Sunday, November 30, 2008

The visitor

There weren't quite as many visitors this morning as were originally planned. Namely just the J-meister. But then when you entertain a runner of such quality how many more do you need? Plus we helped him see in (or almost see in) the big Five O at lunch round the Red Hart, Blaisdon - lovely hot food and a roaring fire to keep out the cold - nice. Hopefully we can re-arrange another day when the gang from Bristol can come up in the Spring - when it's a bit warmer - 'cause by 'eck it were cold this morning.

Right, back to the running. We were out for an hour and forty and covered just over ten miles and 2,500 feet of ascent. It was a bit soggy in places but good all the same. We were a bit slow for Jerry really and he kept having to wait for us but I think he enjoyed it. I felt a bit knackered come the end and my quads are aching but I can't grumble. It's what I need.

The pic, if you were wondering - and even if you're not, I'm going to tell you anyway, is from yesterday's Blorenge. It's a view up through the woods. It doesn't look that steep - but it bloody well is - and it's a slippy old descent on the way back down as well. Lovely view.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Up the Blorenge

Racing today over at the Blorenge. Ah, the old up and down of the Blorenge - with a little across but most definitely nearly almost straight up and back down again. Well off we set but within a few minutes my feet were killing me, well not actually pointing a gun or chopping at me with a machete or anything but it felt like they were cramping - really painfully cramping. My progress up the evil hill was slow - and funnily enough, painful. I was in around 20th place at the top but after a good downhill section I finished in 13th - unlucky for some. But my feet? Blimey O'Reilly they were painful. I hobble back to the car to give them a rub.

Helen faired better, placing 9th and whooping me out of sight. I was a whole 159 seconds slower than last year, and even accounting for the unseasonably painful feet, they wouldn't have cost me more than thirty seconds, so it's sadly back to the drawing board...

Thought for the day: There are many paths to the top of the mountain, but the view is always the same.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Missing - but not in action

I was close to home after work that I - went home. That meant I missed the track. Sadly, due to a work commitment I will miss it next week as well but I will return after that.

In the absence of any training I instead enjoyed the delights of shopping in Morrisons, Ross-on-Wye. What a load of pants that shop is - it's no Asdal, that's for damn sure. Everything's in the wrong place. I reckon I did about 5k around the aisles. Up and down, up and down, loop after loop, gradually completing the prophecy as written on the sacred list. With the task done I returned to whence I had come. Arms laden with bounty a plenty.

I hope to get a spare hour at lunchtime tomorrow to sneak in a run. Fingers crossed...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The hour came....

.... and it bloody well went an' all. Bugger.

I came. I ran. But I didn't quite manage to conquer. I tried, gave it my best but my legs just wouldn't go quickly enough. It was a strange feeling. I felt, not exactly comfortable, but alright. The moment I tried to up the pace, well, I just couldn't. I ran an even race and manage to put in a good final kilometre but I fell short of nineteen minutes. I managed to claim my fastest 5k for five months so things are at least on the mend. All this stalling cannot hide the fact that I must own up to a miserable 19:15.

I'll not blame it on the night's chilly conditions - although, I never did manage to feel anything but cold - and I'll not blame it on my sore throat. The sad truth is that I just don't have the speed endurance at the moment. I have some endurance. I have some speed but they don't want to come to the party together. I need a plan. A schedule of training that will focus the mind, the body and the soul. I need mile reps. I need hill reps. I need long runs. In fact, I need pretty much everything - and I will get there. The road ahead might be long, and you can bet your arse it's going to be winding but I'm the man who can't be stopped. Read my lips, by April's Bridge Inn race I will break 18:30 - and you can take that to the bank - but in these harsh economic times don't invest anything you can't afford to lose.

Thought for the day: Tough times call for hard determination.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Taper towards Tuesday

Got a bit chilled off site at work but I always had tonight down for taper - also know as, sod all training. The throat is still a bit dry and the proboscis is making mucus a plenty - you really needed to know that, didn't you? Still, I feel positive even though I know it sounds sad to be aiming to break 19 minutes. A year ago I could jog nineteen but nowadays it's a different story. Tomorrow it will happen as foretold in the prophecy...

Thought for the day: Most people know about cause and effect, but just few handle this wisely and act accordingly.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Long in Longhope

We headed out through Flaxley Woods - that's the royal we, by the way, Mrs B and her entourage. Then over to the woods between Cinderford and Mitcheldean before heading back to Flaxley and home for sausage sarnies - nothing but the best athlete food, don't you know.

In all we covered eighteen and a half kilometers and 2,120 ft of ascent. I'm fair knackered and my throat is a bit rough but it's more dry and tickly than out and out sore. Still, I should be recovered for the Bridge Inn of Tuesday and I actually feel up for my quickest time for a while - I know, I know, shouldn't be difficult I hear you say, seeing as how pathetically slow I've been of late over the course. My recent increase in training should see me through. Will I break 19 minutes? Now there's a question...

Thought for the day: I'm not aging - I'm ripening to perfection.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Here we go again

Strike two. Yep, I made that second hour on the bike - how sad am I spending Saturday night pedaling the night away? It was really tough. I cranked up the settings for a really hard grind and feel pretty pleased with myself for being motivated enough to do it.

In truth, I can't go out anyway, I've got a date with Strictly. I have my tissues at the ready for when the Sergmeister waltzes his way off into the sunset. What am I saying? [hangs head in shame]. Seriously though, I'm forced to watch against my will. She gets me in a head lock and makes me view the screen - even holds my eyes open. I try to think of manly things. Boxing, football, golf, Linux - hang on, that's more nerdy than manly - I'll get my coat.

It's all in vain though. I just can't help but be taken by the rhythm of the beat. While there's the moonlight, oh, and a bit of music. A smidgen of love and romance. I just can't help facing the music and watching the dance. And those two faced, hypocritical judges for pressurising the Serge off the show? - don't get me started...


After a rest day on Thursday, a few problems at work yesterday prevented me from getting out for a lunchtime run. That might turn out to be a good thing - I will think of it that way so as to remain positive.

I've had a bit of a cold all week presenting as the sniffles and a dry throat. In an effort to rid myself of it, I have elected not to head out into the cold for a run but instead turn my attentions to the exercise bike. To that end I have already managed an hour this morning and I'll be climbing back on this afternoon for another hour later on.

Even though training has gone a little wrong these last few days I still feel good about getting back into it. I'm not going to let this cold derail me from the target. My focus remains and I will soon be racing as fast as ever. I even dusted off the cap-cam the other day - I can feel some filming coming on...

Thought for the day: All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still coming

Goodness me did it ever feel tough tonight. Bruce was back - and Bruce's dad too. Rick was also back on duty, bringing along Lucy F - who was running well, and she certainly kicked my butt. Jerry was playing the role of Han Solo as he strode out on his own session - he looked good though - in a running form sense I hasten to add. Blimey, maybe I should start the JH Fan Club. Gimme a J, gimme an E gimme an R - maybe not.

Right, back to what's important, the Sergeant scandal of Strictly Come Dancing - only kidding - although that is pretty important - god, what am I saying. I can't believe I outed myself - doh. Anyway, we ran three 600's with 90s recovery then four 400's with the same 90s recovery before finishing with four 200's off a shorter 60s recovery. I struggled. My breathing was like that of a 90 year old asthmatic chain smoker but however strong the urge to knock the session short was, I stuck it out. I felt sick by the end but it was good to know the mental strength is still there and I didn't buckle.

My splits were 1:58, 2:00 and 1:59 for the first set. Then 75, 74, 73 and 74s for the 400's and 33, 34, 33 and 33s. Like last week's session, I managed to increase the pace as the repetition length decreased - and I was consistent - nice. Right, I'm off to the lonely house of echo...

Thought for the day: Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More bike vicar

After a quick lunchtime trip to the local shop for a pasty - ah, good honest athlete food if ever there was - I knew my legs weren't made for running and that they wouldn't be up to running all over you - at least not today, anyway. So instead I put in half an hour on the bike - take note that I didn't follow my tried and tested training method - namely, sitting on the sofa doing sod all. No, I am a changed man and I'm feeling all the fitter for it. I've even entered another race and have my eye on one or two more! Heck, what's the world coming to.

Thought for the day: The Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need but not every man's greed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sore throat

The sore throat that started yesterday has not eased but then I guess giving it your all in a hard cross country race probably isn't exactly the best way to go about curing it - and the fact that I went out for a short run this morning with H that ended up lasting 90 minutes on the ups and downs of the Forest. Still, looking on the bright side, my return continues unabated. I cannot be stopped. I am the unstoppable comeback kid - although I never was much cop to comeback to.

The weather was pants but the company was good [winks to camera] and we even managed to see Saint Anthony's Well - but sadly there were no naked bodies to be seen.

Well that's it for the weekend. I feel a bit wiped out but it's been good. Onwards and upwards...

Thought for the day: Age wrinkles the body. Quitting wrinkles the soul.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Running for the home team

OK, that's a load of cobblers. H was a reserve for the v35 England team at the home countries cross country champs but we both ended up running the open race. I umed and ahred about it before finally deciding to run - and I'm glad I did. I enjoyed it. Ran OK and now we're off to the dinner - just hope the flipping car doesn't break down...

Friday, November 14, 2008

The weekend is here

After another day and another dollar I headed home. The drive was good - thank goodness the A40 is fixed. I managed a very humble 30 minutes on the bike - and that was enough. It has been another successful week of training on the road to recovery.

Tomorrow we head over to Swansea for the Home Countries Mastersy Vets Cross Country Racey thing and Open Competition. I hope to run for England - in my dreams do I. I'm really intending to run in the Open race - unless I catch a bout of the can't be arsed's. There should be some good watching to be had in either case as there will be some very useful vets on display, running for their countries.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not even the rain can stop me

I'm on a roll. I've located the comeback trail - it's not on any map so it is pretty hard to find - it's certainly taken me a time.

So anyway, not even the rain, in all it's nasty glory, could prevent me getting out for another run. As the midday bell tolled the Bristol Water Three, the notorious band of crocks - that's Graham, Clive and me - although Clive is the main crock - took to the hills. It was like rolling back the years as we cruised out of Ashton Court and along the tow path.

Through the onslaught of rain we ran. Onwards, ever onwards - until we'd run for about 15 minutes, that is - then we turned tail and ran home. We don't get too much time for lunch and what with showering and tarting ourselves up afterwards, a half hour run is about all we can spare. Still, a run is a run in my book, and as I pen this - or rather more correctly, tap this in - my calves are actually pretty tight. It wasn't like we sprinted or anything but the pace was more than easy and after a good go on the track last night I really feel like I've finally turned the corner. That I'm on the way back...

Thought for the day: Why sit in the office when you could get soaked and muddy on a run?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Going the long way

Welcome back Bruce. Yes, Bruce was back in the fold after a longish layoff through injury. Other than that it was just little old Sean and me with Jerry running solo under the watchful gaze of Dave - everyone knows a Dave. Rick had some business to attend to - he was Up And Running up at his shop in Clifton.

Tonight we ran with Dave B's group - you see, everyone knows a Dave. The session was three sets of 800, 600, 400 with an undetermined recovery somewhere around 60-90s depending on how quick - or in my case, how slow you ran. Sean went well although his youthful exuberance meant he ran the first set too fast and had to slow a little on subsequent ones - he'll learn.

As an aside, Dave T was on coaching duty with the girls - you see, everyone knows a Dave.

Anyway, I ran OK and although not massively quick I wasn't really that slow. My splits were 2:54, 2:07, 77s then 2:48, 2:01, 76s and 2:47, 2:07, 76s which meant that I managed to increase the lap pace as the reps got shorter so that was good.

Right, after one of my longest ever track sessions - 5.4k - I'm off to massage my tightening calves - and boy, are they tightening.

Thought for the day: It's hard to make a comeback when you haven't been anywhere.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Not a lot

It was another of those long work days. I headed out after work for a spot of moonlighting - and I found out that some of the PLC software I'd written for a client (KJE Tech) - stay with me [ claps hands to keep you awake] - has been used in the film, Mamma Mia. The confetti shot into the air, seen in the background of the final sequences of the film were produced by KJE's kit - which I coded the software for! How groovy is that? Anyway, all of which hides the fact that I did sod all training today - ho hum.

Thought for the day: If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means keep moving.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Stormy weather

As the candle burns low, pulling the blanket ever tighter to keep out the chill of the night, I type feverishly into this infernal technological device. Fighting fatigue to relate my story before it is too late. While the last vestige of my memory retains what measure of truth as has unfolded during the events of today. A truth so mystifying that it will burn deep into your very soul. The time that was foretold has come to pass.... I managed a very humble half hour on the bike in front of the telly but the important point, which we mustn't lose grasp of, is that yet again I actually did some exercise. Maybe not the greatest session but a session never the less.

Right I'm off for some kip. Tootle pip, what-oh.

Thought for the day: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Not a day to be outside

Due to the small technical problem - that we shall never mention again - that we incurred yesterday, we were not able to run our intended route - namely the Tebay race - on account of the fact that we were bloody miles away. So H went for a run on the treadmill at Beryl's gym while I graced the exercise bike down the Old Apple Yard Gymnasium, Spa and Fitness Centre.

To be honest there isn't that much to report other than I felt it in my fingers and, for that matter, I felt it in my toes.

I thank you, and goodnight.

Thought for the day: The rain in Spain falls mainly in the UK.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

It's gone tits up

We were on route to Kendal when the unthinkable happened - OK, if you have ever seen the white beast you might not think it's so unthinkable. Anyway, the beast is dead. The gear box is f&%@ed and there 'aint no chance of a resurrection. We had just about made Stafford when she blew.

Helen is understandably upset and I'm fair sad. I was looking forward to seeing her get her medals. God moves in mysterious ways.

As I pen this I am on the train back to Gloucester. I hope to make home by nine where upon I shall hop into the car and drive back to Stafford to collect Helen, the dogs, our stuff and anything else we can fit in.

This is going to be a long night. Smoke us a kipper we'll be home for breakfast...

Saturday and all's well

The cock crowed and off we set on our mid morning voyage of discovery. Ok, so it was more like an easy twirl round the area taking in the twin peaks of May and Huntley hills - but there was no murders - or none that we stumbled across. So that was a relief. The dog of a brown persuasion followed obediently in our foot steps and the now almost inevitable rumage through the litter bins was, some might say surprisingly, avoided. The rain stayed away and after an hour and twenty we returned from whence we came.

We now have the unenviable drive north for the FRA Dinner Dance. I've got my dancing shoes safely on board and I can almost hear the crowd calling for me when they recognise my professional dancing style - Sergeant, Sergeant, Sergeant.

Friday, November 07, 2008

First Friday for a while

As promised, well, more of a hint really, I managed to get out during my lunch break for a run around Ashton Court. It's changed a bit since I was last there. They have finished off the re-landscaping. There's a new car park - and yes, I noticed the CCTV cameras - and the pathways in front of the main house have been narrowed and car access restricted. It all makes for a safer environment in which to use the land but I can't help feeling it all probably cost too much. Hang on, I'm not going there again.

Anyway, Graham and I managed just over thirty minutes, running in a large loop up to the top field and back past the golf course. It was good to get out there and after feeling a bit bloated in the morning I was fully ready for the afternoon session.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Go with the percentages

As my wise Nepalese Guru once said, 'He who makes a good choice is truly a lucky man - or woman - indeed'. And so it came to pass that my choice of a tracker mortgage over a fixed has come up trumps. You can't get one like it for love nor money anymore. I truly was a lucky lucky man when I picked it - that's not to say the tables won't turn in the future because I'm sure they will - but not for a year or two.

So, what's all this got to do with running? - absolutely sod all - and with my lazy arse planted firmly on the old comfy sofa, that ain't going to change any time soon. On the flip side I have mooted the idea of going for a run with Graham tomorrow and as I raised the flag up the flag post he saluted. So if I can remember to take in my kit then by lunch tomrrow we should be out in the mid day sun over Ashton Court...

- and remember, the price of your investment can go down as well as up - so don't invest anything you can't afford to lose.

Thought for the day: Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Just the two of us

Rick is away so it was only Sean and I who were present to play. Jerry and the Eritreans - sounds like a 60's pop band - were on there own session, and by the look of it, going well.

With no instruction we decided to run 800's. I feel that longer reps are probably more in keeping with what I require at the moment and Sean was happy with that. So off we went. Sean was lapping in the region of 74-76s and edging quicker through the session. I was steady, if not fast. My times were 2:49, 2:55, 2:51, 2:52 and 2:51 - making five reps in all.

My calves really tightened after the session so I warmed down for a few laps and then f#@£ed off home. Sean hung around for a bit more work. He ran some 200's at a steady 32 seconds - or that was what he was planning. I was sloping away as he started his last few efforts. Fair play.

Well there it is. I'm pleased I made it out for another session but I've still an awful long way to go on the way back from perdition.

Monday, November 03, 2008

I'm starting to get into the groove

I made it home from work in record breaking time. The now notorious A40 road works, while not entirely finished, seem to have entered the next phase - the phase where they no longer completely shaft us car drivers. The phase where a dual carriage way is, well, a dual carriage way again. Where a slip road is, well, a slip road again. The phase where you can drive along a small section of road three miles long in under forty five minutes. You know, the type of road much like it was six months ago. Hang it, come to think of it, it was exactly like the road it was six months ago, back to the time before they ever dreamt up their evil money wasting scheme to take a piece of road, completely balls it up for six months and then return it to use pretty as it was before - good thinking there Mr Council, nice one. And to top it all off they're coming round to re-value my council tax band to make me pay for the bloody thing.

Anyway, I'm not bitter - ok, I'm completely bitter but I'll get over it and there are more important things like, operation reduce the lard. Talking of which, onto tonight's training. I got home from work to find Helen had taken first dibs on the new bike and she was busy putting her foot to the pedal. I waited my turn and set about a 48 minute hill session. I was puffing like a bastard come the end. I'm so unfit - but I finished and the limbs are just about holding up under the strain. In truth it was quite a buzz, pathetic as that may seem, but to come home from work and then be able to notch up a good workout without having to go any where else was pretty damn fine. And you know what, I think I could make it a habit...

Thought for the day: Laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Meet hammy the hamstring

I felt my hamstring pull a little yesterday - it didn't stop me putting in that final downhill effort to overtake three people mind, but it did pull slightly so I didn't run today. Instead I christened the new Reebok b5.1e exercise bike. We decided to get a fairly solid - read, mid price - not low cost, nor re-mortgage but somewhere in the middle.

I can tell you now, it's a good 'un. I can heartily recommend it if you're in the market for a mid pricer. It's got plenty of programs and near silent running - so you can stealthily draft up to the rider ahead - no, hang on, it ain't got no wheels. Anyway, I managed a steady 45 minutes on the interval setting. I can feel the hamstring but it's not too bad. I definitely need to keep an eye on it but hopefully it's just a niggle and will go away of its own accord.

Well, that's it for now. I'm off to freshen up...

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Sugar babes

My 2nd race in a week, The Sugar Loaf, was not a total load of pants - but it wasn't a million miles away. I was about 4 minutes slower than last year. Conditions weren't as good this time round so I reckon I was only 3 minutes down after seasonally adjusting the figures - if it's good enough for the government it's good enough for me - we're in a time of economic prosperity and high growth at the moment aren't we? - once we seasonally adjust, that is.

Anyway, all of which makes Helen's run all the more impressive. She set a new course record - again, running a few seconds faster than my time of last year. And it was nice to meet a load of the guys and girls from Bitton RR come to join in the fun.

Oh yeah, we even had our first snow of the winter atop the loaf - as we locals call it - that's local in the sense that it is in the UK.

Right, off to get ready for a fancy dress party - apparently I'm to go as gollum!