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New road running and other things   Leave a comment

As the track is still being resurfaced I decided to drag poor Rob out on an easy run for his birthday. This must surely have been his best birthday gift ever. Especially as he was hungover. I certainly know how to spoil people. Anyway we managed a very pleasantly paced 7 miles to commemorate his advancing age. 

On Wednesday it was time for k reps in Hove Park. As I’m pretty rested I should have been better at these than recent weeks. I was not. As usual I did the first in a too-fast-for-current-form 3.50. Then 3.58 followed by 4.05. The End. We were supposed to be doing 5 but I was getting far too slow and Rob didn’t feel very well so we abandoned ship (3rd week in a row for me I think). In the evening I ended up running with the slowest lady at Run Club so it was a nice easy 5 miles for me. 

Having run on the seafront on Wednesday I knew it was quite stony as a result of the windinesses of earlier in the week hurling the beach up onto the prom thus I opted to be helpful and run/volunteer at Preston Park parkrun. I arrived early to help set up. Well I arrived at the same time as I always do but helped set up rather than going for a warm up jog. After sheathing the bollards and setting up the finish funnel there was time to chat to some of the folk I’ve abandoned for Hove Prom (parkrun floozy) before the off. I didn’t have anything in mind for this run. At the moment I’m just notching them up for the 250. This was 239. Dammit that parkrun is only once a week. Hurry up! Anyway off I went until I returned as first lady 21 minutes and 18 seconds later. 

Today (Sunday) meant a train trip to Bexhill to run a one off 10k on the yet to open (and in fact still being built) Bexhill to Hastings Link Road. Rob came too. Other than that it seemed to be over 1000 people I’d never heard of (there was an entry list). Once we had passed a queue of people with trolleys outside Aldi waiting to go in I realised Bexhill leisure centre was where the Bexhill cross country starts from. Well duh! Obviously this race was much more pleasant as I love flat and road. The start was pretty narrow so we made sure we were near enough the front to not be trapped.  It was a very warm day so I was grateful that Rob had said we should wear our Arena vests. After the narrowness of the start it was quickly onto the full width of road. 

Plenty of space (No that’s not a high tech watch but a locker key)

It was nice and empty with plenty of room (though I did get cut up a few times still). Some of the road wasn’t surfaced which meant a few bumpy sections and exquisitely loamish bits that I quite liked (though not helpful for speed). Somehow I was first lady which led to amusement as I passed the marshals who radioed back my number. I did feel like I’d better ruddy well stay ahead seeing as that’s who the person announcing at the finish would be expecting. As we crossed paths at the 5k turn I saw the second lady was about 100 metres behind me. Yikes! I knew she’d started a bit behind me so in order to beat her on chip too I needed to get a blinking move on. Luckily after the brief steepish uphill to the turn point it was back the way we came which meant near enough flat with only minor undulations (rather like my front). As I neared the finish I suddenly heard someone shout “Go Nat!” Eeeeek. Hurry! I can’t lose first place in the last 200 metres. I did not. There was then a tense wait to see if I’d really beaten her but even on chip time I was 7 seconds ahead. Thank goodness! After a brief wait Rob arrived and we set off back to the leisure centre to reclaim our bags from a locker (I was wearing the locker key wristband which I kept looking at thinking it was my watch – which I wasn’t wearing). We didn’t want to have to hang around for the prize giving so I have no idea of the beauty and undoubted expense of my trophy but I did collect my finishers horse brass (how apt when running on a new road for motorised vehicles). 

Oooooo brassy!

My official time was 42.50 but I was pleased with my actual racing and quite enjoyed the route. Flat. Fast. Wide. Empty. 

Strava tells me I’ve run 24 miles this week. 


Posted 20/09/2015 by Isobel Muir in Uncategorized

That’s more Hellingly kit   1 comment

Still having a cold and having almost frozen to death the whole of Sunday after Littlehampton I decided to try and do a bit of resting. I managed two days. 

I fell off the wagon to some k reps in Hove Park with Rob. I’m trying to help him string a good set of sub 4 minute ks together. He managed this himself when I failed to be fast enough on the last two reps so he had to go it alone. I started off ok with 3.51 followed by 3.53. Just scraped 4 minutes for the third then died a true death on the last to roll home in 4.17 after abandoning ship at around 600m. Anyway Rob did what he wanted which was the aim of the session so hip hip hooray to my skillz (ahem…) as a coach. 

In the evening it was off to work for run club. As Jo was back we did a speed session. 8 x sprints of varying distances and perceived efforts. The shortest at 100% and some slightly longer ones at 80/90%. Pure death. Good though. Perhaps. My calves may disagree. 

I rested again on Thursday (couldn’t be bothered to go back out once I returned from work). 

On Friday I felt the need to do something vaguely long so I set off for an 8 mile (Eminem style). I didn’t lose myself in the music nor the moment nor did I own it but I did run approximately 8 miles reasonably easily which was the aim.

Hove Prom was not the place to do parkrun due to ridiculous multidirectional headwinds so off I set to Hove Prom to do parkrun. It took quite some time. 

The main event for the week was Hellingly 10k. I was under no impression I would be any good going on recent evidence. After standing about being quite chilly it was time to get going. After the usual parting of the start line crowds to let through a car at the last minute it was time to set off. Dan had reminded us the course is merely undulating with a mainly downhill last 2k so I was just going to attempt to beat last year’s time, a stunningly uninspiring 45.05. Somewhere around 2k I realised that EVERYTHING WAS GOING REALLY WELL. What the? It’s been so long (if ever in fact) that I have felt so much like I was actually running. I was bouncing along and didn’t even notice how tired I was and how much of a stitch I was managing to keep at bay. I had no watch so had no idea how I was doing but hordes of people weren’t streaming past and I was even overtaking people occasionally. I was taking giant strides which seems to be my natural gait when not crushed by depressive sulks. I even concentrated on picking it up from 5k rather than slowing down until 9k in the usual style. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!! Around 1k from the end I overheard some spectators saying I was 6th women so this spurred me on to keep going. The finish this year was a horrid rutted 100m or so round a tight bend so no sprinting but I tried to pick it up a bit without breaking my ankles.

Thanks to Danny for not knowing I’ve stolen his photo


Trying to speed on a non-speedy surface. Thanks Emma for the photos

I was pleased to discover my time of 43.17 as this is only about 30 seconds slower than my best here which was on the other course which seems like it should be shorter though obviously it wasn’t. I was indeed 6th lady (well counted spectators). I was second v35 and was 58/294 over all. 6/115 ladies. 

The Hellingly massive

Hopefully this run marks the release from the plague of the last few months of a heavy and dragging depressive episode. Bye bye! (Until the next one.)

24 miles for the week (+ 17 gadzillion sneezes).

Posted 13/09/2015 by Isobel Muir in Uncategorized

Illobel   2 comments

Yes I made myself ill again. Why can I not manage more than a few weeks of reasonably hard training before I get a cold? I do everything one should to not catch one. Eat well and healthily with plenty of fruit and vegetables and other good stuff, exercise, take vitamin C and iron, get lots of sleep blah blah blah. Grrr. Anyway it means I don’t have much to tell you.

I was feeling better on Thursday so set out with Rob on an easy paced long run to test whether I was actually better or just going mad with not doing anything but sitting down (naturally this cold coincided with a week off work – though also with the Athletics World Championships). The running was fine and I felt no ill effects though we did get caught in an unexpected downpour towards the end that sent me on a sneezing spree when I returned home. Also the next day my knees really hurt. I reckon this was a combination of continuous sitting and the slow pace (my own doing) making me run like a knock kneed fool. 

On Saturday I went back to Preston Park parkrun as Hove Prom was off for a food festival. I knew I probably wouldn’t be great but intended to just put in the effort which is basically what I aim to do in any running situation that warrants it. Inevitably I slowed after the first few kilometres but made sure I kept up the effort. Rob passed me in the last 500m so I used my last vestiges of strength to shout some “encouraging” words to him. Although my time was a paltry 21.28 it was a 32 second improvement on last week and as long as the effort was there I can’t ask any more of myself. 

Good grief I actually sound like a sensible person! 

Posted 29/08/2015 by Isobel Muir in Uncategorized

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.





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.

I ran (though actually in Hove)   1 comment

Track was unsuccessful. I think I used up my track focus on Thursday for the 10000 as when I came to run on Monday I could only manage going round and round and round at one pace with an incapability to increase speed. Oh well.

On Tuesday I was let off work early so could have done the annual Adur Challenge after all but as I thought I wouldn’t be able to I didn’t want to stress Bob out by having to decide a handicap for me and fit me in unexpectedly so I decided to go and do Tom’s mile reps session instead. Having not really done much on Monday I hoped I’d be able to improve on my last set of reps which were 6.22s or so. All was going well for the first three; 6.18, 6.16, 6.16 but then on the fourth the cramp that had been threatening throughout Monday’s track session returned so I was forced to slow it down a bit so the fourth rep was 6.29. As this was a significant drop I called it a night there though I did join Mark for a cool down final mile in 8.50. Although I was unable to do the full 5 fast I was pleased with the 3 I did manage. I mustn’t forget the track 10000 which must have taken a lot out of me (but you know me, never one to let myself off or have a proper rest).

Wednesday meant a long run on tired legs but due to its slower pace there were no almost-cramp incidents. 10 miles in a vari-directional wind aka almost always a headwind. Nice and warm though. In the evening we were doing sprint which I knew my calf wouldn’t tolerate so I was official timekeeper as the others did 6 x 15 seconds 100% effort. This was sad as I love sprinting but it was good watching the others hoofing it on the seafront when all I had to do was press go on the stopwatch then shout STOP at 15 seconds. I did manage to jog to and from the start though so a very easy recovery jog for me.

On Thursday I wanted to do a hill session in the morning but an almighty  thunderstorm put paid to that. Too much lightning means headache and general ill feeling so instead I had to go to bed. Huff. Luckily the further storms that were supposed to happen in the afternoon didn’t materialise so I was able to get out to Tom’s session which I knew was 800 reps. The post-storm weather was muggy and humid but not at all windy so we could do straight 800s with a 2 minute rest. I wanted to do the 800s consistently in as close to 3 minutes as possible. 2.58, 2.57, 3.02, 3.02, 3.02, 3.00. Success!

Hove Prom parkrun turned out to be much less windy than forecast but in a direction that meant a constant (though minor) headwind. I had hoped to go out with Tom as I had been ahead of him on the 800s but alas a 5k is an entirely different matter and he was off and away almost immediately. However I stuck to my plan to just keep going. I let myself be put off by a heavy breather and a few other things which wasn’t good but I managed to drag myself out of these temporary blips which is much better than olden times. I passed halfway in 10 minutes. I felt I wasn’t doing as well as last week so was pleased and surprised when my watch beeped in roughly the same place as last week signalling 20 minutes was up. A mere 19 seconds later I crossed the line. A 6 second improvement on last week but the same 20 second or so loss in the last 2.5k. Must work on staying strong in the second half.

Moving in the right direction

This morning (Sunday) I went out for a steady 5 miles to try and teach myself to endure the uncomfortableness of running. It was rather hot so I rained sweat off my own elbows onto my legs. Good as that is usually Rob’s job but he is still on holiday.

Another good week of training and progress.

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.

A somewhat better week   3 comments

I’m sure you’re heartily bored of hearing this but Monday was off to track as usual. This week was another set of 1000m reps. This time 6 of them with ends being faster, starting with 300 tempo, 700 fast working our way down by 100m to 800t , 200f to finish, with 75s between reps. I managed to keep with Rick’s group throughout which was good. 

On Wednesday morning I set out on a LSR with my trusty sidekick Rob after having to tackle it alone last week (which turned into a too long too fast one with Trevor) due to work meaning I had to do my long one on Tuesday instead. It was just the normal loop this time so a nice and manageable 10 miles.  

In the evening it was the last of the year’s vet’s league, once again in Lewes. We arrived to drizzly rain but luckily a few minutes later it had cleared and it was sunny and warm and not at all windy. What on earth? By the time of the first event it had got a little bit windy but nothing like the ridiculousness of Worthing or last Lewes. My first event was the 100m. After doing a better warm up than normal it was time to race. A hold of around 7 seconds in the set position led to an even worse than usual start followed by a pretty terrible rest of race. Never mind. I may have been second, or third. Next was the 1500 which I was always going to just jog as a warm up for the 400 which was my main race of the evening. Stupidly I forgot to change out of my spikes for the 1500 which I knew would be bad news for my calves.


 Having a little jog in the 1500. Thanks Emily for the photos!

Next up was the 400 which I wanted to be my best race. Unfortunately I was put in lane 4 which meant I only had one person outside me. I do much better from the inside where I am chasing from the start. Anyway off we set. I was in the lead from around 70 metres but due to the stagger I had no idea if someone was going to charge past me as it unwound around the top bend. I had nothing to do but keep running. Thankfully no one appeared so I was able to take victory. In fact the Arena ladies won all three 400 races with Katherine storming the B race and Leslie obliterating the opposition in the 50 race. 

The final race was the relay which was a 200, 200, 400, 800 medley. Leslie had the “joy” of setting off first against the speediest of all the B&H sprinters on the first 200 leg but did an excellent job of keeping with her before she handed over to Kerry (making her sprint debut) on leg 2 (200) who kept the gap to a minimum before handing over to me on leg 3 (400). I set off around 10 metres behind the B&H lady. I tried not to let the distance increase and attempted to draw closer down the back straight. I made up a bit of ground and was hopeful that as long as I reached the final 100 within 5 or so metres of her I could outsprint her.

 Thanks again to Emily for the photos!

As you can see I did manage to catch her on the home straight just in time to hand over to Katherine who, by being by far the fastest over the longer distances, had drawn the short straw of the 800 leg. Unfortunately I didn’t get to view the battle that ensued as I was mainly bent double trying to get my breath back but I looked up just as they were haring down the home straight with Katherine just a step behind B&H. A superb race and almighty battle! All the more because Katherine had just absolutely caned the 1500, then the 400 straight afterwards. Once again this was a brilliant evening and I’m sad that there are only 4 matches a year and they’re already over. However this year I had a full scoring relay team on three out of four occasions (and the other was near enough with graham being the rogue “lady”) which is a miracle. In fact this time I had Jenny too as a reserve. Hooray! Let us hope it continues next year. 

On Friday I went out for a recovery run to try and undo some of the deathly post-vet’s calf tightness. 3 miles at 9 minute miling or so. Legs felt slightly better.

As both Hove Prom and Preston Park parkrun were off this Saturday due to Pride Mark had arranged a trip to Horsham. I piled into his car along with Rob and Liz and off we went inland. Horsham parkrun is a slightly undulating three lap course  about ha of and half paths and grass. As soon as we set off I knew that I was going to be able to “race”. Though parkrun is not a race of course. 


Setting off on the first lap. Sock lady overtook me soon after this

 Being beaten by a small child

A Vegan Runner lady passed me in the early stages but I kept with her and was able to go back past her a while later. (The child in the photo however beat me by 4 seconds.) It was very nice to do a parkrun with no wind as all the Brighton ones tend to be windy all the time. Somehow the laps flew by, probably a combination of it being an unknown course to me, it being a mixture of grass and path and it being a warm, sunny, breezeless day. I crossed the line happy with my run, I was First Lady (auto correct capitalised that) in a time of 20.42, had my barcode scanned and turned round to see Rob just finishing. We then went and lounged on the grass to watch the rest of the runners coming in.

Post run lounging

I really enjoyed this bit of parkrun tourism. A big thanks to Mark for driving. 

This morning (Sunday) I did a half hour progression run. 10 minutes each of easy – tempo – fast. Around 28 miles for the week. 

Posted 02/08/2015 by Isobel Muir in Uncategorized

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