Archive for May 2014

Annual Arena Running Trip – Minehead   1 comment

The usual Arena running holiday posse were once more off in pursuit of new running routes. This year we were Somerset bound. Our base would be a cottage in a valley with Minehead the nearest town just over a massive hill to the north (ish). The cottage was very old thus all the men, bar Pete, spent much time headbutting doorframes and walking around crouched down, especially Timmy who must be at least 6’ 4”. Luckily I fitted under though my hair did once scrape the kitchen doorframe. Anyway, though this talk of door frames is truly exciting this blog is supposed to be about running so here goes.

The runs. The link should take you to the first run on the Saturday so just keep pressing next until you reach the end (you may want to alternate fingers to avoid RSI). Two of the evening recovery runs weren’t recorded as my watch decided it didn’t wish to find the satellite. Also some of the really hilly ones are precise on time or average pace as the watch kept auto pausing such was the speed of my ascent.

I don’t think it is worth describing every run in detail as basically they were all massively hilly, off-road and hard work for one (I) whose only experience of hills recently is Hove Park and whose favourite running surface is track or a nice road. I decided that as I was there I would go for the full complement of runs which meant a double day every day (except arrival and departure day). This, unsurprisingly, led to my highest mileage 6 days ever – 81 miles. I tried to make some of the evening runs recovery style but the flattest road nearby was still in no way flat. Please take some time to peruse the elevation profiles of the various runs. I know the hardcore among you will snort derisively but to “Hove Park is hilly” moi it was mental. However I have survived, or so it seems thus far…

Welcome to the Gallery

The full quota of holidaying Arenas just before THE WORST run (in my opinion) around Wimbleball Lake

The full quota of holidaying Arenas just before THE WORST run (in my opinion) around Wimbleball Lake on Tuesday morning

Midway down an excellent, long, rocky descent. Mountain goatery ahoy!

Midway down an excellent, long, rocky descent on Wednesday morning. Mountain goatery ahoy!

Charlie and Jim on the edge at Cheddar Gorge

Charlie and Jim on the edge at Cheddar Gorge

Where Charlie and Jim were. I was not being a massive scaredy cat when it comes to heights

Where Charlie and Jim were. I was not being a massive scaredy cat when it comes to heights

More daredevil climbing, this time by Timmy at the Valley of Rocks

More daredevil climbing, this time by Timmy at the Valley of Rocks



The laundry tree

The laundry tree

The towel and shoe airing area

The towel and shoe airing area


Posted 25/05/2014 by Isobel Muir in Arena 80 AC, Blog, Cross Country, Running

Happy Friday y’all   Leave a comment

Hello there! Hope I didn’t surprise you posting on a Friday. This is because I am off on the annual Arena running holiday tomorrow. Somewhere in Somerset this time. Fingers crossed the weather shall be good and lots of running shall be done. Well of course lots of running shall be done even if the weather isn’t good. There is also a swimming pool, miniature golf, tennis courts etc where we are staying so hopefully much activity will be partaken in. Also lots of eating which is the most important thing I must do. Too thin, too weak. I MUST NOT kick a football though as that would totally destroy my ankle. I know I will accidentally though and it will be the most painful thing ever. Ho hum.

Anyway, down to business, not that I have much to report. On Monday it was back to track. Today’s session was 7x1k – 200t, 300f, 200t, 300f 90s rest. Again this should have been a perfect session for me but alas I still struggled. I did feel like I was putting in the effort but nothing to show for it. I was way off the back of Mark and Duncan’s group but as it was stationary recovery I could at least regroup and start each rep with them. Still suffering effects of stupid depression which is most annoying as otherwise I’m not depressed and want to get on with it. Hmmm that made sense … I know what I meant anyway. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done other than plough on and wait for it to lift.

I didn’t plough on that much though as I only went to Core & Stretch on Tuesday. Still feeling tired after two long runs the preceding week. I need to get back on them as I shan’t stop feeling tired until I have incorporated them back into my running week. I’m still not sure how I managed to do two long runs, a 10 miler and everything else that I did last year. Now the mere thought of it exhausts me. Possibly somewhat due to accidental weight loss. I do definitely feel much weaker and that I have lost thigh muscle. Thus I am attempting to eat everything which Somerset shall help as chef Steve prepares loads of good stuff, along with all the mini pizza/fish finger sandwich/Pringles etc snackage. I intend to come back at least 20 stone, though I have just given away all my giant running clothes so will have to spill fulsomely from my smaller current garments.

I did nothing on Wednesday which was down to Rob choosing B when I asked him to choose A, B or C without telling him which was which or indeed what it related to. For the record A – treadmill, B – rest, C – lsr.

This did not help on Thursday when I went to Hove Park. I was still incapable of dragging anything from myself but at least as the session was 5×2 uphill half laps (should have been 6 but too slow to complete them all) I got some hills in.

I was contemplating doing a lsr today but I shall be doing (at least) one a day from tomorrow so I don’t think it’s a great loss that I haven’t today. I had already planned to go climbing with Lydia anyway so it wasn’t a completely idle day. I managed to do a higher grade today though there are still some lower ones that I haven’t grasped yet and the duck still strikes fear into me. As I kept telling Lydia it would be fine if it had a nice banister running across the top. Climbing up and down the sides is fine I just hate cresting the top and then being on the platform. Weird also as it is the lowest wall. I managed to conquer the blue and white which means doing the splits (or it does the way I do it) but can’t do the one that means going round a corner. I did manage a yellow one which was pleasing but I still have uncontrollable miniature panic attacks from time to time and this was one time. After hyperventilating and snotting on the wall for a 30 seconds or so it passed but it is really most unhelpful when it is happening. Lydia even came up to try and rescue me but thankfully it had abated by then so I climbed down like a normo. Hopefully as I improve/continue these odd forays into abject terror will go away completely. Most humiliating.

Only managed 10 miles so far this week but hopefully I’ll get stuck in to many long and hilly runs over the coming days to make up for it and to catapult me back into the swing of lots of lsrs as I used to do when I was briefly a good runner this time last year.

Running and the like   Leave a comment

As it was a bank holiday there was no track on Monday which was perhaps a good thing after last week’s abject failure. I felt I should do some sort of recovery run after Sunday’s efforts so when Andy asked if I’d like to run with him in the evening I agreed. Unfortunately I was not able to muster up any sort of pace so Andy had to plod along exceedingly slowly with me. He said he didn’t mind but he probably would have preferred to have gone a bit faster. At least he did 7 miles which he might not have done at all otherwise (I certainly wouldn’t have done anything if I weren’t meeting him.

On Tuesday I was able to do C&S which was good. I seem to have kept most of my core strength even though I haven’t been able to do this class every week due to work. Still a massive planker.

I had booked Wednesday off work for vets league but as that wasn’t until the evening I decided to get a long slow run in in the morning as I have been sorely lacking in these recently as was highlighted on Sunday at Hayward’s Heath. It was exceedingly windy so I headed inland. I had wanted to do some hills too having not done any of these for ages either (no wonder I’ve been so rubbish of late). I met Rob which meant the middle 8 ish miles was pleasant as his company helped me forget about the windiness and my ridiculously slow pace. I managed to ascend King George VI Avenue without dying of lung failure which is definitely an improvement. I haven’t used my blue inhaler for ages (I might use it before a race now and then). It was a very slow run altogether but at least I managed 15 miles which is more than I’ve done for ages and contained some good hills.

In the evening I joined Julie in her camper for the trip over to Eastbourne. As the only two ladies we decided to do everything (almost). I chose to do the shot put over the walk as I felt the humiliation would be slightly less. I was pretty sure I would be last as I am distinctly NOT of traditional shot put build. After one practice (just to make sure I could actually pick the shot up) it was time to go. My aim was to breach the 5 metre line. My first throw was 4.84. Then 5.96, finishing with 5.48. Much to my surprise I was third. Arg! It’s no good, I have to qualify that by saying that in fact that was second last. But still, I wasn’t last as I suspected. The winner threw over 9 metres and looked like a proper shot putter and natch was before me so the officials had to roll the tape measure in many miles between her and my attempts. I also took part in the 100m (3rd), 400m (2nd), 1500m (7th) and the 4×100 relay (mixed team – non scoring). All the running was ruined by a massive headwind in the back straight that meant I couldn’t move. Though the 100 wasn’t and being ladies captain (ha!) I chose the last leg in the relay so I had no headwind. This didn’t help as I was still totally slow. Thankfully Joe dropped the baton in the proper scoring Arena men’s team so I was able to not come last as he had to wait for me to go before he could collect the fallen baton from the inside of lane one (my lane). I love vets league and even though it was pretty much ruined by the apocalyptic wind and freezing temperatures I still enjoyed it and it seemed everyone else did too. Massive thanks to Julie for getting stuck into all the track races even though she was really only there for the walk which she won (of course). She even managed a small shot put injury regardless of the fact she didn’t actually take part in that event.

Freezing to death in a very slow 1500

Freezing to death in a very slow 1500

I thought all my activities on Wednesday warranted a recovery jog on Thursday morning. Although it was supersonically slow (oxymoron) it was still rather hard due to the every-directional headwind. I didn’t do HP intervals in the evening as that would have been asking for trouble (aka I couldn’t be bothered).

On Friday I did nothing.

Saturday meant parkrun and this time my aim was to be paced to 20.30 by Joe. Unfortunately I was too slow and only managed 21.10. However I did try the whole way round so alas I am just mucho slow these days. I’m sure others would say the contents of the preceding few days probably didn’t help but you know me, too hard on myself always.

This morning (Sunday) it was time for another long run. Poor Rob got dragged out again and had to endure an even slower run than on Wednesday. I should have learnt by now that trying to do everything at once leads (obviously) to max knackeredness yet I still tried to run. I think I managed two miles at sub 9 pace (including a very long downhill section). I shall pretend the hilly and windiness was to blame even though it was mainly my complete lack of strength. At least I went out and now have another hilly 13 miles to add to the bank.

This evening I went climbing with Lydia and finally conquered the blue and white nemesis of last week. However I now have a new one, or two. I am no good at ones with holds with no handles. Hands too sweaty. I also had my usual panic on the duck and told a poor man who happened to appear on the top that I was really sweaty. I don’t think he wished to know. Straight up straight down is fine, sideways not so much, corners no and only good grippable handles please. Also no stopping as panic suddenly sets in inducing massive sweating with attendant falling off. I think I need to fall off properly to overcome my fear but as yet I have only truly fallen off from about an inch off the floor which doesn’t really help. I felt that I wasn’t quite as good as last week. Too much fear. However wearing proper shoes was much better though I should have cut my finger and toenails. I shall persevere and will soon be traversing the tiny black nipples (racist).

I am pleased with this week’s activity though I am now knackered and am not doing my putting on weight attempts much good burning all these calories. 43 miles running for the week, 1 Core & Stretch class, 1 vets league laughathon and 1 bouldering session. I must now sleep forever then start it all again tomorrow.


Better   Leave a comment

Unfortunately I was still deep in the depths of gloom on Monday and gave up at track almost immediately. Anyone who reads this often will know I LOVE track so will understand the dire state of my mind. This session would have been perfect too as it was 300, 500, 200 fast sections with 100j recoveries x 5 (if I remember correctly – I didn’t write it in my diary as I didn’t run it).

I felt quite a bit better by Tuesday and dragged myself to C&S which was good as I haven’t been able to go much recently. I can still plank like a lord. Pleasing.

I had decided whilst in the depths of doom to not run until Saturday (which would be a jog just to remember how to run) because I had Hayward’s Heath 10 miler on Sunday and I wanted to run well. I knew I was in no shape to replicate my second place and ridiculously fast time of 1.10.55 in 2013 but I wanted to be able to try my hardest and know that I gave it my best shot.

Although I had begun to feel much better by Wednesday I chose to continue to rest until Saturday as planned. Saturday duly arrived and I set off to Hove Park to jog round in 23 minutes. Amazingly I ran 23.11 so it seems I can pace myself if going exceedingly slowly

In the afternoon I made my bouldering debut after Lydia invited me. As I was out of love with running I agreed so I could focus on something else for a while and the wall is right by my house. I was very nervous as I am rubbish at heights (as those who saw me at Go Ape will testify). After a bit of sweaty palmed fear on top of the wall you can go on top off (about 10 feet off the ground) I was ok. Once we climbed the walls you just go straight up and down. If I’m concentrating on something it is ok I just cant stop and have time to look down. This did happen a few times when I got to the top then realised I didn’t know how to get down again but I just about managed not to plummet in a sweaty handed fashion. I almost fell off on an overhang but managed to climb down after a bit of panic stricken dangling.


I decided speed was of the essence and this seemed to go well. I made it up to grade 3 but then was thwarted by a specific blue and white one. I was determined to crack it but alas by this time my arms had had it. Lydia told me it’s about leg strength and balance once you get into it but as it was my first go I was still hoisting myself up etc with my arms. I was also wearing totally inappropriate shoes which didn’t help. Anyway I am determined to succeed so must go back with the right shoes and get straight on it. The less thought the better (once I’ve worked out the route – which I didn’t actually have to do as Lydia showed me). Lucky I now work in a shop that does climbing gear. New shoes ahoy!

On Sunday it was the aforementioned Hayward’s Heath 10 miler. I have always (2012 and 2013) managed to do well in this race in terms of effort and was determined to try again this year. I knew my time would be rubbish compared to last year but as long as I felt I put the effort in I would be happy. (I went watchless again after discovering last week that I don’t miss it at all.) In fact I had known since Wednesday I would run this well (I don’t know how but I KNOW sometimes how a run will go regardless of any outward appearance or inner pretence). My plan was to go out hard and see how far I got. This I duly did. Alas the start was much narrower this year so I wasn’t at the front with a mentalated Derkin this time, rather we were trapped reasonably far back. Once we crossed the start chip mat I was able to hoof past everyone like a loon. Not a good race tactic at this stage of my unfitness but one that works when fully fit. I knew I would conk out at some stage and lo it happened around 5 or 6 miles. I wasn’t perturbed as I know it was due to my lack of long runs and proper training recently which in turn was due to the massive brain fail of late. Rob caught me up at around mile 8 so we spent a pleasant mile or so having a chat and LSR style jog. He then pushed on a bit at the end to avoid our usual politeness fight at the finish where neither of us will cross the line first (I once had to actually shove him across the line at parkrun or we would have been there forever). For some reason I was shown on the results as “unregistered runner” in 1.16.29. Not a great time but I didn’t mind as I had done what I wanted and put the effort in for as long as was possible, with the last few miles being an in-race warm down jog.

The Mayor gave me this!

The Mayor gave me this!

A MASSIVE 17 miles for the week. I don’t care though and am just so relieved the fog has lifted so hopefully I can get a good stretch of training in now and make my way back to the glory days of sub 20 5ks etc.

Posted 04/05/2014 by Isobel Muir in Uncategorized

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