Book review – Alex Hutchinson – “Endure”


Slowly, slowly creeping through, it feels like at the moment, I’ve ticked another one off my 20 Books of Summer books list (intro post here) and my last May 2021 acquisition (I bought this in May 2021 from the local Oxfam Books along with “The Pants of Perspective“, and I can report that I have now read all five of the “books in” I listed in mid May (here).

This is the tenth book I’ve completed from the 20 Books project and of course also comes off my TBR 2021-2022 challenge pile. I got a bit bogged down in my massive Larry McMurtry and then finished this one but didn’t have time to write up the review, so I am part-way through Angie Thomas’ “On the Come Up” but I feel I’m not going to manage my 20 Books of Summer this time (again). Having said that, I only have three NetGalley books published in August plus one to finish, rather than the nine I read this month, so who really knows?

Alex Hutchinson – “Endure: Mind, Body and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance”

(09 May 2021 – Oxfam Books)

Part of the challenge is that endurance is a conceptual Swiss Army knife. It’s what you need to finish a marathon; it’s also what enables you to keep your sanity during a cross-country flight crammed into the economy cabin with a flock of angry toddlers. The use of the word endurance in the latter case may seem metaphorical, but the distinction between physical and psychological endurance is actually less clear-cut than it appears. (p. 9)

As a long-distance runner of a very amateur and slow kind and big book-reader, I do like a sports book, and I enjoy reading about psychology, sociology and sports science. So I was attracted to this book about what exactly affects endurance sportspeople and I was not disappointed.

While it takes a deep dive into both physiological and psychological aspects of endurance sports (and other ones, sprinting and middle-distance stuff coming into it, too), with chapters on fuel, hydration, heat and then brain training and belief, Hutchinson wears his learning and research lightly, as probably befits someone who writes for popular but niche publications like Runner’s World. It’s well-referenced, with the authors of studies noted in the text and references listed by page number and a text extract, although there isn’t a separate bibliography.

Two even more attractive points about the book: he’s woven through it short chapters on the first iteration of the Nike project to produce an under-two-hour marathon run, and as a decent runner himself, he uses himself as both an example and a guinea pig in some experiments (while being clear on how he doesn’t tend to review or write about his own experiences with tech in his journalistic work). This makes it approachable and immediate. He writes with humanity about researchers and their subjects.

What is the outcome of the book? Well, I suppose you should read it to find out, but it’s part physical, part mental, effort and its perception plays a huge part in endurance (but you can’t trick that perception too often) and there’s much to learn on the topic.

This was book number 10 in my 20 Books of Summer 2022!

This was also TBR Challenge 2021-22 Quarter 4 Book 4/28 – 24 to go!

Book review – Anna McNuff – “The Pants of Perspective”


Another one ticked off the 20 Books of Summer books list (intro post here) and I’m excited to be ticking off the first of two books acquired in May 2021 before returning to my June Book Token Splurge – that’s a shorter acquisition-to-read time than I’ve had for a while, nearly only a year! I bought this in May 2021 from the local Oxfam Books along with “Endure”, another sports book, by Alex Hutchinson, which is next in my pile in the picture but might not be the next one to read. I can report that out of the “books in” I listed in mid May (here) I have read four with one to go.

This is the ninth book I’ve completed from the 20 Books project and of course also comes off my TBR 2021-2022 challenge pile. I am going to have a slight pause now while I get through the 700+ pages of Larry McMurtry’s “Moving On”, but that’s my “heatwave read” so I should be back with the 20 Books soon.

Anna McNuff – “The Pants of Perspective: One Woman’s 3,000 Kilometre Running Adventure Through the Wilds of New Zealand”

(09 May 2021 – Oxfam Books)

After an hour or so the pathway opened out and through a blustery, tussock-covered hillside was a faint trail winding its way into the mountains in the distance. I could run freely, and it felt incredible. At one point I felt so overwhelmed with happiness that I moved myself to tears. This is what it was all about, moments like these. I felt like a child, free and unshackled, with no concern beyond the immediate moments, beyond each footstep on the trail. (p. 245)

McNuff spent just under 150 days making her way from the southern tip to the northern tip of New Zealand, and this fairly long book, 400-plus pages, details that trip and the trials and tribulations, new friends and old, met along the way. There are nice maps but no pictures, probably because she originally self-published the book and those are hard to get in, but that was a shame. I did enjoy it but it was quite a lengthy read.

The author and I have very different approaches to preparing for any trip (I’ve obviously never done one that big). She reminded me a bit of Lara Prior-Palmer in her book about Mongolian horse-racing, “Rough Magic” in that she’s a bit scatter-brained, untrained and unprepared and sort of wings it as she goes – this is just a different way of being, I appreciate, but it led to some anxious moments in the read and worried me that other people might do the same with less positive results. I was impressed by her strength and gung-ho attitude, staying in huts with random strangers or wild camping and seeing off wild teens (she only seems to have been seriously unnerved about twice, but then New Zealand is a relatively safe and benign place). She’s also resilient around injury and, while they’re different from mine, has mental and emotional strategies in place for when it gets tough.

It’s also of course very nice to read of a female adventurer – there are so many books about men doing epic journeys out there, though I have read other women’s tales of running, notably Rosie Swale-Pope’s “Just a Little Run Around the World“, and it fits into my women traveller reads nicely. It was also a bit reminiscent of Mark Beaumont’s book, which is not hugely surprising, as he’s a hero of hers. I also very much liked the tales of meeting up with people repeatedly on the trail, being taken in by friends of friends of friends – or even complete strangers – and inspiring other people to get out on the trail with her. I think that was my favourite aspect, although it was interesting to read about the challenges and the different places she got to stay. I have to mention her habit of carrying thank you cards around with her just in case – that was very sweet and stuck with me.

An arc through the book is formed by her conversations with friend – or more? – Jamie, who challenges her to show the gnarly and sad bits on her social media feeds as well as the good and glossy times. These points add a sort of anchor to the narrative. The narrative itself is honest, down to earth and competent, not the most lyrical descriptive writing in the world, but that wasn’t what it was about. Oh, and the pants? Some brightly patterned running leggings that boosted her mood when needed. We all need some of those, right?

I’m glad I read this and also glad I’ve never felt compelled to do a journey like this, however much I like reading about them!

This was book number 9 in my 20 Books of Summer 2022!

This was also TBR Challenge 2021-22 Quarter 4 Book 3/28 – 25 to go!

Book review – Martin Yelling and Anji Andrews – “Running in the Midpack”


Another 20 Books of Summer book (intro post here) and my seventh of the project; I’m reviewing this slightly out of order as I wanted to post my review on the same day as Wendy from Taking the Long Way Home published hers; we realised we both had a copy and wanted to do a little readalong. Here’s Wendy’s post!

This book arrived on 24 June 2021 as part of my Christmas and Book Token splurge (results pictured on 1 July 2021) although I found out about it a while before via a session by the authors through the Runners’ Bookshelf Facebook page.

Martin Yelling and Anji Andrews – “Running in the Midpack: How to be a Strong, Successful and Happy Runner”

(24 June 2021 – book tokens)

It doesn’t have to be right all the time for your running to be going right. One poor or below par run doesn’t make you a crap runner. It’s not true that ‘you’re only as good as your last race’. It takes many different runs to understand you as a runner – great, good and epic fail. (p. 28)

This is very specifically stated to be a running book for people who already know how to run, filling a gap between the multiple how-to books for new runners, books for those at the sharp end, the elites, narratives of various challenges and achievements and supportive books for those at the very back of the pack. Although I’m near the back of the pack, I do manage to come in the first 80% or so of runners and I’ve been running for decades and know a lot of the terminology and theory (whether I apply it is a different matter, of course), so counted myself among the book’s audience.

Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a book if there wasn’t a good amount about racing, getting personal records, achieving more (longer, faster or, to be fair on the authors, more comfortably, mentally and/or physically) and training. So that aspect wasn’t particularly applicable to me as I don’t like racing and tend not to do it (also I don’t need a race to keep me running). I was amused to see my kind of running without a particular goal (well, my goal might be to visit a Lego giraffe or photograph an old mill) described as “aimless wafting” (it does acknowledge there is a place for the odd bit of aimless wafting) – I suppose some more substantial mention might have been made about those of us who run because we want to keep fit and well into older age, but one book can’t be everything to all people and there are books that cover that.

So we get useful chapters on psychology, including anxiety, motivation and stress, whole body health, including strength and conditioning, resting and stretching, training, nutrition, including useful information on when the relationship with food and running becomes unhealthy, and finally race day. And I might have said I don’t like racing, but the sections on different kinds of races, from 5k to marathon, and the pre-race-day and recovery planning sheets are massively useful and the best I’ve seen! Women’s cycles are covered (though not menopause stuff) and volunteering is mentioned several times as a good way to give back to the hobby rather than a ‘sacrifice’. Oh, and Ben Smith, the 401 Marathons man is mentioned – hooray!

A good book that covers all the bases with lots of other experts consulted and quoted. You will find something new and challenging here, whatever your running and training experience – I was certainly reminded of the uncomfortable truth that I just don’t like pushing myself or going out of my comfort zone, although realistically I’m not sure that’s going to change. Maybe I can push it now and then!

This was book number 7 in my 20 Books of Summer 2022!

This was also TBR Challenge 2021-22 Quarter 4 Book 1/28 – 27 to go!

Book review – Mikki Kendall – “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women White Feminists Forgot”


Getting through my 20 Books of Summer books (intro post here) and finally almost finishing the exciting books I bought with my Christmas 2020 / Birthday 2021 book token splurge. (results pictured on 1 July 2021 – out of those books I have read most of them for either January’s Nordics challenge or Novellas in November last year, with one left to read soon and one reading with Emma in a while).

This is the eighth book I’ve completed from the 20 Books project (I’m reviewing them slightly out of order to make the next one coincide with a fellow-blogger’s review) and also comes off my TBR 2021-2022 challenge.

Mikki Kendall – “Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women White Feminists Forgot”

(30 June 2021 – book tokens)

We rarely talk about basic needs as a feminist issue. Food insecurity and access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. Instead of a framework that focuses on helping women get basic needs met, all too often the focus is not on survival but on increasing privilege. For a movement that is meant to represent all women, it often centers on those who already have most of their needs met. (p. xv)

This book aims to address the issue of the women who are left out of feminism because within the movement, some women are oppressing others. It takes the reader through the real-life issues and problems for mainly poorer Black mainly women in the US and looks at where other women in the feminist movement can help by either getting involved or leaving people be and not interfering. There are clear assessments of problems and clear statements on how mainstream feminism can be of use, so there is a lot of value here.

Starting with making the good point that mainstream feminists often don’t stand in solidarity with the trans community or understand that women living in poverty and surviving have different priorities, applying “respectability politics” to ignore those doing work or living in ways we might not directly approve of or find valid.

You can’t be a feminist who ignores hunger. (p. 37)

Kendall takes us through the lives of women and girls (and men) in poorer Black neighbourhoods in the US. She also talks about Indigenous, Latinx and other communities that don’t exist in great numbers in the UK, and I would like to read a similar book located within the UK to appreciate the different things we need to concentrate on here (obviously a lot of issues overlap, but there will be ones specific to the larger South Asian communities in the UK, for example, and the usual differences in the roots of racism here, even if the outcomes are similar). Overlaps in perceived violence and the over-policing of ethnic groups, food insecurity, access to and support within education, understanding and non-judgement of those who can’t and don’t code-switch to fit “norms”, etc. are clear to see and throughout she calls for mainstream feminists to stand back, listen to what’s needed and help in ways that are called for by the people experiencing whatever issue it is (rather than rushing in and doing White Saviourism). And if we can’t do anything at the point of conflict at that time, “Well, you can always challenge the white patriarchy” (p. 84), something it’s obviously easier for us to use our white privilege to do. She also makes a powerful point about not assuming all Black women are strong and can be used to provide exemplars, but need support and compassion, too.

Kendall also calls out colourism and other classisms in Black communities (although this is something that needs calling out in wider society, too) and talks about what her own communities can do to redress this, with painful examples from her own experience (she weaves her own experience through the book, making the personal political in an entirely appropriate way).

A conflict or discomfort I had on reading the book, and I appreciate I’m at risk of practising White Exceptionalism here (“I’m special, I don’t do that!”), and also at risk of centring myself if I talk about all the things I do that are so noble and special, is that I don’t recognise my brand of feminism in the descriptions of mainstream feminism that Kendall presents. She specifically talks about it ignoring grassroots issues around poverty and cultures and concentrating on surnames, body hair and getting women into CEO positions. I’ve always taken an egalitarian and non-anti-men standpoint (yes, sure, I criticise men and definitely the patriarchy but also accept and value the role they have in women’s lives), pushing against separatism since I was a baby feminist at university and getting cancelled by the 2nd years for talking to men, and I’ve got behind campaigns around period poverty, funding refugee women to get bicycles and lessons in riding them, etc. I did try to concentrate on taking in the messages that I could use, though, with some hopefully non-me-centred examples below.

Here’s what Kendall says mainstream feminism can do:

Accomplice feminists would actively and directly challenge white supremacist people, policies, institutions, and cultural norms. They would know that they do not need to have the same statke in teh fight to work with marginalized communities. They would put aside their egos and their need to be centered in our struggles in favor of following our instructions, because they would internalize the reality that their privilege doesn’t make them experts in our oppression. (pp. 257-8)

Pieces I took away and commit to continuing to do in the spaces I can do it (e.g. not having a workplace to agitate in):

  • Continue to address and call out / call in racism when you see it, even from women friends and allies in other areas.
  • Continue to amplify and share Black and other Global Majority People’s voices and work.
  • Interrogate your attitudes and make sure you’re applying compassion to all.
  • Interrogate any feminist organisations you are part of to check they are doing the work to support everyone, at all levels, not just White, cisgender, “respectable” women to gain extra bits of privilege (I’ve checked into the Fawcett Society and found their list of help for individuals includes GMP-run services and those for homelessness, care leavers, etc., although nothing specifically for transwomen and that they’ve done a big recent report on Pay and Progression of Women of Colour, although that doesn’t seem to address women in informal economies; I’m going to start going to their regional meetings to know more about what I’m contributing funds to).

This was book number 8 in my 20 Books of Summer 2022!

This was also TBR Challenge 2021-22 Quarter 4 Book 2/28 – 26 to go!

Monthly run down / why I love volunteering


[Photo courtesy of Paul Roberts, with permission]

The lovely Kim at Running on the Fly and Deborah at Confessions of a Mother Runner run a Weekly Run Down catch up for fitness bloggers. I take part monthly, as my running just isn’t interesting enough to sustain a weekly update! But I’ve had a good running month and a great volunteering month so I wanted to share a bit about running then a bit about volunteering.

Running round-up

It’s so nice just to run, as far as I’m concerned. Not training for anything, a vague plan to up the distances now I’m back on my usual schedule after the difficulties of the autumn, just going for pleasant canal runs with Claire and Trudie, bits and bobs on my own or with other friends around the area and club runs one evening a week. I have run 91.7 miles in January, and that’s just fine, averaging just over 20 miles a week, which is my sweet spot for feeling well mentally and physically. Talking averages, though, this amused me. I did run almost the same distance every week for the last four weeks, but really?

Black dots represent runs, green lines and numbers represent the time I spent running that week …

Volunteering fun

I volunteer for my running club, taking a run leader role at our weekly evening club runs, which involves booking in and turning up, therefore triggering 12 places on the run to become available for non-run-leaders, and covering roles administering the runs such as announcements, warm-ups and tail running. I had stepped aside from this while I got over my fall and cold and got my nerve back for running in the dark; it’s lovely to see other club members and meet new runners, too, and feeling I’m doing something for the club that has helped my running so much and introduced me to so many lovely friends.

I also volunteer at Oaklands parkrun, and I’m on the core team there. I am the volunteer coordinator during the week, sending out requests for volunteers on email and Facebook and responding to emails that come in about volunteering, slotting people into the roster and sometimes shuffling them about, in consultation with the Event and Run Directors. I then volunteer on the day – yesterday, we didn’t have quite enough volunteers so I suggested I cover one of our marshal points the first time round (the first runner through was a regular who knew the route, phew) then nipped back across the park to do barcode scanning as people finished. I often timekeep, and did that on New Year’s Day …

Avril, Rachel, and me on timer in action [Photo courtesy of Avril with her permission]

… and on 8 January I did my 150th stint of volunteering (photo at the top of this post). I was a marshal and the Run Director, Helen, kindly made an announcement that it was my 150th at the start – loads of the participants cheered me or otherwise said kind words, and it was so lovely! I’ve only run about 33 parkruns but the volunteering numbers and t-shirts mean more to me, I have to say.

I love volunteering at club and parkrun because I can give something back to the running community; it gets me out and about; I get to see lots of different people; I get to make a difference; I get a huge sense of well-being from helping others. Volunteering at our parkrun is always supportive and I enjoy training people on timekeeping as well as doing it myself, and the team is very kind and helpful. I love that I can support our still newish Event and Run Directors, as I have quite a lot of experience with most of the roles, and it just warms your heart of a Saturday morning!

In running and reading overlaps, Rachel kindly picked up a copy of “How parkrun Changed our Lives” by Eileen Jones from the Running Show last weekend – Eileen attended our parkrun on the morning of the Running Show and Rachel got her to sign it for me. Here it is, at Oaklands parkrun!

Running round-up – December 2021


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

First half and a bit of 2021

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

September to November 2021 – the wheels fall off the bus

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

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

Lovely Oaklands Park in the summer

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

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

December and onwards

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

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

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


Trees and sunset

Photo taken on an evening run by the Haunch Brook Pathways

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

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

Three runners

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

Trude, Mary Ellen and cheese

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

Daffodils along the Rea

Daffodils all along the Rea next to Holders Lane Playing Fields

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

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


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

Chloe Coles – “Life’s a Beach”

(22 November 2018)

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

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

(17 December 2019)

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

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

Sedate lady running 28 Oct – 03 Nov 2019 #amrunning #running


A week that got very damp and breezy and during which I ran just the minimum I like to run to keep me well. Oh well! I did my best! I also took very few photos for some reason.

Monday – A bright and lovely day: I went for two walks during the day and got my steps in.

10,310 steps.

Tuesday – I was one of the two volunteers at our running club’s club run tonight – a four-mile run with everyone doing the same route in pace groups. I was the tail runner and the lovely Rachel looked after quite a few beginners (because we have a 5k and beyond group running at the moment on Thursdays, we get them coming to beginners on a Tuesday, too). Added level of difficulty: it was half-term and we didn’t have access to the school playground so no room for warmup (I tried to get everyone to jog on the spot!) and we had to keep on some grass verges and off the path. People were in general very good, and there were fewer of us than usual – it was dark and cold and half-term. Unfortunately I ended up giving the welcome speech and notices and as I hadn’t expected to, didn’t have my notes! I covered all the bases and then set off at the back with Jenny – we had a good run round and then she gave me a lift home, as it was the Great British Bake-Off Final and I wanted to get it all watched before bedtime!

0.6 miles, 11:45 mins per mile / 3.9 miles, 13:31 mins per mile. 11,003 steps

Wednesday – Another nice bright day and I give you our local signpost (like something from Narnia, right?) in the town square, from my walk


Town square signpost

I also did Dave’s yoga class, which was a good one as ever. I am stiff though and really need to do more stretching and rolling!

7,869 steps (oops)

Thursday – I went for a run with Trudie, who was off because her husband’s a teacher (half-term again) and we decided to run to Aldi (one of the two low-price German supermarket chains we have here, Lidl is the other one) to see if we could snag any of their running kit. Both shops have what I like to call an Aisle of Delights where they sell non-grocery items on a weekly theme. Those leggings with the reflective dots that I have came from there.

Success at the Selly Oak shop

running accessories

Aldi running accessories

I bought myself a flouro buff, a black buff, a pair of flouro gloves, a flouro hat (that won’t blow off, as my cap threatens to do, and isn’t boiling hot, as my other running beanie is, so totally necessary) and a pair of socks (usefully, as I sawed through the toe of one of the ones I was wearing!). I also bought Matthew a beanie and gloves as he walks half the way home from work and isn’t always that visible.

We carried on to Cannon Hill Park but Trudie wasn’t feeling too good (she’s having a lot of stress and strain at the moment, poor thing: hope things improve soon!) so after a toilet stop and picking up some tickets for her at the arts centre, and after me taking my photo of the day …

autumn colours in the park

Autumn colours in full swing

… we parted company and I ran back up the hill and the long way home. A good run and great to snaffle some distance in the week (esp given Saturday’s wash-out).

I had to stop my watch after Aldi as I’d left it running as we wandered the aisles so recorded this in two batches.

2.7 miles, 14:08 mins per mile / 4.2 miles, 12:50 mins per mile. 15,288 steps (making up yesterday’s shortfall)

Friday – I did Claire Yoga (slow and with a lovely long meditation at the end, I was sore on Saturday from doing things properly and sloowwly) and although I had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon (just to renew some prescriptions) and a walk up to the chemist to pick up my pills, I just did not have time do all that, work, hoover the house and get more steps in.

5,003 steps (rounded up by stomping up and down the stairs before going to bed!)

Saturday – Because I was marshalling on Sunday, I wanted to get a good long run in on Saturday. I arranged to meet Jenny at 9.30 for a four-mile mini-canal run and then arranged to meet Maria, my fellow Mental Health Champion at running club, to plan our short presentation at the club Awards Night at the end of the month. So it was up and breakfast early and I was out of the house at 8.20, the aim being to do five or so miles, four with Jenny and a few more to round things up, meeting Maria at 11.

As I stepped out of the house, the rain started. And got heavier and heavier. Soon there were large puddles on the pavements and roads. Some roads had water flowing down them and they weren’t that ford you all got bothered by that time! I got to half-way round my five-mile “cricket ground” route and sat in a bus shelter to message Jenny to say “Don’t do it!” It just seemed not the right thing to drag her out in the pouring rain.

wet runner in bus shelter

Portrait of a woman who has made an Error. My new buff worked well, though.

I actually quite enjoyed splashing around in the end. It was the rugby world cup so the streets were quiet. I ended up going to the park and running around for a bit and meeting Maria, who was leading the four-mile club run – I decided just to give up then and run home as I was SO WET. I took the long way round, thinking I had to make up 8.4 miles for the week, but (thanks Strava) turned out it was added up funny and I needed 8.5. I’m proud I managed to drag those miles out of myself, though. I jumped in the shower, got clean and dry and met Maria for a nice coffee, snack and catch-up, and we planned our presentation nicely.

8.4 miles, 12:07 mins per mile.  20,753 steps

Sunday – I marshalled at the National Institute for Conductive Education 10k as usual today. NICE is a wonderful institution, more about it here, and the race is run every year to raise funds (through the fees and a bake sale). I was in my usual position sending runners in two different directions depending on what lap they were on; it all went really well apart from a few loose dogs I had to warn runners about. I knew probably a sixth of the runners by name, and there were loads from local clubs. I was very proud of my lovely friend Tara, seen here resolutely and strongly pushing through, with her lovely husband Matt, who had looped back round after finishing himself to cheer her on. Tara is doing the London Marathon 2020 and I’m very much looking forward to training with her, whether or not I get in!

two runners in park

I walked to the park, to my marshalling position and back to the Institute for a cuppa and the prizegiving, before walking home; what with going out to meet friends for a coffee in the afternoon, I certainly got my steps in.

12,547 steps as of 17:30

Weekly total 19.9 miles (argh). Total this year 868.2 (see, that’s showing 20 added to my total) (I need 916.66 at the end of this month to be on track for my 1,000 miles in a year total; I was about 20 miles over my October target).

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 21-27 Oct 2019 #amrunning #running


A week of variable weather and a decent amount of running, plus all my steps. I wasn’t very good at taking photos so a short and boring post, sorry!

Monday – I ran the long way round to meet up with Tara and the dogs she was walking in the park.

4.1 miles, 11:52 mins per mile / 1 mile, 11:58 mins per mile. 13,036 steps.

Tuesday – I went for a walk in the day but ran into a friend, chatted too long and couldn’t walk as long a way round to the supermarket as I’d hoped. I then went for a walk in the evening, Matthew was going to the cinema so I walked him to where he was meeting his friend then carried on in the dark. Really should have walked where club were running, but didn’t – I ended up walking fast in the dark, having scared myself by being alone in the dark. Won’t do that in a hurry. As my best friend Emma said, go early to get the steps in!

10,101 steps

Wednesday – An evening run meeting Ruth for a couple of miles in the middle. Weirdly, I was only an hour earlier than on Tuesday and still in the dark, but I didn’t mind so much! Weird. I walked-ran with Ruth and ran continuously the rest of it, which was all fine. I don’t mind what I do as long as I’m moving. I hadn’t got as many steps in as I do walking so marched around the house a bit.

5 miles, 12:26 mins per mile. 12,003 steps

Thursday – Had a day out and went to meet my friend Laura in Alderley Edge. We had a super walk in the woods on the Edge and I did actually take some photos. The trees were beautiful and the views very misty.

Alderley Edge view

A misty view off Alderley Edge

We went to my friend Kerry’s for a lovely lunch and then popped into one charity shop (where I got one book, see my post from Thursday) before I got the train home. A good way to get my steps in!

11,040 steps

Friday – Got my first walk of the day in early, between breakfast and starting work. This worked well as I had my phone with me and was close enough to pop home if I got an urgent job in. I saw parakeets in Highbury Park (no photo as I only had my phone camera with me). I had another walk later to run some errands and had a fuss with Kaci the dog on the high street.

10,726 steps

Saturday – I was down to lead the running club’s beginners’ session but it was pelting down with rain so I did wonder if anyone would turn up. I left a bit late because I was waiting for the rain to ease off (it didn’t) and had to belt up there – I hit 9 and under 9 minute mile pace for a minute or two! Two people turned up for the 4 mile run we offer, and Ruth came to shadow me as she’s joining the volunteer rota. No beginners so Ruth and I did a couple of soggy laps of the park while I shared my knowledge of what to do, then she went off home and I continued home the long way round to get the value out of having to wash my clothes and because I couldn’t have got any wetter! I did get some sprinting done on the home straight as I just wanted to get home.

Not actually physically possible to be more wet than this.

0.6 miles, 10:34 mins per mile / 3.4 miles, 12:33 mins per mile. 11,279 steps

Sunday – In a huge contrast to Saturday’s weather, it was so bright and clear, although cold – my first run with gloves on of the autumn and they only came off at mile 8. Started with Mary Ellen and Trudie, picked up Ruth on the way and met Jenny in Moseley, then ran her round a circuit to get her back to her yoga session in time. We dropped Ruth off on the way back down towards her house. Unfortunately I could not make my phone camera work (so Ruth had to take the group photo) and then wasn’t able to understand what route we were taking (a side-effect of the medication I’m taking is enough of a loss of cognitive sharpness for me to notice it) so I got a  bit distressed and felt a bit rubbish.


Trudie, Ruth, Jenny, Mary Ellen, Liz, by Ruth, posted with permission

Pushed on with encouragement (I keep taking, taking, taking recently and am aware I need to redress this, though I have been having some tough times) and said goodbye to Jenny by the park where she does her yoga (in a studio in the park) then parted from Mary Ellen as she needed to go and buy a sofa, then Trudie and I pressed on, surprised ourselves slightly by coming out on the greenway going the other way and knowing where we were and then pushed up the hill, round the park via the supermarket for Trudie to buy limited-edition orange Cadbury’s Twirls (as you do) and then to our respective homes. The sun stayed out the whole way round.

autumn tree

Beautiful foliage in Cannon Hill Park, Runner is not us.

I got home to news my delivery was on its way. I’d better keep up with this endurance running lark as that is a LOT of Tailwind powdered fuel!

Large pack of tailwind

Large pack of Tailwind

10 miles, 13:24 mins per mile. 23,203 steps (as of 7.20 pm)

Weekly total 24.1 miles. Total this year 848.2 (I need 833.33 at the end of this month to be on track for my 1,000 miles in a year total, and I’m now down 13 miles on this time last year).

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 14-20 Oct 2019 #amrunning #running


Continuing trying to get my steps in and have recorded that and my aim for five fruit and veg portions a day (in an effort to keep my immunity boosted) in my new wellness journal I’m reviewing. Quite a good week for distance as I front-weighted it with a good solid run on Monday.

Monday – A lovely canal run with Claire, there was a weather warning so we tried to get round before the torrential rain, and just about managed. We noticed how amazing the construction of the Brandwood Tunnel is for the first time.

Brandwood tunnel entrance

Brandwood Tunnel entrance

7 miles, 13:04 mins per mile. Steps: 16,829

Tuesday – I met up with my best friend Emma in Birmingham and we went for lunch then a look round the Ikon Gallery and a short walk along the canal in town, up and over and back the other side. We both like to get our steps in so I planned for the gallery trip to be across town!

Steps: 13,274

Wednesday – I met Jenny in Moseley at what turned out to be a slightly tricky time when people were taking their kids to school / older children were pouring along the streets. Then we went down a very slippery, leafy hill gingerly and up some steep hills before she went to yoga and I ran home.  I did very varying paces especially for the last mile and a bit where I pushed it because I had a sudden need to get home quickly! Then I got showered and changed and went creakily to yoga.

4.3 miles, 12:31 mins per mile. Steps: 10,814

Thursday – Supporting our 5k and beyond runners is always a privilege and I enjoyed quite a tricky set of runs and walks (thank you Lee for the laminated cheat sheet showing total minutes to help decide when to run and walk) with two nice women at the back. I always provide a back marker when I volunteer, and will do so even when I cover leading the run later in November! Ran back a wiggly way to get some more distance in. And steps.

Dark street, street lamp

It was so dark when I got home. I was wearing a flourescent tabard and headlamp round my waist so all good.

0.7 miles, 11:31 mins per mile / 1.5 miles, 14:25 mins per mile / 1.4 miles, 12:18 mins per mile. Steps: 10,290

Friday – I went to yoga then dropped my yoga mat at home and walked the long (very long, round the park) way to Iceland to buy some bread.

Park panorama

Caught the park in a spell of sun!

I didn’t have enough steps so went to meet my husband, Matthew, as he walked from the bus stop, and round the supermarket. Still at 9,000, I discovered a circuit round the block was nearly 1,000 steps, which is useful to know!

Steps: 10,361

Saturday – Officiating for the day at the Cross-Country Relays in Wolverhampton, even though I was on funnel management and judge recorder (recording athletes’ numbers in order and making sure they stayed in order and moving briskly through the finish funnel) and was on my feet from 11 to 4.30, I only did 2,500 steps. But I was running and then going to a meetup on Sunday so let myself off.

Steps: 2,620

Sunday – Not such a long run needed to make up my miles for the week. Trudie, Mary Ellen and I met up and ran up to meet Jenny. We did about three miles together, including a loop through Cannon Hill Park.

Four women runners

Trudie, Liz, Jenny, Mary Ellen, by Trudie, posted with her permission.

We then decided to run up the brutal Park Hill (I predicted I’d get my 3rd best time on it, as it was the third time I’d run up it in all my years of running, and yes), but were rewarded by the pretty and frilly St Anne’s church at the top.

St Anne's Church Park Hill

St Anne’s Church, Park Hill, can you see the Moon?

We then ran back down and through the forested part that Mary Ellen and I did last weekend, so Trudie and I could learn where it started.

Trees in Cannon Hill

Sun in the trees in Cannon Hill Park

Up the hill to home and I did a bit of running around to make things up to a round number (of course I did). Quick shower, drink and snack and I got the bus to town to meet five other members of my photo-a-day group at the tea rooms in the art gallery. This got me the rest of my steps to make up for yesterday.

8.1 miles, 13:16 mins per mile. Steps: 21,055 (as of 6pm)

Weekly total 23.00 miles. Total this year 824.1 (I need 833.33 at the end of this month to be on track for my 1,000 miles in a year total, and I’m now down just 10 miles on this time last year).

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.


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