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.