A “rest” week from mara/ultra training made slightly testing by a few additional things / worries in the background which made it less restful than I would have liked. Also a bit random in the days I ran as it was quite hard to fit stuff in around work and personal matters (all is OK, pet illness (OK) and various bits and bobs not directly to do with me and all hopefully resolved). In the background, I’ve been doing my physio exercises twice a day, pretty well every day.

Wednesday – I was meeting my friend Ali to pass her a book I’d bought her and to collect my copy of the same book I’d loaned her plus some of my special cheese she’d ordered in her grocery delivery. I had a main lunch then felt a bit full so left some of it (you know you’re a runner when # 182 – you eat your half-eaten lunch when you get home because veg portions). I had a big caramel latte with Ali then ran back with that swishing in my tum and a backpack on my back. It was almost all uphill, too!

Here’s a nice pic of standard 1930s suburbia for all you readers who think all my runs are pretty (there were almshouses to the left, all in scaffolding).

In suburbia

3.6 mi / 11:52 mins per mile

Thursday – I had an hour between jobs so nipped out with Claire, who had a day off work. There was blossom in the park! We were less on the canals than usual as only had room for 5.5 miles.


5.5 mi / 12:12 mins per mile

Saturday – For the first time this year I managed to volunteer at Cannon Hill parkrun. I found out later it was my 123rd volunteering stint (I’ve run it 25 times). I was on the HILL with my friend Trudie, so we were cheering people up the hill that comes just before the end of the run – someone came round afterwards and thanked us for getting him up the hill which was lovely.

Then I went and led the run and talk session we run jointly with Bournville Harriers. I did the intro and did a loop of the park walking with Lisa then had to go off to meet the in-laws for lunch. Pleased to get two volunteering stints in one morning!

Double volunteering

Sunday – This is the reason I’m posting late: my husband said it was a good idea to talk honestly about my fears and experience going out on the trails. Although I have run cross-country races twice (over about 6k, from memory) and the Sutton Fun Run, which is park paths, I haven’t been out on proper trails just running. One guy from club runs a regular session over on the Lickey Hills (Birmingham lies in a circle of hills and the Lickeys are the closest to us) and although he wasn’t there today, four of us headed out. Dave gave me a lift – we officiate quite a lot together and he ran my DIY marathon with me, Kate is a fellow-librarian and Rachel was new to me but very kind.

It was SO FOGGY when we set out at 8am!

foggy road

We got to the car park in good time and got going. It’s quite a challenging route with a lot of hills from the off. I mean, it’s beautiful and everything, and I had Saucony Peregrines on which did feel quite reassuring, but I spent a lot of the first two miles seriously gasping for breath – I think to be honest that while everyone was being so kind and understanding, I was kind of on the edge of panic. It’s so much concentration: where do I place my feet? mud or roots? don’t bang into brambles and ping them back at someone; is it better to run down the stony path in the middle or the grass slopes at the sides?

We were out of the mist but it was hanging around in the basin of the city – so pretty.

I think this bit looks like Scotland or the Lake District because of the pines.

Here we are

And this is the view from a castly turret sort of thing at the very top. Foggy city and the hills the other side rising out of the mist.

I was getting the hang of at least the paths under the trees (leaf mould and earth, not paved) and managed to run more continuously at more like my normal pace. Kate’s recommended Salomon’s YouTube channel with hints and tips. I was so scared, esp going down slopes, with loose stones and very unclear. I did not cry, and I did not fall, and I sort of enjoyed the mile running along the forest floor near the end. But look at that elevation profile (the grey background).

I’m not looking for sympathy or praise but when you first went off-road onto the trails, how long did it take for you to get used to it? If you loved it immediately, is there any hope for one who didn’t?

That course profile!

5.1 mi / 13:59 mins per mile

One good thing: my friend Trudie created this runners’ bingo for the club this month and I’ve managed to complete a line! Cross train – try something knew was today, I have volunteered for club running the 4 mile run last Sat and co-leading run and talk / jeffing the other Thursday, I volunteered at parkrun yesterday and I have worn my hi-viz for evening runs and also as an official!

Feel good February!

Miles this week: 14.2 Miles this year: 157 (9 to do to hit my 1,000 miles this year target)
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. Note: the weekly wrap is apparently ending this week! oh no! I’ve found loads of brilliant women to follow and hopefully we’ll keep wrapping up the week anyway and reading each other’s blog posts (I’ve got the most frequent posters on my Feedly feed now anyway). Or maybe it’s time for me to stop now, too, and stick to the book reviews?