Sedate lady running 05-11 August 2019 #amrunning #running

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A good week back to my running almost as normal, with a massive weekend of officiating fun.

Monday – I went for a lovely run with Claire – although I did struggle a bit, at least I was struggling around 7 miles rather than around 4 (and I promise I wasn’t pushing it, I just walked a lot). We did a  bit more of the canals than we have been recently and spotted this excellent heron.

Heron plus reflection

I went for another of my weird buffs:

I thought it was just a nice blue and orange pattern but no: Fish Heads In Circles!

7.1 miles, 13:13 mins per mile

Tuesday – I needed to fit in all my miles on weekdays as I had a weekend of officiating, so went to club run. Ran up there the long (ish) way round, not as long as I’d hoped: the nights are starting to draw in a touch so there were long shadows in the park at 6.45pm

I met up with Ruth and jeffed most of it (we did 1 min run, 30 sec walk except on down and uphills!) and then run home with Trudie. A lovely evening.

1.25 miles, 11:28 mins per mile / 4.8 miles, 13:08 mins per mile

Wednesday – went to Dave yoga and did everything fine except I tried to go up into a shoulder stand but came back down again (in a controlled manner).

Thursday – A pre-breakfast run with a section with Jenny in the middle. I’d hoped to do more before I met her as was time constrained on my return home, but events conspired. THEN I thought I’d take a special detour to make up my miles to 5 but it gave me more extra than I’d thought (d’oh!). Lovely to catch up with Jenny and I got another burst of controlled speed (all being relative of course) in the first and last miles.  Again, the dawns are getting later so there was still something pretty to catch when I left home about 6.45 am.

Dawn over my road

5.3 miles, 12:30 mins per mile

Saturday – Off to Alexander Stadium on two buses for the Masters’ Track and Field Championships. I was fortunate to be offered the opportunity to do Field officiating today and Track tomorrow, giving me two different experiences for my qualifications from the same championships.

The old city council logo on the old sign

It was pretty rainy and I was glad I’d packed my Sealskinz hat AND worn the waterproof socks!

Alexander Stadium track in the rain from the officials’ room.

I picked up my duty sheet: this had 30 different competitions (some of which included more than one age group, for example I had a long jump competition which was for Men 50-54 and 55-59. I had six competitions, each with a certain number of officials and each with a leader (none of whom was me, as I’m not qualified enough for that, yet). This is what I did:

  • Mens 35/40/45 Long Jump – spiked for the EDM and raked the sand. We used an Electronic Distance Measuring machine which looks like this (used later in the field):  the EDM operator focuses it on a prism at the end of a spike held by the spiker, presses a button and it measures the distance for the EDM operator to call out and write down.

EDM machine from the operator’s side

Spiking involved standing the spike up with the prism facing the EDM, held upright (it’s longer than a normal spike or screwdriver and has a little bubble to show when it’s upright) with my legs behind it to help the operator find the prism. Then if needed I would rake away the footsteps I’d made.

  • Men’s 50 and then 55/65 Long Jump – for both of these I was the EDM operator. I hadn’t actually done this since last August but I was firmly encouraged to give it a go and it worked fine once I’d got my eye back in.
  • Men’s 60/65 Javelin – spiking for the EDM but on a much longer distance and a green field. We were out of the stadium on a special field behind it and the wind was so strong, all the javelins were flying to the right!
  • Women’s 50/55 and then 60+ Weight. Weight is a special event used only in Master’s competitions here – it’s a heavier ball than the hammer but on a much shorter handle. Pretty impressive to see women in their 70s and 80s wielding it and they were a lovely, jolly lot, all celebrating when one of them did well. I did retrieving for both competitions – the 50/55 weight was pretty heavy!

This was a very busy and physical day and I was pretty tired at the end, but I enjoyed learning a new discipline. I’d hoped to get a Report at this match (when you have a higher-level person write a report on how you did, especially around the safety involved in Long Throws) but I learnt enough new things in the javelin (how to block the run-up when running a warm-up, what to indicate when you’re in the field and a throw goes wide) that I realised I wasn’t ready for my report yet.

Sunday – Track today and on a team with one person I know well from Endurance officiating and one (our ref) I’d worked with before. We worked around the track but centred on the Track Officials’ Stand, seen here (just in front of the high jump bed, close to the finish line) from the officials’ room.

Track judges’ stand

And this was the view of the dear old stand, soon to be demolished to make way for the new Commonwealth Games stand, from the top of the Track judges’ stand:

Dear old Alexander Stadium

Another duty sheet, this time with 44 races, some of which were split into heats (and some which were a final instead of having heats, meaning a final further down the sheet would not need to be run), and some of which were for more than one category at a time. I moved around the track doing various jobs for one long or a few shorter races, including:

  • Judging a steeplechase hurdle to make sure there were no infringements
  • Judging the bend on the 200m
  • Judging a section of a 5000m race
  • Judging the break line on the 800m and removing the tiny cones used for that on the inside lanes
  • Recording the final three finishers’ numbers in a race
  • Recording all the finishers’ numbers in a race
  • Taking down lap charts for 5000m race walk and running races
  • Operating the lap board (seen by the runners) and lap bell – which is less scary than it sounds as your assistant tells you which runners are on the bell and which ones have been lapped
  • Operating a wind gauge and reporting the result to Photo Finish
  • Taking down results in number order on a duplicating sheet and running them over to Timekeeping to have the times added

We did of course get breaks but it was pretty full-on and, as it was only my second track experience and my first independent one, without shadowing someone, there was a lot to learn! It was good fun though and quite a few of the athletes gave us a personal thank you.

Weekly total 18.5 miles. Total this year 649.3 (I need 666.67 at the end of this month to be on track for my 1,000 miles in a year total)

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 July – 04 August 2019 #amrunning #running

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An odd week this week with more officiating and volunteering than running.

Monday – a warm run with Claire, we did our 4 mile route which gives us a bit of shady canal and nice boats and some paths behind the rugby club. It was quite hot so I did my buff in shade-your-neck style.

Shading my neck

However what that pic doesn’t show is that this buff has a seriously weird print. It’s one of a pack of six I bought a while ago.

OK, right.

A load of sheep and the outline of a house, for the win. I didn’t run again until Saturday because life got in the way. Nothing too serious and nothing to talk about in public, but a few bits and bobs going on. Situation has eased now.

4 miles, 12:54 minutes per mile

Wednesday – made it to Dave yoga in the morning, then my running club friend James gave me a lift to Worcester, where we were two of Sparkhill Harriers’ contributed officials for their last Veterans’ Track and Field League match of the season. We ran shot put first, which was a reminder for me as I haven’t done that since my first ever experience, then long jump for over-60s men and over-70s women (I know: how brave???). All went well and I’ve learned to be more forthright in controlling the roster of athletes so we get things done efficiently.

Photo by James

I actually ended up calling up, measuring and working out the results, but I had a bit of a rake, which I’ve never actually done before, even though seeing people doing that at close quarters was what inspired me to take up track and field officiating!

Saturday – I was rostered to lead the club beginners’ session and had run fast for me the long way round to get there, but had no beginners. As the woman who was leading the half-marathon training was new to leading, I led the warmup then came with them, especially as there were two people I knew would be running a bit slower. We used my route from last year with an extra bit, and it was lucky I went because the poor leader tripped and had a nasty fall. Thank you to the lovely man whose door we knocked on for some water and to Sara for doing the nursing bit. She ended up going to a walk-in centre then going to A&E to have stitches, poor thing. I rounded up the half of the runners who were still with us and finished the run with them, the faster ones had looped back to find us, but not quite far enough but we all met up at the end and I led them in a stretch before wobbling home. Do wear an ICE tag if you run, especially solo, with your next of kin phone number and allergies!

1.8 miles, 11:30 mins per mile / 7.2 miles, 13:47 mins per mile

Sunday – I worked at the Midland League Division Two Track and Field meet on behalf of BRAT (Birmingham Running and Triathlon Club) as a field official this time (last time I worked on the track). I had a great day, they, like Sparkhill, have been very welcoming of their non-club contributed official. We worked in a team of five, all from the club.

I worked on women’s pole vault first, which was very exciting, as that’s the one Field discipline I’ve not done before. I learned how to move the uprights back and forward and the bar supports up and down and had a go at replacing the bar with the supporting poles (each with a C-shaped piece at the end to hold the bar with).

Then we were on the men’s javelin and I was pulling through, after trying to do collecting the javelins but finding I wasn’t strong enough to stick them in the ground for the athletes to use (most don’t have their own so use the stadium’s). So then I was standing to the side of the run-up, holding the reel of tape, playing out enough tape for the person spiking to reach where the javelin had landed, and putting the tape down on the ground so it ran through the middle of the run-up and could be measured accurately at the throwing line. Lots of squatting basically. This and the triple jump had six rounds: three for everyone then three more for those who reached a certain distance.

Last we had triple jump and I got to fulfil my lifetime’s ambition of raking the sandpit! When I attended the Team Trials last summer we were sitting near the pits and I got to see the officials doing this and really fancied it, but I’d never done it. See pic above for an idea, although it was hotter and I was in my polo shirt and cap. Hard work but I learned what to do and got the idea of it.

Addersley Stadium, Wolverhampton

The stadium had a bike track running round the outside of the track, which made it interesting to get off the track in some places! A good day out and I even got to watch some of the track competition in the breaks between officiating. I’ll definitely be back to help them next year!

Weekly total 13 miles. Total this year 630.8 (I need 666.67 at the end of this month to be on track for my 1,000 miles in a year total)

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 22-28 July 2019 #amrunning #running

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Second recovery week done and getting back down to normality, although I did overdo it slightly.

First of all, thanks to everyone who popped over to my friend Bernice’s blog post about her experience of Race to the Stones here – she was overwhelmed by the messages!

Tuesday – It’s been hot all this week (until the weekend) and I left it that little bit too late to go out for a run in the morning. For a start, the window cleaner came and I didn’t want to leave when he was there or have the alarm on full and have him set it off banging on the front window again! So I went out close to 11 am and did some hot walk-run miles. I tried to take a photo of the hot Liz that ensued, but my selfie camera insists on beautifying everything so I came out slightly highlighted! The expression is real, however!

At least you get a nice view of our new sliding door to our boiler cupboard, right?

3.1 miles, 12:01 mins per mile

Wednesday – Dave Yoga, I just got really hot doing this even though the aircon was on and had to lie down for a bit of it. Done, though. And I finally stopped being quite so horrendously tired.

Thursday – Planned better this time – the temps went up to NINETY-THREE in the Midlands (this is unheard-of) but when I went out at 6am to run with Jenny it was actually very pleasant, only 60 and quite fresh. We did our usual route.

4.0 miles, 12:33 mins per mile (mile 3 we walked a lot up the hills, at my request. Still not quite back on it)

Friday – Claire yoga was very nice and restful. I haven’t worked much this week, more hanging around and reading, so a good end to the week.

Saturday – I covered running club’s 7.5-mile half marathon training run. We offer runs to train for the Birmingham half-marathon every year, aimed at people new to running distance. We don’t offer our usual 4-mile route but still do beginners’ sessions. This rota, I’d asked to do beginners’ only, as the groups typically go faster than the advertised 12-13 minute miles, and I feel I’m not offering them a great experience if I really can’t keep up with them (this happened last year). However, the person down to do Beginners’ had a 20-mile marathon training run on Sunday, so I felt I could offer the longer distance, and did so.

I prepared the way as soon as it was announced I was leading: when I shared the route, I also shared that I would be leading from the back, I explained we could use loop-backs to keep together and a diagram.

Yes, I know their hair disappears, yes, B and C are meant to reverse, showing there’s one group of mixed runners and one fast one

I also reiterated when we met up that people were free to go ahead if they wanted to as long as they were in pairs or more and let me know they’d got round OK. Everyone agreed, and I also handed out laminated lists of the roads for the route, so if people were ahead, they could see where to go:

it was POURING with rain so I needed to laminate them! Lovely Trudie came along to keep me company and I did just about manage to keep up, although I lost them at about 5.75 miles, which was the easy part of the route back home. I managed to have them do about 4.5 miles of the actual (complicated, wiggly) course, although missed one tiny road without a road name (this will be easier when they’re following thousands of other runners). They were all there at the end and told me they’d done their stretching! Lovely Trudie took a pic of two drenched runners …

A little damp

I was tired for the rest of the day, however, and I had to walk home rather than running. I’d run there, so I covered 8.5 miles in total.

0.6 miles, 11:18 mins per mile / 7.9 miles, 12:43 mins per mile (last 0.9 14:37 uphill)

Sunday – My enhanced DBS check had come through, allowing me to work with children and vulnerable adults, etc., so I sat down today to do my Safeguarding course, which I also needed to renew my Run Leader and Athletics Official licences. It wasn’t a fun course, quite upsetting in places, but I pushed through and did it, with 100% on each of the two tests. Phew! So now they should automatically send me my new licence, including my Level 1 Field qualification.

Weekly total 15.6 miles. Total this year 617.8 (I need 583.3 at the end of this month to be on track for my 1,000 miles in a year total)

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 15-21 July 2019 #amrunning #running

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A week of recovery then getting back on it – hooray!

First of all, in the unlikely event you didn’t catch it, my race report from Race to the Stones Day 2 50k is here, and also my lovely friend Bernice, who I did it with, has written her very first blog post about her own experience of the race (with the odd additional photo of me I didn’t include and the cutest ever pic taken by my husband of her little lad running to her) here – it would mean a lot if the odd person from the link-up or other readers could pop over and read it/drop her a comment. She was amazing, running through the pain and always cheerful!

Monday – I had booked today and Tuesday off work (should have booked more days!) and felt generally OK, a bit stiff, had a blister on the inside of my right big toe (which has since healed fine) and a slightly black nail on the toe that’s been a bit upset nail-wise since about Feb 2018. Not too bad! I had a coffee with Gill in the morning and showed her my medal (of COURSE) and then went to see Ben 401 marathons man do a talk about his new venture (if you are in the US and in or near a state capitol, please follow him and check out where he’s running a marathon near you; he’s my major marathon inspiration) at the cricket ground in the evening (fortunately lovely Abi drove me there and back, I also saw running club friends and met the legendary Usingh Bolt, a lovely man from Aldridge who has been doing some epic fundraising and is running John o’Groats to Land’s End really soon (page here).

A great evening and glad I managed to get there.

Tuesday – Slightly exhausted by having a man round to cut our hedges – much needed and good timing on a day off but I did have a bit where I just wanted … to … sleeeeeeeep …

Wednesday – Went to Easy Dave Yoga – I’d warned him I might need to just lie down but I managed quite a lot of the moves, although anything involving my quads was a bit sore (I seemed to use them to pick up my feet rather than my hips and glutes towards the end of the race!). Really lovely to be back moving though.

Thursday – After all the work on the house interior, my friend Claire (of London and ultra training fame) kindly took me to the rubbish dump with a load of plastic and cardboard. I wanted to run today but was shattered after the tip run, so no!

Friday – My present to myself arrived and I was really pleased with it. From a maker on Etsy, Pendant4yourThoughts, I realised the necklace with five names on could be customised totally, so had it made to have my five endurance runs – Reykjavik Marathon, Birmingham Marathon, my DIY Birmingham Marathon, Liverpool R’n’R Marathon and Race to the Stones. I was really chuffed with how it came out:

It’s nice to have that to draw a line under endurance races. I will continue running of course, but it will be nice to do it around my officiating work for a bit (I had to miss day two of one meet because I needed to do a long training run) and just for fun!

Sunday – I felt ready to go for a run, so I took the opportunity to join Jenny for a pre-breakfast trot around our local area – one of our standard runs we do a lot, which felt good. In fact, running up to meet her at her end of the road that links our addresses, I got a PB on a strava segment I was running for the 44th time!! I was sensible though, jeffed with Jenny (3 mins running 30 sec walking) and then ran home for a total of four very happy miles.

Shadow Liz in leafy Moseley

The sun was up but only low still

4 miles, 12:43 mins per mile

Weekly total 4 miles. Total this year 602.2 (I need 583.3 at the end of this month to be on my 1,000 miles in a year total)

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 08-14 July 2019 #amrunning #running

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A quick one today as I’m quite tired after today’s exertions …

Tuesday – A nice run to meet my friend Jenny at her yoga session, then ran to her house and back to mine. Perfect pre-Race to the Stones run to keep the legs turning over.

1.5 miles, 11:22 mins per mile / 2.1 miles, 11:51 mins per mile

Wednesday – Dave yoga – quite chilled and nothing odd so managed the whole class!

Thursday – Eschewed a run as I had to walk round to a friend’s house to check she’d left her window shut before going on holiday (she had). I took the long way home and bought some garden chairs in a local shop, then carried them home and had to have help from a nice local chap to get them up the side entry into the garden!

 

Garden chairs in situ and totally worth it

Friday – Claire yoga – I took it gently but she included my favourite standing up slowly from a deep squat! A lovely prep for the big run. Unfortunately still had bicep/tricep/rib DOMS from the chairs.

Sunday – Race to the Stones 2nd Day 50 k / 30 miles done. Race report to follow. It was hard but no harder than I thought and I did not hit the wall or feel unwell afterwards, which I am so proud of!

33.2 miles / 15:55 mins per mile

Weekly total 34.9 miles. Total this year 598.1 (I need 583.3 to be on my 1,000 miles in a year total)

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 24 June – 07 July 2019 #amrunning #running

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I missed a week! The week before last I didn’t run very much then went all the way down to Cornwall with Gill and Ali to attend the summer party our photo-a-day group has every year. No running, no time to post. This week has been a good one, though, with three volunteering/officiating stints and three runs!

Tuesday – ran to club run a bit late with Claire, ran round club run, back home. Can’t really remember anything more about this now!

5.3 miles, 11:27 / 12:15 / 11:59 mins per mile

Wednesday – went to Dave yoga but it was a cover teacher, a Turkish woman who had us doing Dead Bugs. My abs ached afterwards so a good one!

Thursday – a very hot run with Trudie and Mary Ellen – we’ve taken to doing an early evening run which is nice as it doesn’t get too late like the club run can.

4.3 miles, 12:39 mins per mile

I decided not to take running kit down to Cornwall which was a good call – for a start I had terrible hay fever and new medication on prescription which made me fee AWFUL. I did have a lovely walk with Emma on the Saturday and lots of rest and good food.

Miles this week: 9.6

Tuesday – Volunteering Pt 1 – tail ran for club run. I ran up there a bit late so a bit fast for me, then helped welcome new runners and led the club warm-up before letting everyone out of the park in small groups (we’re a big club and it can get overwhelming if we all just go out in pace groups). I had the lovely Mark shadowing me to learn about this volunteer role and we tail ran quite briskly considering (esp as it was hot). Then ran home with Trudie.

0.6 miles, 10:51 mins per mile / 4.1 miles, 13:28 mins per mile / 0.6 miles, 12:29 mins per mile

Wednesday – Yoga in the morning and the Turkish woman again but with totally different exercises, some of which I could not do (sitting on the side of my hips with my legs sideways, not so much).

In the evening, I had a road trip to Stratford-upon-Avon with my running club colleague James to represent Sparkhill Harriers as their contributed officials at the Veterans’ track and field league South division match 3. We were responsible for the triple jump this time, so lots of lifting out of bits of track and putting down boards, calling athletes up to compete, judging the take-off, and measuring, recording distances and shouting out the best of their three jumps, plus working out the winners (Graham’s new knee did marvels and allowed him do the pulling through of the tape and I had help with the flags!). James enjoyed himself on his first experience officiating, hooray, and it was a lovely evening.

Stratford School track and officials

Thursday – It was HOT. I set out for a 6pm run with Trudie and Mary Ellen and while we started out running, we had to basically walk, which was still nice, being outdoors and under trees, and I’m still counting it as the running was there. Temps hit 75 which was a bit sudden!

3 miles, 15:55 mins per mile (last mile read 19 mins, I think it recorded us stopping for a chat!)

Saturday – I went off to Rugby and Northampton Athletics Club with the BRAT club to be one of their contributed officials at the Masters’ league match 3. I was on the track for the first time so a bit intimidating, but luckily I had a friend of almost 30 years and senior photo finish and track judge Alison by my side!

Alison and Liz

I was able to double up with Alison on our duty sheet so always had her with me and didn’t have to face anything on my own. This worked really well – I did remember a lot from my training and I also asked lots of questions. There were loads of events (runs from 100m to 5,000m, relays (100m and 400m), hurdles (100m, 110m and 400m) and steeplechase), and we rotated through all sorts of duties including running the lap counter and final lap bell (yes, I got to ring the bell!), recording laps on a sheet, running the wind gauge, umpiring relay changeovers, umpiring hurdling and clearing of steeplechase obstacles, umpiring the break for the 400m relay (including putting out tiny cones and collecting them in hurriedly) and judging all or first or final three finisher order. It was a great introduction to officiating on the track and I really enjoyed it. Thank you, Alison and the BRAT team for the welcome, support and lifts!

Sunday – An absolutely lovely, relaxed run with Trudie and Mary Ellen. Although it said it was only about 68 it felt very hot again so we took green ways and canals for as much shade as possible. We stopped to take photos and had such a super time. Lots of birds, ducklings in particular, cool dogs and butterflies on Billesley Common. What a treat and a privilege for my last long run before the ultra! We even saw Claire at the beginning in her camper van, and we only got a bit lost getting off the canal and up to the common …

Just some ladies on a run, taking a photo of a gorilla sat on top of a shop. May undermine the “All your runs are so pretty” comments …

Clever pic taken by Trudie – can you spot us AND the toll house in Mary Ellen’s glasses?

Classic canal pic. So cool and shady!

8 miles, 13:14 mins per mile (final mile 11:48 to see if I could push the pace a little when tired)

Miles this week: 16.3 Miles this year: 563.2 (for 1,000 miles in the year I need 583.3 by the end of this month)

So that was my last training run before Race to the Stones Day 2 and although it was only 8 miles it was 8 hot, tired miles after learning, standing up all day and lugging a heavy case full of clipboards around the previous day. The plan for next week is a run on Tuesday, two lots of yoga if I can, a run or walk on Thursday then a 31 mile saunter along the Ridgeway on the Sunday!

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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