Amazing skies and watching documentaries

Following on from my 13.1 miles last Sunday, I had a nice gentle 4 mile run after work on Monday to help stretch out my legs. I felt fine until about a mile from home when I suddenly felt really tired. It was nearly light  when I got home and was just so good to think that spring is around the corner now. We were treated to the most amazing sky in the morning!

Run in the twilight, amazing sky, fire +stollen, sleep essentials of eye mask, kindle, lavender spray and balm

In the evenings we have been watching a few documentaries (mainly because we caught up with Wisting to had to wait to the weekend for the next one)- the first one was Game Changers which it seems like everyone has watched (if you haven’t, it’s basically about the performance benefits of a plant based diet). I would take it with a pinch of salt because I am sure they have picked the studies that help illustrate that veganism is better than meat, but it was interesting showing where the stereotypes (eg real men eat meat) come from. Those lobbyists in the US have a lot of power and influence.  Another evening we watched Kilian Jornet, Path to Everest. He is often talked about on Marathon Talk, but I hadn’t seen him in anything and didn’t know much about him. This was totally amazing- a bit like The Dawn Wall or Free Solo because what he does seems to defy what is possible.

On Wednesday I went to yoga- I always love going but always feel a little apprehensive as we might be doing handstands or headstands, both of which make me nervous. I’d downloaded the Action for Happiness app (I knew there was a website but didn’t know about the app until Emma posted about it) and just before I left the pop up said something about doing something that scares you. On the drive to yoga I decided that whatever we were doing, I would give it a good try (because you never have to do any of the poses of course).  Anyway, we did do a headstand and with help first from the teacher and then from one of the other people in the class, I briefly managed both legs up (I can get one leg up at a time). I always find it weird being upside down and trying to work out which way to push the legs and things, but the more I do it the more I will get used to it.

Yay fave podcast time! Gingerbread man at lunch to get me through a busy day, and mango in my Olaf bowl after yoga

On Thursday I changed into my running kit at work and stopped at the business park again for a 4 mile run. I did a few lamp post intervals and stretched at the car before driving home. I am not sure why it didn’t occur to me sooner, but stopping on my way home to run on even and well-lit pavements is just so much nicer, and means once I am home I don’t need to go out again!

On Friday a few of us popped out for lunch, and then almost as soon as I got home we were heading out again, going to dinner at Bill’s and then to the Odyssey (which is a lovely renovated cinema in St Albans with one screen, fancy seats with tables) to see Little Women. In Bill’s I had the burger special which was a vegan tempura vegetable burger, with some added avocado which I was very glad of because it was super spicy!

Before the film we just had time to walk around to The Pudding Stop to get something for later (butterscotch blondie to share) and then I enjoyed a proper cup of tea (well, in a glass but the person at the bar said it was bigger than a cup so may as well) while we watched the film. I loved the film. I had read the book when I was younger but couldn’t remember much (just that I really liked Jo) but I just thought it was so well done and so enjoyable. Although the man next to me kept falling asleep, and then when it finished started talking about how good it was…

Do you like watching documentaries? 

Runs in the wind, rain and frost

Well, the weather this week has been “interesting” for running in!

Monday was so windy, and I did wonder if a run was a good idea, but it seemed OK- Andy told me to stay away from any big trees (hard when you live in a garden city) and I did see one big branch that had fallen down.

I tried to record a video while I was running but it didn’t sound very windy even though it seemed like it was howling in my ears and I kept having to turn up the volume on my podcast. Anyway, once home I felt a lot better!  4 recovery miles in the bag (and with that wind no chance of running any faster!).

On Tuesday I stopped in town on my way home as I wanted to get a few bits. Also it was raining hard so to get up my steps I walked around the shopping centre for a bit. I ended up buying a few more salt and vinegar snacks to add to my collection ( I love the KP nuts but they are so strong I always burn my mouth on them so I am trying to find a good enough replacement…). I also saw these non dairy mozzarella sticks and ended up getting those too. I should not shop when hungry!

Wednesday and it was back to yoga! Oh how I have missed this! I was feeling super stiff, but we were eased in with some work on backs and twists, we used balls to roll on our feet and tennis balls to roll under our shoulders, and as usual I left the class feeling miles better. Home to cosy penguin socks and my peppermint cream candle.

Baked sweet potato and beans, plus a hot chocolate after my Thursday night run, and a candle and cosy socks after yoga

On Thursday we had a training session after work, close to where we used to live, so I decided to change into my running kit after school, before driving to the course, and have a run around the business park after.

When the course finished it was raining really hard, and I sat in my car for a bit pondering whether I should just go home, but of course once I started running I felt so much better, especially with my fave parkrun podcast for company.

I have missed running on those pavements so much! They are wide and flat, with no potholes, they are well-lit, and have nice big cycle lanes too. I warmed up and then did some lamp post intervals, and then headed back to the  car. I was just under 4 miles and would usually round it up, but I knew I was running late so left it at that. Andy had put sweet potatoes in the oven, but when I got home it was a bit of a rush (the course finished later than I had thought  it would, so the time estimates were out)- I had the quickest ever shower!

On Friday I had a massage which was so badly needed- so much crunching! I popped to Pret to get  a drink and could not resist one of their filled cookies.

On Saturday we went to Jersey Farm parkrun- my dad and brother were off to the football so had to leave by 11am, so we headed there as it was the closest to them.

It was a beautiful frosty morning and we walked a lot of the way on the road because the pavements were still icy and slippery. The actual park was super muddy- back to how it was a month ago when you just have to accept that your feet will get wet and just go for it with the puddles.

They had two volunteers taking photos so there ended up being a few of us (not together). Once finished we jogged back home and all showered super speedily before Mum made us some pancakes. Delicious as always.

Then after stopping to get some bird food and random things for work, I helped Andy with more wallpaper stripping. We are still doing this in our hallway- it takes so long and now some of the wallpaper has been painted (why?????) it takes even more goes to get rid of.

A quick bagel for lunch before more steam stripping, and then once dark we headed into town for a look at the festival of lights, celebrating the centenary of the town.

There were various light installations around the town, with live music going on, and they had added more fountains to the main fountain. It was quite pretty and the town centre was heaving so it seems like it worked pretty well.

On Sunday morning I headed out for a long run- it was so frosty and lots of the pavements were slippery so it was good I was planning a slow one! I was aiming to do around 11.5 -12 miles, but when I got home I was nearly at 13, so I headed around the block to make it a half marathon. It was such beautiful running weather (but absolutely freezing) that I decided to make the most of it- it could be back to the wind and rain by next weekend.

I even did some yoga when I got home. I was pretty thirsty and added a bit of lime to my usual coconut water with a pinch of salt- very refreshing.

As I’d been to town on Friday I had popped into Gail’s and bought us chocolate  almond croissants- so tasty.

The rest of the day was spent doing work, popping out to see Andy’s parents, having a little walk to stretch the legs (feeling OK) and watching some TV.

Which kind of weather do you prefer to run in?  Do you have favourite run routes or places that you really enjoy running in?

Back to the routine

On Sunday we took our Christmas tree down and then it was time to get back to work and a routine.

Last week went like this:

Monday- 4 mile run after work  in wind and rain. I did a yoga cool down video after (tick).

Tuesday- I had to pop to St Albans town on my way home to get half a prescription (when I went before they only had half)- when I got home Andy had been using the Instant Pot to make a chilli.

Whilst in town I had popped into Pret and as they had a really nice sounding special (carrot falafels with gherkins and beetroot) I decided to get a nice lunch to help with the first week back.

Sweets for the cinema/ my new candle/ back to work lunch and not pretty dinner

On Wednesday I didn’t have yoga, so went out on a run- 4 miles including some lamp post intervals. It wasn’t easy finding somewhere to run fast though-  the roads around here are all bumpy and cracked from the tree  roots, and often it’s hard to see because the trees make huge shadows (even with the chest torch).

On Thursday we were off to the cinema to see JoJo Rabbit (which I really enjoyed- the tone was similar to Death of Stalin, with some emotion thrown in too) so it was a quick dinner of a wrap filled with vegan cheese, apple and chutney, heated in a pan so it all melted together- not pretty but very tasty.

On Friday when I left work the moon was so pink and just above the horizon. As I drove home it seemed to get even bigger and more orange- very impressive. We had a walk when I got home, and then I spent the evening watching TV, catching up on my magazine reading and eating Christmas cake.

Saturday’s parkrun was Jersey Farm so I drove to my parents and then walked there with Dad. The mud  is slowly drying and most places it’s fairly good going. It drizzled a bit on the first lap, but dried up by the end. Dad ran ahead and was there to cheer me through the finish. We did a good deed of picking up some litter on our  way home (we’d seen this pile of polystyrene last week, and this week Dad had a bag with him so we collected it all).

I took some clothes to change into- top and jumper, and socks (new for Christmas) and then we had pancakes. Once home and showered we had a few bits to get in town (including my free Starbucks) so we walked in before it got dark. I had some work to do, so no excuse needed to light my new candle- it’s peppermint cream and smells amazing.

We’ve been watching Wisting (about a Norwegian detective) and it looks so cold so we had a hot chocolate to warm up- Hotel Chocolat did a gingerbread one which is really good- spiced and not too sweet.

Sunday morning was time for a long run- I realised that Brighton half is a couple of weeks closer than I thought (end of Feb).  Thumb holes and stretchy pockets for the win in any running clothes. It was sunny when I left, then about a mile in it poured with rain so hard that I sheltered under a tree for a bit. Then it cleared and was cold but sunny.

Once home I did some yoga including legs up the wall, showered and had breakfast and then had to get ready to head out again quickly.

I was off for afternoon tea for a baby shower.

There was mountains of food (we took so much home to take to work the next day) and we played a few games. We were there for so long it was dark by the time I got home!

What is your favourite part of afternoon tea? Usually I  like scones the best, but this one had really good cakes- so fluffy and with really light icing. I had a lemon one which also had lemon curd inside.

Just before going back to reality- mainly Disney movies

The Christmas holidays always seem to go by in a flash! Since getting back from France, I’ve been doing an excellent job of pottering about and relaxing.

Monday- 6 mile run then home to mince pie porridge ( basically porridge with some of that home-made mincemeat stirred in), a walk and then lots of time unpacking and sorting things out. I watched Frozen in the afternoon- I love an afternoon film in the holidays.

Tuesday- 7 miles (because I had signed up to a Running Heroes challenge to run 7 miles that day).  I had to pop to St Albans to collect a few things, including a Sweaty Betty yoga top that has an elasticated band on the waist so it won’t ride up or down in any inversions. I parked a fair way out and walked in, in the drizzle, and then when I got home Andy’s parents had popped over.  I sorted out some of our Christmas presents (we had opened them once home on Sunday).

My Christmas presents were mainly penguin themed including these cosy PJ’s, this cute bag and this lovely picture. Marzipan and peanut butter chocolates = delicious but not penguin related. 

Wednesday- NYDD- Ran to Panshanger, ran parkrun, got a lift to Ellenbrook, ran there, then home for breakfast, and later in the day our niece and nephew came over.

Followed by more Disney movie action- this time Aladdin.

Thursday- my legs were a bit stiff so I went on a long walk to warm up and loosen them, and did a yoga video when I got home.  I made some peppermint bark, washed my trail shoes and did a few other bits, and then we popped out to look at some under stair storage (living the dream) before going to see Jumanji 2 at the cinema- it was quite similar to the first one and good fun.

Friday- my legs were still stiff, so I did a longer yoga video in the morning.

The postie delivered some sale shopping from Bird & Blend (I was most excited about the Snowball teabags which is black tea with chocolate and coconut, Mulled Cider tea which is gently spiced apple).

I had a haircut booked, so walked the long way into town and then pottered around a bit before walking home.

Of course it was then time for another Disney movie, this time The Little Mermaid. Andy put the fire on later on for a lovely cosy evening.

Saturday was of course parkrun day (in my freshly cleaned trail shoes). I drove to my parents and then we walked to Jersey Farm parkrun. The mud had dried out a lot and the course was pretty good. I took a few photos on the way around and was very surprised when the text came through saying I’d got a course pb! It was then back to my parents for pancakes- my sister and niece were there too so a lovely start to the weekend.

In the afternoon I walked around to the shops and then, you guessed it, time for a Disney movie! This time, Jungle Book, such a classic. Although I really liked the newer version as it was different (more closely based on the book apparently), whereas the other remakes such as Lion King are almost shot for shot remakes and although that’s fine, they don’t add anything new.

I was also swayed in Hotel Chocolat to buy some of their nutmilk chocolate- it is made with hazelnut milk and tastes gorgeous– like the inside of a praline- anyone doing veganuary check them out!

Sunday morning was a long run of 10 miles- the first time I’d run that in one go for a while (I did 10 on New Years Day but spread out over 3 runs). I had put out my mat so that when I got home I did a yoga cool down video which really helped with making sure I didn’t have stiff legs.

I did a lot of home-admin, and took down the Christmas tree. After a walk in the fading daylight it was time for the final Disney movie of the holidays- Tangled.

And then we are back to reality! I hope you had a good time over Christmas and the new year.

If you run, what sort of stretching do you do when you get home? 

A look back at 2019

I quite like writing posts like this as my blog is my diary, and it’s lovely to reflect on what has happened over the previous year.


For the past few years I have tried to do less races, but keep in the ones I really enjoy.  Looking at my Race Calendar page on my blog I have managed to keep to that quite well I think. 2019 started with training for the Brighton half marathon – after doing Cambridge in 2018 I had decided to go back to Brighton because I just really love it. I had a bit of an odd knee niggle which kept hampering my long runs, but thankfully it was fine on the day of the race and I finished in 2:03:38. I then signed up for the Lee Valley half, having enjoyed it a few years ago and having run the 10k the previous year. I tried to keep up with the 2 hour pacer but faded in the second lap, finishing in 2:02:00. For the May bank holiday weekend we went to Bristol and I ran the 10K, which I really enjoyed. I also did the Ware 10 miles (one of my favourite races) in July, and then trained over the summer for the Great North Run, raising money for MND in memory of a member of my family. I ran a 5k at Disney in Florida, and then back to Brighton for the 10K. I have also continued to enjoy the yoga classes- I think that they do help with running as I have had far less problems with my back and hips, but actually the biggest thing I take from it is the mental strength and calmness.


My love of the Running Challenges extension continued- I went to 16 new events, including East Brighton to complete the set of Brighton parkruns, Gedling and Colwich for the 2019 NYDD (achieving the Stayin’ Alive challenge with the final G),  and Queen Elizabeth to get my Q for the alphabet. I met Danny Norman (from the With Me Now podcast) at Kingdom parkrun, getting my K.  In June we went to Milton Keynes parkrun to meet Brian, my dad’s cousin, as it was my 200th parkrun (he got into parkrun when we met him at Linford Wood a few years ago, and now he is nearly at his 100th one!). I got token 200 on my 200th event! When Dad was working at Wimbledon I picked up my brother and we met him a Fulham Palace parkrun- this had been on our list for ages because it was where Dad grew up.  I also ticked off my final bingo number so achieved that badge at long last. In the summer I went to two Canadian parkruns, Central Burnaby in Vancouver, and Clover Point in Victoria- this also meant I earned my Pirates badge (7 C’s and an R).  Finally in November I walked around Toyen parkrun in Oslo.  For me parkrun isn’t about time, but a PB is always nice, and this year I earned a few course pb’s at Hove Prom and Jersey Farm, and beat my all-time pb twice, getting it down to 26:18 and then 26:16 at Ellenbrook Fields.  Just like previous years, the running with my dad and brother are always top of the list and the reason why it’s so enjoyable. I have reached 225 parkruns now, (a few days into January) so the lovely green shirt is in my sights for 2020. I still need an I and a Z for the alphabet, and I can’t see those happening any time soon, but we shall see.

Fun Times

We managed to see a few bands, going to see Manic Street Preachers in London, and then again at the Splendour festival in the summer, as well as seeing Ash there.  I was given tickets to see the Reasons to be Cheerful podcast live, which was really interesting. Not sure this counts as fun times, but we have been to London for a few of the protests too (we made it fun by going to the Swedish Bakery after…).  I went with my parents to see Mark Watson (a comedian- he’s been on Taskmaster) and with Andy’s family to see the Baseball in the Olympic Park. As a belated Christmas present, Andy’s brothers and wives (6 of us) went to see Hamilton and then went out for dinner after, and I think we have agreed to do something like that each year instead of getting gifts which will be a lovely tradition. We are both big fans of Adam Buxton (having grown up on the Adam and Joe show, and loving his podcast) and saw him at the London Podcast festival in September. We saw James Acaster live in December and he was very funny too.  With our Vitality we get one cinema ticket per fortnight (so long as you do a minimum number of steps but it’s very achievable) and we’ve seen some great ones including Rocket Man, Book Smart, Toy Story 4, Knives Out, Frozen 2, Eighth Grade, Le Mans 66, Lego Movie 2, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (although I didn’t know the real story the fake history thing was based on until after seeing it!) and some more questionable ones (new Lion King and new Aladdin- if you are not going to change the story like the new Jungle Book did, what is the point?) like Hustlers (if they were men drugging women to rob them, would it have been seen as such a good film? I found it very strange).

Travelling Tales

Of course we have had plenty of weekends to Brighton, a weekend in Bristol for the bank holiday and Durham for the GNR. At Easter we had a lovely trip to Wales, with beautiful sunshine and really warm weather. In late May we went to Bruges and this was the first time I had driven my car abroad.  In the summer we had a massive trip- first to Vancouver, then a week on a road trip travelling around Oregon, to Crater Lake National Park and then up the coast, a week in Maui and then a few days on Vancouver Island. It was the perfect mixture of sightseeing and visiting new places but also relaxing. Then in October we went back to Florida for a week of fun in the sun, and the race of course. The end of the year was busy with visits to Brighton, Oslo and Bath, and then our trip to France over Christmas.  2020 will bring less travel and definitely less flights!

How was your 2019? Obviously on the national agenda things have been pretty awful, but I think it’s important to focus on what is going well, and also focus on things within my control because otherwise things can spiral downwards pretty quickly.

Which films have you enjoyed?  Are you addicted to the parkrun challenges? Check out the new map- I just don’t even know where to begin with it…

What are you looking forward to in 2020? I am looking forward to the Olympics, earning my 250 shirt and visiting more parkruns, going to Brighton for more weekends and a family trip to Disneyland Paris in the spring.