Archive for June 2016

For the love of iron   Leave a comment

On Monday the weather was horrible and I didn’t have the strength either mentally or physically to drag myself out into it in the morning so I waited until the evening when it was dry but still windy. It was supposed to be 35 steady but it felt too slow and far too hard. 

The same again was scheduled for Tuesday except this time there was to be 30s fast every 4 minutes. I duly attempted it but I still felt tired and my legs weren’t really behaving themselves so it ended up the same speed as the day before even though this one included fast sections.

Wednesday meant The Weakest Link relay. This is one of my favourite races of the year. Arena organise the teams so they contain runners of mixed abilities so you have the opportunity to go for it on your individual leg, then running as a team on the last leg. It was a nice sunny day with not a breath of wind. Perfect! 

Another large Arena turn out


Once again Arena had a loads of takers for this race and we fielded 10.25 teams (poor Richard was the odd one out and had to run with a non-Arena team [the beauty of this race is that everyone WILL get into a team]). I was on second leg so I went to the traditional spectating spot to watch Shawn on the first leg (along with everyone else of course). I was pleased with my run. The first time I’ve really felt like I was running properly. Go iron! Although the course is only 2.6k it is hilly and grassy and gravely in places with only one stretch of around 400 metres which is flat and straight and on road. I practiced my new sensible starting and didn’t go off too much like a maniac. Luckily it’s uphill, on a grassy camber, so easier not to go out too fast. I then  just concentrated on running strongly (thank you iron). I was very pleased with my run and had time to recover before it was the time for the team leg. For once the forecast was spot on and an apocalyptic thunder storm arrived at precisely 8pm. This meant the team leg was like running through a fast flowing stream whilst standing under a waterfall (both warm thankfully). Everyone was thoroughly soaked within seconds but there was nothing to do but carry on. The cracks of thunder and inches-away Lightning only added to the fun. As I wasn’t the weakest link the run wasn’t too effortful so I just enjoyed the fear of imminent death by lightning/drowning/eardrum explosion. 

Finishing as a team, sodden but happy (not that I look it). Thanks to Shawn, Tara and Craig my fellow teammates.


Later, once home and dry I discovered I ran my leg at around 6.48 pace which is very pleasing given my current state of iron deficiency. Anyway the whole evening was excellent and great fun and made better by a decent run by me and the attendant happiness that the iron is beginning to kick in.

Thursday was a rest day. Surrounded by sodden clothes and shoes.

Friday was a steady 25 minutes followed by 4 x 15s strides. It felt like hard work probably because of Wednesday + a day off which of tens leads to stiffening up. Anyway it loosened everything out ready for parkrun.

Having not been to the prom for ages (2 weeks) off I made my way there with iron fuelled optimism. It was much windier than forecast but again I just planned to go out sensibly.  Rick was there who is running the kind of speed I think I am capable of at the moment so I think I had a subconscious plan to go with him if I should find myself near him. I started a few people back from the start and declined Andy’s beckoning that I should start at the front with him. I started steadily and Rick appeared on my shoulder after around 400 metres so I decided to stick with him. So I did. He’s a rubbish windbreak. Once we turned into the final wind-behind long stretch I pulled slightly ahead of him but fully expected him to come past at any time especially once we turned back into the wind for the final time for the last 500 to the finish. However I was able to just about keep ahead. The beauty of iron: the ability to actually be able to move into the wind. I LOVE IRON. Sorry but it’s difficult to describe what a difference it makes to EVERYTHING. Anyway I managed to pip Rick to the post by 5 seconds.

Eyes shut to the line


Although my time was “only” 20.50 it felt much easier (though hard) than anything I’ve done for ages (except The Weakest Link which was my first obviously iron assisted good run). It’s hard to explain. It felt hard and horrible in the normal way running does but didn’t have all the weakness and breathlessness and just general inability to get going that anaemia brings. It can only get better from here on in (until I stop taking iron because I’m “fixed” and I ruin it all again – I shall NOT do that this time). An acceptable and promising sign of things to come. After the finish we all got soaked AGAIN (the forecast rain was an hour early).

This morning (Sunday) I had a proper breakfast (my failing before last week’s LSR) before setting out on the usual hilly LSR. This week however it had the addition of (3 x) 3, 2, 1 minute fartlek sections. Just a gentle fartlek, picking up the pace slightly, then dropping back to the steady LSR pace. Due to the hilly nature of the route the fartlek sections fell on a combination of up and downhill. I did wait until I was at the top of King George VI before I started though, which was thirty (mainly uphill) minutes in. I’m sorry but I’m going it say it again: Iron iron iron. I felt so much better and stronger and actually enjoyed pushing myself on the faster sections. Even the uphill ones! Ah ha, perhaps this is why some people actually enjoy running? All the hills I’ve been doing have of course made the hills easier and now the iron is beginning to do its work these hilly LSRs are become almost enjoyable. 


29 miles for the week but 5 million miles of iron love.

Posted 26/06/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

The dawning   Leave a comment

Because I am exceptionally perceptive and clever and capable of learning I totally failed to pick up all the signs that I was getting anaemic again. Race times slowing? Check. Sleeping forever? Check. Eating plenty but still feeling weak and lethargic? Check. Breathing like a 90 a day smoker? Check. Then the clincher: no periods for three months. What an absolute div. Anyway at least I’ve FINALLY realised so I’m back on the iron. Why do I continuously do that thing of taking all the iron until I think I’m better, then stopping, even though OBVIOUSLY the reason I’m better is because I’m taking the goddamn sodding iron!!! Arg!! At least I worked it out when I’ve “only” slipped back to a 21:30 parkrun rather than 24 or so minutes like last time. Right, now I’ve got that off my chest let’s get on to the past week’s training.

This week was all about speed with lowish mileage. Monday was 45 minutes with 5 x 15s strides to finish. After a slightly worrying start where my ankles were a bit dodgy after wearing Sen for the first time on Saturday everything went ok. I felt tired and the weather was cold, wet and windy but other than that it was fine. 

On Tuesday the plan asked for 35 minutes easy. Unfortunately it was infernally windy so easiness wasn’t to be found. I was also full of rage (possibly wind induced) and kept being thwarted from my intended route by people, dogs, lorises etc so it turned into a bit of a seafront meander. Managed a very slow 4 miles.

Wednesday was the main session of the week. 20 x 200 metres. I was to split it into four sets of five with a full lap jog recovery at the end of each set (200 jog after each rep). I had lofty plans of starting at 40s per 200 and decreasing it slightly on each set. Unfortunately after the first one in 42s I realised I’m just not capable of those sort of speeds at the moment (which really should be comfortable enough). However I was able to do the first set in an average of 42s per 200 so the consistency was there. The next set were more into the wind, average 44s. 42s again for the third then 41/42s for the last set (into the wind again). So I just about managed what I was asked which was to do the last set the fastest. Rob helped by practically walking next to me to drag me along. A successful session though disappointing in terms of the speed of the reps. Hopefully once I’m fully ironed again I can run a pace I would find acceptable. 

A well earned rest day on Thursday.

Friday was 25 minutes easy + 3 x 15s strides. A gentle run to get me ready for a fast parkrun. 

Because Rob and Mal were volunteering at Preston Park and I hadn’t been there for ages and I now have an electric bike I decided I’d go there to run this week. I was planning on running 2k steady then pushing on for the last 3k but I received official instruction to just push the last 2k. Even better! I think I took the first 3k too easy though. A combination of getting stuck in the crowds at the start, settling into a too slow rhythm and then keeping it up. I did try and push on at 3km but I’m not sure it was significantly faster. 

I think this was during the “steady” bit. Thanks to Rob for the photo.


Today (Sunday) I was set a hilly 90 minutes. From the off I felt weak and slow. Then I got a bit lost in Westdene (wherever the heck that is). 

Defintely hilly and slow. A bit of a detour. Hot and windy.


A respectable 37 miles for the week. 

Posted 19/06/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

From one Worthing to the next    1 comment

On Monday I was so full of rage at my awful Worthing 10k performance my hilly Hangleton hour took under 55 minutes. Oops. Though the hills felt much easier anyway now I’ve done a month or so of them rather than none ever as for the preceding years. I think that was a very bad sentence. As was that. Also that. Anyway it felt good to be running properly and to know they is a bit of speed and endurance in there somewhere. Just need to learn how to get it out in races. 

I was a bit tired on Tuesday, unsurprisingly, but set out for 45 minutes, with 30 seconds fast at the end of each 5 minutes. I was quite casual and placed the 30s in roughly the eight place but took into account if I was about to cross a road etc. This may not sound like much but I’m usually quite rigid on doing what I’m told so was pleased with my newfound casualness. An interestingly different session. 

Wednesday was a chance to test my speed endurance (greatly lacking if Worthing 10k was anything to go by). Set my laps for a 20 minute 5k. The session was 2 x 2k, 1k of 90s recovery. Then 5 x 100 metre strides. Too slow from the off. It was very hot and humid and Worthing 10k and Monday’s “race” had probably taken it out of me but naturally I decided it was just because I’m “rubbish”. Also the threat of being ejected from the track didn’t help (the woman at reception told Rob the track was shut for floodlight repairs). Cut the strides down to 5 x 10s. Not a successful session but at least I finished it (sort of). 

Thankfully on Thursday I felt better and ran an easy 40 minutes at a faster pace than my usual (it still felt easy though). 

Rest day Friday.

On Saturday it was time to go to Worthing (again) for the long awaited parkrun. I was determined to do the opposite of last week’s Worthing so I had planned to go out steadily and then try and ramp it up from the cone back to the finish. I stood in a sensible place on the start line and set off at what felt like a steady but not killer pace. 

Thank you Mark Brocklehurst for post hoc allowance of me using his photos


The weather was perfect (for running sensibly). Warm and only the slightest of breezes. It was nice to go out at a sustainable pace rather than my foolish and unrealistic speed last week. I stuck to my plan and once round the cones for the 2.6k back I began to pick up the pace slowly. There was a handy lady ahead who looked like she was running a sensible, consistent pace so I caught her up slowly, stuck with her for a while, then stretched ahead of her around 400m from the finish. I had no idea of my time but guessed around 21 minutes from calculating how far I was behind Rob who had run a pb of 20.33. As the weather was so pleasant and being the first run and a small trip away from home we checked out the cafe for post run teas.


It seems no one else clocked they had a roof terrace as Rob, I, Mal and Dean had it to ourselves (except for the man [with child] who kindly took our photograph). We even threw in a bit of (rubbishy inflexible) yoga after observing various classes go on around us. A proper summer’s morning.  

Not so today (Sunday). Wet. Cold. I went out for a quick (in time not pace) recovery jog before setting off to Hove Park for the annual Arena 80 AC races. I was the official finishing position recorder. I thought after messing it up greatly last year I’d be off the hook, but no. I had a new shouter this year, Rob. This was good though as he has a calming influence which he immediately ruined by shouting 70!!!!!!!! and scaring the living daylights out of me. Anyway I successfully recorded everyone this year. There wasn’t the utter chaos of people around 21 minutes this year thankfully so I was able to write everyone down. 

36 miles for the week. A good Worthing and a thorough soaking. 

Posted 12/06/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

Wind. Woes. Worthing.    Leave a comment

Monday – rest.

On Tuesday I was supposed to do some tempo + fast bits but I was unable to get anything resembling speed out of my legs. I have done a lot of hilly slow stuff so perhaps that’s why.  Oh, and it was RIDICULOUSLY windy. In BOTH directions. I put in more effort for the tempo and fast sections but I don’t feel this had any actual effect on my speed. Then I got flayed by horizontal hail. Not the greatest training run. In the evening I went out for 2.5 miles easy. Not sure why really as it probably didn’t help.

Wednesday. An hour was on the agenda which I decided meant incorporating hills. I threw in as much uphill as I could, mainly in the first 3 or so miles. Hills are fully on now. I was so annoyed by everything. Why was there so much traffic? Dogs, cars, people, incessant headwinds. However I must say that having now started actually doing some hills has made them a bit easier. There are still hard, long and slow but my legs definitely feel stronger. 

However I’m not sure that hills help when there’s a track session the next day. Though it was the first fast thing I’d tried to do for weeks so perhaps I shouldn’t have been so disappointed with what I felt was a very slow set of 8 x 300 reps at the track on Thursday. 63-65 seconds off 1 minute recoveries. 

On Friday I did an easy 30 minutes as instructed. It actually felt easy for once. No wind!

Same again on Saturday with an easy 25 minutes on the prom.

Handy 25 minute pacer


Worthing 10k was supposed to be my first true race under my new regime. Sarah had very helpfully said I could go with her and Tom who was pacing 42 minutes. Alas due to the crowded start I’d already lost them within a few hundred metres. Also I’m just not speed endurance fit at the moment so after (what turned out to be) a 6.30 first mile I got slower and slower. One of the slowest 10ks ever. 

Starting off at a far too fast pace


Still managed a 30 mile week though so hopefully next week I’ll be able to get some more  good training behind me which will suddenly click into place and I’ll become acceptably fast again. 

Posted 05/06/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

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