Sedate lady running 17-23 June 2019 #amrunning #running

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Summary: A gentle week with an effort at the end

Monday – I thought I’d do a recovery run after the Bumble Bimble trail race the day before (see my report here). Turns out that trail running on technical downhills and mud isn’t made better by some road running. Claire was very very patient with me – I think I had an actual sit-down in the park at one point!

3.4 miles, 13 mins per mile

Wednesday – Nothing WAS hurt as such but I decided my ankles were still protesting too much to do yoga. So I didn’t.

Thursday – A nicer run along the same route as Thursday with Sonya. Almost the same route but much more comfortable. Phew!

3.5 miles, 12:14 mins per mile

Friday – I managed Claire yoga, hooray! Just what I needed and saw my friends who I’d alarmed by leaving the class last week on Wednesday when everything cramped up.

Saturday – Running club parkrun takeover and I did barcode scanning using the new app (a bit tricky in the bright sunlight). It was so warm that I could have run down and not got cold standing around. This was my 125th parkrun volunteering stint! We were on the alternative route away from the main park as there was cricket parking and a food festival happening there. It was good to catch up with friends before and after and I walked there and back to make my 10,000 steps for the day.

Sunny parkrun off they go!

Sunday – Bernice and I took a road trip (thanks for doing the driving, Bernice) to the Ridgeway to practise on some of the paths we’re going to experience in July on the Race to the Stones. It was a 90 minute drive down once she’d collected me. Early breakfast for me but Matthew had gone birdwatching so the timing worked well.

Road trip, Birmingham to North Wessex Downs

We decided to run one way for an hour, then back to the car, then along the other way for 45 minutes and back, as Bernice had 3 hour 30 running on her plan. This worked really well as we could leave some things in the car and know we were back there in the middle. Very reassuring!

The paths were much MUCH better than in the Bimble Bumble. We had rutted chalk, flat chalk, some road surface, some grass and some bare earth with stones or plain. Lots of elevation (1000 ft in the bit we did: my last marathon was 982 ft in total) and these surfaces could be up, down or flat, but I think we covered most of what we were going to get. Some pics from me and Bernice:

These wayposts were all along the Ridgeway, making it easy to find your way even without the event signage. (photo by Bernice)

Rutted chalk trails, Bernice going downhill

Rutted chalk, Liz by Bernice.

Happy ladies (honestly!) on the trails

Amazing far view with a beautiful poppy field

A nice lady we met took this pic of us. Everyone on the trail was so friendly and lovely!

Liz on a stile looking like one of those 1030s adverts for hiking (maybe). I was regarding something I thought was Wayland’s Smithy but wasn’t.

We actually went over this stile and off piste which was very exciting, and saw a trail of people so made it over the grass to Uffington Castle, a Neolithic hill fort, and then down the grass to get a view of the White Horse of Uffington.

A side note: I’ve been wary of the White Horse and Wayland’s Smithy since being unnerved by a TV series as a child and even reading the book didn’t help. The Smithy comes up in Susan Cooper’s “Dark is Rising” sequence too. But actually up close it’s all benign and it’s such a privilege to be standing in such an ancient place – a Neolithic landscape, the Ridgeway having been used continuously since those times. Amazing.

Just about seen: the White Horse of Uffington – a chalk figure (it’s in the middle going over the brow of the hill)

 

Strava view showing the Horse and where we were before we dropped down

Once we’d looked at the Horse we were back at the car, so swapped bottles, I had half a banana and Bernice had some peanut butter sandwiches, we noted the ice cream van for later then set off the other way. For this and the previous segment we were going in the direction of the actual race, so it was great to gather the terrain.

Along more of an earth track for 45 minutes – here at the turning point.

It was getting more and more humid and I amused Bernice by pointing out that I was running in a miasma of my own sweat.

We diverted to Wayland’s Smithy on the way back – much more of a sacred grove than the alarming place I’d had in mind (it’s a former Neolithic burial mound, now open to the sky)!

Wayland’s Smithy

… and we were back! We had a picnic overlooking the valley: so beautiful.

Picnic time! (by Bernice)

The view from our lunch

The ice cream van had GONE when we got back but returned as we were lunching; rude not to, right –

Lollies! By Bernice

This was such a great idea, we both feel really reassured that the surfaces were OK – I think you could do it in road shoes but I felt more safe in my Saucony Peregrines with their rubbery soles. We both feel we can do it now and got 14 miles in so would have  been almost half way! We both felt we could have carried on, and that’s with coming into it tired rather than rested and tapered.

14 miles, 15:15 mins per mile

Miles this week: 20.9 Miles this year: 537.3 (for 1,000 miles in the year I need 500 by the end of this month)

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

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

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

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

Running in UK June: wet Liz

Running in a UK June

5 miles, 12:46 mins per mile

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

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

Trudie called this run Woman vs. Amazon!

3 miles / 12:00 mins per mile

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

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

Sunday – BIMBLE BUMBLE SUMMER EDITION

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

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

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

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

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

Liz running through a field of wheat (by Bernice)

I did not know Bernice was videoing me aeroplaning along!

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

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

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

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

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

Bernice and Liz in the woods

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

So beautiful – the views

All the sky, all the view

Lovely woods

Lovely woods

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

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

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

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

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

Look at them undulations!

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

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

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

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

Eggses and a pretty medal

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

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

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

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

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

Sedate lady running 3-9 June 2019 #amrunning #running

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Summary: A good week but I’m still tired and recovering from the marathon and it’s a bit hard to maintain training for big events and officiating at all-day events but that side of things will ease soon.

Monday – A lovely recovery run with Claire, chatting about our marathons, and my new yoga mat arrived! No pics.

3.2 miles / 12:04 mins per mile

Wednesday – Off to Abbey Stadium in Redditch with Hilary and Rob to be one of Sparkhill Harriers’ contributed officials for their veterans’ league match. A nice evening for it and Hilary, Darren and I plus helpers looked after the two javelin competitions. I was pulling through, which means being on the winder end of the tape measure, pulling it flat and through a dot in the middle of the throwing runway once someone has spiked a spike where the javelin ended with the 0 end of the tape. Hilary did the measuring and recording. My final experience for my Field Level 1 licence application!

Abbey Stadium, Redditch

Thursday – An early evening run with Trudie and Mary Ellen. I was still tired and it was quite warm so we decided to pop to Swanshurst Park to run round the lovely lake (where I’d run with Claire on Monday). A good idea, and we got to do some hamming (OK, I got to) when Trudie popped near the lake to take some pictures.

Photobombing in Swanshurst Park (Trudie’s photo)

3.6 miles / 12:40 mins per mile

Friday – I managed to get to yoga and enjoyed Claire’s class although got a bit confused between my left and right in a new thing we did. My yoga mat was super – it didn’t stretch or move and I didn’t slip on it. Hooray!

Saturday – I’d seen a call for officials for the West Midlands Schools track and field event at Alexander Stadium on the officials’ Facebook group and signed up and had a great day working there. Although the weather was shockingly bad, with pouring rain so bad we had to postpone some field events …

View from the officials’ room – floodlights on in the middle of the day in June!

… there was a great spirit of getting on with things and a lot of enjoyment. We were all rotaed on to do different events, so I started on discus and rotated through javelin, shot, high jump and triple jump. I was a bit alarmed to see I was lead on one high jump competition but it’s a discipline I’m used to working on and all went fine. My friend Alison, who is a senior photo finish official and has encouraged me mightily in my track and field career, was there, too, the first time we’ve worked at the same event. We failed to get a photo together but she snapped me organising the high jump!

I’m second from right in the foreground

and she gave me a wave from the officials’ room when I was working on the triple jump. We had great teachers assisting us and all went well, weather considering.

I got to fulfil two ambitions I’ve held since seeing these things done while spectating at the same stadium in June last year (see my montage of photos of officials I took then here) and …

  • Got to push a little trolley full of discuses round from the competition area to the Scrutinising Room (where people’s own pieces of throwing and jumping equipment are checked: all items were loaned from the stadium today)

discus trolley!

  • Help lift up a section of pink track from the triple jump run-up and replace it with a take-off board

It was a great day: I did all sorts of jobs from registering athletes, calling them up to compete, sounding the horn to check people in the field were safe, pulling through, measuring and spiking, recording results and working out finishing orders, so lots of good experience and learning points. And I got a lift home from a lovely co-official who lives near me (and knows Hilary and Rob / runs with KHRC sometimes: it’s a small world!).

The arty shot

Sunday – I was supposed to be running 13 miles but was quite fatigued (not just the officiating but not sleeping so well with the light mornings coming early: we are getting quotations for blinds for the bathroom and bedroom which should help with this issue). I met Trudie, Ruth and Mary Ellen at the corner of my road and we set off down to the canal and ran along the route Mary Ellen and I took the time we saw the swing bridge, towards Dickens Heath. Ruth was tired, too (OK, we were all tired!) and wanted a shorter run so Trudie ran back with her after we’d said goodbye with a nice selfie in front of a graffitied bridge …

Liz, Trudie, Ruth, Mary Ellen

We took some nice canal pics before they left us.

Canal scene, Haslucks Green

Then Mary Ellen and I continued on towards Dickens Heath. We had some idyllic scenes along the way, saw lots of baby water birds including ducks, geese (all marching down a meadow and getting purposefully into the water and coming towards us!) and a moorhen and coot, and lots of lovely gardens and decks across the water, as well as boats and dogs.

Mary Ellen and Liz

We took a selfie at our turning around point in Dickens Heath, by a bridge built in 1997, presumably when the new communities were built there – always interesting to see all this stuff and we noticed a nature reserve I might come back to explore with Matthew.

Dickens Heath bridge

Then we turned back as Mary Ellen wanted about 10 miles. This time, we managed to turn in by the arch by Yardley Wood and follow the greenways up through to the rugby club, comparing my photographed route map with Google Maps on Mary Ellen’s phone, so now we know the way properly. I was tiring by the time we got there but wanted to round things up from 9.5 so Mary Ellen went home and I did a loop … and ran into Trudie again (who had gone further than me AND gone in the shop!) and she ran me back in until we got to her road.

I was pleased that I had managed about half of the run off-road (see the path above, there was also loose gravel and small gravel and some harder path with bricks sticking up) and had worn black for hot training and my running backpack for checking it was OK, so got some good training for the ultra conditions. But I was tired and there’s no point completely flogging yourself into the ground, is there?

11.5 miles / 13:20 mins per mile

Next week I want to sleep more, do two lots of yoga and I have the Bimble Bumble 10 mile trail race on the Sunday with a few of the Sedate Ladies.

Miles this week: 18.3 Miles this year: 495.5 [I think I had this recorded wrong last week] (for 1,000 miles in the year I need 500 by the end of this month)

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

Sedate lady running 27 May – 2 June 2019 #amrunning #running

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It was post-marathon recovery week this week so a lower mileage week with plenty of rest and rehabilitation. I feel fine, though – phew!

Monday – Staying an extra day in Liverpool (see my Liverpool Rock’n’Roll Marathon report here) we did a fair bit of walking today. But we also did meeting up with another blogger from the Weekly Run Down – the lovely Renee from Run, Laugh, Eat Pie! We also met her husband Ron and two lovely runners from York she knows from a Facebook group, Nikki and Charlotte. We had a lot of marathon chat and some food and coffee …

Ron, Nikki, Renee, Liz, Charlotte by Matthew

My Garmin says I walked 6 miles, anyway doing some uphill stuff on the way home was nice and we had a good look around.

Wednesday – Did Dave’s easy yoga class with Jenny and it was surprisingly OK – I’m back to being as good (or bad) at yoga as I usually am. This comes from NOT having pushed it hard on those last windy miles in the marathon – although I remain a bit disappointed by my performance as well as the support, I am NOT injured or overtired.

Thursday – I did keep havering about going for a run in the day in case I was rubbish or had lost my nerve. But I was able to meet up with Mary Ellen and Caroline early evening and do a safe 3 miles in the park. And it’s not true, I’m not ONLY happy when I’m running, but running does make me happy.

Only Happy When I’m Running

3 miles, 13:22 mins per mile (forgot to turn autopause back on so it was actually more like 12:30 mins per mile)

Friday – Easy Claire yoga, again managed fine though I didn’t do the one where you bend your leg back behind itself when kneeling as I just can’t do that.

Saturday – No officiating, no volunteering, a proper lie-in and rest day for the win.

Sunday – Out with a large group of sedate ladies for a canal run – what a lovely trip out, no worries about speed, just having a nice time.

I’m still hamming after all these years … (photo by Trudie)

Me taking a pic of Trudie taking a pic

My husband was working on his photo class homework (a photo essay) and asked for some photos mid-run – we got creative and here is my final pic …

My picture of Fay’s picture of us taking photos and Sonya’s picture of me taking a picture of Trudie taking a picture

Again, the autopause was off, so the speed is off but who really cares?

7 miles, probably about 13:30 mins per mile if I’d turned my watch to pause while we took pics!

You know what? I have the Bumble Bimble 10 mile trail race this month (no cut-off time) and the Race to the Stones 31 mile ultra (cut-off time: 12 hours, I did 31 miles in 9 hours on Sunday so I’m fiiiiine with that cut-off) and then no more races booked, and I’m fine with that. Very fine. I remember so enjoying my no-races, just get 1000 miles in a year times after the Canal Canter last year and I want more of that. Just running how I want, joining in with things. Yes, I want to get a bit more all-round fit, core and strength built up, but no racing for me for a good while. Unless I get into the London Marathon, of course …

Miles this week: 10 Miles this year: 447.2 (for 1,000 miles in the year I need 500 by the end of this month)

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

Sedate lady running 20-26 May 2019 #amrunning #running

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Marathon week is here so I took it nice and gentle this week and tried to get rest and good food in …

Tuesday – ran down to Printigo, the excellent print shop which supplies our club tshirts, vests and hoodies, clutching a bag containing my orange and black club tshirts, to get my name printed on them (I got my name on my bib but it’s TINY and I do like people to call my name as I run by). Unfortunately it’s downhill on the way and uphill on the way back but it’s the quickest way to get there (there’s a bus but it;s infrequent and I didn’t see one on either journey). I did actually hit a few PRs this time, I think mainly because I usually run down on club night and up at the end of longer runs.

3.5 miles, 11:36 mins per mile

Wednesday – Dave yoga with my friend Jenny there, too – his usual routine so I just stuck with the course and just didn’t push it.

Thursday – Supposed to be a gentle and inspiring pop down to pick up the tshirts, unfortunately I could hardly breathe and felt terrible and ended up walking up the hill almost in tears. Fortunately I had my lovely sedate ladies to remind me that it was a) really hot, b) school pick up time with loads of idling cars and c) I hadn’t had a terrible training run this time round. It still really knocked my confidence, though.

3.6 miles, 12:28 mins per mile

Friday  – made it to Claire yoga and did most things except a side plank business. We had a lovely long yoga nidra guided meditation at the end – exactly what I needed and I came out stretched and relaxed.

Sunday – I ran the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll Marathon (and waved to Renee!) – race report to come later in the week. I will say it was a shame that I had to push it in the first half, knowing that would leave me struggling, because I found out there was a 10 mile cut-off at 13.00 minute miles (as you can see below, I beat the 6 hour cut-off at 13:28 mins per mile so a bit unfair).

5:55:24, 26.4 miles 13:28 mins per mile

Miles this week: 33.5 Miles this year: 467.2 (for 1,000 miles in the year I needed 416.6 by the end of this month)

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

Sedate lady running 13-19 May 2019 #amrunning #running

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

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

I took this lovely photo in a local park

3 miles, 11:48 mins per mile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.2 miles, 13:05 mins per mile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cari says it’s a unicorn donkey …

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

8.3 miles, 12:04 mins per mile

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

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

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

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

Sedate lady running 06-12 May 2019 #amrunning #running

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

Volunteering tabard of glory

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

5.4 miles, 12:52 mins per mile

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

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

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

4 miles, 12:42 mins per mile

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

Tunnel to Pingles Stadium

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

Track from the back straight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liz, Trudie and Mary Ellen at the Swan

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

Liz and Mary Ellen run on

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

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

Under the M6! Urban glory!

Mary Ellen and Liz under the motorway

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

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

See that profile??? up up up

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

20 miles, 13:01 minutes per mile

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

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

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

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