‘Race’ Review: Great Run Solo Hallowe’en Challenge 2020

I’ve mentioned before that, pre-pandemic, I was absolutely not a fan of the idea of virtual races. I miss real races a lot, and I’m fervently hoping that I’ll be able to race again later this year, even if it has to be in a COVID-secure manner.

However, I also miss medals, and doing virtual races and challenges means I still get medals during this strange time. Furthermore, it gives me extra running motivation, which can never be underestimated, especially in the colder months.

Since summer 2020, with all Great Run events cancelled or postponed, one of the things the Great Run company has been organising is a series of accumulator challenges, starting with the first Great Run Solo challenge over the summer and then monthly since October 2020. Accumulator challenges involve aiming to run (or sometimes walk / cycle / swim) a particular distance or number of runs over the course of a longer period, rather than all in one go.

October’s Great Run Solo accumulator was Hallowe’en-themed – and I LOVE Hallowe’en, so I thought I might as well give it a go, especially as it meant I would get a Hallowe’en medal at the end!

The option was there to log my runs on the Great Run website, but I found it much easier just to log them on Garmin Connect and Strava as usual and then confirm the total mileage / number of runs on the website at the end of the month. In order to finish the challenge, you had to complete fifteen runs, and if your mileage was over a certain amount then you could download a certificate. There were three levels of certificate to aim for, and I think I managed the middle one. Not bad considering I needed a break after the Virtual London Marathon!

I didn’t bother ordering the t-shirt as I have plenty, but I was really excited for the medal to arrive…

Great Run Solo Hallowe'en Challenge medal
I feel autumnal again just looking at it!

It glows in the dark (or bits of it do, anyway), which will be interesting when I finally finish putting up the medal display on our bedroom wall!

This challenge set the pattern for the Great Run company’s monthly accumulators. I’ve not been doing them every month, but the Hallowe’en one wasn’t the last. More on that next week!

Juggling November

Another slightly frustrating mile today…

…but tomorrow I have a plan for getting a longer run done. Hope it works!

I spent another day doing piecemeal writing and editing projects – NaNo, jam game planning, short story planning, a bit of day job work. This is going to be every day in November unless I finish the short story early, which I don’t think I will unless I really get into it. I’m being strict about finishing writing and editing by 6pm so that I can get my admin done by 9pm and squeeze a couple of hours of videogaming in before bed, as I know that’s the only thing that’s going to keep me sane this month.

Another busy day tomorrow, but it’s the good kind of busy!

Great Run Solo Hallowe'en medal
My medal for my Great Run Solo Hallowe’en accumulator challenge arrived today, which means I can finally complete my decor project from a couple of months ago! Hoping to get it all up on the walls this weekend…

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – ‘A View To A Kill’

Onto the next thing

Just a mile this morning…

…which is standard for Mondays, but unusually is the fourth streak saver mile in a row for me as I’m having to take a break from my 10k training due to feeling a bit ill. Hopefully I’ll be able to step it up again towards the end of the week.

Hallowe’en weekend was lovely, but I woke up this morning feeling as though it was time to take the decorations down and start thinking about prepping my Christmas crafts for this year. I’ve started my NaNoWriMo project as well, so I’m well and truly in November mode.

The new lockdown coming in from Thursday in England won’t much affect me and Geth, as we never really came out of lockdown the first time – we rarely leave the house for reasons that aren’t running or supermarket shopping. I don’t have a problem with being in lockdown during November as I’m a total homebody anyway – especially in the autumn and winter – but it does feel pretty gloomy that December is so uncertain. I’m not holding out much hope for my 10k race going ahead on 6th December, or that I’ll be able to nip up to Edinburgh in early December to decorate Mum and Dad’s tree like I usually do. However, so long as I can celebrate Christmas itself in person with them, I can live without everything else this year. Just have to keep hoping.

Tomorrow will be similar to today – NaNo, house tidying, craft planning – as I settle into my November routine. There may be some late night watching of the preliminary US election results too, if I’m brave enough.

Neep lantern
From the weekend: a traditional neep lantern, part of my eclectic array of carved fruit and veg this year.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Dead Or Alive – ‘Something In My House’
Cliff Richard – ‘Mistletoe And Wine’
Mariah Carey – ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’
Traditional – ‘Carol Of The Bells’
Tom Jones – ‘Help Yourself’

Hallowe’en weekend is here!

Just a mile today…

…which was good, because I had a lot to do today! I might take the weekend running a bit easier than planned on the training schedule, as I’ve felt a bit fatigued this week. Besides, I’d like to enjoy Hallowe’en properly tomorrow and get a good start on my NaNoWriMo project on Sunday.

I drove to Asda with Geth this afternoon to pick up everything needed for the weekend, including cake baking supplies (I want to find a use for my Hallowe’en lantern innards this year) and a final selection of Hallowe’en chocolate (which was a bit limited – it seems Asda have decided it’s now Christmas rather than Hallowe’en). I’ve also made a start on my polystyrene pumpkin project. I’m hoping to find an actual pumpkin at Sainsbury’s tomorrow as Asda had run out. I do have a turnip and a melon to carve in an emergency.

I’ll just be posting my running vlogs over the weekend. Hope everyone has a great Hallowe’en!

Spooky Oreos
These were the only Hallowe’en-themed sweet things in the shop. They’re not bad! Gutted I couldn’t find any Jaffa Cake Spooky Cake Bars this year.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Liam Payne and J Balvin – ‘Familiar’
Rockwell – ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’

Well done car

Fitted in a run back from the garage today…

…as it was MOT day for the car. The garage gave it a really good once-over and a bit of a wash, so it’s looking very shiny again!

Today was centred around my dropoff and pickup trips to the garage so I’ve not managed to get much else done. Tomorrow should be a bit more productive.

Classy Hallowe'en decorations
The hearth is full of candles and pumpkin-shaped objects… but not together yet and at the moment it looks a bit too classy for Hallowe’en! I’ll be decorating these polystyrene pumpkins tomorrow (and also procuring some real veg to carve).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett – ‘The Monster Mash’

Very nearly settled in for Hallowe’en

Four fairly tiring miles today…

…and then I spent the afternoon doing housework and making sure I’ve got everything I need for the car’s MOT tomorrow. It’s a more complicated process at the moment because of things needing to be COVID-secure and so I’ve had to check in online and do various other stuff, but hopefully the dropoff itself should be fairly straightforward.

I’m really looking forward to getting everything finished for the week so I can settle in for Hallowe’en weekend. I’m still enjoying my seasonal TV shows and have got a few more decorations to make before Saturday. I’m also looking at some recipes in the hope that I can start using up all the pumpkin and turnip that’s been in the freezer for some time!

Tomorrow’s a bit out of routine because of the MOT, but I should still manage to get quite a lot of stuff done.

Treehouse of Horror
I’m still enjoying my Treehouse of Horror marathon, which will take all week. Having access to the episodes on Disney Plus is much easier than fiddling with the DVDs (and the collection is a lot more up-to-date!).

Today’s earworm playlist:

WG Snuffy Walden – ‘The West Wing (Main Theme)’
Harry Dacre – ‘Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for Two)’
Liam Payne and J Balvin – ‘Familiar’
Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett – ‘The Monster Mash’
Michael Jackson – ‘Thriller’
Rockwell – ‘Somebody’s Watching Me’

Another Tuesday

I did my interval session somewhere different this morning…

…which was nice. Geth and I seem to have timed our runs well as since lunchtime it’s been raining and grey – one of those days where you need the lights on all day long.

I don’t mind it being typical autumn weather in the afternoons and evenings as it’s the time of year when I like to curl up and watch TV, and in the current situation that’s all we can do anyway. I do mind in the mornings, because I’m really having to psyche myself up to go out for my runs in the cold and wet. It’s always fine once I get out there, but when I first wake up, getting out of my nice warm bed to go running is the last thing I want to do, especially on a Tuesday when I need to do a tough interval session.

I always get out and do it eventually though. That’s the beauty of the run streak – I need to go out for at least a mile to maintain the streak, so I might as well go and do the run I’ve got scheduled.

I had a bit of day job work to get on with this afternoon, and am now finishing off my admin so that I can watch some Hallowe’en TV this evening. I started my annual Simpsons ‘Treehouse Of Horror’ marathon yesterday, and have also been recording all the Hallowe’en shows on Food Network. These days, for me, Hallowe’en is always about staying in and enjoying the atmosphere, so it feels like it’s the one celebration that the pandemic can’t affect this year.

I’m still sleeping later than I’d like, partly because I’m tossing and turning and worrying about world things late at night. Hopefully I’ll manage to get my run done fairly quickly tomorrow, as there’s a few things I want to check before taking the car for its MOT on Thursday.

Maisie meets her match, 1984
I loved this book as a child. It describes an ’80s Hallowe’en in Morningside, Edinburgh, and thus perfectly captures my childhood Hallowe’ens – all the Scottish traditions and customs. I wonder if it perhaps isn’t sold or has been changed these days, as Maisie’s ‘Red Indian Chief’ costume would be considered culturally insensitive now.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Liam Payne and J Balvin – ‘Familiar’
Bananarama – ‘Really Saying Something’
Wham! – ‘Club Tropicana’
Prince – ‘1999’
Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett – ‘The Monster Mash’
Barenaked Ladies – ‘One Week’
The Black Crowes – ‘Hard To Handle’
Pet Shop Boys – ‘On Social Media’

Taking a day off

Rest day mile today…

…and I’m now taking the rest of the day off to read, watch Hallowe’en TV, and play videogames, which is a Monday habit I’ve wanted to get back into for a while.

The extra hour gained over the weekend has helped a bit with sleep, but not much. I think I just have to accept that I need a bit of extra sleep right now and schedule things accordingly.

Back to work tomorrow.

Just some of the dresses I’ll be selling online soon. I need to get them all photographed this week.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Ozzy Osbourne – ‘Shot In The Dark’
Glenn Miller – ‘In The Mood’
Sia – ‘The Greatest’
Sheena Easton – ‘9 To 5 (Morning Train)’

Quiet week, quiet weekend

Rest day mile today…

…which will hopefully set me up for the two longer weekend runs I’ll be doing over the next couple of days. Currently planning them out in order to avoid the wet weather!

I would say I’m looking forward to a ‘quiet weekend’ (I am) but in all honesty it’s been a pretty quiet week. I keep reading about things starting up again in a COVID-secure way and getting the urge to go, but I know it’ll be a big adjustment when it comes time to start leaving the house for stuff again and so I need to take it slowly.

Running vlogs as usual over the weekend, and I’ll be back to update on Monday.

Hallowe'en 2004
Flashback Friday: Pumpkin carving in the lead-up to Hallowe’en 2004, with ‘help’ from the family’s new kitten, José, who was always fascinated by pumpkins. He used to stick his paws into the open mouths of lit lanterns and singe his fur. Miss you precious one 🖤

Today’s earworm playlist:

Sacre – ‘The London Marathon [Theme From The Trap]’
WG Snuffy Walden – ‘The West Wing (Main Theme)’