Sunday, August 31, 2008

Stupid boy, Pike

My quads were not in the best of shape this morning - they are not in the best of shape now, either. We got out for a short run along a section of the Pennine Way with the meddlesome Mr Peddles [Pedwar] and the Super Dog [Brown Dog]. We headed out around the back of the Pike - Dufton Pike, shaken not stirred, and back into town - a 45 minuter. Then it was breky in the local tea room before heading home. The drive home wasn't great - but then when is a five hour drive ever great? Come to think of it, when is a five hour drive even half decent? - Answers on a post card.

Oh, and one more thing, Helen spoke to Ricks brother, Mick, on Saturday. I'm pretty sure he's the M50 Gold medalist in both the English and the British. It is most unnerving seeing him. I can't help expecting him to be Rick.

Oh, and just another one more thing - these northern folk don't talk gert proper, like - when I complained I couldn't understand this chap at the bar they had the cheek to claim they couldn't understand me!

Thought for the day: I'm not a complete idiot --Some parts are missing.

Yest erday...

All my troubles seemed so far away. Not that they feel particularly near today, mind.

It was my first race of the English and British fell championship - shame it was the last of the season. Helen (or Mrs Mad Runner to be - I might pay for that later) didn't run well but as a consolation she is the English Fell Running Championship individual silver medalist - as well as taking the team gold with Calder Valley - not a bad days work.

So how did I run? Not great. I ran hard - none of this starting slow and getting slower but I struggled on the ascent and lost close to 20 places - which is a shame as i would have finished well inside the top 100 - instead of 105th. Still, I enjoyed racing - I've not lost the desire - just the ability - shut it, I have a bit, really, I do but I'm just hiding it under a bush at the moment, ready to spring it on an unsuspecting world at any moment. Be afraid, be very afraid...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Miles from the track

I was miles away from a good track session this evening. No, really, I was miles away.

Unlike yesterday, I did actually do some running tonight and strangely for the first time in ages I felt quite powerful - almost a disappointment not to be running at the track. Still, what energy I don't waste today I can use on Saturday at the Dufton Pike race. I'm so going to try and really get myself in a race up there.

Thought for the day: If it's sent by ship then it's a cargo, if it's sent by road then it's a shipment.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Banking on holiday Monday

It was decent enough weather for some mile reps. So Sean, Helen and I headed over the road to run my mile rep specials. Well, Sean didn't head over the road, he came up the road. And why mile rep specials? Because the loop is one of the most accurate mile loops you will find anywhere - in the world - fact. They are with 0.01% accurate - OK, I made that bit up, but they are as near as dammit exactly one mile.

Anyway, I ran slow - as did we all really. Sean had a bout of the pains and Helen had a touch of the tight hamstrings. My splits of 6:06, 6:08, 6:03 and 6:06 weren't exactly fast and I know I've done them lots quicker in the past but for now I just have to be happy with easing myself back into the groove. My return continues...

Thought for the day:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Easy does it

It was just an easy hour up at Ashton Court this morning. Good weather and fine conversation made the time just fly by. It seemed like no more than hour and the run was complete. We ran out through Leigh Woods and back along the tow path. Rick was crook - dodgy knee - so Tim deputised and the rest of us followed. I shall miss our lazy Sunday Ashton runs once I'm living up in the Forest of Dean. I will have to try and get down now and again to meet up with the gang.

Anyway, tomorrow's plan is to run some mile reps. How many? That I don't know yet but four would be a safe bet - unless some hard task master makes us do more - and that's a distinct possibility...

Thought for the day: If only one could get that wonderful feeling of accomplishment without having to accomplish anything.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


It was the day of the Knowle Invitation and I was invited - nice.

As day dawned - it tends to do that - and eerily it's nearly always around about the same time that the sun appears above the horizon - oh, where was I? Oh yeah, day dawning. Well as day dawned I realised I felt bad. Not just your average I don't want to get up now bad, no this was your real I feel ill bad. But after cancelling last weeks gawlf on account of knackering my legs I just had to make it out there for this one.

I skipped brekky on account of the fact that the stomach ache was too much and headed out onto the course. It was a great day for it - stop it - and although I didn't feel great I managed to get round OK and indeed played some half decent golf. I wasn't striking the ball well - shh, but around the green I was playing like Mr Woods - I only took eleven puts on the back nine [that's good, by the way].

We didn't win but then that's not the point. What am I saying, course that's the point but we weren't far off the pace and with a few less duffers we would have been right up there - then again, everyone says that.

Well, I'm feeling a lot better now and should get up to Ahston Court tomorrow for a run out with Rick, Sean and who ever else turns up - I only hope they don't run too fast - fat chance of that I'm guessing...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Uh oh, you're in trouble now

I'm resting ahead of, well, nothing really. I guess I'm just a lazy bastard.

I did get out for a short run. A stretch of the legs. An amble in the jungle - the urban jungle. Mind you, I did see a few scary looking natives. It was only a quick one round the block but the legs are still a bit pants so I don't want to risk further damage. I'm golfing tomorrow and then Ashton Courting on Sunday - haven't done that for a while. I expect they'll be far too fast for me - or maybe I'll be far too slow - same result.

Anyway, I leave you with the result of a recent bout of boredom...

Oh I hope I'm not over the hill
That my legs can power me, still
I must start to train
From the couch must refrain
Oh I hope I'm not over the hill

Oh I hope I'm not over the hill
My muscles I want to refill
I vow to regain
And run through the pain
Oh I hope I'm not over the hill

Oh I hope I'm not over the hill
I've races to run for a thrill
Dufton comes soon
Will I be fortune?
Oh I hope I'm not over the hill

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I like to ride my bicycle

I like to ride my bike. Yes folks, it was more of the exercise bike tonight. My calfs were still feeling the effort from yesterday and I don't want to push myself off course - unlike our Olympic 10k swimmer - controversial, below the belt.

I could only manage 45 minutes on the old cross country setting and I was so far down on my best it was laughable - I had to laugh else I would have been crying it was so bad. I still have an awfully long way to go. Many roads must I travel. I'll take the low road while everyone else takes the high one - but I have more than a sneaking suspicion that I won't be in Scotland afore ye. Not sure I'll even be close. Still, I'll dig in and dig deep - now that's a lot of digging...

Thought for the day: A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Huge turnout

A rolling stone gathers no moss - but the running group does gather more runners - it certainly did tonight at least. We started the first with six. That's Jerry and Dan - the geriatric duo - whoops, did I say that out loud? - I meant the dynamic duo. Sean and Rob - the young ones - and Helen and I ... with Rick on bass stop watch.

We ran five reps of a 600m followed by a jogged 100 before a 300m followed by a jogged 200 back to the start. I had to skip out after the third - I needed a poo - sorry, too much information - but I did complete all five.

Anyway, after the first set we were joined by the ranks of Dave B's group which swelled our numbers to close to twenty.

It was a good, hard session tonight and my splits of 2:00 for the sixes and 57 for the three's weren't too bad - Helen beat me, of course - but then it's not like it's a race is it?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A long days day

I had a long day at work. Couple that with a sore calf muscle and you have all the ingredients for chicken soup - I mean, absolutely no training. I really wanted to run my eight's over at the track but I just knew it would be both pointless and would put my aching body back further. This way I hope I can put in a half reasonable effort tomorrow.

I did at least put in an hour on the bike infront of the telly. It wasn't exactly Chris Hoy but I got the heart rate ticking over without straining my poor, feeble shell.

Anyway, it's time for feet up to watch the Olympic highlights...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Calf trouble

My right calf is giving me some pain. The groin and ITB are fine so hopefully I will be able to give it some 800's tomorrow. Apart from that, it's normailty from me - except from the engagement and I just can't help feeling happy.

Thought for the day: When you have nothing to say - say nothing.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It's official...

...I followed my race plan to the letter yesterday - I started slow and did indeed fade to a crawl - who says I can't follow a plan?

Oh, and it's official, I didn't come last - although it was a close thing. Having said that, the results aren't out yet but I am reliably informed that someone got lost and came home a good half hour after me. So I guess that makes me second from last but there's a chance I might make the top 30. Mind you, there was only 35 entries!

Oh, and it's official, I never made the golf. I aggravated my old IT band injury yesterday - one of the very few injuries that I've ever sustained. Some expert massage cured that but the groin is still sore so, sadly, the golf had to bite the bullet. Still, it's not all bad, I got to spend the day with the most best fiancee in the world.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that? It's official, Helen and I are now engaged.

Thought for the day: Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oh goodness me

I am now officially a physical wreck! I took things easy and navigated meticulously but alas, the distance proved too much for me.

At about 3 miles i took a risk - I put my navigational skills to the test. As the group ahead took off down the track I headed up a steep climb alone - and it paid off. After a few lonely miles I rejoined the route - 500m ahead of the group - result. But then it all went south.

The bad weather hit - and the rain and wind never departed. Then, after about 14 miles the body took its leave of me. My groin became painful and I just about limped home to cover the 19 miles in a truly awful 4 hours. Soaked to the skin, muscles shot and shivering uncontrollably, we headed home for tea.

Oh yeah, and Helen won, which means she should have sewn up the Welsh Open Champs.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lazy so and so

I'm tapering for tomorrow's Brecon Beacons Race - that's my official line anyway. At 19 miles and 5,000 feet this might be my last ever post - but I hope not. Tactic wise I'm going to take it out slow and fade back to a crawl - I'm almost certain to be able to follow that plan.

I've got the Filton Open Golf on Sunday before back to work Monday - if I can walk. All in all it looks like being a very engaging weekend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wet pants and water logged running shoes

You could say it was slightly wet tonight. Or maybe, that is was raining cats and dogs. In either case you'd be wrong. It was like monsoon season on the African plains - you do get monsoons there, don't you? Geography isn't my strong point. Come to think of it, neither is running...

I was happy with things tonight though. After two tough days I had a suspicion I might not go the distance - and so it came to pass, in accordance with the prophecy.

The great Dan M graced our ranks tonight, as did the even greater Jerry H - apparently there's some kind of kudos thing going on to make the blog! First JD on Monday, now DM and JH. Whose going to be next??? The great Haile G maybe? - Maybe not.

Anyway, Rob, Rick and Sean completed the ensemble and after yesterday's 800's I was glad we were doing something shorter - although, once I realised we running rolling 400's with a 100m, 30 to 35s jog recovery before straight into the next, I wasn't so glad.

The weather started to close in and as it did so the youngsters on the track started to close out. By the middle of the session the rain was lashing down - I could barely see, being a specky git, but we all mustered on. About the only person who'd have enjoyed the conditions tonight would have been Brown Dog - she'd have loved splashing through the puddles.

Eventually it was just the six of us left on the track. In fact, we were the only ones left in the stadium.

The session was officially twelve reps but I could only manage eight. I did at least run them consistently, hitting 79's and 80's. I felt pretty good and would have liked to run all twelve. I think I had the stamina but my left calf was tight at the end of the seventh and it didn't get any looser on the eighth so I decided it wise to hang up my gloves, take off the snorkel and call it a day.

So, after the rest of the lads hit the twelve we retired to the relative dryness of the stand - I say relative - it's leakier than a pair of fishnets - but that said, it did offer some respite from the damp stuff and gave us the chance to tuck into Sean's birthday cake. Just the ticket. So as the sun set and the gloom descended, we turned tail and scampered home...

Thought for the day: Failure lies not in falling down. Failure lies in not getting up.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just about trumped last weeks effort

Yeah for me. After what turned out to be a tough session yesterday I have to admit I faltered today. I was very near to missing my 8's but you'll be glad to know - or not, as the case may be - that the return of the Mad Runner continues unabated - well, ok, maybe just a little bit abated - but not much.

I managed to get my ever expanding butt over to the track for some more 800's with the same, sharp sixty seconds recovery as last week. Even the rain could not shift me from my focus. Up from last weeks five, tonight, I made it six reps and my splits were about the same, 2:51, 2:47, 2:47, 2:48, 2:50, 2:47. The rain came down on the last two and the wind on the home straight made it hard going for the entire session but my iron will got me through.

It's more track for me tomorrow - but shorter stuff, please Rick, shorter stuff...

Thought for the day: Be wiser than other people, if you can, but do not tell them so.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The JD effect

I carried out my threat to get out to training - back of the net. Feeling tired, and with Sean having raced yesterday, we decided to take it easy. So off we set. Rick was in charge and led us around the Downs. Then disaster struck - we met up with the M50 killing machine that is John Duncan - and boy did he stick it to us...

After a lap(ish) of the grass we headed down Bridge Valley and along the Portway. The pace was building all the time. By the time we hit the Portway we were cruising up at around 3:40 pace - and that's only 2 seconds off my all time 5k pace - and the last time I raced that fast was along time ago in a galaxy far far away.

We had covered just over 5k by the time we hit the back alleys on the way back up to the Downs. The pace slowed a bit - well, my pace did, as the lads dropped me a bit - but they did wait for me to catch up.

Once we hit the Downs the pace kicked off again as JD powered off into the distance with Sean while Rick sensibly eased back for his warm down. I puffed along but still managed to get a good speed going on that final stretch back to the tower.

At the finish we had covered 9.5k in a time of 42 minutes - now that ain't bad. In fact, I'm fair buzzing. It's been a long time since I've managed to run what turned out to be a damn fine tempo run for me. So cheers JD, that really was a dose of medicine the doctor ordered. I think my mojo might be on its way back...

Thought for the day: Don't expect an easy run when running with 50 year old whippet!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I've taken up a new hobby - the ancient martial art of Tae-Stik-Wak. It's a highly complex and strenuous form of martial art which takes great upper body strength - so I'll never be any bloody good at it. After an hour of practicing in the afternoon sun I was thoroughly worn out.

Earlier in the day I managed to get my ass kicked during an hour run. Yes, that's right, I managed to get out for some more training - I'm on the come back trail don't you know. H jogged as I slogged. The way I felt during and after, this running malarkey ain't getting any easier. On a positive note I've signed up for more training tomorrow. I'll be heading for Ricks session on the Downs. Not sure what it'll be but I would think it will be intervals of some sort.

So what is all this Tae-Stik-Wak and more importantly how do you take part, I hear you ask? Basically, you find a big stick. Find a barn overgrown by nettles and whack the sh#t of those bad boys until they is flat and mashed.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Braving Beryl's

No running, just gym. I managed an hour of cv - half and hour on the bike, ten on the stepper, ten on the concept II rower - the only rower - and ten on the cross country skier. I wasn't flat out - just as well, cause I'm not sure I could take that at the moment - but it was a good hard effort never the less. And I was pleased with my low - well, relatively low heart rate during the session. Maybe I'm not quite as unfit as I think. Maybe I'm just biding my time before I come back with some quick times. Mind you, I wouldn't be surprised if, after a load more training, I wasn't back hitting my old times...

Thought for the day: Tell a man there are 300 Billion stars in the universe and he'll believe you. Tell him a bench has wet paint on it and he'll have to touch to be sure.

Friday, August 08, 2008

What the hell was that?

After the surprisingly easy journey home I managed to get out for what was surely one of the most pathetic runs in the history of running. My left achilles has been feeling a bit tight of late and tonight was no exception but it does, at least, ease after a few minutes of running. I really can't stress quite how pants a run it was but at least it was something - and we did get some fresh air - as long as Mr Pedwar stood down wind from us, that is.

Thought for the day: A wise man turns chance into good fortune.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Did a bit

I managed to push the pedals of the bike tonight. Didn't feel like running. In fact, I feel a bit tired but I wanted to do something and the bike was it. It was just 45 minutes but it was better than nothing. My left achilles is feeling its age - it's been stiff - ssh - on and off for a few days so maybe a bit more rest won't do it any harm. Must get out for something on the weekend though....

Thought for the day: Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Looks like I'm back

Back to the track. To the lonely track in the rain, and all I need is some sharp spikes and some legs to steer them by.

Yes folks, it was another day, another dollar over at the track. There were few mad fools braving the weather tonight. In the dark, damp conditions the sprinters sprinted and the plodders - well, plodded.

I tried another set of 800's - and I was rewarded with a better set than last week, in worse conditions that included quite a strong head wind down the home straight - but I mustn't build it up because it was still pretty rubbish, just slightly better rubbish than last week.

I decided to cut the recovery from 2 minutes to 1 in an effort to focus the session towards benefiting my 5k time. My pace over that distance corresponds to 2:54 over 800m so I had to aim to go quicker than that and I did - but not by much, but maybe, just enough - come on, don't be unkind, it was just enough.

Anyway, I managed five this week verses last weeks four with splits of 2:50, 2:47, 2:48, 2:46 and 2:49 and what with the shorter recovery I feel a bit better about things.

Well there we are, it's going to be another track session tomorrow on shorter reps - or so I'm led to believe. But then again, I might not even make. I've got important fish to fry tomorrow. Fish that must be fried - a one day special offer and all that....

Thought for the day: Knowledge talks, wisdom listens.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Core duo

Just me and Rick tonight. Sean's away for the week so us oldies went for a run. It was a steady one for Rick but a bit more of an effort for me. We ran across the Downs, along some paths I never knew existed through the posh part of town and then along the Portway before heading up to the Observatory and back to the Water Tower - ah, the water tower...

The route was about 5 miles in total and took 38 minutes - I know, that's unfathomably slow - but I was sweating like a Swedish sauna attendant with the effort. I've still a long way to go before I'm back...

Thought for the day: It is not about achieving your dreams but living your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

No net connection

Didn't manage to fire off the blog yesterday after a failure of this interweb thingumy. So here it is today instead.

I did support training yesterday - what's that, you ask? It's an easy run to a couple of check points in the Borrowdale fell race. There's no way I would be fit enough to compete myself so I had to be content with the 8 miles it took me to get there and back - and not forgetting the 2,000+ feet of ascent - this support lark ain't that easy. I took Mrs B and Flash - ah, ahh, saviour of the universe - with me. They behaved impecably. Not one solitary sheep was chased - they chased a whole pack, mind, but definately no solo sheep - just kidding by the way, they were both ace.

Anyway, Helen ran well to finish sixth overall, beating one of here rivals for the first time in the process. As the championship lies it's going to go to the wire at the final race in a month's time at Dufton Pike.

On a sad note, I didn't make the track meeting today on account of feeling both really tired and nauseous. I don't know what happened but I sure felt bad today. I'm beginning to feel better now so hopefully I will be recovered in time for Ricks session tomorrow.

Oh, and one final thing, I'm now a fully signed up member of Calder Valley Fell Runners - well I've got the vest anyway - off to find my first race to run under the new colours...

Thought for the day: If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.