Limping around RHS Wisley and seeing Rocketman

Two weeks ago on Saturday I didn’t go to parkrun as I’d fallen over and was limping around (when you have to go up the stairs one at a time, going to a running event isn’t a good idea). We’d planned to head to RHS Wisley on the Saturday anyway, so we drove down late morning.

It was a lovely place to wander (limp) around, with beautiful flowers, some amazing carvings, and some test beds where they try out different types of the same plant to see how they cope with various weather conditions.

After a few hours of walking my knee was really throbbing so we went to the cafe. Andy wanted a piece of cake and I fancied a scone, and after paying for all of our bits, the lady told me they had no cream, but she had charged me for it. I thought she’d ask me to put my card back in and refund it to me, but she told me to “hurry up and choose” and it turned out she was giving me another cake instead. I clearly dithered too much, so she put a brownie in a paper bag and told me it was the best thing there. Something to save for later.

We walked around the big glasshouse, and along by the river to the bird hide (had a great view of a woodpecker feeding), and then headed to our hotel for a bit of a rest before walking over to the cinema to see Rocketman. I really loved this film- I found it very emotional, but I thought it was done really well- no rose tinted spectacles looking back on the past.

As we’d gone to an early evening screening, we then watched a bit of TV (the Isle of Wight festival, and then some Friends) while I propped my knee on a cushion to try and make it feel better.

On the Sunday morning we drove to Windsor for a wander in the sunshine.

Windsor, Gail’s cinnamon roll for breakfast, using a shower cap to keep my hand dry in the shower)

It turned out there was some sort of triathlon event going on, so we saw loads of people wandering around in wet suits. It was a beautiful day, although as soon as the sun went in the breeze made it chilly, and you’d put your coat on and then the sun would come out and it would be baking!

That week I would have had a few runs in the evening, but I was not even walking properly on it until the Wednesday so that of course was not a good idea. I had signed up for yoga and nearly didn’t go, as my hand was still a little weepy (I was keeping it covered at work to stop germs getting in), but in the end I decided to go and see how I got on. It was a summer solstice special, so we started off outside, focusing on our connection to the ground (rather damp and muddy- the teacher had brought a towel so we could wipe our feet when we went back inside). We didn’t do too many downward dogs and I could stay on my fingertips on my left hand for the ones we did, so it was OK. The most uncomfortable pose was child’s pose as my knee was still a little swollen.

I went out on a few gentle walks in the evenings (got to keep the 10,000 step per day streak going) as I didn’t want to stiffen up. I thought I’d manage a run on Thursday but it was still sore, so I decided to tail walk at parkrun on the Saturday and then I could see how I got on and give it the extra few days off.

I spent a few evenings pottering in the garden. We have a rose and it really appears as if it is luminous- I think it must have some sort of pigment that reflects UV light (or something similar) because especially as dusk it just appears to glow, and is so much brighter than any of the other flowers of a similar colour.

Which films have you enjoyed lately?

Rain, running magazine moans, parkrun forever and rainbow runs

On the Sunday after running Milton Keynes parkrun I headed out on a long run. I ran 10 miles in the end but it felt like hard work. Although it’s not been really hot, it was fairly muggy so I wonder if that made it feel harder. Something popped up on Strava to say that if you added the rainbow emoji then it would turn your route rainbow coloured, to celebrate Pride month, so I did that. I do like the pretty colours!

Once home I watched a bit of Springwatch and had a hot cross bun and marmalade.

The foxes are totally trolling us right now- they left a green flannel hanging on a tree, and a hedgehog slipper (not a slipper for a hedgehog, but a slipper in the shape of the hedgehog) directly facing the little box Andy put in which is meant to detect motion and emit a high sound that they don’t like.

After a bit of pottering in the garden we went to meet up with Andy’s family at a local tearooms for some scones, tea and a walk around the woods.

(Right- the images are still upside down and I have no idea why… even if I edit them and turn them, they revert to being upside down again).

I got annoyed when reading a running magazine- on the same page were these two snippets- one promoting these “natural” energy gels (containing natural cane sugar- it’s still sugar)

and one warning that women risk premature death if they drink sweetened drinks each day. No wonder people get confused with nutrition.

That week yoga was on a Monday instead, and it totally poured with rain all day. I went on a short walk in the morning to stretch my legs after the 10 the day before, and that helped a lot. Yoga was lovely as always, and when I got home it was bucketing down so much I sat in my car for a few minutes to see if it would ease off a little (it didn’t), so I got drenched!

On Tuesday and Wednesday I went out on a run after work (4 miles and 3.6 miles)- but with fairly tired legs. I suppose I usually have a rest day on Monday, and although yoga is good for stretching, it is also a lot of strength work with planks, press ups, and when we hold the warrior poses you’re essentially doing lots of squats and lunge type moves. I was glad to have a rest on Thursday! I met Andy in town as we had a John Lewis cake voucher to use before Saturday, and I think I just sat there and stared into space. For some reason I felt so tired. I had been in a lot of meetings at work so I think my brain was running out of energy too.

My parkrun forever letter turned up- I had signed up a while back (you can do a monthly donation to help keep it sustainable), and I got a thank you letter and lovely parkrun pin badge. The only thing is I don’t want to wear it out in case it falls off, so I shall have to find somewhere for it to go at home I think.

(As a side rant, I have seen so many people recently on parkrun related comment threads moaning about the free t-shirts and how there is a back log (I got my 100 t-shirt on my 150th run- be patient!), but I have also seen people saying they would rather pay for a t-shirt than have to wait. This makes me angry because the point of parkrun is that it is free so it’s accessible to anyone- even if you charged £1 this would mean it would not be affordable to some people, and would go against their ethos. When I pointed out to someone that they could either make a donation to their event via their page, or set up a parkrun forever donation, they were very dismissive and wanted it linked to the t-shirt. I didn’t bother replying because it just seemed futile, but if you want to donate when you earn a t-shirt, then do it, and then you will know the link- who cares if no-one else knows? Rant over.)

I’ve been updating my blog a little- my parkrun touristing page now has all the latest links, and I’m up to 63 different events now which surprised me.

On Friday after work I had booked a massage as my neck had totally seized up. I left work on time but got stuck in a little bit of traffic, and as I ran up the road to make it on time, I tripped. As I fell, I really thought I’d get my foot out in time, so I was even more surprised when I hit the floor and skidded into the road.

I was so relieved that no-one was around to see, and hobbled up the road to the place. Thankfully Katie, the lovely masseuse, told me she was first aid trained so ushered me into the bathroom to wash my hand (I had to pull a flap of skin off my hand). My leggings hadn’t ripped so I didn’t even think to check my legs, but as the massage went on my knee started throbbing, and when I got dressed after I checked, and my knee looked rather bloody and swollen.

I had to get a few bits in town, and went to Starbucks to get my free drink, and when they told me they had no chai I thought I was going to cry. (I think this as left over emotion from falling over.)

Driving home was really hard as each time my hand touched the gear stick or handbrake it really hurt.

My weekend running plans were somewhat scuppered due to this, as even though I iced my knee when I got home, it was really swollen and I couldn’t bend it properly.

Have you ever fallen over? I have a few times, but they have always been when I’ve been out on a run before, not just walking along (well, I suppose I was running because I was late, but only half running). I’ve got a scar on my shoulder and one on my right hand from two other falls.

My 200th parkrun (arbitrary…)

A couple of weekends ago I realised I was about to celebrate my 200th parkrun. Now, I know it isn’t a proper milestone, but seeing as my 100th was well over 2 years ago and I still have over a year until the proper 250th, I decided to have a mini celebration. There are still a few local-ish parkruns that I haven’t been to (within an hour drive) so I messaged my dad to see if he fancied coming to Milton Keynes, to the one at Willen Lakes. He agreed, and also messaged his cousin, Brian, who lives in MK. We actually managed to get Brian into parkrun, although it was a misunderstanding as we thought he already did parkrun, but in fact when we met up with him at Linford Wood a couple of years ago, he’d been the week before on a “reconnaissance” trip.  He is now a regular there, and has done some tourism- he visited us at Ellenbrook Fields once, and he’s been to a few others when staying with family. Anyway, Brian agreed to meet us there as he’d not been to the Willen Lakes one yet.

It was a miserable day! Raining fairly hard, breezy and just rubbish. We all sat in one car in the car park until as late as possible! Then we found a tree to shelter under before the run briefing! I wasn’t sure from the map where the run started, as it wasn’t by the lake, but it was a very short walk from the car park and very easy to find- lots of runners (412) even on a rainy day. There were a few real milestones of 250 to be celebrated, and then we were off.

I loved this route- in fact we all did! We ran it at our own paces and met up at the end. It was a one lap (well, a point to point) which I always love, and it was so varied, passing the lake, the canal, through some woods, past the peace pergola, up a sort of zig zag path- you were constantly turning and seeing new scenery.

It was stinky weather though- I didn’t bring a cap as it was only drizzling at home so my glasses were constantly needing wiping from the rain.

I managed a good negative split with 9:38, 9:05, 8:48, 8:03 which I was pleased with. Towards the end I saw a lady and her son wearing matching leggings, so I commented on how I loved them, and she told me it meant he was easier to spot- good idea!

I have run around these lakes before as the Women’s Running magazine 10k race is around Willen, but it was in different directions (they do two laps of the lake, starting and finishing by the hotel) so at times I was trying to work out where I was compared to that route.

As I crossed the finish, I was given token number 200! What are the chances? A time of 28:32.

Dad had finished a few minutes ahead of me, and decided to try and take a photo of our backs (as we both had our 100 shirts on, to total 200) but it didn’t quite work out!

When Brian finished (shortly after me) we all changed out of our sopping wet clothes and went for a hot drink in the cafe.

As Brian couldn’t stay long we soon drove back home, where Mum made us pancakes and my sister, brother in law and niece were around too- it was such a good start to the weekend.

How do you celebrate milestones? My mum is already planning what cakes to make for my 250th even though it’s over a year away! Which milestone do you have coming up? 

Geese, global running day and getting outside

Because in general, alliteration pleases me…

On the Monday after half term we had some staff training, with the afternoon free to write reports. As I had finished mine, I headed home via town to pick up my free drink and then once home, did a bit of admin, including updating my parkrun touristing page on the blog- now at 63 different parkruns!

On Tuesday I changed into my running kit at work and stopped on my way home for a run around the lakes. This turned out to be not such a good decision- traffic was bad so I was feeling pretty stiff by the time I parked and got out, and then once at the lakes I got just over half way around and came across a load of geese and goslings.

Argh geese but yay, rabbits!

It was the Canada geese, which I usually don’t mind (I find the white ones with the orange beaks are usually more fierce) but these ones kept stepping towards me and looking at me. I stood there for what felt like five minutes (Strava thinks 3 minutes) before deciding to head back the way I had come rather than risk running past them. The path was fairly narrow with water on either side so I couldn’t really avoid them…

Wednesday was yoga, and as well as the fairy lights there is now bunting up in the garden. We had a focus on connections (to the ground, to ourselves) and it was a tough but really good session (lots of planks, side planks, lunge type things) and when we practised the handstand I was helped by Josie (the teacher) into one against the wall. I am still not confident with this, and my hands go all sweaty because I get so nervous doing it, but I know my arms are strong enough (just about) to hold me, it’s just having the belief and the trust when I am upside down.

It was also Global Running Day, as Run Disney helpfully informed me (whatever that is…)- in the morning I had to collect a parcel from an Amazon locker so I jogged around there so that I had one mile down for the day.

On Thursday I had a course which meant I could leave later than usual, so I went on a run first thing. They don’t supply lunch so I stopped on my way to get a sandwich. At lunch we had to leave the room so that they could set up for the afternoon, so I went and sat in the park and ate my lunch, and then walked around a bit. It was lovely to have some fresh air and to not have anything to do.

On Friday in the evening my parents had got tickets to see Mark Watson, so after dinner at home I drove back over to St Albans (with some Candy Kittens in my bag in case I fancied a snack). He was quite funny- thankfully gentle humour and the sort that you don’t mind seeing when sat next to your parents!

Are you a fan of geese? Do you like going to see stand up comedy? I am always worried about sitting too near the front in case the person starts talking to you, but thankfully in this show he’d left out postcards for people to fill in, and only mentioned things from that, so it was safe!

The rest of half term

Unpacking goodies from France/ Belgium including a few slices of marzipan. I also got some bits from a natural cosmetics company- they sold concentrated shower gel, so a teeny bottle is meant to be 50 washes so I bought a bottle for our summer holiday.

I made lots of iced teas- this lemon and raspberry tea turned a blue/purple shade once brewed. It’s green tea which I am not always keen on, but when cold brewed (basically add to cold water and leave in the fridge overnight) it wasn’t bitter at all, and was really refreshing. I wouldn’t have it too often as I am a bit sensitive to caffeine so tend to only have one or two “real” cups of tea a day (and I’d rather “spend” that on proper tea rather than fruity iced tea).

On Tuesday I had a 10 mile run, but my legs felt heavy the entire time. You know those runs where you think “it will get better in a minute” but for the whole way? I think probably I was a bit stiff from the driving on the Monday (and all weekend to be fair), so that didn’t help. It one direction it was black clouds and another blue skies, and I made it home before the rain so that was good.

It rained a little, but I spent some time in the garden pottering about which is always enjoyable. (Good work procrastination too).

On Wednesday my car was having it’s service and MOT, so I drove it there dressed in my running kit and then ran the long way home (5 miles in the end). Andy made me laugh when he said to me “are you going to run around town until your car is ready?”- luckily I didn’t because they didn’t call me until about 3 o’clock (I had to drop it off at 8.30)- that would have been a long time to run around.

Our dining room has become a bit of a dumping ground, because we have a big table but only need a small part for both of us to sit at, plus there are loads of drawers that needed sorting, so one day I took everything out and went through it. It was lovely to do as one of the drawers had a load of tickets from various holidays.

I also found this Christmas biscuit (I think it was a free thing from John Lewis?)- so I had that with a cup of tea one afternoon. Only the 6 months  late!

On Thursday I met a friend for breakfast at The Waffle House. I parked the other side of town and walked in, through the park and past the cathedral (about 2 miles I think). It was such a gorgeous day and there were so many ducklings in the park. One group of them were jumping out of the water, eating little flies that were buzzing about in the air.

I went for a pecan nut and butterscotch waffle, with added banana (to make it breakfast-like). Delish.

I had popped into Gail’s to get some of their delicious sourdough bread for dinner, and then on Friday I had a run first thing (5 miles) and then had banana and pb on toast- I had not had this in ages and it was so good!

On my run I saw a fox just sitting by a hedge, and then when I got home and was telling Andy about it, a fox came into our garden. I used to quite like seeing them in our garden, but now it appears we are at the edge of some territories as we keep finding “presents” in our garden- it’s horrible if you are weeding or something and then come across a pile of it, so I ran out to chase it away. Half way there I wondered what I would do if it didn’t run away, because foxes are more scary than dogs, but thankfully it went through the hedge into a neighbour’s garden.

I had a bit of work to do of course, so spent that afternoon (and a few others) catching up on things, but it’s so nice to be at home and to stop and have a cup of tea when I want to, or stretch my legs when I need to.

Then on Friday afternoon we drove down to Brighton. It was beautiful weather and although we had a bit of a nightmare parking (recently we use the college car park but even though there were spaces, when you tried to pay online it said it was full, so we had to go elsewhere), we had plenty of time to wander around. For the last few times we have walked past this amazing smelling pizza restaurant, Fatto A Mano, so we decided to head there for dinner. All of their “vegetarian” pizzas contained Parmesan, which isn’t a vegetarian cheese, so I opted for a vegan pizza and it was so good- the base was perfect, lots of fresh tomato sauce, roasted veggies, pesto and vegan cheese. We shall be going there again I am sure!

There’s a lovely ice cream shop nearby, but it shut at six, so we ended up going to Sprinkles and sharing some white chocolate mint choc chip, before walking the long way back to the hotel.

In the morning I ran down to Preston Park for the parkrun- it’s the closest to the hotel (we stayed by the station). It also meant my p-index is now 5 (so I have been to 5 different parkruns 5 or more times). Little things!

Of course it was then breakfast at Cafe Coho- I met Andy there and he’s already ordered so it was pretty perfect timing.

After a shower we picked up iced teas from Bird&Blend and went to the seafront (along with everyone else!)- we walked along to Hove, sat on the beach for a bit, and enjoyed mooching around. As always, a pretty perfect day.

We had a bit of cake in the afternoon (I think it was pumpkin and salted caramel cake, which sounds quite autumnal) and a cup of tea.

I came across a new to me shop (Wideye) selling natural toiletries and cosmetics- the bug spray caught my eye so I bought some, plus some lip balm (the lady made me laugh when I chose the pineapple and coconut one- she told me it was a bestseller “probably because everyone’s a raging alcoholic and it smells like a pina colada”) and a few gifts.

We got home quite late on the Saturday and so I didn’t set an alarm and by the time I got up on Sunday it was already really hot. I quite like the advice of dressing for 10  degrees warmer than it actually is,  and as it was already 24 I knew I needed to brave the shorts. Andy commented that I might blind everyone with my pale legs, but I had on my sunglasses so it didn’t bother me! I tend to favour capri’s because they don’t ride up like shorts can, and so the first time I wear shorts for a run I always feel super self conscious. To make myself feel better I wore my Run Disney vest- it has a lovely sort of flap at the back to let the breeze in without exposing your skin to everyone (and needing suncream in an awkward place).  I ran 7 miles and that was plenty!

The rest of the day was spent baking back to work brownies (peanut butter and white chocolate), pottering in the garden, having a walk and visiting Andy’s parents.

I feel like I made the most of the week off- a good balance between things to keep my busy, but time to chill by myself too.

How do you like to spend your days off? Do you run in shorts? Do you have foxes near you? I am pretty sure they are trolling us now with the amount of things they leave in the garden for us …