Windy start muddy finish   Leave a comment

As the Hoveish area was once again being thrashed by extreme winds I had to do Monday’s half training session on the treadmill. This means a three mile cycle to the gym which I decided to do along the seafront. Almost total death. Straight into the top 5 of most dangerous cycles of all time. Strong cross winds and sea foam being hurled horizontally at my poor face. Once I got to the gym it was a 10 minute warm up at 8.40 pace then 50 minutes at 7.09 pace. It was comfortable throughout which leads me to believe the treadmill was lying, but what it should lead me to believe is that I’m fitter than I give myself credit for.

Tuesday was the usual Core & Stretch. I am still not stretchy.

On Wednesday the wind was still ridiculous so it was back to the gym for another treadmill session. This time it was a progression run. 11 – 15kmph, upping by 1k every 10 minutes. This works out at 8.40, 8.04, 7.28, 6.55, 6.25 mile pace. I had the thought of a bit of 16kmph (6.02) for the last 10 minutes if I was still alive by then but I wasn’t so I dropped back to 8.40 pace for the last ten minutes. This was pretty hard thus good.

In the evening I went to weights but halved the bar weights as a nod to the cross country on Saturday.

Thursday was a windy disaster again so I was happy it was a scheduled rest day.

Hallelujah! By Friday the wind had dropped so I was able to do an easy 7 without the hindrance of a hurricane.

Saturday was the day of my first cross country for about three years. I have no idea why I signed up for it as I hate cross country. It was the masters xc race at Lancing. Last time I did it it was just once up the hill but alas now it’s two. As the weather had been so horrible the course was just mud. Utter mud. Even my blunt 3mm retro track spikes from 2004 didn’t help and I have never been so terrified of falling over. I used to have no fear but alas now I have much fear. There were probably about 200 metres over the whole 4 mile course that were just about runnable but the rest was just a slippery, muddy death trap. I decided that living to see my long run on Sunday was more important than anything else so proceeded at the speed of a snail (except the two tiny bits of grass field where there was enough traction to attain sub 5.30 mile speed for a few metres). Absolutely hideous.

Not sulking as decreed by the arm writing

Photos stolen from various sources

Thankfully I was unscathed for my long run on Sunday. Soles of feet battered from the stony sections on spikes and hips dead from all the sliding about but nothing too disastrous. I had a planned route that would take me to about 14 miles and the wind forecast was favourable. I bumped into Sarah (happy birthday!) and Tom after two miles so ran with them for a bit then continued with my planned route. Thankfully before I reached the zig zag I met Rob coming from there so turned back with him. I think the zig zag was unnecessary for me after yesterday so I wasn’t disappointed to miss it and it meant I had company for a good 4 miles or so on the way back towards Shoreham arm. Rob turned back at the lagoon and I continued to the arm. Due to my mini detours I didn’t quite make it to 14 miles but it didn’t matter as it’s still progress from last week’s 12 and after 10 miles my hip flexors had thrown in the towel (who can blame them after yesterday) making the slog back into the wind from the arm rather slow but just about within the realms of acceptability.

Another good 40 miles for the week.

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Posted 21/01/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

A moment of madness   Leave a comment

On Monday I decided it was time to start doing some hard tempo runs as I’ve been slacking on everything for too long. I know what I need to do to be good and have been doing none of it. Yes I’ve done some good sessions but none of them are actually any good on their own and won’t progress me in what I want to be good at. So a tempo run was the order of the day. I wanted to do 4 miles fast. Further than parkrun to get used to feeling horrible whilst running. I went straight into it as I feared if I started slowly I just wouldn’t bother speeding up and end up doing a normal medium long, easy run. I’m concentrating on putting in the effort and ignoring the actual pace as it guaranteed to be agonisingly slow. Thus I managed 4 miles effort followed by 4 miles easy. Added bonus is the easy part is faster than straight easy. I was pleased that I’ve finally come out of the slump and want to get better.

THEN I ENTERED THE WORTHING HALF MARATHON.

What the actual?

I just went to Core & Stretch on Tuesday to reflect on my unexpected entry. Why have I only entered things I hate the most? A cross country and a half marathon? C&S was full of New Years resolutioners so my pondering was complemented by having Austin’s toes in my face.

By Wednesday I was ready to start some half marathon training. Sarah said I had five weeks which was plenty of time to get ready for an acceptable half. I’ve never trained specifically for a race before so now is the time. It’s only five weeks so hopefully I can stick it out (though I’m sure there will be plenty of unhelpful things I add). I stole my first run from Sarah, copying her previous day’s 2 x 2 miles easy, 2 miles at half pace (except I changed half pace to tempo effort as pace is a no at the moment). It’s much more pleasant breaking a long run into sections so the 10 miles passed less painfully than normal. I went to weights as normal in the evening.

On Thursday it was a nice easy 5 miles. Thankfully it wasn’t windy and I was only suffering mildly from the usual hip flexor/inner thigh strain post pump.

Friday was a long easy run. Due to the half I extended it to 12 miles. As the wind was the other way to usual I took the opportunity to change my route a bit. All the way out to Rottingdean, into the wind, then all the way back, even choosing to run up the zig zag by the marina on the way back (officially lost marbles). It was not as unpleasant as I anticipated. Hooray! Perhaps I can now FINALLY get back to 2013 levels and beyond? You’ve got to WANT to do it and hopefully now I do.

As I’d already agreed to go climbing on Sunday (before the half marathon madness) I decided to run to/from parkrun as a sort of medium long with tempo run. It was so windy and freezing I thought I wouldn’t even get to parkrun in time as I was battling a ferocious headwind the whole way there. However this wind is the best way for parkrun. As usual I just wanted to keep up the effort and had to ignore the massive changes in pace from wind assisted to wind hindered. A bonus was that the wind was behind on the run home.

Wind assisted

Today I went climbing. No running. Hardly any climbing either as it was too busy and I was too nervous. Plenty of scrapes though and I’m sure bits of me will ache tomorrow.

Thanks Joe for the “action” shots

Posted 14/01/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

2018   Leave a comment

Start of a new week. Start of a new year. Start of an new age category. Two cold and wet parkruns. One due to sea encroaching on land. One because it started raining. The prom one (first) wasn’t too bad as it wasn’t raining, was only gale force 5 and the sea was just about avoidable. Also I was only jogging it. Unfortunately it all went downhill from then as the gap between the two is just long enough to get cold. I cycled over to Hove Park with Tristan (who was running to make a half marathon for the day – madness). As I was now freezing I put on all my cycling clothes for the run. I tried to go a bit faster at this one but it’s always hard as my legs had seized up after the first one and I was now infernally hungry. Parma violets just don’t hack it. Rob didn’t allow any slacking though so I smashed it with an utterly mediocre time via maximum effort. New Years resolution: stop being rubbish.

On Tuesday I was looking forward to going to Jenny’s Core & Stretch class having done my usual amount of stretching over the festive period. Unfortunately Jenny wasn’t there so the class was being covered by Damon. Which meant it was too downward doggish for my stupid shoulders to cope with. Matt was also there so we spent a lot of time in child’s pose. Somehow even missing out 100000 dogs the class was really hard. Also time had ceased to progress. I seriously thought the clock was broken and was going to ask if it was a two hour class this week but it wasn’t. Longest hour I’ve ever experience. Longer than when you’re a child at school. Very strange. Luckily I exited the time/space wormhole and the rest of the day passed in a reasonable manner.

I was feeling very much knackered after all the festive racing so decided not to run on Wednesday (there may also have been 1000000 mile an hour winds that I couldn’t face). I did go to weights though. Toby decided to ease us in “gently” so we had no bar. When Toby promises the class will be “easy” or “gentle” you know it will be even worse than normal (which isn’t even possible). After a gadzillion dumbbell shoulder presses whilst side squatting off the bench along with everything else I was already ruined. Though actually that’s sometimes for the best because if I’m broken during I tend to not be so broken in the subsequent days.

I didn’t even need to test this theory as I rested on Thursday and Friday.

As my bike was having an MOT I had to run to parkrun on Saturday. I should probably do this more as it means I at least do a bit of a warm up. 2 miles there at a snail’s pace. The parkrun was once again not speedy, because I have no speed endurance at present, but it was much more consistently paced (no 6.45 first mile followed by a gradual decline in pace to stationary). Rob took on the role of motivator once more which was VERY HELPFUL. Another mediocre time but I’m getting better at sustained effort.

Here he is putting a new exerciser through his paces (Massive arm muscles artist’s impression)

Today (Sunday) I wanted to do a long run with some hills. The wind was in an unusual direction and was very strong (not unusual) so I took a different route to normal. My knee became unhappy after about 6 miles (possibly because of the hills) so I didn’t make 11 miles as I’d planned but I managed 9 and as it was hillier than normal it was probably equally hard.

A paltry 22 miles for the week but the rest probably did me good. Time to get stuck in properly again as of tomorrow.

Posted 07/01/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

Oops! Nearly forgot.   1 comment

Stupid Christmas meaning I totally forgot it’s Sunday.

Monday really WAS Christmas which means bonus parkrun! Hoorah. I did have to cycle over to Preston Park but that’s not so bad on Christmas Day as no cars. Hoopla! I tried to replicate Saturday’s success but as I’d succeeded on Saturday and run 10 miles on Sunday I was a little too tired and only managed 22.15. I still tried though and, as I never stop wanging on about, the trying is what is important at the moment. I need to remember that just because my times are not very good at the moment that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried (except when I haven’t which hasn’t been recently).

444 festive parkrunners … and a partridge in a pear tree

Tuesday was back over to Preston Park (more cars this time) for the Boxing Day Races. It was very windy but I decided to stick to my plan of going with Cathy for as long as possible (knowing she gets faster as I get slower). I stuck with her for a lap then she gradually pulled away over the next 3. Well actually I slowed down. However, again, I did try and even managed to speed up on the last lap rather than peter out and give up. Once again a slow time but I was reasonably pleased especially with my efforts up the hill (the race goes on the inside of the park now so it’s a shorter but much lumpier, off road uphill).

Never waste a step past the finish line

Some of Tom’s group post race

I took Wednesday as a rest day as the weather was too horrific to contemplate and also I was rather tired after lots of effortful running.

Thursday was much better weather wise so I took the opportunity to get a long run in. I knew the prom would be utterly rammed with people, dogs and children. It was even worse. I had always planned to run mostly up and down Basin Road to try and avoid them but I couldn’t even do the Shoreham Arm bit as they were EVERYWHERE. I managed 10 miles but it was horrendous.

As was the weather on Friday so I crossed trained by carrying a massive sack of cat litter home from Tesco (along with all my normal shopping).

On Saturday I had planned a hard parkrun, a proper plan, motivational words on Arm, the whole hog. The weather forecast was for reasonably strong winds but balmy conditions. IT LIED. IT LIED SO BADLY. I know I’ve mentioned my wind rage before but I’d actually been very good with remaining calm. Today that was ruined as it was so bloody windy it was impossible to breathe or move. A man spat and it was whipped straight into my mouth. I cannot speak any further about the hideousness of this run.

I had hoped to redeem myself (redeem isn’t the right word but hey ho) today by doing a tempo run on the treadmill. My gym was closed so I bought a PayAsUGym code for the one near me which was open. Unfortunately the treadmills were rather rickety, or rather they weren’t on a flat surface so not only very noisy to run on but very wobbly. I had wanted to do 6.55 mile pace/4.17k/14kmph but after 2k I knew it wasn’t to be today (once again I’d been doing myself a disservice on how hard my preceding week’s running had been). I found it very hard to get a proper breath in (even though my treadmill had a built in fan – so modern) and my post it wouldn’t stick and just everything combined to make it doomed to failure. However I’d paid £6 so I promised myself that I’d get to 12k (7.5 miles) even though I had to drop the pace to 12kmph. Just one of those days, but I ground it out having to look at the blasted time and distance inexorably moving onwards at a snail’s pace.

That’s that for 2017.

Roll on 2018

Posted 31/12/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Hamstricken   1 comment

After the hamstring foolishness of Sunday I rested on Monday. It was the Arena after-track Christmas social so I went to that to at least be in the vicinity of runners for a bit. Mulled wine and Doritos are great recovery fuel right?

As I hadn’t been to Core & Stretch for a few weeks I thought perhaps that could have some bearing on the hamstring troubles so off I went. I’ve been very good at being sensible so I was prepared to take it very easily if necessary. In fact my hamstrings were completely fine. It’s obviously something in the act of running/walking/cycling that they don’t like.

I had wanted to do Tom’s handicap 10k in the evening but there was no way that could happen so I went along to help John timekeep. It was bloody impossible! The trouble with a handicap is everyone comes in at once so it was impossible to write all the names down. I see now why races make you wear numbers. I fortified myself afterwards with some prosecco and received a box of mince pies for my efforts.

On Wednesday I went to Toby’s class as usual. He added some totally new kettlebell moves. I loved them as I miss the kettlebell class I used to go to that was stopped. Yet I also knew I’d pay for them later. Slow side bends and something where you have foot on bench The Thinker style then do a very slow backwards tricep lift thing (I don’t think that’s it official name). In fact I was already paying for them before the class finished, though actually that’s better as it meant no DOMS to speak of (yet, but it is Saturday now so I think I’ve got away with it).

By Thursday I thought that was plenty of not running so went out for a little hamstring test run. Still pretty much a disaster. Dr Google suggested various things to try so I got stuck in. Being so very sensible, as is my wont, I rested fully on Friday.

On Saturday I decided to try out the prom. Rather, try out my leg on the prom at parkrun. Luckily (for me) Rob was feeling a bit groo so was able to drop back and shout at me. I always do better with someone forcing me onwards. So now I have a start point to improve from. 21.32. My hamstring was still slightly dodgy so I didn’t want to anger it with a full on sprint at the end so that’s the only place I could have done better at. The main thing is I definitely tried. Tristan was worried I was actually dead at the end so there was external evidence that I did indeed try.

Before Rob arrived for pacing duty

Next I want to complete a parkrun with the average pace below 7 minute miling. Alas this one was 7.01.

So here we are on Christmas Eve (completely irrelevant and of no interest to me whatsoever [bah humbug always]). I needed to get a longish run in as there’s parkrun tomorrow and the Boxing Day 5 mile race on, you guessed it, Boxing Day. It was far too windy and drizzly and mild to be in any way Christmassy. It was Christmassy insofar as everyruddybody was getting in my way on the prom though. So I headed off up Basin Road as usual to get away from PEOPLE. Anyway I managed 10 miles at an acceptable pace, especially as it was so windy.

To finish here is a struggle I’m sure others of you suffer.

Why are running tights always so blinking short?I don’t want freezing ankles thank you. Not to mention the titillation to any men or ladies who glimpse my well turned, yet possible frozenblue, lower leg joints

Posted 24/12/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Putting all my eggs in one Wednesday basket   Leave a comment

I had planned to do a treadmill session on Monday in lieu of track which I thought would be called off due to ice (it was). However the forecast was extremely strong winds and freezing temperatures and heavy rain so I was ordered not to cycle in such treacherous conditions and being the obedient sort I didn’t.

On Tuesday I was going to either do a long run or go to Core & Stretch but the freezing temperatures and damp ground made me fear everything would be too icy so I did nothing again.

By Wednesday the weather was more amenable so I cycled to the gym to do the postponed Monday treadmill interval session. 6 x 1k in 3.45 (16kmph/18.45 5k pace/6.02mm). 2 minutes recovery walk. I thought this should be ok as I can do 13.5 minutes solidly at 16kmph so not even 4 minutes should be easy right? Not right. I had the post it note on the display as usual and had set my watch to buzz at the start/end of the reps so every time it beeped I pressed the button to change the pace to/from walk to run pace. From the start I found it harder than I’d hoped. Maybe because I’d done absolutely nothing for 3 days. Anyway I had been informed I MUSTN’T FAIL. So I didn’t. I was utterly knackered when I got home and wasn’t sure I’d be able to muster the energy to go to work but obviously I did. I then went back in the evening and did weights back on full heaviness. Three days of nothing followed by two of the hardest things I’ve done. Hmmmmmmm.

Which leads me on to Thursday. Oh. My. God. Soooooooooo utterly ruined and dead and devoid of anything pertaining to life. I still tried to do a long run because I am 100% an idiot. Managed 5.5 miles of almost 10 minute miling.

Absolute Isobellend. I did at least not attempt to do Tom’s mile reps in the evening even though I really wanted to as it would have been a disaster.

I finally dredged up some sort of sense and did nothing on Friday except eat and try and regain some sort of strength and semblance of normality.

On Saturday it was the Arena superseries Age Grading parkrun in Hove Park. It was so icy I didn’t even attempt to run it. I just went there for the social aspect and the team photo (though who knows why as I hate photos).

Thanks Danny for the photo

I discovered that my right hamstring had become destroyed at some point (probably on the Wednesday of death) so a mini-stride shuffle was all I could manage anyway.

Today (Sunday) I wanted to do a long run but my blasted hamstring wasn’t very happy. I hoped it might loosen of over the course of the run but it got progressively tighter so I got progressively slower ending up just under 10 minute miling. Just over 10 miles in total. The moral of this story is don’t try and do all the hardest things ever on the same day.

Let’s hope I can be sensible and allow my hamstring to heal. Ha!

Posted 17/12/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

Titular tat   Leave a comment

As it wasn’t too windy on Monday I thought it best to test the remaining level of ill with an easy run on the seafront rather than waste a non windy morning and possibly discover I wasn’t well enough for track once I arrived there in the evening. I managed an uneventful 8 miles with just a few coughs. An almost metronomic 8.30mm pace.

Buoyed by this success I decided to make the most of Tuesday also not being windy to go out for a proper long run. Disaster! I’d had a relapse and only managed 5.3 miles at just under 9mm pace. Annoying as if I’d known this would happen I’d have gone to Core & Stretch as usual instead. There was a chance for redemption though as Tom’s evening session was 3 x 1 mile + a continuous 5k to finish. I’d always planned to just do the mile reps. This time they were spread over the 5k route rather than the usual up and done at the lagoon end. This was fine but it meant the first mile was totally wind behind, the second half behind half in face and the last one fully into the wind. I was pleased with my times of 6.32, 6.40 and 6.45. Not the speediest but I really tried which is the point for me at the moment and as I still had the never ending cough I accepted that that was as good as I’d get.

I did nothing on Wednesday morning as I thought that was probably sensible after double Tuesday. I did however go back to my normal weights at class in the evening after having had to drop to half that during the lingering cold of nonsense.

I rested fully on Thursday.

On Friday I decided to have another go at the 16kmph-until-I-drop on the treadmill. 13 and a half minutes!!!! Whoop whoop!! I didn’t look under the post it until I’d slowed the treadmill as usually I look which is the kiss of death and means only a minute until I give up. This way I have to keep going as I have no clue how well or otherwise I’m doing and once I’ve stopped that’s it.

Saturday was another chance to get in a long run before Sunday descended into apocalyptic winds and severe rain. I managed 10.7 miles which will do. I wanted to do longer really but there was no point battling on past the point where I ran out of energy. Part of my new regime is being sensible and trying to do less, but enough, without killing my self. I’m doing ok so far I think.

Today I had to brave the elements to feed the beautiful Badger (cat) again and just trying to walk there and back was horrendous so goodness knows how anyone managed to run/race in it. Looks like next week is pretty crap too (except Tuesday). Blinking winter.

Alas waterproofs also don’t let water out

Posted 10/12/2017 by Isobel Muir in Running

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