Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 34

The third week of term meant I was feeling fairly settled into my routine, but there were a couple of curve balls this week to keep me on my toes. As a result, only one workout, but my day was still bookended with running and yoga so I’m pleased about that as these are the things I feel I’m relying on most to keep me feeling positive and find moments to unwind.

Monday – 3.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.2 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

Monday began with a run (of course) before a pretty hectic day of teaching during every lesson followed by some socially distanced discussion at the end of the day. Like with recent weeks, I really wasn’t home for long before it was time for my yoga class on Zoom (a welcome chance to unwind) then Steve and I started to watch Roadkill which has been showing on BBC. I was pretty tired by this point and couldn’t quite believe it was only Monday!

On the plus side, I came home to quite the “bling haul” with my finisher pack from the virtual Vitality London 10,000m and a couple of the princess-themed medals from the set I have been collecting:

I must have carried some tiredness into Tuesday as although I felt fine on my run, after a couple of non teaching periods working at my desk, I felt super tired to the point that it was making me feel a bit “off”. By the time I got home I was almost of a mind to go to my bed rather than eat dinner (a true sign of how exhausted I was!) but instead Steve sent me off to do some yoga (I chose a really chilled out, relaxing sequence) then I pretty much went to bed right after dinner. In bed by 9pm on a school night and with no awareness of Steve coming to bed? Completely worn out!

But that early night made a huge difference as I was feeling great on Wednesday morning. Good thing too since I had to be sure to get straight out of bed and out for my run – no time to hang around since I was to drop off my car to have a service and MOT and this was going to mean cutting it fine for getting to work (fortunately I didn’t have a class first lesson so had a little bit of wriggle room here). Normally I get this done during the October holidays or, failing that, a Saturday morning, but despite calling the garage in SEPTEMBER neither of these were possible so to make things work I had to get a courtesy car. I’ve had this before, but this time it did make me a bit nervous to have a vehicle driven by others (although the garage assured me the cars are fully sanitised in between).

Sadly, the diagnostics at the garage popped up an issue requiring some work (by some miracle, still under warranty!) but it was going to take a couple more days. Luckily, I was able to keep the courtesy car so my first job was to figure out how to put some fuel in (why are all the petrol caps on all the cars all operated in a different way???). Once home it was a quick yoga session, dinner and the quarter final of Bake Off before bed. We were a little unprepared so had some flaked truffles for our sweet treat this week – a free gift I had been saving for a chocolate emergency!

On Thursday I felt like mixing things up a bit and taking a different route for my run. Rather than my usual residential areas, I headed into town and along by the river. Steve has been posting pictures of the old bridge all lit up and I wanted to see it for myself. I’m so glad I did as it looked beautiful.

Another full teaching day (last teaching day of the week) and some work after school, but I was able to fit in a quick living room workout using the resistance band before my yoga, then Steve wanted to watch the Scotland football match so I caught up on It Takes Two on my iPad while he did.

There was another delivery for me just after I arrived home too. After loving my Haunted Mansion Minnie Mouse so much, I also ordered the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad themed one from the month before (these plushes been part of a monthly limited edition collection). BTM is another of my favourite rides and I decided I wanted this plush for my collection. And while I was about it, I took advantage of a special offer and also picked up the festive Mickey and Minnie plushes to start my Christmas decorating.

True to form, the kitties couldn’t resist checking them out (they love to cosy in beside teddies and plushes) and I caught this picture where it looks like Sooty is giving Mickey a kiss on the nose to say hello 😻

Friday was an inservice (inset) day at work so no pupils. Normally this would be a day of meetings/training/development work but right now we aren’t allowed to have any face to face meetings or large gatherings, so anything involving collaboration was going to be via video call. So with that in mind, we were told we could work from home as the default position (but with the school building available for those who preferred it). I definitely preferred to cut out my commute and work from home, so that meant a slightly later start to my day (still dark for my run though!) and the extra bit of sleep was most welcome.

I had a morning of video meetings but enjoyed a lunch break where I actually got to walk away from my desk (we’re eating lunch in our own classrooms right now as, like with meetings, gathering for breaks is not allowed). I try really hard to do something different at lunchtime like read a book, but I often end up taking care of a couple of little work things so it was nice to take a proper break and watch a couple of vlogs while I ate. Good thing it was lunchtime as Sooty was EXHAUSTED from trying to appear in all the meetings haha!

I had a development task to complete in the afternoon (this time sans kitties as they had given up – part-timers!)

Then when the work day was done I headed out to collect my car since the garage had let me know it was ready. Again, I was certain it was all sanitised but still kept my mask on until I was home (to avoid touching my face), wiped the interior down and made sure to wash my hands thoroughly. Can’t be too careful!

I was conscious my day of working from home was less active than being at school (although in general an inservice day is a bit more sedentary anyway) so Steve and I went out for a little walk before I did a yoga session. After dinner, our Friday Night is Marvel Night selection was Guardians of the Galaxy 2.  Baby Groot was so adorable (although not quite as adorable as Baby Yoda!). Apparently the script for the 3rd movie is finished so I’ll be looking forward to that some time in the future.

My favourite weekend treat is to start with a little time in bed drinking a cup of tea and reading my book. I give myself around an hour of reading then get ready to head out for my run. It was, of course, (not)parkrunday so for me a 2 mile warm up, faster 5k and 1 mile cool down. Strangely, I quite like the faster section as it’s good to push the pace a bit more in a way that would feel like a much greater effort through the work week when I’m out so early.

As ever, post-run it was a bacon roll and the weekly parkrun quiz. We’ve been doing fairly well lately so were pleased with another 10/15. I’m even doing ok with all the maths questions, perhaps the most I’ve used maths in years – who knew it would actually come in useful!

When Steve headed out to meet his brother, I settled in for the afternoon. First I did my weekly Disney quiz on YouTube, then I finished up a pile of marking before a little Disney+. I watched Under the Sea: A Descendants Short since I had enjoyed the three films, then for the “main feature” I chose The Secret Society of Second Born Royals. It was quite good fun: think Avengers but with teenage royalty.

Sadly there was also a bit of work to do, which was rewarded with a bath followed by Strictly – some AMAZING routines this week (Bill Bailey!!). We rounded the day off with the latest episode of This Is Us. So frustrating not having all of them available to binge (as we have with the first 4 seasons) but at least it will make the series last a bit longer.

Sunday also began with some reading in bed. I had a book I wanted to finish and was just about there when I decided I really needed to get up and get my day started. It was dry but had clearly been raining and the forecast suggested more rain to come so I made sure I was prepared. As it turned out, I was almost finished my 10 miles before the rain came on and I didn’t get a soaking after all! While I was out I spotted this which seems to be new (and will probably be painted over shortly). Very effective as the red parts are all poppies.

Steve was on a much longer run (and had set off a little after me for once) so I had enough time to shower and still finish up my book (Case Histories by Kate Atkinson – I enjoyed it) before he returned.

Later in the afternoon (once we’d ventured out in the rain for the food shopping) we settled down to watch Extra Slice (with our now-traditional Sunday hot cross buns) followed by the latest chapter of The Mandalorian. Not so much Baby Yoda in this episode, but still good.

Then it was a quick bit of work stuff for me, dinner, the Strictly result and finally my Sunday bath. I’m not sure I would cope with the week now if I didn’t get my bath haha!

And that was my week. My area (and the area I work in) has moved up a tier level in restrictions so there will be a couple of changes for me in the week ahead, but hopefully as straightforward a week as is possible right now.

Have you bought anything for the festive season yet?
With changing restrictions in various places, how are you doing with your running and exercise?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 31

Last week of my half term break. It’s been so good to have a bit of time to myself after a really tiring term, and I fully expect even more to come at me in the weeks ahead. But for now, my only aim was to continue with my holiday routine and make sure I was going back as rested as possible. Here’s what I got up to:

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

On Monday morning I took a look at the new scavenger hunt list and initially thought it might be a bit tricky, however once I had engaged my brain (and discussed some of the items with Steve) I realised that most of them could be found reasonably close together. I headed off to try and get them and while I was out thought it might be fun to try and complete the hunt all in one run. I actually ended up doing just that and was the first to submit my pictures to the group this week. I’ve found all the hunts fun but this was a nice way to change things up while I was still on holiday from work.

I spent the rest of the day working on a blog post, catching up on some tv and then opted for Hocus Pocus for my afternoon movie. I know I’ve seen this before but it must have been YEARS ago and I know lots of people, especially in the US, get really excited about this one every Hallowe’en so it was fun to remind myself of it. I don’t think I’ll leave it so long before watching again.

It was another living room workout thanks to the dreary weather, then my usual Hatha yoga class. I also discovered that it was International Gin and Tonic day, and it seemed rude not to mark the occasion.

Tuesday was also pretty miserable weather-wise and I was fairly wet when I got in from my run thanks to that fine drizzle that makes the entire air around you wet. It would have been easy to feel sluggish and lethargic with this weather, but I actually ended up having an incredibly productive day. I worked on two blog posts then did two Disney quizzes on YouTube whilst working on making two new Minnie ear holders (I made a couple of these earlier in Lockdown but my trip to DLP meant lots of new pairs of ears and nowhere to keep them!). No workout as Steve had a project of his own – his first go at making tiramisu. It was delicious!

Thankfully much better weather on Wednesday morning (although I wasn’t convinced it was going to last all day!) so I headed out to start my day with a 10k. I enjoyed not having to be in rainy day gear and just enjoyed the autumn air. 

I hadn’t slept too well the night before (no real reason, just one of those things) so wanted to have a fairly lazy day. After lunch I settled down to watch Maleficent for the first time and really enjoyed it (I’ve head the sequel isn’t quite so good). The start of the film really reminded me of the scenery in Flight of Passage (the fantastic Avatar ride at Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World). Really pretty and green with a few more unusual touches to show us it wasn’t our world. I wonder if that was a conscious decision? I actually felt sleepy about half way through the film so paused it for a quick nap and felt much better afterwards.

I also had to pause the movie when my package came from Disney – a new selection of face masks to cheer me up into the new term:

Steve had suggested getting fish and chips for our dinner so he went away out to pick that up. We don’t often get takeaway food these days and definitely haven’t had a takeaway since Lockdown restrictions were imposed in March, but I suspect we haven’t actually had a takeaway at all in 2020 so far so this felt like quite a treat. Sometimes it’s the simple things like a “chippy tea” that liven up a day. Steve had had a really good day work-wise so he wanted to have a mini celebration (work has been tough for the self employed this year) so it was fish and chips, the leftover tiramisu (things like this are always better on the second day) and a beer whilst catching up with the latest from the Bake Off tent and another episode of Shetland – we’re in the last series of this now so we’ll soon be looking for our next box set. Any suggestions? I had a really nice day chilling out and then being a little indulgent in the evening. Simple pleasures.

Thursday actually ended up being fairly lazy as well as Steve had quite a lot on so he was in and out the house all day. I started with a run and was happy that the weather was good enough for shorts and T-shirt with no gilet/hat/extra layer needed. Always a win at this time of year! I also spotted another fun Hallowe’en display:

Post-run I put together another pot of chilli so we would have lots of batch cooking in the freezer and stretch out the time until I would need to make another batch once the new term gets underway (I was proud of myself for that plan!). Then in the afternoon I decided to give Maleficent: Mistress of Evil a go. I think I agree that it’s not so good as the first one, but I still enjoyed watching it. I wonder if the first one is better because it’s a re-imagining of the familiar story, whereas this one is something new? 

I also spent some time reading my book before heading upstairs for my yoga session.

Friday was grey and damp and the route I chose had so many wet leaves on the paths that I had to take it easy for fear of slipping. I always forget about this until the leaves start to fall en masse and the weather is wet. I wouldn’t want to slip and get injured!

More fun, was Steve making a fresh batch of cookies. I had ordered some Disney-themed cookie cutters so he made me a Mickey Mouse-shaped one.

For my afternoon entertainment I began with Once Upon a Snowman (the new Frozen short with Olaf’s back story – I do love him!) then decided to give Descendants a go. It really reminded me of High School Musical but with the “villain children” (no surprise there since it’s the same director) and I really enjoyed watching it. My sister has been on at me to watch this for ages and now I see why!

I also had another delivery that day. Have I been doing too much online shopping??? This one was a pair of Minnie ears I wanted to complete my “2020” themed collection. A funny year to want to remember, but no doubt interesting to look back on in future.

Steve was able to take me through a living room workout using my resistance band and some body weight exercises, then since it was a nice evening I nipped out for a quick walk before settling down for some relaxing yoga. Later it was Friday night movie time (I suggested to Steve that we try to carry on our Marvel MCU project on Fridays rather than Saturdays now since Strictly Come Dancing has started the live shows). This week’s movie was Thor: The Dark World, which was another great instalment.

I had been aware that the weather forecast for Saturday morning wasn’t too encouraging, and when I got up to feed the cats it just sounded hideous outside. Confident that it would clear up later, I opted to go back to bed for a snooze then read some of my book for a while. It meant going out slightly later for my (not)parkrun, but it was worth it to avoid being soaked as soon as I stepped outside!

Fortunately, it was another good week for us on the parkrun quiz and we scored 10/15. My proudest moment was being able to figure out a speed/distance/time calculation and come up with the right answer! ☺️

My afternoon was really lovely: I read a bit more, finished up my Minnie ear holders (they needed the “feet” glued on and the clay was dry ready to do this) then settled down to watch Descendants 2. It was a fun sequel and there’s one more movie in the franchise for me to watch when I get a chance.

After my bath it was time for dinner and the opening night of Strictly. I was soooo happy to see a bit of sequin and sparkle again – we REALLY need it this year!

We headed off to bed knowing that there was the opportunity for an “extra hour”, but knowing realistically that there was no way to reset the resident “spokescat” who would start making a fuss about breakfast at his “normal” time. In the end, he actually managed to hang on about half an hour longer, which made it a bit easier to adjust the routine. Once he was fed I snoozed a little longer then finished up my book – really enjoyed this one. I recommend it for anyone who likes Claudia Winkleman.

My run was my usual 10 miles, but since I had entered the virtual Vitality London 10,000 I actually stopped and reset my watch after 10k so I had the evidence to upload, then restarted my watch for the remaining 4 miles to finish the run.

After that it was time for all the “domestic duties” – food shopping, tidying up the house and getting organised for my return to work tomorrow. Who knows what the term ahead will bring…

Do you enjoy any arts and crafts?
What have you been reading lately?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 28

I have to say, coming off my weekend of virtual Disney running fun, I definitely started this week with a smile on my face. I also made it a week of reduced mileage after 2 weeks in a row of Sunday half marathons – time to give my body a chance to reset and recover, particularly since the end of term was getting nearer (although not yet near enough!).

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

Look at the difference in light now between my weekday and weekend runs!

I stuck to a super easy pace for my Monday run after a couple of higher mileage weeks (actually, the previous week was a mileage PB by a little over half a mile). My legs felt just fine, but I knew that in week 8 of a tough 9 week term my body was getting pretty tired. It was the sort of day that had me wondering if there was a full moon, so it was good to have a short walk with Steve when I got home and then my usual Monday night yoga class. Steve’s latest experiment was homemade cookies (yum!) so we taste tested a couple of those in the evening and settled down for a new box set – Shetland (we’re really enjoying this one).

Tuesday morning was chilly again but the sky was quite pretty as the first hints of light began to show. I managed to organise my day to squeeze in a TRX workout in the garden when I got home, as well as a little yoga to refocus my mind. On the excitement front, my medal arrived from the GNR Solo event I had completed.

It was also clearly a tough day for Sooty 😹

The temperature was a bit milder on Wednesday morning and I had a nice run, but to be honest that was about all there was of note that day – just more teaching, marking, prep then home for yoga and tv. Fairly standard!

But in a week of changeable weather, Thursday was the soggy day so I needed my favourite running hat. I was pretty soaked when I got in, but that just made my post-run shower all the better. I had some errands on the way home, then arrived to find some exciting Disney-related post. First up, a book I had pre-ordered ages ago (which always makes it more exciting when it actually arrives!). It’s really pretty:

And I had also ordered a pair of Minnie ears which I had regretted not buying last summer (then further regretted that I hadn’t got my sister to pick them up for me when she was in WDW in those halcyon, pre-Covid days of February). I knew they had been released to mark the anniversary of The Little Mermaid and, given my mermaid-y tendencies, had to have them but was concerned that they might all disappear before I would have a chance to get some. Internet shopping to the rescue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Co-incidentally, I had been wearing my Ariel mask that day, so the timing was perfect!

On Friday morning the sky was just beautiful and this time I had time to grab a couple of photos. When I faced one way it looked like this:

Then when I turned around, this:

I’ll miss seeing this sort of thing as the mornings get darker.

Another delivery for me that day – my new Hallowe’en leggings. I love the pumpkin/sugar skulls vibe. I’m not usually much of a Hallowe’en fan, but this year is so boring that anything that adds interest is welcome.

I actually slept a little longer than usual on Saturday morning (a sure that I was needing it to be the end of term!) then headed out for my (not)parkrun. It was POURING so I kept it to just 5k (usually I run around 10k on a Saturday, with my (not)parkrun sandwiched in there). Since I was consciously cutting back my mileage this week, that was no problem. A slight improvement in our parkrun quiz score with a return to our standard 9/15, and some new coffee to try as we did so. This is a new business a friend of ours has started during Lockdown and we had a bag of one of their three roasts to try. We both really liked it – smooth flavour and a nice weekend treat (if you’re a coffee lover, you can check them out here).

I was a little indulgent in my early evening bath, taking one of Steve’s peanut butter cookies with me for a snack (he was branching out in his flavours). Surely I’m not the only one who likes a bath snack?

The next movie in the Marvel MCU timeline should have been The Incredible Hulk, however that one isn’t on Disney+ so we skipped on to the next one (Thor) until I could investigate how we could get hold of the Hulk. As it turned out, we could use one of our Rakuten TV vouchers to get it, so that was the plan for the following weekend. Like with one or two other MCU movies we have watched lately, we had previously seen Thor but didn’t remember much about it, so we both enjoyed seeing it again.

I was still keeping my mileage short for my Sunday run. I had wondered about running 8 miles, but the weather wasn’t too great so I decided that 10k would be plenty for this week – first time in ages my weekly mileage was less than 30 miles! I knew I would feel good for the recovery week though. This was London marathon day and a friend of mine was doing the virtual race with her daughter (who was actually the youngest participant this year – fame!) and I crossed paths with them while I was out so made sure to give them a really loud cheer and clap to encourage them. I just can’t imagine a marathon with no crowd support at all and am so impressed by everyone who did it, especially first-timers like my friend.

The shorter run meant I had time for a few household chores while Steve was on his longer run, then after lunch it was food shopping time as usual. For our Sunday afternoon snack, we opted for these mince pies from Aldi. I really liked them.

Oh, and this happened. Can’t break my streak of failed ballot entries, can I? 😂

And that was it. Just one more week of the school term to go and I was hoping my lower mileage from this week would help me feel a bit fresher for all the things I wanted to get done before finishing.

Did you take part in the virtual London marathon? What about entering the ballot for next year?
Mince pies in October – yes or no?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 5

The first week back at work meant a degree of routine coming back into my days (although my grasp of the actual day remains tenuous at best!). When it came to training I was able to sustain my running streak, continue with yoga on weeknights and, most pleasingly, managed some kind of strength/core session each weekday as well. I noted last week that I was disappointed not to be making time for this, and felt that I just wasn’t motivated by the idea of a living room workout. After talking to Steve about it, he actually went down to the studio to collect some kit and since the weather was great all week, the draw of the “back garden gym” was far stronger and I really enjoyed these workouts.

Here’s how my week panned out:

Monday – 5k + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + garden circuits + home yoga
Wednesday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – 10k
Sunday – 11.6 miles (recorded as 4.3 + 7.3 in one outing)

When you run every day, there’s not much of note to really talk about. I REALLY enjoy getting out for my daily exercise and getting out in the sunshine each day was amazing! What has recently become my “thing” for this accidental run streak is to theme my running tops each week and this time it was my finisher tops from my Paris marathon experiences. The snag is I’ve “only” (😂) done it 5 times so that only covered my Monday-Friday runs, but as I’ll discuss further down in this post, I already had plans for my runs on those days so it wasn’t a big deal.

My Monday run was kept to 5k as I designated this one for my Run for Heroes run. If you’re in the UK then you will have seen this one on social media. The idea is to run (or walk, or hop, or whatever) 5k, donate £5 to the charities supporting key workers and nominate 5 people to do the same: Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5. As soon as I saw it I knew I would be nominated so was totally ready to do my bit.

Unfortunately it was a living room workout that day as Steve didn’t collect his kit until Tuesday, but at least I made the time and knew other options were coming.

And as it happened, my Tuesday workout was so much more fun. Steve collected a mat, some cones, the Core Momentum Trainers, additional kettlebells (we only had one at home before that) and a TRX with the attachment to put it over a door. So much better than just the resistance band I already had. Steve created a circuits workout in the garden and although hard work, I enjoyed it so much more.

Another Tuesday highlight came in the form of dessert. I had been tidying up in the kitchen and came across some leftover sponge fingers from Christmas time, so Steve made one of his infamous trifles to use them up. Yummy!

I had another couple of garden workouts on Wednesday and Thursday since the weather was so gorgeous:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a bit of a First World emergency on Thursday when we realised we were just about out of coffee – we get ours from an amazing local business that grinds the beans for whatever apparatus you are using to make your coffee. They are shut right now, of course, but are operating an online business so we ordered a couple of bags after I finished working for the day. We expected to have it delivered by the weekend but about 3 hours later, while we were joining the nation in watching The Big Night In (we clapped from our living room this time) the doorbell rang and it was the owner of the shop dropping our coffee off on our doorstep on his way home. Incredible service!

On Friday I bit the bullet and ordered some new bits and pieces of running kit I have been needing. I rotate several pairs of shoes but have been conscious that a couple of pairs were needing to be retired so used my Vitality Fitness Rewards benefit to order a pair I wanted then added a second, cheaper, pair too. I had also thrown away some socks as I had worn a hole in one sock and a couple of other pairs were looking close to having holes too, so more socks are also on their way.

Of course I had another garden workout. And no, neither of us are making much effort to change clothes when we don’t have to!

Then after our Friday fajitas we settled down to watch the first of the Star Wars sequels (neither of us have seen these) – The Force Awakens. It was good, but did mean getting to grips with some new characters again.

Inspired by the weekly virtual runs posted by Sparkle Athletic, I decided to dress myself as Minnie Mouse for my notparkrun run on Saturday. It actually was a really cheerful thing to do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suspect these two pictures accurately sum up why I wanted to do this:

That said, I am finding a lot of cheer from Disney, I’m just sad that the trips I had booked for this year are either cancelled or hanging in the balance right now 😭

Our Saturday post-run routine is now to have coffee and a bacon roll while we do the weekly parkrun quiz. While 11/15 is not a PB, I was pleased to have full marks on two of the rounds (although that does highlight how woeful our score in the other round was haha!).

I then tackled our cupboard under the stairs (aka the Harry Potter cupboard) as I wanted to put a small shelf unit in there that we had previously been using in the shed and get things really tidied up and organised. It was feeling really cluttered and hard to find the things we wanted. Of course as soon as I emptied it out and put the shelves in, I hit an obstacle as two curious kitties had to conduct a thorough inspection!

But once that was done I was able to relax and watch the YouTube stream of Love Never Dies from the night before. I hadn’t seen this before and found it unexpectedly sad. Good, but sad.

Then I rounded off my afternoon with the ultimate indulgence of a bowl of ice cream whilst having my bath. I’m getting ideas above my station now 👸🏻

Sunday should have been the London marathon and even though a marathon wasn’t in my plans for this year, I do always enjoy watching London on TV. Because of the postponement, a number of organisers came together to organise the 2.6 Challenge to help raise funds for the charities that are missing on out crucial funds with so many races and charity events being off. I know that I’m lucky to be in a job and getting my salary just now so wanted to make sure I played my part. That said, I didn’t want to ask for sponsorship so after much back and forth over a suitable challenge, decided to build something into my Sunday long run and make a donation of my own to Cats Protection. Since the focus was on Home Heroes, I opted for 26 loops around the block and was quite surprised when this clocked in at 4.3 miles. Oh, and I dug out my “Kitty Kit”, including the ears!

 

At the end of the last loop I stopped my watch, took a moment to take my photo then restarted my watch to record the rest of my long run – a further 7.3 miles to total 11.6 for the day. I was keen to pass 11 miles as I had worked out that this would take me to my highest weekly mileage ever.

After lunch and food shopping, we went home via my mum and dad’s as there was some more rhubarb for us (and some leftover chicken for the cats) that mum wanted me to collect. My sister has been experimenting with making face masks so I gave her some fabric and she quickly made one for me.

Then we watched the last episode of The Imagineering Story (thanks Disney – now I want to go to Shanghai!) and I took care of some “lesson planning” for the week ahead 😂

If only!

Have you found any new ways to make your time at home more fun or productive?
Did you take part in the 2.6 Challenge (or any other recent fundraising challenge)?

Friday Finds – 19th July

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

Happy Friday! You may have noticed that I took a little bit of a blogging break while I was away on holiday, but never fear, I have plenty to share about the month so far and will catch you up with all the news (and photos. So. Many. Photos!) soon. In the meantime, let’s get back to the routine of sharing some articles on Friday. I suspect this one will be a bit of an odd mixture of things I’ve been storing over the past two or three weeks…

First up, a positive outcome to a high profile story from earlier this year. You might remember that some participants in the London marathon complained about the way they were treated during the race and, thankfully, organisers have listened and are implementing changes to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It really saddened me to read the original story, so I’m pleased that action has been taken and hope that those affected are able to return to the race for a far more positive experience.

On a lighter note, I was amused to read this piece about a recent school sports day. Events in our school are simply for pupils – no staff or parent races – but I know that up and down the country the prospect of parents racing can result in either a degree of worry and/or overly competitive performances. But we can all be reassured that even being an Olympic champion is no guarantee of success – just ask Mo Farah who was recently beaten by another dad who wasn’t exactly attired for sporting greatness!

Next up, a story of real commitment. A great thing about travelling is finding new places to run, but when we have specific training goals it can be a little stressful to make sure we find the best route. Step in two butlers at a high-end Italian hotel who not only found a route for a guest who was marathon training, but actually ran with him and joined him for the actual marathon. You certainly don’t get that kind of service everywhere!

Catching my eye today was this piece in which one researcher attempted to answer an interesting question: why do we walk with straight arms but run with them bent? The results of their research may surprise you! Got any theories?

And finally, if you like to share your runs on Strava, you may have noticed the different approaches people take to sharing their posts, from the default “morning run” to a lengthy mile by mile essay. Here’s a rundown of some of the different types. Which one are you?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess  

Friday Finds – 10th May

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

Happy Friday one and all! If you had a day off work on Monday then I hope you enjoyed this shorter week. It was certainly nice to have an extra day to potter about! And now it’s time to kick off the weekend with a few bits and pieces to read.

I want to start with some updates on some of the big stories to come out of the London marathon, most of which I mentioned last week. To start, some news on what comes next for some of the big names in the event. It looks like Mo Farah has decided to defend his title at the Chicago marathon (ruling out an imminent return to the track which some had speculated about). But the biggest news comes from Eliud Kipchoge, who this week announced that he is to take another crack at a sub-2 hour marathon, this time in London this autumn. He certainly said that he needed a new goal to chase having fulfilled his London goal, so I have to assume he feels he’s in a strong position to have another go at this. It’s certainly very exciting and I’m looking forward to learning more of the details.

There was also some good news this week. You may have seen the story about the nurse who was aiming to set a record for the fastest marathon dressed as a nurse, but found herself ineligible for the record as her scrubs did not meet the “costume” requirements. This resulted in a Twitter campaign in which nurses tweeted pictures of themselves in what they wear to work – none of which matched up to the description in the record requirements. As a result, those requirements were reviewed and updated, with the record being awarded. Hurrah!

The other good news is that the Big Ben costume (which had resulted in some finish line hilarity before disappearing from outside a pub) has been returned (although possibly my favourite thing about this link is the mis-spelling of “London” in the headline 🤦🏻‍♀️)

Of course London (or ‘Lonodon’ – I couldn’t even type that as my computer kept autocorrecting it!) is not the only marathon – despite what the media might have us think – nor was it the only marathon to take place that day. I was running the Stirling marathon and this week it seems to have courted some controversy also. Mind you these days if a marathon takes place and there’s no controversy or upset, did it even happen? First, the winner of the women’s race criticised organisers over the prize money offered, and then today it emerged that the event will no longer be staged as it is not economically viable. I have to say, finding that out did upset me as it was a good event and I saw myself returning again in future. Having already cancelled the long-running Women’s 10k in Glasgow, I do hope Great Run are not going to cancel any further events as they operate a couple of other major running events here in Scotland and to lose them would be a real blow.

After all those updates, let’s finish this week’s post with a couple of more light-hearted stories, starting with the man who ran for 15 hours (!!) on a treadmill whilst wearing a full gorilla suit. I don’t know where to begin! It must have been hot, sweaty and itchy, plus running on a treadmill for more than a few minutes is a real mental battle. Well done that man!

And finally, we’ve all seen those “tap here for power” signs whilst taking part in a race, but what if that “power” wasn’t coming from a cardboard sign but the belly of a cute doggy? Yes, you did read that correctly. At a recent 10k in New Orleans, corgi Max was on the sidelines with his owner but began to get tired. His owner picked him up and runners just couldn’t resist stopping by to give Max a belly rub. Personally, I’d love a puppy or kitten petting station in a race. That would DEFINITELY give me a boost!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

Week In Review – A Miraculous Recovery!

When you run a marathon on the Inverse Taper (i.e. fairly last-minute longer runs and no taper to speak of) you have to expect to feel pretty sore and tired for a few days afterwards. I was certainly tired last Sunday and my knees had decided that bending wasn’t something they particularly wanted to do, but on Monday I felt great –  I could even walk down stairs like a normal person! I think I probably spent the day still high on the endorphins of the day before, but the speedy recovery in my legs is something I still can’t quite get my head around. I can only assume it’s the product of running one extra day in the week since late October and doing so many parkrun sandwiches the day before my longer runs. I must be more accustomed to running on tired legs and presumably adapted accordingly.

That said, I still know to take time off after a marathon, no matter how tempting it is to get back out there again. My body has taken on a big challenge and there will always be unseen damage and fatigue that needs time to return to normal. So this past week has been a recovery week – minimal activity and lots of food. Sounds pretty good!

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – sports massage
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – volunteering at parkrun
Sunday – rest

I took my medal to work with me on Monday as I knew a couple of colleagues would want to see it, but with all my senior pupils on study leave I was having a pretty quiet day!

The best part of the day was a friend (who ran his first marathon last year) taking care of my needs by leaving the precise thing my body was craving waiting for me on my desk. Friend for life! (I was in the middle of marking some project work, hence the stickers!).

Although I was feeling good, I was really looking forward to yoga on Monday as I knew it would give me a chance to really stretch out my weary muscles. I fully excepted to take a few easier options during this class, so was surprised to find myself taking part as normal. Maybe McDonald’s, Chinese takeaway and beer is the secret recovery formula 😉

Both Tuesday and Wednesday I took as really restful days. My sister popped in on Tuesday evening to pick something up and we watched some of the elite race from the London marathon together while the kittens clambered about looking for treats (it’s ok, she remembered them this time after coming empty-handed last time!).

And I made sure to enter the ballot for next year. It would be a shame to break my streak of failed ballot entries now 😂

Similar scenes were repeated on Wednesday when my mum visited. The kittens were celebrating their first birthday and she had presents for them. Safe to say she got a little carried away!

And the kittens (are they still kittens if they are one?) had a lot of fun with the gift bag!

I then had my sports massage and my massage therapist was really surprised at how mobile I was and what good condition my legs were in. It was still good to have a massage as that also allows me to feel that there are no sore spots or indications that I should take a huge amount of time off. This time, everything felt good.

Thursday was my Ashtanga class and although I had felt good in Hatha on Monday, I knew that Ashtanga could feel a bit harder and had memories of finding some postures pretty tricky after my marathon last year. As it turned out, I managed just fine. The only issue I had was that my body just didn’t want to do a headstand – something I had suspected might be the case as my body was still dealing with the fatigue of a marathon and headstand demands quite a lot from the core. I got set up but just didn’t feel “right” and every time I tried to move into the posture I could feel that it just wasn’t happening. And to be honest, that’s fine. Someone else in the class noticed and said to me afterwards that I should have called the teacher over to get support with it, but I didn’t need to do a headstand on that particular occasion, I was quite happy resting in child’s pose until it was time to move on. I know I can do it and I know what my body has achieved lately. It can have a night off headstand!

But since I have been feeling so good, I made a decision to enter an upcoming race. Steve already entered this a while back but I was undecided what with being ill then deciding to run the marathon anyway. Had I been really sore, I probably wouldn’t have entered anything else right now, but the idea had planted itself in my mind so I took action.

It’s been a few years since I ran one of the Edinburgh races, so I’m actually looking forward to this and I think there are going to be lots of people around that I know so it should be a good day. It’s an early start but it means I’ll have a decent run in by mid-morning.

Friday was once more a rest day, but actually quite a busy day at work the way things worked out. Still, once I finished I knew I had a long weekend ahead and kicked it off with a nice dinner of fish and chips at the pub down the road. Look at the size of that fish!

Saturday was the first of two volunteer slots for me at parkrun. I volunteer as a pacer fairly regularly, but usually take a couple of other roles in the two weeks after a marathon so I know I’m doing my bit. I was timekeeper this time, but it was just one of those weeks where all sorts of things went a bit wrong. There was an alteration to our route due to some works taking place and a number of runners went wrong (it was still 5k though, phew!). I also missed some runners crossing the finish as they went behind me, outside of the funnel, and the other timer, while clocking more runners than me, was also “behind” the number of tokens that went out. It will forever be a mystery how that happened as usually I’m ok with timekeeping, so well done to the RD who managed to sort it all out and process the results after that! In all the carry on I completely forgot to take any photos, but I do have one of me in my nice new leggings – hipster kittens. Why not!

Usually on the Sunday after a marathon Steve and I head out for a big cooked breakfast in celebration of our efforts, but this time we postponed by a week as my sister invited me to join her and her friends for “Disney Day”. They had planned a day of Disney games, chat and vlog watching – mouse ears compulsory – and some food. It sounded pretty good and with no running to do and a Monday holiday the next day, I decided to join her. I may have got a little carried away in my outfit haha!

We started with Disney Trivial Pursuit, drank tea made in a Mrs Potts teapot (I want one!) and served in one of the Disney/Starbucks mugs. A couple of Linsey’s friends also made Mickey-shaped treats for us to enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also played a new game called Villainous. It was a kind of strategy game where you place as a Disney villain and have your own objective to meet whilst also trying to thwart your opponent. It took a lot of checking the instructions and a YouTube video to get us stated, but the others definitely picked it up faster than me as I’m just not used to games like this. I still enjoyed it though and I would play it again now I have a better idea of what it’s all about. In case you’re interested, I played as Jafar (I’m not really a villains kind of girl, but Jafar is pretty cool).

By the time I got home (we were in Edinburgh) it was time for my bath and I decided to stick with the theme of the day by watching a couple of Disney vlogs while I soaked in the tub and enjoyed a glass of red wine. Bliss!

Overall a great week to rest and recharge, but I’m now itching to get back to running and will probably try a couple of easy runs in the week ahead.

Do you like board games?
Who’s your favourite Disney villain?

Friday Finds – 3rd May

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

Ooh it’s Friday and for many it’s the start of a long weekend. Perfect! It’s going to be a rather different weekend for me than last week as I’m having a little break from running to allow my body to recover post-marathon. It was really strange to miss the live coverage of the London marathon on Sunday, but I’ve since caught up on the elite races and actually have coverage playing as I write this (*edit – just this minute spotted Anna McNuff running over Tower Bridge!*). Given my current obsession interest in marathons, you won’t be surprised that this week I want to include some of the big stories to come out of the event.

Let’s start with the elite races and the amazing Eliud Kipchoge. What’s not to like about that guy? A fantastic runner with a smooth, relaxed style and always comes across so well in interviews. I can’t wait to see what he does next.

In the women’s race, Brigid Kosgei ran a great race, but it was Hayley Carruthers who really stopped our hearts as she took a tumble right before the finish line and crawled over to snag a PB! Thankfully she was ok but it brought her to my attention as an elite athlete also working a full time job (which she was back at the very next day). I do love her tenacity!

It was a record-breaking year what with a new course record, a record number of participants and the highest number of female finishers ever. There was even a new Scottish record for Callum Hawkins – go Callum! I always love all the totally random Guinness World Record attempts and 38 of 78 attempts were successful. Here’s the complete rundown:

Unfortunately there has, in recent days, been a more negative story emerge from the day after an official pacer discussed her experience of running behind the cleanup crew. While I do understand that organisers must get roads open within agreed times, if the event is going to be open to runners of every pace then appropriate provision has to be made to ensure they still have access to on-course support and are kept safe. I’m not going to comment too much on it while it is being investigated, but it is disappointing to hear and I hope that action is taken to ensure that this can’t happen again.

And finally, for the second time this year I’m featuring Lukas Bates, the runner who found the strong winds at the London Landmarks half marathon rather challenging. This time he made it to the finish line ok, but then found the finish gantry a little too low for his costume! And the story didn’t end there as the infamous costume later went missing and, to the best of my knowledge, is still to be returned. That’s quite the story to tell the grandkids one day!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

PS here’s a little bonus with some cool London marathon stats. You know I love a good running stat!

Friday Finds – 26th April

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

Hurrah for Friday! That means I’ve successfully navigated my way through the first week of the new school term and we’ve reached the weekend that a certain “fun run” takes place in that fancy London 😂. With all eyes on the capital this weekend to see what unfolds in the elite races and how the masses can tug at our heartstrings, it won’t surprise you to find that I have a number of London-related finds this week.

But first, one last story to come out of the recent Boston marathon. Elite runner Sarah Crouch started the race hoping a fast time would earn her a spot in the US Olympic trials, however it later came to light that she knowingly raced with a stress reaction which then developed into a fracture. Part of me understands why she would make this choice, but I think the more experience I have of running, the less likely I am to take a risk like that myself (although a spot in the Olympic team isn’t exactly up for grabs for me!). What are your thoughts?

Turning our attention to London, the one to watch is definitely current world record holder Eliud Kipchoge. The more I read about Kipchoge, the more of a fan I become and I enjoyed this piece from the BBC which delves a little deeper into what makes him tick.

Of course British interest will be directed towards Sir Mo Farah who has, unfortunately, courted some controversy in recent days. I don’t want to get into that, but I did come across this story which is a little more fun. Sir Mo joked around at the London marathon expo this week, running on a treadmill set at world record pace and falling off twice. If you haven’t seen it, take a look…

Over the years London has also become known for being one of the biggest charity fund-raising events in the year and for the number of world record attempts taking place each year. Lots of these will no doubt be profiled during coverage on Sunday morning, but this one caught my eye earlier this week: a couple aiming to set a new world record for the fastest marathon whilst handcuffed together! An ambitious and quirky idea, but I’m not sure it’s something I would want to try – that’s a lot of time training and running with another person and I kind of like to do my own thing. I mean, what if you got really fed up of each other??? I wish these two the very best of luck.

And finally, here in the UK the London marathon is often referred to  as “The Marathon” e.g. are you running the marathon this weekend? I’ve spent this week trying not to get too irritated with that question as I am running a marathon this weekend, just not that marathon and answering can get a bit convoluted. *sigh*. To remind me that there are plenty of other annoying things we runners can be asked, here’s Canadian Running with a list. What’s on yours?

Happy reading and good luck to all the marathoners this weekend – wherever you are running!
The Running Princess

Friday Finds – 12th April

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

I may not having been posting my usual updates recently, but I’ve still been saving up plenty of interesting things to share with you and now is as good a time as any to get back into my regular posting routine. And with spring marathon season really kicking off with Paris on Sunday, Boston on Monday and London coming up in a couple of weeks, this week’s finds are going to be loosely race-themed. Let’s get started…!

First up is everybody’s nightmare scenario: travelling to a race only to find that your luggage has gone missing (this is why I ALWAYS carry my race day kit in my hand luggage!). In many situations it can be reasonably easy to sort out some replacement kit, but not always, and that is exactly what happened to Peter Messervy-Gross who found himself at the start line of a 100 mile ultramarathon across a frozen Mongolian lake, without all the kit he had been carefully gathering in the months previously. But rather than miss out, Messervy-Gross took part in the race anyway…in his jeans and brogues! Now that’s tenacity!

Of interest here in the UK, the London marathon recently announced the steps they are to take to become more environmentally sustainable. Several new initiatives are to be trialled at this year’s event and I look forward to reading more about how successful these are. Anything that reduces the amount of waste – especially plastic bottles – is a fantastic step.

Meanwhile in the US, all eyes are on Monday’s Boston marathon where it looks like weather conditions may be quite tough again. This year the Grand Marshal for the event will be fan favourite Men Keflezighi. I’ve recently been reading his first book and am really beginning to see why everyone loves him so much. I’ll probably go on to read his new book at some point, so here’s an excerpt in which he reflects on his first experience of the the Boston marathon:

The other one to watch in Boston is, of course, 2018 winner (and another firm favourite!) Yuki Kawauchi who recently turned pro. He also recently raced a half marathon dressed as a ninja, proving once more why he is such an amazing character to follow. Yuki will be running again on Marathon Monday, but in what is very likely a marathon running first, the defending champion will also be running in the same race as his mother! I hope Mummy Kawauchi doesn’t keep her son waiting around too long at the finish!

And finally, we all know I enjoy stories which combine running with animals, so here’s the latest one: the dog that joined this year’s Marathon des Sables. How (p)awesome!

Happy reading,
The Running Princess