Sedate lady running 11-17 February 2019 #amrunning #running #FebruaryFive

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A week when I ran on pretty well completely different days than I usually do but there we go, a change is as good as a rest, etc. I also did my biggest week in mileage terms since April 2018, so I’m glad it’s rest week next week! I’ve also kept up doing my physio exercises twice a day 5/7 days per week for February Five.

Monday – I was a bit stiff from my long run yesterday and I knew Claire was out doing her long run today, so I arranged to meet her for the end of hers and to get a recovery run in. I knew which way she was coming from so headed up to the high street to find her – her face when she saw me a bit earlier than expected (we were meeting by my house) was very sweet, but I had also wanted to check I COULD run! I took control of the route as I know how sapping it is from my experiences, so I ran her down to the park I’d run round in my end bits yesterday:

Another day, another park, another pond (photo by Claire, with permission)

We got back to our road and really I should have stopped but first I wanted to get to a round number and then I wanted to get Claire to her round number so I carried on round a loop with her. I did then stop when I got to 4.5 miles and managed to catch a snap of her coming in to finish. For those blog readers who comment about the prettiness of my running routes, this is also our reality …

Here she comes! There aren’t usually so many bins out on the street. In fact we then saw the bin lorry finally taking everyone’s recycling (there’s been a dispute recently).

Claire got 15.7 miles in and that was a hard one, running to work, having three meetings then running home! I was very glad to help her and guess what, a recovery run DOES HELP!

4.5 miles / 12:08 mins per mile

Wednesday – I went to Dave Yoga in the morning – I had to ask him not to adjust me as I was under the physio, and I concentrated very hard on trying to activate and use my lower back rather than just heaving on my hamstrings. All OK though a bit tired from concentrating!

Then Trudie, Caroline and I had a very pretty dusk run with a lovely sunset. What fun – we all needed some time outdoors with other people and there we went. I was also pleased to finally manage to make a “hat” out of my buff, having seen some instructions from my friend Dave online. Yes, doing it “on” and not overtwisting did work!

Buff Hat for the win!

A fun run: I started with Caroline while we waited for Trudie to be back from work, and Trudie and I looped back home together after saying goodbye to Caroline.

5.2 miles / 12:39 mins per mile

Thursday – my second physio session and I was nervous as I had done my exercises but was feeling stiff, esp in the lower back, plus my right shoulder and neck were hurting. He was however pleased with my progress and worked on my spine (ooowwww) and I felt a lot better afterwards. I got the bus down and back to save time, and that worked well. No appointment now until Monday week so I can work on all my exercises. He did say rather ominously that I was about 6 months away from an actual injury at the rate I was running, but I’ve done the right thing and we will hopefully prevent that.

Friday – went to Claire yoga and tried hard not to overstrain myself by pushing it, so felt a bit teary afterwards. Which was a bit silly, but sometimes yoga makes you teary anyway.

Saturday – I was rotaed to lead the club’s four-mile Saturday run which is taken at a gentle pace (12-13 mm) and is aimed at people moving up from the Beginners’ sessions on Saturdays. So I decided to make that part of my long run rather than running two days in a row (which I realise I did anyway!). Unfortunately, I’d had a stressful Friday evening (nothing too dramatic, resolved now) and not enough sleep, which are NOT good for my running, so I didn’t hold out much hope of doing the 16 I wanted.

I ran 4.3 miles on my own to get warmed up, then met Trudie, Sonya and Bernice (yay, we saw Bernice, who I ran the Canal Canter with last August but has moved away a  bit so we don’t see her often. Lovely to run with her again!) and one woman who’d come for the club run as she had been all year so far. She was a bit fast for me and we had to teach her loop backs but it was a nice run, kept to the advertised pace (I wouldn’t have been quicker if I’d not run first or after as it’s a hilly route) apart from when my water bottle fell apart suddenly!

I did some stretching at the end then Trudie, Bernice and I carried on along the club’s summer canals route, which we could all remember and which had some of the Canal Canter in it. Bernice had done parkrun before the club run and Trudie had been out the night before so we were all a bit delicate and walked / stopped for photos as necessary. Time below is run time not elapsed time but on the day of the marathon etc I will have SLEPT for example!

We got onto the canal at Bournville railway station and I had to share this lovely bit of public art.

But I’m going to be honest and share these pics where I am not looking my most happy, because this is an honest blog and it’s certainly not always easy!

In Bornville, Bernice, Trudie and Liz, photo by Bernice, with permission. What is my hair doing?

That desperate smile stuck with me (the other two are so beautiful and fresh-looking though!). We’re at the good old Kings Norton junction here. I clearly want to lie down or go home. Or possibly both.

Happy lady, happy lady, wahhh. Photo by Bernice, with permission.

We got back to the park and went in squiggles to get Bernice’s 13.1 hooray! Great work and her longest run for a bit (although we’re doing the same marathon, she is on a plan with a personal trainer while I’ve done my own and am trying to get ahead of myself so I can get used to running long and not have a horrible shock when I get to the mara. Let’s hope this works!). Then Trudie and I ran round the park and back home, then she ran up and down the road to get to her 12 (her longest for ages, too, well done!!). I got to 15.1 and I was very, very pleased with that, and my pace, all things considered.

A note on fuelling: I’d got some Tailwind samples in the week and tried the orange one. I didn’t mind the taste, though it not being sweet wasn’t a big bonus for me, and it WASN’T FIZZY, unlike all the tablet ones I’ve tried. It did go down well and I had no stomach woes whatsoever, I took in 600 mls of one sachet made up with 750 mls of water, with the rest drunk at the end and I didn’t take any gels – I felt OK but was quite hungry at the end. So I think I’d probably use it to replace every other gel and be my rehydration. I might well buy a packet of the orange though will try some of the other flavours, too (green tea is being given away, ugh, and I gave the lemon one to Bernice to try). I like the lower use of single-use plastic. I did buy some Gatorade powder too, though know that will only replace my single-use bottled lucozade, not the fuel.

15.1 miles / 12:57 mins per mile

Sunday – Our water is off! Oh no! I’m typing this at 7.30pm and they’re still digging up the road. However I still went for a run, then contorted myself to have a wash in a washing up bowl and jug standing in our walk-in shower! I did a recovery run and went out with Mary Ellen, which was lovely. Ran past BOTH burst water mains, on my road and round the corner, and did a big loop. I did 0.2 miles more than this as forgot to start my watch. But I felt SO MUCH better once I’d worked into it – this is something I’m definitely going to keep doing.

3.2 miles / 12:32 mins per mile

Miles this week: 28 Miles this year: 142.7

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 Amy’s (covering for Holly) is here.

Sedate lady running 04-10 February 2019 #amrunning #running #FebruaryFive

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A week of varied experiences, from tempo runs to run and talk on Time to Talk day, from the physio to a long marathon training run, from endurance officiating to track and field officiating. Phew. I’ve also been doing February Five, which was invented by my lovely friend Verity, who does huge amounts of fundraising for Mind: I have had to switch my “thing I do 5 days out of 7” from strength and conditioning work to two lots of rehab exercises a day … but it’s all good, right?

Tuesday – I didn’t have anyone to run with (wah) so I headed out for a tempo style run, I had a lot of work so didn’t have much time and stuck with a four-miler. The best bit? I went at the same time as my best friend, Emma, who lives in London – and we shared trainer shots when we got home (we have a “thing” about the way we stand with our toes pointed in. Hm – we also have identical stiff lower backs and weak glutes …)

Although Em doesn’t love running as much as I do, I did notice she was keen to get back to it once her physio said she could, so maybe we’ve got her. I bust a gut on this run and was chuffed to get a 10:50 final mile (super fast for me). I was trying out my new Saucony Hurricanes – I do like them and they’re definitely comfy round the toes, but they don’t feel as controlling as my Guides so I’ll have to hope they look after my overpronation. I did proper “Paul” running, knees up, pawing the ground behind me, and my cadence was 169 (up from my old 164) so happy about that.

4 miles, 11:07 mins per mile

Wednesday – went to Dave Yoga and managed fine, thank goodness; felt good to be back in that class. Dentist straight afterwards was a bit of a shock to the system!

Thursday – I had had enough of my right glute hurting and my right hamstring being sore – it’s been ages and it’s not right. My old physio, Fotios, has stopped working at the place I went to him, so I went back to my OLD old physio, Phil at Urban Body, who runs sessions out of the local council-run gym, 1.2 miles from my house. So I went down, full of having an SI joint issue or a hamstring impingement and being told not to run … to be told I have an overloaded hamstring with an old tear (when? I fear the Canal Canter) and scar tissue (now being worked on – owwww), a stiff lower back (more massage) and weak glutes (some v odd exercises). I knew about the glutes and I knew they would come and kick me in the arse (ha ha) and I also found out that when I stretch I’m using the lower back too little and heaving on the glutes, hence the overload. So I have some exercises, and rolling on the roller and a ball (I happen to already have) and I can still run (PHEW).

Thank you to my husband for the image

I went almost straight from this session to running a Run and Talk session at the running club as part of the “jeffing” (walk/run strategy). I run jeffing with the lovely Ruth and Maria is my co-Mental Health Champion, so the three of us put on this session together and we were very pleased to have club chair Barbara along, plus 9 other runners (the most we’ve had for jeffing yet). We suggested a chat about how you relax, and I’d also posted the question “What does running do for you?” in the Club Facebook group, and we’d had lovely responses to that. It was a great run and we had some lovely comments afterwards; I did two laps as my leg was aching after Phil’s ministrations, then gave out badges, leaflets and postcards to the runners who were finishing after two laps, and waited for the other runners to finish. I also gave out postcards and leaflets to other runners who were finishing their own Thursday sessions: I’d got some lovely resources from England Athletics (who run the Mental Health Champions and Run and Talk initiatives with MIND, and from Time to Change, whose Time to Talk Day it was). A great and joyful evening, I was so pleased at how well it went.

Great fold out leaflets

My husband took a poster and leaflets into work, which was brilliant, too, and I also shared them with our friends at Bournville Harriers.

0.7 miles, 11:10 mins per mile / 3.05 miles, 13:06 mins per mile / 0.7 miles, 12:20 mins per mile – total 4.4 miles

Saturday – It was the last Men’s Cross-Country League match of the season, near Stoke-on-Trent, and I had a road trip with some of our fast lads, as I was one of Club’s designated officials for the match (unlike my other officiating jobs at road relays and county / regional / national events, this is where Club has to provide the pool of officials to run the event. When I was being assistant referee the other month, I was not fulfilling Club’s commitment). I’ve arranged that in future, I’ll be a Club official rather than a core official so I can fulfil Club’s League commitments, now I’ve got enough different experiences for my next level licence). The location was beautiful but high up and look at the view:

and it was pretty windy. Barbara and I were the two officials, doing A Board Judge Recorders, which means standing at the end of the funnel after the finish line and calling (me) and writing down (Barbara) the bib numbers as the runners come through. A line judge has put them in the right order, funnel managers keep them in the right order and moving down the funnel, and B Board are part way down the funnel, also writing down. Then there are tokens with finish positions at the end.

We had a good time doing it and all went well, wet and windy weather notwithstanding. We also rescued a fellow team’s tent that blew over while the racing was going on!

3.3 miles walked

Sunday – Long run time, and having done 13.5 last week, I was keen to build up to 15, getting my marathon / ultra training a bit ahead just in case and to allow me to progress an extra mile at a time. But. But. BUT in previous campaigns I have had real trouble getting to 15, and have bailed a few times when trying. Which I told Trudie and Mary Ellen at the start. Nothing like a bit of positive thinking, eh!! So we set off on a version of my 10-mile route to Northfield and round, but with a diversion at the university which added some miles.

Here we are at the Northfield Shopping Centre (where we used the toilets): just to prove it’s not all fields and trees and prettiness:

Trudie, Mary Ellen, Liz: we didn’t do any of these things. Thanks for the photo, Trudie.

We carried on (getting overtaken by svelte, fast, tiny-shorted, young runners just when we were powerwalking up a hill) to where I met up with the coach from another club who I will be helping with a bit of officiating on their behalf in their track and field leagues. He’d wanted to meet me which is completely fair enough as you need to check officials know what they’re doing, their level of qualification and their fitness for the job. I passed muster, joined the others and carried on.

I was getting a bit tired but cracked on, with my Lucozade sport and three gels in total. I was a bit whiny but the others got me round. And it was nice to visit The Vale, one of the main sets of halls of residence for the campus – a nice women took pity on us and took our photo so no propped-on-a-bench one this time!

Taken on Trudie’s camera and kindly sent to me – notice my knock knees. Must try harder!

I left the others in Moseley (they got in 11 and 11.5 miles, which is brilliant work) and I then went off and along and up and down and round and round, trying to get my watch to 14.5. For I had FORGOTTEN TO TURN IT ON when I started, and I wasn’t sure how much I’d missed on it but got obsessed that it might just be 0.5 miles I’d not logged. And I have just found when looking at the route that I also forgot to re-start my watch between the meeting and the lake – so another 0.25 miles missed …

I ran into lovely Abi from Club when I spotted a Kings Heath RC buff on someone in a car and had a little chat with her that helped SO MUCH. And then I went round and round and up and down roads and made it to 14.5 miles. PHEW. That was hard. But I was glad to get the bit I measured in at 12:52 mins per mile. And then I measured that first bit I missed on the watch and it was 0.75 not 0.5 miles. So I forced myself round a v hard 0.5 miles extra at the end! oh well …

15.5 miles, 12:50 mins per mile (approx)

Miles this week: 23.9 Miles this year: 114.4

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 Michelle’s (standing in for Holly) is here.

Book review – Ian Thorpe – “This is Me” #amreading

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I seem to be reading a bit slowly recently, not sure why really, and this appears to be my first book review of February. However, I am getting on nicely with my Iris Murdoch read for the month so that should be up next. Here’s one of the books I bought with a book token back in January last year, at a good price because it was slightly battered.

Ian Thorpe – “This is Me”

(14 January 2018)

A good autobiography (written with Australian sports writer Robert Wainwright, who is acknowledged on the title page) although it’s in a bit of a funny order: it’s a diary of his 2011-2012 attempt at a comeback after being out of swimming for four years, then looking back on his sporting life, although not all in chronological order. It’s all clear in the end and is probably fine if you’ve followed his career in detail.

He’s honest about his depression, towards the end and also about his terrible struggles with the media, which I hadn’t realised about, but I loved the bits about his love for Japan and his passion for his charity work with Native Australians – there are a few rants in there, good for  him. He also has an interesting view on training and racing, using racing as an excuse for doing what he loves best – training. I can identify with that in my running – although obviously he enjoyed and excelled at racing. It’s also interesting to think that you’re always in your lane in swimming, not the case with most running. I did get a bit lost in some of the technical details of his swimming training and strokes, but enjoyed the descriptions of his interactions with the water.

I got very excited at one point, when I was reading about Thorpe attending a swim camp in Tenerife at the same time as my friend Verity was attending her usual swim camp there – and yes, it was the same place!

What came through was an inquisitive mind searching for something outside swimming: I think he’s become a good commentator so hopefully he’ll continue with that (this book really finishes with the London 2012 Olympics). An interesting read.

Sedate lady running 28 January – 03 February 2019 #amrunning #running #REDJanuary #FebruaryFive

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A good week’s running although quite a tiring week all in all. I finished RED January, the Mind initiative and managed to do something every single day, even though one day was not the biggest “something” I’ve ever done. I did a sponsor page and sponsored myself £31 to celebrate, then I hope I will get a medal as well as my lovely t-shirt. It was fun to do something every day and I got quite into my squats and heel drops/calf raises.

I’ve now started February Five, which was invented by my lovely friend Verity, who does huge amounts of fundraising for Mind. This is my third year (you make a donation and get a medal: the medals are sponsored so basically your donation goes to Mind) and I’ve chosen to do five days with strength and conditioning (at least 100 “things” e.g. 60 squats and 40 heel drops) and five days with stretches (5 or more different ones) out of each seven in the month. Doable, but challenging. I start reporting on that below.

Now, the slight issue I’ve had this week was that my husband has been ill, so I’ve been looking after him, doing all the household stuff we share, and worrying. So I’ve been a bit tired all week, and even though he’s on the mend, that has taken a bit of a toll and made things harder than they might have been (it also meant I missed everyone’s Weekly Wrap posts last week – sorry – and a lot of blog posts in the week. I did catch up with the comments on this blog and am catching up on reading from now on but sorry if I’ve neglected you!

Monday – I was so very tired, and so when I walked out of my front gate and found Claire there with her lovely dog, I walked the “long” way round to the supermarket and had a very necessary for my mental health chat with her. Mind was very careful to point out that if you’re struggling with mental health issues or anything, just getting downstairs counted, so I was kind to myself and counted this.

Tuesday – And I was with Claire again as I’d said I’d tail run club run with her – she hadn’t made it to club run that much recently and I’d thought it would be a nice catch-up, too. Hurried up there and back so faster miles at the beginning and end (and that was my RED January activity, too. We ran with a lovely lady, also called Liz, who had a great run after graduating from coming to beginners for a week or so and trying out the full club run for only the second time this evening.

Me? Photobomb Claire recording her volunteering? What makes you think that?

5.5 miles, 13:09 mins per mile

Wednesday – 110 squats!! 60 calf raises, marching round the area for a few miles doing errands for poorly husband and buying stuff for a homeless guy.

Thursday – Oh, my goodness, it was SO COLD. Argh! It was supposed to be +1 (33) out but feels like -4 (24) and I waited until midday but urghh. I also ran solo, which I do do more often on a Thursday but was quite challenging.

Wrapped up warm

My Marathon Fail Jacket and fuzzy-lined tights were still in the wash, so I went for these older warm tights I have which have really stiff lining over the quads, and a fuzzy-lined long-sleeve top with my RED January t-shirt over it. Then a buff in hijab form to keep my ears and neck warm. This worked quite well and also wearing my RED top really spurred me to do the miles as I kept wanting to creep home!

It wasn’t actually icy as the pavements weren’t wet: any puddles or gutters were icy but it wasn’t dangerous. Only elderly men with dogs and postmen were out – one chap shouted “You’re a champion” and a postie wished me good luck! I kept running near friends’ houses and wanting to dart in and hide but I did manage five miles, somehow. Last mile was really quite fast for me (11:05) but I just wanted to get home. Also I did pause to catch my breath a few times. COLD.

5 miles, 11:26 minute miles

Friday – First day of February Five and I returned to yoga for the first time since before Christmas as I’ve finally stopped coughing. I thought it would be terrible but all those squats have made me more strong and flexible than I’d dared hope and I managed it just fine. Phew, and so good to be back, seeing all my yoga-mates (and Jenny was at the class, too, so we had a cafe catch-up afterwards). I counted yoga as my second day of both strength and conditioning (holding a squat for aaaaages, anyone?) and stretching, for the Feb Five win.

Saturday – My first weekend off either officiating or going to the running show this year so I had a bit of a lie-in and a gentle morning doing life admin that had slipped away from me. Still managed to do something running-related in the afternoon, as I met my friend Clare (another Clare) who is one of the Mental Health Champions for local club Bournville Harriers. Both clubs are running in-club Run and Talk sessions on Time to Talk Day next Thursday, and I’d got some spare resources to share with her. A lovely catch-up over a couple of coffees.

Sunday -Long run time and we had quite a few of us, although a couple had to drop out due to illness (it’s the time of year). It was cold, but nice blue skies and good company. I met Mary Ellen (who we managed not to photograph) and Claire outside my house and took a long way round to the park to meet Sonya, Trudie and Tara. You met Sonya back in the summer (remember the photo in the MAC loos?) but this was Tara’s first run out with the Sedate Ladies and she did brilliantly.

We set off on a circular route and got ourselves onto the greenways and beside the rivers. It’s come to my attention that I might be only photographing the pretty stuff – if you’ve seen photos of terraced red-brick houses and white semi-detached houses on here, that’s the majority of my running. And often the green routes are in a context of built-up industrial and commercial main streets, as here, where we’re 2 minutes away from seeing a heron and signing a petition about mending the paving around the Ford a nice man was doing, but started off beside a tile warehouse. We spotted my friend Andy Yu at one point which was lovely as I used to see him out running all the time but hadn’t spotted him recently.

Stratford Road / Greet path: Tile Warehouse and nice trees. Thanks Trudie for taking the pic and letting me use it.

I will try to take some more realistic photos. Anyway we had a lovely time. Mary Ellen had left us by this point but the rest of us stayed together for a good few more miles, along the green routes by the rivers (the Cole and Chinn Brook) and past Sarehole Mill …

Liz, Claire, Trudie, Tara, Sonya. More context – car / motorbike prevention gates and 60s housing next to the river path. Also a sign about bikes and a direction sign from the Canal Canter I did in the summer!

We then dropped onto the canal, to find it was FROZEN!

Frozen canal! Photo by Claire

The chap in the narrow boat was somewhat inexplicably throwing apples onto the ice, which were not going through! Trudie did her clever propping the phone in a tree thing to get an action shot of us …

I think I might have flying feet in this one!

We came off the canal and ran back to the park or home, saying goodbye as we went. People did from 7 to 15.3 miles, which was just brilliant – it was sociable and funny and great. I sent Claire off home as she was done with her 15 after a loop of the park (OK, after I made a Very Sad Face when she wanted to do a bit of one of the club runs with a horrible hill) and then looped back across and behind the high street to get 13.5 in – very pleased as I don’t like running 14 miles for some reason and I can hop up to 15ish next week. I was particularly pleased that my last 0.5 mile was as fast as my first mile and I showed resilience getting some speed up at the end.

Then did more stretching than I usually do (hooray) for 3/3 days stretching, 2/3 days strength and conditioning.

13.5 miles, 12:43 mins per mile.

Really pleased with my week this week all in all as I managed to get stuff done even though tired – and to make all my work deadlines.

Miles this week: 24 Miles this year: 90.7

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 Amy’s (covering for Holly) is here.

Book review – Bella Mackie – “Jog On” #NetGalley #JogOn

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A running book with a difference, I was very glad to win this on NetGalley and can highly recommend it if you’re interested in the links between mental health and exercise or want to know more about getting a handle on anxiety.

An excellent book, part memoir and part how-to book, about how running helped the author’s quite severe mental health difficulties and can help others’. She usefully explains some of the issues one can face, and is pleasingly robust about post-natal depression not ‘just being a bit of baby blues’ and OCD not being about having tidy cupboards and I loved her honest and forthright style – she felt like someone you can trust, having been there herself but having the insight and self-knowledge to help others while telling it how it is.

Mackie’s breakdown and inspiration to start running were triggered by the end of her short-lived marriage, but she had deep-seated and life-limiting anxiety and depression from way before then. By starting running bit by embarrassed and difficult bit (she never, ever makes out it’s easy), she has chipped away at her fears, achieving what she refers to as small moments, for example getting on the Tube for the first time in years, or going through Camden Market. To be honest, I think this is more relatable than some of the big things people take on, and fits with the theme of the book being very personal and non-intimidating.

As part of this, I absolutely love how she isn’t a racer, not a marathoner, not a runner who ‘achieves’ some of the things other runners do (she does go to parkrun, though). I know the big racers and marathon runners (even one like me: I don’t like to think of myself as intimidating but I have a friend who was relieved when someone told them at a Run and Talk session that you can stick at 10ks or whatever, you don’t have to run marathons, and I try to remember to mention that now) can be intimidating and put new runners off, so I love this. She shares her struggles and is realistic, and also shares other people’s stories so the range of different kinds of runner is there, but it always comes back to the simple, pure running.

I love her description of a “good runner”:

By [good runner] I just mean a person who enjoys running and wants to keep enjoying it.

Mackie’s portrayal of how anxiety feels is top-notch but she doesn’t allow herself or her readers to beat themselves up over how they feel, act, or have felt or acted in the past. She’s very reassuring. She’s also very honest about how running isn’t a cure-all or an instant cure, and is strong on how we shouldn’t be afraid of using medication and therapy and also talking about that. She’s honest about how running can be another crutch and become obsessive, and bravely shares her own experience, shocked out of her for a lucky escape. She’s all about limiting how much you use it to keep it enjoyable and helpful.

From an acknowledgement that running can seem to mimic the symptoms of an anxiety attack (which is so helpful, I think, and also helpful for people to know who work with anxious runners) to an acknowledgement that everybody hates the first 10 minutes of a run, this is a book we can all relate to in some way. With a great resource list at the back, I have no reservations in recommending it highly.

Although I finished this book in January, it’s an ideal one to share in Time to Talk week which is all about exercise and mental wellness.

Thank you to William Collins for selecting me to read this book via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

State of the TBR February 2019 plus birthday book bonanza (and one more confession)

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First off, sorry if you’ve commented on my running or books posts this week; I’ve got myself all behind like a cow’s tail, but I have a weekend off this weekend and am going to spend at least some of it doing blog admin – also including reading the blogs I’ve fallen behind with.

I’m going to tell you about my birthday book bonanza first. Lucky me (I also have book tokens, honey, ear warmers and Lush vouchers and my lovely husband has paid for various items of deeply attractive and flattering officiating wear). Here’s the pile, then I’ll reveal whether I burst the TBR shelf …

From the top, I have …

Angela Thirkell – “Grown Up” – one of the ones Virago haven’t reprinted, in a lovely ex-Library edition

Robert Arthur et al. – “The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot”, “The Mystery of the Talking Skull”, “The Mystery of the Green Ghost” – three of the Three Investigators Mysteries I was missing – all lovely early ones

Anne George – “Murder Runs in the Family” – one of the Southern Sisters cosy mysteries, set in Birmingham, Alabama!

Mary Mackie – “Cobwebs and Cream Teas” – the year in the life of a National Trust property

Edith Ayrton Zangwill – “The Call” – A suffragette novel published by Persephone

Mark Mason – “Walk the Lines” – walking the London Underground lines above ground (ooh!)

Elizabeth Eliot – “Henry”, “Mrs Martell” – two more quirky novels; I loved her “Alice” – all republished by Dean Street Press

And another confession -all those books in and I popped into the newish Acorns charity shop to look again for the bookcase I know will eventually appear there that fits in THAT space just perfectly (next to the bathroom door, left-hand side) and they have their book stock in there and here’s a history of the Brixton Academy music venue, where I’ve seen Green Day, Eels, Foo Fighters and Lamb (Simon Parkes’ “Live at the Brixton Academy”), so I couldn’t leave that there, could I? Right?

Did these books all fit on my TBR shelf? Well, with some fiddling. I finally finished and reviewed my Iris Murdoch of the month (must do better and start the next one at the weekend) and could take a new book to read off the start of the TBR. Then I took Malala Yousafzai’s “I am Malala” off the middle of the TBR because I’ve won her dad’s book on NetGalley and hadn’t yet read this one, so grabbed a BookCrossing copy Gill was waving around. And the Three Investigators Mysteries went on the separate Three Investigators Pile on the shelves, and then I put the books on the shelf (the Thirkell with the Christmas Thirkells as it comes in the middle of them) and this happened …

So along with the associated piles (books in series where I’m waiting to get the next one; big Icelandic sagas book on the back row, those Christmas Cornwall books waiting for Cornwall or Christmas …) I have exactly the right number and size of books to double stack my TBR shelf exactly. Which is some kind of achievement in itself, of course. I’m sure.

Currently reading and up next: I’m enjoying Ian Thorpe’s “This is Me” – a bargain in Foyle’s last January from the front of the TBR. Then up next is Iris Murdoch’s “The Sacred and Profane Love Machine” which is February’s IM Readalong book, and “I am Malala” so I can have a sort of February Malala Fest.

How’s your TBR looking? As robust, at least, as mine, I hope!