Sedate lady running 10-16 December 2018 #amrunning #running

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First of all: spoiler alert: I did it! 1,000 miles in the bag for the year! Yay! Apart from that, only the two runs this week, shockingly, but miles were still covered. See the end for race sign-up news!

Monday – Today was the day I was to hit 1,000 miles! Fortunately, I’d looked at the bottom of my strava page and noticed I was up to 994.6, which the progress this year app thing had rounded up to 995, so I planned out a 5.4 route. The lovely Claire, who I run off-road with quite a bit and is often off on Mondays, was happy to do a shorter run with me (she ran a bit first) so we headed off for a shortened canal route. Here’s one of the cool signposts, which is actually a cycle network one, in the shape of a chain at the base because chain-making is a big Midlands thing:

I was pleased to notice this street (bridge) art as we got onto the canal just behind the tip (refuse dump) which spurred me on my way:

We trotted round and off the canal, through local roads, and surprised some workmen with our whooping and selfie carry-on when I hit 5.4 miles / 1,000 miles just at the other end of our road!

Thank you, Claire, and I look forward to many more training runs together as you train for London and I train for (ahem) Liverpool Marathon and my ultra.

The proof:

5.4 miles, 12:17 mins per mile

Thursday – I went down to London for the day to meet up with my best friend Emma and do some Christmas shopping and lunching. We like to get our steps in so although I didn’t get a third run in this week, I covered 7.5 miles in London and getting to and from the rail station at home.

Friday – After a small house clean I did Claire’s (not that Claire above!) second hatha yoga class – very relaxing and lovely as always. The gym has cut the pairs of classes to one each on Wednesday and Friday for next week – bah. So I’ve signed up for those already just in case as they might get busy .

Saturday – A rare weekend with no officiating to do so I was able to volunteer at parkrun. It was the triple loop course as there were works going on where we usually do the out and back – everyone was really well-behaved and polite overtaking by our bit. It was also fun to get to shout more cheeky and inventive cheers to the runners, as cross-country and road relays I have a more responsible role. “Nice hattage”, “most cheerful dog award” and “good use of tinsel” as well as a lot of names and clubs got called out. I then had a lovely catch up with Alan, Steve and Rich in the cafe – I’ve been away from parkrun too long and it was lovely to have a chat. 122 volunteer stints and 24 runs at parkrun so far. Oh, it was cold. Did I mention it was cold? See:

How wintry? Very.

Sunday – A lovely long run with the girls, starting off with five of us, ending up just me! We met at 9 and jeffed about 5 miles with Ruth, who had already done a fair bit. We said goodbye to Jenny at the pub, and then the very nice people in the pub let Mary Ellen and me in to use their toilet, so kind. In fact it was a lovely morning all the way through, with vans backing back into drives to let us pass, cheery waves and toots from drivers who knew us, clubmates spotted and a lovely cheer from Sara as I was going into the last bit.

Trudie, Mary Ellen, me (why so sad?), Ruth and Jenny. Thanks to Trudie for epic selfie skills!

Mary Ellen and I went up through our green route we like to do: I’ve taken this view before but it was way more wintry today!

I left Mary Ellen at her house with her on 10 miles (hooray!) and then carried on for my last two. I even saw Suki from club washing his car and got a cheer and an offer of a drink or whatever I needed – what a star! I haven’t done 12 miles continuous like that for ages so it was a push but felt fine and I feel in good pre-hab for my efforts next year.

12 miles, 12:46 mins per mile (pleased with this pace esp as got a weird slow mile when we were circling the pub looking for a way in).

I signed up for the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll Marathon this week – it’s on 26 May so a good date for my ultra on 14 July and looks like a lovely race. I also feel it’s nice to do an R’n’R like all my blogging friends in the US have done – it kind of links me to them in a funny way!

Miles this week: 17.4 (plus 13 miles walking)

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 1,012

Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

Sedate lady running 03-09 December 2018 #amrunning #running

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A decent week although I’m pretty tired after doing a lot of work! I got my yoga, *some* strength and conditioning, all my miles and an officiating job done, plus helped some runners to learn how to jeff! Not many pics as my phone has gone wonky.

Edited to add: jeffing, mentioned a bit below, or Jeff Galloway Method, is a run-walk strategy which is suitable for all from learners to experienced, fast athletes, as an alternative to continuous running. You use various ratios from 30 seconds running / 3 seconds walking onwards.

Tuesday – Had an early evening run with Jenny and Tracie. Because of pressures of work, I needed to just spend the time that 5 miles would take up. I planned a route that had me meeting Jenny and Tracie at the usual place, and it worked brilliantly, we had a lovely run along quieter roads (it was rush hour so wanted to avoid pollution), I turned back at a certain point and YAY the maths worked out and I ended up at my house at the required number of miles. Jenny got her first 4 miler in for ages, hooray!

5 miles, 12:15 mins per mile

Wednesday – I’m self-employed and have been for ages, but sometimes work projects come out to have deadlines at the same time. I knew I didn’t have time to go to Dave yoga but thought I had time for my Paul circuits. Alas, I did not. So as a compromise, I did at least do lunges x 20 on each side, squats x 40 and sit-ups x 20. It’s something at least, right?

Thursday – My lovely friend Ruth (she of the half-marathon a month and jeffing) had asked Club if we could put on a Jeffing Taster session at our club session on a Thursday and it was time. Lovely Trudie and Mary Ellen from our close friendship group came along for support but we had two other ladies (hooray for Fay and Karen!) who had not jeffed in a structured way before. I had to dash up to club as my new phone had only just arrived (argh!) and then we took them round a nice 1.6 mile loop, getting a total of 4.8 miles of jeffing. I do love the pattern on strava:

Fay and Karen loved it, felt empowered to do the third loop and went further than they thought they wood. They even expressed disappointment that we weren’t offering it every week! Result! I then ran home with Ruth and Mary Ellen. I was proud that we managed to put this on and had such good reactions. I also got a nice total mileage for me for a Thursday!

0.7 mi, 11:24 mins per mile / 4.8 mi, 13:19 mins per mile / 0.7 mi, 11:53 mins per mile – 6.2 miles total

Friday – Just about carved out the time to go to Claire yoga – some great hip flexor stretching, much needed

Saturday – I planned a long run around parkrun. This week it’s been Mary Ellen’s turn to do everything with me. Right, are you concentrating? Mary Ellen and I ran to parkrun, 4 miles, and she then went home to get her hair done. I then met up with Jenny and did parkrun partly with her and partly with a young lady from the University of Birmingham couch to 5k graduating group who was struggling with her breathing (she was an experienced athlete on a come-back so I trusted her judgement after evaluating the situation, but stuck with her just in case. A much faster runner than me normally, she then upped the pace, leaving me pushing a little harder than normal then walking up the hill just before the finish (shouting cheerily, “can’t be arsed, I’m in the middle of a long run and tired!” to the people trying to cheer me up the hill!)). Then it was run and talk time, so I waited for that, then ran one loop of the lakes with Alan from r & t, who is coming back from illness, so I (of course) taught him about jeffing. THEN Caroline met me and ran me around the lake once more and back home, and got very much the short straw in this “Liz relay” as I was pretty tired and more than a little whiny by then. I got to my road at 11 so went for the extra to make up a round total for the week.

Tired lady in club colours (actually our and Bournville’s club colours due to only my teal underlayer being found in time!)

I was really pleased with my speed as I did do some bits slowly, the end felt like an effort and involved some walk breaks. I also forgot to pause my watch as I ambled down the parkrun funnel, taking my time about it!

11.3 mi, 12:32 mins per mile

Saturday night was club awards night. Ruth won a Committee Award for her epic fund-raising in memory of her dad and I was so proud. We all got certificates for marshalling etc. at the cross-country league match in January that club ran, and I was blown away to come third in the Runner’s Choice awards, nominated by 6 of my clubmates, and behind two of our popular coaches. How lovely! The messages on the nominations were lovely and I will treasure them. Mary Ellen and I walked there and back, making up my run and walk miles to 16 for the day!

Sunday – off bright and early to Perry Park, behind Alexander Stadium, to help officiate at the Young Athletes League cross-country event. Because I’m going for my Endurance Level 2 licence, Noel, assistant referee, had offered me my choice of jobs, and I was funnel/finish manager, which involved setting up the funnel (physically, with stakes, netting and tape, mainly because I got there early), briefing the officials who were provided by three clubs in the league as part of their league membership requirements (one of whom was my boss at the cross-country last week and all but one of whom had previous experience) on what we were doing, safeguarding (women must look after female  competitors who need help if possible, etc.) and then managing the team, having responsibility for runners keeping the finish line clear and getting through the funnel safely. A few unwellnesses went on and some rolling around on the floor, but everyone was OK and it went smoothly, and feedback was that I’d done a good job. I knew I could do it, but it’s still a bit stressful of course. We had under-11s, -13s, -15s and -17s males and females and all fine. Phew! I enjoyed myself, the weather held; I didn’t get a picture of the funnel but here’s a view of English parkland with the city centre skyline in the distance.

Miles this week: 22.5

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 995 (ooh!)

Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here. (to add)

Sedate lady running 26 November – 02 December 2018 #amrunning #running

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I had a good week this week with a mixture of running and volunteering / officiating, day time and dark runs.

Monday – As I hadn’t run at the weekend due to having my Track and Field officials course, I could run on Monday, however I was still pretty tired from the course and a lot of hard work. I met up with Jenny and we ran down to Cannon Hill Park, where we met this amazing dog.

An amazing dog we met in Cannon Hill Park

Back up to where I meet Jenny and a brisk trot home again as I’d left it a bit late for lunch!

6.5 miles, 12:27 mins per mile

Wednesday – Hard version of Dave’s yoga class with Jenny. Oof. I managed to do ALL the vinyasas between positions but my, my pecs and back knew about it the next day.

Thursday – Our lovely friend Bernice, who moved away to Worcestershire (and who I’m running my ultra with next year) was in Birmingham for a course so we got a bevy of Sedate Ladies together for an early evening run. Bernice, Trudie and Mary Ellen came to my house and we ran up to where I usually meet Jenny.

Trudie, Bernice, Mary Ellen, Jenny, Liz (thank you Trudie for the photo)

We did a loop the opposite way from where I usually go with Jenny and Trudie said goodbye and went to visit her mom. We dropped Jenny back off at the end of the road she lives down and carried on, getting 7.5 miles in for me, Mary Ellen and Bernice. Full view of my lit-up, flouro and reflective self from the back (thanks, Bernice!).

All lit up like a Christmas tree!

And here’s me and Bernice at the end – I’m rocking another buff with my cap, what a brill idea.

Liz and Bernice, run done

7.5 miles, 12:38 mins per mile

Friday – Managed to fit in Claire’s easier class after cleaning the house and amidst much work.

Saturday – I was supposed to run in the morning but I woke up So.Tired and I didn’t want to: when I don’t want to run there’s usually a good reason, so I decided I could live with “only” getting to 21 miles again this week and rested up. Put on my other running hat and was one of our club’s official officials at the cross-country league (men’s) in Clopton, near Stratford. We have to submit x number of officials to help with tasks as part of being in the league.

Official in rustly waterproof trousers

I was working with a chap from Tamworth who was injured – we were judge recorders, writing down the numbers of the male runners as they came over the finish line and through the funnel. All fine as the rugged terrain and three-lap course kept them reasonably spaced out, and I managed to capture this nice rural view.

I walked 2.6 miles as part of this, as we had to part in Stratford town centre and walk up, plus all the wandering around.

Sunday – A busy day. My husband went off on his bird watching trip (all the way to Essex) so I got up with him at 5 and was ready to run at 7.30 am. I did 2 miles quite briskly as got worried I was going to miss Ruth, and met her at 8 at my house (I took the opportunity to post my gloves (too warm!) and tabard/lights (the sun had risen) then we set off on 4.6 miles of jeffing (walk run strategy). She was doing a virtual half-marathon (very posh, with a number sent out in the post) you could do any time in December, I think, called Santa’s Little Helper – so I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of her outside the first heavily Christmas decorated house we’ve seen.

Ruth and the first lit-up house we’ve seen

We got back to mine for 9 reading to hand the Ruth Baton on to Trudie for the end of her run.

Trudie, Ruth and Liz

I carried on for the 0.4 miles to round up my run to 7, having a bit of a sprint for the last bit (mainly because I had a very tight turnaround coming up!).

I got showered and changed and into my Christmas running leggings (bought at great expense last year and dragged out for runs, Christmas meals, and volunteering to get the value – I did add a dress so I wasn’t displaying my bum to the world) and walked the mile or so down to the Rugby Club for the Jingle Bell Jog in aid of St Mary’s Hospice. Our running club traditionally supplies the marshals for the course every year. Thank goodness I ran into Sushma walking down – I was feeling decidedly hungry after forgetting to grab a banana on my way to the venue, but she, being a super-mom, had some Belvita biscuits in her bag, hooray! Paul (congratulations on getting your Level 1 Endurance Licence!) got some pics of me without the Grinch and then …

Christmas leggings get an outing

(muted hooray – he was VERY lively) with the Grinch. All well: Christmas fun and all that …

Fake smiles for the Grinch

Then we supported however many Santas it was to get round the 2.5k or 5 k course – I was near the end this time. It was good fun cheering people on and I saw a few familiar faces.

7 miles at 12:08 mins per mile.

I was a bit upset to just get to 21 again this week as it feels I can’t get past that. But I’ve been so busy and I did get in my yoga and those miles, and 30 squats 5/7 days and stretching 5/7 days so I’ll call that a win.

Miles this week: 21

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year: 972

Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

Sedate lady running 19-25 November 2018 #amrunning #running

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A funny week this week because I was going to be Very Busy at the weekend so I knew I needed to get all my running in beforehand. Not too bad considering.

Monday – Because I’d last run on Saturday, I was able to have a lovely canal run with Claire. We did the usual bits plus a bit extra, and I remembered to take a photo of the famous Guillotine Lock at Kings Norton!

(more info about it here if you’re interested). We had a good chat and the miles flew by – as Claire is doing the London Marathon there will be plenty more long runs to be done.

8 miles, 12:13 mins per mile.

Tuesday – An unaccustomed two runs in a row! I met up with Jenny and we did a nice one of our usual loops, then I managed to push it on to 5.9 miles in total; really pleased with this as running tired. Notable on this run was that it was REALLY COLD and raining so I used Chocolaterunsjudy‘s top tip of securing a peaked cap with a buff – fabulous, warm and protected eyes! Brilliant stuff!

5.9 miles, 12:55 mins per mile

Wednesday – No yoga! Something had upset my stomach after (phew) my run on Tuesday and I didn’t feel secure to go to yoga. However, much excitement as my new, portrait, clipboard-with-a-cover and my field official’s warning horn arrived. I had to pose, right?

Thursday – An interesting and varied session. I knew I needed to get 6.1 miles in to reach my lower target of 20 miles for the week. I was down to support club’s 5k and Beyond session (the week before last I was covering for a friend) so I got out a bit early to get some miles in first. And ran into my husband outside Sainsburys supermarket, where he took this deeply flattering photo of his lit-up, reflective wife …

and this delightful atmospheric photo of my running off past all the trolleys. The glamour!

You can see my red “tail” light showing up nicely, though! That’s my gym behind the traffic lights, and look, we have Christmas lights!

So that was 3 miles then I got up to club and took the back marker as always, guiding three lovely new or returning runners through their first continuous 30 minutes (for a while for some). I got them to round up to 2 miles, mainly for the sake of easing my mental arithmetic …

Then I left them during the cool down (with permission from Coach Lee) and ran 1.6 miles home for a total of 6.6.

3 miles, 11:42 mins per mile / 2 miles, 15:21 mins per mile / 1.6 miles, 11:49 mins per mile

Friday – Easy Clare yoga with Jenny – we had a lovely meditation at the end and it was very calming.

Saturday / Sunday – I was over at Alexander Stadium for my track and field officials courses. Saturday, I had health and safety and then a generic officials’ module, followed by field in the afternoon. I found this very OK as I’d done my experiences at the Transplant games and Midlands league match, but it was good to find out the theory and rules behind the practice and recognise stuff I’d done.

Sunday it was track and starter’s assistant – I have had no experience of this as a competitor or helper/official so this was quite daunting but everything was well-explained and we spent time out on the track looking at the markings, etc. and doing a lot of learning. Many thanks to our dedicated tutors for both days.

Now I need to get four experiences in each discipline (I already have two in field) before I can apply for my Level 1 Licences. I must note a thank you to my friend Alison who is a senior official and has been extremely supportive of my journey, and reassures me I know what I’m doing!

Miles this week: 20.6

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year:  951 (916 was my end of November mini-goal)

Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

Sedate lady running 12-18 November 2018 #amrunning #running

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A week when I did most of my exercise activities with my friend Jenny. Which is fine – and I made her pose for a photo on those grounds – but she’s probably tired of me by now! Especially after Thursday’s headtorch-related meltdown …

Tuesday – Because my husband was going to be away Friday night, I wanted to limit the number of evenings I was out running, so I jumped at the chance to do an earlier-evening-than-club run run with Jenny.

Look – I totally drew that lamp from the Pixar animations!

We had a lovely amble around, Jenny’s picking things up after a long period under the weather – but I was a bit late starting out and decided to put Paul’s form tips from last week into play. Goodness me: I terrified myself doing my first mile in 10:40 in the dark and up a hill! However, it was a bit of a strain, I did it on the last mile, too, and got my husband got some pics of me, too blurred to share but they did show my arms going back more and my feet kicking back higher, and I sent them to Paul who was pleased. However, it makes me run faster than I can breathe for and makes my ankles, calves and glutes a bit sore.

5.6 miles, 12:18 mins per mile

Wednesday – Went to early Dave yoga as it fitted in with having some cheese delivered. I managed a shoulder stand for eight breaths this time, really chuffed about that, and didn’t hurt as much from the class as last week. I think I’m going to try to get to this one every week as it is a proper work-out that leaves me mopping my forehead.

Thursday – Out with Jenny early evening again. On Wednesday, my new head torch had arrived (and Thursday saw my packs of gels come – I am so fortunate to be able to tolerate gels. These are Torq rhubarb & custard and cherry bakewell, one of their newer flavours, which I tested out on my long run with Ruth a while ago, and yummy.

So I instagrammed my pic of my torch and strapped it on my head and set off … and WAH! So it’s big and heavy and VERY bright even with only the central or two outer lights lit. And if I had it angled down enough not to blind people as I ran past them (I still saw people shield their eyes) and to light the path, I could SEE it in the top of my field of vision. Which is a) annoying and b) guaranteed to give me a migraine. I got very cross and upset and by the time I reached our meeting point (having already started late trying to get the blasted thing to work) I was in tears and not breathing well and telling Jenny to go on without me. She very kindly said I should stop and regroup a bit, and then I had the idea of expanding it and putting it round my waist. Climbing into it was a bit tricky but I got it done and it worked well in the end. Jenny had a shoe light and an armband and a head torch and a chap said to us as we ran down a hill “Ooh, you’re well lit up, girls” which we took as a compliment. So it all worked out OK in the end.

By the way, if you run with no lights on and you’re not lit up by headlamps even though you’re wearing flouro/reflective kit, you will look like this:

6 miles, 12:59 mins per mile

Friday – Friday (easier) yoga and there was Jenny again. Lucky we get on and I don’t think I made her giggle too much. We concentrated on opening and relaxing shoulders and chests, which I need, and it was a good session.

Saturday – Long run day as I have complicated things by having my Track and Field Official course both days next weekend, so I won’t be able to run either day easily, and so I want to front-load my week by running on Monday. So long run day it was. Matthew was away with his brother, so I got up at 5, had breakfast, did some work (I know, I know) and set out at 8am.

I started off with Mary Ellen, who was recovering from a cold (and was a very brave and uncomplaining soldier). We ran down to parkrun through the green way we did a few weeks ago, which is lovely, but I had somehow miscalculated the time needed (I think not taking into account some roads that take ages to cross) and got in a panic we weren’t going to make it to parkrun in time. So we went a bit under the pace I had planned, given this was a long run, and we paid for it. We saw my friend Andy and his wife Lis and their new baby (Andy running, Lis and bab not) and that was lovely, then set off on parkun. Not a PW at 38:00 or so, and lovely to see a good few friends around the course and marshalling. Then we picked up Jenny and set out to run back.

Jenny and Liz and a useful sign

I was  on 7 miles by now and really needed another 4 but I was seriously flagging. I had a gel and we went up Holders Lane (went = walked – we were all tired) and then set off back home. I got to 9 miles at a decision point and, having reassured Jenny that I was OK, had a rest day planned for Sunday and wasn’t pushing myself to extremes, however I was going to limit it to 10 miles as was tired. So we said goodbye and then I whipped up and down side streets, counting grimly to myself, and made it 11 anyway.

I was actually pleased with my fairly regular splits – you can see me rushing to parkrun miles 2-4 then doing even splits at parkrun, flagging and flailing then picking it up again. Good resilience training, right?

Then I had a lie-down and a sausage sandwich then walked 3 miles in total to and from an Indian-inspired high tea for a friend’s birthday. As you do.

11 miles, 12:28 mins per mile

Sunday – REST DAY!!! OK, I trimmed three big plants in the garden while Matthew installed our new video doorbell, but apart from that …

And although I will admit to not fitting in my Paul Circuits this week, I let myself off – I had so much work (over 40 hours of billable hours done, plus admin) and so it just wasn’t feasible. However, I stretched my hamstrings 6/7 days and did 30 squats while making my breakfast this morning.

Miles this week: 22.6

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year:  930 (916 was my end of November mini-goal)

Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here. (to add when they’re up)

Sedate lady running 05-11 November 2018 #amrunning #running

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A good solid week in which I did all the things I try to do per week (win) but I have to admit I had 10 hours’ sleep between Saturday and Sunday and am still slightly creaky! Oh well …

Monday – Because I’d run long on Saturday, I was able to run with lovely Claire on Monday (a day she’s not at work). She’s always brilliant for a different and off-road route and this was no exception, with some beautiful canals and then a nifty short-cut through Hazelwell Park and a cut-through onto half-way up Cartland Road that makes that hill a lot better.

We sat on the bridge by the lock-keeper’s cottage for a bit to enjoy the lovely view and all the trees, and said hello to a man with a dog who was skittering up the steep bridge. Lovely. I was pleased with my pace because there were a good few hills and slippery canal bridges among the flat running and it was a lovely morning out.

6.7 miles, 11:55 mins per mile

Tuesday – It’s always a big ask for me to go out two days in a row but a couple of friends were going to club run who hadn’t been for ages, and I wanted to support Jenny trying to go a bit longer, and in the dark. We started off near the back and then Tracie tripped (and in going to save her, I managed to hit her back and nearly push her over – great work!) and was a bit sore so we took a shorter route and popped back home. It was good to stretch the legs out and I still got 3.5 miles in. Tracie seems to be OK now – phew!

Here’s a shot providing evidence of my ability to multi-task: stretching, drying my hair AND reading. All good as the glutes and hams are feeling much less tight.

3.5 miles, 12:40 mins per mile (middle section walk-run)

Wednesday – Jenny wanted to go to Dave yoga but could only make the early (hard) class so we went for it – she’s not a massive ashtanga fan so I wanted to be there for her. Phewee, it was hard work – I was sweating during and after. BUT I managed a shoulder stand for 6 breaths, and that’s the longest I’ve held a shoulder stand since the 1990s! I think it must be the Paul Circuits and their shoulder and core strengthening that has helped with that – another reason to keep up with them.

Thursday – Supporting the club’s 5k and beyond group again, taking Caroline’s slot as she was unavoidably busy: this was their first continuous running attempt so a big ask for them. I ran with a lovely lady who I’d run with in my previous volunteering session: she was a bit nervous but we took it steadily and did it! She was so happy and amazed, and I reminded her how they started out one minute running, one walking, and how she wouldn’t have imagined she could have run that far then. I really love helping this group as it’s wonderful to see their confidence grow. I tried to set a good example by going head-torch and one of my Lidl lights front and back (they have a loop and clip that will work around thin clothing. Mary Ellen saw my red light from ages back following me up to club, and when I did some extra at the end to make my miles up, first with Trudie, then on my own, Trudie and Dave could spot me from way off, too.

0.7 mi, 11:19 mins per mile / 1.59 mi, 14:24 mins per mile / 2 mi, 12:11 mins per mile

Friday – Realised I hadn’t done my Paul circuits and was seeing him for a coached session on Saturday, so had the bright idea of a) hoovering the stairs and landing and downstairs and bathroom and cleaning kitchen and bathroom b) doing Paul circuits, c) going to Claire yoga (second, easier session). Phew! I managed to do more in the circuits than last time, except the planks, where my shoulders were still sore from Wednesday. Claire yoga was very v e r y slow which was incredibly hard, but I did get through it just about!

Saturday – I was looking after Beginners in the park again for club – I’d swapped with Grace, meaning she could take my session in December when I’m officiating at cross-country in the afternoon. I had arranged to have a running form session with Paul so basically tried to get more miles in around those two points at 9.50 and 11.00.

I first ran three lovely miles with Trudie – it was so bright and sunny and blue. And we saw a PEACOCK!

We’d just run past it and Trudie said, “Um, that was a peacock topiary” and so it was. Instagrammable moment! But the lady from the house came out which was pretty awkward, though not to tell us off or anything!

Highbury Park was particularly lovely in the sun.

Then I took the beginners – one person turned up, but that was a lovely lady who had run with me last week. This week we did 1 min running, 1 min walking for 25 minutes and she did brilliantly.  I then ran a few loops to make up the time until I met Paul for my coaching session.

I met Paul at 11 and we went down the bottom of the park and went through my running form. First I ran a loop the way I would without thinking – and I was tired and sore so this was ideal as I wanted to work on my form when I was tired. He videoed me, yay. Then we worked on arms, and not crossing them in front, bringing them back, etc., with some exercises and demonstrations. Then it was legs, picking up my knees more and running with a little cone to bring my foot over – more videos and photos so I can compare. This was brilliant, if rainy, and I then ran home the long way round, trying to put all the instructions into place!

3 mi, 12:29 mins per mile / 1.8 mi, 13:57 mins per mile / 1.2 mi, 11:27 mins per mile / 2.5 mi, 11:35 mins per mile

So I got in 4 runs, two yoga sessions and a circuit session – done!

Kit update

I keep forgetting to share my new trainers! I was very upset when I got hold of the last two pairs of Saucony Guide 9s in my size, and I really didn’t like the Guide 10s (toes too narrow; went up a half-size; felt like I was running in clown shoes). So I had to bite the bullet and go to choose a new brand. Except I didn’t have to – after trying some Hoka OneOnes (too squishy, though many love them) and Brookes GTS (OK in a pinch and good to know they’re an option) I settled on Saucony Hurricanes hooray! Also the lovely folk at Up and Running give us a discount for being in a running club, which helps.

I also needed some trail shoes for training and then doing the trail ultra. I couldn’t face two sets of shoe shopping that day but Up and Running kindly put a pair of Saucony Peregrines aside for me, IN THEIR SALE and I went and tried them on Saturday afternoon. Loved them, very comfy (and I already knew several club friends like them) so bought those.

Aaand as my walking boots have developed a crack and leak, I treated myself to some updates in the sale. Except these are the same model, just a few years on, and don’t seem so tough and heavy. Must be a trend, as I popped in an outdoor shop on Saturday and could find nothing heavy and leathery. So I’m going to mend the crack with duct tape and use those for the bad conditions, and these for other conditions.

Other women might have millions of pairs of heels; I have a trainer and walking boot problem. There are worse addictions, right?

Miles this week: 23

Progress towards 1,000 miles in the year:  908 (916 is my end of November mini-goal)

Weekly wrapI take part in the Weekly Wrap run by two wonderful running women and joined by lots of other inspirational women. Wendy’s weekly wrap is here and Holly’s is here.

Book review – Krissy Moehl – “Running Your First Ultra” #running #amreading

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Photo thanks to Bernice

Well I had to include this pic of me and Bernice with our matching books, right? There’s nobody in the world doesn’t know we’re planning to run an ultramarathon next summer is there? Being sensible us, we’ve read race reports on people’s blogs, checked it all out, had a planning meeting AND bought books. I had a poke around looking at the millions of how-to books here and this was written by a woman and praised by some of the ultrarunners I admire, so I went for it.

Oh and this won’t be one I take to the next book swap at running club. This one’s with me for the foreseeable!

Krissy Moehl – “Running Your First Ultra”

(01 October 2018)

Moehl has been running ultras for over a decade, and shares interesting stories about starting out running with the guys, with kit that was barely adapted for women, and the changes she’s seen in the sport over the years. I really loved this personal aspect in what is very definitely a how-to book with multiple training plans (as opposed to one of the many ultrarunning autobiographies I seem to have filled my running reading with).

She’s also risk-averse, sensible, cheerful but not over-the-top and calmly convinced that (with a bit of help from her) we can do it. She’s all about the mental as well as the physical aspects and there’s a wealth of exceptionally practical information. She even explains how ultramarathon training is different from marathon training: for a start, you’re not expected to run 70-80% of your distance in training as you do in marathon running (typically I will get to 23 miles before a marathon; we are planning to slot in a marathon before this race, but that will be a one-off rather than several goes around that distance). There are little lists throughout about what, for example, she always takes with her on a longer training run, as well as formal packing and support team lists at the end.

The training plans are packed full of information, inspiration and tips and hints – something to read and concentrate on every week and lots to learn from. At the back are lots of details about your support crew (we won’t need this this time, but the plans go up to 100 miles), with a big emphasis on smiling when you see them and being appreciative and grateful, something Moehl is big on the whole way through (she also advocates volunteering at races and working on trail maintenance as well as respecting what we call the Countryside Code here in the UK. All good stuff.) There’s a great section on how you actually do the run, including race etiquette, choosing whether to run with music, etc. and a great early section on thoughts that can work against you (what if I feel I can’t finish?) and what you can do about them (including a sensible attitude towards injury).

There’s a chapter on recovery which I will read this time (well, I have read it, but I will remind myself after the race). Somewhat famously, I didn’t research how to recover after a marathon when I did my first one, as I wasn’t entirely convinced I was going to do the thing until I was actually on the start line, and went racing about almost doing myself a mischief until I finally slowed down!

I only have one small criticism and that is that somewhere in the production process of the copy I have, some fairly awful typos slipped in. I couldn’t see anything that affected the actual running content, but it’s hard not to be disconcerted when you find so many errors (and I’m not THAT editor, it really has to be bad to have me mentioning it). Maybe the proof text slipped through to the finished product. As a fairly experienced runner, I could see it doesn’t affect the content and practical information, but I’d hate the great content to be undermined by someone worrying that uncaught writing errors could reflect errors in the advice.

This is a great and inspiring book which, although the training schedules look tough and I can promise everyone now I will not be running five to six times a week, ever, has plenty of relatable and doable information which I have no doubt will make our path to our ultra a lot clearer and more copable with.


I’ve moved on to a VERY doomy Mary Webb which I know isn’t going to end well (OK there’s a pet animal, so I looked). “Gone to Earth” is luminous and wild and weird and a good read nonetheless. What’s the best how-to book you’ve read to help with a hobby?

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