Sedate lady running 11-17 February 2019 #amrunning #running #FebruaryFive

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A week when I ran on pretty well completely different days than I usually do but there we go, a change is as good as a rest, etc. I also did my biggest week in mileage terms since April 2018, so I’m glad it’s rest week next week! I’ve also kept up doing my physio exercises twice a day 5/7 days per week for February Five.

Monday – I was a bit stiff from my long run yesterday and I knew Claire was out doing her long run today, so I arranged to meet her for the end of hers and to get a recovery run in. I knew which way she was coming from so headed up to the high street to find her – her face when she saw me a bit earlier than expected (we were meeting by my house) was very sweet, but I had also wanted to check I COULD run! I took control of the route as I know how sapping it is from my experiences, so I ran her down to the park I’d run round in my end bits yesterday:

Another day, another park, another pond (photo by Claire, with permission)

We got back to our road and really I should have stopped but first I wanted to get to a round number and then I wanted to get Claire to her round number so I carried on round a loop with her. I did then stop when I got to 4.5 miles and managed to catch a snap of her coming in to finish. For those blog readers who comment about the prettiness of my running routes, this is also our reality …

Here she comes! There aren’t usually so many bins out on the street. In fact we then saw the bin lorry finally taking everyone’s recycling (there’s been a dispute recently).

Claire got 15.7 miles in and that was a hard one, running to work, having three meetings then running home! I was very glad to help her and guess what, a recovery run DOES HELP!

4.5 miles / 12:08 mins per mile

Wednesday – I went to Dave Yoga in the morning – I had to ask him not to adjust me as I was under the physio, and I concentrated very hard on trying to activate and use my lower back rather than just heaving on my hamstrings. All OK though a bit tired from concentrating!

Then Trudie, Caroline and I had a very pretty dusk run with a lovely sunset. What fun – we all needed some time outdoors with other people and there we went. I was also pleased to finally manage to make a “hat” out of my buff, having seen some instructions from my friend Dave online. Yes, doing it “on” and not overtwisting did work!

Buff Hat for the win!

A fun run: I started with Caroline while we waited for Trudie to be back from work, and Trudie and I looped back home together after saying goodbye to Caroline.

5.2 miles / 12:39 mins per mile

Thursday – my second physio session and I was nervous as I had done my exercises but was feeling stiff, esp in the lower back, plus my right shoulder and neck were hurting. He was however pleased with my progress and worked on my spine (ooowwww) and I felt a lot better afterwards. I got the bus down and back to save time, and that worked well. No appointment now until Monday week so I can work on all my exercises. He did say rather ominously that I was about 6 months away from an actual injury at the rate I was running, but I’ve done the right thing and we will hopefully prevent that.

Friday – went to Claire yoga and tried hard not to overstrain myself by pushing it, so felt a bit teary afterwards. Which was a bit silly, but sometimes yoga makes you teary anyway.

Saturday – I was rotaed to lead the club’s four-mile Saturday run which is taken at a gentle pace (12-13 mm) and is aimed at people moving up from the Beginners’ sessions on Saturdays. So I decided to make that part of my long run rather than running two days in a row (which I realise I did anyway!). Unfortunately, I’d had a stressful Friday evening (nothing too dramatic, resolved now) and not enough sleep, which are NOT good for my running, so I didn’t hold out much hope of doing the 16 I wanted.

I ran 4.3 miles on my own to get warmed up, then met Trudie, Sonya and Bernice (yay, we saw Bernice, who I ran the Canal Canter with last August but has moved away a  bit so we don’t see her often. Lovely to run with her again!) and one woman who’d come for the club run as she had been all year so far. She was a bit fast for me and we had to teach her loop backs but it was a nice run, kept to the advertised pace (I wouldn’t have been quicker if I’d not run first or after as it’s a hilly route) apart from when my water bottle fell apart suddenly!

I did some stretching at the end then Trudie, Bernice and I carried on along the club’s summer canals route, which we could all remember and which had some of the Canal Canter in it. Bernice had done parkrun before the club run and Trudie had been out the night before so we were all a bit delicate and walked / stopped for photos as necessary. Time below is run time not elapsed time but on the day of the marathon etc I will have SLEPT for example!

We got onto the canal at Bournville railway station and I had to share this lovely bit of public art.

But I’m going to be honest and share these pics where I am not looking my most happy, because this is an honest blog and it’s certainly not always easy!

In Bornville, Bernice, Trudie and Liz, photo by Bernice, with permission. What is my hair doing?

That desperate smile stuck with me (the other two are so beautiful and fresh-looking though!). We’re at the good old Kings Norton junction here. I clearly want to lie down or go home. Or possibly both.

Happy lady, happy lady, wahhh. Photo by Bernice, with permission.

We got back to the park and went in squiggles to get Bernice’s 13.1 hooray! Great work and her longest run for a bit (although we’re doing the same marathon, she is on a plan with a personal trainer while I’ve done my own and am trying to get ahead of myself so I can get used to running long and not have a horrible shock when I get to the mara. Let’s hope this works!). Then Trudie and I ran round the park and back home, then she ran up and down the road to get to her 12 (her longest for ages, too, well done!!). I got to 15.1 and I was very, very pleased with that, and my pace, all things considered.

A note on fuelling: I’d got some Tailwind samples in the week and tried the orange one. I didn’t mind the taste, though it not being sweet wasn’t a big bonus for me, and it WASN’T FIZZY, unlike all the tablet ones I’ve tried. It did go down well and I had no stomach woes whatsoever, I took in 600 mls of one sachet made up with 750 mls of water, with the rest drunk at the end and I didn’t take any gels – I felt OK but was quite hungry at the end. So I think I’d probably use it to replace every other gel and be my rehydration. I might well buy a packet of the orange though will try some of the other flavours, too (green tea is being given away, ugh, and I gave the lemon one to Bernice to try). I like the lower use of single-use plastic. I did buy some Gatorade powder too, though know that will only replace my single-use bottled lucozade, not the fuel.

15.1 miles / 12:57 mins per mile

Sunday – Our water is off! Oh no! I’m typing this at 7.30pm and they’re still digging up the road. However I still went for a run, then contorted myself to have a wash in a washing up bowl and jug standing in our walk-in shower! I did a recovery run and went out with Mary Ellen, which was lovely. Ran past BOTH burst water mains, on my road and round the corner, and did a big loop. I did 0.2 miles more than this as forgot to start my watch. But I felt SO MUCH better once I’d worked into it – this is something I’m definitely going to keep doing.

3.2 miles / 12:32 mins per mile

Miles this week: 28 Miles this year: 142.7

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 Amy’s (covering for Holly) is here.

Sedate lady running 04-10 February 2019 #amrunning #running #FebruaryFive

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A week of varied experiences, from tempo runs to run and talk on Time to Talk day, from the physio to a long marathon training run, from endurance officiating to track and field officiating. Phew. I’ve also been doing February Five, which was invented by my lovely friend Verity, who does huge amounts of fundraising for Mind: I have had to switch my “thing I do 5 days out of 7” from strength and conditioning work to two lots of rehab exercises a day … but it’s all good, right?

Tuesday – I didn’t have anyone to run with (wah) so I headed out for a tempo style run, I had a lot of work so didn’t have much time and stuck with a four-miler. The best bit? I went at the same time as my best friend, Emma, who lives in London – and we shared trainer shots when we got home (we have a “thing” about the way we stand with our toes pointed in. Hm – we also have identical stiff lower backs and weak glutes …)

Although Em doesn’t love running as much as I do, I did notice she was keen to get back to it once her physio said she could, so maybe we’ve got her. I bust a gut on this run and was chuffed to get a 10:50 final mile (super fast for me). I was trying out my new Saucony Hurricanes – I do like them and they’re definitely comfy round the toes, but they don’t feel as controlling as my Guides so I’ll have to hope they look after my overpronation. I did proper “Paul” running, knees up, pawing the ground behind me, and my cadence was 169 (up from my old 164) so happy about that.

4 miles, 11:07 mins per mile

Wednesday – went to Dave Yoga and managed fine, thank goodness; felt good to be back in that class. Dentist straight afterwards was a bit of a shock to the system!

Thursday – I had had enough of my right glute hurting and my right hamstring being sore – it’s been ages and it’s not right. My old physio, Fotios, has stopped working at the place I went to him, so I went back to my OLD old physio, Phil at Urban Body, who runs sessions out of the local council-run gym, 1.2 miles from my house. So I went down, full of having an SI joint issue or a hamstring impingement and being told not to run … to be told I have an overloaded hamstring with an old tear (when? I fear the Canal Canter) and scar tissue (now being worked on – owwww), a stiff lower back (more massage) and weak glutes (some v odd exercises). I knew about the glutes and I knew they would come and kick me in the arse (ha ha) and I also found out that when I stretch I’m using the lower back too little and heaving on the glutes, hence the overload. So I have some exercises, and rolling on the roller and a ball (I happen to already have) and I can still run (PHEW).

Thank you to my husband for the image

I went almost straight from this session to running a Run and Talk session at the running club as part of the “jeffing” (walk/run strategy). I run jeffing with the lovely Ruth and Maria is my co-Mental Health Champion, so the three of us put on this session together and we were very pleased to have club chair Barbara along, plus 9 other runners (the most we’ve had for jeffing yet). We suggested a chat about how you relax, and I’d also posted the question “What does running do for you?” in the Club Facebook group, and we’d had lovely responses to that. It was a great run and we had some lovely comments afterwards; I did two laps as my leg was aching after Phil’s ministrations, then gave out badges, leaflets and postcards to the runners who were finishing after two laps, and waited for the other runners to finish. I also gave out postcards and leaflets to other runners who were finishing their own Thursday sessions: I’d got some lovely resources from England Athletics (who run the Mental Health Champions and Run and Talk initiatives with MIND, and from Time to Change, whose Time to Talk Day it was). A great and joyful evening, I was so pleased at how well it went.

Great fold out leaflets

My husband took a poster and leaflets into work, which was brilliant, too, and I also shared them with our friends at Bournville Harriers.

0.7 miles, 11:10 mins per mile / 3.05 miles, 13:06 mins per mile / 0.7 miles, 12:20 mins per mile – total 4.4 miles

Saturday – It was the last Men’s Cross-Country League match of the season, near Stoke-on-Trent, and I had a road trip with some of our fast lads, as I was one of Club’s designated officials for the match (unlike my other officiating jobs at road relays and county / regional / national events, this is where Club has to provide the pool of officials to run the event. When I was being assistant referee the other month, I was not fulfilling Club’s commitment). I’ve arranged that in future, I’ll be a Club official rather than a core official so I can fulfil Club’s League commitments, now I’ve got enough different experiences for my next level licence). The location was beautiful but high up and look at the view:

and it was pretty windy. Barbara and I were the two officials, doing A Board Judge Recorders, which means standing at the end of the funnel after the finish line and calling (me) and writing down (Barbara) the bib numbers as the runners come through. A line judge has put them in the right order, funnel managers keep them in the right order and moving down the funnel, and B Board are part way down the funnel, also writing down. Then there are tokens with finish positions at the end.

We had a good time doing it and all went well, wet and windy weather notwithstanding. We also rescued a fellow team’s tent that blew over while the racing was going on!

3.3 miles walked

Sunday – Long run time, and having done 13.5 last week, I was keen to build up to 15, getting my marathon / ultra training a bit ahead just in case and to allow me to progress an extra mile at a time. But. But. BUT in previous campaigns I have had real trouble getting to 15, and have bailed a few times when trying. Which I told Trudie and Mary Ellen at the start. Nothing like a bit of positive thinking, eh!! So we set off on a version of my 10-mile route to Northfield and round, but with a diversion at the university which added some miles.

Here we are at the Northfield Shopping Centre (where we used the toilets): just to prove it’s not all fields and trees and prettiness:

Trudie, Mary Ellen, Liz: we didn’t do any of these things. Thanks for the photo, Trudie.

We carried on (getting overtaken by svelte, fast, tiny-shorted, young runners just when we were powerwalking up a hill) to where I met up with the coach from another club who I will be helping with a bit of officiating on their behalf in their track and field leagues. He’d wanted to meet me which is completely fair enough as you need to check officials know what they’re doing, their level of qualification and their fitness for the job. I passed muster, joined the others and carried on.

I was getting a bit tired but cracked on, with my Lucozade sport and three gels in total. I was a bit whiny but the others got me round. And it was nice to visit The Vale, one of the main sets of halls of residence for the campus – a nice women took pity on us and took our photo so no propped-on-a-bench one this time!

Taken on Trudie’s camera and kindly sent to me – notice my knock knees. Must try harder!

I left the others in Moseley (they got in 11 and 11.5 miles, which is brilliant work) and I then went off and along and up and down and round and round, trying to get my watch to 14.5. For I had FORGOTTEN TO TURN IT ON when I started, and I wasn’t sure how much I’d missed on it but got obsessed that it might just be 0.5 miles I’d not logged. And I have just found when looking at the route that I also forgot to re-start my watch between the meeting and the lake – so another 0.25 miles missed …

I ran into lovely Abi from Club when I spotted a Kings Heath RC buff on someone in a car and had a little chat with her that helped SO MUCH. And then I went round and round and up and down roads and made it to 14.5 miles. PHEW. That was hard. But I was glad to get the bit I measured in at 12:52 mins per mile. And then I measured that first bit I missed on the watch and it was 0.75 not 0.5 miles. So I forced myself round a v hard 0.5 miles extra at the end! oh well …

15.5 miles, 12:50 mins per mile (approx)

Miles this week: 23.9 Miles this year: 114.4

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 Michelle’s (standing in for Holly) is here.

Sedate lady running 28 January – 03 February 2019 #amrunning #running #REDJanuary #FebruaryFive

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A good week’s running although quite a tiring week all in all. I finished RED January, the Mind initiative and managed to do something every single day, even though one day was not the biggest “something” I’ve ever done. I did a sponsor page and sponsored myself £31 to celebrate, then I hope I will get a medal as well as my lovely t-shirt. It was fun to do something every day and I got quite into my squats and heel drops/calf raises.

I’ve now started February Five, which was invented by my lovely friend Verity, who does huge amounts of fundraising for Mind. This is my third year (you make a donation and get a medal: the medals are sponsored so basically your donation goes to Mind) and I’ve chosen to do five days with strength and conditioning (at least 100 “things” e.g. 60 squats and 40 heel drops) and five days with stretches (5 or more different ones) out of each seven in the month. Doable, but challenging. I start reporting on that below.

Now, the slight issue I’ve had this week was that my husband has been ill, so I’ve been looking after him, doing all the household stuff we share, and worrying. So I’ve been a bit tired all week, and even though he’s on the mend, that has taken a bit of a toll and made things harder than they might have been (it also meant I missed everyone’s Weekly Wrap posts last week – sorry – and a lot of blog posts in the week. I did catch up with the comments on this blog and am catching up on reading from now on but sorry if I’ve neglected you!

Monday – I was so very tired, and so when I walked out of my front gate and found Claire there with her lovely dog, I walked the “long” way round to the supermarket and had a very necessary for my mental health chat with her. Mind was very careful to point out that if you’re struggling with mental health issues or anything, just getting downstairs counted, so I was kind to myself and counted this.

Tuesday – And I was with Claire again as I’d said I’d tail run club run with her – she hadn’t made it to club run that much recently and I’d thought it would be a nice catch-up, too. Hurried up there and back so faster miles at the beginning and end (and that was my RED January activity, too. We ran with a lovely lady, also called Liz, who had a great run after graduating from coming to beginners for a week or so and trying out the full club run for only the second time this evening.

Me? Photobomb Claire recording her volunteering? What makes you think that?

5.5 miles, 13:09 mins per mile

Wednesday – 110 squats!! 60 calf raises, marching round the area for a few miles doing errands for poorly husband and buying stuff for a homeless guy.

Thursday – Oh, my goodness, it was SO COLD. Argh! It was supposed to be +1 (33) out but feels like -4 (24) and I waited until midday but urghh. I also ran solo, which I do do more often on a Thursday but was quite challenging.

Wrapped up warm

My Marathon Fail Jacket and fuzzy-lined tights were still in the wash, so I went for these older warm tights I have which have really stiff lining over the quads, and a fuzzy-lined long-sleeve top with my RED January t-shirt over it. Then a buff in hijab form to keep my ears and neck warm. This worked quite well and also wearing my RED top really spurred me to do the miles as I kept wanting to creep home!

It wasn’t actually icy as the pavements weren’t wet: any puddles or gutters were icy but it wasn’t dangerous. Only elderly men with dogs and postmen were out – one chap shouted “You’re a champion” and a postie wished me good luck! I kept running near friends’ houses and wanting to dart in and hide but I did manage five miles, somehow. Last mile was really quite fast for me (11:05) but I just wanted to get home. Also I did pause to catch my breath a few times. COLD.

5 miles, 11:26 minute miles

Friday – First day of February Five and I returned to yoga for the first time since before Christmas as I’ve finally stopped coughing. I thought it would be terrible but all those squats have made me more strong and flexible than I’d dared hope and I managed it just fine. Phew, and so good to be back, seeing all my yoga-mates (and Jenny was at the class, too, so we had a cafe catch-up afterwards). I counted yoga as my second day of both strength and conditioning (holding a squat for aaaaages, anyone?) and stretching, for the Feb Five win.

Saturday – My first weekend off either officiating or going to the running show this year so I had a bit of a lie-in and a gentle morning doing life admin that had slipped away from me. Still managed to do something running-related in the afternoon, as I met my friend Clare (another Clare) who is one of the Mental Health Champions for local club Bournville Harriers. Both clubs are running in-club Run and Talk sessions on Time to Talk Day next Thursday, and I’d got some spare resources to share with her. A lovely catch-up over a couple of coffees.

Sunday -Long run time and we had quite a few of us, although a couple had to drop out due to illness (it’s the time of year). It was cold, but nice blue skies and good company. I met Mary Ellen (who we managed not to photograph) and Claire outside my house and took a long way round to the park to meet Sonya, Trudie and Tara. You met Sonya back in the summer (remember the photo in the MAC loos?) but this was Tara’s first run out with the Sedate Ladies and she did brilliantly.

We set off on a circular route and got ourselves onto the greenways and beside the rivers. It’s come to my attention that I might be only photographing the pretty stuff – if you’ve seen photos of terraced red-brick houses and white semi-detached houses on here, that’s the majority of my running. And often the green routes are in a context of built-up industrial and commercial main streets, as here, where we’re 2 minutes away from seeing a heron and signing a petition about mending the paving around the Ford a nice man was doing, but started off beside a tile warehouse. We spotted my friend Andy Yu at one point which was lovely as I used to see him out running all the time but hadn’t spotted him recently.

Stratford Road / Greet path: Tile Warehouse and nice trees. Thanks Trudie for taking the pic and letting me use it.

I will try to take some more realistic photos. Anyway we had a lovely time. Mary Ellen had left us by this point but the rest of us stayed together for a good few more miles, along the green routes by the rivers (the Cole and Chinn Brook) and past Sarehole Mill …

Liz, Claire, Trudie, Tara, Sonya. More context – car / motorbike prevention gates and 60s housing next to the river path. Also a sign about bikes and a direction sign from the Canal Canter I did in the summer!

We then dropped onto the canal, to find it was FROZEN!

Frozen canal! Photo by Claire

The chap in the narrow boat was somewhat inexplicably throwing apples onto the ice, which were not going through! Trudie did her clever propping the phone in a tree thing to get an action shot of us …

I think I might have flying feet in this one!

We came off the canal and ran back to the park or home, saying goodbye as we went. People did from 7 to 15.3 miles, which was just brilliant – it was sociable and funny and great. I sent Claire off home as she was done with her 15 after a loop of the park (OK, after I made a Very Sad Face when she wanted to do a bit of one of the club runs with a horrible hill) and then looped back across and behind the high street to get 13.5 in – very pleased as I don’t like running 14 miles for some reason and I can hop up to 15ish next week. I was particularly pleased that my last 0.5 mile was as fast as my first mile and I showed resilience getting some speed up at the end.

Then did more stretching than I usually do (hooray) for 3/3 days stretching, 2/3 days strength and conditioning.

13.5 miles, 12:43 mins per mile.

Really pleased with my week this week all in all as I managed to get stuff done even though tired – and to make all my work deadlines.

Miles this week: 24 Miles this year: 90.7

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 Amy’s (covering for Holly) is here.

Sedate lady running 21-27 January 2019 #amrunning #running

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After last week’s short week of running (9.5 miles in the week; I was at the running show then working at the weekend), Monday’s run really “belonged” to last week, but then I ended up only running on Wednesday and today so that made three for this week. Does it really matter? No. Does it matter I won’t make 83.3 miles for January and be on the way to 1,000 in 2019? No, not really. Anyway, I continue to do RED January, the Mind (UK mental health charity) initiative to get people exercising and feeling well. So there’s a report for each day, but not a long one.

But first, a lovely long run report!

Monday – BIRTHDAY LONG RUN!!! It was my 47th birthday, so what better to do than run 12 miles? Lovely Claire with her useful Mondays off was on hand, although she was a  bit nervous as she had planned a route to include the bit I fell over on with her in June last year. She was especially nervous about breaking me on my birthday – but we managed OK!

This is the main part of the route that took in so many canal paths, riverside paths (not a big river, we don’t have those in Birmingham) and parks or greenways between them. Claire’s always good for an interesting route and there was off-road business and even some mud! I took some pics along the way …

I’ve taken this photo before but from on the bridge. I love the old signpost.

Kings Norton Junction from another angle

We ran into Bournville and stopped to take a view of the Carillon – this is a musical instrument (inside) that plays a tune on the bells in the tower. It’s lovely at Christmas and it chimed the quarter-hour as we passed it.

Bournville Carillon

And I couldn’t resist a quick pic of the Cadbury chocolate factory.

Chocolate factory!

And what I was doing it all for – my Red January Tshirt was worn proudly on this run. No pics of me and Claire as it was quite damp down by the canal and I had a red nose!

Having those days on the back of the t-shirt has really motivated me to do activity every day.

12 miles, 12:41 mins per mile (I was very pleased with that pace esp as we walked up some hills)

Tuesday – I did 30 minutes of stretches, spread through the day – very good after the long run the day before.

Wednesday – Oh dear – it was REALLY cold and very icy. I wanted a run that wasn’t too late so met Mary Ellen and off we set – lots of the pavements were covered in ice or black ice and we did a weird route based on pavements we found that weren’t too bad. Mary Ellen had to use her “mom voice” to encourage me (I’m notoriously feeble on ice and there was nothing thick enough to wear yak trax etc – she grew up in Chicago so was more OK with it; she was great with a “let’s just power-walk this bit”). And Mary Ellen’s gloves, borrowed from her children (and yes, two for the same hand) we e excellent: I could NOT work out what they were as she ran up the road when we met!

Mary Ellen and her gloves

3.2 miles, 14:02 mins per mile

Thursday – 60 squats, 60 calf raises/heel drops, 40 sit-ups.

Friday – 100 squats and 80 crunches, some housework and some DIY that involved streeeeeeeeeetching (putting draught excluder round the front and inner lobby doors and securing it with extra sticky stuff).

Saturday – Officiating time! Third shift this month: I do have a weekend off coming up. I was in the Start Team for the Midlands Cross-Country Championships in Newbold Comyn, Leamington Spa. This place is famous for its ditch – more a mud hollow this time, but I have actually jumped in it in the past! I got the train to Leamington and had a lovely 1.5 mile walk to the venue alongside a great park. Got there, helped hang up route maps, had a briefing then off we went to start 10 races, from under-13 girls and boys to Senior women and men. My job was to help control the entrance to the start pen, making sure everyone who came in had no parent with them / training tops and joggers off and number visible / number not folded or otherwise obscured / timing chip around their ankle / was ready to start, not intending to warm up (and wipe our lovely white lines off the grass!). Everyone was well-behaved and of course I saw lots of people I knew from local clubs once the Seniors were starting.

Once we’d started the men off our job was done, so I stood down and went to watch the racing with my friend Dave, who had been a “runner” taking results sheets back to HQ, and Allie, who was cheering her husband Tim on. We stood by the ditch for a bit and shouted for everyone we knew, then went back to the tent. I’d spotted a legend among parkrunners and a transform your running group I’m in (it hasn’t, because I’ve never done the exercises properly, but it’s a good group), Imran Ali, who LOVES to do a selfie – so I plucked up the courage to “offer” him a selfie with an actual race official.

Thanks to Imran Ali for the pic and permission to use it

Note my new flouro jacket (a big success) and cowl in club colours crocheted by Allie as a birthday present (thanks again!). Oh, and the people behind us are rolling up a club tent, not performing CPR! A good day and I got a lift home. Not seen: my new wind-resistant, rain-resistant FUZZY INSIDED trousers that kept me toasty warm with only woolly tights underneath.

Oh, and I walked 5.3 miles in total.

Sunday – A medium long run with Trudie and Caroline. Man, it was WINDY! So windy. I did a little run up and down the road first, oh, lovely easy running up the road, then on the way back, oh, it’s windy. I felt like I looked like a dog with its head out of a car window, jowls flapping in the breeze! We had a lovely run round some familiar paths, we stopped for photos and a loo visit in Cannon Hill Park and spotted club coach Lee with his Intervals session and waved and cheered everyone on (I failed to capture them on my phone).

Cannon Hill Park boating lake

Running up Salisbury Road we did one of Trudie’s “balance the phone on something” selfies, this time on a salt bin!

Liz, Trudie, Caroline (I’m managing to obscure the RED January logo on my t-shirt). Thanks Trudie for pic and permission to use.

We then ran up into Moseley and did a detour to capture St Agnes’ Church, as I know my readers, esp the overseas ones, like a nice English picture.

It started to do some freezing rain just after this but we took Caroline back near her road then Trudie and I finished our 8 miles. I did try to capture the t-shirt on at home, but mirrors …

Really pleased with the pace here, and I think all those squats are paying off as I managed to run, however slowly, up all the hills, and end up with an under-12 minute mile for Mile 8.

8 miles, 12:18 mins per mile

Miles this week: 23.2 Miles this year: 66.6 (oo-er)

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.

Sedate lady running 14-20 January 2019 #amrunning #running

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Not much running activity this week (I’m going to be doing my long run for the weekend tomorrow), but still doing RED January, the Mind (UK mental health charity) initiative to get people exercising and feeling well. I’m also not back to yoga yet, as I am still coughing a little when I lie flat or bend forwards!

Monday – 60 calf raise / heel drops, 60 squats, 60 lunges each side (10 return to base, 10 walking each time).

Tuesday – As I knew I was running in the evening on Thursday, I treated myself to a daytime solo run once some post had come – went out late morning. I kitted myself out in my RUN January t-shirt and my 401 buff (more on 401 later), proud to be carrying the MIND logo on my arm.

I did a circular route around the area on familiar roads. There was a bit of stopping to cough, and also to take my photo of the day, which was the Wake Green Road Prefabs (I know how my international readers liked my ford last week, so another treat).

Prefabs!

These were supposed to be temporary after WWII and there are quite a few still around – I have the odd distinction of having lived about this far away from three lots of them! You can read about prefabs on Wikipedia here.

There was a hard hill in this and my mile splits were varied to reflect that, but I was really pleased to at last be able to pick up the pace a little to a usual pace on a shorter run.

5 miles, 11:18 mins per mile

Wednesday – I met up with my best friend, Emma, who lives in London (we’re in our 27th year of friendship) and after a lovely lunch and catch-up, we did quite a lot of the Digbeth Graffiti Walk.  Em had a train to catch and we spent time photographing different places, so we’ll finish it another time.

We have a lot of great street art, much in this area, and it’s constantly changing – when my husband photographed the little men on the pipe in December, there was no lobster lady! 3.9 miles walked in total.

Thursday – I had the great pleasure of helping support the running club’s To 5k and Beyond group in their second week, so it was run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds x 7. I set my watch to walk-run intervals and accompanied the lovely Kerry round. Always a privilege to help this group – I’ll have another session later on in their progression and hope to do or marshal their graduating parkrun, too.

On brand

I ran there a little long and back the long, wiggly way round to make up some mileage, even though it was really cold and there were ice patches on the pavements!

1 mile / 11:34 mins per mile, 1.6 miles / 16:06 mins per mile, 2.2 miles / 11:42 mins per mile

Friday – spaced out during the day again: 40 calf raises, 60 heel drops and 80 squats; 20 bicep curls and 20 straight arm lifts with hand weights.

Saturday – A lovely day at the National Running Show at the local exhibition centre. I was lucky to get a lift with Dave and we and Ursula watched the first few speakers, then Ursula and I had a look around the stands, I met up with Bernice and some friends of hers from her personal training group who she’d met up with there, and saw a bit of Trudie and various Bournville Harriers friends. All good stuff. Best of all, the wonderful Ben Smith from the 401 Challenge was there. I met Ben when he was running 401 marathons in 401 days in aid of Kidscape and Stonewall: he ran with the running club two days, I did a half-marathon with him and he told me he’d run the Reykjavik Marathon and encouraged me to sign up – which I did. So he started me on my marathon career and has been a huge inspiration. He’s a lovely chap – bounded over for a hug first thing then took to the stage with Susie Chan, amazing ultra runner, to co-host the event.

Susie and Ben take the stage

Jordan Wylie spoke about starting running while raising money for charity – his first marathon was in Afghanistan! Jo Pavey seemed a bit nervous but was completely charming, talking about her running journey, being defined by her age (grrr) and getting her running in as a mum. Roger Black was equally charming and obviously a very practised speaker, revisiting his 4x400m triumphs and what on earth you do next.

Roger Black

I missed Iwan Thomas and Mara Yamauchi as was looking for and finding Bernice, and caught Brendan Rendall (on running through Africa) and Claire Maxted (on not being afraid to DNF though she did it in an 8-day ultra). Before Brendan came on I grabbed the opportunity for a selfie with Ben to keep as inspiration for my next adventures.

He is my hero on a running and personal level, having overcome bullying and depression to do massive work and fundraising, all the while remaining connected to people and humble, and making sure everyone feels included. There’s more about him and my encounters with him on this review of his book from last year.

I walked 1.5 miles at the show and talked and learned a lot about running, so I counted that as my activity, as I was shattered when I got home!

Sunday – I worked today to make up for running tomorrow. Took the long way round and back to my usual cafe meetup with Gill to make a 2-mile walk and did 20 squats.

Miles this week:  9.5 miles (the rest to come tomorrow) Miles this year: 43.4

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.

Sedate lady running 07-13 January 2019 #amrunning #running

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A quick review today as I appear to have taken very few photographs this week. However, lots of entries as I’m doing RED January, which is a Mind (UK mental health charity) initiative to get people exercising and feeling well. RED stands for Run Every Day but I’ve been sticking to doing something active every day, as I don’t find running every day very helpful. A good week this week where as I speak, I finally feel a lot better. Phew!

Before I start, a quick explanation of the volunteering and officiating I do as I think it might be a bit confusing. parkrun is a free, timed 5k run in parks, and I often volunteer as a marshal or a barcode scanner. This is completely outside the British Athletics licensed official roles and is its own thing. I am also an official in training for British Athletics; I’ve got my Level 1 Licence for Endurance (out of arena, so cross-country and road races) and am working towards my Level 2 Licence. This will for example allow me to referee at cross-country races up to 300 runners as well as take on other roles at various levels. Then I’ve also done the courses to be a Track, Field and Starter’s Assistant official (in-arena) and have some experience in Field roles I hope to take to gaining my Level 1 Licence in the summer. The events I work on as an official are county, regional and sometimes national events that are part of the British Athletics roster of events. I hope that makes more sense!

Monday – I was really tired but I walked 1.7 miles to meet my husband off his bus and walk home with him (he walks part of each bus journey every day and walks more miles than I run every year!)

Tuesday – Tail running for the running club run; I managed to miss the second turning and have a few of us going the wrong way but after we’d run back down the route until there was no one left to slot in behind, I gave them the 4 miles they needed, anyway! I got a lift home as it’s a bit dark and lonely getting home from club in these weeks although I had run up to increase the mileage total.

4.7 miles, 13:12 mins per mile.

Wednesday – I was still coughing too much to go to yoga – grr – but I had to pop up the high street to get my cousin a wedding anniversary card. I did 0.6 miles doing that, and then made it up to 1 mile by marching up and down my stairs 11 times for 330 steps up and 330 steps down, double steps up for the first 5 times. Certainly got my heart rate up so I’m calling that a win for the day. I got this idea from Kimberly although I can’t reach up to do triple steps!

Thursday – I helped lead a “jeffing” (walk-run strategy) session for club, which I’m doing with Ruth once a month. I ran up to the meeting point and then took the group round one, two or three laps without major mishaps (I managed to run into a hedge and bruise/scrape my arm). A lovely lady who was part of the group and enjoyed her introduction to jeffing gave me a lift home – thanks, Tara!

0.7 miles, 12:06 mins per mile / 4.6 miles, 13:42 mins per mile.

Friday – Two hours of heavy cleaning was enough for me today to count as active

Saturday – Today was quite a big deal, as I was given the opportunity to be assistant referee at the women’s cross-country league 2 match. I was well-supported by the referee, Terry (who also gave me a lift) and Mary, the manager of the league, who was looking after the officials. After doing the course walk with the referee and the race manager, we checked the start and finish were OK and I learned more about how they should be organised. I was in charge of distributing recording sheets and briefing the judge recorders and timekeeping recorders, checking all was OK, assisting the odd runner down the funnel and keeping an eye on the funnel, and checking that the recording sheets matched, working out what was awry if it was, and giving them to the person in charge of sending them to the results processor. I learned a lot, building on skills I’d learned at previous events. I did OK apparently, and got some nice pics as I walked up to see how the men’s match was doing (I know some of my overseas readers like my pics of the English landscape).

A field full of prancing ponies!

Pylon and trees – tiny runners at the bottom of the pic

I managed to walk 4.3 miles during the event, including the course walk, popping back and forth between the HQ and start and running up and down the funnel!

Sunday – A lovely long run with some of the girls – we headed over Tracie’s way to run in Acock’s Green and Olton, which was a fun change (I haven’t run round there since my disastrous last long run before the Manchester Marathon last year!). On the way there, Mary Ellen, Trudie and I ran into Trudie’s mom, which was exciting (and gave us a break and a rest while we nobly allowed Trudie time to chat to her mom). Then we met Tracie and set off on her planned route.

Mary Ellen, Liz, Tracie, Trudie (thanks to Trudie for taking and sending me the photo!)

We said goodbye to Trudie part way round (she got 8 miles in, hooray) and wandered along the Old Warwick Road, where this cool old clock can be found (I’ve chosen the view where you can see the rather eccentric time being shown as well as the suburban (and hilly) context):

Olton clock

Mary Ellen and I said goodby to Tracie (7 miles done, hooray!) and made our way back home – I rounded my run up to 10.1 just in case I hadn’t really done 10 in the week, and was really pleased at a) my pace in general b) the fact that my last mile was the quickest, and was uphill and c) I finally got my cadence up by one step a minute to 165 (it is ALWAYS 164). I put Paul’s lessons into use at the end and it did speed me along.

A really great run and I felt I could enjoy it for its own sake rather than just fighting my cough and feeling tired. And my first 20 mile week of the year: I feel like I’m back on it.

10.1 miles, 12:36 mins per mile

Miles this week: 20.1 Miles this year: 33.9

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 Kim’s (standing in for Holly) is here.

Sedate lady running 31 December 2018 – 06 January 2019 #amrunning #running

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Happy new year and welcome to 2019 everyone! I’ve so enjoyed taking part in Holly and Wendy’s weekly wrap and have “met” so many lovely women runners via their blogs, so I’m really pleased to be continuing with the link-up this year.

This January I’m doing RED January, which is a Mind (UK mental health charity) initiative to get people exercising and feeling well. RED stands for Run Every Day but I thought, as a Mental Health Champion in our running club, I’d try to model moderation and looking after oneself – actually all of us are doing that really well in our little group. It does mean I’ve done something every day, but my runs have not been epic due to my having this cold still, so not toooooo much to wade through, I hope.

Tuesday – I travelled to Brueton parkrun with Claire from up the road (she of the off-roading), her sister, and Mary Ellen from round the corner. But I was going to meet up with a lovely lady called Joan who I met through her cakes and two of her friends. Much nervousness (especially as Joan’s little Facebook group is called Tag a Pair of Trainers, to stop competitiveness or angst over appearance or kit, so we had to hastily share pictures of ourselves and our outfits!) but we met up OK and set off with a walk-run technique (jeffing) which was new to the others, but appreciated. Neither Tracy nor Ermine had run parkrun before, and Ermine had a cold, too, so we took it gently and I was SO proud of them for getting round and enjoying themselves – there were some damp eyes at the end!

Liz Tracey Ermine Joan

What a superb way to start the running year – I was honoured to accompany these ladies on their parkrun journey. I also liked the Brueton route, nice and flat and with out and backs and laps so you can cheer people on. Lovely volunteers, of course.

3.18 miles, 14:00 mins per mile

Wednesday – I incorporated a set of static and dynamic stretches into my morning routine, e.g. doing heel drops on the step in the hall just before you reach the bathroom, calf raises while brushing my teeth, hamstring stretches and squats while drying my hair. Ten different activities with at least 20 repeats of each or 30 seconds holding.

Running down that hill (thank you Sara for the photo)

Thursday – Met Jenny at my house and we ran up to Kings Heath Park where we met Sara and Caroline – Caroline had to go home but we continued looping the park with Sara then ran back to mine. A few bits of walking on uphill sections and still coughing (I promise it has NOT gone to my chest and I’m being careful). It was really chilly today so I wrapped up warm – a long-sleeved thin top under a long-sleeved fuzzy-inside top, winter leggings, a buff round my neck and a hat! Today I also studied the first module in the Learning I have to do for my Level 2 licence, on Judging and Recording, and wrote down the answers to the questions at the end. Two more of those two do, one mandatory and one optional.

4 miles / 12:32 mins per mile

Friday – I did a set of 20 x situps (I will admit not all of these were with my arms folded across my chest), 20 x squats and 20 x heel drops / calf raises on the step, three times at various points during the day, making a total of 30 minutes and 60 of each exercise. I would not have done this without the RED January so it was good to get this kind of training in (I’m still coughing too much when lying down to do yoga – bah!)

Saturday – Exercise of a different kind. My friend Dave picked me up early and we drove to Daventry, where he ran parkrun and I found a toilet then sat in his car with my book (I didn’t want to do parkrun and he could do it quickly enough to get round and finish in time for the next bit). We then drove to Newbold Revel Prison Training College to officiate at the County Cross-Country Championships (Warwickshire and Worcestershire). My running club were competing in the seniors matches but there were four juniors to look after first, so we arrived at 10 for the briefing. I was doing timekeeping, a role I’ve not taken on before. I was a bit apprehensive but as usual had a great team leader and team around me who taught me what to do (two roles taken on in pairs, starting the watch and calling out times as runners crossed the line / writing down times and also spot checks of numbers next to times – it’s all quite labour-intensive and analogue). We swapped between who was doing which role and working with whom, and it all went pretty smoothly, although high concentration and fast writing down was required!

Club and officials’ tents on the left, funnel on the right (I’m standing near the finish)

I was pleased one of my clubmates got a photo of me in action, waiting for Graham to fire the gun to send a load of runners off, at which point I had to simultaneously start my stopwatch.

Liz timing, weather writer with recording sheet tucked under one arm (thank you Claire/Mark for the photo)

As you can see, I was well wrapped up: it’s cold business, standing concentrating. I wore woolly tights, warm running socks, thermal footless tights, fuzzy inside tracksuit bottoms and waterproof overtrousers with walking boots on my bottom half, long-sleeved running top, long-sleeved fuzzy inside running top, running fleece that’s two warm to run in, and a coat, a buff and a scarf and a woolly hat, and leather gloves with fleece-lined wool mitts over them (just seen clutched in my left hand). A good day and number 4 out of my 6 experiences needed to gain my Level 2 Endurance Official licence.

By the way, only I, with my twin running and reading obsessions, would manage to acquire a book while officiating at a cross-country championships. Kate from running club (to whom I passed “Run Like Duck” at Awards Night) had offered Chrissie Wellington’s “A Life Without Limits” and I’d heard very good things about it, so I asked if I could have it. After missing each other at Christmas Day parkrun etc., she worked out that I’d be officiating and she’d be running today, so she caught me as I waited between gun time and first senior man appearing after running 10k and passed it over to me!

I walked 2.2 miles in total and was out in the fresh air from 10.00-15.30 so that counted for my RED January.

Sunday – I wasn’t sure how I would be today and considered bailing when I was woken by the alarm at 6:00! But I womanned up and got my breakfast and a read in, then met Mary Ellen, Claire and Trudie at the corner of the road. We took a fairly rural route, a bit of canal and some foresty trails (including the notorious half-mile with that plastic matrix stuff on the ground to stop it getting slippy that I like to trip over). It was a lovely day and Trudie kindly kept me company as I had to take it gently.

Path through the woods (The Dingle)

We went through the Shire County Park for some of the run, and I loved this signpost – very Tolkien-y, as it is indeed his Shire!

Here we are ready for our close-up and I’m concentrating hard …

Mary Ellen, Liz, Trudie, Claire

Trudie’s in her RED January top as she was organised to sign up before the last day of December (mine’s in the post). And not only is she organised, she’s worked out how to do a timer selfie and wedged her phone in a small tree so we could capture ourselves in the woods, full-length!

Mary Ellen, Liz, Claire, Trudie (thanks Trudie for the photo)

Such pretty places to run in urban Birmingham. And I thought this would please my American readers (Mary Ellen had never seen one of these; she’s from Chicago. Do you have fords in the US?) – an actual ford, with a car going through it. These are designated stream / small river crossings: they do have warnings if the river is in flood or particularly high and cars do get stuck.

A ford!

Trudie and I separated from the others here and ran home, they got their 10 miles in. I managed 6.5 in total which I was surprised and pleased by given how unwell I’ve been. There was walking on hills and that is fine.

6.5 miles / 13.01 mins per mile

Miles this week: 13.7

Miles this year: 13.7

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.

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