Juneathon Day 30: More wandering around Prague

Forgot to take a selfie today, but they say you are what you eat, so this is pretty much what I look like today! SUCH GOOD CAKE in Prague!

Forgot to take a selfie today, but they say you are what you eat, so this is pretty much what I look like today! SUCH GOOD CAKE in Prague!

Well, here we are – the final day of Juneathon 2015! I must confess, I didn’t put that much effort in today – despite my hurty knee I should have got up a bit early and done some blogilates or yoga or something, but instead, after a very long day at the conference, I left my exercise until the last minute and did about a mile’s walk on my way back to my hotel. Still, at least I did something, and what a wonderful place to finish up!

I’d definitely love to come back to Prague as a proper tourist, with the hubby, rather than just making a fleeting visit for business purposes. It’s a really friendly and stunningly beautiful city. The awesome weather has put it in a good light too!

Juneathon Day 29: 5.3 mile run: 494.7/1000 = 505.3 miles to go!

Quick breather at the top of a hill to admire the view

Quick breather at the top of a hill to admire the view

I’ve rested my knee all week and it felt absolutely fine to walk on…until about halfway into today’s run when it started niggling again, and now, afterwards, it hurts again – boo!!

But, enough dwelling on the negatives – I have run in Prague! More than that, I took a running TOUR in Prague! Yup, while googling “running in Prague” at home last week – because I didn’t want to slip on my marathon training (huh) and wanted to find out where the good places to run are – I stumbled across RunningPrague.com. Basically, it’s a guided tour, *literally* run by a guy called Martin Opolecky. He meets you at your hotel early in the morning (to avoid the throngs of tourists) and takes you on a 9–10km loop of the city, running at your pace and pointing out the sights on the way. What a brilliant idea!! P1010911

Ignoring the niggle in my knee, I trotted over the cobbled streets of Prague, passing through the main square and the astronomical clock, past some of Charles University’s oldest buildings and over a bridge over the Vlatava river into Letná Park. Here we left the narrow cobbled streets behind and wound our way through the shady green park, passing statues of poets and saying “Dobry den” to the early morning dog walkers. It was quite a steep climb here, with a fantastic view at the top to make it all worthwhile! We followed the path up to the castle, where we could run right into and around the courtyard, exploring the surrounding buildings in this very historic part of the city. P1010910P1010909We then passed by an old monastery (now a brewery!), and all too soon it was time to descend the steep hill, through a beautiful park that was formerly a royal fruit orchard – the shade from the trees was very welcome as the sun had started to warm up by now! We passed through Kampa Island, with the Vltava to our right and the tiniest of streams to the left, before heading back into tourist-ville where I had the rare opportunity to run over an almost deserted Charles Bridge – an hour later and this place would be so heaving with tourists that it would have been impossible to run across without bumping into people!

Running over the Charles Bridge!

Running over the Charles Bridge!

For the price of only about £21, the tour was fantastic value for money. Martin was a pleasure to run with, and really knew his stuff about the city. As you can see, he also took photos of me while I was running, and sent these to me by email (free of charge) a few hours after the run. I’m sure I would never have found some of the parks we ran through, and I’m really glad I did it! I’m just gutted that my knee seems to have gone back to square one now! I guess the marathon training is on hold for now!

Juneathon Day 28: Wandering around Prague

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Selfie on the Charles Bridge

I flew to Prague this afternoon to attend a conference, where I’m exhibiting for one of my freelance clients. I’ve never been to Prague before, so I made sure to arrive a little bit early so I could see some of the city, not just the inside of a windowless, air-conditioned congress hotel!

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Beautiful Prague

By the time I landed at Prague airport, collected my luggage, bought public transport tickets and navigated buses and metros to get to my hotel, I’d already walked a fair way – hefting a roll-up exhibition banner over my shoulder and dragging a very heavy suitcase full of leaflets across Prague’s cobbled streets was exercise enough on its own!

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First taste of Czech beer (not ever, just while on Czech soil!)

I checked into my hotel, grabbed a map from reception and headed straight back out the door again, keen to see as much as possible! I wandered and wandered for several hours, stopping to take photos, and grab a my first taste of Czech beer on Czech soil too, of course! All in all I walked about 5 miles, so I think I earned that beer!

Juneathon Day 27: Foraging walk

2015-06-27 16.05.19I don’t think actually wrote about it on this blog, but at the end of May I went on a wild food foraging course. Foraging for food has always been something I’ve been interested in – I used to go blackberrying, chestnut and cobnut gathering quite often as a kid. In more recent times I’ve made batches of blackberry and damson jam, sloe gin, and picked wild garlic by the armful, but having a seen a few bits and pieces on TV about foraging, I decided I wanted to know more about the edible food just lying around in the hedgerows and bushes!

So, I went on a course with these guys: Wild Food UK. Maybe I’ll write a longer blog post about it one day, but for now suffice to say it was absolutely brilliant and we’ve had hedgerow salads several times since then, not to mention delicious hogweed cheese!! (Think cauliflower cheese, but using the flower heads and leaves of a roadside weed instead of cauli florets!)

My bucket of elderflowery goodness - just need to wait a few days!

My bucket of elderflowery goodness – just need to wait a few days!

Anyway…on our foraging walk, Marlow, one of the guides, mentioned the elder tree and all the things it’s good for: berries, and ‘wood ear’ mushrooms in particular. But he also gave us his recipe for elderflower champagne- and now that the elders are in full bloom, I thought I would break up my final day of exam marking by going on a hunt for some elder flowers to make me some champagne! I walked about 3 miles in total.

The recipe is very simple – hope it works! You just add a bunch of elderflower heads, the juice and zest of some lemons, a pile of sugar and a splash of white wine vinegar to a bucket of cold water, and leave it for a few days before bottling. Here’s Marlow explaining how to do it!

Juneathon Day 26: Blogilates again

2015-06-26 17.05.24So I’m marking A-level exams right now. Ugh. I do it every year – it’s boring as heck but it’s pretty good money that – as a self-employed person – I don’t have to pitch and schmooze to win. I was given 355 scripts to mark at the beginning of June, and am supposed to have finished them by tomorrow…but I still have 92 scripts to mark…eek.

Consequently, because I had so much work to do and couldn’t spare the time to leave the house, my Juneathon exercise today was another half-hour Blogilates video. I actually had a phase last year where I did these every day, and I think I might get back into them because I’m so weak and inflexible!

Juneathon Day 25: Another Blogilates video

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Blogilates in my netball kit!

Though my knee still isn’t quite runnable, it is starting to feel much better (I can get down the stairs without wincing now), so I thought I would test it out by going to netball training tonight. Unfortunately, when it was time to leave the house, could I find my house keys???

Tom goes mad at me for “losing” my keys, well for “losing” anything really, as it happens quite a lot. And of course I never actually lose anything, I just forget where I last put it. To make matters worse, I’m not very good at looking for things either – Tom calls it “having a Lisa look”…

Tom was out at cricket nets this evening, and I remember him saying to me as he went out of the door that he was taking my car, so when I couldn’t find my car/house keys I assumed he must’ve accidentally taken both my set of keys and his. I exasperatedly upturned all the usual places but my keys never surfaced. By this time, it was already 7.15pm (netball starts at 7pm for an hour) so I gave up on the idea and put a Blogilates video on for my Juneathon activity instead.

Then when I got out of the shower, I found my keys on the window sill….d’oh….

Juneathon Day 24: Blogilates workout

2015-06-24 21.48.54It’s so frustrating that I can’t run at the moment! I’ve just done an indoor Blogilates workout on YouTube when I could be outside in the lovely fresh air. Bah humbug.

I was going to swim again today, but I’m snowed under with work so thought I would do a quick half hour YouTube workout downstairs instead of having to drive to the pool and faff about with getting changed, getting dried etc. Found a 25 min video I hadn’t done before – it wasn’t too tough compared to some of the other Blogilates vids I’ve done, but I have a feeling I will feel my abs in the morning!

Speaking of Blogilates, you may have noticed that the Blogilates Stretch Project has fallen by the way side…oops. But doing this video today – and reading how my runner’s knee may have been caused by too-tight hamstrings – means I am determined to get more flexible!!

Juneathon Day 23: Swim

2015-06-23 21.32.03My knee still hurts, woe is me! My friend Becky, who’s a physio, thinks it’s “runner’s knee” – I looked it up online and it certainly sounds like the kind of discomfort I’m feeling, so there’s nothing to be done but rest 😦

So in terms of running, the rest of this week is a write-off – I’ll see how my leg feels at the weekend and will maybe give parkrun a go on Saturday if it feels OK. Hope I can get my marathon plan back on track!

But, I still have to do my Juneathon activity, which means I have to get a bit more creative, so today I went for a swim for the first time in ages!

I’m not a brilliant swimmer – I mean, I can swim quite a long way, but I’m not technically very good. I blame this on the fact that when I had swimming lessons at primary school, I’d just had an ear operation, which meant I couldn’t get water in my ears. Consequently I only ever learned how to do breast-stroke without putting my head underwater. I do put my head under water now actually, but still only do breast-stroke or occasionally backstroke – I’m useless at crawl!

I did 60 lengths of my local pool, which is only 20 m long, so *quick mental calculation* that’s 1200 m in 45 minutes. My knee was a little bit twingey on the kicks but not too bad.

Juneathon Day 22: Netball umpiring

2015-06-22 22.04.29Oh bugger it, I’m injured 😦

My left knee has been twinging a little bit recently but I really felt it as I was coming down the last hill at the end of my 6 mile run yesterday. Perhaps a little foolishly I then walked to and from Exhall & Wixford Cricket Club where hubs was playing cricket that afternoon (about two miles each way, up and down hills) and it felt more sore. Today it’s really sore – waaah!

I wasn’t rostered on to play netball this evening, which is probably just as well, but I did try shadow-umpiring, and my knee was actually quite painful to run on. I moved about 1 mile over the course of the game, but mostly I kind of skipped and hopped to avoid putting too much weight on the bad leg.

I’m only a week into my marathon training! But there’s no way I can run on it when it feels like this, so I guess I’m forced to rest awhile. If anything, want to make sure it’s better for my running tour of Prague next week! I’ll have to get creative with my Juneathon exercises over the next few days!

Juneathon Day 21: 6.4 mile run: 489.4/1000 = 510.6 miles to go!

2015-06-21 17.31.07So that’s Week 1 of marathon training complete! (Sort of. I missed yesterday’s 3-miler.)

On the plan for today was a 6 mile run, so I set off this afternoon to do the Alcester 10km route – a race I have entered that takes place on the 11th October. I was a bit nervous about running this far today, given the trouble I’ve had with my ankles lately, but although it wasn’t a perfect run it was much better than the last couple of times I’ve been out! My right ankle started giving me a bit of gip about a mile in, but it eased off and although still twingey throughout the run, I felt much more comfortable today. My left knee was a bit gippy on the way down the last hill though…grr…Maybe time to book another sports therapy sesh.

Pace was comfortable and slow today, though probably a bit erratic as I kept speeding up to my ‘normal’ pace. I have to keep reminding myself that these runs should be slow and steady now – it’s all about time on the legs, not speed now!

Oh, and also, CONGRATULATIONS to my friend and running buddy Becky who completed a half-Ironman today! What an amazing achievement!!