Week In Review – Fun, Sun and Holidays Done!

The second week of my spring break gave me a chance to get a bit more consistent training in as part of my inverse taper, as well have a bit more fun to set me up for the long term ahead. My training ended up as follows:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 10k + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday 17 miles

It was great to be off on Marathon Monday as it meant I was able to watch online coverage of the Boston marathon in the afternoon. If you haven’t caught it already, I suggest taking a look at the finish of the men’s race – so exciting! The timing worked out perfectly as not long after the elite races finished it was time for me to head out to my yoga class. It’s a term time class, but the new school term already started in the area where I live (they came off on holiday a week ahead of the school where I work, in a neighbouring area). I already felt pretty relaxed, but it was still good to get back on the mat and start a new block of classes.

Before heading out to the class my sister had sent me a message telling me about the fire at Notre Dame in Paris (I hadn’t seen any news since I had marathon coverage on) and when I arrived home I was shocked to see the extent of the fire and the impact on the cathedral’s infrastructure. Regular readers know that Paris is my favourite city and a very special place for me, so anything that affects Paris tends to touch my heart. I ended up watching rolling coverage of the terrible blaze for the rest of the evening as there seemed to be some doubts about whether or not the fire could be contained and the building saved, so as soon as they announced that it was under control I breathed a sigh of relief and headed off to bed.

With Paris still on my mind, I pulled one of my Paris marathon tops out of the wardrobe to wear for my run on Tuesday morning. It was a very pleasant 4 mile run on a staple route, but what really struck me was how good my legs felt after my 16 mile run on Sunday. I had commented to Steve that my legs had felt fine afterwards and through the Monday, so a run was a real test of how well they had recovered. I’ve no idea why this is – maybe the additional running that is now part of my average week has conditioned them a bit better – but even with the time I had off, my legs are recovering well from my longer runs. Whatever it is, I hope it lasts!

On Tuesday evening I went to the concert hall with my parents and sister as she had got us tickets for the production of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw which was on. I know it’s a book I’ve read, however there is a degree of ambiguity around some of the action (and it’s kinda creepy in places – I believe it was an inspiration for The Woman in Black) and I couldn’t remember it very well as it’s been so long since I read it. It was a good production, but it does irritate me when the ending is a little too open to interpretation.

I took Wednesday as a rest day and spent the morning relaxing at home. I think I might even have watched a film! In the afternoon Steve and I headed into town since we had another code for a free coffee in Caffè Nero and I had a few errands to run. The sun was out so I walked into town and Steve joined me a little later for coffee. It’s nice to do things like that when I’m on holiday.

Thursday morning was a bit cooler again, perfect for a run. I decided on another 10k since I had the luxury of time. Nothing special, just a fairly standard run and more time on my feet to keep things consistent. That’s the most important thing right now.

I popped out again in the afternoon as I had a couple of errands that needed me to have the car (bags of cat litter are a bit hefty to carry home!) and I came back to find the kittens like this:

I then had my Ashtanga class in the early evening. Despite having all the time in the world, I was nearly late thanks to some heavy traffic but I made it in time to get set up right before class started. Yet again, I felt I was strong in Wheel but it wasn’t a good Headstand week for me (it happens!) and I only held it for a couple of breaths before I felt I was losing my balance. No big deal, I know I can keep improving it with consistent practice.

Friday was my most exciting day of the week. It began in a fairly nondescript fashion with a workout down at Steve’s studio. We’re mainly working on arms and core right now so he has been giving me lots of exercises using the TRX, hand weights and my own body weight. He varies things each week so I never know quite what I’m going to get.

After that I had a bit of time to myself, then around 3:30pm we were in the car and en route to Glasgow to see TAKE THAT!!! We got the tickets back in about September so I had been really looking forward to another opportunity to see my favourite band.

We learned the hard way that parking out at the SSE Hydro is not a good idea as it takes ages to get out of there afterwards, so now we park closer to town and walk in – it probably doesn’t take any longer than sitting in the queue to leave the venue car park and at least we are moving. This time we had a booking for a meal in town so parked in one of the city centre car parks. I hadn’t been to the restaurant we were booked at before, but the menu looked ideal for what we wanted that night and we had found a deal to save a little off the bill.

Loads of really American-style dishes on the menu – mainly burgers and ribs and things like that – so I opted for a classic burger and it was really delicious.

Appetites satisfied, we walked along the River Clyde out towards the Hydro as I was keen to get there in time for the support act: blast from the past Ricky Astley (yes, I am old enough to remember him from back in the day!). It’s only about a half hour walk (if that) and on arrival I headed straight for the merchandise stand to get my tour T-shirt and programme before finding our seats in the auditorium.

Rick Astley is, of course, best known for the song which gave rise to this meme:

And of course he saved it for last, at which point everyone in the place leapt to their feet to sing and dance along. It was brilliant!

Take That were, as ever, amazing. Their shows are always so theatrical and this was no exception.

They even had ACTUAL LULU for Relight My Fire!

I loved it!

Post-show we joined the throngs walking back into town, headed to the car and drove home. A late night but totally worth it. It was only when I woke up the following morning that I realised that’s 2 years in a row I’ve seen Gary Barlow on the exact same date: last year to was his solo tour which visited Perth and this year as part of Take That. I’m perfectly happy to set aside the same date next year for another evening with Captain Barlow 😂

Needless to say, I was not feeling at my freshest on Saturday morning but I knew a run would soon wake me up. I opted for another parkrun sandwich and was delighted to find that the forecast of good weather for the Easter weekend was true – I even got my shorts out for the first time this year! To put that in context, on Tuesday evening it was pretty cold as we were returning to the car after the play and on my Thursday run I wore leggings and a lightweight long-sleeved top to beat the chill, so this warm weather was a big increase in temperature for us.

Despite my tired body and the warmer conditions, I actually ran fairly well and ended up less than 20 seconds slower than last week. I expected to be much slower than that! As an added bonus, one of the local churches has a running group which is at parkrun most weeks and it being Easter, they had a little post-run treat for all the runners.

I was a little concerned about it melting on the way home, but also couldn’t face eating chocolate and then running a couple of miles, so stuck it in my Spibelt (I looked like I had a hernia haha!) and hoped for the best. I can confirm that when I ate it later in the afternoon it was perfectly fine, having been out in the fridge as soon as I got home.

After our usual Saturday routine of breakfast with Steve’s brother and getting the food shopping, I decided the weather was too good to waste sitting inside (who knows when we’ll get this again – it is Scotland after all!) so slapped the sun cream on and spent the afternoon reading and dozing in the garden. It was lovely.

I also looked at the parkrun photos from the morning and discovered I had been upstaged by a gorilla. Not something you see every day!

Photo: Roy Mitchell for Perth parkrun Facebook page

Sunday was my last chance for an “inverse taper” run before the marathon next weekend and I had originally planned to run 18 miles, however the weather was still warm and this led to me making a mistake. I really should have set my alarm a bit earlier to be out quite sharp while it was still cool, but I’m just not in the habit of that right now and I ended up going out a bit too late. I also had this kit difficulty to contend with:

The temperature wasn’t too bad when I set off, but by the time I was coming to the later miles it was getting pretty warm and that was making the run harder than it needed to be. Conscious of the need for good recovery, I cut it short by a mile. Hopefully next Sunday is a bit cooler!

And after 17 miles, the rest of the day was pretty much devoted to eating all the food! We did go out to claim our free coffee from Fitness Rewards, but with the sun still shining it seemed like the perfect week for the first Frappuccino of the summer. Delicious!

The week ahead will mean a return to work, but I will have to be very conscious of getting plenty of rest to make sure I’m ready to run on Sunday. I fully expect it to be hard work and reckon I’ll be doing well if my time is in the 4:30s (I won’t be troubling my 4:05 of last year any time soon!!) but that’s ok, as sometimes it’s about completing rather than competing. This is one of those times.

How have you made the most of the weather this week?
What was the last concert you went to?

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An Update…

Have you missed me?

It’s been a couple of weeks now since I last posted on the blog and a few people have noticed that I’ve been quiet on social media, that I just kind of disappeared. Don’t worry, I’m absolutely fine but I was unwell for a couple of weeks so took a total step back in order to give myself a chance to recover and reset.

The last time I posted, I mentioned that my Sunday run had been a bit of a challenge, that I had been having a bit of an “off” day. As it turned out, that was the first sign that my body was fighting an infection and all its energy was going to that. As the day wore on, I felt worse and worse, leading me to take time off work ill and pay a visit to the doctor where I was given some antibiotics.

The infection was stubborn, putting up quite a fight against the antibiotics and it took some time before I began to feel any better. It was only when I did, that I began to realise how unwell I had been feeling. It was like a fog lifted from my brain and I began to have a bit more energy rather than sleeping for about 12 hours a day (pretty impressive for someone who wasn’t exactly moving far whilst awake – my transition to becoming a cat is coming along nicely haha!). Steve noticed that I was generally less sluggish and more focused – I had clearly been under the weather both physically and mentally and at last I was coming out the other side to feel more like my usual self.

My faithful companion was by my side the whole time!

While I was ill, I didn’t really have the desire or focus to do much beyond sleep, watch tv and catch up on some reading. I FINALLY watched Stranger Things then Steve and I got totally hooked on This Is Us. I began each day with a nice hot bath and read a bit of whatever book I had on the go at the time – I went through 2 or 3 fairly fast-paced thrillers which didn’t require me to think much. I got hopelessly lost down a YouTube rabbit hole of Disney Parks videos thanks to a link my sister sent me. And I napped like a champion!

On the flip side, I missed work, yoga classes, a trip to the theatre, a nail appointment and, of course, running while I was glued to my comfortable chair cosied in with a hot water bottle and feeling rotten. I didn’t post anything on social media, I didn’t summon the brain power for any blog posts, heck I only left the house to go to the doctor and to get some food shopping with Steve! I felt like the world was still turning but I had stepped off for a moment…and actually that was just what I needed.

Now, with the illness behind me, I feel so much better. It’s the school holidays but I’ve been in to tidy up my classroom, catch up on what my classes were doing in my absence (you can never be sure how much of the work you send in will be done when you’re not there!) and go through my emails. I’ve sorted out a few bits and pieces around the house, I’ve started some daily yoga at home and, more importantly, started to run again. I feel like myself again and have learned a valuable lesson about looking after myself more. It was a busy term and I know I prioritised my pupils’ needs over my own at some crucial points, leaving me run down and open to illness. Not a mistake I plan to repeat!

So hopefully normal service can resume, with my regular posts and regular training routine. More importantly, I can now enjoy my spring break, something I wasn’t so sure was going to happen not so long ago. I might even leave the house a bit more…!

Have you seen “Stranger Things” and/or “This Is Us”?
What TV show should I watch next?

Week In Review – Finding Some Form?

Hola! As I write this the wind is whipping up again outside for what will no doubt turn into another storm and thanks to the current political storms, the country looks like it may very well implode in the the coming days as everything unravels around us. So what else is there to do but keep on training and hope the endorphins keep me sufficiently balanced to deal with it all! Here’s how the past week looked:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – sports massage
Thursday – form drills + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun open sandwich
Sunday – 14 miles with every 3rd mile faster

For the first time in what feels like ages, I actually did everything as planned, without any tweaks or changes. Go me! I’ve been trying to fit a little more yoga into my week again with some home practice, but I got the week started with my Monday Hatha class (only one more to go this term 😔). Still the best thing in an otherwise long Monday – especially at this time of year!

Despite wanting to stay in my bed forever, I am still managing to get up for my early runs and definitely noticing more signs of daylight when I’m out. Soon I think I’ll be able to ditch my hi-viz and head out into a gloriously light morning, I think that will make all the difference as I already feel so good for finishing with a bit of light around. This was my standard 4 mile recovery run and although my legs were feeling a little heavy, I did feel better and better as the run went on, finishing with a glorious Royal Flush Negative Split (which of course had nothing to do with the fact that my route goes mostly uphill for the first half and then mostly downhill for the second half!).

I did some home yoga that evening and then squeezed in another yoga session on Wednesday after work before heading off to my sports massage. Thanks to a variety of unfortunate circumstances, this had been postponed a couple of times and I was really feeling like I needed my massage as it’s such a staple of my recovery routine. I was certain my legs would feel refreshed afterwards as they have been a little weary.

I got a chance to test this out on Thursday morning with my form drills. My legs were probably not as fresh feeling as I had hoped, but I did feel that the massage had made a difference and completed my set of form drills well – even if my warm up felt like hard work as the wind was being funnelled right down the road I was running up! Fortunately once I turned off that road I was a bit more sheltered and immediately felt better.

After missing my Ashtanga class last week I made a real point of getting away from work in good time so I could get to class this week. I find I really am relying on yoga to help balance both my body and my mind so missing out is not ideal. Probably as a result of recent circumstances and the way I have trained this year, I noticed that my arms did not feel as strong as I would like when in Wheel. Despite that, I still did one of the best headstands I’ve done in ages so it can’t be all bad. It was a good class and it did make me feel calmer and ready to head into the last working day of the week.

Because of my observations about the strength and toning in my arms, I requested an arm workout when I went to the studio for my PT session on Friday. Steve dutifully came up with a circuit that used weights, TRX and my own body weight to work my arms in various ways (and my core!) and this is probably something I need to prioritise a bit more moving forward. I suspect the fact that I have been doing a bit less yoga up until now has probably played a part in this as well so it gives me a target not specifically related to running, but which will be of benefit to my running, to work on through the coming weeks as summer approaches.

Steve had an early client again on Saturday morning so I sent him off with an extra top for me to put on after parkrun. His brother was away for the weekend so we had decided to return to the “parkrun cafe” after our run and although the weather was so much better than last weekend, I knew I would still want an extra top to put on. Sending my “luggage” with Steve meant I was free to run down without having to figure out a way to carry extra stuff with me. I quite enjoyed the run as the sun was out, it felt warmer than the forecast had suggested and I found myself speaking with someone else on their way to parkrun whilst I was waiting to get across a busy junction. It’s so nice that parkrun makes us feel like we can talk to random strangers on the street without coming across as weirdos!

Photo credit: Roy Mitchell

Parkrun itself was really good. After some positive performances recently on our winter route (and in tough conditions) I wanted to try and get a measure of where I am. We were back on the main route and I set off running quite hard. I did slow up a little on the middle mile as that was initially into a headwind then over the grass, which is still a little soft, but I maintained a consistent effort and was thrilled to finish with my first sub-24 in ages and fastest time of the year. My 23:49 is actually fairly comparable to where I was last year and was probably just the confidence boost I needed as I still have a niggling doubt about how much training I have done this year when it comes to distance and overall fitness. I really do need to put more faith in the process right now – after all, I’ve completed marathons on far less than I’ve done to date!

Photo credit: Roy Mitchell

This week we were in the cafe earlier and it was packed with parkrunners. It got me wondering what other people think when around 10am the place is suddenly filled with sweaty, smelly (and sometimes muddy) runners all looking for coffee and hot filled rolls. The staff don’t seem bothered at all and are probably pleased to have so much regular custom!

The rest of Saturday was fairly restful. I read my book, had a nap and made a real point of relaxing. I still have two weeks of this term to go and it’s feeling like a real effort right now so rest needs to be a priority.

After a good sleep with no alarm, I was up and ready to run my 14 miles – and this time I actually did the “every 3rd mile faster” part. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this run. Physically, it went well and I’m happy with my splits; mentally I just wasn’t in it this time. It was one of those runs that I just didn’t feel like I wanted to do and didn’t enjoy it as much. There was no good reason for it, I just seem to have had a bit of an “off” week. Maybe because I’m finally moving the miles on; maybe because I’m worried about getting enough Big Runs in before race day; or maybe just because I’m feeling a bit done right now and in need of my holiday. Whatever it was, I still completed the miles so can use this one as mental training to draw on in the inevitable tough times on race day – especially since the last 4 miles were straight into a headwind so fierce I actually managed to kick myself TWICE as the wind blew me sideways mid-stride! It’s been a long time since I was so pleased to finish my long run – I even reached the distance before reaching my front door and stopped my watch there and then to walk the last couple of hundred yards home. I guess every training cycle has its ups and downs and this hasn’t been my best all things considered. All I can say is onwards and upwards!

What are your strategies to keep going during tough runs?
What is your next event?

The Year Of Me!!! – December Update And Final Thoughts

And that’s a wrap! 2018 has come to an end and with it The Year of Me!!! For the most part it’s been an amazing year with lots of fun and adventures. I also think I did a pretty good job with my goals and have added lots of value to my life. Here’s one final check-in with how things went.

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
If you’ve been following along then you know I completed this one at the end of September and have since been maintaining my consistency to see how many miles I could run. In November I passed my highest yearly mileage ever, to guarantee a number in the 800s for the first time ever. And that final total? 837 miles. I’m feeling pretty pleased with that.

2.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
I love my yoga, but had somehow found that in the latter part of the year I was managing 4 sessions easily and not always converting that to a 5th. Throughout December I made a conscious effort to make sure there were 5 yoga sessions each week, reminding myself that just 5 minutes was all it took, so returned often to one of my favourite bedtime sequences. It was great to take that time and really helped me wind down before bed.

3.Read at least 30 books
Another one which was completed in September, but the reading didn’t stop there. My involvement in some online/social media reading groups this year has really helped me to find more time to read and as a result I ended up with 44 books read this year, an average of over 3 books per month (and with the last one finished on Hogmanay!). I’m thrilled with that and will be settting myself a bigger target for my Goodreads challenge in 2019.

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
One of my favourite goals since I love my bed! The biggest difficulty here was that I tend to be a natural night owl, but the decision to switch my runs from the evening to the morning after the October break made a big difference to that and I found myself coping much better with mornings. Don’t get me worng, I’d still rather stay in my bed longer, but the morning runs have created more time in the evenings which means I can get to bed early without feeling like I’ve barely had a moment to myself. I’ll definitely be continuing with this one!

5.Watch at least one Ted/Ted X talk per week
This one was put well and truly back on track with my decision to make this the focus of a 100 day challenge I began in September:100 TED talks in 100 days. I didn’t quite manage one per day, but I did watch 100 in 100 days and it was brilliant! Hopefully that has started a habit of delving into my watchlist more regularly as there is so much great content in there and I feel like I learned a lot of interesting things.

6.Listen to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
Another of my favourites as I have become such a podcast addict. These days I’m probably listening to 1 or 2 per day (more if I’m out for a long run or doing household chores) and I just love it. Podcasts have been in my life for a while now and are definitely here to stay!

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
Weirdly, I found this one quite hard throughout the year, which I wasn’t expecting. I thought it would be good to respond to the prompts but choosing them often took longer than I expected so they were often towards the end of the month. Somehow I didn’t quite get to it in December but I think that was because I didn’t find a prompt I was desperate to respond to. It was an interesting goal when it came to posting a little more often, but I think I found it more of a bind than an inspiration.

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
This one has fluctuated throughout the year but overall I think I have cut down on the amount of mindless scrolling I do (which probably helped to create all that reading time!). December is maybe a little different as I like sharing festive activities but I try now to share my post then put my phone away again so as not to get caught up in other things. The weekly report I now get from my phone is pretty interesting and I’ll be continuing to keep an eye on that to make sure I don’t slip back into bad habits as more and more I find it important to be present rather than distracted by trivialities on a screen.

 

Overall, I have to be pleased with my progress. It would have been unrealistic to expect to be “perfect” in everything I chose, but I also chose goals that made me focus on a process rather than an outcome. Yes, I had tangible goals in my running mileage and reading, but to get there I had to enjoy several months of running and I got to sit down and get lost in lots of good books. Neither of these could ever be negative experiences for me. Now it’s all about maintaining some of the positive habits I created, but without the pressure of checking up on myself each month. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, I wish you all the very best for the year ahead.

How did you get on with your goals in 2018?
What is the most important thing you learned this year?

The Year Of Me!!! – November Update

11 months down and just 1 to go. That means it’s time for my monthly check in with my 2018 goals in The Year of Me!!!

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
Since the end of September I’ve had this one wrapped up so now it’s really just about maintaining consistency as I build a solid base for marathon training. I’m already at my highest annual mileage ever and thanks to another strong month, it’s looking likely that my final total will be 800+!

2.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
I love yoga and really want to have a regular home practice to complement my 2 weekly classes, but I’m consistently finding I’m coming in at 4 times per week rather than 5 right now. Certainly, it’s not the biggest problem in the world to have, but I would like to get this one back on track for December.

3.Read at least 30 books
Another one that I already completed. I added a further 2 books to my total this month so am now at 37. Obviously, I’d now love that to be a nice round 40 by the end of the year.

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
The change to my routine to encompass early runs has definitely helped with this one. Now that I’m getting up earlier a couple of times a week I’m much more conscious of making sure I get to bed sharp. And now that I’m several weeks into a buy term, I am noticing that my fatigue levels are lower than before so the new routine seems to be suiting me so far.

5.Watch at least one Ted/Ted X talk per week
Since beginning a 100 day challenge to watch 100 TED talks, this one has been well on track. I’m not necessarily managing one a day, but I will watch 100 within the time frame and the end of November saw me at 82 TED talks since mid-September.

6.Listen to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
One of my favourite goals. To be honest, I don’t even think about how many I’m listening to any more as I just love keeping up with my favourites and listen to at least one show per day, sometimes a little of a second. I’m now totally up to date with the ones I listen to regularly and have slotted in a few past episodes of ones I dip into form time to time.

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
Back to being last minute, this month I responded to the photo prompt Favourite Place.

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
I’m really noticing an improvement here. During the week I only really have time to look at my phone in the evening and am conscious of setting it aside when I’m doing something else like watching TV. I do look at it a bit more at weekends, but my screen reports from Apple suggest I’m not overdoing it. Yes, I enjoy some aspects of social media, but it’s refreshing not to feel tied to looking at things all the time.

Are you on track with your goals for the year?
What can you do in the remaining weeks of the year to help you achieve a goal?

The Year Of Me!!! – October Update

I actually can’t believe it’s the end of October. It barely seems 5 minutes ago that I was preparing for the Stirling marathon, and even less time since I was sweltering in the summer heatwave, yet somehow we’re now down to the last couple of months of the year. Time to check in once more and see how I’m doing with my goals for The Year of Me.

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
I achieved this one at the end of September and am now simply curious to see my end of year mileage total. 2017 was my highest to date at 752 miles. Will it be higher or lower?
I did submit my completion of the 1000km to the virtual “race” I had committed to and received my medal last week. It’s pretty cool!

Untitled2.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
This one had been falling a little short, but I think I’ve got it back on track. It was pretty easy to fit on lots of yoga at the start of the month when it was the school holidays but not always so easy during term time, so I have been turning fairly often to a short bedtime sequence that I enjoy. As I settle into the new term I’ll hopefully find more time for some longer sequences, especially now I’ve changed some of my training routines.

3.Read at least 30 books
Again, I achieved this one in September and am on course for a “record breaking” reading year. I’m currently at 35 books read with plenty of year still left.

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
I didn’t worry so much about this one during the school holidays as I don’t have to get up so early, but was still in bed just after 10. Now that I’m back in the work routine I have been trying hard to get plenty of rest, particularly ahead of my early runs, and I do think I’m getting a decent amount of rest right now.

5.Watch at least one Ted/Ted X talk per week
I’m still taking part in my 100 day challenge to watch a Ted talk per day and although there have been a couple of days when I missed out due to other commitments, I have always made sure to catch up so whatever happens I will watch 100 talks in 100 days and more than fulfill this challenge. It’s so interesting to see what’s out there and I’m really enjoying working my way through my watchlist.

6.Listen to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
Still doing well with this one. It boils down to a podcast per day (I usually listen to one on my journey home from work) and an extra at some point. On some days I can manage two per day and in the holidays I spent a couple of days reorganising all my cupboards and drawers so probably listened to about 8 per day!

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
I was, for once, super prepared this time and responded to the prompt Costume.

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
I think I have this one back on track most of the time. I’m actually really enjoying the new “Screen Time” feature in iOS12 as. I get a weekly report on how often I’m looking at my phone as well as a breakdown of where that time is going e.g. if I’m reading news articles/blog posts or simply wasting time in the infinite scroll rabbit hole of social media. Definitely a useful feature to have and I think it will help me to think a bit more carefully about what I’m doing with my phone.

Have you achieved any of your goals for the year?
Are any of your goals turning out to be more challenging than you expected?

Week In Review – Always Have a Plan B…!

The first week of my October break presented an opportunity to press reset and get caught up on a few things. Yes, it would have been nice to go away somewhere, but on this occasion it was good to be at home. With a half marathon to run at the weekend, I took the chance to mix up a bit of training with some decent rest:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 5 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – half marathon

Start as you mean to go on, I say. I don’t generally like to sleep in (although obviously don’t set my alarm for as early as a school day!) but it is good to have a lazy start to the day and I decided I wanted to spend the first week of my holiday getting back into a habit I had back during my Easter break. So when I awoke I headed for the kitchen to make a cup of tea which I took right back to bed to read for about an hour. The kittens quite liked this and after running around daft for a bit they settled down at my feet for a snooze. Bliss!

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Nothing better than a long lie with Gary!

I then spent some time on the afternoon on my “homework”. I’m studying this with my Advanced Higher class and felt in need of a re-watch of my favourite adaptation of my favourite novel. Such a hardship lol!

fullsizeoutput_28ccOn Tuesday I followed my tea and book in bed with a run – not totally lazy! I set myself up with a kind of “mini taper” into my race so headed out for 5 miles. It was nice to get out in daylight after early morning runs last week, and the weather wasn’t too bad either.

RAHqgPkQRIGW3ynzZZhW5AWhen I arrived home I could spy a red package through the glass and knew exactly what it would be – my annual subscription to the London marathon rejection magazine. At least the running jacket I got with it is pretty good.

zTGJBzEOSzWboebQdiEYVwGiven the numbers in the ballot I didn’t expect to get a place, but until that magazine arrives there is always a glimmer of hope that this might be the year. Still, with 7 rejections (and counting…) I know to have a Plan B in mind for what I’ll do when that inevitable “nope” arrives, and for 2019 I knew my Plan B would be to sign up for the Stirling marathon again. I really enjoyed it this year and liked how conveniently close to home it was, so by the time the day was done, this had happened:

fullsizeoutput_28cfWednesday was another rest day. I had a few errands in town so clocked up loads of steps walking there and back (after some time spent reading with my cup of tea, of course!). At least my mail was more pleasing as I got some new casual leggings – and got photobombed by the kittens when I tried to take a picture!

fullsizeoutput_28f8On Thursday I doubled up – run in the morning and Ashtanga yoga class in the evening. My self-styled “mini taper” called for a 4 mile run and this time it was even pleasant enough to break my shorts back out of hibernation. I do love it when I can still wear my shorts without freezing to death!

IMG_9861Yoga was, as always, great. I had been curious to see how I would get on with the headstand after my breakthrough last week – was it a one-off or could I actually manage the posture by myself? As it turned out, there was no need to be concerned as I once more moved into the headstand on my own. I didn’t hold it for as long, probably because  I rushed to straighten my legs out before I had my balance feeling as secure as last time, but now I know it wasn’t a fluke I’ll take more care to move into the posture more mindfully as I go forward.

Steve offered me a training session on Friday morning (at a time which still allowed me my “soft start” to the day with my book and tea!) so I headed over to the studio. I was reluctant to do anything that would make my legs feel heavy on the Sunday, so we used the TRX and Core Momentum Trainer to do some work on my arms and upper body instead. Somehow I neglected to take a picture during the session, but did manage to take a photo of the coffee I had afterwards. Not sure what that says about me haha!

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The new “cordusio”. I think I ordered it because I thought it was a funny word!

The rest of the day was about as busy as things get during school holidays. First I had my flu jab (definitely want to avoid getting the flu!) and then I had my nails done which meant a good chat with my friend who does my nails.

Saturday, as ever, began with parkrun. I’m not always good at taking it easy when it’s not pacer day, but I was determined not to overdo things and risk having weary legs for the following day. I started out at a fairly steady pace and allowed myself to push on a bit as the run went on (securing a nice Royal Flush Negative Split) but still coming in at a slower (for me) time of 25:44. I had thought averaging 8:20-8:30 pace overall would be ideal so that was perfect.

IMG_9884Steve’s brother was away on holiday, but the Steve and I still went for a post-run bacon croissant before getting the food shopping done (such Saturday glamour!).

5xGLC%9CReanCYiH2wKjugI actually felt a bit “off”, kind of like I was going to get a headache but without actually having a headache. Not sure if that makes any sense, but I could feel my body telling me to have a nap so once home I had some soup then settled down for a nap. I did feel a bit better after that, but decided to take it easy and spend the afternoon watching a film. Time to break out Beauty and the Beast, because sometimes only a Disney film will do.

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As the evening wore on I began to realise that the reason I felt “off” was because my upper back and shoulders were tight and this was travelling up my neck and into my head. I got Steve to work on it a bit and began to feel a lot better. Good thing too since we were getting up early for our race!

We had decided not to stay in Aviemore the night before, and instead get up early to make the journey north into the Highlands – only about an hour and a half away and the roads are pretty clear at that time of day. We were away before 6:30am and got into Aviemore just before 8. I’ll write a separate post with all the details of the race, but it was all pretty familiar even though I hadn’t been up there since 2013.

This was my last serious race of the year. Anything else from this point will be more in the “fun run” category, so I also made it the last hurrah for my fundraising efforts. I teamed my Cats Protection running vest with paw print leggings (actual running leggings) and a hairband with ears (an actual running headband). It got me a fair amount of shouts and made a few people smile along the route!

DrgrJJvKTpCFm6VK7VXaegPost-race we tidied ourselves up a bit and on the way home called in to see a lovely couple Steve trains. They are in their 70s and so fit! I had never met them before but they had insisted we call in on our way home for a cup of tea, and despite being “race fresh” they were perfectly happy to sit and chat over some refreshments for a while and were so kind, waving away my apologies for not being at my most presentable! It was a nice way to break up the journey home and the cups of tea and choccy biccies were definitely appreciated!

The remainder of the day was pretty chilled and I headed to bed feeling really tired from the combination of an early start, racing a half marathon and having the long-ish car journeys as well.

When was the last time you needed to call on Plan B?
Do you ever theme your running outfits?
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