Archive for February 2015

Reverse-taper triumph   1 comment

Having had 5 days off last week due to stupid snotty sinussy illness I was looking forward to a hardcore reverse-taper week pre Brighton Half. I started off with a 5 mile easy run to get the double Saturday out of my legs ready for a good track session. My left hamstring was exceedingly tight but by the end of the run had eased off.

I had been yearning for a paarlauf session and my prayers were answered! (5x) 500, 400 and 300s. Oh happy days! I paired with Caroline but ran each rep with Paul. I thought we just happened to be running at the same time until he pointed out he was running with me as a three. Div! Anyway this was most handy as it meant I could just stick with him which meant each rep was sensibly paced and consistent. Even though the weather was cold, wet and miserable I really enjoyed this session especially when Paul said he wasn’t being slow so I could keep with him and Bob said I had “excellent stamina”. Praise indeed!

On Tuesday I took myself out for an “as you feel” 7 miler and was very surprised to discover I felt good and managed around 7.20 pace.

I had planned to do a LSR on Wednesday morning but the lure of doing a half marathon pace fartlek long run with Rob was too great so this is what I did. It was basically a long(ish) run with a few faster paced miles here and there at predicted half pace and faster. I was dead at the end but it was good.

In the evening I was hoping to take it easy with my work Run Club by standing around ordering them about but alas none of the people from last week turned up and my one new lady was a determined speed demon. My plan for Kenyan hills was met with great excitement so we set off for Duke’s Mound at a decent pace. We did the hills for 15 minutes then she wanted to sprint the last 2 reps so we did then proceeded back at a pretty brisk trot. This officially killed me off for the day. Unexpected double dose of fast stuff. The reverse-taper continued.

I did sort of cheat though by not doing my planned 6 x 1 minutes on Friday as I’d done the unexpected Kenyan hills on Wednesday. This meant when I came to Hove Park parkrun on Saturday I had had two days rest which always means I can’t run as well. I still managed 20.52 though so it wasn’t too bad.

Sunday meant only one thing, the culmination of the reverse-taper week, the Brighton Half. I haven’t run a half since this race last year where I managed just under 1.37. This time I didn’t really have a target though I had sub 1.33 in the back of my mind as something that was possibly achievable. Trevor had mentioned at parkrun that Dorian was going to go for sub 1.30 and was happy to get a pace group together. As I found him in the sub 1.30 start pen with Rick, Mal, Tristan, Tara, Kerry, Rob and Trevor I thought what the heck why don’t I at least TRY and go with him for as long as I can. It worked well when I stuck with Trevor at the start of Chichester so I decided to do the same again. We had a nice little Arena group that stuck together well. So well in fact we got loads of shouts for our “Arena pace group”. Lots of shouts for “Trey” too from people who couldn’t read Trev’s vest properly. As the miles passed I was still with Dorian, Trevor, Mal, Tristan and Rick. Around 9 miles Trevor and Mal dropped back but I just tried to keep focussed and kept telling myself I couldn’t lose it now having come so far. At 10 miles I lost touch with Dorian and Tristan but Rick was still just behind me (I could tell as spectating Arenas kept shouting “go Isobel – go Rick” in quick succession).

Ah yes, there's Rick! Thanks to Ruth for the photo

Ah yes, there’s Rick!
Thanks to Ruth for the photo

The final 3 miles back from the lagoon were in fear of the official blue-flag-wielding 1.30 pacer overtaking as I was running watchless. Dorian was quite far ahead and I didn’t know if he had kicked on or I had slowed down so pacer fear was rampant. No sign of him as I struggled onwards. I could NOT ruin it now. Regardless of still not having seen the 1.30 pacer I was worried that I’d dropped off too much so was now outside 1.30 pace but the beauty of no-watch is I had no idea so my only recourse was to keep running as fast as I could. Finally, finally, I passed the pier and tried to pick it up a bit for the last 500 or so metres. I kept my head down as I didn’t want to see the clock until it was too late to do anything about it. I looked up around 50 metres from the end and was astounded to see 1.29 just rolling around. I even remembered that it had taken us 20 or so seconds to cross the start line so as I crossed the finish line in 1.29.31 I knew my chip time would be closer to 1.29. I caught up with Tristan in the funnel where we were accosted by Meridian TV. I really hope they don’t use the footage as I was a shell-shocked blithering imbecile (not too different to my normal self I know).

Mr A. Mazing

Mr A. Mazing

I’m not sure it has actually sunk in yet that I have broken 1.30 as it was not something I ever really felt was possible. Massive thanks to Dorian for his brilliant pace group and to Trevor for giving me the confidence to actually stick with the group.

Massive and pink

Massive and pink

44 miles for a mightily successful reverse-taper week.

Running (nose)   Leave a comment

After having run much better than I imagined on Sunday I was looking forward to attempting to keep up the good work at track and the weather looked promising for an ice free evening. It lied. The track was slippery as Hades (except of course that Hades is renowned for its heat). This turned out to be OK though as it meant we just ran fast when we could and jogged the slippery section. Andy had dragged me up to his group (where I used to be in the glory days of mid 2013) which this week consisted of Caroline and him. He then dashed off as he hadn’t been run Chichester and felt the need for speed. Caroline and I ended up taking it relatively easily due to our fear of slipping over. This was perfect anyway as we had both run well at Chichester so a “recovery” style track session was just what we needed. Good for me too to be able to keep with her (obviously because she wasn’t in any way trying but that is irrelevant).

Unfortunately as so often happens after I race properly (which doesn’t often happen) I then developed a despicable cold. This meant I did nothing until Saturday when I drugged myself up to the eyeballs and set off for Preston Park parkrun. I had read up on sinus infection (the cold part of my cold had gone leaving horrible sinus pain as is the way these days) and most articles said that running could actually help alleviate sinus congestion and I didn’t think it could make it worse. Gary was pacing 20 minutes so my plan was to stick with him for as long as possible. He set off at a pace that felt ridiculously slow and I really thought he’d got the pacing wrong it felt so easy but we passed 1k in 3.59 (of course I knew really he wouldn’t be pacing it incorrectly). I was still with him at 2k (7.58) and almost there at 3k (12.02) but then I dropped off and finished in 20.23. This seemed terribly rubbish until I realised I’d only lost 20 seconds over 2k so it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I shall pretend that if my face hadn’t been a pulsating mass of pain I would have been able to stick with him to the end.

Naturally as I am always very sensible I then set off in the afternoon to complete the season’s cross country season with yet another visit to Lancing. This time it was normal league so a mere 5k. The plan insofar as I had one was not to fall over this time. Although it had been raining quite a bit it wasn’t quite as bad as last time. I wore my Speedcross having given my spikes to Mary as they were of no use last time. I did not fall over. I felt much better than the last two runs here fat-hot-pulsating head notwithstanding. No idea of time but beat a couple of people I didn’t on the last few occasions. Anyway the main thing is I tried so can’t do more than that.

Lancing xc start Lancing xc

I shall rest tomorrow (Sunday) bringing me to an almighty 11 miles for the week.

Posted 14/02/2015 by Isobel Muir in Uncategorized

Chichester 10 yay!   Leave a comment

As winter continued being wintry I felt that track would be iced off again so I had planned on doing some mile reps instead. After consulting with Bob I settled on 4 x 1 mile at Hove Park. He suggested I aim for 7 minutes, 6.45, 6.45, 7. As I no longer have a GPS watch I would have to rely on my inbuilt sense of pacing. Oh dear… 6.20 for the first one. I really tried to slow down on the second and managed 6.33, I then gave up and just tried to keep up at least the semblance of consistency and finished the last two in 6.25 and 6.24. My recovery was supposed to be 2 minutes but due to a miscalculation on my part as to how long it would take to get back to the start these ended up being 2.5 minutes. However when I reported back to Bob he said this was fine. I was quite pleased as I didn’t think my reps would be that fast and it is a reasonably undulating mile and the park was full of dogs and people getting in the way. Why must people stare at you and see you are running towards them yet make no effort to move themselves, their dogs or children out of the way. Huff. Anyway, all the more reason to be pleased. Including the two miles to and from Hove Park this was a good solid 8 miles in the bag to start the week.

On Wednesday I sought the advice of Emily as I wasn’t sure which fartlek session I should go for pre Chichester 10k on Sunday. I was most grateful that she chose the one I secretly wanted to do: 25 minutes steady, 6 x 1 minute fast with a minute jog in between, finished off with 20 minutes steady (just because that’s how long it took to get back, couldn’t be bothered to do an extra 5 minutes just for the sake of it). It was nice day for it, sunny but cold. There was quite a strong and freezing headwind for all the fast bits but it wasn’t anywhere near as horrible as recently so it was just a slight additional training benefit. I wasn’t really sure what “steady” pace should be so decided to time one of the steady miles home as I just happened to be passing a stretch that I know to be a mile. I was massively surprised to discover it was 7.20. Especially after having done the fast bits. Having ascertained that steady pace should be 7.20 – 7.40 pace for me (thanks again Emily) I was even more pleased with this session. Around 9 miles covered too.

Although I am getting back on the faster stuff I am not neglecting the LSR so on Thursday I set off with Rob on a very sedately paced run which was exactly what I needed. After a sleety start the weather was quite sunny and very pleasant. The run was about 14 miles at 9 minute mile pace so very gentle and in splendid company.

I had already decided to give Hove Park another go on Saturday as I felt I ran better there last week than I have at Preston Park which now seems to crowded. I miss my PP posse but it means I get to see my original HP posse instead. This week there was a brutal, freezing, northerly wind slicing down the long hill and the ground was very frosty. I had a plan to follow Rick and Andy insofar as I could and this actually came to pass. I even managed to overtake them both around 3k though Andy took me back around 500m later. I had my eyes shut quite a lot which is a sure sign I’m putting in the effort. The ground wasn’t actually at all slippery but there was a diversion onto the grass to avoid some works on the path which ruined the flow of the run somewhat especially on the second pass when there were people to lap as well and a person kept cutting me up and generally being a git which meant I lost some time in the last half mile so I was rather pleased all things considered to cross the line in 20.25.

This morning it was the turn of the Chichester 10k. Trevor was running too so we decided to wear our green stuff in solidarity with the folk out on the usual Sunday long run.

Having arrived ridiculously early and snagged the best ever parking space

The benefits of being early

The benefits of being early



Traditional pre-race huff stance

Traditional pre-race huff stance

we had plenty of time to listen to the ridiculously posh announcer who is my favourite part of this run (with the post race mug a close second) and see who was about and have a chat with Bob and Jenny. As Trevor hadn’t done this race before I gave him a quick tour of the start and finish so he could decide when to get the Gemili hands out. Soon enough it was time to be corralled to the start. We arrived in the lane and as we were walking the hooter went off! Arg! No-one was ready and a marshall had to swiftly yank the rope divising the time pens out of the way. This unexpected start meant we were stuck behind loads of people but I tried not to get annoyed or do too much weaving. Trevor and I had a vague plan to stick together but go if we felt like it. I passed him early on when I felt strong knowing full well he’d come past me later which he did at around 4k. I passed 5k in 20.50 and had a brief worry that it was too slow so I was going to be crap but I dismissed this and kept onwards. I could still see Caroline at 7k so naturally I assumed she must be having a bad run. As I was watchless I had no idea how I was doing but I was with people I haven’t been anywhere near for ages but again I just assumed they were ALL having bad runs. Anyway I kept plugging away. The nice long downhill 2k at the end had been rather narrowly coned off so I took my life into my hands and just ran on the road side of them as there were too many people in the way in the coned lane. As I rounded the final corner into the short finishing straight I was amazed to see the clock said 41.12 … 13 … 14 … 15… and I was over the line! I was totally shocked as I truly believed I wouldn’t do any better than 42 something. I was so shocked I forget to collect my mug which is really the only reason I do this race but went back and collected it.

Post race tea poured straight in...

Post race tea poured straight in…

After a celebratory tea in the Festival Theatre café it was time to drive home which meant 45 minutes of jabbering about our unexpected brilliance and our plans for green glories to come.

Official chip time 41.03. (Still miles off my PB but the best I’ve run for well over a year – this might be my third fastest 10k ever actually.)

Somehow I also managed 45 miles for the week.

Balance   Leave a comment

This week as Monday’s weather looked much more clement I was confident track would be on so I just went out for an easy 5 miles in the morning to get any Lido out of my legs (not that I actually did anything so they hardly needed it).

Indeed it was a pleasant evening for track and I knew I would have a good session as Saturday and Sunday had been so utterly awful. The session was (4 x) 600t (1m), 400f (100j), 300f (1m). We made sure we kept our tempo speed down so we could keep the fast bits fast. This session was right up my street and I had a most jolly time striding out on the fast sections. I made sure I kept consistent (as far as I could tell watchless) on the fast bits. I feel I succeeded. I was very pleased with this session as I worked hard throughout and it made up for the truly horrible weekend’s worth of running.

I thought it would be a brilliant idea to do 6 x 1k reps on the seafront on Wednesday as extremely strong winds were forecast. Lo! They were right. I chose to do the first 500m of each rep into the wind with the second half behind and my 2 mins rest between reps was spent hiding behind a beach hut. The plan was to do each k in 4 minutes. This was a somewhat foolish target taking in to consideration the conditions. The outward leg was stupid, I could hardly move and I was being buffeted all over the place. At one stage I was blown straight into a beach shelter. Also the prom was rather stone-covered which didn’t help and many a bemused dog walker stared at me. All my reps were (unsurprisingly) too slow ranging from 4.04 to 4.18 with an average of 4.12ish. The loss was made in the first 500 with the second, wind assisted, section being 2  minutes as it should. Although my times were rather off I was pleased with the session as the weather was truly terrible and I still got out there and did it.

Thursday was forecast to be equally windy and horrible but in fact it was sunny and cold and not at all windy. I met up with the esteemed Rob on Old Shoreham Road where we proceeded in a westerly direction for a time before cutting through to the seafront where we had thought we would be wind assisted but as it wasn’t windy we just continued as normal. As it was such an unexpectedly pleasant day weather-wise I thought it would be good to get a long one in the bag so by the time I returned home I had notched up around 15 miles. As we kept the pace nice and slow (around 8.45mm) the run felt very comfortable.

On Saturday it was a slight change of scene as I went to Hove Park for parkrun. The park was rather icy and snowy in parts (this I was not expecting) so my plan for a speedy run was slightly dented (notwithstanding the fact I’m just not actually fast at the moment). However I managed to keep up a reasonable effort the whole way round which is my main target for the time being. My time was dead on 21 which considering the weather I was happy with.

35 miles for the week with a good balance of sessions so hopefully soon I shall start to see some improvement in my times.

Posted 01/02/2015 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Brighton & Hove, parkrun, Running

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