Saturday, May 29, 2010

Unchartered territory

After putting it off for as long as I could, once the rain stopped I had no excuse. After feeling up for it last night, this morning I didn't. I know that if I want to run the challenges I'm hoping to then I have to just do it. So I programmed in the route, donned my running threads and fired up the Kia.

I started from the top of Lansdown by the monument and headed towards Old Sodbury. I've not run that section of the Cotswold Way before - to be fair I've not really run much of any of the Cotswold Way bar the first twelve or so miles of the northern end.

The route winds its way in a generally north/south direction but with a bit of east/west as well. The route heads over to Cold Ashton, through Pennsylvania, round the back of Dyrham Park. Then it's over to Tormarton - where I have to admit I wasn't too sure of the route and the way markers seemed to disappear. I do believe I looked the complete nobber having to run past the same group of walkers three times - and coming at them from different directions each time - doh. Still, I managed to get back on route eventually.

From Tormartin it's not too far over to Old Sodbury but you do have to go through the worlds longest field - took me nigh on half an hour to traverse (joke). Once safely in Old Sodbury I stopped for a few moments to take on board some fuel before hitting reverse and returning from whence I came.

I was fairly comfortable for most of the run but once I got past twenty miles I began to feel myself fading. I dug in to get back to the car and really only had to walk on the final major climb back up to the top of Lansdown - but by then I was just preying for the end.

The rain held off for much of the run except I did get soaked just after leaving Old S when the heavens opened for a brief - but very wet - five minutes.

In all I covered about twenty four and a half miles with 3,000 feet of ascent in about four and a quarter hours. Pretty slow I'll admit - although I did lose about quarter of an hour arsing around in Tormarton. Ultimately I'm just glad to have built up to that kind of distance in a relatively short space of time. I've not been near that kind of territory for over three years. The speed will come later - much, much later...

Friday, May 28, 2010

Where to run tomorrow?

I want to run my last long run before the LAMM and I'm unsure where to run it. Decisions, decisions.

It's been a slack week on the exercise front but not on the work front and sometimes the two don't always see eye to eye.

I'm inclined to run the a longer section of the south part of the CFP but then the Brecons might be a possibility - and a chance to get in a drive in the new old car. Or maybe I should go recce some of the Cotswold Way. The downside to that is that it would pretty much have to be an out and back-er - not something I find totally inspiring but at the end of the day if I'm going to have a crack at the entire CW later in the year I do need to get out there and recce it. Another downside of travelling tomorrow is the increased bank holiday travel. Oh, and another one is the lack of my maps - mind you, I could always 'use the force, luke, use the force' to guide me.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Crap days training

I was fully intending to go for a run this evening but it didn't happen. I had an absolutely pants night sleep last night and the knock on, after a hard days work, was zilcho on the training. Still, I'm not too worried. The knee is good and I've managed some good long runs the last few weeks. Not sure what I'll get up to tomorrow but I'll definitely be running a long one on the weekend. It probably has to be my last before the LAMM so I'm aiming for 25 big ones. Haven't run that far for literally years - I'd have to go back to the microfiche to find a run that far. Fingers crossed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly

One? Just one fly? I took three! Straight to the back of the throat. No chance of coughing back. Gone. On the plus side it was a much needed bit of protein for the journey home.

Still awaiting the new used wheels I made up my mind to run home from work and took the necessary kit with me in the morning. With my plan set, when that home time bell rang I donned my kit and zoomed out the door.

I headed up the A38 out of town (towards the airport) and picked up the Community Forest Path at the point it crosses the main road. From there I tried to follow the path all the way through to Norton Malreward. Despite my best endeavor I managed to go awry a few times but each time I managed to work out where I had erred. Once again the views where cracking.

It was slow going in the heat. Boy it was hot. Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot - here we go again. Hot, hot - anyway, to cut a long story short, think hot. In all I covered just over nine miles and 1,200 feet of ascent. The knee held out so it's a good start to the week - at least on the running front.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

I hate the exercise bike

I really do. Tried to take my mind off the boredom of it by watching TV - it didn't work. I don't know how it does it, but it sucks the interest out of previously interesting programs. Still, it's the price you pay for not going for a run on such a nice day. I just couldn't face a run in this heat. Even at eight pm it feels too hot for me - yes, I am a little namby. The exercise bike it was and it was a descent enough hour session on my old banger.

On the knee front things are looking brighter. I don't want to put the mockers on things but although it feels a bit achy it's no where near the pain I felt after last weeks long run. I reckon I might be able to get out for a run tomorrow but I've got to keep half an eye on the LAMM which is only three weeks away and I can't afford for it to be in anyway dodgy by then. Generally I'm feeling much stronger than a month ago. Not feeling any quicker, mind - possibly even a tad slower - if that's possible - but it's endurance not speed that counts at this stage.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


but not spicy.

Today I went to recce the southern most section of the Community Forest Path to which I admit I set out a bit late. That meant I was out in the midday sun - mad dogs etc. Full force of the sun, bring it on. Sun blocked up to the max - factor 372 - I headed up over Maes Knoll to pick up Path in Norton Malreward.

First shock of the day - actually the only shock, and to be fair it really wasn't really a shock as such, I digress - there is a grass airstrip on the outskirts of that fair village. Lived in Bristol all my life and I never knew it was there - but then why would I? Slap my thigh - just not hard.

Anyway, the route wound its way around in fairly straight lines across to Pensford - Oxymoron type thing, alert. For much of this section of the path, starting just before Pensford, the route kind of followed the river into keynsham.

After Pensford came Compton Dando - and strange looks from people sipping beer in the Compton Inn, thinking, 'what's that nutter doing running in the heat of the day?' - did I care, did I sh#@.

From there it was along the river to Keynsham where I cut from the CFP and headed home. From Keysham I headed along a bridle path I didn't know existed all the way to Horse World, avoiding quite a lot of road - always a bonus.

In all I covered about 15 miles and 1,300 feet of ascent. It wasn't the fastest I've ever run but I was trying to condition myself for the LAMM which is why I loaded up my running ruck sack with 3kg of weight plus 2 litres of fluids. Obviously by the end I was down to just the 3kg but it surprised me how much difference a few pounds make.

The most striking thing about running the Community Forest Path, though - and it was a lovely scenic run, don't get me wrong - is the almost total lack of, what I like to call, forest. Yes, there were some trees dotted along the hedge rows. In places, the odd copse or two. And at one point possibly a 'wood' - see blue bells pic - but come on, forest? I think not. It was a nice run though.

The bridge near Chewton Place

Today's route;

Friday, May 21, 2010

Haven't run all week

but I have today done an hour on the bike to test the knee. It doesn't feel painful for the first time this week - and I've given it a good prod. Looks like all systems go for a run tomorrow - and it has to be a long one. It will, however, also be a very steady one.

To go along with my plan to run the entire Cotswold Way at the end of summer I reckon it's about time I ran Bristol's answer to the Bob Graham Round - all though to be fair, with almost no ascent and never at any point being further than a mile from civilisation, the Community Forest Path is not really much of an answer. It should prove a little bit of a challenge for me at this stage in my preparation, weighing in at about 45 miles. I shall be hoping to be a bit quicker than the 'Greenman's Challenge' target of inside 24 hours. I'll be disappointed not be inside half that - but don't go placing any bets on the record, at around 7-8 hours, I'll not be threatening that. Loosely pencilling the attempt for the end of June.

To that end, I'm going to recce a section of the course from Dundry around to Willsbridge tomorrow. Should be around 20 miles hopefully.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

god damn knee

Knee still shit - but feels a lot better. Reckon I should be able to put in a long run on Saturday. Alas, it won't be over the Mendips - not unless I run there. No, still carless until next Wednesday. Need some inspiration as to where to run. Might try and pick up some of the Green Man route down to Pensford. Alas don't have my maps at the moment so might be a bit of a gamble as to the route...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Knock Kneed

The knee is easing - but not quickly enough to mean a run today. In truth I don't think I'll be running tomorrow either. Maybe car shopping on Thursday will cheer me up - but I doubt it, since it's going to cost me a packet that I haven't got. Still, must try to look on the bright side - which ain't that easy right now...

Monday, May 17, 2010

26 Days...

The time to the LAMM. I now feel positive in terms of completing the distance. Saturday's run was good. I ate up the 19 miles and came away feeling strong. It's good how quick the endurance has come back - but the knee is bad. Wasn't able to run today. Too sore. Not overly worried though because I now know I've got the strength now. I'm going to rest the knee until it's pain free.

On other fronts, things aren't so good, but enough said.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

It's knee good

I haven't managed any training today. The knee is a bit painful after yesterday's long run. Fingers crossed it eases since I'll be needing it for walking to work - in the short term at least. Until I can't get some wheels sorted. It's all going pete tong...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Rock of Ages

I did not rise early from slumber but I did manage to get out for a long run - as planned. Starting near Charterhouse I ran an anti-clockwise loop of the main part of the Mendip Hills. Some parts of the route were new to me so there were a few little stoppages to take stock of my location. From Charterhouse I headed across the north side of Burrington Combe before dropping down to the road and the 'Rock'. Then it was up the other side and around to Dolebury Warren. From there to Rowberrow - yadda yadda yadda - loop of the woods, along the bottom, up to the top, down the other side, Velvet Bottom. The end.

In all I covered about 19 miles and 2,500 feet of ascent. I am a little bit knackered just about now but it's another good, long run under my belt. And as I tread the route I decided to definitely have a crack at running the Cotswold Way in it's entirety (105 miles) in 24 hours - with one proviso, and too be fair it's a biggy, as I'll need a helper or two along the way and I wouldn't want to waste anybody's time - that I actually believe, having racked up enough training miles, that I can complete it inside the 24 hours by the scheduled attempt date. My initial thoughts are to go for the late summer bank holiday weekend to allow for a variable start target of the Friday, Saturday or Sunday night to take account of the weather forecast. The downside of that weekend is that it only gives me fifteen weeks to get there - and that ain't really that much time...

Today's route;

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Knee trouble

The old knee is still a bit sore so I gave training a miss. Hopefully I'll be fit for a run tomorrow but if it's still a bit dodgy I'll skip it because I really want to get a long run in on Saturday - but it's definitely going to be off road. Other than that I'm hanging in there.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A little set back

I made it over to the track - yah - but when I started to jog my left knee gave me, what I like - or in this case don't like - to call, pain - boo. It was a pain that I didn't think was going to do me much good if I tried to run quick so I came home. Instead I did an easy half hour on the bike which didn't seem to cause too much distress. Not sure if I'll be able to run tomorrow. Mayhap I've started to run before I can walk. But I'm tough and I'll dig in and carry on.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day two

Well it felt a lot tougher tonight. I used to be able to eat back to back runs for breakfast but now I struggle even when they're the main course.

I elected for my extended Dundry loop. Weighing in at about nine miles, two more than yesterday's run, it felt like double. It was a plod but a good plod. I'm not sure how fit I'm going to be for tomorrow's track session - provided I actually make it there.

Not really up for much more chitter chatter at the moment so I'll take my leave.

Tonight's loop;

Monday, May 10, 2010

A new leaf

I haven't managed to get out for a run on a Monday evening for ages - and looking back over my records, I really mean ages. I had a long day at work, finishing gone five having started sub eight but was in determined mood. I gave myself a few an hour's rest before heading up over Dundry.

I started steady and after a few minutes ground out the first and longest, steepest climb. By the top either I hadn't pushed very hard or I'm lots fitter than the last time I headed up - I'm suspecting the former. I cruised along the top before starting to pick the pace up on the way back. I felt I was treading out pretty strongly in the last couple of k's. Although a bit down on my best - read several minutes - it felt pretty easy. There is more to come.

There is only five weeks to go till the LAMM so I can't afford to waste any time. If all goes well in the LAMM - ie, I survive - always an advantage - I'm going to set myself a long distance challenge. I've threatened this many times and for the last few years I've not been fit enough but I'm going to get myself fit and go for one.

Tonight's run;

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Got myself out for a run this morning - after an extended sleep-in. I cast an eye over the map. Decided a route and set off.

After about four miles I changed plans and headed into Welshbury Wood. I was intending to run quite a lot of road but I've never been in Welshbury Wood and it looked steep so I thought I'd give it a go. It was nice to run somewhere new. From there I ran a loop of Chestnuts Inclosure - another knew one on me - before heading back to the road.

I churned out a few miles from there to Little Dean and the edge of Cinderford before heading into the Haywood Plantation - where I got a bit disorientated on account of the loggers churning up the path I was on to the extent that the path vanished. So after an impromptu loop I headed back to Flaxley Woods and home. As I ran through Flaxley I stumbled across a deer, a fox and a baby rabit.

In all I covered about sixteen and a half miles and 2,200 feet of ascent. I'm pleased with that - and it didn't take me all day.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Didn't think it was possible...

to run slower than I did in the first race of the handicap series. And the sad thing is that through the run I thought I was going quicker. It certainly felt like I was putting in more effort than last time. I actually can't believe I was slower - and by 30 seconds or more (I can't remember my actual time from the last race down to the exact second but I'm sure it was in the first part of the minute whereas this time it was towards the back end). Never has the phrase 'ARSE' been more apt. At least my longer, endurance based runs seem to be improving and I'm still buzzing from Saturday's race but I do miss a bit of the old speed...

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


It's been a tiring day at work and I felt like nothing more than feet up. And having finally managed to get hold of the Coniston race results I reckon I can pencil in an extra rest day. I was 175th out of a field of - get ready - 422. That puts me well inside the top half, 41% of the field no less - bonsai. I think it's my best result of all my English or British Fell races - not there's been that many. Lets have a look - time for the stats...

Y Garn 64% (46th/71)
Slieve Bearnagh 61% (144th/233)
Dentdale 60% (90th/150)
Dufton 56% (105th/185)
Half Tour of Pendle 46% (179th/384)

I'm sure there's been a few more and I know not all races are equal but I'm pretty sure 41% is going to come out top of them all - origami.

Anyway, I am intending to evade the border patrol and cross to the other side - of the Severn, for the 2nd of Chepstow's handicap races.

Monday, May 03, 2010

No Bluebells here

I didn't quite make it over to the Blaisdon Bluebell Blunder 10k. Another case of not feeling too topper. I guess the long weekend took more out of me than I thought. It's been very frustrating. I was really up for it but I just feel a bit achy and weakened.

I've got a busy day tomorrow workwise so it's unlikely I'll get any training done - pants. Still awaiting the Coniston results. I really hope I made the top half. It felt like such a good run that I'll be a little upset if I've not hit the top half.

What will tomorrow bring...

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Back home

After a long weekend we're finally home. It was good fun though. Helen came fifth in the womens race where as I didn't come fifth in the mens. I was pleased with my run though. I took it steady on the longest of the climbs to Wetherlam and then gained some places as I headed to Swirl How and Coniston Old Man before heading back down off the mountain.

I especially enjoyed the descent from the the Old Man, as having recced a fast route down on Friday, I gained half to a dozen places without trying - topper. As everyone else veered left back to the safety of the tourist track I stuck to my guns, tucked in tight to Colt Crag a took a direct line back to the main track, saving myself a lot of time in the process.

My time of 1:33 was inside my 1:40 target so I'm well pleased.

Glad to be back home now though as it's been a tiring few days.

The Coniston Fell Race and all it's 3,200feet ascent in 8 miles;