Archive for May 2013

BUPA 10k   Leave a comment

On Monday I set off to London to run in the BUPA 10k. This is not the usual sort of race I would enter as it is very busy and very expensive but Arena had been allocated some free club places and Caroline (having done it last year) said we would be on the club start line away from the masses I decided I’d give it a go. It was an early start. I was up at 5.45am troughing porridge before catching the 7.22 to Victoria with Caroline and Mark. We met up with Louise and her boyfriend on the train. When we got to London we joined the stream of runners flowing towards the start near Buckingham Palace. I was accosted by some tourists who wanted me to take their photo outside the Palace. We made our way to the Elite Tent where we found Fiona.

Touching Elites means we are Elites right?

Touching Elites means we are Elites right?

After last year where there was a special club start this year we were demoted to the mass start. Fiona and Louise were OK as they are classed as Elite runners so they were given access to the tent and Caroline, Mark and I had to leave them to go through the mass start process which meant stuffing our kit into the numbered plastic bag, dropping it off at the baggage tent and getting corralled into our start pen 40 minutes before the start. Luckily it was a lovely sunny day so it wasn’t cold but unfortunately we were in the blazing sunshine under some seriously hayfever inducing trees which was not a good place to be standing for so long. I had lost Caroline and Mark somewhere around the baggage tent but had found Simeon so the time passed pleasantly (mass hayfever notwithstanding) and it was soon time to set off. I have no idea how the start pens were designated as we were 5 pens back from the elites and behind people who did not look in any way like they should be in front of the likes of Caroline. I had a horrible feeling this race would be spent weaving round slower runners and not being able to get into my stride at any point. Alas this turned out to be the case. Our section was set off around 5 minutes after the elites and almost immediately I was stuck in the back of the group in front even though they had set off 30 seconds before us. I tried to remain calm as I wove my way through them. I was determined to get an official 10k pb here so put my head down and battled my way through the hundreds of slower runners in front of me. This continued for the whole 10k, weaving, dodging, going up and down kerbs and generally not being able to get into any sort of smooth running. I passed 5k in 20.34 which was on for a pb but it was hard to keep calm with the crowding and lack space to run. I continued. Finally the last kilometre arrived, then I was onto the red road with 400 metres to go. I could see that I would be close to my unofficial pb of 41.41 (Mel’s Milers short multiterrain 10k) but that I should get an official pb as my Chichester 10k time was 42.14ish. I put in my usual fast finish as the finish straight was nice and wide so I just went on the other side of the road to everyone else and sped past them all. I crossed the line in 41.29 by my watch for a 45 second pb. Having collected my finishers bag I met up with Louise and Fiona to escape the crowds and catch the train home.



This race was definitely not something I would like to do again. Too crowded. A good experience to run around London but I am no good with crowds and find it hard not to get frustrated when I can’t run freely. I suppose I should be pleased with my pb but I feel that I can run faster. Hopefully in quieter Sussex races I can finally get near the hallowed 40 minutes I dream of. Having not run a hard 10 mile race the day before might also help!


Posted 29/05/2013 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Brighton & Hove, Racing, Running

The Rye 10   Leave a comment

Today it was off to The Rye 10. I wasn’t aware I was running this until Trevor and Danny informed me on Thursday evening. I didn’t run on Friday and Saturday and wasn’t sure how I would get on today after the back to back 10 milers in Wales. I was up at 5 to eat the obligatory porridge. I then met Lee at 6.40 to walk along to the pickup point for collection by Trevor at 6.45. After picking up Danny we started the long journey to Rye. We arrived spectacularly early, around 8.20, so had plenty of time to get our numbers and soak up some sunshine in the garden of the Cock Inn before kick off at 10.

Race HQ - Naturally much immaturity ensued. Thanks Danny for the photo.

Race HQ – Naturally much immaturity ensued.

Pre race sunshine

Pre race sunshine

Having no idea about the course other than it was described as the only 10 mile road race in Sussex and “challenging” I didn’t really know what to expect. I hoped I would be able to run as well as at Hayward’s Heath although I had a feeling this might not be the case as I have been quite tired in the aftermath of Wales. Anyway there was nothing to do but get out there and try my best. We were off! I set off quite fast, or so it felt, and passed the 1 mile marker in 7.07 which was OK as there was a bit of a hill. I hoped I could keep up this pace but disaster struck at mile 2 ish where I just totally conked out. My legs had nothing and I started to develop a horrible stitch. Unfortunately this continued for quite a while and it was disheartening to see lots of people streaming past me. I had been second lady but by mile 5 I had dropped to seventh. This was not good. I tried hard to keep myself going by telling myself it was just a blip (albeit a very long one) and that I would get my second (or perhaps first) wind soon. Thankfully around mile 5 I managed to get rid of the worst of the stitch and spur my legs into the semblance of action. I found myself overtaking a few people on both the up and downhills and could see that one of the ladies who had overtaken me around mile 3 was now walking some hills. I couldn’t let someone walking stay ahead of me! After overtaking her and seeing the next two ladies weren’t too far ahead I managed to pull myself together and start running properly (ish) again. As I approached mile 8 I had almost caught up with Trevor who had sped past me when I had lost it around 3 miles. I could see the girl in second so spent the last two miles trying to close her down. Unfortunately I misjudged the finish and although I had closed the gap right down the finish line was suddenly there with no time to close the last few metres and I annoyingly crossed the line one second behind her! Grrrrrr. Never mind though as I recorded a finishing time of 1.11.20 which was OK considering I felt that I had dropped massively in terms of speed through the terrible 3 miles from 2 to 5. I was a little disappointed of course but overall I should be pleased as my average pace was 7.08 minute miling which was faster that Hayward’s Heath (7.12) even though I felt much much better at HH.

Third place. Have to win wine for Trevor! Thanks Lee for the photo.

Third place. Have to win wine for Trevor!

I donated my 3rd place wine to Trevor to thank him for driving and after lounging about on the grass for a while we set off back towards Brighton. We stopped off for some well deserved tea and cake at Arlington Reservoir

Well deserved tea and cake post race

Well deserved tea and cake post race

then arrived home around 4pm. A long day, but an enjoyable one with the Arena Crew of Trevor, Danny and Lee.

 Thank you very much Lee for letting me use your photos (except the Cock Inn which was Danny‘s)!


Posted 26/05/2013 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Brighton & Hove, Racing, Running

The wanderunner returns!   Leave a comment

I’m back!

Guess what? I did quite a lot of running. However this year was much quieter in terms of other activities. Perhaps because the weather wasn’t quite as good or maybe we just felt less energetic. Who knows. Anyway here is a brief outline of what we got up to.

Day One: Arrived in St Florence at 2pm, quickly chucked bags in the house, got changed and headed out on the 10 mile return to Tenby. It was nice and sunny and I ran mostly with Pete and Jim averaging 7.30 minute miling. It felt comfortable and the hilliness didn’t trouble me anywhere near as much as last year when I really struggled. Got back to the house, went to the swimming pool for a spot of volleyball and a massage of the legs on the water jets. Much like last year.

Day Two: We drove into the nearby village of Manorbier to do a coastal run along the cliffs. It was really hilly!

I ran up that!

I ran up that!

Yet more hills

Yet more hills

I was feeling good and strong so ran all the hills both up and down and felt quite mountain goatesque in my springiness and agility. It was another hot and sunny day so I got some tips off Mary on how to pin the sleeves of my T shirt up for mimimising foolish tan lines. Charlie, Mary, Caroline and I ran 7 miles and left the boys to charge off for 10. After scoffing a good half of Pete’s wife’s delicious banana loaf it was back to the ranch. Didn’t do much in the afternoon other than enjoy the sunshine in the garden.

Day Three: We ran from the house down to the beach via the fabled Strawberry Lane. I managed to miss this run last year so was dreading this road as it was described as an evil long hill and everyone remembered it being horrible. The first experience of it however is as a lovely long descent down to the massive sandy expanse of Tenby beach. As I sailed down it I tried not to dwell too much on the inevitability that ascending it would not be anywhere near as pleasant. We had a nice run along the sand which was the perfect balance of firmness, softness and flatness. We toyed with the idea of digging it up to bring back to Brighton but felt this would be impractical. It was then time. Up Strawberry Lane. I was amazed when I reached the top without too much trouble. I even said is that it, incredulously. I seem to have become a proper runner! We posed for a pretend-knackered photo at the top just to keep up the Strawberry Lane as death-by-hill myth alive.

Pretending to me more knackered than we actually were

Pretending to be more knackered than we actually were

This was another 10 mile run again averaging around 7.30mm, so probably faster on the flatter sections after Strawberry Lane ascent was taken into account. Also ran the last mile fast with Steve and Jim. It was mainly downhill but I managed to keep up the speed all the way back up the incline to the house which was pleasing.

In the afternoon we went back to Pitch and Putt to see if we had improved from last year. Caroline and I were pretty sure we would cement our positions as last and second last. We did. Though I think we both improved our overall scores. Sure I did some 10s last year whereas I averaged about 6 this time with a few 7 and 8s here and there. This year’s score 108. Think it was around 120 last time.

Second last for the second year running

Second last for the second year running

Day Four: In the morning we went over to a nearby island. It was utterly freezing! By the time we got back and went running in the evening the sun was back out and it was hot again but the run felt hard. I think I work better getting it done first thing. Still managed a hilly 9 but didn’t enjoy it.

Day Five: On Wednesday we drove out to St David’s for another coastal run. This time I had no mountain goat skills whatsoever and fell over. Twice. The second time quite badly. I carried on even though I was bit worried about the state of my left hip flexor for a while but I managed 10 in the end.

Day Six: The final day started with an early run from the house to Jeffreyston and back. Somehow me and Timmy became detached from the group so we ran back to the house together notching up another 10 miles. It was a nice run although it was very cold when we started. I felt fine after Wednesday’s falling over thankfully.

So in the end I ran 56 miles over the 6 days which is exactly the same as last year. Last year I had some days off and did doubles on others. This year we didn’t do any double days nor did we do so much other stuff like last year. This suited me as I wanted a bit of a rest or a change of scene and not playing tennis, football, volleyball etc each day as well as double running definitely meant I am now feeling fine and hopefully can get back into my normal running routine.

Posted 24/05/2013 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Cross Country, Exercise, Fitness, Running

Farewell! Briefly…   1 comment

It’s that time again when a select few of the Arena posse head off to Wales for the 100 Mile Relay training week. Sort of. This year I think only 3 people are actually doing the relay. Anyway I’m off! Last year I notched up 56 miles over the 6 days which at the time was mega mileage. However now I do around 40+ miles a week I shan’t be doing this, in fact this time I am using the week as a chance to relax, do less running and try and re-gather my enthusiasm for running and racing as I’ve totally tired myself out through the past few months sudden improvements and lots and lots of hard racing. I’m just telling you this so you don’t miss me terribly when I don’t post next Sunday or Wednesday!

Back to my activity since Wednesday. On Thursday it was Hove Park intervals as always. I was feeling pretty tired and achy from Wednesday’s long and hilly run with Danny so I was expecting not to be much good at the park. I ran there anyway so at least it would be another 10 in the bank even if the actual intervals part was a failure. It was! I was still aware of the meaning of the word “fast” yet was incapable of putting it into practice. I trundled around in a Rob style, pretending to be fully involved in the speediness yet actually just doing a recovery jog (which didn’t feel any easier than this session usually would). I definitely need a rest. After running home at the speed of a dead tortoise the thought that Wales needs to be a chance to rest and recover and recharge my batteries was fully embedded in my poor exhausted brain. Of course this didn’t stop me going to spin this morning…

Surprisingly after a slightly slow start I managed to get a modicum of energy into my knackered legs and found myself working quite hard. We did some backwards cycling and lots of climbing as Jeff had forgotten his shorts. Not as dodgy as it sounds! He was wearing shorts, just not his cycling shorts… We finished off with tabata sprints (20 seconds full effort, 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes) as usual. Although I managed the class better than expected I was glad when it was over and I could finally think of a week of resting, with none of the usual sessions I do to tire me out further.

I must now pack for Wales so I shall leave you to enjoy your week without me!

Track attack!   9 comments

Having not been to track for two weeks I was looking forward to getting back down there on Monday. It turned out to be even better than usual. Speed, speed, speed was on the agenda. Oh happy day! I started off with Caroline and Vicki but as their forte is the longer stuff Bob moved me up to the fastest group. On the first 200 I beat them all. As I should. Alas they didn’t take the requisite recovery as stipulated by Bob so it was a short lived foray into the top group as they ran off on their next rep too early leaving me behind to take the proper recovery. This meant I had to do the whole session on my own, watchless. However I know how it works with sprinting so I made sure I took sufficient recovery to ensure that my fast bits were as fast as I could make them. I concentrated on keeping my form and trying not to turn into too much of a windmilling buffoon. I felt overall that I had done the session well. This is exactly what I am naturally designed for so I enjoyed being able to let my legs do what they do best. At the end of the session Steve told me I should be a sprinter as I have the perfect form. Well der! He obviously hasn’t listened to me for the past 6 years where I kept going on about naturally being better at sprinting and finding this long stuff hard! Having said that I am committed to improving as a “long distance” (anything over 200 metres in my book) runner and am enjoying finally getting where I think I should be with it. This doesn’t stop me loving a good old fashioned sprint session though.

On Tuesday my usual running partner aka Danny was unavailable so I took the opportunity to NOT GO RUNNING!!!!!! Oh my God! I’m feeling a little bit jaded after a long spell of hard running and racing which has left me tired. More in the mind than the body really. Think I need to not race for a while which is lucky as I am going to Wales on Saturday for a week so no racing. (This is an Arena trip organised by Steve which I went on last year. We fluked a total heat wave last year which made it even better!). I did go to Core & Stretch in the morning as Jenny was back and stretching needs to be enforced! Having not done arm exercises beforehand I somehow found it more difficult to downward dog etc as my shoulders really hurt but I persevered and got lots of good calf and hamstring stretches in which are the main ones I am there for. I still can’t do the bridge ones as my hip flexors are always so tired I just buckle when I try and lift alternate legs. I take the opportunity to just have a little lie down on my mat! I bought some new gloves and some Extreme Sports Beans (read Rob’s Run Blog to understand the importance of this)

Extreme Beans

Extreme Beans

and cycled home in a hellish freezing rain storm. This put me in a bad mood as I was frozen and windswept but this had the upside of making it even easier to not go running in the evening. Fate was obviously in agreement I needed a day off!

This morning I made up for it by joining Danny for a 13 miler including some good hills in and around Patcham. The weather was still a bit dodgy but the sun made a few appearances and out of the wind it was quite pleasant. It gave me an opportunity to test out my new gloves. They didn’t really help much as my cold hands are due to bad circulation I think thus need warming from the inside which no glove can provide. The gloves are very snazzy though and must surely be doing a modicum of good at least…

Snazzy new gloves. Shame I actually need snazzy new hands...

Snazzy new gloves. Shame I actually need snazzy new hands…

Anyway frozen hands notwithstanding it was a good run at a steady pace incorporating some good hills which is exactly what I need. Thanks Danny!



A mightily long post…   2 comments

The Arena posse of Emily, Danny, Trevor and I rolled up bright and early to Withdean on Wednesday evening so Trevor could run in the open 800 scheduled for 7.05pm. Around about 8pm when we were all pretty frozen and Trevor and Paul had covered a full marathon warming up back and forth along the back straight it was finally time for their race! They lined up in lane one with a string of teenage girls next to them. This was probably heaven for them but for the fact they had an 800 to run.

Paul and Trevor in pole position at the start of the 800

Paul and Trevor in pole position at the start of the 800

Finally, they were off! Trevor was ahead of Paul but we knew that Paul would give him a lesson in pacing and come past him at some stage. They were both well and truly boxed in with the girls who had hared off like loons in traditional youngster style. As the girls began to die off Trevor was still ahead but the inevitable happened with a few hundred metres to go where Paul’s experience showed and he glided past Trevor to claim victory.

Paul claiming victory in the 800

Paul claiming victory in the 800

The 3k was scheduled for 8.40 but everything was already so late I didn’t hold out much hope for us to get going much before midnight. So we basically sat about freezing to death until around 9.30 by which time we all felt it was way past bedtime but we finally made our way to the start line. It was utterly freezing, misty and windy by this time and we were mostly hellishly underdressed. Danny was in a bit of a quandary as to whether he should go in the A or B race. He sensibly chose to go in the B race as the A race was announced for those who could run sub 9.45 and his PB is 10.13. The A race set off first and he discovered that some in the A race had lied or were mistaken as to how fast they could run so he could have been in that race and not been last. It was too late now as he was in with the rest of us. My plan for the race thus was not to be lapped by him! As it was so late and I was so cold I wasn’t that confident of a close to 11 minute finish which is what I wanted but I hoped I might sneak at least a small PB (11.33 at vets league). I started off near the back as I think the cold had drained my brain and I was thinking in the old style ie I’m too slow to start near the front. Anyway I was there so I just had to work from this position. After a few laps I got into my rhythm and had managed to get over my old fashioned fear of overtaking people so had worked my way past a few people. I was surprised when I overtook Trevor but knew he was knackered from the 800. As we neared the end he reappeared on my shoulder so I made a concerted effort to stay just ahead as I felt confident I could outsprint him if necessary. I did! Just… Managed 11.30 so a small PB. I know I can do much better but today wasn’t the day for it what with the freezing weather and interminable wait. There are no photos of our race. I assume the photographer had lost the will to live by this stage. I know I had.

It would appear I failed to learn from Wednesday evening as I managed to freeze on Thursday evening too. I thought I should run to and from the HovePark interval session to give myself a good 10 miles. This was fine on the way there as the wind was behind me but once I arrived I discovered the wind was now a headwind in every direction and it seemed to have become arctic in temperature. Brr! Mark was in charge this week and set us off on a circuit based on a four-tree square on the grass involving running 3 sides and walking the fourth. This meant we were running a different combination of up and downhill each time. We continued doing this for the whole session though we did swap direction half way through. It was a good session though and nice to do something a bit different. After the session I ran a few laps with Andy and he then kindly gave me a lift home as it had begun to rain and was increasingly windy. I still did around 10 miles though.

On Friday I dragged my knackered being to spin knowing that it would be a recovery cross training type affair. It was.

I went to parkrun on Saturday thinking I shouldn’t run it as I was just too infernally tired but knowing I would as I’m off to Wales next Saturday so won’t be able to do it for a week (seems like forever). So I did and died completely around 3k and dragged home in 20.19. Of course I thought this was utter crap until I realised around a month ago I would have loved to run that fast!

This morning it was Hedgehoppers 5. I hoped that as I ran quite badly yesterday I might be OK today. Ha! Walking up to the start line with Danny from Hove it felt quite nice and warm in the sunshine but as we crested the hill we were struck by an evil freezing wind. I had completely forgotten it is always a windfest up there (even when Trevor isn’t there, which he was today). Luckily I had my gloves. Anyway the time came to set off.

Getting ready for the off. Shame wind cannot be captured in photos! It looks deceptively nice.

Getting ready for the off. Shame wind cannot be captured in photos! It looks deceptively nice.

I had been set the target of coming first as last year Charlie won in a time of 40.03. This went out of the window immediately when I saw some total speedies before we even started. I thought instead that as long as I was faster than last year and ran sub 40 I would be happy (or rather it would be acceptable – happy? Never!). I ran 41.10 last year.

Radiating utter knackeredness somewhere around mile 2.5

Radiating utter knackeredness somewhere around the half way mark

Don’t be fooled by the lovely looking sky in this photo. It was freezing, windy and horrible. I can feel the knackeredness radiating off me in the photo! I was horrified to discover I appeared to be running over 8 minute miles at this point. As I passed the 3 mile mark and it was mainly downhill I managed to pull myself together and overtake two ladies who had passed me during my dead phase. I finished in 5th which is the same as last year but this time I ran 37.19 which is almost 4 minutes faster than last year so it wasn’t all bad. Rob came home in 39.12 which was perfect as his target was sub 40. Trevor beat Mark Halls again so he was pleased and Danny was 2nd having had a target of top 10 (I did say top 5 but he wasn’t having it) so it was a pretty successful race all round for the Arena crew. Trevor’s dreams came true when I let him wear my ski jacket that he has been lusting after for months.

Trevor finally gets to wear my ski jacket!

Trevor finally gets to wear my ski jacket!

An uninspired post   Leave a comment

As it was a bank holiday there was no track on Monday so I took the opportunity to join Danny on a long run of around 13 miles. We threw in some hills, well mainly Wilson Avenue and New England Road, and Danny introduced me to “his” steps which I totally failed to ascend due to dodgy tight buttocks from the Haywards Heath 10 the day before. Apart from this it was a good run at a decent pace of around 7.30 minute miling. I somehow managed to cut my ankle on the way home so discovered a nice blood splat on my trainer when I took them off. I think this training run was basically a half marathon pb pace run yet it didn’t feel hard which means I am getting stronger and fitter which can only be a good thing.

On Tuesday I joined Steve, Danny, Charlie and Jim for a run on the downs as practice for Jim and Danny for the 100 mile relay. The run was ok apart from the bouncing dog that caused me to tense up in abject fear and crick my neck. It was a lovely evening for a run and we did around 7 miles in the end.

Today I took myself out for a gentle 7 miles on the seafront in preparation for this evening’s track 3000 at Withdean.

Posted 08/05/2013 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Brighton & Hove, Exercise, Fitness, Running

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