A bit of an upsey-downsey week this week, but lots of supporting other runners made the harder times worthwhile and I did have a super running morning on Saturday and I did manage to do my strength and flexibility training, too. Here’s how it went.

All lights needed!

Tuesday – I was tail runner at club run on Tuesday night. We didn’t have access to the school playground where we meet as it’s half-term, and although I’d meant to do a bit extra beforehand, I didn’t have time and dashed up there. I recorded three separate runs as wanted to make sure I had the distance ran for whoever I was with at the back. I had two of the chaps from club running with me as it’s a bit dark and lonely round some of the local streets and I’m hyper-vigilant about safety, especially around Bonfire Night.

I ran most of the way with a returning runner who recently graduated from Birmingham University (making me feel elderly, as I graduated in 1992, presumably well before she was born!) and we had a good strong run. Lee who was one of the chaps accompanying me ran with me on my first run with club. I wore my head torch and one of my clip lights and ran back most of the way with my friend Ruth, who’d finished just ahead – it was good to have company running back, too!

0.7 miles, 10:53 mins per mile / 4 miles, 12:51 mins per mile / 0.8 miles, 10:57 mins per mile

Wednesday – The start of two not-amazing days. I should probably not have tried to fit in my first Circuits for 28 days (oops) on a day I had lots of work and my work invoicing to do. But I got myself to do them before lunch and oh, it was so hard, so HARD, and I have lost so much progress. I managed shorter or fewer of everything, except one more sit-up (how?) and was too tired to do the free weights at the end. How disheartening. I am trying to convince myself that it IS worth persisting and getting back into it, as it will make me stronger and fitter. And, oh, I was tired after, and ached. Wah!

Thursday – I’d planned to do a 6-mile solo daytime run. I had to wait in for my husband’s Instant Oats to arrive (which was fine: I work from home) and have to have a good gap between eating and running, so ended up going out towards dusk. I got very panicky beforehand (there was a potentially violent incident on our road on Monday which freaked me out, and I get nervous running alone in the dark) but forced myself out, and felt panicky (OK, had an anxiety attack) the whole.way.round. I did not stop gasping for breath, being on the edge of tears and being incredibly fearful, even though I picked safe, busy, well-lit and well-known roads to run along. I had to stop once to sit down and try to calm myself. Nothing doing. I realised early on it would be bad and cut the amount of time I was going to be out (hence the lower mileage this week). I did prove that you can with anxiety and you won’t collapse etc. but it was pretty horrible and I still don’t know if I was right to push on or not. Weirdly, I actually ran pretty well and consistently.

4.6 miles / 11:31 min per mile

A mat, a buff, some shoes

Friday – I went to yoga and ran into my friend Jenny there which was lovely. A great class, pretty chilled. I was a bit worried I’d panic again but having Jenny there helped (I’d have felt awful if I’d disrupted her yoga if I’d needed her but I didn’t, so all good). I tried to emulate her beatific yoga face, to little effect, and almost fell asleep after a lovely breathing practice at the start. It was a lovely stretch out and calm day and also I noticed my hamstrings were a little more flexible after I’d been making that effort to stretch them out every day while drying my hair.

Saturday – Having intended to do parkrun as part of a long run this morning as it was our club’s volunteering takeover (but they had enough volunteers), I suddenly discovered that I was rotaed to take our beginners’ session on Friday night. So I readjusted things and had some lovely running. I wanted to get 6 miles in before I had to be at the park at 9.50 to meet the attendees. Then I started out a bit late for various reasons, but I didn’t let it worry me. I took off on a five-mile route I’m very accustomed to doing, knowing I could then get to the park between 5 and 6 miles in good time to be able to make it to the meet point at the right time.

Kings Heath Park

The park was looking prettier than this suggests – it was a grey day and quite cold. I was so pleased, I was running easily without too much effort and the first mile WAS downhill but I managed 6 miles by the allotted time after all (in 69 minutes, which is good for me).

I then had one returner who’s been keeping on keeping on and her friend, a complete beginner. I love a complete beginner and took her round a run one minute / walk one and a half minutes routine for 22:30 – she did really well and enjoyed herself, we did some good stretches at the end and hopefully we have a new runner!

Pretty leaves!

I then had 2.5 miles to do to get up to 10 miles for the morning and 20 for the week but I felt happy and strong and able to continue (OK, I’d had a caffeine gel beforehand, a raspberry ripple one after 50 minutes and was on half-and-half water and Lucozade Sport, but fine) and actually managed to do 3.6 miles of looping around to bring the total up to 11 miles. No panics, lovely and easy, and I was very happy with my pace.

6 miles, 11:35 mins per mile / 1.4 miles, 15:20 mins per mile / 3.6 miles, 11:45 mins per mile

Sunday – I had the privilege of helping out at the NICE 10k. The National Institute for Conductive Education is a brilliant organisation which helps people with movement disorders lead a more active life through specialised therapy. My friend Martin Foster organises a 10k every year to help fundraise for them, with people’s entry fees and sponsorship plus the bake sale earning money for the institute. I was marshalling on a tricky corner and ended up standing on the corner ushering people away from the slippery bit, but got to see everyone three times (and some once more) as they looped past us. I was particularly impressed that Dr Melanie Brown, the Chief Executive and Director of Services was out marshalling with me, very unassuming and helpful. How wonderful! And so many runners I knew – I could probably shout out the names of about a fifth of them – a real local favourite.

The runners didn’t quite go in this many directions!

I walked over to help Lee marshal a spot near us where the runners returned from the out-and-back to do one last push and encouraged the last runners before walking back up to the institute.

Then I met up with Bernice, who you might remember did the Canal Canter with me in the summer, and we went to the cafe for some ultra training planning.

A plan with a view

Bernice reckons this photo sums us both up – she’s VERY excited, I am happy with reservations. But I know we’ll do it. And I’ve decided to post about my ultra journey on Instagram – I’m LyzzyBee on there if anyone wants to follow me!

Bernice is very excited about running an ultra. Liz is too, but shows this more “subtly”. We have the same book!

So a good week in the end – lots of supporting other runner and a decent amount of running, stretching and strength and conditioning.

Miles this week: 21.2

Yoga: once

Circuits: once

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year:  885 (only 125 to go to reach 1,000!)

Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Marcia’s (covering for Holly) is here.