Just keep running, just keep running ….
First and foremost, thank you to everyone who has already sponsored my run in aid of the Tudor Barn Project. Over £700 has already been generously donated. Donations have varied from a few pennies popped into the collection bucket to one single donation of £500. It really goes to show that every penny does count and will help us smash our target of £1000. The messages of support have been really encouraging and to answer one sponsor’s question, yes, I think I am crazy for signing up to this.
Amy outside the Tudor Barn.
Training is going very well. I will never quite be the ‘professional’ runner but my fitness and stamina has massively improved. Using the NHS’s ‘couch to 10k’ app, I have gone from barely being able to run for one minute straight to being able to power through for over 35 minutes straight. Depending on running speed, this is about 6 kilometres. According to the app, I have ran a total 144.09k over 21 hours and 39 minutes and this is sure to triple or even quadruple as the training continues.
Working in the heart of the Tame Valley Wetlands has given me the benefit of being surrounded by peaceful, scenic running routes. The neighbouring Middleton Lakes RSPB reserve has lots of beautiful winding paths stretching out for acres; you find yourself running a slightly different route each time. Listening to music as you run just isn’t necessary when you can listen to the buzz of nature surrounding you; the birds, rustling trees and streams. A particularly nice route is along the canal. Going in one direction takes you towards Tamworth and the other towards Bodymoor Heath and Kingsbury Water Park.
Kingsbury Water Park is another excellent place for a run, or just a walk. Like Middleton Lakes, it has an abundance of lakes, testament to the gravel extraction that took place across the local landscape in the 1970s and 1980s. As one of our volunteers highlights in his talks to our visitors, local gravel extraction built the likes of Spaghetti Junction and multiple tower blocks in Birmingham. The water park is extremely popular and boasts multiple play grounds, a visitor centre, bicycle hire, water skiing and an array of other fun-filled visitor attractions. Away from the central hustle and bustle of the park, you will also find some beautiful, peaceful paths and spot a variety of wildlife along the way.
Swan photographed at Kingsbury Water Park.
Once I was able to run 35 minutes straight, the app began training me to run in intervals. Although one might think having small breaks in between bursts of running makes it easier, I have found it really difficult to keep stopping and starting when running a long distance. Most recently I did five 12 minute runs with a couple of minutes break in between each stretch, which worked out at just over 10k.
My goal is to be able to run all the way from Kingsbury village, through the Water Park and Bodymoor Heath, along the canal towards Middleton Lakes and finish at Middleton Hall!
Hopefully, when I come to write my next blog post I will be well over 15k!
Amy is running Nottingham’s Robin Hood half-marathon in September to raise money to help restore our beautiful Tudor Barn and turn it into a visitor centre. If you would like to sponsor her, please head to: https://mydonate.bt.com/events/middletonhalltrust