Monday, December 31, 2007

A taxing afternoon

It's a full rest day today. No training - other than the mental agility training required for the completion of my tax return. Why does it have to be so full of such unfathomable language? I needed the full might of my maths degree to conquer it but conquer it I did - all I have to do now is pay the bloody thing - doh.

I shall be abstaining from all forms of alcoholic beverage tonight so that I am completely ready for tomorrow's race, the hangover 10k, Weston. Here's to hoping my dreams will come true in 2008 - hope yours do too. Bottom's up everyone and have a great 2008.

Thought for the day: Good manners are a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Erratum

I have wronged 'The Beetle' in my post of Friday, Back to the country for a second day. I obtained his time from the gps track but he mustn't have stopped his watch through the line. Anyway, I now right that wrong. His finishing time was 24:19, being much quicker than the stated sub 26 I gave him. It also means I now know exactly who The Beetle is, and unfortunately for him, still means he didn't beat for a third time in a row ;)

The deer hunter

We all made it back safely from the killing fields of Ashton Court this morning - and no one lost a leg - always a bonus. We did lose someone for a few minutes but found them eventually.

Anyway, we stayed within the confines of the park and meandered our way around for about an hour. I wore in my new gladiators - they ain't so new anymore. There were only three of us today but it was pleasant company, it didn't rain and it wasn't that cold so I'm not complaining. After the run I headed - can you guess? - that's right, I headed home - after I'd been to the gym of course!! I only managed 45 minutes on the bike today - but then I am tapering for the Hangover 10k on Tuesday. It will be a complete day of rest for me tomorrow - other than work.

I hope to go pretty quick at the Hangover but it isn't a quick course so there's no risk of a pb. I must at least beat last years time of 39:07 though.

Thought for the day: There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Planning...

I took another day off running in favour of the nice warm gym and my beloved exercise bike. I'm not even going to mention the setting as I suspect you already know. I obviously did a few weights after - my legs are still dead, five hours later.

Anyway, today I planned. In fact, I planned like there was no tomorrow. I have pencilled in 25, yes, that's twenty five races for the first three months of 2008. If it all goes off properly I will have topped this years tally by five races but it is going to be a tall order. There are 7, that's right, seven double header weekends - now that just ain't easy on the body.

Some of the notable doubles are the Rhyader Round the Lakes 20 (miles) followed by the Ironwood Challenge (8 miles) on the weekend of 15/16th March. I shall, of course, be attempting the EAS 10k and Chilly Duathlon again, both taking place on Sunday 9th March. Also worth a mention is the Llanthony fell race followed by the Gloucester 20 (miles) on the weekend of 1/2nd March. For the full list of my (proposed) races you can click on my race schedule link on the right.

Well now I've bored you I'll leave you in peace.

Thought for the day: The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.

PS, I've just realised that Rick was first Vet 50 at Clevedon so well done - he's well and truly on the comeback trail. And well done to Terry T for first Vet 60.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Back to the country for a second day...

In the form of forty five minutes on the cross country setting on the bike. It was just a gym recovery day for me. I worked till midday and the buggered off down t' gym. I liken the cross country setting to the really steep ascent sections of a fell race. For minutes at a time the pedal rate is so slow but the quads burn. You have to force the pedals round and the heart rate and breathing are right up there. And as you pedal you pray that the little red led's on the display will somehow speed up across the screen to end the agony - but they don't.

I pushed a few weights before finishing off with my now customary ab crunches - 80 this time.

And did you see me in the Evening Post on Thursday? You didn't? Well you would have needed optical enhancement - I was the small dot to the left of race winner Craig Peter's (No. 745) wearing the red and white of Bristol & West.

Thought for the day: Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.

Uh, [raises finger to the audience] just one more thing. While surfing the web - as you do - I came across 'The Beetle' who obviously ran and gps'ed the Clevedon Boxing Day race. TB put in a respectable sub 26 minute time, and has uploaded the route to mtbguru.com

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Getting blown...

...off the mountain. Well apparently it gets windier than what I witnessed today but it sure seemed windy to me. It was easily my windiest trip over the mountains - no, stop it.

I was lucky enough to have a guide - I said, stop it - as in someone knowing of the route - for today's day trip across the black mountains. We ran out from Llanbedr in a big loop partially covering the routes of the various fell races that take place there. Overall conditions were pretty good if a 'little' windy. We were never above the cloud base so there were some nice views to be had. In all we covered 14.5 miles which took in close to 4,000ft of ascent. On the way back I lost a contact lens in the wind which made it hard work getting my footing but you'll all be glad to know I made it back safely.

With every run on the mountains I learn a little more and in this game knowing the mountains is as much a part to racing well as out and out speed and strength are. Give me a few years and I'll know every nook and cranny - well, maybe not. Today was good and I look forward to my next guided tour.

Thought for the day: The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not necessarily to have conquered but to have fought well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Well that went surprisingly well

Well that was a bloody good - and I must say, much needed - confidence booster. What a great race the Clevedon Boxing Day 4 Mile Race is. Well organised and well supported.

I honestly felt I had no hope of running quickly today. I've not been training properly for a few months and haven't done much really hard effort speed or interval work. It's unfair to say I haven't done any but somehow I've been lacking the fire in my belly to really push myself. Yes, I've done few tough session and a couple in the last week but is it possible to turn things around that quickly? I don't know, but either way not only did I get close to last years time, I actually managed to knock a massive three seconds off - yes, you did read that correctly - three of our earth seconds. Or to put it another way, 3000 milliseconds - whoo, hoo. I finished in 38th place this year, up from 53rd last year (in a field of 800+ finishers). Suffice to say I am pretty satisfied in a good days work. My time for the record, was 23:13.

Well done to Sean - my apprentice has learnt well from the master, to finish in 16th place overall, in a time of 21:55. And well done too, to Rob W for an impressive 22:52 in 32nd place - I had him in my sights but 100m is a long, long way in this game. And bad luck to Nick, who had a piece of misfortune in the race but I know he's tough enough to come back quicker, stronger and fitter. And well done to Helen for a top two finish in the women's race. And well done to Rick for beating me - the swine - but not unexpected. And nice try Mike T but I couldn't let you beat me three times in a row, could I? And I'd like to thank my mum and dad for conceiving me, 36 years, nine months and three days ago. Special thanks to my dead cat, spike, who sadly passed on twenty three years, one hundred and thirty six days ago, without whose whimsical chasing of inanimate objects none of this would be possible. Thanks to birds for singing, the bees buzzing, the fields that are green - the fields that are not green, the sky and lastly and most importantly, oxygen for making all this possible - I think I might be lacking some at the moment. (By the way, I made up the bit about the cat, thought it would add an emotional nuance to the proceedings).

And on a final note, I managed to get myself a big cheer for being the 2nd woman home - but that's a story for time and another day...

Thought for the day: A true friend is someone who is there for you when they would rather be someplace else

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The alternate queens speech

Ooh, hello ducky - not that kind.

Well here we are. Christmas day. Ready as always to eat too much and drink too much but with the Clevedon Boxing day race tomorrow I shall control myself to the max. I had a look at my time from last year - and to be honest - it scares me. Could I have been that quick? The records don't lie, but can I be that quick again? I'm not sure but I will give it my best shot. Hopefully cometh the hour I can step up.

Anyway, now is the time to reflect on the year just passed. Can we all look fondly back? I hope so. But if your year wasn't so hot may you be granted a better one in 2008. May we all run as swift as the wind, stay injury free and be happy.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Thought for the day: Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.

PS I didn't get out for that early morning run - maybe next year...

Monday, December 24, 2007

The ritual of the Christmas run

And so it is at this time of year that the ritual must be fulfilled and the sacrifice made - as in accordance with the prophecy. And so it came to pass, that, at the allotted time, the trinity of three set off on a journey that was to test their friendship to the very limits. A journey from which they would return changed for ever. A journey taking them to the furthest reaches of the....... Avon Gorge tow path.

Yep, we, the three wise monkeys, from Bristol Water set out on the customary Christmas lunch time run. We decided upon the tow path this year and headed out for an easy five miler.

'I feel awful', 'I'm so slow', 'This is rubbish', 'I don't know why I bother' - yes, the ever eloquent Clive T was on form - as always. Graham and I soldiered on under the barrage of negativity. The weather was kind and all in all we had a nice easy run and a chat - putting the world to rights in the process.

And finally, I'm going to try - yet again - to get out for a run Christmas morning. I've been threatening to do it for a few years now but never managed it - maybe this year, eh? - maybe not...

Thought for the day: Your friend is that person who knows all about you, and still likes you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Old age

It was a wintery seven and a half miles up at Ashton Court today. At the start we were shrouded in the early morning mist but by the end the sun was shinning, the birds were singing and life was good. It was nice to see Mike still committed to the cause - he's training for leg seven of the Castles relay [winks to camera, he doesn't know it yet] - and, looking strong. Please don't let him beat me at Clevedon, please, please. The list of those who're going to beat me is growing daily - time for some spinach.

Anyway, after mince pies at the end it was away to the gym for me for more on the bike - I think I'm becoming addicted to it.

Thought for the day: Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration, of another’s personhood.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last day of 35

Well, today is the last day as thirty five year old - oh, how the ever advancing father time marches onwards. I'm not bitter. On the whole this has been a good year. There's been a few lows in amongst the happy times. My running hasn't been what it should have been in terms of time and PB's but it's been a year in which I have simply enjoyed running - and, of course, discovered a new event, which seems to suit my mad cap style - namely the fell running. And I especially enjoyed the first part of the year, in which I managed to race those twenty races in the first three months. I aim to break that tally in 2008. And then there was all the filming - which was fun in a sort of 'look at the twonk with the camera on his head' way. Flippin' heck this is turning into the mad runner's review of the year - I'm stopping now.

I didn't run today on account of getting up late - and being too lazy. I made it down the gym though, for an hour on the the bike - cross country setting - what other setting would I choose? That produced more of the 'burn' - it really is a fantastic workout. Then it was onto the weights before finishing off with 75 ab crunches - which I am glad to say I'm still managing to perform - I'll be up to 100 before long.

Thought for the day: The big shots are only the little shots who kept shooting.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I do nuffin

I didn't fancy it tonight - so I did nothing. I intend to do some training tomorrow, just haven't decided quite what just yet. I will almost certainly end up down the gym but I don't just want to go for a long run beforehand. I shall be thinking long and hard on what exactly I shall do...

Thought for the day: A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Freezing fog froze my face

Well I had the desire tonight. I went straight to the gym from work, got changed and headed out before I could change my mind. I ran 1.15km reps, six of them. I almost, gave up after the fourth but the Rocky I training music fictionally played in my mind and that lifted my spirit and allowed me to complete.

I ran along by the quarry at the top of Ashton Court. It's a reasonably flat gravel path but the outward rep is slightly downhill and the return, slightly uphill - duh, rocket science. It was hard work in the cold, foggy darkness and although I ran slower than I wanted to, my reps were at least, consistent - and as a bonus, wearing two - yes, two pairs of gloves tonight, I did manage to keep my hands warm even if my face wasn't.

I find it terribly hard to train solo, especially in non-ideal conditions so the fact that I stayed the distance tonight proves something to myself - I don't know what, mind you, but definitely proves something - maybe that I truly am mad? But who cares?

Anyway, so what were my splits I hear you all begging to know? Someone, anyone? Well I'm telling you anyway. They were 4:05, 4:16, 4:06, 4:16, 4:05 and 4:14. Pacewise that's about 3:34 km's for the downhill ones and 3:42 km's for the ups and please, before you judge too harshly, bear in mind that I was on strict 60s recoveries - so strict in fact that some were only 55s because I didn't want to cheat myself. All in all I'm satisfied I put in the effort. And I reckon that the off road nature of the reps and the darkness accounted for a few seconds - but maybe I'm just cheating myself.

So was that the end? - what do you reckon - I was on a roll. I headed back in to the gym for a half hour interval session on the bike on reasonably hard resistance. The effort began to tell after twenty minutes but I held on to finish. Then it was inevitably onto the weights for a quick work out before heading home for tea...

Thought for the day: The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So cold things shrink

Ooh, it were bitter tonight, bitter I tells ye. So c.c.cold th.th.that I thou.thought something m.m.might shrivel up and drop off - namely, my p.p.p.proboscis - well? What were you expecting me to say?

It was just Sean and Bruce again, thought we might see Nick but alas no. Anyway, we ran ten 400's using the rotational technique - I always enjoy safe training and the rotational technique helps avoid premature exhaustion. And on a cold night like tonight it's always good to wear protection as well - a good sturdy pair of gloves. But boy did my feet get cold, just couldn't keep them warm. Oh well, home now and beginning to thaw out...

Anyway, I was around about 76s per lap tonight with a 45s jog recovery. A couple were slightly quicker and a couple were slightly slower but I averaged 76s off, what for me, is a reasonably short recovery. Bruce was looking good hitting 73/74s and Sean was unstoppable on 69s - stop it. I find it so hard - I said, stop it - to breath deep in the cold, the back of my throat just stings. I'm pleased with tonight's session in light of the harsh conditions. Just hopping things warm up a little because these endless cold days are beginning to get on my nerves.

For tomorrow I am going to try and get out for some longer reps, maybe as long a mile but I really haven't decided when or where. I really need some though. If it's cold again I'm not sure I'll have the mental strength to get out there - here's hoping...

Thought for the day: Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cross country

No, not what you think. It was the exercise bike setting down at the gym. I waited in all day for my new dining table to be delivered - it did arrive as per the schedule - but when it says between 8am and 6pm you hope it's going to arrive in the morning as opposed to ten to six. Oh well, least it was delivered when they said - no sofa debacle this time - but it destroyed my idea of going for a lunch time session of hill reps up Dundry. And by the time it was delivered I was so fed up that I couldn't attempt a half hearted session so I decided the gym was a better option - certainly a damn sight warmer.

I did work really hard though, the cross country session is unbelievably hard. I put in an hour's worth and for about half the time my heart rate was up at 160. My legs were buckling under the strain. The lowest it dropped to was about 145. The thing about the bike is it's just physically very difficult to keep the pedals going round when the resistance cranks up. At points I hit level 18 and it only goes up to 20.

The great thing about the bike work out though, is that it's easier than running to really push through the lactic acid barrier. My legs were on fire at times but you just have to keep pushing and because it's the legs which are taking the strain rather than the heart hitting its limit you can really keep pushing through the pain. I reckon it's got to help simulate the knackered, near the end of race conditions and because you can keep pushing through it, it's got to help increase the staying power - even if it does use different muscles.

Anyway, I'm not missing my track session tomorrow - so look out track here I come...

Thought for the day: Have patience. All things change in due time. Wishing cannot bring autumn glory or cause winter to cease.

Urgent update

Just a quick, totally irrelevant note I felt I just had to post. I had an Argos voucher for £10 and put it in a 'safe' place - which proved so damn safe I couldn't find it. I thought it expired on the 4th December and desperately searched high and low in the run up to then, but could I find it? Could I f#@k - hang on, let me just shoot myself in the foot....... right, that's done [limps back to computer].

Guess what? I just found it - why do you always find stuff like that after the fact? Anyway, I feel like the world is turning my way - it's only valid until the 24th, init!!! Yeh, now all I have to do is come up with something to buy before then to make use of it - I won't be wasting this second chance - I feel like George Bailey from the film A Wonderful Life - is that a bell I can hear ringing?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Return of the Nick

Yes, Nick was safely back in the fold tonight - top job. No Harry or Ed mind, but at this festive time of year - peace to all men, blah, blah, blah, and all that jazz - I forgive them.

It was a cold cold night on top o' the Clifton Moor. Mist gathered all around as the faithful band of brothers waited with baited breath. Suddenly, a ghostly figure appeared out of the darkness. Heading across the barren, desolate land. Floating phantom like ever closer. Closer. Closer.... It's alright, it was only Rick and off we set.

We ran a fairly short one tonight at, what for the lads was, a fairly leisurely pace but for me was quite fast. We all pushed on the final hill and then eased back before a final effort in the last mile. I plied on the power in that last mile, trying to test my staying power. I steadily increased the pace until I was up at 3:26 min/km in the last 500m, which I just about managed to maintain through to the finish. I was fair puffing and was almost sick at the end but I was pleased with the effort. Good and hard - just what the doctor ordered.

Thought for the day: You can always learn something from somebody.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Episode 16: No Christmas Present For Me

Well here is my seventh place race video. It gets a 'bit' bouncy in places - even more than normal - well I was trying! What do you expect - bloody hard work trying to keep your head steady. But just look at the Mad Runner go - in the lead for all of 200m before being reeled in.

As you can see I was right up there for the first part of the race, re-capturing 2nd place towards a mile in but alas, it was too much for me and I started to go backwards. I have a taste for victory now though and although it will probably never happen it stokes the fire burning deep within.

Anyway, here is Episode 16: No Christmas Present For Me

Got caught up in the race

Well I blew it today. I got caught up in the race, finding myself running with the leaders at the front of the field in the first mile and ran just a fraction over my limit. That, of course, meant the remainder of the race was a bastard, hard struggle. A few people came past - including the notorious Helen F on the final climb - but by then my legs had totally had it and I felt sick. I was powerless to do anything - and believe me, I tried - but fair play to her, paced to perfection.

I'm still pleased with another top ten finish though. I was 7th. In honesty, I don't think I would have been much better had I gone off slighly less suicidal. It was a course you could really get your teeth into. There were some ups and downs with about 800ft of ascent in total but overall it was a pretty quick, raceable course. The one thing I lack at the moment is some decent flat speed. I shall be focusing on putting that right over the next few months.

Thought for the day: To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.

The Christmas Forest 5


PS, Video to follow shortly

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ready to run

I feel ready for a bit of racing tomorrow. I feel fit. I feel strong. So I should be able to go pretty quick. I'm taking cappy out for a spin - which always takes a bit of pressure off. When I do well while filming it's even more of a bonus and if I don't go so well - unthinkable, I'm not even going there.

I reckon it could be a bit on the chilly side though - I might take my thermal codpiece just in case. Anyway, Christmas Forest 5 here I come...

Thought for the day: Success in life is a matter not so much of talent or opportunity as of concentration and perseverance

Friday, December 14, 2007

Who's been walking on my car?

My left calf is a bit achy today, my right heel bruised and it's Friday - I think we know what that means. The T word ain't going to happen today. I shall go to the gym tomorrow but only for some weights and bike work.

I'm racing the Christmas Forest 5 on Sunday - not that I'm especially tapering for it, it's just my heart ain't in it for training this weekend. I shall be back into a full week starting Monday with the session on the Downs - and unlike last week, I will definitely be going - no force on earth can stop me...

So who has been walking on my car?



Thought for the day: The secret of success in life, is for a man to be ready to take his opportunity when it comes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tired on a Thursday

It was a long day on my feet at work today and I mistakenly worked right through lunch without realising the time. By the time it got to gym time I was just too tired to go, that coupled with the fact that I missed my evening meal yesterday means I'm running pretty low on carbs at the moment. I am in severe need of nourishment - which I will be correcting imminently.

I'm not too fused about missing a few training sessions at the moment. Looking back it's been a hard year in which my running hasn't really moved on much - if any at all. I've run no fast times on the road other than Berlin - which I'm not mentioning. I never even got close to my 10k time at any point. It's time to take stock and focus towards the coming year. If I rest a little now maybe I can get get back the focus, the eagerness and the desire to really improve. As long as I can keep myself ticking over until then I'll be happy. Next year I must better my 5 and 10k times but the main focus will be fell running but I'm definitely going to try and break sixty seconds 400m on the track in the summer as an aside.

At the end of the day though, as long as I keep enjoying the fell running - which at the moment I can't get enough of - I shall continue to run with a smile - who wants to run on the road anyway?

Thought for the day: A champion is someone who gets back up, even when he doesn't want to.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bit of a damp squib

Well that turned out to be a bit bollocks. The traffic put paid to me making it on time and I missed my guide - all my own fault so I can't complain - I was late, fair and square - strike one.

So having driven all that way and without any idea where to run I just picked a mountain I could see and ran up it! I was a little ill prepaid today because I'd cleared the car out a few weeks ago and obviously forgot to put my maps back in the boot - strike two.

Once I was up the mountain I basically ran for an hour following any paths I could find before turning around and running back for another hour. Didn't have a clue where I was running which detracted from what was a cracking day with great views. It hasn't put me off though, I will be back and hopefully, next time I can successfully make the jump to hyperspace to get me there on time.

Anyway, to dispel my disappointment, I decided to turn out for the Wednesday track session and hammer something out. We had a new member of the crew tonight, Bruce, who joined just me and Sean in a session of ten 300's. We did a reverse recovery period of 90s down to 30s and back out to 90s. I was a bit feeble tonight but glad I did it - helped clear the head. My splits were 56, 52, 53, 54, 55, 55, 55, 55, 54 and a final 52. Not my quickest but admirable under the circumstances.

I'm a bit knackered now - it's not often you run in the mountains for two hours and then knock out a track session three hours later - not if you're normal - but then I guess I'm not.

Thought for the day: Dream as though you'll live for ever; live as though you'll die today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More abdomination

My left quad is still sore. Everything else about me is fine - all right, everything else on the physical side is fine - obviously I'm still not all there but there's no cure for that!

I gave the hill session a miss this evening. I have a reason why I need the leg to be ready for tomorrow. Let me tell you a story......

I'm heading over to the Brecon Beacons tomorrow afternoon for my first run in the area proper - it's only for fun, not a race or anything. I've run in the periphery of the Beacons, near Abergavenny and the like but never in the Mountains proper. Quite looking forward - note, not ooooh really excited ;) - to being shown the ropes so to speak. And therein lies the reason - some might call it an excuse - I prefer reason - why I gave the hill session a miss - you be quiet, no it wasn't because it was cold - all right, there was a bit of that.

Anyway, it was another gym session of forty on the bike and some more upper body stuff. And again I was able to crank out another 60 ab crunches pain free - so that was a bonus.

Thought for the day: A new broom sweeps clean, but an old one knows all the corners.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Abdomination

Yes, for the first time in about a month I was able to do some ab crunches tonight. It's been too painful of late but tonight I thought I'd test the water and you know what? There was no sign of any pain - which is nice - but also slightly strange. It was still bothering me on the weekend and if it's what I think it is, it shouldn't be able to go away on it's own but on tonight's evidence it seems to have - I'm rambling so I'll shut up. Still, 60 ab crunches - bargain - I think I'm just about going to be able to maintain the six pack - topper.

I had chance to glance through the results of The Blorenge. I'm even more chuffed now. The field was quite strong but I still managed to score about 90pts towards the series score. That's about as good as I can score but because of the strength of the field I expected to score lower. And I've never been within 30s of the guy who finished one place ahead of me. At Sugar Loaf he was over two minutes ahead - this course was half the distance - but still I think that's a good improvement. Maybe he had an off day, so I won't read too much into it but I am feeling pretty optimistic about my fell running at the moment - especially considering I haven't really been doing any specific training or much hill work - make that none.

So to tonight and my quads are still sore from the weekend. I decided there was no point in trying a hard session - I wouldn't be able to put in enough effort for it to be worthwhile but too much to allow my muscles to repair. Instead I went to the gym for 40 minutes on the bike - on an easy level so I didn't have to kill myself - followed by ten minutes on the rower. The concept II rower is such a lush piece of kit - if I had the room in my house I'd buy one.

I finished off with the ol' upper body routine; back, biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders and not forgetting the abs.

Thought for the day: Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quad core

My legs are sore - but only a little. I went for an easy run with Rick and Sean up Ashton Court. We were out there for just over 40 minutes - and it didn't even rain - result. Anyway, I headed down the gym afterwards for a 40 minute blast on the bike.

I soon realised that the program setting I had chosen was a bit on the hard side for the state of my legs but the thing about me - you might have worked this out by now - I don't know when to quit. Like my record of never not finishing a race I've started the same applies to the stupid bloody exercise bike. I started the program so I had to complete. To reduce the level would be to admit defeat and I can't do that.

I don't know how much fluid loss I sustained - I know, you didn't want to know that - but by the end I felt dizzy and the legs were like jelly. It was a good work out though and I feel fine now and the legs feel pretty good.

Not sure at this stage whether I will make it to the Downs for training tomorrow - although the session planned does tempt me - and tempts me a lot - it finishes with a hard effort up Bridge Valley Road - I love hills...

Thought for the day: Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The power is back

It was a good day. It may have rained and the wind may have blown but that couldn't stop me in The Blorenge fell race. To be fair, the rain and wind did drop during the race, with only the occasional gust but boy did it feel good to be out there. Powering up the hill and falling back down again like a psycho - gert lush.

I ripped up the game plan within about 400m of the start. The plan was to take it nice and steady so as to not put too much stress on this frail old shell of mine. Luton was only six days ago and I've been feeling really tired this week. But you know how it is - you can't keep a good nutter down and in the end I just went for it and powered the hill as best I could - and I actually felt remarkably strong. Yes, the legs felt heavy half way up - I guess everyone's do at that point - but I just kept pushing as hard as I could until I reached the top. Then the fun part - the downhill.

After some initial caution regarding how the groin would cope I got caught up in the race and so just switched the brain off and down I went. It was very slippy underfoot and I was doing a fair bit of mud skiing but I stayed on my feet and got to the finish in, what I think, is a very creditable 8th place - yeah baby. I even had to stop twice because I forgot to double knot my shoe laces and they kept coming undone - stupid boy. I finished the last hill, through the woods, with one lace undone because I didn't want to lose any more time.

And finally, Beryl has made the blog. It looked like she'd been through the wringer but she made it home safely, and thanks for the kind words - you can come again. And Helen F won the women's race - again.

Thought for the day: Always remember to double knot your bloody shoe laces before a race.

The route of The Blorenge, with about 1,400ft of climb.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Come on! Let's celebrate

Yes, that's right folks it's time to celebrate tonight. The floor is finished. Yes, I did say, finished and floor in the same sentence. I took the afternoon off work and went for it - all the way down the hall - and it only took me six hours!!! Finally, I am within spitting distance of completion. Just a tiny bit of finishing, which should only take an hour or so and that's it, done, complete, the end, game over - and all in time for Christmas - bargain.

I'm now officially worn out, my back is shot and my 'saw' arm is twice the size of the other. Just as well the sofa got here this week because I think I can hear it calling. What's that? 'come and lie down, come and lie down...'. Better not keep it waiting - I think I've lost the plot - no, I'm sure I have.

Suffice to say there was no training tonight but the legs do feel remarkably good all things considered and the groin is a little better so it's all looking good for Blorenge - come on.

Thought for the day: If the mountain's there, that's good enough reason to climb it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Read it and weep

... I did. I trained tonight - of a sort at least. Probably shouldn't have but then I have an image to keep up. It was a fifty fifty turn out with just Sean, Danny and Nick training this evening. It didn't rain so that was a bonus but it was a bit windy.

Anyway, the spicy pizza I ate before training kept my energy levels up - especially the jalapeƱo peppers - beauty - but the legs were lacking the power. The lads ran a 400, 600, 800, 800, 600, 400 pyramid but I missed out the second 800. It was officially my slowest ever session - but then I don't think I've ever tried a proper training session within three days of a marathon. I was being careful though, and taking it slow, so it's no surprise really.

My splits - no laughing - I SAID NO LAUGHING - were 87s - 'ave some - 2:03, 2:53, 2:01 - best laugh you've had in ages I bet but, get this, 76s on the final 400m - now that's almost OK.

So it's going to be a few more days rest, maybe a bit of gym work and then.... the Blorenge on Saturday, a 2.5mile fell race with 1,400ft of climb. Not sure I'll survive but I will try my damnedest.

Off now to seat my arse - and legs - and anything that'll fit really - on my lovely new sofa and watch some tv. CSI me thinks - get the notebook ready - what's that? bleach, thick latex gloves - because finger prints can be transferred through the cheaper, thin ones... top tips indeed...

Thought for the day: Religion is for people who don't want to go to hell. Spirituality is for those who've been there.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It caught up with me this morning

Well, the exploits of the weekend hit home this morning. I awoke - as you do - at the normal time and proceeded to prepare myself for the day ahead. It was then I was hit by the unstoppable juggernaut or tiredness. I felt so drained I just had to go back to bed. Anyway, a few hours of dead to the world time and I was back up and ready for action. Made it into work for 10:45 - now that's a late start - nice.

In light of this mornings tiredness I decided I probably shouldn't train today. The legs are still sore but easing and after this mornings escapades I shall have an early night and hopefully be ready for a bit of track tomorrow evening. I don't think it would be sensible to run a hard session so I might be an honourary lady again and take it easy. I have to try and get myself ready for the third race in the South Wales Winter Fell Series - a slightly tall order because it's this coming Saturday. I want to get a series score so I shall run regardless of what shape I'm in - I'll just take it slowly and grind it out as I climb the north face of the Eiger.

Thought for the day: Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A new day dawns...

Yesterday is out of my system. I've decided to enter a new phase - I suppose, in reality, it's actually re-entering an old phase. I've not set any targets like last time - yet - but I'm going to start racing again - week in, week out. I really enjoyed it last time and provided some decent training along the way. I think I'm going to try and focus on shorter stuff and maybe do some specific training for a crack at lowering my 5 and 10k times - it'll be about time.

And finally - only a month and a half late - the Mongolian elephant caravan arrived today, bringing with them my lovely new sofa - yipee.

And here's a pic.



Thought for the day: People who care about other people are on average happier than those who are more preoccupied with themselves.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not what I had planned

I think we can assume I didn't make it - understatement.

I gave it my best shot but conditions - and my stupidity got the better of me. I was through 20 miles in 2:16 but the wind of laps 1 and 2 had taken too much. At points the gusts practically brought me to a stop. I guess how I ran today was a kind of running suicide but I couldn't come all this way and not give it a go.

Within a mile, at around 21, I completely seized. It was so painful to run I almost cried - I didn't - obviously - but I was unable to run. Never the less I limped to the finish in a stunning time of 3:28!!!

Thought for the day: Be glad if you tried your best irrespective of the outcome.

The taping of the nipples

The weather has now officially arrived - this is going to be one of the most enjoyable races I've ever done. So it's time now for the time honoured tradition that is the taping of nipples. Is that too much information?

With less than an hour to go I'm all but ready. There's still time for me to bottle it though...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Green and pleasant land

I have arrived in the sacred place that is Luton - actually Dunstable but it only spitting distance so we'll call it Luton.
Well there's only 15 hours to go and I feel knackered. Going to try for an early night but I never sleep well in hotels so I don't hold out much hope. I drove through some truly horrendous weather on the way up - I hope those storms don't make it here.
Anyway, there's sod all to do so I may be forced to scrape the barrel and watch Strictly Dancing or whatever it's called - there are worse things in life - but I can't think of any at the moment ;).
Now, where's my food...

Looks like I need a miracle

I have just seen the weather forecast for tomorrow - and I really wish I hadn't. I shall be praying that the forecasters are as way off the mark as they normally are. According to the forecast the day starts partly cloudy - that's OK, I could live with that. Then it moves to light rain and mild winds - not the best but I'd take it. And by race time, 10am, it's predicted to have moved to rain with winds in the region of 25mph - oh bugger.

Under those conditions the chances of success are, at best, slim. I shall, however, stick to the plan and take it out on sub 3 hour pace. I know it means almost certain failure but I don't give up and won't give up. I sure as hell won't admit defeat while there's breath in my lungs. I shall run and run to win - OK, not win the race but win my race and go as fast as I can. I shall be a tiger...

Thought for the day: It is better to have lived one day as a tiger than 1000 years as a sheep.