Archive for the ‘Racing’ Category

Wind. Sun. Hills. Flat bits.    Leave a comment

As the track at Withdean is still being resurfaced the Arena committee had planned a 6k race on the seafront starting at the Lagoon, running to the Peace Statue and back. The race would go off in groups sort of like the Adur challenge. This seemed like an excellent idea and indeed it would have been but for the Gits of Weather who had chosen a day of very strong winds and intermittent heavy rain. Luckily we managed to fit the race into a dry patch but it was windy as heck on the homeward stretch. I decided to make the most of the outward leg as I knew whatever I did I would grind to a halt as soon as we turned into the wind at the Peace Statue. I did. Those I was close behind on the way out had now disappeared into the setting sun which was directly at eye level all the way back. Blind and incapable of movement. Excellent. Some time later I arrived back at the finish line.


Wind blur and even colour coordinated with the beach hut

If nothing this was a good tempo run. A massive positive split too I’d imagine.

On Tuesday it was back to the seafront for almost an exact replica of Monday but this time it was Tom’s session of 2 x 3 miles and the weather was much more favourable with hardly any wind. Last time I did this I ran 20.43 then 20.52. This time I managed 20.43 for the first one but this time it felt much easier and I was chatting most of the way which I certainly wasn’t last time. After a 4 minute recovery we were off again. This time there was no chatting as my talking partner was well ahead. However I still felt comfortable and strong and arrived back in 20.21 which was rather surprising but excellent as it didn’t feel any harder than the first one. One of those rare occurrences where everything feels easy.

On Wednesday Rob and I had planned for our usual k rep session but on arriving at Hove Park we discovered neither of us were up for it so Rob sensibly suggested we do a LSR instead which we duly did. 10.5 easy miles. He was right as we had already done two days of racing so we needed a bit of easy/recovery before we got stuck into even faster stuff. I also had work run club in the evening but this week I knew I had to lead a hilly run which was fine as it would be at a very easy pace. As it took longer to get to the hilly but than I thought it turned out not to be that hilly at all and only 3 miles. Perfect to round off an easy day.

Thursday was now rep day so once again Rob and I convened in a dog filled Hove Park. This time there was no escaping it. We MUST rep. I was adamant I was not going to do the first rep too fast yet again. I did. 3.53. Luckily I somehow did the next the same speed, following it with a 3.56 and finishing with a 3.57. This was particularly good as A) I didn’t abandon the session like almost all the others we have done B) There were bloody dogs all over the place C) I had hardly even been able to cycle over due to a serious attack of the feebles. Rob managed his 4 reps all under 4 minutes even though he had to shout at ineffectual dog owners most of the way round. Why don’t dogs go on the grass? Surely they’d prefer it? It was only later that I discovered we were only having 100s recoveries rather than 2 minutes which made me all the more pleased with our dog-hampered times. Rob was right to change Wednesday’s run to an LSR. Good.

I was given an unexpected day off work on Friday so set about doing nothing. It’s hard work resting but I managed it.

The weather was looking good for Prom parkrun and indeed it was sunny and warm with only a minimal breeze (in seafront terms). The trouble with this is no excuses. However I really did have a stupid “lady” stitch thing as I was warming up. I gave it a good jabbing as I jogged about and luckily when the actual run started it went away to be replaced by a normal stitch which is fine as I know how to handle those. As usual I didn’t have any idea how this run would go though I had donned my racing shoes and watch (on countdown from 20 minutes) so a bit of me must have been optimistic. As long as my watch beeps for 20 after the last shelter I know I should be on for sub 21 and this was the case today. 20.46. Still a long way off the Emily-paced 19.47 I managed early in the year but acceptable. Once again as long as I feel like I have made the effort then that’s all that matters at the moment.

28 miles for the week (says Strava).

The good, the bad and the Littlehampton    2 comments

Bank holiday meant no track so I decided to get a steady paced 5 miles done in the morning before work. I have no idea of the speed but I was trying to work at 80% or so effort throughout. I felt like this was a good run so therefore it was.

On Tuesday I balanced Monday’s run with 5 miles at an easy pace as I had Tom’s seafront session to look forward to in the evening. 2 x 3 miles. A session I’ve never done before but exactly the sort of thing I feel I should do (also as these sessions start on the seafront near my house I could do them on my own if I fancied). I decided to go out on the first one with Dave as I knew he would pace it much more sensibly than I would. I looked at my watch at halfway and with half a mile to go just so I would have an idea on the second one if I was on for the same time. I passed halfway on the first one in 10.09. I finished in 20.43. After a 4 minute break I set of again with Dave but reached halfway in 10.29 so tried to speed up slightly on the way back so my two reps would be as close as possible in time. 20.53 so near enough. I liked this session as I felt comfortable for both reps and was pleased with the times.

Wednesday was time for k reps with Rob in Hove Park. Once again there were dogs, dawdlers and divs (Rob and I) in abundance. Also I was still not fast enough so Rob had to overtake me on the last one which he doesn’t like doing being an utter gentleman so I ruined that one for him and thus also ruined his secret hope of doing under 16 minutes for the 4 reps. He did 16.03. Excellent consistency of 4 minutes +\- 2s per kilometre for him.  Mine were a mess: 3.53, 3.57, 4.04, 4.07.

In the evening I took the work run clubbers to do Kenyan hills at Duke’s Mound. Easy enough but still hills.

I had planned to rest on Thursday as I was at work all day so I did. On Friday I meant to do a run but I badly fell off the sanity wagon so did nothing.

On Saturday it was back to Hove Prom after the forced return to Preston Park last week. I was still feeling utterly awful as of Friday. In fact I think I can safely say that I have never wanted to run parkrun less than I did then. It took all my strength just to drag myself out of the house. Horrible. Anyway I managed it. In fact I was surprised with 21.37 as I just wanted to run it consistently and comfortably without putting any strain on my already enfeebled mind. Last week I tried hard for 21.28 at Preston Park. Hopefully this means physically I am over the cold (backed up by heart rate being back to normal at rest after a period of +10 bpm which means you are ill so says science n that).


Enough strength for immaturity on the first lap (thanks Mark)

 

Less so on the return leg

This morning (Sunday) it was time to try a new race. The Littlehampton 10k. The weather was perfect for running. The course was quite nice in the main though there was a horrible grass bit finished off with a section of pebbles. I was pleased with my effort throughout but not when I discovered my time was bilge. Rob measured the course at 6.3 miles (and he didn’t cut any corners whereas I did a few times) but even with the possible extra couple of minutes my time was unacceptable for the effort I put in. Somehow I was second woman.

I’m bored of myself and this post now so goodbye until next week.

Running out of steam   Leave a comment

Track. Yawn. I haven’t been enjoying track for a while which means I must have gone insane. Anyway I managed to keep near enough with Rick’s group which is my benchmark of success at the moment. We did 1000m reps followed by three shorter faster reps (x 3).

On Tuesday I made up for Monday’s not very good session by doing 6 x Kenyan hills. This time I just went up and down the hill rather than the loop as time was of the essence. I discovered each uphill took 1m 45s and the downs a few seconds faster. It wasn’t stupidly windy like last time either which helped.

In the evening I just did 8 x 200m strides with Tom’s group in preparation for his track 5000 on Thursday.

Wednesday was going to kick off with some sort of progression run or other threshold type affair but I developed a stupid cold that meant I sneezed and snotted continuously all night. It disappeared as suddenly as it appeared around 7am but I felt it was perhaps a sign I shouldn’t run. So I didn’t. Then nobody turned up for work Run Club in the evening so I was granted an unexpected full day off. Good times.

As my LSR partner had returned from holiday we set off on one on Thursday morning. 11 miles but I made it very slow (not on purpose). this should have alerted me that I am tired but it did not.

In the evening it was Tom’s track 5000. I was hoping for another 20.30 (though Tom had predicted 20.15). I set my watch once more to count down 20 minutes so it would beep some time on the final lap, hopefully with less than 200 to go. There were a lot of people in my race (the B race for those running over 19 minutes) so I set off relatively slowly aka too fast but still too slow. I wanted to follow Trevor who was pacing Dave to sub 20. I caught up with them after approximately 300m and managed to stay with them for a while but then I began fading and suddenly Trevor was miles ahead and Dave maybe 50 metres or so. I stuck with it though and couldn’t really fault my effort but I just knew I was tired. Even so my watched beeped for 20 minutes just as I rounded the top bend so I was where I guessed I realistically would be. I even threw in an old fashioned sprint finish to cross the line in 20.28. Although it isn’t what I wanted I know I tried throughout and I know I’m not quite in sub 20 form yet as I need the last few weeks’ training to kick in (which requires resting which I’m not so good at) so I have accepted this run as good training.

  

Tried

 Tried   

Tired

Although I tend to try and fix being knackered by running more I was sensible and didn’t run on Friday.

On Saturday I had to make the most of the good weather so off I set to Hove Prom parkrun even though really I knew I wasn’t going to be able to post another good time. I didn’t. 22 dead but it wasn’t through want of trying. It turned out to be surprisingly windy and very hot which didn’t help but mainly I’m just tired.

I had arranged with Rob to put him through his paces with some k reps this morning (Sunday). I couldn’t even muster the strength to run to Hove Park so had to cycle. Obviously I knew I wasn’t going to be much use from a running point of view but I started off in the hopes a miracle might occur. It did not. Rob did exactly what he (and I) should have done: 4 x 1k in consistent times of 4 minutes. I managed 3.50, 4.00 and 4.11 before bailing out. I did send Rob out on a solo one which he pulled off admirably. Excellent work by him. I returned home just as it began raining and spent the rest of the day watching the Athletics.

Not the best week in terms of running but it’s entirely my own fault for not resting adequately.

Ironed like a lion (in Hove)   2 comments

Monday’s track session was another combination of fast bits and slow bits. This week it was (5 x) 300f, 100j, 300f, 100j, 300f but the middle rep increased by 100m each time. I didn’t push it too much as I had plans for many hard runs over the coming days and Rob was going on holiday for two weeks so I felt I should fully utilise my final opportunity to annoy him. It was still a good session though and I wasn’t wholly idle.

On Tuesday I went out and did a hill session which is something I haven’t done for ages. I had already decided to try a hill slightly closer to me than King George. It turned out not to be that much closer but was less steep and not as long but made a good loop for Kenyan hills which was to be my session for the morning. The hill is around 300 metres long and a 10% gradient. The full loop is roughly 800 metres (300 up, 100 along, 300 down, 100 back to the beginning). As the hill was a mile or so of hills away from home I thought six loops would be fine. I soon discovered that is was incredibly windy on the downward stretch so I had to work on these sections too. all in all this was a hard session but all the better for that as I haven’t really pushed myself for ages.

In the evening I cycled over to Hove Park for Tom’s session which was to be 5 x 1k. He had us running a loop I haven’t done before but I was good as it kept it mainly flat which is always a bonus in my book. I wanted my ks to be as close to 4 minutes, consistently, as I could manage. I was rather surprised when I completed the first in 3.46. Eeek! Had I peaked too soon? No. 3.48, 3.47, 3.50, 3.50. Excellent. I was very pleased with this session.

On Wednesday morning I set out alone on an LSR. I decided to do it a little bit faster as I hate running LSRs on my own so at least this would mean it was over with more quickly. As I don’t have a watch anymore I don’t know what pace it was but it felt faster than normal which was the aim. Not fast. As that would be a LFR.

In the evening it was Run Club so I ended up doing reps of various distances at perceived efforts of 60 – 100%. This was hard work but I really enjoyed it.

On Thursday it was time for Tom’s annual track 10000. Emily kindly said she would pace me for 41.30. I like having someone to MAKE me try as I’m often not good at doing it myself.  

Looking nervous knowing it was going to be HARD (emphasis especially for Emily)

  

Looking fine in the first laps

 Mostly I looked like this though


Me = dead. Emily = totally fine

 

I don’t even remember this photo being taken. Why am I so sweaty?

Thank you very much to Gill for unknowingly “letting” me use her photos

 

Emily’s Garmin splits so basically mine too

Emily did an excellent job spurring me on all the way round and I can safely say I feel I tried as hard as I could the whole way round … and round and round and round. And round. I was slightly disappointed that my time was only 41.48 after putting in so much effort but I must remember I haven’t done anything proper for ages whilst being and ironless weakling and one cannot put in more than 100% effort so I must be pleased. It has inspired me to bloody well get on with and get back to 2013 speeds. Although actually I reached those again for 5k earlier this year before my stupid idea to stop taking the iron.

Massive thanks to Tom for organising this and getting it officiated so it now appears on Power of 10. Thanks also to Camilla for her lap counting and encouragement.

On Friday I went for a 3 mile run of indeterminate speed (fasting in parts) as I felt guilty at my slacking. I’ve been reading too many runners’ autobiographies.

Hove Prom parkrun was back on this week so I cycled down. It was probably the least windy it will ever be there. Only a slight wind coming from the south east. This meant I had no excuses for a crap time (like my previous three). I had told Emily I would find anything under 20.30 acceptable. I had a new plan: set watch to count down from 20 minutes and see how far I was from the finish when it beeped. I set off at what I felt was a sustainable pace. It was no doubt too fast but I don’t feel I dropped too much. I passed 2.5k (I don’t know where the k points are) in 10.05 so as long as I didn’t slow down too much I was going to be at least sub 21 which I haven’t managed here yet. The fear of my watch beeping whilst I was still miles away from the finish helped spur me on, along with imagining Emily shouting at me that it was all in my head and I had more in the tank. The beeping started in the home straight but the line was in sight (thanks hi vis signage and marshals) and I made it over in 20.25. So only a 15s drop in the second half. Excellent. Two excellents in one post? Good grief!


I rounded off a 47 mile week with 3 x 8 minutes at 80% perceived effort. It was very hot. Nothing now until track tomorrow evening.

What a weak   Leave a comment

Could someone please tell me how I didn’t twig:

  • About a month ago I put in my earplugs for bed as usual then wondered why there were so many fireworks going off outside before (after a long time) realising it was my heartbeat pounding in my head.
  • Inability to breathe properly even when just descending the stairs etc (I have thought this was asthma in the past but now…)
  • Even though I go to bed at about 9pm and get up at 8am I still need an afternoon nap.
  • General depression (which I have suffered from truly but sometimes maybe it was more lack of iron than “true” depression).

So I am somewhat frustrated at my stupidity. Hopefully I shan’t ever stop taking the iron thus doing this to myself again. Fool! Now I have to wait another few weeks at least before my levels are restored. Aaaaaaarrrrrggg!!! Ok. Rant over. Onto the week. I’m sure you’ll notice a theme…

Track on Monday was a drag at slow speeds (oxymoron – I am). It was supposed to be 4 x 1000 then 4 x 500 slower but there isn’t much slower than slow which is what I was all the way through.

Phoenix was utter heck. I managed 3k at 42 minute pace then that was it and I hauled my sorry feeble form home in one of the greatest positive splits known to man.

  
    
I think this is possibly my second worst run ever (after Bluebell 10k last year).

However as one can only rise from the very bottom I set off for Hove Promenade parkrun hoping that perhaps the only way was up (thanks Yazz for the misquote). After setting off too fast for my current state last week with Rick this time I went out more sedately with Rob (who has been the King of Sensible recently).


Thanks to Mark Brocklehurst for the photo 

At around halfway I felt ok so thought I’d see if I could pick it up a bit. I could. A bit. This was promising. I even had my eyes shut which is always a sign of whether I’m trying or not. I had to remind myself it’s about being able to put in effort that counts at the moment and not to be too worried about my time. 21.11 so 10 seconds faster than last week and run in a much more sensible/consistent way. Now I want to go sub 20 at this parkrun to complete the trio but must continue to be sensible and realise it could take a while to get fully ironed up and back to that sort of form. I haven’t forgotten my quest for 18.59 for 5k but obviously this will have to be rather far in the future as I still have minutes to go before I’m even back sub 20. After this run though I’m feeling a little more positive after Wednesday when I was so not happy I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself.

Only around 19 miles for the week but hopefully I’ve turned a corner so I can get back to it properly.

More haste less ings   Leave a comment

Not much to report this time after writing this on Monday last week and then resting.

On Friday I went out for a small jog just to test my massively bruised and painful balls. Of my big toes! Jeez. Anyway they passed.

On Saturday I went to Preston Park parkrun just to jog it in preparation for the Hastings 5 mile race. Also to collect my champagne which I won for being 3rd female over the three races last weekend. Thank you to Mal for collecting it. After not downing the whole bottle in a fit of recklessness it was time to jog round. An easy 23 minutes.

Third female over the course of the Mid Sussex Marathon weekend

Third female over the course of the Mid Sussex Marathon weekend

Today I headed over to Hastings for a 5 mile race. I haven’t done many 5 mile flat road races so I decided a pb might be on the cards. The only race I could think of that was similar was the Midsummer 5 that I ran in 2013 (bloody 2013) where I clocked 34.42. This should have been an easy time to beat so a reasonable target given that I am still mainly knackered from last weekend’s endeavours. After arriving courtesy of Dan (thank you) to a misty cold seafront I was pleased when the mist lifted and the sun arrived around half an hour before the race started. I had decided to dress for May regardless of the weather so it was the first time in just a vest without hundreds of under-layers. I had brought my visor too so I donned that for extra blinkers. Soon enough it was time to go.  

Preston Park parkrun take note

I managed to stick with Caroline, Vicky and Emma for about 60 metres before they disappeared into the unknown. Which soon became known as a wee-smelling promenade archway. It was very slippery, probably from them vainly trying to hose away the wee. After what seemed like days I passed the 1 mile marker. Oh dear. This was going to be a loooooooooong race. Many people were passing me. Many more did. I passed a few. Ali told me to “come on” as she passed and I managed to keep vaguely with her for the remaining 2 or so miles. I don’t know why but this race seemed to go on and on and on. The mile markers were at least 2 miles apart. Finally I reached the end. Couldn’t even muster a sprint finish and forgot to look at the finish clock. Rob texted me my finish time before I’d even seen it and I discovered it was 34.20 (a 22 second pb). This didn’t seem very good but then Caroline reminded me that I had just done the threekend. She said it was amazing I’d actually managed to get out and do it. This made me feel a bit better. Also it means I have a really soft pb to smash next time I do a 5 mile road race.

All medals seem mediocre after last week's

All medals seem mediocre after last week’s

Only 17 miles for the week but I don’t feel any better for it.

3000m track race tomorrow.

Posted 10/05/2015 by Isobel Muir in Arena 80 AC, parkrun, Racing, Running

My first marathon (sort of)   1 comment

On Monday I had planned to do track as normal but in the course of arranging my lift with Steve I discovered Pete was doing The Cooper Test before the session so I thought I might as well do it too. I set off on a 10 minute warm up with Pete which meant it was faster than I would do on my own. After a minute or so recovery it was time for the 12 minutes. I knew this meant I should travel further than 3000m (4 minute kilometres). Pete said he did 3050 on his first attempt 5 weeks previously so I hoped I could get at least that far. My plan was to attempt to keep with Pete for as long as I could and when he inevitably began to draw away I would try and keep the gap as small as possible. After an 80 second first lap I was a bit worried I would flag terribly but I managed to keep with Pete for a while longer before he began to pull away. I just tried to keep up as well as I could but he was far too strong and I dropped behind. However I kept going as much as I could and many hours (approx 6 minutes) later I could finally stop. Pete was around 100m ahead of me but luckily that was because he ran much further than his first attempt. 3190m this time. I managed 3090 so perfectly acceptable. Because The Cooper Test is obviously designed for “normal” people I was always going to be in the “Excellent” category as anything over 2500m is classed thus. 57.79 is what the calculator said my V02 max is. My super speedy/fit running friends are all on about 60 so I’m not doing too badly. Pete and I tried to join the normal session but bailed out almost immediately due to knackeredness. An excellent start to my supposed rest week!

I did then rest fully until Saturday when it was time to embark on the first race in the Sussex Marathon Weekend series. Last year Rob suggested we sign up for the full weekend this year so I immediately did. He did not and has since become injured anyway. So I had to go it alone. Well not alone obviously. Mal and Dean were in for the long haul too. Having never run the East Grinstead 10 miler before I had no idea what it would be like. I decided to read a few reviews just to see if I needed trail shoes and discovered that it was described as off-road with challenging hills. No! All the things I dislike most. I had just foolishly assumed all the races would be similar to the Hayward’s Heath 10 miler on Sunday which I have done a few times. Anyway I arrived in East Grinstead in a freezing mist. May you say? Pah! Dean informed me the race was indeed very hilly and off-road. Oh goody! In the freezing cold too. With a strong and icy wind. Spiffing. I had decided to wear my Speedcross. Mainly to clean Lancing xc off them. They were filthy. Mal was disgusted. Time passed, and after avoiding the group warm up, it was time to start the marathon journey… and what a start! It was truly horrible. I had forgotten just how hard I find this type of course. Almost entirely off road with most of it run on horribly uneven fields and forest tracks. It being dry was good but also bad as it was ankle breakingly rutted. I spent a large proportion on my own wending along forest paths with no idea where I was or if I was going in the right direction. There were stiles and gates and low hanging branches and all kinds of obstacles to overcome. 10 miles is a long way. I totally ground to a halt aound 8 miles. If I’d been wearing a Garmin it would have auto paused. A man who had been a good 200m behind me caught me up and urged me to keep going so I really tried to keep with him for the last stretch. I did manage to pick it up a bit but positively stumbled over the line. Race one done! 1.17.16.

Still standing. Just about...

Still standing. Just about…

The first part of the pie

The first part of the pie

Sunday dawned horribly rainily. I wasn’t so worried about this run (Hayward’s Heath 10 miler) as I’ve done it before on many an occasion and know it is nowhere nearly as horrible as East Grinstead but the weather was a shame as all the other years it has been sunny. I had a distinct suspicion the run would be rather hard after yesterday as I found that my quads and calves and hips and buttocks were totally destroyed from EG. Serves me right for never doing any off road or hills in training (well really it serves me right for signing up for such a foolish endeavour in the first place [thanks Rob]). The start is a nice downhill road section (for around 400m).

Looking good (50m after the start on a downhill road section). Thanks Jemma for unknowingly letting me steal your photo

Looking good (50m after the start on a downhill road section). Thanks Jemma for unknowingly letting me steal your photo

Running was difficult. Stiff legs and shattered quads. But still preferable to yesterday what with it being predominantly road (even though hilly). I didn’t feel like I could really get going until around 6 miles and then by 8 miles my hip flexors had almost totally cramped up so I had to adopt an interesting shuffle (alas not a totally speedy Al “The Shuffle” Silvester style one). I was slightly concerned that I might have to actually stop and try and stretch them out somehow but luckily they never tipped over the edge into full you-must-stop-now cramping. Some time, what felt like many hours, later I finally made it into the park for the last downhill to the finish. I was quite surprised to see that I had finished in 1.15.53 which, by no means fast, was acceptable taking into account the state of my legs and blistered feet (I mean really, who gets blisters in this day and age?).

The pie nears completion

The pie nears completion

I spent the afternoon feeling more tired than I can ever recall and seriously doubted my ability to be able to complete the trio.

However this morning (Monday) I felt much much better and the SUN WAS SHINING! May had finally arrived. I wasn’t under any illusion that today’s Burgess Hill 10k was going to be any easier for being shorter as I knew it was off road and hilly (again). Sunshine is a marvellous thing though so I wasn’t worried and knew I would complete the three races then never have to do them ever again.

Only 6.2 miles between me and eternal glory (aka death)

Only 6.2 miles between me and eternal glory (aka death)

When the announcer told the amassed runners on the start line that the runners in green had already covered 20 miles it sunk in a bit why I was so very shattered so I almost gave myself a break. Then it was time to set off on the way to 26.2 mile glory. The course was very twisty and lumpy on rutted off road again but this one wasn’t anywhere near as hilly as Saturday (or Sunday). It did seem to go on forever but it was a nice sunny day and the end was (metaphorically) in sight. When the end was literally in sight I decided to see if I could dig out a sprint finish. It was probably only around 50m but I was pleased to finish the whole ruddy thing in my traditional style. 47.14. I am so pleased I need never do this again!

The sprint of relief!

The sprint of relief! Thanks again to Jemma

So close to never having to do the bloody thing again!

So close to never having to do the bloody thing again!

My “marathon” time was 3.20.23 (though I don’t have my official over-all time yet). I’ll never be doing an actual marathon in this time, or indeed in any, so this will have to do.

The final portion of the pie

The final portion of the pie

The complete pie

The complete pie

The complete pie in all its glory! Alas I can't wear it as it will fall apart. A medal any rapper would be proud to wear.

The complete pie in all its glory! Alas I can’t wear it as it will fall apart. A medal any rapper would be proud to wear.

I may now sleep for a week.

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