Overexcitement   Leave a comment

After Sunday’s walkfest I discovered my buttocks were somewhat DOMSish so I went out for a short easy run in the morning to try and get them into some semblance of order so I could go to track in the evening. Unfortunately I was still knackered of limb so only managed 6 of the prescribed 10 600 metre reps. However it was my first trip to track for months so I was just pleased to be back. Now my mind is filled with iron I feel ready to get back into the more social aspects of running ie group training sessions. It was reasonably quiet too being post-marathon so it was a nice, not too stressful, return.

On Tuesday I waited until the evening then went to Tom’s session. It was a simple 5 x 1 mile. I tried hard but my times were quite slow. It was quite windy on the outward leg and I can’t expect to go straight back to where I want to be when I’ve been on the decline for months. At least I could put in the effort so hopefully times will follow. Also I hadn’t rested since last Friday and crammed a lot in because I feel so much better. If I’d tried to do this much a few weeks ago I’d have died of exhaustion. So progress. Must remain patient.

Wednesday was the return of track club. Just Rob, Paul and I this week. Perfect for a 200 parlauf! My achilles has been dodgy since the 20 x 10s I did weeks ago so I couldn’t be as fast as I wanted as I have to land flat/heelstrike on the right side or its too painful/on the cusp of real injury. Still faster than dream 5k pace though so it must be useful? Again I felt good mentally so the lack of any physical ability wasn’t too distressing. Especially as it’s obviously (at least partly) down to injury.

200 parlauf posse

Bumped into the elite age group 1500 runner Joe Ashley

Buoyed by an iron-filled brain I decided to go to Tom’s session on Thursday even though I knew my achilles seriously needed rest. I absolutely should not have done strides. Of course I did and it was FOOLISH. Almost entirely sent myself to an early achilles grave. Naturally I still continued with the session which was 6 x 800. I was forced to go steady what with one foot that had to be heel struck to save achilles and dogs and barbecues and people all over the prom. I did however do the greatest left-footed pass of a football back to a small boy which impressed everyone including elite ultra runner Dan Lawson who was watching his girlfriend who was part of Tom’s session.

So I rested on Friday because I’m very sensible. Of course I didn’t! I set off on a long run as slow is fine. Well obviously not fine, I just mean I could run because I could heel strike which is acceptable for the achilles. It was lovely and sunny so I just plodded along as best I could with one, well actually no, working legs (the other leg has an ongoing niggly knee). This was, naturally, pretty stupid.

So on Saturday I cycled to prom parkrun as the weather was pleasant again and I didn’t want to run on Sunday so I could watch the London marathon. I discovered 7.20 pace is too fast for the achilles so was obliged to stop after 400 metres to avoid total destruction. As it was such a nice day spectating was excellent.

Having a little jog after having pulled out after 400 metres

So that’s that really. I was so overexcited about feeling so much better in my brain and being physically capable of doing 8 days of running in a row I made the mistake of doing so even though I should have rested my achilles (about three weeks ago).

Brain full of iron, achilles full of death

I’ve made an appointment at the osteopath tomorrow so hopefully I haven’t done any significant damage and can get back to it (sensibly) after a few days of rest and rehab.

Anyway the main thing is I’m AWAKE and can THINK and am no longer in the fug of despond. Thank you iron.


Posted 22/04/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

Hello!   1 comment

I can’t run properly yet but at week 2 of cramming in the iron I feel somewhat better in general. I don’t have to sleep for 12+ hours a night or have an afternoon nap (except when I do), I can push my bike up the stairs without inducing cardiac arrest, and I don’t feel the need to eat and eat and eat to try and get some energy. Also I can now think. It can take months and months to restore iron levels so I’ve still got a long way to go to feel normal again (whatever that is – I’ve felt so tired for so long I can’t remember what it feels like to be able to run and train properly) but this is a promising start.

I was still distraught and exhausted after my rock bottom relay so I rested until Wednesday. As it was actually warm I decided to ease back gently with an easy run via Badger (the cat I feed occasionally). I even had to take my gloves off!

I did the same on Thursday in preparation for Tom’s session in the evening. It was 8 x 600 metres. I felt somewhat better and managed to keep my reps reasonably consistent (lost 6s between the first and last). Still a long way from where I should be but I was pleased I did them all with minimal pace loss.

I rested again on Friday as I don’t want to do too much too soon.

I decided to attempt a Rix session on Saturday. 3 x 9 minutes. He says this is good for a fast parkrun and he’s just gone sub 17 so HE KNOWS. Anyway I was pleased with the fact I could actually put in effort and breathe into more than 1% of my lungs as had been the case. The tempo sections weren’t very fast at all but I FELT better so once again, progress. Danny saw me as he drove past and said it looked like I was doing a tempo so I was surprised I looked like I was running hard but then he said he could tell because I looked knackered. DAMMIT. I was pleased that it was over 7 miles in the end as it didn’t feel like it.

Today (Sunday) was spent watching the BM10k and Brighton marathon. About 8 miles worth of walking. It’s so tiring spectating! Especially as I could have just walked 50 metres and watched mile 16 of the marathon but I wanted to see the 10k and I like to go at least once over the bridge they build specially and I had many friends to see both running and spectating.

“TICKLE IT!!!” top notch race photography from Tristan as always

Now it’s time to keep necking the iron and prepare for week three of the comeback.

Posted 15/04/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

Gloom   2 comments

This is how I feel. Until I can run properly again I can’t bring myself to blog. Goodbye for now.

Posted 08/04/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

Heave ho   1 comment

I rested on Monday which was a shame as it was the only nice day forecast for the whole week.

I didn’t do anything on Tuesday morning because I couldn’t work up any enthusiasm so I made sure I organised a lift to Tom’s evening session in Hove Park so I would HAVE to go whether I wanted to or not. This plan was very successful. I even did the full session of 8 x 1k. Thanks Ian!

I tried to do a long run on Wednesday but only made it to 8 miles. Better than a slap in the face with a wet fish (as my mother would say). It was really wet and cold. I didn’t really need to say that as when HASN’T it been? So fed up of it.

There was more of it, and strong winds, on Thursday and Friday so I did yet more nothing.

It was STILL going on on Saturday but I thought I’d better try and do something. I did. It was hideous and an abject failure. Then, an epiphany! Perhaps I’m anaemic again? The only other times I’ve run over 50 minutes for a 10k I’ve been anaemic as hades. It would also explain the fact that I’ve felt like I’ve been woken up from a deep sleep for weeks, I’ve been sleeping more than 11 hours a night and still having to have a nap in the afternoon, speeds that should feel comfortable are nigh on impossible blah blah blah… I bet if one searched back through this blog I’ve been through this at least twice. The trouble is, due to my complete lack of confidence or self esteem and general troubles with anxiety and depression I just assume I’m useless and could just try harder. But at the moment I’m actually in the right frame of mind and am trying. Thus I am taking lots of iron and B vitamins and hoping that they’ll kick in soon so that when I put in the effort the appropriate pace will follow. I’ve felt my training has been going well so hopefully once I’m fully ironed I’ll be able to get back to acceptable paces. I wonder if this also explains the horrible migraine a few weeks ago and the fact that just lifting my arms has been a struggle for weeks? Also my vision has been weird on and off for weeks. I have discovered marmite is the Lord of B vitamins, so naturally my jar is empty and Tesco is closed for Easter but tomorrow I’m buying the biggest jar ever.

My mate

Today (Sunday) I took the opportunity to do some pure speed.

1. It wasn’t too windy

2. It wasn’t raining

3. I wanted to try out my ex-gym shoes

I’d had this planned for ages so I knew where my 60 metre stretch was and that the 10 second intervals I’d programmed into my watch would mean a pace of 4.25 minute mile if I made it lamppost to lamppost.

Actual drone footage

As the reps were so short GPS didn’t really pick them all up properly, which I suspected would be the case hence measuring the distance and using the VDOT app to work out my pace. I reached the lamppost each time minimum and sometimes I got a bit further so and the one my TomTom managed to get was 3.55 pace so I was reasonably pleased that they were all around about 4mm pace. Just need to do that for another 1549 metres to give Sir Roger Bannister a scare. I had planned to do a fast 3 minutes after a 3 minute rest after the reps but I bailed out after 2 minutes due to my legs abandoning ship. However I was pleased with this session because I love sprinting (or attempting to sprint) and I love the helpfulness of the lampposts being precisely 60 metres apart. This session is my equivalent of Sarah doing 30 miles up and down the same two mile stretch of the seafront. The ex gym trainers were good. Much more flexible than Boosts and better grip and I’m glad they won’t just waste away in the cupboard now I’ve given up the gym.

My flexible friends

I’m afraid that’s it for this week. Sarah especially requested an extra long blog to help tide her over the long weekend of not enough running as she’s in taper but alas I didn’t do very much so I have failed in this respect. Sorry Sarah!

Let us now pray on this holiest of holy days that the weather stops being a massive teat so we can all get on with some nice spring time training. Amen.

I’m now off to try and drink the remnants of my marmite by filling the jar with boiling water.

Posted 01/04/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

More   Leave a comment

On Monday it was still freezing so I thought I’d attempt a treadmill session again after my failed attempt last time it was freezing and I’d rested fully beforehand. FAILED AGAIN. I wonder which part of it is causing the failure? Too much rest? Too cold? That sort of treadmill? Whatever it was I couldn’t even manage the first 10 minutes of my planned progression run of 12 -> 15kmph. Another wasted £7.20.

Tom’s session on Tuesday was perfect, being 12 x 800 + 3 miles continuous. Obviously I wasn’t going to do all of that as I’m not training for a marathon but 6 – 8 x 800 with 90s recovery would be perfect and should be much better in a group. I hoped to be able to do them in 6.40 pace. I didn’t time them but looking at my stats afterwards they seemed to be between 6.30 – 6.40 so I was pleased. I need to keep doing this kind of session and thought this was acceptable for my first proper attempt for ages.

On Wednesday I thought I should do a long run but I was quite tired after Tuesday and only managed 7 miles.

I’d hoped to do some good mile reps on Thursday as the forecast was for light winds. I have no idea why I thought the forecast would reflect reality and lo and behold when I got to the seafront it was very windy indeed. My mile reps were designed to be first half into the wind, the very light forecast wind, with a pleasant tail wind for the second half. Ha! The first 800 was a battle into extremely strong winds so even when I did turn so it was behind me I couldn’t make he most of it as I was knackered from trying to run into it. I completed the session though to practice mental toughness. Hopefully this means than when it’s not windy (if there should ever be such a time) I’ll be able to zoom.

I rested on Friday as I’d employed Tara to pace me at parkrun on Saturday as the wind forecast looked favourable. WHY WON’T I LEARN? I wanted to see how fast I can do 5k if I try fully throughout which I wouldn’t be able to do on my own. I hoped I’d be able to do 21.30 to get an average pace below 7mm. I knew that Tara would be the perfect pacer. She would take no nonsense and have no qualms in shouting at me. Also she’d pace evenly rather than my tendency to go out too fast.

Discussing tactics on the start line

And they’re off

Still reasonably alive at half way

As is the case when running at a proper pace the first bit feels relatively easy. Alas this doesn’t last long and by mile 2 I was struggling. We were just under 7 pace but alas when we turned into the last long stretch into the wind I died quite substantially and even Tara’s shouting couldn’t keep me at sub 7 and I dropped to 7.13. Boo. However I tried to drag out the final dregs of energy for the last straight that was mercifully wind behind. I managed a pathetic “sprint” finish for an official time of 21.43.

“Relax” a word she had seen in books

Although Strava puts my average pace at over 7 I’m cheating and using the pace calculator app to give myself an average of 6.59, precisely as I’d hoped.

Cheats always prosper

Even though this is still horribly slow it’s the best I’ve done for ages and I can definitely say I put in 100% thanks to Tara and her excellent pacing skills.

As I “stated” (to no-one except myself) I drew some additional positives.

1. First 100% effort in a race for ages

2. First 70% age grading for ages

3. First in age category

Ummmmm… I think that was it. I still felt sick at 3pm. Is that a positive?

Anyway I now have a true benchmark (thanks Chris for supplying this word when my brain had fallen out) of where I am.

Today (Sunday) I cycled over to Lancing to do the first Lancing College 10k. It was billed as a possible pb course. I knew it wouldn’t be having seen the route and this was irrelevant anyway as I’m so far off any pbs at present. I signed up solely because it’s new and I can cycle there. It was bloody feeezing, too hilly and off-road. I hit the wall severely at 6.5k. Well that’s my hills and off-road done for the year!

The elevation profile of a pb course (no wonder they wouldn’t show it beforehand on their webpage

30 miles for the week. 6 of which were acceptable (not today’s 6 obviously).

Posted 25/03/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

An eventful week   Leave a comment

It started off gently enough with a rest day on Monday.

On Tuesday I had planned to do a 5 mile threshold run at 7.37 mile pace as predicted by the VDOT app based on my Lancing 5k time of 22.18.

As you can see I was unsuccessful. Except in mile 2 where I slowed down specially. You will also note it is only 4 miles. This is because the arm was closed off for replenishment of the coastal defences. However this is probably better as I was reading something that said tempo effort should be between 20 and 40 minutes and this was near enough 30. I mustn’t tire myself out just because I feel that I “should” do higher mileage. Anyway this looks promising as I had to slow myself down to do the only threshold pace mile.

Wednesday was a trip to track. I haven’t been for ages due to inclement weather. Paul was going too so I got a lift so didn’t have to cycle in the remaining strong winds. Thanks Paul! I had plans for a 200 parlauf using three people. However there were 4 of us and we avoided half f the track because some men were fixing the hammer cage and we didn’t want to get in the way or trip over their cables which were stretched across the track. This meant we had to use our combined brainpower to work out how to do a 200 parlauf back and forth. We cracked it and did 5 x 200 each, which meant going the wrong way up the 200 metre stretch. After a break we did another 5, starting at the opposite end so we’d do the same number the right way as the wrong way. Unfortunately our almighty 4 brains had obviously fallen out as we managed to start it incorrectly which meant Gary had to set off on his own. It worked out ok in the end but jeeeeez how can it be so complicated? Especially as we did it perfectly the first time. It inspired me to make this so I can plan future sessions. (I tried it today [Sunday]) and my mind was fried with its complicated ness. It’s 400 parlauf from now on.)

I’ll keep it secret who represents who

Rob failing to understand the intricate workings of his phone

Success! After only 50 to 60 failed attempts…

I liked this session even though I was very slow and it was very windy in both directions. Donned my spikes for the second set of 5.


I arrived home and was immediately struck by the unmistakable first stage of a migraine. Kaleidoscopic flashing lights in front of the right eyeball (actually in the brain but it seems to be in the right eye). It was a long, painful, vomitous 6 hours.

This meant Thursday was spent in a spaced out, queasy, post-migraine hangover. Horrible. As the forecast was for a freezing, snowy weekend I decided to attempt Tom’s evening session.


Something else happened on Thursday. There was a massive fire very near my house.

Somehow, even though my house it approximately 300 metres away, there was no smoke to be seen. It appeared to have been blown straight up and over. The bottom photo shows my route from home to Tom’s session, which is held just out of shot to the left.

Anyway, back to the action (as if my running is more action than a MASSIVE FIRE). Tom’s session was 8 x 600m. He set up the route so there was a short stretch into the wind followed by a longer stretch with the wind behind. (Strangely [I’ve just realised] the smoke was still blowing inland and away from us even though the wind seemed to be blowing straight west along the seafront.) The fire was still burning, there was an eerie orange glow. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to complete the whole session as I wasn’t feeling very well and hadn’t eaten properly after the full day of no eating on Wednesday and the attendant queasy Thursday. Thankfully I only began to lag on the last two reps and they still weren’t too bad, just a little slower.

Running back through the smoke there were still plenty of people watching the fire from the top road. As it was raining the smoke was much lower and quite stinging of eye.

On Friday I went out for a long run to make sure I’d done everything before the onslaught of winter due at the weekend. Thankfully it was sunny and warm and not too windy. The smoke was now very low slung and choking but contained within a 200 metre radius of the fire site so I only had to run through it right at the start and finish. I got my first tan lines of the year which was even better seeing as Saturday and Sunday were full on winter with snow and strong freezing winds. I’d scheduled this as a rest weekend, hence the cramming of everything into Thursday and Friday even though I still felt pretty ill after migraine.

Another pleasing week of training, covering the 4 runs I feel I need to do each week to keep me on track (no pun intended). If it ever stops being winter and there are no more hideous migraines or conflagrations then hopefully I can start stepping it up a bit and moving towards acceptable 5k speeds.

Posted 18/03/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

A successful week   Leave a comment

This week I was determined to finally do a balanced week of training. I started well by resting on Monday.

On Tuesday I joined Rob at the track to do some proper fast stuff. Turns out my fast isn’t very fast at the moment but I enjoyed putting on my spikes and attempting to sprint. Hopefully if I kept this up once a week I’ll get some proper speed back. Also I must stop comparing myself to Rob who is the Usain Bolt of Withdean. A mixture of 200s and 100s to get the legs moving. Please can someone tell me why Rob takes a thousand steps to every one of mine? Am I in fact a giraffe (of leg only)?

Who knew this ancient drawing would ever be apt?

On Wednesday I broke from the norm and went over to Lancing to recce a 5k course that runs on Sunday, parkrun style. I learnt about it via Michael Rix and he kindly offered to show me the route so I could then do it for real on Sunday with less anxiety. He said we would be running with “a young lad called Michael who is training for his first marathon” who turned out to be Mike who I already know, who has already done about 8 marathons! Anyway this was good as I didn’t have to be extra nervous. We ran the Lancing course to begin with then carried on to make 10 miles altogether. Michael said we must speed up at the end and this we did. Unfortunately I was trapped within a phalanx of bicyclists for the first bit so got left behind but I still upped the pace for the last 300 metres or so. It was good to do a different route, in company and even some sunshine.

I rested again on Thursday. Sprints followed by a long run equals limbs of doom (unsurprisingly).

On Friday I had planned a k reps session. THE WIND FORECAST LIED. Each rep was to be run first 500 into the wind. This is standard practice of course but the wind was so windy it was impossible to move on the outward leg so when I turned round I was too dead to make use of the tailwind. I wanted to give up immediately but I slogged it out.

After this I had another rest on Saturday. I felt an easy jog would tire me out whilst delivering no real benefits. Sticking to the sensible.

Today it was time to do the Lancing 5k in real life. I set off on my bike on the previously uncharted route to Lancing Beach Green car park. I decided to try this 5k because at the moment my rampant anxiety and paranoia means running with people I know is a struggle sometimes so I hoped this would be quiet and contain no-one I knew. Correct. The actual course is very narrow, twisty and turny and full of Sunday promenaders just going about their business thus rather crowded. There were only about 30 runners and we strung out almost immediately so this wasn’t a problem but due to all the general public there was a lot of weaving and eye peeling to make sure there were no collisions. I arrived at the finish line unscathed having achieved what I wanted which was to run the whole course with no slumpjogging and to finish fast in the Rix-style which I’m incorporating into all my runs.

The success I mentioned in my title relates to doing, what I think is, the right balance of training for me. One long run, one reps session, one pure speed session and one tempo/longer endurance type session. This week I was feeling under the weather (what a stupid phrase, everyone is under the weather all the time) so the faster runs were more of a struggle than they should have been but I hope that once I feel 100% I might be able to start hitting some more acceptable times.

So that’s that for this week. I hope to be able to report similar tales of success again next Sunday.

Adios (as my shoes would say).

Posted 11/03/2018 by Isobel Muir in Running

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