Monthly run down / why I love volunteering


[Photo courtesy of Paul Roberts, with permission]

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

Running round-up

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

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

Volunteering fun

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

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

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

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

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

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

Running round-up – December 2021


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

First half and a bit of 2021

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

September to November 2021 – the wheels fall off the bus

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

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

Lovely Oaklands Park in the summer

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

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

December and onwards

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

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

Book review – Adharanand Finn – “The Rise of the Ultra Runners” @RunBookshelfFB


PIle of birthday books

Looking at this picture of my birthday books from last year, I’m very chuffed to see I’ve read all of them apart from “Because Internet” (which arrived slightly after my birthday), although I have the two Persephones still to review, too. I have had a bit of a reading frenzy over the beginning of this month, with four books finished and two more started, so reviews should trickle through for a bit now.

Adharanand Finn – “The Rise of the Ultra Runners”

(21 January 2020 – from Gill)

I’ve previously read Finn’s other two books on running with the Kenyans and running in Japan, so was keen to get my hands on this one. I also know a good few ultra runners and have even attempted an ultra myself! (I did the least terrifying one I could find to do – race report here if you’re interested). I have to admit that part of the joy of reading this one was seeing someone who’s quite successful as a runner finding himself very much challenged by the combination of going off-road, going slower and actively choosing to walk up hills, all the while eating a lot on the go which characterises these longer-than-a-marathon events!

He looks into the history of the sport and interviews many of the big names, like with his other books, offering good pen portraits of the characters he meets. He also covers the darker side of the sport – the mysterious points system that allows you to get into the Mont Blanc ultra he’s aiming at, ideas about doping and cheating and social media competitiveness. He also talks to plenty of women and raises the issue of their lower prize money and sponsorship, even though women are now proving just as strong if not stronger than men at very long-distance endurance running.

At first, Finn can’t really grasp why people run ultras. He finds a lot of people who have beaten adversity and addictions, and seems to find that people enjoy having some adversity and challenge in their easier lives (this is certainly why I was happy to just do one and go back to the idea of more marathons (road ones) in the future). This is also, for a different reason, why he can’t get his Kenyan colleagues interested in ultras, as they have usually got into running to make enough money for their families to survive rather than as a leisure activity.

Although Finn is at the sharper end even of ultras and doesn’t mention much about the folk at the back of the pack (he does interview one slower woman and also stays to cheer people through near the cut-off time, though), there are still some points in the book that chimed with my experience: he discovers watermelon is while racing, and has a weird burst of energy in the final fifth of a few races (when he excitedly tells other ultra runners, he gets a sort of, “Yeah, and?” vibe back!). And the range of people who do these races and their range of mental and physical strength is there, especially in this amusing quotation:

In my state of almost total deterioration, it’s a little disconcerting to get passed by two women discussing the cost of hotels in Venice. (p. 114)

So a good solid history and survey of the sport with lots of time in the pain cave and talking about different ways of assessing and improving gait – I think most people interested in running would get something out of this, and I do like the way he’s not afraid to laugh at himself.

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


Trees and sunset

Photo taken on an evening run by the Haunch Brook Pathways

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

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

Three runners

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

Trude, Mary Ellen and cheese

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

Daffodils along the Rea

Daffodils all along the Rea next to Holders Lane Playing Fields

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

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


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

Chloe Coles – “Life’s a Beach”

(22 November 2018)

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

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

(17 December 2019)

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

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

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


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

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

10,310 steps.

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

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

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


Town square signpost

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

7,869 steps (oops)

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

Success at the Selly Oak shop

running accessories

Aldi running accessories

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

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

autumn colours in the park

Autumn colours in full swing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

wet runner in bus shelter

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

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

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

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

two runners in park

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

12,547 steps as of 17:30

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

weekly-run-down-final-300x300The Weekly Run Down is run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Kim’s weekly wrap is here and Deborah’s is here.


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


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

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

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

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

10,101 steps

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

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

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

Alderley Edge view

A misty view off Alderley Edge

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

11,040 steps

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

10,726 steps

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

Not actually physically possible to be more wet than this.

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

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


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

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

autumn tree

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

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

Large pack of tailwind

Large pack of Tailwind

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

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

weekly-run-down-final-300x300The Weekly Run Down is run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Kim’s weekly wrap is here and Deborah’s is here.


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


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

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

Brandwood tunnel entrance

Brandwood Tunnel entrance

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

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

Steps: 13,274

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

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

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

Dark street, street lamp

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

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

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

Park panorama

Caught the park in a spell of sun!

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

Steps: 10,361

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

Steps: 2,620

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

Four women runners

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

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

St Anne's Church Park Hill

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

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

Trees in Cannon Hill

Sun in the trees in Cannon Hill Park

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

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

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

weekly-run-down-final-300x300The Weekly Run Down is run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Kim’s weekly wrap is here and Deborah’s is here.


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


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


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


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.


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.


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


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


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.

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