Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 72

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitely walking then!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sea” ya real soon, Disney!

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

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

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

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

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

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

It certainly took the edge off coming home!

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

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

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

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

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

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 56

Why do holidays always whip by so quickly compared to work days? Despite the luxury of two weeks off to relax and spend my days doing things I enjoy (although limited right now by Covid restrictions) it still felt like it had been but the blink of an eye and a new term was waiting. I knew the first week would be an adjustment back into the routine of work so I decided to go easy on myself and make this the cutback week in my running which I should have ideally taken the week before. I also knew that I would likely be at work fairly late each day so made sure to go easy on myself when it came to fitting in workouts. The week ended up looking like this:

Monday – 3.5 miles + home yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + walk + home yoga
Saturday – (not)parkrun sandwich
Sunday – 8 miles

It’s always a shock when that alarm goes off for the first day of term, but I got myself up and out the door for my usual Monday recovery run and it was a cold one! The temperature had dropped again overnight to below freezing with an even lower “feels like” temperature so it was most definitely a day for leggings (and my hands were chilly even inside my thicker gloves!). I had managed to get the new scavenger hunt list before I headed out, so grabbed a couple of pictures for that while I was out.

The day itself was fine, just lots of things to get my head around for the days and weeks ahead. Of course I ended up working quite late then had to get some petrol on the way home, so I was pleased to find that the calendar for my yoga sessions this week features really relaxing wind-down/bedtime sessions. Just what I need as I adjust to being back in the work routine!

It was so nice to be able to sit down for a bit in the evening and Steve and I watched the latest episode of Line of Duty – things are really picking up!

I got to bed reasonably early but I think the second day of getting up earlier is always harder than the first. This wasn’t helped by the temperature still being really low (leggings again!). I must have been more tired than I realised and that weariness had settled in my legs making them feel like lead for the first 3 miles of my run. It was like there was just nothing in them and nothing would make them move any quicker. Somehow for the final mile things changed and I felt much better, but by that point I had already altered my route to cut the distance a little (listening to my body!) so stuck with my decision and headed in to get ready for the day.

It was another busy day with a meeting at the end (still via Teams rather than in person) and although I had hoped to be home in time to fit in a workout, it just didn’t happen as I got caught up in some tasks I wanted to finish up. I was tired so went straight off to get changed and do some yoga while Steve organised dinner, then we watched another episode of Intruder before I headed off for an early night. I must have fallen asleep quickly as I have no recollection of Steve coming to bed!

Thanks to a good sleep I felt much better on Wednesday morning so set off to get the last three items on my scavenger hunt. I knew where on (or close to) my planned route I would find them, and although cold it was a really pretty morning as the sun came up. One of my scavenger hunt items was a church spire and thanks to the light I ended up with this really pretty picture:

There’s no escaping busy days right now (and I think that will be the pattern for the whole term) so despite my best hopes I just couldn’t get home early enough to fit on a workout. In actual fact, the first thing to do when I got home was to take my lateral flow test (I’ve decided the best thing to do is just get it out the way when I come in) then once I had the (negative) result, I did a short but relaxing yoga video. This restful week of yoga videos really is coming at the perfect time for me.

In the evening we finished watching Intruder then I had time to read a little before bed.

Still chilly on Thursday morning and I have to say I was beginning to get a bit fed up of it – why was I having to scrape my windscreen in April? To liven things up I decided to head down to the river and around the bridges for my run. I was glad I made that choice as the water was flat calm and I got a really nice picture:

Steve arrived back from his run at the same time as me and “intercepted” my photo. All I could think of was the “Tiny Steve” reference from With Me Now (for those who know!).

The rest of the day was much as the rest of the week had been – busy! I had one of those days where a lot of classes were working in locations other than my classroom so there was lots of moving around the building and getting technology to cooperate. Of course I STILL didn’t get home in time for a workout, but for the first week of what will be an exceptionally busy term, that was ok while I got some kind of routine established. I did make sure to do some yoga then after dinner we watched the first episode of Too Close, a 3 part series shown at the beginning of the week.

Even better, Steve (who declared when we were getting our food shop that he wasn’t going to bake this week) had baked a cake. I asked what had prompted his change of heart and he said that since I was having such a long and busy week, he had decided that I deserved cake. I’m not going to argue with that logic!

By Friday morning I was finding it tough to get up early and was glad it was the last working day of the week. I considered an out-and-back route for my run but decided I wanted something different so headed towards the river. Rather than go over the bridge, I turned to run by the river and back via different streets.

After a pretty productive day I managed to leave work just a smidge earlier than I had been and when I arrived home Steve was just about to head out for a walk to get some fresh air. Although the mornings had been cold all week, it was actually pretty nice later on so I tagged along too. But heading out for a walk meant no workout again and when we got back the cats were needing fed then Steve got started on our dinner while I did some yoga.

I also took the chance to dive into my latest Disney delivery which had arrived while I was at work. I seem to have accidentally fallen into collecting the collectible keys they have been producing after getting a few as free gifts with previous orders, so had timed this order to coincide with the latest one being released. I finally succumbed to ordering a NuiMo after they released an outfit inspired by my favourite Disney princess. I also ordered a pile of face masks as they had a huuuuuge reduction and I thought it might be cool to have the full set for posterity. Besides, I’m not seeing the need for masks ending any time soon and with the need for a fresh one every single day for work, it’s good to have loads available. The face mask is fast becoming the fashion accessory I didn’t know I needed!

Neither of us had given any thought to a Friday night movie so we watched the remaining two episodes of Too Close and I had a little time to read before bed.

It was so nice to wake up without an alarm (well, I did have the kitties who will ALWAYS make sure someone wakes up to feed them!) on Saturday morning. Once the kitties were fed I settled down in bed with a cup of tea to read a chunk of my book until it was time to run. And hallelujah, going out a little later meant it was mild enough to get back into my shorts. You have no idea how happy this makes me!

Since I had made this my (delayed) cutback week I decided not to run particularly hard. I followed my usual route and division of my run into a warm up, faster (not)parkrun and cool down, but kept that middle section to a steady pace rather than really going for it. I thought this would be a good idea since I was in the process of re-adapting to early runs again so I wanted to give my body a break. And so, I simply enjoyed turning my legs over a bit quicker and being out in the sunshine.

My Saturday routine is fairly fixed now and this week was no different – This Is Us, Disney quiz, a couple of episodes of The Crown and then a bath. Still regularly watching Christmas movies in the bath so I have them fresh in my mind before listening to the Christmas Crackers podcast and this week was The Santa Clause 3. I’m actually not sure I have ever seen it before, but if I have then it was a loooong time ago!

When it came to Sunday, I started the day by finishing up my book. This one was actually written about 15 years ago and at the time nobody wanted to publish it as the backdrop of a global pandemic and the associated restrictions was seen as too far-fetched! Reading it now (it was published last year) it has an eerie familiarity and the backdrop seems perfectly plausible. So strange to consider how rapidly our point of view has shifted over the past year or so.

As it turned out, the kitties must also be interested in reading as I found one of my bookcases like this:

I can only assume they were highlighting the books they want to read next😹

For my run I opted to keep it to 8 miles so I was genuinely cutting back the mileage and I had a route in mind. I was also able to don not just one new piece of kit, but two! The other new pair of shoes I bought recently and a new pair of shorts which arrived right when the temperature plummeted and I had to switch to leggings!

Wearing new kit always means a good run!

After lunch, food shopping and my lateral flow test (I guess I need to just accept these as a routine part of my week now), we settled down to continue with a series we began the day before. On the recommendation of a friend, we were watching Pizza Boys, a 5 part series following a pair of Welsh pizza chefs taking a road trip to Italy to take part in a pizza-making competition. It was really good so if you like foodie travel-type programmes then I would recommend it.

There was a treat in store after dinner as my sister had dropped off some of mum’s first rhubarb of the season. The young rhubarb is nice and sweet, so Steve made a delicious crumble with it.

After which it was time for me to run my bath so I could relax with The Falcon and the Winter Soldier before heading to bed. I need to get my rest to make it through this term!

What do you do to change things up when your body needs rest?
Read any good books lately?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 54

Holidays at last! Obviously options are pretty limited right now in terms of fun things to do, but I was just looking forward to a couple of weeks without work, especially knowing that next term is going to be pretty full-on. I also wanted to enjoy running just a little later and having the space to stretch the distance a teeny bit. Here’s how it went:

Monday – 4 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 6.3 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + home yoga
Saturday – 6.3 miles
Sunday – 10 miles

Having realised over the weekend that I was actually super tired (that tends to happen in teaching – we keep on going and going and going then as soon as we stop for the holidays it all catches up on us) I promised myself a really easy day to begin the holidays. That meant no alarm and taking my time in the morning to read in bed with no rush to get out on my run.

This was doubly useful as I still had “lunch time run” to cross off on my bingo card so this was the perfect day for that one. As it turns out, I don’t think lunchtime running suits me. Perhaps I could adapt to that in the same way that I adapted to running before work, but I definitely noticed as I set off that I was hungry and in need of my lunch (I had eaten a light breakfast earlier) and wasn’t sure how I would feel as I ran, but it did improve as I went along.

I made sure to eat something as soon as I got in as I wanted to get showered and changed before lunch, then the rest of the day continued to be an easy one. I caught up on some tv and vlogs and finished up my book. I really enjoyed this one, which I’ve been meaning to read ever since I read Michelle Obama’s a while back.

I also headed out for a short walk in the early evening to get a little more air and movement before my yoga class. By the time I was heading to bed I was feeling pretty good so this easy day was definitely what I needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Tuesday I did have an alarm to wake up to (not as early as a work day, but I don’t want to fall into bad habits over the holidays) and discovered I had over 80 messages in WhatsApp. Whaaaaaaat? It turned out to be the group chat with my sister and her friends who are Disney fans. One of them had spotted an ad for special screenings of The Muppet Christmas Carol with a live orchestra this coming December and they were organising tickets. Thankfully I didn’t miss out by being asleep (quite late the night before) as they had gone ahead and got a ticket for me on the basis that if I didn’t want to go they would easily find someone else who wanted it. I’m hoping that by December events like this are possible again, but for now it just feels nice to have something a little different in my diary to look forward to – a little treat after all the craziness of the past year – and this is one of my favourite Christmas movies. I suspect I will be singing along!

All this meant I was already in a good mood before I even got up and that good mood continued into my run as this time I was crossing off “listen to music”. I couldn’t tell you the last time I listened to music on a run (other than music being played at a race) as I prefer to listen to podcasts these days, but I had decided to download a Disney playlist to my phone and it led to a really fantastic run which I wrote about in a bit more detail here.

Once home it was another reasonably easy day: I took care of a bit of life admin and some quick things I wanted to sort out (one being that I added some additional tracks to my Disney playlist since I hadn’t updated it in a while) then spent some time with Smokey sleeping on my lap while I worked on that blog post.

Steve was also having an easy day as he had his first dose of the Covid vaccine the day before so had set the time aside in case he experienced any side effects. As it turned out, other than a sore arm he just felt a bit tired so he went out for a walk in the afternoon. When he returned he took me through a workout using the resistance band and some press up variations (my arms were dead afterwards!) then I did my yoga session before dinner. We’ve had a few tv shows on the go so having already watched the latest Line of Duty on Monday, we opted for the last episode of the current series of Unforgotten followed by an episode of Keeping Faith.

I actually felt quite tired again in the evening, so we both headed to bed fairly sharp and while Steve fell asleep really quickly, I read my book for a bit.

I felt much more refreshed on Wednesday morning, despite some time awake in the night (thanks Sooty – another middle of the night hairball 🙄). Again, I began my day with some reading in bed as I was close to finishing my book, then got ready for my run. The final challenge to cross off on my bingo card was “draw a Strava picture”. Uh oh! DEFINITELY not one I would find easy! I had left this one until I was on holiday so I would have the headspace to think about how to do it. Steve had been keen for me to “freestyle” it by going to some park space and having a go at drawing something, but it seemed to me that the logistics of something like that would be tricky as I felt like I would need markers to make sure I was going to the right spots to create different parts of the picture. Instead, I wanted to use streets so I would have a bit more control. I spent AGES staring at different parts of the map of town and squinting my eyes a bit to see if I could make some kind of shape jump out at me, but to no avail. In the end, I decided I could probably manage some letters so found a place I could trace out TG (for Tough Girl, the source of the challenge). I used the markup function on my phone to work out how to draw out the letters without any funny extra lines, then decided to record it as a separate workout so it would be really clear.

As a result, my run was in 3 parts – a run to the spot where I would trace out the letters, the letters themselves, then a further run to loop home again. I did some basic sums while I was out and realised I was at around 3.25 miles after I finished drawing my picture, so figured I’d record a further 3 miles as I wanted around 6 miles for the day. Typically, it also rained more heavily than it has on any run for a while so I got a bit of a soaking, but I still had fun. Drawing out the letters required a lot of checking of my saved map to make sure I went to the right places, so hats off to anyone who has managed a more complicated design. Nonetheless, bingo card completed!

I spent some time during the day working on blog posts and finished up another book. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this one and for a while in the middle I felt like it slowed a bit, but it really picked up towards the end so I’d say it’s worth persevering.

I also got wind from my sister that it was National Wear Your Ears day (I remember this from last year). Always happy to oblige!

A slightly random moment came in the early evening. I was pulling together a batch of chilli for the slow cooker when Steve said there was a post in our area’s Facebook group that the mascot for the football team was going to walk around here (one of our neighbours is, to put it in Disney parlance, a friend of his) and we couldn’t resist joining everyone else outside our front door to grab a couple of pictures. Just the sort of weird moment that really makes a difference in your day. I headed upstairs after that to do a little yoga before dinner.

We rounded out our day by finishing up the most recent series of Keeping Faith. Time to choose a new box set again! And our viewing was accompanied by Steve’s latest bake: coffee cake.

Thursday was April 1st so not only did I get to start my day with some reading in bed, I also had the fun of looking out for all the April Fool jokes from various companies and news sources. My favourite running-related one came from parkrun and the “floral poi” shade for a future milestone T-shirt. I’ll admit there’s a teeny bit of me that’s disappointed this isn’t true since I love the colour!

The run itself was good. There’s nothing quite like the freedom (and extra rest!) of being on holiday to make for an enjoyable run – no pressure to get out the door, nothing specific to be back for. I really enjoy going just a little further than I would have time for before work so this was a very pleasant 5 miles. I actually arrived home right as the courier was delivering my Shop Disney order. Since they now take a photo of the parcel being delivered rather than you signing for it, I got a fun post-run delivery photo to add to my collection of random feet and legs at the front door 😂

As ever, the kitties were pleased since my delivery meant a new box for them to play with (I think they really like the Disney ones because they are a good size; I like them because they’re a bit more “decorative” to have lying around the house!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next on the agenda was a quick project. I once again had the last of the wax in a couple of candles with burnt out wicks and an empty jar, so I wanted to melt that wax down and pour it into the empty jar to start creating my own mix ‘n’ match layered candle.

I kept things pretty chilled after that – some work on a blog post, reading and a late afternoon walk with Steve before my yoga session. For our evening entertainment we picked Grace. This is a new series where each episode is standalone and it looks like one will be released every so often. It’s another one based on a book and was pretty good.

Steve had quite a lot on on the Friday morning so I enjoyed reading my book in bed then got ready for a run. The sun was shining but the temperature had dropped overnight so it felt pretty chilly at first (it did warm up later on). I kept to a fairly easy pace and just enjoyed the time out and about.

The mail was a little later on Friday (it was Good Friday) but brought with it two things for me. First up, the last of my princess-themed medals so I now have the set:

And, much less fun, my latest antibody test for the Public Health Scotland Antibody Survey. Steve was out again for a bit, but once he was home we just took care of the test right away then headed out for a walk together to put it back in the post. There was then time for a little yoga before dinner.

For our Friday night movie we continued with our new (but fairly short) project. 

I have seen the original 3 movies a number of times before but didn’t fully remember what happened in this one. It was fun to be reminded of some of the key moments.

My Saturday run brought with it a bit of excitement as I had a little event to take part in. Last year I was invited to join in with the Easter World Run, a free event organised on Facebook, and recently got a message letting me know that the event was happening again so I could sign up. The idea is really simple: you “register” by messaging the organiser with your name, where in the world you are and your timezone. On the designated day (the Saturday of Easter weekend) you run at 9am for an hour then share your proof (a screenshot from e.g. Strava) on the group page to show that you ran. The idea is that with everyone running at 9am, the run should move like a kind of relay around the world, without anyone ever having to meet or hand over any sort of baton. Like with the recent virtual semi marathon de Paris en duo, it brought a fun new element to my run, even though I still ran my usual Saturday route. For the purposes of the event I recorded it as one run this week (rather than my usual warm up, (not)parkrun, cool down) but still wanted to record a (not)parkrun time so I just noted the time I had at 5.1 miles then took off the first 2 mile splits since I usually run a 2 mile warm up. I was running at a steady pace for the whole thing, rather than the variety I usually have on a Saturday, so that was close enough.

I love this tree – it gets decorated at Christmas too and must be some kind of community thing.

I pretty much chilled out the rest of the day – tv, Disney quiz on Youtube and I started series 3 of The Crown (the one where the cast changes which felt so weird after getting used to the original cast) – all accompanied by my faithful (sleepy) boy.

I also enjoyed a relaxing bath and some time reading.

The book I was reading was really interesting. My dad lent me it and I wasn’t sure what I would think but it was very well written and I’m now keen to read others by this writer (pretty sure I bought dad one of them for either Christmas or his birthday). I had made my way through it quite quickly and finished it up on Sunday morning before heading out for my run.

It was a super windy morning but I wanted another run out to the woodland park, this time as part of a 10 mile loop which includes a fairly steep hill. I ran this loop a few weeks back and feel like it might happen more often in the weeks ahead now the weather is better).

Again, the rest of the day was relaxing with tv, reading and a bath before bed. A lovely way to end the first week of the holidays and I was definitely feeling a bit fresher by this point.

Have you ever tried to create some Strava art?
What was the best April Fool you spotted?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 15

The last week of term was a little odd this year. If I’m honest, it didn’t really feel like the end of term at all – no winding down classes with fun projects, no end of year events, no presentations to departing staff. It was certainly a relief to stop the remote teaching and have a break, but when actually going away on holiday is cancelled, it’s harder to feel excited about it! Still, I did my best to have a fun week and was able to maintain my training.

Monday – 3.5 miles + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 6 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + 2 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – 6.5 miles
Sunday – 10 miles

For reasons that will become apparent as this post continues, I actually ended up hitting a new mileage record this week – 42.2 miles (my previous record being 41.2 the week before). No, I’m not pushing my mileage on again, but noticed an easy opportunity towards the end of the week so just went for it!

Monday and Tuesday were fairly routine. I was working hard to finish up the remaining things I had to do before the end of term, fitting in a workout and yoga session in the afternoon, and watching some telly (we finished Hidden and watched a little more Schitt’s Creek). A Tuesday highlight was some surprise hot cross buns in the afternoon to sustain me (Steve had been out on an errand and picked them up while he was out). I think we may have developed an addiction to hot cross buns during Lockdown!

Wednesday was a big day for me. It was day 100 (!!!) of my run streak! Back on day 50 I realised too late that I could have worn my parkrun 50 milestone tee (d’oh!) and had made the plan to wear my 100 top for this personal milestone. I cannot believe I have now run on consecutive days into triple figures and still have no plans to stop. I’m really enjoying getting out every day and I think my body now expects that I will get up and run. Never in a million years did I expect to become a “run streaker”, but here we are. The only downside was this was a wet day so I got DRENCHED!

Thursday was the last day of term and as a faculty we had two colleagues retiring, so we decided to all go into school for a little socially distanced send off. Despite current restrictions we had managed to organise some gifts (and hope to have a proper “do” some time in the future) so I ran very slightly earlier so I could be in school about mid-morning. I did pay a quick visit to my classroom, where I discovered a lovely gift from our retiring faculty leader:

As well as the less fun (but still welcome) gift of a 5 litre bottle of hand sanitiser ready for our return in August! (All classrooms are to have these).

It was so nice to have a chance to chat to my colleagues. Although we continued to have meetings and were in school the previous week for our induction, that was all “business” and we didn’t have a chance to all be together and chat (even with our chairs all spread out around the room). Another colleague had brought strawberry tarts, but I politely declined as I’m still wary of any food that hasn’t been prepared in my own house. I’m not sure if that’s me being sensible, overly cautious or downright weird, but I’m not yet ready to relinquish that control.

Once home, I investigated my gift:

The book is one of the beautiful Persephone Books which some of my colleagues love. I’ve never had one and am excited to get my first one, along with a bookmark and some Ferrero Rocher.

And my other colleague who was retiring had also brought us all a small gift (what we in Scotland call “a wee minding” – a small gift to remind you of the giver). This one is some lovely scented soaps which I have placed on a dish and love catching a whiff of them.

No afternoon workout, instead, I ended up going on a unexpected second run. A while back (I have no idea when – time is a rather funny concept right now), Steve received an invitation to be part of a socially distanced birthday celebration for a fellow runner in our area. The idea was that since there couldn’t be any kind of gathering, we would tap into her love of running in fancy dress (costume for my US readers) but all heading out our front doors at 6pm, and going for a run of any distance or pace, whilst in fancy dress. We then shared our photos and video messages in a Facebook group set up for the occasion. I had forgotten all about this, but at about 5:45pm Steve mentioned it and said, “yeah I’ll just wear my Olaf costume from Run Disney. Did you want to come too?”. We were both heading out the door by 6pm, so I’m not sure whether or not I should be worried about the speed with which I can pull together a running costume 🤣

We ran up the hill by our house (in the direction of where I had *that* encounter with the buzzard) and turned off onto a path Steve has been running regularly. When we hit a mile, we stopped to take a picture before turning back.

Steve told me there’s a Strava segment on the way back down the hill, so we both went for it on our return. I think I’ve only ever run down the hill once before (I’ve been up plenty but normally at the start of a loop) so I got myself a PR on the segment – not bad for someone dressed as Minnie Mouse haha!

Back when I made this T-shirt and hat for Steve, my sister said the hat looked like Eugene Levy. I remembered about it since we’ve been watching Schitt’s Creek, and I definitely see what she means now. Must be the eyebrows! 😂

With school finished for the session, we rounded off our day with a glass of fizz and a Ferrero Rocher.

On Friday I fell right into “holiday mode”. That meant an hour of reading in bed before going for my run (so indulgent, but a nice start to the day) and I still made sure to fit in my workout and yoga. My morning wasn’t too glamorous as I got caught up on some housework and tidying up (so much easier to relax when I know that’s done), but I had very definite plans for my afternoon:

My sister is lucky enough to have seen this show, but ever since hearing that it would be released on Disney+ on 3rd July, I knew that would be my afternoon entertainment. I really enjoyed it, although some parts were a little hard for me to follow so I suspect I will return to it at some point to pick up some of the nuances.

I also decided that with a bit more time at my disposal, I would return to the Disney drawing tutorials I was following before. First up, Minnie Mouse.

It was the usual Saturday routine, but with very positive progress in my (not)parkrun performance. Having moved from 26:39, to 26:08, I was determined to get my time under 26 minutes. I was therefore thrilled (and a bit surprised) to get sub-25 with my time of 24:49. Exactly the same route, I just ran it a bit better. Sadly that progress did not transfer to our parkrun quiz performance – 9/15. About average for us.

When Steve went out to meet his brother for their socially distanced coffee and catch up, I lined up a few activities for myself. First, I finished up my book. This one is really lovely, so if you haven’t read it, I do recommend it.

Then I watched a couple more episodes of Into the Unknown, the programme that goes behind the scenes of Frozen 2. This is a DEFINITE recommendation from me – I LOVED it!

I also unwrapped a delivery – my new planner for August. We are given a planner of sorts, but I prefer to get one of my own. Every year I buy the same plain purple cover, but this year went for something different:

It reminds me of the purple wall at the Magic Kingdom. See what you think:

2019 vibes!

My drawing on this days one of my favourites – Stitch!

Sunday was also fairly standard, but thanks to the extra couple of miles on Thursday evening, my regular 10 mile run was enough for me to hit that 42 miles in the week record. Other activities included a quick driveway visit with my parents (no indoor visits yet at this point), the final parts of Into the Unknown and, inspired by all the Frozen talk, I had a go at drawing Elsa. A word of warning if you fancy having a go at these tutorials – people are hard to draw!

And my usual Sunday evening bath brought the week to close. On the plus side, no “Sunday night feeling” of having work the next day. Instead, 5 weeks of limited opportunity to do much are ahead of me…

Do you like running in fancy dress (costume)?
Have you watched “Hamilton” yet? What did you think?

Friday Finds – 12th June

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Hello! This is me still struggling with the desire to sit in front of my computer screen any longer than I have to – thanks working from home! – but knowing I want to post on the blog. I don’t know about you, but I feel a bit cross-eyed by the end of the work day since generally being in front of a screen for long periods is not what my job involves. I’m going to be so pleased when I can return to a more “normal” working model!

So with that in mind, I’m going to write quite a quick post to update you on this week’s finds…

First, a fairly unsurprising study result. I know my running is definitely more about mental health than physical health right now, and with no imminent races to train for I know that will be the case for many many others. Here’s the confirmation

Next, a quite remarkable feat of lockdown running – topping the Strava distance table despite ONLY running in your own living room. I’ve been running outside on a daily basis, and yet this guy still ran waaaaay more than me INSIDE!! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I just don’t think I could cope with the monotony!

Also with a strange, albeit very different, achievement is this guy who set a new mile world record…IN JEANS!!! An incredible time and clearly some heartfelt reasons behind it, but surely that has to chafe?

Moving on, here’s Alex Hutchinson looking at why solo efforts can feel so much tougher. With so many people running alone rather than with friends/a group right now, it’s a worthwhile reminder of how our perception can fool us.

And finally, Strava art may not be a new idea, but it’s one of the many ways that a parkrun team has been keeping runners engaged throughout lockdown. Has your parkrun being doing anything a bit different to keep your community together?

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess

 

Friday Finds – 5th June

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

Hello! did you miss me last week? The thing about working from home, is that all that time spent in front of a screen means putting together a blog post is much less appealing – plus last Friday the sun was out and my sister came for a (socially distanced) garden visit so something had to give. Sorry! Still, I’m back today with a super-quick post to round up a few interesting odds and ends:

Although I had no marathon-related plans this year, I was still shocked (although probably not hugely surprised) at the cancellation of this year’s Boston marathon. I fear that many other events will follow suit and 2020 will become a bit of a wasteland when it comes to competitive events

Mind you, it looks like some runners are finding other ways to be competitive throughout lockdown:

And I enjoyed this photo story of how professional athletes have been maintaining their training from home:

I have mentioned one or two times that coming back out of lockdown makes me feel worried. I have become so accustomed to avoiding people that the idea of closer contact feels almost alien. I knew I wouldn’t be alone in feeling that way and Runner’s World has put together some advice:

And finally, a little bit of Strava humour. Which one best describes you? I’m definitely the “looper”.

Stay safe. Be kind. Wash your hands.
The Running Princess

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 9

It was another rather “blah” week. I’m trying super hard to stay cheerful and positive, but when every day is the same as the day before, with no hint of a change, it can get pretty tough. That’s not to say the week was awful – there were certainly plenty of fun/satisfying moments – but my goodness it’s getting hard to find a new way to write about how I’m spending my days! Still, the streak continued, training continued, and I achieved a couple more things from my “Lockdown List”.

Monday – 5k + garden workout + home yoga
Tuesday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + home yoga
Saturday – 6.3 miles
Sunday – 8.2 miles

I actually didn’t have a theme for my running tops this week – unless the theme was “random tops I pulled from my drawer”! I did, however, take this as a kind of recovery week. Normally a training cycle would build for 3 weeks then cut back for a week to allow the body to adapt to the training. Now while I’m not training for anything (who is right now!) I am running more frequently and my average weekly mileage has risen, so it felt like a sensible idea to give my body a bit of a break while still maintaining my run streak. Not that I’ve been running hard by any stretch of the imagination, but to consciously slow it down and take things easy did feel good and I do feel more refreshed as a result.

I also kept up with my weekday yoga and had a workout on 4 out of the 5 days (it was super windy on Friday and there was some rain in the afternoon so a garden workout wasn’t really possible, and a living room workout just didn’t fit with how we have been structuring those workouts, so we just gave that one a miss).

In a week of the same old Groundhog Day existence, there were a few other things to mention.

There wasn’t much of note on Monday. I usually have my Hatha yoga class (currently via Zoom) but my teacher was having a week off so I did a Yoga with Adriene video instead.

Tuesday was far more interesting. I ordered myself a little present which arrived around lunchtime:

I have been wanting these for ages and decided now was the time to splurge and treat myself. So far I love them. The quality is so much better than the wired EarPods that come with iPhones and they are great for listening to podcasts and things around the house. I know some people wear them to run but I have no plans to do that as I prefer the open-ear experience of wearing my Aftershokz for that.

I also did a bit of life admin on Tuesday. I had received a reminder letter than my driving licence was going to expire soon, so I went through the process to renew it online, which was pretty easy. I needed my passport to do this (since I can’t go and get a new photo I had the option to renew using my passport details) and when I got my passport out I noticed that my EHIC card had expired. Since technically I still have trips booked for later this year (although I’m not very hopeful) I thought I had better renew it as it’s still needed throughout the Brexit transition period. I suspect this might be the most optimistic thing I’ve done since we went into lockdown!

After all that adulting (bleugh!) I finished up the craft project I had started at the weekend:

Can you guess?

That’s right, a stand to hold my Disney ears. My sister made me something like this a while back but I needed more so after gathering together the supplies and interrogating her about how she did it, I decided it fell within my capabilities and had a go. I’m quite pleased with the result.

And I enjoyed some snuggles with my boy.

In all honesty the most exciting thing to happen on Wednesday was that I found a four leafed clover in our back garden. In fact, we found a patch of them growing! When I was little I used to always look for these but never found any and was convinced they were just made up, so this was quite a surprise!

I also prepped a big pot of chilli ready to slow cook for our dinner the following evening.

I’m glad I was so organised as I actually found Thursday a bit stressful. The First Minister announced the Scottish Government plans for easing out of lockdown, all of which seem perfectly sensible to me. We won’t be opening our schools up until the new school year in August, but staff will likely be in schools at some point in June in order to plan for a blended approach to teaching from August. What caused me some stress was not knowing the detail of all of that yet as some of it comes from a local level, such as when we might be required back in school. The other thing stressing me out was the fact that the start of the new academic year was standardised so that ALL schools will go back on the same day. Our new school year was not due to start until the following week and initially I was concerned that we would lose holiday time (I know, I know, it’s not like I’m getting away, but after dealing with a school fire, an inspection and a global pandemic I’m needing a bit of time off!) especially since one of the trips I don’t think I’m actually going on coincides with that date! But after getting a little more detail I felt much better. I think I felt anxious because a degree of uncertainty was re-introduced to my safe and stable little world.

On the plus side, the chilli was good and Steve experimented with making rice in the steamer. I think we’ll be doing our rice that way from now on rather than using those packets that you microwave.

Friday was day a better day. A fun highlight was Steve and I finding our photos had been shared in a post marking what should have been the Edinburgh marathon weekend. These pictures bring back great memories of Steve’s 2014 adventure and my challenge from 2015 (which I wrote about here and here if you missed it).

And to keep the kitty balance, here’s Sooty in one of her favourite places to snuggle:

On Saturday it was time to debut my new parkrun apricot top. It’s a good thing it was a nice run as my parkrun quiz score wasn’t much better than last week at just 6/15 (too many complete guesses again!). At least it tells me what day it is and retains a connection to the parkrun world.

The afternoon was spent in high glamour (ha!) dusting and tidying the house. At least having my AirPods meant I could easily listen to some podcasts while I did it. I also got a second holder for my remaining Disney ears underway. I’ll not finish it for a couple of days though, as it involves some air-dry clay which needs a chance to set.

And in the evening we watched the first episode of Little Fires Everywhere on Amazon Prime. I read the book a couple of summers ago so have been keen to see it since I started to see ads for it on YouTube videos.

Sunday’s run was the only one in the week with a particular focus to it. I had been aware of loads of discussion of “postbox bingo” on podcasts and social media posts and I decided to have a go. With a bit of planning, I was able to “collect” all the postbox ciphers available here in Perth, and actually found it quite good fun – a bit like having a quest to go on! If you had told me a few months ago that not only would I have gone out for a run with the express purpose of photographing a range of postboxes, but that I would conduct RESEARCH into where to find certain ones (and learn some interesting historical facts along the way) I would have thought you mad. And yet, here I am about to tell you that I found a Victoria, Edward 7th, George 5th, George 6th and the Scottish Crown (which is in place of Elizabeth 2nd here in Scotland following what has been dubbed The Postbox Wars in the 1950s). My research also told me of a super-rare Edward 8th about 10 miles away (a bit far as it would be a 20 mile round trip on foot!) but I also learned of a much more accessible one which bears the cipher of George 6th but is believed to have originally been intended as an Edward 8th and was hastily altered upon his abdication (it’s the one in the bottom left of my collage below). I really had no idea there was so much history in the simple postbox, such a common piece of street furniture that I hardly notice them any more, although I do have a recollection of being told about the royal ciphers when I was in primary school.

After all that excitement we ate lunch, did the food shopping, watched an episode of The Mandalorian while eating our Sunday afternoon hot cross buns and then I carried on with the housework by conducting a VERY thorough vacuuming of all the rooms – tools used and everything! Life is just a non-stop whirlwind right now!

I had my bath as usual, but by the time I was getting ready for bed I was starting to feel a bit fed up and done with lockdown. My emotions are really torn right now: on the one hand I just want things to go back to normal, but on the other hand I’m wary and anxious about being around lots of people and potentially exposed to lots of germs again. Hopefully the gradual approach here in Scotland will ease me back in, but it’s so hard to know when is the right time to do a bit more. I suspect all the things that have been cancelled/postponed are becoming more and more noticeable to me now as well. Absolutely right not to have them happen, but there’s still a lot of disappointment attached to missing out on something you have been looking forward to and I think it’s ok to acknowledge that as part of a process of moving forward.

For now, I just keep on keeping on.

How are you feeling about the easing of restrictions and some things beginning to open up again?
Have you had a go at postbox bingo yet?

Friday Finds – 31st January

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

What a week! Just when I thought everything was feeling settled, life found a way of throwing in a few curve balls! But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here to catch up on more of the articles I’ve been saving to share with you this month…

Let’s start with Nike. Barely a day goes by right now without further discussion and speculation surrounding *those* shoes, so here’s a selection of some of the articles I’ve seen in the last few days

Culminating today with the much-anticipated announcement from World Athletics about regulating the shoes. Thoughts?

Another perennial hot topic in running is the issue of running form. While I might not buy into the traditional classification of runners into having foot “types”, I do still believe that there will be an optimal form for each individual runner. A form that will make them most economical and least likely to pick up injuries, yet probably be different to what is optimal for someone else. But what does science say? If only there was a columnist who like to delve into such things 😂

One thing we might use when we are considering our form/fitness/efficiency as a runner is the data available to us, but with so many variables to consider, what is of greatest use to us? This piece from Podium Runner delves into the details

Which brings me to arguably the most popular source for running data analysis: Strava! Here you can learn more about how the platform became what we know today:

And finally, January may (finally) be at an end, but what of those resolutions so boldly set at the beginning of the month? Those who made sweeping changes have probably faltered already, so here’s a comedic look at the whole ‘New Year, New You’ notion from Brendan Leonard:

Happy reading,
The Running Princess

2019 By The Numbers…

As a follow-up to my Year in Running post, and to celebrate my highest mileage year ever, I thought I would dig a bit deeper into my stats for 2019. Although I try not to be a slave to the numbers on my watch, I do always wear my Garmin when I run and the data it records goes to both Garmin Connect and Strava, which I have used to help me compile this post. Let’s take a look…

  • This year I have run a total of 1104 miles, which is the most I have ever done. My previous record was 838 in 2018, hence my goal of 800 miles for this year (to take into account the possibility of injury/illnes which would require some time out of running as I didn’t want my mileage goal to be a pressure). I was rather surprised to reach this goal with over a month of 2019 to go!
  • I have spent 171 hours of 2019 running, across 237 separate activities on 173 different days. That sounds like quite a lot of time!
  • In those hours I have climbed a total of 10,663 metres. That’s more than the height of Everest!
  • I have taken part in 5 races: The Stirling Marathon, Edinburgh Half Marathon, Chariots of Fire Beach Race, Disneyland Paris 10k and Disneyland Paris half marathon. My race calendar has been pretty empty and I’m happy with that.
  • I completed 44 parkruns (1 less than in 2018, but there were some unexpected gaps in my attendance).
  • I achieved Groundhog Day (the same finish time at the same parkrun location on two consecutive weeks) TWICE!
  • For 6 months of the year I recorded over 100 miles of running. Not bad given I lacked consistency in the first half of the year.
  • July was my lowest mileage month with 54 miles (I was ill then ran very little whilst on holiday).
  • April was my highest mileage month with 119 miles (thanks to a marathon and my longer training runs in preparation). Interestingly, December came second with 113 miles, yet I have nothing to train for right now!
  • My average pace was 9:27 per mile. Probably slightly skewed by the super-slow miles at Disneyland Paris, but still a decent long-run pace.

2019 overall was a funny year for me. It started badly with repeated bouts of a chesty cough, continued with an illness around Easter and a throat infection in the early summer. As a result, I just didn’t pay much attention to my stats other than a glance at my total mileage from time to time. With much better consistency in the second half of the year, I  can really see the numbers telling the story now. Let’s hope for a healthy and consistent year in 2020!

Anything of note in your running stats for the past year? 
How much attention do you pay to the running data you record?

Friday Finds – 2nd August

Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.

August already? August means the start of the new school year in Scotland and I’m not ready for that yet. Thankfully I still have another couple of weeks to myself before that happens. In the meantime, the summer continues to be a rather quiet time for running-related articles, but I have got a few bits and pieces to share with you this week.

Since it’s parkrun eve, here’s a nice piece about everybody’s favourite free, weekly, timed 5k that was published in Lonely Planet. If you’re a parkrun aficionado then you probably won’t learn much from it, but still a nice write up. Anyone done any of the runs on the “notable” list?

You know I like a study and next up I have a piece about a recent study into the effects of probiotics on marathoners. The evidence seems to suggest that those taking probiotics have fewer gastro issues in those final miles. Not something I’ve ever tried and so far I’ve been fairly lucky with my stomach in marathons, but I would be interested to know if anyone else has tried probiotics and if it made a difference for them.

Another favourite of mine is Strava art (really must try this some time!) and it has been back in the media again this week with a profile in The Guardian on Strava artist Lenny Maughan. I do love the images he creates and wish I had the creativity to try it myself. Obviously I’d try to draw something like a cat or Mickey Mouse! What would you draw if you could?

Something I find very interesting is the use of mantras to help motivate us to keep going. I don’t do it very much, but have found it powerful to use mantras during a race on occasion, so found it interesting to read about the phrases other athletes use to help them power through. I think my favourite is Alex Honnold’s at the end – his explanation (minus the climbing bit!) sounds like my life in general as I often have a Disney ear worm these days! What mantra(s) do you use?

And finally, here’s a little tongue-in-cheek piece from Runner’s World with a few running secrets. I think my favourites are 7 and 14. How about you?

Happy reading,
The Running Princess