Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 8

I definitely feel like I’m settled into a routine. It’s been 8 weeks of lockdown now and the longest break I have ever had from school is 7 weeks (most years 6 weeks), so although I am still teaching (albeit in a very different way) I have now been away from my classroom for longer than ever before. I joke every so often about the pre-Corona days and the things we could do (being next to people in public! Browsing in shops! Having get-togethers!) but the habits of social distancing and isolation are now threatening to become almost a preference now. When we actually begin to ease some of the measures here in Scotland (we are now operating a little differently to England on that one) I worry that I will feel overwhelmed by being around people again! I’m still finding remote teaching a challenge, but outside of that I’m fairly content with the way I’m spending my days, including how I’m exercising. Here’s how the week looked:

Monday – 3.5 miles + garden workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 6 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – 7 miles
Sunday – 10 miles

Another week, another theme. This week, my Paris Breakfast Run tops. I have experienced this on the days before 4 out of my 5 Paris marathon experiences and they are some of my favourite running memories, so it was fun to wear them and remember.

I’m not sure how else I might theme my runs now, so will have to get my thinking cap on…🤔

Outside of my daily routine of run-work-lunch-work-workout-yoga-dinner, I do have a few other highlights to share:

Monday was packed with meetings and work phone calls, so my Hatha yoga class that evening was welcome. And yoga cat put in an appearance again!

Prior to that I had a go at drawing Donald Duck by following another of those awesome tutorial videos. His neck is a bit skinny but otherwise I’m really happy with this one.

Tuesday was exciting because it was day 50 (!!) of my run streak. I never expected it to last that long and at the time of writing it’s still happening.

I also tried a slightly different character on Tuesday: Chip from Beauty and the Beast. I was actually surprised to find it a bit trickier than expected and I had a tough time with the body shape. I think he should be a bit plumper but he’s still recognisable.

On Wednesday morning Steve was feeling a bit off – nothing to do with Covid-19, more of a stomach issue – and I needed to go out and get him something to help settle it. I ended up going to Home Bargains since I had a few other bits and pieces I was needing to get in there and it actually was one of the most exciting things I have done in weeks. That really tells you what my life has become 😂

After all that excitement, when work was done for the day I had a go at drawing Daisy Duck. Truth be told, I think this is my favourite one so far.

And with Steve feeling better, he decided he fancied dessert after our dinner so he nipped out to see what he could find and hit the jackpot with some sticky toffee pudding. My favourite!

Thursday felt quite busy. I had lots of work to do then a really long Zoom meeting in the afternoon, after which my brain felt a bit fried so I went out on another quick excursion to collect a refill on the routine treatments the cats get to keep fleas and worms at bay (they’re on a health plan which includes this so I have basically already paid for it but had run out). They were set up really well for things like that and the receptionist explained it all to me on the phone before I set off, so I felt really comfortable with going. Sooty obviously wasn’t wanting Smokey to be the only one who got his photo in this post, so she made sure to look really cute!

We’ve probably fallen into the worrying trap of having something sweet after dinner but there was nothing for Thursday night so I decided it was the to open these up. The pack says they are “sharing size”. Can anyone explain what that means? 😂

I actually worked quite a long “shift” on Friday as there were a few things I wanted to get finished up before the weekend and various things had stopped me sorting them out earlier in the week. After spending most of the day in front of my computer, I was really grateful for the chance to get out into the garden for my workout!

We left it a bit late for a Friday night post-fajitas movie so instead we watched a few episodes of Gavin and Stacey. We’ve seen them before (and have the DVD boxset) but it’s been fun to watch them again on the iPlayer.

Saturday was very much the usual (for lockdown) routine: run, bacon roll, parkrun quiz (we were AWFUL this week – 5/15 to equal our personal worst! 😳) then I did some bits and pieces in the afternoon. At least I was still feeling cheery from having a new pair of shorts to wear on my run!

I got back from my morning run to find a medal waiting for me. This was from a virtual race company I have been using quite regularly and was in aid of key worker charities.

I have been meaning to watch Peter Pan as I have been reading the Twisted Tales book based on it and was in need of a refresher on some of the details so I put that on Disney+ while I sorted out a project in my spare room/work space.

My project was to hang my medals. I already had some hanging bars on the wall but had bought some new ones to extend my displays. Steve drilled the holes for them last week but then we found we didn’t have the right size of screws to finish putting them up. He had bought some during the week so the bars were all up ready for me to display my medals.

My marathon and half marathon medals

All my other race medals

Some of my virtual race medals

I’m going to need some more hanging bars to finish displaying my virtual race medals, but I’m pleased to have sorted out the other ones. There is one other display with the medals from my 2014 challenge, but that one didn’t need any attention.

As it turned out, this was quite a lengthy task and Peter Pan wasn’t long enough to see me through so I also watched volume 2 of The Disney Family Singalong while I finished up. I also had a little craft project to get started (details of that next week once it’s done) so got that underway before heading for a bath. Oh, and while I was doing all that, my “helper” slept through…on a piece of bubble wrap I had been using to protect my medals while I was waiting to hang them 😹

I also came across this fun website where you can create a Disney-themed avatar of yourself. I passed a happy few minutes on this then shared the website with friends and family so they could do it too!

Steve and I then had a lovely evening watching this week’s movie choice: The Incredibles 2. Neither of us had seen that one before and we enjoyed it. We also decided to try a gin we bought a while back at a gin festival and hadn’t opened. I insisted on having mine in one of the glasses I got in my work secret Santa gift at Christmas. Perfect for me!

Sunday was also fairly standard. I actually had another new pair of shorts to wear (running every day = lots of clean kit needed!). I already have this design in a pair of leggings but I love it so went for the shorts as well.

And then it was all the usual stuff: food shopping, afternoon snack of hot cross buns, the next episode of The Mandalorian (dear god I love that Baby Yoda!), and I did a little more work on my craft project before dinner, then I had my usual Sunday bath.

All in all, I’m really becoming a creature of habit, falling into a routine and increasingly trying to get on top of some household projects I’ve never gotten round to before since I do have a little more time available (and inclination to do it since I can’t be “missing out” on any other activities!). I’m not sure if I will remain so content through the summer though since holidays and trips are looking unlikely this year.

What have you been up to lately – any projects?
In general, how are you feeling?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 7

Seven weeks! I don’t know about you, but I may be starting to forget what “normal” life is like. This was a funny week for me as a few things I had been looking forward to should have taken place, but I did my best to create my own fun and distract myself from what might have been. I also continued the run streak and remained really consistent with workouts and yoga. I think it’s safe to say that routine is now firmly established.

Monday – 3.5 miles + mini workout in living room + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 6 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – 7 miles
Sunday – 10 miles

This week’s running theme fell into two parts. On Monday, I wore the last of my Paris marathon souvenir tops to complete the set from last week.

Then Tuesday-Friday it was the turn of my Run Disney Magic Run Weekend finisher tops. Before all of this madness I was supposed to be on a flight to Paris on the Friday for the inaugural Princess Run Weekend (all cancelled of course) and I was REALLY needing a bit of Disney in my days to make me feel a bit better about it. Keeping my fingers firmly crossed that this one is in the plans for the future because I was really looking forward to it.

It was also a shorter work week with Friday being the start of the “holiday” weekend so only four days of remote teaching to contend with before the long weekend. We celebrated with a bonus Thursday night beer!

This was actually quite a good week (as lockdown weeks go). Here are some highlights:

During my Monday night Zoom yoga class (that’s yoga via Zoom, not some exciting new form of yoga. Mind you, I wonder what “Zoom Yoga” would entail…) this daft boy decided that the best place to be was right beside me. He was there at the start of the class, wandered off to find his sister, then returned to his post and remained there for the rest of the class, perfectly content with the odd ear rub or nose bump as I moved. He’s such a mummy’s boy 😹.

Then on Tuesday I arrived home from my run to find two exciting things waiting for me – my April virtual run medal and my new rainbow T-shirt. Those really cheered me up, as did the sun staying out for my garden workout in the afternoon.

On Wednesday I thought I would have a go at a bit more Disney drawing. First I followed the tutorial for “pie-eyed” Mickey:

And then loaded up the step by step images in the WDW app to draw this one:

Not perfect, but I’m happy with them given my limited abilities with this kind of thing!

And it was still sunny!

Thursday was the last working day of the week, so when I was finished with all my tasks for the day I headed out into the garden for a workout:

Then enjoyed a quiet evening of tv. I even watched The Disney Family Singalong on Disney+ which was great fun but did bring “Disney tears” to my eyes.

I made sure to make Friday feel different to a work (at home) Friday so that I would notice it being a holiday. I read in bed for a bit so I was a little later going for my run and carried out a few household tasks in the morning, but in the afternoon I tried to make things a bit more fun. I watched The Little Mermaid Live on Disney+ whilst having a go at some Disney crafts (more on that later) before heading into the garden for my workout.

And after our usual (for lockdown) Friday fajitas, we finished off watching The Skywalker Saga by loading up The Rise of Skywalker on Disney+. I really enjoyed this one.

But it was Saturday that was by far my favourite day of the week.

Since the Princess Run Weekend was cancelled (😢) a Facebook group I’m in put together some virtual events instead. It was all free so no medals or anything (although we were challenged to make our own!), simply to dress in our Run Disney costumes and run our chosen distance. We were also sent race bibs we could wear. Even though I had organised my running costumes for the weekend, I decided to keep them under wraps for now in the hope of debuting them at a future Run Disney event, so instead opted for my Anna costume from the Disneyland Paris 10k last September (minus the pink cape – that seemed a little too much for running the streets of home!). I wanted to do what I could to recreate a Run Disney event day experience so started with my flat lay:

And while there were no character stops en route, I took inspiration from the parkrun road signs challenge and took photos with road signs to spell out Run Disney (yes, I did spend my running time during the week working out what they would be!).

It was actually quite a humid morning so the stops were quite welcome!

When I arrived home I gathered up all my props (including my craft efforts from the previous afternoon) and corralled poor Steve into being my Photopass photographer for some post-run pictures.

I awarded myself a homemade medal (craft project number one):

Took my picture in front of the (very far away?) castle (craft project number two):

And enjoyed some character meets. It was good of Minnie Mouse to embrace the princess theme and wear her Belle-inspired gold ballgown 😂

Olaf was an odd choice for a princess-themed event, but since he paired nicely with my costume choice I was pleased to see him!

And of course The Big Cheese himself was there to meet me in his sports gear:

Yes it was a bit mad and certainly not the run I had originally planned to be having that day, but actually pulling all that together was fun and I really enjoyed creating my own event. It gave me something to focus on and cheered me up since my trip was cancelled.

When I was satisfied that I had got as much from my homemade Run Disney event as I could, I got changed and we got on with the weekly parkrun quiz. I felt like we were guessing quite a lot so was pleased to equal our PB with 12/15. That really kept my good mood going!

I continued with my Disney theming in the afternoon by heading off to my spare room to watch Tangled while starting to sort out my medal displays. I also liberally sprayed this room spray to make me feel like I was in a Disney resort!

I had ordered some new hanging brackets for my medals as there wasn’t enough space for them all, but needed to clear the existing ones to make them easier to install. As it turned out, we didn’t have the right size of screws to finish putting the new ones up, but I did manage to get my new Run Disney-inspired one on the wall and happily created a display.

My Sunday run was another 10 miles to bring me to 40 miles for the week once again. I wanted to give a little nod to the fact that this was another day when I should have been in Disneyland Paris, so opted for this top because by running both of the races I would have completed the Cinderella Challenge. See? There is method in my madness haha!

I also enjoyed coming across this fun display while I was out:

Then in the afternoon (after the food shopping and a socially-distanced driveway chat with my parents) we watched the first episode of The Mandalorian. I’m looking forward to the rest now to see how the story develops (plus that Baby Yoda is so darned cute!).

And so week 7 of lockdown came to an end. While some parts of the country will be a little less restricted in the coming days, here in Scotland the only thing to have changed is that we can go out for exercise more than once (but still have to be close to home). Looks like I will be continuing to embrace this new normal for a while yet!

Have you recreated any running or other events/trips whilst in lockdown?
How has your running/training changed as a result of lockdown/quarantine measures?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 6

Every week when I start to set my post up, I type “blah blah” at the top as a placeholder until I know what I want the introduction to say. To be honest, this week I think “blah blah” might be all I have as the days are merging into one with little of interest to separate them. Most of the time I have no idea if something I’m thinking of happened early today, last week or last month! On the plus side, I do feel I’ve settled into a reasonable routine and am pleased to be fitting in running, strength work and yoga consistently. Here’s what I did last week:

Monday – 3.5 miles + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Wednesday – 5.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Friday – 4.5 miles + living room workout + home yoga
Saturday – 7.2 miles
Sunday – 10 miles

For this week I had another goal in mind for my running – I wanted to hit 40 miles since I’ve never had a weekly total that started with a 4 before. Given that the previous week totalled 38.8, I knew it wouldn’t take much and was really just a slight stretching – no more than half a mile at a time – of some of my runs through the week. By adding an additional mile onto my Saturday run I was already at 30 miles, leaving me with a nice 10 on Sunday to finish things off. It’s nice to see the climbing graph of my recent mileage, but now I’ve reached 40 I don’t think I’ll be looking to add any more on right now. Need to be sensible!

My other mini goal was my theme for the week – to wear all the souvenir tops I bought any time I ran the Paris marathon. Although I have run it 5 times, I somehow have 8 additional tops, mostly from the expo but some were things I ordered before/after the event as they were special edition purchases. Of course there are only 7 days in the week so the last one will be carried over to Monday.

I also took delivery of the two new pairs of trainers I ordered last week so had those to enjoy trying out as well. My favourites are definitely the ones with the colourful soles. So bouncy and fresh!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As for the rest of the week, there were some ups and downs…

Monday was tough. Microsoft Teams wasn’t playing ball, which made remote teaching even more challenging. Then to add insult to injury, there were wifi problems around the country which were definitely affecting us – including during my yoga class on Zoom. Thankfully we managed to work around and I still enjoyed the class. I was also forced inside for my workout due to a bizarre hail shower in the afternoon. I had hoped to be outside using the TRX, but instead it was the resistance band in the living room. On a happier note, I finished watching Malory Towers (which I LOVED) and we watched the last episode of Twin after dinner. I kind of feel like that might have been left open for another series.

Fortunately the weather was much better on Tuesday so I got out into the garden for my workout.

But on Wednesday we were back inside thanks to rain. Sigh. Although I did come across this on my morning run:

And back in the garden again with a tough TRX workout on Thursday.

Then inside again on Friday. What a weird week!

It was actually a pretty busy week as far as work was concerned, so not much time to do anything interesting during the day, but in the evenings Steve and I tried some new TV programmes. First we caught up with The Nest on the iPlayer since we hadn’t watched it when it was first shown, and then we stated to watch Normal People. Very different programmes but both very good.

We also had a birthday on Friday – the kitties turned TWO! And apparently it’s an exhausting age 😹

At least they’re still best pals!

As ever, the best part of the week was probably the weekend, even without the opportunity to go out and do something fun.

I began Saturday with a little reading in bed before heading out for my notparkun run. I have been running just over 10k on a Saturday, but as part of stretching out my distances, I ran 7 miles as that took me to a rolling total of 30 for the week. Steve was on a FaceTime call with his brother when I got home so I watched the stream of the Disneyland Paris fireworks which had been put out a day or so before. It made me cry Disney tears, but then that happens when I’m there as well! Also, when I got back I found that my new parkrun apricot T-shirt had arrived. I had faffed around and been indecisive about what to get printed on it, but sorted it out in the end:

Big Six refers to this local landmark which I regularly pass on my runs:

The house actually belongs to my friend’s granny and when her husband, who was an architect, originally built it he went for what was, at the time, quite a unique design. He was advised to make sure the house number was really visible so painted this giant 6 on the garage and it has been that way ever since. Steve says it looks like where they keep Thunderbird Six 😂

Once Steve’s call was done we got on with the usual Saturday post-run plan of a bacon roll and the parkrun quiz.

Bit of a poor showing this week with just 5/15 – a new personal worst for the quiz – but I was entertained by the deliberate misspelling in the title of the quiz as homage to little Mary, the youngest daughter of host Vassos, who regaled us all with a story at the end of the last quiz and took her own unique approach to spelling! I had just been listening to Vassos talking about it on the Free Weekly Timed podcast when I was out for my run so this reference made me smile.

In the afternoon I decided to try something new. I’ve never been any good at anything artistic, but was aware that there were lots of Disney drawing tutorials available which take you step-by-step through how to draw various characters. You can do this live in Disney parks (with your drawing as a fun souvenir) and on the one occasion I’ve done it I drew a decent character, so fancied giving it a go now I have little time on my hands – I even went as far as ordering a sketch book online!

I started with the contemporary rendering of The Big Cheese himself (of course!).

And heartened by it being at least recognisable (albeit a little wonky), I had a go at Olaf from Frozen.

A bit iffy in places, especially the arm and hand, but again recognisable. So I tried one more – Winnie The Pooh.

Overall I’m pretty pleased with those efforts and plan to try a few more as my time at home  goes on. Having the sketchbook means I will have something concrete to show for my time spent in lockdown and will be something nice to look through later.

And our day was rounded off with a movie. We’re getting there with the Star Wars movies and this week was The Last Jedi. Just one more in the Skywalker Saga to go!

My Sunday began with a 10 mile run (slightly less than last week but I didn’t want to push it too much since I was adding a little more across the week). A highlight came early on when my attention was caught by these little guys peeking over a garden fence and I had to cross the road to have a closer look:

So nice!

The run felt good and set me up to venture out for the food shopping after lunch. I also had to fill my car up as the petrol light had come on when I went out for the shopping the weekend before and I just hadn’t done anything about it. I was so shocked at how cheap the petrol was, right when I’m not really using much. Typical!

The rest of the day was relaxing with some tv, a nice dinner and my usual Sunday night bath and glass of wine.

I feel a bit torn about my experience of lockdown. I have plenty to occupy me and am definitely enjoying not having to get up so early or have a long commute. It’s nice to “go home” for lunch too. In that regard, I feel quite rested, but remote teaching is a challenge and I’m definitely missing having my pupils in front of me and being surrounded by my lovely colleagues – video meetings just aren’t the same! Oh, and going for a haircut wouldn’t go amiss right now haha!

How are you coping with lockdown measures?
Have you tried anything new recently?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 5

The first week back at work meant a degree of routine coming back into my days (although my grasp of the actual day remains tenuous at best!). When it came to training I was able to sustain my running streak, continue with yoga on weeknights and, most pleasingly, managed some kind of strength/core session each weekday as well. I noted last week that I was disappointed not to be making time for this, and felt that I just wasn’t motivated by the idea of a living room workout. After talking to Steve about it, he actually went down to the studio to collect some kit and since the weather was great all week, the draw of the “back garden gym” was far stronger and I really enjoyed these workouts.

Here’s how my week panned out:

Monday – 5k + living room workout + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4.5 miles + garden circuits + home yoga
Wednesday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Thursday – 5 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + garden workout + home yoga
Saturday – 10k
Sunday – 11.6 miles (recorded as 4.3 + 7.3 in one outing)

When you run every day, there’s not much of note to really talk about. I REALLY enjoy getting out for my daily exercise and getting out in the sunshine each day was amazing! What has recently become my “thing” for this accidental run streak is to theme my running tops each week and this time it was my finisher tops from my Paris marathon experiences. The snag is I’ve “only” (😂) done it 5 times so that only covered my Monday-Friday runs, but as I’ll discuss further down in this post, I already had plans for my runs on those days so it wasn’t a big deal.

My Monday run was kept to 5k as I designated this one for my Run for Heroes run. If you’re in the UK then you will have seen this one on social media. The idea is to run (or walk, or hop, or whatever) 5k, donate £5 to the charities supporting key workers and nominate 5 people to do the same: Run 5, Donate 5, Nominate 5. As soon as I saw it I knew I would be nominated so was totally ready to do my bit.

Unfortunately it was a living room workout that day as Steve didn’t collect his kit until Tuesday, but at least I made the time and knew other options were coming.

And as it happened, my Tuesday workout was so much more fun. Steve collected a mat, some cones, the Core Momentum Trainers, additional kettlebells (we only had one at home before that) and a TRX with the attachment to put it over a door. So much better than just the resistance band I already had. Steve created a circuits workout in the garden and although hard work, I enjoyed it so much more.

Another Tuesday highlight came in the form of dessert. I had been tidying up in the kitchen and came across some leftover sponge fingers from Christmas time, so Steve made one of his infamous trifles to use them up. Yummy!

I had another couple of garden workouts on Wednesday and Thursday since the weather was so gorgeous:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a bit of a First World emergency on Thursday when we realised we were just about out of coffee – we get ours from an amazing local business that grinds the beans for whatever apparatus you are using to make your coffee. They are shut right now, of course, but are operating an online business so we ordered a couple of bags after I finished working for the day. We expected to have it delivered by the weekend but about 3 hours later, while we were joining the nation in watching The Big Night In (we clapped from our living room this time) the doorbell rang and it was the owner of the shop dropping our coffee off on our doorstep on his way home. Incredible service!

On Friday I bit the bullet and ordered some new bits and pieces of running kit I have been needing. I rotate several pairs of shoes but have been conscious that a couple of pairs were needing to be retired so used my Vitality Fitness Rewards benefit to order a pair I wanted then added a second, cheaper, pair too. I had also thrown away some socks as I had worn a hole in one sock and a couple of other pairs were looking close to having holes too, so more socks are also on their way.

Of course I had another garden workout. And no, neither of us are making much effort to change clothes when we don’t have to!

Then after our Friday fajitas we settled down to watch the first of the Star Wars sequels (neither of us have seen these) – The Force Awakens. It was good, but did mean getting to grips with some new characters again.

Inspired by the weekly virtual runs posted by Sparkle Athletic, I decided to dress myself as Minnie Mouse for my notparkrun run on Saturday. It actually was a really cheerful thing to do!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I suspect these two pictures accurately sum up why I wanted to do this:

That said, I am finding a lot of cheer from Disney, I’m just sad that the trips I had booked for this year are either cancelled or hanging in the balance right now 😭

Our Saturday post-run routine is now to have coffee and a bacon roll while we do the weekly parkrun quiz. While 11/15 is not a PB, I was pleased to have full marks on two of the rounds (although that does highlight how woeful our score in the other round was haha!).

I then tackled our cupboard under the stairs (aka the Harry Potter cupboard) as I wanted to put a small shelf unit in there that we had previously been using in the shed and get things really tidied up and organised. It was feeling really cluttered and hard to find the things we wanted. Of course as soon as I emptied it out and put the shelves in, I hit an obstacle as two curious kitties had to conduct a thorough inspection!

But once that was done I was able to relax and watch the YouTube stream of Love Never Dies from the night before. I hadn’t seen this before and found it unexpectedly sad. Good, but sad.

Then I rounded off my afternoon with the ultimate indulgence of a bowl of ice cream whilst having my bath. I’m getting ideas above my station now 👸🏻

Sunday should have been the London marathon and even though a marathon wasn’t in my plans for this year, I do always enjoy watching London on TV. Because of the postponement, a number of organisers came together to organise the 2.6 Challenge to help raise funds for the charities that are missing on out crucial funds with so many races and charity events being off. I know that I’m lucky to be in a job and getting my salary just now so wanted to make sure I played my part. That said, I didn’t want to ask for sponsorship so after much back and forth over a suitable challenge, decided to build something into my Sunday long run and make a donation of my own to Cats Protection. Since the focus was on Home Heroes, I opted for 26 loops around the block and was quite surprised when this clocked in at 4.3 miles. Oh, and I dug out my “Kitty Kit”, including the ears!

 

At the end of the last loop I stopped my watch, took a moment to take my photo then restarted my watch to record the rest of my long run – a further 7.3 miles to total 11.6 for the day. I was keen to pass 11 miles as I had worked out that this would take me to my highest weekly mileage ever.

After lunch and food shopping, we went home via my mum and dad’s as there was some more rhubarb for us (and some leftover chicken for the cats) that mum wanted me to collect. My sister has been experimenting with making face masks so I gave her some fabric and she quickly made one for me.

Then we watched the last episode of The Imagineering Story (thanks Disney – now I want to go to Shanghai!) and I took care of some “lesson planning” for the week ahead 😂

If only!

Have you found any new ways to make your time at home more fun or productive?
Did you take part in the 2.6 Challenge (or any other recent fundraising challenge)?

Week in Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 4

Does anyone have any concept of time left? I’m confident I know the year, but beyond that I’m really beginning to lose track now. Thank goodness for running to help keep me grounded and sane!

Last week was the second week of the school holidays and I used the time to tick off a few things on my “Lockdown List” as well as spend some time reading, catching up on some TV and watching a some films. I also kept up my run streak and regular yoga, but I’m very conscious that I’m not making the time for my strength work. I mean, it’s not like I have a packed schedule, but the motivation for a living room workout just isn’t there and that’s something I’m going to have to change. Here’s how the week looked:

Monday – 3.5 miles + home PT session + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 3.8 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4 miles + home yoga
Friday – 4 miles + home yoga
Saturday – 10k
Sunday – 11 miles

I’m definitely noticing the difference in my body now. My legs don’t feel fatigued – even on Monday morning when my run is basically a recovery run from a longer distance the day before – and so far there are no niggles or anything untoward. It really fascinates me as I have always shied away from run streak challenges as I saw them as a one-way ticket to injury, yet here I am 4 weeks into a run streak and it’s so far, so good. Keeping my fingers crossed that continues as I’m loving my morning runs.

Having enjoyed the rainbow running challenge so much the week before, I decided to try and keep my own mini-challenges going by theming my running tops for the week. For this week, I focused on my happy places so all my running tops had to be Disney or Paris.

And at the end of the week I noted that I had completed my highest weekly mileage of the year so far, but was surprised to find it’s not actually my highest EVER as I need about another mile in my total for that. I think that’s a target I could try to meet…

So what were some of the other highlights in my strange, at-home existence?

Monday was actually a really quiet day. I did fit in more by way of training what with a run, PT session AND yoga, but most of the rest of the day was spent reading or generally faffing about.

On Tuesday I tidied up the box where I had stored all my race finisher tops – the tech ones that I could actually wear to run. My collection now spans a decade, but the way I had put my tops in the box was annoying me as it wasn’t easy to find ones that I like without rummaging around. There are some in there I would never wear as the “one size fits nobody” style would make them better suited to constructing a tent, but I like to keep them as souvenirs and going back through them did stir up lots of fun memories. Even better, I now have the ones I’m most likely to want to wear close at hand so I can grab one any time I like.

I also had a quick stop by my parents’ house as mum had picked her first batch of rhubarb of the season and had some for me. It definitely cheered me up after having to nip to a supermarket for a couple of bits we haven’t been able to get – it was a quite stressful experience and I really can’t see me choosing to go into a large supermarket again any time soon!

On Wednesday I did a bit more tidying, made a batch of chocolate fudge and Steve made rhubarb crumble. It really felt like quite a productive day.

Thursday was quiet again, but I treated myself to an afternoon movie. Since I’m basically Elsa right now (living in isolation, wearing gloves whenever I go out in public) I chose Frozen and followed it up with the two Frozen shorts for good measure. Totally loving having Disney+!

I had company!

I did see a bit more about clapping for the NHS this week, but wasn’t sure what would happen in our street since last week was quiet. However as soon as 8pm came around I could hear the clapping and cheering so we went out for a couple of minutes too.

Friday was good fun as well, although it got off to a very early start when Smokey was up and about at dawn looking for some food. Having just watched Frozen it made me think of this scene:

But when I went looking for the picture online I found this. I don’t know who did this, but that cat looks EXACTLY like Smokey so it made me laugh!

After a quiet morning of reading and watching some vlogs, I watched another movie on Disney+. This time I chose Mulan since I was reading the Twisted Tales book based on it and I needed a refresher.

I was joined by Sooty again and she stayed like this for the entire movie!

We had Friday fajitas for dinner again, then rather than a movie I wanted to watch the stream of The Phantom of the Opera on YouTube. I didn’t watch the previous streamed musicals (Joseph and Superstar) since I have those versions on DVD, but Phantom is one of my favourites – I once spent AGES queuing outside the theatre in London to get standby tickets since that was the only way to see the show. It’s also the only show I’ve actually seen on Broadway.

I loved this version of it, especially at the end when they brought out some of the previous cast. Of course I had the songs in my head for the next day or two!

On Saturday I slept a little later thanks to my early wake-up call on Friday. I had my usual notparkrun run, then settled down with tea and a bacon roll for the latest parkrun quiz. I’m pleased to report that we set a new quiz PB with 12/15. Yippee! Then I spent the afternoon watching the Disney on Broadway 25th anniversary concert which had been streamed on Friday night.

The rest of the day was very much as normal – I had a bath, we had Steve’s homemade pizza and, since we had watched Phantom on Friday, we made Saturday our movie night with Revenge of the Sith. That’s us now watched the original Star Wars Trilogy and the prequels. Now it’s time to watch the sequels which I DEFINITELY haven’t seen before.

Our Sunday routine is fairly established and currently doesn’t deviate much from the norm: run, food shopping, relaxing afternoon. I had planned on 10 miles for my run but didn’t want to include a lap of the park like I did last week (this is my usual 10 mile route) as there were definitely more people there than anywhere else. I had a rough plan in my head of what I would do instead but didn’t bother to map it out as I didn’t think it would add too much, if anything, to the distance. In the end I realised I was going to finish on 10.8 miles so added a little extra bit on my way home to bring it to 11 miles. Along the way I came across this, which I thought was a lovely way communities to support each other:

The rest of the day was spent watching the latest episode of The Imagineering Story on Disney+, catching up on some TV while we ate dinner then having my bath and watching some vlogs. A little bit of escapism to help pass the time.

Me right now.

And that brought me to the end of the weirdest school holidays I have ever known. In the week ahead I will be returning to remote teaching and no doubt getting frustrated that I can’t just have my classes in front of me so that I can explain what to do and help them with anything they find hard. The struggle is real!

How has your day-to-day routine changed lately?
What have you been doing/watching during lockdown?

Week In Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 3

The third week of the UK lockdown was also the first week of my school holidays, which meant little more than having the need to do some work removed from my day. I recognised that it would be all too easy to let the days drift by in a haze of mindless scrolling and/or tv time, so made sure to impose a degree of structure to my day – nothing rigid, simply that I would continue with a morning run, make sure to fit in some home yoga in the early evening, bring in at least two strength workouts and stay away from the telly until the afternoon at the very earliest.

In the end, my training worked out like this:

Monday – 3.1 miles + home PT session + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 3.8 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4 miles + home PT session + home yoga
Friday – 3.8 miles + home yoga
Saturday – 6.3 miles
Sunday – 10 miles

As with the week before, my running routes were fairly fixed so as to stick to quiet, mainly residential areas where I am less likely to encounter others (or if I do, I have plenty of options to give them space) and that’s working well for me so far. I’ve seen a few people posting that they’ve felt others to be staring at them when they’re running, judging them or looking horrified to see someone else out in the fresh air, but I have to say I’ve had very positive interactions with others smiling/waving, saying good morning and thanking me for my efforts to move away to maintain social distance. Hopefully that will continue to be the case.

I should also say that it continues to be fascinating to note how I feel on this run streak. Right now I’m feeling good and am enjoying my daily runs – I want to go out rather than having to make myself go. Had this all happened a few years ago then this approach just wouldn’t have worked for me, but under the present circumstances it feels right.

My main running focus this week was to add the idea of Rainbow Running. This is an idea I stumbled across in a Facebook group and thought sounded fun – each day wear a top corresponding to a different colour of the rainbow (ROY G BIV) so Red on Monday, Orange on Tuesday, etc. Fortunately I spotted this before my Monday run so began my week with a very pleasant rummage around my running tops to create my rainbow. I even added a little extra layer of theming of my own – can  you spot it?

It was actually really nice to work my way through the little pile of running tops I set out at the start of the week and create my rainbow. I would definitely encourage you to try it as it’s easily adapted to whatever suits you best in terms of frequency, but the seven colours do fit nicely into the days of the week.

Although each day right now seems a bit “same-y”…

…there were some other at-home highlights to my week.

I actually devoted quite a lot of Monday to reading. I’m working my way through the Disney Twisted Tales books right now (Disney will get me through this!) and am really enjoying them. I also made another pot of French Onion Soup (this recipe) and batch of peanut butter fudge (this recipe but I prefer light brown sugar and smooth peanut butter) since they are both super easy and Steve loves them both.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later in the afternoon I asked Steve to take me through an arm/upper body workout and we improvised with what was available to us since all Steve’s weights, etc are down at the studio. I also had my Hatha yoga class via Zoom again.

Tuesday was a fairly quiet day, but we did have this in the evening as a bit of a blast from the past. Who else remembers having this as a child?

When I arrived home from my run on Wednesday morning I discovered that my March virtual medal had arrived. The medal is made of wood and is so pretty!

Less of a highlight, and more of a project, was my Wednesday endeavour. It was time for the Big Spring Clean. You know, the kind of cleaning that only happens when you can devote a bit more time to it (and time is something I have plenty of right now!) – rearranging things, moving furniture and employing the vacuum cleaner tools. Very satisfying, but it was also pretty tiring! I did take a break to drop off a couple of things to my parents and have another socially distanced driveway chat. They also seem to be using their time for a bit of a clearout since they’re largely indoors.

Our dinner that night was from the batch cooking stocks we put in the freezer. Steve had made this chicken dish and when he asked me to give it a name so he could share it through his business social media channels, I came up with Corona Chicken. I mean, you get coronation chicken and this was made as a result of coronavirus, so I felt quite pleased with that one and Corona Chicken is what it is now known as haha!

After all that I needed a bit of a Disney fix on Thursday so watched some of the videos they’ve been putting out to cheer everyone up while we’re confined to home. I also took on another household project as there were some drawers and shelves I wanted to tidy up. I did get a bit carried away and ended up checking three things off my Lockdown List rather than just one – oops!

I had originally intended to have another upper body workout on Wednesday but didn’t manage to fit it in around my spring cleaning project, so made sure to have a Thursday afternoon workout – we even took the same kind of picture we usually take down at the studio, in case you’re missing them!

Later in the afternoon I settled down to watch the first couple of episodes of Malory Towers on the BBC iPlayer. I used to LOVE these books as a child and re-read them so many times – I actually still have my copies. This new adaptation is done really well and I’m really enjoying it. If you were also a fan of the books then I recommend it.

Dinner was from my contribution to the batch cooking stock – my mum’s mince recipe. Mum usually serves this with rice but since we had rice the night before we decided to live on the edge and have linguine instead. The madness must surely be setting in 😂

It actually turned out that my parents were also having this meal on Thursday, but with the traditional rice accompaniment.

And of course we headed out the front door to clap for the NHS again. I thought it seemed a little quieter this week, but I didn’t spot so much about it online this time so maybe people didn’t realise it was happening again.

Inspired by my reading, on Friday afternoon I got myself set up to watch Aladdin (the original) on Disney+. I hadn’t seen it in so long!

Then for our Friday night food we opted to make fajitas (including some homemade guacamole which was delicious) before continuing our my mission to watch all the Star Wars movies. Having finished the original trilogy, we’re onto the prequels now so it was The Phantom Menace.

I can even sneak a bit of Disney into my dinner!

Once again, Smokey seemed quite taken with the film:

Sooty less so 😹

My Saturday notparkrun run was followed by a bacon roll and cup of tea (has to be done on a Saturday now – parkrun has conditioned me to it!) whilst doing the latest parkrun quiz. We did ok with 10/15. Not a PB but one up from the previous week and a respectable enough score in a quiz where the answers are pretty much all guesses!

The notparkun cafe is generous with the bacon!

Then after a restful afternoon of finishing my book and having a bath, we settled down to watch Attack of the Clones. A few people (big SW fans) have told me this is the worst of the Star Wars movies and I can see their point. It was good, but didn’t have quite the same impact as the others. Still fun to watch though.

We had Steve’s homemade pizza while we were watching and he put the leftover fajita filling on top of one of them. It was amazing! We may have to make sure to have leftovers to add to the pizza again in future.

Sunday is probably the day that feels the most “normal” right now: long run, food shopping, easy afternoon and an evening bath. Pretty much standard. Some highlights included:

Spotting this on my run (outside the house with the knitted rainbow I admired before):

Free books for anyone passing to take

And, after what is now becoming a bit of an expedition to get the food shopping (it actually doesn’t make me anxious anymore, I just want to get it done as quickly as possible so I can get home again, but social distancing means it can be a bit slower to work around a shop), I enjoyed watching the latest episode of The Imagineering Story. Have you watched it yet? I love it!

Then just like that, a week of the school holidays was done. It’s so strange to think that even when the holidays are over I still won’t be going back to my classroom any time soon. The prospect of continuing to teach from home is not filling me with joy as I’d definitely rather have my classes in front of me.

But to finish on a happy note, I’ll leave you with a picture of Sooty. This made me laugh as it looks like she’s got her paw over Teddy’s mouth to make him be quiet. Damn those teddy bears with too much to say for themselves when the cat wants to nap 😹

Have you created a structure for your days at home?
What was a highlight of your week?

Week in Review – The Corona Chronicles Part 2

Last week I wrote quite a long post setting out my new “working from home during lockdown” training routine. I don’t know how I found so much to say about a week of very little variation, but I think I needed it to help me process the way life is right now. As we moved into the second week of this “new normal” I established the routine for my day so that I could make sure to have time running, working, and doing other things to take me away from the computer screen.

My “assistant” is terrible!

At heart I am basically a cat – I love routine! Although one of the things I love about teaching is that the days are never the same, there is still a routine in terms of when I see my classes, what work I do with them and so on. Outside of work my time revolves around the routines of when I run, when I go to yoga classes, when I write blog posts, etc. Even in the holidays when I have the freedom to do whatever I want, I tend to fall into some kind of routine anyway. So on work days my routine is now to go for a run first thing, shower and get dressed, drink a smoothie at my desk whilst I work, have a mid-morning cup of tea, work until lunch, watch some tv while I eat, do some more work (probably marking what pupils have done), step away from it all to read, do some yoga, then settle down for dinner and some tv. I’m not regimented about the times, but it does help me to mentally stay on top of things and break the day up into chunks. I imagine many of you will be doing something similar.

When it comes to my training, here’s how the week looked:

Monday – 3.3 miles + Hatha yoga via Zoom
Tuesday – 4 miles + home yoga
Wednesday – 3.8 miles + home yoga
Thursday – 4 miles + home yoga
Friday – 3.8 miles + home yoga
Saturday – 6.3 miles
Sunday – 8.25 miles

What has been absolutely fascinating to me is noting how my body has been adapting to a run streak. Anything like this will always be a research study with a sample size of one since we are all different and our experiences will vary. It was the 5th and 6th days of the streak before I began to notice any weariness in my legs and Monday was day 7 so I treated it as a recovery run (I did run a bit longer the day before), and in so doing I established my own “streak rules”. Since I get points on my Vitality Fitness Rewards insurance for runs over 30 minutes, that’s the minimum length of time I plan to run for. That should take me past 3 miles, depending on pace, and 3 seems a nice round number so it’s at least 3 miles and at least 30 minutes for my “rules”.

I also made a batch of French Onion soup on Monday so we would have something different for our lunch for a couple of days. We didn’t plan to have it until the next day, but the flavours as so much better when they have a chance to mature a bit.

That evening my Hatha class took place over Zoom again and I really enjoyed it. Not the same as being in the studio but it’s good to have live instruction and to be able to say hello to everyone else in the class.

For my Tuesday – Friday runs I alternated a couple of different routes I like. One is an out-and-back and the other a loop. It mixes things up a little, but keeps me in places I consider “safe” as they are residential and quiet so I’ll only encounter other runners or walkers and it’s easy to move aside or cross the road to give each other space.

So what were the other highlights of the work week? Well I had spotted that Tuesday was National Wear Your Ears Day and that’s an idea right up my street! I couldn’t actually decide which of my many pairs of Minnie Mouse ears to wear, so I eventually picked the pair I made last summer. Anything to bring a little cheer to working from home!

I even got Smokey in on the act! Can you tell I’ve got too much time on my hands?

On Wednesday I noticed that my legs felt much fresher again. I was quite surprised that I felt this way so quickly – just a week into the run streak – and although I didn’t feel like I had much to give on any uphill sections, having my own legs back under me was very welcome. I also came across one of my favourite rainbow displays – a knitted one!

A Thursday highlight was wearing a new running top. I love the colours of this year’s Run Disney merchandise – even if my chances of actually getting to take part this year are ever-dwindling – and this one was a gift from my parents when they returned from Florida. I love it!

Thursday evening was when we were all encouraged to clap for the NHS and our key workers. I had managed to miss this last week so wanted to play my part and was really heartened to see so many people in my street at their front doors clapping and cheering. I could hear the noice coming from other streets too and mum said someone by them was playing the bagpipes. So nice to feel like we could all come together in a positive way during this period of isolation.

Friday was a bit bizarre as it was the end of the school term, yet I hadn’t seen my pupils for two weeks! Usually I’m really excited for the holidays as I’m worn out from the term and needing some time to recharge, but after two weeks at home the only real change will be that I don’t have to sit down in front of my computer to work every day. I suspect I will need to adapt my routine a bit! I still made sure to give myself a degree of that end of term feeling by taking part in a live Disney and Harry Potter quiz in a Facebook group I’m in (I was quite pleased with how I did given I was playing solo!) then Steve and I had steak and homemade chips for dinner whilst watching Return of the Jedi.

Smokey watched a bit too. I think because some of the noises that come out of him aren’t too far from Wookie haha!

To differentiate between work days and the weekend, I started Saturday by reading in bed for a bit before heading out for my “notparkrun” run. I quite liked the route I followed last Saturday, which came in just over 10k (I usually run to and from parkrun so wanted more than the 5k distance) so just did the same again.

Post-run it was bacon rolls and coffee whilst watching the last episode of a tv programme we had been watching this week, then I popped out as my mum hadn’t been able to get hold of a couple of things when she did her shopping last weekend but Steve was able to get them for her when he nipped to the shop for a couple of bits we needed. It ended up being a doorstep drop and a brief chat involving my parents standing at their front door whilst I was in my car (driver’s seat furthest from them) and the passenger window down. It felt really odd, like I wasn’t really allowed to be talking to them, but no rules were broken as I was sufficiently far away to keep us all safe. So weird to feel like speaking to my own parents, at the house I grew up in, was a covert mission!

I spent the rest of the afternoon reading, had a bath, then it was pizza time. My tv choice for the evening was episode 3 of The Imagineering Story on Disney+, which had a huge section on Disneyland Paris. It was fascinating to watch, but did make me feel a little sad as I don’t know for sure when I will get back there again.

To round off the week I had an easy start to Sunday with a bit more reading in bed, then ran just over 8 miles to bring me to 33.7 miles for the week (and I’m ok with that 0.7!).  It was a nice morning so it was good to be out enjoying the air. So quiet again though.

After lunch it was time to brave the shops to get some food in again, but thanks to having picked up one or two extra things and doing some batch cooking, we didn’t need too much so were able to get back home quite quickly. Shopping safely away, we settled down with tea and hot cross buns to catch up on the parkrun quizzes. We had done the first one a week late and there were another two up so we decided just to go for it and bring ourselves up to date. Sadly we discovered that without a direct link to the answer form, the web address would only take us to the most recent one so we had to tackle quiz number two on paper instead. That meant trying to remember the multiple choice options and also that we couldn’t actually see the pictures for the picture round! Mind you, we found on the previous quiz that seeing the pictures made little difference anyway and hilariously we ended up with 4/5 on that round 😂. Our scores of 11/15 for quiz two and 9/15 for quiz three were both improvements on week one, but I’m greatly amused that now our “quiz PB” is for the one where we didn’t have the answer form and just put down anything haha!

The rest of Sunday was very much as normal – dinner, TV (the first episode of Twin which Maria suggested – thanks Maria!) and a bath with a glass of wine and some Disney vlogs. The week ahead will most likely feel a bit different once again, but right now I’m coping.

How are you organising your days right now?
Have you been looking at all the rainbows and other displays in houses when you’re out running and walking?