Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Did I really just do that?

From the off I had absolutely no spring in my legs. I'm talking plod all the way. Normally I get past halfway before it all starts to go plod. Tonight it was heavy going all the way. It was like running through mud. Now I don't like the heat and humidity. Never have. Never will but it doesn't normally hit me like that so I don't think I can put the performance down to that.

All day I've been feeling good. I don't feel tired and I really was looking forward to another quicker time. Right up to the moment that is, before I went for a warm up - and I did do a proper warm up - I felt in the mood for it - ooh no, Mrs. But from the moment I started that fateful warm up I knew things weren't quite right. My two rest days had done sod all to prepare me for a fast one. And in truth, I don't know why I was so shit tonight. Perhaps, I'm still fatigued from last weeks efforts - I'd really like to believe that's not the case.

Anyway my run was a total disappointment - 19:45 - and believe me I tried the whole way. I had to dig deep just to break twenty. I think I need to reconsider the Thornbury 10k on Thursday but I'll see how I feel tomorrow - it is another day, after all.

Well I'll end on a positive note. It was great to see Mike T running again. He's had his fair - make that, more than his fair share - of set backs but he ran well tonight, beating me by miles but a one legged donkey could have done that tonight...

Monday, June 29, 2009


I feel OK today - not so OK that I can be arsed to do any training, mind. Only kidding - not about the lack of training, no, I shan't be doing of that nonsense, no, I'm kidding about the reason for not training. I'm going to use these two days (that's yesterday and today) to give the old bones a chance to recover ahead of tomorrow's Bridge Inn 5k.

I went at it pretty hard last week and although I feel recovered I may still have a bit of fatigue in me but hopefully I'll be able to build from last month's SB and claim another one. Depending on the outcome I'm tempted to then have a crack at the Thornbury Carnival 10k on Thursday, although I won't taper for it so I'll be heading to the track on Wednesday. I reckon the reprisal of my old 'race yourself back to form' is the way to go.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

And the results are in

Just a quick one - stop it - to mention that we were 3rd in the mixed category and 11th overall. A fine achievement considering the struggle to fill the team of just 10 athletes from the ranks of Bristol and West AC. And I thank one and all of them for jumping into the breach.

The only downside to the result is the fact that, of our team consisting of four men and six women, it was the men - excluding Mike Roberts - who let the team down - shame on me and the boys. In fact, if we could have raised another four women they would have smashed all before them as a women's only team category...

Cheers drive

I'm starting to flag a little. I ran Ok on leg 1 but to be brutally honest my race schedule of recent days took its toll. By half way my left hamstring tightened up but I dug deep to finish 18th.

Then it was a quick change into my driving gloves to move our leg runners car from the start to the end of their leg to ease the logistics. I drove 5 in all. An old van, a newer van, an astra, a honda automatic - and a porsche - now that doesn't happen everyday.

Team wise we've not done too bad. Helen won her leg (7) outright - a woman has never won a stage outright before and Mike Roberts won his leg as well.

That's it for now. More later including team result...

Friday, June 26, 2009

The world has gone Jackson mad

Why is it that everyone in the world - including those who denounced him during the 'inappropriate behaviour' years - have becomes the most massive fans of Micheal Jackson now he has departed the mortal coil? Don't they realise that you are permitted to purchase an artists work - before they die? There's no rule of thumb, 'Death's Law', if you prefer, that states you can only buy someone's album after they've died. And if they were Micheal Jackson's biggest fans - why the bloody hell do they need to rush out and buy up every album he ever made? - they should already have his songs - they're the biggest fans, right? I'll admit he had a few catchy tunes, but come on, it's not like he was your dad, is it?

I'm afraid this looks like a case for - duh, duh, duh [that's that catchy 1950's B music suspense music just in case you were wondering] - Super 'Jump On The Band Wagon' Man to the rescue. Wherever there is a band wagon, when all original thought is lost, when all you can do if follow the next man, then it's time call, Super 'Jump On The Band Wagon' Man.

Right, got that off my chest, it's time for chilling and carbo loading ahead of tomorrow's 5 o'clock start to be ready for Leg One of the Cotswold Relay. Of the two times I've run Leg One I think I'm going to be closer to the time of my first attempt, 1:33:52, than that of my second, 1:27:54 - I only hope I don't run a PW. I've got to be good enough for around the 90 minute mark, surely - and don't call me Shirley.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A nail in the coffin?

of course not - but I sure ran slooooow at the Nailsea 10k. As ever, the race went off without a hitch - that Nailsea mob know how to stage a race.

I arrived with plenty of time to spare before the start and moseyed on down to the sports field. I did a bit of stretching as I wasn't sure how the body was going to cope. Not bad, I thought. I then decided to start my warm up and jogged around the outside of the fields. After a lap the penny dropped as to how bad my body - and more importantly - my legs felt - shite. My calves felt tight. My quads, a little unsteady and my arse-ious maximumus was seriously aching. Oh well, in for penny.

I met Rob W before the start - it's his local race - and although the exams-completed party season has taken a slight toll, he still managed 14th place in a reasonably strong field. He promises to hit the track in a few weeks time.

As to the race. I started steady - and after the first lap - got steadier. Mind you, that fly I swallowed at 8km didn't help. It was hot, there was a wind and I felt knackered - almost a perfect combination. A few people came past but equally I overtook a few and even though I felt terrible I still gave it my all. I didn't get were I am today by not giving it everything.

Into the finishing field I was 10 metres behind the runner ahead - who, incidentally, was 10 metres ahead of the runner behind them. I closed a fraction but with 50 metres to go I heard a deafing roar from within the crowd, 'run Dave, run'. That was the spur. The afterburners kicked into life, flickering at first but then the full thrust hit home, taking me past that runner and through the line. Cheers Rob.

My time of 41:12 is very slow, even by my standards. It's been a hard few days but it's been good training and I feel I'm getting stronger. And I think I managed to hang on better towards the end than I would have done a few months ago.

Next up is the Cotswold Relay, followed by the Bridge Inn 5k and then possibly the Thornbury 10k - a race suggestion from Phil L, who ran a shit load quicker than me tonight...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A good batch

I was pleased with my finishing position in what was a good field. Practically every Chepstow Harrier - past, present and future - had turned out for the Beacon Batch. The race has a tough start. From the gun you head up a stoney path. I felt alright but didn't seem to have much leg power and consequently struggled a bit. The course then flattened out for half a mile of pacey running before the final climb up to the top. Now I really struggled on that bit. Even when the gradient was almost flat, on the approach to the turn, I could hardly run. It was painful.

Then once we turned to run along the flat top section I seemed to pick up a little and managed to keep with the pair of runners just ahead - one, a Chepstow Harrier who seems to beat me every time, only just mind, but beat me he doth. And no, I'll not name names. Suffice to say, tonight was my night.

As we hit the downhill run in - and it was a long, meandering run in - I made my move. As the gradient of the slope increased my old sea legs returned and I went past the pair and closed down the second woman. She was a tougher nut to crack and descended well on the rocky, stoney ground. I ate into her lead but I wasn't making enough inroad. However, with 20 metres to go and five metres to make up, I charged like a right nobber and burst past, to finish 19th and I was pleased with my time on the 5 mile course. I thought I might get close to 38 minutes on the course which has 1,000 feet of ascent but was prepared to be happy with forty. As I passed the line, the clock was stopped at 37:37.

As a down side, my left heel is killing me. I must have stamped on a stone - now, I do not believe I wanted to do that. Well, that's it for tonight. Now to prepare for tomorrow's Nailsea 10k. Bring it on...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Prepare the beacons

I am tapering ahead of tomorrow's and Wednesday's races. I'm really looking forward to it. My legs feel good today - although the rest of me feels tired. Perhaps an early night is in order and then I'll be ready.

Still waiting for the official Tebay results to be posted so I can compare to the Half Tour of Pendel to see how I performed relative to the athlete's around me. I feel I should have improved and I reckon it was a stronger field at Tebay. Not that any of that really matters but I need a bit a re-assurance that I'm still moving forwards - just hope the results don't give a negative...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sleepy, very sleepy

and I could have done without the bloody cat bringing in a vole at 6:30am! Then it dropped it - still very much alive and kicking on the bedroom floor, allowing it to shoot under a cupboard to safety. What with the cat squeaking - and the vole squeaking I spent half an hour capturing the vole before walking across the fields to release it safely away from the cat. Cats? Who'd have them?

Well, suffice to say I didn't make Ashton Court and subsequently still feel right knackered. Anyway, at least there's athletics on TV - although I am a little bored of it at the moment. And my legs feel OK.

Oh, and here is yesterday's race route, better to click 'terrian' to see the contours.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Not that I ran quickly at the Tebay but I ran hard. It felt like I ran the hardest, and put in the most effort of any of the races I've run this year. I really tried. Even on that last climb - which was twice the length of the first three climbs - when my legs were on, well, their last legs I pushed. I was on all fours by the top, but still I pushed. When I did finally reach the summit and check point four I could hardly stand - but there was still over two miles to run. So with my severely jellified legs I ambled on down as fast as I could to get through the finish. I was really really very tired - and then, with about 150m to go some damn fool had the temerity to try and go past me. Well I can tell you now, I wasn't have any of that nonsense. So I fired up the after burners for one last blast and took the tape a good few metres ahead - it was of course, a notional tape as I was back in 157th place. I ask you, why do they do it? Well that's the finish covered, now for the start.

The weather looked as though it might cause a bit of trouble at tut mill but in the end all was well. The wind dropped and the rain stayed away. It was, in fact, perfect conditions to run the Tebay Fell Race, a medium for the British and English Fell Championships weighing in at just over nine miles (officially eight, but that's nobber) and 2,600 feet of ascent.

At 1am off we set, a mass of 300 runners all streaming across the playing field and through a narrow gate - crush time, baby. After that things spread out as we meandered onto the fell and up to check point one. There were a few route choices - some choices I made were good - others, sadly, were a bit pants. I like to think they evened out in the end.

I am now thoroughly knackered and I don't think I've ever felt like sleeping quite as much as I do now. I'm thinking I could be asleep soon. But after sleep does descend and if I manage to raise myself by 8:30 tomorrow morning, then I might head down to Ashton Court for the old 10am run - I wonder if there'll be any one else there this time...

Well done to all the Calder Valley crew. The women with their win and individual 6th (H), 7th and 9th + others and well done to me for bringing the men's team down a peg or two by ending up as a team scorer in the 5th and final spot - woe is they...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Getting quite excited

Now I know this is going to sound silly but I'm getting quite excited about my upcoming race schedule. I haven't had as mad a schedule for years, with my four in eight. There's no time for any exercise tonight as I've got to pack and then it's up the M6 to Tebay ahead of tomorrow's British and English Championship. I feel right gert up for it - the race not the drive. No, the drive is a necessary evil.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Not a lot

A bit of a rest day today. Not intentional just didn't feel like it after work. I have, however, lined up a week of races just like in the old days.

There's the Tebay fell race on Saturday at Tebay - duh, where else would it be. Then Tuesday I've lined up Weston AC's Beacons Batch on the Mendips - this one is a bit of a late entry as I'd heard about it but wasn't really sure whether to run it or not - if in doubt go run is my motto. Wednesday sees me take to the back streets of Nailsea for the 10k and then the following Saturday I finish with Leg 1 of the Cotswold Relay. Ahh, just like the old days, 4 races in 8 days - nice...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Through the (10 mile) barricades

Yes, that's right, for the first time ever I broke through the 10 mile barrier. For those who are not sure of the significance of this - or in fact, what the hell I'm talking about - I'm talking miles per litre - as in, car economy. And yes, I finally hit the magic 10 miles per litre average - not an easy feat in my clapped out old banger. I've been getting close with my increasingly 'old fart', steady as she goes technique but at the last fill up, I finally hit the mark. It just goes to show, you don't need to scrap your old one for a carbon loaded upfront new one - as the government is urging us to do - I'm practically saving the planet.

Right, political broadcast over, I ran five 800's this week with the same 90 seconds recovery. Sean and the lads were running shorte 500 and 400 reps but I need longer reps at the moment so it was a solo affair again - as it probably will be over the coming weeks.

The wind was a little stronger tonight than last week but I went off steadier and managed to run all five at a consistent pace - 2:50, 2:50, 2:48, 2:50 and 2:48. Now, I know there are people who will certainly run more reps in an 800's session and probably faster but I'm still pleased with me little effort. My pace tonight is still a lot faster than my current 5k pace form so things are still moving forward...

Monday, June 15, 2009

B b b bike again

After tow days of running - of which my legs don't feel too bad - I went for the bike tonight as way of a recovery. So it was just 45 minutes, starting on easy and ending on tough - with a bit of blood, sweat and tears in between. OK, so there was no blood, nor tears for that matter but there was plenty of sweat - which I'm guessing is too much information.

Tomorrow I shall try for a run after work - I did say try, so don't quote me as I haven't exactly been the most committed of late...

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back on my old stomping ground

With a barbecue to attend in Bristol it seemed like the perfect time to return to Ashton Court for a run - perfect, that is, except for the fact that the race for life was taking place on the Downs which meant no one else turned up! Still, I had an enjoyable solo 50 minutes through Leigh Woods, past Abbots Pool and back into Ashton Court. I almost got back to the sort of speeds I used to run but the climbs came as a bit of a shock. I thought I was getting fitter but either my memory of how well I used to go is off kilter or I'm no where near my former (not so) glory.

Well, I've run back to back days consisting of a long one and pacier, shorter one - just like the old days. I'll be fit again one day, you mark my words...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Red rag to a cow

Well that was indeed a long run. At just over 15 miles and about 2,000 feet of ascent, I am suitably knackered.

My route was picturesque but not well traveled in places. At one point the path disappeared altogether and were it not for the magic of my trusty global positioning system I might never have seen the light of day again. I can't say I was running very fast either but the time on feet factor was high.

And cows? Don't mention those pesky fiends. I had to deviate my route - adding an extra half mile - because every time I climbed the gate into this particular field the whole herd charged at me. Suffice to say I don't think you will have ever seen someone climb back over a gate so fast. Once back safely the other side of the gate they turned around a walked back across the field as if nothing had happened.

Cue my second attempt to follow the route I had planned. Over the gate I went - and about face and charge came the cows. Damn them. There was not a third attempt. I admitted defeat. Scanned the map and followed a different route around the danger zone. Now, I have to say I'm not normally worried about cows and the like but when you have fifty of them charging at you...

Anyway, I made it home safe and sound and now it's time for a nice relaxing shower...

Friday, June 12, 2009

All set for a long run

I just had to perform major heart surgery on the exercise bike - it was once again rattling and a shakin' like Mr Stevens and his Ole House. But not anymore. It's running smoother than a porcupines underbelly - which, for the sake of those not in the know, is very very smooth. I think it's actually running better than it ever has because I could actually hear the TV while riding which is normally impossible - result. Then again, it probably mean I've loosened off something I shouldn't have and the pedals will fall off but I'll cross that bridge when the fat lady sings.

An hour on the bike has given the legs a good loosener ahead of my planned long run tomorrow but the most important thing to achieve this weekend is a bloody good lie-in in the morning. I'm not - read my lips - getting up before 8am and you can take that to the bank. Oh, for the days when a lie-in really was a lie-in - I'm talking post noon...

Disclaimer. For the record, I know nothing about porcupines or the state of their underbellies

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Alas, the bike

Just the bike today. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Looks like we're heading for some more nice weather so Saturday will almost certainly be a goodly long run for me - so that's five miles sorted. Just kidding, that's far too long a run - just kidding again. I'm looking to get out for thirteen or so (miles not minutes).

I've got it about me tonight. Anyway, my achilles isn't showing any signs of the stiffness and soreness of yesterday so that's a good thing. Must have just been one of those days. Oh well. Back to the grindstone.

Oh, yeah, before I forget. If there are any of you out there wanting to run a leg of the Cotswold Relay as part of my team then leave a comment with your email and I'll get back to you. I've had a bit of trouble, Betty, and I'm now a leg 4, 5 and 10 short. All comers welcome. The only thing to bear in mind is you have to navigate yourself along the Cotswold Way. There are no marshals to show you the way. If you want to have a go get in touch. It'll be a great day and a very social one with a bit of banter between clubs and runners.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sessioning in the rain

After a monsoon like down pour ten minutes before the start, the session itself was dry - blessed were we. The track surface glistened in the last of the summery evening sun - ok, no sun and the glistening just meant we were running on a pseudo ice rink.

After a few warm up laps I could feel my achilles - I should flippin' hope so but I mean feel it in a bad, tight way. I really didn't want to wear my spikes but the wet surface put an end to thoughts of running in my flats. The lads, including Sean, ran some short reps - that's two and three hundreds. I need longer stuff so opted for some solo eights. At the start I wasn't sure how many I would manage - after a few reps I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be many - on account of the tightening calves. My first was 2:42. The next was 2:45. The third, 2:47 and the final one was 2:50 - it was a sign. A portent, if you will, that it was time to call it a day. I did, however, keep to a reasonably short 90 second recovery - and I was strict, no slacking on my shift.

I'm not overly chuffed with the session but it does at least give me a marker on which to build on in the coming weeks. I'm going to try and run eights for the next few weeks and see if I can't get both faster and more reps done.

There is one thing positive I can take from tonight's session - I'm still dry...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Well chase my steeples

The drive over to Rugby was pleasant enough. I went the A46 route and got there in and hour and forty five. The weather held - although driving back, I came through some really heavy rain so I hope that doesn't make the travel to Rugby before the last events have finished.

Sean was up for his first every 3k steeple chase - he's run a number of 1.5k and 2k - and like the thoroughbred he is, he coped well with the extra distance - although he did moan like stink afterwards. He came home second in the A-string event.

As to my race, as soon as the race got underway, I knew my legs were bad. All thoughts of a PB disappeared - and my PB is rubbish. No, after a few metres thought turned to just finishing.

I was runnning shoulder to shoulder with another chap over the first couple of laps. He edged away slightly before I made up the gap and decided to make a push on the third lap, to see if I could get away. My push wasn't much of a push but I did speed slightly. I was puffing like a bastard but I managed to get 5 metres which over the course of the fourth lap became ten. Then I settled and got round safely for 2nd place in the B-string - which sounds far grander that it actually was, since there was only three of us in the race. But you have to be in it to win it and the history books record it as a 2nd place and it all scores good points for the team.

I was going to have a go at the pole vault as well, as our second vaulter had called off, but Martin 'you da the man' Davies had only brought his stiff pole - ooh err, stop it - and after a few practice attempts I soon realised it was too stiff for me to handle!

Right, I'm off to let the legs recuperate...

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The day the clouds stood still

It rained and rained and rained and rained. And just when I thought it was going to stop... it rained some more. What a contrast to the weather of last week. It was impossible to stay dry so I didn't even bother to try.

Helen was disappointed with her run, coming home sixth. I wasn't entirely pleased by run either, coming home 106th - or what ever the heck my actual finishing position was. I didn't get into the grove, neither did I prove my love of the hill to anyone. I just didn't get going today. That's not to say I didn't enjoy the race because despite the poor weather I did quite enjoy it. I only had one pace today - and that was dead slow. I felt good before the start and of late things have been picking up so I'll not lose to much sleep over my poor showing.

Anyway, I've got the 3k steeple chase tomorrow, up in Rugby, where I will undoubtedly get a sound thrashing by every other runner in the race. It'll be good training though.

Right, I'm off to dig out my pb so I can gauge how slow I go...

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Like Usain, I'm goin' to be quick

That, sadly, is where the comparison ends - he's too slow and can't keep up :)

I hit the treadmill after work. 45 minutes on the hill setting. All I can say is tough. Very tough. My legs feel tight. I guess after yesterday's quick stuff I should have gone easy but I felt like working a bit.

After the t-mill I sat on the bike for ten minutes to cool down - I should add, I did actually do a bit of pedaling. It's not like I just sat on it and read the newspaper. That would just be silly - mind you, I might bear that in mind.

Right, off to relax now ahead of a double header on the weekend - Stretton Hills fell race on Saturday followed by a total whooping over the steeple chase barriers on Sunday...

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Crikey o'reilly

That was tough. I struggled in the heat and missed one of the early reps but I made amends by running it at the end - I didn't get where I am today by not completing the session.

Dave B's group was back and Sean, Josh, a few others and myself ran 300s off short recovery - read 50 seconds for me but about a minute for Sean. We ran sets of four, three, two and one. As I alluded to at the start of the post, I actually ran three, three, two , one and one.

I was pleased with my times though - considering I really found it hard to recover between reps. I don't know what it is about the heat but I just struggle to get the oxygen in. My breathing just about eased back from gasping as we stepped up to the ockey - I mean start line.

My first rep was too fast - 50 seconds - and I slowed on the next two, 52 and 53 before not recovering in time to start the fourth, so I dodged the bullet. Then the next three reps went down in 53, 54, 53. The next two followed in 54 and 52. Before the official finish - remember I still had another one to go - in 51 seconds. Then as the lads warmed down I jogged a short recovery before hitting out my final, and tenth rep, in 48 seconds. Yes, I did say 48. I was right up on my toes for the entire lap and somehow just seemed to glide round the top bend into the final straight. Then the treacle kicked in but still, 48 seconds - what's that all about? I've only ever run a 300 faster than that once before - and that was back in 2007.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Not up for it

I'm afraid I had to bottle a run and do another bike session instead. I hate the heat - seem to recall mentioning that before somewhere. I was up for running up over Dundry tonight but after a visit to Asdal for some shopping and a few other chores I was too hot and bothered from driving around in the car - or should that be slightly roasting in the car. Anyway, by the time I got home I was too far gone, idleness had well and truly set in. Instead I turned to the exercise bike in front of the telly. Not a substitute for running but better than nothing.

Heat or not I will definitely be at the track tomorrow.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Really pushed that

I really went for it on the bike today. I pushed hard right till the bitter end. My calves were tightening. My lungs were bleeding - OK, they weren't really bleeding. Come to think of it, my breathing was actually quite controlled. So I guess it was the legs that bore the brunt. I feel that's been my best workout on the bike for ages. I'm really starting to get back into pushing every last bit of leg power till the melt down point. Right, I think I've made my point so I stop banging on.