Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last of 2009

And so, as twas written in the prophecy, my final training of the year was a bike session. A good solid hour.

Am still undecided as to what to run tomorrow. Shall I race? And if so where? Do I travel to Weston for the Hang Over 10k or stay nearer home for the 5 mile thing in Quedgeley - if they're even doing that? Maybe just a training run somewhere. Questions. Questions.

I'm off in search of some answers...

Oh, yeah, and in case I forget, Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Back to Dundry

Yesterday's Dundry run didn't happen on account of work issues. The weather was appalling so if I'm honest I was glad of the excuse. Anyway, I decided a rest day wouldn't go amiss.

Today Dundry was back on the menu as Martin and myself took to the hill. We could not have been more fortunate with he weather. It rained in the morning. It rained in the afternoon. It did not, however, rain during our five miler up over Dundry - result. And what a result. It was another fast one. Thirty seconds quicker on the anti-clockwise version than I've run it before this year. Martin beat me again - the cad - but I was closer, and he was definitely putting in the effort.

I decided to take a look back through my logs - stop it - to see what times I was running back at the end of 2006. A time when I was at my peak. A time long gone and you know what? Today I exceeded those times. Today 31:13, back in the day 31:22. Not sure how that happened because I sure as heck know my 5k time wouldn't be anywhere near my best if I were to race today - how odd. Still, it's good to know that things continue to head in the right direction.

Now watching episode one of the Triffids on Auntie's iPlayer - sssh, no one tell me what happens...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Two peaks - the reverse

In a turn of fortunes we headed out for the anti-clockwise version of the Longhope 2 peaks route - controversial.

It was a nice steady run and for once there were no chill winds. The sun shone. The birds twittered - they've gone high tech round here! and the Brown Dog jumped stiles and fences like only she can - cocky bitch - ooh, an oxymoron (I think)!

I felt pretty good and actually managed to run all the hills. Not they're particularly steep, mind, it's just that at the moment I'm not particularly good at running. I definitely feel stronger and fitter though. I think it's coming back.

The bike awaits me later for another hour. I rate the bike as a fabulous training and it seems to be working - in my mind at least, which is half the battle.

And as a bit of techno jiggery here is the route...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Still a few ice patches

Believe it or not there are still a few ice patches out there. We went for an hour's easy run in Flaxley Wood. The temperature was cool but pleasant enough. I didn't feel the most energetic I ever have but then I do plan to hop on the bike later on.

I am severely hoping the threatened second cold snap turns out to be a figment of the forecasters imagination. The fun of the snow has well and truly worn off.


Well the bike session is now complete. I nudged up the rpms ever so slightly again. My legs feel like jelly. Showered. And ready to chill out the rest of the day.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It is upon us

I managed just 45 minutes on the bike. For all my good intentions - I took my running watch to work in case I felt the urge - it came to nothing. With my lunch run buddy, Martin, away for the hols and the office rather empty, I sat through lunch and munched my way though homemade cheese and ham sarnies instead - they were tasty...

So just the forty five minutes but that's better than a slap in the face from a wet fish.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Birthday run

With the snow having fallen all around us. Children having played - and one assumes, had fun. It's the season of love and understanding don't you know. Merry Christmas everyone. I've even built a snowman - did I type that out loud? - doh.

Me and Helen headed out into the dark, snowy night for the Longhope two peaks. That's up to Mayhill - snow a foot deep - and then over to Huntley hill - snow not a foot deep.

By the time we got back my head torch had just about given up the ghost. My depth of vision was all of 3 inches. It was enjoyable though and we were out there for an hour and twenty. It wasn't fast going but then it never is when you can't see where you're going.

So there it is. I've turned over another of the pages in life's book and started as I mean to go on - the running bit not the snowman building.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Twas the night before the day of aging

Yes, for tomorrow sees me turn thirty eight [duh duh duhh - that's the sound of orchestral music like an old B-movie at a crucial cliff hanger]. Only two more years till I turn proper OAP - I mean vet category. Technically I already am a vet but the v35 category is total nobbery and I renounce it.

Well tonight I hit the bike - with a hammer - only joking. Another day, another hour ticked off. I increased the resistance ever so slightly again. I'm definitely getting better as I wasn't struggling so much this time and held a slightly faster pace. All good.

Tomorrow I will forsake the track for the hills - sorry guys. Time for some hill reps of one form or another. Need to make sure my batteries are fully charged - the batteries in the head lamp, although it might not be such a bad idea to give mine a quick charge as well.

Right, I'm off to sample some home cooked cake - but only a little, got to watch my figure...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Hasing around the woods

We got up to a light dusting of snow - making the drive across to Tintern and the delights of the Wye Valley slightly steadyer going that would normally be the case. It was slippy in places but we made it there safely. What we did not expect on arrival was a proper organised club event. We were expecting half a dozen runners out for a friendly hash not an organised event - they took our names down and everything guvnor - not to be used in evidence though.

I've never run a hash before but knew the basics of what one was. The Chepstow crew had put on a great one with loads of markers and plenty of false trails. They must have been out right early or perhaps even the previous day to mark things out.

It was great fun. At points I was in the lead then, one wrong turn and I was back in the pack. A few minutes later, miles back and then a few more and it was back towards the lead as the then leaders took a blind alley.

With only a few hundred metres I was in second but then disaster, a final wrong turn saw me down to fourth - doh. All good fun though - and it's not like it's a real race, more a friendly gathering of runners.

Then it was into the pub for a drink, a chat and some grub - all courtesy of the Chepstow crew - very very kind of them and I can tell you, the heavenly stew went down a treat to warm the cockles...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Not quite the full shilling

I turned to the treadmill for my training today. Haven't been there for a while. I chugged away for 45 minutes on a steep hill incline. It was a good effort - in my opinion anyway.

Then I hopped on the bike, fully intending to ride for an hour on my, now normal, interval session - I didn't make it. After 30 minutes I was spent.

Tomorrow we're going for a hash run with Chepstow Harriers from Tintern at 10:30. I'm looking forward to it - oh yeah, and it'll be our 1st wedding anniversary as well!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter is here

Working from home, with my view from the window, it looked cold. As I worked from dawn till dusk it seemed to grow colder with every passing minute - I think we know where this is going [wink]. By midday it was snowing. By five past it had stopped. The cold did for me and in the end I didn't get out for a run. On the plus side I did get some quality work done - the back of the coding, the screens and a few finishing touches to the documentation, has been well and truly broken. Moving into the testing phase next week - whoo hoo.

Anyway, back to the world of (non)running I put in another hour on the bike. Over the last few sessions I've been slowly increasing the resistance as my feeling of increased fitness grows. Tonight I decided on the same session as yesterday - and I'm bloody glad I didn't notch it up a bit. It was a flippin' struggle. My legs feel jellified.

On other matters, the battle of the bulge is on again with another Christmas meal on its way tonight. Two in two days can't be good but I have at least managed to shed a few pounds - no, not in the monetary sense, all though now I mention it, anyway - over the last fortnight. Back under the big eleven - topper.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

All done and dusted

No dusting actually - get serious. The ubiquitous hour has been completed. Now I can sit and rest a while. Aiming to get out for a run tomorrow but nothing too fancy...

On your bike

Hard at it - stop it...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Can't think of a good title

Not that any of my normal titles are really that good but they are at least a tad better than tonight's offering.

The weather remained just on the right side of really cold - call me The Mad 'Three layers' Runner - make that The Mad 'Three Layers, Hat and Gloves' Runner.

Sean was pacing around quite nicely on his kilometre reps - I just about managed to keep up - but then Rick and I were only coming in on alternate 300m reps to help with the pacing. Sean was bang on 72 seconds per lap for his five reps. That put me on 54 seconds for my three hundreds which is about as fast as my little pegs have gone for quite some time.

I'm pretty happy with my efforts. A couple of the reps were off a 54s recovery while the other couple were off a two minute recovery - it all depended on which what part of Sean rep we were mixing in on and whether the it the three hundreds came during a rep or split across Sean's recovery or not. Does that make any sense at all? It does to me.

The come back continues...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Keeping it all going

I got out for another lunch time run with Martin - he didn't get out last week while I was away, naughty. We went up over Dundry on the clockwise route. Conditions were cool but it was raining - always a bonus. It was not our fastest effort and to be honest we didn't stop chatting during the entire run. It was still a good time so considering we chatted it wasn't too bad.

This evening I am to climb aboard the good ship Exercise Bike and sail across the living room to a place that I like to call In Front of the Telly - a highly magical place where tiny little people can be seen and heard - it's like having a miniature theatre in your living room - magic...

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The end of a long week

Well I felt good and strong on Stage 2 of the Calderdale Way Relay. I reckon my week of boot camp has paid dividends. I was strong on all the climbs which has been a weak point of late. It almost felt like the old me, grinding on up to the summit - not there was an awful lot of climb on our stage, only 1,400 feet but while those around me had to stop I kept on grinding which felt bloody marvellous I can tell you.

I ran with a guy called Rob Rawlinson and although I got the better of him on the up he was a bit more mental on the down and caught me back up so over the nine miles we were about even so we were well paired - as both runners have to cross the finish before the next pair can start - it being a relay and all.

This week has seen me put on just over 62 miles in eight days and more than 15,000 feet of ascent. It's been a right brill holiday and, more importantly, a gert brill training camp.

Right, now I'm off the recover...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Ras Aran Route

I'm beginning to feel the strain from this weeks exertions. Today saw me clock up my fifty third mile on my fifth consecutive day of running, starting count from Sunday's Cardington race. Total ascent is now in excess of 13,000 feet. Tomorrow I need a rest day - and probably Saturday too - I'm running leg 2 of the Calderdale Way Relay on Sunday and want to be on top form for the team.

The Ras Aran route, for those who don't know it, is an out and back affair starting from some villiage that I don't rightly know the name of - and come to think of it, wouldn't be able to pronounce it even if I did - and heads almost due south up and along a ridge to the high point of 905 metres before turning around and heading right back down again.

I struggled to keep up - that is to say, I didn't keep up at all and fell several minutes behind Helen and Brown Dog to the summit but I coped better on the descent. At ten and a half miles and about 3,000 feet of ascent it's a slightly tougher route than it first appears to be. The weather was as best we've seen it this week and with some respite in the clag we could admire the views - it was still bloody cold though, with some snow in places. Still, it's over now and I can put my feet up and relax.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Up the Rhinogs

I can now appreciate why odd fell runner goes astray in the Rhinogs fell race. The terrain is a little on the wild side.

We didn't recce the entire race route as we couldn't be arsed to drive the 30 to 40 miles required to get all the way around to Llanbedr from where we are staying. Instead we drove four miles up the road, parked up and ran across to the Rhinogs from this side.

Our first ascent was up to Rhinog Fach. We found a well defined path which took us all the way. At the top the clag was down but that was no problem for my trusty forerunner gps. From Rhinog Fach it got rocky and the going slowed. Eventually it opened out onto open fell and we motored across to Moel Fre - although some might say 'motored' was a little bit of an exageration, perhaps pootled might have been more apt.

Anyway, from Moel Fre we moved off the race route and headed down to the road and followed that in the general direction of Rhinog Fawr to save some distance. Eventually we made it to the end of the road and headed back into the mountains. After what seemed like hours, miles of boggy swamps and some hundred feet of ascent we made it to the top of Rhinog Fawr. The descent was not without incident.

Top tip, when running a long run - and at 24km and 4,800 feet of ascent, I think we can consider this a long one - do not save the rockiest, most technical bit until you are completely knackered - doh.

The descent was slow going as we traversed from boulder to rock, from rock deep heather - it got even slower when Pedwar became transfixed to the spot with fear and wouldn't go any further. After some cajoling from Helen - not to mention twenty wasted minutes - he finally made it down.

On the final 2 mile run in we discovered that Brown Dog was limping on her front right. Nothing seems broken but it will probably put her out of action for tomorrow's run. Me, on the other hand? Well I've run a lot more than my normal weekly mileage in three days and although my calves ache, my quads burn, my back is sore and my arms have dropped off - I should be good for another run tomorrow.

Boot camp continues...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Rhobell Fawr

With the rain just about holding we went for a recce of the Rhobell Fawr race. Parking at Tyn-y-Groes, some 2 miles away from the race start, we pootled up hill along the road before heading onto the bridle path and the race route proper.

It's one of those out and back affairs but interesting all the same. The section across the open hillside was bleak - not to mention boggy. The summit was in the clag and visibility was low. Helen pulled away from me as we approached the top but due to my superior line I arrived at the summit first - I shall, of course, pay for that last comment - oh well. Not wanting to get too cold at the trig we didn't hang around long before heading back down.

In all we covered 11.5 miles and just over 2,500 feet of ascent. After my third day in a row I feel a bit tired so I need to rest up. The worst is yet to come as we head off to recce the Rhinogs tomorrow. The terrain looks fearsome and it's going to be a much longer run than anything we've run so far...

Monday, December 07, 2009

Easy but wet, very wet

We rolled out of bed late - what are holidays's for if not to have a massive lie-in? Then it was up and at 'em as we headed out with B and P for an easy run.

It was pouring with rain and more than a little chilly. At one point it almost stopped raining but that was me being silly - of course it wasn't going to stop raining.

We covered 11km and 1,200ft of ascent in an awe inspiringly slow time of one hour and fifteen minutes - simply stunning.

Tomorrow we have a more strenuous run planned up some mountain. Do you know you can't move for mountains up here in the Snowdonia National Park? - funny that.

Boot camp is well underway. I intend to have lost a few pounds by this time next week, coming home a leaner, meaner running machiner...

Sunday, December 06, 2009


First off, Helen claimed her third consecutive victory in a row in the woman's race, a feat never before achieved - I, on the otherhand, did not.

Well, with the pleasantries out the way, I had a gert ace race. I was 3 minutes quicker than last year and believe it or not, a pb!!! My first pb for - well, I can't remember how long - but we are talking at least two years if not three. Mind you I have only run the race once before and that was last year when I was at my most rubbish. It does at least mean that maybe I have reached my nadir and that I'm finally on the way back up.

We met Pat W and Mike B at the start. Helen beat Pat but not Mike. I beat neither. Still I had a bloody good run, really worked hard and did I mention, beat last years time by three minutes.

I'm a bit knackered know but it's good to know that upping the training a tad is beginning to show through.

And it's stopped raining, here in Snowdonia. For how long? No one knows...

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thirty five

Yes, thirty five seconds quicker on my lunchtime run up over Dundry than I've gone before (At least this year). Neither Martin or myself really felt up for it but within a few minutes we were tanking along. OK, 'tanking' is probably over stating it a tad but we went well. It was our ascent that gave us the time, reaching the top those 35s quicker than the previous fastest. From there we held things together back to the office - although Martin did pull away in the last kilometre as I faded a fraction. I have to say I felt much the better for it.

Onto tonight's session - yes, for it was yet another double day for me - I ran the same six 400m's with a similar recovery as last week. Sean started 100m back and just about caught me on the first few. Rick is starting to pick things up ahead of next Sunday's Gwent League.

My splits were up on last week but my legs felt heavy. Within the first 50-200 metres of each lap I was relying on my mental strength to keep me pushing to the finish. I kept it together to register splits of 81, 80, 78.5, 76.5, 74.5 and 77s. Which statistically speaking - nerd-i-ness alert - means I ran the session a cumulative five and a half seconds quicker than last week - and that's in addition to the quicker lunch run - I believe the statement 'booyaka' is in order at this juncture.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

What is this thing we call winter?

It's taken till December but today saw the first frost of the winter - at least in my neck of the woods. Is it me or does December seem well into winter for the first frost? And I chose today - or rather work did - for an out of office experience. It was cold. I wore an extra layer but by the end of the day I was chilled. Anyway, enough of the sob story.

I didn't feel like a run in the cool evening breeze - even though it wasn't raining for once. I chose the bike again. Better than nothing but not quite a run. Still, I feel it in my quads. Up tomorrow is a lunchtime run - hopefully - and then my usual evening track session.

Monday, November 30, 2009

You know what Monday means...

the Gadget Show - yeah - and an hour on the bike - yeah - eh?.

I really notched it up a bit for tonight's session. My legs are feeling rather jelly like right now. I haven't even ventured forth to the shower just yet on account of still radiating vast amounts of thermal energy - but, I hasten to add, zero greenhouse emissions - nor, for that matter, any non-greenhouse emissions either - I think I'll shut up now.

Not sure what I'm going to muster up for tomorrow's training. I'm out of the office so a lunch run is out. Will I still have the energy by the time I get home? That's the bigy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Well that;s the Blorenge for another year

I really felt like staying in bed and missing the Blorenge but H convinced me to go.

Conditions were as wet as I known them - no surprise there then, in the midst of this heat wave we're having - but it wasn't any more slippy on the steep, treacherous woodland section on the way out and back.

I went out - as has become the norm - 'steady'. Overtook a few on the way to the top and held on the fast run back. I was hoping to collect a few scalps on the descent but in the end I'm happy to settle for all square. My time (33:18) was a minute slower than last year but I didn't feel I fully committed to the race this time around. All in all it wasn't too bad. (I was 28th of a record field of 75 on account of it being a Championship race so a lot of the North Wales crew came down to run).

Now onto more important matters. I won my first ever monetary valued prize!!! EVER. OK, so it wasn't cash but a ten pound voucher for running stuff is almost as good - unless, of course, you don't run, in which case it would be a bit rubbish. Anyway, I was third senior man in the South Wales Summer Fell Series - how that happened, heaven only knows, but the stats don't lie and along with said voucher I won a sacred mug. The holy grail of the South Walesian fell running scene. A mug. 'The' mug......

Friday, November 27, 2009

Over the top

As you might have guessed from the tweets I got out for another Dundry run with Martin. He was a man possessed. From the first road crossing onwards there was no stopping him as he moved steadily out the front door.

I didn't feel too tired before the run but as I tried to reduce the speed at which he pulled away I just ended up getting more and more fatigued. The hill was a struggle - and he claimed he struggled too, but I didn't seem to gain any.

I reached the top to find Martin out of sight. As I ran back down - at least running the anti-clockwise loop it's all downhill from the top - I hit a massive puddle with no option but to pile on through - water to the ankle - doh.

I'm glad I keep getting out there on a lunchtime. It's good to have someone to run with - or on today's performance, run miles behind - but it doesn't seem to be getting any easier. I'm sticking with it...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Have they lengthened the track?

I managed to get out for a run at lunch with Martin. He posted a cracking time yesterday, 19:09 in the wind was a great effort. We were both a bit tired as we chugged up over Dundry against that damned wind - again. Does the agony never end? Do we have to spend all eternity battling the demon that is 'a strong gust or two'? OK, that's probably over stating it a bit. We ran watchless but I have a feeling we might have been a few seconds slower than last time.

There is no rest for the wicked - and after yesterday's appalling time, I am truly wicked - but not it a down with the kiddies, good way - I headed out to the track for some more penance.

Sean was back and running strongly. It was still windy but not as bad as earlier in the day. I ran six 400's with a goodly recovery. I started slow and sped up. My first was a lack lustre 84s! - now that's what I call lack lustre. Then came an improved 81s, a 79s, two 77s and a final push for a 75s. My legs were feeling very heavy and although I only managed six I'm still pleased.

Now I rest.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You know your in trouble when...

You get the 'burn' in your legs half way up the second flight of steps to your office - doh.

It was windy tonight. Possibly the windiest I've know it at the Bridge Inn. And being the Bridge, what wind there is, is right into you on the way home - bummer.

I ran like fourteen sacks of potatos. I'm obviously not over my five and a half hours of running on the weekend. I don't feel in any way stiff - stop it - but my legs feel tired. It seems strange but I thought I might go all right tonight - but I was wrong.

I intend to head out for a run at lunch tomorrow and then hit the track later on. That might seem too much but I'm so flamin' slow right now I could run a million miles for one of your smiles, my mammy - what the hell was that - a million miles and it wouldn't make me any slower. I need to up things...

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Well I am - totally.

It's been a great weekend though. Totally pants weather, mind, but that didn't spoil the fun. Friday's drive up the M6 - leaving at 5, such that we did - was actually pretty good for once. There was none of the normal stop start above Stafford. We moved along at a steady pace and got up to the Hebdon Bridge area right on schedule - M6 as it is, that doesn't happen often.

We stayed at the luxurious Hotel du Anne and Bill - a most excellent establishment with on suite self catering cottage available at reasonable prices in the heart of some truly great countryside on which to run - brilliant.

Saturday's Tour of Pendle went fine until about 13 miles when I ran out of puff. The last few miles were killer, including two of the steeper climbs. I finished in 3:27 but was on for somewhere near 3:10 before I faded. Helen was second in under 3 - I wonder when she'll stop bragging about by how much she beat me - doh.

The Calder Do in the evening was fun. I had drooping eyelids not to mention drooping legs by the end but everyone seemed to have fun.

Then this morning we went out to recce the Noonstone race, we'd arranged a semi official club recce with lots of agreed attendees. Due to various illnesses - read hung over - there were only four of us in the end but it was good all the same. The race is run over some quite wild moorland and it was 8 miles of mostly tough going - and boggy, most definitely boggy.

The drive home was uneventful and soon, very soon sleep will come...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Just a quickie

Things have been a bit - read, unbelievably - hectic. We are just about to head up north and I've not had time to train nor gert nuffin' since Wednesday. Not that I intended much, mind, but my planned easy hour on the bike didn't happen due to unforeseen required house maintenance - bugger.

Will the weather hold? Will I survive a 16 mile race in the hills? Will we all be doomed? And why did that chicken cross the road? Find out in a day or two... (excepting the chickens road crossing antics]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

79 to 81 duh duh dah radio 2

no, hang on, that's 88 2 91 - which is too slow even for me. No, I ran my laps in the range 79 to 81 seconds - except for the first one, which was 83 seconds - bummer. I'm getting ahead of myself.

Sean couldn't get away from work, so having arranged to transfer the generator to Rick in a secret car park rendezvous - I was wearing a dark rain coat, Rick was wearing dark sunglasses and a trilby as we made the transfer - we carried on to the track and ran eight 400 reps with a walked 100m recovery.

It was windy but thankfully the rain held off. I struggled a bit and after two or three was puffin somewhat. I have to admit I was slightly lagging and stretching out the recovery - Rick was having to wait for me, but only slightly, mind. I was bloody glad when it was all over.

I guess I should explain that I had already been out for a lunch time run up over Dundry - if you hadn't already read the tweet. It was a good run but a hard one - stop it. We - that's Martin and I - ran the clockwise Dundry route which today happened to be into the eye of the wind on the climb. We reached the top five seconds down on our last run but after a steady run in the second half, we got back thirty seconds up - with Martin still claiming the win - not that we were racing.

Another double run day which pleases me but I must taper from now for the Tour of Pendle on Saturday or I'll be doomed - doomed I tells ya, doomed...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rest, sweet rest

I thought about a lunch time run - for all of 2.3s. The weather has been rubbish. The forecast 4 tomorrow looks better - so I'm going to be giving some serious thought to a lunch time run. Honest, I'm going to be giving serious thought to it - I might not actually get out there, mind, but you can rest assured I will have given it full thought.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All the two's

We went out for 20k this morning (/afternoon on account of being a bit wishy washy but eventually we did get out there) which included 2,000 feet of ascent.

At the start I ran like a bag of poo. Helen pulled away effortlessly on the first climb while I blundered along, puffing and panting like a tired, old pony. Eventually I found my feet - they were hiding behind a gnarled old oak tree, to which someone hadn't tied a yellow ribbon.

I feel sleepy now but I can't rest. It's been a good week of training for me but I must keep it moving forward. I've just entered the Tour of Pendle, a gruelling 16 miler for which I am totally unprepared. I have all of a week to prepare :)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lovely weather

This spell of wet and windy weather is just the medicine the doctor ordered to make one feel like running. It makes it an absolute pleasure to feel the drips down your spine and the wind blast a chill breeze across your face. Lovely. Just lovely.


Anyway, despite that, I did get out for a run with Martin up over Dundry but alas, I felt knackered. He beat me to a pulp and I was a minute slower than Wednesday. At one point near the top of the climb I was going so slowly that I was all but running on the spot! Eventually I made it over and onto the downhill back to the office.

The drive home was a nightmare. The good driving conditions really brought out the best in some drivers. And just as I thought the nightmare was ending, inside 5 miles of home, the traffic on the A40 ground to a halt. I turned tale, dipped down country lanes and finally made it home - a frickin' long time after I set out - not back of the net. Far, far from back of the net.

I'm tired now, so tired - and a bit grumpy, as if you couldn't tell. It is defo time to veg on the sofa - and I never did find out why the traffic came to a stop.

Helen in runs for England tomorrow in the Master Cross Country thingy up Birmingham way...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Easy does it

I feel good after yesterday's training but - yes, there's always a but - I feel a bit lethargic. The weather is, how shall I put it, pants. It was an intensive day at work and the drive home through the spray was tiring. Tonight I rest, without guilt or fear of retribution, I rest.

Tomorrow I have another lunch time run planned with Martin. Dundry...

Addendum - sod taking it easy... Gimme back my speed!!!

I know I can't be idle if I want to go faster - and I really do want to go faster. I forewent the being a lazy bastard and hopped on the bike for a sweat producing hour - and I did produce some sweat - but that's probably too much information. My legs feel wobbly. In fact, I feel near bonked - to steal a biking phrase - so I'm off to get some carbs and a bit o' protein to refuel...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Whoa, what just happened?

Have they put something in the water? - oops, better not moot such wild conjecture. Has there been a ripple across the space time continuum? Yes? No? Maybe?

The reason for such speculation is that in times such as these. Hard times, rough times - and in tonights case, wet times - finding my way out the door for 'a' run is testing. Sometimes I do, sadly, other times I do not. Today was an I do day. In fact, it was an I do do day. Yes - hold onto something - I ran twice today. Yes, I did say twice - I'm practically a professional athlete.

At lunch I got out for a solo run up over Dundry in a time a minute quicker than last Thursday's run. I ran steady to the hill. Worked hard on the hill all the way to the top before easing back over the top and downhill back to work. It was a good run.

Then tonight, in the cold and wet evening air - conditions I'd be forgiven for bottling - I hit the track. Sean was late but just as Rick and I were about to start up he popped. He ran five 1km reps off a jogged 200m recovery. I wasn't up to kilometre reps so ran five 500m efforts off a longer recovery, starting each of my reps with Sean on his. Rick ran 200's during Sean reps, while both pacing and timing him - if that makes any sense.

I was pleased with by times of 1:45, 1:41, 1:37, 1:35 and 1:39. It was slippy in flats but I'm not risking the spikes just yet. I've no niggles at the moment but don't want to tempt things. I'm buzzing just a little bit but I'll not get carried away. It's been a good day.

So there it is. One day. Two runs - bargain. I've another Dundry run planned for tomorrow or Friday depending upon whether Martin and I make it back to the office for lunch tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Easy run

A forty five minute easy run was enough for me this evening. I got out there and ran. I need to make sure I keep on getting out there. Now is the time for feet up.

I might try a lunch time run tomorrow before my track session in the evening. That might be overdoing it - and too be honest the chances of getting out there at lunch are... slim, very slim. Let's face it getting out once every couple of days is optimistic from me, so twice? - I'm 'avin a laugh...

Monday, November 09, 2009

Monday, Monday

I was going to go for a run at work. Now when I say 'was going...' what I really mean is 'I thought about it (for all of about five minutes' and I really might have gone for one if I wasn't tied up at midday. Oh well.

I made sure I did something though, and hopped on the exercise bike to watch the Gadget Show and while away a happy hour - not that type of happy hour, silly. It was a good solid hour's effort and after a quick shower I am well and truly ready for operation feet up...

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The day that time forgot

It was a very long day yesterday. Technically, I suppose, it wasn't actually any longer than any other day but we were awake for a long time so it seemed long.

I was pleased with my run in the Shepherds Skyline race. I got a bit hemmed in at the start and lost a bit of time in the first half mile until things spread out but I guess what energy I didn't use up then I was able to utilise later - still feel I like it was a net loss though. Helen zoomed away at the start and I didn't see her at all during the race. She won the women's race from Anna Lupton, the first time she's beaten Anna so she was pleased. I was 62nd of 263 so inside the top 25% but not as near to the top as I want to be - guess I need to do a bit of training.

The Calder mob, apparently as rowdy as ever, picked up a great number of awards at the FRA Dinner. Though it has to be said the women far outshine the men. In fact, I not sure there was a single award collected for the men. The best part though, has to be the fact we actually got there this year - I'm so glad we weren't hit with any van trouble this time around so Helen could collect her Silver Medal in the British Championships along with team golds in the English and British Champs.

Anyway, I'm mentally drained after the long couple of days and a lot of travelling. Home now and about to commence operation couch potato...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Lunch on the run

We went back up over Dundry again, Martin and I, that is. It didn't feel like we were going that much quicker but we were forty seconds up after the climb and then shaved another forty off from there to the end. It's true we didn't ease up as much on the run in but we certainly didn't run all out so I'm pleased there was improvement. I've been lazy this week and deserve a slap really.

On other matters, was it National change lane like a right nobber day today? The traffic across to the M5 was, quite simply, arse. People changing into my lane, other changing out, more in, others out, in, out, in, out - I think we can see where this is going - no, nobody started shaking it all about - because that would have really pissed me off. Still, once I was onto the five things improved and people started driving less like nobbers - there were still a few out there mind.

Tomorrow we are headed up north for a race and the FRA dinner. I'm off to choose my outfit... (like f#&k...)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

A bit lazy

I was a bit lazy tonight. It was raining hard and I felt tired. I know I've not run since Sunday but I did manage a bike session. I shall be taking my kit to work where hopefully I can get out for a lunch time run - still haven't located that missing pair of trainers. I'm beginning to think they aren't coming back...

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Two thousand feet

With Lord Hereford's Knob long discarded we went out for a run from home instead. The weather had improved and although windy it didn't rain. In all we covered twelve and a half miles across May Hill and beyond to Kilcot and back. I was surprised to discover the run included about 2,100 feet of ascent. No surprise I feel absolutely knackered now though. Yesterday's race, although shortish, took it out of me but I'm glad I got out there today.

The route went a bit wrong - I shan't blame the navigator though ;) It made for an interesting run. Boggy in places but at least it was somewhere I haven't before - not sure I want to go there again, mind, but I definitely haven't been there before.

With five runs under my belt this week, I shall sleep well tonight, Horatio.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sugar and spice

and a few things nice - like a lung busting, leg aching race up to Sugar Loaf mountain and back - awesome dude - where the hell did that come from. Next I'll be 'have a nice day'ing. I'm stopping that right now.

Conditions were as close to perfect as you could get. A slight breeze. Cool temperatures. Medium to soft going and 105 fellow competitors all surging across the landscape to Sugar Loaf mountain, covering 5.5 miles and 1,400 feet of ascent (I think).

I was in determined mood - determined to beat last years time. I set off towards the front but not right up there and took it steady on the first climb up the road. Once onto the fell I pulled back a few places but continued to run steadily. The Sugar Loaf (Winter version - that's the one today, as opposed to the one in the spring) is a race of two halves - a first half and then funnily, a second one. I managed to run most of the way to the top except the last sharply steep bit.

It took me a couple of minutes to find my downhill legs after the summit and I lost some ground on the lad ahead. Eventually I got going and picked up a few more places on the fast run to the far point of the course. From there it was a steady grind back up a ways before hanging on for the last couple of kilometres which are flat and then downward.

I finished in a time of 46:50, which is 36 seconds faster than last year so it was mission accomplished.

Helen wasn't able to retain her title as she was running in the Cross Country Relays up in Mansfield. Tomorrow we are off for a long run up Lord Hereford's Knob - now if ever there was an ooh 'er mrs waiting to be typed, this is it - ooh 'er mrs

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Doing lunch

Well, the lunch time run was a success. A success in the sense that I actually got out for a run - and I headed out with work colleague and new arch nemesis, Martin.

We headed out on the Dundry loop - and I found it hard going. It's been a while - and it showed, as I puffed and panted my way around the route. I enjoyed getting back out there though. Hopefully we'll manage to get out once or twice a week - it definitely helps running with someone - it makes the likelihood of me actually going for a run about ten times more likely. It might only be five miles but every little helps and you can at least run a good, strong effort on the main hill...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tiptoe through the track

My legs were a bit knackered tonight. We ran just five 400's - well technically Sean ran six - on account of the fact that he ran six. I should mention he was out on 500's as well but you don't need to know that so I'll keep that secret.

Anyway, I wasn't quick but there we are. Have to admit I'm flagging to find the time this week. I need to energise. On the upside I've a midday run planned for tomorrow with Martin from the office and possibly Graham. Am desperate to get back into the habit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not update

And the time is in - a whole 32 seconds quicker than last month, 19:27. Still not fast enough. School report, 'must do better'.


I was up for it tonight. I tried my best. I really did. It was not enough.

My first mistake occurred in the first kilometre - too quick, way too quick. Actually that was the mistake. Too quick, way to quick.

My tactic was to go out quick and not pootle at the rear - oh er - but I was too ambitious and paid the ultimate price - OK, not the ultimate price, but it was an expense. As the miles clocked by I got slower and slower. Finally, as the finish podium rose into view, through the moorland mist, I made my final sprint towards the line but it was all in vain - I overtake 3 people but that was no bonus.

I was slow - but I sensed, better than last month. I say 'sense' because I had a watch failure in that I double tapped the timer so I didn't actually time the race at all. I am on the edge of my seat as to the time - hang on, no I'm not. I pretty much know it's going to be quicker than last time but not as quick as I wanted.

Back to the drawing board...

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Yes, I nearly passed out as I pedalled away on the exercise bike - Brown Dog was passing gas - and it wasn't pleasant. I have a feeling it was probably against the Geneva Conventions - it certainly infringed on my basic human right to breath fresh, clean air - and to think there was all that trouble with the smoking in public places, that wouldn't hold a candle to Mrs B's flatulence - hang on, come to think of, I don't think anyone should be holding any sort of naked flame near Mrs B on tonight's form...

Anyway, now that I have recuperated, I can admit to having failed to get out for a run, managing an hour on the bike instead - not a substitute but something at least. Now I just need to taper back now before Tuesday's Bridge where I hope to go a bit quicker than of late. I'm not going to stick my neck out and make a prediction - call me namby pamby if you must - suffice to say I won't be pootling along at the rear when the gun fires.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A medium

It was over to the Black Mountains this morning with Rob G, Helen and Brown Dog. The weather was pants. The view from the tops were lovely - a sort of misty white in all directions. Rob was way too fast for me but he gamely kept coming back to make sure I was still there.

The run itself was good. I feel a bit knackered now - and very very wet. I was soaked through to the skin by the finish - even my pants are... too much information. At 2,700 feet of ascent and about ten and a half miles it was a good distance for me. I'm going to be really gunning for it at the Bridge Inn so need to spare myself before then. I'm going to - if I can be arsed, which I hope I will - get out for am easy run tomorrow. I only hope the weather is improved. The drizzle is so miserable.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I better explain

The lack of training at the track yesterday was down to the fact that my calves were still really really painful. It's the first time in ages that I've been out of action for three days after a race. The pegs are still sore today - but fortunately they are now easing. I only managed an hour on the bike yesterday, which is by no means an acceptable replacement for my intended session on the track - kilometre reps - but what can I say? If you'd been in my legs - I mean shoes - you would have done the same.

Anyway, I'm looking for a race for the weekend and then it's target race, Bridge Inn on Tuesday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still recovering

It was a hard race yesterday. My legs are totally sore and aching. I can hardly believe how slowly I've been shuffling around. Today is most definitely a day of rest. Yesterday's Exmoor Stagger was a very enjoyable race - and worth today's pain. One for the calendar me thinks.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm really coming back

I had a great race down at Minehead in the Exmoor Stagger. 15 Miles is just outside my current comfort zone and if I'm honest, unlike last weeks race, I struggled in the last mile or so - and it was downhill! But then I was desperately trying to claim back one of the places I gave away on the final climb so I was really pushing with every last bit of energy. Anyway, I did get the place back and then kept pushing to the end to keep ahead. I didn't ease off.

Where I was buzzing after the end of last weeks race I was struggling to stay upright after this one. I was totally shattered but with a time of 2:20 I'm well pleased. As I wrote in a previous post, I set myself a target of 2:25 but would've been happy with 2:30 so...

I really feel it's all starting to go in the right direction. I'm still not clocking up enough miles in training but these tough races I keep doing seem to be doing the trick and I really do enjoy racing. The thrill of the chase. Trying to overtake the person ahead. Keeping ahead of the person behind. Brilliant. I can't get enough - stop it...

Oh, and I think I was 21st, so just outside the top twenty but as near as dammit as makes no difference.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gone to the dogs

Just me and the pooches today. Helen was off to the National Road Relays - where she ran her course PB - or as that nobber on the telly screams, 'life time best' - life time best? LTB? I don't recall 'LTB' ever coming up on the results screen? Am I missing something? It comes up 'PB', that's P as in personal and B as in Best - get it sorted - I digress. Then she's up to the Lake District for tomorrow's Fell Relays - good luck Calder Valley.

I went round Flaxley Woods at a very leisurely pace with said hounds. Ern, as is his want, did his normal disappearing trick - Houndini- I mean, Houdini, would have been proud. Eventually he reappeared and we all went home for tea.

I think I'm ready for the tomorrow's Exmoor Stagger. It's going to be an early start but it looks like a good race so it'll be worth it...

Friday, October 16, 2009

I've decided to stagger

No, my poor, crippled, old dishevelled body hasn't given up the ghost quite yet - I'm on another comeback don't you know? No, I'm talking Minehead Running Club's Exmoor Stagger on Sunday. I've decided to go for it over the 15 mile course up to the Dunkery Beacon and back. It sounds like a bit of a tough one - indeed, some might call it a fell race, what, with over 3,600 feet of ascent.

I'm still buoyed by my performance in last weeks Muddle - and the fact that my kilometre reps are coming along nicely - it'll be another six of them next Wednesday and hopefully a few seconds faster as well.

I reckon the top twenty could be in range and I'm setting myself a time target of 2:25. I'm going to be going out of my comfort zone - again - but the racing as training seems to be working.

Oh, and before I forget, I've finally decided on my target race for October - and it's a bit sad - but I've chosen my home fixture of the Bridge Inn 5k. I figure it will be good to gauge my performance against my kilometre reps...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Didn't want to

but I did. Six kilometre reps at the track - as promised.

Both my calves are tight but I did it - those six one kilometre reps off a 2 minute recovery. The boredom of running long reps on the track is, quite simply, mind numbing. At points I nearly slipped - into a coma - but I came through. I just about managed 3:43's (ish) but one, the third I think, slipped a bit. My come back continues...

I still haven't found my target race for the end of the month though - that's a worry.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Muddling through...

the Mendip Muddle.

I went well today. It's a hard route - and the rain throughout didn't exactly lighten the load. It's not so much the ascent that makes it a hard race - compared to a true fell race there weren't any sustained long or steep climbs - more the sheer speed of it. You have to push all the way. There's no place to let your foot off the accelerator. It's just a sustained, hard effort from start to finish - and for possibly the first time this year I really did push as hard as I could the entire way. It's the first time I haven't run out of gas in a medium to long race - 20km.

I feel really pleased that things are finally starting to move forward. My 31st place in a time of 1:37:27 on a hilly route from a field of 220+ makes me feel positive. I just need to start adding a bit more structure to the training and I can build from here. But for now I'm just plain knackered.

Helen broke the womens record by around a minute. A record that has stood since 1997.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Easy run just for fun

We went out for an hour and ten minutes in Flaxley and then Blaisdon Woods. It was most definitely not the worlds fastest ever run. Mrs B, Pedwar and Ernie - or as I like to call him, Barry - accompanied us. I was slow but Barry, well, he was something else...

Tomorrow we're off to the Mendips for the Muddle. I'm not ready for a quick 12 miler but what the heck. In for a penny in for a pound. Will the kilometre reps will have any effect? Probably not seeing as though I've only run two sessions so far...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Firing on all cylinders

I made the weeks final travel to Bristol and back to collect as many bags of the cuttings, prunings and garden waste that I could squeeze into the van - it was quite a lot. Then it was back home to start my fire - and boy was it a big one - stop it. After aligning the fuel - that's the cuttings etc - into a mathematically optimum configuration for maximising the through put of air to provide a large up flow and peak per thermal magnitude per cubic metre of heat - I threw on a match and up she went. That's to say mucho big flames.

On the training front I went for an hour on the bike in front of the telly. It's the Mendip muddle on Sunday and I need to taper a bit. Then it'll be back for six kilometre reps on Wednesday.

Four hours later she still burneth on...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wet Wednesday

After a wet day it was, unsurprisingly, a wet night. My back is still aching, right in the middle, between the shoulder blades. No seated posture seems to ease it - oh well, I'll have to stand - the hell I will.

I was, as promised, running another set of kilometre reps over at the track. Sean was on the old 900, 500, 300m session and he looked to be going well - as he came cruising past as I plodded along.

After last weeks three, this week was going to be four reps on the same two minute recovery 'cept it went a bit wrong. Rick strolls up and says, 'It's five tonight then Dave'. Trigger brain freeze - must have been the wet and cold - did I mention it was cold as well as wet? I could've just said, no it's four but I didn't and agreed to the five - doh. There was no backing out. I was locked into five reps and you know what? I stuck to the task and ran the five - did I mention it was wet? and cold?

My splits were 3:42/43's, a little slower than last week but still faster than my current 5k pace and I kept within the two minute recovery so I'm pleased.

And finally, if that Rick mentions any number greater than six next week he's getting a slap...

[Secretly I'm pleased, it was good for me to run five reps - but don't tell Rick that]

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tougher than training

I didn't get out for training yesterday nor, in fact, today. I have, however, been working like a machine in the back garden - stop it, that's not a euphemism - I really have been pruning, cutting and chopping like a man possessed. It's all got a bit over grown out back - I said stop it. So much so that you really couldn't tell whether there was a garden below the undergrowth or not. Well there's no mistaking it any more. There is definitely a garden there now and I have uncovered it.

My arms and back are aching but it's a good job done - that needed doing severely. There's now just the small matter of taking all the bags of 'green stuff' to the local recycling centre - doh.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

It's not right but it's ok

With the armed police ready to shoot on sight I was on best behaviour as I headed out for a two to three mile warm up. My legs didn't feel too bad but I could definitely detect something in my quads. Conditions were good. Not too much wind but almost too much sun for me - I's a cold weather man. Anyway, off we set at 10:30 which for me was a voyage of discovery.

I ran controlled and went through the first couple of miles on my target of 6:30. After than I dropped back towards 6:45 but still steady and controlled. I began to set my sights on 66 minutes because I didn't feel too bad, almost relaxed. As I worked my way through the field I almost - emphasis on almost - began to enjoy it. I'm not sure a 10 miler can ever be described as enjoyable. It's just plain hard work from the gun to the tape with no let up for good behaviour.

Anyway, it was all going OK and I was through 10k in a season best time of 41:10 (3 seconds inside my previous SB - which was actually in a 10k race funnily) but after hitting mile seven I started to deteriorate. My lack of training showed like a beacon of light of a grey day. I slowed. Then I slowed a bit more. And finally in the last mile, a little bit more. I eventually finished in a time of 67:40ish.

Overall I'm happy with that. It gives me a marker. And now I'm off to choose my month end target race...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A chat and a race

As the assembled field headed off up towards Fan Fawr upon the firing of the starters gun - or in fell running terms, the race organiser saying the words, 'right that's about it, off you go' - I settled into last but three place for a chat with Dick Finch P.I. I was in determined mood. There was no way I was going to run quickly - I was determined of that. Helen disappeared into the distance very quickly and subsequently won the women's race.

As I approached the half way point of the climb I put in a tiny amount of effort to move myself towards the middle of the pack. It was quite hard to not push on though - it was a difficult task but I was up to the challenge. I cruised along the top before descending slowly back down to the finish. Result. With race one of the winter series under my belt I've only got another six to go before that mug is mine, all mine, ha ha ha ha [deep, evil booming laughter]

Anyway, I'm off to relax now ahead of tomorrow's Oldbury 10 - where I will be trying all out - promise.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Recovery of sorts

I didn't want to work too hard tonight. It's Oldbury on Sunday and I need to recover and taper. I had a 'moment' last night. A lifting of the fog. I don't want to trundle along any more. I don't want to scrape just under twenty minutes anymore. It's time to make my stand. Draw the line in the sand and get down to it. I can dilly dally no more. Tonight was the start.

I ran three 1km reps tonight off a two minute recovery. My reps were 3:45, 3:40 and 3:37. It felt reasonable. Yes, I worked hard but not on the limit - Oldbury on Sunday remember, what, what.

Over the next few weeks I want to build to six reps off the same two minute recovery. Then the aim is to bring the time down. At the moment 3:40 is well beyond my 5k pace. It's going to be hard work but I need to do it.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I didn't bridge the gap

What a bag of poo. From that you can take it I didn't quite run as quickly as I wanted to. In fact, I was really bad. Worse, in fact, than I feared. I don't want to blame Saturday's race - I should have recovered shouldn't I? No, it was an eye opener tonight as to quite how slow I have become - 65 minutes at Oldbury is looking well dodgy but I'm a fighter and I'm going to give it a shot - my best shot.

I've decided to elect the October Bridge as my next focus race after Oldbury and I'm going to make sure I do at least four kilometre or mile rep sessions between now and then - and you can slap me if I don't.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Quickly does it

The blog post - not my running.

No training today on account of achy, sore legs. They do, however, feel improved this evening - just in time for me to run really quickly at tomorrow's Bridge Inn 5k - that's a laugh. I haven't a clue what time I shall run. I will just run it and see how it goes.

Then up is Fan Fawr on Saturday and the Oldbury 10 on Sunday - I wouldn't normally race the day before a target race - stop laughing - but I need to run Fan Fawr so I can qualify for the Welsh Series Mug. Only those who run all seven races 'win' the coveted Welsh Series Mug. I missed out last year by one race so I'm out to 'win' it this year - hence the need to run it this coming Saturday. It's a hard life...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Just a walk on the hill

May Hill - and boy are my legs knackered. Just trying to walk up the hill was bad enough I can't contemplate running.

As I don't think I mentioned it in yesterday's post I was round the BM's in 3 hours and 27 minutes. So I just about scrapped inside my self imposed 3 and a half hour target. I really did not have much to spare. From the third hill that target looked well easy but on that climb to Crug Mawr doubts began to form so I'm just glad I managed it. I was 27th out of the 70 plus runners, so on what little fitness I have that's pretty good.

There is a very small chance that I might climb on board the ss exercise bike later but it really is a very small chance - we're talking lottery style odds.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A little bit knackered

As I stood on the start line looking like a cross between John McEnroe, almost a runner and a one legged donkey I thought ahead to the challenge that lay before me - the Black Mountains race. At 17 miles and 5,000 feet of ascent I wasn't really sure I could finish. At high noon we set off. The field of seventy plus hard men and women of the fell, with grit and determination in their eyes - damn that wind whipping up a dust storm, just kidding - headed out of the village and into the mountains.

I went out steady but soon realised that steady was not going to cut it. Through check point one I was OK. Then it was out along the ridge before heading down into the first valley. Miraculously I found the Holy Trail - which is like the Holy Grail except more of a path. I skipped on down the mountain gaining good ground on those who failed the quest and took a steeper, slower descent. From there the pain began.

The climb to Pen y Gadair Fawr hurt. The descent from Pen y Gadair Fawr hurt. The climb to the summit beginning with C and ending 'y Fan' - my map is smudged - hurt. The run along the ridge was good but I was tiring and fading. The descent to the road crossing was alright - but nothing to write home about. Then it was time for major jelly baby eating on the ascent towards Crug Mawr through what would have been lovely woodland where it not for the fact that I was 12 miles into a damn fell race.

Once at Crug Mawr it was down hill to the finish but I had well and truly had it. With almost every step my legs where on trying to cramp. As the last mile or two counted down agonisingly slowly the last vestige of my energies were draining away. With the sun beating down I passed the finish line and my self inflicted torment was over.

Helen won the women's race a few minutes ahead of me and as pen the last of this post my eyelids droop with what be soon to come restful sleep...

Tomorrow I'm heading out for a 20 miler - like f#@k am I!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The day before

Well I've been taking things easy since Wednesday. I felt like a run today but I know that I'm going to need all my strength for tomorrow's big one so I rested again - as I did on Thursday - 'cept on Thursday I didn't feel like a run so no harm done there then - gosh this is a long sentence, practically a paragraph.

Now for a few fartlek sentences. I've got my map printed. My compass primed. The route remembered. Bum bag at the ready. It's time to rock and roll...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Did he jump or was he pushed?

Back on the undulations of the grass again tonight - the last time until the spring on account of there being naff all light come the last rep - use the force Luke, use the force.

We ran a double, single, double and single to finish. I took a two and a half minute recovery. After the first rep Sean and I extended the loop to add an extra undulation which made it a more testing lap. As we headed out on the last lap the sun was all but set. Tired as I am, my achilles is in good shape so it looks like I'll be racing on the weekend. From here on in it's taper time - can't touch this.

And well done to Sean for his run in last weeks Midland Road Relays. Although relegated to the incomplete C-Team the lad ran like a demon - practically possessed by the Devil himself. He ran a much faster time than five of the six B-Team runners - and we're talking 16 seconds plus. In fact it was only the mighty Phil P from the B-Team who ran quicker - and then only by 2 seconds. So well done Sean.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On your bike you muppet

I decided on a bike session tonight. Having bunked off yesterday and, in a way, today as well, I at least managed something. Plus I worked the upper body with the the dumb bell as I pumped those pedals while watching CSI Miami - oh flip, did I type that out loud? - bugger.

I have dripped everywhere - too much info - and my legs are jelly. Bring on the Black Mountains Race...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A right nice day out

in the Black Mountains. Once again it was recce time as we guided ourselves around parts of next weeks Black Moutains Race. I am almost on the cusp of running. I now I'm not really fit enough for a challenging 17 miler with 5,200 feet of ascent but then we ran 11 miles today with 3,000 feet of ascent. I know I can get round the course but it won't be that quick is all. Still, it'll be a good training run and I know enough of the route now to be able to get completely lost so I think I shall run. Then I shall taper for the Oldbury 10 - providing I get an entry after leaving it late. Fingers crossed.

It was a great day for a run and for once the visibility was good. We ran up the middle ridge towards some top bit referred to as the tumps. From there we headed down to the valley along the mystic track - which many seek but few find - and then up some hill bit what I don't know the name of but goes on and on upwards for ages. From there we headed along the ridge towards Crug Mawr with the Sugar Loaf in the background before cutting down into the valley once again and back to the car. We didn't run at great speed but I fell pretty good and even on the big climb I felt OK. Now I know it wasn't race speed but it felt easier going than a month ago.

And before you all mention it, no I didn't race yesterday on account of feeling a bit dodgy. I slept fitfully and didn't feel well enough to run - in fact I didn't feel well enough to get out of bed so I stayed there till 3 in the afternoon. Today it was a different matter and I'm completely back to normal - or as normal as that happens to be for me - shut it...

Oh, and Helen broke the Llyn y Fan record yesterday by all but 2 minutes - topper.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What to do when the rush hour traffic is bonkers?

Why go for a run, of course - and that's just what I did. After failing to turn right out of the works drive on account of a massive long queue of traffic I decided the journey home was not to be - at least not at that time. Spending 45 minutes - possibly an hour because it looked real nobber out there - just getting to the M5 is not my idea of fun. So instead I cut loose and went for a run up over Dundry on one of my long forgotten routes - but no so forgotten that I couldn't remember the way.

I took things steady but still found it tough on the steep grind to the top but once there and with my breath back I started to relax and enjoy it. At points I actually started to run - as opposed to stomp - getting up off my heels and striding out. It was perfect conditions and in a weird way I'm glad the traffic was bad because without that I'm sure I would have put my feet up on arrival home. This way I got a good 11k in - and I was only a few minutes slower than I used to run it. No, it was a fine effort and I shall not be neglecting old Dundry for so long in the furture.

And finally, I've filled in my Oldbury 10 entry form ready to post tomorrow. It is my target race so I only hope I haven't left it too late. Oh, and I shall be starting my taper right about now for tomorrow's Llyn y Fan race - I reckon I've got a full seventeen and a half hours...

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Well just call me Half Day Harry if I didn't only just go and pull an 'arf day. After the drive home and a few moments to reflect me, H and the canines went for a jog - I'm loathed to call it a run on account of the speed, or lack there of. We went into Flaxley for a pootle through the woods on what is officially referred to as the clockwise loop - where the officialdom came from I do not know but there it is. Tomorrow I may or may not go for a go on the official anti-clockwise loop.

Oh, yeah, and Ernie - the not quite fastest sight hound in the west - got stuck under the final fence and needed a bit of a shove to break him free - he's a one. Sometimes he's a two, three and even a four - but never a five - that's reserved for Brown Dog and Brown Dog alone. Mr Pedwar? Well he's numberless - but a winner never the less, claiming best Lurcher in Sunday's Dog Show in Gloucester. We eagerly await his engraved Champions Cup...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Heavy breathing

I was really very tired tonight. It all started with needing a quick forty winks before hitting the track - not something I'm used to but welcome all the same.

Tim W came across and together with Sean and Rick we ran some short stuff. I didn't spike up because I still conscious of the sore achilles but I needn't have worried it was fine. We ran three reps consisting of a 200m then 100m jog, 300m then 100m jog and then 200m to finish. The aim was speed and I felt fast but also very tired after the third, sneaking an extra slow jog before the last 200m - believe me I needed it. Sean and Tim looked quick.

Currently pedaling away on the exercise bike - as I type one handed, the holding the 'puter - to make up for the shortness of the session. I'm going to improve if it kills me. Snooorrrrrrrrrrr - or I fall asleep.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Another good day in the land of training

I was out there at again this morning - stop it. The sun shone, my Bristol Water vest cut a dash through the autumnal colours in Flaxley wood and Mrs B ran dead slow. Slower, even, than me - if that's possible - and I assure you in Mrs B's case, it was.

I ran my normal Flaxley loop but to jazz things up I went in the reverse direction - I'm a one. It was a steady run but enjoyable enough. By the time I got back I was fair puffed. You see I'm not used to all this running stuff.

Anyway, once safely home it was onto the bike for an hour and to spice that up I wore my 3kg leg weights - I don't know what got into me. I was like a man possessed. That might be stretching things but never the less it was a good days training backed up with yesterday's solid work out.

Now for a rest - but strictly no pies...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Pulling a school run

I didn't quite make it to the BMs. To be honest, I bottled it - those Mynydd Du boys are scary - not to mention that I'm terribly slow. I could not face 19 miles at their (or Helen's) pace. I would suffer at best and look like a right tart at worst (after taking an almost certain shortcut at some point, that is). I'm a little sad because the weather is great and the views would have been breath taking. Still, I guess if I want to go running in the mountains with the big boys - or Helen - then I've got to raise my game.

Instead, I went for 10 miler around home, including May Hill and friends with about 2,000 feet of ascent. So not exactly equivalent to a run in the Black Mountains but enough for little ol' me.

Later I intend to hop on the bike for an hour like in the old days but for now it's time to pull a school run - that's hop in the car to drive 400m, but in my case it's to the shop not the school plus I haven't got a four by four so it's not like a full school run. Mind you, it's a long 400m, practically 500m, perhaps even 600m and after the return journey that would almost be three miles [raise eyebrow to camera]. Yep, better take the car...

Friday, September 11, 2009

I've only had to taper

I'm going off to the Black Mountains tomorrow with Helen and the Mynydd Du lot. They are running the Black Mountains race route. I will be too - which is why I've had to taper 'cause it's a damn long way. I will need more than all my strength - I'll need to flipping well borrow some from somewhere.

Anyone know how to tap into those magical leyline?

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Trackless track session

We ventured forth from the safety of the track over to the wild, lawless grasslands of Whitchurch. Spidey senses tingling, we warmed up with an easy jog. Fortunately the brigands were raiding elsewhere tonight so it was down to business.

We ran an undulating loop of about 720 metres (GPS measured). Sean was miles ahead of me at every turn - he practically had time to make and eat some cucumber sarnies in the time it took me to finish - doh.

We ran a single, double, single, double and a final single and after all that I was knackered. I almost gave up after the first four reps but I decided I needed to dig deep and complete. Recovery was 90 seconds except for the last which was only 50 seconds on account that I seemed to have lagged everyone else and was playing catchup. My splits were 2:33, 5:26, 2:39, 5:39 and 2:47.

It was a hard session and at 5+ km it was my longest for ages. I'm pleased I stayed the session and the achilles seems to have survived ok as well - that's a bonus.

Sunday, September 06, 2009


No, not a season best. The 'SB' of the title refers to my 'September Best' in the Beacon 10k, Haresfield. In truth, it wasn't actually far from a real SB - 17s. I'm quite pleased. I ran well for the first 7k. Paced myself well. Got target lock on the runner in front. Eased towards them and then passed before getting the next target lock.

The course undulates a bit causing continual pace adjustments but it was more the wind - stop it - that made it tough going - especially over the last 3k which, combined with my ever tiring legs, made it very hard work. Still, it was good solid training.

Then I hopped in the car. Made it home and ploughed on with an hours interval - easy/hard - on the bike. It was like turning back the clock a couple of years to how I used to train on a Sunday - a hard run washed down with a bike session - nice.

My legs are now shattered. In fact, I'm shattered, never mind the bloody legs. And now it is time for a shower and lunch. Tootle pip.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Going for a race

My achilles was a bit sore this morning so I decided against a run in favour of an hour of the bike instead. It feels much improved now and as a bonus I didn't need to get down and dirty in the pit of dooooooom. No, today was a strictly clean affair - bonus.

Tomorrow I have lined up the Beacon 10k from Harefields as a racing training run. It should force me into a good solid tempo run - although I suspect I may fade towards the end. Still it will be good fun.

Right, now I'm off to design the new control circuit for the pump. High level warning indicators, manual control override, data logging - oh, yes, the new pump control is going to have all the bells and whistles...

Friday, September 04, 2009

Road kill

No, there weren't any deaths I just went for a blast on the roads after work. The 'blast', however, didn't amount to much. It might have loosened a few pebbles but it sure as heck wouldn't have brought the rock face down. I was very poor.

From home I ran out of the village and up to May Hill taking the road route. I struggled. My speed on the hill was all but treading water. Don't think I've ever been more glad to hit the top just so I could going back home. On the upside, at least it really was all down hill from there. Some five miles and pathetically tired legs later I made it back home. Poor. Very poor.

So, what to do tomorrow? That, my friend, is the million dollar question...

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Alas no track

My legs felt much better today. No sore hamstrings. No sore achilles. So, it's all good in running land but - there's always a but - I couldn't go to the track on account of being fifty miles away and covered in sh#$. Yes, the sewer sump pump is at it again. This time I've taken no prisoners. I've bought a new pump. More powerful than the last and with a state of the art - OK, they may be going a tad far - titanium cutting grinder on the feed to the rotor. That bad boy isn't going to take any sh#$ from no one, that's for damn sure.

Me and Andy, my next door neighbour, set about raising titanic from the pit - that's the old pump in case you where wondering. With the tank full to bursting I tried one final attempt to fire her into life to clear the tank down before we got down and dirty. With her capacitor shot, she struggled. She hummed. She buzzed and just when I thought it was time to reach into the murky, nasty, nastiness - and I can't emphasise how nasty - she spluttered into life and emptied the tank for us just one final time.

Then it was out with the old and in with the new as we fended off torrential ran to finish the install. Finally, with the finish line in sight, pump in the sump, cables connected to the control circuit, me shivering in my wet overalls, we crossed our fingers and fired her up and, to our relief, she started up first time. With a gentle ramp, she revved up to full throttle with effortless ease. Grinder grinding. Cutter cutting - well, what else would it be doing? She made light work of the newly deposited substances. With our work complete we retired to the dry of our respective houses. Now it's time to blank the entire episode out of our collective memories - forever...

Finally, on a note of actual running, the results from last night's race are in. I was 55th in a poor time of 36:57 - 2 minutes and 52 down on my previous run in 2007 when I was 13th - ho hum. The rest of my Bristol Water team placed 31st (Daniel Massey) - and yes, I was well beaten - 78th (Martin Bailey) and 87th (Danny Ball) from a field of 352. We hold our heads up high! As a team we were 15th of 52, so again we hold our heads high. Well done lads.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Swinging the axa

The team did me proud. Yes, it's true, we weren't the fastest. Nor were we the wettest - on account of the fact that there were tons of runners still piling in after we had packed up and gone home - and it was still pouring down. We were pretty wet though. But I'm pretty sure we all enjoyed it and with the four of us all inside 39 minutes for the 9km course, I think we'll have placed pretty well up the field.

On the downside my left hamstring and achilles are both now sore. Too be honest my hamstring was sore before I started. Not that it really affected my run but there is a lesson here. Don't try pilates for the first time the day before a race. It's amazing what muscles you can strain from some gentle movements.

So what was my time? Not great and certainly a lot slower than my time of two years ago - at least I think it was two years but it could be three. Either way, I was a lot slower. True, conditions were far from great with heavy rain and medium to strong wind but it doesn't disguise the fact that I'm really not quite there yet...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Easy run that wasn't

Well it seems like a lot of stuff isn't happening - I'm still trying to get over the coffee incident. We went for a run through Flaxley woods this morning. My legs felt achy and being a little on the slow side these days I had to work a bit harder than 'easy' to keep up. It wasn't tempo but it definately wasn't easy. On the bright side I wasn't last. That honour went to the ever idle Pedwar.

So the rest of the day is dedicated to, well, rest actually. That and re-designing the poo pump. Our current system is getting on and tripping so we need to take some premptive action. I have found a grinding pump I reckon should do the biz and I'm drawing up the control circuit as we speak - all of which is probably too much information but in a few weeks time those terds ain't gonna know what's hit them...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The coffee that wasn't

I think I had my best race for a while - it's not that I'm not sure I had a race - I can tell from the legs that I had a race, it's that dispite finishing back in 90th place I performed the best I have for ages. Graham Mcara was only 10 metres ahead at the finish and I've not had him in sight all year! The second indicator is that I actually ascended strongly and overtook people - and that definately hasn't happened this year!

No, it was a much better run and I feel good.

The calder valley women ran well, again winning the team race and all but confirming the English title again. Helen's foot didn't help too much as she battled the pain into 6th.

Well, we decided to come home tonight on account of the worsening weather and stopped off for a snack and a coffee. The woman that served us was all but having a breakdown, shouting and bawling about not getting time to clean suffice to say I didn't quite get the americano I was after. The capachino I was served is not to my taste but I wanted to live so I didn't complain - trays had already be thrown across the floor and I didn't want to spoil the day so I called into Smiths afterwards for a coke. That was the most expensive coffee I've never had, and what added insult to injury - the capachino I didn't drink is 30p more than the coffee I actually ordered - oh well, the cola is nice.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Almost very nearly

A look at the weather earlier almost put me off but I rallied and went. It was only Sean, Rick and myself tonight but we worked hard - well, I worked as hard as I can at the moment. I don't seem to be able to quite nail it like I did a year ago but I'm getting there, if a little too slowly.

The track was slippy in the damp conditions but I held off donning the studs since I'm still cautious of putting too much strain on the 'A' word. We ran 400 reps off a 60 second recovery. Sean ran the first five over hurdles places at the steeple chase points while I started each lap with a forty metre head start. We hit 67/68 seconds per rep - and I really was slipping around in the road shoes on the Whitchurch track. Which, incidently, is unique among athletic tracks as having an almost ice rink like quality in even the mildest of damp conditions - Bristol council really is going all out for twenty twelve...

I digress, back to the session, after the first five we ran a jogged lap before setting off on a further five reps. This time Sean ran the 400's flat while I still had the 40 metre head start. I only managed two laps before I felt the tightness in the 'A' word and packed it in. Sean ran all five.

I'm pretty pleased with the session. Although I was running a short measure the pace of 67/68 equates to 74/75 for the full measure and I feel there is more once the leg eases for good - which it will.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More rest please

I decided to take a rest. It's been a good week on the training front and although I've only run four times in seven days (ending yesterday) I did various other things on the weekend culminating in that hard tempo yesterday. As I climbed the two flights of stairs to my office at work I knew it was time for a rest. I shall be ready for the track tomorrow though. The ol' achilles is just about holding together - you all know by now that I'm indestructible - so tomorrow I am hopefully to go quicker than of late.

Oh yeah, and I've had the race numbers through for next Tuesdays inter-companies AXA/GWR 5 mile road race. I've not raised an elite team - I'm in the team after all - but it is at least a team. So if there are any of you out there also running, I shall see you then. And then of course, before that, there is the final short course English Champs fell race up at Dentdale on Saturday...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Went for it

I really went for it tonight - and I reckon I did well. I took Mrs B and we ran like the wind - no, my mistake, Mrs B had the wind.

As I said I really pushed on around the same route in Flaxley wood as my two efforts last week. This time I meant it though. I covered the 9 and a bit kilometres in 45:34 and since it includes 1,000 feet of ascent I don't think that's too shabby for a lazy old git such as myself.

After having put on a few pounds over the last few months - shut it - I've started to reverse the rot. I've shaved off two pounds during the last two weeks - that was one long beard - ho, ho, ho. I'll be back to my racing weight in no time - now all I after to do is be able to run once I get there...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A walk?

Yes, we went for a walk - and we really didn't run at all - amazing. It was a bit claggy up top, over in the Black Mountains but it wasn't at all unpleasant. What was amazing was that there were almost no signs of life other than Pedwar and Brown Dog - and I'm not sure Pedwar really counts [puts on body armour]. Although we did spot a few people after a couple of hours, I can't help thinking it was their loss that there weren't more people out.

Anyway, we walked about 21 km and ascended somewhere in the region of 3,000 feet recceing some of the route of the Black Mountains race (coming in a few weeks) but we failed miserably in the mist to find the most direct route down into the first valley - doh. We did recce in reverse from the bottom to the top though, and worked out where we should have gone down - stop it.

All in all it was a right nice day and even though we walked I'm feeling pretty tired now...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A better day to golf

Well I played a lot better than last week - it don't take me long to get back in the swing - ooh, that's bad. My second game in a year saw Deep Red - that's my driver if you didn't remember - fire all nearly all of its cylinders. I only missed the fairway twice all day - and one of those by just a yard or two. Oh, and it went looong most of the time as well.

The rest of my play was, sadly, not quite so accurate or consistent but it was a start. With a bit of work around the green I could be good again, honest. There were a few highlights though. Including a Birdie two on the eighth and six pars - it would have been another couple 'cept for a small number of woefully bad putts - and yes, we are talking not just lagged but truly truly pants. I hang my head in shame at the thought of those few. But that's all part of the game and although I didn't complete every hole - it being a better ball and not being required to - I reckon I played to around about my handicap of 15. As I play so little I'm pretty pleased.

Now if only running were as easy...

Friday, August 21, 2009

End of the working day

Home from work at half five - now they've started those damn road works on the M5 it'll be that way for a while - bugger. I took Mr Meddles and Brown Dog for another 6 miles in Flaxley - I think I've worn Meddles out! He didn't stop panting for over half an hour. They both lagged behind again but they know the route so I wasn't overly concerned.

In light of the dogs tiredness I decided to run a few kilometre efforts, three in all. The first, on the steady slope to the Flaxley high point. The next, along the meandering track to the far point along the flat(ish) bit. The final effort was on the steep climb back up to the top and you know what it right floated my boat. I really enjoyed those heart pounding, leg aching efforts. And I very nearly got into the old hill climbing grind - and I've not been there for, well, years.

That's twice I've got out straight from work this week - that's a seasons best - and although I didn't feel like I wanted to I'm glad I did 'cause I bloody well enjoyed. The feeling of pain on that final effort - bloody topper - but you know what? I want more...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back tracking

I decided to risk running the session with the lads tonight. My achilles felt a bit better. Certainly not fixed but I was feeling it less.

We ran 400's using the rotation technique. Not knowing how many I would manage to complete, I ran steady. Lapping at 80 seconds I wasn't too disappointed with how I ran. It was now were near the 75's I was running a month ago but a lot better than not running the session, as has been the pattern in recent weeks.

After a few laps I took a breather before resuming for one more 400 before we stepped down to a 300m in 54s and finally a 200m in 33s. The lads did a few more two's but for the first time of the evening I could just feel the left a-word so I decided to stop.

It's been a positive return to running reps on the track so I just hope I can keep the momentum going.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Swimming with the fishes

That's what happens when you mess with me - just joking. No, it's what happens to Pedwar when you let him into the back garden after a humid 6 mile run in Flaxley Wood - he goes swimming with the fishes in Helen's pond to cool down. Oops, better keep that quiet or there may be trouble...

I got home from work at just gone five, a quick change and it was out with Pedwar, Brown Dog and our current rental, Bella for a leisurely six miles through the woods. On what was a very pleasant late summer evening we ambled around the woods at a not too quick pace but even so the dogs found conditions a fraction hot. Still, on the positive side, no one went awol - always a bonus.

We did have a bit of chicken trouble though. On the path leading to and from the woods, the owners of said chickens didn't really seem to care that their chickens were roaming free - I've heard of free range but this was just silly. Some of those pesky hens were milling around the edge of the main road - ho hum, that will be a tasty bit of road kill for someone.

Anyway, one of the chickens came with inches of death as it decided to run right out in front of me and the dogs. Only my super human strength was able to hold the back the tide of hounds. They pulled. They tugged but they had not reckoned on the power of the mad runner as I hauled them away. Leaving stupid chicken, as, from hence forth, it shall be known, to live another day - or a few more minutes before it gets splattered on the road.

On a final note, I have to say that I'm down grading Brown Dog from top running dog - sorry Helen. That honour must know be bestowed to Bella. She barely left my side during the entire run. There was no need to stop to let her catch up or give her a call. No, when running with Bella there is no worry of her going awol. Simply superb.

Pedwar's Pond

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Well that didn't go so well

I eventually got going on the golf front - it was just a shame it took me 15 holes to get into the groove before I started firing on anything near both barrels. And even then the short range stuff wasn't great as I frittered away the last couple of chances to redeem myself.

I feel I let down my partner a bit but Uncle P claimed he didn't mind and we did have a laugh - and more importantly, we didn't have any fights - as can happen when me and my two brothers get together.

I did at least show what 'old hardware' can do against the onslaught of these technicological advanced modern drivers. I fired out a couple of long ones - stop it - with 'Deep Red' - the model of my ten year old driver - leaving all in its wake - including the drives of my brothers, who themselves, hit quite a mean drive. Sadly, I naffed up around the green though - the old adage, drive for show putt for dough, was sadly very apt.

Anyway, I am a bit knackered what with the dog walking and the golf - hard to think golf is that tiring but I can assure you it is and no doubt I will be aching a bit tomorrow from it. On the plus side I think I'm grooved in, ready for next weeks game over at Knowle...

The results are in...

of the British Fell Championship and I came 123rd equal - what a laugh.

At the moment - this being a scheduled post, having acutally blogged it last night, which is actually 'this' night as I type but it will be last night when it hits the blog - confused? Well you should be. Anyway, at the moment I am on route to Filton Golf club for the Four Ball Better Ball Open - oh I do like swing my club and strike my balls - ooh er.

Oh, and did I mention 123rd= - stop laughing. Golf results to follow, I wonder if I can beat 123rd?...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ernie you plonker

From a rainy start and an earlyish start it was off to Blaisdon Wood with the hounds again. I gave them an hours romp and predictably Ernie wandered off. For half an hour we all trotted along but then all of a sudden - and it wasn't deer chase related, honest guv - Ern just turned ninety degrees off the path and strode off into the middle of the undergrowth. Why he doesn't I don't think we'll ever know. Anyway, the rest of the gang all stayed well grouped except for the odd incursion and after another half hour we arrived back at the van. I then went back into the wood to dig out Ernie, who, as it would happen, was just pootling along towards the gate - Ern, you stupid boy.

Well after the wet start I decided I would go for a 12% elevation treadmill run to stay dry - not wanting to get any more clothes soaked. I ran for 10km at that 12% gradient setting and I can tell you now, it was bloody hard going. I had to keep stepping down the speed on account of being knackered - not to mention dripping - nasty.

According to the counter I burnt over 1000 kcal but I don't put much faith in that, I don't think it can have been that much. It wasn't a bad little workout though - and I rigged up the TV to watch the Triathlon on BBC1 - well done, Alastair Brownlee, the winner - and British too boot, whoo hoo - so it wasn't that boring either.

And after all that? The bloody sun has come out so I could have gone for a proper run. I ain't going now though. The sofa awaits - after I've walked the dogs. Fed the dogs. And picked up the poo - from the dogs - the highlight of my day...

Friday, August 14, 2009

A story of seven

What a day, oh what a day. With Helen safely on her way to Italy I am in charge of the Seven Hounds of the Apocalypse - yes, we have a few rentals. Not that I'm scared or anything you understand. I can cope [large gulp].

Well first off, I have completed my tax return and filed it online. It took way less time than I thought it would - that's the power of being ultra organised. All facts and figures to hand. Neatly coded on my tax spreadsheet. Ready to fire into the online forms. And the best bit? With my payments on account paid earlier in the year, Mr Tax Ma...Person owes me back some cash - result.

Next up, my shinny new electricity meter has just been installed which means I can get out for some sort of run later rather than waiting in all day - result number two.

And finally, and I don't want to have to admit this, but I have decided I need a key race. A goal to go for in an effort to get out there and train - can't think who's been banging on at me to the fact that I've got no target to go for with my running...

All I have to do now is find a race - and I'm thinking a long one, just to prove I still can. Once I've got that I can sit down and work out a training schedule to fit around work and life in general. The planning starts now...

Good luck to Helen in Italy on her down hill only leg, running for the British team consisting of Angela Mudge (former World mountain running champion) and Claire someone (who is also really good). Fingers crossed it all goes off well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I mustered

Well I might not have made the track but I did at least 'ride' to the occasion and put in an hour on the bike in front of possibly the worst movie I have ever seen. Starring Van Damn, I suggest that you give 'Until Death' a very wide birth if you ever have the misfortune to come across it. Van Damn wasn't great in his prime. He is not in his prime. And neither is my back.

Severe injury

My achilles has been improving but I have to admit that I wasn't totally convinced I was going to be able to run some fast reps but I really believed I was going to be able to run some quicker, longer reps at least. However, all that is inconceivable now.

On a day that saw me splash over three hundred notes for a full service and mot - on the car, not me - I would have failed big time. And no, I wasn't ripped, I just needed a few expensive parts which I knew was coming so I wasn't surprised by the cost. No, on said day, I have sustained an office based, chair related injury of a most severe and debilitating nature. I haven't a clue what I did - that sitting your arse on a chair malarchy is a risky business I can tell you. At some point I did something and when I stood to leave at the end of the day I had a spasm in my back and wham bam, knackero backo. And it's giving me the run around - which is more than I'm going to be able to do. There is now no way I can run at all - bugger.

On a more positive note, I have my Bristol Water team up together for the AXA 5 Mile Inter-Companys race on Tuesday the 1st September. The annual event is usually good natured and it's always interesting to see who turns out - and for which companies - there are always some ringers...

Now leave me as I weep into my pillow at my inability to go to the track - or more appropriately, my inability to do any training if I got there...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Farmers can't half be selfish

I've just been crawling at 20 miles per hour in a huge queue of traffic for 7 miles. What's that you say? There must have been some major road works going on or worse a road traffic accident. No, that I could forgive but to trundle your tractor at peak time is pretty selfish in anyone's book. I know they've a job to do and all that but with a little planning they could be a lot more considerate. Oh well, forgive and forget.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Blaising hot

We got over to Blaise this morning for an easy run with Rick - no Sean as he was competing over at the Avon League and no doubt gunning for another PB, fingers crossed.

We would we have gone up to Ashton Court but there is this damn ballon fiesta malarchy going on at the moment. Disrupting the traffic and causing misery, mayhem and general doom. OK, there was no actual doom, well maybe just a little. Still, it was damned inconvenient of them. Do they not ever consider the runner? Only kidding, I'll let them off just this once - but only this once. I can't be getting too generous in my old age.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the easy run. We ran a loop around and about the place with the hounds, who, it has to be said, were all very well behaved - even Ernie stayed close by most of the time.

It was hot and we ran slow but after yesterday's epic it was about as much as I could cope with. The achilles, although feeling a bit stiff - stop it - didn't give me too much grief and after 50 minutes we were back at the van. Then it was into the cafe for a quick coffee before we all went our separate ways as Rick had to get up to Bristol's premier running shop, Up and Running (38 North View, Westbury Park, Bristol, BS6 7QA), for the start of his shift. Where, incidently, I shall be purchasing a new pair of Mizuno Wave Harrier trail shoes when I get a spare moment - oh, you can't buy ads like these...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Knowing when your beat?

- I knew.

We drove over to Llanbedr at just gone midday. By the time we got there and kitted up it was close to two o'clock and off we set. From Llanbedr it's almost straight into the ascent. Steep at first and then after a couple of kilometres it steadies to a meandering climb all the way along the ridge, passing Crug Mawr towards Pen y Gadair Fawr. It was along this ridge that Helen ran me into the ground. She pegged it away from me and I just couldn't keep up. Still, I got there in the end - but apparently, she'd had time for a small siesta, a cup of tea - with cucumber sandwiches with the crust cut off, of course and some fondant fancies.

From Pen y Gadr Fawr we dropped down north eastwards into the valley before Helen headed up the other side to Chwarel y Fan - try saying that with your false teeth in. I say Helen because Brown Dog was panting a bit in the heat and I very kindly volunteered to take her along the road in the valley to await Helen at the road crossing as she came down from the ridge at Bal-Mawr before we both then headed back up, through the woods, to Crug Mawr - I was so looking forward to that climb of 7-800 feet to the ridge but the animals come first in my book, can't face to see them struggle. Sadly it meant I ran a mile less than H and that little bit of ascent less - shame, a real damn shame.

Finally, after 3 hours and 20 minutes we made it back to the van. I GPSed it as 25km and 3,600 feet of ascent. Even if I did miss out that small bit - all in the name of animal care, mind - I'm still quite pleased with the run. The last time we ran the same route - with the extra mile and 7-800 feet I took a staggering 4 hours 9 minutes, so even with the reduced route I was still a fair bit quicker than last time out...

To the mountains...

Off shortly to the Black Mountains for a long run with H and Mrs B - that's Brown Dog in case you'd forgotten.

It looks like being a hot one so I shall be sunblocking up - but then again I shall be taking full kit along as well because up in the mountains, even on what seems like the brightest day, you never can tell...