Attempting to speed up for (not) parkrun, and Disney+ excitement

Last week was again a standard week- yoga on Monday, a run on Tuesday morning, Wednesday morning and Thursday morning, online yoga class on Wednesday evening, and a few walks in the evenings too.

I did some more fence painting. My mum had made caramel shortbread so when we popped over for my dad’s birthday she gave us some to take away- delicious with freshly picked raspberries too.

On Tuesday morning I decided to have a go at another (not) parkrun, as for the last couple of weeks I’ve logged my Saturday time but we have been running together and chatting, so I thought I’d see if I could go a bit faster.  My runs on my own are enjoyable headspace time, and I tend to plod along at between 10 and 11 min miles- perfectly good but I do miss the push I get from parkrun to give me a little bit of (relative) speed. I did a mile warm up, saved the run and then started a new run.  I had to slow down a couple of times when crossing roads as there were cars coming, and I got to 3.1 miles just over 30 minutes (30:11). Much quicker than the 34 ish mins we’ve been running recently. I am not particularly motivated by time, but I fancied a different focus. I tend to do the same route in the mornings because it’s fairly quiet, so having something else to think about is quite nice.

Our new pond plants arrived so we put them in- literally the easiest gardening ever! They came in special baskets with special aqua compost, and you just read the label to see how deep they needed to be, and popped them in. Done! (The digging and lining of the pond was not so easy!)

I often hear the foxes at night (and see the “presents” they leave for us) but on Wednesday morning when I was getting changed for my run I saw a couple in the garden. There were some beautiful clouds on my runs too- different shapes and patterns each day.

Thursday morning the clouds were similar in shape but much finer. Also one of my sunflowers bloomed- it reminds me of marmalade!

On Friday I was very exited because Hamilton was going to be launched  on Disney + ( a recording of the Broadway version).  I was up early making bread so we could have a fairly early dinner, and then we settled down to watch it, with some iced tea and sweets. I really enjoyed it- I wasn’t sure how well the energy and music would come across, but it was as gripping and enjoyable as the stage show. Although I did not appreciate the close up of King George III with the spit going down his chin! I also really liked that they had an intermission (although only one minute- we had to pause it!).

On Saturday I drove over to home and my brother met us to have a run together. We ran on a farm loop that I’d run with Dad a few weeks ago. This time we had to wait because one of the paths goes through a field and there was a bit of an antsy horse- thankfully there was someone nearby who held the horse while we ran through. The path then goes through a barley field and it was very deep at times. Then it was home for breakfast in the garden, more fence painting and then watching the With Me Now pod link up to parkrun restarting in New Zealand. It was so enjoyable to watch, and I just love that wherever you are in the world, parkrun has the same template. It seems like it will be a long way off for us in the UK (we are still having more deaths than when the lockdown was introduced) but it will be ready for us when we are allowed.

On a side note, parkrun announced that the New Year Day Doubles would be no more, and predictably some people have taken the news very badly. I have loved taking part in them, but this year the attendance figures were so huge (some event had triple their normal numbers) and with that comes things like inconsiderate parking, which can jeopardise the future of the event.  We still get an extra one on that day, so although it’s sad to see the doubles go, we should all be happy that there can still be an extra one (and hopefully by 1st January 2021 parkrun might be back?).

I also made some of the Pret almond butter chocolate cookies (honestly, the best cookies ever) and we did a bit more of the lego Disney castle.

In the evening we watched the film Irresistible, which was a sort of comedy written by Jon Stewart about an election in a small town in the USA. It was quite good but a bit depressing about how much politics relies on money.

Then on Sunday I went off to run the final part of the 20/20 route. I thought that the path would still be flooded, so I tried to work out where it would meet the road. Handily someone in my running club has been completing the route fairly regularly, so I looked up her Strava map which helped me a lot.

After going through a lot of overgrown paths and around a little village, I was into the golf club at Brocket Hall. I’ve only been there for afternoon tea before, and the grounds always look so beautiful but I didn’t realise that there was a public footpath there until now.

I got a bit lost in the golf course as there were lots of public footpaths criss-crossing the course. Because the route is both clockwise and anticlockwise, there are always  two arrows, so it’s good to look and work out which direction you should be coming from to help work out the angle. Anyway, the last arrow I saw directed me up and to the right, and the road went this was for a bit before bending left, so I followed the road. I saw a few more footpath signs but no 20/20 signs, until eventually I reached the edge of the golf course and some woods. There was a map and when I looked I was on the bottom left when I should have been the top right. I think I added around a mile on! I retraced my steps to where I’d last seen the sign, and probably about 20m further up was a post on the floor, in the shade of a small tree. No wonder I hadn’t seen it. There wasn’t anyone around to tell though, as the post would need putting back up again.

The signs exiting the golf course weren’t great either, and I only found the right way because I knew I should be heading to Sherrardspark Wood across the road. Apart from that though it was all fairly easy to find (and that’s taking it from me- I do get lost a lot). In the summer holidays I am going to run the whole thing and I’m really looking forward to that as it’s lovely and varied.

Then we had waffles and finally finished painting the fence- hooray! The last couple of panels were a team effort with Andy holding back the big plants while I squeezed in the gap and painted while trying hard not to get covered in green paint myself!

Andy’s parents then came over and we walked down to the hospital, because as part of the celebrations for the NHS birthday a spitfire was going to be flying over several local hospitals. It was leaving Duxford at 4.20 and apparently would be over the QE2 at 4.28- it was pretty much bang on time. It had “thank u NHS” written on the bottom, and did a couple of loops before flying off to the next location. Lots of people had come out to watch (the most people I’ve seen in months) but I was very impressed with how everyone stayed apart. Once home I realised I was pretty hungry so had a little afternoon snack of biscuits topped with cheese and lingonberry jam, and cherries.

In the evening Andy was watching the football so I decided to watch Frozen 2 while painting my nails- I’ve not painted them since lockdown began because I’ve been doing decorating and gardening, and there doesn’t seem to be much point in doing that if they are going to get chipped. So in celebration of finally finishing painting the fence, I thought I would treat myself. Andy even brought me up a cup of tea and a cookie at half term- perfect.

Such a lovely end to the weekend.

Have you seen Hamilton? What did you think? 

Have you completed a NYDD before? And what do you think about them going?


Another not parkrun and exploring more paths

On Saturday morning I drove over to my parents and my dad, my brother and I went on a 5k route. Dad had mapped out a new route for us, starting in the same way but coming back a different way. It rained on and off, but only for a few minutes at a time, and it was a nice temperature.

Look at my pumpkins! They were only raisin-sized last week!

Once back at theirs it rained a bit more- my mum and dad sheltered inside and opened the back doors, and my brother and I stood outside in our coats! They put a table by the back door with some croissants on, and I had brought my tea and water with me so I was all sorted. Dad kept saying he  felt guilty for us being outside, but I reminded him I was an early years teacher so very well prepared for being outside in all weathers!

As we were heading back there on Sunday, I didn’t stay too long, and once home got on with a few hours of work, before pottering around in the garden later on. My plan had been to paint more of the fence panels, but it kept raining for maybe 5 minutes every hour, so it just would not be dry. Maybe next week!

We watched From Up on Poppy Hill, a Ghibli film, on Saturday night, as a break from all the documentaries.

Then on Sunday I was off exploring the next section of the WCG 20/20 route.   For anyone local, the map is here. I’ve been going anti-clockwise from home, out and back, and have made it close to the town centre (Sherrardspark Woods), so this week decided to go in the other direction. The route went through a local nature reserve- I’ve seen signs to it from the main road, but it always looked like a very small field so I hadn’t bothered going there. It was actually a good mile or so of footpaths through woods, past fields (with long horned cattle), with little bridges over streams.

It was wonderful and I cannot believe that I haven’t been there before. The route then goes through a golf course which was a bit scary because it had loads of signs saying that it was private properly, keep to the footpath, look left or right for golfers and so on, but the signs weren’t that easy to see. The footpath wasn’t obvious because there were loads of paths criss-crossing the golf-way. Anyway, I found my way out! It then took me along the farm track that I’ve not run along since I was chased by dogs (thankfully no dogs today) and then into Stanborough Lakes. The route at the far end directed me down some steps and under a bridge, but the path under the bridge was totally flooded, and I’d run over 5 miles at this point so decided to re-trace my steps. I was going to go further and then head home the more direct way through town, but this way was fine.

There were wet footprints on the steps so someone had braved it, but it was ankle deep at the part closest to me so I didn’t fancy it.

Once home I had a shower and waffles (with peanut butter, maple syrup and fruit), and then we headed over to visit our parents- first Andy’s and then mine. It was my dad’s birthday in the week so we gave him his card and presents and my mum had made caramel shortbread- good choice! We were so lucky with the weather-  we were in my parents garden and had to leave (as Andy wanted to be back for the football) and as we were walking through the garage it started bucketing down!

There went my plan for painting the fence while Andy watched the football anyway! I had a bit of work to get on with so I did that, and then we had a walk later on once it was dry.

How well do you know your local area?

Beating the heat by getting out early

So it was another hot week here- it’s scary how warm the temperatures are getting and it’s only June. Not good for global warming at all. It also meant I was very glad to be out early running before it was too hot.

I am in a good routine now and so this week was the same

Monday- yoga video before work, walk in the evening

Tuesday- run in the morning, walk in the evening

Wednesday- run in the morning, yoga zoom class in the evening

Thursday- run in the morning

Friday- walk in the evening

I had peanut butter and banana on toast for breakfast one day and I had forgotten how good a combination it is.

Aside from the running, we started painting the fence panels to match the trellis.

Although it’s been so hot, the fence is in the shade in the evening so doing it at around 6pm has been quite nice, and of course it’s dried quickly too. (I had plans to finish them this weekend but seeing as it seems to pour with rain for about 5 mins each hour that hasn’t happened!). I’m pleased with how it looks- the green melts in with the green plants so it feels like our garden is bigger and calmer in a way.

The light in the morning has been so beautiful I keep stopping to take photos and then realise I have to get home and shower and get to work so can’t dawdle!

I usually do yoga in my office because there is space for my yoga mat, and my laptop is all set up, but it gets the afternoon sun and is really hot, so this week for the Wednesday class I set up in the living room instead. My battery only just lasted, but it was so lovely to have the views of outside and the breeze coming in. It almost felt like our classes when we do them outside under the trees.

I braved my shorts on a run one morning

On Thursday evening Andy was watching football so I did some baking (peanut butter blondies for work) and made us a pizza for dinner. We’ve been having some of our home-grown courgettes and it’s been lovely to pop outside and get one and cook with it straight away.

Our Disney castle is coming along. Lucky as it is more and more unlikely that we will have our anniversary at Disney this year… Plus some beautiful tea from my tea club with rosebuds and dried berries -Berry Pink Rosé .

I made some yoga mat cleaning spray this week- Adrienne had a tutorial on her you tube channel (here), which was hilarious as she went to Wholefoods to get the ingredients (I think it was sponsored by them) and when she was in there shopping she said she felt like a Top Chef contestant. I love Top Chef (and I think some of the earlier series are on Netflix now) so it made me chuckle. I went for lemongrass and rosemary oil (and you just need witch hazel and water, plus a glass bottle) and it smells lovely.

On Friday I made sourdough, had tea in the garden and watched Queer Eye. We went on a walk and it poured with rain when we were nearly home- we ran back but were totally drenched and had to change all our clothes because we were so wet!

We’ve been watching the TV show about the Salisbury Russian attack, and then when we finished that we started McMillions, all about an investigation into fraud around the McDonalds Monopoly game- it’s very good so far and very interesting (and the main FBI agent is such a character)- it seems we’ve been on a documentary or reality show theme at the moment.

Did you manage to get out much in the week? I saw a few people out running when I was driving home (and my car said it was 30 or 31 degrees)- rather them than me!

The first (not) parkrun

While I really appreciated the routine of a run and then the parkrun quiz, I am much happier now that I can go running with my dad instead, and that has replaced the quiz for me in the past two weeks. I did think I’d go back and do the quiz at some point, but have not got around to them yet.

This week parkrun launched (not) parkrun, where you can add your time to the results page (a maximum of one 5k per day, wherever you like), and then each week your fastest 5k time will be added to your home parkrun, and they even publish and send out the results.

Dad had mentioned that he wanted to run a 10k, but my brother wanted to run a 5k, so I arranged to head over there early, the two of us would run a 5k loop ending at their house, and then my brother could join us for for the second 5k. Dad had planned out the routes- the one we ran went through farm fields and tracks, and then the one with my brother was the same as last week, heading to Jersey Farm parkrun to do a loop of the course and then heading back.

It was so enjoyable to be out there- the weather was good, the sun was shining but it was cool in the shade, and it did not feel like we had run a 10k, it felt more like a 20 minute run. It just shows how much difference company can make.

Afterwards we sat in the garden (at three separate tables) and had breakfast- just a lovely start to the weekend. I added my time for the first 5k to the (not) parkrun page, although it was a bit hard to work out how to submit my time.  I thought it would be a link on my profile, but it wasn’t- I had to log in to the detail change part and do it somewhere there. I really liked getting the results email on Sunday night, and looking down the list I recognised a lot of names (mainly from my running club). Of course it is’t as good as parkrun, but it does get closer to the experience, especially now I can run with Dad and Tony, have breakfast together after and then get an email.

My packed breakfast- cardamom bun and tea

Once home we did a few bits outside- painting the trellis that is going on top of the fence (we did 2 on Saturday and 4 on Sunday- they are quite fiddly). I also did the second coat on a picture frame, planted out a few more plants from the greenhouse, and a spot of weeding, as well as taking time to enjoy some of the elderflower cordial made last weekend. So refreshing.

It’s in a jam jar because I didn’t think about needing glass bottles until I was finished making it. 

We decided to have waffles for dinner on Saturday- my favourite savoury choice at The Waffle House is the hummus and avocado one, so we did a sort of imitation, topped with hummus, avocado, rocket, sundried tomatoes and sweet chilli sauce. So tasty but very filling and we definitely needed a walk after that.

On Sunday morning I went for more of the WGC 20/20 route, doing a mostly out and back for 10 miles. A lot of the route was in the woods, and I made it nearly to the top end of town so I think I’ve done nearly half the loop now. The whole route is 13 miles, so I think I might head out in the other direction at some point to try and see where it goes.

It was fairly overcast but brightened up by the time I got home.

The rest of Sunday was spent pottering around at home- I made some cookies (the delicious Pret chocolate almond butter ones), painted the other trellis, had tea in the garden and watched a bit of TV. We watched the documentary about the Salisbury Russian poisoning which was really interesting. I really liked how they portrayed the main characters, particularly the head of public health who kept doubting if she was capable of doing it (instead of the usual characters who are always so confident in their abilities).

Have you joined in with (not)parkrun yet? Or have you sorted an alternative Saturday routine? 

Running in the rain and the best cookie recipe

My routine for last week was pretty much the same- yoga on Monday in the morning, early runs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (4 miles each time), a yoga class on Wednesday evening via Zoom, and then walks most evenings. As it’s so light in the mornings, the 5am wake up isn’t too bad and I really like the time when I get home and can have some tea and chill out, or do some jobs around the house. I don’t think I’ll continue it in the winter for several reasons- the main two being the streetlights aren’t on until 6am and I don’t have time to dry my hair so it stays damp all day (I dry it for around 10 mins) so in the warm that’s fine but I’d get so cold in the winter.

I also get to see some lovely sunrises.  If you don’t listen already, I would recommend Running is BS as such a good podcast- the presenters “love to hate running”, but really they call out all the nonsense surrounding running (eg all those stupid click-bait articles such as one they mentioned recently- will your headphones give you coronovirus…). Anyway, there is the legend of a guy who was mentioned by a listened before who is known as pin skin man, because he was seen at an ultra race with his number pinned to his bare chest. Well, they only went and tracked him down for an interview! Loved it!

On Tuesday evening we did the next stage of the lego Disney castle- we now have some posts and it’s looking a bit more 3D. We also have a mini Mickey as well as some little frogs (to kiss princesses I think).

After my morning run I have been heading into the garden for a few minutes to cool down- it’s very peaceful in the morning, with lots of birds flitting about. More and more flowers are blooming too. Top right is a bit of a rose bush- it was in a pot and would maybe have one or two flowers and always looked a bit sorry for itself. Last year we put it in the ground in an attempt to rescue it, and it’s suddenly taken off with hundreds of little flowers.

We got to eat our first home-grown courgettes of the year. First in a lovely tofu noodle dish (from the Happy Vegan cookbook) and then in a lentil bolognese (again from that book).  There are loads more forming, and the tomato plants have a few green tomatoes on them too- it’s all coming along nicely.

I was awake a lot in the night before Thursday morning- hearing all the heavy rain. Although it had eased off and wasn’t raining too hard there were huge puddles going across the road. At times I had to wait to make sure no cars were coming before running along, because I would have been totally soaked in dirty road water.

Pink tea and my cute hand santitiser holder that arrived from Enchanted Cosy Co (Etsy) this week.

On Friday after a walk and a cup of tea (Red Velvet) I did a lot of baking. I had prepped the sourdough the night before, and in the morning it needed shaping and leaving in the basket, to be baked in the afternoon. I made a batch of cinnamon and cardamom buns ready for not parkrun breakfast, and then later while Andy was watching the football I made some of the Pret almond butter and dark chocolate cookies. These are now my all time favourite cookie recipe. If I went into a Pret I would always be tempted to buy one if they had them, but that isn’t a regular occurrence as there isn’t a Pret where we live. Now they released the recipe I can make them whenever I like. It does have a long list of ingredients but it isn’t complicated at all and they are sooooooo good.

We had been watching the dramatisation of Waco which was very well done. So interesting, and I didn’t know much about it so was totally shocked and appalled by the final episode. Well worth watching but very tough in places.

On a lighter note we watched the next Queer Eye episode- it’s good to have something so cheerful and uplifting to watch.

Do you have any favourite recipes?  Do you mind running in the rain?