Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 86

This was a tiring week. I think being busy at work was beginning to catch up with me so by the end of the week I was really thinking about dropping my running mileage back a little in order to feel a bit more rested. As you can see, with lots of things going on my yoga really suffered so I will have to make sure I get back in the habit of regular practice again.

Monday – 4.25 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles
Friday – 4 miles
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 7.75 miles

Monday morning was quite chilly so a more “wintery” top was in order (with my shorts of course – it wasn’t THAT cold haha!). I was feeling sleepy when my alarm went off and it was tempting to stay cuddled up in bed, especially since one of the cats was pressed in against my side, but I got myself up and out to get my brain in gear for the day ahead.

As it turns out, I was so glad of the run as I had one of “those days” where everything felt a bit difficult. I was so pleased to get home and have my yoga class. My brain felt fried and I really needed the time to unwind and reset.

I slept well that night and although it’s definitely harder to get up on these dark mornings, I was feeling much more able to get on with my day. I listened to the latest Together Run, which was a bit different this time as Tina took part in a run ahead of the New York marathon and changed things up by speaking to other runners throughout it. It was fun to hear from the people she approached and learn about their stories. It was much milder so I left the long sleeved tops in the drawer and opted for a T-shirt again.

I also had a much better work day and arrived home just as Steve was heading off to see a client. I quite like that little bit of quiet time just when I get home on a Tuesday as I can get a few bits and pieces organised, do some yoga and relax for a short while before dinner.

On Wednesday morning I had time to run a similar route to the Tuesday morning. Typically of this time of year, the weather changed once again so I needed a long sleeved top and my gloves. Sometimes I wish it could be a bit more consistent – much easier to lay out kit the night before! I still enjoyed being out and listening to a podcast. I’ve been a bit behind in my listening and have actually started listening to them at 1 1/4 speed after accidentally speeding the player up the other day. I’m really loving being able to get the same content but fit more listening into the same time.

I was at work a bit later then arrived home to a living room workout with the resistance band and some press ups. I then managed a short yoga video before dinner. We had begun watching psychological thriller Angela Black so went on with that. I did read a little bit before bed as well, but my eyes were just so heavy so off to bed I went.

I woke up on Thursday to find I had a cat pressed against me again – I think he had been at my feet during the night too. Despite wanting to stay put, I got myself up and ready to head out. It was too cool for a T-shirt, but at least the gloves could stay at home.

I headed towards town as I wanted to loop around the bridges – the lights on the bridge were red for Remembrance Day.

And on the way back home the sky was looking beautiful.

I then embarked on an absolutely mad day. Between meetings, problem solving and the small matter of teaching all my classes, I just didn’t have a moment to myself and even at the end of the day I was in a meeting until the time came for me to leave so I could make it to the garage in time to drop my car off for its service the following day. By the time I got home my head was spinning so when Steve headed off to see his client I decided to sit down and relax for a while. I had a cup of tea, watched tv and caught up with myself a bit. It was so good to stop! To make me smile, Sooty decided to “hide” in the box from my recent delivery 😹

The Friday was an inservice (inset) day. We had the option to work from home but I wanted to take advantage of the emptier building to get a couple of things tidied up in my classroom so went in for the morning session. This meant a run at my normal time and although the forecast was for rain, it actually wasn’t as wet as I had expected.

I headed home during lunchtime so I could take part in the afternoon session from home. The kitties weren’t expecting me, but Sooty quickly settled back into the “working from home” routine (i.e. sitting on the windowsill beside me waiting to see what meetings she could infiltrate!).

It was also Disney Plus Day and I was keen to watch some of the new content that was available from that day, starting with a Friday night movie:

I really enjoyed it so if you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it.

Once again, a busy Saturday but it started with the important business of parkrun (and day 600 of my run streak!). The ground was a bit squelchy so not a day for a fast time, but I was happy with my finish as I was able to speed up on the path.

After some food I was off into town to go to the hairdresser and run a few errands, so I was glad to get home and relax. I was really keen to watch these Olaf shorts and thy didn’t disappoint. I think the Tangled one was my favourite – worth it for Olaf doing the Fynn Rider smoulder!

We then celebrated my 600th consecutive day of running by breaking out the new toy I picked up the weekend before:

Not quite the Mickey waffles you get in the US Disney parks, but a decent substitute and well worth the £22 I spent.

Yes, I have switched to my festive Mickey & Minnie!

It being a celebratory kind of day, I enjoyed a glass of prosecco in my bath, then Steve and I shared these new M&Ms my sister had told me about. They were delicious!

On the Sunday I began my day finishing up my book in bed. I have to say, this one is not the cheeriest of books – in fact it layers on the misery throughout – but it is absolutely compelling. If you’re ok with the sometimes upsetting content, I definitely recommend it.

I was in need of an easier run so even though I felt strong, I kept the mileage down and just enjoyed being out there. I was conscious of how tired I had felt during the week so wanted to go easy on myself.

Then in the afternoon we went to see my mum and dad for a bit.

I rounded off my week with another bath, accompanied by this fab wee candle. For me, it smells like Christmas! Not long now!

Are you still working from home are back in your workplace?
What are conditions are your local parkrun(s) like over the winter months?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 84

And just like that, the October break was over and we were back to school. With everything the past couple of years has thrown at us it never feels like any break is long enough right now (and I say that knowing how fortunate we are in the amount of holiday time we have) and I know there is a busy term ahead. I’m going to have to work hard to continue fitting in my workouts and evening yoga as the temptation will be there to come home and do nothing else. Things started reasonably well:

Monday – 3.5 miles + home yoga
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10k

Unsurprisingly, the early alarm call was a bit of a shock to the system but I had remembered to lay my kit out the night before to make it easier to get out the door quickly. I knew I wanted to have a more “normal” week of running, but also didn’t want to launch right back into a 40 mile week after a couple of lower mileage weeks (and minor hip issue) so made a plan to keep each run just slightly shorter than previous weeks. For this day, 3.5 miles was perfect and everything felt good.

Work was fine and it was good to catch up with my colleagues. Still a lot ahead this term though. When I arrived home Steve was heading out to see a client so I got myself sorted out and did a little yoga before catching up on a couple of things.

Funnily enough, returning to work meant I slept well that night and actually felt reasonably fresh on the Tuesday morning. What with my time away then taking it easy on my hip, I had fallen behind with my Together Run podcast episodes so wanted to catch up a bit. I’m really noticing how dark it is in the morning now, but in this episode we focused on gratitude and I realised that I am grateful to be able to get out and run each morning. I may feel a little differently when the weather really begins to bite, but right now I’m still out there in shorts and T-shirt most of the time.

It was a fairly busy day (aren’t they all?) and Steve was just heading out to see a client when I arrived home. I got organised and enjoyed a yoga video before getting dinner organised.

On Wednesday morning it was actually fairly mild for the time of year. I got dressed in my shorts and T-shirt and headed out to cover 5 miles. I must admit, I didn’t feel like there was much in the way of available pace in my legs, but I know from experience that this is pretty typical of returning to early runs after a break so I’m not too bothered by it. It’s more important to me to get the mental health benefits of running right now rather than being able to run fast and having a couple of weeks of lower mileage is making me appreciate being able to run a bit further/longer again.

Somehow I got caught up in a task at work and ended up leaving a bit later than I had meant to. It was a pretty miserable evening, but Steve was ready to “brighten” things up with a workout using the resistance band. I’m very much aware that I’ve not had so many workouts lately and there were points when my poor arm muscles were burning (I’m talking to you, triceps!). I made sure that my yoga video afterwards was not one that would involve too much weight bearing through my weary arms!

When I went to bed on Wednesday night I had expected a dry morning, but waking up on Thursday it soon became apparent that this had changed. I quickly grabbed my hat and gilet to add to my kit before heading off into the rain for another Together Run. I had planned to run down to the river to loop around the bridges and although I didn’t expect the greatest view, I stuck to my plan and was pleasantly surprised to find a reasonable view after all.

From there, I was flung into what is always my busiest work day of the week and there were one or two additional challenges this week which caused me to wonder if it was a full moon! Thankfully I was able to get away fairly sharp to get back for an appointment, but I was definitely pleased to hit my yoga mat for a quick practice when I got home. Even better, Steve experimented with a new approach to sticky toffee pudding. It’s my favourite dessert so I was more than happy to do some extensive taste testing haha!

I also had to pull together a last-minute outfit for Halloween dress up day at school the following day. It’s been planned since before the holidays, but there hadn’t been much chat about it amongst the staff until the Thursday and a few of us decided to at least give a nod to it in our Friday outfits. Funnily enough, I was fairly quickly able to rustle up a Disney-inspired number 😂

But before that, the small matter of a Friday morning run. The weather was better but with a chance of rain and I was glad I opted for my hat when there was a brief shower right when I set off. By the end of the run it felt like something had clicked into place and that “back to early running” sluggishness wasn’t so noticeable. Shame it waited until the end of the last early run of the week!

And then time to don my outfit and head to school. I quite enjoyed wearing it and everyone knew EXACTLY who I was!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anything involving non-uniform tends to cause a bit of restlessness in pupils so it was an interesting day, but once home there was another workout on the cards with the resistance band and some push ups on my weary arms. Then a little yoga before settling down for a relaxing evening catching up with some tv.

The Saturday was, of course, parkrun day. There had been a lot of rain so I was mulling over which shoes would be best when Steve let me know that there was some flooding on the course (ironically, the section that caused us to be on the alternative course prior to the Covid pause while the council conducted some drainage works was absolutely fine – the flooding was elsewhere in a low-lying section) so we were using our alternative course of two and a bit laps around the park.

But before setting off I finished up my book. This was one I was reading as part of the little social book group I’m in at work (inspired by Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club books I’m now referring to us as “The Thursday Book and Cake Club”!). I can highly recommend this one. It was written as a kind of chronicle of the 20th Century, but through the medium of fictional journals. The main character, who in many ways is not all that likeable, particularly in his youth, encounters so many important figures from the century – Iain Fleming, Pablo Picasso, Virginia Woolf and the Duke & Duchess of Windsor to name a few – that it is a fascinating read. Many parts are set abroad, including my beloved Paris, and all of this conspired to make me really love this book If you haven’t read it, add it to your list now!

And then, to parkrun. I probably ran down a little too quickly as I left slightly later than planned and definitely felt it during the run. Being on a completely paved route does tend to make me try to go a bit faster as there’s no grass or mud to slow things down and I was happy to come in around 24:13. Numbers were down, no doubt because of the poor weather and a lot of people would have assumed we would be running our normal route which includes a grass section, but that’s probably just as well when we were contained within the main park and more likely to meet other park users.

After my morning efforts I was glad of an easy afternoon, bath and evening of Strictly – what an A-MA-ZING Halloween special!

On Sunday morning the weather was pretty miserable again. I headed out for my run with no real plan of how much I wanted to do, but it soon became apparent that it was going to be about how long I was prepared to be soaking wet (and have cold hands). I was distracted by some things I had to do in the afternoon and just couldn’t get my head into the run. Perhaps if the weather had been nicer it would have made a difference, but I ended up deciding to finish after 10k. I was soaked through and pleased to find that Steve had left my dressing gown hanging on a hook by the front door so I could get out of my wet kit as soon as I got inside. You could have wrung it out and I think I was drier coming out of the shower than when I went in!

Once dried and fed we headed out to the car showroom. My current agreement was due to end soon and I needed to make arrangements for the next step – leaving it would be an expensive mistake as they would take a sizeable final payment from me! There’s a huge delay on new cars right now but I have a new one ordered, the payment schedule sorted out so I don’t have an unpleasant surprise and my current car booked in for its service/MOT since the delay means I’m hanging on to it about 6 months longer than planned. I hate having things like this taking up big chunks of my weekend, but I’m glad it’s all sorted now as it was stressing me out a bit.

After that (and getting the food shop done) I was able to relax a bit. I found a fun Disney filter on Instagram which made you look like one of the singing busts in The Haunted Mansion so gave it a go. Basically it was further confirmation (as if I needed it) of how much I look like my dad 😂

I was pleased to get to my bed that night after a busy day. I’m getting the sneaky suspicion that the next few weeks as we head towards Christmas could get pretty hectic!

If you had a Halloween costume this year, what was it?
Is the changing weather affecting your running?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 81

Final week of term! Just 5 work days standing between me and a break much more badly needed than usual for this time of year. But first, another week of running, yoga and workouts.

Monday – 4 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.65 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10k

As the week began I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was still mild enough for shorts and a T-shirt as I ran. Dark, but not consistently cold weather just yet. That said, it did feel pretty chilly at work with the windows open to keep the room ventilated and sadly no sign off the heating being on yet.

We had a meeting at the end of the day then I was home and straight in to “efficiency mode”. I had some tasks I wanted to get done and impressed myself by firing through them all before settling down for my Hatha yoga class. It felt good to have reached the mat with things accomplished.

The Tuesday morning, however, was colder. I needed a long sleeved top again and when I woke up and re-checked the weather, the temperature was a bit lower so I opted for my gloves to avoid cold, numb hands again. Definitely not cold enough to put the shorts away though!

The high point of the day, however, was the school heating coming on! It felt pretty chilly in the classroom and I was so happy when the heating came on to take the edge off.

I also found time while I ate lunch to finish up my book. I came across this one in a Kindle deal and actually really enjoyed the eccentric cast of characters.

Arriving home I had a few bits and bobs to do again then while Steve was out working I relaxed with some yoga and a little tv before dinner.

Wednesday is one of my favourite runs. Since I don’t have a class first period (so can arrive a little closer to the morning bell) I have been using this one to listen to the Running for Real Together Run podcasts. I really enjoyed listening to it once more and noticing the beautiful colours in the sky.

Of course Wednesday got us over the hump of the week and within touching distance of the holidays. I actually arrived home to find a delivery, something I thought would make a fun little project while I’m off:

I don’t think I’ve done any Lego since I was a child (and in my day it was pretty basic stuff) but I couldn’t resist this set marking the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, particularly since it was a smaller model (theoretically easier to build and much less expensive than those snazzy giant ones!). Watch this space to find out how it goes!

We had enough time for a workout in the living room with the resistance band before heading upstairs for some yoga.

Thursday was actually back to being fairly mild again so it was definitely a day for short sleeves. It was a little overcast but I still wanted to run down to the river and around the two bridges. I was so glad I did as when I photographed the views the cloud looked far more dramatic than it did to the naked eye!

I arrived home feeling pretty drained (Thursday is my busiest teaching day and I always feel like I’ve poured a lot of energy into it) so I’ll admit to feeling pleased that Steve was away seeing a client so I could do some gentle yoga and relax with a little tv before dinner.

Then finally it was Friday. I do have a full teaching commitment, but had hoped for a fairly easy day. Sadly this was not to be as a couple of unexpected events meant a lot of running around and sorting out for me, but I managed to leave with everything important ticked off my list and my sanity (relatively) intact.

The first thing I did was collapse into my comfy chair with a cup of tea, then once changed Steve took me through another quick resistance band workout before wrapping up my yoga for the week.

I already knew what my evening’s entertainment would be as I’d had my eye on this one for a while:

Yup, that’s The Muppets taking on one of my favourite Disney attractions. You could totally enjoy it on face value, but for fans of the ride there are so many nods to it that it really adds to the enjoyment. I loved it and may very well watch again while I’m off on holiday.

Saturday began a little earlier than planned thanks to hungry cats making absolutely sure we were awake well in advance of their breakfast time. But once they were taken care of I finished up another book whilst relaxing in bed. Book number 10 in my “book with the month in the title” challenge and this one was actually a book aimed at 9-12 year olds. I really loved it. The story is beautiful and the prose so lyrical. I highly recommend it either for you or the younger readers in your life.

Then it was time for parkrun. Steve set off ahead of me since he was RD for the day, and I made sure I was well enough attired for rain since the forecast was pretty clear. It must have been a day off for the parkrun weather fairies!

I had intended taking it a bit easier this time, but in the end I was only about 20 seconds slower than last week so really not that much of an easier pace! Oh well, I must have been feeling better than I realised. It did, however, pour so I was fairly soggy and set off home pretty soon after finishing so I could get dried off.

Once I was dry I opened up the package that had arrived just as I was heading out the door. I had ordered a “surprise package” from Lucy Locket Loves which cost £25 and guaranteed me two pairs of casual leggings (so everyday ones, not activewear ones) and some other bits and bobs. The value would be more than I paid, so it was really just a gamble as to the pattern on the leggings. I actually really like both pairs and was pleased with the extras: a drawstring bag with zip pocket, multiuse neck warmer and a sweetie.

I spent a good part of the afternoon getting a few things sorted out, then enjoyed a nice relaxing bath before Strictly Come Dancing. It was movie week and SO GOOD! It featured a dance from my all-time favourite movie (Back to the Future if you somehow didn’t know) as well as dances from a number of Disney properties. The standard of dancing is so high this year. It was only week 3 but some of the celebrities look like they are weeks and weeks in. I can’t wait for the rest of the series.

On Sunday I read in bed for a bit again, then got ready for a run. Steve was heading off to a race about an hour away and I wanted to take advantage of some time to myself to get organised, so actually went for a much shorter run than usual. Normally 10 miles, I opted for 10k instead (but did run much harder than I normally would on a Sunday). I actually felt pretty good, but knew I had a lot I wanted to get on with.

But by far the funniest thing was seeing what my garden looked like when I got back. Steve had brought the volunteer kit home from parkrun and was taking advantage of the better weather to dry it off:

No mistaking all those pink tops!

When Steve got back we headed out for the shopping and to fill my car up, then I tried to take a little time to relax for the remainder of the day before heralding to bed early.

Do you enjoy Muppet movies?
What’s your favourite day of the week to run?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 79

At this point we were deep into the new term: far enough in to be noticing how tired we were all getting, but not yet close enough to glimpse the October break! Head down and dig in time. Work aside, my running was consistent and there was some fun in store at the end of the week:

Monday – 4.1 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles
Wednesday – 5 miles
Thursday – 4.25 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 10 miles

Monday morning was chilly and damp. It was the strangest thing as by our house it was actually clear so I headed out in my short-sleeved top, but there was this one low cloud that was sitting right across the town. As I ran by the river my arms felt chilly and I was very aware of the moisture in the air. It did look beautiful, but I definitely felt the changing season as by the time I got home my hands were cold and numb, making any tasks involving fine motor skills pretty tricky until I warmed up!

Conditions were much better on the Tuesday morning. A solid 5 miles before work and still a bit of daylight for me at the end. But as the day wore on I realised I was feeling really tired so opted to head home a little sharper than normal to indulge in a quick nap. Sometimes it’s the only thing to do!

The Wednesday morning was a Together Run day. Sadly I had neglected to charge my Garmin the day before (chalk that one up to being so tired) and it died about half way round so I switched over to the Strava app instead. A run in two parts!

Wednesday was a pretty long day as we had a parents’ evening. We still can’t have these in the “traditional” format so instead we trialled using a video system to allow us to have conversations around progress. Although I was a little wary, I ended up really liking it as the system automatically pulls up each meeting and ends them on time so we can’t over-run. That was definitely a plus point!

Also part of my Wednesday was finishing up another book. This one is a YA novel and loads of my pupils have been reading it so a colleague’s daughter lent me her copy so I could give it a go. Although there were a couple of things that bothered me from an adult perspective, it was a great story and did accurately capture how teenagers would likely respond in a variety of situations.

Unsurprisingly, I felt pretty tired on the Thursday morning so went for a slightly shorter run than normal. I did have these beautiful views to soothe my soul though:

During the course of the day I was actually able to get my flu jab done at school. Teachers are on the priority list for these this year, and although I’ve had a flu jab every winter since I got the flu (a hideous experience I’m in no hurry to repeat) the good news for me was that this meant I didn’t have to pay to have it done privately this year. With this added to my Covid jabs, I’m doing everything I can to help make my immune system as robust as possible as we head into the winter.

But a combination of a vaccination plus a late work night on the Wednesday meant I was pretty exhausted so made a point of heading home pretty quickly at the end of the school day so I could give myself a bit of a break and recharge.

The Friday began with a bit of a rude awakening. I woke up hearing “voices” coming from somewhere downstairs. At first I thought maybe somebody outside, for instance a neighbour heading out really early, but moving onto the landing I knew it was coming from inside our house. Too loud for an intruder, but a confusing moment until Steve and I checked downstairs to find the tv had come on! I have absolutely no idea how this happened. Easy to blame a cat, but the remote control was in a pocket on the arm of a chair so maybe some kind of power surge that tripped the controls? Either way, it was a weird wake-up call and once we had gotten up, the cats thought it must be time to start the day!

Fortunately after that the day improved. It was a pretty windy morning but I got my run done and felt refreshed ready to start the day. I can tell you I was pretty relieved to reach the end of the working week given how tiring it had been!

When I got home I did manage to fit in my first (and only) workout of the week and it was nice enough to be in the garden to work with the TRX and ViPR. I’ll miss garden workouts when the changing weather forces us inside again.

The Saturday, however, had a bit of excitement to look forward to. Of course I was going to parkrun, but this time doing something a little different. One of my friends who was a training buddy way back when I did the London marathon (back before I started this blog!) was getting married the following Saturday. She is currently undergoing treatment and asked that rather than presents, donations were made to Macmillan, a charity I have supported extensively in the past. She then came up with the idea of running this parkrun in a wedding dress and creating a  whole “wedding party”. I was one of many bridesmaids and actually borrowed a dress from the blushing bride. I can tell you, I NEVER expected to run wearing a Monsoon evening dress!

The run itself I took pretty easy as I was sticking very much with the others running as part of this group. Probably a good thing as I’m not sure how well I would have been able to breathe if I tried to run faster! It may be my slowest parkrun time to date, but probably the most fun.

Once we were done with “wedding photos” we were all treated to a hot roll from a nearby cafe which we enjoyed al fresco to protect everyone (especially the bride) from potential germs.

After all that excitement, my Sunday run was much calmer. I set off to head for the woodland park but along the way I noticed what looked like swans on the river close to the opposite bank. I don’t think I’ve seen that before so stopped to watch for a moment.

It was really peaceful in the woodland park and I enjoyed my run through noticing the signs of autumn. I actually felt really strong on this run which was a surprise after feeling so tired all week, but I’m definitely not complaining about that!

So one more week done. It was a tough one, but I made it through.

What’s your most fun running memory?
Have you ever run an event in “regular” clothes?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 80

This was an interesting week for me. The October break was inching nearer (not quite quickly enough!), I had Disney on the brain as I was following all the news coming out of Walt Disney World for the 50th anniversary, and I really started to notice the changing season as some chillier days came along. Here’s how my fitness activities looked:

Monday – 4.1 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4.1 miles + living room  home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

The week began with a pouring wet Monday morning. As if Mondays weren’t miserable enough! Fortunately I realised in time so had my hat and a rainy day top on, but there’s no staying dry on a day like this. After a start like that, yoga from home that evening was definitely appealing.

The good news was that conditions were much better on the Tuesday. I actually noticed that despite the creeping end-of-term tiredness, I still felt strong while I was running. A bit strange, but I guess it’s my mind that’s feeling tired rather than my body.

Some real excitement at work as my new PC was joined by a nifty new monitor. Now I have the complete set!

On the Wednesday I headed out with the latest Together Run lined up to listen to. The skies were clear so it was pretty chilly and I needed a long sleeved top and my gloves! But in return I got the most beautiful views at the river.

During the course of the day I managed to finish my book. This is the sequel to the previous book I read. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it – sometimes it’s clear a writer is trying a bit too hard to capitalise on a success – but I thought it worked well as it kept some of the same characters and introduced a few new ones. Worth a go if you enjoy the first one.

When I got home I had to swing into action to get some chilli prepped ready for the slow cooker the following day, then time for some yoga to help me unwind.

I awoke on Thursday to find it was once again pouring. This led to me making the error of not wearing my gloves as I thought they would just get soaked, but by the time I got home my hands were so cold they had gone numb and my fine motor skills were pretty questionable!

I had an appointment after work so was away reasonably quickly then managed to fill my car up. This was at the height of the petrol “shortage” and I was a little worried about having to wait ages for the petrol I normally get (and needed), but as it turned out the petrol station was quiet. A couple of pumps were off, but I had no problem filling up. Phew!

The Friday morning was still a little drizzly, but far far better than the day before. This was the day Walt Disney World marked 5 years since opening and I was excited to catch up with vlogs from those fortunate enough to be there on the first official day of the celebrations. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t be too much longer before I can book a trip to Florida again 🤞

The Saturday was parkrun’s 17th birthday and I enjoyed my run except for one thing: spitting. To be honest, I think spitting is pretty gross at the best of times but with an airborne virus it’s downright inconsiderate and is clearly highlighted as a “no” on the parkrun Covid framework. Sadly I found myself running near to a couple of others who kept on spitting and eventually got so fed up of it that I resorted to using my “teacher voice” to give them a bit of a row (or as much of a row as I could manage whilst running fairly hard!). Normally I wouldn’t be likely to do something like this whilst running, but it was really bothering me so I felt it needed done.

In the afternoon I headed out again as the friend whose parkrun fundraiser I had participated in the week before was getting married and I wanted to go down to the venue to see her going in wearing her proper wedding dress (as opposed to the one she ran in the previous week!). It was so nice to see lots of others turn out to see her as well and she looked amazing.

Steve didn’t mind waiting to see her and her new husband come out again, but we knew we had about half an hour so I took the big step (for me) of sitting inside a cafe. I had planned to claim my free coffee from Vitality and get it to take away as usual, but it was pretty damp so I agreed to sit in for the first time since the pandemic began. We got seats completely out of the way and clear of anybody else and I actually only had my mask off long enough to eat the caramel shortbread Steve treated me to (I knew my coffee wouldn’t cool quickly enough so still got it in a takeaway cup to take with me). Just another baby step towards normality.

We actually timed things pretty well so were able to see the bride and groom coming back out of the venue and pose for some photos before heading off to celebrate. At this point we headed home and my sister popped round for a bit to sort out a few odds and ends.

On the Sunday I once more headed for the woodland park for my run, but didn’t stop for any pictures this time. I was feeling strong again and was enjoying powering through my run. I was on a mission to have a pretty big tidy and get the house dusted and vacuumed, so cutting out lots of stops really helped. I also wanted to change my bedding to this seasonal new option I had ordered:

With everything done I could relax a bit and get ready for the final week of term.

Would you have spoken up to the spitters?
How are you feeling about going to cafes and other public places now?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 78

Another week done! It was a pretty consistent week when it came to running, yoga and workouts. There was also some excitement as I ACTUALLY WENT SOMEWHERE at the end of the week. Wonders will never cease!

Monday – 4.1 miles + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.65 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4.1 miles + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

Monday came around once again! I actually slept really well as I had bought new pillows for our bed and they were soooooo comfy and squishy. I didn’t want to get up! However I really did have to so was soon changed and out the door for an easy run. I changed up my route slightly from the previous few Mondays as it’s a bit darker first thing now, but the upside to that was deciding to run by the waterfall. I always love how peaceful it is there early in the morning and the pre-sunrise sky looks quite dramatic in my pictures!

When I arrived home from work and got organised there was time for a quick living room workout before yoga. Steve’s really packing a punch with those ones – fatiguing arm muscles with the resistance band then piling on challenge with press ups. Tough stuff! I was glad to hit the yoga mat for a lie down!

Post-yoga we put on Clickbait and ended up watching the last two episodes. I did NOT predict that ending! Worth a watch.

And then back to those squishy pillows to sleep. Unfortunately it was wet when I woke up on Tuesday so I needed a quick alteration to the kit I had laid out in order to keep dry, but the rain did ease off while I was running.

It was a pretty busy day at work and Steve was out seeing a client when I got home so I took advantage of having the place to myself by doing some yoga then watching an episode of Only Murders in the Building. It was just finishing when Steve got back then after dinner we caught up with the latest episode of Vigil – they’re really piling on the tension there!

I had another good sleep thanks to my new pillows, and was ready to head out on Wednesday morning for the latest Together Run (from the Running For Real podcast). I was pleased to see it was dry once again so was able to enjoy the changing colours in the sky as we got closer to sunset.

Somehow I managed to work fairly late (there’s ALWAYS just one more thing to do!) but once home there was enough time for another workout with the resistance band, similar to Monday, before a short yoga video then settling down to dinner. Our viewing this time was the latest episode of Annika with Nicola Walker. A lot of it was filmed in an area not far from where my parents grew up so they know it reasonably well and it’s always good to spot filming locations.

On The Thursday morning the sky was really clear so I ran down to the river to take in some of my favourite views. I’m glad I did as I was rewarded with this:

And then it was onwards into my busiest day of the working week. I was definitely glad to get home!

Perhaps because Thursday had been busy, I felt pretty sluggish on the Friday morning. I still did my usual run but wasn’t feeling at my best. No workout that evening, but I did still do a little yoga before settling down to unwind into the weekend.

I’m glad I took things a bit easier as by the Saturday morning I was feeling much more energised – good thing too since I had a busy day ahead! I made sure to have an easy start finishing up my book.

I only chose this one as I needed something with the month in the title for my challenge this year. I’m not sure I read it carefully enough as my perception was mostly the surface details of the “big house” and the discussions of relationships and marriage which seem to occupy those living there. But it was set against the Irish troubles of the 1920s and the effects of that were constantly there beneath the surface. Perhaps one to return to when I can concentrate on it a little more.

Then it was off to parkrun where I was surprised to run just a little over 24 minutes. After feeling so sluggish the day before I had expected to be slower than that. Just goes to show the difference a little rest can make.

After a quick breakfast at home I was on the move again to go and get my hair done. Actually sitting in the chair is something I find quite relaxing as I can read while waiting for the colour to be rinsed off and it was good to be in one place for a bit.

When I arrived home Steve had got us a little afternoon treat of a fudge doughnut which was delicious.

We ate early as my parents and sister were picking me up to go to a show at the concert hall. I was comfortable with this as thanks to my sister working there, we were able to get seats well away from anybody else. In addition, masks are still required here (I actually doubled up – disposable mask with a cloth mask on top), there were loads of hand sanitiser stations (which were really cool with lots of lights and music – I want one!) and the air is being filtered constantly. My sister actually commented that the air inside the venue might be fresher than the air outside  😂.

But first there was a challenge: what does one wear to go out? I hadn’t been anywhere since early March 2020 and since then have only worn work clothes or workout clothes! In the end I opted for a smart-casual look:

Th show was a group called Beyond the Barricade. It was started by two guys who met whilst performing in Les Miserables and they have been touring since the early 2000s. We’ve seen them before and they are always excellent. They were actually due to play here around when we went into Lockdown last year and at the time we had planned to pick up some last minute tickets. It was good to finally be able to see them. They began with The Show Must Go On, which was a very appropriate choice.

Going to a show meant a slightly later night for me, but it was worth it to see live performers again. I slept well and was ready to run on Sunday morning. I did make a bit of an error in not wearing my cap as there was a fairly heavy shower when I was at the furthest possible point from home, but I enjoyed running through the woodland park and beginning to notice some of the seasonal markers like some of the leaves beginning to change.

I was ready for a relaxing afternoon after that, and Smokey was more than happy to keep me company to make sure I took it easy 😹

Overall, it was so good to have something a little different in my week and a big step for me to attend a public venue (albeit with my own “distancing measures” in place to ease me in!).

Have you been to any live events recently?
What’s your favourite thing to see when you’re out running or walking?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 77

Woah, we’re half way there…!

Yup, four weeks of an eight week term done and dusted. I’m not sure how I feel about that as time is still doing funny things: it simultaneously feels like we’ve been back forever, yet at the same time feels like we’ve only just got underway. The October holidays seem quite far away (I mean they will be in October for goodness sake and that’s aaaaaages!) yet at the same time make me worried that I’m not going to get everything finished that I need to do before then. Some things never change!

Still pretty consistent with my training this week (and MUCH better when it came to fitting in some workouts):

Monday – 4.35 miles + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 4.75 + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 7.5 miles

As Monday rolled around once again I realised I was definitely back in the swing of things again with the work routine. I’m even getting used to it being a little darker first thing as I find I quite enjoy being out as it gradually gets lighter. Depending on the weather it can be really pretty, but even when it isn’t it’s really nice to feel like you’re watching the world waking up.

Running-wise this was a nice recovery run to wake my body up then it was off to work.

I had a couple of quick errands on my way home, but there was still enough time for a quick workout before yoga. It was a combination of the resistance band followed by press ups and designed to fatigue my upper body muscles to the point that I was completing far fewer press ups than normal!

It was great to be back (virtually!) in my yoga class again after a couple of weeks off, and the class helped me unwind into the evening so that I was later able to get a good sleep.

Tuesday’s run was a fairly standard 5 miles, but I did think that even though I felt as fresh as it gets on a weekday in term time, there was a slight weariness in my body so I thought I was maybe in need of a slightly lower mileage week. Or work just might be exhausting. Or both!

When I arrived home from work Steve was out with a client so I did a yoga video then settled down to a couple of vlogs while the dinner cooked. The nicest thing, though, was Steve’s suggestion of rounding off our evening with a small glass of wine in the garden. Far too easy to feel like I was on holiday and there was no work the next day, but nice to do while the weather is still good enough.

My original plan for Wednesday had been the latest Together Run, but when I woke up my stomach felt a little “off”. It was ok by the time I was ready to run, but I wanted to be flexible about my route in case running didn’t feel so good, so I held off on listening to the Together Run podcast in case I wasn’t able to do the whole thing. As it turned out, my stomach was absolutely fine and I was able to run down to the river. It was, as forecast, foggy and I wanted to see (not see?) what it looked like. This was what I “saw”:

For comparison, I would normally see this:

And as I found once I ran around, the bridge was still lit but the light just wasn’t making it through the fog.

It actually turned out to be a beautiful day once the fog burned off so when I arrived home I was able to have a workout in the garden. Steve was mixing things up so it was a progressive super set using the ViPR, a kettlebell and the press up bars. Deceptively tough! I noticed the impact on my muscles as I moved to the yoga mat afterwards!

As Thursday rolled around I still kept the mileage slightly lower than usual. Having checked my records after Tuesday’s run, I realised that it was probably time for a cutback week so decided to pull it back a little for another run. That said, I did listen to the Together Run podcast while I did it and enjoyed the usual prompts to check in physically and mentally, take a picture to share and the prompt to consider the idea of community and what it means to us. For me it has to be something around a group bound together through a shared interest/goal. Engaging with that group in some way keeps the community feeling alive. I would consider myself to be part of several communities: a school community, my local community and the parkrun community to name a few.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday was pretty full-on, but a real bright spot in the day was having lunch with a handful of colleagues from other faculties. We used to be part of a book group at work but Covid and the assorted lockdowns and restrictions put paid to that. One of the others suggested getting together to restart the group and since it’s such a small number we think we can do it. It was so nice to see other people from around the school, catch up and discuss our reading. We actually decided to make this “lunch date” a weekly thing now rather than every six or so weeks. We won’t read a book each week, but it’s more about the company and chat so we can talk about how we’re finding our current book choice each time (and no doubt share our woes!). Everyone else was keen to read the book I was reading, so that was our first choice.

I was a bit later home so I really just had time for yoga then settled down to dinner. We watched the first episodes of Only Murders in the Building on Disney+ which I really enjoyed but I don’t think Steve was keen so I’ll be watching the rest by myself.

Once again I was feeling sleepy so had an early night and woke feeling much better on Friday morning. A 4 mile run was in order to kick-start my day.

I’m still trying to read at lunchtime while restrictions mean large groups of staff can’t gather together and on this day was able to read the last bit of my book (the one my colleagues are going to read now) and it was very good. Quite gritty in places but with a sense of hope running through it too.

When I arrived home I found I had TWO deliveries. First, my recent Disney order (I needed the Halloween plushes to complete my seasonal collection):

And moving on a season to Christmas (which I prefer to Halloween anyway!), this:

Well you know how much I love Elf! Fingers crossed we can have a family get together this Christmas and play it.

After that, time for another garden workout, very similar to the one I had on Wednesday, before a yoga video while Steve made the dinner.

It was time for a new box set so we spent our evening watching the first couple of episodes of Clickbait on Netflix. It looks good.

Nothing beats Friday night bedtime and the promise of no alarm clock (although the kitties WILL become furry alarm clocks when it’s time for their breakfast!) and I had a great sleep so I felt refreshed ready for parkrun.

It was actually a pretty exciting parkrun day. You might remember that through much of the parkrun pause I was taking part in weekly scavenger hunts posted in a parkrun-based Facebook group. Those stopped once parkrun returned, but this week, there was a bonus parkrun-specific hunt and I was looking forward to checking off the items:

Sadly nobody wore a skort (let’s face it, the most likely person to do so would be me and the rules say the items can’t belong to you) but I was able to get all the rest. It was fun to have a hunt again and to spot my fellow scavenger hunters among the participants.

Since I had decided to make this a cutback week, I kept the effort level down a bit so was a minute slower than last week, but the beauty of parkrun is that it can be whatever you want/need it to be at any given time.

Once home we watched another episode of Clickbait whilst having our breakfast then after tidying the house up a bit I had a relaxing afternoon with Smokey on my lap while we watched a little tv: I watched the last episode of Behind the Attraction and the second episode of Only Murders in the Building. I was perfectly content!

After a restful afternoon and a good sleep, I woke up feeling much fresher on Sunday morning – even if Smokey wasn’t in the mood to let me have a lie in! I read for a bit then got organised to run. Still keeping the distance down to round off my cutback week so I set off with a rough route and a plan to run 7-8 miles.

My route took me along by the river and I noticed the gate was open at the ramp that leads to the riverbank by the railway bridge so I went down there for a moment to get some pictures from a slightly different angle to normal.

But the main thing I wanted to do was run through the South Inch so I could look in on the swans and see how the cygnets were doing.

As it turned out, the cygnets looked physically fully grown as they were near enough the same size as the adult swans, but both still had their juvenile plumage. I don’t know much about how this works, but I wonder if it will be the growth of winter plumage that causes the darker feathers to come out. Anyone know?

From there I headed home and found I was going to get to my front door at spot on 7.5 miles. Perfect.

I got organised then nipped out on a couple of errands since Steve was out running for longer, then after lunch it was the usual glamour of the weekly food shop and my lateral flow test. The reward for all that was a visit to mum and dad. Mum had more home grown tomatoes for me so they invited us up for a cup of tea and slice of cake. No way am I saying no to that!

I rounded off my week with dinner, tv and bed ready to get the second half of this term underway. Let’s do this!

What does community mean to you?
Do you prefer Halloween or Christmas?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 75

This was the first full teaching week of term and the first real test of how my new timetable would feel. The short answer is exhausting! There just always seems to be so much more to do than there is time for! Although I was able to put in some decent running mileage, you will notice that towards the end of the week the yoga and home workouts tailed off as one or two other things got in the way – something to work on moving forward:

Monday – 4.3 miles + home yoga
Tuesday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 6 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles
Friday – 4 miles
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 10 miles

Despite my indulgence in cake and fizz on the previous Sunday, I was up on Monday morning ready to run. I often feel a little sluggish for the first few minutes but after that I felt good and enjoyed my run. I had a rough route in my mind for 4 miles but once again I slightly underestimated!

My work day began with some non-teaching time which let me catch up on a few tasks, then at lunchtime I was given a card and chocolates from my colleagues (we’re still not allowed to gather together for lunch). We had meetings after work so this was a real bright spot in the day!

Because of the meetings I was later getting home and my yoga teacher is having a little break so no class this week, but I still had time for some home practice before dinner. We then started a new box set for the week: Hit and Run on Netflix. Quite an intriguing first episode.

On Tuesday I began with a 5 mile loop. The first mile (uphill!) felt a little sluggish but after that I felt like I loosened up and enjoyed the run. Once at work I had the lovely surprise of another belated birthday gift from a colleague who doesn’t work on Mondays. I do love stretching out the birthday joy!

It turned out to be quite a warm day so when I got home I was able to have my workout in the garden – a combination of press up bars and TRX – then a little yoga before dinner.

Waking up on Wednesday it was pretty foggy so I opted to run down to the river to see what it looked like. The water was flat calm and I could barely see one bridge from the other.

There were also glistening webs running the length of the bridge along the rails – very autumnal even though it still feels like summer!

I had a training course (via Teams) right after work so was home a little later. I had time for my lateral flow test, a quick yoga session and then it was time for dinner. I was definitely ready to sit down and relax!

By Thursday morning I was beginning to notice that it was getting a bit tougher to get up in the morning, but I still got myself out the door in good time for my run. Less foggy this time, but it was still in the air. Just another solid 5 mile run for me, then time to get ready and on my way to work.

Thursdays are probably going to be my hardest days this year as they are chock-a-block with classes, all of them from the junior school and that takes a lot of energy! I had a couple of bits to do at the end of the day, but had promised Steve I wouldn’t be too late as he was going to the football and we needed to eat a bit earlier than usual. Rather disconcertingly, he just laughed at my assertions that I would be home quicker, but I kinda get where he’s coming from. I made a proper effort to not do that “one last quick thing” and headed home in time to catch up on the day and have some food before he headed out. That meant no time for yoga, but a longer evening for me and I used the time to chill out with some tv programmes and vlogs.

That evening to myself was probably just what I needed, but I still kept to an easy pace for my Friday morning run as I knew I had a busy day ahead. Ordinarily I would have headed home for a workout and some yoga to unwind into the weekend, but since it was my sister’s birthday (yes, our birthdays are close together), I called in at mum and dad’s on my way home to drop off her present and catch up with my family for a while. I always end up staying longer than I mean to, so it was pretty much home in time for dinner with no space to fit in any yoga.

There was a fun package waiting for me. The same company I recently ordered a mystery box from ran a “Julymas” promotion in late July. Basically a kind of Christmas in July Secret Santa: you paid £10 to join in and all you knew was that it would be a T-shirt so you chose your size, selected a general colour palette (pastels, neutrals, brights, etc) and wrote a Julymas message. The items were then packaged up and you received yours with a message from someone else. A really nice idea and my T-shirt was perfect for me!

Definitely true!

I was also excited as it was the first day that Cruella was available on Disney+ without the additional fee and Steve had agreed to watch it.

It was FANTASTIC! I’m not normally a villains fan, but love these “backstories” that show how they became evil. In the case of Cruella, I loved the character, I loved the costumes and I loved the soundtrack. An evening well spent and if you haven’t seen it yet then you definitely should.

After the excitement of Friday evening, I was ready to enjoy a Saturday “lie in” followed by parkrun (still so excited we get to do this once again). I left a little later than I meant to so was only in the park a couple of minutes before the briefing, but was impressed that the RD, who is notorious for giving the briefing in verse (it earned him a mention in the Eileen Jones book about parkrun which was published last year!), was able to convey the key messages in super quick time. I thought for sure he would find that tricky!

I have to say, I actually believed I was running a touch slower than the week before, but in the end I was about 3 seconds quicker overall (and dead even on my pacing!) so that’s a 3 week streak of getting a “fastest time this year” email. I suspect that streak may be at an end now, but I’m definitely pleased with that progress in pacing in such a short time – I guess my body is remembering how to parkrun!

However when I finished I realised that my Garmin was close to running out of charge – 1%!!! I guess I should get in the habit of charging it after my run on a Friday to make sure I have plenty of battery for Saturday morning! I didn’t think it would last for my run home so switched to the Strava app to record instead.

 

After the excitement of another parkrun, it was good to have a relaxing afternoon and I think Smokey had been missing having me at home as he got settled on my lap while I watched some tv:

Further excitement came later in the afternoon when a delivery arrived. I just HAD to have this new Disney cushion with cats on it…

…and the kitties laid claim to both the box AND the packing paper inside it. I only managed to get pictures of Smokey, but they kept swapping around every few minutes 😹

On Sunday morning Steve was away sharp since it was the 10k race he organises (and it was actually happening in person this year) so I had a bit of time to myself to read then head off for my own run.

I was feeling really good and my run felt strong, the only issue being I still had auto pause on from parkrun the day before and had forgotten all about it what with the battery dying. Oh well, at least I know how good it felt.

Later in the afternoon I found some time to finish up my book. My reading really slowed down as school returned and I got back into the swing of things, but I didn’t have much left and wanted to see how things resolved. This one was my August book for my challenge of reading a book with each month in the title. It had an interesting premise which I couldn’t think about too deeply or it made my head feel like it was going to explode, but the storyline itself was pretty gripping.

All in all, a busy week but there’s nothing quite like a weekend to restore and reset.

Have you seen any good movies recently?
Autopause on or off when you run?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 73

It was most definitely back to reality with a bump this week as it was the last week of the summer holidays – boo! After the excitement of the previous week it was never going to be up to the same standard, but I know I’m lucky to have that time over the summer to properly recharge so I made sure to enjoy my final week of freedom from work.

Monday – 4.2 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 10k + home yoga
Thursday – form drills
Friday – 4.25 miles + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich (we’re back yippee!)
Sunday – 10 miles

With parkrun set to return this week there was no scavenger hunt to do (those had been something created in one of the parkrun-related Facebook groups I’m in to keep us occupied while parkrun was paused). Although I had only spent a couple of my weekly runs focused on hunting, it still felt a bit odd to be heading out on a Monday morning without a new list of items to find. But speaking of parkrun’s return, Steve had been sorting out the kit ahead of Saturday and we had some of it hanging up on the washing line – so good to see this again!

It was actually kind of drizzly and damp, but I wanted to stop by the pond and see the swan family again. While I was there I spotted a sign on one of the benches (I hadn’t noticed it there before so I think it’s new) encouraging a bit of community spirit and conversation. Such a nice idea. I didn’t want to sit on the actual bench since it was wet, but managed to take a picture anyway.

My main task for the rest of the day was to get my stuff sorted out post-trip. I had dealt with my laundry and put away the things I had taken with me, but I had done a pretty good job of propping up Disney’s finances with my merch purchases, so I had new things to sort through and put away. I also wanted to get my photos and video clips backed up sooner rather than later. My sister and I were going to share these with each other and she was coming round later in the afternoon so I wanted to have the files ready to give to her.

It was fun going through the things I had bought (it always makes me happy when I gain new Disney things!) and going through my pictures. By the time I had done that and chatted to my sister, it was time for yoga so I got myself set up upstairs for the class. It felt like ages since I had done any yoga (almost a week) so I enjoyed getting back to it again.

I had shared my on-deck running from the previous week in a Run Disney Paris group I’m in on Facebook, which had resulted in a really fun discussion with others who had done something similar on cruise ships in the past or who now wanted to do this on their forthcoming cruise. But best of all was receiving this picture which another group member had taken on the running deck of the Magic. It took me a moment as it was so small in the comments as I looked on my phone, but then I spotted that I’m actually in the picture. Really cool!

It was much brighter on Tuesday morning as I headed out for my run. Nothing remarkable this time, but it was good to see sunshine as there was rain forecast. I went out again later in the morning as I needed to pick up a new lamp I had ordered using click and collect then run a couple of errands. I ended up abandoning some of those errands as even with an umbrella I got soaked at the retail park taking a bag of shopping the short distance from the front of a shop to my car. Even when I got home I was reluctant to get out of the car as the rain was THUMPING down and I knew I would get drenched. Thankfully it eased off a little so I was able to make a break for it.

The poor weather continued for the rest of the day, so I stuck to some indoor activities – including a workout which had to be in the living room. We used the resistance band to create mini-circuits of a series of exercises interspersed with press ups. Thank goodness the yoga session on the monthly calendar for that day was a gentle one as my arms would not have thanked me!

I ended the day by finishing up the book I had been reading. A pretty quick read (it’s a YA novel as well) but I do enjoy this series and this one was only published recently.

Wednesday looked a bit grey and overcast again, but I was lucky and it stayed dry for my run. I was listening to this week’s Together Run and enjoying running on a path I probably won’t use so much once I’m back to running early again. I made the most of the opportunity to be out for longer (no pressure to be anywhere!) so covered 10k before heading in to get organised for the day.

Once ready, I headed off to complete the errands I had abandoned the day before – a bit of “back to school” shopping and picking up my free Nero’s coffee before my voucher expired!

My other errand was to take the kitties to the vet for their annual boosters. They were a little heavy last year and I’ve been working hard to help them lose the extra weight to keep them healthy. I wasn’t sure we had made much progress but it turns out we have and the vet was really pleased with them. Sooty is now an ideal weight and Smokey (who had more to lose) has made huge progress and only needs to lose a tiny bit more. Well done kitties!

Since the afternoon was pretty wet and miserable, I decided to watch a movie once we were back home. I watched loads last summer but with better weather at the start of the holidays this year I had prioritised being outside, so had hardly watched anything at all. I opted for Hercules on Disney+ since I had been meaning to rewatch it for ages. I had forgotten what a good movie it is!

When the movie finished it was time for some yoga, then I spent the remainder of my evening (after dinner) reading.

I had picked another fairly short book and since I was so close to finishing, I spent a little longer reading on Thursday morning before heading out for my run.

This is the second of two books in this series (I read the first a couple of years ago) and while it’s a bit different to the Scarpetta novels by Cornwell, it was still a good read. This book actually brought me to 57 books read this year. I know it’s a funny number to mention, but 57 books was my total in 2020, so it puts a bit of perspective on how much more I have been reading this year.

It must have been a day for goals and targets as my run took me past the mileage goal I had set in Strava for this year. I knew I was being a bit conservative when I set it as it’s less than I actually ran in 2020 (but more than my 2020 target had been), but I had no idea how things would unfold this year when I set it. Either way, I have passed 1200 miles this year so far.

The run itself was a set of form drills, once again adding another rep to the set. I feel like adding these in throughout the summer holidays has made a difference to my running so it will be interesting to see how that unfolds as school begins again as the early starts and greater stress on my body definitely has a knock-on effect.

I spent some time in the afternoon with my family (time will be a bit more limited for that once I’m back at work next week) but had to be home fairly sharp since Steve was going to a football match and we needed an early dinner. This confused the kitties who couldn’t understand how come we had eaten but they hadn’t been fed yet! With a long evening stretching ahead of me, I decided to watch a movie, and after my cruise experience last week during which I not only saw Tangled live on stage, but also ate at Rapunzel’s Royal Table, I was most definitely in the mood to watch Tangled!

Friday morning was my last opportunity to have a weekday run on my own terms for a bit – next week it will be back to early pre-work runs, so I read for a bit then got organised to go out. Unfortunately I managed to be out during a rain shower so was pretty wet by the time I got home! I had put a braid in my ponytail so my hair wouldn’t get all knotted if when it rained, but I had tied it too close to the end, the hairtie came out somewhere and by the time the rain came on I no longer had the braid. I’ve fallen foul of this before, so you would think I would have learned from my mistake by now!

I hadn’t made any particular plans for the rest of the day, but I actually ended up doing something a bit different. Steve is now ED at our local parkrun and he wanted to make a video to remind everyone how it worked and highlight some of the changes implemented as part of the Covid framework. At first I though I was going to be on filming duties, but I somehow ended up the “star” of the video. A bit tongue-in-cheek (think the Goofy “How To…” shorts) and I was a bit worried I was going to look a total wally on the internet, but it’s actually ok and has been received fairly well. I’ll be expecting an Oscar nomination 🤣

We were going to go for a cup of tea afterwards but the “parkrun cafe” was closing for the day so instead we stopped on the way home to pick up some doughnuts. They are lemon flavoured and I hadn’t expected the lemon curd filling. Yummy!

In the evening we needed a new boxset to watch and opted for Gone For Good which had just arrived on Netflix. It’s in French (with English subtitles) and is based on a Harlan Coben novel (we’ve enjoyed some other adaptations of his books). It actually reminded me a bit of The Innocent (also based on a Coben novel) but was good.

It was exciting to go to bed and know that we would have parkrun to go to in the morning and I woke up feeling like this:

Steve was RD for the event so he set off before me and I resumed my previous habit of running there. I could feel the fizz of excitement in my tummy (no doubt combined with a degree of nerves around being somewhere with lots of people) and I’m sure my heart rate was far too high for a downhill jog as I made my way there, but from the moment I arrived it felt like we’d never been away – parkrun pals were saying hello to me, some were coming over to comment on the video and I enjoyed seeing people I normally only see at parkrun so haven’t actually seen for 73 weeks!

I knew I wouldn’t be troubling my PB any time soon, but that’s not what the day was about. This was about doing something “normal” again, seeing friends, catching up and boosting mental health – in many ways the run was a bonus. Besides, no matter what time I clocked I would be getting an email congratulating me on my fastest parkrun time this year haha!

We had 310 participants and everything went very smoothly and felt very safe, with everybody respecting each other’s space and following the guidance. I can’t wait for the next one!

Me after too much pre-parkrun Tangled exposure whilst over-excited from the return of parkrun!

Of course since I ran down, I also had to run home and I was still grinning ear to ear all the way up the road. Steve wasn’t too far behind me so we could get on and get our bacon rolls organised before Steve headed out again.

The rest of my day was pretty restful, mainly writing, reading and enjoying a movie (The Holiday – somehow I’d never seen it before and really enjoyed it).

Sunday began with some reading in bed, a treat now reserved for weekends since the school term is beginning. Ideal timing to finish one last holiday read  (another YA choice from the Twisted Tales series).

I ended up heading out to run a little later than normal, but still went for 10 miles. I kind of made my route up as I went along and it turned out to be pretty interesting. First, I ran by this giant inflatable duck outside a car dealership:

And later i spotted there were items laid at the base of this statue.

It’s a statue of Sir Walter Scott and upon closer inspection I discovered that the display was for the occasion of his 250th birthday. I hadn’t expected to learn anything while I was out!

Again, a pretty restful afternoon (once the food shopping was done) then it was time to pack my schoolbag and get ready for the week ahead. It’s always tough to go back to work after a long holiday, but I was reflecting on the past few weeks while I was running and realised that given the current world circumstances, it was a pretty good summer. We had a heatwave which allowed me to have a “back garden holiday”, I had lots of time to read and I even got a short break to a magical place. I need to remember that as I return to school. Covid is still out there and that’s sure to present further challenges as the weeks unfold. At least I feel rested and ready to meet those challenges head on.

Have you ever come across anything interesting or educational during a run?
What has been a summer highlight for you?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 72

The arrival of August usually heralds the final countdown to the new school year, but this year it brought a bit of excitement as I was FINALLY going away for a little trip. You might remember that on the very first day of the school holidays I spent some time with my sister making a booking, but I kept the details of what we were planning very much under wraps as any travel right now carries an element of “peril” in terms of the impact Covid might have and we knew that our plans could very easily be derailed. If you happen to follow me on instagram then you might already know what we got up to and I’ll share more in the course of this post. Never fear, the running streak is still very much alive, but being away meant limited workouts and yoga in this particular week – totally worth it!

Monday – 4.5 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 6.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 1 mile
Thursday – 3.3(ish) miles
Friday – 3.3(ish) miles
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 8 miles

Before any of the excitement started, I had a couple of days of the normal routine (and a little bit of getting organised). Monday began with some reading in bed then I made sure to check over the weekly scavenger hunt list before heading out for my run. I was keen to get this wrapped up over Monday and Tuesday as I wouldn’t get another chance to hunt until Saturday. I actually got quite a lot of it done on my run and Steve found a couple more items when he was out and about later in the morning.

After my run I had some bits and pieces to do around the house then after lunch I had an appointment. I took the chance while I was out to run a couple of errands in town, pick up my free coffee with my Vitality voucher and fill my car up with petrol. I had planned a few chores around the house in the afternoon, but my sister popped round on her way home from some errands of her own and I was perfectly happy to abandon doing housework in favour of talking to her haha!

By the time we were done I needed to get ready for yoga and get set up on Zoom for the class. Relaxing and grounding as ever. And my day was rounded off nicely by finishing up Behind The Attraction on Disney+. If you enjoyed The Imagineering Story then you should definitely watch this one, especially if you’re a Disney parks fan. I had heard some of the attraction facts and history before, but I enjoy being reminded of them and it was very entertaining (even if it did make me want to get to a Disney park!).

I set my alarm sharp for Tuesday morning as part of a grand plan to make sure I felt tired enough to fall asleep that night ahead of a SUPER early start on Wednesday. I also wanted to give myself plenty of time to do all the things I needed/wanted to before going away – method in my madness!

I did read a bit of my book while enjoying a cup of tea, but was out the door for my run about an hour earlier than has been my holiday habit. I have been doing the Running For Real Together Runs on Wednesdays of late, but decided to listen during this run otherwise I didn’t think I would manage to fit it in. Once again, we began by touching something in the natural world and were also encouraged to do this at the end of our run. I actually ran on a bit to touch a tree since as I came to the end of the podcast the only way I could have touched nature would have been to put my hand into somebody’s garden and that would definitely have been a bit weird!

Next up, getting organised to go away. No matter how long/short a trip, it always takes me longer than I think it will as I make decisions about what I need and check everything off my list. Although I was only going to be away for two nights, I knew I would need clothes for during the day and a change for evening, plus the weather was looking a bit iffy so I needed a couple of options just in case. At least I knew my luggage was being kept secure until I left 😹

I also wanted to take an at-home lateral flow (antigen) test before I set off to make sure that I was testing negative. Taking them twice weekly when school resumes in the middle of the month will continue to be encouraged and I will also want to take tests after my trip so at this point I was basically committing to twice weekly testing again for the foreseeable future – bleurgh!

We took advantage of the dry weather to have a workout in the garden with the good old TRX and press up bars. I could feel my deep core muscles were still weary from the week before, so I guess it must be making a difference. I also had time for some yoga (back indoors) before dinner. We watched a little tv then I made sure to get to bed early so I could try and get some sleep before my middle of the night alarm call!

As it turned out, I had a hard time sleeping. I wasn’t actually nervous about being away from home, but my head was spinning with all the things that were going to happen the following day, so when my alarm went off (ridiculously early) I truly only had been asleep for a couple of hours.

When we went on our miracle trip to Disneyland Paris last August, I ran a mile (around the block) before setting off and although it seems a little crazy, I actually found that it made me feel awake and probably helped me keep on going through the day. This time I did something very similar, running early enough for Strava to designate my activity a “night run” haha!

I was due to pick my sister up at 3:45am (!!) and the first hurdle was discovering that nobody was up. Cue me trying to wake my sister without waking my parents (and I didn’t have a key to their house with me). Thankfully I managed and our departure did not turn into scenes reminiscent of Home Alone 😂

But where were we off to? I hear you ask. Well in the first instance, a very empty Edinburgh airport where we were getting a 6:45am flight to Southampton. Once there, we had a bit of time to kill before boarding the Disney Magic for one of their UK Staycation cruises (please note: I am still irritated by this new usage of “staycation”, which seems to imply that only foreign trips can be considered a holiday/vacation, thus devaluing all my childhood holidays spent in the UK, but this was the official title of these cruises so I feel obliged to use it). We had jumped through all of the hoops we had to in advance with regard to online check-in and health requirements (as you know, i have been super cautious but I was very comfortable with the measures put in place here), and had been following the countdown in the Disney Cruise Line app. It was so satisfying to see it reach zero and thought it was really cure that they used characters in place of the digit!

Our flight was soooooo empty! We flew with Loganair, a regional airline, on a teeny tiny aircraft with about 14 people total (plus one cabin attendant). Their modified in-flight service meant a small carton of water and a caramel wafer (jackpot!) so I’m assuming that in normal times we would have been offered tea/coffee with our biscuit.

Once reunited with our suitcases, we headed into the station (next door to the airport in Southampton) to catch a train into town, a journey of less than 10 minutes. We had been debating whether or not we would need a taxi to the port or whether we would be able to walk (our research suggested it was about 2 miles and we had LOADS of time) but when we stepped out of the station and crossed over the road to join the path for the short walk along to the shopping centre (we needed breakfast!) we spotted this:

Definitely walking then!

Of course it was still fairly early, but the shops were beginning to open so we checked out our options for breakfast. We fancied something filling since we had been up for ages (and an early start ALWAYS makes you really hungry!) but the place we wanted wasn’t opening for a while yet. We decided to wait and found ourselves a place to sit and relax for a while.

We went to a place called Ed’s Diner to eat. It was new to me but my sister had been to one before. Personally, I was sold on the idea of an American-style breakfast so true to form opted for a stack of pancakes, bacon and maple syrup along with a cup of coffee. Perfect!

It was actually really good and I knew that would keep me full until I got on board the ship (where our food was included and I intended to take full advantage!).

Hunger satisfied we set off, luggage in tow, to explore the centre of Southampton a bit. I had no idea what to expect but I really liked it. I got the impression that it was a very historic place, particularly when it came to maritime history, but I also found some Jane Austen references which really interested me. It’s a place I’d love to return to again in future to explore a bit more.

It was quite a warm day and we soon tired of wandering around with our suitcases so we grabbed some drinks and found a nice spot outside to sit and wait until it was time to head for the port. This meant we could take it in turns to go off for a little wander or go back into the shopping centre for the toilets.

When at long last it was time to head for the port, we set off. It was actually a fairly easy walk but my sister’s maps app was a little misleading, causing me to abandon it and try to navigate simply through sight of the ship. It wasn’t perfect (turns out there was only one way to enter the terminal building we wanted so we came up against a rather inconvenient fence at one point) but we were still there in good time.

I’m going to write separately about the cruise itself so I get can into more detail (and share LOADS of photos) but I will include an outline here in case that’s all you’re looking for.

Once at the port we handed over our cases and began making our way through the embarkation process: rapid Covid tests, check in, then a short wait for our boarding group to be called. All in, with a port arrival time of 2pm it took just over an hour to reach the departure lounge and we were on board around 3:25pm. It was only when I saw this that I finally relaxed, knowing we were DEFINITELY doing this!

We made it to our stateroom fairly quickly then headed off to explore the ship a bit.

We were on second sitting for dinner so at 6pm we watched the show, then got changed and freshened up to eat. It was a super long day and by the time we ate dinner, headed out on deck to watch a show there then returned to our stateroom to go to bed, my Apple Watch had recorded 20 hours in which I had stood up and moved around for at least a minute (and 2 I missed – one on the flight and one in the evening show). I had pulled a 22 hour day – no wonder I was exhausted!

Despite the long day, I still woke up before my alarm on the Thursday morning. My understanding was that the best way to maximise the cruise experience was to wake up early and go to bed late. Tiring, but I figured I could manage it for this short space of time.

But first things first: a run. By a quirk of timing (fate? pixie dust?) this was actually day 500 of my run streak. I only realised this after we had booked our trip, but it made me really happy to know that I could mark the occasion in such a special place.

Deck 4 of the ship is designated as a walking/running track and I was excited to take my Minnie-inspired kit on deck to run. I knew the forward progress of the ship would mess up the distance recorded by Strava (I cut down on “stuff” by leaving my Garmin at home and just using the Strava app on my Apple Watch) so I simply decided on 10 laps. I’m pretty certain I did 10, but counting laps is actually quite hard!

I was curious about how it would feel to run on a moving vessel, but I hardly noticed it at all. There were one or two others out using the deck but I mostly had it to myself and it was so peaceful. Probably one of the more unusual places I have ever run!

If you’re interested, my GPS track ended up looking like this. Definitely further and faster than I actually did thanks to the fact we were moving!

While I was running my sister used the gym, then we met up again for a light breakfast (we had a brunch booking later that morning so although we needed to eat something, we didn’t want to be too full). Then our day was mostly spent trying to take in as many activities as we could: character encounters, quiz, shopping, eating, generally exploring the ship and taking photos.

In the evening we once again had a show, dinner (in a different dining room) and we rounded off our day with a drink in the piano bar. It was the sort of place that put me in mind of the bar frequented by Karen in Will and Grace haha!

We managed to stay up so late that it was after midnight before we went to bed, yet once again I was awake before my alarm and ready to head out to the running deck again. We were back in port at Southampton by this point so I knew my GPS would be a bit better in keeping track of the distance, but I pretty much repeated my 10 laps from the morning before.

Turns out my watch still had some bother locking in the GPS, so my identical run looked completely different. It reminds me of Mr Messy haha!

Sadly after that it was time to finalise our packing then head off for breakfast prior to debarkation. A real whirlwind trip but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

We actually had a fairly late debark time, probably because the onward travel details we provided showed that our fight back wasn’t until later in the afternoon, so no rush. I did keep letting our servers bring us more food and refill my coffee so as to squeeze out a little longer on board, but eventually we had to leave.

“Sea” ya real soon, Disney!

It was about 10am when we left the ship but we didn’t have to make our way to the airport until around 1pm, so we headed back to the shopping centre where we found a comfortable seat for a while then went for a coffee to pass the time. It was a bit of a pain waiting around, but on the plus side I did complete an experience from last year…

You may remember me doing some “postbox bingo” and I had crossed off all the postbox cyphers available to me. On the way back to the shopping centre from the ship, I spotted a postbox with the Elizabeth II cypher (the one we don’t have in Scotland) so grabbed a picture. Postbox bingo? Completed it! 😂

I arrived home in time for my dinner, whereupon poor Steve was regaled with my tales from the ship, then I needed to get some sleep.

After my adventures at sea Saturday was a real return to reality. I began with a (not)parkrun, but with an air of excitement since this was probably the last (not)parkrun for now. The Scottish Government confirmed our move to “beyond level zero”  from the Monday, thus giving us the final go-ahead for parkrun to return in Scotland. Our home event already had permission in place, so this was the news we were waiting for after 73 Saturdays (73!!!) with no parkrun.

Unsurprisingly, I was pretty tired from my exploits over the previous couple of days, so had a really easy day otherwise, including finishing up my reading from the trip. I do like to theme my reading!

Something fun was opening up a package which had arrived while I was away. I had ordered this mystery box a while back but had been notified that there was a delay because the company wasn’t happy with one of the items. I didn’t mind as this meant they were taking pride in their product and I was happy to wait. I was really pleased with what I got and it was beautifully packaged:

It certainly took the edge off coming home!

Since this fell easily as a cutback week in my mileage, I was happy to keep my Sunday run to 8 miles since I was still feeling tired (I guess a 22 hour day will do that to you!). Having been out at sea I was craving a water view so I opted to run down to the river and follow a route which would take in our parkrun route (I was clearly getting excited about our imminent return!).

I stopped by the noticeboard as I passed back through the park and spotted this, which made me smile.

Other than food shopping (and a lateral flow test – best to make sure after travelling) I had another easy day and finished up the book I had been reading before heading off. Not my usual genre but an interesting idea and I really enjoyed it.

With that, the most exciting week of the entire summer drew to a close. I may have only had a short trip, but it was just what I needed to recharge and feel that Disney magic flowing in my veins once more. If you’d like to read more about my cruise adventure, look out for a separate post soon!

Have you ever been on a cruise or is it something you would like to do?
What’s the most unusual place you have ever run?