Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flippin' Tony

It was the Llanthony Fell Race, organised by one of fell runnings characters, Private Investigator Dick Finch - OK, so he's not actually a P.I. but with a name like Dick Finch he bloody well should be.

Anyway, Dick decided to move the race back to the way it was a few years ago which meant it was a little bit longer than last year and on a route I hadn't run before. This year it was 3.3 miles and about the same 1200 feet of ascent, so I wasn't sure I could go the distance - just kidding. Navigationally, it's not really a course you can go wrong on. It's basically out from the Priory to the hill, a long a bit, up a bit, up a bit more and then across the ridge before heading over the top and back to where it all began.

On the first stretch it was boggy, there weren't any tussocks, but it was really very boggy. Then onto the hill proper. Single file was the order of the day and overtaking was difficult. Helen was already pulling away and although I maybe lost a few metres in the procession there was nothing I could do to keep up.

I was bloody glad to finally get the climb out of the way and I started to pick up speed across the top - and a few places. Then the fun began of the fast - and slippery descent. I claimed another five places which was heartening. The legs are begin to show signs that they can move quickly downhill. I scared myself a few times which is how it should be.

Finally I skidded across the last few fields and through the finish line. Helen was nervously checking the watch because I'd taken so long she was worried I'd got lost on the moors. Mind, she wasn't even two minutes ahead of me this year - she must be slowing up with age [dead man walking]. I finished 14th in 35:16 while Helen won the women's race in 33:24 and 8th place overall.

Right, time to prepare the mind for the challenge that is the May Hill Massacre tomorrow. Kick off 11am. The clock is ticking but they legs ain't feeling any fresher...

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Carpenters Arms

I pulled a half day to put in a bit more work on the van . The cupboard doors are now installed, together with magnetic clasps -  haven't fitted the handles yet so you can't actually get the doors open without a screw driver to force the high strength magnets apart but at least the doors are on.

So, because I came home early I missed the Dundry run which meant it was more of the treadmill for me. I upped the time by five minutes - that's up to 35 now, whooo, but I really do find the treadmill hard mentally. I suppose it helps with the mental strength though. By the end I was suitably puffing.

Right, no resting just yet. It's time for day 3 of week one of the hundred push ups and two hundred sit ups regime - I might by crap at running but I'm going to have boobs like Mark Foster by the end of week six...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cheeky gits

I just spent 15 minutes on the phone to Tesco trying to cancel my automatic car insurance renewal as I've insured elsewhere. You answer all the questions, you know, press '1' for this, '2' for that, '5' to be totally ignored - you know the kind of thing. Well anyway, it's one of those expensive numbers and after listening to 15 minutes of 'please don't leave' I realised they were taking the micky in a final bid to take some of my cash so I rang off. Feeling somewhat p*$&ed off I redialed - I had to get the damn renewal cancelled - but this time I selected the option to renew. It was a different story this time, oh yes - straight through to an operator - 'all our operators are busy' my arse - thieving, liars. Anyway, I had my operator and there was no way for them to avoid cancelling - score one for the home team. Tesco, every little helps - yeah, for their profits.

Right, to training. I decided to have a go on the bike. After two hard days I'm due an easier one and hopefully I can get out mid day tomorrow for the Dundry loop. It's the Llanthony fell race on Saturday followed by the May Hill Masacre on Sunday and although I'd love to beat Helen and avoid the one year whitewash, I honestly can't see it happening.

At this stage, training is king and the more I push myself now the better things will be in a few months. So no taper for me, it's time to race myself fit.

Top tip of the day: If you want to cancel your Tesco insurance ring and pretend you want to renew or sign up and you'll get yourself an operator in seconds - and then you can hit them with your cancellation.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A bit of an improvement

Wednesday is here again - and that can only mean one thing - it's the middle of the week. I mean, track night - yeah. Or not as the case may be. Tonight it was yeah.

Bruce was absent, the curse of the injury has struck and it stopped him running at the Midlands on the weekend. Danny was back for more though - and Sean, well he never misses.

We ran 600m reps. Make that, Sean ran 600m reps the rest of us ran a mix 600's and 400's. The recovery was sixty seconds but for those of us replacing some of the sixes with fours that gave us 90 seconds - result.

I ran my fastest reps for quite some considerable time - no one was more surprised than me, and that's the truth. Since Sean ran the full set of eight the rest of us were able to mix in our fours during his rep. That meant I was almost able to keep up- I said almost. My splits were 2:00, 77, 75, 2:01, 75, 76 and 74. I can't believe I managed to run them that quick - result - again.

Oh, and now for my latest scheme. I found a website - - which sets out a six week (of three days a week) plan that prepares you to be able to push 100 consecutive push ups without resting. The sister site, twohundredsitups, aims to get you to - any guesses? Anyway, tonight is day 2 of week 1. Core strength here I come...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What a disaster

A terrible disaster - and just when I thought I was beginning to turn the corner. Ok, so I went out a bit quick - actually quite a bit to quick - but I died like you wouldn't believe. I just couldn't force myself to go any quicker - or in fact, stop myself slowing to a crawl. Up until the turn things were perhaps a bit too rosy, but boy, after the short uphill section to the three k marker I was doomed. I fell apart like a wall built by Bodgit and Leggit. I was useless and I really want to draw a line under the performance and forget about it. It's safe to say I didn't break 19 minutes. Awful. Just awful.

Right, mood restored.

It was good to see Mike T back racing - even if the cad overtook me as I wilted in the summer sun. It'll be good to resume our battles and I hope he doesn't suffer any after effects of the race. No doubt, he'll be busy blogging when he gets home. I await his report.

Time for feet up and to prepare for crying myself to sleep... only kidding.

Monday, January 26, 2009

How's it going to be tomorrow?

Well it's that time of the month again - Bridge Inn time. I really don't know what to expect from it. It's been two month's since the last one and I have to think I've managed to put in some reasonable training since then. I admit training hasn't gone quite as well as I hoped but I've made a start.

So will I manage to edge back inside 19 minutes? I have to believe there's a chance and I'm going to try for it. What's 17 seconds? - maybe too much but it's time to step up to the start line and give it a go.

Anyway, I'm resting tonight. I actually feel good. My legs don't seem to be suffering from the effects of the weekend - which is a surprise because I raced hard and ran a bit long - but I still want to be rested.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Going past Burnley

We went out for a recce of one of the upcoming Championship fell races, The Half Tour Of Pendle - forgive the spelling 'cause I haven't a clue but phonetically it does at least sound right.

It was really pleasant. We had our compass - and we knew how to use it. As we ran, we skillfully navigated ourselves around the nine mile course with 2,500 feet of ascent. The sun shone and it was good to be alive - and we should at least have some idea of the course when we race it later in the year in the event of lesser conditions and visibility.

Then we had the long drive home but it's been a good weekend - if you exclude looking a prat at last night's Calder Valley Fell Runners Barn Dancey party...

George lending his support at yesterday's Midland XC Champs,
sporting the team colours (and silver medal).

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Surprisingly enjoyable

I had, what I think for me, was a damn good workout at Midland XC Championships. I started near the back of the field - all in my game plan - and proceeded to knock out 4 near equally paced laps. In fact my last lap was my quickest by 20 to 30 seconds - nice. Throughout the course of the race my even pace gained me forty plus places but I have no idea of my finishing position. Then again, that doesn't matter. I ran those 4 laps on my limit. There was nothing spare come the end and 50.40 for 11.3k in the mud is pretty good for me.

I can finally say I've run a cross country race I enjoyed.

Helen was 15th in the women's race, third scorer in the team that took the silver. The men also took team silver - I only just missed a scoring place in the team - like bollocks did I, only a million places off that honour. Sean took a team bronze in the under 20's and there were plenty of other medals by our teams in the other categories but I don't know the detail.

Friday, January 23, 2009

The day before the midlands

I shall running in the Midland Cross Country Championship tomorrow - although at over 11k I'm not sure I'll be doing much running by the end of the fourth lap. It's a bit of travel up to Mansfield but apparently it's a good course so if nothing else it'll be an interesting hard training session - I almost used the word 'enjoyable training session' back there, but at 7 miles, I don't expect to be enjoying it after the starter's gun.

Anyway, I managed an half hour on the bike this evening to try loosen the pegs. It didn't really work as my calves are still tight but hopefully by tomorrow they'll be as good as they're going to get - which probably isn't saying much...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hustling along

This is going to be one of the worlds quickest - and almost certainly, shortest - blog posts. I have just 3 minutes before the start of Hustle - not that TV rules my life or any such sillyness - it's just a very enjoyable amusement after hard days work and training, for believe it or not, I managed something. Sadly it was only the treadmill but at least now we've got that, I can - one minute - do something when I get home. Anyway, it was - 30 seconds - half an hour on the hill run setting and I worked up a good lather - 10 seconds. So to summarise, I managed something which is infinitely better than nothing - time, gentlemen, please. Got to go...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Making it all up

It was good to see Danny back at the track for the first time since before the Bristol Half Marathon and what a night he picked for it - it drizzled the whole time. You know, that nasty stuff. The stuff that gets you wet. Oh yeah, and it was windy. So, all in all a thoroughly lovely evening for training. He was joined by Bruce and the ever regular Sean.

I decided to get my ass in gear tonight and get to the track early so I could do a proper warm up - what the hell was I thinking. It was clear that I was temporarily out of my mind. I did, however, see myself to five laps in the aforementioned drizzle.

After a spate of recent poor performances I decided to make up my own session. I'm not fit enough to run fast so I went for steady instead. I'm not sure it was any kind of proper session but I enjoyed it - despite the wind and rain. I ran ten continuous laps alternating between a faster lap and a slower one. The faster one was at my old 5k pb pace (87/88s) - bearing in mind I've not been anywhere near that pace in a race for flippin' ages - and the slower one was out at 100s - or to put it another way - sllooooooow.

The lads ran ten 400's with a jog 100m using the rotation technique. After I finished my ten I joined in with them for another couple - an 84s and a final, see what I had left, 76s. Then I settled down for another five lap cool down - what the hell was I thinking...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Construction zone

Oops, no Black Mountains I'm afraid. Although the weather was much improved from yesterday my construction juices were flowing - I badly wanted to play with my power tools - stop it. Verr, verr goes the drill. With my backup battery on charge, preparing for action, I went full on construction crazy. Verr, verr.

Just over six hours later phase one of the construction was complete. Phase two should only take a few hours and consists mainly of superficial work tidying up and adding the odd shelf. Camping wise, the Beast II is ready to roll. Our next door neighbour even complimented me on the sturdiness of the build - little does he know the bodging that went behind the scenes - only kidding [read, for goodness sake don't tell Helen!!].

It was pretty hard work out there in the van and although I should have gone for a proper run once I had those power tools to hand - verr - I just didn't want to break off. So in the end I ended up with another half our on the treadmill's hill session and to be honest I feel fair done in. Time for feet up in front of the telly...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Bob the builder

More Colin the Carpenter really - or should that be Colin the Cowboy Carpenter. I don't think I'd want to pay someone to construct to the standards I'm using - not exactly going to get a British standards Kite mark - or CE mark, now that Europe has muscled in on our quality standards. Well anyway, I'm doing the best I can to kit out the Son of The Beast suitable for weekend away camping. The new season will start before we know it and all's got to be in place before we hit the road.

It took me over an hour in B & Q just to find all the bits I needed. Eventually I had everything I needed except shelf brackets and after searching in vain I decided to ask. The chap was very helpful, "Why they're in aisle 16", he replied - silly me, only right up the other end of the store - or to put it another way, as far away from the wood as possible. Finally I made it home to begin construction.

OK, so less of the chit chat and onto the exercise. It's nasty out and the plan was always to use the treadmill in any case - what with the constructing an' all. So I cranked up the SS Tunturi and set out on another 30 minute voyage. It was yet again hard work but has to be doing me good. Not perhaps as much as running out in the real world but it does give a pretty good interval session and I feel quite weary as I pen this. Not sure if tomorrow's planned visit to the Black Mountains is going to happen because the weather just makes it all so unappealing. I think we'll save that for another day.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Having arrived home at a goodly hour I proceeded to dot the t' and cross the i's of a couple of work things - never accuse my of slacking - unless it's to do with running, of course, for that, I'm major general slack. With all those crosses and dots out the way I focused my mind before embarking on the maiden voyage of the good ship Tunturi.

I input my details - weight, sex - stop it, age, inside leg measurement - dialled up thirty minutes of hill run session, cranked up the volume on the mp3 and hit go.

So was it any good? You know, I think it was. It was pretty tough going and I was sweating like a sumo wrestler by the end and my calves felt a little tight but I can see it'll do me a lot of good - as long as I can condition myself to hop on board after work and take the good ship Tunturi for half an hour round the harbour and back.

Here's hoping...

Thursday, January 15, 2009


We just got our new treadmill, the Tunturi T85 - a great looking piece of kit. My training tonight, Mathew, consisted of - putting the bloomin' thing together. 45 minutes, a meal break and spot of turning the air blue later and she was complete. What a beauty - I shall be gracing her svelt track tomorrow after work.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chicken and bacon

I went right healthy for lunch with a chicken and bacon salad from Asdal - well, where else's a chap to shop? Anyway, as I began to consume the leafy pieces of green I suddenly came across the aforementioned 'piece' of chicken. The thing is, I panicked. Flippin' heck, I thought, what's this piece of chicken doing amongst all this bacon and salady stuff?- must have got in by accident. I then proceeded to debate as to whether or not it would be edible. It was at this point the penny dropped - hang on, this thing IS meant to have chicken in it - it's a bloody chicken and bacon salad after all. Sadly, it was to be the first and last of the chicken pieces in the decidedly bacon heavy chicken and bacon salad - it was a mighty tasty morsel of chicken though, to be fair. And I know what you're thinking, bacon? that's not healthy. Well maybe not but todays c & b was a follow up to yesterday's tuna salad - now that is healthy - and it really did have some tuna in it - beauty.

Right, to the bat cave - I mean, to the session. The lads ran four hundreds. A quick one followed non-stop by a steady one. Technically, I guess, that makes it an eight hundred. Ho hum. Anyway, I didn't do that. I didn't feel up to it. Instead, I ran some kilometre reps with a two minute recovery. 3:45's ain't quick but it's the best I could muster. Like the c & b salad I ate, there wasn't much chicken going on for me tonight but I enjoyed the bacon.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Forgot me kit

What a plonker.

That's right I didn't manage to get out for a run today at lunch because I forgot to reload my emergency kit into the car - not very boy scout of me - I wasn't prepared. And what with working this evening, today has been a big fat zero on the training front. I should be OK for the track tomorrow but I just wish I could get myself that little bit more organised. That last little bit I need to push me over the edge and back into a routine...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Bloody knackered

We went for a run in the Malverns this afternoon. From the Holly Bush end to the big trig point hill with the funny monument thing - whatever it is - and back again.

I was absolutely knackered. It wasn't so bad going out but running full into the gusting wind took it out of me and with about 5k still to go I bonked, hit the wall, call it what you will - I had had it - he shoots, he doesn't even see the ball let alone kick it anywhere.

It's all my own fault. I just didn't fuel up enough. By the end I had the shakes and needed a quick shot of sugar to bring myself round - cue the coca cola.

It was still a good run of 20k and 3000 feet of ascent but I need to make sure I'm fueled up next time.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I Kymined and made a good attempt to conquer

but I still couldn't stop that damn wife of mine beating me - b@#$@cks. I was, however, only five seconds behind at the finish. So close yet, alas, so far but things are getting closer. I'm inching ever closer and the power is returning. And don't let those rumours that she 'had a stitch' for the last mile detract from the fact that there was only five seconds in it [thought bubble: I'm a dead man].

My time was 10 seconds quicker than last year in 34:46 - although I did go off piste last time out so I can't claim I'm entirely back but things are still moving forward at pace. More important than any of that is the fact that I only have a few days left in which to beat Helen in a race - any race, I'll take anything - before she claims a full year's white wash - the clock is well and truly ticking. Doom, doom. I think I'm doomed...

The route of the Kymin race.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Kymin's coming up

I had a good day at work - more of that geeky stuff I afraid. Not doing any running today as it's the Kymin race over Monmouth way tomorrow. I don't think I'm going to have a stormer but I shall look up last years time and freshen my memory of the route - I'm bloody well not going off route this year. Famous last words...

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lunching around

Clive didn't feel like it today so it was just Graham and I heading out from HQ for an easy half - that's hour not marathon, silly.

We ran a flatish circuit through Headley park along the streets and back across this really nice stretch of open park land that I never even knew existed. I spyed a great spot for some hill reps where you could run the hill and loop back round to the start. It has definite potential. Yes, definite potential for hill session during break time.

Anyway, we took it easy and I felt pretty good. My calves feel a bit tight but they'll probably be all the better for today's loosener. And then I did some ace programming in the afternoon and nailed the coding problem I was trying to solve - he shoots, he scores - you can wake up now, I've finished the boring, geeky bit.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Getting trac-tion

It was a tad chilly at the track. So chilly, in fact, that our spikes made crunching sounds as they bit into the icy precision surface of the Whitchurch track. Only Sean and Bruce made it out tonight. Rick had to abort on route to the track because of the traffic chaos in the city centre caused by an overturned car transporter on the M5 southbound towards Clevedon - you really needed to know that don't you. That's it from me, the Mad Runner, reporting for AA road watch. Goodnight and happy driving.

Just kidding - I haven't even mentioned the session yet.

We ran five sets of 400m, 90s recovery, then 800m with 2 minutes between sets. My throat was OK and just about held out although I did skip the final 800. I managed even splits - even if I was a little (make that a lot) slow. My 400's were 78/79s - ooh, wide of the post - but my eights at 2:48 were better - maybe not quite back of the net, but at least over the line - according to the Russian linesman anyway.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Not quite ready

My throat is all but not sore any more but the glandy things on my neck still feel a bit tender to the touch - I know, I know, well don't touch them then. What I'm saying is that I'm not right yet - shut it.

It's cold outside. Oh baby, it's cold outside. Infact it's damn cold and I'm not prepared to risk making things worse before they're better. One more day should see me over this blip and I can get back to the track tomorrow night.

I don't expect things to be any warmer tomorrow so I'll probably end up taking it a bit easy but I'd rather lose a few days training now and be able to get back into it proper by Saturdays Kymin race than cause things to linger longer. And in any case, Saturday's race is just a training session for me. A useful marker to compare to last years race to see where I am in the Scheme of things.

Steady as she goes, Captain...

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Pit and The Pump

These last couple of days have been a bit of a set back to the old running. I don't want to run while the throat is bad and the glands swollen - in my neck. The good news is that my throat feels a lot less sore today and I feel OK within myself. So all being well I should be back operational tomorrow for some training.

On the home front I had to take a half day to sort out the pit of dooooom. It's a pit and it what's inside is doom - say no more. Right, the man came round first thing so I climbed off my death bed to discuss what needed to be done. He decided we needed a full pump and clear - no, that's not a new weightlifting event - so an hour or two later along came the man with his van, sliding through the snow and got to work emptying the tank (or pit of doom, as I prefer to call it).

Anyway, wth the pit empty and the pump on its way to get some major heart surgery I got on with some work. Later in the day the resuscitated pump was reinstalled safely in the bowels of the pit and all was at peace in our little corner of the world. Here endeth today's short and not very epic tale. Maybe tomorrow there might even be some running to report...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

No show

It was a no show for me today on account of health issues - I'm a gert sickly git. I've come down with some kind of sore throat type illness things and don't feel too special. I certainly couldn't face the travel to Bicton College so I abandoned Helen to make her own way there. It was just as well she went - she won individual silver amongst other team gold's.

Anyway, it's just a short one tonight as I struggle up from my death bed to pen what I hope won't be my last ever words. Oh, and one more thing, the poo pump from the cesspit has given up the ghost - it's probably got a sore throat or such like as well. So I have to get that sorted in the morning - more rising from the death bed required.

Blimey, don't I ever bring you the high brow blog posts. It's like you're reading the times.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Easy, lad, easy

We got out for an hours easy run. It was cold - near froze my face off and I still have this slight question mark over my ankle but I managed a run and that's the important thing.

We looped through Flaxley woods before heading back across the field by the river - a route wot I showed Helen to avoid the boring route back along the road - and I only went wrong once.

We're heading down to this South West County cross country thing tomorrow so I must look up where it is on the map. I'm guessing an early start so I hope I manage to get a run. I really don't like cross country - all that running round a muddy field is a bit rubbish but I'll give it my best anyway. I'm certainly not quick enough to be in the team so I will have to blag a run one way or another.

Oh, and Helen survived the visit of my clan, who all came up for lunch - but only just...

..just kidding :)

Thursday, January 01, 2009

The Gloucester 5

I was pleased with my run this morning in the Gloucester 5 mile road race. Yes, Helen whooped me - that's no surprise to me. Even though she's been struggling with a bad cough I knew she'd be well ahead. She finished first woman and 12th overall. Phil P took second after a tussle with some young whipper snapper. Phil is a vet 45 so he more than held his own. I finished a few places back in 15th (or 16th, on account of not really being able to count).

I ran fairly even splits, slowing slightly in the second half but not enough to write home about, on the out and back course which was surprisingly undulating - I wasn't expecting that from a course meandering around the Severn flood plain.

My time of 31:27 was only 40s off my best so I am at least still headed in the right direction. And if I use those fancy distance space time continuum equations you can find on tinternet my run equates to a better performance than my most recent Bridge Inn 5k race so things are all good in the land of the Mad Runner.

We stopped behind in the Pilot Inn - the race HQ - for a meal and a chat with Phil and Sian. Helen plotted her next race which is now looking like being some cross country thingy jobber in Bicton (or some such place) this Sunday. I haven't made my mind up what I'll run next. Decisions, decisions...