Week In Review – Foiled!

Sometimes it’s just when things are ticking along nicely that life throws a spanner in the works. This week I somehow went from feeling great to having a cough, and after the experience of last year, I made sure to take a step back and look after myself so it doesn’t linger. It was the end of the week before the cough put in an appearance so I still got some training done earlier in the week:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – rest

I began my week with one of the”bonus” Hatha classes my teacher is putting on prior to the holidays. Another lovely chance to take some time for myself and stretch.

When I woke up on Tuesday morning it was REALLY cold and our street looked quite slippery, however I was certain it would be ok on the main road. I dug out my all terrain shoes once more, wrapped up and walked out of our street to find it was, indeed, better on the main roads so I was able to run 4 miles on an out and back route, but at an easier pace so I felt in control and generally running on the roads rather than the pavement to avoid any slippery patches. Despite that, I still enjoyed being out in the bracing air and getting some exercise.

gp0Z+ae6RMaHYbNp%wcuUAHowever when I got home Tuesday night I wasn’t feeling too great. My throat was a bit scratchy and my body felt achy, but it felt like how I get when I’m really tired so I was fairly certain I could sleep it off. I ate my dinner, took a couple of paracetamol and had an early night. As it turns out I did sleep it off and woke up on Wednesday morning feeling back to normal. I did, however, opt for another restful evening since it was Steve’s birthday and I thought we should spend some time together (read: I wanted a slice of birthday cake!).

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LJQg9jqIR+CcOqSk3L3GzAThursday was always going to be a long day as I had a parents’ evening which was chockablock with appointments, but I still decided to get up early and have my 4 mile run as I knew I would feel better for it. After being a bit off earlier in the week and knowing I would be tired by the evening, I kept the pace nice and easy and just enjoyed the comparatively milder temperatures after my chilly run on Tuesday.

wcI3NPe8SCmGmEGRvBmDIQBy the timeI got home it was quite late and I just wanted to grab a snack then head to bed. I did take a moment to open the more interesting-looking mail I had – the medal from my November virtual event. I entered this one back in about July as I thought the medal was so cool!

%7lNIUIfS1eziYrgzOEiMwI rounded off the work week with another PT session down at Steve’s studio. I had been really sleepy in the morning so it wasn’t a circuit this time, just some basic TRX exercises to keep developing strength and mobility.

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He just can’t help himself!

eNIerb5zQ66Lm4U1DHp3LgAnd then it was parkrunday once again. We were still using the alternative course we were on last week, but this time I could run however I chose. What I chose, was a reasonably steady pace as since the parents’ evening I had been coughing a little as my throat was a bit irritated. Not sore at all, just something tickling a little from time to time, so I didn’t want to overdo it. I actually lost a little time as the loose end from one of the drawstring “laces” on my trail shoes worked its way free and I was worried about catching it on something and tripping, so took a moment to sort it out. I finished a little over 25 minutes which, given that this is only the third run of our new “parkrun year” earned me a “congratulations on your fastest time this year” comment in my email. I love when that happens!

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Unfortunately as the evening wore on I found myself coughing more and more, to the point that I actually slept in the spare room so as not to disturb Steve. I had already decided before bed that I wouldn’t go for my Sunday run so didn’t bother setting an alarm. It was almost 10am before I woke up so I must have needed that! I actually felt a lot better and enjoyed a relaxing day cuddling the kittens and watching my favourite Christmas movie.

bRQMKKxSTAOyrpBcFTjXSAIt’s frustrating to pick up a cough at this point, but probably better to get it out of the way now so I can be fit to get stuck into marathon training properly in January. Fingers crossed it shifts quickly.

What’s your favourite Christmas movie?
Any tips for warding off the winter coughs and sneezes? 

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The Year Of Me!!! – November Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week In Review – Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Darkness. That’s all I have to say about this week. Dark in the mornings when I run, getting dark in the evening when I leave work and no chance of running in the daylight during the work week. I actually don’t mind running in the dark, but I do miss those long summer days and can’t wait until they return. In the meantime, I’ll just keep swimming running as I know that helps me to feel better through the winter months and I love how strong I feel in the spring after working hard through the colder weather. Here’s what I did this past week:

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

Monday was a pretty long day and mentally exhausting. I’m trying hard to remind myself not to trust a Monday as right now they don’t really make me feel good, but that all changes when I get to my yoga class and this was the first one in a new 5 week block. It was so nice to have the time for myself to tune into my breath, listen to my body and stretch away the worst of the day.

On Tuesday I faced the first test of my new early morning running regime – it was cold! I was ok with the dark (let’s face it, it would be dark for evening runs at this point in the year too) but last week was fairly mild in the morning so when I had to rouse myself from my cosy bed into a distinctly chillier room, it was a bit of a challenge! Thankfully I did get on with it and completed a nice 4 mile loop. I’m keeping the pace fairly easy on my Tuesday run so it was quite pleasant, even when it started pouring with rain half way round!

This, of course, meant another rest day on Wednesday so that I could get to my orchestra rehearsal without having to rush or feel pressured. I did have “a bit of a day” so did a short home yoga practice before I went, but otherwise enjoyed the break and bit of headspace before my rehearsal.

I was slightly later home than I wanted, but still got myself out of bed on Thursday morning for my run. After my soaking on Tuesday morning I checked the forecast carefully and noted that there was a 90% chance of rain at the time I would be running. This meant I dug out a jacket to wear and, predictably, there was no rain at all. Typical! Still, I enjoyed my run, this time choosing an out-and-back to cover 4 miles which I’m finding to be an ideal distance for a pre-work run.

That evening saw me at Ashtanga yoga, however my usual teacher wasn’t there and we had another teacher covering for her. She’s taught us before and I like her, but I always find it interesting how different the class can feel with another teacher, particularly given that we are following a specific sequence of postures. I enjoyed the class and did pick up a couple of tips for ways to move into one or two of the postures, but missed the opportunity to work on my headstand.

I’m trying to fit in a training session with Steve every Friday, so headed to the studio after work. We have been using the TRX to work on upper body/core and I like this as the TRX offers all sorts of ways to work with my own bodyweight and it’s easy to progress within the exercises we do. This week’s gem was a kind of one-armed press up, which I was at first doubtful of but did actually manage. Go me! I definitely felt like I had earned my Friday night food this week.

I4mtEOkRSB21dH7KadFlfwThe forecast for Saturday morning was for more rain, but after a week when I had to practically chisel the ice from my windscreen a couple of times it was nice to return to some milder weather. I opted for capris for parkrun, but could probably have got away with my shorts.

It was Steve’s first stint as Run Director so he was away pretty sharp and I drove down a little later. The weather at this point wasn’t too bad, but I did wear an extra layer to keep me dry if the rain started. To be honest, I avoided the worst of the rain while I was running but there was quite a strong wind which made some parts of the course feel quite testing. I definitely felt like I was working harder than the 8ish minute mile I was clocking, so was pleased to finish feeling strong with a 24:43, especially as it’s been a couple of weeks since I did any faster running.

BGSVNyJ7Sm+5Gg+Xks9pnAAs always, we were meeting Steve’s brother for a coffee but Steve needed to finish his RD duties so I arranged just to meet him there as that gave me a chance to head home and shower/change. By the time I got my bacon croissant I was STARVING and guzzled it down pretty quickly before enjoying a nice pot of tea. We then got our weekend errands done and spent the afternoon chilling out at home. I, as is becoming customary, had at least 1 kitten pinned to my side at all times 😂. Incredibly, they’re 6 months old now and my boy, in particular, is becoming quite the lap cat. No objections to that from me!

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Room for two kittens. Just!

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He’s quite the “Strictly” fan 😹

I knew I would be quite busy on Sunday so made sure to get out for my run reasonably sharp. The sun was out again and after being all bundled up last week, it was mild enough for me to get my shorts back out. I do like when I can do that. I had decided on my route in advance as I wanted to cover 10 miles, but hadn’t realised that the 5k and 10k Mo Runs were taking place and that I would end up in the same place as part of their route was on the path around the North Inch. In the end I ran there anyway, just in the opposite direction and making sure to stay out of the way of those racing. The path is wide enough and there were still lots of people walking and cycling anyway so I didn’t think I would get in the way. It was actually quite interesting to watch the runners and passed the time nicely. Before I knew it I had run my lap and was on my way home.

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BArf+YoBQ5uJTrYUb5wVAwAfter my run I got showered, changed and ate my lunch then it was time to get ready for an orchestra rehearsal. Our concert is next Saturday, but I’ll miss the rehearsal during the week because of a parents’ night so I wanted to make sure I was at this one. It was good but I was definitely in need of a chance to relax when I got home.

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IMG_0093After all that, I really enjoyed relaxing in my Sunday night bath to round off the week. Now to do it all over again…!

56305760969__464AF715-26F4-4258-8B2E-1AE4A2B00FDDHow easy do you find it to adjust to the winter darkness?
Ever accidentally ended up running in the same place as another event?

The Year Of Me!!! – October Update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Week In Review – Shaking Things Up

With the new term beginning this seemed like a good time to shake up my training routine to try and make the most of the time available to me without being completely exhausted! With no race to train for in the near future, I’ve got a bit of room to try out something different. Here’s an idea of the routine I’m working to:

Monday – rest
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – rest
Sunday – 8 miles

From next week I will have yoga on Monday evenings again, but for this week I had a rest day as I was a bit shellshocked from the first day back at work (which was pretty busy) and I had an appointment once I got back to Perth so it was good to get home and totally switch off for the remainder of the evening.

Before bed I laid out some running kit as my new plan is to try and run twice through the week, but in the morning rather than the evening. It’s something I’ve played with occasionally in the second half of this year and I want to see if this creates a bit more space in my week by cutting down some rushing about. Now seems like a good time to try it out so that a routine can be established.

w1Khcv9XSke2Wi%MhqXATQI was out the door by 5:30am and had originally planned to run a loop of a little over 3.5 miles, but within the first mile I realised that my light had come off my shoe. I’m quite fond of that light and toyed with turning back to locate it (I mean, it was obviously on the pavement somewhere flashing away!) but then decided simply to run 2 miles then turn around and retrace my steps to run another 2 miles home. Shortly after this I actually met Steve who was heading back from his run so mentioned it to him and when I got home empty-handed a while later I discovered that he had found my light and taken it home. What a guy!

That run made me feel pretty good for the rest of the day and I achieved a lot, arriving home a little after 5pm to unwind with a short yoga practice before settling down for the evening. So far so good!

By switching my training around I created space on Wednesday which meant I wasn’t rushing to squeeze in a workout before orchestra. It was really nice to have a bit of time to myself and a chance to enjoy my dinner without having to bolt it down, which made me feel much more relaxed for the rehearsal.

Wednesday was also notable for the homemade apple crumble we had. My dad was given a big bag of cooking apples by one of his friends and my parents passed some on to us. Steve had a bit of time on the afternoon so made a crumble. It was delicious!

Nculz5vAQH+CKBcqBA1xLwI had another early run on Thursday morning, opting once more for 4 miles but running a loop this time. I’m actually surprised at how good I’ve felt running first thing, and knowing I have my workout done for the day is great! I think the endorphins keep me going for the rest of the day and where I had expected to feel really tired, I’m feeling ok. It will be interesting to see if that remains the same a few weeks into the term!

Pyd0+MhER+GgZYGdHR0k5wThanks to some heavy traffic I was a bit pushed for time after work, but did make it to my Ashtanga class. For those who have been following, yes I did manage another headstand and my teacher noted how quickly I’m moving into the posture now compared to my hesitation before. Now to work on holding it for a bit longer.

On Friday I headed down to Steve’s studio after work for a session. This week it was the TRX for upper body/core and a little bit of mobility work around my left ankle. It’s no longer causing me any discomfort, but I have noticed that it doesn’t feel as stable as the right one, which is having an impact on my balance postures in yoga. By working on the range of motion we should be able to address this.

I listed Saturday as a rest day, but only in so far as I didn’t do any training. In a highly unusual move, I missed parkrun (gasp!) in order to attend what, for me, was a very important event and the logistics of fitting it in around a parkrun – even tourism – were just too complex. Steve dropped me off at the station on his way to parkrun and I hopped on a train to Glasgow, coffee in hand.

E+yzFwCZRVuqGeYdTJixQwThe reason for my trip this time was to take part in the march and rally organised as part of the teachers’ pay campaign in Scotland. I don’t want to get into all the reasoning behind the claim, etc here as I don’t think it’s the place for it, but I do believe very strongly that some things need to change as teachers are feeling overworked and underpaid. I’ve never taken part in anything like this before, so it was quite exciting and I had no idea what to expect (and the fact that I was prepared to miss my beloved parkrun says a lot about how I feel on this one).

Arriving in Glasgow it was pretty clear that this was going to be a huge event. Organisers had been worried about low numbers and had thought maybe about 5000 would turn up…the lowest estimate made of the numbers is 20,000! Almost everyone leaving the station and heading into the underground was on their way to the march and the muster point in Kelvingrove Park was packed! I found my colleagues, donned a campaign beanie hat (it was a pretty chilly morning) and someone from my school who was involved in the organisation asked me to be a steward. I wasn’t particularly looking for a “job” to do, but she said all it involved was wearing a high vis top and walking on the outside of the march. High vis? No problem!

5avs3yRzRd+I70B5%BzwggThe march took us from Kelvingrove into George Square in the centre of Glasgow. I think it was 2ish miles and took us about an hour to cover as it wasn’t exactly a brisk pace! As we marched it was great to see the sort of support I tend to associate with racing in Glasgow – drivers tooting their horns and waving, shop owners cheering us on and residents hanging out of windows calling out and making noise by banging saucepans, etc. We ourselves were making plenty noise with whistles, horns and rattles so it was pretty cool.

YdXqjzsKQE6fsWP0mENY6gWhen we got to George Square there was a rally so we gathered to listen to the speakers and make sure the numbers in the square remained high. It was only at this point that the real scale of things became apparent as we were told that an hour after we had begun marching, the last of the marchers were only just leaving Kelvingrove Park – that’s basically a 2 mile snake of marching teachers moving through Glasgow! Very powerful and hopefully it will help to make a difference.

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9dGPfgfCR1yS49Fb3FcbbgAs things came to an end I headed off to meet Steve who had completed his parkun business (shadowing the RD ahead of taking on the role himself next weekend) and jumped on a train to Glasgow. He couldn’t really join us as he had a small procedure on his foot during the week and has to be careful about spending too much time on his feet while the wound heals but fancied spending a bit of time in Glasgow. I was, unsurprisingly, pretty hungry by this point so we went to get some food at Bar Burrito. It’s one of those places with a similar setup to Subway, but with Mexican food. Reasonable prices and pretty tasty so we often go there when we’re in town.

Ie0ble10Q9+FpY4PN14XUwAfter that we had a quick look in some shops then went for a hot drink at Hotel Chocolat (of course!) before our train. I do enjoy their seasonal specials so had their autumn hot chocolate. I can’t remember now what the autumn ingredients were – I have a feeling it was something like maple and pecan notes – but it was delicious.

F05a6sIUT2eQ6DrVcFwE0wI was pretty tired by then after being on my feet all day so we got the train home, ran a couple of quick errands and were home in front of the tv ready for the Strictly Hallowe’en special. Perfect!

I didn’t set an alarm for Sunday, instead allowing my body the chance to get whatever rest it wanted and enjoy a potential extra hour of rest. Of course, I was woken by the kittens who were full of beans thanks to the recent full moon. Anyone know how to set their clocks back an hour? 😂

The weather was cold again and I could see a layer of frost on the cars. Time to get the winter kit out! I got myself dressed in my winter finery (plus sunglasses since it was actually quite bright) and set off for 8 miles. It was a really enjoyable run and I got just what I wanted from it – to keep my mileage ticking over while I build a solid base to head into the new year. No need to bust a gut over the pace, just run comfortably and listen to my podcast. It was lovely.

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Zu6QfOvIQkSOTzvjEDLOIAThe rest of the day was pretty chilled. We had to get some food shopping done since we hadn’t done it on Saturday, then a chance to relax and recharge before the new week. One down, eight to go…

Have you ever taken part in a march/rally?
What’s your favourite winter kit?

Week In Review – Taking Some Down Time

Having just raced a half marathon, I decided to make the second week of my holiday all about recovering properly and making sure I was as well rested as possible to set me up for the term ahead. This meant the early part of the week, in particular, was pretty quiet with lots of reading to give me a chance to chill and some home yoga to stretch out my body.

Monday – rest
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – PT session with Steve
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – 10k

Monday was probably about as lazy as it gets. I didn’t set an alarm and woke up pretty late for me. I then proceeded to spend most of the day curled up in my comfy chair reading – I even took another nap so I must have really been needing some more rest!

On Tuesday I thought I had better get a bit more movement since I barely got past 1000 steps all day on Monday! I did begin the day with a cup of tea and my book in bed, but after breakfast I took a walk down to the retail park as I had a few errands then spent the afternoon catching up on a few bits and pieces at home.

The evening was a little busier as I had a sports massage booked to get my legs feeling tip top again after the half marathon. After that, I picked my sister up to head down to the theatre for a performance of The 306: Dusk. This was the third part of a trilogy (last year was part two The 306: Day and the year before it all started with The 306: Dawn) marking the centenary of the First World War and the 306 soldiers executed for cowardice and desertion. It was another moving piece of theatre and I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to see all three parts, even if it has been one per year.

UntitledWednesday was about the only day I had actual plans as Steve and I needed to go to Ikea and this was the day that Steve was available. An Ikea trip is always fun as you never really know what you’re going to come away with! We started our visit with some breakfast which was pretty tasty (and a bargain price!).

Ap0626xYTJC5ORm+B+jUywWe then toured the store, managing to actually get what we had gone for (an uplighter for our living room) and a number of additional items which will either be incredibly useful or never seen again 😂

Once we had put our purchases in the car, we decided to go back in and get some meatballs for lunch. I mean, if you go to Ikea and don’t have meatballs, did you really go at all?

waWBzbXnRtSoytaaqBT6RQI actually needed a nap when we got home – apparently Ikea had taken it out of me haha! But once I was feeling a bit more refreshed I made a start on one of those projects that’s best left until holidays – reorganising all my wardrobe and drawers. I spent some of the evening on it then the bulk of Thursday, really only stopping to eat. I still made sure to get to my Ashtanga class on Thursday evening as a chance to walk away from all the reorganising and clear my head a bit. Once again I felt strong in wheel and managed my headstand, so I’m thinking that my unexpected breakthrough with that a couple of weeks ago has changed my mindset to the belief that I CAN do headstand, thus making me less apprehensive about it.

I began Friday with a training session over at Steve’s studio. After a week off training it was good to get back to it and we used the TRX to work on my upper body/core. After that I still had a tiny bit of my project to finish off then in the late afternoon we headed into town as there was an “immersive sound experience” I wanted to go to at the theatre. It was titled Charlie Ward and was set up like a WW1 field hospital. It drew on a time when Charlie Chaplin films were projected onto the roof of the tent to help keep patients’ spirits up, however as we lay on a hospital bed, we “became” the patient in that bed thanks to speakers around the headboard and co-ordinated effects in the screening of the film which allowed us to get inside the patient’s head as the film triggered a variety of memories ranging from his childhood to the injury he received. At various points we were also aware of the sounds of other patients reacting to the film and the sounds of the war beyond the tent canvas. It was about 15 minutes long and was both really immersive and quite powerful.

LmWM5DxEQqS5qEwAz4MnOQAfterwards, we had a cup of tea in the theatre cafe as I was meeting my sister and my parents about an hour later for dinner before we went to a show along the road in the concert hall. I had a nice caprese salad followed by a fragrant chicken curry, both of which were pretty tasty.

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cJbGHGPnSQaDU6qcztRbnQThe show we went to was called Beyond the Barricade, a touring group of former Les Misérables principals who have put together this show featuring some of the most well-known songs from the most popular musicals. I LOVE show tunes so this was the perfect evening for me and I found it really hard not to sing along! My sister and I were both raised on show tunes and had the chance to see lots of musicals growing up so we both really love things like this. It was a great evening.

Saturday morning saw me back at parkrun and my first run all week. I felt well rested, but I never know how that will translate into my performance. Although I wasn’t looking to go all out, I probably started a bit too steady so when the first mile ticked by at 8:20, I knew I had the capacity to push on a bit, which I did. It was really satisfying to see each mile clock in faster than the one before it for a Royal Flush Negative Split and a 24:36 finish time. I’ve not really pushed myself hard over parkrun in a while, so being able to produce that fairly comfortably felt good and is an indication that I probably have a bit more in me right now if I wanted to go for it.

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Got to love the Royal Flush!

IMG_0004After parkrun I had a quick freshen up and change then it was back into town for my “back to school” haircut. My hairdresser decided to curl the ends of my hair to show me how much it has grown – this time last year there was no way she could have done that! – and I’ll maybe play around with that myself some time. When my hair was long I used to do things like that occasionally so I’m sure I still have some tongs somewhere…

zHACVJUGTQWGf9qY%G5CxwI kept the remainder of the day pretty chilled since it had been a busy few days what with all my reorganising, and it was nice to settle into my chair, drink tea and watch Strictly with one of the kittens – he’s such a big softie!

3VConksMQkyRGTiQUsSc2AI knew I would run on Sunday morning, but I also knew there was no need to do anything particularly long. Now that I’ve run my last race of the year, it’s all about keeping the miles ticking over and building a solid base ahead of cranking things up for marathon training as the new year begins. I had a fairly leisurely start then headed out for 10k at a reasonably easy pace, which just so happened to coincide with the heavens opening so I enjoyed one of Mother Nature’s refreshing showers as I ran. Despite that, it was still a good run and so weird to be done, showered and out for our weekly coffee before lunch!

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Not gonna lie, I was convinced I would have hair colour running down my face 😂

The afternoon was spent on some oh-so-glamorous housework before settling in for a bit of evening telly and my Sunday night bath. Let’s just hope the first week of the new term is fairly painless!

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Week In Review – Always Have a Plan B…!

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

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

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

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Nothing better than a long lie with Gary!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When was the last time you needed to call on Plan B?
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Week In Review – Up And Running

After a pretty lazy week training-wise (not sorry – it was EXACTLY what I needed!) last week it was time to get back in to some more “normal” training again. It’s a real eye-opener about what I consider normal now when rearranging things in my week to make sure I can get a run in counts! Here’s how things looked:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – 4 miles + Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun pacing
Sunday – 10 miles

I tried to really savour my Monday yoga class as I knew it would be the last for three weeks.  Since this was the last week of term I was feeling pretty tired and although I’ll miss having the class during the school holidays and first day back, I know I’ll be able to do some home practice in its place. I felt really relaxed at the end of the class and ready for the rest of my week.

Another thing I was quite keen to do was fit in a little more running this week since I have another half marathon coming up mid-October. I was also really determined to make it to my Wednesday orchestra rehearsal, so decided that a little bit of re-arranging was in order to make sure I could manage both without having to cut my run short, arrive at rehearsal late or feel really flustered. The obvious solution was to have another go at the pre-work running I tried back in June. Back then it wasn’t too bad as the mornings were light and with the heatwave (such a distant memory now!) it was far more pleasant to run in the cool morning air. At the time I enjoyed it but wasn’t sure if it was sustainable for me on darker mornings. Time to find out. So I laid out some kit, set my alarm and did it – without any prior announcement to Steve or anyone else to keep me accountable! I was out the door by 5:30am (!!!) and although I felt a little sluggish on this run, I wasn’t too bothered and enjoyed an active start to my day. I actually felt pretty good for the remainder of the day afterwards as well.

f%9uXt%dTwWXicTm9NZ0RwThis meant that I had no pressure to get a workout done on Wednesday and so didn’t have to rush away from work. Instead I got a few bits and pieces done, did a little yoga before my dinner and was ready for my sister to pick me up for the rehearsal. She was feeling pretty tired and needed to go home when we took our rehearsal break, but we probably only missed about half an hour so that was ok with me and meant I got to bed nice and early.

I was pleased with the early night as I had planned a SECOND early run. Clearly it can’t have been too bad on the Tuesday! I was out the door about 5:30am again and ran pretty much the same route but this time I wasn’t feeling so sluggish and with the same effort level covered the distance faster. This was very pleasing.

YBOlAJdRQR6gNIP5Ue3IKAI’m not sure if it was the run, the routine or the fact that the holidays were nearly upon me, but I felt great in my Ashtanga class that evening. I was moving well with my breath, felt strong in Wheel and – drumroll please – managed my very first totally unsupported headstand! If you read these weekly reviews regularly then you may be aware that this is something I have been working on during this year. I’ve been doing headstands with my teacher there to support me, but recently have noticed her starting to try and give a little less support. Perhaps that gave me some confidence, but since she was supporting someone else first, I decided to see if I could take my feet off the ground and find balance with my legs still bent. I expected that would be all I would manage, but felt so good that I thought I would try and straighten my legs after a few breaths to see what would happen…and I held it! I had to work hard not to get so excited about it that I lost the position, but as I moved into child’s pose afterwards I was grinning from ear to ear. I did it! Hopefully that will now give me the confidence to keep working on the posture independently because I will always know that I managed it, therefore I can manage it again. I was so pleased!

Friday was the last day of term and I stayed after work to finish up some marking. After a busy week I took it as a rest day and enjoyed a relaxing evening to start my holidays.

When I got up on Saturday morning it was cold. Thin layer of frost on the windscreen cold. Base layer and gloves cold. Steve had an early client then returned home to change and pick me up for parkrun where as well as being International Parkrun Day, we were having our monthly pacer week.

IMG_9809I had 28 minutes again and after coming in slightly after the time last month, I was keen to do better this time. I settled into pace and soon realised I had some parkrunners with me who were hoping to break 28. I offered advice, tips and “encouragement” which saw them over the line with great new PBs and I was so happy to have been able to help them. I finished in 27:45 – a little faster than the goal but this was mainly because I settled into pace beside the runners I was helping and that’s fine. They were all really pleased and I got a nice message that evening from one of them to say thank you. Definitely my favourite volunteer role as I still get a run but also get to help other people to run their best.

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Photo by Roy Mitchell for Perth parkrun facebook page

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IMG_9796Post-run I was able to join Steve and his brother for a bacon croissant for the first time in ages. Saturdays have clearly been very busy for most of the first term so it was good to get back into my previous routine of post-run breakfast, food shopping and a relaxing afternoon.

T3DUSvIDR8mp5QBxLt98tgThe evening was spent in front of the TV as it was movie week on Strictly and I had some furry company too.

kM3u3edgQOmjh47FzSe28wOn Sunday I knew I needed a longer run as my half marathon was just a week away. My last longer run was the Disneyland Paris half, but I was in no hurry then and had lots of photo stops so my most consistent long run before that was a 10 miler about a fortnight before. I decided it had best be a 10 mile run and got myself ready at a fairly leisurely pace. The weather was cool, but not cold like the day before so no gloves were necessary and I enjoyed catching up on the Marathon Talk podcast as I ran. Even more pleasing, I completed the route a bit faster than the last time so am feeling good ahead of next weekend. I don’t think I’m in PB shape, but I’m still curious to see where my fitness lies right now after losing a bit of momentum over the summer when my ankle was bothering me (it’s fine now – total mystery!).

IMG_9836I actually spent the rest of Sunday in a fairly lazy fashion (read: I hardly moved!) as I watched coverage of the Chicago marathon. Did you see it? Such a great race for Mo Farah! I even got lots more kitten cuddles as I lazed about – I could get used to this!

V3WXPwa7TlexLbi929WtbwHow do you make sure you can fit everything in?
Are you working on any yoga postures right now?

The Year of Me!!! – September Update

September! 9 months of the year done and my Big Birthday has gone by. I should probably stop celebrating it some time soon! 😂 Time to check in with my goals for the year and see how things are progressing.

1.Run 1000km (621 miles)
Goal achieved! I’ve been aware for some time that I would reach my goal distance before the end of the year (assuming no significant time out) and my final run of September took me just beyond the distance. I’m pleased to have achieved this with so much time to spare, but that time gives me the opportunity to now find out how much more I can add to the total. Place your bets…!

2.Commit to a minimum of 5 minutes of yoga on at least 5 days of the week
I started the month spot on with this one, but with my trip away I managed to miss a couple of home sessions in the weeks wither side, which I’m not terribly proud of. What I’m finding with my current routine is that 4 sessions of yoga is easily achievable but sometimes the 5th eludes me – more out of laziness/carelessness than anything else. I have been trying to combat that with a short routine before bed to help me relax and unwind so hopefully things are back on track again.

3.Read at least 30 books
Another goal achieved! At the end of the month I reached 30 books and was rather stunned to find that I had managed to read so much this year. With 3 months of the year to go (and some holiday time) I wonder what my final total will be? I’ve been really enjoying my reading this year and part of that is because my involvement with some online/social media book groups has given me the opportunity to read things I might not otherwise have chosen and kept me on track with my reading in order to contribute to the discussions.

4.Be in bed by 10pm at least 3 times per week
I think I’m still doing ok with this one. I certainly tried to be in bed at a reasonable time before my trip and needed plenty of sleep the week after so although I don’t keep specific note of this one, I do keep an eye on the time on “school nights” and try to be heading for bed before 10.

5.Watch at least one Ted/Ted X talk per week
I had fallen off the wagon with this one over the summer but am back on track now. I’m taking part in a 100 day challenge with a Facebook group I’m in and my choice was to watch a TED talk every day for 100 days. This has really helped to get my focus back on this goal – an activity I have really enjoyed – and I am doing well so far. I did miss a couple of days when I was in Disney, but have since “caught up” by watching a couple of extras so I am still on track for 100 talks in 100 days. Any recommendations?

6.Listen to at least 8 podcast episodes per week
On the basis that I listen to a podcast per day on my drive home (and usually one or two extras across the week) this one is still going well. I have fallen slightly behind with my regular podcasts again with my extra rest days, but I’m sure I’ll catch up during the school holidays as I’ll have more opportunities to listen.

7.Respond to at least one WordPress prompt per month
My most last-minute one yet as I responded to the prompt It Builds Character on the last day of the month!

8.Be more mindful in my phone/social media use
The rigours of the school day mean I’m back on track with this one too as my time to even touch my phone during the day is so limited. Beyond a quick check of emails at lunchtime, I don’t really use my phone much at all. I’ve also got back into the habit of checking it when I get home then getting on with other things for the evening so I don’t get sucked in. Social media etc definitely have a positive place in my life, but it’s too easy to be distracted by the more frivolous elements so a balance has to be found.

This first term of the school year has been busy (I know they’re all busy but it has felt busier than this term usually does) so I’m really pleased with how I have approached my goals this month. Roll on October!

How are you doing with your goals for the year? Anything achieved? Any goals need reset?

Week In Review – Remembering the Magic

To be honest, I’m not sure how to follow last week’s review! I didn’t really do much at all as the packed weekend away during term time left me quite tired so I opted to take the week off from training (except yoga) and get some rest to make sure I didn’t overdo things. I did, however, spend most of the week floating along in a post-Disney bubble. Turns out there’s nothing quite like a weekend of fairy dust and Mickey Magic to lift the spirits!

rybjuRqVSKeF5pb8N6EeFAAs a result, I suspect this post will be quite short:

Monday – Hatha yoga
Tuesday – rest
Wednesday – rest
Thursday – Ashtanga yoga
Friday – rest
Saturday – parkrun
Sunday – rest

Yup, lots of rest. Both of my yoga classes were exactly what I needed but on the other evenings I didn’t do much at all other than gradually unpack/get the post-trip laundry done, watch some tv and read a bit. I didn’t go to orchestra again on Wednesday as I wanted to have a restful evening and was just too tired for that level of concentration.

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Good job I had an expert to help me rest!

There was some mid-week excitement when I secured tickets to see Take That on tour next year. April seems so far away but I’ll no doubt have a spring marathon to train for which will make the time pass incredibly quickly!

fullsizeoutput_27b4By the weekend I was feeling restored and glad I took the time off (realistically I didn’t need recovery time from the running, just the chance to catch up on my sleep!). Good thing too since I had quite a lot of plans and didn’t want to feel exhausted.

The Women of the World festival returned to Perth for the second year. I had intended to buy a weekend pass but held off since I wasn’t sure how I would feel the week after being away. Then a couple of weeks before the festival my sister won passes so gave one of them to me. That meant I could go along to the sessions I wanted without worrying about having to “get my money’s worth”.

This year, one of the festival activities was to go along to parkrun so that suited me just fine. To avoid having to worry about parking my car all day, I ran into town (Steve had left earlier for a client but had my bag with a change of clothes in his car) and met the group heading over to the run.

fullsizeoutput_27b9It was great to be back at parkrun and I felt I ran fairly well given I hadn’t run all week and had felt pretty tired and sluggish.

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Steve suggested a “Disney Special” jump 😂

After the run I grabbed my bag from Steve and walked back to the theatre (the festival venue) to get changed and have some breakfast before the first session I wanted to go to.

DMxWljRQSpiVWtLMCFC01gI went to several interesting sessions during the day then Steve picked me up to head home to eat and chill at home for the evening.

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This looked like fun!

4jYqJ+9dSrSMgLGqtlu8MgThe first Sunday session was at 10:30am so rather than squeeze in a super short run and/or get up really early, I opted to take another day off training and take my time getting ready (although I did walk into town to get some movement).

DNud5pD+TuqiSF7kTfTRBgThere were some further interesting and thought-provoking sessions during Sunday then when the festival finished in the afternoon Steve came to meet me to get the food shopping sorted. Oh the glamour!

So overall not the most exciting or active of weeks, but it was what I needed it to be and gave me time to reflect on my Disney experience. The school holidays are coming up so I’ll be able to write my race report in the next week or so. Promise!

Have you ever attended a WoW festival?
What are your priorities right now?