Thursday, January 31, 2008

Eleven hour shift

Well that was a loooonnnngggggg day at work. I was up at six thirty and after working a very long day, I made it home by seven thirty - and before you point out that appears to be just one hour - I'm talking am to pm. And I even had time for a fifteen minute lunch break! What's worse though, is it looks like being another long one tomorrow (but it's not going to be because when the time comes I'm off) and they seem to want me Saturday - like f@#k am I working Saturday - better things to do as like.

So that was the days training wrecked. By the time I got home I was so tired I couldn't face anything. Not even the gym. I suppose that in itself isn't too bad since I've raced and trained consecutive days but what's worse is the fact that I'm not sure if I'm going to have time tomorrow. I shall have to see how it goes - I might get time for a few laps of the Cheddar reservoir but me thinks that is going to be rather uninspiring. I shall play it by ear - or should that be leg.

Thought for the day: Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Long day

It was a long day at work - after a late start. There was trouble at tut mill - actually trouble at tut river Axe but same difference - got it sorted in the end though. Finally got home at 18:15 and just in time to get to the track - not sure I should have fitted in the spicy meat feast pizza with extra jalapenos before the session at seven though.

I felt a bit lethargic before the session - I felt a bit more lethargic after the session but I did alright for an old timer.

It was a huge turn out tonight - get this, seven, yes, seven of us. We ran a pyramid session of 400, 600, 800, 600, 400, 600 and 800m with equal rep to recovery times. My splits were 77s, 1:54, 2:35, 1:53, 72s, 1:56 and 2:36. I decided to miss the last 600m rep but Sean goaded me - he called me an oldy - the cheek. I had no choice but to complete the session in full. I was completely shagged by the end. Rob then came up with a classic idea - 'why don't we finish with a few 200's?' - I told him where he could shove his bloody 200's!

I'm now completely devoid of energy and shall probably not make it through the night - but I hope I do.

Thought for the day: Don't look back - something might be gaining on you!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It didn't happen

Well it just didn't happen tonight. I don't know why but it just didn't.

I knew from the first kilometre that my legs just weren't going fast enough but I just couldn't make them go any quicker. It wasn't that I was desperately slow and nor was it a case of dying in the latter stages. I was just ran a consistent not quite quick enough tonight. Perhaps it points to the fact that I need to put in specific training - namely speed work, speed work, speed work. I was certainly strong at the finish - a chap from Westbury came onto my shoulder in the last 400m and I was able to kick - and kick strong - to stay ahead.

So in the summary, I have the strength now I just need the speed - and I will get it.

Oh, and the time? 18:22 - but I will break 18 this year or I will eat my shorts.

Thought for the day: Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The funnel...

Well the Bridge Inn 5k is almost upon us but there is one very important thing I have to remember - bring the generator and bring the funnel. Damn, there are two important things I have to remember - bring the generator and bring the funnel and break 18 minutes without going off too fast. Damn! There are three important things...

The downside to being the chosen one and 'The Bringer Of The Finish Funnel' is that I have to collect the bloody things from the other side of town - which rules out any sort of chance of getting to the Downs for tonight's session.

I should have collected them on Saturday on my way back from the Midlands. I emptied the car to make room and reminded myself as I left the house in the morning on my way up country but for some strange reason I completely forgot about it - must have been thinking of other things and it totally slipped my mind - can't think what could possibly have taken away my concentration. The upside is another rest day - I do need to get back into training again soon though - although the Long Mynd on Sunday will be good training. It's a tough fell race but somebody's got to run it and I'm going to break 2 hours this year which means I have to knock 10-15 minutes off last years time - but I can do that...

Thought for the day: If you can't convince them - confuse 'em.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Super Sunday

It was a recovery run for me up at Ashton Court this morning - not that I had anything to recover from seeing as I didn't run yesterday. Then it was down the gym for an hour on the bike. Not that those things are reason for a super Sunday - but it was, all the same.

It's now confirmed that the women did indeed take the bronze yesterday and additionally the men took bronze as well.

I'm looking forward to Tuesday now - I'm going to go for sub 18. And as a wise person once said, 'just make sure you don't go off too bloody quick!'

Thought for the day: Don't anthropomorphise computers -- they hate it.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Using the supermarket

Some simple rules to follow when shopping at your local supermarket

1) Always pull into the side of the aisle when stopping to put something or your trolley.
2) Don't just suddenly stop in the middle of the aisle looking dazed for no apparent reason - you will be run over - and I mean you WILL BE RUN OVER.
3) Don't stop for a chat at the point in the aisle where other shoppers have politely pulled into the side - they didn't do that so you could BLOCK THE BLOODY AISLE!
4) And most importantly, f#@k off out of my way when I'm shopping at your supermarket - you will annoy me and I may have to mutter very quietly, but never the less audibly, under my breath as to what a complete tosser you are - or worse.

Now to something vaguely running - the Midland Cross Country Championships. I'm not sure of many results - that is to say I actually only know of one confirmed result. The U20 men took the silver. There is a possibility that the Senior Woman took the bronze in what turned out to be a very high quality field.

So there it is. I did bugger all today except walk a dog and do a bit of cheering in my broad Bristolian accent - apparently some people find that quite amusing. Anyway, I'm off to buff up my combine harvester...

Thought for the day: Be content with your lot; one cannot be first in everything.

Friday, January 25, 2008

You make the rockin' world go round

No training just the golf club quiz, where I was an honourary lady on the lady captains team. Suffice to say we did a bit rubbish - sort mid table mediocrity - oh well, there's always next year.

The battle plan for tomorrow is - nothing training wise, maybe a bit of a jog around but nothing more. I shall probably go watch some of the Midland Cross Country Championships - by probably I mean, I'm going to watch some of the Midland Cross Country Championships. I have to cheer on Sean, Bruce, Danny and who ever else I happen to spot.

Thought for the day: Get on your bikes and ride

Thursday, January 24, 2008


I couldn't summon up the will to live today - let alone go for a run - and trying to think of a witty title? Well that just wasn't happening.

Anyway, I went down the gym from work but only managed 45 minutes on the bike. I managed a decent session on the weights and my arms now feel knackered for it.

I'm not racing on the weekend anymore - the first weekend of the year without a race but I feel I need a little rest to keep me fresh. Plus I want to have a crack at sub 18 at the Bridge Inn on Tuesday - which probably means I will go off way too fast a blow up but I feel the time is right for the attempt.

Thought for the day: You always pass failure on the way to success.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Not the quickest I've ever been...

...but it was the quickest I've been for a good while. It was a reasonably light session - so that was good for my first real attempt at going quickly for a while. Conditions were good - not too hot, not too cold, not raining and not too windy - what more could you ask for? - Apart from an athletes pair of legs and lungs!

It was a good turn out tonight and included the ever youthful Jerry H. We ran a 1200m warm up effort to begin the session. I lapped at 81s for a time of 4:03 and was pretty pleased because it felt nice and easy. Onto the main session we ran five 300m reps with a fairly long recovery. Sean was flying and so was Bruce who picked up the pace through the session. Danny was consistent on his first time out for a while and Jerry? Well I wouldn't be surprised to find every lap of his was an action reply of the one before - the man's like a human metronome.

I ran steady and picked up the pace throughout. 55s for the first - ooh, that's a bad mistake - but then things got better. 52, 51, 50 and - you had better sit down - 47s - and you can take that to the bank. Bruce and I gave Sean a shock on that last rep as we came onto his shoulder at about 180m. He glanced back in shock as we powered towards him but I died at that moment and Bruce held on gamely till the finish. Still it was my quickest session for a while and I'm satisfied there is more to come.

Thought for the day: We forfeit three quarters of ourselves in order to be like other people.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2.14% better

Oh no! I've gone all statistical - painful. I'm talking the improvement in calorie burn, from two weeks ago, on - you guessed it - my hour long cross country bike program. Obviously it was a new PB.

I was working like you wouldn't believe towards the end. I started off with an easy session in mind - not that the CC setting could ever truely be called easy. Once the thumping beat of my stereophonic equipment kicked in I couldn't help but crank up the effort a notch. By half way I was both knackered and aware of the fact that the calorie burn rate was higher than it's been before so I just kept cranking - careful with the spelling on that one.

I have to admit that I wasn't a pleasant sight come the end - not sure I'm ever a pleasant sight actually but that's another story. But I cleaned up my pool of fluid - there's a nice mental image for you - and put in some work on the weights before getting the hell out of there.

I have my first free evening for a while - not there aren't certain things I'd like to be doing - but I think operation feet up in front of the telly is the order of the evening. T minus 40 minutes and counting...

Thought for the day: Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy day

Sorry lads, I missed training - again, but I promise I will try and be there on Wednesday - unless anything else crops up, that is - can't promise. Seriously though I should be there. If I'm totally honest about tonight though, I simply had a better offer, sorry.

Normal training should resume tomorrow. I actually feel fully recovered from the May Hill, where I can now confirm I was officially 11th - back of the net.

Thought for the day: There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

May OK

The May Hill Massacre. An eight and a half mile multi-terrain race with about 1,600ft of ascent. Thanks to the organiser for another well executed race and well done to all the marshalls - there were many of them. Conditions under foot were slightly worse than last year - or better if you are of the muddier the better persuasion - each to there own. The muddy spots weren't really any more muddy than last year, it was just that some of the places that were firm-ish last year were less so this year - all adds to the fun.

Anyway, I decided to really push the envelope today and go off hard. I got up the first climb feeling strong. I traded places with a few runners but then the race settled. It was tougher going up the second climb but I just plugged away before appearing at the top of May Hill. I was running with a few others at this point and we were all working hard to make some space between us and those behind. Then we hit the first downhill section on reasonably firm ground - I struggled and lost ground on the group and got overtaken by another couple - doh.

By about half way the race had really settled and I just tried to stay focused on the group of runners ahead. I was being reeled in by a lone runner throughout the next two miles along flattish but muddy paths but he never quite got to me. At six miles we hit the final climb as the course headed back up towards May Hill. I decided it was now or never for the runner just ahead, whom, from hence forth, shall be known as purple top, and put in my final push for victory - well, not exactly victory, more one place better than I was at that point - but it felt like is was a push for victory.

Last year I had to stop on the final hill but this year I went all the way - stop it - and powered my way to the top brushing aside the challenge from the chasing pack - for sure, as twas written in the prophecy, a small pack had formed, baying for my blood and I can report, I managed to overtake purple top. He was faster than me on the flat and downhill so I knew I had to break him and make a big gap. I powered and powered, up and up until I could power no more but fortunately for me I had done the damaged and held the gap to the finish.

My time was 1:03:55 which is actually 12s slower than last year but the route this year had a small but definitely significant addition in the first two miles. A small extra loopy bit - for want of a better expression - was included after the first climb. We definitely didn't do that last year, in all I guess it was about 400m but in the mud it's got to be worth at least 90s if not two minutes. So really I improved by at least a minute if not closer to two. Position wise I think - and this is only very very rough - I was 11th but that may turn out to be 12th or 13th or 14th or... I'll stop now - official results required me thinks.

Last year I was 13th but it seemed to be a stronger field this year, if my estimated position proves true I will be very pleased - and even if it doesn't I shall still be very pleased because using the standard distance to time ratio calculations I was quicker this year in light of the longer course - what am I babbling on about? I shall shut up now.

On a final note, well done to Helen F for first place in the women's race after a bit of a battle. She managed to overhaul the leader after the summit but had to work hard all the way, finishing just 12s ahead.

Thought for the day: Dreams are today's answers to tomorrow's questions.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Tidying up

I spent the day tidying the house - how boring and sad is that. I didn't get up until eleven - rock on - took one look outside and thought, I ain't going out there! So I decided today was as good a day as any to try and clear some clutter.

I have to admit that I'm a self confessed hoarder. I keep stuff just because I might use it in the future even though I know I actually won't. So I switched into 'haven't used that for a while, out it goes' mode. Although I seem to have created a mountain of rubbish I don't seem to have made much of a dent in the clutter - and you can bet your life I'll find a use for some of the stuff I've just chucked but it's too late now.

Anyway, I'm fully rested and ready to go get dirrrrty in the May Hill Massacre tomorrow. Top ten here I come...

Thought for the day: The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you've already lost.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Just a rest day I'm afraid

Took the day off training today. I shall be resting tomorrow as well. I want to be fully recharged for the push to the top of May Hill on Sunday. It was muddy last year so heaven knows how bad it's going to be this year. I'm hoping for a good run and there's no reason to suspect I won't get one. I feel so strong - not that quick, mind you - but strong. It's going to be a case of staying the distance on Sunday and I think I'm going to be pretty bloody good at that.

Thought for the day: You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

So lazy

Hands up. I admit it. I forgot about the Prom race tonight and took my gym kit to work. I realised before lunch but by then, equally, I realised I didn't have the fight in me for a race tonight. Maybe I'm just lazy.

At the gym, I put in a solid hour on the cross country bike session but I was tired. I only just managed to keep the speed up - notice the words 'only just', implying that I did actually manage it but I felt terribly weary and after a session on the weights I now feel a bit jaded.

I think I need some rest before the May Hill Massacre on Sunday. Anyway, I've decided to cut back on the racing. I am in danger of losing the enjoyment by weighing myself down with the weight of trying all those races. I shall, of course, be racing many many times in the coming months just not every week. I want to race for the fun of it. Maybe I'm not lazy maybe old father time is catching up with. Maybe I'm just getting old...

Thought for the day: A good listener is not only popular everywhere, but after a while he gets to know something.


Marvelous Malverns

Never been on the Malvern Hills before - I have now. The weather was fine with clear blue skies and running with someone always helps. Interestingly they didn't moan much today - which felt a bit odd - I hope they're not ill.

After all the recent rain we've being having I was surprised how firm the ground was. You could see areas of obvious flooding from up top but there were only a few places on the run where the ground was a bit soggy. Anyway, I'm not sure exactly how long a run it was but time on feet and all that, it was 2:30. There were no really long ascents but a good few short and shape ones - you certainly knew you were running in the hills. All in all I had another excellent day - despite being tinged with a bit of guilt at missing the track - but the lads will get over it. I'm sure they managed without me just this once.

Thought for the day: The shifts of Fortune test the reliability of friends.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A bicycle made for one

Never have I been more glad to have made a promise to myself yesterday to go on the bike and push some weights down the gym. The weather was - and still is - absolutely foul.

Today was a recovery day after my exertions over the weekend - and my training run yesterday. So I only did 45 minutes on the bike using the cross country setting - instead of an hour - well, it was a sort of recovery - the sort that doesn't really give you much recovery except for the fact it only lasts 45 minutes instead of an hour. I finished off with some upper body work and some ab crunches and funnily the low abdominal pain still continues to improve so I'll not complain about it anymore.

Anyway, I have to apologise to the lads in advance of tomorrow's track session for I shall not be able to make it. I'm putting in another longer run but I shall be with them in spirit. And to that effect, 'Come on lads, up to the line, we need to start the next rep, come on, move it, move IT, MOVE IT'.

Thought for the day: Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Almost a recovery day

Well it was a hard easy session tonight. It wasn't out and out hard effort but there was some good hard efforts tucked away in there. It was just the three of us, Sean, Rick and me - which is an improvement on just Sean and Rick and occasionally just Sean.

I digress, we jogged from the Downs down deeper and down - Status Quo, Rock on - to the Portway. Then we put in a threshold which for me was for 3k and Sean and Rick 4k. I began to fade with 2.5km so decided to call it a day at 3k. We then jogged our way through to the bottom of Stoke Hill before a gentle push to the top. I wasn't able to push in my normal way but I pushed as hard as I could - it's a long hill on weary legs. Then it was across the Downs to the cars and home for tea.

My calves were a bit tight today but other than that I don't feel too bad.

Thought for the day: A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you're in deep water.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Rough but I didn't tumble

I very nearly did though - I had visions of the Vicar of Dibley again. I was so knackered in the last few miles I could no longer attempt to take evasive manoeuvres around puddles and once again I sank up over the knee and nearly went down but luckily I was able to stay on my feet - it was a close call.

I didn't think yesterday's race would affect me that much but even in the warm up I knew it was going to be tough. I hadn't read about the race so I didn't know what to expect. With a name like the Rough n Tumble I guess you get some idea of what's in store. And it more than lived up to the title - I'm sure quite a few people actually took a tumble.

My fell running stood me in good stead though. On the slippy, narrow descents I was able to fly - in my mind anyway - and make good ground. On the ascents, even though I was in a fair state of distress I was able to force myself on and made good gains but on the flat it was all I could do to hang on and try not to lose too much ground - I just had no speed and couldn't seem to make my legs want to go.

Anyway, I started the race steady, knowing full well, anything more would be suicide, and probably somewhere in the top fifty. After about two miles and the first of the lung busters I guess I was up to around 30-35th. Then it was just a case of picking my way through the field with what little power and energy I had left. It was certainly a case of the mind overcoming the weakness of the body today.

On the steepest and last of the major descents I was able to pile past a good few runners which moved me up into 20th place. I then dug deep to overhaul another two runners in the last three miles. Three miles for which much of it was trudging through mud four or five inches deep. I managed to get to the finish in 18th place (subject to confirmation) and a time of 1:16.

After mapping the route it looks like the race took in around 1,500ft of ascent and covered just over ten miles so it really was a bit of a toughie. As a result, my legs are pretty much wrecked. I am currently hobbling around the house like a cripple. I'm not sure if I'm going to make tomorrow's session on the Down's with the lads - but can't really facing wimping out either - come on, I am the Mad Runner after all...

Thought for the day: A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What a disaster...

The supermarket didn't have my favourite spicy chicken pizza. I'd been looking forward to that all the way home - bummer. I've had to make do with the sweet bbq chicken instead - it's nice - just not as nice as the spicy. Oh well, can't have everything I suppose - but I would have liked that spicy... I won't go on.

By the way, the race was a bit of disaster as well - not as important as the pizza though. I got lost following the man ahead, easy mistake to make, we turned a corner following a path uphill to find our way barred while all the others had headed downhill - oh hum, that's life. At that point I was in 6th place and running well. I felt strong and felt I was beginning to catch that man ahead.

Anyway, once the mistake was revealed I ran full steam ahead. Angling across and down to meet back with the race route. Half way across the field I realised there was a hedge between them and us - oops. On closer inspection it became a fence with growths. On even closer inspection, as I hurtled towards at break neck speed, intending to hand on post and leap it, I realised it was a barbed wire fence - one mistake and it was curtains. Too late to abort so over I went and fortunately cleared it without issue - the guy behind was not so fortunate and now carries the scars to prove it.

After 'The Incident' I had dropped to about 20th. I gave it my best shot at making it back to 6th - but, alas, I didn't. 'The Incident' happened at about 1.5 miles of a 3.5 mile race so realistically it probably was a bit ambitious to make all that back up. I continued to run as strong as ox and by the finish I had moved up to 11th.

Anyway, as I say, it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game - today I played poorly but ran like the wind. I feel so strong at the moment and I am really looking forward to tomorrow. I expect today will take the edge off tomorrow's run but I hope to have another good race. All in all today was still a bloody good day.

Thought for the day: Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Not a lot

No training tonight. My quads are achy and I want to be ready for tomorrow. Still think I'm going to be strong come the race though. Even the forces of nature will not stop me.

Haven't really got much more to say tonight so I will leave you - and bore you at the same time - with my latest poetry creation. You can take it as the thought for the day - or not, the choice, my friend, is yours...

When your burdens heavy, and your heart sinks low
And the path winds on, but your feet won't go
When it's one step forward, two steps back
When you owe so much, but the funds you lack
When things go bad, as can happen to you
And there's so little time, and too much to do
When you try to smile, but all you do is cry
And life seems hard, beating all you try
Though the world is large, you don't seem to fit
Then it's time to fight, and you must not quit

PS, the concept comes from a poem I read on the
Internet a few months ago but the words are all mine.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Didn't even attempt...

to go down the gym or train in anyway what so ever. I decided from the moment I got up that today and tomorrow must be two days complete rest. I'm not going to lose anything by missing two days training - other than my mind - but I lost that years ago so that's not a problem.

In two days time I shall be as strong as an ox and as fit as a fiddle - what the hell does that mean anyway? Never understood what a fit fiddle actually is - perhaps I've heard the saying wrong - what the heck, who cares? Either way I will be ready for the Kymin fell race on Saturday followed by the Rough n Tumble on Sunday - I really need to find out where that race takes place. In fact, I need to find out where the Kymin takes place as well - somewhere near Monmouth I'm told.

So there we are. I am rambling totally and utterly tonight because I have nothing interesting to say. How long will you all continue to read I wonder? This is turning surreal on us all. Are you still reading?



Bet you've stopped now. No?

That's it. I've stopped.

I have, really, that's it.


There is no more. Go home. Finito.

Thought for the day: He who laughs last has not heard the bad news yet!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My first snow of the winter

Well I finally made it around the Brecon Beacons today. On the drive over I thought it was going to be one of the most horrible training runs of my life - not because my guide was rubbish or anything - heaven forbid - but because the weather was, and you must pardon my French, crap. However, once on foot it really wasn't bad at all and we could even see blue sky in places.

There was plenty of snow on the tops - plenty is probably pushing it a bit - but it's my first run through the snow at the top of a mountain and very exciting for me - I think at this point I should maybe get a life. But for a brief moment, we stood on top of the world, surrounded by snow - well, the highest point in South Wales, if that counts.

I'm so pleased to have finally got round the main peaks but I feel I need a bucket load more time there before I feel confident of knowing my way round properly and I must thank Sherpa Tenzing, without whom, I'm not sure I'd have ever made it round the mountains of the Brecons.

After all that fun it was time to pop in the car, drive home and with thirty minutes to spare I headed over to the track for a session.

With just one lap of the warm up under my belt I knew trying a track session after the mountains was madness - typical bloody me, that is. Rick was slightly late so I stepped in to time instead of run. The lads, including the ever youthful Jerry, were running a mix of 800's and 900's and after one lap Rick turned up so I decided I should at least do something so I took to the track for five 400's with 30s recovery.

It has to be said that it was probably my slowest ever set. Quite honestly it was pitiful, 90, 85, 83, 82 and 79s - how very sad is that? My legs were absolute pants and my quads ached like you wouldn't believe.

Anyway, I've decided to rest tomorrow and Friday ahead of my weekend of racing - the first of my double headers - beauty. I might make it to the gym tomorrow but if anyone sees me approach the bike while I'm there I give full permission to shoot me.

Thought for the day: A life without cause is a life without effect.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Another sweaty session

More of the bike for me I'm afraid, another hour. I shall be running at some point tomorrow but for today I pedalled myself to another increase in the calorie burn, adding on another 10. Now I know this qualifies as waaaaay too much information but I was absolutely dripping, my eyes stinging and lord knows what the fellow gym-ers thought of the sweaty bloke on the bike - do I care? do I f#@k. I cleaned the bike afterwards so there can't be any complaints - and I didn't smell - much.

I couldn't manage a run today because my calves were too sore from the salsa last night. I was amazed to wake this morning to stiff calves - opened my eyes to how hard all this dancing lark is. Hat's off to the celeb's on Strictly Dancing - or whatever it's called.

Thought for the day: A woman has got to love a bad man once or twice in her life to be thankful for a good one.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Rest day of sorts

I took a rest day today after yesterday's excellent day so I only did 40 minutes on the bike and twenty minutes on the weights. I'm off to shake my booty on the dance floor - salsa style. The only problem with that is my three left feet. Most people find two a bit of a handicap so I hope I don't cheese too many people off with my uncoordinated stomping. This might be first and last salsa lesson...

Thought for the day: Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The pirates of Penzance???

That's right I watched the second Pirates of the Caribbean film. Not as good as the first but Keira is hot so I didn't mind watching. And that was pretty much it for the day. I'm sure I did something else but I can't what? Oh, that's right, the race. The little matter of the Forest Of Dean Trail Race (15.4k) - I forgot about that.

But my, what a bloody ace race. I could not possibly have hoped for a better run than wot I got today. I was optimistically hoping to dip inside the hour mark. If I'm honest, I didn't think I'd manage that but, as I say, if you're aiming for anything you might as well aim high.

I set off at a good pace and pretty much worked hard from the gun. I was on my limit for most of the race and concentrating hard while trying to stay relaxed - not always easy. With the three lap course as it is, I was able to take my split times which were amazingly even. Most of the time when I race I go off too quick and slow but today, as at the hangover, I got it spot on with all three laps pretty much equal.

So what was the score, I hear you ask? 5th place and - wait for it, wait for it - I smashed - ney - destroyed the hour mark - OK, maybe destroyed is a bit strong but I am over the bloody moon with my time of 58:33. The official distance is 15.4k but in reality I think it's a tad shorter but still, I'm well chuffed. My second race of the year has been an unqualified success. I don't know what to put my current reversal of form down to but all the bike work I've been doing can't be coincidence and my new secret weapon might well play a small part - I could tell you what that is but then I'd have to kill you, plus it wouldn't be a secret weapon any more.

Oh, let there be more days like today - 2008, I'm luvin' it.

Thought for the day: Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

The shortest ten miler

Well that was the shortest ever ten miler I've ever done on account of the fact - I didn't bloody do it. I got up late. It looked horrible weather outside and basically I whimped out - what sort of excuse for a mad runner am I? But putting a positive spin on it - I decided mid dream - that I should have a one day taper before tomorrow's race. Yes, that sounds better.

Anyway, on to today. I stuck to my plan for a one day taper before the Forest of Dean Trail Race number 2 so I'm fresh and ready to run strong. Yes, the taper was definitely what I had planned all along. What was all that mention of ten miles? - ridiculous. No, I don't know where that rumour came from. Today was always a taper day, yep, distinctly remember writing that in the diary...

Thought for the day: Not failure, but low aim, is crime.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Lets hear it for the weekend

The weekend is here and my second race of the year fast approaches - excellent. I've decided to continue with the mad race schedule for now but see how it goes in terms of cancellation in favour of racing some fast 5 and 10k's. If I see a window of opportunity to lower my PB I'd be a fool not to take it - nothing new there then. I still want to fit in as many races as possible though.

Tonight I managed to get to the gym to complete yesterdays session. Cross country of course. The machine gives you a calories burnt indication that I guess doesn't mean much other than an indicator of how hard you have worked relative to previous sessions. The harder you pedal the more it registers. I managed to beat my previous calories burnt record tonight. Each time I go on it I try to beat my previous mark. So far I have added 90 calories to the mark I first laid down. It was a bit embarrassing though, because I was drenched by the end - too much information - but worse than that, it looked like I'd had an accident of the bladder variety - I know, even more too much information.

For tomorrow I have an easy seven to ten miler planned. Don't know where I'm running it but it's a fairly safe bet it will probably around Ashton Court/Leigh Woods area.

Thought for the day: It's better to be a failure at something you love than to be a success at something you hate.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

All work and no play...

...makes the mad runner slightly less mad than normal - but only slightly.

It was a loooong day at work. I didn't eat properly or drink properly for that matter and as I drove home I just felt too tired to make it to the gym. I'd packed my kit and fully intended for a hard session but I regretfully defer until tomorrow. I will get out for some kind of ten miler on Saturday ahead of race number 2 on Sunday, over in the Forest of Dean - the 2nd of the Winter Trail series from Mallards Pike. I shall be taking my banjo just in case.

Thought for the day: Before embarking on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Frozen toes

My feet were so cold tonight that I found myself changing back into my road shoes from spikes before we started the session - my liddle toesies were just coldie woldie - what the hell? Reality check [shakes head and taps side of head]. I am so soft these days, I don't know what's up with me. Sean was short sleeved and glove less - the fool, tough? yes, but still a fool.

And to tonight. The lads ran ten 400m reps with 60s jog recoveries - although the recovery ended up being closer to 90s but for once I wasn't complaining. It was a good turn out with Sean, Nick, Rob, Bruce and Rick - running as well as timing. After yesterday's race I could feel my legs beginning to buckle after the sixth so I cut the session short at eight - to avoid that terrible phase when you start to slow. It was all reasonably paced though, with splits of 77, 77, 75, 74, 75, 75, 74 and 74s and you have to take into account I was in my heavier road shoes. All in all I'm pretty happy with that.

Thought for the day: You begin saving the world by saving one person at a time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

What a start to the year

I just posted my fastest 10k time for fifteen months!!! On a course that is not suited to fast times on account of the hill. It's not a massive hill but it takes its toll on the second lap. Never have I been more glad I didn't drink a thing the night before - scout's honour. There was definitely no Hangover for me at the Hangover 10k.

I finished the race in 12th place in a time of 37:53 which is only 12s slower than my PB. I have to believe, on the basis of my performance here today and in the Clevedon Boxing Day race, that I'm in shape to do some serious damage to my PB. I seriously might have to re-plan the race schedule - doh, that took me ages, bugger - to try and fit in a flat 10k. Not sure I can afford to wait until the spring for a serious attempt because I think I'm about to enter...... 'The Purple Patch' [cue Twilight Zone music, makes whoooooo ghostly noise face].

Phil P won the men's race in 32:30ish and Sian M the women's race in 39:00ish. Terry T picked up first V60 - his second win in a week. And well done to Weston AC and all the marshals for another smoothly organised race - topper.

Happy New Year to everyone - think I already said that somewhere. Now, if only everything else in my life could go as well as my running seems to be going....

Thought for the day: We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some people are afraid when they are told they are loved.