A week very much of two halves so be prepared for a roller-coaster of a read and a proliferation of photos at the end after none at the start. I do try to stay quite calm about my running, but when something threatens to take it away …

Look, this makes sense to me, right?

Monday – Physio session. I’d gone 10 days since the last one and had been doing my exercises religiously, having moved up to 15 one-legged squats each side, 15 crab walks each way with a level 3 band round my knees, and loads of rolling. Physio was pleased with me and said he was going to “Progress” me so we headed out into the gym area and he showed me a set of lunges to do.
I was to do 10 mins cycling round about 8m of each of these (out and back? I don’t think so, now I think of it, 8m of one, then 8m of the next). First of all feet hip-width apart, knee touching the floor (for all) then in a single line, then crossing over a good way then going backwards. I managed them all just about.

Then he went at my posterior chain with some kind of hammer drill business to loosen things up. Off I went home, a bit sore but OK.

Tuesday – My friend Jenny was down to take the club beginners’ session but has started an amazing new course and couldn’t be sure she’d be back in time so I said I’d cover. A bit of a tricky one – dashed up so as not to be late then I had four new or returning runners plus two friends who decided to do a bit of jeffing alongside me. So we set off doing some walk-run loops and all was well, until one lady unfortunately fell (she was OK and with her friend) and so I said goodbye to them at the end of the second loop, checked they would stretch themselves then had to sprint like mad to catch back up with the others. I do worry sometimes I just don’t have the speed for these occasions, but I did catch them and they all enjoyed the session. I liked my equal up and home splits and called it Varied Efforts as I’d done sprinting and walking in the same session.

0.7 mi, 11:12 mins per mile / 2.6 mi, 13:10 mins per mile / 0.7 mi, 11:13 mins per mile

Wednesday – When the wheels came off. Decided to do my lunges. Nervous about falling in the gym, I did them at home, on the carpeted floorboards of the landing in trainers, but perhaps would have been better on gym mats. After five minutes (half the time I was given: but was that what I had to work up to actually?) and 2 x up and back the landing of each type, my legs were screaming and I stopped. Went to yoga a couple of hours later, legs really sore and stiff.

Thursday – REALLY sore and stiff. So … I decided it was DOMS and to run it off. Went to the park, so stiff, no extension, no lift, no power, came home after 3 miles, crying. Decided to try to do each movement slowly for just one up or back. No, still painful. Hurt to sit on the toilet, couldn’t sit down or stand easily, certainly couldn’t squat or bend. I started panicking at this point. From five minutes’ lunges? I thought I’d actually hurt myself, torn something. I’m sure my husband thought this was normal “I can’t do this marathon” but I was really really worried.

I did finish my February Five today and will show you my medal when it arrives. Strength/conditioning then physio every day as specified and ate 5 fruit and veg portions on average every day!

3 mi / 11:38 mins per mile

Friday – Went to Claire yoga, still so stiff and was tense and almost tearful as I explained I might have to retire from the class if I couldn’t manage. Even sitting on the mat was painful. So upset. But we did very slow stretches including glute stretch lying down and gradually during the class it actually eased. Oh, thank you Claire so much!

Saturday – Long run day and I really was not sure how I was going to do. Lovely Caroline from our sedate ladies’ group had formulated a route and arrangement that would allow various of us to run 4, 8, 10 or 13 miles, with everyone getting some canal work in – what a star. Actually it was a bit more varied even than that, but it worked a treat.

Jenny, Ruth, Liz, Sonya, Tara, Claire, Trudie, Tracie

I wore my 401 Challenge t-shirt to bring me luck and strength (you’ve read me talk about Ben Smith the 401 marathons man before). This was the full group at the end of 4 ish miles, some split off here.

And here’s the view the other way – an industrial estate as well as a pretty path. Note the blue skies and t-shirts however! I felt strong and messaged Matthew to say I was carrying on. I had raspberry tailwind with me which I really liked, as it didn’t feel so odd not being sweet. No tummy woes but I had two gels, one every 1 hour 15, which helped keep me well-fuelled.

Not all pretty!

As various people finished their runs or diverted off, it was left to me and Claire to finish our longer runs together. Because Claire is doing London Marathon she’s further ahead in her training than me: she’d done a few miles beforehand so we kept together from now until the end of my run. Running through Cannon Hill Park, we saw the swan boats were out and being used.  We saw my neighbours opposite around here, who both Claire and I know. And a couple of Bournville runners I know. Can’t get away from Two Degrees of South Birmingham!

The swan boats are out in Cannon Hill Park!

We went off the route a bit, going up a different road to Moseley as we like the houses better on that road. Up round a route we know well (although on the other side of the road, which confused us more than we would like to admit), and up one last hill with a few choice middle-aged noises, and we got to the end of my road with me at 15 miles! I had no idea I’d do that and although I originally had 17 to do today, this felt OK with the week I’d had, and I do have 8 more training weeks (with two rest weeks and a taper) before my marathon, so still plenty of time.

It was all windy but Claire said let’s have a picture so here we are outside Age Concern (very appropriate!). I did another 0.2 up the road, Claire got to 18.2 by the time she’d got to her end point! Hooray!

Two left then one went on …

Oh and here is the reality of marathon / ultra training, esp when you’ve had a stressful week and not quite enough sleep – an afternoon nap was required!

15.2 mi, 13:12 mins per mi

Sunday – I’ve got keen on these recovery runs so popped out to go round the park this morning. How different from Thursday’s awful run and I weirdly got negative splits – I was trying to stretch my legs, doing bursts of 20 paces of faster turnover then 40 slower (am I supposed to do this in a recovery run or just trot slowly?). Felt better after it as ever and even though it was rainy and windy I broke out my lighter leggings as well as my newest Saucony Hurricanes, which I am getting used to.

3.3 mi, 11:29 mins per mile

Miles this week: 25.5 Miles this year: 182.6 (miles in Feb 86.8 – on target for 1,000 a year with a few to make up for Jan)

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Hooray, I was really sad the Weekly Wrap was ending but there’s a new Weekly Run Down run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Kim’s weekly wrap is here and Deborah’s is here.