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

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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.

Books!

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

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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

signpost

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

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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.

Runners

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

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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.

 

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

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Not many photos this week but a daily update as I have decided to try to get in 10,000 steps a day (and yes, I know there’s recent evidence that 3 x 10 minute bursts of very active walking is better for you – I do try to get as many of my steps as possible that aren’t running in the form of brisk walking!).

Monday – A lovely run and catch-up with Claire which ended with her trying to negotiate whether to go under or over a replacement fibreoptic cable for the old copper pair telephone wires that was being fixed up. Oh, the laughs! I went a bit further than planned and was quite tired from running 9.6 miles the day before.  Got home to a bulky parcel – I’d failed to get into the London Marathon, both in the first ballot and in the ballot you get into if you donate your fee to their charity. Another London Marathon fail top!

5.5 miles, 12:48 mins per mile. Steps: 11,708

Tuesday – Normally a very sedentary day in front of the computer working, so I made myself walk to the park the long way, march around it and do some complicated looking for drinking glasses shopping up and down the high street. Then walked to meet Matthew off the bus.

Steps: 11,048

Wednesday – Went into town to meet a lovely client, handily right across town at a gallery, so a good walk there and back. Then I went charity shop book shopping with my friend Sian in the afternoon (results here) and went out for dinner locally with Matthew in the evening, so got my steps in naturally (and a bit of work done!).

Steps: 12,508

Thursday – Took in an early evening run with Caroline – really nice to, again, catch up, though I must get the battery in my head torch replaced as it was a bit feeble.  I wore my London Marathon Fail Top and it was nice but I got a bit warm as it’s brushed cotton inside!

Liz in London Marathon top

London Marathon Fail Top 2020 race edition

5.1 miles, 12:34 mins per mile. Steps: 12,608

Friday – Went to yoga then did some walking including up to the park to meet Tara and pass her some books. Ended up walking VERY fast to meet Matthew off the bus to get my steps in. But this was the other day when I did steps I wouldn’t have done otherwise.

Steps: 10,597

Saturday – Moved my long run to today. I went up to the post box to send some cards and carried on running around as it was quite cold and I was early. This then saved rather than restarted, hence the two-part run. Started off with Jenny and Mary Ellen and did the 4-mile canal route by the boatyard. Said goodbye to Jenny then Mary Ellen and I continued in a big loop that took in much of my old 5-mile route. We ran into Cannon Hill Park to use the toilets, then Mary Ellen suggested we run through the more traily part of Holders Woods. There was a big Alzheimer’s Charity walk going on and, hoping we wouldn’t suddenly encounter millions of walkers coming towards us, we nipped through the forest. So pretty!

Pool in a wood

Holders Wood – pool

Although we were both a bit tired it was a nice run.

0.75 miles, 12:18 mins per mile / 10.2 miles, 13:25 mins per mile. Steps: 27,390

Sunday – It was the Birmingham Half-Marathon today and running club had a cheering station as usual. Mary Ellen, Trudie and I walked down and we ended up with everyone on the Pershore Road, which meant we got to see all the runners going both out and back. Sadly, a suspicious van parked near the park and cricket ground meant the race had to be diverted and shortened, which was terribly upsetting, but had to be done.

Mary Ellen captured a great pic of me handing out jelly babies (I wore my waterproof over trousers so that it didn’t rain hard – that never fails!):

Liz handing out jelly babies

Sugar high for the runners!

and I was delighted to see loads of people I know, including Barinderjit Singh Cheema – aka Usingh Bolt – just back from doing a trip to Malawi to see the charities he’s been raising money for and looking fit and healthy after suffering badly during a John O’Groats to Land’s End attempt.

barinderjit singh cheema running the half-marathon

I saw him and he saw me seeing him and all was good!

I then walked home with Mary Ellen and went out for coffee with Gill then went to my friend Clare’s birthday celebration – she’s a Bournville Harrier so I saw a lot of BVH friends there and had a nice chat. Walked home (Gill had given me a lift there) as there were no buses for ages. A good running day with no running!

Steps: 17,429

Weekly total 21.5 miles. Total this year 801 (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 14 miles on this time last year).

Edited to add: Mary Ellen has started blogging about running, too! See her first post here.

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.

 

Race Report – Race to the Stones 2019 2nd Day 31 mile / 50 km ultramarathon

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Here at last is my race report – sorry if it’s a bit garbled as I’m still recovering!

Training

Although I bought Krissy Moehl’s book on Ultrarunning I realised it was A Bit Much, with 5-6 runs a week and loads of strength training. Knowing I’d undermine myself if I tried to follow that and panicked, instead I booked a marathon for 6 weeks out, reasoning that I knew how to train for a marathon and could then bridge the gap with some surface-specific training. So I booked, trained for and ran the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll marathon at the end of May (report here). Then it was time to do the trail thing (argh!) – this was the thing that scared me most as I am very much a conservative road runner. Bernice and I did the Bumble Bimble trail 10 miles together on 16 June (report here) and although I spent a bit of time worrying about not having got a really long one in (Bernice did 18 miles that day running to the race!) actually it prepared me well for some of the surfaces. I ran on the canals where it goes non-tarmacked and round the back of the rugby club where it’s like cat litter and gravel, and we took a road trip to the actual route on 23 June (included in this post – have a look at the surfaces there, too) and did 14 miles out and back, covering 7 miles of the 31. This was excellent and prepared us very well.

I’d been really really calm all week, weirdly. Not worried, somehow. I knew I could do the distance, and the Bimble Bumble had used up a lot of my fear. So I thought.

Preparation

We went down to Swindon the night before and stayed in unfortunately not-great serviced apartments – Bernice and Mitch’s wasn’t ready when they arrived (they had spent some time at the half-way point cheering friends through) and they and their son had to camp out in our flat while it was sorted out. Not ideal. Then I had tuna pasta cooked by Matthew, but it was very hot in the flat and it was near a nightclub so NOT a good night’s sleep.

I did a kit-lay / Flat Liz the night before and sorted bags into on the day – food and clothes for Matthew to bring to meet us – food and clothes for the end. COMPLICATED!

The day

I got up at 3.15 am (hooray) and had a Shreddies and oats breakfast (brought in a portion from home) and read a bit of Vassos Alexander’s “Don’t Stop me Now” – in which he does the whole of what we were doing half of. I had a messenger chat with Cari, who sent me the book, who was up as she was in New York.

We met outside just after 5 and set off, avoiding drunk girls lying in the road! Thanks for all the driving, Mitch! I’d left my number off till we got there and promptly dropped one of the safety pins they’d provided.

Fortunately there was an info stand with many, many more. We were looking for clubmate Colin but he’d already set off, but we did see Ben from the 401 Foundation – it’s his fault I ran my first marathon but seriously, he’s a massive inspiration and when he told me at the Running Show in Jan that he was doing this, along with his fab mum-in-law Pat and other family and friends, it made me feel loads better about the race (see my review of his book and explanation of his influence on my own running journey here).

 

Gosh, I look scared. I WAS scared. Bernice is much better than me at doing The Things so as well as necking a Gu caffeine gel in amusing fashion … I got a photo at the start …

Photo by Bernice

… we did the thing with the frame (it wasn’t raining, just misty and a bit dimpsy) …

Photo by Mitch

… and the thing with the big square. I never did this in Liverpool and was sad, so thank you, Bernice, for getting me doing this!

Photo by Mitch

Then it was quite casual, you could just start. Said goodbye to the boys, had a small briefing from a nice man then we were OFF. All pics were sent to us free by the way – a nice touch.

And off we went, weirdly, trotting along. Well, I got a tiny stone in my shoe after a mile so we got rid of that. It was quite busy, with faster runners coming past us etc. In about 8k we got to Pit Stop 1. The pit stops were amazing, all the food (watermelon!!), all the water to top up with, nurses in a tent sorting feet out… Bernice had her old blister taped professionally here and we ran into Ben and had a chat, then I talked to a chap in a Help for Heroes vest before we carried on.

We got onto the bit we knew around the White Horse of Uffington. Here it fell apart slightly for me. We got on a downhill section where it was very rutted, the ruts weren’t straight but faded in and out in an alarming fashion, and lots of faster people were barelling down the flattest bit (as was their right, of course) and I ended up with some of them between me and Bernice (not her fault) and on the other, cambered, rut, getting more and more panicky. So of course I turned to a bush and had a cry. Immediately five or six other ladies were upon me checking I was OK and offering all the sweets and water, so, so lovely. And I was OK and carried on.

Here we also picked up a lovely woman called Tess who was struggling with her knee, and we took her with us and looked after her for a bit. And we’d asked the boys to meet us near the car park we’d used in our recce and there they were!! Bernice changed into her road shoes here as the trails were rubbing. I felt OK and stuck with the comfort of my Saucony Peregrines. They’re a hybrid shoe so a bit more cushioned and supported than a true trail shoe but with grippy lugs. I love them so much. Even if my heels hurt a bit now.

Me and Matthew, at the earthworks at Uffington.

At 10 miles in we were 3 hours on the road, so I predicted a finish of 10 hours plus (hoping for less but knowing we would slow down).

On and on we went, more pit stops, more watermelon, more wees, more topping up. At one point (and to be honest I’m not sure all these pics are in completely the right order now) we went over the M4, as you do …

We had long bits on chalk paths undulating away, all the other runners in front and behind, which was amazing. Here I am leading us on / holding everyone up (YOU decide) with Tess behind me and Bernice behind her. It was rare for Berni to be behind me as she was suffering with her hips and glutes and back, and running was more comfortable than walking. What an epic lady to battle through that.

Then we hit this. This was so horrific I decided to put a cry for help up on Instagram (then forgot to update that I was OK which Matthew had to do). So steep. The walkers with their poles click-clicked past us! This was almost half-way.

There was a sign (more on those later) that the view was better at the top – and there was a photographer to prove that! Don’t know who these other people are, but look at that view.

Yes, the signs. I got very cross with them!

Grrr. Bernice must have taken this one; she kindly took a pic of millions of them and carefully sent them to me because she knew how much I loved them …

There was a terrifying downhill steep bit somewhere around here. Oh my, I was terrified. But you know what, everyone around me, as I stepped aside to let tranches of people by, said, “You can do it,” “I don’t like it either, you’ve got this”. How lovely.

We then had a weird bit on the road where we went through this perfect village, all thatched cottages. Bernice took this one as I wasn’t feeling taking pictures of perfect houses but also wanted to remember them.

Anyway, here we are with the view a bit later on. This was a lovely long bit on grass. We were creeping up on some blokes who were walking and said we should play a song: This Girl is on Fire was my choice. “My feet are on fire” was the reply, so we sang along with altered lyrics! They asked for Something Inside So Strong too and we had a moment with two other walkers, too.

This was where we realised we were playing cat and mouse with two really tall guys, one with checked shorts, passing them as we ran on downhills, being passed as they strode along.

Another pit stop, the third, and the boys were there. Had a cup of tea and a plain bread roll as well as WATERMELON. We asked them to go to the finish as we had someone coming at about 26, we hoped.

We encountered our sore feet chaps again later (I think after the last pit stop) and one of them was clearly suffering. Bernice offered him an anti-chafing wipe, but apparently be was beyond that. I hope he was OK!

One more pit stop with a bloke telling us there were no more hills (a lie), there were higher up water taps which was good as I was struggling with operating a tap by now. On we went. At one point between then and seeing Angela Bernice opened up her London Marathon playlist and played my contribution, Hall of Fame by The Script. That was a good moment!

It was more chalk paths and we were coming up to A MARATHON. Well it was certainly not boring (“Sod colouring books, this is proper mindfulness” I may have shouted) and it seemed fairly OK at that point. Bernice put out a little Facebook video and a call for sponsorship (after being asked by a few people we decided to raise some money for Birmingham Mind). And I’d worked out that my friend from my photo-a-day group, Angela, was likely to be at about that point. And she WAS and she only blooming well stayed with us to the end! She had jelly babies and beans too. She’d waited a while giving out sweets and cheering people on. Bernice needed to run so Angela stayed with me and cycled when I ran. Perfect!

Photo by Angela – thanks again!

We then hit a great bit, although it was ruts and stuff you could run on it and you can see on the map and stats at the bottom we had a good long run downhill. My feet were a  bit sore esp starting to run again but nothing too bad. It was so good to do that and felt special and proper. We came past our shorts guys at some point and tapped their shoulders as we ran through them.

We knew we would have to go to the Stones at Avebury then go back on ourselves. So it was up a road, round the stones and back. But you know what, this was like a Best Of of all the people we’d been with along the way, either going back down as we headed up or heading up as we went down. One last high-five for the shorts guys and we did beat them.

The stones bit was a bit odd, to be honest: we were told to pose by two photographers but liked the ones Angela took (thanks again). It was quite a small area with confused, dazed runners and walkers wandering around.

But we were pleased with this one, frolicking away!

Back the way we’d come, more people going up to wave and cheer on and I saw Ben’s Pat which meant a) he would be at the finish, and b) we could tell him they were on their way. Then we turned off, Angela rode round to the finish, and we had this (there’s Bernice in the background). She was hurting and apparently crying (oh noes!) and I did some awful attempt at scout’s pace, shuffling along trying to catch her. I couldn’t.

Then it went at right angles. Honestly felt like this. There’s the finish middle left but we had to go along then along. Wah! It was getting warm and I couldn’t catch up but we’d nearly done it!

On the last straight a man I’d last seen lying on a bench grimacing passed me so I said, “If you’re going to pass me you have to pass her, too,” as I was determined we’d appear next to each other in the results. I saw Bernice go through, the tiny figure of Danny running up to her to run her in (awww). It was quite quiet and chilled but I could see a wall of people at the finish and I blasted well burst into tears. And missed my ham moment! No!

Little me, big finish, announcer not looking, but see that arm bottom right? That’s Matthew. Look at the SHADOW! Aww! And he had a suede jacket on and he didn’t care.

Photo by Mitch

You don’t get a photo of yourself getting your medal very often do you? So it’s great to be sobbing! Look at Bernice hovering anxiously, bless her!

Saw Ben and was able to tell him the news about the rest of his party, then we waited to see them through, which was lovely. There was food and drink but I got a bit overwhelmed, and every time I tried to go in a dark hangar there was terrible stuff being done to feet in it! We eventually sat on the grass and had an ice lolly (calippo for Bernice, cider ice for me, just like last time).

The medal is nice!

I picked up my tshirt which I’d bought in advance, but very disappointingly, I’m afraid, although the medal has a 50k ribbon, the t-shirt just says 100k. And when I asked the bloke giving them out, he said, “Yeah, just 100k, you can pretend though, right!” Well, no. But I’ll customise it, it’s fine.

And we were done and Mitch drove us home (thank you!) and I ate stuff and I ate more stuff and had a big shower and SLEPT.

I was so pleased, we came in in 9:47 (8:18 moving time at an average pace of 15:55 which due to the hills and terrifying downhills I’m quite surprised by) so didn’t slow down that much. My pace was pretty even and my heart rate too, around 130 which was great. I was proud I’d conquered the surface but a  bit discombobulated.

Aftermath

I am OK. I can walk! I have one blister on my big toe, a sore tongue (what?) and generally sore legs but not toooo bad. And tired and hungry.

So 6 weeks: a marathon I had to haul back from the brink of disaster, a 10 mile trail run I was so scared I had s tension headache before it, and a 31 mile trail ultra. I don’t think any of this has sunk in yet, to be honest. That’s a lot of races for a woman that doesn’t race much, and a lot of trail for a road runner. I feel a bit disconnected from it all, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and very proud of Bernice too and grateful for her poise and grit, but I feel a bit odd still.

What’s next? No more racing for a good long while. That’s not an idle statement. I don’t like all the rushing around packing, all the worrying about times (RTTS was good for that and if you’re worried about cut-offs I’d recommend doing a thing with walkers in it as it’s more relaxing). The reason I don’t drink any more is because I don’t like how it makes me feel afterwards, and to be completely honest it’s a bit rubbish feeling this achy and blistered and not being able to run it off! But there we go. So a phased return to running. Getting into the strength thing properly again. I’ve ordered a necklace with disks on reading Reykjavik, Birmingham (for the mara), Birmingham (for my DIY mara in 2018), Liverpool, Avebury and five marathons or more feels like enough for the time being. It really does. I’m looking forward to just running.

Thank you for all the support, so many people – Bernice, of course, Matthew, my non-running friends, my running club and wider running community friends (all the ladies who have done ultras before me especially who made me think I could do it), my co-Mental Health Champion, Maria, Phil my physio (and Fotios, my old physio), Paul and Lee for their coaching and horrible tables of terrifying things to make myself do, Claire and Dave for the yoga classes that have kept me moving, Ben for starting it all off by mentioning Reykjavik is a nice marathon, the official community for understanding when I couldn’t book two-day events while training, the lovely women in the Trail and Ultra Running Ladies Only Facebook group who are inspiring and kind, and all the lovely blog readers and commenters and fellow Sunday women link-up-ers and the ultra chaps who’ve given great advice too. And anyone else I’ve forgotten because I just ran a blooming ultramarathon! Thank you.

Those other race reports.

Reykjavik marathon 2016

Birmingham marathon 2017

Birmingham DIY marathon 2018

Liverpool Rock’n’Roll marathon 2019

Sedate lady running 10-16 June 2019 including Bimble Bumble Summer Edition 2019 race report #amrunning #running

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Summary: I don’t like going off-road so what was I doing running a 10-mile trail race??? Bimble Bumble Summer Edition race report after the rest of my week.

Tuesday – I went to Running Club tonight and it was So. Wet. I wore my (not very) waterproof, it was soggy, I was tired, and Mary Ellen and I decided to just run home when we reached the high street, rather than going through the park and back to the other park then running home. We did tell the tail runner! Then of course we ran in circles to make it up to five miles!

Running in UK June: wet Liz

Running in a UK June

5 miles, 12:46 mins per mile

Wednesday – I was so concerned to get home and dry and fed on Tuesday that I forgot to stretch. And I’ve not been rolling enough. Result? I went to yoga and my hams and bum and back were protesting so much I lay down and stretched, relaxed, then left half-way through (this is the week I kept quitting, it feels. Less quitting later).

Thursday – Managed to get out with Trudie for a run around. I was waiting for a parcel to be delivered for Matthew and we were very pleased that with me checking my phone, I managed to dash back home and catch the Amazon Man on his previous delivery at the end of the road, wait for him, sign for it, put it in the hall and finish my run. Hooray!

Trudie called this run Woman vs. Amazon!

3 miles / 12:00 mins per mile

Saturday – I was leading the club’s beginners’ session, something I always love doing. We had the house measured for blinds first thing then I popped over to the park for 9.50. I had Jenny joining me plus two lovely beginners I’ve run with before – they’d missed a few weeks due to the rain so were pleased with 2.5 miles of run/walk. Jenny and I then walked to the garden centre and she helped me choose some plants.

0.6 miles, 11:12 mins per mile / 2.5 miles, 14:03 mins per mile

Sunday – BIMBLE BUMBLE SUMMER EDITION

I knew I had to do this trail race because although I’ve been on the unpaved canal paths and the bottom of the rugby club where it’s traily, I needed a challenging trail race under my belt before Race to the Stones. A few of us decided to do this 10-miler. But I got scared, esp when we got an email saying the rain had made it quite treacherous underfoot and the farmer hadn’t been able to mow one of the grass fields. I’m scared off road and I didn’t really trust my shoes or myself. But I had said I’d do it, so I did it.

Tara and Matt kindly gave me a lift, along with my rucksack of food and spare socks. I was testing out my Aonjie rucksack (which I did wear for the Canal Canter last year) hoping to make sure it’s OK for RTTS, and I had my pretty new Saucony Peregrines on my feet. We arrived at the race HQ, a pub in Bromsgrove, and collected our numbers and connected with quite a few other KHRC folk, plus I saw Joan and Ian from officiating, which was lovely. We all talked nervously, changed into our gear, and had a good safety talk by the organisers.

This expresses literally exactly how I felt before setting off (photo by Bernice).

I was so scared at this point that I’d given myself a tension headache in my neck.

Off we set, down a grassy slope (eeps mud) and then through a wheat field …

Liz running through a field of wheat (by Bernice)

I did not know Bernice was videoing me aeroplaning along!

I nearly fell (well, gave up) at the first hurdle when we hit a stile. I am so slow climbing over these wooden constructions and was worried I was holding everyone back, offering to stop and go back. I did get more adept at these as we went, fortunately.

We then hit a truly terrifying downhill section through a wood. It was hang onto trees, step carefully, really scary stuff. I felt quite panicky here: I’d imagined the whole race to be a combo of this type of thing and muddy fields, which it wasn’t. Fortunately Tara shouted to me “Race to the Stones isn’t like this!). Then a slippery bridge at the bottom I did all the tiptoeing over.

Slippery bridge after rails we had to hang onto and before muddy steps (photo by Bernice)

You can see Fay and Tara doing what we’d just done and inching sideways hanging onto the fence. Scary! We did have a fab tail runner, Debbie – the organisation, signposting and marshals were all amazing.

On we went, muddy fields, stiles, gates … Some of us were scared of the terrain (me), some were worried about the distance, some were scared of horses and/or cows (which is fair enough) and this awesome lady had already run 8 miles to get her long run in!

Bernice and Liz in the woods

It was beautiful and I’m not complaining about the terrain, it’s as it is and common for this kind of race.

So beautiful – the views

All the sky, all the view

Lovely woods

Lovely woods

You can see the variety underfoot, though. We had a lovely horse come over to us all and I had the job of distracting it while Tara got through the gate, as it loved Tara, but all fun to see the wildlife (not many good birds, unfortunately).

All in all it was like one of those puzzle adventure games people play: work out how to get round the puddle, through the mud, over the stile … it took a LOT of concentration and was really tiring. But somehow, in about Mile 7, something sort of clicked (I’m not going to say it totally clicked) and whether I’d been out ages and was just tired and wanted to finished, but I somehow didn’t care and I was running over mud I’d have been scared of, popping over stiles (I did get a bit ahead at one point, purely because I wanted to make a bubble of time for getting over stiles!).

Bernice kindly recorded me running through some very wet and muddy grass …

Liz on the trails. The wet, muddy trails. By Bernice.

This was near the end. A few more gates, some more stiles, along we all trotted in a line of Kings Heath wonderment, and then there was cheering and whooping and we were running up a hill (hooray) and we were DONE and there was Tara’s fiancé (ooh), Matt and the organisers and a few other runners and a lady with MEDALS and a helper with water and we’d done it!

Look at them undulations!

Muddy ladies: Tara, Liz, Bernice, Tracie (where’s Fay?)

It was well set up at the end, eggs to collect (yup), a place to sit down, food being served, and announcements about the winners at the end, after we’d all come in, which I thought was a lovely touch.

That’s not all my hair, it’s an ashtray or something (by Bernice)

It was chilled and pretty at the end as we found everyone and congratulated each other, and to be honest, I went from fear to terror to panic to gritting my teeth through it to not hating it to not not liking it to a kind of hysterical enjoyment to gritted teeth and a vague ability to actually do it, and I’m OK with that. Everyone did so well, achieving what we set out to do and conquering various fears and outsideness of comfort zones: well done, us!

Eggses and a pretty medal

My shoes did superbly, I felt confident in them and only had one slide. They repelled water and stayed quite clean for a while, and I didn’t get any blisters (must remember which socks I wore). My rucksack worked really well: it’s not waterproof but that’s OK as I can put things in bags inside it and this was to test that. It did rain on us quite a bit!

9.7 miles (everyone else’s watch showed 10!) 15:42 mins per mile (or maybe a little less).

So roll on the Race to the Stones, which is three times as long but in no place as scary as that scary downhill, according to those who have done both.

Miles this week: 20.8 Miles this year: 516.4 (for 1,000 miles in the year I need 500 by the end of this month)

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 13-19 May 2019 #amrunning #running

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A good taper week apart from the NOT ENOUGH SLEEP. My husband was away for work from early Monday morning (setting off at 3am from home!) and back late Thursday night and while I saw “real” people every day and kept to an OK routine, I had trouble getting to sleep and staying asleep (not helped by accidentally putting Morgan the cat on half-rations, so he was upset and hungry!).

Monday – Recovery run from my 20-miler on Sunday, I had to fit this in to a busy day and managed during my solo run to pop some cards in the letterbox on my road and end up at the Iceland shop where I bought the things I can’t buy in the normal supermarket (particular low-fat ice cream and half-and-half bread) and dripped a bit in the shop (oops).

I took this lovely photo in a local park

3 miles, 11:48 mins per mile

Tuesday – walked up to running club to deliver the Tabard of Volunteering Joy back to the next volunteer, had a chat with friends and walked home via Lidl. I didn’t want to run three days in a row but it was good to get out for a march around.

Wednesday – Dave Easy Yoga and my friend Elaine was back so had a good catch up before class.

Thursday – A super early evening run with Trudie, Mary Ellen and Sonya. We decided to catch some canal fun so did the club’s summer 10k route but starting from the end of my road so coming up a bit shorter.

Canal at Bournville Station – cyclist, canal boats, railway station and us turning round to run under the road bridge. Yes, Bournville as in Cadbury’s chocolate. Painted purple and smelling of chocolate!

Trudie took this amusing photo of us all which I had to share!

Trudie, Liz, Sonya and Mary Ellen. What ARE we doing?

A really lovely run, nice weather, lots of birds on the canal and river including an egret in flight.

6.2 miles, 13:05 mins per mile

Friday – Matthew was home yay and got to work from home so he could have a lie-in. I went to Easy Claire yoga and enjoyed some strange hip stretches.

Saturday – Officiating at the National Masters’ Road Relays in Sutton Park (an hour and a bit’s journey from here on public transport). I was quite nervous about this as it was my first national event officiating (I did Sector Marshal at the Inter-Counties but was on the sharp end here), and only my second time timekeeping. I took my new stopwatch with me and was gently encouraged to use it rather than just validate it, to get used to it. All went fine, the team were very kind and I managed just fine and now understand how you deal with things like overlapping races and mass starts (you have lots of people with lots of watches).

What did I have to do? There were three races, two with several categories and two starts 5 minutes apart. You had to be near enough the starter to see his gun at the start, and start the watch as the gun went off (this is tricky to see as there’s no raising the arm and ready, steady go, just bring them forward to the line and bang!). Then have a cuppa and a biscuit as you have around 15 minutes before the runners start to appear. Our chief had checked last year’s times on this. There were five of us, and two doing calling (looking at their watch and shouting out the NEXT second (because 15.15 will be 15.15.something so counts as 15.16) to the scribe, who has sheets to fill in. The scribe is also looking out for bib numbers and writing those by the times as a belt and braces approach (they are also being recorded in order as they cross the line). The caller will typically go “Minute is 16, 03, 11, 46, minute is 17, 14, 59” and I’d write down 16.03, .11, .46, etc.). The chief collects the sheets as we finish them (and we number them) and they are run to the results person. Quite labour-intensive but misses out on the expense of chip timing. We had some small mass starts (so all runners who’ve not yet had their previous relay-mate come in are set off together) – the chief timed those on his watch.

It was a good one to work on as there weren’t tooooo many runners and they got quite spread out (although in the men’s 4-stage 35+ race, 1st and 2nd and then 3rd and 4th came in within seconds of each other!). I saw my friends from Bournville Harriers and various other chums from parkrun and blogging (hi, Shaun!) and my friend Jort was lead bike, riding around the route 18 times and getting a shout-out and round of applause at the end. I would definitely do this again, but really appreciated the support and encouragement from my fellow-officials.

Sunday – Last weekend run and I made it an 8.3-miler to make up a round figure for the week. Lovely Claire came out for 5 miles of it, which I hugely appreciated, and had her phone with her for a picture!

Liz and Claire, marathon training buddies (photo by Claire)

We ran through Cannon Hill Park where a Race for Life was going on – all very emotional over the loudspeaker but in a great cause for Cancer Research. And somehow during my run I drew some kind of weird animal strava art …

Cari says it’s a unicorn donkey …

Notable for a few PRs including finally beating that time I belted down my own road to my house because I was desperate for the toilet IN SEPTEMBER 2016! I’ve got a 2nd best a few times, always knowing that one beat me …

8.3 miles, 12:04 mins per mile

I’ve had a much more active taper than I usually do – it was a few weeks of quiet before Iceland and a couple of weeks before Birmingham, three weeks of almost no activity before the DIY one last year. I’ll be interested to see the effect on this race.

This week I plan to SLEEP MORE and just do two gentle runs (probably down to the print shop to get a LIZ added to my club t-shirt). Then the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll Marathon next Sunday!

Miles this week: 17.5 Miles this year: 433.6 (for 1,000 miles in the year I needed 416.6 by the end of this month)

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 06-12 May 2019 #amrunning #running

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This week for your delight: a swift recovery, club volunteering, a first post-mara run for Claire, some intense officiating and ensuing DOMS and a long run …

Volunteering tabard of glory

Tuesday – I felt like I’d kicked the Dreaded Cold I’d developed last Thursday evening and was rotaed to tail-run for our running club’s weekly four-mile run. I knew I had support and a swap if I found I couldn’t manage, so I ran up to test the waters – all OK – and then tail ran on our Summer Route Left. I had to let our runners out in batches (we go in pace groups) so we were safe on the roads and for other road-users, and then joined in at the back. I’d thought I’d escaped the Tabard of Glory as it is light out (which is why we’re meeting in the park and doing Summer routes) but it is a good idea as identifies the club volunteers. There was no one to pass it to when I came in after a lovely run with the party pack at the back, so I took it home, posed for a hammy photo then put it through the wash. I’ll run it up to club on Tuesday although might not do the four-miler.
Ran there, round and back all in one go so no splits for there and round and back.

5.4 miles, 12:52 mins per mile

Wednesday – All congestion gone so I risked going to Easy Dave yoga today and it was all fine. Nice to get stretched out (need to do more of that now!).

Thursday – I fancied a daytime run after getting my hair cut and Claire was free, hooray! I persuaded her to run me through the rugby club and down to the canal and back so I could work out how to get back again after actually paying attention. It was her first run after her London Marathon triumph and it was great to hear a blow-by-blow account of her weekend (esp where she got new shorts from after forgetting to pack hers originally!).

Claire and Liz, by Claire. Matching VLM 2019 ballot failure jackets and Claire’s in her VLM t-shirt

4 miles, 12:42 mins per mile

Saturday – I had the excitement of my first experience of being a Starter’s Assistant, at the Warwickshire County track and field championships, held in Nuneaton. I reviewed my training notes (although there were some odd things in the kit list), bought safety pins in Birmingham and a Sharpie pen in Nuneaton, and walked from the station to the Pingles Stadium through a really nice park and a sweetly decorated tunnel.

Tunnel to Pingles Stadium

I was working in a nice team headed by Ray the starter: there were only four of us including him, and about 30 races to look after! Our job was to check the runners for a race (heat, time trial or final) in and tell them their lane allocations, check their numbers front and back (4 safety pins, not folded or obscured), check they had a club top on, tell them the qualifications if it was a heat, or where they were to break if it was 800m plus, place them in their lanes or order along their line for the 1500m etc, get them to step back and alert the starter all was OK. Then they told them “On your marks, get set” and we had to check (one or more of us if it was a staggered start) all fingers or toes were behind the line, the gun fired and we were ready to give cards if the race was stopped (green for an issue no disqualification, yellow and black for a conduct warning, red and black for a disqualification: we only had to do two cards and I let the others do them). Then we had to pick up the stadium’s blocks (which are heavier than you think) and put them to the side or wheel them in a trolley to the next start if it was somewhere else, and move personal blocks aside. We had to let the Track Referee know if there were any DNS in a final as that’s a serious matter if you haven’t told someone about it (I think they pretty well all had withdrawn correctly). Nuneaton track has a rail around it very close to the track so there was a lot of bending to duck under it.

Track from the back straight

I managed to catch the sun and get soggy but it was a great day and I learned SO MUCH. I’d definitely do it again and have one experience for my Level 1 licence. We got a break while the 3000m steeplechase and 3000m were running and had lunch in a tent, as you do (lunch was provided).

Sunday – Woke up with DOMS from Saturday – sore elbows and shoulders and knees/sides of thighs/glutes from all the lifting, pushing and ducking under. But my cold had completely gone (by Tuesday) and I’d arranged to do a long run, so I did!

I was due to meet Trudie and Mary Ellen at 9am but woke early so was able to pop out at 8.30 and get 2.5 miles done first, effectively taking those miles off the bit at the end where I’d be alone. We started off down the number 11 bus route, as it’s so nice and safe – if you’re worried or grind to a halt, there’s a bus stop home within 5 minutes’ walk, and this also meant the other two could join me for a bit then go back. I felt OK although a bit sore of leg and I did get a bit whiny later for a while until I remembered I’d told everyone on here I was going to do 20 miles today if I was well enough!

We got to Swan Island and I thought I’d capture some urban beauty for you all, to show it’s not all canals and parks and blossom!

This was my photo of the day today. Swan Island,

This is a big roundabout with shopping centre and office block.

And here we are at the Island. Weirdly, the 100-mile Velo cycle ride should have been going along the road we were going over, but we saw no sign of it!

Liz, Trudie and Mary Ellen at the Swan

We then continued on round a very large semicircle. Trudie had plans and left us at about seven miles, taking this great strong picture in Stechford:

Liz and Mary Ellen run on

Yes, I was wearing SHORTS and my shortest ones. I needed to practise with them on a long run as I will be wearing them on the mara and ultra. No issues apart from some rubbing of the back waist seam when I had a full bottle in my back pocket of my belt, but no massive effect it seems.

Mary Ellen and I continued on, I’d done a calculation that I needed to get to 11.25 miles before turning around to give me 20 back at the house. But we made it to the M6 motorway at 11.30!

Under the M6! Urban glory!

Mary Ellen and Liz under the motorway

Just look at the places I take my American friend for kicks and glamour! Then we turned around and ran back. I did get a bit tired and achy, all down to the DOMS from Saturday, but pushed on. It’s more uphill on the way back (which I hadn’t warned Mary Ellen about! see course profile lower down). Mary Ellen finished at a very respectable 13.1 miles even though she’d been doing a dawn chorus charity walk in London on Saturday. I left her at a bus stop and pushed on, really pleased to be past the Swan again (and we didn’t get lost in Tesco’s car park as has happened the two or three other times I’ve done this route, including my DIY marathon last year) and on familiar territory – and then her bus took ages to pass me and I played cat and mouse with it for almost a mile as it kept stopping to make up time. Thank you to Mary Ellen for taking these fab pictures of me from the bus!

I had some lovely encounters including a man offering me water as I leaned on his wall. Pretty well everyone was really kind and supportive, cheering us on in various ways. It’s always nice to have things as way points – the motorway, Stechford Cascades, where Meg lives, The Swan, where Linda lives, local MP’s office, where Ali lives, where Linda used to live, that really helps.

See that profile??? up up up

I was really chuffed with my time, well under 6 hour marathon time (the cut-off for Liverpool Rock N Roll is 6 hours after the last person crosses the start line). We did stop for photos / stretching / (my) whining but it’s easier to keep going in a race where there are no crossings or indeed kerbs. AND I won’t have squatted, ducked and lifted the day before. So I’m pretty confident I’ll be OK – I’d have had 1 hr 40 to do the last 6.2 miles based on this which feels OK. I was pleased with my mile splits from 15 onwards, all under 13:00 apart from one where I had to walk and stretch.

20 miles, 13:01 minutes per mile

Now, it’s time for a proper taper – sleep, gentle running, sleep, rest, um, sleep … I always get quite a lot of reading done in taper time – so watch out for some book reviews on here!

Miles this week: 29.4 Miles this year: 416.1 (for 1,000 miles in the year I need 416.6 by the end of this month)

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 29 April – 05 May 2019 #amrunning #running

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Oh dear. Two wonderful runs, the best I’ve had for ages, and then boof. A short recap today!

Tuesday – Went out for a solo run although I did run into lovely Tara in the park (she runs a dog-walking and pet care business so she’s often found in the park with a different dog). I had half an hour ish to run in during a busy work day of all sorts of deadlines, plus waiting in for deliveries (yes, I beat the cat food home!). So I decided to do some speed work. I didn’t set my watch to jeffing but I basically counted 30 paces fast and then 60 recovery for the first two miles. I was thrilled to see those two miles flash up with a pace starting with a 10. That’s nothing to most people, I know, but super-speedy for me. Then I recovered and chatted to Tara and said I was going to meander home gently, but I decided to push it again.

Three miles at under 11 mins per mile!

You can see my two miles of faster sprint sections in the cadence line along the bottom!

3.1 miles, 10:42 mins per mile

Wednesday – yoga (easy Dave) helped me relax when I was worried about a friend who was in for surgery (the friend was fine). I love seeing my little corner of yoga mates and also realised the lady I’d seen in the park with her dogs is indeed a lady from yoga.

Thursday – Another few deliveries but I had time to do five miles. I went for my old five-mile route, which I have done many times since I started running but not so much recently, taking a big loop down to one of the main roads, along to the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, back up a big long hill and along to home (more hill then a bit of down). It’s actually just over 5 miles. I started out quite happily fast (for me) and I just kept on going. I broke a couple of Strava segment records that I’ve been running 30+ times since 2015 and was under 12 minute miles up the terrible hill for the first time ever. It felt really good and comfortable, even though it was quite humid. In fact, by the end, I had activated reactolite sunglasses with raindrops on them!

I wore my new Omnis and no ankle pain now so they are confirmed as my marathon shoes (well, if …)

raindrops on sunnies (please excuse the dewy fiteredness: my new phone likes its beauty filter!)

Here are my amazing for me splits!

I have run this far faster recently but not on the hills so I was pleased to be feeling strong.

5.3 miles, 11:21 mins per mile.

And then …

I don’t think it was the hard running. I think it was being in London on all that public transport, in all those crowds, having forgotten my daily zinc pill, too, or the two people serving me in shops with a cough in the week. I wasn’t that run-down etc. But I got a cold. A blasted COLD. I felt icky on Thursday and it all developed on Friday. I cancelled yoga, put off a job (thank you, client!) until Monday, cancelled volunteering at parkrun on Saturday even though it was our big fundraising mob match, and, worst of all, cancelled my 24-mile run on Sunday. Argh!

I’m trying not to panic. Last year I got a cold 2.5 weeks before Manchester marathon which never went away and made me have to cancel the marathon. This is further out (mara is 26 May) and I did not go into the cold depleted and have not given myself nosebleeds using decongestants. I have aggressively rested, eaten fruit and veg, drunk rehydrating liquids (thank you, past me who bought that gatorade powder) and slept a lot.

The plan is to recover as well as I can, tail run or run with beginners on Tuesday for club if it’s not pouring with rain, and try for 20 on Sunday 12th [EDITED TO ADD: Only, and very much only, if I have completely kicked the cold, which is receding nicely, by then], with then one recovery weekend before the mara. I already have a 20 and a 22 under my belt, but from a while ago now, so hopefully that will be enough.

Miles this week: 8.4 Miles this year: 386.7.

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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