Sedate lady running 06-12 August 2018 including Canal Canter race report #amrunning #running


This week was mainly about the 18-mile Canal Canter race I signed up to back in March when I wasn’t able to do the Manchester marathon. I downsized to the 18-miler from the marathon when I went to do an easy 10-miler the appropriate amount of time before and found it not easy enough. My training runs in the week then the report below.

Tuesday – The One With the Wrong Rucksack. I thought I’d better test out my running rucksack so got it out of the cupboard and put it on to run to running club, round the club route and home. But no, I picked up my normal (actually a cycling so extra long) rucksack and was surprised it was all wrong, rubbed my neck etc Mary Ellen and Ursula did sterling work trying to sort it out, but. I was very whiny then got home, at which point my husband helpfully pointed out that the running rucksack has pockets on the waist straps and is smaller. Oh. So a good run in the (hot) circs.

5.5 mi 12:20 mm

Thursday – I panicked over rucksackgate and somehow bought myself a whole new one – the Geila Hydration Backpack by Aonjie, a mere £24. I had to wait for it to arrive so then went out for a quick run around the block with the ever-long-suffering Mary Ellen and Caroline. It was great and solid so all good for Saturday.

2.5 mi 12:15 mm

No yoga this week, I was really sore of hand and elbow from bites on Wednesday and didn’t want DOMS from Friday. Should have stretched and rolled more. And slept more. Oh well.

Long Distance Walking Association Canal Canter 18-mile edition


I’d done a 16-mile run last week and gone over the beginning of the route: very important and useful. Thank you, Claire! I had my usual mixed mild chili beans and other veg with brown pasta and a tea cake for dinner and tried to get an early night.

The day

Bernice came over at 8.15 and after saying hello to the cat and Matthew, took us round to the rugby club. It’s not far away but of course I didn’t know the way to drive there … Bernice is a lovely Sedate Lady who I’ve been running with for a few years and through four marathon campaigns (three of mine and one – London! – of hers) and it was lovely to be running together again after she moved away from the area.

We got to the rugby club and met a load of our running clubmates. It was a mixed walking and running event with 18 and 26.2 mile options: all of the runners and the 18 mile walkers were setting off together. We had some club pictures, comparison of kit and “pee group pressure” visits to the loo (I need a wee – now I do!):

Sole sister running chums!

Who could resist taking a picture with these weird headless rugby players? Bernice, Afshin, me, Dave, Paul, Thomas, Suki (Kevin not pictured)

Stretches and poses before the start. “Rugby poles” we would be desperate to see at the finish.

We had been issued with instructions which were unlike anything I’d dealt with before. Bernice had had them at another race by the same people in the Malverns and was a complete star reading them out – combined with my knowledge of the route we did OK. We had this green card to get stamped at the checkpoints.

Instructions (Bernice = a star) and the card we had to get validated at each checkpoint.

We set off down a grassy slope – I am very much a ROAD RUNNER and this was outside my comfort zone already! We were careful and stayed at our pace even though we were quickly at the back of the runners. We did run with a bloke for a while. We came to a split in the path and felt left was correct but found an arrow on a tree that pointed right … up a big hill on a cat-littery sort of surface and … oh, a lot of other runners and walkers and a canal where it shouldn’t have been (I think this was actually on our way back). So we turned round, found the right way and on we went.

A lovely surprise: we ran into our club’s 9 mile half-marathon training, led by the lovely Grace, Sara took this pic of us as there were her, Sonya and Caroline from our Sedate Ladies group among them.

Taken by Sara when we ran into the club’s half-marathon training. Just before another section of green pathway next to the river.

On along the River Cole valley and across the horrible green webbing stuff that I fell over (not in this location) the other month. I was SO GLAD I’d run this part with Claire already. We gathered up Imogen, who was running on her own, and took her the rest of the way with us. Yay, new running friend! And we got to the first checkpoint at the Ackers (remember that weird ski slope from my 16-mile run). We had a loo break and could have had a cuppa and toast, I topped up my lucozade sport bottle with cold water. A bit complicated going in and out of the place but I knew about the hill up by the ski slope.

First checkpoint reached! Tea and toast!

A few people thought we’d gone wrong but thank you again, Claire (I shouted Thank you, Claire!) and I knew what to do. Finally we’re on the canal. And very pretty it was, too. It was quite sunny but not as hot as it could be. I look a bit desperate in all these photos, not sure why!

With our new friend Imogen on a picturesque canal bridge

There was a really challenging bit now. I’ll share the route at this point:

Route and profile

Highlighted is mile 10 which had 72 ft of climb. There had been some canal bridges and tunnels that were a bit rough under foot or steep and challenging, and we walked up these, but this section was brick underfoot, with slopes next to locks where we had raised bricks for grip / tripping over or flat bricks. My right glute and ham started to protest and my calves, and I got a bit nervy and upset (no actual tears). It was fascinating to go under Digbeth and Aston and see it all from this angle, but also stressful.

We made it to the most complicated part around Brindleyplace where the canal divides and braids and goes around itself, past the Barclaycard Arena where we attended the National Indoors a bit ago. We were walking through the crowds here – not having a race number meant we just looked like runners and it was a bit hard to get through.

Imogen and Liz going through Brindleyplace. Rucksacks looking good – and we matched!

We got a bit worried coming under Broad Street and along, esp as Brindleyplace was the second place where the marathon runners/walkers left us and did an extra loop. But we were right! And then we were out and “Where’s Five Ways station?” “There’s Five Ways station” phew, and we reached the second checkpoint at the Vale, the University of Birmingham’s main residential area. More great volunteers and a cake stall!

At checkpoint 2 – the Vale



I didn’t partake of cakes but I filled up my bottle with orange squash.

I was getting very fatigued and a bit upset, with aching legs. We’d agreed on a 9 min run / 1 min walk strategy from Checkpoint 2 but I was flagging, and upset about that. Then we got to my favourite bit on this canal – the aqueduct over the Selly Oak bypass and I cheered up and steamed over it, with Bernice grabbing an iconic shot.

Liz is cheered by the aqueduct

I am running, honest. And that’s a drop to the road on the right – so cool!

Through Selly Oak, Dave and Thomas overtook us, doing the marathon, as did a few other marathon runners, cheering us on very matily. Then a cheer and it was our clubmate Helen, running home from work! She caught this classic urban canal shot for us then said hello and ran with us for a while. What a lift for us!

Typical Selly Oak canal view – an urban canal. By Helen.

She managed to get a shot of us from the front, too – so lovely! She said goodbye and we pressed on.

Strong ladies / struggling ladies. By Helen.

After Bournville Station we were on the club’s Thursday evening canal route which meant a bit less stressing about getting lost. We had a sit down on the bridge by the lock keeper’s cottage at one turn then Checkpoint 3 with its savoury snacks was there. “Are those pecans?” “Um, no, pork scratchings”. I had some crisps, glad of the salt, and a squash and water top-up. This is by a guillotine lock which is pretty cool.

Checkpoint 3: The guillotine lock. Savouries available and taken advantage of. Yes, it says “fool” on the bridge.

We knew we’d be over 18 miles because of the error at the start but we kept pressing along the canal, up and over the road where we normally come off for the club run and round behind the leisure centre. We met two ladies who had done extra mileage in error and more marathon runners. [edited to add: a bloke shouted out of a canal boat when we were doing a walk break, “Oy, you’re supposed to be running”. I might have shouted back, “Jeff Galloway method, mate!”] Where was the bridge to turn off? More forest and cat littery path and I had a brief resurgence of energy at about mile 18. But when would the foresty bit end?

Then, oh cruelty, we came out at the bottom of the grassy slope we’d run down at the start. I helpfully pointed out that no one could see us until we crested the brow of the hill, so, with Imogen going ahead, Bernice and I marched up the hill then started running. Up the hill, among the tussocks, along the car park bit, squeeze round a low fence, up the road, where’s the finish? Don’t know. Round the back of the commentator’s booths and there were our husbands and Bernice’s mum-in-law and small son with a bubble making wand, very much making up for the lack of a balloon arch.

Coming through the finish! By Matthew. Bubbles supplied by Bernice’s mum in law and son.

Apparently I was smiling just before Matthew captured this truer representation of the morning.

It was great, honest!

And here we are at the end. All photos by Bernice except those mentioned as being taken by others. I’d consumed about 1 litre of drink, a banana and four gels (2 gu, 2 torq).

Three relieved ladies. By me.

There was food but I didn’t really want any as I never do after a long run – I had my banana milk Matthew had brought and we got our certificates (we hadn’t realised the time on those was the time we went into the club house to request them so isn’t quite the same as our watch times). Said hello to everyone who had finished and was around (Kevin had done 14 by midday and gone home as planned; Suki was still out on the course) and Matthew and I walked home.


The inside string behind my left knee was hurting on the way home and I was a bit worried. A big bowl of Shreddies and a shower, a lie-down, some bread and cheese, fishfingers, chips and mushy peas, and an early night. Sunday morning I was tired and a bit achy but that has subsided through the day.

I was feeling a bit ambivalent about this and nearly didn’t blog about it. It was hard and although I’d practised on different surfaces and on the canal, and in the heat, but I hadn’t reckoned with the brick-based slope bit in town, which did me in. I felt I should have felt stronger for the second half than I did, but I just hadn’t practised for that – stairmaster at the gym would have helped.

Moving foward, I don’t love racing and don’t need to do it to run (I know that’s quite unusual and I’m lucky). I am going to ask our club coaches for some gym sessions to build strength, as well as going to more of their sessions. I think I’m going to attempt the 26.2 mile no 11 bus route in October but with plenty of rest breaks and sit-downs.

You should be able to see the relive of this run here.

19.23 mi 14:05 mm (I forgot to pause my watch loads, though), 4:30:52 “moving” time (Bernice made this 4:18); 4:49:29 elapsed time

Miles this week: 27.2

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 639 miles (on track)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

Sedate lady running 30 July – 05 August 2018 #amrunning #running


Well, I’ve had a very odd running week this week, including the facts that I did my long run on Monday, did longer than I thought because I just CAN’T ADD UP on Saturday and didn’t do what I thought I was going to do on Sunday! But I ran over 20 miles and did 2 hours of yoga, plus two lots of giving back, so that’s got to be good, right?

Monday – as I’m doing this 18 mile Canal Canter on 11 August it was time to fit in one more long run before then. Because I’d done a half-marathon training run with the club on Saturday, I knew I didn’t want to do this on the Sunday, so moved it forward a day, having booked the time off in the morning. Fortunately, this meant I could run with the lovely Claire (and I didn’t fall over this time!)

Liz and Claire at mile 10 (and a bit for me – how does that happen?)

Claire did the race last year so she took me along a chunk of the route for our first 10 miles, we made it to the canal and along the canal, stopping under a bridge where I had topped up my lucozade sport with water but forgot to pause my watch.  And just before the canal was this:

What?? Yes, a ski slope, mere miles from my house

It turns out everyone who grew up in Birmingham or kids knows The Ackers but I was amazed! Did I mention there was a hill LIKE THAT next to it we had to run up?

We then ran back to my house where Claire left me (she lives a few doors down on a road that’s pretty full of runners!) and then I did the last 6 on my own (the wiggly bits on the map to the left. I basically went to the park and along to where running club starts in the winter, then kind of spiralled around, taking out-and-backs down some roads to add miles.

I won’t lie, it was a push, but I will have Bernice with me the whole way round and there are tea and cake stations on the run.

I was quite pleased to get a 12:22 split for my last mile, and my total was made slower by those two miles, in the middle of which I forgot to pause my watch. Gah! Speed isn’t important to me as such but I do like to check that I’m, for example, maintaining a regular pace and not dropping consistency as I tire.

I WAS tired after that and didn’t get much work  done in the afternoon. Temperatures were a LOT cooler which massively helped: I don’t think I’d have been able to do that in the hot stun.

16 miles 13:13 mm

Wednesday – Did Dave’s yoga class and it was a really good one – I’d stretched a lot after the long run and also on Tuesday and that really helped me: usually after an unaccustomed long run it really shows up in my yoga.

Thursday – A coffee with a friend and lots of work filled up a day which it was actually useful to have as a rest day, I think.

Friday – Did Claire’s yoga class which was HARD on the arms and shoulders but good fun. I did request an easier class going into the race next weekend, although of course it’s my choice how hard I push it.

Saturday – I was down to lead the running club’s beginners’ session and thought I was running 8 miles on Sunday so was going to keep it to that. Then plans changed a bit. So I first of all ran down to the Post Office Parcel Depot and ran back clutching an Iris Murdoch hardback novel (in a box in a bag) in one hand.

0.7 mi 11:32 mm

Then I ran to the park for beginners

0.6 mi 10:40 mm

Then I did 4 min run / 1 min walk round loops of the park with four lovely beginners/returners who all did really well, were eager to learn and were ready for more by the end (that’s how I like to leave them, not worn out).

2.07 mi 13:58 mm

Then I did a wild miscalculation, wanting to get to over 4 miles because Sunday’s plans had changed. I also pushed myself a bit as this was my last effort run before the race – achieving a 10:30 mile for the last full mile, remembering arms and flicking my toes down to push the road away (I can only do this for a bit!).

2.2 mi 11:17 mm

So a total of 5.6 miles, making up my total for the week. Oh well, maths was never my forte!

Sunday – Remember how much I enjoyed watching the work of the officials at the British Championships a few weeks ago? And how I thought I might like to do that? Well, I’m hopefully going to be doing the course to start qualifying next month, but on Saturday I responded to a call for officials to help with the Transplant Games and, after explaining that I wasn’t qualified yet, was welcomed there as an official in training.

One of the long jump pits I worked on; discus cage to the right. It wasn’t deserted, I just chose a good moment!

My apprehensiveness was not warranted – I was warmly welcomed, supported and challenged to try out lots of different things in the field, and yes, the field is where I want to specialise. I was involved with supporting the long jump (9-11 year old and 59-69 year old), discus, shot putt and javelin (twice). It was great fun, tiring, but an honour to support the efforts of these excellent athletes. I’ll be completing my first batch of training as soon as I can!

In the week coming up I’ll probably just do club run gently on Tuesday, then it’s the Canal Canter on Saturday – probably my only official race of the year. Wish us luck!

Miles this week: 21.6

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 611 miles (on track)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here

Sedate lady running 23-29 July 2018 #amrunning #running


A slightly odd week this week with not that much exercise. It’s been SO HOT (until the weather broke on Saturday, hooray) and the lack of sleep that has engendered has made everything hard. Plus ordering things on inappropriate days (see below).

Monday – I went with my friend Dave to an interesting talk by Dr Martin Yelling at the University of Wolverhampton about his life in running and his work training other runners. There was a lot of talk of just running for the joy of it rather than always pushing for something which really chimed with me.

Tuesday – I woke up for 5:40 am ready to go for an early run … and heard a quad bike in the distance. We’re really plagued with kids on quad bikes and scooters at the moment, and while I don’t like vilifying all kids, someone out on a quad bike at that time in the morning is unlikely to be entirely benign. So annoying, but I went to club run in the (boiling) evening instead. Hard work dragging round the course, I can’t even remember now if I ran with Claire, who was tail-running; I think I did. Sheesh! It was hot, anyway. I was late up there so my first mile was 11:07, including some under 10:00 mm pace on the way up to the park.

5.4 miles 12:33 mm

Savon de Marseille and Savon d’Alep

Wednesday – Normally yoga day but I had ordered some replacement soaps for myself and of course they arrived at yoga time! I must just tell you about these – lovely pure Savon de Marseille and Savon d’Alep soaps from French manufacturers that I order from Salon du Savon, their soaps are so gentle on my skin, especially as I’m prone to break-outs when I’m sweating a lot, and they help soothe chafed areas, too. Their Savon d’Alep is ethically sourced and supports Syrian producers displaced by the war there. (I don’t get anything from promoting them, I just love them!). So I had lovely soaps but no yoga. Who does stretching on a day they were going to go to yoga? Um …


Thursday – A standard running day for me but it was TOO HOT. It was 86F which is hot for the UK, and very humid. I was just too scared of heat exhaustion etc. to even think of it.

I did get excited this week as my membership pack arrived from the Midlands Association of Athletics Officials. I am, as we know, planning to train as a track and field official as well as an endurance one, and so I was keen to get the book of rules (who doesn’t like a book of rules) and also have a name badge (name plate to follow, apparently) and a special pen that writes on wet paper (again, what’s not to like?). I feel quite “official” having this!

Friday – I was getting twitchy from not running. I didn’t have much time as I was waiting in for yet another delivery, so I went out from 6-6.30. The bin men were out in force, which was nice as they usually wave at me (and did) although the streets were a little pungent! Sunrise was just after 5 and it was still very dawny when I got back, even though it was still 60F at 6am.

Just post-dawn across the rooftops

I was meant to just go out to blow the cobwebs away and felt slow at first, with my watch showing just the time so I could get back in good time. But when 11:19 came up for the first mile, I thought, “I wonder if I could get a negative split (for once)?” and pushed it a bit harder on the next mile. 11:16 for mile 2 – that counts, right? So I pushed a bit more, remembering this is pre-breakfast and I’d only had a light meal for my tea the night before, and I got 11:14 pace for the last half-mile. I was also pleased I’d got my cadence up to 169 spm as it’s 164 naturally. Shows even a sedate lady can go a little faster at times! I did feel a bit queasy when I got home, which is unusual for me but it felt good to have got out.

Oh, and no yoga because I’d ordered a new record player (the cat threw some biography books onto the old one) and it arrived … at yoga time. Gah!

2.5 miles 11:16 mm

Saturday – It was my turn on the rota to lead the club’s half-marathon training. The Birmingham half-marathon is in October (I might even do it again myself this year) and we offer training at a pace of 12-13mm designed for people building their confidence and distance. It’s a lovely group to support as people are mostly running the longest they’ve yet run and it’s great to help them build up. Here I am in club “alternative” kit (the one anyone, as opposed to just members, can wear):

Club-branded Liz

Slightly odd hair caused by going out with wet hair to keep cool. It was actually a nice cool morning with a breeze and even some drizzle – such a difference! It was a lovely run with a group of 9 plus me. I greatly admire Helen, who ran longer than she has in a while, and Sara, battling through plantar fascitis and it was great to help the others achieve something. I led very much from the back but was glad to have more sedate folk to run with and the speedier ones ran ahead then waited at big junctions. I am not phased by this as I have the knowledge I’ve run two marathons and one DIY one and can run for 6 hours – it does help!

And in the afternoon it REALLY RAINED! Look!

Actual rain!

8.7 miles total with the 7.5 mile training run at 12:39 mm and the runs to and from 11:29 and 11:57

And that was it for the week, because I’m going to try for a good long one on Monday, along the canals, in preparation for my 18 mile race on 11 August.

Anyone got any tips for Sara on beating plantar?

Miles this week: 16.6

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 590 miles (well on track – needs to be 583 by the end of the month and I have a run in hand to do tomorrow!)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here

Sedate lady running 16-22 July 2018 #amrunning #running


First of all, thank you to everyone for your comments on weight training last week – very helpful indeed and a lot to think about. I am definitely going to add some in and am looking at the schedules at my gym as it makes sense to use my membership for more than just yoga: there are some Fit in 30 classes which are apparently HIIT classes and I’ve also found a Spin class on a Wednesday which would give me time to get home, shower and pop back for yoga, which might be a good upper-body strength and cross-training option. I’ve also added a new sport this week – read on for details!

Tuesday – I went to club run even though it was hot: I ended up running with the tail runner (lovely George, who’s recovering from costochondritis (inflammation of the intercostal muscles) so a nice chat about that, as you do. Because I was running with the tail I thought I’d done “badly” however my pace was quite normal for a Tuesday night with all the hills. I was a bit out of breath and wobbly: I hadn’t quite realised how my reaction to the horsefly bite I got on Sunday was affecting me (it didn’t get infected – yay – but it did react allergically and blew up – boo; I’ve still got a 1/2 p sized bit of skin missing on my thigh!). But I got round.

One good thing was that I got out my second new pair of Saucony Guide 9 trainers – I’d previously got sore toes with the others ones. I relaced these in the way I usually do to get my heels back and supported (using that last hole to create a loop then threading the laces through: do these pics make sense?):

Special lacing from the side

I kind of kicked my heels right back into them when I put them on, and loosened the laces at the toe end and they seemed to be OK. Phew! I will relace again the other pair and try them out on a short run.

5.3 mi, 12:20 mm (including an 11:07 first mile because I thought I was late)

Wednesday – Dave yoga. I was extremely rubbish – stiff and shaky, almost walked out at one point. I think it was still the effects of the bite, plus the 14 miler on Sunday. Bah.

Thursday – I eschewed Jenny’s offer of a morning run as I can only do about 5.8 miles before breakfast and I wanted to do 7 to bring Sunday’s planned run to the total for the week. MAN it was hot. I met Mary Ellen at 6pm, she could only fit in an hour before going for a curry so we did a big loop then headed for the breezes and shade of the park.

We were just talking about different sports and I was saying how Matthew likes badminton when we heard a shout of my name, and it WAS Matthew, and I got him to take a pic of us running, because everyone on the link-up seems to manage to get pictures of themselves running. Even though I’m talking in this one, I think it’s great of both of us (Mary Ellen on the left, me on the right) and it also shows the kind of suburban streets we run down.

Mary Ellen and Liz

Note, I’m wearing longer leggings because I still had a dressing on my bite! Once in the park I carried on round and round. I saw my club mates gathering for their canal run or hills training and said hello to them. And I didn’t manage 7 miles because I was TOO HOT – I did 5.8, which of course I could have done a lot more comfortably at 6 AM. Grr. I walked up all the hills to conserve energy so was pleased with my pace: I managed to get a 200 yard 9-10 mm sprint in at the end.

5.8 mi, 12:07 mm

Friday – Claire yoga. Jenny came with me as her class was cancelled and we had a lovely coffee and catch-up afterwards. Much better class, I felt good and managed a lot more flexibility. I did giggle looking in the mirror wall – Jenny looked SO serene, I had a big frown and a concentrating face on!

Saturday – There were free tennis sessions on at a few places, organised by the British Tennis Association, and Matthew and I went down to the cricket club, which has a tennis club, because my running friend Lynda (who runs for sister club Bournville Harriers) was going to be there and I was a bit nervous. It was SO MUCH FUN and I def want to make space for tennis in my life again. I last played 15 years ago and Matthew more like 30 – but with some brilliant coaching from Lynda, my serve improved dramatically and I was able to enjoy it a lot. My shoulder, arm and ribs ached a bit on Sat and Sun but not too badly.

As I don’t have many friends who play locally and Matthew can’t do daytimes, I’m working out what to do now, but I’m hoping to do their Rusty Rackets course with him in the autumn to get our technique up to scratch. Came back with more suntan and a big smile!

Sunday – Pete from club wanted to organise his own half-marathon training on Sundays – we have an official scheme on a Saturday that I help with. As he advertised it at 11-12 mm and said he’d not leave anyone behind, I and a few of the sedate ladies decided to go along. It was great fun, a lovely group of people, some of whom I’d not run with before (note that Trudie and Caroline did NOT coordinate their outfits this time, although we seemed to get a message to wear black or blue/turquoise …)

Sunday unofficial half training crew – thanks, Pete (third from left, back row)!

We did about 6 miles together; I wanted to do 8.9 to bring my total for the week to 20 so ran to the other side of the park with Caroline then did a bit more on my own. I was pleased with my splits, given all the HILLS (we did a load of the half route and it has HILLS, gave a few of us flashbacks to the Birmingham Marathon), and a nice sprint at the end:

I did giggle at the Strava segments I PR’d in this run – I did NOT name these …

A great run and I will join in again – I’m leading the official training on Saturday so will miss Sunday’s one next week.

A good week all in all, very pleased with being able to run in the heat a bit more … well, I won’t say easily, I was panting for ages in the house on Thursday and took a while to stop sweating today, but I’m used to it. I will probably run early on Tuesday as it’s set to be over 30 (86) temperature wise, not sure about Thursday, then the half training next week, adding up to 20 miles I hope, then a long run on the Monday to be my last long one before the race on Aug 11.

Hope you all had good running weeks. What’s your top tip for surviving the head and how many buffs / head wraps do you have in your drawer?

Miles this week: 20.1

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 573 miles (on track – needs to be 583 by the end of the money)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

Sedate lady running 09-15 July 2018 #amrunning #running


My husband and I both had the week off this week – it didn’t really affect my running’n’yoga routines as I was able to keep to those as usual (we didn’t go anywhere, but had a rest from work and got stuff done around the house, gently and slowly). It was nice to go for an early morning run and not have to worry about getting back and sorted in a rush to start my day’s work (some of my clients are in different time zones so I often have stuff to do early).

One thing I have noted from all the posts I’ve been reading in the link-up every week is that I really need to get back into strength training. I used to love going to the gym and doing some different cardio than running, then getting on the machines and free weights, but seem to have lost that routine. As well as getting back into spin, I’m going to look at doing that twice a week. I think this will help my running and resilience. Yoga is set for Wednesday and Friday mornings, the spin class I can get to most easily is on a Thursday morning, so I think I might need to move my Thursday run to a Friday. That would mean run Tues, Fri and Sat or Sun, yoga Weds and Fri, Spin Thu and strength training when? I work from home and to my own schedule, however being out a whole morning or afternoon would be tricky. ETA Tuesday and Thursday runs are often with running club in the evening, starting just before 7. Any hints on how to sort out my schedule would be gratefully received!

Old running kit!

Tuesday – Did 5.4 miles at 6.30 am – this is the same distance as the running club’s evening run as I wanted to replicate that to make sure I kept up with things. It was really hot and humid and also hayfevery, as I took my medications for that at 6 and they were variously not kicking in yet/ choking me (the nasal spray) and blinding me (the eye drops) as I ran. Fun times! I was going to do the route Jenny and I do with some extra at the start but the extra at the start was longer than I thought and I got to our usual meeting place nearly 3 miles in so altered the second part … then hadn’t quite gone far enough and had to do little spikes up all the side roads to get the miles in.

Wore seriously ancient kit – I’m trying to get the last miles out of my old shoes after having wrecked the newest pair, so wore my Reykjavik marathon 2016 shoes (Saucony Guide 8s) and capris I’ve had since there was this shop in the top of the old shopping centre over the rail station about 14 years ago (they are flappy at the bottom which I love, but also getting quite bobbly).

5.4 miles 11:30 mm

Wednesday – Dave’s yoga class, a really nice one, keeping to the usual routine but I didn’t feel too bad except when we did the triangle on the right side and my right glute needed to free up before I could touch the floor. We went into town in the afternoon and saw Dippy the Dinosaur who is on tour from the Natural History Museum (it’s a plaster cast of a diplodocus but it’s iconic, we both saw it as kids and there it was again!) and BOUGHT TENNIS RACKETS! I’ve been after getting back into my (bad, bad) tennis for ages and finally persuaded Matthew to consider it. My old one has disappeared and was wooden! so we got Slazenger starter ones, in some kind of magical, light material. There’s a British Tennis Association open day thing at various tennis courts including two near us next weekend, and we’re hoping to go along. I also bought some shorts, including some cycling style ones and some two-layer with a cycling short under and a floaty over, the same as my friend Mary Ellen has.

New kit!

Thursday – Ran with my friend Jenny. You know when you get sick and tired of all your routes? Yup. So I suggested we do one of Jenny’s routes, except I miscalculated as our usual run together ends up at my end of the lane that joins our streets, and this one ended up at her end, so I ran a bit further than I’d planned (but it was fine). Her route took us down some VERY POSH roads to the park where we do parkrun and back and I was pleased with the pace give that we very definitely walked up the big hill!

I’m not sure there will be a picture here. If there is, it’s of my shorts! I’ve been very very reticent about wearing shorts for running even though I know it’s cooler and it doesn’t matter. I’m not one for wearing small outfits anyway and I’m conscious that I’m not the most svelte person out there and I also have different height knees because of my leg length disparity (dealt with using raises: all fine). But it’s been so HOT and I’ve embraced them. Husband said I looked “strong” in them and Jenny’s a counsellor and convinced me that wasn’t a euphemism. It was cool – I have run in shorts a bit but weird ones I’ve either cut off or repurposed, and these Karrimor ones were very comfortable and didn’t ride up at all.

The shoes weren’t brilliant, though. One of two identical pairs of Saucony Guide 9s I bought recently, a style I’ve had multiple pairs of and even a colour I’ve had before, yet they felt short and my toes were still sore a while after taking them off.  I wore my very cheap Lidl rucksack which is not going to be suitable for the long race as its neck straps are too close together while the chest and waist ones won’t go small enough (I’m not THAT narrow: who was this made for??). But that’s good to know.

5.7 miles 12:13 mm

Friday – Yoga at Claire’s class, a lot of back bends and arm work which was challenging but OK (being an endurance runner at heart I can force myself to hold positions!) and I actually felt my lower back and glute/ham were looser after that. It was lovely having a lie-in, then reading a bit (OK, then trimming the cat’s claws – slightly random) then popping round to yoga!

Saturday – Volunteered at parkrun and had a great time cheering people on. Then I co-lead a Run and Talk session, which is an initiative set up by England Athletics and the charity Mind via the Mental Health Champions in running clubs. A group of eight of us walked about a mile round the park then had a coffee and long chat about running and this and that. Came home and relaxed.

Sunday – As I’m doing this 18-mile race on 11 August, I’d decided I needed to try for 14 miles and at least a bit in the sun. So I started off later than last week, at 8.40 am. Met Trudie, Caroline and Ruth in the park and that’s when Ruth and I realised we must have been missed off the wardrobe planning email:


Even their watches were the same! Hilarious! Bonus pic of our local park, too. This featured heavily in today’s run.

We headed off down to the canals which feature in the club’s Thursday night summer run, hoping for some shade. I mean, when I got home at 12.20 it was apparently only 73 degrees which is I know a lot cooler than it has been here and is elsewhere, but it still felt BOILING. It was lovely by the canals. We were walk-running, mainly walking over canal bridges as they’re steep and tricky to navigate (they have raised bricks to help you grip but they’re easily tripped over!)

Lots of wildlife to see, including this heron,  and we did well with other runners, dog walkers and cyclists. We then popped up and ran back to the local park. Caroline and then Trudie went their ways with their 7 miles achieved, and Ruth and I soon realised that the park was the coolest place around, with a breeze and shade, so we ran-walked round and round (mainly walking on the uphill bits) until she’d reached her 10 mile target. I was on 11.88 miles by then and reckoned I could do it – I kept looping round the park (spotting my friend Louise out hunting Pokemon in her lovely new sunglasses) until I had 0.5 miles to go, paused for a drink then went home. 14 miles in the bag! I could have done without having Therapy?’s song Screamager in my head for much of the run …

A weird looping route and the pace chart looks odd because I kept forgetting to pause my watch when we stopped to catch our breath or take photos. My first mile was 12:02 and my 14th mile was 12:07 so I was pleased with that.

I wore my Salomon Active 500 belt and took a bottle of Lucozade sport and my 500 ml Salomon bottle, topping up the former with the latter. Wore my Karrimor shorts again and took my old Guide 9s out, which do not pinch, but they’re now up to over 400 miles.

14.0 miles 13:50 mm (including standing still with my watch still running!)

Miles this week: 25.1

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 539 miles (on track)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

Book review – Amby Burfoot – “Run Forever” #running #amreading #NetGalley


This book has been out since May, which is around when I requested it – fortunately I was approved in time for it to be the book of the month in the Runners’ Bookshelf Facebook group. Thank you to publisher Center Street for making it available to me via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

This is in fact the running book I would have written, had I as much clout as this veteran runner, ex-editor-in-chief of Runners’ World, Boston Marathon winner who has run at least one marathon in each of seven of his decades on Earth. You have to believe this stuff from him, right?

He’s very much about simplicity – which I love – talking about how complicated running has become, when it’s really a matter of popping some shoes on and going out there. He advocates choosing the shoes that are most comfortable (but buying them from a specialist sports retailer and benefitting from their knowledge), looking at walk-run programmes, especially when starting out or recovering / ageing, setting different goals as you get older, practising with the drinks that will be available in your marathon and not trying new things during a race, and carb-loading but not troughing. Great stuff!

He does talk a lot about research, including when it is more likely to be generalisable (he likes reports from the Army and from big research institutes with big research populations) and everything he says is backed up, sometimes also from his own experience, but none of it’s earth-shattering, for example he still advocates the 10% rule when increasing your distance (only add 10% to your long run each week, no more) and taking rest weeks. Because he’s been running for so long, he has seen all the fads go past and he does talk interestingly about how opinions on some things like stretching and tapering have changed over the years.

The book is not just a guide to how to keep running forever, but also a guide to starting and maintaining an injury-free running life. He talks about injuries when they do occur very sensibly, mentioning that “you can’t go wrong by leaning in the direction of extra caution” and sharing a story of when he allowed a small niggle to develop into a major problem by not listening to his body. He reads very humble like that.

I loved the things that chimed with my own running (of course!) e.g. that when running long, everyone doesn’t have to run with you all the way, but can join in for their own bits: this is something I’ve always done with long run training but I’m not sure I’ve seen it written about before; and the mental health benefits of running side-by-side and talking about all manner of things. He’s also keen on the idea of a cuppa after a run, having seen Roger Bannister do that – fab! I also loved his descriptions of his training partners and how he loves them for different aspects of their running and training styles – very true.

Burfoot is inspiring without ever being sappy – the best kind of inspiring for me. He talks about how he’s no fan of “corny mantras” like “the hills love you and you love the hills” but advocates sensible, positive self-talk, as he’s been persuaded that has effects, and I felt that

Expect bad days. Remember the good ones.

is a great principle to run by. His advice on keeping on running into old age, which I’m sure is why many of us picked up this book, is to keep doing it, even when difficulties hit, keep doing hill reps for the cardiovascular benefit and adjust your goals. Sensible stuff but nice to have it written down in front of you.

There are some rather odd generalisations about women runners mixed in with the great advice and sensible recommendations. For example, apparently women excel in running because they are more likely than men to follow the Couch 2 5k rules when starting out, rather than “charging into running” and then breaking (I’m not sure I’ve seen a gender difference in this and I’ve helped a lot of runners start running); and women have embraced half-marathons (rather than marathons) because they can then “lead the balanced lives many aspire to” without the gruelling and time-sapping training for a marathon. This kind of implies women have more responsibilities than men and read just a bit odd. He obviously celebrates women runners and their achievements, but these small sections felt a bit weird.

But apart from that minor point, a great guide to starting – and keeping – running.

Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home reviewed this book with an author interview for her May Book Club read. Do pop and have a look!

Have you ever read the book you would have written yourself? Were you relieved someone had done it for you? What are you reading now?

Sedate lady running 02-08 July 2018 #amrunning #running


After last week’s Fall (thank you for all the lovely and concerned comments), I was a bit nervous about getting back onto it. But I did, and had a really good week. I was signed up for a Canal Canter 26-miler in August, run by the Long Distance Walking Association, and while I knew I wasn’t up for a full marathon distance, hadn’t actually cancelled. I’ve decided to drop to the 18 mile option (no running under Spaghetti Junction for me this year, which is a shame!)  and my friend Bernice, who ran the London Marathon in April and did a 14 mile trail race the other weekend, is going to join me. It starts 10 minutes from my house and has a 10-hour cut-off as it’s for walkers, too, so seems rude not to.

Here’s my running week ….

Monday – I knew I was committed to tail running for the running club on Tuesday so thought I’d better check I was OK to run. Two miles done at 6am, very comfortable and nice cool(ish) conditions. Our heatwave continues but I’m lucky enough to work from home so I don’t have to go out in it much. 2 mi 11:20 mm

Tuesday – Club run. I was tail-running – it was a quiet run because there was some football on … I ran with a couple of friends for a while then we caught up with a woman and her partner, she hadn’t been running much so the 4-mile route was a big ask. We ran and walked and I encouraged her on (and let her walk up the big hill at the end). She did really well! I love volunteering for running club – which involves tail running at up to 14mm pace for 4 miles or leading a beginners’ session on a Tuesday or leading beginners or a 4-mile run except in half-marathon training season when it’s a longer run on a Saturday. It was HOT, though, running at 7pm. Hence the attractive selfie.

Too. Hot.

I wouldn’t have run in the evening if I hadn’t been volunteering but it’s not like I wasn’t going to volunteer! ETA the lovely Claire, who I was running with when I fell last week (but it totally was NOT her fault!) cycled by the end of the run to check I was OK and rode verrrrry slowly home with me – lovely to catch up and reassure her I was OK. 5.3 mi in total including there and back 11:38 mm there, 13:35 mm round, 12:10 mm back

Wednesday – Made it back to yoga – Dave’s class. It was quite a chilled class as it was so hot, and I fell asleep in the relaxation – not in the actual relaxation but between him ending the relaxation bit and telling us to bring gentle movement to our hands and feet to when we had to roll over on our side to prepare to get up. Oops!

Thursday – Met my lovely friend Jen at 6.15 am for one of our pre-breakfast runs – it takes me 15 minutes to get to our meeting point so set out at 6 am again. Still muggy that early – argh!

Because when I had the Fall I broke my Saucony Guide 9 Grey Pair 2nd Pair (how do YOU name your shoes for recording their mileage on strava or similar?) I’ve been getting the last few remaining miles out of my older shoes. So I went out in my Saucony Guide 8 Second Pair that I did the Reykjavik Marathon in in 2016 (they now have 358 miles in them, not sure why I stopped using them!). Here they are having a stretch on my front doorstep. They are still comfy – I usually get up to 400 miles out of a pair of shoes, which does add up.

Blue saucony trainer on doorstep and lavender bush

And stretch

Anyway, we did our sort of usual route but I kept it to 5 miles because I can really only go a bit more than that before breakfast anyway and it was pretty hot and sapping out there. I also wanted to get home before Mr Liz set out for work. This was fortuitous, as he’d just had to strip the bed after dealing with a hairball incident from our cat, Morgan (I’ve been brushing him a lot and he’s not a bad boy for the hairballs, but he must have been shedding a lot in the heat). He’d just written a massive note for me. But at least the weather was conducive for washing and drying the bedding, including the duvet! 5 mi 12:14 mm

A woman who has just run 5 miles before breakfast and a man who has dealt with an Incident and stripped a bed before work

Friday – Claire yoga – no falling asleep happened. This was such a busy day – I cleaned the house before yoga and then did a lot of work to clear deadlines before having a week off next week (yay week off. Not going anywhere, just needed a break.).

Saturday – Having committed to the 18-miler, I was aware I needed to get in some longer runs and some hot training. Unfortunately I didn’t start well – I went to bed really late and having worked late, and then got up at 4.15 to have my breakfast and never went back to bed again! (normally I eat three hours before my run and get an hour to an hour and a quarter’s sleep in before springing into action). So I was sleep deprived and tired from Friday so wasn’t thinking it would be good. But it was!

I started off with a five-mile loop I’ve done a million times – downhill, along (a shady road, which was very nice) and uphill back to our area. It was pretty hot and I started a run/walk strategy of 9 min run / 1 min walk from about mile 3, which helped a lot. I was meeting my lovely friend Ruth to go to parkrun at a particular time but thought I might meet her near to my road, and so I did.

Ruth in the middle of being epic (photo courtesy of Ruth)

We’ve been running together for a few years now and I’d helped her get back up to half-marathon distance for her charity challenge (running a half every month for the Alzheimer’s Society) so she offered to support the middle of my run today.

We set off back to our original meeting point then ran down to Cannon Hill Park for parkrun. This is the local one at which I volunteer a lot; I don’t really like running 5k so only really do it in the middle of a long run. Trotting down to the park we met Hilary The Race Walker from another local club, who I had a really good chat with about track and field official training – I’m hoping to get some taster sessions in with them. I do love how all the local clubs are rivals at one level but friends and supporters at another, more important level.

Met up with a few other friends and clubmates at parkrun and set off – I was at Mile 8 by then and did let people know I was doing a long one. It’s great to run parkrun as I know so many of the volunteers and marshals, even though it’s a really big event (there were only about 680 runners today as the Birmingham and Black Country half marathon was on in town, and that’s very low for Cannon Hill) and I actually enjoyed it more than I usually do. A lot of waving and thanking marshals and cheering on known and unknown fellow-runners.

We finished parkrun then I had just under 2 miles left to do – I wasn’t sure how many because I’d dimly forgotten to restart my watch after waiting to cross a road and wasn’t sure what the gap was – I underestimated it. Ruth came with me for a bit; she was Jeffing (run/walk) and doing more walking, mainly because she’d done a hard, hot half last weekend and had meant to do 6 miles, ending up doing 9! but she kept catching me up anyway; I did 4 min run / 1 min walk for this bit. I got home at 12.1 miles, quite hot but not in a state or anything, about 10.15 am so catching the proper sun.

I was really pleased with my splits and my pace, pretty consistent and I didn’t fade too much in the sun (or go out too fast). And of course I got home just as Matthew was out at the supermarket, so had to wait for him on the step. As well as stretching, I took a weird pic giving my shadow a dress of lavender. As you do.

Total miles 12.4 mi 12:30 mm

I had a hot cross bun and a drink, then a shower, then fishfingers, low-fat oven chips and mushy peas. After a picnic then a friend’s birthday party, I was verrrrrrry tired. But week off!

Miles this week: 24.7

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 528 miles (on track)

Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here. (updating when they’re out later)

Older Entries