Archive for June 2013

The Weakest Link and more   Leave a comment

It was a pretty steamy evening for the Weakest Link which makes a change from the misty freezingness of past events. Also there were flipping hundreds of us!

The biggest Arena turnout I've ever witnessed! Thanks Lee for the photo

The biggest Arena turnout I’ve ever witnessed! Thanks Lee for the photo

Arena alone had 11 teams out and there were a few other Arenas in other teams and dotted about here and there. This meant it was the biggest turnout ever for the event. Whoop to the Arena massive! This year Steve had decided on all the teams containing runners of all standards. I was a bit dubious of this idea to start with but turns out he was spot on! It was such a good evening. My team consisted of Rob, Neil, Pete and I. I was the strongest link this time which meant I had the pleasure of running the full 5k last leg, joining my team for the final 2.5k lap after having run my individual leg. The plan was to run my leg as fast as I possibly could and I secretly wanted to do it in around 10 minutes (although the course isn’t precisely 2.5k and does contain a bit of hill and a zigzaggy path from prom to cliff top level). I managed 10.20ish which was a little disappointing but hey ho, the main thing was I had to do it all again immediately! I had told my team to just go as I crossed the line and I would catch them up. Here we are just as I joined them.

Arena blueout on the last leg! I'm in the green trying to catch my team (poet, know it)

Arena blueout on the last leg! I’m in the green trying to catch my team (poet, know it). Thanks Lee for the photo

The others then drew ahead of me up the fast hill as I struggled to get my breath back after my all out caning of my first leg. Such was Steve’s excellence in creating the teams it was a sea of blue as we all set off on the last leg. I was soon swallowed up by other Arena teams as they shot off up the hill but I knew my team were still ahead I just had to catch them back up! As I crested the hill I couldn’t see them past all the other Arenas so went wide onto the road. Ah ha! I could see them 100 metres or so down the hill so I picked up my pace to try and rejoin them. The other Arenas hooted such things as “show off” at me as I hared past and I could only respond by flapping my hand in the general direction of my speedily departing team off in the distance. By the bottom of the hill I had caught up near as dammit with my swift team mates so it was then just a case of keeping with them until the end. This I did knowing that Rob would put in a mighty spurt in the last 100 metres or so which I was confident I could match. Our team crossed the line together as it should. I think we were one of the faster Arena teams and came about 9th or so overall I think. I don’t really know, or in fact care, as it was just a great evening out with the Arena posse.

On Thursday I couldn’t face anymore long, slow running so cycled to Hove Park for the interval session. It was a nice short one taken by Mark consisting of a few longish reps, 10 grass hills and 4 shortish downhill reps to finish. Just what I needed.

Friday dawned once more and this time it was Rat Run evening. I was feeling rather tired so it wasn’t my finest run. Good turnout though with Kate joining us for the first time.

Rat Runners somewhere up the back of Moulsecoombe

Rat Runners somewhere up the back of Moulsecoombe. Thanks Kevin for the photo

We covered 9 miles so that goes in the book but otherwise this is a run I would rather forget.

Ditto parkrun.

This morning I went out bright and early to join Andy, Daz, Danny, Mary etc for a long one over the downs. It was a beautiful day for it, sunny but not too hot with a nice cooling breeze. We went up onto the downs by Waterhall, along to Saddlescoombe Farm, up the steep side of the Dyke, up Truleigh Hill then coasted down into Southwick where Danny, Paola and I peeled off along Old Shoreham Road as the rest carried on down to Carat’s Café and along the seafront. Just as we left the main group they spotted Rob who had started his run later, after a quick wave across the road we continued towards Hove where I left Danny and made my way home. I clocked 16.60 miles (I can be precise now I have a Garmin).

Another 55 mile week. Need to calm it down a bit next week I think. Feeling tired and lacking in race motivation. Have to get it together ready for Phoenix 10k on 17th July.

Track. Long. Short.   Leave a comment

Track on Monday was a pleasant affair. The sun was shining and there were a lot of people there. Steve was in charge of the session as Bob was away. 7 x 800 with each 800 being made up of tempo running followed by fast starting with 700 tempo, followed by 100 tempo all the way down to 100 tempo, 700 fast. I started off sensibly by following Caroline who led us out on the first tempo section. I also took the fast bit more slowly than I would have left to my own devices as I didn’t want to accidentally peak too early. By the 400/400 rep I realised I wasn’t overly tired so began pushing on at my own speed for the fast sections. I even led out the last few tempo sections with Caroline just behind to pull me back if I looked to be straying too far ahead but I managed to remain even paced (well Caroline didn’t need to rein me in). Surprised myself by sustaining a pace on the 600 and 700 that I wouldn’t have thought possible whilst also finishing and not having to lie on the track death style. So overall I was very pleased with this session especially after the Heathfield 10k on Sunday and all the other stuff (running, running, running) I have been doing recently.

On Tuesday after Core & Stretch in the morning it was the usual long run with Rob and Danny. I was feeling particularly knackered as I set off along Old Shoreham Road to meet them but I knew once we started running together I would be forced to keep up which is the beauty of group runs and why I must always run with others. Having said that the pace was a little up on recently around 8.10mm. I wouldn’t have known this but for Danny and his Garmin so I would have been perfectly happy thinking it was the usual 8.30 pace. My stupid painful bum/hip/groin was causing me much grief on this run so I bailed out at the Peace Statue which gave me 13 miles anyway so plenty.

This evening is the Weakest Link relay. I love this event. This year Arena have 11 teams out which must be some sort of record! The teams are of mixed abilities and this time I am the strongest runner which means I get the dubious “honour” of running last leg which is the full 5k at once (I have always run 1st leg in the past for maximum rest having been the weakest runner). I shall still absolutely cane my first 2.5k and hope that I can keep with the rest of my team on the second leg.

Heathfield 10k   Leave a comment

On Thursday I set out early to Hove Park with Andy who wanted to get a long run in. This meant that with this extra bit, the session and running home I knocked out another 11 miles for the bag.

Friday was spin. I used it as a nice gentle piece of cross training. No really! I managed not to get sucked into working too hard and it was good to just get my legs moving with no impact. I took the climbs on a much lower resistance than I would normally so as not to stress out my already tired legs. All in all I think this session helped get some of the stiffness out of my legs after all the preceding long runs earlier in the week.

On Saturday I ran both parkrun and the Downlands Dash. Badly. Another 7 miles down.

Today it was time for Heathfield 10k which is another race in the Sussex Grand Prix series which I had unknowingly being doing well in until Danny informed me so I wanted to try and keep my points high. I have done this race a few times before and know it is hilly and hard and mostly downhill to start then right back up to finish. I had a plan to just run the first 5k as fast as I could then worry about the return journey once I was faced with it. We lined up and within no time we were off!

Start of Heathfield 10k

Start of Heathfield 10k

I careered down the hill like a mad woman and reached the 1k marker in 3.26. Oops… Never mind, I was sticking to my plan. The course was then much more up and down than I remembered so I made sure I made the most of any downhill and flat sections and tried to keep my cadence on the uphills. I had ensured I started as first lady so I would thus know my position throughout. I reached 5k in 19.51 which was slightly worrying due to the fact the second half is predominantly uphill. Had I gone too fast? As the miles passed by I was still un-overtaken by any ladies which helped keep me going on the uphills when I was feeling particularly knackered. Then just past 8k a lady slipped past me. Nooooo! I can’t have got this far now to be overtaken. I was quite confident that as long as I kept close to her I could catch her in the last 400 metres around the field at the finish. A man who had been running next to me for the past 3 or so kilometres seemed to take it upon himself to pace and coach me through the last few ks, keeping with me whether I increased or dropped my pace. As we neared the field he told me to dig deep. The lady in first place was only a metre or so in front and as we entered the field an announcement over the tannoy said I was in first place so I thought it was only fair I made it so so moved past the lady earlier than I may otherwise have done. This was a little risky as I had lost the advantage and it was possible she could come back past me at any time. However I really started stretching out into the best approximation of a sprint finish  I could manage at this stage and my unofficial helper kept with me telling me I was pulling away so that was very useful. I crossed the line as first lady just 9 seconds ahead of the lady in 2nd (32nd overall in a field of 212) in a time of 42.42. Possibly the worlds greatest positive split but I knew everyone else would be similar in terms of times in comparison to flat 10ks and difference between the first and second 5ks.

This indeed turned out to be the case when I spoke to the other Arenas afterwards. Around 3 minutes slower than a normal 10k, all gained in the second 5k.

Arena Team

Arena Team

Danny had had another good race placing 9th in a time of 38.54 with Andrew and Jim not too far behind. In fact it turned out that Danny, Andrew, Jim and Trevor were third in the men’s team race and Anne, Holly and I were third in the ladies team race so this was an added bonus!

This was another excellent Arena day out. Thanks as always to champion photographer Lee for letting me use his photos.

1st lady

1st lady

Oddly I received the trophy for 1st lady AND 1st v35

Oddly I received the trophy for 1st lady AND 1st v35

This week I notched up 55 miles which is my highest mileage week ever (not including Wales).

Running in the sun   Leave a comment

It was with great joy that I returned to track on Monday. It had been ages since I had done a proper track session so was looking forward to getting back on it. For once it was a track style evening. Warm and sunny (though a bit windy). I was a bit worried about the state of my calf after the preceding crampy few days but decided I just had to get on with it and hope for the best. Trevor was back from a long track absence so we attached ourselves to the second speediest group. The session was 8 (or 6 if you are the elite group who are too elite to listen to instructions) x (600 tempo + 300 fast). My group set off at a reasonable pace for the first 600. We were then supposed to rest for 10 seconds before heading off on the 300 but Steve counted to about 3 before haring off so we left him to it and formed our own sub group of Trevor, Andy, Mark O’Gara and I. Due to various good pacers (ie not I) our 600s were run at a good steady speed. The 300s faster as instructed. On a few of them I decided to stretch out a little knowing that I could recoup on the 100 metre walk between each rep. Not really much more to report. The session wasn’t overly taxing and I was glad to be back on a clement evening banging out a good session. My calf held up surprisingly well with only the odd twinge here and there to worry me.

On Tuesday morning it was off to Core & Stretch to try and give my battered limbs a bit of the attention they deserve yet never get. I’m sure it does me good but it really doesn’t feel like it when I’m in downward dog for what seems like the 18th hour and my shoulders are screaming. Or when I’m trying to do a shoulder bridge and my hip flexors are weeping. Or when I have a glorified rubber band strapped round my foot and my hamstrings are on the point of snapping.

In the evening it was out with Danny and Rob for the usual long run. Rob is only into his second week of his new regime and is throwing himself into it wholeheartedly. We took the usual route up Old Shoreham Road to Southwick then over to Basin Road and along the seafront. After my accidental 17 miles last week I bowed out just before the pier and headed back home along the seafront to make around 14 miles. It was hard doing the last few miles on my own back into the setting sun with a stupid painful achy left buttock. This “Bewl Bum” as it is known in the trade has been troublesome for a long time but was made significantly worse after my Wales plummet(s). Now it is a constant draggy pain in the bum – quite literally. I really must get it sorted. I have tried rolling it to no avail. Well slight avail. I think I need to get someone professional to give it a good pummelling. Anyway this made the run less pleasant than it otherwise would have been on a lovely sunny summers evening. Another 14 miles in the bag is not to be sniffed at however.

This morning we were out once more as part of Rob’s regime. It was really hot, hence we had to take a detour from the planned route so that Danny could Vaseline up his chafey nipples. So we stopped off at my flat for emergency lubing. Rob took the opportunity to roll his tight shoulder on my tennis ball, talk to my cat, assess my book and CD “collection” and be disgusted at my lack of washing up. He also kindly cleaned my kitchen floor with his sweat drenched back whilst rolling his shoulder.  After a quick refuel on Colin the Caterpillar sweets and Jelly Babies we set off along the seafront. Rob was the sweatiest thing I have ever seen, making Danny and I seem like deserts in comparison (Rob would like to explain that fit people sweat more than normals. Whatever you say chum). As we made our way back towards Hove Park we heard some incessant honking from a 5A bus which could only mean one thing: Lee is back from America! He pulled his bus up alongside us and had a nice chat whilst his passengers looked on bemusedly. By HovePark we went our separate ways, Danny and Rob back towards Brighton and I back to glorious Hove slash Portslade. Today’s run was probably only about 8 miles but Rob must have sweated out the equivalent of Niagara Falls in that time so it was probably for the best it wasn’t longer as everyone may have drowned.

Not sure what is on the agenda for me tomorrow. Feel I should perhaps rest as I need to smash Heathfield on Sunday for GP points though I want to address my parkrun pb on Saturday too. It is probable I’ll end up going to HP though as is the norm of a Thursday evening.

Cramp. Crap.   Leave a comment

By Thursday evening the preceding week of running had caught up with my poor legs so I found myself shuffling to Hove Park knowing that I wouldn’t be able to do the session but happy to join Rob on a few slow laps of the park. Towards our last lap I felt imminent cramp in the top of my right calf so stretched out a bit at the bench before attempting to run home. I now know how Rob felt at the end of the marathon having to stop and stretch every few steps. Most frustrating. I somehow managed to get home but knew that was it for a while.

Friday would normally by spin but Sergeant Cartledge told me to be sensible and not go and he was right (of course). I couldn’t even get off the sofa or take a step without cramp so trying to cycle to the gym to cycle then cycle home would have failed.

I was annoyed that I wouldn’t be able to do parkrun as I felt I could have given my pb a good seeing to but it wasn’t to be so I donned a high vis and got on the clipboard for bar code queries.

Today I wasn’t at all confident that I’d be able to run but after doing some preliminary tests in my flat (mainly dressage type high knees in the living room) I decided it might be ok so I contacted Rob who happened to be mid run right near where I live which I took to be an omen. I changed from pyjamas to running wear in record time and met Rob at the end of Boundary Road. We ran down Basin Road and along the arm, then back along the seafront before cutting up The Drive. By this stage I felt the cramp returning so I left Rob to run off to Old Shoreham Road whilst I set off along New Church Road back home. Thankfully no full scale cramp set in so hopefully I’ll be fine for track tomorrow.

From half to 100 to the longest run so far   Leave a comment

On Monday it was the second in the series of three vets league track and field events. This one was handily at Withdean so was nice and easy to get to, with Trevor’s vehicular assistance of course. We arrived stupidly early in the traditional style. Even Graham wasn’t there. He arrived a few minutes later though so we decided to take up residence by the 200 metre start as it was out of the way and in the sunshine. Soon enough we were joined by our teammates and it was time for the first event, the 100 metres. Andy absolutely stormed it and looked exceedingly professional as this brilliant action shot by Danny shows.

Andy looking very professional in the 100m

Andy looking very professional in the 100m

I totally forgot I was supposed to be running I was so busy watching the men so had to dash round to the start for the ladies race. I did not look anywhere near as professional as Andy but thoroughly enjoyed it. I do love a good sprint. I then had the 400. I’d never done one before so took Jenny’s advice to start slowly, making my race into essentially a very long rolling start for a 200 metres. I now know for next time that I can start the faster bit from 300 to go as I finished strongly and wasn’t overly knackered. I really enjoyed this distance which was surprising as I thought it would be too long. All this extra endurance showing itself even in such a short race.

Finishing strongly in second place in the 400m

Finishing strongly in second place in the 400m

It was then time for the 1500 which I shall gloss over as it was awful and I had nothing to give. We finished with the 4 x 100 which was excellent even though Caroline dropped the baton and the final leg runner for Hailsham accidentally ran in my lane. It was a complete shambles and by rights we should all have been disqualified but no-one was and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Finishing the relay even after baton failure

Finishing the relay even after baton failure

I really like these events. Low key, a good laugh and just like school sports day as Andy observed. Everyone gets stuck in trying things they would never usually do and just generally having a good evening in the sunshine (we have fluked two lovely evenings thus far). I was surprised with my legs coping admirably with the sprinting after Seaford.

On Tuesday, after Core & Stretch in the morning it was back to the Tuesday evening long run with Danny. This time we added Rob to our ranks as he is trying out the Cartledge school of training having seen the excellent results I have achieved after a few months following his regime. We were trotting along happily at around 8.30 minute miling and I got a bit carried away and found myself running with Rob and Danny to London Road thus when I finally got home 2 hours and 25 minutes after setting out I discovered I had run 17 miles! Oops. I felt OK until the last few miles where my left hip, groin and bum really started to hurt to the point where I thought I would have to walk the last bit. I managed to just about run all the way home thankfully. That is the longest distance and time-on-feet run I have ever done. I did feel quite sick when I got home so wasn’t able to eat anything so I made up for it by drinking many pints of chocolate milk and eating a banana and some strawberry mushrooms (Haribo Strawberry Softies to give them their correct name). After a rubbish sleep caused by achy bum syndrome it was time to get up and go out for a recovery run with Rob (Danny was on a round trip to Nottingham so wasn’t available to join us). The plan was to make sure we didn’t go to fast. There was no chance of that with me there as I couldn’t have gone faster than 9 minute miling if I had tried due to severe bum ache. Anyway we managed 8 miles. I’m sure Rob could have done more and faster but part of the Cartledge philosophy is to always go slowly on these runs and I think it is better to finish before you are actually tired so that you are fresh and ready for the next run. Rob is wholeheartedly embracing his new regime so was happy (I think) to jog along slowly with me.

After a bath, a massive lunch and a snooze and the day spent in compression socks I am confident I’ll be OK for the usual 10 miler tomorrow incorporating HP intervals if I’m feeling strong or just as a slower run if not.

Seaford Half Race Report   1 comment

Today it was time for the Seaford Half. I can’t remember the last time I ran a half, possibly Henfield last summer. I haven’t run many, maybe 4 in total and they have all been relatively flat and or on road. My pb being 1.47 ish as I’ve never really gone out and raced one rather used then as an enforced long run in the days when I didn’t really do any. Anyway it was back in the car with the usual Arena posse of Trevin and Danny. All of us were early for our various rendezvous so we were on our way just past 7am meaning we arrived bright and early and were able to park right by the finish line as Trevor had a plan to run this race then zip back to Hove Park for the WSFRL 5k that started at 12 noon.

The day wasn’t looking promising. There was a fierce and freezing wind which made me doubt the staying power of my cap and having lost my second favourite hair clip this was a possible disaster! Having pondered whether I should put a t shirt on I decided against it and stuck with double vesting and went with the cap to keep my bouffant wiggy hair in check and sweat from my eyes (having suffered greatly from this on Wednesday). I necked a pre race gel, stuffed two more in my pockets, pinned Trevor’s car key in another and I was ready!

Shivering on the start line we wondered what the heck we were doing but soon enough we were off. I had decided to go off fast as Stephen had said it was best to be quite near the front to avoid getting stuck in the queue at the first stile a mile or so in. I think perhaps I went a little too fast though as I could still see Danny and the other speedies only a hundred metres or so ahead as we reached the downs and the first of what turned out to be many many stiles. I soon slowed down massively as we headed up a long and horrible hill straight into the evil headwind of doom. Many people passed me by, one man happily shouting out “it’s horrible running into the wind up hill isn’t it?” as he sped past. Thanks. As yet no ladies had passed me which was good as Danny had set me the target of being first woman. After what seemed like hundreds of years I finally crested the hill and hoped that was the worst over with. Around 5 miles we turned out of the wind (well it was now side on) which helped and as we dropped down to the river side it was much calmer though the ground was very rutted in places so the running still wasn’t easy. No ladies had passed. I continued. I continued some more. Stiles and kissing gates everywhere. No sign of any approaching ladies. Finally I saw the 10 mile marker. I thought I can’t lose first place now and battled onwards. Having had a good run of flat though horribly rutted and stile and gate infested running it was a shame that there were a few more hills to contend with before the ruinous death descent down the cliff and long the prom to the finish. However finally the finish arch was in sight (though blooming far away). I tried to pick up my pace but this was unsuccessful. Around 20 metres from the end I heard Danny shout “Go Isobel” so I plucked a miniscule sprint finish from the ether and made it over the finish line in first place with a 6+ minute pb of 1.41.04. I was then accosted by photographers so there may now be some rather attractive drool encrusted photos of me winging their way into the local paper(s). As time was of the essence I asked the nice man at the finish line if Danny (didn’t I mention he came third?) and I could have our trophies immediately as we had to dash off. He very kindly obliged.

First lady!

First lady! (sorry Rob)

Danny with his third place prize (and cut knee)

Danny with his third place prize (and cut knee)

We grouped together for a quick team photo before Trevin, Danny and I leapt back in the car to zoom to Hove Park for the 5k.

The Arena crew post Seaford

The Arena crew post Seaford. Not sure why Danny and Dorian are looking so threatening with bananas

Danny and I decided not to partake in the 5k but Trevin did. Afterwards we (sans Danny) went for a carvery at The Sportsman as has become tradition. This was once again an enjoyable day out with the crew though now my left buttock and right calf are unhappy. I don’t blame them though after this week’s various victories and pbs. Today’s run was particularly pleasing as halves are not something I would ever have considered my forte so winning one and getting a pb on such a hard course is extra unexpected.

Roll on vets league T&F tomorrow!

Posted 09/06/2013 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Brighton & Hove, Racing, Running

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