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.