Archive for the ‘Yoga’ Category

Resting is on my mind   Leave a comment

Back again already. Blimey, how time flies. So Monday once more. This Monday was a little different however as I had been invited by Simon Anderson of ATP (Activate Transform Perform) to have a session with him so I could write about it for my next West Hove Directory article. I had recently read his articles in Runners World and Athletics Weekly so was looking forward to having a go myself. I think Simon is a wizard! He prodded and poked me in various places such as the stomach and sternum and magically my hamstring flexibility improved massively immediately. Slightly scary. I don’t want to go on about it here too much as this is supposed to be a blog of my exercise and this will end up sounding like an advert but seriously it was amazing (I don’t use that word lightly). Simon is very much like Professor Brian Cox in his enthusiasm and passion for his subject and at least in his case I actually understood what he was talking about. Have a look at his website Simon Anderson ATP and get yourself booked in for a session.

Right, back to the running. After the wizardry I set off for track ready to test out my new hamstrings. Unfortunately (though actually fortunately) the back straight was very icy and slippery so Bob devised a session based on 300 reps with the icy 100 metres as the recovery area. This was perfect for me. A variety of 4 x 300s with different bits of the 300s fast in each set. Starting with alternate steady then fast 300s. Then increasing tempo 300s, then 100 building into 100 fast, slowing in the final 100. The ice was creeping round the track so we finished on 2 x 200 fast. This is exactly my sort of session (not so much the ice skating part) so I thoroughly enjoyed it. Can’t say whether my new miracle hamstrings had anything to do with it though as this would always have been a good session for me.

On Tuesday Core & Stretch was being covered by someone else who is yoga based (yoga fills me with rage) so I decided to do a long run instead with Danny as I haven’t been able to do this for ages. Thankfully as he had just smashed a 1.24 at Brighton half on Sunday I felt that I should be able to keep up with him. Unfortunately I failed to realise that I would be chatting all the way so thought I’d forego my asthma inhaler as a test. A STUPID test! Puffed. Anyway we continued for many miles at around 8.30 – 9 minute miling. I ended up doing 10 which felt pretty hard due to the combination of no inhaler, talking, going a little bit faster than usual (maybe) and general cumulative knackeredness. It was a lovely day for it though. Sunny, cold but not too windy. Good to have company too in the form of Danny. I dragged myself off to kettlebells but was pretty much shot by then. I did wonder why I was so feeble then remembered the 10 miles! My memory has definitely left the building recently. Got through the class to the best of my ability and rolled on home.

This morning it was once again time for spin. I gave it a good go having decided to abandon tonight’s 9 miler as I have got Trevor’s Rat Run (probably around 10 miles) on Friday to take its place so no need to kill myself off this evening as I’ll be doing 32 miles this week without tonight. I can feel myself getting overtired and run down so must be sensible and not go tonight. Still hard to not feel bad for not going but it has to be done. No point in making myself ill.

All this running and exercising and the freezing weather have made me into an eating machine (even more so than usual) so must now decide what to have for my second lunch. Laters.

Spookathontastic!   5 comments

Having not done anything on Tuesday or Wednesday morning I thought I might be OK on Wednesday evening. I was not. Slow and generally a bit feeble. Another 7.5 miles for the book. Thus I felt maybe Thursday would be better as Wednesday was not. Wrong. Perhaps this meant I was still not fully well. Slumped around HovePark and moseyed up and down some hills. Did nothing on Friday or Saturday (didn’t even help at parkrun having woken up on the dot of 9 – oops – but probably good for my health).

Today (Sunday) was the charity spookathon at my gym (Alive, Castle Street, Brighton). Six back to back classes to raise money for LostCatsBrighton (where I work) and The Martlets. I couldn’t bring myself to do zumba or yoga but psyched myself up for four classes, a long day and plenty of cakes to keep me going. I started with the spin/circuit combination class which was good.

Still Alive in the first class…












Lots of people there and a good variety of exercises. As I hadn’t done anything proper since Monday I felt quite strong and got stuck in. Not long after I realised I still had three more classes to go and had already used up most of my strength. Oh dear. Never mind! Onwards. I refuelled with a tasty chocolate brownie and a banana. An hour later (after fitting in a bit of food shopping – tres excitment) I made my way in to the 80’s step class. Having never done step before I knew I would find it very hard as it involves coordination and concentration. I was so right! It was really really hard and complicated and I was getting all the steps wrong left, right and centre. It was without doubt the hardest but most fun I have done for ages. So funny! Thankfully there were plenty of people equally uncoordinated and getting themselves confused and tied in knots. I spent a good proportion of the time laughing and standing on my step bemusedly trying to work out how the heck those who were good at it were keeping up and getting the steps right. The trick was to focus on one person who was doing it right’s feet and copy their footsteps whilst not listening to Toby’s instructions or looking in the mirror as that just caused further confusion and falling about. It was without doubt the most fun I have had for ages and also really really hard! My legs and abs were wibbling like crazy by about 20 minutes in. Probably not helped by already having done one class and surviving on brownies in the interim. If this class were to be brought back I would sooooo do it. Even if only because it was so funny being so useless. This is the reason I don’t do this sort of class but in this case it just made me happy. Maybe because there were many others equally useless? Also I think I had become somewhat hysterical with lack of food and tiredness. I was already shaking, with dead quads and arms and this was only class two.

As I moved on to kettlebells (having scoffed another brownie in about 30 seconds) I was really feeling it. Quivery muscles, general shakiness. On the upside this had made me somewhat hysterical so I alternately laughed and died my way through. We finished with a (more gentle than usual as Jenny was also dead) Core & Stretch class. I was still laughing, shaking and fuelled on yet another brownie. But oh so knackered. Downward dogging, which I always hate, was an impossibility so I generally lay in child’s pose. Finally the  spookathon was over and I fuelled up on a vegan flapjack and wibbled home on my bike with legs o’ jelly.

All in all it was an excellent day which I thoroughly enjoyed even though it was a killer. God knows what state I’ll be in tomorrow but a superb time was had so no complaints.

Goodness gracious I think this might be the first wholly positive post I have ever written! Hoopla!

Running, swinging (kettlebells), stretching   Leave a comment

As Monday was a bank holiday there was no track session so instead a few of the Arena crew sped off to Chiddingly to do the King’s Head Canter 5k. Well actually to be precise a 4980 metre point to point race starting in Chiddingly and finishing in East Hoathly at the King’s Head pub (hence the name). Continuing my quest to not get stuck in race time negativity I was watchless. I found myself keeping with Chris for the first 3k relatively easily but then alas my foolish thinking pattern crept back in and I thought “but I can’t keep up with Chris for this long” and chose to ignore the evidence and thus dropped back a bit. Adding to this was the fact I had caught up with Charlie and again I thought “I can’t possibly overtake her as she’s much better than me”. Damn me!!!!!!!! After a good non-self-judgemental start I ruined it. Grrrr. However the end seemed quick to appear and I rolled home in 22.16 which was OK considering I didn’t really push myself at all. I was only there for the free pint afterwards! To this end I ran strainght through the finish to the bar as past years experience has taught me you have to get in early before the mammoth queue appears. Cider in hand I felt pleased that I didn’t totally torment myself (other than the above) and wasn’t really bothered about my run (perhaps the cider helped). We stopped off at Middle Farm on the way home where I bought some cheese and chilli oatcakes and strawberry cider. Lunch sorted!

On Tuesday it was back to normal. Felt completely fine as Monday’s run was not strenuous and I was not completely dazed and out of it on Henfield and track like I was last week. Much stretching and core work ensued. I am yet to develop abs of steel. Or at least visible abs of steel. Perhaps they are concealed? Yes, that must be it… ahem… Back to the gym in the evening for kettlebells. This week Matt threw in a couple of new exercises that I struggled with. It seems that my shoulders are both rather immobile yet simultaneously unstable. Not sure how this is possible but trying to do a sideways lean with one arm straight in the air proved tricky as I felt I was likely to drop the kettlebell on my face at any moment as it swung around wobbilily. Hmmm… improvement to be made in this area! However overall I was pleased I was back to normal weight-wise after last week’s totally tranquilised, energy depleted state. Today my back feels a bit achy but I think I actually did that opening a tin of tuna!

Today was MY LAST HOT YOGA CLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank God for that. Strangely I was not as elated as I expected. please don’t tell me I’m going to miss it even though I hate it more than life itself? I think it is just because I forgot my towel (div) so now owe them £1. Until I give it to them I won’t feel I’ve really finished. I will post it through the door next Tuesday as I’m passing on the way to core and stretch. The actual class still frustrated me as much as usual as I am still unable to do almost all of it though I did discover the core and strength and balance stuff I was OK at just not the bendy stretchy stuff. Look – I am learning to see the positives. Good. There is hope for me yet!

Posted 29/08/2012 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Kettlebells, Running, Yoga

Running hard, feeling strange   Leave a comment

Having got Henfield out of the way on Sunday I was looking forward to track on Monday. Even more so when it looked like it really was going to be a nice day for it (unlike last week where it looked nice until an hour before when the heavens opened and it became more of a paddling session). It was! Warm and sunny. Perfect for a fast session. Bob obliged!

3 x 500 @ 1.45, 1.50, 1.52

5 x 300 @ 1.01, 1.00, 59s, 1.01, 1.00

5 x 200 @ 37s (last one 34s)

All these were run at around 80 – 90% effort to ensure I kept the consistency and speed throughout the reps. Success! The rest was 100m walk, except for the 200s where it was 100 walk, 100 jog into rolling starts. I ran in my own group of one so I could take a long enough recovery to keep each of my reps fast and consistent. This worked well. By the end it was just me with 3 reps left to run and everyone else having finished and warmed down. I managed not to get too paranoid as I knew I was doing the session in the best way for me. Unfortunately we had a committee meeting afterwards. The meeting in itself is fine but I had worked so hard I was totally spaced out and felt sick and couldn’t write. (I can never write after running for some reason. My hand can’t hold a pen properly – odd.) Shame the meeting was mainly about the Arena 10k I organise!

On Tuesday I felt very strange. Really very tired indeed. In fact I can’t remember ever having felt more tired. I dragged myself out to Core & Stretch but was so dazed and weak I could hardly do anything. Just wanted to lie down on my mat and sleep. Naturally I didn’t learn from this and sensibly take an evening off kettlebells. This was stupid as I couldn’t lift my normal weights and had to downgrade massively to weights I’m not sure I ever used even when I first started. I had no control over my form and even the lightest weights were almost beyond me. If the snatch is beyond you you can use the clean version suggested Matt as he looked at me with dismay as I failed to clean the 12kg. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that doing a half marathon out of the blue followed by a hardcore track session means I have nothing left for Tuesday but I’m still not sure that’s the whole story as I’ve worked hard before and never felt so utterly drained as I did yesterday. Thankfully today I felt a tiny bit more awake though at yoga I was still weak but then I always am so not sure it was so apparent. Usual downs run this evening could be interesting. Will take it very very easy (which I do normally anyway) and hopefully I’ll be able to run tomorrow’s interval session properly then 3 days rest before King’s Head Canter 5k on Monday.

Not much to report… but that’s a good thing!   Leave a comment

As part of my new drive to stop maddening myself with running-related anxiety and disappointment I decided to ditch Wednesday’s open track meeting at Withdean and go out on the downs with the group as usual. This was a good plan. Originally I thought I wouldn’t do track as the weather was cold, wet and windy and I feel track should only be done in the warmth to avoid wind-related anger, but it turned into a beautiful sunny day an hour or so before. Luckily I had already booked my lift to the downs so went there anyway. Regardless of the suddenly clement conditions I am glad I didn’t do the track as I know I would have only been disappointed with whatever event I did. Bob (Arena coach) agreed and said I should only get back to track racing when I can run consistently, something I still struggle a lot with. I did feel somewhat anxious that my plan had to be changed but nowhere near as much as I feared and nowhere near as angry and disappointed as I would have done if I had gone to track. Anyway, the downs run was good. Nice and sociable. Not many there for some reason but a nice 5 miler to round off the day. Still allowing the obvious “if I don’t run in the morning it’s easier to run in the evening” to sink in. Good. Am (so far) doing quite well laying off myself and just running.

On Thursday I went to hot yoga in the morning and was extremely relieved to confirm that I only have 2 MORE CLASSES TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YIPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! Was thinking of cramming them both into this week to get them out of the way but think I’ll have to save my excitement and finish next week. Massive afternoon individual extremely quiet book reading RAVE next Thursday! Whoop whoop! In the evening I cycled over to HovePark for the usual interval session. Up and down and round and round we went in the traditional fashion. Still working hard to ensure fewer sessions I do do are good quality. Exceeeeellent (in a Mr Burns style).

On Saturday I went to help at parkrun as not running for a time is part of the new pressure-free (or less at least) me. It was really hot anyway so a good time to marshall. Also I knew I was doing Henfield half today so double sensibleness (people will no longer recognise me I’ve become so sensible). As my long races seem to coincide with freak weather conditions (Eastbourne gale force hail storms, first Bewl heatwave, second Bewl major rain and freezingness) I was unsurprised to find the weather forecast for 32 degree heat and blistering sunshine. Luckily this turned out not to be the case in Henfield. Although it was still hot there was cloud cover and even a few miniature thunderstorms with a few drops of rain and a stiff breeze in parts to help cool us down. As I knew this was my last long distance run for the foreseeable future I went watchless. The course is an off-road course which is quite flat but hard work due to the long grasses and rutted underfoot conditions. Thankfully I had a strange period between 4 and 6 miles where it seemed to disappear. I was surprised to see the 7 mile marker having been looking out for the 5! Made it to the finish in 1 hour 54 minutes which is acceptable as most people’s times were down by around 10 minutes from their road times and I’ve run my last (and only) two road halves in around 1.48. So glad that I’ve done it and I have no plans for anything long EVER AGAIN (I know this will not be the case but must at least pretend it is so for a little while).

I knew that even with little to report this post would end up really long!

Me looking dead at the end of Henfield!

Posted 19/08/2012 by Isobel Muir in Blog, parkrun, Running, Yoga

Oh look! An interim post…   Leave a comment

As my computer is on I thought I’d do a bit of an interim blogette betwixt my usual Wednesday and Sunday. Went out yesterday evening with the Arena crew for a hot and hilly 5 miler over the downs from Hollingbury. I found it quite hard no doubt due to jumping straight back in to the routine on Monday and the 10 miler in the morning. Started off chatting to Charlton which took my mind off the brokenness of my being for a while. The fact we were going downhill also helped! Then the fast posse peeled off to do an extra mile or so and I found myself struggling to keep up with the slower group especially as we started the long drag up Castle Hill. Had to really concentrate not to start walking when I saw someone ahead had done. Managed to heave myself very slowly to the top and then it was a pleasant gentle downhill to the finish. Me and Pete had a good moan as if our way whilst running – we are both of the impression that we are crap and if only we had the right mindset we could be so much better. The usual. I clocked up 15 miles in total for my first Wales Wednesday back which is an acceptable start. Really feeling it today though! I was walking like someone who had spent many hours on a horse this morning. Hips, groin and bum being the worst offenders. Dragged myself off to hot yoga (my favourite – 4 more to go…) which was hard and horrible as usual. I hate to admit that I do feel distinctly less stiff now but this could be down to cycling there and back and generally just being on the move. Second visit to Hove Park this evening for the usual interval session. Looking forward to battering myself yet again! See y’all on Sunday.

Posted 02/08/2012 by Isobel Muir in Blog, Cycling, Running, Yoga

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