Sedate lady running 08-14 April 2019 #amrunning #running

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Not such a long one today although I’d appreciate comments on my training plan as I reach the last (ish) stages. But first my exercise week.

Tuesday – I didn’t do a recovery run on Monday as had only run 12 miles on Sunday as my rest weekend, so was able to do our last winter club run of the season – “Feck Hill”. I started off with Mary Ellen and enjoyed speaking bad Spanish to her (I’m learning Spanish but haven’t got very far yet!) and then teamed up with another Liz, who I ran with on her first run with club. I ran up clutching my friend Maria’s new Run and Talk / Mental Health Champion t-shirt and wore mine, too (I’m glad we ordered the women’s Large! I’m also glad it has the Mind charity logo on the sleeve, my second to have that after my RED January one).

Mental Health Champion!

Ran there, round and back in one go and it was still pretty light when I got home!

Still light!

5.4 miles, 12:29 mins per mile

Wednesday – our two yoga classes on a Weds and Fri have been combined into one class each day so we had a mixed levels class with Dave. A balance we only do in the 10am class had some people squeaking and there were lots more (optional) transitions between poses, but a good class. I then got changed and ran with Ruth. We met up near my house and did 2.5 miles of jeffing (walk 30 sec, run 1 min) then when Ruth finished and left me to get back home, I decided to swap it around and sprint 30 sec, run 1 min, which I did by counting paces but it was fun and did work (and I got reverse splits on my mile times.3.1 miles, 12:27 mins per mile

Friday – A combined Claire yoga class that was quite hard and I couldn’t bring myself to go up into a shoulder stand. I have been doing my physio exercises regularly and could hold my legs straight up while lying on the floor and back bends a  bit more effectively.

Saturday – Met up with one of my cousins and his family in Herefordshire and had a lovely c 5 mile walk around an arboretum

Sunday – Long run day. Run up to meet Jenny, seeing Tara’s other half Matt on the way (and telling him how far I was going, which was handy as that convinced me to do it) and we ran a loop then I made it to the park for the next stage with 4.5 miles under my belt. Then met up with Ruth and Tara – Ruth was doing yet another half marathon distance, this time a virtual race as she’d missed her last one through illness. We went out and back along the bus 11 outer circle route, jeffing 30 sec walk, 1 min run, and made it to Bearwood before coming back – here’s a pretty photo of another clock:

Bearwood Clock

and here’s a photo proving Ruth got to Bearwood because the sign says so: we actually ran past the sign and up the road.

I know a lot of readers like the pretty stuff I post but this industrial/commercial/residential mix from the 1910s, 1930s and 1970s is very representative of the areas we run in, too. Tara said goodbye and popped on the bus after 10 miles and Ruth and I got back to the park for her 13.1 yay! And THEN I met Fay who had heroically come to meet me and run with me even though she’d done an Easter Egg 5k in the morning!! and we did a flattish route around the place before I said goodbye to her in the park and ran home a slightly wiggly way for another 4.5ish miles.

I found this hard. I know why. I have NOT been going to bed early enough. I worked really hard on Thursday to give me time to go and visit a friend who has just had an operation, worked really hard on Friday to get something finished so I didn’t have to get up early on Monday to do it, and out all day Saturday (that wasn’t too bad but still not an early enough night). I REALLY have to work on this. Anyway, I was really pleased with my pace – still within 6 hour marathon limits!

22 miles / 13:36 mins per mile

Hayulp! Hayulp! Am I even doing this right?

So that was a long one even though my marathon isn’t until the end of May. But I am aiming to do another long one next weekend, then have a rest week, then another long one before I taper a bit for the marathon, then 2 weeks of taper, 2 weekends of back-to-back runs (with a 10 mile trail run in the mix) then tapering for the ultra. This feels sensible for me so I’m accustomed to going long, the mara will be “just another training run”, I am not overstraining myself in the week or rest weeks, and the 31 mile ultra is a natural progression. But I’d love comments on how sensible this is, given I’ve invented it for myself (this is my 4th marathon and I enjoy running long).

Miles this week: 30.5 Miles this year: 337.

weekly-run-down-final-300x300The 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 01-07 2019 #amrunning #running

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Quite a big post today and quite a bit mileage for me for a week – but Monday’s run, as mentioned last week, was really part of last week, but I elected to do my long run on Monday rather than at the weekend so I could run with the lovely Claire on her last long one before the London Marathon. I hope I remember all of Monday’s action, given that I neglected to write it down at the time!

Monday – It was just me and Claire, so she did a super route across the south side of the city to Edgbaston Reservoir, somewhere I’d not been for years and had not run around. We went up past the University and up one lot of canals then back down another set, following the Canal Canter route, with some wiggling around once home to make up the miles (20 for me, 23 for Claire). It was a lovely run: some bits where we felt down, of course, some giggles (something I said made Claire giggle uncontrollably for a bit), some lovely scenery, and good chats. I’ve really enjoyed my training runs with Claire this mara campaign and I’m going to miss them!

Of course we had to photograph the Lego giraffe in town …

Edgbaston Reservoir

City skyline from the canal by the reservoir

Aqueduct by the university – it always cheers me to run across this!

I finished half a mile before Claire’s 22 was up, so reclined against her gatepost, eating a banana, while she did a loop and ran up and down our road. But it meant I could get a photo of her in action!

Claire comes in – great strong work!

And we were done!

Claire and Liz, 42 miles between us!

The route made a kind of Pete’s Dragon dragon (right?)

I was really glad to get 20 in and was a bit early for it, so I have three more long runs with a rest week after the first two before tapering for the marathon, which I will treat as a training run. That sounds sensible, yes? Fortunately, the 6 hour cut-off starts when the last person crosses the start line – thank you, Liverpool RnR!

I was also pleased with my pace, esp as it kept recording when I had a toilet break, a bit faster than my 18. As long as I beat that cut-off …

20 miles, 13:00 mins per mile

Tuesday – A recovery run, I went up to the park, ran into my friend Vikki and her baby, walked a circuit or two with her (not recording some of the walk, so I actually went further than this) and ran home the long way. As usual, unknotted my legs and felt better after.

Some shocking (for me) matchy-matching going on here!

3.2 miles, 13:50 mins per mile (running miles 11:46, 11:37 and 10:45 pace)

Wednesday – Went to Easy Dave yoga for a much-needed stretch out.

Thursday – I was meaning to go for a run but it SNOWED and HAILED and I also didn’t want to do 5 runs in a week. So I actually DID do 30 mins of all my physio exercises plus some serious slow stretching.

Friday – Went to Easy Claire yoga which was good but we had some challenging things (Tortoise pose? I think not!). A lovely long nidra relaxation at the end.

Saturday – I realised I’d been covering Beginners for someone else when I was reminded I was rotaed to lead club beginners today! Oops! Anyway it was fine, ran up to the park, then led the beginners round. I had my 79-year-old learner from last week, who ran-walked 3 circuits 30sec per mile faster than last week and two returners, one a Sedate Lady friend, plus a lady who we gave some advice to about increasing her distance and graduating to the four-mile route. Lee took two four-milers out. Then our newest trainee coach, Julie, had asked for more volunteers to attend her coaching session, so I said yes and took that immediately afterwards. I had not really breakfasted sufficiently for this! We had a great warm-up with out and backs doing lunges, skips, high knees, etc, then did time-based intervals in a pyramid (0.5, 1, 2 and 3 minutes’ effort then back down). I jogged between all the efforts and felt OK but was a bit disappointed that my Strava shows an almost uniform line, meaning I did my recovery too fast and my efforts too slow, but I was pleased with this shocking pace for me (not for long!).

0.6 miles, 10:18 mins per mile / 2.1 miles, 13:36 mins per mile / 1.7 miles, 13:13 mins per mile / 0.8 miles, 11:35 mins per mile / total 5.3 miles.

Sunday – This is rest week so called for only a mid-length run. I needed 11.5 miles to round the “real” week up to 20, my minimum if I can. I met Claire and went down to the rugby club and common to run a bit on the gravelly paths, grass and earth paths in the woods, down to the canal, to get more off-road practice (go me!). We poked around the back of a house that’s for sale, losing speed but having a nice time in the cool woods. Then back to ours, I ran into my friend Andy and had a chat, then we ran down to the Midlands Arts Centre where my lovely husband Matthew’s photography course was having a second pop-up exhibition (they had another on Thursday in town). I’m very proud of his patience in taking up and succeeding at macro photography and here he is with his exhibit.

We took a look at a great exhibition of photos taken in Handsworth in 1979 then ran back home via the back of the park and one other park. I have to say I was flagging and stiff, but I’ve done a lot of activities over the last 3 days, including my dreaded lunges, so I’m not that surprised!

Well done to everyone who completed the Manchester Marathon today – so proud of my clubmates plus the Bournville Harriers who all did so well!

Oh, and I tried to emulate the lovely Kim‘s wonderful poses but don’t think I’ve got it quite right yet!

12 miles, 12:51 mins per mile

Miles this week: 40.5 (eeeps, however 20 of them did “belong” to last week, making that 31.2 and this 20.5). Miles this year: 306.5.

weekly-run-down-final-300x300The 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 25-31 March 2019 #amrunning #running

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Not a huge number of miles this week but you’ll see why at the end, but a decent week of exercise and good physio news.

Monday – A recovery run in the sun with Jenny. Why did I not realise how useful recovery runs are before this marathon campaign???

3 miles, 12:43 mins per mile

Wednesday – Second Dave yoga and a lovely stretch out. Two yoga sessions achieved this week, which felt good!

Thursday – Physio in the morning and I got signed off as a person with a stiff lower back rather than a person with a problematic stiff lower back. I’m to let him know if it gets worse again, and otherwise continue with the loosening and strengthening regime. Thanks, Phil!

Then I went for an early evening run with Trudie. No hat, no gloves, only one layer!

Yes, it was T-shirt weather!

We did a similar route to Monday and the park was looking lovely. Time for a shadow selfie!

Swanshurst Park shadow selfie. Taken by Trudie and used with her permission.

4 miles, 12:07 mins per mile

Friday – Second Claire yoga and while it wasn’t as confusing as last week, there were some hard things. However, lunges on tiptoes, yup, fine, more of those, please! I’d just finished mopping the floors from House Cleaning Day when I got to yoga, anyone else go to yoga with wet hair? (fail).

Saturday – I think I was covering for someone else but anyway, I led our club’s Beginners’ session in the park. I ran there, met four lovely beginners (including a lady in her very late 70s: massive kudos to her!) and one lady who had a Knee so Afshin (leading the four miles) and I persuaded her to run conservatively in the park, and we variously walked ran and looped back, stretched and finished. I met up with Jenny for a couple more loops then ran back to the high street to meet Matthew in the freezer shop to buy some groceries (the glamour).

More sun! Top’s getting a bit battered and grubby but will see me through the ultra then be replaced.

0.6 miles, 11:32 mins per mile / 1.8 miles, 14:06 mins per mile / 1.8 miles, 12:32 mins per mile for 4.2 in total.

You’ll remember Claire, who I do long runs with often: we went to a lovely fundraising lunch at her house (a few houses down from ours) which helped raise some money for her marathon charity and was a lovely occasion. More of Claire next week!

Sunday – I’ve not been hugely happy with my Saucony Hurricane 4s which I bought to replace my beloved Saucony Guide 8s and 9s when the 10s went all small in the toe box. They don’t feel supportive enough on really long runs, and I noticed some ankle aches after my 18 last week. So I went to Up & Running today and tried the Guide 11s (a bit wider but still slightly odd), two lots of Brooks (I could feel they had 1mm less drop than the Sauconys like some weird opposite to the Princess and the Pea), and Saucony Omnis – just right.

Phew

Yeah, they’re almost teal and I’m going to get some stick from my Bournville Harriers friends about that; at least the bag’s in our club’s colours!

Miles this week: 11.2 Miles this year: 266 (target miles at end of March 250)

So no long run this week: that’s because I’m doing my long run with Claire tomorrow. I’ve worked today to make up for it so should be able to take most of the day off to recover. Wish us luck with my 19 or 20 and her 22ish!

weekly-run-down-final-300x300The 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 11-24 March 2019 #amrunning #running

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I’ve got a bumper post for you today as I was on holiday in Fuerteventura (Canary Islands) last weekend and did some runs there, and I don’t tend to advertise that I’m away on the blog. So here’s a quick rundown of the last two lovely weeks of running.

Week 1 – 11-17 March

Monday – I did a recovery run with Claire (she’d done a half marathon the day before), after my long run of 16.1 messy miles the day before. Nice to unwind a bit and I feel these are really helping. I also had an appointment with my physio and he was pleased with my progress, with everything seeming both stronger and looser. Hooray! I have more of the same to do.

3.1 miles, 12:01 mins per mile

Wednesday – I was really pushed for time and had to choose between running and yoga. I chose running but did extra stretching and yoga moves afterwards. I did a section with Ruth then made up a decent distance so I could cut down my long run on Sunday as much as possible. I don’t seem to have taken any local photos this week!

6 miles, 12:33 mins per mile

Saturday – Walked 9 miles up towards a salt museum and back in Fuerteventura with my husband Matthew.

Sunday – I got up ready for dawn (having had breakfast VERY early) and went out for a lovely long run. I took the road we walked yesterday, but a bit longer, then went and explored the nice promenade around the sea front (note to anyone planning to visit Caleta de Fuste: the promenade is mainly hard concrete paving stones and the road to Las Salinas has a brick and paving stone section before the nice springy walking path so maybe best not to wear your oldest, most knackered shoes).

Long run in Caleta de Fuste (last mile uphill)

You can see where the comfortable path was and where the concrete didn’t give me anything back.

Sunrise over the port of Caleta de Fuste

Dawn palms!

We like a signpost. Plus running in SHORTS and a tshirt!!!

That signpost

11 miles, 12:20 mins per mile

Miles this week: 20.1

Week 2 – 18-24 March

Wednesday – We flew home Wednesday afternoon and I was able to get a run in in the early morning, this time before breakfast. I dried off my clothes on the airer! I concentrated on just the port area this time, running down and around the coastline as far as I could go one way then as far as I needed the other (a bit further than we’d walked on the Monday).

Sunrise over the ocean

Happy coolish runner

It was pretty windy so I was glad yet again of my hat-under-buff combo.

5.2 miles, 11:35 mins per mile

Friday – Managed to fit in a run and yoga – just went out myself before breakfast and zipped around as fast as I could. Yoga was hard with lots of hip opening but good for us!

3.1 miles, 11:07 mins per mile (super speedy for me)

Saturday – Having got up super early to finish a job for a client (I did get the rest of Sat and all of Sun “off”) I was picked up by running club captain Barbara and her husband, along with Mike, the cross-country captain, to go to the Midlands 12 and 6 stage road relays in Sutton Park (also featuring the Midlands under 13, 15 and 17s 5k championships). Barbara and I were officiating and met a lot of familiar faces – this time last year, however, it was SNOWING!

Barbara and I were helping with the start for the 5ks, making sure everyone was lined up then jumping aside to let the gun go off. Then I and another official held up the finish tape for the under-13 winner (my first time doing that and letting go at the right time to allow for a good photo!). Then we were on to the men’s then women’s relays (Barbara helped start the men and I helped with the women). We rotated through pen management and changeover management in pairs, with three teams so one always resting.

Pen management and changeover

Here, Barbara in orange is listening for the announcement of the number coming in (each relay team has a number with consecutive letters for each leg, so A1, followed by B1, C1, etc.) and then calling into the waiting runners in the pen to bring the next runner forward. Two officials stand on the start line looking for the incoming runner to run over the finish line (under the arch). They then release their waiting runner, who stands looking forward, trusting the official (usually!). It’s hard, concentrated work and we had a couple start at the wrong time and have to be called back, but it went smoothly. When 6 men’s teams had completed, we did a Mass Start (decided by the referee) where all runners who hadn’t yet run started off together. They still got times, but all ran together, so you might get the 10th, 11th and 12th legs of a team all running together if they’d only got up to number 9 (well, letter M) being out on the course already). We then helped our lead, Terry, record those all coming in, having got their front numbers off them and made a list so we knew who was still out there.

(Some of our) Kings Heath Running Club Endurance Officials

Sunday – I mixed up my running partners a bit and ran with Sarah, who I’ve known through running club for ages; she’s doing the London Marathon and needed an 18, which is what I was looking for, too. We set out a  bit later than I normally do (lie-in!!!) and she’d organised a canal-based route that we went round one way, then the other way, then we did some bimbling around the area until we were done. Trudie came with us for the first 7 miles then we trotted round quite happily. It was quite warm and we walked up the hills, but I felt OK and was really pleased (I didn’t even cry which I normally do at 16.5 miles) ESPECIALLY because just a couple of miles in we popped to the toilet in a supermarket and the toilet roll dispenser dropped open and hit me on the head. It hurt a lot but didn’t bleed or swell, but I had to spend a while filling in an accident report (NOT what you want at the start of a long run). Given that and being tired from Thursday/Friday and yesterday, I was really pleased with the run, and very proud of Sarah. She’s running for Diabetes UK and I’ve added her fundraising link below.

Sarah and Liz on the canal (taken by Trudie, posted with her permission)

Photo by the thumbs-up! Trudie, Liz and Sarah, taken by Trudie, posted with her permission

We both wore 401 Challenge/Foundation T-shirts without organising in advance!

Sarah’s fundraising page for Diabetes UK is here.

18 miles, 13:43 mins per mile (still just under 6 hour marathon pace for the win)

Miles this week: 26.3 Miles this year: 254.8 (target miles in March 250)

weekly-run-down-final-300x300There’s a new Weekly Run Down 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 04-10 March 2019 #amrunning #running #FebruaryFive

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A peculiar and hard week but no DOMS really, which is something. Not many pictures taken somehow.

Monday – I did my physio lunges but this time I did just one out-and-back set of each lunge. I took great care with my form (I had done that last time but maybe not so much on the second sets as I was so sore). I did not have terrible DOMS after, though I could feel it.

Tuesday – Running club run with the lovely Tara, a relatively new Sedate Lady who has great knowledge of the local parks and greenways thanks to her dog-walking business. Unfortunately I managed to stop my watch when I got to club and not restart it, so I had to borrow Tara’s stats! Dark but a nice one.

0.7 mi, 12:19 mins per mi / 4.1 mi, 13:19 mins per mi / 0.6 mi, 11:54 mins per mile; 5.4 miles in total.

Wednesday – Another set of lunges the same as on Monday. I couldn’t go to yoga because I was having some cheese delivered, so I set up my timer to prove I did do some yoga at home (15 minutes of it!)

Cross lunge – or something. Concentrating face.

Downward facing dog proof

Another bright spot was my February Five medal arriving – thank you Verity! I put it with my other two.

Thursday – I ran up to club to help support the 5k and Beyond group. Ran the long way, ran round but unfortunately the group was all pretty speedy and I had a bit of time when I couldn’t keep up, which was a bit embarrassing as I wasn’t able to do my job properly. Two ladies did drop back a little so I could support them through the end. Ran the long way round to get home and make up some miles, running into a friend who had had some abuse hurled at her from some blokes in a car – so bloody annoying!

1 mi, 12:17 mins per mile / 2 mi, 12:46 mins per mile / 1.1 mi, 12:30 mins per mile, 4.1 mi in total

Friday – went to Claire yoga after spending 2 hours cleaning the house. A good stretch out!

Saturday – Set off at 6.15 with my clubmate and friend Paul to get to Prestwold Hall in Leicestershire (an hour and 15 mins’ drive away) to Sector Marshal at the Intercounties Cross-Country Championships. We spent the first two hours in howling wind and rain trying to set the course back up again.

The struggle is real. Thanks to Paul Ward for the photo.

The tape kept stretching and tearing and this was a feature throughout. Joined by Dave J, the other sector marshal from club and Kings Heathens Karen, Fay, Dave T and Ursula, we found our places and supported our runners. I had a massive field to look after and was kept busy dashing about. It was still windy and terrible and the tape kept getting free; we also had a few fallen runners to look after so a day of concentrating and responsibility. Some great racing and this was my view if I had time to look down the field:

Prestwold Hall

We then all took the course down and left the bits in strategic places then came home. I got home at 5.45, washed the mud out of my hair (!) and had half a pizza, then dashed down to the club AGM to help make up the quorum. Back, other half of the pizza and bed.

Sunday – Due to a domestic crisis I was late starting which pushed my three companions’ runs back, and by a few miles in I knew I was sadly too upset and exhausted to be able to support the one friend through the run she’d planned and had to bail. I struggled back and met up with another friend in the park once I’d checked in at home, who helped me to manage the rest of my planned run distance, very slowly with lots of walks and stops. Not the most fun but I really wanted to get those miles in

It’s not all pretty churches and stately homes: here’s me, Trudie and some chocolate milk outside Bargain Booze.

Cambridge Road Methodist Church fulfilling my readers’ need for pretty churches.

Wiggliest route ever once I was back near home?

16.1 miles, 13:25 mins per mile

Miles this week: 25.7 Miles this year: 208.3 (target miles in March 250)

weekly-run-down-final-300x300There’s a new Weekly Run Down 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 25 February-03 March 2019 #amrunning #running #FebruaryFive

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A week very much of two halves so be prepared for a roller-coaster of a read and a proliferation of photos at the end after none at the start. I do try to stay quite calm about my running, but when something threatens to take it away …

Look, this makes sense to me, right?

Monday – Physio session. I’d gone 10 days since the last one and had been doing my exercises religiously, having moved up to 15 one-legged squats each side, 15 crab walks each way with a level 3 band round my knees, and loads of rolling. Physio was pleased with me and said he was going to “Progress” me so we headed out into the gym area and he showed me a set of lunges to do.
I was to do 10 mins cycling round about 8m of each of these (out and back? I don’t think so, now I think of it, 8m of one, then 8m of the next). First of all feet hip-width apart, knee touching the floor (for all) then in a single line, then crossing over a good way then going backwards. I managed them all just about.

Then he went at my posterior chain with some kind of hammer drill business to loosen things up. Off I went home, a bit sore but OK.

Tuesday – My friend Jenny was down to take the club beginners’ session but has started an amazing new course and couldn’t be sure she’d be back in time so I said I’d cover. A bit of a tricky one – dashed up so as not to be late then I had four new or returning runners plus two friends who decided to do a bit of jeffing alongside me. So we set off doing some walk-run loops and all was well, until one lady unfortunately fell (she was OK and with her friend) and so I said goodbye to them at the end of the second loop, checked they would stretch themselves then had to sprint like mad to catch back up with the others. I do worry sometimes I just don’t have the speed for these occasions, but I did catch them and they all enjoyed the session. I liked my equal up and home splits and called it Varied Efforts as I’d done sprinting and walking in the same session.

0.7 mi, 11:12 mins per mile / 2.6 mi, 13:10 mins per mile / 0.7 mi, 11:13 mins per mile

Wednesday – When the wheels came off. Decided to do my lunges. Nervous about falling in the gym, I did them at home, on the carpeted floorboards of the landing in trainers, but perhaps would have been better on gym mats. After five minutes (half the time I was given: but was that what I had to work up to actually?) and 2 x up and back the landing of each type, my legs were screaming and I stopped. Went to yoga a couple of hours later, legs really sore and stiff.

Thursday – REALLY sore and stiff. So … I decided it was DOMS and to run it off. Went to the park, so stiff, no extension, no lift, no power, came home after 3 miles, crying. Decided to try to do each movement slowly for just one up or back. No, still painful. Hurt to sit on the toilet, couldn’t sit down or stand easily, certainly couldn’t squat or bend. I started panicking at this point. From five minutes’ lunges? I thought I’d actually hurt myself, torn something. I’m sure my husband thought this was normal “I can’t do this marathon” but I was really really worried.

I did finish my February Five today and will show you my medal when it arrives. Strength/conditioning then physio every day as specified and ate 5 fruit and veg portions on average every day!

3 mi / 11:38 mins per mile

Friday – Went to Claire yoga, still so stiff and was tense and almost tearful as I explained I might have to retire from the class if I couldn’t manage. Even sitting on the mat was painful. So upset. But we did very slow stretches including glute stretch lying down and gradually during the class it actually eased. Oh, thank you Claire so much!

Saturday – Long run day and I really was not sure how I was going to do. Lovely Caroline from our sedate ladies’ group had formulated a route and arrangement that would allow various of us to run 4, 8, 10 or 13 miles, with everyone getting some canal work in – what a star. Actually it was a bit more varied even than that, but it worked a treat.

Jenny, Ruth, Liz, Sonya, Tara, Claire, Trudie, Tracie

I wore my 401 Challenge t-shirt to bring me luck and strength (you’ve read me talk about Ben Smith the 401 marathons man before). This was the full group at the end of 4 ish miles, some split off here.

And here’s the view the other way – an industrial estate as well as a pretty path. Note the blue skies and t-shirts however! I felt strong and messaged Matthew to say I was carrying on. I had raspberry tailwind with me which I really liked, as it didn’t feel so odd not being sweet. No tummy woes but I had two gels, one every 1 hour 15, which helped keep me well-fuelled.

Not all pretty!

As various people finished their runs or diverted off, it was left to me and Claire to finish our longer runs together. Because Claire is doing London Marathon she’s further ahead in her training than me: she’d done a few miles beforehand so we kept together from now until the end of my run. Running through Cannon Hill Park, we saw the swan boats were out and being used.  We saw my neighbours opposite around here, who both Claire and I know. And a couple of Bournville runners I know. Can’t get away from Two Degrees of South Birmingham!

The swan boats are out in Cannon Hill Park!

We went off the route a bit, going up a different road to Moseley as we like the houses better on that road. Up round a route we know well (although on the other side of the road, which confused us more than we would like to admit), and up one last hill with a few choice middle-aged noises, and we got to the end of my road with me at 15 miles! I had no idea I’d do that and although I originally had 17 to do today, this felt OK with the week I’d had, and I do have 8 more training weeks (with two rest weeks and a taper) before my marathon, so still plenty of time.

It was all windy but Claire said let’s have a picture so here we are outside Age Concern (very appropriate!). I did another 0.2 up the road, Claire got to 18.2 by the time she’d got to her end point! Hooray!

Two left then one went on …

Oh and here is the reality of marathon / ultra training, esp when you’ve had a stressful week and not quite enough sleep – an afternoon nap was required!

15.2 mi, 13:12 mins per mi

Sunday – I’ve got keen on these recovery runs so popped out to go round the park this morning. How different from Thursday’s awful run and I weirdly got negative splits – I was trying to stretch my legs, doing bursts of 20 paces of faster turnover then 40 slower (am I supposed to do this in a recovery run or just trot slowly?). Felt better after it as ever and even though it was rainy and windy I broke out my lighter leggings as well as my newest Saucony Hurricanes, which I am getting used to.

3.3 mi, 11:29 mins per mile

Miles this week: 25.5 Miles this year: 182.6 (miles in Feb 86.8 – on target for 1,000 a year with a few to make up for Jan)

weekly-run-down-final-300x300Hooray, I was really sad the Weekly Wrap was ending but there’s a new Weekly Run Down 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 18-24 February 2019 #amrunning #running #FebruaryFive

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A “rest” week from mara/ultra training made slightly testing by a few additional things / worries in the background which made it less restful than I would have liked. Also a bit random in the days I ran as it was quite hard to fit stuff in around work and personal matters (all is OK, pet illness (OK) and various bits and bobs not directly to do with me and all hopefully resolved). In the background, I’ve been doing my physio exercises twice a day, pretty well every day.

Wednesday – I was meeting my friend Ali to pass her a book I’d bought her and to collect my copy of the same book I’d loaned her plus some of my special cheese she’d ordered in her grocery delivery. I had a main lunch then felt a bit full so left some of it (you know you’re a runner when # 182 – you eat your half-eaten lunch when you get home because veg portions). I had a big caramel latte with Ali then ran back with that swishing in my tum and a backpack on my back. It was almost all uphill, too!

Here’s a nice pic of standard 1930s suburbia for all you readers who think all my runs are pretty (there were almshouses to the left, all in scaffolding).

In suburbia

3.6 mi / 11:52 mins per mile

Thursday – I had an hour between jobs so nipped out with Claire, who had a day off work. There was blossom in the park! We were less on the canals than usual as only had room for 5.5 miles.

Spring!

5.5 mi / 12:12 mins per mile

Saturday – For the first time this year I managed to volunteer at Cannon Hill parkrun. I found out later it was my 123rd volunteering stint (I’ve run it 25 times). I was on the HILL with my friend Trudie, so we were cheering people up the hill that comes just before the end of the run – someone came round afterwards and thanked us for getting him up the hill which was lovely.

Then I went and led the run and talk session we run jointly with Bournville Harriers. I did the intro and did a loop of the park walking with Lisa then had to go off to meet the in-laws for lunch. Pleased to get two volunteering stints in one morning!

Double volunteering

Sunday – This is the reason I’m posting late: my husband said it was a good idea to talk honestly about my fears and experience going out on the trails. Although I have run cross-country races twice (over about 6k, from memory) and the Sutton Fun Run, which is park paths, I haven’t been out on proper trails just running. One guy from club runs a regular session over on the Lickey Hills (Birmingham lies in a circle of hills and the Lickeys are the closest to us) and although he wasn’t there today, four of us headed out. Dave gave me a lift – we officiate quite a lot together and he ran my DIY marathon with me, Kate is a fellow-librarian and Rachel was new to me but very kind.

It was SO FOGGY when we set out at 8am!

foggy road

We got to the car park in good time and got going. It’s quite a challenging route with a lot of hills from the off. I mean, it’s beautiful and everything, and I had Saucony Peregrines on which did feel quite reassuring, but I spent a lot of the first two miles seriously gasping for breath – I think to be honest that while everyone was being so kind and understanding, I was kind of on the edge of panic. It’s so much concentration: where do I place my feet? mud or roots? don’t bang into brambles and ping them back at someone; is it better to run down the stony path in the middle or the grass slopes at the sides?

We were out of the mist but it was hanging around in the basin of the city – so pretty.

I think this bit looks like Scotland or the Lake District because of the pines.

Here we are

And this is the view from a castly turret sort of thing at the very top. Foggy city and the hills the other side rising out of the mist.

I was getting the hang of at least the paths under the trees (leaf mould and earth, not paved) and managed to run more continuously at more like my normal pace. Kate’s recommended Salomon’s YouTube channel with hints and tips. I was so scared, esp going down slopes, with loose stones and very unclear. I did not cry, and I did not fall, and I sort of enjoyed the mile running along the forest floor near the end. But look at that elevation profile (the grey background).

I’m not looking for sympathy or praise but when you first went off-road onto the trails, how long did it take for you to get used to it? If you loved it immediately, is there any hope for one who didn’t?

That course profile!

5.1 mi / 13:59 mins per mile

One good thing: my friend Trudie created this runners’ bingo for the club this month and I’ve managed to complete a line! Cross train – try something knew was today, I have volunteered for club running the 4 mile run last Sat and co-leading run and talk / jeffing the other Thursday, I volunteered at parkrun yesterday and I have worn my hi-viz for evening runs and also as an official!

Feel good February!

Miles this week: 14.2 Miles this year: 157 (9 to do to hit my 1,000 miles this year target)
Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here. Note: the weekly wrap is apparently ending this week! oh no! I’ve found loads of brilliant women to follow and hopefully we’ll keep wrapping up the week anyway and reading each other’s blog posts (I’ve got the most frequent posters on my Feedly feed now anyway). Or maybe it’s time for me to stop now, too, and stick to the book reviews?

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