Sedate lady running 02-08 Dec 2019 #amrunning #running


Back to some decent mileage again and only a week to update with this time … My step count was very variable but I got the right total.

Monday – As I’d run on Saturday, I was able to get a good run in with Claire this morning. Matthew was working from home and keeping an eye on the new cats. We went down to the canal for a nice relaxing route – and do you remember that fallen tree that I posted Claire climbing through one week and a picture of me with it sorted out a bit another week? Well now it’s turned into a nice neat pile of logs on one side of the path and the broken trunk on the other – very efficient!

tidy trees

6 miles, 13:05 mins per mile. 13,746 steps

Tuesday – I was so tired, trying to do work and keep an eye on the kitties, but most of the Sedate Ladies seemed to be going to running club, so I went too. I ran up there and round with Jenny et al, then Jenny kindly offered to miss out the last zig-zag and give me a lift home, too. So I was home early and not quite so tired. Love my running friends!

4.3 miles, 13:03 mins per mile. 10,654 steps

Wednesday – Went to Dave Yoga and managed to actually fall asleep in the relaxation section at the end – I caught myself doing a snore! Oops!

5,886 steps

Oh, and here’s the cat tax …

Willa and Percy

Willa and Percy

Thursday – A lovely dawn run with Jenny and Trudie. We all met at the corner of my and Trudie’s roads then ran Jenny back up to her house, Trudie and I did a loop as the sun came up and the colours were magnificent. It was quite chilly, though.

Trudie, Jenny and Liz, all wrapped up and lit up!

Amazing colours

4.7 miles, 12:49 mins per mile. 11,342 steps

Friday – Very still, working like anything and waiting in for deliveries.

1,294 steps.

Saturday – Our long run happened today as I was officiating on Sunday. Oh, this did get complicated: I was expecting to meet Jenny, Tara and Mary Ellen at my house at 8am, opened the door to see Mary Ellen, Trudie and Caroline running past? Eh? All became clear and off we all set to run Jenny up to her yoga class.

running ladies

Caroline, Jenny, Tara, Trudie, Liz, Mary Ellen. By Caroline, shared with her permission.

We then came back to our area, picked up Ruth on her road at exactly the time we said we would (WIN!) and then dropped Tara off at the park, where she’d parked her car. She got her 6 in for her marathon training – she got a place in the ballot for London. You might remember I was selected as a reserve runner for London in the running club ballot. As the reserve has never run the race yet, I needed to find an alternative as I still have to train up, just in case. I have decided to go for a round the number 11 bus route challenge – 26 miles and I’ve always wanted to do it (I’ve done the Walkathon, which is what it sounds like, and hated it, much harder than any marathon I’ve run!). I hope a few clubmates and friends will join me on the day if I don’t do London.

Anyway, Trudie peeled off, then Caroline, and Ruth, Mary Ellen and I ran down a very familiar out and back – although we did pop down a road “to see where it went,” only to find it went very steeply downhill and turned into a dead end. Oh. Dropped Mary Ellen off at her road then ran back to Ruth’s and I took the long way round to get my 10 (plus) in.

10.3 miles, 13:13 mins per mile. 25,323 steps

Sunday – A slightly chilly middle of the day in Perry Park, officiating at the Young Athletes’ League cross-country. My giant yellow coat came in very handy. I was doing judge recorder (calling out numbers of athletes crossing the line to my partner who was scribing) and one turn at starters’ assisting, keeping a load of excitable U17 Men with their toes behind the white line. A well- and kindly run event as usual, though my heart does always go out to the tiny U11s in their massive vests! We were on the parkland behind Alexander Stadium, which is being refitted for its role in the Commonwealth Games in 2022 – it was really sad to see one stand with its seats gone and the other completely gone.

Remains of Alexander Stadium

Remains of Alexander Stadium

3,988 steps as of 7.15pm

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 25.3 miles. Total this year 979 (20 down on this time last year) Total weekly steps 72,233.

The 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 – Bill Jones – “The Ghost Runner” #amreading @RunBookshelfFB


This was possibly my most recent acquisition when I went to take it off the shelf, or I was trying to read it to take to last Saturday’s running club awards night for the swaps table (that obviously didn’t work). The one from the new end, one from the old end, one off the KIndle reading pattern is sort of working, although the oldest book is now backed up until May 2018, which makes me twitchy. I might just try to power through a lot of the TBR then start again with a single shelf (hollow laugh). Anyway, a book review. This was the only book I bought in a five minute charity shop dash in Alderley Edge after we spent too much time having lunch and chats and not enough time book shopping.

Bill Jones – “The Ghost Runner”

(24 October 2019, Alderley Edge charity shop)

The biography of John Tarrant, a talented long-distance runner who ran marathons and ultras well before they were mass-participation events, and did so numberless and sneaking onto the course, because before he became a runner, he took a small amount of payment for boxing expenses, therefore could never run as an amateur. His life was one long round of training, running and campaigning, and even when he secured a part-victory, it was never enough, as he wasn’t able to run for his country.

Tarrant ended up helping to break apartheid in South African sport, running Comrades Ultra as a ghost runner three times along with Black South African and Indian runners, but also taking part in integrated training and races. He died young after a battle with stomach cancer (linked to battles with his digestive system throughout his running career: perhaps not one to leaf through at the table) and the author makes a decent book out of a difficult man who wrote quite a bad memoir himself.

A testament to the love and support of his wife and brother, both of whom didn’t get off lightly on the sidelines of his single-minded pursuits, and it’s nice that the author was able to visit some pretty elderly runners who were competitors of Tarrant’s in his glory days – and all supportive of him, which is how he managed to do it.

Sedate lady running 18 Nov – 01 Dec 2019 #amrunning #running


A bit of a long read today: we were away for a short break in Spain last Thursday to Tuesday and I don’t like to advertise publicly when I’m away. Plus we end the week with the glitz and glamour of the Running Club Awards Night!

Monday 18 Nov – I went for a walk with my friend Louise. The trees in the park were very pretty and the sky very blue.

7,404 steps.

Tuesday 19 Nov – Went for a run just before lunch – no idea now why I commented on Strava that it was a struggle; probably something to do with going out too fast, although I went faster and faster with my last half-mile at 10:06 minute mile pace (super fast for me) because I was so fed up with it all.

4.5 miles, 11:25 mins per mile. 11,770 steps

Wednesday 20 Nov – I managed Dave yoga in the morning and had another great spin class in the evening (I promised myself and my husband that I would go to spin only if I’d already packed for the holiday!).

4,081 steps (plus 7,500 ish extra for spin)

Thursday 21 Nov – Travelling day. By the time we’d walked from the drop-off car park to the airport terminal, round the airport, up to our apartment from the bus stop and out to find a supermarket, we’d got a good bit of walking in. We bought the makings of tuna pasta from the supermarket and Matthew cooked dinner for us.

10,600 steps

Friday 22 Nov – A nice day looking around Alicante and taking a few photographs. I had lost my nerve slightly about running in the city, as it seemed complicated and new and not that friendly. It was of course OK, but that’s how I managed to run three days in a row. Dinner in again, I had tuna pasta leftovers, Matthew a Spanish omelette.

13,571 steps

Saturday 23 Nov – Put on my big girl pants and went for a pre-breakfast run along the sea front. I was rewarded by a view I don’t often get in landlocked Birmingham …

Sunrise and palm tree, Alicante

Sunrise and a palm tree and the sea!

We did a nice lot of walking, too, visited a really good archaeological museum, although I got quite tired translating the Spanish information boards (it’s a very Spanish-speaking city so my Spanish came along a treat!) and saw two demonstrations, one in the daytime against violence against women and children, one as we walked back from all-you-can-eat sushi, for democracy, against violence and for the release of political prisoners. All very peaceful with police officers just looking on.

5 miles, 11:35 mins per mile. 23,778 steps.

Sunday 24 Nov – I thought I was going to run longer so went after breakfast – in fact I was quite tired and just did a shorter one for me. I enjoyed running among the people of the city who were talking a Sunday morning walk along the promenade. There were runners as well – not hugely friendly but still good to be out among my people!

Liz by the sea

By the sea!

I discovered a high walkway along the harbour arm that was closed because there were high winds but still had fun. We had a chilled day apart from that, reading etc., then ramen noodles for dinner (Alicante has a LOT of restaurants, many of them Japanese).

5.5 miles, 11:44 mins per mile. 25,123 steps

Weekly total 15 miles. Total this year 938.6 (I needed 916.66 at the end of November to be on track for my 1,000 miles in a year total. Total weekly steps 84,557.

Monday 25 Nov – A last run in the morning: this time the high walkway was open so I got a lovely panoramic view (and took a pic of a French couple with their phone – always happy to do that). I ran back up to the local roundabout noting a lovely walkway between palm trees.

panorama of Alicante

Looking back at the city from the raised walkway.

Later in the morning we walked up to the top of the castle on the hill and took in the wonderful views, then we walked down by the sea along the route I’d discovered earlier. Spanish dinner this time, I had salmon and Matthew pork.

5 miles, 11:39 mins per mile. 25,333 steps

Tuesday – Travelling home day. Again a walk at the airport in Birmingham to catch our taxi home.

5,576 steps

Wednesday – I made it to Dave yoga like I’d never been away, but unfortunately spin was cancelled as the instructor wasn’t available. I did not replicate spin class with a static bike ride; I sat on my bottom and worked (but I did go for a short walk with Louise up the high street at lunchtime).

3,559 steps

Thursday – I’ve recorded helping with the 5k and Beyond learner runners’ group over the last couple of months but this time I was leading the session, as Lee, the usual leader, was away. I warmed them up with a version of my 1, 2, 3 warmup, but just asking them to skip on the spot, do arm circles, etc. Then we were off with 30 minutes of continuous running. We had four runners (the January class is usually the busier of the two) and three volunteers (thank you to Karen and James) so it was a good ratio and everyone achieved well, with the woman I ran with being very pleased at how she managed. I finished by asking everyone to share a favourite stretch then filling in any gaps, and reminded the runners to bring their barcodes to parkrun (their first, and their first 5k) on Saturday. We got one of the runners to take a pic of James, me and Karen – I’m pointing at James because he’d grown a rather fine moustache in aid of Movember!

Three runners in the dark

James (with fine moustache), Liz and Karen.

I ran back a long and wiggly way – I hadn’t noticed how far we’d run in the 30 minutes, but guessed, rounded it up and was correct!

0.7 miles, 11:34 mins per mile / 2.3 miles, 13:00 mins per mile / 2 miles, 12:02 mins per mile. 13,698 steps.

Friday – Really did not move much, waiting in for several different Amazon deliveries all day!

1,681 steps.

Saturday – It was the 5k and Beyonders’ first parkrun and it’s traditional for running club members to go down and buddy up with the new runners. It was pretty cold – when I left the house at 7.45 it was zero degrees with a minus real feel (32 and below) and pretty frosty. Not too slippery, thank goodness. I ran Ruth’s cheese order up to her house (we like a low-fat, high-protein cheddar called Eatlean) which was trickier to do than I thought, then joined Mary Ellen to run to the park. It wasn’t entirely certain that parkrun was going to run (it’s around a lake and can get really slippy) but the team did a great job and re-routed the most slippy bit onto the grass. It was a bit cold waiting to start so we took some photos …

Mary Ellen, Ruth and LIz

Mary Ellen, Ruth and Liz

… caught up with some friends, buddied up with new runners and off we went …

parkrun start

parkrun start. Can you spot me? Look for the lion on my back. Photo courtesy of Mike Green.

I thought readers might like to see what the start of our parkrun looks like from the back. Just about 580 runners this week, a small field. But you can see how frosty and foggy it was!

Here we are coming past the bandstand with me helpfully pointing out our new runners (one more with two club folk behind us):

Look: new runners. Photo courtesy of Mike Green.

The Beyonders went for a coffee with Lee but we got going back home before we got cold.

Then in the evening, it was running club Awards Night. This is always such a positive occasion, with people celebrating good deeds, kindness and gumption as well as achievement at the front of the field. I was thrilled to be given a certificate and trophy for “kindness to an injured runner” – back on 03 August clubmate Katherine had a nasty fall and she’d nominated all of us who helped her on that day. There were similar awards for two runners who helped an 82 year old parkrunner who fell, and a group who called the police and went on a search party when they saw a woman go into the river to try to save her dog (woman and dog were OK). There were the “My first” awards where you get a medal and a handshake or hug for each new race type or distance you do – so I picked up trail for the Bumble Bimble and Ultra. Maria and I did a talk on our role as Mental Health Champions which went down well and we were very happy to be invited to do that. Then we had the runner’s choice awards, where you have to nominate just ONE runner who has inspired you this year – so hard! I had to nominate Bernice, though, as we did our 50k Race to the Stones together. She nominated me, AND drew a picture of the White Horse of Uffington on the sheet – what more could you want? I was very fortunate to come joint third in the Runner’s Choice (along with four other people – I love the breadth of love and celebration).

awards and medals

Runner’s Choice nominations, trail and ultra medals, runner’s choice trophy and kindness to injured runner trophy.

And they had one of those frames, so Bernice and I finally got a pic of us with our ultra medals.

Liz, Bernice, Medals

Liz, Bernice, medals!

And FINALLY, we had the draw for the two club places for the London Marathon. There were 29 in it and I was picked as a reserve. I was so chuffed Afshin and Avril got the places, but I will now need to find a marathon to train for that is about two weeks after London, so I’m trained up in case anything happens to one of the others. I’m sure I’ll find something. And this means (after my complicated logical flowchart) that I won’t be redoing Reykjavik Marathon in 2020 (too much in one year) but will be attempting the Canal Canter marathon (more like an ultra set up, there are walkers and cake stalls, so no real cut-off).


2.9 miles, 12:58 mins per mile / 3.15 miles, 12:35 mins per mile / 4.2 miles 12:41 mins per mile. 30,783 steps.

Sunday – A very quiet day as I’d run yesterday. All I did was go to the cafe to meet Gill!

1,935 steps.

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 20.3 miles. Total this year 953.6 (I needed 916.66 at the end of November to be on track for my 1,000 miles in a year total. Total weekly steps 82,565.

The 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.


State of the TBR – December 2019


So this is the time of year when I get my TBR down so I can fill it with lovely Christmas and birthday books and book tokens. Um …

shelf of books

My TBR …

Well, it’s still on two shelves and some piles above and that’s better than that time in November when I had to put all the paperbacks on shelf 1 into a vertical pile (right?).

I finished ten books in November, which is nicely back to a normal level, though helped by our holiday in Spain. I also really enjoyed taking part in Non-Fiction November.

I’m currently reading (and just about to finish) “The Ghost Runner” by Bill Jones, which I bought in Alderley Edge in a charity shop and is about John Tarrant of Buxton, who was refused admittance to running clubs and races because he was a ‘professional’, having won a small amount of money boxing as a teenager. It’s a good read – the author has done a good job of writing an approachable and interesting book about an asetic and difficult man with a one-track mind – and I should have a review of it tomorrow.

Coming up, I have some review books – two Patricia Leitches kindly sent to me by Jane Badger (and I fear I may have forgotten to mention my interview with Jane which was published in Shiny New Books last month – do pop and have a read to find out how she goes about republishing old pony books!), a short book on Impressionism from Thames & Hudson and  “Learning Languages in Early Modern England” by John Gallagher, which I have in e-book format, as well, of course, as a number of lovely NetGalley books.

In print books, it’s the last book in my readalong of Iris Murdoch’s novels, “Jackson’s Dilemma”. Previews here if you’re interested, though it’s not the book of hers I’d necessarily start with.  To take the sadness away, I’ve lined up “Iris Murdoch: A Centenary” edited by Miles Leeson and “Iris Murdoch’s People A to Z” by Chris Boddington (yes, it’s a list of characters (and pubs and places and real-life people), yes, I will read it cover to cover) so that the whole project goes out with a bang and some lovely reads. I’ve so enjoyed doing this readalong, along with other readers, including three who have been with me the whole way through since November 2017.

Around Christmas time I will be reading Paul Magrs’ “Stardust and Snow” for a pre-read leading up to my Paul Magrs-athon in 2020. It’s a little book he wrote to distribute privately, about a magical encounter with David Bowie, which has been picked up by Obverse Books.

I’m also planning to read these lovelies, “Anything for a T-Shirt” alongside my friend Cari, who is a big fan of Fred Lebow, and “Noel Streatfeild’s Christmas Stories” on Christmas Day afternoon. I also have a couple of light novels featuring Cornwall Christmasses which I will try to get to, too. I’ve let my clients know I’m going to be working part-time from 21 November through to 1 January, so should get in some lovely reading time then.

Did you have a good November of reading and what are your plans for December?