Monday, October 31, 2016


Very nice one too - I got further than yesterday and was tempted to continue till the path ended, but really I have already let the run eat into my writing time.

:45 easy

Sunday, October 30, 2016


Just :30 - I'm in London for 2 nights (met up with my mother who flew in from Philadelphia and we are doing massive amounts of family visiting, it's strenuous!). Had what turned out to be a cockamamie idea that I could run across town from where I'm staying right near King's Cross to Regent's Park, but it must be that I was staying blocks further west the last time I did that (can't remember exact location of hotel but it would have been for the conference at UCL). Got about 1 block in and the throngs of people on the sidewalk were so overwhelming that I was just hating humanity. So turned my way back towards canal path - mildly thwarted, neither direction seems to let you go very far without having to go back out onto roads, but I did get in my :30. Then bought delicious breakfast at Pret a Manger - English ready-made food currently doing much more for me than USian (esp. the Marks and Spencer prepared foods - edamame salad!). Smoked salmon sandwich with butter on wholemeal bread, "protein pot" (2 HB eggs on a rather pitiful bed of spinach leaves), mango with lime. Gotta shower now so that I don't lose my precious hour of work time - hahahahaha, I should really come back to London again in a few weeks to see a few dear friends but I am strongly leaning towards holing up in the Oxford bubble and hewing to my regular routine!

:30 easy

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Long run!

Very nice too, though I was ready to be done before the end (could not stop thinking about the chicken and bacon sandwich I was going to assemble and eat when I got home!). Ran into my neighbor as I was leaving (she was walking to yoga) and walked with her for a bit off the clock, then started running/clock once I got to the meadow - thought I'd adjusted turnaround point appropriately, but clearly not, as I was near home at the 1:45 mark and had to overshoot to add on last bit. That always takes willpower, better to do a true out and back!

Going to London shortly for two nights with a lot of family visiting, but will have short run and production of quota tomorrow and Monday (coming back to Oxford Monday afternoon) because I will be in a better mood re: human contact if I do it that way!

2hr easy

Friday, October 28, 2016

Very nice yoga

It's taught by teachers in training, this one was extremely good (I would not have imagined she wasn't experienced). 1hr vinyasa.


:42 easy. Was saved from my worse self by the fact that when I stopped at the Alternative Tuck Shop post-run to acquire a YumYum, which I have decided can only be a Friday treat, I learned that the YumYum delivery for the day had not yet taken place!

Thursday, October 27, 2016


A really good session (I mean, I'm not good at squats, so it's important to work on them regularly). This time we got to work out in the rugby gym which is pleasantly deserted and chilly - much preferable to warm crowded powerlifting room! I'm really happy about having finally got this set up, it's going to be good - given that I can't work out with Josh, this is definitely the next best thing!

1hr lower body


Such a nice run with Liz! A good new route through Port Meadow and then back along canal through Jericho. Was avidly noting streetnames in hopes I can find my way over there again...

70 easy

Wednesday, October 26, 2016


I did write quota, but I didn't do enough other work today, after this family weekend in London and my mother's visit I'm going to buckle down. Very nice yoga anyway - 1.25hr hatha, stretchy. Was feeling fairly sore (pleasantly so, but still) after yesterday's strength session, afternoon nap plus evening yoga is a good remedy! Running with Liz in the morning too, and training again with Sy at 2pm....

Run of bliss!

I am having a ridiculously nice time exercise-wise - I feel it is slightly irresponsible, but not entirely so given that sabbatical is not just for getting new work done but for restoration and recovery. :20 easy, 10 x 1:00 faster, 2:00 easy, :25 easy: 1:15 total. A little soreness in hamstring in that post-deadlift tendonitis-type way, but nothing big. In general feeling very sound.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016


Hahahaha, I am an idiot, I like too many things too much! Just running and doing yoga make me think "Oh, yeah, I could just do these 2 things all the time and it would be great" - but I did finally lift properly again today and it felt absolutely amazing, I can't give that up! (Not to mention strength-training now is probably the single thing that has the best long-term health input on carrying-groceries-up-stairs-in-your-80s type stuff). It took a bunch of emailing to find a trainer, it's a university gym rather than a commercial one so they're not set up to take your dollars so eagerly I think - but I believe that this guy is absolutely perfect, couldn't have done better! I'm signed on for twice a week, but it might be tempting to add a third session (I can't do Monday next week, so I am forced to hold off on that till I see how it reintegrates with more running).

1hr good stuff! Lot of stretching and mobility, then tested some bench and deadlifts - did I think 3 x 4 @ 105 or so on bench, pulled a couple singles at 220 or so (weights are in kilograms and don't lodge with me) - this is going to be so great!


I took a proper rest day yesterday - if I'm going to be running more, I need to be smart about it. Glorious to be running again this morning though! I love this mild overcast damp English weather so much....

:50 easy (2 laps around Christ Church Meadow)

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Blissful yoga!

Ah, such a good vinyasa class - I really love this teacher. 1.5hr yoga.

Start of week 3

1:30 easy - actually it was a few minutes longer as I had a diabolical plan that involved adjusting my turnaround point and overshooting home so that the end point would be here! It's a bit chilly but I figured with light jacket and gloves I'd be fine to then walk the 1.7 or so miles home. I had rather pictured it being one of those places you walk out of with a huge box of pastries, but perhaps fortunately they were about to close (it was just before 2 on a Sunday) and there wasn't really a lot of stuff - I had a very delicious slice of apricot tart that I ate on my walk home.

I really am serious about this Rock the Ridge 50 in May! I have six weeks in Rome in February-March when I think running will be either my only form of exercise or nearly so (will hope to find some yoga I can get to easily), and sabbatical year is a good time for a project like this....

1.5hr easy

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Glorious run!

A lovely sedate one, with intervals - I was slightly dreading them beforehand, only (a) if they really are horrible, you are doing them too fast and (b) if I accept that they might only be ONE gear higher than my regular sedate pace, it will go very easily. Have acquired hydration belt but also it wasn't as hot today - 50F and overcast, my absolutely ideal running weather (it is silly to talk about ancestral climate preferences but I do feel that my body does best in exactly this sort of weather!).

1:40 as :20 easy, 12 x (1:30 faster, 3:30 easy), :20 easy

Friday, October 21, 2016


Such a good class, and genuinely relaxing - "slow down Friday flow" - did what it said! Now I am going to eat soup (having slightly mismanaged meal content and times earlier) and read a novel, since I also produced quota/finished the draft zero of Austen chapter #1 and read my Gibbon quota for the day. Routine of bliss!

1hr slow flow yoga


:55 easy - should have been 70, but I dragged my heels getting out the door & need to shower and get ready now for a 10:30 coffee meetup. Will make up the minutes elsewhere!

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Gosh, that was a tiring day - and I am sorry to say I did not produce quota as that slot was instead given over to writing my remarks for presentation at the very nice "Bruce's brunch" at Balliol! But I finally made it to the gym to lift - had a date with a training partner, she sent a message to say she'd be half an hour late but you still get the benefit of knowing you need to get there. I'd written down 3 sets - one for each lift - and got all three done though with slightly lighter weights in several instances than I'd projected; I'm very conscious that I haven't been lifting regularly for the last 5 or so weeks and should take it cautiously as I get back into it!

Anyway about 1hr total with work sets as something like this:

Squat: 3 x 8 @ 30kg
Deadlift: 4 x 5 @ 65kg (or it might have been 70)
Bench: 2 x 8 @ 35kg, 1 x 6 @ 40kg (didn't have spotter and didn't want to chance losing it on the last few)

My request through the gym site for personal training information has not been answered, but I got a couple of business cards from the front desk and I think I will pursue this, I would like to lock it in and then just forget about the rest of the time!


No, I didn't get up quite as early as I should have, but it was still a minor miracle - did my full hour easy and it is just coming up on 9am. House cleaner's arrival is imminent and I am giving an informal talk at 1pm that still exists only loosely speaking in my head, so I need to get a move on. It's dark here still at 8am!

1hr easy

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


Very enjoyable. Sweatier than I expected for a gentle hatha class - should have had towel as well as mat!

1.25hr yoga

Glorious run!

Obviously part of it is the ideal climate and the sabbatical phenomenon (I am far more than usually insulated from the needs of others, the balancing of which against my own needs and preferences continues to be the great struggle of adult life), but I am wondering how much is also the fact that I haven't been lifting - it is possible that yoga and running go together much better than lifting and running. That said, I am happy to report that I found a training partner and have 4pm lifting dates for tomorrow and Friday - optimistic that this should work out well (I put out a plea on the women's powerlifting group and one of the young women who did the induction with me last week is similarly in need, this should be good!).

20 easy, 10 x 1:00 faster, 3:00 easy, 20 easy (plus a bit extra - missed my proper exit from the meadows)

1:25 total

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Hot power yoga!

To be more precise, it was the ominously named Hot HIIT yoga (with music), but really it wasn't bad, though I did feel a bit too hot at times. I am both frustrated and relieved not to be lifting - I haven't heard anything back from my request to the gym about personal training, so I probably should venture in on my own sometime in the next couple days and see what it's actually like....

1hr hot power yoga

Run of bliss!

It is a ridiculously perfect climate for running at this time of year here. Cannot get over my good fortune!

1hr easy

Monday, October 17, 2016


Just a short one - :26 easy (said :20 on the schedule but that's the time there and around one loop of the closest park).

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Week 2 run 1

:37 easy. Turned into a really beautiful day....

Hot power!

This studio has a genius online registration system that comes with very stern warnings about bad things that will happen if you sign up for a class and then don't show up (you can cancel in advance through the online system). I had horrible insomnia again last night, it was after four I think by the time I finally got to sleep and only light sleep thereafter - I was registered for a 10am "hot power" class, but at 9 when I grudgingly got up I thought maybe I'd cancel and try and get a bit more sleep. My first attempt failed (the system had already logged me out), and by that time I'd had second thoughts - yoga is a good start to an underslept day. It was pouring rain at that point, but it lightened up and I felt happy as soon as I was out of the house and en route to the studio.

The class itself was great - I suppose they do hot power at 35C whereas proper hot ("hot 26") is 40C, crucial difference for me!

75 minutes hot power yoga

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Long run of bliss!

Exercise chemicals still currently making me high, but - PEAK HAPPINESS! Got a good long sleep, headed out not long after getting up (it was almost noon by that point) for a glorious sedate beautiful long run along canal towpaths. The weather has been gorgeous this whole week - I was wearing gloves (plus short sleeves) but I really wouldn't have needed them.

Two very pleasant minor exchanges.

First, as I was coming up to 1hr turnaround point and had left towpath for a cycle route through fields, 2 little boys on bikes very politely asked for me to give them space as they passed - as they came up to me, one of them said, sounding extremely impressed, "Have you come all this way? We saw you all the way back there!" It can't have been much more than three miles, but it brought a smile to my face.

Second, when I passed Iffley Lock around the :40 mark, I vaguely noted that it looked like there was a hutch selling drinks and ice cream, and figured I'd stop there on the way back for a cold drink (should really have been carrying handheld, but couldn't quite be bothered). When I did get back there around 1:20, I investigated and realized it was just a sign advertising a pub elsewhere - I asked the keeper of the lock if there was anywhere nearby I could buy a cold drink, and she very regretfully told me that there wasn't, then took me under her wing, brought me to her little private kitchen and poured me a pint glass of water from the tap! So kind - put me in a great mood for the last forty minutes home.

Don't know that I'd dare photograph swans on land as they are a little scary albeit quite dramatic, but here is a quieter snapshot of non-scary bird life in the last stretch back through Christ Church Meadows:

Friday, October 14, 2016

Hot yoga!

GRUESOMELY hot yoga in fact! Hahahaha, it's always awful after a layoff - I haven't done a hot class since the end of the summer, and even then it was mostly the 1hr abbreviated class, ugh....

Anyway felt very queasy by halfway through the standing sequence (indeed I would guess I came closer than I ever have before to actually throwing up - only narrowly averted I felt!). Better after that was done. The walk home has pleasantly cooled me down, but I am really torn on whether to go back for more or just do the regular-temperature yoga which seems a lot more manageable! I like how I feel after this one, though....

(Jogged over too though I don't think that was what tipped me over. I am on track for 7hr this week as long as I do the full 2hr run tomorrow!)

:14 easy run
1.5hr overly hot hot yoga!


:40 easy. The weather here is ridiculously tailored to my exact preferences - mid-50s and a little overcast. Perfect running weather!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Happy yoga

Really it's like coming home - I would feel the same way if a cat suddenly showed up to live in my apartment! I think I will be doing quite a few classes there - this one was exactly what I like. (This is the studio, and I'll do a hot class in the early evening tomorrow.)

1hr vinyasa yoga

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

OUPLC induction

Very pleasant preliminary session getting shown around. The folks seem extremely nice and it will definitely work for me (also my ID arrived today and it was easy to get gym membership with that in hand), but I am having terrible homesickness for my Chelsea Piers powerlifting crew! This will be a different sort of set-up - it's a tiny space, with limited equipment, so the 2 training times I've written down are more like "drop in for advice" sessions, everyone trains on their own time and there isn't particularly shared programming. I'm going to go back through last fall's blog and do a version of that training cycle for myself - if I don't find good training partners it is going to end up more in the way of minimum maintenance than a true build, I think, as I traditionally have not much enjoyed strength training on my own. That said, there will be people around to ask for a spot, which is important too, and maybe I'll be able to slot into a routine that suits me?

1:15 induction (light lifts on all three lifts for technique)

Run take 2

And it was glorious! This was what Liz sent me - but on top of my nonexistent sense of direction, I'm not a keen smartphone user, and I don't have an international data plan, so that once I went off-route it could still show me where I was on the map but it couldn't tell me how to get back to my original route.

I drew an extremely simple representational map today and ran clutching the folded piece of paper, which is very much more my style than running with a phone! And it was lovely - that will be my regular route I think. I only had time for :50 due to sleeplessness last night but I see I could continue indefinitely along the river towpath, how nice. I did get to the same bridge yesterday, but by a much worse route....

:50 easy

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


Liz has given me a really good out and back route! I did make one wrong turn, corrected it pretty soon but forgot to adjust turnaround point accordingly, so a little short of an hour.

:50 exploratory

Monday, October 10, 2016


The jet lag is dug in pretty deep, I was horribly awake 2-7am and then had an overly deep nap in the afternoon - but I did get out for another really beautiful 1hr run.

(David, who is a very good coach, urges me not to undertake overly ambitious plans I cannot execute, and suggests 5hr/week as a wiser goal than 7 - he is pretty certainly right, but this week doesn't have any powerlifting and I don't have ID/library card yet so it is kind of perfect for a bigger week, then I will fall back on 5!)

1hr bucolic run

Sunday, October 9, 2016


A very nice one too. I made it here (Oxford) in one piece, and the trip didn't even seem that overwhelming - except for the last part (fortunately I had an extremely calm and friendly driver pick me up at Heathrow and drive me to Oxford with large bags - but we couldn't even get the car all the way to the Balliol Porters Lodge because the road was closed for the half-marathon the next morning, and it seemed like mere luck that there was a set of keys for me at all - the flat is in a house on what seemed a very dark and ill-numbered road, though fortunately I was able to find someone locking up his bike who could explain to me where I was really going and direct the car accordingly - a great relief too to finally find a light switch in the incredibly dark stairwell!). Awake for some hours in the night, slept late, fell asleep again mid-afternoon in a jet-lagged way and knew I'd really better get out for a proper run - and it was LOVELY. Did some preliminary exploration that didn't really suit my purpose and then found my way onto more like what I was looking for, platonic ideal of run routine namely an out-and-back on a path alongside water.

I'm here for eight weeks, counting today as week 1 day 1 - goal is to run 7hr/week come what may! That is only about 35mi at current slow speeds but it would be a good base, eh? I am not sure when the powerlifting club will start meeting, will try and find some yoga in the meantime though most important thing is to get my ID card so that I can use library, gym, etc. Some combobulation still needed, though I had a successful foray to Marks & Spencer for provisions today. (When I got in last night, the only thing open was high street newsagent though that did happily sell me an egg sandwich and a few beers!)

1hr easy!

Friday, October 7, 2016

Very very short run

About to explode from stress! Just did :24 easy - too many fits of anxiety about things undone, how I mismanaged my time this week, etc.!


Squats! (belated post)

Arghhhhh, I am in chaos and stress here - have booked a car to pick me up at 5:15am tomorrow and have about one million things that must be organized before that. Did have a good workout last night at the gym. I am going to miss working out with those guys terribly! I am not really on the current program as I just was away for 2 weeks and before that had been in and out, so modified the main set appropriately.

Main squat set was the INSANE 3 x 4-8 @ 80%!!!!! I immediately lowered it to 70%, but when Josh saw me do a set of 4 @ 115 he sensibly suggested that he'd prefer volume at a lower weight and I did, successfully, 3 x 8 @ 85, which was about what I had in me! Bulgarian split squats, 3 x 8 with 5-pound plates; 4 x 12 band hip thrusts; a few rather haphazard sets of hamstring curls. Remembered to bring my squat shoes home from the gym so I can take them to England with me - they are essential! On which note, had better start trying to de-squalorify apartment and make preliminary packing foray....

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Short run

Ugh, this week feels like a disaster - I am absolutely tapped out and yet I have done hardly any of the things I need to before leaving town very early Saturday morning! Oh dear - and though sinus infection is receding, I think I am having fall allergies, or at least something is making me feel as though eyeballs are covered with sandpaper plus general pre-travel knot-in-stomach anxiety!

I didn't make it to powerlifting Tuesday because I had to pick up the cat from the vet (and was also a minor nervous wreck due to anxiety about diagnosis - cat apparently has early hypertrophic cardiomyopathy?!?), and Wednesday was a disaster - there was a spell in both morning and evening when I huddled in bed and thought about how I should run, but I just couldn't make it happen (I did get up both times, but the more pressing need the second time was to get to pharmacy and pet store to order prescriptions and provisions to cover the eight weeks I'll be out of town).

Today I had a couple tasks I had to complete first (I locked in on too many minor altruistic favors, many of them academic, and it's making it really hard to clear any time for other stuff), but did get out midday. I am squatting in a few hours and also I'm about at the end of my tether so I ignored the schedule and just did :40 easy! Hoping to get in a decent longer one (1.5hr) tomorrow, but really it depends on how I feel!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Ugh, not sure about the merits of that, still feeling rather ill.  Anyway, :50 easy, for better or for worse!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Deadlift day!

In a minor miracle I DID run very early Friday morning in Australia before we left for the airport (:30 with 6 x 1:00 easy), but a sinus infection was already descending upon me and I became runnier and runnier about the nose as the flight progressed, ugh.....

Jet lag plus sinuses meant no run Saturday or  Sunday, which just made me feel miserable, and today I didn't run because I was saving vim and lungs for lifting, which really was a good choice I think.  I will run tomorrow daytime for sure.  

I love lifting with my team so much, I am going to miss them horribly over the coming 8 weeks at Oxford!  

(Hopeful about Oxford powerlifting folks, only I see from their schedule that their central midweek workout overlaps with my one obligatory weekly evening Balliol obligation, so I don't know how it's really going to work out.)

Anyway, sets as follows:

(1) 2 x 2 @ 70% one-rep max deadlift with 4-second eccentric tempo (171), 2 x 4 @ 171

(2) squats (felt good I got this one done properly):

2 x 3 @ 62.5% (103)
1 x 2 @ 70% (115)
1 x 1 @ 75% (124)

(3) 4 x 10 banded hip thrusts with 3-second hold

1hr lower body, very enjoyable too (the deadlift is my favorite lift for sure). Ready for this cold to go away!