Not quite an Olympian¬†   Leave a comment

This week I was tapering for Tom’s track 5000 on Thursday. 

Monday = rest day.
Tuesday was another go at the straight diagonals. I still have absolutely no speed but it went as well as the last one. 

On Wednesday it was a nice easy 25 minutes plus 4 x 15s strides to prepare me for the 5000. 

Well prepared physically I arrived at Withdean, knowing that my race was the third of three. This doesn’t suit me as too much time to think about it though also too many other races to watch instead of doing a proper warm up. I did do more than before the 10000 (nil) but I think I need to do about 3 miles really to be ready. I have never done this and realistically never will. Having watched the two faster races it was then our turn. I had been contemplating various plans but once the race started I stuck to none of them. I found myself at the front for the first lap or so and went through 1k in 4.02 which is too fast for my current 5k times. 

Unintentionally at the front

Later on I got boxed for a bit which I couldn’t bear (this type of close proximity to others is something I can’t stand when in one of my bad brain phases). Unfortunately in this race I didn’t do anything right. In the 10000 I had a (single) solid plan which I stuck too and I was pleased with my run. This time I had a hundred plans, stuck to none of them, became annoyed with myself and ran badly. Under the circumstances I suppose 21.15 isn’t too bad as that’s all I’ve managed in recent parkruns but I really wanted to get something with a 20 on the front for confidence purposes. 

An olympian in style only AFTER the race

As the forecast for Saturday was for extremely strong winds I chose to go inland to Preston Park to take my chances with the incoming Thai food festival. I felt like I went out strongly but as I passed 2k in 8.48 I realised I must have actually been totally knackered as that is sloooooooooow and I was trying. 

This photo has been sped up

Anyway it didn’t get any better as I made it back to the finish. Afterwards I had to do 8 x 45s fast. After a dodgy start I managed maybe 4 acceptable ones before I totally died and struggled on the last two. Rob was helping me which meant they were much better than they would have been if I’d attempted them alone. The pace was that whichI’d need to sustain to run 18.30 for 5k which has always been my dream. Hahahahahaha. Oh dear. At least the 5k warm up meant I felt ready for about 4 of the 8 speed reps. 

Today (Sunday) was back to the hilly Hangleton loop. As of tomorrow I’m starting a 12 week marathon training plan (no marathon!) as I feel the only way I can become faster is with higher mileage. I really hoped this wasn’t the case but having done a few months of structured training to no avail I’m going to have to accept it. So now I’m going to do everything slowly (except specific speed work obviously) and rack up my mileage and hopefully get back a bit of speed. Really I know it’s down to confidence of which I have none but until I miraculously attain some self belief or sense of worth I’ll try doing the training that worked in the past. 

Posted 21/08/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

And again   Leave a comment

Restful restful Monday.

Followed by steady Tuesday. Well five minutes easy followed by 25 steady. 

On Wednesday I was supposed to be running the diagonals of a football pitch but there were none drawn on and where they would be the grass was far too lumpy so I made my own seafront version thanks to a suggestion from Richard (who was also who told me that there were no pitches drawn on and the grass was too lumpy). So it was basically 130 metre sprint followed by 70 metre jog recovery solidly for ten minutes (with a ten minute warm up and cool down). I discovered I have no sprint. So I ran as fast as I could. Which wasn’t very fast. But I did it.

On Thursday I was supposed to be doing a 35 minute steady run but something was seriously telling me not to. I couldn’t say what or why but it was there and part of this is learning to listen to my body, even if it’s emitting an unknown something that must be obeyed. 

By Friday the feeling had left and I was looking forward to doing my track session. However as my partner in track was recovering from tooth removal I didn’t want to drag myself all the way over to Withdean, especially if the “thing” from yesterday was suddenly going to appear so I adapted the session to the seafront. It was supposed to be (3x) 400, 300, 200 off 1 minute with a lap jog between sets. So I did (3x) 80 seconds, 60, 40 with 3 minutes between sets. I still felt like I had absolutely nothing in the way of speed but, as with all my current sessions, I’m supposed to be developing speed endurance so the speed was still much faster than I’d ever actually be able to run a 5 or 10k. 

parkrunday. Prom this time. Once again I managed to stick with the 21 pacer until halfway then dropped off a bit in the second half. 

An acceptable start

Finishing badly

The extra excitement this time was I had to do 6 x 45s fast off 1 minute after I finished. I probably had a minute’s rest whilst I collected my token and got scanned. I did my first couple with the wind behind, then a couple into the wind,mother Amanda asked me to run her in so I had a longer break before finishing off with two more, one into and one with the wind. By the last couple I felt like I could actually run. Only four miles too late! 

Today (Sunday) I finished the week with an easy hour. 

26 miles for the week (due to missing Thursday). 

Posted 14/08/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

Including something that wasn’t running   Leave a comment

As I was tapering for the 10000 on Thursday I had a session on Monday this week instead of the usual rest day. 10 minutes warm up followed by 8 x 1 minute fast (1 minute jog) then 10 minutes cool down. I felt a bit tired but nothing too traumatic. 

Tuesday was the rest day this time. So I did.

Wednesday was 25 minutes easy with 5 x 15s strides to finish. 

Then it was finally time. Tom’s track 10000. After my good run at Phoenix I hoped I’d be able to replicate it. As there wouldn’t be mile markers I decided to split the race into three sections of effort. 13 minutes steady, 13 minutes faster, the rest faster still. Obviously this meant wearing a watch, but it’s only a stopwatch so wouldn’t give me any idea of pace or anything. 

Ready for the off

I settled in to a pace which felt comfortable, then picked up the effort after 13 minutes, then again at 26 minutes. Soon enough I was running on my own. This was fine though and I just kept concentrating and ticking off the laps. 

I had no idea where I was lap-wise so just kept going. Finally I heard the bell. Alas it was for the person just behind me! Eeek. Having got this far without being lapped I tried to push on a bit more and I managed not to be lapped. Phew! Thus it was now my last lap. Even though I was wearing a watch I hadn’t looked at it other than at 13 and 26 minutes and the lap clock kept switching to screensaver so I had no idea of my time. Because I was quite pleased with my run (in terms of concentrating and sticking to my plan) I did a full on sprint finish for the last 100 metres or so. This did little to help my time and I crossed the line in 43.06. 

Luckily Emily was my lap counter so I was able to see my splits after the race.

Alas I’m not Mark O’Gara

I think this is the most consistent I’ve ever been! Also shows how putting in more effort as you get more tired doesn’t lead to an increase in pace (or not in this case anyway). I could easily berate myself for my not so fast time but I’ve decided not to as I ran how I wanted, stuck to my plan and concentrated all the way round. At the moment I’m practicing a style of racing so the time isn’t really relevant. 

On Friday it was back on it but with a revised run of 35 easy (scheduled steady pace). I suppose due to Thursday the easy pace was a little quicker than usual at 7.55mm for the 4.5 miles.

Due to Pride on Saturday the usual crew went over to Eastbourne to do their parkrun. It was a hot day. The course is run round a lake with a small lap on lumpy grass at the start and finish. I knew I wouldn’t be able to drum up any pace after Thursday so just wanted to do the run at a steady/tempo/consistent pace. I was a bit behind the 22 pacer the whole way round and finished in 22.23 which was ok. 

parkrun posse: me, Rob, Mal and Dean

This morning (Sunday) I was scheduled to do a hilly long run but Rob had won two free places for Spin City so instead I had to do a 40 minute steady run before the class at 10am. 

Here is Rob’s sweat patch

A slightly lower mileage overall due to the spin but a good mix of activities over the week and still 27 miles dans le sack.

Posted 07/08/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

Still at it   Leave a comment

Monday was supposed to be a rest day. Which it was. Until 7pm where I embarked upon a new style of vet’s league. Instead of my usuals I chose three field events I’ve never done before. First was the triple jump. Arg! My brain! I am not very co-ordinated and trying to string the hop, step and jump together was very difficult. I discovered it was slightly easier if my “run up” consisted of four or five slow motion steps. I still panicked mid way through my third jump but completed it legally and reached the sand. I was very pleased with my 7.67 as I thought I’d manage three no jumps. I even managed to jump off the board. Must be a combination of it just being a drawn on line and my run up being non existent.

Foot on the board! Thanks Bob for capturing this once in a lifetime phenomenon

Looking quite proper. Note the closest bottle to the sand. My “walk up” start marker

After the mental strain of this it was off to the javelin. This was no less stressful. Another three step “run up” followed by a not very elegant hurling. 

Please note the unconventional “perpendicular” style due to throwing like a tennis ball. Thanks again to Bob for capturing this moment of excellence

Once again I was pleased with my almighty 11m 66cm. Watch out Fatima! The winner was a mere 10m further. Pah! 

Finally it was time for the high jump. I was most worried about this as doing it wrong could cause great injury unlike the others. Luckily a very helpful lady told me the rules and helped me try out a few scissor kick practice jumps. Thankfully there are no photos of this. I managed to clear 1m 10m. Please measure it and laugh fulsomely. The kind lady said I could have easily cleared 1.15 but by this stage it was too scary so I after three failures (and being laughed at) I scurried away in humiliation. I finished the evening by running first leg (200m) in the medley relay which was fun and another first as I haven’t run first leg before so was a bit worried I wouldn’t be able to  catch Lesley to pass the baton but thankfully it was ok. All in all it was a good evening and I’m pleased I tried some different events. 

Back to business on Tuesday. The set run was 45 minutes steady. Having learnt from my too fast steady last week I made sure I started sensibly. Luckily the weather was ok with some breeze, but not a hurricane. A perfectly acceptable 7.30mm average and 5.5 miles.

Wednesday was supposed to be a track session but the track was being used so Preston Park once more. We used the same 400m section as last week but this time the session was a continuous 20 x 200 with 200 jog recovery. After having made a rough guess at 200m we set off. It turned out one was was around 10 metres too long and the other 10 too short (though in fact later I discovered the 400 itself was ten metres too long). It didn’t matter as we were keeping to the same 400 stretch through out so each direction/segment was run and jogged both ways so it equalled out in the end. The main thing was to make sure each 200 was consistent with itself. This meant I was running an average of 42s for the “short” and 51s for the “long” and Rob a second or so faster for each. They were all within a few seconds of each other and still within 20 minute 5k pace which was the aim so a success. So all in all it was 5miles of continuous running which I learnt later was to get me primed (or pruned as autocorrect would have it) for the 10000 next Thursday. 

Thursday was a simple 60 minutes easy. 

On Friday I made sure I didn’t repeat last Friday’s far too fast run and strides. An easy 35 minutes followed by 5 x 15s strides. 

For prom parkrun I had planned to run with the 21 pacer then try and speed up. I managed this perfectly apart from the fact that at halfway I slowed down. 

This morning (Sunday) I decided to do my 75 minute run on the flat of the seafront as a break from the usual hilly route. There were loads of runners out and I ran with Dave (on his bike) for a bit who’d just finished a ride with his friend. Even the weather was behaving so this was a pleasant finish to another training week. 

Posted 31/07/2016 by Isobel Muir in Running

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

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