Sunday, October 04, 2015

Finally Found The Source Of The Pressure Drop...

I've been seeing the water pressure in the boiler drop for a month or so but haven't been able - until now - to find where it was leaking. Turns out it was due to a rusty expansion tank. And on finding said rusty bit it gave way as I examined it causing much water to p!$$ out all over the floor. Luckily I had a voluminous receptacle within reach as I stuck my finger into the hole - like the little boy and the dyke - ooh, er matron. Total disaster was avoided but I have a feeling things might start to get expensive. What else might be reaching end of life within the dark depths of the boiler? Hopefully I can get away with just replacing the expansion tank. Fingers crossed.

On a lighter note, I managed to get over to Trellech and I think - touch wood - that I'm within touching distance of everything being sorted...

Saturday, October 03, 2015


That's Fan Fawr Saturday.... Didn't have a terrible run. Wasn't great either. At least I didn't feel ill this week.

I took the direct line up. I took the direct line down - see my Strava. I can't really comment on whether it worked or not because I am so far from fit it's difficult to gauge where'd I have finished if I had taken the conventional route. Will probably try it again next year...

After the race a few of us went for a pootle up Corn Du. Well after an hour and a half drive to get there it feels wrong to only run a mile up a hill and a mile back down again... Not a bad way to spend an autumnal Saturday afternoon. We even got some sunshine!

Back over to Trellech tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hi Ho Hi Ho It's Off To Trellech I Go...

Bit of impromptu day off tomorrow - lot's of holiday to use rather than lose. Heading back over to Trellech to mark up more controls and check stuff - mustn't get stressed, mustn't get stressed but time is running out. Looks to be a nice day weatherwise...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Not Such A Good Run

Wasn't really up to posting the ol' blog on the weekend. After a somewhat epic fail at the Black Mountains fell race - sickness at under 400m in meant the only sensible option was to abort abort abort. I still felt unwell Sunday but managed to mark up some controls at the Trellech orienteering. Felt even worse this morning despite hitting the bed at half past eight last night I hardly slept a wink and didn't attempt to get out of bed until midday. I have finally started to feel okay - the stomach rumbling and grumbling having finally ceased. Hopefully it's back to business as usual tomorrow. Really disappointed to have missed the BMs race though. It's the race I've run the most times of any race I've ever run - wow, I must be feeling better, I've practically invented a new tongue twister!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A Slight Hiccup

So I was over to the Rogue Runs Mini Mountain Marathon this morning. As you'd expect I was in for the Long Course. Kit packed, Vera loaded I was all set for a great weekend of running - or walking when the going got rough.

All was going to plan. I rolled up to the event, checked in. Collected my map, marked my controls and set off at about 9:42..

I had a little hiccup at control one. Not a disaster and I didn't waste too much time finding it. The problem I have with the Harvey's Map is what I like to call the "That's not a knife. This IS a knife!" quote from Crocodile Dundee. For a feature to make the Harvey's it has to be BIG, really BIG. Where there might be lot's of crags, only the BIG ones make it onto the map. Control one was more a rock face than a crag amongst many crags. A re-entrant is more a valley on the Harvey's. A sink hole, practically a small mine. You get the picture. Anyway, my error at control one helped me for the rest of the route and hopefully the rest of my Harvey's map usage...

With control one in the bag I then proceeded to cock up control two. It was more a case of not concentrating and planning properly than anything else so I take the hit. Again, didn't lose too much time.

Control three presented no problems but on the way to four I had a bit of a mishap. I fair f*(%ed down while crossing a the river. My foot just slipped from beneath me and I cracked my right knee good and proper but saved myself from a soaking with my quick reflexes although I did manage to flip one of my fingernails back on itself - not at all painful and of course there was no profanities spoken - like f*(% there wasn't!

My knee didn't feel to bad so I decided to carry on. Control four was okay - although it always helps when you come across a fellow competitor searching for the same control who starts waving at his partner when he's found it...

I took some good lines to the next two controls and wasted no time - other than my pedestrian pace - checking them off. Control seven was a longish slog but I knew the route there well as did I the route to eight and in both cases covered the distance pretty decently.

My nemesis was number nine, the last. It started off well as I ran under the Fan Hir ridge, knowing there was a bit of a path there. But once I got back up top it all went utterly Pete Tong.With probably less than 3km of actual distance to go I was feeling pretty good and with fifty minutes left to break the six hour mark I was feeling good... (apart from the slightly hurting knee).

From that point it all went wrong. Tussocks! I never every want to here the word again.EVER! My progress slowed to a crawl. The tussocks really didn't help my knee, causing much twisting and hurting.

Half way across the tussocks I tripped and my right leg cramped up. Hadn't felt any twitches before that. Spent three or four minutes sat in the tussock stretching before I moved on. Even more slowly than before. A few minutes later I fell into a deep tussock. Practically up to my chest and I could feel the cramp coming on again. I slightly panicked but also tried to relax. And just stood, feet underwater, trying to stay relaxed and stave off another bought of cramp which would have had much worse consequences.

From there I was even slower and just wanted to get back in one piece. My knee was starting to full on hurt so I was reduced to checking almost every step was going to make good contact with solid ground... I eventually made it to the valley bottom crossed the river and climbed up to control nine.

I was then back on the path for a bit before cutting off on a short-cut off piste and down to the finish. Never have I been more glad to make it back - and I wasn't last! Fourth of five with six non-finishers. I'll take that as a result. I've taken the sensible decision and hung up my running shoes for the weekend and decided to call it a day on tomorrow. With the Black Mountains race next weekend I really can't afford to do more damage.

I'm disappointed not to run tomorrow but I know I'd be doing more damage. Apart from the couple of hiccups I really enjoyed the MMM. I think the route was really good. Hat's off to the RogueRuns team for putting on a great event.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Didn't Quite Make It..

My back is killing me. Bloomin' glad I got the drainage sorted in one hit because I'd be struggling to get it sorted now if I hadn't. Damn this aged body of mine...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Almost Set For Llyn y Fan...

Apart from the fact my back is killing - after dredging the stream and hacking back the undergrowth yesterday, in preparation for the rainy season. Should be all systems go tomorrow though. I say all systems go, I guess it's more impulse engines only these days...

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Lunch Again

Going to be getting more tricky fitting in the lunch run for a few weeks. At least today happened. Despite looking nice out it was surprisingly windy, especially on the run in. Wasn't the greatest but a run is a run.

Friday, September 04, 2015

Yeah! Did It..

Okay, it was a day late but we managed the second lunch run of the week today. My hip was a bit sore yesterday so we aborted until today. Happy to report everything is in order now - although I think we might have caused the entropy of the universe to jump a little.

We ran the dreaded anti-clockwise variation. A variation so evil in its despicableness that we haven't run it for something like two years. It's really pretty similar to the clockwise route except we run it in reverse...

It wasn't pretty. I wasn't fast but I'm glad I did it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Going To Attempt The Double Lunch Run...

It's been a long while since we've attempted two lunch runs in one week... I know! Too ambitious? Tomorrow could be it...

Heck was it hot today. It was like the middle of summer. I guess it was more the humidity that contributed to the feeling of hotness. Not sure it was very quick. Didn't take my watch. Does that really matter...

Sunday, August 30, 2015

All Trooped Out...

Standing relatively still for five hours is surprisingly hard work! My feet are a little sore - I think my mud claws have more cushioning than today's footwear.

Well done to everyone who ran or helped at today's Severn Bridge Half Marathon. Lot's of smiling faces present both before and after. My favourite moment of the day was helping a few of the gang extricate two thousand five hundred medals from their individual plastic bags. It was like shelling peas from a pod - okay no, it wasn't anything like shelling peas from a pod.

Off for a longer run tomorrow. There is the Machen but it's a longish drive for just 4 miles so be nice to run locally and chill before back to work Tuesday.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Four Fans-tastic!

That's the title I would have gone with, had the hill fog remained during the race. As it was, it was light drizzle throughout and unfortunately good visibility for most of the race. With my navigational edge lost and my fitness low I decided to try out a few new things.

First I used the south west descent off Fan Frynych . It wasn't actually too rough. Steepish but not too severe. It wasn't a bad route but I'm pretty sure it's slower than my normal route. Was all fairly normal from there. The tussocky descent from Nedd. The not too scary river crossing. The direct line ascent to Fan Llia before another slight change from normal.

I took a much more northerly route down into the valley towards the sheepfolds, just south of Nant Mawr. It took the steepness out of it and the entire drop was really fast plus the river wasn't quite so raging - raging enough to be ever so slightly scary though. A quick crossing it was not.

Then it was the slog to the top. I got a pretty good line to reach the top plateau only about 200m shy of the checkpoint cairn. I was pleased with that seeing as how the route choice had been a bit ad-hoc. From there I took the side descent taking a line pretty much directly towards the Storey Arms before picking up the normal path down to the finish.

All in all a good day out 'running' a real proper fell race. Can't finish without thanking the summit marshals out there today because it couldn't have been hugely nice for them - oh, and thanks Andy B for one of the best races in the calendar...

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Not Such A "Sweet Little Mystery"...

Yes, that's right folks. Tomorrow's Four Fans is going to be Wet, Wet, Wet - did you see what I did there?

Conditions looks to be pretty horribly. 80-90% chance of heavy wet stuff. At least it only says breezy so it might be a day for ditching the glasses and cracking out the contact lenses. Either way it's definitely going to be conditions to suit the navigators amongst us...

In summary, make sure you take your full waterproof kit 'cause I don't think the windproofs are going to cut the mustard tomorrow!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

It Wasn't The Best Of Recces...

but at least I have a feel for the other ways down from Fan Frynych. The mountain forecast's "30% chance of precipitation and some good views out of the mist" turned out to be rain the entire time and bugger all views through the extensive hill fog - not ideal conditions for a recce. That's two wet ones in a row. Wonder which recce will be the third?

Anyway, I set off from the van, having parked in the lower layby and headed up to join the Beacons Way. I got a pretty good line across the corner cut considering I couldn't be arsed to get the compass out and visibility was 100m.

From Fan Frynych I decided to try for the south western track as shown on the OS 50k but I wasn't entirely sure there's anything there as I couldn't see it on the satellite maps and the 25k doesn't show it. So I turned off the main path at the cairn and initially dropped off south before contouring to see if I could intersect any paths or trods but didn't find anything decent until I was down to within a few hundred metres of the valley path. I did think about seeing how far that went back up but I was getting soggier by the minute and I wasn't having the most fun I've ever had so decided to carry on. The valley path was quite pleasant even in the rain.

Once I got to Roman Road I followed it up a little (in race direction) to get a feel for how much 'up' it will involved because I am shocking at ascending these days - having said that I'm not exactly good at the flat or descent either but I'm definitely worse going up.

Then I returned to the hill and made my way up, across the rough stuff, to the main path and onwards back to Fan Frynych. I did a pretty fine job of hitting the path even if I do say so myself because I wasn't sure where to head off the Roman Road and couldn't see that far ahead through the rainy fog - and still couldn't be arsed to get out the compass - but I hit it smack on.

Once past FF it was back along the Beacons Way again - no corner cut this time - and back to the van to change into dry clothes for the drive home.