Sedate lady running 13-19 July 2020 #amrunning #running @brumshospice #VirtualChocolate


A decent if unexciting week of running, with weirdly consistent pacing in my pre-breakfast runs (completely unintentional) and bling (and chocolate!) in the post on Saturday.

Tuesday – I had to run samples from the cats down to the vets this morning (they are fine, we suspect one has a small parasitic issue which will be sorted with antibiotics; he’s affected by it so infrequently that it’s been hard to track it all down. No results yet but they should come next week) so I wrapped the tubes up very carefully and popped them double bagged into my running belt, in the back pocket. I’ve fallen several times in my running career but never on my back, so I thought it was safe and ran very gingerly (and unscathed) the 0.7 miles down there, gave them in, then resumed my run feeling lighter in all ways! I wasn’t that early but the main park was OK and the flowers beautiful. Be thankful everyone got THIS picture for my pic of the day!Flower in KH Park

4.5 miles, 11:14 mins per mile

Wednesday – Just like last week, an unremarkable and drizzly morning run. I did take this photo of a funny art installation thing on the corner of a nearby street – the house belongs to a professional story-teller and there’s an ever-rotating cast of oddities. Plus a mirror – so one more oddity is just visible!

5.3 miles, 11:16 mins per mile

Friday – I had intended to run through our three local parks on Wednesday but diverted for some reason, so did Swanshurst (the usual favourite), Highbury (the “nice” direction through the park, downhill most of the way) and Kings Heath (again). I went out at 6am and although the sun had actually risen more than this photo implies, it was still dawny out there as the seasons draw on. Soon I’ll be able to get actual sunrise photos again, as I’ve got very used to my pre-breakfast running routine now.

5.2 miles, 11:14 mins per mile

Saturday – I had NOT slept well as there was a disturbance out on the street just as I was going to bed, and even though I did get to sleep I was all jittery. I woke early enough to start early, though: I’d planned 5 miles before meeting my friends at 9, but only managed 4.5. I went out too fast in a panic to get the pre-run down then inevitably blew up a couple of miles later. Managed to get my head straight enough to amend my route and got to meet the others in time in the end. Then we did a big loop devised by Ruth – she and Mary Ellen were headed for 9 miles in total and Trudie was doing what she fancied (the route was quite close to home a number of times to help us peel off) as she’d done a big virtual race week the week before.

Lovely to see the others and I had a nice adventure photographing some ginormous artichokes in a woman’s garden – while I was photographing them, the owner came down the road – but she was happy for me to do it and said they were somewhat of a local talking point! She chatted amiably to me and Trudie then we got going again.

We said goodbye at the pub and Trudie and I made our way home. I had nine miles rather than ten but was happy with that and with my total for the week given how tired I was (there may have been a nap before lunch).

Trudie, Mary Ellen, Ruth, Liz, by Trudie and posted with her permission. I was balancing on one leg in hamming format rather than desperately pleading for something, but managed not to get in the frame!

9 miles, 12:16 mins per mile

Later in the day, the post came with my goodies from the virtual chocolate 10K I did with Mary Ellen’s support last week. I had submitted my evidence (a screen shot of my Strava record) to the organiser, and was very pleased to receive a thank you letter with a certificate on the back, a little card, three chocolate bars and that all-important medal in the shape 9and colour!) of a splash of chocolate and a chocolate bar!

Although the medal and its lanyard said “5k & 10k” the certificate was clear it was 10k I did and I thought that was a nice touch (and I completely understood why they had one medal). I really enjoyed doing this virtual race and would recommend it for its great organisation. Well done to the events manager, Laura Nash!

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 24 miles. Total this year 603 miles (I needed to reach 583.4 this month to be on track for 1,000 miles in the year. I’m still beating 2018 and 2019 me at the moment!).

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.


Sedate lady running 06-12 July 2020 #amrunning #running @brumshospice


It was lovely coming back to writing these posts last weekend and I had a great reaction from my readers in the comments, too – thank you! It’s been good keeping up my running through lockdown and lovely knowing my running blogger community was here for me to slot back into (of course I also love my book-blogging friends who like and comment in my running post and my running blogger pals who read and comment on my book posts!).

Tuesday – I knew I needed to go out but I was fatigued and really not feeling it. Also aware it would be a four-run week, that’s a longer run needed to hit 20 total for the week. In fact, my friend Barbara spotted me near the start of this one and said I looked strong and in the zone, so that shows you just never know!

I had to stop and restart my watch 0.4 miles from home as it claimed I’d done a mile and a bit and broken all records. I think I’ve been turning on (but not starting) the watch too early while in the house, and it’s found the satellite wrong – when I looked at what it had recorded, I was nowhere near my own house! I added it manually as almost half a mile. Anyway, I was just drooping up a road I don’t go up hugely often when I saw a familiar face … two familiar faces … it was Trudie and Jenny out for a run together, running down the road they don’t normally run down! So I joined up with them, they took me near home, then I ran Jenny up to near her home and looped back round again to get a decent mileage in after all, and a lot happier. Thank you, ladies!

Liz, Jenny and Trudie4.3 miles, 12:58 mins per mile / 0.4 miles, 11:27 mins per mile

Wednesday – To be honest, I don’t remember much about this one apart from the fact it was a pleasant and damp day! But I had a better time than the first part of Tuesday’s run and did a nice big loop up round, taking in Swanshurst Park.

4.6 miles, 11:18 mins per mile

Saturday – After the fun of last week‘s Sarehole Mill Run of the Mill virtual charity race, I signed up for the Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice Chocolate 5k & 10k Personal Challenge – another virtual race. £10 to sign up and you get a chocolate-themed medal (Kim, I finally get one without flying across the Atlantic!) and some chocolate in the post, and I made a donation to the charity as well of course (you could do it sponsored but I’d just done the sponsored run with Mary Ellen for her school so didn’t want to ask people again). I got a great pack via email with sponsor forms and the link to donate, and, as I’d been asked when I was going to do my race, I got a personalised email on Friday afternoon to wish me luck – what a lovely touch!

I set off with Mary Ellen; I’d devised a route that took in running past the hospice itself to pay our respects to it, but also included Cannon Hill Park so I could get my running club parkrun selfie where we start parkrun. We ran into Ruth here and had a nice catch up (plus my friend Terri from yoga, plus one of my yoga teachers, Dave, plus a few other folk from our running club, Bournville Harriers and the Swifts; lovely to see so many people out and about.

Liz, Ruth and Mary Ellen

We then went along the greenway and dropped into Selly Park to go past the hospice – they had a lovely thank you banner up and this reminded me of their charity text number to share (this is a UK only number but makes it so easy for people to donate). I loved the graphic of the hands with hearts, too.

Then we exited Selly Park via St Paul’s Convent, a favourite High Edwardian building of mine – when the first Birmingham half-marthon and the Birmingham marathon routes passed it, some of the nuns came and at outside to clap and cheer!

Back up lots of hills and some loops around Kings Heath and there we were with around 8 miles. My Garmin watch decided to go weird and claimed not to have the activity in its folders (I have to add runs to Strava using the watch as a drive, which is normally fine as it recharges while it’s plugged in) but it did have it on Garmin Connect, so I managed to export and re-import the file into Strava. Then it showed longer in Strava than it did in Garmin – argh! Apparently this is A Thing and when I measured the route in another app it was more like 8.5 (plus I accidentally ran 0.3 miles without my watch recording today, so it all balances out). Annoying, though, and I only bought it in July 2018 which doesn’t seem like long enough to have it. I shut down and restarted the watch and it did work on Sunday at least.

8.5 (or 8.3) miles, 12:24 mins per mile

Sunday – As I hadn’t run as planned on Friday (too much work, too tired), I needed to round up my weekly miles. I also needed to escape the very noisy building work going on next door (yes, pre-breakfast). I actually got round to relacing (I loop the laces through that second hole right at the top of the shoe then criss-cross them through the loop to keep my heel locked in tight) and putting my raise in the left-hand trainer on my new Saucony Guide ISO 2s and took them for a whirl. I’d been a real Guide person until the Guide 10s had horrible tight toes, then have been on Omnis and Hurricanes which I can’t get at the moment, so took a chance ordering these. I can happily report that they were LOVELY.

Waterfowl in the parkA great story which I’ve already shared with my picture of the day (not this pic!) on Facebook: I was in the park and ran past the duckpond. Lots of fun adolescent goslings appeared, all fuzzy/not-fuzzy (you can see them in front of their parents on the left of the picture), and I got my phone out of my running belt to take a pic. They noticed the plastic bag I keep the phone in and more and more birds rushed towards me. Snapped a few pics then carried on, saying hello to a man walking the other way towards the pond. Turned round, back past the pond and there he was distributing birdseed to a huge group of birds, from a plastic bag. Aha! I chatted to him and he started doing this a few years ago to stop himself having his first cigarette of the day – and it worked!

3.4 miles, 11:13 mins per mile

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 21.2 miles. Total this year 579 miles (I need to reach 583.4 this month to be on track for 1,000 miles in the year. I’m still beating 2018 and 2019 me at the moment, however next weekend a year ago 2019 covered 31 miles!).

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.


Sedate lady running 29 June – 05 July 2020 #amrunning #running #RunOfTheMill


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!


Sedate lady running 16-22 March 2020 and onwards #amrunning #running


Photo by Claire posted with her permission of us social distancing (we were usually way further apart than this) on our last group run.

A really quick update mainly to link up with the usual link-up.

I’ve been running this week with one to five sedate lady running friends, keeping our distance nicely, and that’s been lovely and we’ve seen friends and chatted from a distance and said hello and waved.

But people are behaving poorly over here, gathering in big groups, rushing to the parks and landscape and seaside. We don’t want to be a part of that.

People here are being selfish in the shops, too. We have just about the time and money to be able to go around searching for stuff and to get the slightly more expensive versions. Many people can’t.

I wasn’t a woolly idealist but the selfishness is devastating to me.

Yes, I am volunteering in my street’s support group and we have put a rainbow in our window we made during an hour we concentrated on crafting. But it feels like not enough positive.

So: Matthew and I will continue walking together and looking at rainbows in windows. We runners are going to run in at most pairs on opposite pavements at quiet times. We here are digging out our cross-trainer from the mess in the spare office and setting it up again.

I have work, Matthew is working from home, we have stocks for the moment and plenty to do, plus lovely cats. We have friends to talk to and we are looking after people as best we can.

But I have had to limit news to one view of the BBC website a day, after the press conference from the govt. I have cut down massively on looking at Facebook and other social media. Many book bloggers are concentrating on book reviews and that’s brilliant and I will continue to read and write those. Running bloggers of necessity are talking about this because it affects us and …

I am sorry if I don’t read and comment on your blog for a bit. I still love, admire and support you, and if you want to say hi or reach out I have a contact form with my email address on this blog. And I’m on Strava, tho you need to request me! But I just can’t read about the empty shelves and the panic and the selfishness. I’m so sorry if it impacts you. If you’re a key worker I salute and thank you. If you are looking after your dear self and others, I send you much love. This is the way I’m cushioning myself and I know you will understand we all need to react differently.

See you when this is over. We will get through this in our different ways.

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 22.6 miles. Total this year 234.4 miles (I need to reach 250 this month to be on track for 1,000 miles in the year).

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.


Sedate lady running 09-15 March 2020 #amrunning #running


Well it has been an odd week, hasn’t it? Races cancelled or postponed as the week has progressed, with some still to find out about – I know I have felt relieved once I’ve known. I had none booked but plans to support London Marathon for example. Tara who was doing London is taking it in her stride and planning on a longer training period and more strengthening; others I know will be running round the bus route on the day to use their training (I will go out and cheer them from my front door!). I managed to get normal running in this week. There is no lockdown in the UK and we are showing no symptoms, although we are isolating ourselves to an extent and certainly not visiting any immuno-compromised or at-risk friends and family, esp as we travel by public transport. Non-running pleasing stuff below but let’s have some running.

Tuesday – I decided to go to running club, in case meetups of over x number get cancelled, and had a good time trotting around, meeting a new runner to club, Ellie, and going all macho and running all the way up Feck Hill, which I don’t usually bother with. Good to see various friends and clubmates.

0.6 miles, 11:02 mins per mile (late, in a rush, me?) / 4.7 miles, 12:35 mins per mile

Wednesday – I ran with Claire, doing two medium length runs with only a light tea and breakfast between them, but Claire could only do today, not tomorrow and I wanted to run with her. We did a common canal route but THE OTHER DIRECTION, going through the rugby club grounds, getting onto the canal then following it round to Broad Lane. Shocking! And to follow that rather punningly, I’d never noticed this huge, fine pylon going the other way!

Oh, remember that FORD you all got worried about that time, the water feature in the road? Flooded again in the storms the other weekend and not one but two cars got stuck in it!

5.7 miles, 12:37 mins per mile

Saturday – At the time, our marathon runners were planning long, long runs, and Mary Ellen and I were planning to do the middle of Tara’s 18-er on Saturday. London cancelled, Tara decided to meet near our houses and do the 13. We were very safe – run to parkrun, run small parkrun, run home, no public transport etc!

We ran to Oaklands parkrun, ran Oaklands parkrun and, having gathered Trudie at Oaklands, ran back to Kings Heath. Lots of worrying and planning and being sad at other people’s panic-buying in the week meant we got more and more tired (also I hadn’t run over 10.6 miles since my 16 on 2 Feb so it was quite an ask of myself!), but we pushed through and got the distance (13.6 for me). It was lovely, anyway, to be out in the fresh air, with friends, and it feels like parkrun here might get cancelled for a bit (other countries have done this; they will do it country-wide if they do to prevent people overwhelming smaller ones with large groups).

It was my lovely friend Kate’s 100th parkrun so I went in club colours, displaying my name to all, hooray, as I have it on all my club shirts. A couple of runners did call my name when we were on the way home and a woman from another group I’m in recognised me!

Tara, Mary Ellen, Rachael, Trudie, Liz

Special shout-out to Jessie at The Right Fits, who also has this breed, here is Fay’s vizsla, Ziggy, who joined us at parkrun.

Ziggy the vizsla


5.1 miles, 13:32 mins per mile / 3.16 mi, 13:21 mins per mile / 5.3 miles, 14:12 mins per mile

Positives for this week: we have decided to run together, carefully, as long as we can. Keeping our distance, greeting with namaste, touching traffic light buttons with an elbow and carrying hand sanitiser. If one of us falls, we will look after them, not trust to a stranger, and we will not run if unwell at all. And will run early or late and in non-crowded areas.

Other positives: the food bank donation box is now overflowing in our local supermarket, after it went really low and there was a national shortage of food bank food (of course, I popped a load in mid-week); and our suburb now has a COVID-19 volunteer group and a WhatsApp group for our street, where about ten of us on just our street are leafleting with our phone numbers and hoping to be able to support anyone vulnerable or self-isolating with food and meds runs. This feels like a lovely positive step at a time where we’ve seen a lot of selfishness.

Hope you are all OK, dear readers, and you don’t need to answer that or go over it if you don’t want to. Stay well!

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 24.6 miles. Total this year 211.8 miles (I need to reach 250 this month to be on track for 1,000 miles in the year).

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.


Sedate lady running 02-08 March 2020 #amrunning #running


Well here’s a surprise – I’ve been on holiday since I last posted (in fact, I pre-published my last Sunday’s post when I was already in Gran Canaria. So I had some lovely runs while I was there and having the marathon pressure reduced meant I just did 3-4 miles each time, enjoying a pre-breakfast run which didn’t get in the way of the main event of … um … lounging around and reading. Ha! I didn’t take many pics so not the longest post in the world this time, but we’re both feeling good for a burst of sun and although the kitties didn’t LOVE their time at the cattery (apparently spending all day squished into their bed together) they have settled back into home very well. We gave them some extra time in the cattery and did a lot of clearing out and cat-proofing, so the house feels lighter and nicer and safer and I hope I’ll be able to stay relaxed.

Monday – I had a lovely dawn run, watching the sun come up over the sea, something I love to do. I went all round the coast on this path with its interesting tiles (it’s a fertility figure called the Tara Idol, honest!)

Tara Idol Telde tiles

They did get a bit slippy in places but I managed. Oh, and this was our road from the level of the coastal path – GREAT for stretching out the backs of your legs as you walked back up!

Our street

We were staying in a completely non-touristy part of Telde in Gran Canaria, which was great for our Spanish, and we ate in our house or at local restaurants very healthily, fresh fish and veg and my favourite, Canarian potatoes.

OK, here’s the sunrise over a typical view across the lava rocks to the sea.

3.1 miles, 11:56 mins per mile

Tuesday – Another pre-breakfast run, this time less scenic as I ran inland to look for a supermarket we didn’t think was that far away (it was), past a wasteland that unnerved me a bit (I pretended I was a badass ultra runner running across the island: there actually was an ultra there the day after we got home!) and past a desalination plant, then back. Pics were too depressing!

3.7 miles, 12:41 mins per mile (lots of uphills!)

Thursday – Back along the sea front to La Garita again and the blowhole, El Bufadera (not a massively impressive blowhole so not great pics). I set off a bit earlier and unnerved myself by it being pretty well dark, however there were still lots of cheery folk out walking and running so all was fine. I pushed it on the way back to get a faster pace.

3.2 miles, 11:30 mins per mile

We did a lot of walking among all this, as the nearest supermarket was 1 mile away and we walked a good mile there and back to the local town for lunch, and 1.5 miles to a hypermarket where we had fun learning the Spanish words for lots of things. So a good active holiday and you’ll be seeing more book reviews in the coming week, too! We flew home Friday.

Sunday – I wanted to round my miles up for the week so a few of us went out to support Tracie and Tara in their marathon training (Tara is doing London: we have no idea if they’re going to cancel at the minute but I have committed to re-planning my round the 11 route marathon with Tara if she doesn’t get to do London) and Fay who has a half coming up. So Tracie and Tara did 15 and 16 miles (their longest yet), Fay did 10, Mary Ellen did 11 something and Caroline joined us for the first bit and got 5 in in total. Our usual sedate lady way of supporting our marathon trainers when we’re not all doing the distance.

Tara, Fay, Caroline, Mary Ellen (next to my ear), me, Tracie

We did my 10 mile loop through Northfield and down the Bristol Road to the cricket ground – I haven’t done that route for ages as I got sick of it after the Birmingham marathon, and enjoyed telling tales of my life along the route when I was a student! Our ladies did well and it was a privilege to help them round, building resilience as they went.

10.6 miles, 14:06 mins per mile

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 20.6 miles. Total this year 187 miles (I need to reach 250 this month to be on track for 1,000 miles in the year).

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.


Sedate lady running 24 Feb – 01 March 2020 #amrunning #running


After a bit of a sad post last week, I’m back up to running properly and reasonably freely and happily, and back up to a decent distance again after some fairly weak and weedy attempts. And of course I feel better for it. I haven’t been recording my steps every day or trying to get to 70,000 for the week every week because sometimes you have to let go of some stuff and be kind to yourself – right? US readers, please have a look at the end of this post, just above my mileage stats, in case you’re anywhere near Ben the 401 Marathons Runner’s challenge.

Tuesday – Went the long way round to running club, to drop some cheese off to Ruth first. We ran to the meet-up point together but I ended up running with Caroline for a lot of the way. It was very cold and wet, with rain turning into great big snowflakes just when we were at one of the furthest points from my house – it was like running into a snowglobe for a bit. My glasses seemed to catch snow and rain inside and out, and even though I was wearing my fairly powerful chest light, I got a bit panicky at one point that I just Could Not See, and I had to stop and wipe the inside of my glasses! It felt a bit better after that, and then I ran part of the way home with Ruth then off on my own for the last bit. I was home alone at the start of the week, with Matthew in Romania for work, so things were a bit challenging (sole control of the cats, though with a cat sitter friend coming in to help with the midday feed as she was covering the evening feed on Thursday) but I slept well once I’d got warm! No photographs, oddly enough! 6.2 miles was quite a lot for me for an evening run!

1.5 miles, 11:45 mins per mile / 4.7 miles, 12:41 mins per mile

Friday – Got in a lunchtime run with Claire, during which we got very cross that it was so very, very puddly and muddy. We did the 4 mile canal route and skipped the bit in the wood where we knew there’d be a flood but there was so much water everywhere else, with lots of sighing and getting soggy socks.

We stopped to take a selfie at the end, and as I adjusted my RED January buff to show the pattern off better, soaking wet, freezing material slapped against my neck and freezing water ran inside my top – and I jumped and pressed the button for what is basically my photo of the year so far.

Liz and Claire4.1 miles, 13:25 mins per mile

Saturday – This had to be long run day for various reasons and I wanted to get out early, so I met Mary Ellen at 7.30 am then we ran up to fetch Jenny, who we haven’t run with for ages – lovely to see her again. We ran her down to yoga then picked up Ruth, who we ran back down to Kings Heath. Then we had about 7 miles to do so ran up to the park – in fact, we managed to run in Kings Heath, Swanshurst and Highbury parks, so got some good nature and birdsong in, which was lovely. Conditions were challenging though – damp underfoot and cold, with wind and rain (I did say, “At least it’s not hailing” and it DID actually hail just after we got home). But soooo typical, we got back and the sun came out, with blue skies. I managed 10 miles to round up my week to the usual, and Mary Ellen did 10.5 to get over 18 for the week – good work!

Mary Ellen and Liz - blue skies

Blue skies! Photo by Mary Ellen.

10 miles, 13:13 mins per mile.

That was the furthest I’d run for weeks and weeks, so I was happy with the distance and the pace and not feeling too bad for it. Even better, my weekly total tipped my yearly total for Ben the 401 Runner’s USA challenge distance challenge over 1,000 miles for March-March, so I will get the 1,000 mile t-shirt. I wasn’t sure I’d make it for a while, so very pleased. More info on Ben’s own challenge here. If you’re in the US, maybe you’re on one of his cycle routes or in one of the cities he’s running in!

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 20.3 miles. Total this year 166.4 miles (I have said goodbye to my 2020 km plan for the year but am only 2 miles off track for 1,000 miles in the calendar year).

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.


Running etc. update and two light reads #amrunning #amreading


Trees and sunset

Photo taken on an evening run by the Haunch Brook Pathways

I’ve not done a Sunday running update post for a couple of weeks but I have still been running and have had some lovely runs these past couple of weeks – and some horrible ones, of course – this photo being from an evening run when it was still light at 5pm and the sun slowly set as we went. A quick running update so I can share with the running ladies link-up and an update on two more of the eight books I’ve finished this month so far …

Here are some shots from today’s 8 miler, a lovely run in blustery conditions looking at the flowers blooming and the blossom blossoming. There were lots of daffodils (see below) as well as snowdrops and cherry blossom on the trees, and it wasn’t that cold, even though it was windy (I had to circle back to my house on my pre-meeting up section to post my extra buff, baseball cap and gloves through my letterbox).

Three runners

Trudie, Liz and Mary Ellen, by Highbury Park. By Trudie.

Trude, Mary Ellen and cheese

Because what do you do if you have spare cheese? Give it to your running friends.

Daffodils along the Rea

Daffodils all along the Rea next to Holders Lane Playing Fields

I might as well get this put down and out there: I’ve had to withdraw from being a reserve for our running club’s places in the London Marathon (I hopefully wasn’t going to need to run anyway, as Afshin and Avril’s training is going well and there is another reserve, too). I missed three weekends of attempts at 16/17 miles in a row (a heavy cold / a terrible storm / more “teething problems” with the new cats leaving me drained, anxious and exhausted and low and without the resources necessary to push out long miles).

Yes, I could probably drag myself back onto it but I need to look after myself and rest rather than pushing myself through extra physical and mental stress. It means I’ll miss my round-the-11-route attempt, but I will have other goes at that, and I still hope to tackle the Canal Canter marathon in August (that’s more like an ultra, with a long walkers’ cut off and cake stops). I’ve not been inclined to write up updates because, frankly, I’ve been concentrating on looking after the kitties (they’re fine), adjusting arrangements in the household for looking after the kitties (lots of support, fine) and eating, sleeping, keeping up with my work and resting (getting there, supported). I will still be in London on marathon day supporting fellow sedate lady Tara and lots of other lovely folk.


As mentioned, I’ve read eight books so far this month, and I have reviewed one, so I’m going to double up on some slighter books and post a review every other day for a while. Hope that’s OK with everyone!

Chloe Coles – “Life’s a Beach”

(22 November 2018)

The second Bookshop Girl novel (read my review of the first one here) finds Paige and Holly by the sea, running the book sales tent at a book festival and getting into all sorts of scrapes, of course. When they have to babysit a diva-ish romance novelist of uncertain but great age, they find appearances can be deceptive and support and empowerment can be found in the most surprising places. Funny and feel-good but with useful, positive messages for young women.

Jane Linfoot – “The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea”

(17 December 2019)

I bought all four of this series after accidentally picking up volume 2 in The Works and realising there was back story that mattered. I was going to save this to read next Christmas (there are two set at Christmas out of the four) but needed something light and engaging.

Poppy lives upstairs at Brides by the Sea, a Cornwall wedding emporium (built up by the hard work of her boss: there’s a decent emphasis on getting what you want through hard work and details on how), licking her wounds after a break-up and trying to get a bit stronger, but also determined to stay in town and not return to the nearby village where she and best friends Immie and Cate grew up. When she gets an opportunity to add to her cake-making business by working part-time as a wedding planner at the farm (near the dreaded village), she clashes with moody boss Rafe while being wooed by a photographer who might be too good to be true, so we know what’s going to happen, but it’s cheerful and jolly and long enough to last well even as a light read. Fun, and I will read the other three.

Sedate lady running 27 Jan – 02 Feb 2020 #amrunning #running


A week that started with a cold and ended with a recovery run after getting my not-doing-a-marathon training plan back on track.

Monday – Wednesday – I didn’t feel too good with the cold but I did model myself on Kim and do in-house work – especially a day where I did 50 double-stair climbs without holding on (equivalent to nice lunges) plus lunges and squats and single-legged squats. I was supposed to support beginners at club run on Tuesday but wasn’t well enough. On Wednesday I went for a walk to photograph my best friend Emma’s old house and got over 5,000 steps in so pleased with that.

Mon – steps not recorded. Tue – 1,419 steps. Wed, 5,486 steps

Thursday – I was down to support our 5k and Beyonders and didn’t want to let them down (esp as leader Lee covered my Tuesday volunteering) so as I felt reasonably OK went up and did it. I supported a lovely woman at the back who achieved more than she thought she would and thanked me effusively – this is why I always say you get more out of volunteering than you put into it! Felt OK and the cold definitely hasn’t gone to my chest (phew). Hadn’t really seen anyone all week so had a nice chat with a few friends and it was great to see Kate out running (gently) after her bunion operation.

0.7 miles, 12:18 mins per mile / 1.5 miles, 14:50 mins per mile / 0.7 miles, 11:00 mins per mile. 8,863 steps

Friday – Went for a walk to meet Tara in the park and do some shopping. Last day of RED January and I have been active every day, so I sponsored myself with a £31 donation to Mind. I did enjoy making myself get out every day but 10,000 steps is sometimes too much (time-wise, mainly!) so I’m going to aim for a baseline of 5,000 at least every day and a weekly total of 70,000 or more. I think that’s fair enough!

5,874 steps

Saturday – Long run day. As I missed last weekend due to my cold, I swapped this rest weekend and headed out for 16 miles (in fact if I look at my schedule it was my second 15 I missed, but never mind, I can take another rest week soonish as I’m slightly ahead now). I was still a bit sniffly though nothing on the chest, so planned a route around the safety of the No 11 bus route (the one I’ll be hopefully running around in early May to use my mara training when I don’t do London because neither club mate has dropped out).

I started out with Mary Ellen and Claire, who both wanted 10 miles. We ran to Acocks Green and met Tracie. I’d already removed my gloves and second buff by then as it was warmer than expected – and with blue skies! We got to Oaklands Park, where I’ve run and volunteered at parkrun, and as expected, parkrun was still going on. I’d half-expected to see Kate in her usual marshalling position at the point on the course nearest the road, but it was our friend Dave so of course we had to have a picture with him!

Runners and volunteer

Dave, Tracie, Mary Ellen, Liz, Claire

Mary Ellen and Claire turned back at that point and got their 10 milers in, taking a little detour into Moseley Bog for some forest bathing as our route had been pretty urban (being along a bus route and all of that!). Tracie and I carried on until I got to 8 miles. Just for those people who talk about the pretty views I have on my runs, here’s a standard sort of view from this one …

Bromford Lane, Hodge HIll

Turning point, Bromford Lane, Hodge Hill, with the motorway in the distance (by the pylon).

Nice blue sky, though.

So we could get a shadow selfie …

Shadow runners

Liz and Tracie as shadows

We ran back to Acocks Green with Tracie making her 11 miles. Hooray! She’d been poorly with a stomach upset in the week so really good going. I then pressed on back home – I was tired and also TIRED of blowing my blasted nose and did message husband and the running ladies at 13.25 miles to say argghhh. I also took this sad pic of myself which I posted on Instagram as a sort of #nofilter reality of running/mara training …

Liz looking sad

Liz looking sad, somewhere in Hall Green (I bet Facebook chooses to share this picture when I post it).

But I pressed on and picked up a bit of pace, too, because I wanted it over with! It was really windy for the last bit, too – urgh! I got home just on the 16 miles – not feeling brilliant and maybe I shouldn’t have pushed it but I did go fairly sedately in the middle bit and although tired, I am OK.

16 miles, 13:34 mins per mile. 34,992 steps.

Sunday – I knew I should do a recovery run as it would help, and lovely Caroline said she’d come with me. We did a 3.6 mile (I was on 18.9 for the week; we all do this, right?). We did the canal route but came off it a bit early and did a different corner of the bottom woods, then took a diversion through the nature reserve at the bottom of Billesley Common (where I walked with Matthew the other weekend) and were privileged to see the heron again. So a nice nature pic to finish things off. And I did feel better for it.

Heron in nature reserve

Heron in nature reserve

I had a walk round the shops on the high street to get some supplies after I’d got home and showered – mainly for snacks, as I was low on stuff to have after long runs. It’s hard for me to find snacks that stick to my cholesterol-lowering regime of low saturated fat but I found some muesli bars and belvita breakfast biscuits that will help (once I’m running over 14 miles, I really don’t fancy a large lunch afterwards, so tend to have a second breakfast, snack through the afternoon then a proper dinner. But I have to be careful to make sure I take in enough recovery calories).

3.6 miles, 13:10 mins per mile. 12,851 steps

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 22.5 miles. Total this year 99.6 miles (I have said goodbye to my 2020 km plan for the year and accepted that). Total weekly steps 69,485 as of 19.15pm so I will have hit my 70,000 for the week!).

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.


Sedate lady running 20-26 Jan 2020 #amrunning #running


A short one this week as I’ve come down with a damned cold, thus missing the lovely Bernice’s 50th parkrun, a trip to the Running Show and a run in the Malvern Hills. Grr.

Monday – A recovery run with Claire, feeling very creaky after my 15 miles yesterday! We just ran to Swanshurst Park and back … but the park was looking lovely.

Although this looks limpid and lovely it was really cold and also icy underfoot: we had to cross from side to side of the roads and hop up onto a grassy verge to run safely at one point there and back!

3.5 miles, 12:53 mins per mile. 11,585 steps.

Tuesday – My birthday! I had a lovely long walk with Louise in the daytime, just wandering in the park, saying hello to all the dogs, etc. Went out with Matthew in the evening to a new Lebanese place for dinner.

EDITED TO ADD: My goodness, I can’t believe I left this bit out. Got home from the meal to find something odd on the floor. I do have a habit of leaving my damp trainers under the radiator in the hall. Which ones did Mizz Willa Kitten choose to sever the lace of? Would it be the bashed-up walking trainers, the end-of-life pair with over 400 miles in or the pretty well brand-new ones??


12,983 steps

Wednesday – My friend who has RA has also had a bad spell with sciatica, and has been pretty well housebound. She had a physio appointment at the hospital nearish to me today, and they were less than forthcoming about the arrangements available for her to get from the hospital entrance to the dept. Although a phone call offered more hope, I decided I wanted to be around in case she needed help either walking or being pushed in a wheelchair. The bus there is a bit unreliable, so I decided to run (except I ran into our late neighbour’s son and got some info about the buyers of his house, then had to hop on a bus there anyway). Ran onto the university campus (next door to the hospital and as an alumna and ex-staff (twice) I feel I am entitled to go there! to use the loo  and got a message that a chair and a man to push it had been provided (hooray) so had a quick look round the renovated campus (my old workplace knocked down) and was pleased to see a favourite statue was still there.

Barbara Hepworth's Ancestor II in front of the new libraryI then ran home, which is pretty well all uphill, as hard as I could, as I’ve been trying to work harder runs into my schedule once a week. Quite a hard push but with some walking up the worst hills so was pleased with my average time. I was also quite tired; I’d been feeling like I was coming down with something a couple of times this week. That’s because I WAS!

0.58 mi, 11:11 mins per mile / 4 mi, 12:00 mins per mile. 11,275 miles

Thursday – Went for a lovely dog walk with Claire and Kaci in the morning, then went out with the girls to make up the miles I missed not running all the way down to the hospital yesterday. We met up on the corner and there were six of us, which is a large group of Sedate Ladies these days. Some of us peeled off to just get a lower total, some did 5 miles. Photos by Trudie, shared with permission.

Runners in the dark

Mary Ellen, Liz, Caroline, Tracie, Tara, Trudie

Reflective leggings

Trudie has on the dot leggings a few of us have; Tracie and I are modelling one leg each of our new Decathlon Kalenji ones, very bright!

4 miles, 13:30 mins per mile. 16,244 miles.

And that was it – cold came on Thursday night. I am careful not to run when sick and I am not up to running. Did some squats Fri and squats and lunges Sat and will try to do the same today. At least I have room to miss a long or hard run (the Malverns run was going to be 9 or 10) as long as I can get better soon. I’ve just asked for cover for my club volunteering duties for Tuesday and hope I’ll be OK to support our 5k and Beyonders (the new batch!) on Thursday. Yes, am keeping hydrated and taking extra zinc. Pretty sure I helped this come to me by skimping on sleep and fruit and veg groups, though: a lesson there!

However …

Saturday – I need to give a shout out to two brave and strong ladies. Bernice (who I did Race to the Stones with, while she had a herniated disc!!) has seen all sorts of professionals, been given the all-clear to start running again, and did her 50th parkrun at Cannon Hill with some of her friends from where she lives now and a good few of our Sedate Ladies. And Tracie, who was also there, went way outside of her comfort zone on her long run and managed beautifully. Well done, both!

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Weekly total 12.1 miles. Total this year 77 miles (at this point I am saying goodbye to my 2020 km plan for the year!). Total weekly steps unclear.

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.


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