This week for your delight: a swift recovery, club volunteering, a first post-mara run for Claire, some intense officiating and ensuing DOMS and a long run …

Volunteering tabard of glory

Tuesday – I felt like I’d kicked the Dreaded Cold I’d developed last Thursday evening and was rotaed to tail-run for our running club’s weekly four-mile run. I knew I had support and a swap if I found I couldn’t manage, so I ran up to test the waters – all OK – and then tail ran on our Summer Route Left. I had to let our runners out in batches (we go in pace groups) so we were safe on the roads and for other road-users, and then joined in at the back. I’d thought I’d escaped the Tabard of Glory as it is light out (which is why we’re meeting in the park and doing Summer routes) but it is a good idea as identifies the club volunteers. There was no one to pass it to when I came in after a lovely run with the party pack at the back, so I took it home, posed for a hammy photo then put it through the wash. I’ll run it up to club on Tuesday although might not do the four-miler.
Ran there, round and back all in one go so no splits for there and round and back.

5.4 miles, 12:52 mins per mile

Wednesday – All congestion gone so I risked going to Easy Dave yoga today and it was all fine. Nice to get stretched out (need to do more of that now!).

Thursday – I fancied a daytime run after getting my hair cut and Claire was free, hooray! I persuaded her to run me through the rugby club and down to the canal and back so I could work out how to get back again after actually paying attention. It was her first run after her London Marathon triumph and it was great to hear a blow-by-blow account of her weekend (esp where she got new shorts from after forgetting to pack hers originally!).

Claire and Liz, by Claire. Matching VLM 2019 ballot failure jackets and Claire’s in her VLM t-shirt

4 miles, 12:42 mins per mile

Saturday – I had the excitement of my first experience of being a Starter’s Assistant, at the Warwickshire County track and field championships, held in Nuneaton. I reviewed my training notes (although there were some odd things in the kit list), bought safety pins in Birmingham and a Sharpie pen in Nuneaton, and walked from the station to the Pingles Stadium through a really nice park and a sweetly decorated tunnel.

Tunnel to Pingles Stadium

I was working in a nice team headed by Ray the starter: there were only four of us including him, and about 30 races to look after! Our job was to check the runners for a race (heat, time trial or final) in and tell them their lane allocations, check their numbers front and back (4 safety pins, not folded or obscured), check they had a club top on, tell them the qualifications if it was a heat, or where they were to break if it was 800m plus, place them in their lanes or order along their line for the 1500m etc, get them to step back and alert the starter all was OK. Then they told them “On your marks, get set” and we had to check (one or more of us if it was a staggered start) all fingers or toes were behind the line, the gun fired and we were ready to give cards if the race was stopped (green for an issue no disqualification, yellow and black for a conduct warning, red and black for a disqualification: we only had to do two cards and I let the others do them). Then we had to pick up the stadium’s blocks (which are heavier than you think) and put them to the side or wheel them in a trolley to the next start if it was somewhere else, and move personal blocks aside. We had to let the Track Referee know if there were any DNS in a final as that’s a serious matter if you haven’t told someone about it (I think they pretty well all had withdrawn correctly). Nuneaton track has a rail around it very close to the track so there was a lot of bending to duck under it.

Track from the back straight

I managed to catch the sun and get soggy but it was a great day and I learned SO MUCH. I’d definitely do it again and have one experience for my Level 1 licence. We got a break while the 3000m steeplechase and 3000m were running and had lunch in a tent, as you do (lunch was provided).

Sunday – Woke up with DOMS from Saturday – sore elbows and shoulders and knees/sides of thighs/glutes from all the lifting, pushing and ducking under. But my cold had completely gone (by Tuesday) and I’d arranged to do a long run, so I did!

I was due to meet Trudie and Mary Ellen at 9am but woke early so was able to pop out at 8.30 and get 2.5 miles done first, effectively taking those miles off the bit at the end where I’d be alone. We started off down the number 11 bus route, as it’s so nice and safe – if you’re worried or grind to a halt, there’s a bus stop home within 5 minutes’ walk, and this also meant the other two could join me for a bit then go back. I felt OK although a bit sore of leg and I did get a bit whiny later for a while until I remembered I’d told everyone on here I was going to do 20 miles today if I was well enough!

We got to Swan Island and I thought I’d capture some urban beauty for you all, to show it’s not all canals and parks and blossom!

This was my photo of the day today. Swan Island,

This is a big roundabout with shopping centre and office block.

And here we are at the Island. Weirdly, the 100-mile Velo cycle ride should have been going along the road we were going over, but we saw no sign of it!

Liz, Trudie and Mary Ellen at the Swan

We then continued on round a very large semicircle. Trudie had plans and left us at about seven miles, taking this great strong picture in Stechford:

Liz and Mary Ellen run on

Yes, I was wearing SHORTS and my shortest ones. I needed to practise with them on a long run as I will be wearing them on the mara and ultra. No issues apart from some rubbing of the back waist seam when I had a full bottle in my back pocket of my belt, but no massive effect it seems.

Mary Ellen and I continued on, I’d done a calculation that I needed to get to 11.25 miles before turning around to give me 20 back at the house. But we made it to the M6 motorway at 11.30!

Under the M6! Urban glory!

Mary Ellen and Liz under the motorway

Just look at the places I take my American friend for kicks and glamour! Then we turned around and ran back. I did get a bit tired and achy, all down to the DOMS from Saturday, but pushed on. It’s more uphill on the way back (which I hadn’t warned Mary Ellen about! see course profile lower down). Mary Ellen finished at a very respectable 13.1 miles even though she’d been doing a dawn chorus charity walk in London on Saturday. I left her at a bus stop and pushed on, really pleased to be past the Swan again (and we didn’t get lost in Tesco’s car park as has happened the two or three other times I’ve done this route, including my DIY marathon last year) and on familiar territory – and then her bus took ages to pass me and I played cat and mouse with it for almost a mile as it kept stopping to make up time. Thank you to Mary Ellen for taking these fab pictures of me from the bus!

I had some lovely encounters including a man offering me water as I leaned on his wall. Pretty well everyone was really kind and supportive, cheering us on in various ways. It’s always nice to have things as way points – the motorway, Stechford Cascades, where Meg lives, The Swan, where Linda lives, local MP’s office, where Ali lives, where Linda used to live, that really helps.

See that profile??? up up up

I was really chuffed with my time, well under 6 hour marathon time (the cut-off for Liverpool Rock N Roll is 6 hours after the last person crosses the start line). We did stop for photos / stretching / (my) whining but it’s easier to keep going in a race where there are no crossings or indeed kerbs. AND I won’t have squatted, ducked and lifted the day before. So I’m pretty confident I’ll be OK – I’d have had 1 hr 40 to do the last 6.2 miles based on this which feels OK. I was pleased with my mile splits from 15 onwards, all under 13:00 apart from one where I had to walk and stretch.

20 miles, 13:01 minutes per mile

Now, it’s time for a proper taper – sleep, gentle running, sleep, rest, um, sleep … I always get quite a lot of reading done in taper time – so watch out for some book reviews on here!

Miles this week: 29.4 Miles this year: 416.1 (for 1,000 miles in the year I need 416.6 by the end of this month)

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.