Juneathon 2021 Days 7-13

Whoops – knew I’d forgotten to do something! A quick catch up of my Juneathon activities from the last week.

Monday 7th June – work, so a round trip bike commute of 5.5 miles.

Tuesday 8th June – run with my friend of 3.75 miles (although Garmin had a blip and reckons it was 3.94 miles).

Wednesday 9th June – an hours tai chi lesson.

Thursday 10th June – running again – just over 7 hot, hilly, mainly off road miles. Within the first mile I met overly-interested cows and decided to retreat, retrace my footsteps, and go round by the road. Not a great start, but the test of the route was bovine-free and enjoyable despite the heat and hills.

Interested cows beyond a stile
Absolutely no way!

Friday 11th June was back to work, and so another cycle-commute.

Saturday 12th June I nearly ran out of time but just managed to squeak in 20 minutes of tai chi practice before midnight.

Sunday 13th June – knowing this day was bound to go the same as yesterday, I enthusiastically took myself off for a short walk before going out for the day. As I left the shady shelter of the trees I realised I should have applied sun cream and worn at least my sun glasses, if not a sun hat as well. 2 1/4 miles walked down and up a hill in 40 minutes.

Juneathon 2021 Day 6. Run for Frank

A lovely, sunny Sunday stretched ahead me and before I could slope off and simply potter the day away I decided to go for a run. As a change from my usual plods I thought I’d see how close I could get to a 30 minute 5K (just in case parkrun ever returns).

Despite stopping to take photos along the way, I was impressed that my “moving” time was 30:29. Much faster than I’d hoped.

One of my running club colleagues, Frank, was taking part today in an Ultra race, the Suffolk backyard ultra. In this unique race, entrants have to run 4.16 miles every hour as many times as they can. Winner is the last runner still going. The course record is 41 laps – do the maths! Why 4.16 miles? Well it’s the distance to cover every hour in order to complete 100 miles in 24 hours. The day was warm and humid, and I was tired after 5K but in a nod of appreciation to Frank’s amazing challenge I decided to run on a bit further. I ran past my house, and ran another 1.2 miles (I had mis-remembered the distance).

Frank did so well, and finally stopped after 116 miles. He had struggled with the temperature, and eating and drinking. To think I was tired after 1 lap!

Sign I spotted today.

Juneathon 2021 Day 5. Wandering walk

I always knew weekends were going to be a challenge for this year’s Juneathon, because I have exercise scheduled for every other day (which you will see repeated throughout the month).

After a leisurely start to the day, I then spent hours pottering around the garden. As the afternoon wore on, I debated talking up the amount of activity I’d just done and calling that my Juneathon day. However, as we know, slacking is not an option (certainly not in the first week!) so I put my walking shoes on and set off for a wander down to the woods.

I haven’t walked this way for a few weeks, and I was shocked at how both tall everything has grown (grass, stinging nettles etc) and how flat the freshly ploughed part of the field was.

Stopping to empty grit and dust out of my shoes whilst standing on one leg at a time in a field should be a Juneathon activity itself. However just in case it doesn’t count, my walk was 3.2 miles and was beautiful. I was glad I’d made the effort- thank you Juneathon!

Photo of poppy in field with dramatic sky.
My how you’ve grown!

Juneathon 2021 Day 4. Will walk for Wine

Another cycle commute today, 5.5 miles on the bike. 7 1/2 hours standing at work (not trying to claim that as a Juneathon activity, just seeking sympathy). In case that wasn’t enough, I also walked down to a friend’s house to deliver a birthday card and present.

We had a a lovely chat and a glass of wine, then I walked back up as the sun set. Another 3 1/2 mile, and a very chilled start to the weekend.

Sunset walk home

Juneathon 2021 Day 3. A run at last

At last – a run! Nothing too adventurous as my running buddy has a sore knee which hurts going uphill. She lives down the valley from me, so we currently start every run with her run/walking up the hill to mine, and then we run round and back down another hill to take her home.

Today we did well, and after I’d dropped her off at home I struggled back up the steep hill (running all the way) and then realised I was trotting along again quite nicely – the hill hadn’t finished me off.

Pleased with this, I ran past my house (we all know how difficult that is!) and added on a little loop across the fields.

In all about 5.5 miles (watch didn’t start at the start), and it was my first run in shorts of the year. Very pleasant!

Buttercup fields

Juneathon 2021 Day 2. Tai chi

After several lockdowns, furloughed, with time to fill, I now have an array of pre-arranges activities throughout the week. In lockdown these were the only things that marked the passing of time, and I was extremely grateful for them. You will see which ones they are over the course of Juneathon’s blogs.

Wednesday is Tai Chi day. Over Zoom still, and as I am working on the days the classes are held in person this will continue for the time being. At least I’m the only person in the house on Wednesday mornings now, and I can have all of the meagre WiFi

Even so, I’ve still never managed to remember the entire form all the way through. Maybe by the end of Juneathon…

Juneathon 2021 Day 1. Cycle commute

And suddenly, it was June! Equally surprisingly, it was Juneathon. After my success in completing the Mad March Mile of course I’m motivated for this year’s Juneathon.

So day 1, which I would have forgotten about, is fortunately covered by cycling to and from work. 5.5 mile round trip is just far enough, thank you, especially on the way home after a day on my feet.

Mad March Mile – March 2021 – here we go

Spiky ball, not a virus

The world is a strange place at the moment. We are currently in our third coronavirus lockdown, although dates have been given for possible easing of restrictions. My children have both flown the nest again so it’s just me, husband and the cats at home. Children have finally gone back to school, so hopefully things are moving back towards normality.

I haven’t wanted to blog over the previous 12 months because it just didn’t seem appropriate to write about jolly japes running through the countryside, whilst all around people were catching the virus and struggling with lockdown. A document of how I coped might have been interesting in future years, but I suspect anything I wrote would have been full of false optimism rather than insightful glimpses into how I was truly feeling behind the mask.

I have been running over this last year though, and walking when I could (no more than one form of exercise a day mind!). Flipping piriformis problems flared up once again after walking in wellies, but I’ve been pretty good with stretching and sitting on a spiky ball and it’s feeling much better. (Spiky ball – it’s a thing – honestly. I would say Google it, but um maybe best not to!)

In line with the current coronavirus restrictions I have been running twice a week with my good friend. We have both been struggling to get “race fit” again without any races to train for (because we are both slackers and need the threat of public humiliation to goad us into lycra and out of the door). As the weather has dried out a little we’ve ventured out along footpaths and into fields, woods and fresh air. We’ve both got ridiculously muddy on occasions but have felt all the better for it ( once we’ve finished).

In lieu of a race, we’ve signed up for the Mad March Mile where the aim is to run a minimum of a mile a day throughout March. The entry fee covers a donation to RMH Bristol which provides free accommodation for families whose children are having to stay in the Bristol Children’s Hospital. Website is here https://www.rmhbristol.com/ – have a look, it’s a very worthwhile cause (and has no ongoing involvement with Ronald Macdonald, despite its name). Obviously we’re very smug about what a good cause we’re supporting, and that would be enough for some saintly people. I cannot lie, we were also persuaded by the personalised handmade mug we’ll receive if we complete the challenge.

With my ongoing piriformis problems I wasn’t keen to run everyday. I was therefore relieved to see you can walk your mile, or do another form of exercise for at least 15-20 minutes. Suddenly this challenge seemed doable, and very much like Janathon/Juneathon. (However I suspect that bar push-ups aren’t allowed as part of my daily ‘mile’, not least because pubs still aren’t open).

I’ll try and keep a note of what I get up to, and maybe this will kickstart my blogging as well as my running.

But I can’t go back to work yet…

But I can’t go back to work yet – I haven’t made a banana loaf or sourdough bread!

So it’s July 2020 and the great lockdown has eased. Shops are reopening, pubs have opened (and 3 have shut again immediately after having a customer test positive for coronavirus), and cafes can reopen within strict guidelines. This means I’m back to work – and I’m both excited and nervous about it.

In exactly the same way as children reach the end of the summer holidays and panic about all the exciting schemes they had planned but hadn’t got around to doing, so I feel about lockdown. I have managed quite a lot of running, and walking, and even some cycling. I have done some tasty cooking and made incredibly healthy salads. I have looked after students going through the strangeness of online university exams and finals. We have all survived, but now it’s time to re emerge into the real world.

It’ll be lovely to see my work colleagues “in 3-d” rather than in a Zoom meeting, and great to be back at The Pound again. But can I remember how to use the till, and the coffee machine, and how to speak to real people again? I guess I’ll find out…