Consistency consistency consistency   Leave a comment

Ah how I relish the Monday rest day!

Alas on Tuesday I was still pretty knackered. The planned run was 60 minutes, 30 easy, 30 faster. The 30 faster was only infinitesimally faster (if at all) than the easy bit. Still, it was done and no harm other than tiredness. Oh, I forgot, I was also exceptionally hot which didn’t help.

Wednesday is always a track day, although I haven’t actually been to the track for ages as it has been being used for school sports days. Thankfully the temperature had dropped from Tuesday’s 30+ to an acceptable 18 or so degrees. The session was 2k @ 10k pace then 8 x 400 metres. I chose Preston Park as the first 2k could be the first 2km of parkrun, then the 400s could be along the straight at the bottom. I measured a 400m stretch on MapMyRun. Rob had discovered an almost exact replica of this 400m from his past training. He joined me for this which was another reason to do it in Preston Park as he can just roll down the hill from his house. I hoped to do the 2k in 8.24 which would be 42 minute 10k pace and we finished in 8.30 so that’s ok seeing as I haven’t actually run a 42 minute 10k recently. The 400s were to be between 96-100 seconds (20 minute 5k pace). After a 95 and a 94 for the first two the rest were 91s. Rob was a few seconds faster for all of them. A successful session. 

A welcome, nice easy 45 minutes on Thursday. 

Friday was supposed to be a “steady” 30 minutes with 4 x 15s strides. I think I may have done this too fast. It felt fine, though hard, at the time and the strides were good too. 7.08 average for the 4 miles over all.

Because the weather forecast was clement and because Worthing parkrun is a good course we took ourselves over there on Saturday for a slight change of scene. My accidentally too fast Friday put paid to my hopes of parkrun speed, along with the heat, but I was mainly there for the trip and the roof terrace.

The VIPs on the roof terrace post-run

Consistent, see

Consistency is key and you can’t get more consistent than that. 

Today (Sunday) was my favourite run of the week. I have officially lost my mind. Who would have ever thought I would want to do a hilly long run? I think I like it because I feel like I’m getting a lot done in one run. This is also precisely why I got myself a coach. I want to be told what to do because then I’ll do it no matter how much I might not want to and look what’s happened now I’ve done these for a few months; I actually like doing them (not that this stops me from procrastinating wildly before dragging myself out). Today I did the usual 90 minute hilly loop with 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minute faster reps in the middle. Everything was much the same as usual but for some chafing. This is the only bit I can show you!

Over the course of the week I notched up 33 miles and three new and unexpected chafed areas. 


I must remember I am in the “hard work” phase of training so will be tired and slower than when fresher (in August). 

I have had hay fever or a cold this week with lots of sneezing/sore throat which has made me feel more tired.

I ran two of my best 10ks for years within a few days of each other a week or so ago so that will also contribute to my tiredness.

Dodgy ankle(s) from lots of hills/races/spikes not helping. 

Posted 24/07/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

Tired but pleased   Leave a comment

After a pleasing Sunday I was glad of the rest day on Monday. 

Just a gentle 4 miles on Tuesday in preparation for Phoenix 10k on Wednesday evening. 

The forecast was for wind and rain and as the start time neared there was a massive rainstorm so I got togged up in full on winter waterproofs for the short cycle to the start. Which meant as soon as I exited in the house it stopped raining, the sun came out and it was rather warm so I looked like an utter lunatic in my ski jacket (I’d even re-inserted the fleece lining) with hood, ski gloves and lined waterproof trousers. Once I arrived I shoved it all in the handy mornflake bag I received on Sunday and sauntered over to the other Arenas who were milling about. The sky looked very ominous and the ground was soaked from the recent storm but the conditions were perfect for running. Nary a breeze and not too hot.

Stormy skies over Hove seafront

Following on from my success at Seaford (by success I mean adapting to the wind conditions and sticking to my plan) I wanted to do the same here. Once again the weather wasn’t at all what was forecast so instead of my original plan of going out conservatively into the wind – as there wasn’t any – and pushing it on the way back, I hurriedly assembled a plan B which was to run the first two miles sensibly (also to try and keep calm in the busy ness at the start and not worry about trying to get past people, wasting energy weaving through people etc), then pick it up for the next two, then yet again for the final two. This would make the race almost a carbon copy of a training session I did the Tuesday of the week before. That was it really. I did what I wanted and picked it up after every two miles and it was a much more pleasant (though still unpleasant of course as I was still running) way of running than going out too fast and dying which is what I’ve basically done for the past 8 or so years). I was pleased with my time of 42.25, a good minute quicker than Seaford and hopefully more to come once I start off a bit more quickly. At the moment I’m concentrating on concentrating and sticking to a plan with no sulking or otherwise disappointing myself. Thus the times will come (fingers crossed). 

On Thursday I had been set another hard session to practice running on tired legs and mental strength. 90 minutes including through the middle 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes fast (or faster than the rest anyway) with 3 minutes easy in between. I was indeed knackered so was very surprised to find my average pace was 8 minute miling especially as I felt I’d actually ground to a halt after the last fast minute back into the wind (obviously). 

Friday was a gentle jog. My legs were actually fully knackered. My quads ached! I haven’t done anything proper for so long they haven’t ached for ages. This can only be a good thing though it didn’t feel like it at the time as I dragged them along with me. 

Saturday was Hove Prom parkrun’s first birthday so there was a dress up theme of prom on the prom. It was therefore the hottest day of the year so far. Perfect for three piece suits, blazers and so on.

As I only ever put on cat ears, collar and whiskers I would have to do as prom cat. By dint of living close to the prom and it mainly being a visitors’ course I won the ladies points competition.

Thanks to Nigel Turley for the photos

The actual run was a knackered attempt. Just very tired from Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday. 21.48 was perfectly acceptable. 

Why real cats don’t wear mascara

This morning (Sunday) was a doomed attempt at my usual hilly run but with 20 minutes at “a good pace” at the end. I had a stitch throughout and was just totally drained from the week’s racing and training so it could at best be described as a hilly run. Nice to have a hot day though even if it didn’t help the running. 

A pleasing week of around 37 miles, even though I am now thoroughly exhausted and looking forward to a rest day tomorrow. 

Posted 17/07/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

Return of the wind   Leave a comment

A pictorial representation of Monday evening’s vet’s league. I was not very good. Though I did discover days later won the long jump. 



Arena vet’s team. Thanks Marc for letting me use your photos.

After the trauma of my incapability on Monday I ran a little too hard on Tuesday. The session was supposed to be 30 easy followed by 30 steady. I did the “easy” into the wind thus rendering it not so easy. When I turned round I charged off, glad to have the wind behind me. Unfortunately I had grossly miscalculated how much faster I would be on the way back and found myself far too far eastbound still with 5 minutes of the steady section to go so I turned back. This meant the last 5 minutes of the steady section were no longer steady but a fight into the wind. I rounded it off with the prescribed 5 x 15s fast. As these were also into the wind I didn’t feel like I’d actually got any faster than the rest of the wind-hindered bits. When I looked at my splits the steady bits were probably steady based on my fast times of old but were more race pace on current terms. Oops. I was also pretty DOMSed from Monday. Oh well, I did it (near enough). 

Wednesday was a speed/fartlekkish session. It wasn’t quite so hideously windy but still quite breezy. The DOMS had seriously kicked in (probably with additional Tuesday). The session was 15 mins w/u, 5 mins tempo, 12 x 30s fast (1min steady), 5 mins tempo, 15 mins c/d. This was a very hard session. Not only the DOMS but also the wind and being dive bombed by a seagull. I put in the effort for the sections but not sure I attained speeds above snail. Of course the point of the session was to keep working when tired so this I did. 

Thankfully Thursday was  just a 40 minute easy jog and Friday a rest day.

On Saturday it was once again Arena’s turn to do the volunteering at Hove Prom parkrun. I was down to help set up but it had all been done before I got there (early). I was supposed to be doing 25 minutes in preparation for Seaford 10k on Sunday but saw Rick was pacing 24 so went with him instead.

Exceptionally pleased with my excellent colour coordination (also matching Rick’s shoe style)

This morning I got up at 6am ready to head over to Seaford for the 10k. We hoped the weather would be better than last year which was absolutely soaking, freezing and windy. Alas today was about the same though the rain was more of a drizzle that started after we’d run, it wasn’t quite so cold (though still cold) and the wind was a pure cross wind so you had to contend with it in both directions. As I was doing the 10k I had to contend with two laps. The race was supposed to be chip timed but the system wasn’t working. The very wide start and lack of any really fast runners meant I didn’t mind standing practically on the start line. My plan was to go out sensibly (I’m still traumatised by Worthing 10k) and work the wind behind sections. I had to change this as there were no wind behind sections, only wind across continuously. Somehow it was worse when it was ever so slightly behind rather than ever so slightly into the face. Anyway I decided I’d better ruddy well just try and push the whole thing. So I did. Due to the lapped nature of the course I would be able to see if anyone was likely to overtake me. I was in the lead (for the ladies) after the first half a mile or so as I think the original leading lady may have made my usual mistake of going out too fast. Anyway I seemed reasonably safe when I checked on the turns. I kept trying to keep going though. Many men over took me in the second half but perhaps this is because they started too far back on the start rather than me slowing down as I wasn’t overtaken by Dean or Terry who I was expecting to charge past at any moment. Anyway I crossed the line in first place for the ladies in the 10k. 7 seconds faster than last year and two places higher. Although my time of 43.34 (I think) wasn’t particularly speedy I was pleased with the way I ran and the effort put in, especially in not too pleasant conditions. 

The heaviest prize haul ever

The envy inducing visor amongst other great prizes

I was very pleased to win another full size bag of porridge (even though I bought one yesterday as I didn’t want to tempt fate), a really nice minty coloured visor (which I shall have to adapt to fit my tiny pin head), some far-too-big-for-aforementioned-pin-head sunglasses with three different sets of lenses and various other little bits and pieces. Oh and a HUGE tub of energy drink mix powder which I gave to Mal who had won his own stuff  (not including giant tub) for second in the 5k. There was much envy of my minty green visor as Mal received a red one and Anthony a white one (for winning the 10k). This race is excellent, low key, well organised and with a decent goody bag for everyone and top quality prizes for the top three in each race along with Age Groups. Now if they could just sort out some summery weather for next year that would be a welcome addition. 

Only 30 ish miles for the week but I feel like I might finally be heading towards where I want to be. 

Posted 10/07/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

Fe-eling better   Leave a comment

Hilarious iron based puns aside I think it’s beginning to kick in as I feel distinctly less tired and weak in general (though I still sleep far too much). 

Tuesday got off to a good start with 45 minutes at a steady pace with the middle at race effort. This felt good, with a definite push for the 10 then dropping back to the same steady pace as before. 

Then it all went wrong. Well the weather did. So goddamned windy on Wednesday it totally ruined a hard fartlek session that I had actually been looking forward to. It was supposed to be 45 minutes steady incorporating 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 minutes of fast running interspersed by 2 minutes back at the steady pace. However the wind put paid to that. I struggled into it but the pace dropped massively and I couldn’t really get any faster on the supposed fast bits. The session finished with 5 x 15s at full pelt but this meant about 3 metres covered. Huff.

Thursday was an easy jog. Thankfully it wasn’t too windy. 

Of course on Friday it was very windy again so trying to do a steady run proved difficult. By the time I turned so the wind was behind me I was knackered from battling into it so wasn’t really able to stride out as I wished on the 4 x 15s to finish.

Prom parkrun was off on Saturday due to Paddle Round the Pier so I dragged my  self to a windy Preston Park. All the running into the wind during the week had totally drained me and it only managed a below par 22.17. At least I’ve done a few weeks worth of good parkruns recently so I wasn’t too disappointed. 

This morning (Sunday) I set off for what has become my favourite run of the week as it packs everything in to one. The weather was behaving with only a slight breeze. Once again I started the fartlek section after half an hour just after ascending King George VI. This time it was 30, 60, 90s off 1 minute (x 4). This always means the fartlekky bit is on up hills and downhill with a few road crossings so no idea of pace but I made sure I increased the effort when I should. This is only an “easy fartlek” session so the fast bits are only a bit faster than the body of the run. The end of the fartlek section always coincides with running up Valley Drive. Not pleasant but adding more to the overall benefit of this run. A good run to end a week of wind-spoilt ones.

Posted 03/07/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

For the love of iron   Leave a comment

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

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

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

Another large Arena turn out

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eyes shut to the line

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

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

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

Posted 26/06/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

The dawning   Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

A well earned rest day on Thursday.

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

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

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

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

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

A respectable 37 miles for the week. 

Posted 19/06/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

From one Worthing to the next    1 comment

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

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

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

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

Rest day Friday.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted 12/06/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

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