Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Final Days Rest...

Before I crack back on with the training. Feeling more restored to normal today so I did a very easy session on the exercise bike while catching up on some paperwork. Tomorrow I resume the proper training. Well when I say proper training, I mean general running about without any specific focus. The plan is a run tomorrow, a run Thursday, rest Friday and then hit the Brecon Fans races on the weekend...

Sunday, July 05, 2015

The Saunders Supremacy...

The road trip 'oop north' started well - we left on time but then it started to go a little wonky half way up the M6 as we crawled along at a snails pace for mile after mile - it wasn't a good omen. We did finally make base camp though and Neil, Paul and myself were in good spirits as we stood back to admire our marvellous erections - the tents, you grubby lot. I was almost looking forward to the two days of running around the Coniston area of the Lake District - I did say almost. The rest of the gang, Vanessa, Matthew, Esther, Andy C turned up and apparently Andy and Gill were already there - but chose the executive campsite over slumming it with the hoi polloi...

Anyway, we needn't have set the alarm clocks for Saturday morning as we were awoken to a most massive thunder storm - the tent held up though. Luckily the rains stopped before we needed to head out and with breakfast cooked and consumed we made our way to the start. It was from there things went a little wrong....

We had somewhat of a navigation failure on the way to control one and lost many minutes but we soon worked out what we'd done, relocated and soon found it - but not before meeting Andy and Steve. They left us in their wake on the way to control two but neither them nor us achieved success in finding it quickly - although I blame the map - and that's my last word on the matter. After having finally found the right stream and the associated bend with the control marker we headed down and across to control three - which we equally poorly failed to find quickly but eventually did.

From there things picked up as we absolutely nailed control four and five - I won't mention that they were part of the mandatory crossing point... Seriously though, from there we didn't really make any more mistakes and finished in just over six hours and good spirits, At the end of day 1 we were sitting at 23rd overall (of 52ish) and 6th vet team - better than we expected bearing in mind our rather less than good start...

We pitched our tent and successfully cooked dinner and a brew - nothing wrong there. Chatting with the rest of the gang we awaited the arrival of the late finishers. It was from the moment Matthew arrived that it all started to unravel... I suddenly came over nauseous. I'm only joking about any connection between my feeling sick and Matthews arrival. But I did feel seriously nauseous and although I wasn't actually sick I couldn't even consider the cheese and biscuits. In fact I felt so off I just climbed into the tent in the hope I'd feel better - it didn't work - and I didn't sleep much that night either, as my stomach rumbled and bubbled like the witches cauldron from 'The Scottish Play'.

In the morning, determined not to retire, Neil and I prepared for the day ahead - although I wasn't feeling much better. I managed the cheese and biscuits from the night before and some water but couldn't manage anything further - not a good sign of things to come...

And to debunk those unfounded rumours circulating on the internet that The Un-dynamic Duo of Neil and I retired after Day 1, NO WE DIDN'T. We started day 2 and made an okay start. We reached control one in a reasonable time but I was struggling and shortly after I threw up. We carried on and headed to control two. I tried to stay hydrated but even sipping the drink made me feel nauseous.

We navigated to control two - or rather Neil did and I just tried to follow as best I could but I knew at that point I couldn't make it. We sat down at control two for a couple of minutes and I ate a gel but that made me heave and without being able to get the fuel in I was in trouble. There's a time to dig deep and there's a time not to die... so we took the decision to head home. We had a decent escape route back to the road. Had we attempted to get to control three it would have been a much more difficult task to extract myself off the hill.

Glad to be back home now and feeling much better but still a little off. Hopefully a good night's sleep will see me sorted... The worst part of the whole weekend was that I wasn't able to drink my pre-ordered can of Scrumpy Jack at the half way camp - see, I told you I was ill.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

And The Trot Makes Twelve...

Even if I was a little naughty by running the Tintern Trot tonight with the Saunders Mountain Marathon on the weekend. I took it very easy for most of the race though and it felt good to run the climb steadily, almost comfortably - and I know two weeks ago that would not have been the case. I can feel the desire to run the fastest race I can is returning. Merely going the distance doesn't feel good enough any more. It's time this old nag started acting more like a race horse again...

PS, I'll be fully recovered for Saturday Neil, honest.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Legs Eleven...

Day fourteen has come and is on its way towards gone and run number eleven has been run. Another loop of the Hobbs Quarry to tonight to gauge how it's going and I'm happy to report it's another gain. Twenty one seconds tonight. That takes it to an overall improvement of 1 minute and 16s in two weeks. Pleased with that.

It's not really very long until the Saunders Mountain Marathon now so I need to balance further gains verses being rested. Tuesday might be my last run before the event or possibly Wednesday. I'd like to run the Tintern Trot on Thursday but I think that might be pushing the boundary.

These last two weeks have certainly improved my chances of not dying somewhere out in the wilderness of the Lake District on the weekend. I just need to start giving some thought to getting the kit together now...

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Got To Be A Good Thing Hasn't It?....

So, I've been hitting the running hard. Recording it all on the Fenix 2 and after thirteen days it reports my VOmax has risen from 45 to 48, in a fairly linear fashion vs the runs/efforts I've put in. Now I'm not sure how scientific the Garmin calculation is or how accurate - or even what it really all means - but the higher the VOmax the better, I think? So I think my tactic to hit it short and hard - sssh, matron, stop it - is working.

I've another run planned tomorrow - had a rest day today to recover from yesterday's 'long' run, and after that I'll play it by ear. I still feel I can make some gains vs being fresh for the Saunders but I need to make sure I hit the sweet spot. One thing I think I've achieved over the last thirteen days is the desire to get back to the form, allowing for age, I used to have. And you know what, I think I need to book myself some travel arrangements and accommodation in Newcastle, County Down for the Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail Race - wot I entered a few months ago - because this Mad Runner is going to make the start line...

Still At It..

So I missed an extra day but I've made up for it. Seven km on Friday and an extremely hot 20km Saturday east of Minehead on the coastal path - I say path but in my book running several miles of it across shingle beach isn't really what I call a path. It fair sapped my energy and I melted in the heat of the midday sun. Ten runs in twelve days can't be bad though.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

The Rest Day...

So as it turned out, today was the rest day. After eight straight days of training runs, the lunch run didn't materialise so a rest day it did become.

I'm still feeling good. My body doesn't feel overly broken after this somewhat sudden resurgence of training so, all being well, I shall be back on it tomorrow. The weekend is going to be more of a challenge though as it is Hot Summer Party time but all being well I will keep with the regime. After all, I have the ritual of the Saturday morning hang-over run to maintain...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Garden Gate...

Run numero eight is in the bag. The Blaisdon Wood loop and I pushed it a little on the run in. Feeling a bit knackered now but mission 'going for broke' must continue. I've a lunch run planned for tomorrow but there is a small chance I won't get back from site in time. I have a rest day pencilled in for Thursday but that may be brought forward to tomorrow - depending upon the outcome of lunch run...

Monday, June 22, 2015

And On The Seventh Day...

He did not rest... Run number seven is complete.

I ran the Hobbs loop again tonight. Same as Friday, using the main road variation, and despite feeling more plodding than ever, I managed to get around the route 33s quicker. That's almost a minute improvement in a week. Now I know it's not really very scientific but I think the regime is working. Best of all, it almost feels like I'm getting a routine going...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Half Dozen...

but I'm not sure run number six actually meets the criteria to be classed a run. It's true, I was wearing shorts, vest and running shoes but that's about as close to running as it got...

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Man Alive...

Coity, that's five. Five days, five runs and I'm feeling fine.

Initially I thought we were in for a wet one as the rain descended over the Blaenavon valley but just as the race got under way the rains left as quickly as they had arrived. I set off in the middle order and stayed there. I didn't feel powerful on the short, first climb. I didn't feel fast long the flatish road section. I then didn't feel strong on the longer, second climb before not feeling hugely quick across the top and down again before once again not feeling overly commanding on the last ascent. I did, just by way of a change, feel pretty sharp on the final descent... one out of six ain't bad.

Over all I'm reasonably happy with my run. Despite all of the above I think I was probably ahead of where I'd have been if I hadn't started my bid for fitness last Tuesday. I continue the assault on precinct fitness with another run of some description tomorrow, another on Monday and so and so forth...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Knock At The Door...

Yep. Fourth run in four days has been completed and it felt better. Not sure you can really improve in just four days but it felt a bit more like I running. I ran the Hobbs Quarry loop again but with the main road climb variation. It's the same distance but with a steady steepish climb up the main road - hence the name.

I am loving my new fenix 2. All those lovely fairly meaningless stats; cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time - almost a reason in itself to get out there running. My average heart rate was down by six beats and I was 22 seconds quicker. Although it's too soon to draw any real conclusions from such a small sample - ooh matron - I'm happy to at least pretend I'm on the mend...

Bring on the Coity race...

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Slow And Getting Slower...

but the mission continues...

Tonight I headed out on the Flaxley loop. Fast I was not. This ain't a game of speed. This is a game of survival. With the Saunders Mountain Marathon just fifteen days away I have a race partner not to let down - although surviving is also a pretty fair allure.

Tomorrow I go again. Probably back to the Hobbs Quarry Loop. Saturday it's the Coity Race followed by something not entirely completely different Sunday...

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sorry Harriers...

I umm'ed. I ahh'ed but in the end I decided I am just too s*!t at the moment to disgrace the Vest. Instead I ran my local Hobbs loop - and it wasn't that fun. I managed a lunch run today - and that wasn't great either. It is my intention to run every day for the next 14 days - barring the Butlins weekend where I will only manage the now legendary hangover long run Saturday. I really need to draw this line in the sand...