Sedate lady running 01-07 2019 #amrunning #running


Quite a big post today and quite a bit mileage for me for a week – but Monday’s run, as mentioned last week, was really part of last week, but I elected to do my long run on Monday rather than at the weekend so I could run with the lovely Claire on her last long one before the London Marathon. I hope I remember all of Monday’s action, given that I neglected to write it down at the time!

Monday – It was just me and Claire, so she did a super route across the south side of the city to Edgbaston Reservoir, somewhere I’d not been for years and had not run around. We went up past the University and up one lot of canals then back down another set, following the Canal Canter route, with some wiggling around once home to make up the miles (20 for me, 23 for Claire). It was a lovely run: some bits where we felt down, of course, some giggles (something I said made Claire giggle uncontrollably for a bit), some lovely scenery, and good chats. I’ve really enjoyed my training runs with Claire this mara campaign and I’m going to miss them!

Of course we had to photograph the Lego giraffe in town …

Edgbaston Reservoir

City skyline from the canal by the reservoir

Aqueduct by the university – it always cheers me to run across this!

I finished half a mile before Claire’s 22 was up, so reclined against her gatepost, eating a banana, while she did a loop and ran up and down our road. But it meant I could get a photo of her in action!

Claire comes in – great strong work!

And we were done!

Claire and Liz, 42 miles between us!

The route made a kind of Pete’s Dragon dragon (right?)

I was really glad to get 20 in and was a bit early for it, so I have three more long runs with a rest week after the first two before tapering for the marathon, which I will treat as a training run. That sounds sensible, yes? Fortunately, the 6 hour cut-off starts when the last person crosses the start line – thank you, Liverpool RnR!

I was also pleased with my pace, esp as it kept recording when I had a toilet break, a bit faster than my 18. As long as I beat that cut-off …

20 miles, 13:00 mins per mile

Tuesday – A recovery run, I went up to the park, ran into my friend Vikki and her baby, walked a circuit or two with her (not recording some of the walk, so I actually went further than this) and ran home the long way. As usual, unknotted my legs and felt better after.

Some shocking (for me) matchy-matching going on here!

3.2 miles, 13:50 mins per mile (running miles 11:46, 11:37 and 10:45 pace)

Wednesday – Went to Easy Dave yoga for a much-needed stretch out.

Thursday – I was meaning to go for a run but it SNOWED and HAILED and I also didn’t want to do 5 runs in a week. So I actually DID do 30 mins of all my physio exercises plus some serious slow stretching.

Friday – Went to Easy Claire yoga which was good but we had some challenging things (Tortoise pose? I think not!). A lovely long nidra relaxation at the end.

Saturday – I realised I’d been covering Beginners for someone else when I was reminded I was rotaed to lead club beginners today! Oops! Anyway it was fine, ran up to the park, then led the beginners round. I had my 79-year-old learner from last week, who ran-walked 3 circuits 30sec per mile faster than last week and two returners, one a Sedate Lady friend, plus a lady who we gave some advice to about increasing her distance and graduating to the four-mile route. Lee took two four-milers out. Then our newest trainee coach, Julie, had asked for more volunteers to attend her coaching session, so I said yes and took that immediately afterwards. I had not really breakfasted sufficiently for this! We had a great warm-up with out and backs doing lunges, skips, high knees, etc, then did time-based intervals in a pyramid (0.5, 1, 2 and 3 minutes’ effort then back down). I jogged between all the efforts and felt OK but was a bit disappointed that my Strava shows an almost uniform line, meaning I did my recovery too fast and my efforts too slow, but I was pleased with this shocking pace for me (not for long!).

0.6 miles, 10:18 mins per mile / 2.1 miles, 13:36 mins per mile / 1.7 miles, 13:13 mins per mile / 0.8 miles, 11:35 mins per mile / total 5.3 miles.

Sunday – This is rest week so called for only a mid-length run. I needed 11.5 miles to round the “real” week up to 20, my minimum if I can. I met Claire and went down to the rugby club and common to run a bit on the gravelly paths, grass and earth paths in the woods, down to the canal, to get more off-road practice (go me!). We poked around the back of a house that’s for sale, losing speed but having a nice time in the cool woods. Then back to ours, I ran into my friend Andy and had a chat, then we ran down to the Midlands Arts Centre where my lovely husband Matthew’s photography course was having a second pop-up exhibition (they had another on Thursday in town). I’m very proud of his patience in taking up and succeeding at macro photography and here he is with his exhibit.

We took a look at a great exhibition of photos taken in Handsworth in 1979 then ran back home via the back of the park and one other park. I have to say I was flagging and stiff, but I’ve done a lot of activities over the last 3 days, including my dreaded lunges, so I’m not that surprised!

Well done to everyone who completed the Manchester Marathon today – so proud of my clubmates plus the Bournville Harriers who all did so well!

Oh, and I tried to emulate the lovely Kim‘s wonderful poses but don’t think I’ve got it quite right yet!

12 miles, 12:51 mins per mile

Miles this week: 40.5 (eeeps, however 20 of them did “belong” to last week, making that 31.2 and this 20.5). Miles this year: 306.5.

weekly-run-down-final-300x300The Weekly Run Down is 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.

Book review and GIVEAWAY – Anja Snellman (trans. Timo Luhtanen) – “Continents” #amreading


Do you like reading books by Women in Translation? Do other people’s relationships fascinate you? Do you like reading about exactly what life is like in other countries? Do you make it an aim to support small presses?

If so, this book is for you, and there’s a copy as a prize for one lucky blog reader!

About the author, from the back of the book:

“One of the leading names in contemporary Northern European fiction, Anja Snellman has authored 25 novels, with translations into more than 20 languages. Her debut, “Sonia O. was here”, remains the highest-selling first novel in the history of Finnish literature”.

You can find out more about the publisher, New Terrain Press, here.

Anja Snellman – “Continents”

(24 March 2019, kindly sent to me by the publisher in return for an honest review)

First of all, this small paperback is a lovely, well-made object and the cover excellent. I’m glad I was sent the physical object as well as the e-book. Impeccably translated, it takes a forensic view of a couple’s journey through what the impulsive, artistic Oona describes as “the continents of love”, from sultry Asia, where it’s mostly about the bedroom and you learn a lot of information, not all useful, to, perhaps, the threat of Antarctica.

Originally published in Finnish in 2005, it feels like a very European (both in its general feel and in its openness to discussing matters of a sexual nature) and modern (the pulls that all couples feel come to the fore) and can be devoured in a couple of sittings or savoured. It’s highly competent and well-written and there’s not even a hint of the noir about it, which is refreshing for this reader!

The couple’s social milieu as they grow and age is gently but expertly skewered: Oona’s friends are described, for example, as people

who were always on their way to or from the opening of a performance art event or an art exhibition, who had a hammock in their bedroom, who cut their own hair, and whose T-shirts proclaimed Feminist Fatale. (p. 54)

As they travel through Australia, the land of small children and discovery, and Europe with its new hobbies and redecoration projects, Oona’s cartoon couple, whose books she lives off, Rainbow and Scoop, echo her and Alex’s journey, their cats pass through their lives (this is sensitively done and not too massively upsetting) and their children grow up and react to them, in a skilful interweaving. Oona wants a room of her own, and Alex grows a beard in some desperation: you root for them but also enjoy their life being exposed in this clever and highly technically competent novel with a warm heart.

Would you like to win a copy of “Continents”? It’s a quick read and a good one and the publisher has kindly offered a copy to one of my readers. Simple post a comment making it clear you’d like to win and I’ll pick a winner at random on 15 April and contact you for your address.

(Comp small print: you will need to give me your address to pass to the publisher, this will not put you on any tricky mailing list and you can rest assured they will delete your address once they’ve sent out the book. If you really don’t want them to have your address, you can give it to me and I’ll post your copy on, but I do know and trust the publisher!).

State of the TBR – April 2019


Well I was pleased to manage to finish 10 books last month, well up on February’s low total, and it might have had something to do with having a short holiday but whatever. I even got some books off the physical TBR as well as reading a Kindle book or two.

Note: I haven’t reviewed them all yet. I have one that’s gone to Shiny New Books to be published there and one short book I read at the weekend that I will review with a COMPETITION! tomorrow.

I’m currently reading Sara Marcus’ “Girls to the Front”, from the oldest bit of the TBR, which is a history of the Riot Grrrl movement and very good and well done so far, and “Holding up the Universe” by Jennifer Niven, which is a YA book I picked off the very end of the TBR and features a boy with prosopagnosia. I took that off the shelf because I ran quite a long way today and needed something easy but it’s pretty engaging so far.


Next up are these two: Caroline Criado Perez’ “Invisible Women” which as we probably all know by now is that book about how data and the world are biased against women, and my April 2019 Iris Murdoch, “Henry and Cato” which is a kind of odd one about inheritance and imprisonment (of various kinds) which I feel suffers a little from coming just before a slew of amazing ones.

I’m still really sad I won’t be able to go to the Iris Murdoch Society Conference, which I’ve attended every other year (ish) since 2008, but it clashes with one of the only other big things in my year, my ultramarathon! But it’s been wonderful re-reading all her novels in order, even if I don’t agree with my former self on some of them!

I’m continuing with my policy of reading a book from the oldest part of the TBR and a book from the newest, then a Kindle book. I shared my new Kindle reads the other day and I imagine I’ll be picking up one of the unread ones of those when it’s e-book time.

Oldest TBR books

Newest TBR books

I’m a bit desperate to get to both sets of these, so I’d better get reading, hadn’t I!

What are your April reading plans? Will you have time over Easter for a good wallow in a pile of books?

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