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?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 71

Sadly the sunshine was largely absent this week but that didn’t stop me getting on with running, workouts and yoga. Ordinarily I would probably have pulled the mileage back a bit this week, particularly since the previous week actually clocked in at my highest weekly mileage ever (45 miles), but I knew that the following week would definitely have lower mileage due to having some plans that would cut down my available running time, so decided just to go with what I was already doing (so long as I felt fine, which I did). Here’s how it ended up:

Monday – 4 miles + garden workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5.5 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 6.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – form drills + home yoga
Friday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday –  10 miles

The weather wasn’t actually too bad at the beginning of the week and we were able to squeeze a couple of bonus afternoons outside out of the sunshine. As you can see from the photo above, the sun was already out when I went for my run and I noticed that I had recovered really well from my higher mileage and slightly longer run the week/day before. My legs had been a little weary towards the end of my Sunday run but felt fine for this run (during which I was, of course, getting started on the weekly scavenger hunt).

I popped into town to use my Nero’s voucher then enjoyed my lunch outside on the decking before setting up my sun lounger and spending the afternoon finishing up another book. Still on my mission to get up to date with this series.

Later on Steve brought out the TRX and press up bars (I don’t know what else to call those) for a workout in the garden before my yoga class. I toyed with setting up my yoga mat on the decking and using my wireless earphones, but the forecast kept insisting it would rain so I thought I’d best stay inside.

As it turned out, the weather stayed dry so we ate our dinner outside and enjoyed the cooler evening air before bed.

On the Tuesday I was still feeling good on my run and enjoyed going round by the waterfall on my loop.

So little water after the really dry weather, yet it can be quite intense when the weather is really wet.

Once I was ready I headed out as I had a couple of errands then an appointment at the hairdresser. The sun had really faded the colour I had done the last time and there were bits at the front that were practically blonde! I was REALLY needing it done so it would look tidier.

The weather was still ok so again I was able to have lunch outside then read in the garden for the rest of the afternoon (but did go in for my yoga and we had to eat inside as it wasn’t looking so nice anymore). It was looking likely that other than a run, Wednesday would be an “inside” kind of a day 😢

And sadly I was right. I had a fairly soggy run, but I actually didn’t notice too much as I was enjoying my weekly Together Run.

But after that I got on with a few things I needed to do inside until the weather improved later in the afternoon. Smokey took his chance to snooze nearby!

The new Minnie Mouse ears that had arrived a few days previously had a similar pattern to the outfits my nuiMos were wearing and I wanted to do a little photoshoot when the rain cleared (you can tell I had a bit of time on my hands ha!).

It was nice enough to bring the TRX and press up bars into the garden again, but I once more had to go inside for yoga. I much preferred being able to roll out my mat on the decking for outdoor yoga, so I hope I can do that again before the summer ends.

The weather was fairly similar on the Thursday and I was definitely missing the sunshine. At least it was a little cooler for my form drills as I was adding another rep on to the set!

But post-run I was in the house again for much of the day. I did want to clear out some old papers to shred so took the chance to sort that out and get started on the third series of Cobra Kai. Still an amazing revival!

I also found time to finish up another book.

And in the evening we started watching Behind the Attraction on Disney+. I knew I would enjoy it and the first episode was on one of my favourites: The Jungle Cruise.

On the Friday morning I felt like running down to the South Inch (where junior parkrun happens on Sundays) to spend a few moments by the pond. I always love the scenery here:

I was aware of the swans here, but this time I noticed two cygnets as well. The swan family is expanding!

This visit made me feel really calm and ready to get on with my day. Funny how some places can have that effect.

I had fallen a little behind with the Christmas movies podcast I had been listening to (mainly because I hadn’t yet watched a couple of the movies being discussed) so spent the afternoon overhauling a couple of my bookcases (I’ve read so much recently they were needing some attention!) whilst watching the musical Scrooge (the 1970 one with Albert Finney). I don’t think I had ever seen that one before but have meant to for a while and it was good. Reminded me a bit of Oliver in places and I think that was actually deliberate!

We chanced a workout in the garden and I was able to do some work with the TRX, but then it started to rain and was getting heavier so we had to move to the living room to do some core work instead. My abs were making me aware of their presence for a few days afterwards!

The rain meant I was inside once more for yoga and dinner, so we rounded the day off with more Behind the Attraction.

It was still a little drizzly on the Saturday morning, but that didn’t stop me getting out for about 6.5 miles including a (not)parkrun. With it looking more likely that we might be able to get back to parkrun soon, I might not have too many more of those to go. That actually feels a bit strange as it’s been so long now that I’ve established a Saturday morning routine which will get changed up a bit again as parkrun comes back (not that I’m complaining!).

We watched Behind the Attraction while we had our post-run breakfast then with no sign of the sunshine, I followed the same routine I had been before the heatwave started: Disney quiz on YouTube, some episodes of Cobra Kai and then a bath where I watched the other movie I needed to catch up on before listening to the podcast: Serendipity. I’m not sure how I had managed to miss seeing this one before, but it was a fairly classic rom-com and an enjoyable watch.

It was actually a bit nicer later on, so we took a drink out onto the decking and were there until it got dark and we realised it was time to go in to bed!

My Sunday run took me out to the woodland park I like as it had been a few weeks since I had been out that way. Much like my visit to the pond on the Friday, it was really good to run through there and have an awareness of the stream bubbling along beside me.

I stuck to 10 miles, which felt perfect for the day, then had a relaxing afternoon finishing up the final book in the series I had been catching up on. There’s another one due out in the autumn, so I’ll need to wait a bit to catch up with the characters again!

I may have been stuck in for much of the latter part of the week, but it was still a relaxing one, with my visits to the pond and the woodland park being highlights from my runs. Two more weeks of holiday to go and then back to the school routine again. Oh well!

Are there places you find calming that you like to run/walk to?
How has the weather been in your part of the world?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 70

Hurrah! The weather improved again for this particular week so I was able to return to my sun lounger a fair bit. I didn’t read quite as much as the week before, but it was still good to get out first thing for my run, spend a relaxing day reading and soaking up the sun, then take my yoga mat outside. I could definitely get used to this!

Monday – 4.4 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 10k + home yoga
Thursday – form drills + garden workout
Friday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 12.5 miles

Obviously my Monday run meant getting started with the weekly scavenger hunts I do. I got a little carried away with tracking a couple of things down and ended up running a tiny bit further than I planned. I felt good and was having fun so I could easily have stayed out there longer!

Although the weather had improved, I was unfortunately confined to indoor activities for the bulk of the day as we were FINALLY getting our decking laid in the back garden. We set the wheels in motion for this at the very start of May, but with shortages of materials and so many people getting work done right now (great for the contractors!) we had to wait a little longer than normal until we could get the work done.

Here’s a “before” picture of the space:

The frame for the decking was ready quite quickly, but preparing/levelling the ground and cutting the timber for the decking itself took up the bulk of the day.

Meanwhile I took care of some bits and pieces inside then went out for a walk before my yoga class (still on Zoom) as I was really needing some fresh air after a day mainly inside.

For my Tuesday run I went for a bit of an explore. I was aware of some roadworks on a route I often take and while I thought the pavements would be available, it wouldn’t be the most pleasant to run through. I wasn’t sure precisely where the road closure would be so decided just to make a decision about my route when I got to the area. But once there, I remembered about a lovely path that runs behind the houses. I explored it a bit when we first moved into our house, but don’t really use if for running since I prefer to be in more populated areas when I’m out early. This was the ideal chance to try it out.

I really enjoyed the path and found that it actually added about a quarter mile to my route by the time I rejoined the road I would normally take. I suspect I will use it more often now (but not when it’s early/dark).

While the work on the decking was finished off, I headed off into town on some errands, which included picking up a table to match our outdoor furniture so that we could enjoy eating on the finished decking. By the time I got back, it was done!

While I made my lunch, Steve took the new folding table out of the box and set it up beside the chairs and side table so I could have my lunch outside. It was so good to just sit out there without having to mess around with a tray or balancing things on my lap.

And since the weather was good, I got my sun lounger out, set it up on the decking and enjoyed an afternoon finishing up my book, having a cheeky nap and enjoying an ice cream cone.

Reading-wise, I was carrying on with my goal of catching up on the Scarpetta novels and this was the next one in the series.

We took the TRX into the garden for my workout, then I set myself up for a yoga session on the decking. Another thing that felt really good.

We even enjoyed our dinner outside. Eating on the decking really made it feel like a summer holiday.

The Wednesday morning was a bit overcast, but that made no difference as far as my run was concerned. I ended up running 10k whilst enjoying the latest Running for Real Together Run. This one began with the suggestion that we “touch nature”. I was right at my front door so put my hand into the grass for that immediate connection.

And then took a photograph of my surroundings later on:

The remainder of the day was very much the same as the previous day as the sun had returned: lunch outside, sun lounger, yoga, dinner outside. I’ll admit I could have done with the house being a bit cooler overnight (UK houses are designed to keep the heat IN and we don’t have AC so the best we can do is a fan) but I was loving being outside in the warm sunshine.

On the Thursday morning I headed out for another set of form drills, adding another rep to the session, It was humid, but I still enjoyed it.

After that, I spent the bulk of the day with my family. It was mum’s birthday so I walked up to deliver a card and gift, thinking I would maybe be there until lunchtime, but ended up staying quite a long time. Dad made us Arnold Palmers (iced tea with still lemonade, a staple when we are in Florida) then mum asked if I was staying for lunch. She was making a big salad which included lettuce and radish she had not yet picked from her flourishing garden, so I stayed and we sat out on mum and dad’s decking for a family meal. Another really lovely way to spend time.

By the time I went home there was really only time for one activity – workout or yoga – and I opted for a workout using the TRX in the garden before we ate our dinner on our own decking.

I was already having another day that felt holiday-esque, but there was further excitement when I got back from mum and dad’s to find my order from the Disney sale had arrived. My sister had actually ordered very shortly after me and hers had arrived first thing. I think hers was loaded up with the morning deliveries and mine was on the afternoon run! Steve had set the box on top of an old box the cats like to play in and it had immediately been claimed by Sooty!

It was actually after dinner before I was allowed access and could unpack my order:

As for the empty box, first it was inspected by both cats:

Then Sooty decided to settle down in it:

While Smokey, inexplicably, decided he wanted to lie on the paper packaging 🤷🏻‍♀️

Order unpacked, I finished up another book (the next in the Scarpetta series).

We stepped outside for some fresh air before bed and I was able to get a picture of the finished (for now) garden with all the solar lights on. It made me so happy to see it like this after waiting for so long. What I wanted was a space that is easy to use to go out and sit, which wasn’t the case before and I’m really pleased with it.

On the Friday morning I wasn’t sure where I wanted to run to, then Steve came in and told me the water level on the river was really low so I decided to go down there and see for myself (as soon as I removed Smokey from my shoe – anyone would think he didn’t want me to leave 😹)

The section on the left of the photo with all the stones running under the first arch is usually all underwater but at this point you could actually walk under that archway (Steve went back down later in the day and did so).

I went further along to the other side of the bridge where there are markings in the stone to indicate the height of flood waters in the past. In the picture below I’ve marked the height of the famous 1993 flood which was a big factor in the flood defences we have now. When you see how low the water level was as I stood there, it was strange to think about how high it has been in the past!

The morning remained overcast so I did some bits and pieces inside then headed out to read in the garden when the sun put in an appearance. I was able to have a workout with the TRX in the garden later on, but both yoga and dinner were inside this time (although we did take our Friday night beer out onto the decking later on as the weather improved a bit again).

And not to be outdone in the photo stakes by her brother, Sooty attempted to squeeze herself into the world’s smallest box. Seriously, cats are so weird sometimes!

The Saturday was another really relaxing day. Of course I started with a run, sandwiching a (not)parkrun into a warm up and cool down which added up to 6.5 miles. I was really pleased with the (not)parkrun section as I ended up with the fastest time I’ve recorded since March – clearly being better rested and including some form drills has made a difference! This was also the day that parkrun restarted in England and while we wait for confirmation of a restart date here in Scotland, it felt a lot better to know that I ran well on that particular day when I was a little envious of all those who were able to go to a parkrun again.

With the sun back we were able to have our post-run breakfast outside then spend the afternoon outside again, including having our dinner. I had come back from mum and dad’s on the Thursday with some rhubarb and normally Steve turns that into a rhubarb crumble, but it really wasn’t crumble weather. Instead, he experimented with making a rhubarb fool and it was delicious! Food just tastes so much better outside in the sunshine.

For my Sunday run I was in the mood for something different again. Steve described a route to me that would take me out to a newly developed “village” outside of town. It involved running via paths I was vaguely aware of but hadn’t used before, then after a loop around the new area I rejoined the riverside path for my return.

It was good to do something different as I can be bad for sticking to very similar routes. I’ll probably use variations of this one more often now.

It being Sunday, we had to head out for our weekly food shop but the weather remained good so we spent the rest of the afternoon outside on our sun loungers reading (and dined al fresco once more). After being stuck inside while the decking was built, I was really enjoying being a “proper grown up” with a deck and patio furniture haha! I even finished up another book while I was out there.

And with that, we wrapped up our week. It was looking like that was the last of the sunshine for a bit, but it was a great couple of weeks having a “back garden holiday” and I was feeling refreshed and rested as a result. Hoping for some more sunshine before school starts again in August 🤞.

What’s your favourite way to spend a hot sunny day?
When was the last time you tried running somewhere new to you?