Ritual – it’s Monday

Muesli and a Coffee - The Ritual

Monday morning, first day back after a week of fresh air and zero email contact….(ok I peeped a couple of times, but didn’t respond!).  I’ve vowed that I need to come back and change some of my rituals/habits that I have got myself into.  Almost like bringing the new year resolutions forward a couple of months.

The changes start today, the alarm went off at 6am….and rather than the usual cup of a tea in bed to ease myself into the week I weighed myself.  Not a good idea post-holiday, it wasn’t pretty, however it gave the jolt that I needed to do something.  I got my running gear on and stepped out into the dark.  Preparing myself for a cold chill it wasn’t too bad, the sky was a picture.  Not a cloud in site and the stars out in full force…and a clear Orion’s belt out in full force…..amazing I wouldn’t have seen that if I’d stayed in bed.

I’ve said before and no doubt will say again, I hate running and I don’t seem to get faster….although I do seem to be able to run further without stopping.   What it does do though is give me a sharper more positive mind…it’s just hard to remember that when the alarm goes off!

The plan this week is to avoid being a slave to email.  Whilst away I set out my bullet journal, created a few habit trackers and arranged this week into a diary format that allows me to set out my stall rather than allowing myself to be dragged with the flow.  My start of workday ritual is usually to sit down with my cup of coffee and open outlook, greeted with the usual message of running out of space and slowly like a frog being boiled in water I’m back into the old habit…..not this week.  This week I’m going to open the journal with my cup of coffee…..I’ll let you know how I get on!

The Table #6 – Get Back Running


Sunday morning, the frost has arrived, the tell tale sign on the car windscreens that I can see in the street. I’d told myself that this weekend was the weekend I was going to crack the fear of running that was building up in my head. Two weeks ago I ran a 10k and for days after I’ve been suffering. First it was the shock absorbing muscles and the movement of going down stairs really put my pain receptors into a fancle. Then when the muscle ache wore off my right knee seemed to be complaining of something a little more severe. I was feeling relatively fit for the run, I felt like I’d put the miles in, not quite enough to say I’d run 10k in one, but enough to know I could make it around the route. Which I did in 52 mins or so. I’m putting it down to the cold day and running probably at a pace I’m not used to…..however since then I’ve not been able to face the strides, the cold mornings the dark on either side of the working day.

Something however clicked, the boss got up and put her running stuff on and I was left there reading thinking how am I’m going to crack this…..the Christmas events are going to start, the comfort food is going to kick in and I’m going to appear out the end of February wondering what happened. Add to that the last few days has seen my mood change and I needed to do something about it. From my bedroom window at this time of the year the sun creeps up above the houses and I can see the chimney stacks basking in the sun whilst the rest of the houses are in the dark with expectation in the air that some warmth might come if only they could grow a little taller. The sky was blue and really there was no excuse, there was time and it was time.

By heck it was cold…..but I was moving and my legs still worked!

Welcome into the kitchen, we had a Venison stew last night. Funny we had one vegetable, an Aubergine, left over from last week and it dictated the main meal for the weekend. That and a Celeriac that turned up in the veg box. For me at this time of year Aubergines, belong in slow cooked stews and casseroles with a tomato and red wine based sauce. I’d intended to buy stewing lamb at the butchers and then I saw a tray of stewing Venison and a deal was struck.

Disappointed with last weeks cook section in the Guardian being solely dedicated to Pasta, this weeks is much more interesting with much more writing and thought for the food reader. Less is more from Sue Quinn…Love the name of her blog Pen and Spoon. A mushroom soup that’s definitely worth a shot from Rachel Roddy. And a Brownie Recipe that will put the chocolate lover in a spin.

My Indian cookery course covered off Chicken Tikka that the boys just wolfed down. I really need to get some of these recipes up on the site! This weeks blogging resolution!!

Highlight of the week was an early train ride through to Glasgow, a window seat, a coffee and Piano music on my phone. It was 45 minutes of uninterrupted time to me and my thoughts The Fields being laid for the winter rest, and the sun low in the sky. It was a nice change that I was grateful for and gave me the nod that I really need to get away from my desk at work to plan my time, think and feel.

Big shout out to Daisy Smile face who hosts the #DSFWeeklyRewind. Thanks for popping by and spending some time at my table.



Does This Make Me A Runner?

It’s 6.50am, grim outside this morning and still dark, it can’t decide if it’s going to rain or on the brink of snow.   The clock change only gave us a slight reprieve in the morning daylight stakes before work.

It’s day three after the local race I entered into, my muscles still ache to the touch despite the training I put in and in my head I’m saying to myself you deserve a little rest to recover….meanwhile there is voice in my head telling me you need to get back out there, carry on what you started.

….It all started sat in a meeting 8 weeks ago and as I glanced out the window a bus came by, on the side an advertisement for a Mens 10k.  It peeked my interest, one of those meetings where I was probably only needed for a fraction of it and I’m embarrassed to  say I probably put the URL in my phone then and there so I didn’t forget.  That evening I signed up and I’m pretty sure that didn’t make me a runner, no more than buying a copy of Mens Health makes you any fitter.

I needed a training plan and fortunately the guys at BUPA and the Mens10k provided.  I took the easiest route through them (on the mens 10k I was 4 weeks behind!) and the bits that suited my schedule.  In the main though I ran two short runs during the  week and grew out my distance during the weekend.  I even stuck to the regime during my week to Sorrento.

Maybe this made me a runner?  I hadn’t asked myself that question yet….I blatantly was in the space that I hated running, however I’d committed to something so my intention was to stick at it.   I got a little faster during the week and on the weekend amazed myself, despite having to wog as I call it.  A walk and a jog.

Race day came round quickly, the last time I’d ran a race would have been 25 years or so ago – high school, a track with 7 other faces and a task of running around it 4 times to see who was the quickest.  On this occasion, a thousand or so folk all revved up and raring to go, people on the same journey as me and people aiming to beat the personal bests, some good some bad, some old some young.  Was I runner now?  Stuck in amongst all those folk ready to conquer a 6 mile/10k beast on a cold Edinburgh day.

I still really hadn’t thought about that question.  I remember the elation as we set off and a feeling of awe, how many times do you get to run down the Royal Mile and as I turned the corner my family waving me on.  The elation carried for the 1st kilometer and started to turn into thoughts about how cold it was.  I was fairly locked into the 45minute pacer guy in that I could see him in the distance and if I kept that thought I would be doing ok.  Around the 3km mark I was thinking I’m ok I can do this, although the cold wind, and thoughts of needing the toilet crept in.  Turned the bend into Holyrood and the wind really caught me.

At 5km I took a sneaky walk before the possibility of seeing my family again.  Someone tapped me on the shoulder, a gesture of encouragement to get going again.  The 45minute man wasn’t in sight anymore and at some point I was expecting the 50 minute pace guy to come by me.  Water station…..yes I could do with a sip….and then I saw my family cheering me on.  I unintentionally splashed water everywhere but my mouth and handed the bottle to my son.

At the 9km mark there had been more than a few fits and starts but I was in the final phase……50 minute man came by me and for some reason I figured he must be 50 minutes from the time he crossed the start line which was probably 10 mins after I started so I was doing ok by my reckoning and probably on the 1hr mark.  Gregory Porter, Don’t lose your steam started to play on my headphones and the lyrics ‘young man get me to the other-side’ started to resonate…..  I tried to hang onto the flag man.  As we crossed the gates into Murray Field I was horrified to find out we had to run round it!

I made it though and a few seconds after the finish a text came through on my arm with my provisional time.   51.21.  Surely some mistake!  I checked on the fitbit and the time said 10:53.  We started bang on 10am so by the magic of race power, almost like a secret hidden magic carpet I’d been pulled along.  I’d amazed myself.

So am I runner……does 8 weeks count, does a single 10k count?  I did ask myself that question on the bus on the way home, as I hobbled up the steps to the top deck as my limbs started to seize up.  If I was a runner surely I wouldn’t feel like this…..but then again was this what running was all about?

I think if I get up tomorrow in the dark, put my trainers on and put one foot in front of the other then maybe I am!