Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 83

The second week of my October break and a chance to rest, recharge and catch up on a few tasks at home. It was also a week that ended up with a bit of excitement as I finally felt confident enough to go to a couple of venues I haven’t been to since before Covid. Still taking those baby steps back to normality!

Monday – 1.25 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 2.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 3.25 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4 miles + home yoga
Friday – 3.2 miles + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 8.5 miles

I began my week as Captain Sensible. With my hip playing up a bit after a couple of miles on my Sunday run, I restricted myself to just 1 mile (well, a mile and a quarter) on Monday. The hip was fine and I felt like I could have gone on, but my decision was to listen to my body when it was whispering at me rather than being forced to listen when it was shouting. That said, keeping moving definitely helps, so once I was ready I headed out on some errands in town. I had to take the car since it was POURING but I still walked around plenty. The reward for this was treating myself to a new Pandora charm that had just been released. After visiting Disneyland Paris during the Halloween season it’s a lovely reminder of the trip (and really cute).

Of course before running I also took advantage of it being a day off to have a cup of tea in bed and finish off my book. I had chosen this one to be reading while I was away at Disneyland Paris as I like to theme my reading a little while I’m travelling. I enjoyed this one. I liked the idea of visiting all the Disney parks worldwide, and although some of the Disney history included wasn’t new to me, I could still see that the writer was taking his research seriously and can see it being useful to a reader not quite so immersed in Disney history as I am.

In the afternoon I took things a little easier and Smokey and I (yes, he was still desperate for cuddles) watched a couple of things on Disney+. First, the new animated Descendants short Descendants: The Royal Wedding (I really enjoyed these live action movies last year, but get why this one was animated). It was good to catch up with the characters. Then we continued our Halloween viewing with Hocus Pocus. The previous week in Disneyland Paris my sister wore some Sanderson Sisters clothing and it got a lot of attention from cast members!

Later in the afternoon I wanted to move a bit again so headed out for a walk with Steve before settling down for my yoga class.

On Tuesday morning my hip had improved further so I wanted to run just a little further. Not often you can casually double your mileage, but this time I went for 2.5 miles. I wanted to be confident that my hip was ok with this (it was) before going any further since it didn’t take long for it to flare up on my Sunday run.

After that, I made Tuesday my day of sorting out the things I had bought in DLP and doing a little bit of admin. I also took some time to watch the final episodes of Only Murders in the Building. Definitely a recommendation from me and I can’t wait for season 2.

Mail-wise, I received my parkrun 25 run T-shirt. I may be closer to 250 than 25, but with the new milestone tees being available now, the completionist in me needed to add this one to the collection.

After a successful Tuesday run I was ready to go for a half hour on Wednesday (and thus around 5k). Again, no issue with my hip so the work I’ve been doing to loosen it off is definitely working. It was the right decision to back off a bit and build my mileage slowly to make sure I didn’t overload the tight muscle. Running a little further also gave me a good reason to go by the waterfall and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere for a moment.

I had a few more tasks to take care of around the house, then decided to watch another Halloween movie. I know this one is generally considered a bit silly, but it’s based on one of my favourite Disney park attractions and I’m fairly certain I’ve only seen it once (long ago) so wanted to have a reminder of it. It’s not the best, but passed an afternoon while I completed a couple of other tasks on my laptop and I’m sure I noticed more nods to the attraction than I would have done in the past.

I needed to move a bit again so headed out on a walk with Steve. We had some glass containers that needed to be recycled so we took those and went via a nearby recycling point as part of our walk. Then once home it was time for some yoga before dinner.

With the progress I was making with my hip I was happy to go to 4 miles for my Thursday run. Again, no problems. I was really happy that despite going a little further each day, the tight muscle was also feeling better and better each day, confirming that I was taking the right course of action.

Post-run I got organised then had to put together a batch of chilli for the slow cooker. We actually had a couple of portions still in the freezer, but we’re eating this once a week right now so I realised my life would be much easier if I could make another batch while I was still on holiday rather than early in the new term. This meant a day of smelling the aroma of chilli filling the air.

After that I settled down to catch up with a couple of vlogs, have lunch and have the excitement of a delivery from Shop Disney. Yes, I did just go to Disneyland Paris, but these were items I had my eye on which were not available to me there, so I took advantage of a couple of offers to get my order in.

I also watched another movie. This time one which was released last year but I didn’t get around to watching. A bit silly (a fairly standard Adam Sandler offering) but it was ok as a one-off. Smokey was just content that I was sitting still for a bit again!

This was my last day of the holidays that was more or less all at home as we had plans for the Friday morning which meant getting an earlier start for my morning run, Not as early as a work day, but earlier than I prefer for holidays! I had time for about 5k before grabbing a shower and getting on the road to…Ikea!!!

We’ve been needing to head down there for a while to get a few bits and pieces but when it first reopened it always looked so busy and I was reluctant to go on a weekend when it would be even busier. A Friday morning, arriving in time for the store opening, seemed much better. We were there a little ahead of when they open up the restaurant so we could be among the first to get inside and have a cooked breakfast to fortify us for a trip around the warehouse.

Obviously we came home with a few additional items to what was on our list, but is it really a trip to Ikea if you don’t?

I didn’t need any lunch when we arrived home, but I did have a couple of other more local errands so I headed out on those and then Steve came to meet me so we could go for a coffee. I even sat in for my coffee at Nero’s this time (it was pretty quiet upstairs so I felt I had plenty of space).

Once home, I got on with the main task I had after the Ikea jaunt: framing loads of pictures I want to put up. Honestly, who knew it could take so long, especially with two overly inquisitive kitties trying to get involved 😹

After all that I was glad of a quiet evening in front of the tv before heading to bed.

Since my hip felt so much better I was happy for my run to be my usual parkrun sandwich (but with the proviso that I wouldn’t run hard at parkrun – no faster than an 8 minute mile which would put me about 90 seconds slower overall than last week).

I’m pleased to report that I behaved myself and kept the pace in check (8:05 average). My hip was fine and even after stopping for a while post run (it was a bit busy so I jumped on to do some barcode scanning with the volunteer app) it was fine for the run home and that was the point I really started to feel it last week. Looks like it’s going to be ok.

I had planned a quiet afternoon at home, but my sister had let me know that I could accompany her to the current play at the theatre (she works there so gets a couple of comp tickets) and that the Saturday matinee would be a socially distanced performance. I knew it would be quiet so that seemed like a good time to go to the theatre. When I went to the concert hall a few weeks ago I knew the air was being changed frequently but didn’t think the same would be true of the theatre, a much older building. A quiet and socially distanced show felt right for me. I was still double masked though as it makes me feel more comfortable in these situations right now.

The play was a new version of Don Juan, written by one of the actors who performed in the production of The Importance of Being Earnest which I saw shortly before we went into Lockdown last year (thus connecting the last show I saw pre-Covid with the first I returned to). It’s a comic version with a Scottish setting and was really good. If you’re in the area you should check it out.

Once home I had time to enjoy a cup of tea then it was time to get changed again to head back out. Yes, another outing!

My dad had a milestone birthday earlier this year but since we were in Lockdown we weren’t able to do anything to mark the occasion. With things opening up (and all of us feeling a little more confident in going places) we were going for a family meal as a late celebration. The venue was a place we all like and my parents have been in a few times since they reopened. Mum had previously sent me pictures of how the interior had been adapted to the current circumstances, and the fact that they had incorporated decorative screens between the tables meant it felt appropriately safe even whilst busy on a Saturday evening.

We actually all made fairly similar menu choices after dad recommended a couple of things: pan-fried scallops on black pudding, topped with prosciutto with a kiwi & lime sauce to start, then a main course of fillet steak and peppercorn sauce served with fries and rocket salad.

It was all delicious and the steak was cooked so beautifully that the knife went through it like butter.

We had a lovely evening, but it did mean being up later then normal and on top of a fairly busy couple of days – I’m just not used to this any more haha!

As a result of being up later we did take things a bit easier on Sunday morning. I was in no hurry to get out for my run and wanted to enjoy the last chance to have a leisurely start to my day before the new term. I read in bed and enjoyed a cup of tea, then got organised to head out. In all honesty I had no idea how far I was going to run, but felt confident I had left the hip issue behind me. I checked my mileage for the week and settled on 8.5 miles to bring me to 30 for the week. A bit less than usual, but worth it to get the hip issue in check.

It actually felt a bit strange to run further again after a couple of weeks of shorter distances. That coupled with a later night (and some wine!) meant it didn’t feel like my greatest run ever, but it really cleared the cobwebs and made me feel more confident to go into a more “normal” week of running in the days ahead.

I had thought maybe the afternoon would be more relaxing (and a chance to catch up with Strictly!) but after getting the shopping we nipped up to mum and dad’s to collect a couple of things and dad was quite keen on us staying for a cup of tea. It was nice to sit and chat, but I was cutting it fine to see Strictly before the results (spoiler: I managed).

I wrapped up the day with a nice bath and got my things ready for the first day of the new term. And so the regular routine resumes…

Have you returned to any more venues/activities recently?
How is your running going?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 82

Holidays at last! And not only that, but I went away on an actual break in another country!

When the rules around needing a PCR test to return to the UK from abroad changed, it made my sister and I feel much less cautious about taking a trip (previously we had been worried about testing positive whilst away and what that would entail) so just two weeks before the end of term we made a fairly last minute booking to go to Disneyland Paris. I’ll write separately about the details (and many MANY photos) of our trip, so will stick to a brief outline here and how I kept my run streak going whilst travelling.

Monday – 1 mile
Tuesday – 1 mile
Wednesday – 1 mile
Thursday – 1 mile
Friday – 4 miles + Hatha yoga (recording from Zoom)
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 4.5 miles

In order to maximise our time, we opted for an early flight on the Monday morning. We were going to get the TGV from the airport to Disneyland, put our bags (we had those little cabin-sized cases as we were travelling hand baggage only) into the guest storage and be in the park by about midday. And so just like when we took our trip last August, I invoked my “exceptional circumstances” streak rule which meant running a few laps around the block outside my house in the middle of the night to clock up a mile. I had everything packed bar a couple of things I would need first thing, my clothes and running kit laid out so it was easy to get out of bed and run. It may seem an odd thing to do, but that early mile definitely makes me feel much more alert through the rest of what becomes a very long day.

The airport was unfortunately rather stressful. We had checked in online but for some reason nobody was getting a seat allocation and had to still go to the check-in desk at the airport. We joined the queue at 4:40am (for a 6:10am flight) but the queue was incredibly slow. I have NEVER had to wait so long, particularly given we weren’t checking in any bags and it was 5:30am before we were done. We went directly to security where we were met with another huge queue and to be honest I was convinced we were going to miss the flight (and had no idea what we were supposed to do in that situation). Thankfully by the time it was my turn I was able to get through without any additional checks, but along the way I lost sight of my sister. I had put my phone and Apple Watch in my bag (to avoid setting off the sensors) so decided just to start heading for the gate. As it turns out, she had ended up behind me but made the exact same decision, so when I reached the gate (of course one of the far away ones) and called her, she was right behind me and by some miracle we were still able to board. Ironically we then sat at the gate for ages (they were still loading the checked bags for all the people who had been stuck in that check in queue with us) so we had a chance to settle down. Not the most auspicious start, but at least we were on our flight. Phew!

Despite a couple of further queues to contend with at passport control and to get my park ticket (I was using the reduced price “Privilege Tickets” my sister gets with her annual pass) we still made it into the main Disneyland park around midday as planned.

We took some photos and meandered our way towards Cafe Hyperion for lunch (our original plan was to grab a quick breakfast at the airport but with all the queuing all we had eaten was a snack bar each since my sister had the foresight to pack a couple). We then spent our afternoon going on some of our favourite rides, getting some photos with characters and doing a little shopping before getting the shuttle bus to our hotel (a bit of a scrum since we went at park closing time, but you live and learn).

Since I was using the Privilege Tickets this time (which have to be collected and paid for on the day you are using them) this meant I also had the benefit of the early park entry that comes with the Annual Pass. We had breakfast included with our hotel and knew we needed to be on the first shuttle bus in the morning in order to maximise our time, so I worked out that unless I wanted to get up as if it was a work day, the best thing to do would be to stick to a mile each morning.

On the Tuesday morning I wanted to try and explore the grounds of the hotel a bit. We were staying at the Dream Castle – one of the partner hotels – using the voucher we got when our booking for May 2020 (when we were supposed to go for the inaugural Princess Run Weekend) was cancelled. I could tell from looking out our bedroom window that there were beautiful grounds and a nearby lake, but it was just too dark to explore the way I wanted to. In the end the bulk of my run ended up being in the car park while I attempted to find a lit path around the back. Still, with views like this it’s safe to say there are worse car parks to run around!

I did, however, get a chance to appreciate the views from our bedroom before we headed off for the day. Quite the change from the usual brick wall/car park view!

We had planned to begin our day in the Walt Disney Studios, but they did not have the early entry option so instead we went into the main park, took some photos, rode one of our favourite rides (which always has a long queue) then switched park.

Again, we were checking off favourites, trying some new attractions and going to some character meets. When we were planning the trip we had hoped to book a table for our evening meal but hadn’t been able to get anything. My sister was checking on the DLP app and found something for a late lunch/early dinner that day so we just had a snack around lunchtime then after checking out a couple of our favourite shops we hopped back over to the main park again. This meant a few more rides and character photos before our meal.

We ate at Plaza Gardens which in pre-Covid times operated as a buffet but at the time of our visit was a fixed price three course meal. The highlights for me were definitely the starter and dessert!

After eating we still had some park time, then headed into the Disney Village to go to the shops before heading back to the hotel (much quieter on the bus this time).

On the Wednesday I took my run out onto the main street. Our hotel was the middle one of a strip of 5, so I simply turned left and the end of the road was conveniently half a mile away so a simple out and back gave me my mile for the morning.

And after breakfast I had a moment to nip out onto the patio in the reception area to grab a couple of pictures. What a beautiful sunrise!

Again it was straight to the shuttle, off to get my ticket then into the main park. Since we had been on the majority of the rides we wanted to do, this day was all about repeating some favourites and prioritising some of the character meet and greets we still wanted to do.

Mickey posed for me!

We actually ended up leaving around an hour before park closing as we wanted to get organised for our journey home the following day (packing and filling out our Passenger Locator Forms online) plus our hotel had a pool so we had packed our swimsuits to make sure we could have a dip.

In the end we found the pool to be fairly small. It had a little slide and was packed with noisy children so it wasn’t really possible to swim. HOWEVER we found out that we also had access to the steam room and sauna so passed a very pleasant evening in those. I stuck to the sauna and was pretty comfortable using it since everyone in the hotel had to have a Pass Sanitaire (the French Health Pass which proves you are fully vaccinated/have a negative PCR less than 72 hours old). It was quite a nice way to spend the final evening of our trip.

Although we were leaving on the Thursday, our flight wasn’t until 3:20pm so we didn’t have to get the TGV until just before 1pm. This meant my sister was able to go into the parks for the morning, but I didn’t feel the need to buy a further ticket (even at the significantly reduced rate of the Privilege Ticket) just for a short time. But since we still wanted to be on the first shuttle (with our bags to put into guest storage again) it was still just a mile for me, this time heading in the opposite direction along the street. Once again the end of the road was conveniently half a mile.

Once at the parks, we separated. I wanted to go and check out the revamped Hotel New York which now features The Art of Marvel and just recently reopened. If you’re a Marvel fan, you DEFINITELY need to go and have a look – it’s stunning!

I also spent €15 to go up in the Panoramagique balloon as the weather was really clear and bright so I knew I would get amazing views.

By the time I had done that and wandered around the Village a bit, it was time to meet my sister, get our bags and grab a quick snack before heading for the airport (and thankfully the airport was a far smoother experience this time!).

I actually arrived home around the same time I would if I had been at work and I can tell you the kitties were VERY pleased to see me home. Honestly, you’d think they had been abandoned (despite being at home, with each other and Steve the whole time) the way they carried on!

My day 2 PCR test had beaten me there, but before settling down for my dinner I wanted to quickly use one of my lateral flow kits to make sure I wasn’t going to get any surprises. It was negative.

It was a fairly quiet evening unpacking a bit and catching up with Steve (who is becoming very adept at avoiding seeing my copious holiday snaps haha!) then heading to bed fairly sharp. Going straight from an exhausting term into a few days at Disney is really quite tiring – but totally worth it!

It was good to take my time on the Friday morning with a little longer in bed, some time spent reading and then a run. The 4 miles I did actually doubled my mileage thus far for the week 😂

And when I got home I found that the medal for my Halloween-themed virtual run had arrived:

I had to have it since it’s inspired by a great movie.

I also took my PCR test and got it all packaged up to send off. It was to be done on or before the Saturday, but I just wanted to get it sorted out so I would know I had taken care of everything related to my trip. I then had a quiet day at home, mostly with Smokey plastered to my lap.

And since I wasn’t going anywhere I decided to watch a movie. After a couple of amazing meet and greets with Jack Skellington, this one seemed appropriate.

I then persuaded Smokey to move so I could do some yoga. I had missed my Monday evening class, but since we pay for a block, my teacher had offered me the choice of either joining another of her classes or being sent a recording of the Wednesday morning yoga class. I opted for the recording and it was good to have that to look forward to.

My sister had moved her PT session with Steve from Tuesday to Friday to work around out trip, so this meant we had a takeaway for dinner – quite a rarity for us these days. It was nice to have a treat and catch up on some tv.

Saturday morning meant a little reading in bed again before getting organised for parkrun. I wasn’t sure how my body would respond after a week of much lower mileage but lots of time on my feet. As it turned out, my legs wanted to move and I ended up with my fastest time of the year by 4 seconds. I’ll take that!

Further joy shortly after arriving home when the results of my day 2 PCR test came back: negative as expected. Still a relief though!

Later in the day I decided to catch up with another recent movie release. I had been keen to watch this one since completing my viewing of the previous MCU titles but knew that the holidays would be the best time. I enjoyed it.

Of course, Smokey was all in for another afternoon of cuddles 😻

I rounded my day out with a bath followed by Strictly Come Dancing. Perfect!

Sunday, however, did not go so well running-wise. In the last week of term a muscle around my right hip was a little tight for a day or two, but I was able to resolve the issue and it didn’t bother me at all while I was away. Unfortunately it flared up a bit again on Saturday and although I had done some work on it and it felt fine as I set off on my run, after a couple of miles it started to shout at me a bit so I cut things short to head home. Frustrating, but I also knew it was something I would be able to address fairly easily so long as I was sensible. Steve did some work with me to identify the right course of action and aside form the usual Sunday chores, I had a fairly restful day. Turns out, the combined forces of a school term and several long theme park days had left me pretty tired. Thank goodness for another week off before the new term!

Seen any good movie recently?
Do you try to run when you travel or do you prefer to take a break?

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 Week 76

Another week done! I’m definitely noticing that school is busy. I mean, it’s ALWAYS busy, but this first term used to feel just a teeny tiny bit lighter. Not so now, with so many things to do and a really packed timetable. What this means is I will need to take care to listen to my body, prioritise sleep where I can and make sure to have some r’n’r at the weekends. So far I’ve been able to keep fitting in the running/workouts/yoga I want to. I wish there was space to work out more frequently, but for now it will do and I’m pleased with how well my body has adjusted to the early morning runs again. Here’s how it looked:

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

Sometimes I wonder where all these Mondays keep coming from! I think Monday morning must be the toughest alarm call of the week, but I got myself up and changed ready for my run. It’s still on the darkish side when I step out the front door at the moment (although only for a few minutes) and I’m really not ready for all the weeks of running in darkness just yet.

My legs felt a little heavy at first, probably after running a bit harder over the weekend, but they soon loosened up and I enjoyed my run. Not sure how I managed to pick up a Strava segment PR on a recovery run though 😳

When I got home from work I was able to sit in the garden for a few minutes to get some air, then it was time for yoga. No class again this week so my own home practice before dinner.

Later, we built the new scratching post platform I had bought for the kitties (the sisal eventually gets destroyed by their claws so at least once a year they need a new one). I think it got the thumbs up from them 😹

Tuesday felt a little chilly first thing. Absolutely still shorts and Tshirt weather, but nevertheless a slightly autumnal nip in the air until the sun was up. It was a fairly standard run ahead of my work day and sadly no opportunity for a workout in the evening as Steve was out. I settled for some yoga instead before dinner.

I opted once again to make Wednesday my weekly Running For Real Together Run, but I was a little pushed for time so couldn’t go for the 60 minute run which would have been my preference and stuck to 45 minutes instead. When I stepped out the door there was a really beautiful sky:

I picked a route which took me uphill and noticed when I reached the highest point that there was a lot of low-lying fog in the valley below – it almost looked like a body of water but it’s most definitely fog/cloud:

And as has become a staple part of this run, I responded to the prompt to take a pictures to share at a certain point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Much excitement when I arrived at work to find that The World’s Slowest Computer had been replaced. We had been expecting the roll-out of new teacher PCs and mine was one of the first to be done. It seemed so quick to get started and logged in compared to my old one, plus I can do exciting things like have more than one file open without it crashing. Revolutionary!

It was a busy day, which began with observing a lesson taught by the new teacher I am mentoring this year. I love taking on this role and missed it last year. But by the time I got home I felt like I’d had a pretty long day and I still had to prep a pot of chilli to cook in the slow cooker the following day. I felt pretty sleepy so Steve took me through a quick TRX workout before dinner to wake me up a bit, then I made sure to take things easy for the rest of the evening. We were able to finish watching Hit and Run on Netflix, which I recommend.

On Thursday I wanted to run down to the river as Steve had been getting some lovely photos there in the lower light. Last time I was there it was foggy, so I was pleased to be able to see a different morning scene this time.

It was another long day (we have more lessons on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so it’s not just me thinking those days feel long, they actually are!) but I was cheered when I arrived home to find that the Pandora jewellery I had ordered with my birthday money and vouchers had arrived. It made it feel like I was still keeping the birthday joy going!

By Friday morning I noticed that it seemed particularly dark at the start of my run. Sunset is now towards the end of my running time, so I might have to think about high-viz quite soon.

The work day was packed, so I was mentally ready for a change when I arrived home. It was a bit murky-looking outside, so it was a living room workout with the resistance band and some press ups. I had thought I might do some yoga next, but my sister dropped by to pick up something I had ordered her as an additional birthday gift: a cup cozy. I had been meaning to order from this small shop for a while and spotted something ideal for her. Of course I couldn’t resist a couple for myself at the same time!

For the rest of the evening we watched a bit of TV, but I actually ended up falling asleep towards bedtime – a sure sign of busy work days!

After that I felt ready for parkrun day. After running well the previous week I really didn’t expect to have anything more right now, so I was surprised to realise that the pace I was running at would see me finish in under 24 minutes if I could sustain it. Ever since I began parkrunning in early 2015 my best time each year has been 23:XX (including 2020 when we paused in March) so I was keen to add 2021 to the “streak” (and you know how much I enjoy a st. I had assumed I would need to put a bit of work in with a view to achieving this in the autumn, so was delighted to finish in 23:38.

Goal achieved (and a continuation of my “fastest time of the year streak to boot haha!).

My friend who works on the Disney Cruise Line (I saw her when I was on the Magic) was home and had come to parkrun so it was really nice to get a chance to chat to her for a few minutes too.

The rest of the day was pretty relaxing, mainly spent with a little tv. I was keen to finish watching Lupin but oh my did those final episodes make me miss Paris! It crossed my mind that under different circumstances this would have been a French Trip year and that realisation that I don’t know when I’ll next get to Paris did make me a little sad. I fully support all the restrictions that are in place right now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t feel a bit fed up with it all.

After a good sleep and an easy start to my Sunday (cups of tea in bed while I read) I was ready to run and headed off to run a loop taking in the woodland park. I felt good on the run again, but didn’t have much time to stop since I knew my parents were going to visit later in the afternoon (I’m still not sure if they were visiting me or the cats 🤔). Still, I enjoyed running through the park then along by the river for my return home.

And just like that, the day was done. I only had time for a quick bath before bed, but knew it had been a good week overall.

How are things with you right now?
What’s’s your current running/fitness goal?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 74

Back to school! It never ceases to amaze me just what a shock to the system it is, especially after the summer when we get really out of the way of the term time routine. That said, it’s good to start feeling much fresher than when the term ended back in June, and I was determined to keep my mileage up a bit on what I was running back then (although likely a bit less overall on weekdays than during the holidays). At least as far as this first week was concerned, I did manage that:

Monday – 4.1 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 6 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 9 miles

So it was back to my old friend the 5am alarm on Monday morning. Of course after 7 weeks off I felt pretty well rested so it was ok getting up early (I know that won’t last!) and I had left my kit out to speed things up. Thankfully it’s still light in the mornings and it was set to be a sunny day so it was really nice outside. I actually saw the most lovely rainbow. It was kind of visible in parts, then I could finally see the whole thing arching in front of me later on. The sky can change so quickly at this time of day, but it was just the thing to set me up for the day ahead (an inservice/inset day so lots of meetings!).

The work day was fine. It was nice to see my colleagues and start to get my head around a few things – I even managed to leave by 5! That gave me a bit of time to myself before my yoga class (which definitely felt more necessary after a work day than it did when I was on holiday!).

I did my best to get to bed fairly sharp since I was up early again for the second of our two inset days. I could actually have worked from home for this one, but I thought that might make going in for the first teaching day on Wednesday feel super hard and being in school meant I could get some things done without having classes or meetings to work around.

First, of course, I headed out for a run. Nothing special, just a fairly easy pace while my body gets used to “work mode” again.

When I got home from work the sun was shining so a garden workout was in order – TRX, press up bars and the Core Momentum Trainer this time. Followed by a relaxing yoga session to ease me into my evening.

Waking up on Wednesday I was three days into the return of early starts and had the first teaching day of the school year ahead of me. While I most definitely needed my run to set me up for the day (it was a Running for Real Together Run), I did notice that I was getting a bit more sluggish so continued to keep the pace easy.

As it turned out, a combination of non-teaching time and new first year pupils taking part in induction activities meant that I didn’t actually meet any of my new classes until the afternoon so I had the morning to get some planning and admin done. But being back in the classroom is alway tiring so by the time I got home I was feeling pretty sleepy. My yoga session helped, but I made sure to get to bed sharp!

I did feel better on Thursday morning but saw no need to complicate an already tiring week by adding in drills! Instead I opted for a straightforward 5 mile loop down to the river and around the bridges. It was a bit drizzly but still nice to take in the peace and quiet of the river in the early morning (although not nice enough to tempt me to stop and take photos!).

After a packed day I was so glad to get home and onto my yoga mat. Steve was out at a meeting so post-yoga I had a little time to myself and since my brain felt fried I relaxed with a couple of vlogs until he got back and we could have our dinner. Again, I headed to bed fairly sharp.

Friday was most welcome, but before I could really hit the weekend I had a full teaching day to navigate (the bulk of my non-teaching time is in the early part of the week but with the inset days I didn’t have those so it felt like a super busy week overall!). But before that, a nice out-and-back run to ease me into the day. Nothing special, just some time to myself in a busy day.

I didn’t hang around at the end of the day as I was done in and needed to just summon up the energy to head out and get home. I hoped to have an outdoor workout but there was rain forecast and we had barely stepped out the door when we could feel the raindrops in the air, so it was back to the living room and a workout with the resistance band and some press ups, after which I did some yoga while Steve organised dinner.

I was in need of a relaxing evening so we finished up the tv programme we had been watching this week: The Woods on Netflix. Another excellent Harlan Coben adaptation. After that, to bed as I REALLY needed a good sleep!

And a good sleep I had. According to my tracker app I was basically dead to the world 8.5 hours. I woke up just as Steve was bringing me a cup of tea and it was good to take my time enjoying my tea and reading a bit (my reading time definitely suffered being at work) until it was time to get ready for parkrun. I have to say, it’s still so novel to have parkrun back after so long without it. It looked like it might rain so I donned my cap to keep the rain out of my face, but the parkrun weather fairies did their job and the rain held off until after I was home.

In actual fact it felt quite humid but I was determined to run a bit faster than last week, especially since I knew it was a more auspicious week hormonally for me (changing hormones throughout the month make such a difference!). I positioned myself slightly further forward and set off at a decent lick and hoped to be able to hang on. The upshot? I DID run faster, so another email congratulating me on my fastest time this year. I also came first in my age category which was pretty pleasing. But most pleasing of all was checking my stats to find a Royal Flush Negative Split – it’s been a while since I got to use that phrase!

I arrived home on such a high after having a good run, being cheered to the finish by other parkrunners and chatting to parkrun friends. A valuable reminder of how parkrun is about so much more than running 5k. I honestly hadn’t realised quite how much I missed it.

After being at work all week I made sure to take it easy on Saturday afternoon. I actually ended up finishing the first part of Lupin on Netflix. Steve and I had watched the first episode a while back, which played as dubbed in English, and Steve hadn’t enjoyed it. He didn’t want to watch any more, but I did so changed the settings so it would play in the original French with subtitles and ended up watching the remaining 4 episodes in the first part. I really enjoyed them. I had thought I might go for a bath later on, but my mum sent my sister down with some bits and pieces so we were having a good old blether, after which there didn’t feel like enough time before dinner to have a nice long soak.

Smokey woke me quite sharp on Sunday morning as he wanted his breakfast. And here was me thinking he might give me a lie in for my birthday! Oh well! At least being awake meant I had time to enjoy a cup of tea while I opened up cards and gifts before spending a little time reading my book.

I made sure to head out for my run fairly sharp and dropped the mileage back a little as we wanted to have lunch a bit earlier and get the shopping done so that we could go out for a little treat. I knew that 8.5 miles would be enough to bring me to 40 miles for the week so set off towards the woodland park with that in mind. Somehow my route ended up being 9 miles, but I resisted the temptation to go on to 10 as I really needed to get inside, showered and changed.

We managed to get everything done in good time, including a quick visit from Steve’s brother to drop off a gift from him and his family – beautiful flowers and an bottle of wine from a rather intriguing brand I have not come across before: 19 Crimes. Their range is inspired by the 19 crimes which led to prisoners being deported to Australia in the 1700s (thus becoming colonists), and the label directs you to their website and augmented reality app to learn more. I’ll look into this more when I get a chance as it sounds fascinating.

The treat was to go out for afternoon tea at the farm shop cafe, which is served 2:30-4pm and they are not taking bookings right now, it’s first come first served four everything so we wanted to be there sharp to make sure we got a table. It’s a place I enjoy for their tea and cakes, but have never had afternoon tea there before. It was also my first time sitting in at a cafe again since the pandemic – I’ve pretty much used takeaway or, one one previous occasion, sat outside. It was busy, but the tables were well spaced and we were by a door leading to outside tables so had plenty of ventilation and I felt very safe. As for the afternoon tea, it was DELICIOUS. We’ll definitely have this again!

It would have been lovely to have a glass fizz with it, but I was driving (Steve is waiting on his new car so doesn’t have one right now, which is normally no big deal) so I was driving. I had, however, made sure to get some prosecco when we got the shopping so we indulged in a glass when we got home.

Unsurprisingly, all that food and fizz made me sleepy so I indulged in a little afternoon nap before dinner. And after dinner it was time for birthday cake (baked by Steve!). It was delicious!

I finished out my day with a bath, then Steve and I sat outside for a few minutes to get some fresh air before bed. It felt almost like being on holiday again and it was a shame to head inside. One week of term down, seven more to go…!

Do you enjoy afternoon tea?
How did you celebrate your last birthday?

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?