Bowling and crawling to the end (of term) and bingo!

The end of term gets a bit like this! (From Twinkl)!

On Tuesday after work I did just over 3 miles and that was long enough! I had some work to do after so I didn’t want to be out for too long either. I was so warm so I went to sit in the garden with some cold coconut water when I got home- nothing is better at quenching the thirst.

Wednesday was our final yoga of the term. It was a bit drizzly but it stopped raining and we decided to start outside (yay for the Wideye bug spray) and in the end spent the whole session outside. We did some partner work to open up shoulders which always helps so much, and then a really varied session with lots of strength work (side planks outside are even harder!) and plenty of warrior poses (good for the legs).

On Thursday I couldn’t fit in a run after work, so decided to get up super early and run at 5.30am instead. I needed to collect a parcel from an Amazon locker so I went that way to collect it. I didn’t have time to properly dry my hair but it was so warm that it didn’t really matter.

After work we had booked bowling as an end of year team celebration- this apparently is my bowling face!

I may have lost overall, but as I was the only one who didn’t go for the barriers, I at least won the no barrier game!

Afterwards we went to Chiquitos. I’d not been for years but I was impressed with the veggie and vegan options. I had a burrito (I think) and then saved some space for churros after. I chose the churros with banana and toffee, but I didn’t read the menu properly and they came smothered in cream too (not a big cream fan here)- I had to pick through the cream to find the churros and sliced bananas. It was a good fun evening and even though I thought I’d be home early, I don’t think I was home until nearly 10pm!

On Friday we had a staff breakfast and then it was a case of frantically doing everything that needed doing (the classrooms all get cleaned so I won’t be in until the end, so needed to tidy everything away and print out/ pile up anything I’d need at home with me). I was given some lovely gifts from friends/ colleagues and parents at work, and also some cards with such lovely touching words about how their children have enjoyed their time at school this year.

Things like that make you take a step back and realise that all the stress and long working hours are worth it.

We had a John Lewis cake voucher that needed using up, so I met Andy in town and we shared some lemon and (maybe rose? maybe lavender? I can’t remember) cake and peppermint tea.

Then all I was good for was sitting in front of the TV for the rest of the evening!

On Saturday morning I went to Panshanger- I got there a little early and had  short warm up run through the field. At 8.45am the car park was nearly empty (bottom picture) and when I got back 10 minutes later it was more full. I was feeling tired so started near the back and ended up bumping into someone from the running club. We chatted for a bit before she sped off, and I just enjoyed the run. I was a bit annoyed because despite them having “Quiet during the run brief” signs, there were loads of people talking so I didn’t even hear them say “go”. As I came up to the final hill I looked at my watch but as I had no idea how long a run up that hill takes I don’t know to speed up or slow down. I think when I crossed the line my watch said something and 11 seconds, so I wasn’t holding out much hope for bingo (I needed a 17, and I didn’t think I’d left it that long after the start).

Imagine my excitement when the text came through to say my time and it was 31:17!! Whoop whoop! Bingo complete!

Third along- a new badge! Not too bad after 204 parkruns either.

Which running challenges are you aiming for? How many times do you need for bingo? Do you like going bowling? I wouldn’t have chosen it, but it was a fun evening and nice to be doing something and not just sitting (as we would for a meal).


Fulham Palace parkrun, meals out, tennis and naps

So, Fulham Palace parkrun. We’ve wanted to do this for years but things just haven’t fallen into place until now.  It was complicated but basically Dad stays in a flat in London while he works at Wimbledon, my brother had tickets for Court 1 on the Saturday, and Dad was going to meet us at a parkrun, to be determined by his start time which he’d find out late on Friday. When I got home from my meal out the plan was confirmed- I’d pick up my brother at 7am, drive to Fulham, meet Dad and then drive home on my own (eek). Not a fan of driving in London! I’d looked at the parking by searching on the parkrun tourist group (Festing Road, turn left at the end and park on the embankment as it was free), so getting there was fine and we parked on the other side of the river, with about a mile walk there (along the river, over Putney Bridge and then back along the river through the park). Dad got the bus and met us there- all good.

It was beautiful weather and thankfully the route was very shady.

The route had changed apparently, due to some work going on at the football ground. I loved the description that we would run past Fulham having their “football lessons” (turned out it was little kids and not of course the players being shown where the goals were etc). It was a special parkrun to visit together, as this was where my Dad grew up, and as a child he supported Fulham. Our first football match was at Craven Cottage with my Grandad and the rest of our family, as there were plans at that point for it to be knocked down and they wanted us to go before that happened. We could see the ground across the river from where we parked, and as we ran Dad pointed out things in the local area that he remembered (or that had changed). There were the most enthusiastic marshals as well.

When we finished we had a jog/walk back to the car, as Dad had to be ready to work at 10.45, and needed to head back to the flat to shower and change. Had I realised that, I would have parked closer but I was worried about the streets filling up as there wasn’t a car park and they get several hundred runners each week (and I misunderstood and thought I’d be driving home after breakfast in the cafe in the park). Anyway, it was OK although we got stuck in a bit of traffic in the high street and then couldn’t find a car parking spot in the street by the flat right away.

By the time we got into the flat Dad had decided to run to Wimbledon and shower there to save time (quicker than showering at the flat and then walking down there) so my brother and I had breakfast and then a little later I left to drive home- not so easy!

I loaded up maps on my phone and selected the route to go back along the M4 and then around the M25, but at one point it must have selected what it thought was a short cut, as I went off main roads and around residential streets. At one point it told me to turn right and suddenly I was driving through Richmond park-  I recognised roads from the 15k run I did there years ago! I did see a massive herd of deer, so I told myself that if I hadn’t gone wrong, I would have missed out on that. I was then driving and I kept seeing signs saying “no access to A something” and I guessed (correctly) that I needed that road, so I kept having to pull over to check the map and ignore the directions. I was so pleased to finally make it to the M4 (never thought I’d say that). I also saw the Red Arrows fly over as I was driving around the M25 so again a bonus. The journey home took me a good 2 hours though- I was very ready for a shower by then!

In the afternoon I made some fudge as end of year gifts for the people I work with (peanut butter of course), caught up on work and watched a fair bit of tennis. I always used to watch a bit of Wimbledon when getting home from work, but things are so busy that I just haven’t had the time for that this year- I made up for it at the weekend!

On Sunday morning we were going to Andy’s parents for brunch, and originally I’d pencilled in 11 miles, but I was so tired and I really didn’t want to get up ridiculously early. I think I got up at about 7.30, and thought I’d aim to be home by 9.30 and just see how many miles I could fit in. In the end I ran 9 miles, so a fairly solid long run still. I wore my new socks- I love these Balega socks and as I was ordering something from Wiggle, if I got one other thing it would be free postage, so it seemed the sensible option. They are so bright!

When I first went out it was raining fairly hard, but soon the sun came out and it got very hot.

After a delicious brunch (Andy’s mum had asked me for the baked French toast recipe, but had also loaded the table with goodies) and a walk in the park, I got home just as the Men’s Final was starting. As Andy was going to watch the F1 and had bagsied the TV downstairs, I put on i-player in the bedroom, and had a cup of tea and a biscuit. I think I saw the first set, and then woke up 2 hours later! I never nap unless I’m ill or jet-lagged, so I must have been tired!

The match went on for so long that I saw most of it even though I’d slept for so long! I was also very excited to see Escape to the Chateau back on TV- perfect Sunday night viewing.

On Monday I was meeting a friend for dinner- back at Bill’s again. We met early in the evening so in the end I made up a sort of afternoon tea of hummus with toasted foccacia bread, scones and tea. It was lovely to catch up (and thankfully we had different members of staff so they didn’t think I was taking up residence!)

Do you like driving in London? Or anywhere new? Which parkrun is next  on your tourist list?


Toy Story 4, yoga outside, lavender and recovery

The day after the Ware 10 mile race we had booked tickets to see Toy Story 4 in the evening (and I cannot help singing the song from Muppets Most Wanted – as they sing “while they wait for Tom Hanks to make Toy Story 4“)- I took the lavender shortbread with me as a cinema snack and it was so tasty- I think it’s my favourite lavender items (although the marmalade is also good)- sometimes it’s overpowering and almost soapy, and other times it’s too delicate- I think the shortbread is the perfect balance between the two.

On Tuesday I got home fairly late after a super busy day but needed to clear my head and stretch out my legs so had a 3 mile run. I did a bit more lavender flower arranging after finding some more jars.

On Wednesday I had a walk in the morning as I knew I’d be sat at a computer for a lot of the day and would appreciate getting in some steps.

I do enjoy these early morning walks, even if they are just 20 minutes they give me a bit of a fresh air boost.

That evening when I got to yoga, all the mats were set up outside. I was glad I’d put on my bug spray (it’s natural stuff from Wideye in Brighton and I love it), but Josie put on a lot of candles and incense sticks to ward them off too. It was just wonderful being outside the entire time, with the wind rustling the leaves and seeing the birds fly overhead. My legs were a bit tired after the race on Sunday, and so some of the hamstring stretches were more sore than usual, but overall I left feeling loads better.

On Thursday we went out for lunch and I went for the fruit toast- so tasty. By the time I got home I was so tired and needed to walk around to the shops to get some fudge ingredients, so I decided against a run- I think running when I felt that tired would have been counter productive.

On Friday after work I was meeting some friends for dinner in town, and there wasn’t really time to go home, so I had a wander around the park for a bit, but then felt like I needed a sit down and a cup of tea, so I went into Pret. The barista said something to me about paying, and asked me if I wanted anything else (I’d got a little pack of those delicious almond bites) and then when I put my card on the machine he told me it was free. I think my tired teacher face meant he felt like I was sorely in need of a caffeine and sugar boost!

Then it was time for dinner in Bill’s- I went for scones for dessert (I think I can tell that I am reaching the end of term exhaustion as I just opt for sweet things all the time to help me through!).

Do you prefer a starter or a dessert? I always feel like a starter is the same as a main meal (taste wise) so I’d rather have a dessert, but then often the restaurant desserts are not as good (frozen things) as the starters.

Panshanger parkrun Ware 10 miles and a trip to the lavender farm

Two weeks ago on Saturday I headed to Panshanger for a parkrun. It was the first time I’d run one in ages, having missed one when I fell over, been tail walker the week after that and then marshalling the week after that. I had a bit of a warm up through a field, trying to spot the new long,  horned cattle that had been introduced (there was a bit on Countryfile about it- I don’t usually watch it but I’d seen on the tourist page that it was about Panshanger). Anyway I couldn’t find them at the start so kept an eye out whilst running. I started at the back which means a lot of run/walking to begin with, but as I had a 10 mile race the next day I didn’t want to get carried away.

I found the cows just over half way around- in a field next to the lakes at the bottom, so I popped off the route to take a photo before carrying on.  I was glad that they were behind the fence (not a fan of cows in the same field as me)! As I was coming up to the finish I looked at my watch to see if I could get my final stopwatch bingo number (I need a 17) and I think my watch was on something like 30, but I had no idea how long it would take me to run up the final part, and then I heard someone coming up behind me so decided to have a little push to the finish line. My time was 32:54 so no-where near the number that I need!

I didn’t hang about and quickly got back home for a shower, coconut water and a croissant from the freezer (I think that was my last one, sad times).

I had some work to do in the afternoon and then we walked to the park to meet our niece and nephew with Andy’s parents (as they were looking after them for the weekend). After chasing them around the park for a few hours, we walked home via Starbucks so I could get my free drink. It was a bit chilly by then so I had a warm drink- we even got caught in a few spots of rain. I remembered to paint my nails (my pre race ritual) and enjoyed a cookie in the evening.

The next morning was a fairly leisurely start for a race as it didn’t start until 10am and is only maybe a 20 min drive away. You have to pick up the race pack in the morning, but there aren’t big queues. The parking is right by the start, and it’s all so relaxed. I picked up my number (and t-shirt), wandered about a bit, looked at all the cakes, and then put my bag in the bag drop tent. By the way, big races could learn a lot from this race- when you sign up you choose your t-shirt size, and it’s printed on the envelope with your number, so after getting your number the person sees the t-shirt size and you get it (other years it’s been printed on your number if you collect it when you finish)- then everyone gets the size they need plus there must be much less waste.

The Ware Joggers are something like a baking club that runs, or similar. If only I lived a little nearer! They always have loads of home-made cakes, and a cake + drink at the end is £1, raising money for the Herts Air Ambulance. There are free kids races- it’s just great all round.

I loved these tops I saw (Shut up I’m not almost there!). The race is two laps, with the first part of each lap being a little hilly, and the second being totally flat along the canal (or river?). It’s so pretty, the marshals are brilliant, I just love it.

I wasn’t aiming for a particular time as it was warm (although not as hot as it could have been), I took photos on the way (being careful not to on the bumpy bits- I’m still wary of tripping over) and just loved it.

Although I did not love the people throwing their cups on the floor despite being asked to put them in the bins and there being loads of bin bags by each water station. Some even chucked them in hedges- how are they meant to be spotted by the poor volunteers cleaning up???

The two laps went by fairly quickly, although in the final few miles I had that thing when there is someone walk running, and what they do it run past you, slow to a walk, wait for you to run past (it seems) and then run straight away to overtake. It was a guy doing this, and it was driving me mad especially as at times it was a narrow towpath with lots of walkers too, so it was annoying that he would seem to stop right in front of me and then I’d have to squeeze past him. I was pretty glad that with around a mile to go he slowed and I got a bit of space between us!

The finish is a lap of the field and that always seems to take a while as you can hear the names being announced and see everyone milling about with their medals and cakes but you still have to run further! Anyway, as soon as I finished I was given a medal and a bottle of water, and after picking up my bag from the bag drop I joined the queue for cake. Usually I’d have a tea but it was really warm by this point so I opted for tea bread and squash (squash really reminds me of giving blood but I wanted something cold). I then found somewhere to sit down and watch the runners come in, enjoy my cake and also do a few stretches. I saw loads of people eating bananas and thought that perhaps they’d been organised and brought one with them, but when I left to go to the car park I realised that by the medals there were also bananas, I just didn’t see them. Ah well.

I drove home for a shower and lunch, and then we were off to the lavender farm.

It is just so gorgeous there. If you want to go into the fields you pay £6 and get a paper bag and some scissors, so I did that and Andy waited for me in the show field and shop area (it makes his hay-fever bad).

It is just so relaxing to be out there with all the bees buzzing around and the smell of lavender as you brush past the flowers. Some sections had big drifts of wildflowers too.

(I had a bit of fun with the timer on my phone for some photos- also showing off my new Totoro top).

I filled my bag and then headed back down to see Andy in the cafe.

The cafe sells lavender everything (ice-cream, lemonade, plenty of cakes) so we got some lemon and lavender cake to share, plus lavender lemonade (which I really liked), plus a piece of shortbread (lavender, of course) to have later on.

I bought a couple of plants to go in the garden, some peach and lavender jam and some lavender lip balm. Not too overboard!

When I got home I had fun arranging the flowers in various jars. I found a few really pretty little beetles that were living on them too, so I put them outside.

Do you have a local favourite race? Have you ever been to a lavender farm?

Marshalling in the heat = easier than running

On Saturday morning (two weeks ago- I keep thinking I’m catching up but I’m clearly not) I was marshalling at Ellenbrook Fields, so after I’d parked I had a little run around the business park. I changed out of my vest into my volunteer top and then headed to my marshal spot.

It was such a hot day. I’d brought my water bottle with me, but hadn’t filled it up all the way which was a mistake. I ended up marshalling in one of the big fields, with no shade around me at all. Luckily I had my visor on, but it was totally baking.

I was at about the half way point so I had plenty of time before even the front runners came through, so to pass the time I mucked about with the timer on my camera.

I quite liked it when the strands of grass looked gigantic (as I’d propped my phone up in the grass).

I saw so many beautiful wildflowers, and there was a constant buzz of bees and so many butterflies flitting past. The little black bugs (thunder bugs?) loved the high viz- I really should have taken it off and just waved it about instead.

Dad was running so I got to cheer him on, and then walked back to the start once the tail walker had gone through. At the finish area I chatted to a few people from our club for ages- since I don’t go to the evening run any more (they moved from Tuesday to Wednesday evenings so it’s yoga night) I feel like I hardly see anyone apart from at parkrun.

I went around to have breakfast at Mum and Dad’s and then quickly headed home as we were off to the Baseball in the afternoon.

We got the overground train in, and that was very unpleasant as it was so hot and even though the windows were open no air seemed to be coming in. I was so sweaty (this is my “I am so hot and sweaty” face). We had a bit of time before meeting Andy’s brother and his wife, so we went into Westfield to get a picnic dinner and ended up getting some frozen yoghurt to cool down a bit more.

The baseball was really fun. We’ve been to a few games when we’ve been abroad (Toronto Blue Jays, Charleston Riverdogs, somewhere in LA which was the most terrifying thing as we had to get the bus there and that was probably the scariest bus journey I’ve ever been on) and so you know it’s a long game with lots of other thins going on. As it was linked to the Invictus Games, Harry and Megan were there along with someone from the games to do the first pitch. Of course there were flames too- lots of things to hype up the crowd!

We had a great view across the stadium- it was so interesting to see how it had been changed since being an athletics stadium (although the less said the better about it being now a football stadium on the tax payers expense)- they had to put in a load of earth for the mound, and from where we were we could see the warm up areas. I won’t go into details with the scores, but the first innings had 12 runs (6 each)- we have been to games where the final scores isn’t that high. They had loads of funny graphics (First home run in London!!),  and loads of facts about the players. There were things like mascot races (Freddie Mercury racing Nessie…), a “beat the freeze” race  (a guy had to beat a mystery runner dressed in one of those all in one stretchy suit things) and crowd competitions in between the innings. My favourite was videos of the players being asked to name British people- one of them said “all the Harry Potters”… The 7th Inning Stretch where they all sing that song is always my favourite part (not sure why, I find it really funny).

Although we had a good view, it also meant we were right in the sun for most of it so I was really dripping in sweat- not so nice!

They had a water refill station so at one point we popped down to refill our bottles- the queue was 30 mins long! It was good fun, although to catch our train we missed the final innings (but didn’t miss anything major)- it was the second longest baseball game ever I think.

On Sunday morning I did 10 miles but issues with Strava meant that it just wouldn’t come up- I tried adding walks and things to bump it along, and they would pop up but my run wouldn’t. Eventually I went on my laptop and manually added it that way- if it isn’t on Strava it didn’t happen! (And I just like to keep track of the miles, and as my memory is so terrible it means I can find out what I did last week…).

Breakfast was a croissant and tea, and then I did a bit of pottering in the garden- standard Sunday!

In the afternoon we went to see Apollo 11, which is a film made up of remastered footage and all the original recordings of the moon landings. It was absolutely amazing. To get more into the moon landing, we listened to some of the Public Service Broadcasting album once home.

On Monday I had a package as I’d ordered some end of term gifts from Wideye (I’d bought some things from their Brighton store recently and really liked them), plus I thought I’d give their natural deodorant a go. They came beautifully boxed up, and all the packaging was compostable so that’s always good.

On Tuesday I was home fairly late but needed a run to clear my head- it was a super busy week at work. I did 3.5 miles and attempted to stay in the shade the whole time but didn’t quite manage it.

We’d got these vegan Magnums so I tried one- it was so delicious and really creamy.

On Wednesday yoga was mostly outside- we’ve done hardly any outdoors this year as it just hasn’t been as warm, but it was perfect this week as it was fairly cool.

On Thursday I did another hot run of 4 miles- I did consider getting up early and doing my run first thing instead, but that would mean really getting up close to 5am to give me enough time to wash and dry my hair etc.

On Friday I had another delivery, this time of some t-shirts- annoyingly as they were from the US I had to collect them as I needed to pay the VAT- if only that could be added at checkout it would be so much easier.

I did some baking on Friday evening- peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. It’s a Hummingbird recipe and it was only when I was putting them on the baking trays that I remembered that I usually halve the recipe as it makes so many. I had to cook them in batches!

Have you ever been to a Baseball game? Did you see Apollo 11?