Not much running activity this week (I’m going to be doing my long run for the weekend tomorrow), but still doing RED January, the Mind (UK mental health charity) initiative to get people exercising and feeling well. I’m also not back to yoga yet, as I am still coughing a little when I lie flat or bend forwards!

Monday – 60 calf raise / heel drops, 60 squats, 60 lunges each side (10 return to base, 10 walking each time).

Tuesday – As I knew I was running in the evening on Thursday, I treated myself to a daytime solo run once some post had come – went out late morning. I kitted myself out in my RUN January t-shirt and my 401 buff (more on 401 later), proud to be carrying the MIND logo on my arm.

I did a circular route around the area on familiar roads. There was a bit of stopping to cough, and also to take my photo of the day, which was the Wake Green Road Prefabs (I know how my international readers liked my ford last week, so another treat).

Prefabs!

These were supposed to be temporary after WWII and there are quite a few still around – I have the odd distinction of having lived about this far away from three lots of them! You can read about prefabs on Wikipedia here.

There was a hard hill in this and my mile splits were varied to reflect that, but I was really pleased to at last be able to pick up the pace a little to a usual pace on a shorter run.

5 miles, 11:18 mins per mile

Wednesday – I met up with my best friend, Emma, who lives in London (we’re in our 27th year of friendship) and after a lovely lunch and catch-up, we did quite a lot of the Digbeth Graffiti Walk.  Em had a train to catch and we spent time photographing different places, so we’ll finish it another time.

We have a lot of great street art, much in this area, and it’s constantly changing – when my husband photographed the little men on the pipe in December, there was no lobster lady! 3.9 miles walked in total.

Thursday – I had the great pleasure of helping support the running club’s To 5k and Beyond group in their second week, so it was run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds x 7. I set my watch to walk-run intervals and accompanied the lovely Kerry round. Always a privilege to help this group – I’ll have another session later on in their progression and hope to do or marshal their graduating parkrun, too.

On brand

I ran there a little long and back the long, wiggly way round to make up some mileage, even though it was really cold and there were ice patches on the pavements!

1 mile / 11:34 mins per mile, 1.6 miles / 16:06 mins per mile, 2.2 miles / 11:42 mins per mile

Friday – spaced out during the day again: 40 calf raises, 60 heel drops and 80 squats; 20 bicep curls and 20 straight arm lifts with hand weights.

Saturday – A lovely day at the National Running Show at the local exhibition centre. I was lucky to get a lift with Dave and we and Ursula watched the first few speakers, then Ursula and I had a look around the stands, I met up with Bernice and some friends of hers from her personal training group who she’d met up with there, and saw a bit of Trudie and various Bournville Harriers friends. All good stuff. Best of all, the wonderful Ben Smith from the 401 Challenge was there. I met Ben when he was running 401 marathons in 401 days in aid of Kidscape and Stonewall: he ran with the running club two days, I did a half-marathon with him and he told me he’d run the Reykjavik Marathon and encouraged me to sign up – which I did. So he started me on my marathon career and has been a huge inspiration. He’s a lovely chap – bounded over for a hug first thing then took to the stage with Susie Chan, amazing ultra runner, to co-host the event.

Susie and Ben take the stage

Jordan Wylie spoke about starting running while raising money for charity – his first marathon was in Afghanistan! Jo Pavey seemed a bit nervous but was completely charming, talking about her running journey, being defined by her age (grrr) and getting her running in as a mum. Roger Black was equally charming and obviously a very practised speaker, revisiting his 4x400m triumphs and what on earth you do next.

Roger Black

I missed Iwan Thomas and Mara Yamauchi as was looking for and finding Bernice, and caught Brendan Rendall (on running through Africa) and Claire Maxted (on not being afraid to DNF though she did it in an 8-day ultra). Before Brendan came on I grabbed the opportunity for a selfie with Ben to keep as inspiration for my next adventures.

He is my hero on a running and personal level, having overcome bullying and depression to do massive work and fundraising, all the while remaining connected to people and humble, and making sure everyone feels included. There’s more about him and my encounters with him on this review of his book from last year.

I walked 1.5 miles at the show and talked and learned a lot about running, so I counted that as my activity, as I was shattered when I got home!

Sunday – I worked today to make up for running tomorrow. Took the long way round and back to my usual cafe meetup with Gill to make a 2-mile walk and did 20 squats.

Miles this week:  9.5 miles (the rest to come tomorrow) Miles this year: 43.4

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 Holly’s is here.