I haven’t written a running blog post since 22 March, the day before lockdown was announced on the evening 23 March. I was really upset by the way many people in society here were behaving and, although, as they know, I kept reading and commenting on my running friends’ blog posts, I didn’t feel able to post and then see and respond to comments on my own. Comments about lockdowns and panic-buying and bad behaviour pinging into my email when I couldn’t control it was going to bother me and so I sort of locked myself down. I enjoyed the running bloggers’ Zooms I joined, even though I don’t do well with Zooms in general (I get upset seeing people I could see in person in Normal Times, so I was more OK with these people around the world I wouldn’t normally see).

I did keep on running, though, of course. With some pauses in April when I was unsure of how and when to run and maintain social distance, I got the hang of it, changing how I run a lot, going out early and short (and fast, for me, I did some even 4-5 mile runs that had a 10 at the start of the average pace which is shocking for me!) and of course always alone, when we were allowed out alone once a day for exercise. In May and June I managed to maintain 4-5 runs a week (2 days on, 1 day off, in the main) and do over 100 miles per month, which is a rare total for me. At some point in late May I think it was, we were allowed to run with one other person at a distance, and I started running with Mary Ellen on a weekend and Claire on a weekday but alone and pre-breakfast a lot of the time. I managed to do our club’s 10k challenge with Claire one morning, even. We’re now allowed to run in up to packs of 6 but that still feels like a bit much.

So here’s my week in running!

Tuesday – I’d run on Sun but was tired, so took Monday off and ran Tuesday. I ran to and around Swanshurst Park, where I’ve been a LOT recently – I did manage to take a picture from a different angle (still doing my Photo A Day project). This lake has really saved me during lockdown, so quiet between 6 and 8 am and peaceful, but with birds and blossom and trees to look at.

3.2 miles, 11:18 mins per mile

Thursday – Again I was tired on Wednesday. I’ve been fully employed through lockdown and working hard, and that plus the time needed to do even the most basic task, planning and problem solving etc has left me tired. Plus not sleeping enough. So I went for a walk with Trudie in the gap between the rain storms that coincided with her lunch break, and ran on Thursday. Trudie had told me about a new crochet artwork on the play park fence, so I went to visit Homer!

Unfortunately this run was also notable for a cyclist coming towards me round a bend ON THE PAVEMENT really fast, it was horrible, I had to step right onto the kerb, next to the road, to not have him run into me, and if there had been a bus or lorry or even a car coming, as there often is, I would have been hit. I was so shaken up. He looked round as he carried on, and I had stopped to catch myself, but no apology. People have generally been nicer and more positive recently, better at stepping aside and saying thank you when I do so, so this seemed even worse.

3.1 miles, 11:10 mins per mile

Saturday – So Mary Ellen had said back when we were doing 8 mile runs OK (after a bit of working into them – I got up to 7.5 before breakfast, too, which was a bonus) that she fancied doing a half-marathon in aid of her school, where all the pupils have a visual impairment and which needs money for software and hardware to help them study. She was going to do an official race but of course those have all gone now. So we said we’d do a half anyway, and then 04 July sounded good because she’s American so I put on my 401 Challenge tshirt from March celebrating 1,000 miles run in a year (which led a man to run after us the other weekend and ask me if I was running 1,000 miles all in one go) which is vaguely Stars and Stripesish and off we went.

I’d created a route that included lots of bits we’d done before, to help us not get lost (I did lose faith in my map once and worried but we were OK). We took it gently, setting off together just the two of us, running down to Cannon Hill Park then through the leafy park (seeing loads of club and parkrun friends along the way) and along the green way out towards Stirchley. We met Trudie and Ruth at the half-way point, so good to catch sight of them. Then onwards through leafy Bournville and a little park and lake we’ve become fond of …

Four women runners in the park in Bournville

I have to ham in every picture – flamingo pose for Cari! Pictures taken by Trudie and Mary Ellen respectively and used with permission

… we pressed on, with it getting a bit harder and there might have been some wailing from me (we found the 11 we did two weeks before testing and it was quite sad to think I did 31 miles this time last year!), and got to a section that was very familiar to us to finish with. Into the church square to finish off and Mary Ellen’s husband had furnished her with the requisite Gregg’s vegan sausage roll (Gregg’s is a very English sandwich and bakery place and I find it amusing that Mary Ellen was the person who we all thought of when it re-opened).

13.2 miles (a wiggle into the park to make up the miles wiggled slightly too far) and while there was a lot of walking up hills and it was a push, it was also really nice to run long again. I even had a gel half-way! As of today, Mary Ellen has made over £850 in sponsorship money, which is amazing!

13.2 mile running route

13.2 miles, 13:30 mins per mile

Sunday – I’d arranged to run a virtual race with my friend Tara today. I haven’t done many of these, just the club’s Lockdown 10k in May, but this one was supporting the local museum, Sarehole Mill, with the registration fee, and then you could fundraise for or make a donation to the Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery as a whole (I chose to make a donation, having been fundraising yesterday).

I assumed I’d be a bit tired after yesterday’s effort but would need a recovery run, so it was perfect that we could choose to start or finish at the mill, which is 1.6 miles away from me by the direct route. I created a sort of spiral for us and we met up half an hour before the shop opened and set off, catching up with our lives (we did see her when we were doing our 11 miler a few weeks ago but I’ve not run with her for months). Taking it nice and easy we went down to the mill the long way around and made up the extra bit in the field behind the mill. Just for my readers, we popped out of the end of the field where the ford is that my US readers found so strange and horrific last winter and Tara snapped a selfie with me showing the requisite horror (posted with her permission).

Tara, Liz and the ford!

We then finished outside the mill and popped into the shop to give our details and prove we’d done it. The chap in the shop was very obliging and agreed to be in my selfie (the organisers wanted hashtagged selfies on social media) and I whipped my mask out of the bag I’d carried it in in my running belt before I went into the (very lovely shop).

In the shop getting my medal

The medal is lovely, made of ceramic and nice and chunky!

Sarehole Mill Run of the Mill medal

We then ran back up the hill to my house, and I decided to round up that bit to 1.9 miles so said goodbye to Tara and ran up and down my road. We’ve all done it.

3.1 miles, 13:50 mins per mile / 1.9 miles, 14:30 mins per mile

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 24.5 miles. Total this year 557.8 miles (I need to reach 583.4 this month to be on track for 1,000 miles in the year. I missed my target in May but have held it again AND I’m currently beating 2018 and 2019 me!).

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. It’s good to be back!