Archive for December 2013

Christmust run off all the mince pies…   Leave a comment

It’s Christmas!!!!! Or it was when I took myself off to Hove Park for Christmas Day parkrun. This year it was an official run that would count towards points, totals, statistics etc. Not that there is anything for me to be aiming for these days as I have passed the 100 mark (160+) and 250 is waaaaaay off. Anyhow being a massive non-christmassy person what better way was there to start the day than by parkrunning? I knew it would be tres poop as Hove Park and I have had a serious falling out and every time I go there I am progressively more awful. I arrived far too early as usual so had to stand around for a bit, alone, wondering if I had imagined there was a run on. I then found Jacko and Terry hovering under the café balcony and in due course more people appeared. I shall gloss over the run as I had a total lung failure so felt like I might expire even though I was going really slowly. Luckily Danny appeared and ran with me for most of it so that made it less of a wheezing slog. I somehow finished in an almightily awful 22.06.

Thankfully I knew Boxing Day would be much better as I was meeting Andy for a run before the Boxing day 5.5 miler in Preston Park. Danny also joined us for the pre-race part and we ran 7 or so miles out along London Road before Danny departed and Andy and I lined up for the race. As this was just to be a long run I had no intention of racing so set of steadily with the somewhat nobbled Rob. He had to abandon ship for Christmas Day part two after two laps so I had almost a full lap to myself before I was joined by Dave for the remainder. All in all it was a good run and I knocked up 14 miles (Andy, having proposed the idea of doing extra before the start only did three laps of the race – tsk). I really enjoyed this run and was glad to feel like I was finally burning off some of the 12000+ mince pie calories consumed since the first of December.

On Friday it was the annual 90 minute spin class as held by Jeff. I had to go as I was the one who suggested he do it again. I was really hoping there would be more than two people there this time and lo there were 4 of us plus Jeff! Phew. I paced myself much better this time (I died after about 20 minutes last year) and felt relatively OK throughout (as much as one ever can during a spin class). Perhaps this was helped by the fact I had the bike whose gears actually work. Thank you number 6.

Preston Park parkrun was my destination for Saturday. I had to make amends for my awful Christmas Day showing. My plan was to follow the girl and/or Joe as they are much better at pacing than me (as is everyone [except Rob]). After a mile warm up and donning a second pair of gloves we were off. Basically I did what I wished. We all sped through 1k in 3.53 but that’s fine as it is downhill and flat. The trick is not to then lose loads of time which is where I usually come a cropper. Not this time! My mile splits were 6.24, 6.28, 6.31 (ish) which is much much better than my normal which are all over the place. Although I finished in 20.07 (tantalisingly close again) I was very pleased with this run as I did as I planned and didn’t find it overly taxing (both Duncan and Rob said I looked comfortable and like I wasn’t really trying) which is promising. I hope to be back in the sub 20 club post haste.

This morning it was perfect conditions for a long run with the RunBrighton posse. I was ready to run with the 8.5 pacer – Mr Cartledge himself but Rick dragged me into the 8 minute group. This turned out to be fine and our small group of intrepid runners had an excellent time running and chatting (or listening to my incessant gibbering). Rick and I split off from the group at the Lagoon as this meant we had still run 13 miles. This was yet another good lsr and meant I ran 47 miles for the week.

I’m looking forward to getting back on the long runs, back sub 20, and back to normal after the ruin that is Christmas.

Roll on 2014!

Not so much running   Leave a comment

Last Monday’s track session was exceedingly wet. Probably because it was the Arena 80 Christmas post track eatathon/prizegiving/get together. I went with Paul again and this week our aim was to stick with Timmy and Jim (who were doing 6 x 800s) for 300 metres then kick past them for 200 x 6. Alas I managed this 0 times out of 6. However I did manage to stay relatively close to Paul throughout so a slight improvement over last week. I found this session rather hard work but that is what it is for so all was well (though massively queasy and wheezy).

I managed to drink some mulled wine and eat some carrot batons at the get together afterwards. Perfect recovery fuel I’m sure you’ll agree. I also won the Chairman’s Prize for improvement in running over the year and my help over the years organising the Hove Prom 10k.

Tuesday meant, as usual, Core & Stretch in the morning followed by kettlebells in the evening. Again a lot of bum strengthening stuff so good for me though downward dogging etc not so good as not supposed to be stretching the hamstring. I’m not supposed to be doing fast stuff either so double failure after track session. Having been too polite the previous week and ending up with useless fat-handled kettlebells I made sure I went in early and got myself the good ones. Of course this meant there was hardly anyone there but I had the right bells anyway so hoopla! This made everything so much better and I found myself doing everything with the heaviest bell I could manage.

The heavier belling made itself apparent on Wednesday at spin when I found my quads quivering early on. Much hill climbing and hovering later they were utterly battered but managed to carry me all the way until about 2  minutes before the end when they admitted defeat. Reached the end of the final hill climb using various other muscles, any that could lend a hand (leg). It was a good class and lucky that I felt shamed into going to Joe’s class as it was just me and his client that had got his PT time wrong so was forced to join us. Otherwise Joe would have been all alone. Anyway it was good and I’m glad I went even though I did render my legs useless.

I did plan to do a long run on Thursday but due to cat shelter working in the morning and grim weather in the afternoon I left it until Friday. Although it was a bit windy it was also sunny and cold so good conditions for running except the seafront was rather stony after the stormy weather had hurled many stones onto the prom from the beach. I mainly stuck to Basin Road South as that is unstony. Having not done much running I found myself averaging 8 minute miling. This average was slightly ruined when a giant poodle decided it would be good to jump all over me around mile 6. As I am a dog fearer I had to stand still until its owner removed it. Apart from this slight interruption it was an acceptable run of 10 miles.

Saturday meant an unwelcome return to Hove Park for the annual Arena Age Graded superseries race. I knew I was going to be utter bilge and lo I was.

Not quite as pitch black as last year but almost...

Not quite as pitch black as last year but almost…

The weather was almost as awful as last year however that was not to blame.

I didn’t go to RunBrighton as it was along the banks of the Adur again and it is way too slippery and unpleasant especially for stupid hamstring tendinopathy or whatever it likes to call itself. Monday’s track was called off due to a raging storm with dangerously strong winds. Today I dragged myself out for a 12 miler. It was very slow and I think my lungs have died as I couldn’t breathe properly even having inhaled and had to actually stop running a few times which hasn’t happened before. They have been wrong for a few weeks now. Perhaps I have a low level cold or something? Ho hum. Hopefully they will suddenly spring back into action soon.

Tomorrow I have Christmas Day parkrun at Hove Park and then Boxing Day races in Preston Park so I shan’t be idle.

I shall finish with a festive “treat” for all my fellow runners/readers.



A well balanced week   Leave a comment

Reignition fail! I did indeed join Paul for his 800 training but was alas so out of practice at speed endurance that I was of no use in helping him so Bob had to tag him and I on to the end of the fast group after two or so reps of the thing we were doing together to start with. Although I hadn’t succeeded in helping Paul and have a lot of improvement to make I was glad to be doing a bit of slightly different and Paul said he was glad of the company as he often has to do this training on his own. For the last few reps I tagged on to fast group too and stuck with them for 300 metres then sprinted the last 100 as per Bob’s instructions when the rest, including Paul, went round for another lap of which the last 300 was picking up speed. There was no way I could have done that and even Paul dropped off a bit on the last one. However I loved the few sprinty bits I did so although I have much work to do and I was slightly disappointed at my crapness (possibly should be expected after all the long slow stuff I’ve been doing) I enjoyed the session and am looking forward to having another go next week where hopefully I shall be a little more successful.

On Tuesday it was the usual Core & Stretch in the morning. Somehow Jenny had read my mind (or possibly this blog) and did a lot of bum clenching type exercises as I am supposed to do to help my hamstring/bum injury. I made sure I actually did the bridges this time as usually I do them halfheartedly as I find them quite difficult but now I know this is part of my problem I shall jolly well get on with them! I even attempted the single legged ones.

In the evening I went back to the gym for part two of Death by Dunn Tuesday. This time it was Matt’s turn and he didn’t disappoint. Due to my ingrained politeness I let everyone else choose their kettlebells first which meant I was left with the fat handled ones that I can’t grip properly. This totally destroys ones forearms. Cramp ahoy! Also it is a bit scary doing above the head things as my grip isn’t assured so I worry about accidental killing. I managed not to kill anyone or break anything (except forearms). I could definitely tell a massive difference this week having done a track session the day before (compared to having not last week).

This Wednesday I decided to attempt spin followed by a LSR. This was actually rather successful. Something about cycling makes running seem easier (probably because it is a form of warm up and usually I do nothing but leave the house and start running). I managed a comfortable 11 miles averaging 8.15mm which is around 30 seconds per mile faster than normal. For once the wind was in the right direction to mean coming back from the Marina didn’t involve any sort of  headwind. Good. Especially after my totally awful attempt at a long run the preceding Wednesday.

I had planned to do another long run on Thursday or Friday but in the end I didn’t feel it was necessary so I had two consecutive full days off. Crikey!

This meant I should be in good shape to attempt a sub 20 Preston Park parkrun on Saturday. Once more the weather was good and after cycling over I met Danny and Mike and did a bit of a warm up with them then continued on my own to make 2 miles (I was mainly trying to keep warm – it wasn’t so much a conscious warm up though I now see why a warm up is called a warm up). I saw that the new girl was there and knowing she was due a sub 20 I thought I’d attempt to keep her in my sights. This worked well though she did draw ahead of me at the last cone turn where I somehow managed to be so crap at cornering that she was about 20 metres ahead of me by the time I had windmilled my way round. I wasn’t worried though as I wasn’t there to race or beat her and knew I was still on for a good run. At the moment my aim is to run as well as I can and know that I have tried throughout and this I had so I was pleased with my finishing time of 20.06. Perhaps this also shows the value of actually doing a warm up (damn it).

This morning I was up bright and early (except it was pitch black – sunrise at 7.54am, what the?) ready for RunBrighton #4. This week it was a 35 minute out and back route by the Adur. Unfortunately it had been raining in the night so it was rather muddy and slippery in parts. This was not good for my bum. Rob and I managed a tiny bit of slightly faster running on the more solid paths but it wasn’t anywhere near half pace though I was breathing like an asthmatic lunatic due to non-inhalation. I have decided next time I’m doing parkrun or something shorter and speedier I should try and replicate this effort of breathing, having inhaled, as I never usually sound like that thus I feel I can’t really be trying hard enough. Ended up doing just over 8 miles in 68 minutes which was faster than I was expecting so another good bit of training in the bag to complete the week.

Still not properly light at 8am (lucky Mike's jacket is providing some illumination)

Still not properly light at 8am (lucky Mike’s jacket is providing some illumination)

Only 29 miles for the week but I feel like what I did do was pretty decent in term of quality so this is perfectly acceptable.

In the doldruns   4 comments

On Monday I discovered my legs were pretty shattered from Crowborough (along with my mind) so I decided after much humming, haaaing and aaarrrggging not to go to track as I wouldn’t have given it a good go so it would only be detrimental as I wouldn’t be able to run properly and would then berate myself mightily. Although I found it really hard to miss I’m sure it was the right thing to do.

Having not done Monday I found Tuesday’s Core & Stretch a little easier and definitely kettlebells. Jenny took both classes this week (usually she just does C&S and her husband Matt does kettlebells). I really enjoyed Jenny’s kettlebell class and found myself able to, for once, give the exercises some welly. It goes to show how much track takes out of me (especially after also racing on Saturday and Sunday). I mean that should be obvious but I usually just think I’m useless and feeble when I can’t get stuck into kettlebells as much as I would like. Jenny especially praised my light and bouncy high knees and squat jumping. Usually my legs are so shot by this stage that I can hardly get off the ground when jumping. Of course this happened when Matt wasn’t there to see it so if Jenny told him he was probably wondering who this bouncing, leaping, energetic Isobel was as it’s not the Isobel he sees week in week out.

On Wednesday I planned to do a LSR of 13 miles or so but discovered I was totally weak in body and mind and had to abort at 9 miles after flagging badly at 7. I’m not sure if it was the weekend races and kettlebells smashing or a slight cold but I really had nothing to give. It is very seldom that I actually totally give up like this (though it has happened a little too often recently) so I took it to mean something really was amiss. Hopefully runs like this come once in a blue moon and I’ll be back to normal by my next attempt.

Having failed so dismally on Wednesday I didn’t feel it was a good idea to try for another LSR on Thursday and took the decision to totally rest. I definitely felt lightheaded and hot of head and generally mildly coldy so hopefully resting was the right thing to do. As I said before I don’t often bail out of runs so think it was definitely a sign I should rest (a bit).

Of course I couldn’t rest for long so off I went to spin on Friday morning. However as we spent the whole class climbing last week we did mainly sprints this week which is much less taxing on the legs, or at least I find it so as I can’t get my legs to zoom round like others can. Thus the class, although knackering in a cardio sense, left my legs a bit less dead than usual which could only be good news in front of Lancing xc on Saturday afternoon.

The weather was behaving itself so we arrived at Lancing looking forward to a run in perfect conditions. There wasn’t a breath of wind on the uphill section and the sun even deigned to come out from time to time. This race is always hard as, after two slightly undulating field laps, it is basically just a massive uphill followed by a massive downhill. I know that I am never going to be particularly speedy as my uphill running leaves a lot to be desired, especially at the moment with my dodgy hamstring/bum. Though I know my downhilling will be good. This was perfectly encapsulated by my Garmin.

On the home straight

On the home straight

My time was slightly slower than last year but I’ll put that down to bottom related difficulties going up the hill. Anyway the main thing is I ran this without any form of Plumpton-style sulking and just ran as as well as I could considering my various ailments and lack of running during the week.

This morning it was off to Hove Park for RunBrighton #3. I was still feeling rather mojoless and devoid of inspiration or strength so just did a tempo (if I knew what this was) run of around 9 miles at 7.50 pace with Rob (as we are both injured and/or mojoless we didn’t throw in any half paced running as Rob had done his yesterday at parkrun anyway and I was not up to it today. I talked to the Studio 57 physios about my dodgy hamstring and they suggested buttock strengthening exercises so I will get on to them to hopefully give me my left leg back.

Not sure how to regain mojo or strength but hopefully tomorrow’s track session will reignite something as I am joining Paul in his 800 training as he is focusing on the European Indoor Masters Championships in February. I am not but know the training will be enjoyable as it is much more my cup of tea with its shorter reps and longer recoveries than the usual winter’s track fare of 1200s etc.


I did some more running   Leave a comment

Monday again! Having not raced over the weekend I hoped I would be able to give track a proper go. As long as Bob didn’t start with the fatal words “tonight we will be doing 800s…” I was feeling quite confident that I had the mental strength to get on with it this time. As Bob uttered the words parlauf I was filled with joy as this is my favourite track session. Hoo actual rah! We split into groups of 4. I was running with Emily and we were paired with Andy and Trevor. My plan was to stick with Emily as much as I was able and this worked well. The session was 5 x 500, 5 x 400 and 5 x 300. Emily got away from me a little on some of the 500s and 400s but I kept her within 10 or so metres which was OK as she is after all significantly faster than me. This session was very much like hard work and I did wonder on occasion why I love parlaufed but once we’d finished I loved it once more. A (horribly) enjoyable 5.5 miles into the bank to start off the week.

As the gym was still shut I decided to get a LSR in on Tuesday. I had a marvellous plan in mind for 13 miles which was ruined after 3 miles when I discovered Shoreham Arm was closed. Huff. I headed inland instead and clocked up 12.5 miles so still a success.

I had also planned to do a slightly shorter LSR on Wednesday which I duly did. The usual 10 to the Marina and back. For once it wasn’t windy in either direction and I discovered my pacing wasn’t as awful as I suspected (in this instance at least).

Knowing I had Rat Run on Friday followed by parkrun and Crowborough 10k I took Thursday off. Tres sensible dontcha know.

Trevor’s route for Friday’s Rat Run was one we have done before which involves running through Stanmer Park in the dark with headtorches up to The Swan in Falmer and then back to Withdean for a carvery in the traditional manner. We all tested some of SW’s beer at The Swan (just a half for me). I really enjoyed this run even being blinded by Kevin’s supersonic headtorch beam, jabbing a twig into my shin and seeing the sodding Christmas bus in NOVEMBER. 10.5 miles (though somehow I ran .2 of a mile in the pub even though I was sitting down – 22 minute miling so said Mr Garmin).

Saturday meant another trip over to Preston Park parkrun to break the curse of too much Hove. Although I was a little slower this time running 20.27. I was quite pleased with my more consistent pacing and managing to keep concentrating all the way. It was rather windy on the bottom stretch so I shall blame that for being 11 seconds down on last time.

Today (Sunday) saw me heading over to Crowborough for the 10k. I only do this race as I like running through the ford. Last year we weren’t allowed so this year I was hoping we could run through as I had two years’ worth of feet to soak. We drove through it on the way and it was about an inch deep so I was confident that we could run it this time. Having arrived and discovered Dani wasn’t there the pressure was on a little to score for the team but I knew I would run as well as I could as I still had a focused mindset and I couldn’t do more than that. This race is very hilly with nary a flat bit to be seen. This made for a 5.41 first mile (downhill obviously). After this those who run that speed for the whole race came streaming past me but I continued as well as I could and tried not to be too disinheartened. I wasn’t, even when many people I beat in my purple patch during summer passed me (this is nothing new as they have been for months). This race seemed to pass pretty quickly (not only because I ran 4 minutes quicker than last year) and I was quite pleased as I felt that I had tried my best throughout so can’t really ask for more than that.

Arena cleared up in the prize stakes. We won the second ladies team prize – Emily, Caroline and I. Caroline won the v50, Paul the v60, I the v35 and the men a team prize too.

Arena slay Crowborough

Arena slay Crowborough

First v1, 2nd ladies team and 3 pairs of socks. A good haul.

First v1, 2nd ladies team and 3 pairs of socks. A good haul.

All in all this has been a pretty successful week in both running and brain. Good.

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