Archive for the ‘Kettlebells’ Category

Almost actual resting   Leave a comment

As always I started off my week of rest by going to track. This week was perfect for me: 15 x 200 (100j, 50w, 50 rolling start to the next one). I started off with my normal group but knew I would only be with them for a couple before their faster recoveries left me behind. This was indeed the case. It was fine though as I knew exactly what I wanted to do in this session and felt I would be able to pace myself pretty well as the reps were so short. I made sure I didn’t do my usual thing of doing the first one way too fast thus ruining the rest of my session and I was successful. I feel my reps and recoveries were consistent (or as consistent as I’m ever going to be). Not particularly speedy but consistent.

On Tuesday I was able to go to Core & Stretch having missed a couple of weeks. It was good to be back. Even downward dog didn’t feel so awful. Perhaps having been doing my hamstring and calf stretches helped? Or the few weeks off? Anyway it was a good class as always and I felt suitably stretched and cored by the end. Continuing the sensibleness I didn’t go to kettlebells in the evening and on Wednesday I worked all day so couldn’t do any of the classathon.

I had hoped to be able to go to Hove Park intervals on Thursday evening but thankfully work stepped in and I wasn’t able to. It certainly does help my being sensible this working lark.

I ditched my plan to do a LSR on Friday.

I knew I would be doing Preston Park parkrun on Saturday as it was Rob’s 100th (parkrun not birthday – hard to tell just by looking I know) but only two small runs in a week is probably as close to real rest as I’m ever going to get. Although my run wasn’t particularly good I just about managed to keep all my miles under 7 minutes which is better than recently. It was also my first sustained fastish run as a ventolin-inhaler free woman so I was quite pleased that I was just as bad as with inhaler in terms of breathing. Saves me a prescription charge if nothing else.

From the murky depths arose...

From the murky depths arose… (aka yes sir yes sir, threetea bags full)

11 miles for the week! What’s that if not resting?

(Almost) a week off (running)   Leave a comment

I started the week with good intentions to rest after the struggling to breathe whilst running of the preceding few weeks or so. So I didn’t go to track on Monday. A good start.

On Tuesday I decided that Core & Stretch would be ok as it is a relaxing class. Well its actually not in any way relaxing but it is stretching so not a vigorous jumping about type class so in terms of lungs should be fine. It also kills the core which is always a good thing. I’m sure there is still a lot of mince pie lard to burn off. The class was absolutely rammed again so it was single mats all round which meant when rolling the spine it was rather painful and knobbly on the floor. As always the class was good and I felt that my poor legs had at least had some good done to them.

In the evening I found myself at kettlebells before I had really thought about it. Ooops. Perils of having a routine. As I was there I decided to make the most (least?) of it by going down quite a lot in terms of weight and concentrating on form and stretching out the hamstrings and so forth. It was definitely a good idea to go down a weight or ten as I still struggled. This was due to the inability to breathe properly, I just felt rather weak and run down. I made sure I did the upper body stuff to the best of my ability as this area is otherwise neglected what with all the running. I managed around 10 proper press ups before my spaghetti arms decided enough was enough. Along with all the other stuff I think my arms got a bit of a going over which is good.

On Wednesday I had promised Matt I’d go to Break the Cycle even though he wouldn’t be there so off I went. Rest week going well…This class is a mix of spin and circuit training. We started off on the circuit which was arm based (as the spin part is obviously leg based) which was excellent as I want to show my arms what’s what after they’ve got away with not having to do much for many years. Each of the ten or so stations is only 45 seconds so just long enough for a good blast but not too long that you flag badly before the end. After going round once we hopped on the bikes for 10 minutes of spinning, then back on the circuit. Finishing off on the bikes. I really enjoyed this class and hope to add it to my repertoire. On Thursday morning various new bits of my upper body ached so I know the class was a success! I did actually manage to rest on Thursday.

On Friday I went to spin and thoroughly knackered myself, probably due to not having done any running and only having taken the classes I had done quite gently (for me). Thankfully it was an endurance session so was mainly uphills and uphill sprinting. I much prefer this to normal sprinting which I find really hard, my legs just never seem to be able to spin as fast as everyone else’s. Anyway there was hardly any of that so I was happy to concentrate on killing myself on the climbs. We finished off with a ridiculous attempt to sprint in the highest gear. Sprinting was of course unachievable but we tried to at least keep the pedals turning which in itself was virtually impossible. I enjoyed the class greatly. I can definitely tell the difference having not already run many many miles in the week.

Of course a rest week wouldn’t be a rest week without ruining it so off I swept to Lancing on Saturday afternoon for the masters xc championships. I knew I wasn’t going to be much good at this as it is a long long uphill drag over much mud, grass and flinty-chalky paths and is just generally not my kind of thing. I was mainly there for the nice long downhill finish and to turn out for the club. There were only two of us in the v35 category so I didn’t need to worry about placing for the team as we needed another person. The race panned out as I expected, I really struggled on the uphills, you get an extra one in this race as it is a mile longer than the League xc that takes place here, and was overtaken by loads of people. I managed to claw a few back on the first downhill but by the time I’d reached the summit the second time everyone was too spread out and I failed to catch anyone on the long downhill finish. Nevermind. The downhill was slightly marred by the strong and cold headwind but I still enjoyed it and managed to throw in a mightily impressive (thanks Hywel) sprint finish to know avail but I loved it anyway. On the plus side my lungs felt much better and I only felt knackered in the normal way rather than in a breathless unexplained way.

This morning I decided not to go to RunBrighton as it was 2 hours over the downs which would really not please my bum injury after yesterday’s exertions on the mud and hills. I plumped for a lone LSR on the seafront (no missed “keep away from the sea” warnings this time). I found it rather hard and dropped my pace quite significantly on the long drag back into the wind. Oh well, 14 miles in the bag.

So a not very restful (except slightly in a running sense – 18 miles) rest week completed.

Not such a good week   1 comment

This past week heralded the return to normality after Christmas/New Year so it was off to track I went on Monday. It was my intention to try and stick with Paul but I knew this wasn’t to be once I started running as it was obvious my legs were very tired from Sunday’s double running and all the long stuff I’d been doing over Christmas. The session was 6 x (300 tempo/200 fast/300t/300f/300t/400f) but I was really struggling to breathe on the first set so dropped the 300/300s from each rep. Having done this I just about managed to hang off the back of the group on the 200s and 400s but it was an almighty struggle and an unpleasant wheezy experience. One hopefully not to be repeated in a hurry! 

I dragged myself off to Core & Stretch on Tuesday still feeling rather tired but knowing a bit of stretching could only do me good and that my core definitely needs a good thrashing after the mince-pie-December lardfest. Matt was back which meant we were, once again, sniggering buffoons (even though we had an excellent new girl called Kate stationed between us courtesy of Jenny). Possibly the only use for mirrors in the studio – one can catch the eye of others in them and continue the immature giggling. The class was good and the fullest I’ve ever seen it, though mostly regulars. In the evening I was expecting an influx of New Year Resolutioners at kettlebells but in fact it was just two regulars, Jenny and I. This was good as it meant we could all get appropriate bells and had plenty of room in which to swing. As we were doing a little stretch warm down at the end Matt assisted me in a lying down hamstring stretch and amazingly both legs almost attained the vertical. Oh my actual God! I was most surprised that the injured left one was in fact the victor. Though maybe it is because it is injured? Anyway it was definitely unexpected.

On Wednesday I went out with Andy and Danny for a LSR which turned out to be too fast for my ailing limbs and lungs. I think actually it was the hilliness that did me in as at the moment my lungs can’t handle the slightest incline for some unknown reason (I am going to the doctor on Friday for my annual [well it would have been if I actually went when I was supposed to] asthma check up). I only managed 9 miles which was rather frustrating (though I had run 2 miles to meet Andy in Hove to get a lift over to Preston Park) and even that was a massive struggle.

I decided to take Thursday and Friday off as I am supposed to be working on being sensible and not overtraining this year. Having already notched up two not very successful runs it would be foolish to add more. This meant I managed after a massive, long and fraught fight with myself not to run parkrun on Saturday. It would only have been another breathless, slow, ultimately frustrating and pointless outing. This rational argument didn’t hold much sway in my brain though alas so I had to force myself to dress in non-runnable clothes and get stuck straight in to a marshalling vest on my arrival at Hove Park.

HP Marshalling

It was definitely the right choice as even the exceedingly slow cycle over in perfect conditions nearly caused my lungs to fall out.

Of course come Sunday I knew I would be back out running. It had been the case that trying to run at sub 7.30ish pace was when lung trouble arrived but unfortunately today the combination of hills and a strong cross/headwind on the way out towards Rottingdean at the start of the run put paid to my desire to stick with the 8 minute mile group as I dropped to 8.30s on the cliff top section through Saltdean. Rob, being a gentleman, dropped back with me and I struggled onwards. In fact soon Rob was to join the struggle as traversing the steep ramp down to the undercliff path at Rottingdean destroyed his already unhappy hip. The only saving grace was we soon turned back towards Brighton so the headwind was no more. We sped up slightly, mainly in a vain attempt to the end the torture, and finished back at the Hilton without going out for a further ten minutes as we should have as we didn’t go out for the full 52.5 minutes before turning back as we ran out of undercliff path. Just under 11 miles logged though which I suppose isn’t too bad considering our various ailments. It is rather frustrating not being able to do a run that I should be able to handle with ease but hopefully Friday’s visit to the doctor will be able to shed light on matters.

A disappointing 28 miles for the week but I shall remain positive as less than a year ago I wouldn’t have done 28 miles ANY week.

New year, same old stuff   Leave a comment

As we were still in the grips of festive fever and who-knows-what-day-it-is Monday was a Wednesday route run but with track style elements. Steve set us out with various sections of lamppost fartlekking interspersed with tempo running and recovery jogs with two rergrouping points. This run was excellent. I really enjoyed doing something different on the seafront rather than the usual LSRing. With the run to and from the King Alfred this run totalled 9 miles.

Jenny had decided to hold a Core & Stretch class on Tuesday morning which was good as there hadn’t been one the week before it having been Christmas Eve. Matt was back too which was excellent as once again we were threatened with being split up due to our sniggering at our various inflexibilities. There was no kettlebell class in the evening as everyone was out living it up on New Year’s Eve (probably).

There had been a plan afoot for New Year’s Day to run Preston Park parkrun followed by Hangover 5 in Worthing but the Hangover 5 had been called off due to flooding. We then toyed with the idea of doing Tilgate parkrun followed by PrestonPark but in the end just settled on PrestonPark parkrun which started at 10.30. This turned out to be a good decision in my eyes as the weather was truly horrendous. Freezing, raining and exceedingly windy. 

On Thursday the weather was unexpectedly OK so I took the opportunity to get out for a LSR as storms were forecast for the coming week. However I had somehow managed to miss all the warnings about avoiding the seafront due to high tides and strong winds and found myself subsumed by a wave crashing over Shoreham Arm around mile two. This meant I then had 8 miles of dripping sodden salty squelch-running ahead of me. I went inland around the King Alfred as the prom was rammed with people also making the most of the unexpected good weather. Although I started off 8mm I conked out at 6 miles, dropping to around 8.30s. I still managed 10 miles over all though so it was OK.

To massively misquote Craig David I rested on Friday.

Saturday rolled round again as it is wont to do which meant parkrun again (four parkruns in 2 weeks – good times). Having thought I couldn’t be worse than Wednesday I proved myself wrong by struggling home lungless in 22.56. The weather was foul again but seriously? Oh dear.

Sunday was a double running day. RunBrighton in the morning. As I was racing at Bexhill in the afternoon I joined the 8 minute mile group at the Lagoon. Once again there was a break in the weather, sunny and calm and perfect for running. We couldn’t run on the prom as the stones from the beach had been thrown all the way across to the beach huts. Thus we ran along the pavement until the Peace Statue where we rejoined the front. Not really much to say about this run other than it was good to run along chatting at 8 minute miling with Rick, Rob and Joe. This seems to have become a Sunday morning staple and I like it. 10 miles for me this time.

Alas this Sunday I then had to drag over to Bexhill for the relocated Sussex Cross Country Championships. I only ever sign up for this as it is held at Stamner Park and has my favourite long downhill finish. However this year it had to be moved to Bexhill and I really wasn’t looking forward to it. I was so wrong! I ended up really enjoying it. Even though it was a massive mudfest and contained a lot of weaving and undulations for once my mind was willing and I actually raced it. Yes it was exceedingly muddy but I made the most of any runnable sections and downhill bits and pushed through the quagmire as best I could. I was lapped by the winner a few seconds before she finished and I headed off for the last lap but even this didn’t dampen (snigger) my enthusiasm.  Just a few examples of the running surface!

A slightly firmer section.

A slightly firmer section.

I was very pleased with my 8 minute miling given the conditions.

A solid 41 miles for the week.

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.


The return of the long stuff   2 comments

Although my Brighton 10k run was not my finest I discovered on Monday that I had used up all my motivation and mental strength. Actually it was probably the 5k on the Sasturday that used it up. Anyway I gave up after the first few reps at track. This goes to show the bad state of my mind as usually I love track and would never give up.Tsk. Oh well. Still ran 5.5 miles but it became a recovery jog rather than an interval session. Luckily Holly had also given up so we took solace in our givingupitude together and Rob was injured so I jogged about disconsolately with him for a bit too.

Tuesday was the usual mix of Core & Stretch in the morning and kettlebells in the evening. Jenny said my downward dog has improved. Unfortunately as I was 100% bilge to start with means I am still at least 90% inflexible now but still progress is progress. Back in the evening for kettlebells. I wasn’t so bad at this (apart from the bits I can’t do due to dodgy inflexible yet totally unstable shoulders). I found myself doing proper squats – bum to floor – with a 16kg bell. Hmm, where did that come from? Not the weight but actually being able to get bum to floor without overbalancing. Success!

On Wednesday I had plans to get a LSR in early but the weather was conspiring against me so by late afternoon I decided I might as well tack some extra miles on to the front of the usual A80 seafront run. My fellow Giver-Upper from Monday, Holly, was struggling to find motivation to go out too so we (and Rob) wrote on Facebook we would be there so we thus had to be. This worked spiffingly and as I was out on my pre-run 6.5 miles I saw Holly zooming past in the opposite direction thinking she was late and picked up Rob as I made my way to the start from an unusual (for me, not in general) direction. After completing the Arena run and carrying on home I notched up 13.5 miles which is good seeing as my long runs had fallen by the wayside a bit due to races spoiling my routine (I was trying to be sensible and taper).

Naturally having managed a long run the day before Andy then wanted to do one on Thursday. He is rather too fast for me at the best of times and once Rob had bailed out after 5 miles due to injury I struggled, especially towards the end where he dashed ahead (though he did keep looping back for me politely), but it wasn’t surprising especially as I found I had done over 16 miles by the time I got home. So from no long runs to 30 miles in less than 24 hours. Oops!

Luckily for me the gym had suffered a serious burst water main in reception so there was no spin on Friday so I was able to have a day off (yes, yes I know I should be able to have a day off under my own steam but I really struggle). This was extra fortuitous as I knew that the hell that is Plumpton xc was looming on Saturday afternoon. I hate this race with a passion and knew I would be awful as always and just be a sulking goit throughout. I was. I started off OK but then just completely gave up and huffed home like a spoilt brat.

The ladies line up

The ladies line up

The beginning of the end - being overtaken by the first of many many many...

The beginning of the end – being overtaken by the first of many many many…

Thanks Danny for the photos.

Thank God there are 364 days until the next one!

This morning it was the first of the RunBrighton marathon training runs. As I am not doing the marathon these will help me prepare for the Brighton Half where I am supposed to be running sub 1hr 30 along with Rob. Today we decided to jog out then run back at half pace as it was a flat(ish) seafront run in perfect conditions. This we did. Alas as I didn’t know this was the plan beforehand I had not inhaled (I was anticipating a slow recovery run) so sounded like a massive wheezing goon on the way back. Apart from sounding like I was about to expire we comfortably ran around 7 minute miling which is near enough pace (I think we need 6.52s for sub 1.30) especially as we are still 3 months out from race day. Obviously it was only 3 miles or so but I feel it is a good start as it is always easier to run faster during a race so if we can keep this up in training for longer stretches then I think come the actual race we should be fully ready and prepared for the slaying of the 90 minute barrier.

I am hoping having not raced this weekend (sorry Plumpton) that I might be able to actually complete the track session tomorrow with no sulking and general giving up.

Preston Park parkrun won – Brighton 10k nil   Leave a comment

Monday brought with it the promise of track which is always a good thing so off I skipped merrily not thinking of Bexhill half the day before. The session was 8 x 800 to be run as follows 700t 100f, 500t 300f , 300t 500f, 100t 700f, 600t 200f, 400t 400f, 200t 600f, 800f. Somehow I ended up running with Dan for most of it. He was taking it easy having just run a marathon but he left me after a while and I gained Rick and Rob from the group behind. I felt OK for the session though perhaps I was a little slower than I would have been if there had been no Bexhill the day before.

On Tuesday I went to Core & Stretch and kettlebells as Jenny and Matt were back. Having only missed a week I was even worse than usual at C&S. Kettlebells was fine though I still can’t do various things due to massive shoulder instability so I got quite annoyed with myself (again).

A nice steady 8.5 miles on Wednesday evening with the Arena posse and a temperamental Garmin (peer pressure when Rob’s Garmin stopped).

Contrary to expectations I managed to have Thursday and Friday off as I still felt tired and generally mojo-less.

I gave myself a good talking to and decided to go to Preston Park parkrun on Saturday to try and break my awful streak of runs at Hove Park. I’ve done about 160 parkruns there and also train there on Thursdays so just arriving there on a Saturday morning makes me slump with not-this-AGAINness. I arrived bright and early so I would have time to give my new Boosts a test jog (and my new leggings-that-actually-reach-the-ankle).

New leggings and Boosts - a speedy parkrun combination?

New leggings and Boosts – a speedy parkrun combination?

This I did and discovered I needed to tighten the laces massively due to the stretchy slipperesque upper. It was nice as we toed the line to see only 150 or so runners and a downhill start. Rick and Duncan where there and I knew they were 20.30 ish runners so I decided to try and keep with/ahead of them as much as possible. I set of way too fast as always (easier at Preston Park as a much less congested start) and passed 1k in 3.43 – oops. Never mind. At some point around 3k Rick and Duncan caught me up and we spent the rest of the race swapping back and forth amongst the three of us which was helpful for me to keep going. As we neared the finish Duncan and Rick were just ahead but after vaulting a dog I managed to overtake Rick and finish a few seconds behind Duncan in 20.16 which is my best 5k time for ages. I felt pretty strong but relaxed during this run and having Duncan and Rick there made it seem like more of a race which in this instance was very helpful.

The Brighton 10k was on Sunday. I don’t know why I persist in entering this race as I hate it as it is way too crowded and causes massive anxiety and pavement rage which hinders breathing for the first few k. This happened. I also forgot when I reached 5k that it took 30 seconds to cross the start line so the clock saying 21 minutes wasn’t actually my 5k time. I still managed to lose 45 seconds in the last 5k and finished in a not very good 41.45. Nothing much to say about this. I was happy with my parkrun on Saturday so will forget about Sunday.

Somewhere near the start

Somewhere near the start – Thanks Danny for the photo

Almost at 5k

Almost at 5k

On an unrelated matter here is a marvellous remix of Fat Boy Slim especially for runners. Thanks to Rob for the production and well done me for recording myself which was the most anxiety and humiliation inducing thing ever.


Track and ruin   Leave a comment

Traaaaaaaaaack! I love track more than anything and it had been a long old wait for it to re-laid but finally we were back there for Monday’s session.


Withdean – Relaid and ready for action

Although I have been quite slow recently I decided to get straight back on it in Caroline’s group. I know that I am better suited to track reps than most of the Arenas who are mainly endurance runners so should easily be able to keep with Caroline for shorter stuff. Bob showed no mercy that we’d been track-free for so long and set us  8 x 800, adding a further 10 metres each rep, but to be run in the same time each rep. As always my plan was to stick with Caroline as much as I could throughout to stop myself from doing the first reps too fast and petering out towards the end. This I did, made much easier as we had a static 75 second rest between in each rep (everyone tends to get away from me when it is a recovery jog). I was most pleased that I managed to keep with Caroline (ish) all the way until rep 7 where she pulled away (or rather I flagged). Previously I would have only kept with her for maybe 4 reps so good improvement. I very much enjoyed the session and was ready to do it all again as soon as we finished! It is amazing how mach better I run just because I enjoy it. Well no amazing at all of course but I need to remember it is supposed to be enjoyable and not much has been recently and I have been crap in consequence.

I realised later that the reps were actually longer than 800 +10 as we were running in lanes 3 and 4 (a stupid post-relaying rule – no running in lanes 1 and 2 [there I was thinking it was a running track]). Anyway it doesn’t matter how far we ran I was very pleased with my running and was just happy to be back on track where I belong.

Having done a mile warm up jog and a mile cool down I had a nice sturdy 7 miles for the bank.

As last Sunday was a bit of a rowing and treadmill bumkill overdose I decided not to do any rowing on Tuesday and just stick to the normal Core & Stretch and kettlebells. My forearms would be pleased too as they were massively crampy from the rowing. The new fangled radio controlled clocks had all gone mental and were showing a variety of times none of which tallied with reality so the class started late thus overran all whilst time seemed to be in the past (or somesuch). Anyway it was the usual collection of downward dogging and things I can’t do that are nonetheless doing me good I hope. I can do pigeon stretch which is interesting my bum is the thing that is most dead. Obviously not through lack of flexibility.

The inability to various things continued into the evening where Matt made us do some things I’d already done in Jenny’s class in the morning in combination with various shouldery things that I just can’t do due to the way my shoulders are engineered. He then topped it off by making us walk across the floor in a plank position holding on to dumbbells and dragging our feet behind us. I found myself stuck in plank position unable to move in any direction. Fail! Never mind. Another gym day over.

On Wednesday I went back to spin after carrying out a small experiment to see if not doing it helped my bum. It didn’t so back I went. Jeff was taking the class. I took it a bit easier than usual as my legs were rather tired after a proper session on Monday. I’m not sure why I bothered as I knew in the evening I was going to go out before the Arena run to make it an LSR, or maybe that is why I did it? Anyhow I did indeed go out beforehand and notched up 5.5 miles before the usual run so it became a 12.5 miler all told.

Thursday was back to proper training (for a week at least). We were back to the bottom start now the clocks have changed which means a mix of different hills. This week it was 10 x short hills, 5 x long hills and 8 x green light hills (5 lampposts). Although I wished to do the session properly I was strangely wheezy even though I had inhaled and my bum was playing up a bit so I was possibly not as fast as I could have been. However I still did the session so I would have reaped the benefits of the hills nonetheless. I forgot to start my watch but did around 4 miles altogether.

I discovered on Saturday that I have been overtraining (again – surprise) when I attempted to do parkrun and had nothing at all to give. At least I have been sensible and not gone running today. I need to try and have a light week next week as I have Poppy Half next Sunday and there is no point doing it if it is going to be slow and a struggle and make me even more knackered. Come on Isobel! Sensible please.

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