Archive for December 2012

A record week for mileage and being sensible   2 comments

On Thursday there was a brief return to normality when I returned to HovePark for the usual interval session. Only 7 hardy souls were there this time reminding me of the olden days when 7 would have been seen as a good turnout. Having only run long and slow for the last week I felt quite fresh and fired with motivation and mince pies. We set off for a hill session that incorporated 4 different hills. The short, long, green light and Legal & General. I felt I was actually running quite well which hasn’t happened for ages so this was excellent. It doesn’t matter what actual speed I am running as long as I feel like I’m working as hard as I should be. In this instance I had the company of Rob’s clicking trainer to spur me on. There were even some double clicks as his ankle joined in. I discovered I am still rubbish at counting when we embarked on the 7 lamppost uphill/downhill part of the session. If more than a couple of the lamps were lit it may have helped (doubtful). Anyway I was pleased with my return to enjoying running and doing it (a bit of) justice.

On Friday I took part in a 90 minute spin class with Jeff whose normal 40 minute class is an absolute killer. I was a little worried about my chances of survival but managed to pace myself (sort of). It was of course hard hard work. The usual mix of sprints, climbs and general lung bursting, vomit inducing grimness. Throw in a bit of backwards pedalling to mess with the mind and all the staple elements were covered. There were only two people in the class and the other lady was the queen of spinning. I don’t know how she spun her legs so fast. I was in awe. Even Jeff conceded defeat and gave up trying to match her. Thankfully a 20 minute section mid-class sped by so it didn’t drag forever onwards as I had feared. As usual my legs were a wibbling wreck when I dismounted at the end. This did not bode well for going back up two flights of stairs to collect my sodden coat which was hanging on the radiator in the changing room (my other cycling clothes were on the reception and studio radiators) then cycling home into the obligatory post-spin headwind. I somehow managed it with minimal weeping and cursing.

I decided whilst I was on a running mission I’d do the last parkrun of the year. It was exceedingly windy but this didn’t stop the man who won in 14.34! I felt I was running quite fast but obviously wasn’t as I crossed the line in a paltry 21.46. I wasn’t too bothered though as I have done a lot this past week. The fact I felt like I was trying throughout is itself a cause for celebration as usually I think I could have tried harder at various points. I managed not to be lapped by the winner which is also a bonus! My poop 68% age grading didn’t disappoint me too much and being 72/334 overall, 4/107 ladies and first in my age category eased the feelings of crapness somewhat. Didn’t get rained on either which is a miracle in recent times.

This morning I dragged myself out for the final long run of the mammoth mileage (for me) week. It was stupidly windy once again and as always behind us on the way out thus meaning a slog of doom on the way back. I ran with Rob, Kevin and Danny (the boxing day posse regrouped) averaging about 8.30 minute miling. By the time I was almost home I was utterly knackered and managed to veer into a lamppost giving my elbow an almighty bash. Ouch! Luckily I had left the others on the seafront so didn’t humiliate myself in front of anyone. After lying on the kitchen floor for a while with my legs up the wall I ordered myself a new pair of trainers on ebay ready to get down to some serious training in 2013.



I really must finally get my sub 20 5k, sub 2.30 800m and any other targets I have set myself over the years and failed to attain. Though I mustn’t forget that I have set 3 new PBs this year. 20.35 at parkrun, 20.22 track 5k (my first) and 42.55 at 10k. Things are on the up. Roll on 2013!

Going long and slow with mojo   Leave a comment

There was no track on Monday what with it being Christmas eve so I factored in a rest day as I knew I would be going long on both Christmas and Boxing day.

As Christmas day rolled around I levered myself out of bed in the dark and troughed a nice big bowl of porridge in preparation for a nice slow 9 or so miles. The Run Brighton group were meeting at the Peace Statue at 9 so I tried to time it so I would coincide with them just as they started so I didn’t have to stop and get cold. This worked almost perfectly as the were just heading off towards the pier as I was about 100 yards away! The group run was around 5 miles to the Marina and back to the Peace Statue but with my additional 4 or so to get to the Peace Statue and it was about 9 to 10 miles for me in the end. We did get a bit rained on and it was rather windy but I ran nice and slowly around 9 minute miling so it was quite pleasant and good to have got out there (even doing mini laps of the Christmas tree whilst waiting to regroup). The beauty of a nice slow run is that my legs are in no way battered so the prospect of doing it again on Boxing Day did not fill me with dread.

Andy came to collect me this morning bright and early(ish) so that we could meet up with a few others for a 5 mile warm up to give me another 10 mile long run. (Ridiculous really seeing as my weekly mileage was about 8 miles until Sunday since when I have done three 10(ish) milers.) Again we set off steadily at 9 minute miling. When the actual race rolled around Danny, Kevin, Rob and I decided to stick at this nice easy pace. Danny and Rob are in various stages of recovery from deadly manflu and I was there for another nice and easy 10 so it was sensible to not push ourselves. Thus we trundled round the 5.5 mile course in a highly pedestrian 47.30. Perfect though to get yet more miles in my legs without killing myself or even being out of breath.

Tomorrow it is back to the usual Thursday Hove Park interval session so perhaps I will get a bit of speed out of my legs there. Real life starts next week though I think.

Out of the doldrums, mojolly good   Leave a comment

After the coughing foolishness of Wednesday and Thursday I felt much better on Friday and had a hankering to go for a long run. Mojo returns unannounced! It was a bright and sunny day which made getting out on the seafront much easier. The first 3 or so miles were fine but once I turned just past the pier I began to flag a bit. Not surprising as I’ve not run any serious distance for over a month. I struggled valiantly (and slowly) onwards but was wishing that the apocalypse had come true as that would have stopped my run after about 4 miles. Alas it didn’t so I had to run all the way home. It was only about 7 miles altogether and quite a struggle but at least I was back on the horse (or any other phrase of that nature). Took 63 minutes so a steady 9 minute miling.

Fired with enthusiasm after the sudden return of desire to run I set off to parkrun in the torrential downpour that was Saturday. I knew my time would be lacklustre at best but I wanted to run it as it was the last race in the Arena super series for 2012 securing me a third place spot in the table. I arrived and joined my fellow sodden team mates for the official photoshoot. It was slightly delayed as the photographer had been delayed after roads were closed due to flooding but Holly dug out her phone and here we are!

The Arenas pre-parkrun, already soaked.

The Arenas pre-parkrun, already soaked.

Once the run got underway my mediocre predictions came true (self-fulfilling prophecy?) as I lost Chris almost immediately and didn’t have the motivation to try and catch her back up. I slogged home soggily in a paltry 21.53. Luckily most people’s times were down a bit anyway so it didn’t seem quite so bad. I was still just happy that I actually wanted to get back on the running wagon (too many cowboy analogies). After steaming gently in the café for a while I trudged home on my bike (can one trudge on a bike? I think not…). Once I had hung all my soaked waterproofs on the radiators I began looking forward to this morning’s seafront run which would include a slight gatecrash of the Run Brighton marathon training run. I met up with Andy, Danny and Michelle at the lagoon and ran with them to Carats where the official run started. As this was my second long run in 3 days I had planned to take it easy as a nice long, slow run to get the cardio going. Luckily Danny and Trevor had the same idea so we set off at a nice steady 9 minute mile pace. Chatting merrily all the way along the seafront we lost Trevor and his baubles somewhere, chatting to Lee I think, but continued onwards towards the pier. Danny decided that he would start dragging me out for long runs post Christmas so we can both “smash it” in 2013. This seems like a jolly fine idea as I work better if someone MAKES me run. As I shall be rejoining the Wednesday evening group which is a 9 mile run I can join him another day to get another longish one in. Hopefully a nice slow one like today. Lungs not legs! Danny peeled off towards home at the pier so I continued back into the wind. Once I was alone I found it much harder to keep going, not sure if I accidentally sped up as tends to happen or if I just conked out after my triumphant return not three days earlier. I managed to wave for Lee who was taking photos as I made my way through mile 6.

Practicing my Danny pose.

Practicing my Danny pose.

Dragging my sorry carcass home I was pleased I got out (and didn’t get rained on) and tried not to be too concerned with all the fitness I lost in my mojoless period. I can, and will, get it back! Many thanks to Danny for becoming my motivator and encouraging me to gatecrash today’s run. I look forward to getting back on it fully in 2013.Merry Christmas everyone and see you next Wednesday.

Christmas time, don’t let the (kettle)bells end   Leave a comment

Christmas time, don’t let the (kettle)bells end

Yet another cold. This one made up mainly of pointless coughing and spluttering. Another reason to dislike this time of year. Come on January! Though that will only get rid of the Christmas crap aspect.

Skipped off to track merrily with Des on Monday which meant I did his usual 3 mile hilly warm up around the streets of Withdean. It was not so cold so we managed this without sliding to our deaths on frosty patches. The actual session consisted of 8 x 800 split into 2 x (600tempo, 200fast, 400t, 400f, 200t, 600f) with an 800 to do with what you will at the end. 1 minute rest between reps. I started off in my normal group but midway round the first 800 warm up Bob split the group in half so I found myself with Chris, Des and a new man. This was completely fine as Chris is the dream pacer so I knew if I stuck with her the session would turn out perfectly. In this case it didn’t quite as there was a bit of watch discrepancy between Chris’s watch and the new man’s Garmin. I have just realised I was wearing a watch so could have adjudicated but I didn’t think of that at the time as mine was buried up my sleeve. Anyway, who cares? I stuck with Chris and all was well. No idea really of our times but it didn’t feel particularly strenuous. Nice to take it easy now and again. I was only really at track for the mulled wine afterwards which I duly drank a bit of and then buggered off home.

On Tuesday it was off to Core & Stretch as usual. It seemed particularly corey this time, or perhaps I was just doing it better than usual after not having killed myself at track. I do not have any visible abs of steel though alas. Kettlebells in the evening (which I haven’t been to for two weeks – tsk) was being covered by Neil which meant I could do everything with much lighter weights than usual as he doesn’t know which I usually use. Oh tut, what a slacker. I noticed that using the lighter weights meant no blisters which was a bonus. As Christmas Day and New Year’s Day are Tuesdays I shan’t be kettlebelling again until the 8th of January so my blisters may have turned into nice fat calluses by then. I must gird my loins for the influx of new year’s resolutioners and try and remain calm as they will be gone by February.

As I have been full of cold I have yet to smash it (ie myself) in the gym so this too will happen in January when it is full of newbies. Though I am going back to long runs as I feel they are necessary not just to help my running but more crucially to keep me sane. I have definitely noticed myself going downhill in a state-of-mind sense recently and I’m sure some of the blame lies on my not having done any long runs for 5 weeks. Thus I shall be going back to Wednesday evening runs, but not today due to ridiculous coughing pointlessness. I told you I am a contrary sort and change my mind all the time with regards to what I should/need/want to be doing. It seems though that long running needs to be a permanent feature if I want to avoid slipping back into the lowest and worst forms of depression/anxiety and general wrongness. Bugger. I DON’T LIKE IT! *sulks* Luckily I have a lot of runs and races planned for the “festive” season so I will be forced out into the fresh air which can only help my dismal current mental state. That and MINCE PIES.

Kettlebells, Bexhill and a lunatic cat   Leave a comment

On Thursday I went to a new class as I swapped my cat day to Friday. It was a class taken by Jenny (of Core & Stretch) called Kettlebell Conditioning. It was hardcore! Excellent 80s music and much swinging of kettlebells interspersed with exercises like press ups, squats and lunges. It was a rather busy class too so me and a man had to share the kettlebells of the right weight as there seems to be a lack of 12kgs. Anyway it was a good but knackering class. My thought that it wouldn’t be too hard pre-Bexhill was plain WRONG! I could hardly lift my arms for the rest of the day and even lifting my phone up was somewhat tricky. On Friday I had sideways-lungers-groin and my arms were pretty battered especially my inner elbows and upper forearms. Oopsy!As Saturday dawned in a rainswept and sodden form I dragged myself off to volunteer at parkrun. We did get rained on a few times but it wasn’t as bad as the lakes I had cycled through to get there suggested. In the afternoon it was off to Bexhill for the next instalment of the league cross countries. I usually like Bexhill so had been quite looking forward to it. It was quite warm but rather windy and very muddy and slippery. I discovered after about 200 metres up the first hill that I wasn’t really in the mood for it. Bugger. It seemed particularly leg-sapping and horrible. Perhaps this was in some part due to the kettlebell class on Thursday. It was definitely due to my lack of long runs. So once more I have decided I must go back to Wednesday runs. Ho hum. What a contrary git I am. I blame the festive season. Anyway I got to the end but was slightly annoyed at my mediocre performance even though I know I am not cut out for muddy cross country terrain.


Near the beginning of the race when I was still ahead of some people!

Near the beginning of the race when I was still ahead of some people!


The team! I am hiding as usual.

(Some of) The team! I am hiding as usual.

Amazingly the weather held so I stayed to watch the men’s race. In some sort of old fashioned sexism they have to run 8k (we ran 5k) unfortunately for them. After spectating I ate some of Lydia’s delicious courgette cake. Very tasty! In the evening it was the Arena christmas meal where I did yet more eating. This morning when I unpacked my Bexhill bag I discovered my cat rolling about chewing, biting and generally going mental on my tracksuit bottoms that had been in the bottom of the bag (unworn). Perhaps Bexhill is founded on an old catnip mine?  

Shorty burned out after her mad chewing and rolling spree.

Shorty burned out after her mad chewing and rolling spree.

On a boring note I am still not feeling it running (or anything) wise but that’s the festive season for you! Or for me at least. Roll on 2013…

I have some mojo, gymojo   Leave a comment

On Monday I had a mad hankering for a despicable microwaveable burger so bought a £1 double cheeseburger from Iceland. So so so so wrong but jolly tasty. Alas though eating it set off a junk food scoffing jag that included yet more mince pies and a whole family bag of Haribo Tangfastics. This was very stupid as when I got to track I got a massive stitch and had to drop out of the last lap of the 1500 tempo to start. I was mightily annoyed as it was solely my stupidity, laziness and greed that led to this. I managed to pull myself away from the brink of a self hating, self defeating sulk (progress) and got myself together to attempt the rest of the session. To make sure I did the session as well as could be hoped under the circumstances I stuck behind Chris as I know she is the greatest pacer and will always do the session exactly as specified. This was a good plan, especially when I managed to misunderstand part of the session but she knew exactly what we were supposed to be doing. The session was 1500s broken down into sections. So the first time we did 3 x 500 with 100 jog in between and whatever time we had spare at the end we ran as the fourth mini rep. We were working to the time of the first 1500 so after the shorter sections which we would have run faster we would make the time up by running a bit more on the end. Not sure I’ve explained that very well… anyway we did this with 5 x 300s and the same sort of thing based on 900 metres. Cowed by my eating stupidity and remembering how I ruined the session a few weeks ago by going out too hard I was happy to sit behind Chris. The last section of the session became treacherous when the track suddenly froze so we had to add a bit of odd flatfooted running and skating. We completed the session without incident however and I was glad that I had at least managed to complete the session after the rubbish start.

On Tuesday I ate only good healthy stuff after Monday’s disaster. I did Core & Stretch but decided not to go to kettlebells in the evening, but instead to go to the class on Thursday morning instead as I have swapped cat day to Friday this week.

Today I went to the gym early to be shown round. I haven’t set foot in the gym part of a gym for about 5 years so I thought I’d better be reminded of everything by someone who knows what they are doing. Joe showed me various exercises that are good for runners and that I found tricky, like doing a proper squat, lunging without wobbling all over the place and twisting a weight round my head in an attempt to loosen off my shoulders of death. Really I just wanted to get back on the rowing machine and attempt to run a sub 20 5k on treadmill. I didn’t have time to do much today as I had spin to do so I just had a quick go on various things. Did 1k at 15kmph (sub 20 pace) which was fine but obviously I need to be able to do that four more times and on the real life hilliness of Hove Park. Then it was off to spin. It was as hard as always. Good though. Joe got us hovering, sprinting and climbing in the traditional manner. I discovered the pitfalls of going to actual gym thus leaving my stuff in the changing room rather than in the studio: have to climb 4 flights of stairs on spin-knackered legs to get clad ready to cycle home.

So my new problem is keeping my desire to kill myself on the rowing machine and treadmill under wraps until after Bexhill on Saturday. I need to work out when would be the best time to go to the gym. I think pre Core & Stretch on Tuesday as I will be at the gym anyway but that has the usual problem of being straight after Monday’s hardcore track session. Hmmm…. Suppose I just need to try at various times and see what works best.

Posted 12/12/2012 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Brighton & Hove, Exercise, Fitness, Spin

My mojo has mojogged   Leave a comment

I blame winter! For everything.

Not much activity to report today as it is day three of three scheduled rest days. However on Thursday I mounted my bicycle, sans hi vis – oops, and set off for HovePark. At this stage it was cold but dry. Alas this did not continue throughout the session. Towards the end it began to sleet, hail and wind mightily. Sooooooooooooooooooo cold! Our faces were flayed with ice cold, sharp and wet shards of rain. This was not pleasant but the unpleasantness really started when the session finished and I had to try and put my cycling wear back on with frozen and sodden fingers. I couldn’t get my hands in my gloves as they were so cold. I managed to jam them in in a haphazard way finally but they were by now so cold they really hurt. Owwwwww!!! Stupid winter. I cycled home wincing and weeping like a fool. Once home it took hours before the pain left and I still had the joy of the tips of my fingers feeling hard and achy. Thankfully I have barely left the house since then. Just a brief foray back to the park to volunteer at parkrun on Saturday.

Marshalling parkrun







I’m the one with the sexy socks-over-waterproof-trousers combo

I am having a period of being out of love with running. Instead I decided to do running replacement activities and am going to the gym on Wednesday morning to see what delights there are there (I haven’t set foot in a gym for nigh on 6 years). The cross trainer, rowing machine and treadmill are in my mind’s eye. I want cardio without running. Though of course will note that the treadmill is for running. I am thinking that I could do some short fast reps on the treadmill as it will force me to keep up with my pre-set pace otherwise it will eject me unceremoniously off the back! This alas does not happen outside and there is no punishment for dropping the pace, except hating myself but that’s not much of a deterrent what with it being my normal state. Something along the lines of 5 x 2 minutes at goal 800m pace (2.20, 20kmph) for example. This idea brought me to unexpected rage when I couldn’t find a treadmill cheat sheet that goes up past 20kmph. Grrrrrrrr! If anyone could direct me to one I would be most grateful.

 The only one I could find:

 Treadmill Cheat Sheet

This is exactly what I want but it starts way too slow and stops just a fraction too early to be of much use. Please someone put me out of my misery by finding (or making) me a better one.

I am hoping to rediscover my running mojo in time for Bexhill xc on Saturday and think I will as I really like this race and know what I am capable of over this course.

In the meantime I shall box my own ears to try and knock some enthusiasm into myself and be back on Wednesday with tales of running joy and brilliance.

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