Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside


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Frost fairies

Earlier this week we had a heavy frost in the morning, and my car windows were covered in beautiful frost feathers. I didn’t quite get the focus right, but you can get something of the effect here.  Amazing that water can do that all on its own.

Frost

Jack Frost had been at the window

January challenge (at least three mile runs a week) is coming on well.
1 mile run Sunday
1.2 mile run Tuesday
1.7 mile run this evening – this one was a bit slower, as my right knee objected to going up a bit of a slope near the start of the run
With some yoga / Tai Chi / stair circuits in between.

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A good start

First complete week of my January challenge to do at least three runs a week.  In December I ran a mile only half a dozen times, and haven’t done 5k since the end of October.

Saturday – mile run: 15 min 36 s

Monday – mile run 15 min 17 s

Wednesday – 15 minutes stair circuits (very, very tedious, but avoided the cold, dark and wet) – 40 times up and down, including the landing

Friday – 15 minutes stair circuits

Today (Sat) – two consecutive mile runs in glorious sunshine (took off fleece, coat, hat, gloves and binoculars after first mile): first mile 17 min 7 s, second mile 13 min 58 s, and feeling good at the end of it.  Very pleased with myself.  Now wondering whether the Garmin just malfunctioned, but it did feel a lot faster, and curiously, easier.  Beginning to remember that I do actually enjoy running once I’ve settled into it.

I ran in a city park, and it was lovely watching children learning to use their Christmas presents – several very wobbly in-line skaters, and new bicycles and scooters.  Only a handful of runners, but lots of walkers, which made me feel as though my slow running was really speedy.  🙂  I also enjoyed the sight of a wedding party having photos taken (men in white suits – very jazzy), and then seeing the hugely stretched limo in the car park.

There was a lovely technicolour sunset on the way home.  I took quite a few pictures with my phone, but overloaded it, with the result that it now won’t let me download them.  This one has arrived here via being sent to my daughter’s phone, and she then emailed it back to me.  My phone won’t let me email.  However, I do now have the internet working – a couple of hours ago that was refusing to cooperate too, and I was getting seriously fed up with technology.

Sunset

Sunset


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Advent streak

I’m stealing Red Hen’s idea here and starting an Advent fitness streak, though also a fully-clothed one, and definitely not all running.  Yesterday I did five circuits up and down the stairs – a gentle start, but I did run up each time.  Today I ran (very slowly) a mile, in the dark.  So I feel very virtuous.

Target is to be a bit fitter for Christmas, and to run a nice slow 5k on the 15th December, which will be exactly a year since I joined the Couch to 5k NHS running forum, and did my first one minute runs.  I may not be running very much, but I am definitely fitter than I was a year ago, when running for a minute nearly finished me off.   Though looking at my heart-rate and the super-slow pace, I can see that I have plenty of scope for improvement to get back to where I was earlier in the year – but I’m not in a rush.

Running a mile

Mile runs this year


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Get outside

I think this pretty much sums up my running. I ran a mile again today, and then a little bit more, just to prove to myself that I don’t need to stop at a mile. So far this month I’ve run 16 times, which is way better than the three runs in July. Even if most of those runs were only a mile – and ‘only’ is the funny bit, I suppose. For 53 years of my life, I didn’t think I could run a hundred yards.


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Chipping away at the mile pace

10:55 min/mile today, only the second time I’ve managed under 11 minutes for a complete mile, and a better pace than three of the four 4-min runs yesterday.   Cooler weather, and a breeze, definitely helps.

This afternoon we visited Compton Verney, an art museum in a Capability Brown landscape just down the road from us.  I enjoyed the Turner and Constable exhibition focused on sketching from nature, and we all enjoyed climbing up in the ‘Empty Nest’ sculpture to see the view over the lake.

Empty Nest tree sculpture

Empty Nest tree sculpture

We had fun making shops to add to the public-participation display – a response to ‘The Narb’ (one of the several pictures that show at this link).

Spar

Spar

Street of cardboard shops

Public participation art – a street of shops – good fun, not sure how much art is involved though! Quite a few quirky ones including The Body Shop full of skeletons, and The Inconvenience Store stuck as high up the wall as they could reach.


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Jellyfish

When we were on holiday last week, we saw a jellyfish in the harbour at Wells-next-the-sea. The photo isn’t the sharpest by far (!), but it was fascinating watching it move in the water, and it prompted me to write a haiku.

Jellyfish

Jellyfish

Jellyfish pulsates
As though breathing. Ghostly grey
Bellows of the sea.

I was reminded of it by the wonderful jellyfish pictures on Amy’s blog, here.

Fitness-wise – I ran a mile again today, and that makes four consecutive days of exercise (run, yoga, run, run). I really want to keep it up – it makes me feel good.


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Cleaning windows and running a mile

Our summer task is redecorating the outside of the house. Today I’ve been up a ladder, with a toothbrush and ‘household cream cleaner’, and a lot of elbow-grease, preparing window frames for repainting.  Black mould does not come off easily.

Image

There are 16 panes in each window and I’ve prepared two windows. That makes well over 100 edges I’ve scrubbed down. Painting will start tomorrow, if it’s fine, and will probably take a couple of hours for each window. Yes, plastic would be easier. But not as nice. I’m not thinking about how many other windows there are.

So, as light relief from all that, I ran a mile this evening. It wasn’t as fast as I could run in the middle of the 5×50 challenge, but 12:08 min/mile wasn’t too bad, and I really enjoyed myself. Funny that it has taken until my 50s to find out that I actually like running – but better late than never.

In the garden, our apple cordons are coming on well – the fruit is starting to blush from all the sun we’ve had.

Apple cordons

Apple cordons beginning to ripen