The lovely Kim at Running on the Fly and Deborah at Confessions of a Mother Runner run a Weekly Run Down catch up for fitness bloggers. I used to take part until a certain pandemic hit, but then I was so sad about the running for half an hour on my own type restriction, not being able to run with friends, and the opprobrium that runners were attracting when we did venture out that I stopped doing it. I also started running out of space on this blog so deleted a lot of the posts and photos. I kept running, though, and reading everyone else’s blog posts, and then with friends when I could, and even schedule a race (see below: oh …) and I’ve decided that, while my running isn’t interesting enough to warrant a weekly post, I am going to update on the last Sunday of the month. So here’s an update for the last year or so … (don’t worry: in summary!).

First half and a bit of 2021

I had a lovely half-marathon run on my birthday with poor long-suffering Claire, upon whose day off it fell … we ambled around local sites, including this pretty church and village area in Northfield. After that I kept things up, running in the week with Claire and almost every Sunday with Trudie, I did some speed work and kept things turning over, upping the miles to over 25 a week, vaguely wondering why no other not-super-fit middle-aged women I knew ran that much … Club run came back, with a different start point to before lockdown after a difficult time with the local council, now resolved, but a little further away from home than before and it was good to reconnect with people again. All our parkruns came back on 31 July and I started volunteering at Oaklands again, running the five miles there, volunteering and running back while the weather was good and to avoid having to get public transport.

September to November 2021 – the wheels fall off the bus

In September, training for my October half-marathon I was doing with Claire and her Oakley (the only race she could find where an under-17 could take part), I started to get slower, less fit-feeling, struggling around club run, not finding it at all easy to run to and from parkrun … yes, I had overtrained, even little, slow me! Just shows anyone can do it. I cut right down, cut myself some slack, and managed to keep going.

Our half-marathon came in October, Oakley did really well and finished strongly, I went and fell heavily 9.4 miles in, Claire stayed with me, even though I did apparently exhort her to carry on and finish! and strangers were very kind, looking after me as Claire ran round to find medics, etc. I ended up being taken to A&E at the local hospital (to us, not the race!) by Claire while her partner brought Matthew, my kindle and a hoody to the hospital from home (I won’t bring a pullover hoody to another race – not easy to get into when you have a suspected broken hand). After x-rays I was sent home with no breaks, however since then my little and ring finger on my right hand, which I fell onto, have been giving me trouble. And as a transcriber and editor by trade, obviously this scared the whatsits out of me and I lost a lot of confidence, even not running for a week.

Lovely Oaklands Park in the summer

Then we both got a cold and more time out! Yes, just a cold, we tested. But good news was, I’d taken on a Core Team role at parkrun as the Volunteer Coordinator. I work behind the scenes, collecting emails and messages from volunteers and slotting them into the roster in their preferred roles, sending out regular requests for volunteers and reminder emails on a Friday night, and posting on our Facebook page. I don’t do the bit where you assign marshal points etc. on the day as being face-blind makes it a bit hard to recognise everyone. But I’m glad to be able to help the Event Director by taking on this role, and really enjoy it.

And when I went to the running club awards night in November (the first and only time I’ve been to a Thing inside with quite a few people (all felt safe and was before Omicron arose), Dave Johnson and I were given parkrun pioneer awards for our work at Oaklands (Dave has helped keep it going and is a Run Director and volunteer) which was so lovely. So things started looking up.

December and onwards

I have managed to slowly regain my confidence – I’d had to stop volunteering at club runs as had started not going and then didn’t feel I could take a leadership role, but I’ve been in the dark a few times now and after a few wobbles early on feel OK now. Also slowly getting my fitness back.

I’ve been slowly upping my running, only adding 10% to my total for the week every week like a good runner, and I thoroughly enjoyed going down to Cannon Hill parkrun for the Christmas Day parkrun yesterday – I ran there, round (with my friend Hilary, and saw loads of other lovely running friends) and back for 7.2 miles and then enjoyed a hearty turkey lunch. Kim put this excellent mosaic together (thanks to Cari for getting my pic to her) and there I am, top right, in my Little Miss Christmas leggings! I received a running book as one of my Christmas presents and am hoping for more gentle running adventures in 2022. Happy Holidays to all!