Day 34 in the UK lockdown house


I think it’s day 34 anyway. To be honest it’s all merged into one continuous stream of ‘meh’ interspersed with a daily dose of going out and doing some activity. At least to date the weather has been good, although that’s set to change this week. On the plus side that might discourage people off the trails a bit so I can get back to running them instead of playing dodge the family/dog/child/etc

Day 30

Today’s run was realistically a variation on a theme. After the long run at the weekend I intended to keep things short and relaxed. Seeing as I’d been on the road yesterday I wanted a bit more trail action so I did the off-road equivalent of one of my Norbury Hollow loops.

Trails before lunch

Rather than taking the road there’s a trail path that runs along the first 1.5 miles before it climbs over the hill instead of following the road around it. The net result is that it’s slightly shorter without having to do a couple of out and backs once on tarmac again. So a bit of a messing route but it was fun stringing a load of sections together than I’ve only ever run separately.

Baking time once I got home. Here’s a tin of crystallised ginger & chia seed muffins!

Crystallised ginger & Chia seed muffins

Crystallised ginger & Chia seed muffins

Day 31

I guess it’s the impact of being out so often that I’m constantly trying to find new routes to stop it becoming monotonous. It’s safe to say that I didn’t really know what route was going to happen as I pulled on my road shoes and headed out of the door. And straight for the nearest trail path to home!

Being I’d left it until early afternoon I seemed to be dodging more people than normal and whilst I hadn’t planned on going too far afield, I started thinking about some of the trails I’d done nearer to Lyme. When I did them last time it was very much a discovery run without knowing exactly where I was and it was only when I reviewed my GPS trace later that I fully got my bearings. With that knowledge now stored I figured I’d go and do a loop including them.

All trails lead to Lyme

All trails lead to Lyme

There were plenty of people around up until I passed the canal, after which the only obstacle was a couple of horses stood near a gate I needed to use. It’s safe to say that my footwear choice was far from ideal on the grassy descents, but at least with the long spell of dry whether I remained upright!

Then it was home to bake some bread:

Not all rolls are equal (even if they're supposed to be!)

Not all rolls are equal (even if they’re supposed to be!)

Day 32

Having run for 3 days I thought I’d jump on the bike for a bit of a change.

One of the issues I’ve had with my running is not keeping my heart rate at a nice low Z2 level as it’s very keen to leap above and beyond that. As I tend to cycle quite idly, the effort level is much lower, so it makes for an alternative recovery option.

Uninspired cycling in Cheshire

Uninspired cycling in Cheshire

I set out with good intentions having seen various friends cycle up and around Tatton Park area (the Park itself is shut due to the Coronavirus). It’s relatively easy cycling being across the Cheshire plain so there’s very little in the way of hills. The tarmac is pretty grim in places though which makes it harder going (although nothing quite as bad as the descent into Macclesfield I did last week).

The problem was that, by Wilmslow, I was thoroughly bored. The thought of spending a couple of hours on the bike really wasn’t doing it for me! Instead I headed towards Styal, another NT property which is currently closed!

I meandered around a bit before realising I was heading in a tight loop back from whence I came. I continued on until passing through Handforth and ended up returning home via the Airport bypass road – for the second time in 5 days! On the plus point I was done and dusted in just over the road and set about making bread rolls for the next couple of day’s lunches.

Life in lockdown is fairly routine and pretty uninteresting. Having the period of exercise during the day plus a youtube livestream with other synth-based musicians in the evening really is about as exciting as things get at the moment. They’re the two highlights of the day with the occasional extra interaction via WhatsApp.

That said, the social running group I’m part of (Stockport Tortoises) has been quite active online, and somewhere during the day a sunflower challenge was created as one of the group had a surplus of sunflower seedlings. Mine arrived that evening and I’ve now got to try and persuade them to grow bigger than everyone elses, whilst not being eaten by slugs or the local squirrel…..!

Stockport Tortoise Sunflower competition - day 1

Stockport Tortoise Sunflower competition – day 1

Day 33

I woke up in quite a confused state and it’s all to do with technology. Like many people I use a sports watch when I’m out doing activities, but it also sends me information about my day to day metrics too. Usually that I’ve not done enough steps or moved around enough. It occasionally reminds me to breathe, although that’s more to do with mindfulness rather than me holding my breath all day until prompted.

Technology: good or bad?

Technology: good or bad?

Anyway, I woke to to a message that my resting HR had dropped below my watches lower limit. Now I rarely wear a watch overnight having had issues with a previous watch causing skin irritation. I’d not had an alert like this before, but then my circumstances are different to before. All this getting out each day to do exercise has certainly improved my fitness. It’s almost a shame there aren’t any events likely to happen soon as I’d probably perform quite well. The result of improved fitness is that the resting HR does tend to drop (the heart muscle is more efficient at getting enough oxygenated blood around the body so it doesn’t need to beat as rapidly) and my RHR is quite low anyway. But it is a bit disconcerting when you are given a metric and told that it’s outside ‘normal’. Although that said, reading up gives such a vague picture of what ‘normal’ is, that it’s difficult to make sense of it all. Anyway, I’m feeling well and to be honest wouldn’t have been aware of anything different had I not been such a tech geek.

With that all said I decided against a run today and jumped back on the bike. I’d been inspired to head off into the High Peak having seen others go that way. And it’s been a while since I’ve cycled up to Hayfield.

Cycle to Hayfield

Cycle to Hayfield

The climb up to Peep o’ Day was every bit as hard as it was last time I tried – I’m not a cyclist at the end of the day, but I did enjoy the downhill section after it; nice tarmac and limited fear of impending death all make for a happier experience! In the end I came back along the main A6 which wasn’t busy and I wasn’t out for long either, despite the lumpy bits!

The afternoon was spent planting some bulbs in the garden and trying to tidy up a few things out there.

To be honest I spent the rest of the day reading up on RHR figures and generally wondering if I should be more concerned than I am. In the end, I went to bed with my Garmin on one wrist and my smart watch on the other! I figured they could both record some overnight metrics and I could see how they compared in the morning.

Day 34

I didn’t sleep that well over night. Probably in part due to the weight of my very bulky Garmin on my left arm which I’m not used to – for a start I don’t normally wear a watch on that side, but my smartwatch was riding on the right in a game of numbers. Sure enough the smartwatch had sent another low reading warning to me, but interestingly the Garmin hadn’t recorded anywhere near as low. The Garmin does however update on a per-second basis and I wonder whether it’s a sampling issue on the smartwatch as it seems to take readings at a lower frequency. Either way the information is ‘interesting’ but probably no more than that.

I’d planned on getting up early to run as the weather forecast wasn’t great for the main part of the day. I don’t think I’ve been up and out before 7.30am in a good while now. My thoughts of ‘I’ll not see anyone else out at this time’ were dashed before I’d left my drive with 3 different people jogging on the road outside. That said once I got going I didn’t see anyone else until I got back where one was still jogging on the road nearby.

There wasn’t really a plan this morning. Road shoes were grabbed but even as I headed out up the road I wasn’t really sure of the plan. I reached the A6 and decided that perhaps I’d just do the 5 mile road loop as it should be quiet and uncomplicated that way.

Norbury Hollow loop again

Norbury Hollow loop again

Initial impressions were that everything felt good having had a bit of rest during the week. The short climb out of the dip which is Norbury Hollow was tough but I kept moving. No plans for ‘getting a time’ today was all about getting out whilst I could. At least once I’d hit the descent I felt a lot easier. I must clarify that these are micro-hills, there’s a mere 71m/230ft of climb over the whole 5 miles loop although the climb in Middlewood is short and steep. I realised I was moving well at this point and so I did push on; I’ve always been significantly slower on the 2 mile stretch northbound compared to going in the other direction and there shouldn’t be any reason for this discrepancy. Anyway, I emerged into Poynton knowing I’d worked hard and had to slow the pace a little as a result. For most of the rest of the run it was a battle to keep running whereas I just wanted to stop. But I got around the loop slightly quicker than last week, although it was slightly shorter overall.

I’d done it. I’d knocked 40s off last week’s time along the Middlewood Road. 13:05 to go southbound, 13:06 to go northbound. I can live with a 1s difference between the two!



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