After last week’s short week of running (9.5 miles in the week; I was at the running show then working at the weekend), Monday’s run really “belonged” to last week, but then I ended up only running on Wednesday and today so that made three for this week. Does it really matter? No. Does it matter I won’t make 83.3 miles for January and be on the way to 1,000 in 2019? No, not really. Anyway, I continue to do RED January, the Mind (UK mental health charity) initiative to get people exercising and feeling well. So there’s a report for each day, but not a long one.

But first, a lovely long run report!

Monday – BIRTHDAY LONG RUN!!! It was my 47th birthday, so what better to do than run 12 miles? Lovely Claire with her useful Mondays off was on hand, although she was a  bit nervous as she had planned a route to include the bit I fell over on with her in June last year. She was especially nervous about breaking me on my birthday – but we managed OK!

This is the main part of the route that took in so many canal paths, riverside paths (not a big river, we don’t have those in Birmingham) and parks or greenways between them. Claire’s always good for an interesting route and there was off-road business and even some mud! I took some pics along the way …

I’ve taken this photo before but from on the bridge. I love the old signpost.

Kings Norton Junction from another angle

We ran into Bournville and stopped to take a view of the Carillon – this is a musical instrument (inside) that plays a tune on the bells in the tower. It’s lovely at Christmas and it chimed the quarter-hour as we passed it.

Bournville Carillon

And I couldn’t resist a quick pic of the Cadbury chocolate factory.

Chocolate factory!

And what I was doing it all for – my Red January Tshirt was worn proudly on this run. No pics of me and Claire as it was quite damp down by the canal and I had a red nose!

Having those days on the back of the t-shirt has really motivated me to do activity every day.

12 miles, 12:41 mins per mile (I was very pleased with that pace esp as we walked up some hills)

Tuesday – I did 30 minutes of stretches, spread through the day – very good after the long run the day before.

Wednesday – Oh dear – it was REALLY cold and very icy. I wanted a run that wasn’t too late so met Mary Ellen and off we set – lots of the pavements were covered in ice or black ice and we did a weird route based on pavements we found that weren’t too bad. Mary Ellen had to use her “mom voice” to encourage me (I’m notoriously feeble on ice and there was nothing thick enough to wear yak trax etc – she grew up in Chicago so was more OK with it; she was great with a “let’s just power-walk this bit”). And Mary Ellen’s gloves, borrowed from her children (and yes, two for the same hand) we e excellent: I could NOT work out what they were as she ran up the road when we met!

Mary Ellen and her gloves

3.2 miles, 14:02 mins per mile

Thursday – 60 squats, 60 calf raises/heel drops, 40 sit-ups.

Friday – 100 squats and 80 crunches, some housework and some DIY that involved streeeeeeeeeetching (putting draught excluder round the front and inner lobby doors and securing it with extra sticky stuff).

Saturday – Officiating time! Third shift this month: I do have a weekend off coming up. I was in the Start Team for the Midlands Cross-Country Championships in Newbold Comyn, Leamington Spa. This place is famous for its ditch – more a mud hollow this time, but I have actually jumped in it in the past! I got the train to Leamington and had a lovely 1.5 mile walk to the venue alongside a great park. Got there, helped hang up route maps, had a briefing then off we went to start 10 races, from under-13 girls and boys to Senior women and men. My job was to help control the entrance to the start pen, making sure everyone who came in had no parent with them / training tops and joggers off and number visible / number not folded or otherwise obscured / timing chip around their ankle / was ready to start, not intending to warm up (and wipe our lovely white lines off the grass!). Everyone was well-behaved and of course I saw lots of people I knew from local clubs once the Seniors were starting.

Once we’d started the men off our job was done, so I stood down and went to watch the racing with my friend Dave, who had been a “runner” taking results sheets back to HQ, and Allie, who was cheering her husband Tim on. We stood by the ditch for a bit and shouted for everyone we knew, then went back to the tent. I’d spotted a legend among parkrunners and a transform your running group I’m in (it hasn’t, because I’ve never done the exercises properly, but it’s a good group), Imran Ali, who LOVES to do a selfie – so I plucked up the courage to “offer” him a selfie with an actual race official.

Thanks to Imran Ali for the pic and permission to use it

Note my new flouro jacket (a big success) and cowl in club colours crocheted by Allie as a birthday present (thanks again!). Oh, and the people behind us are rolling up a club tent, not performing CPR! A good day and I got a lift home. Not seen: my new wind-resistant, rain-resistant FUZZY INSIDED trousers that kept me toasty warm with only woolly tights underneath.

Oh, and I walked 5.3 miles in total.

Sunday – A medium long run with Trudie and Caroline. Man, it was WINDY! So windy. I did a little run up and down the road first, oh, lovely easy running up the road, then on the way back, oh, it’s windy. I felt like I looked like a dog with its head out of a car window, jowls flapping in the breeze! We had a lovely run round some familiar paths, we stopped for photos and a loo visit in Cannon Hill Park and spotted club coach Lee with his Intervals session and waved and cheered everyone on (I failed to capture them on my phone).

Cannon Hill Park boating lake

Running up Salisbury Road we did one of Trudie’s “balance the phone on something” selfies, this time on a salt bin!

Liz, Trudie, Caroline (I’m managing to obscure the RED January logo on my t-shirt). Thanks Trudie for pic and permission to use.

We then ran up into Moseley and did a detour to capture St Agnes’ Church, as I know my readers, esp the overseas ones, like a nice English picture.

It started to do some freezing rain just after this but we took Caroline back near her road then Trudie and I finished our 8 miles. I did try to capture the t-shirt on at home, but mirrors …

Really pleased with the pace here, and I think all those squats are paying off as I managed to run, however slowly, up all the hills, and end up with an under-12 minute mile for Mile 8.

8 miles, 12:18 mins per mile

Miles this week: 23.2 Miles this year: 66.6 (oo-er)

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.