathon festival, but with the move to virtual races this year we realised he had a unique opportunity to take on all 4 again…but with a difference. 5k + 10k + half marathon + marathon = 48.6 miles, so with a 1.4 mile warm up, his aim was to complete 50 miles all in one day! We talked through various ways he might do it with me acting as some kind of support crew (at the weekend obviously) but in the end he decided to go for it entirely unsupported and with a pit stop at home around half way through. I was worried about the conditions that day, but he successfully completed the challenge and I made sure to arrive home with a bottle of prosecco to celebrate his achievement.

And for me, there was a little delivery: a virtual event medal and matching leggings. I have to say, they are even prettier than I had expected so I’m glad I added the leggings (casual rather than running ones) to my purchase.

And my other news from that day was that I got the results of my Covid antibody test (they get sent by text and email): no antibodies therefore I have not had Covid. I mean, I knew I had never displayed any symptoms but it has always been in the back of my mind to wonder about all these asymptomatic cases and whether or not that could have been me. Now I know.

Weather-wise things weren’t much better on Friday morning. The temperature stayed low and there was rain (more likely sleet) overnight – in fact in some parts not too far from us there was Thundersnow! Having checked the forecast I didn’t think it would be much better after work (plus I wouldn’t want to head out then) so I bundled myself up in winter tights, winter top, all-terrain shoes and my Big Running Jacket (the one I save for the worst of the winter weather) and headed out. In my mind I was ok with simply covering a mile to keep my streak alive but once I was on the main road the underfoot conditions were better than than the day before so I took a longer route to make up my 30ish minutes. There were still slippery patches and I really had to stick on the main roads so it was hard to find ways to extend my route and at 2.75 miles I headed back in to get ready for work since I was expecting a tricky drive in. As it turned out the weather got much worse in time for my commute so it wasn’t the most peasant of journeys. Good job I didn’t stay out running any longer!

When I arrived home at the end of the day Steve made me a cup of tea then I headed off to do some yoga and tidy up some things upstairs before dinner. Last week Steve said he didn’t want to watch Christmas movies until December, but this week he was quite happy to join me in watching our favourite one – Elf! Smokey was keen to watch too 😹

What with having steak pie for our dinner, it was like Christmas AND New Year in one evening haha!

Since Saturday was Steve’s birthday, I made sure it was me who got up to feed the kitties and make us both a cup of tea to enjoy in bed while Steve opened his cards and gifts. He then got on with the task of responding to birthday greetings on social media while I spent some time reading my book. A little later he headed off to the first session of his latest running club while I got organised for my run. After our Friday evening viewing of Elf, I decided to debut my new leggings. Technically they are called “Christmas in New York” but to me they are most definitely Elf-inspired and therefore the perfect festive leggings for me!

I had a great run because not only did I get out in the daylight, but I was able to wear my regular road shoes and run “properly” since all the icy patches were gone. It felt great to stretch my legs and run a bit faster again.

To celebrate Steve’s birthday we had Bucks Fizz with our post-run bacon roll (Clementine and Cranberry flavour – festive but delicious) and of course we did the weekly parkrun quiz. I deferred to the birthday boy for any questions where we had to guess (let’s face it, quite a lot of them!) and it turns out he’s not great at guessing since we only got 6/15 – he will not be in charge of guessing again haha!

Ordinarily I would have given Steve some kind of experience as a birthday gift, but options are pretty limited in 2020 (unless he wanted to experience sitting at home watching telly!) so we will do something nice when we are able to. In the meantime, I noticed that he’s been using his earphones a lot around the house but he still had wired ones which can be a bit tricky when doing things like cooking or other tasks where you move around a lot, so I got him some AirPods since I love mine and think the quality is much better than those EarPods that come with iPhones. After the quiz he settled down to try them out so I caught up on a couple of Disney quizzes I had saved from YouTube. Then when Steve headed off to meet his brother for a socially distanced birthday catch-up, Smokey the dedicated lap cat (he was there for AGES) and I got on with the much more serious business of an afternoon movie.

I had watched a trailer for this one and thought it looked good, so made a plan to watch it as soon as possible (it became available on Disney+ on the Friday). I really enjoyed it and recommend it if you have Disney+ and are looking for something new to watch.

After the film (when Smokey FINALLY decided to move!) I went off to run my bath and since we had a birthday to celebrate, my bath snack was a slice of cake (unicorn cake of course – our favourite). Alongside a cheeky glass of red wine, my candle and a few Disney vlogs, it was a really relaxing part of the day.

Even better, Steve had been given a fancy bottle of champagne by a lovely couple he trains, so we enjoyed a celebratory glass in the evening. I could get used to this!

Sunday was another early wake-up call to feed the kitties then I dozed for another 20 minutes or so, at which point Steve brought me a cup of tea so I could enjoy that in bed whilst reading my book for a bit. Sadly the temperature had dropped again and I was unsure about which shoes to pick, but Steve left a bit before me and texted to say I would be ok with road shoes. As it turned out, I would probably have been better in my grippy all-terrains so I ended up keeping to a very cautious pace for much of my run. Oh well, at least it was dry and my hands were much warmer than the previous week in my thicker gloves. And I got to wear another pair of Christmas leggings 😀

Of course we had the food shopping to do as normal, then my afternoon plan was to watch another of my favourite Christmas movies: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. But first, inspired by Clark W Griswold himself, I headed outside to sort out the the outdoor Christmas lights I hadn’t got to the previous weekend.

Never fear, the movie was next on the agenda and I had feline company once again. He’s been a really cuddly boy lately 😻

The weekend drew to a close, as it always does, with dinner, Strictly results and a bath. And after those frosty/icy runs, I wonder what the week ahead will have in store for me?

Has your running been affected by winter weather recently?
Do you put any Christmas lights outside your house?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 33

A fresh week in the school term and after a restful weekend I was feeling much better (and hopeful that this would extend to my running through the week as well!). As ever, my main aim was to continue to fit a couple of workouts and plenty of yoga into my evenings (given that my working days are tending to be quite long right now) on the basis that since I run first thing, that kind of takes care of itself. Here’s how it went:

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich = 6.2 miles
Sunday – 8 miles

I was feeling pretty good on Monday morning – definitely much better than the bulk of the mornings last week! – but still took it easy and stuck to the “recovery run” pattern. There had been some strong winds over the weekend and it wasn’t much calmer so just being out and getting some Monday morning endorphins was plenty!

It was, as is now the norm, a really busy day and when I arrived home I really only had time to stop for about half an hour before it was time for yoga. I’m so glad I have that class to help my mind slow down at the end of a Monday, and not having to leave the house to go to it is really suiting me right now.

Having checked the forecast when I set out my kit in the evening, I wasn’t at all surprised to be greeted with pretty rotten conditions on Tuesday morning. It was cold (a “feels like” temperature close to freezing compared to the actual temperature), blowing a gale and raining. Did I run? Of course I did. Gloves, gilet and my hair stuffed under my hat had me good to go! The rain actually eased off while I was out but despite feeling good, the first and last miles felt slower thanks to running uphill into a headwind. Typical! My hands felt cold when I was finished, but the rest of me was ok and the hot shower I headed into was one of those amazing ones you only get when you’ve been out in the cold.

We had a meeting at the end of the day (we’re not allowed in person meetings right now so we were all in our classrooms for a video call – so strange when we were all in the same corridor!) so that combined with a few bits and pieces I had to complete kept me busy. Once home, Steve took me through a workout with the resistance band and then I did a calming yoga session before dinner. We spent the rest of our evening finishing Life on tv. Another series I really enjoyed.

And as it turned out, the weather was much more pleasant on Wednesday morning. I mean, there’s no avoiding the darkness right now, but at least the wind had died down and the temperature felt milder.

At work I was quite productive with some non-teaching time first thing but the rest of the day was the usual whirlwind of classes and things to remember. I stayed later to do a bit of development work so was pleased to hit my yoga mat for a short time before dinner and this week’s Bake Off (yes, we did have a sweet treat as Steve had made apple crumble with some apples a client had given him but I failed to photograph it).

Unfortunately, the wind was back on Thursday morning (but it was still dry and fairly mild). It was one of those days when it felt like I was putting in more effort than the pace I was recording (why is it always uphill into a headwind???) but other than that I felt good.

My Thursday timetable is packed and I was kept pretty busy all day, but I was looking forward to my evening. When I (eventually) got home after stopping off for petrol, I did a little yoga and ate dinner then our entertainment choice was the first two episodes of the new season of This Is Us. I LOVE that show! We only got around to watching the previous season in the first weeks of lockdown earlier this year so it didn’t feel too long of a wait, however this one is the first time we’ve watched it while confined to a weekly episode release as opposed to bingeing it. Still, I’m looking forward to seeing how the story unfolds in the coming weeks.

Oh, and another exciting thing on Thursday was the arrival of my new Christmas leggings. When I spotted these I HAD to have them since they are clearly inspired by one of my absolute favourite Christmas movies! So weird to think that this time last year I was looking forward to seeing it on stage and this year I’ll be lucky to go anywhere more exciting than a supermarket!

I was feeling fairly tired on Friday morning and it was tough to get out of bed in the darkness, but I knew my run would sort me out. It felt a little chilly (I actually think it might have been getting colder as I was out) but it was still and the sky was clear – I couldn’t resist stopping off to take a couple of pictures when I spotted this scene (yes, I was in the middle of the road but it was super early so there was no traffic!).

One of my colleagues had a birthday over the weekend and we had found a workaround to celebrate it since we can’t share food (or indeed gather together to eat) right now: individual cakes wrapped up in paper. The baker was kind enough to remember Steve so I had two pieces of cake to bring home and enjoy after dinner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even better, each piece was wrapped up with a piece of string so the kitties enjoyed playing with those!

Since it was Friday (and I’d had a really productive day with an assortment of admin tasks) I made the madcap and outlandish decision to leave work a little before 4pm (we finish a little before 3pm on a Friday and I didn’t have a class for the last lesson of the day). It was so nice to drive home with a little daylight and when I got back Steve was actually out so I made a cup of tea and watched a couple of episodes of It Takes Two that I hadn’t yet watched. When Steve returned there was time for a quick workout with the resistance band then I did a really nice wind down yoga video. I was so relaxed (and that nice “spaced out” way afterwards!) ready to settle down for dinner and our Friday Night Is Marvel Night routine. Next up in the MCU = Guardians of the Galaxy. Steve had never seen this before but I had watched it on a flight once. It was definitely better to see it on a bigger screen and made soooo much more sense within the timeline – there were plot details that I didn’t get before but did this time around.

My Saturday morning treat is to sleep a little longer (not exactly late, I have to get up to feed the kitties then snooze until about 7am) then enjoy a cup of tea in bed and read for a bit. Now more than ever I appreciate this time since weekdays are so hectic.

Next up is always my run. As ever it was a 2 mile warm up, faster (not)parkrun (I actually ran my 2nd fastest time so I was pleased with that) and the last mile home as a cool down. The weather was much cooler so it was time to dig out a pair of leggings rather than shorts (although the shorts are definitely not away for the winter!). When I arrived home, somebody was watching out for me (impatiently!) 😹

This week’s parkrun quiz felt tricky and there were a lot of guessed answers in there, but we must have been guessing well since we ended up with 11/15 – a very respectable score! I also had a look at my stats for the day and realised my run had brought me to 1500 miles for the year – 500 beyond my original goal 😀

Saturday afternoons are a chance for me to relax while I have the house to myself for a bit (Steve meets his brother for a socially distanced coffee on Saturdays). I began with a Disney quiz on YouTube, watched Friday’s It Takes Two then settled down for an afternoon movie. I picked Descendants 3 to complete the trilogy. I’ve really enjoyed these movies.

Then after my bath the evening was, of course, devoted to Strictly and it was movie week so I was excited to see the routines. I really enjoyed it but was confused as to why the contestant who was supposed to be Elsa from Frozen 2 looked more like Rapunzel 🤔

I had another restful start to my Sunday with a bit more reading in bed with my tea (Steve got up to feed the kitties so I didn’t have to move) then set off on my run. Since I had taken the distance back down to 10k last weekend, I decided on 8 miles which was perfect to take me out to the woodland park and back (whilst finishing off the weekly scavenger hunt!). It was a bit milder so the shorts came back out again, but I was so glad I had decided to wear my cap as it started POURING while I was on my way home and I ran the last mile and a half or so in the bucketing rain. I actually wasn’t too bothered but when I arrived home the kitties met me at the door and were NOT pleased at the rain dripping off my hat onto their heads!

Cleaned up, fed and shopping done, we settled down to watch Bake Off Extra Slice then I watched the latest episode of The Mandalorian. I’ll say right now that I’m going to end up getting a Baby Yoda plush as I just can’t cope with how cute he is!

Then there were a few bits and pieces to sort our before dinner and the Strictly result, before rounding off the week with a bath. Phew!

What changes are you making to your running kit as the season changes?
What are you watching on tv right now?