I really thought I was doing so well with my blog posts but actually the Bristol 10k was on the first May bank holiday weekend, so it was a while ago now!
Anyway, my yoga teacher had arranged a gong bath on the Tuesday night, held at the same place where we go for yoga, and I’d heard good things about the last one, so I decided to sign up.
We’d been told to wear warm and comfortable clothes, and bring a pillow and blanket, and I had also had advice from the lovely Tess to get an eye pillow- Josie (the yoga teacher) had a bag of them so I got one of them for the class.
Eye pillow, blanket and then some of the gongs
When I arrived the guy was setting up- this took him a while as there were loads of gongs! Huge ones, ones on their own frame things, plus a whole row of other instruments and beaters. He put on some candles and had a little talk to everyone about what to expect. He explained that people new to gong baths might prefer to lay with their feet closest to the gongs as otherwise it can be overwhelming, but we should be perpendicular to the gongs (e.g. feet or head closest, not side on).
I really love the final relaxation part of our yoga classes, and this was similar to that, but a little deeper. We lay down and then he played the gongs, sometimes loud, sometimes softly, as well as other instruments. I found that I went to that place where you are not quite asleep, but your head feels a long way from your body if that makes sense. My mind wandered a little at times (to work issues) but the sound of the gong meant I could re-focus, and I had some sort of dream images about being in woods. Towards the end my back got sore (the floor is hard and we were just on thin mats) and I wanted to bend my knees to put my legs up, but as he had talked at the start about the sort of waves of the gong, I didn’t want to disrupt that or disturb other people, but of course when we finished and I looked, the person next to me had their knees up so I am sure it would have been fine. I felt a bit floaty afterwards, but then I found that I didn’t sleep as well as I do after a normal yoga session. In speaking to someone else later, we hypothesised that perhaps as I had spent a good 90 mins in a very relaxed state, maybe I didn’t need as much deep sleep as usual. Anyway, I’d go again when they organise the next one.
On the Wednesday I had a run after work (instead of my usual yoga) and it was rather rainy- thankfully I didn’t get caught in a super heavy shower as it really bucketed it down once I was home.
I was planning a run on the Thursday but when I got home Andy had made me a cup of tea, and I can’t run after drinking tea, so I had it and then we went on a long walk instead.
Also lunch out with colleagues- we sat outside as the weather was gorgeous.
Then on Friday I had booked a massage after work, so I headed into town for that. It’s always so relaxing and I was complimented on how I only had one really bad knot! I think the gong bath had relaxed me for the whole week!
I could not resist a visit to The Pudding Stop either- we shared a pb and salted caramel brownie one day, and I got us a cornflake tart for another day (as it was one of their specials).
I’ve been loving my cute rabbit mug- it’s so cute and nothing cheers me up more than a cup of tea in a cute mug.
On the Saturday I headed to Ellenbrook and said I’d meet Dad there. I was there a little early so had a short warm up. I wasn’t planning on running fast, and I was running with Dad and we were chatting away. By half way I was less chatty and Dad was doing more of the conversation, but it still felt OK (I don’t look at my watch when I run usually). Dad has had a bit of a calf strain but he felt it was all behind him, so as we got to the runway (1km to go) I told him to head off and said I’d try to keep him in sight. He sped off and I tried to keep going- it’s hard as you can see the finish from a long way out but you don’t want to sprint too soon. As I crossed the line I saw 26 something, so knew it was fast, and then stopped my watch as I got my token. It was stopped on 26:20 and my first thought was “argh, I needed a 17 to complete stopwatch bingo, why didn’t I start my sprint sooner?”! My watch told me it was my fastest mile, and on Strava I’ve got one “PR” segment and several 2nd places, but when the text came through my official time was 26:16 and a parkrun pb! (and annoyingly still not 17!). Good splits of 8.41, 8.35 and 8.26! Woo! It must be to do with where I press stop and go, as Strava only thinks it’s my second fastest time, but this is again an all-time pb and not just course pb. I’ll take that!
Of course it was then back to my parents for pancakes. Luckily we didn’t need to go out for cake to celebrate the pb as I had bought some from The Pudding Stop the night before!
Would you be tempted by a gong bath? Do you warm up before a run or race? I usually have the thought that my first mile will be my warm up, but when will I learn that if I do an actual warm up I will feel better during the actual run?