Monday, December 15, 2014

Feeling Run Down

I managed to get out for a run after work tonight but it was tough. For the record I do not like winter. I'm pinning my hopes on the lottery and a session of warm weather training. Got a fairly busy work week ahead so I'm not expecting to feel any less run down and time soon. Need to locate my mojo, as it seems to have left the building...

Monday, December 08, 2014

Strong Winds Forecast For Tomorrow...

Yes, roasted brussels sprout, cauliflower and onion wedges with balsamic dressing and topped with crumbled crispy bacon for tea. I'm almost beginning to feel Christmasy - sure it'll wane. Even almost caught my first Christmas film of the season but thankfully I came to my senses five minutes in and turned it off. As to the running, my legs feel surprisingly okay.

Hang on, what's this... oops, the winds are starting to pick up already....

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Another One Slower Than The Last..

Yes, despite a brief moment of hesitation this morning, as I peered through the curtains at the ensuing monsoon, I made it to sunny, then cloudy, then rainy, then sunny again, Shropshire for the 9miles and 2600feet of ascent that is the Cardington Cracker. It's always worth the travel - even when you're out of shape - at the moment I'm an irregular trapezium.

I didn't have any intention of pushing hard from the start, as I discussed tactics with the Niki and Andy before the race got under way - that and admiring the double rainbow.

I'm not ready to race something like the CC all out from the gun just yet. I didn't take it too easy though, although I was perhaps a little over cautious on the ascent of Lawley. After that I started to increase the effort although it was a bit of a battle with the wind - weather conditions, not the beans. Both of the main ridge runs and the ascent of Caradoc were into really strong head-cross winds. At several points I was running at a thirty degree angle into it.

That took a toll and by the final climb I was a bit knackered so I took it steady to have something left for the final, overly long run in. That final stretch is probably the most character building bit of all. You're knackered, breathing like an asthmatic donkey on the way to glue factory and all you really want to do is ease off down to the finish but by then you're full on racing and every pointless place gained or lost is like the difference between winning the 10,000m Olympic final or coming last. It doesn't matter one iota in the grand scheme of things - but I'll give away an easy place over my dead body... Happy to say I managed to pick up three places on the run in so I'm happy with that.

Feeling it now though. The legs are beginning to ache. My time was a couple of minutes down but I'll blame that on the wet underfoot conditions and the ninety mile an hour typhoon winds. Be interesting to see how my positional percentage compares to last time.

Anyway, on a final note, my family keep enquiring as to what I'd like for Christmas. At the moment I'm thinking walking stick or zimmer frame...

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Fast Heading Into The Weekend..

There's a couple options up for grabs. First there's Saturday's Woodchester orienteering training at... well I wonder if you can work that out? Then Sunday it's that time of year again. Yes, it's Cracker time. That's Cardington Cracker time to you. I almost feel festive. Okay, no I don't. Bah humbug.

There is also the option of the Wyche Ridge night orienteering on Saturday night. I've yet to follow through... with the threat of a night-O - phew, I wondered where that was going at the start of the sentence.

Hopefully I can achieve the treble...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Not A Disaster...

And I descended okay. In fact I was only 15s slower than my time from 2009! Not quite sure how to take that as I feel as slow as I've ever been - which I am - but by a much larger factor than 15s.

It's true, the Blorenge fell race is not my favourite fell race, hence why I've not run it for five years but it wasn't quite as bad as my memory of it. I added some extra mileage with a 3k warm up and a 3k cool down - nice change of units half way through the sentence but kilometreage doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. I think I justified the carbon footprint of the trip.

Considering the race is only 4k - and, I add, exemplary well organised, with sarnies and coffee at the finish - my legs felt well iffy on the cool down. I thought I was going to fall over on the steps down from the canal my legs felt so jellified.

Another race done. Decent training. Bring on the next one, probably the Cardington Cracker...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Can I Make It Three...

Three South Wales winter fell races in a row? Well can I? Tomorrow will bring the answer to that one...

I'm not a great fan of Blorenge. One long climb followed by a descent back down is not exactly my thing. I have a 5k loop planned for afterwards though - in order to justify the carbon footprint of the drive there and back.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Relaxing Day

A run in the sun - although it was a little on the chilly side. A spot of experimental baking, mince(pie) chelsea buns, and a homemade sourdough base pesto and tomato pizza for tea. All that's left to do now is sit back and put my feet up. Back to the grind stone tomorrow...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Well That Was A Lesson In How Not To Orienteer...

That was, as they say, about as inauspicious as it gets. You know you're in for a bad day at the forest when you struggle to find control number one, a mere 100m from the start. I opted for the brown course, and despite my legs feeling a little heavy I felt I'd go okay. I'd already jogged a couple of km from where I parked the car and on arrival at the assembly I got straight to it.

The best thing I can say is that I never really got too far away from my chosen route plan but just struggled in a few places to find the control. By the mid way point tiredness started to kick in and the mental aspects of orienteering became a challenge. I never really lost control of position, even stopping at one point to indicate to a younger orienteer where he was on the map, he thanked me and headed off to his control.

A few controls later I came across him again, looking equally perplexed before asking for assistance - him not me - which again, I was able to provide. It was after my brain really began to creak and by the twenties I actually had to stop at each control to check what number it was supposed to be - gone was the ability to look at the map and recall instantly the control number.

My fatal error came at 25. I say fatal, but no one really died - other than my ego. I was spot on to it but 26 was close and as I came away from 25, I aligned my compass out of 26 towards 27 and well, the rest was history. I downloaded my dibber - ooh, behave - at the registration only to be told, "you didn't get 26", "yes I did", I replied while looking to the map.. "you're right, I didn't get 26", I added. I could instantly see what I'd done. It was a shame to DDTA but my time was slow, my hair was long, caught somewhere between a bad orienteer and a good, so there was no harm done.

After a quick chat I plodded back the couple of kilometres to the car and home for a much welcome shower to wash away the mud, sweat and tears that is orienteering...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Went Round The Loop

The Llyn y Fan fell race loop. Wasn't my fastest, that's 53 minutes but I was pleased to get under the hour in exactly 59 minutes. And for once it was a good turn out - helped in part, I'm sure, by being part of the series but it deserves to be well attended just for the views from the ridge alone - even if it was a little foggy today...

I took it out steady and followed the path and the ridge - there isn't a lot of choice until Fan Foel. The descent is cross fell back to the start. I decided to try something different this year and ran a bearing of about 295 to head back to the path just south of Nant Coch - mainly just so I could write the word Coch in the blog.

My real thinking was to reduce the rough stuff albeit at a cost of 150m distance. My sea legs aren't what they once were and I felt I could run the firmer footing of the path more quickly than the rough stuff.

In the end it didn't make a lot of difference as I remained pretty much where I was at the top, neither gaining nor losing position.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Slightly Lost The Plot...

It's only Thursday but yesterday I thought tomorrow was Friday - that was tomorrow based on yesterday being today - and that's in a week where I had a day off Monday... Confused? Join the club... It is Friday tomorrow isn't it?

Bike session tonight and maybe another lunch run tomorrow...

Up this weekend is the Llyn y Fan fell race in my favourite section of the Black Mountains. Sunday is the BOK Galoppen. Peep peep..

Oh, and night out Saturday - which might have a bearing on me getting to the Galoppen....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Can You Believe I Got Out For A Lunch Run?

No, neither can I! But it's true. Martin and I ran our first lunch run for, well, I can't actually remember the last time it's been so long. We only did the Malago loop, 5-6k, but that was enough for me. Next week, yes, next week we are hoping to get out for another run. Possibly Tuesday. Guess we'll see...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Double Fail..

That is, I didn't do the double in the end...

The day started at Usk with the Leisure Centre League Cross Country. It was, quite literally, running around a couple of muddy fields a few times - despite that, I quite enjoyed it! - Going to have to nip that in the bud sharpish...

Then, as soon as I finished I hopped in the car and drove to a layby off the A4067 for the Gyhirych Grind - ooh, matron. Turns out I didn't do the double after all. Instead, Andy B, a marshal down, I stepped into the frame, donned my marshal star and headed up to Fan Fraith.

It was proper good weather for it. The mist was down to 450m altitude. Wasn't so perfect for a marshal to find one of the most featureless summits in the world though. Despite being a short it would've been really fun to race it - but not for me today. My legs were dead on the climb so I'm quite glad I volunteered instead.

Half way up the climb to Fan Gyhirych, I began to think I might've left it too late to head to my marshalling point! With the race starting at 14:00 I eventually reached check-point one, FG trig-point, at 14:05. I knew I didn't have any faffing time in finding the indistinct summit of Fan Fraith.

As I headed across the ground between the track and the summit I made a change of route to ensure I hit the summit in one, I headed north for about 200-250m before resuming the bearing to hit the northern end of the summit 'plateau' and then followed it south and into the summit - and the five small pebbles that mark the spot... With visibility down to 50m I felt that was the safest way to guarantee I found it in one. Would've been pretty embarrassing for the summit marshal not to find the summit!

After counting 8 of the 11 runners through in under thirty minutes I began to worry a little by 45 minutes and then decided to abort at 55 minutes, with the assumption that anyone still out there was no longer going to attempt to continue the race and just head back instead. Not to mention I was beginning to get cold, stood in the middle of nowhere, in the drizzle for close to 45 minutes.

I soon warmed up and got back down without any issues and everyone was back down and safe. It's a shame only eleven turned up but I think people get put off when there's a requirement to use a map and compass - not just carry it for effect. For me that's what proper fell running is all about - using the compass not carrying it for effect - so I hope Andy holds the race again and I hope a few more people learn to use their compass and feel confident enough to use it. For certain you needed to know how to use it today... Good race.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Running Around In The Forest

And what a cracking autumnal day it was for it. As is the norm for me I ran to the event. I parked up near Hopewell Colliery and ran 5k over to Parkend for the orienteering training. It was quite misty but in a good way - fingers crossed it's misty tomorrow [wink].

I started with the 'paths removed' map. I made a few mistakes but overall I went pretty well. It's surprising how having no paths focuses the brain.

After that I went out on the short green (with the paths back on the map). What I found interesting was that on a few of the legs I found the paths a distraction! I found myself using just the paths and none of the map features. Once I switched back to the features I was okay. Good training. I feel I'm getting there - slowly. One of these days I'm going to storm it. Then I had the 5k run back to the car to finish. Covered about 17k in total.

Tomorrow I have the Usk cross country at 11am followed by the Ghyric Grind fell race at 2pm...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ready For The Night...

I am, of course, talking about tomorrow's RogueRuns night race at Mos Eisley, um, uh, I mean Moseley Green - and no, I won't be storming around the course... Should be fun.