“The Red and the Green” round-up and “The Time of the Angels” preview #IMReadalong @IrisMurdoch


Welcome back to the great Iris Murdoch readalong and today we’re reviewing “The Red and the Green” and looking forward to “The Time of the Angels”. I’ve got a lovely cover to share of “The Red and the Green” in the same series as we saw for “The Italian Girl”. Some of these paperbacks are very weird, aren’t they! In other news, I’ve ordered my next five Vintage Classics, as I am enjoying reading the introductions and updating my collection, and I’ve managed to fill in the last gap in my collection of first editions (just so I can take images for you, my readers, of course!) which happened to be the next three after we’ve done creepy, foggy London (not to mention creepy, foggy Carel). But first a round-up.

“The Red and the Green”

For the book which is possibly the least popular, not to mention with IM herself, apparently, we did get a good discussion going on this one over on my review earlier in the month. People surprised themselves, I think, by getting more out of it than they expected. I’d certainly forgotten that epilogue and was worrying about what was going to happen to everyone as I read through it.

Apart from the discussion, Jo has contributed a great review on Goodreads.

Maria Peacock and Peter Rivenberg, who have turned into real stalwarts of the readalong, submitted their weird edition’s front covers, with Maria offering the blurb, too. The cover is clearly in the same edition we saw last month with “The Italian Girl” and Peter wondered who the figure is (and why are they hiding in the bushes?). Is it a man or a woman (have a look at those fingernails) and why are they dressed like someone from the 60s for a book set in 1916 (oh, wait: it was published in 1968)?

Here’s the blurb:

Book blogger BuriedInPrint came across this and “The Time of the Angels” in a charity shop: this Penguin 1960s cover is clearly from the same edition as the lurid “Italian Girl” one I featured last month:

9 Buried in Print The Red and the Green Penguin

If you have comments to make or links to blog posts or Goodreads reviews to post, you can put them here or (better still) on the review. And if you chose NOT to read this one, I’d love to know why …

“The Time of the Angels”

Now we’re going seriously odd on the covers I have for this novel. I can kind of understand the peculiar figures on the first, but not sure who the woman on my 1983 Triad Granada is (I don’t have a note of when I bought this, which means it was really early on: what on EARTH did I make of it in my mid-teens?). I actually think the Vintage edition’s cover sums it up best for me.

Here’s the blurb from the first edition:

We’ll see that IM is cast as an enchantress or spell-caster in these blurbs, which I love.

Here’s the Triad Granada:

Not so many names here or indeed characters, but obviously inspired by the first one. I do like the Times’ assessment of the book, too!

And my Vintage classic:

So, again, a sort of greatest hits!

I’m looking forward to diving into the dank, murky depths of this one again. There are certainly some memorable scenes, and we’re back with London as a central character, too.

Are you going to be reading or re-reading “The Time of the Angels” along with me? Are you catching up with the others or have you given up)? What’s your favourite so far? Your least favourite?

You will find a page listing all of these blog posts here, updated as I go along.

Book review – Prajwal Parajuly – “Land Where I Flee” #20BooksofSummer #amreading


Slowly, slowly, I’m working my way up that pile of books (although of course it’s my original pile and “The Accidental Apprentice” was abandoned weeks ago (see my page for the project for the up-to-date list). This is actually Book 10 – so it’s a bit of a shame it’s the last day of the second month rather than half-way through the month. And look at the satisfying but also slightly intimidating size of those Viragoes and Persephones to come in August. Gulp.

I have also finished “King of the North Wind” and submitted my review to Shiny New Books, so look out for my link to my review in due course.

So, here’s my review of Book 10 in the project, one of two I bought in Oxfam in October while, presumably, shopping for LibraryThing Virago Group Secret Santa ideas.

Prajwal Parajuly – “Land Where I Flee”

(25 October 2017 – Oxfam)

In a book which on paper I should have loved, three siblings fly in to Sikkim in Northern India, two from the US and one from the UK, to celebrate their grandmother’s 84th birthday. Two have gone against what would be traditionally expected of them (neither on purpose) but only one’s “error” is known; the other has made a “good” marriage but is desperately unhappy.

We learn a lot about the lives of Northern Indian hijras (the intersex/transgender/trans people who make their living dancing at weddings and other events, in this case a eunuch who uses feminine pronouns and is both exploited and exploiter; this group now has a legal position as the third gender in India), and the difficulties of the Nepali people and those calling for an independent Gorkhaland State (this I knew nothing about), but the book is made a bit uncomfortable-feeling, in my eyes, by the author being from that area and his own author character mining Prasanti for details of her hijra experience. There’s metafiction and then there’s weird grubbiness, somehow. This metafictional character and a really distasteful scene with another character which seemed only put in to echo a scene in the writer character’s book (told you!) really did undermine the book for me; I loved the Caucasian American character and especially the fact that he’s essentially unchanged by his experience in India, which I thought was subtle but very clever, but things don’t really resolve enough for the lover of a family intercultural saga book or in fact for other kinds of readers.

I think the book had too much it wanted to say and get across, and in the process, the characters, even though they should have had plenty to them, fell a bit flat. It was OK, but as it was on paper the perfect book for me, that wasn’t quite enough for me.

This was Book 10 in my #20BooksOfSummer project.

I’m currently reading Becky Wade’s “Run the World”, which is irresistibly about visiting different running cultures around the world and has already featured parkrun, and I’m going to save Gurjinder Basran’s “Everything Was Good-Bye” until the end of the project, after the Viragoes and Persephones, because it felt a bit too similar to this one in terms of culture clashes and unconventional marriages (which is why it was dropped in the first round of choices and only made it back in with the removal of “Accidental Apprentice”.


Sedate lady running 23-29 July 2018 #amrunning #running


A slightly odd week this week with not that much exercise. It’s been SO HOT (until the weather broke on Saturday, hooray) and the lack of sleep that has engendered has made everything hard. Plus ordering things on inappropriate days (see below).

Monday – I went with my friend Dave to an interesting talk by Dr Martin Yelling at the University of Wolverhampton about his life in running and his work training other runners. There was a lot of talk of just running for the joy of it rather than always pushing for something which really chimed with me.

Tuesday – I woke up for 5:40 am ready to go for an early run … and heard a quad bike in the distance. We’re really plagued with kids on quad bikes and scooters at the moment, and while I don’t like vilifying all kids, someone out on a quad bike at that time in the morning is unlikely to be entirely benign. So annoying, but I went to club run in the (boiling) evening instead. Hard work dragging round the course, I can’t even remember now if I ran with Claire, who was tail-running; I think I did. Sheesh! It was hot, anyway. I was late up there so my first mile was 11:07, including some under 10:00 mm pace on the way up to the park.

5.4 miles 12:33 mm

Savon de Marseille and Savon d’Alep

Wednesday – Normally yoga day but I had ordered some replacement soaps for myself and of course they arrived at yoga time! I must just tell you about these – lovely pure Savon de Marseille and Savon d’Alep soaps from French manufacturers that I order from Salon du Savon, their soaps are so gentle on my skin, especially as I’m prone to break-outs when I’m sweating a lot, and they help soothe chafed areas, too. Their Savon d’Alep is ethically sourced and supports Syrian producers displaced by the war there. (I don’t get anything from promoting them, I just love them!). So I had lovely soaps but no yoga. Who does stretching on a day they were going to go to yoga? Um …


Thursday – A standard running day for me but it was TOO HOT. It was 86F which is hot for the UK, and very humid. I was just too scared of heat exhaustion etc. to even think of it.

I did get excited this week as my membership pack arrived from the Midlands Association of Athletics Officials. I am, as we know, planning to train as a track and field official as well as an endurance one, and so I was keen to get the book of rules (who doesn’t like a book of rules) and also have a name badge (name plate to follow, apparently) and a special pen that writes on wet paper (again, what’s not to like?). I feel quite “official” having this!

Friday – I was getting twitchy from not running. I didn’t have much time as I was waiting in for yet another delivery, so I went out from 6-6.30. The bin men were out in force, which was nice as they usually wave at me (and did) although the streets were a little pungent! Sunrise was just after 5 and it was still very dawny when I got back, even though it was still 60F at 6am.

Just post-dawn across the rooftops

I was meant to just go out to blow the cobwebs away and felt slow at first, with my watch showing just the time so I could get back in good time. But when 11:19 came up for the first mile, I thought, “I wonder if I could get a negative split (for once)?” and pushed it a bit harder on the next mile. 11:16 for mile 2 – that counts, right? So I pushed a bit more, remembering this is pre-breakfast and I’d only had a light meal for my tea the night before, and I got 11:14 pace for the last half-mile. I was also pleased I’d got my cadence up to 169 spm as it’s 164 naturally. Shows even a sedate lady can go a little faster at times! I did feel a bit queasy when I got home, which is unusual for me but it felt good to have got out.

Oh, and no yoga because I’d ordered a new record player (the cat threw some biography books onto the old one) and it arrived … at yoga time. Gah!

2.5 miles 11:16 mm

Saturday – It was my turn on the rota to lead the club’s half-marathon training. The Birmingham half-marathon is in October (I might even do it again myself this year) and we offer training at a pace of 12-13mm designed for people building their confidence and distance. It’s a lovely group to support as people are mostly running the longest they’ve yet run and it’s great to help them build up. Here I am in club “alternative” kit (the one anyone, as opposed to just members, can wear):

Club-branded Liz

Slightly odd hair caused by going out with wet hair to keep cool. It was actually a nice cool morning with a breeze and even some drizzle – such a difference! It was a lovely run with a group of 9 plus me. I greatly admire Helen, who ran longer than she has in a while, and Sara, battling through plantar fascitis and it was great to help the others achieve something. I led very much from the back but was glad to have more sedate folk to run with and the speedier ones ran ahead then waited at big junctions. I am not phased by this as I have the knowledge I’ve run two marathons and one DIY one and can run for 6 hours – it does help!

And in the afternoon it REALLY RAINED! Look!

Actual rain!

8.7 miles total with the 7.5 mile training run at 12:39 mm and the runs to and from 11:29 and 11:57

And that was it for the week, because I’m going to try for a good long one on Monday, along the canals, in preparation for my 18 mile race on 11 August.

Anyone got any tips for Sara on beating plantar?

Miles this week: 16.6

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 590 miles (well on track – needs to be 583 by the end of the month and I have a run in hand to do tomorrow!)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here

Book review – Peter Ginna (ed.) – “What Editors Do” #20BooksOfSummer #amreading @KOKEdit @DoctorSyntax


I’ve been a bit absent on this blog this week – sorry! I finished this book ages ago and have been absorbed in Henry II (you’ll have to wait for my review of “King of the North Wind” until it’s out on Shiny New Books, and no, I haven’t quite written it yet. Or finished the book). I’ve had a lot of work on this week and just don’t seem to have got round to writing this review, especially as it’s quite a special book.

Being Book 9, you can see the white spine, well, well over half way up the pile you can see in the pic. So I’ve probably got fewer pages to read before the end of the challenge than I’ve read already (right?).

You see, I basically bought it because it had a chapter by a friend of mine in it. Whoo hoo! But I read it all because it was fascinating, engaging and useful. Hooray!

Peter Ginna (ed.) – “What Editors Do”

(15 October 2017)

The book’s subtitle – “The Art, Craft, and Business of Book Editing” very aptly sums it up. Oh, and it’s beautifully edited itself, too. After an excellent introduction giving us useful definitions (trade, mass market and scholarly publishing, for example) and the three phases of editing (acquisition, text development and publication), Ginna shares that he is optimistic about the profession, which sets the scene for a fascinating and engaging read. We then have a series of wonderful chapters covering the bigger themes of acquisition, the editing process, publication, categories and varieties of careers in book editing. Although I am an editor, I only cover the text development side of things (and then narrower categories within that, as I tend towards line and copy-editing and proofreading rather than developmental editing) so it was a revelation and great learning experience for me to find out more about how the publishing industry works as a whole.

All of the chapters are fascinating in their different ways, and the chapters aren’t too long and are full of personal experience and honesty (with lots of people admitting all sorts of mistakes along the way, with Matt Weiland even outlining a Terrible Error he made with someone’s book, which is very refreshing but very like the edibuddies I’ve come to know during my career), so it’s engaging and attractive to read all the way through and never dips or drags.

The book is full of great, down-to-earth advice. Some things appear more than once, so are obviously hugely important, the two main ones I noticed being never buy a book you don’t love and there’s a lot of emphasis on making sure the writer’s voice and intent shine through in everything you edit which I think would reassure writers.

The categories or genres section is full of really interesting case studies – especially the one on developing and editing the different kids of children’s books by Nancy Siscoe. I was pleased to read that Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” (which I reviewed here) was the best memoir that Jonathan Karp has edited, and I enjoyed Betsy Lerner’s experience of being edited herself (I wrote about my experience of that over on my work blog here).

I enjoyed Carol Fisher Saller’s piece on the nuts and bolts of copyediting (I read her book a while ago and loved it), especially her comparison of different ways in which different style guides expect editors to format abbreviations, etc. and her discussion of “the mistaken belief that there is a single ‘correct’ way to render a piece of writing” (p. 110). This is something I’ve encountered with some of my own clients and I’ll be quoting from the piece when I write an article for my work blog on this topic: it was great to see it treated here.

Katharine O’Moore-Klopf’s chapter on making a career as a freelance editor, which is of course is super, is what I bought the book for and how I knew about it, but I stayed to read all the chapters and the whole thing was a complete delight.

I would recommend this book to all editors, writers and people generally interested in the process of how books get from ideas to the printed (or electronic) page. The chapters I’ve singled out are by no means the only stand-out ones: it’s of a very good quality and level of interest throughout.

This was Book #9 in my 20BooksOfSummer challenge.

I’m currently finishing off “King of the North Wind”, and very good it is, too (I’m learning an awful lot about this not-well-known king) and I’ve just started on Prajwal Parajuly’s “Land Where I Flee”, which promised to be a very good and entertaining culture-clash story about returning to one’s roots. What are you reading? How are you doing with your 20 Books of Summer or other challenges?


Sedate lady running 16-22 July 2018 #amrunning #running


First of all, thank you to everyone for your comments on weight training last week – very helpful indeed and a lot to think about. I am definitely going to add some in and am looking at the schedules at my gym as it makes sense to use my membership for more than just yoga: there are some Fit in 30 classes which are apparently HIIT classes and I’ve also found a Spin class on a Wednesday which would give me time to get home, shower and pop back for yoga, which might be a good upper-body strength and cross-training option. I’ve also added a new sport this week – read on for details!

Tuesday – I went to club run even though it was hot: I ended up running with the tail runner (lovely George, who’s recovering from costochondritis (inflammation of the intercostal muscles) so a nice chat about that, as you do. Because I was running with the tail I thought I’d done “badly” however my pace was quite normal for a Tuesday night with all the hills. I was a bit out of breath and wobbly: I hadn’t quite realised how my reaction to the horsefly bite I got on Sunday was affecting me (it didn’t get infected – yay – but it did react allergically and blew up – boo; I’ve still got a 1/2 p sized bit of skin missing on my thigh!). But I got round.

One good thing was that I got out my second new pair of Saucony Guide 9 trainers – I’d previously got sore toes with the others ones. I relaced these in the way I usually do to get my heels back and supported (using that last hole to create a loop then threading the laces through: do these pics make sense?):

Special lacing from the side

I kind of kicked my heels right back into them when I put them on, and loosened the laces at the toe end and they seemed to be OK. Phew! I will relace again the other pair and try them out on a short run.

5.3 mi, 12:20 mm (including an 11:07 first mile because I thought I was late)

Wednesday – Dave yoga. I was extremely rubbish – stiff and shaky, almost walked out at one point. I think it was still the effects of the bite, plus the 14 miler on Sunday. Bah.

Thursday – I eschewed Jenny’s offer of a morning run as I can only do about 5.8 miles before breakfast and I wanted to do 7 to bring Sunday’s planned run to the total for the week. MAN it was hot. I met Mary Ellen at 6pm, she could only fit in an hour before going for a curry so we did a big loop then headed for the breezes and shade of the park.

We were just talking about different sports and I was saying how Matthew likes badminton when we heard a shout of my name, and it WAS Matthew, and I got him to take a pic of us running, because everyone on the link-up seems to manage to get pictures of themselves running. Even though I’m talking in this one, I think it’s great of both of us (Mary Ellen on the left, me on the right) and it also shows the kind of suburban streets we run down.

Mary Ellen and Liz

Note, I’m wearing longer leggings because I still had a dressing on my bite! Once in the park I carried on round and round. I saw my club mates gathering for their canal run or hills training and said hello to them. And I didn’t manage 7 miles because I was TOO HOT – I did 5.8, which of course I could have done a lot more comfortably at 6 AM. Grr. I walked up all the hills to conserve energy so was pleased with my pace: I managed to get a 200 yard 9-10 mm sprint in at the end.

5.8 mi, 12:07 mm

Friday – Claire yoga. Jenny came with me as her class was cancelled and we had a lovely coffee and catch-up afterwards. Much better class, I felt good and managed a lot more flexibility. I did giggle looking in the mirror wall – Jenny looked SO serene, I had a big frown and a concentrating face on!

Saturday – There were free tennis sessions on at a few places, organised by the British Tennis Association, and Matthew and I went down to the cricket club, which has a tennis club, because my running friend Lynda (who runs for sister club Bournville Harriers) was going to be there and I was a bit nervous. It was SO MUCH FUN and I def want to make space for tennis in my life again. I last played 15 years ago and Matthew more like 30 – but with some brilliant coaching from Lynda, my serve improved dramatically and I was able to enjoy it a lot. My shoulder, arm and ribs ached a bit on Sat and Sun but not too badly.

As I don’t have many friends who play locally and Matthew can’t do daytimes, I’m working out what to do now, but I’m hoping to do their Rusty Rackets course with him in the autumn to get our technique up to scratch. Came back with more suntan and a big smile!

Sunday – Pete from club wanted to organise his own half-marathon training on Sundays – we have an official scheme on a Saturday that I help with. As he advertised it at 11-12 mm and said he’d not leave anyone behind, I and a few of the sedate ladies decided to go along. It was great fun, a lovely group of people, some of whom I’d not run with before (note that Trudie and Caroline did NOT coordinate their outfits this time, although we seemed to get a message to wear black or blue/turquoise …)

Sunday unofficial half training crew – thanks, Pete (third from left, back row)!

We did about 6 miles together; I wanted to do 8.9 to bring my total for the week to 20 so ran to the other side of the park with Caroline then did a bit more on my own. I was pleased with my splits, given all the HILLS (we did a load of the half route and it has HILLS, gave a few of us flashbacks to the Birmingham Marathon), and a nice sprint at the end:

I did giggle at the Strava segments I PR’d in this run – I did NOT name these …

A great run and I will join in again – I’m leading the official training on Saturday so will miss Sunday’s one next week.

A good week all in all, very pleased with being able to run in the heat a bit more … well, I won’t say easily, I was panting for ages in the house on Thursday and took a while to stop sweating today, but I’m used to it. I will probably run early on Tuesday as it’s set to be over 30 (86) temperature wise, not sure about Thursday, then the half training next week, adding up to 20 miles I hope, then a long run on the Monday to be my last long one before the race on Aug 11.

Hope you all had good running weeks. What’s your top tip for surviving the head and how many buffs / head wraps do you have in your drawer?

Miles this week: 20.1

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 573 miles (on track – needs to be 583 by the end of the money)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

Book review – Christopher McDougall – “Born to Run” plus #BookConfessions #20BooksOfSummer #amreading


I turned to this book with excitement as I haven’t read a running book in a while and this is supposed to be one of the classics. Bought in Penzance in October 2017 (get me with my being caught up!), it represents Book 8 in my #20BooksOfSummer project, which feels like some progress (I’m already reading Book 9, and Books 10-12 are two novels and a running/travel book so that all feels doable by the end of the month). I did acquire some books this week: I had a slightly unexpected dentist appointment (my old dentist had a habit of rescheduling so my March-September appointments have slipped, thank goodness for their text reminders) and popped into Oxfam books to see if I could find a nice novel, came out with … well, you’ll see below.

Christopher McDougall – “Born to Run”

(02 October 2017, Penzance charity shop)

Far from being the polemic about shoeless running from the start through to the end that I was expecting, this is a very engaging narrative non-fiction book. He spends most of it in shoes, actually, although he is, as expected, in careful pursuit of the elusive Tarahumara people of Mexico, the best ultra-runners in the world. He tracks them down with the help of a strange and elusive feral man who turns out to have been so inspired by supporting them through a US race that he gave everything up and built his own shack in the mountains – hardly the most suitable chap to set up a race or even manage to meet, but McDougall seems to manage to gel with him and find a charm in him, as he does in (almost) everyone).

McDougall weaves in a lot of history and information about the sport of long-distance running, especially in the US (claiming it peaks in national crises), and I loved how other runners I’ve read about earlier get woven into the narrative, too, from Deana Castor‘s Coach Vigil through Dean Karnazes (McDougall is not a fan, it’s safe to say) to Scott Jurek, who he has a lot of time for and spends a lot of time with. I’d already read about Jurek’s run with the Tarahumara so it was lovely to have this triangulated from an outsider’s point of view, backing up the impression of him as an all-round nice guy, fitting in nicely with Coach Vigil’s emphasis on being a good person as well as a good runner.

I also very much liked the (non-sexist, non-creepy) celebration of some of the amazing women of ultra-running, very much strong and equal to the men, with higher proportions finishing ultras than men have, interestingly (this might just be in the US, although I know some super tough female ultra runners here, too!). An oddball set of characters, including one woman, is assembled for the first Tarahumara/US race on Mexican paths, and I really liked the mutual respect the two groups show each other in this section, exciting as it is, but also very human.

The stuff on barefoot running and humans being born to run is all backed up scientifically and almost made me throw out my shoes (I have one leg longer than the other, so I feel I fall into the small percentage of people that McDougall admits do need support and orthotics!) – I will certainly work on foot and ankle strengthening, though. I can see how it makes people espouse that and he’s careful not to be too stary-eyed and pushy about it and to advocate taking care (and the barefoot runner in the race does suffer somewhat, so it’s not all shown as being easy).

It’s an exciting book, full of risk and danger, but not too gung-ho: McDougall is honest about his own short-comings as a runner and all he has to learn, and indeed his mis-steps in the process of studying the Tarahumara. I can see why this book is considered a classic and heartily recommend it.

This was Book #8 in my 20BooksOfSummer challenge.

So I didn’t exactly pick up a light novel in Oxfam! Here we have Simon Garfield’s “On the Map: Why the World Looks the Way it Does” which I was sure I had, but no. I do like books about maps. Harold Nicolson’s “Journey to Java” is a real find, one of his travel books, obviously, and one I’ve been after for a while. John Carter and Nicholas Barker’s “A.B.C. For Book Collectors” is a 1990s edition of a classic I pored over when I was a special collections library assistant: it covers all the ways book sellers describe second-hand books, the parts of a book etc., but is also very sparkling and witty in the way it does it. I can’t wait to read this again, with its updates.

I’m currently reading Peter Ginna’s “What Editors Do”, which, even without having a chapter by an edibuddy of mine, is absolutely fascinating: just because I’m an editor myself doesn’t mean I know how it all works in a big publishing house or how people do acquiring and developmental editing. A real pleasure to read.

Have you any confessions to make?

Sedate lady running 09-15 July 2018 #amrunning #running


My husband and I both had the week off this week – it didn’t really affect my running’n’yoga routines as I was able to keep to those as usual (we didn’t go anywhere, but had a rest from work and got stuff done around the house, gently and slowly). It was nice to go for an early morning run and not have to worry about getting back and sorted in a rush to start my day’s work (some of my clients are in different time zones so I often have stuff to do early).

One thing I have noted from all the posts I’ve been reading in the link-up every week is that I really need to get back into strength training. I used to love going to the gym and doing some different cardio than running, then getting on the machines and free weights, but seem to have lost that routine. As well as getting back into spin, I’m going to look at doing that twice a week. I think this will help my running and resilience. Yoga is set for Wednesday and Friday mornings, the spin class I can get to most easily is on a Thursday morning, so I think I might need to move my Thursday run to a Friday. That would mean run Tues, Fri and Sat or Sun, yoga Weds and Fri, Spin Thu and strength training when? I work from home and to my own schedule, however being out a whole morning or afternoon would be tricky. ETA Tuesday and Thursday runs are often with running club in the evening, starting just before 7. Any hints on how to sort out my schedule would be gratefully received!

Old running kit!

Tuesday – Did 5.4 miles at 6.30 am – this is the same distance as the running club’s evening run as I wanted to replicate that to make sure I kept up with things. It was really hot and humid and also hayfevery, as I took my medications for that at 6 and they were variously not kicking in yet/ choking me (the nasal spray) and blinding me (the eye drops) as I ran. Fun times! I was going to do the route Jenny and I do with some extra at the start but the extra at the start was longer than I thought and I got to our usual meeting place nearly 3 miles in so altered the second part … then hadn’t quite gone far enough and had to do little spikes up all the side roads to get the miles in.

Wore seriously ancient kit – I’m trying to get the last miles out of my old shoes after having wrecked the newest pair, so wore my Reykjavik marathon 2016 shoes (Saucony Guide 8s) and capris I’ve had since there was this shop in the top of the old shopping centre over the rail station about 14 years ago (they are flappy at the bottom which I love, but also getting quite bobbly).

5.4 miles 11:30 mm

Wednesday – Dave’s yoga class, a really nice one, keeping to the usual routine but I didn’t feel too bad except when we did the triangle on the right side and my right glute needed to free up before I could touch the floor. We went into town in the afternoon and saw Dippy the Dinosaur who is on tour from the Natural History Museum (it’s a plaster cast of a diplodocus but it’s iconic, we both saw it as kids and there it was again!) and BOUGHT TENNIS RACKETS! I’ve been after getting back into my (bad, bad) tennis for ages and finally persuaded Matthew to consider it. My old one has disappeared and was wooden! so we got Slazenger starter ones, in some kind of magical, light material. There’s a British Tennis Association open day thing at various tennis courts including two near us next weekend, and we’re hoping to go along. I also bought some shorts, including some cycling style ones and some two-layer with a cycling short under and a floaty over, the same as my friend Mary Ellen has.

New kit!

Thursday – Ran with my friend Jenny. You know when you get sick and tired of all your routes? Yup. So I suggested we do one of Jenny’s routes, except I miscalculated as our usual run together ends up at my end of the lane that joins our streets, and this one ended up at her end, so I ran a bit further than I’d planned (but it was fine). Her route took us down some VERY POSH roads to the park where we do parkrun and back and I was pleased with the pace give that we very definitely walked up the big hill!

I’m not sure there will be a picture here. If there is, it’s of my shorts! I’ve been very very reticent about wearing shorts for running even though I know it’s cooler and it doesn’t matter. I’m not one for wearing small outfits anyway and I’m conscious that I’m not the most svelte person out there and I also have different height knees because of my leg length disparity (dealt with using raises: all fine). But it’s been so HOT and I’ve embraced them. Husband said I looked “strong” in them and Jenny’s a counsellor and convinced me that wasn’t a euphemism. It was cool – I have run in shorts a bit but weird ones I’ve either cut off or repurposed, and these Karrimor ones were very comfortable and didn’t ride up at all.

The shoes weren’t brilliant, though. One of two identical pairs of Saucony Guide 9s I bought recently, a style I’ve had multiple pairs of and even a colour I’ve had before, yet they felt short and my toes were still sore a while after taking them off.  I wore my very cheap Lidl rucksack which is not going to be suitable for the long race as its neck straps are too close together while the chest and waist ones won’t go small enough (I’m not THAT narrow: who was this made for??). But that’s good to know.

5.7 miles 12:13 mm

Friday – Yoga at Claire’s class, a lot of back bends and arm work which was challenging but OK (being an endurance runner at heart I can force myself to hold positions!) and I actually felt my lower back and glute/ham were looser after that. It was lovely having a lie-in, then reading a bit (OK, then trimming the cat’s claws – slightly random) then popping round to yoga!

Saturday – Volunteered at parkrun and had a great time cheering people on. Then I co-lead a Run and Talk session, which is an initiative set up by England Athletics and the charity Mind via the Mental Health Champions in running clubs. A group of eight of us walked about a mile round the park then had a coffee and long chat about running and this and that. Came home and relaxed.

Sunday – As I’m doing this 18-mile race on 11 August, I’d decided I needed to try for 14 miles and at least a bit in the sun. So I started off later than last week, at 8.40 am. Met Trudie, Caroline and Ruth in the park and that’s when Ruth and I realised we must have been missed off the wardrobe planning email:


Even their watches were the same! Hilarious! Bonus pic of our local park, too. This featured heavily in today’s run.

We headed off down to the canals which feature in the club’s Thursday night summer run, hoping for some shade. I mean, when I got home at 12.20 it was apparently only 73 degrees which is I know a lot cooler than it has been here and is elsewhere, but it still felt BOILING. It was lovely by the canals. We were walk-running, mainly walking over canal bridges as they’re steep and tricky to navigate (they have raised bricks to help you grip but they’re easily tripped over!)

Lots of wildlife to see, including this heron,  and we did well with other runners, dog walkers and cyclists. We then popped up and ran back to the local park. Caroline and then Trudie went their ways with their 7 miles achieved, and Ruth and I soon realised that the park was the coolest place around, with a breeze and shade, so we ran-walked round and round (mainly walking on the uphill bits) until she’d reached her 10 mile target. I was on 11.88 miles by then and reckoned I could do it – I kept looping round the park (spotting my friend Louise out hunting Pokemon in her lovely new sunglasses) until I had 0.5 miles to go, paused for a drink then went home. 14 miles in the bag! I could have done without having Therapy?’s song Screamager in my head for much of the run …

A weird looping route and the pace chart looks odd because I kept forgetting to pause my watch when we stopped to catch our breath or take photos. My first mile was 12:02 and my 14th mile was 12:07 so I was pleased with that.

I wore my Salomon Active 500 belt and took a bottle of Lucozade sport and my 500 ml Salomon bottle, topping up the former with the latter. Wore my Karrimor shorts again and took my old Guide 9s out, which do not pinch, but they’re now up to over 400 miles.

14.0 miles 13:50 mm (including standing still with my watch still running!)

Miles this week: 25.1

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 539 miles (on track)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

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