Saturday, July 31, 2010

Fach off

to an horrendous race finish. It seemed like a great 3km descent to the finish - only it wasn't because once to the low point you had to head back up this bastard steep bit. Arse. Still I had another good run as my form continues to return. I've nothing to compare it to other than other peoples previous race times - and I think today's 1 hour and 56 seconds holds up on the 10.5km course with 2,100 feet ascent. I'm quite pleased. I could have done with a tad more strength on the major climb and maybe a fraction more endurance on the steep descent but overall things are definitely moving in the right direction. And it was a great warm up for tomorrow's Magor Marsh 10k...

Waun Fach Fell Race route;

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's a sore point

One blister has come on well - the other, less so. To be honest it's still going to be a bit sore tomorrow - and the seven mountainous miles of Waun Fach at 2pm ain't gonna help it along any. I can sense operation 'tape that sucker' warming up in the wings. All of which means it back to the back again. That's four nights out of five.

Now I know it's nothing like running but it's the best option I've got - and it's good to have an easy week every now and then - now, don't be nasty and mention I've had several years of easy.

So, it's a double header race weekend which will provide some solid - if painful - training. And I'm really planning to kick some ass on the mountains tomorrow...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Well that didn't quite work

I thought I'd be clever. Have a lie in. Head to work late. Work till 6 and then head over the bridge for the Chepstow training session - it didn't quite pan out. I've been working hard ironing out the creases of the plant specification I'm putting together. As the clock edged towards six I was done in. My head was throbbing and I couldn't face the 40 minute drive. Although, to be fair, my feet still aren't quite right and I'm not sure how comfortable my run would have been had I made it. So it was back to a sweaty session on the bike instead. Only sixty minutes tonight. The only plus is that I should at least be fully rested and the blisters healed for Waun Fach on Saturday.

And I've learnt a valuable lesson. Into work early. Home early. Recharge and then to training...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Numbing down

With more European Championship on TV and my ever sore feet still, well, sore it was once more unto saddle. I'm crossing my fingers they'll be feeling a lot better tomorrow. Ideally I'd like to get over to Chepstow tomorrow night for the training Hash run but I'll only be heading there if the feet are a lot better. I've got a good weekend of running planned with Waun Fach on Saturday followed by the Magor Marsh 10k on Sunday - but if the feet aren't right I'll be struggling so if the worst comes to the worst it'll be more bike until then. I can't afford to set back the healing process. I'm looking forward to the racing. Feeling strong I'll be going for it.

Anyway, tonight I managed 90 minutes before my bum got numb. Now back to the Europeans...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Easy does it

I couldn't just sit on my backside tonight. My legs are achy - not overly so, been worse and my blisters are, well, still blistered - what did you expect, some kind of miracle cure? Anyway, I hopped on the bike for sixty. It wasn't aggressive, just steady. Turning the legs over, trying to get some kind of recovery before tomorrow's Bridge Inn race. No doubt I will be as slow as ever but what the heck...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Blistering Barnacles

I'm now sporting a pair of symmetrically placed blisters on the sides of my feet, sort of inside top area. One is red raw, the other has maintained skin structural integrity - I guess I've not raced a long in my Wave Harriers before.

Anyway, it was a great day for it. Ideal conditions. It was misty on top and sunny in the dips and very little wind - except for the beans. As is the norm for the Seaview 17 - the 21 mile 'undulating' race along the coastal path from Contisbury to Minehead - we huddled at the start for the official photo and then we were off.

I found myself in the unusual position of leading things out which I maintained for about three miles. It didn't last as I had to cool it. I was overcooking it trying to stay ahead and 21 miles is a long way. That kind of distance can be hell if you've burnt up inside five miles. I eased to the side to let five or six runners past. I wouldn't have held them for long and I'd have blown my chances of a good run. A few more came past in the next couple of miles but I continued to hover around the top ten.

As is now customary for me in this race, I ballsed up at mile five and darted off downhill on the coastal path - just not the bit of the coastal path we follow - doh. On the upside I led a load of others the wrong way too but on the downside the net affect was a couple of minutes lost, some energy wasted and a few more places dropped - doh, doh. Will I ever run this race and not go wrong? Maybe fourth time lucky next year?

The race steadied for the next six or seven miles as we wound our way around the coast down to Porlock Weir and the flats before hitting the main climb. I made inroads into the places I'd lost and moved somewhere back towards the top ten.

I stuffed my face full of dates and drink on the steep climb. It's too steep to run so I took the opportunity to fuel up. A couple came past but I was more concerned with getting the fuel onboard than flogging myself to death on the climb. With six or seven miles left to go once you get to the top, running out of energy is not the thing to do - been there done that, got the T-shirt. A few lost seconds on the climb could save minutes at the end.

Across the top I worked hard to get back on terms with one of those who'd come past on the climb and for four miles we worked well together. Sharing the lead as we pulled out an uncatchable lead on those chasing us - but we failed to dent the lead the chap ahead had over us - win some, lose some.

On the descent to Minehead - which goes on and on - I got a stitch and struggled for ten minutes. Fortunately - for me, not him - the guy I was running with was starting to go into energy debt and dropped back. With the stitch gone I pushed hard to the end but never managed to make any ground on the runner ahead.

In the end I finished in 7th place in a time of 2 hours 56 minutes. I'm really pleased with that and it's only four minutes down on my best from back in the day. I felt pretty strong the whole way and it was definitely a good decision to ease back in those early miles.

Well done to Minehead RC for putting on another great race, and a lovely buffet at the end.

Seaview 17 route (with unintentional variation);

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Final prep

Well it's just under 16 hours to one of my favourite races, the Seaview 17. I don't know why it's one of my favourites but I guess the 20 miles of scenic running has something to do with it. The route winds its way along narrow paths, wider tracks and even wider heathland. Taking in woodland, fields - and that nasty last mile on the road - that's not the best bit, by the way. Nor is the getting up at six o'clock in the morning to get down there - oh, the sacrifice.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully the weather will be kind, the wind remain calm and then we can all have an enjoyable romp. And maybe, just maybe, this year I won't go wrong. Both my previous attempts have resulted in a measure of error. Fingers crossed for third time lucky...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Easing back with the bike

I almost didn't bother with anything today. Could I give in to another two days of resting? The old me would have. The belly reducing me says no, so I hopped on the bike for a fairly easy hour. Burnt a few calories without putting undue strain on the muscles. Really targetting Sunday's Seaview 17 - hope I don't run like a donkey. That would be a real downer but I feel good, so that won't happen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Sixty minutes

Well, today I only managed a sixty minute session - sixty minutes with my feet up and arse firmly fixed to the sofa watching telly. Yes folks, today I rest - and I'm not ashamed.

Been back to the daily grind - not that I find it a grind, I enjoy my work - but it's been tiring. Or maybe its just me that's tired and work's got nothing to do with it. Anyway, I'm up early tomorrow for a training session at eight - OK, that's not early but it's a forty five minute drive away. I could skip it but seeing as I'm supposed to be doing some of the leading it might not go down too well.

Hasta la vista, baby

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lemon fresh

Well that's me exercised for the day and showered, lemony fresh. I'm tapering back now for the Seaview 17 on Sunday. I really really want to go well there. When I ran it in 2007 I ran 2h 52m which included making a navigational cockup with only a couple of miles to go while in the lead. That cost me dear and I finished second. Last year it took me 3h 18m - and I didn't even add the extra mile. I don't think I'm back to my 2007 form - infact, I know I'm not - but I feel three hours is a possibility and that's what I'll be going for. So between now and Sunday I'm taking it easy. I want my body fully recovered. I've given it a bit of a hammering. It's held up well and I feel all the stronger and fitter for it but now's a time for a few days rest. To that end I put in a steady 60 minutes on the bike.

Addendum: I was 4th overall in the combined, cumulative time of the Pen-y-Fan/Fan-y-Big races (by my calculation).

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good game, good game

I got out of bed this morning - not that surprising I guess. Legs said no. The training run was off. I went for a walk instead, a leisurely ninety minuter. Pretty sure that helped my legs for this evenings race. And what a bloody race.

I headed over to Llanhennock, parked up - and then stayed in the car until fifteen minutes to go. It was peeing down. I registered with Sid, the team manager, and jogged down to the start. The race itself was part of the Leisure Centre League Summer Series. A team event with first ten past the post from each team to score. It was a tad under ten kilometres on the road and undulating would be an under statement. It was so hilly it was almost an A category fell race - not really, but it was probably the toughest 10k I've run.

It's been a good eleven days of training and racing during which time I've covered about 110 miles and 22,000 feet of ascent. That's way more than I've been running of late. Practically a months worth in just those eleven days. Culminating in three races in four days of which tonight's was another good one for me. I finished in 36th place in a time of 41:54 - not bad considering that's not far outside my Sundayshill time and it had half the ascent of tonight's race. Whether I score for the team or not I ran about as good a race as I could have hoped for. Tactically I reckon I got it just about right, eeking out the best from my tired old legs.

I started steady - make that slow. From the start the route was upwards before a long section downhill where I started to pick things up. By the low point - of the race route, not my performance - I'd moved nicely through the field. It was good motivation to know every racer I overtook helped the team score by knocking the opposing team scores back. I hung in there, dug deep and stuck to the task at hand. Steadily picking off the runners ahead one by one.

The ascent was tough and by the final climb of about a kilometre I was blowing badly but no one came past - 'cept for one guy was sprinting but in my book - a very good read, top of the best sellers - he'd not run hard enough in the preceding nine kilometres and should have been way ahead anyway.

Early signs are that we took the win - yeah - but I guess I shouldn't jump the gun until the official results are ratified.

The Caerleon Race Route;

Monday, July 19, 2010

Not in the army now

whoa, whoa, not in the army, now [one for the Status Quo fans]. I love burning off the Army. They were out in force - and with guns. No fear. I burnt them. That's twice in two days because they were out yesterday over by Fan-y-Big as well.

I headed over to the Storey Arms today for a recce of a small section of the South Wales Traverse. Visibility was brilliant so it was a great day to take a good look around from the tops of various summits and get a feel for the area. I've not really ever been on the mountains east of Storey Arms so today's weather could not have been better - and I didn't even have to slip Michael Fish a bung.

After 33 miles Wednesday, 6 on Thursday and two hard races Yesterday and Saturday I was expecting to struggle. I took full kit just in case. Sun blocked up and headed out. I went straight up Fan Fawr - puffing somewhat. Then ran south east on a lovely steady descent - except for the boggy, reedy bits which were hard going, but mercifully short. From the bottom river crossing there was a short section through some woods before heading up to Fan Nedd. That climb was a bastard for most of the way. No real path to speak of just the occasional sheep trod but plenty of wet, boggy bits and knee high tussocks. It seemed to take ages but I pushed the pace as best I could.

Once at the trig I headed straight down into the valley westwards. Again it was too tussocky to really go flat out but it was a quickish descent never the less. Back across the river and then a slow, cross county ascent to Fan Llia before finally getting some good running in on the path around to Fan Frynych. It was here I burnt all the soldiers off - on the up as well as the down - nice.

Then from Frynych it was straight cross country and more tussocks before the sharp ascent of Fan Fawr. From there it was just a few minutes back down to the car.

In all I ran just under 16 miles with 4,300 feet of ascent on fairly rough terrain. It took a pleasingly short 3 hours 23 minutes. I was expecting it to take longer on two counts; that of the roughness and the tiredness of me. I reckon tomorrow's run in the Black Mountains above Abergavenny might be a struggle...

Today's route;

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I felt it in my fingers

I felt it in my toes - or more accurately my quads. I wanted to push hard on the 2,100 feet of ascent of the Fan-y-Big fell race but just didn't have the power. The 10 mile route was enjoyable though. The weather was just about alright. It was wet. Misty on the top but I could have done without the 'into your face' wind on the way up to the top. From memory I think it was windier this year than last but that's probably a close call.

It was a tough old climb. Runnable under normal circumstances but I had to admit defeat and walk bits here and there. I tried to hang on to Matthew L as he powered past. I stayed with him for a mile or so but in the end he drifted out the front, soon to disappear in the mist - not that I'm claiming he's a gorilla, mind.

The climb seemed to go on forever but finally I breached the summit and started around the ridge. I felt surprisingly good on the ridge and caught a few runners - a very nice surprise. By the time I got to the crossroad bit I was on my own. No one in view to the front or behind.

I pushed on down the descent which, like the ascent, seemed to go for ages and I began to doubt I was on the right route. But as soon as the doubts started four runners came into view, barely visible in the mist. Target acquired. With four places to be gained I made my power play and picked it up. I knew I needed to get past before the fell gave way to the final, horribly road section.

Soon I was running in their slip stream but the windy, rocky, single track meant overtaking was tricky. Eventually I made it past - including my old mate, Jason from Chippenham. He's had the better of me the last few times we've crossed swords. Today was my revenge - but in a friendly way. We cross swords again in next weeks Seaview 17...

By the time I made it to the road section I was clear. No one ahead and a good gap behind. Not wanting to destroy my legs on the hard surface I eased a little on the run in to finish in 20th place from close to 100 runners in all and a mere few seconds shy of my time from last year, 1:32:33. I'm pleased with that as last year I didn't run the double so to get the same time is almost like going quicker - it is in my mind anyway and from my log data I actually ran a near identical race to last year. I was within a few seconds of last years time to the Summit, to the end of the ridge and to the road. Almost an action replay. The only difference is that I didn't run the shortcut this time so maybe that cost me a bit of time - guess we'll never know.

Tomorrow I head back over to the mountains for a longish run. Now to plan my route...

Oh, and well done to Crispin, Naomi and Emma and all the marshals for hosting a great pair of races.

Fan-y-Big race route;

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Great race

If you've never run the Pen-y-Fan race you're missing a great race. It's not long but it's tough.

I've never run it before and too be honest didn't really expect that much from it. It's only 3.5 miles but has a ton of ascent - 2,000 feet. That's over 500 feet of ascent per mile - that's a lot. Now I've run it I can safely say it's one of my favourites. The organisation was great. Free cake afterwards too. Thumbs up.

I set off mid pack, well down from the head of the race, somewhere between 20th and 30th place. For those that don't know the race basically splits into the 'up' section - and funnily enough - the 'down' section. That's about it really. I chugged away on the runnable climb to the stile. My legs felt pants and I thought I was in for a really bad time. Then I chugged away a bit more until the climb heads into the 'it's legitimate to walk' phase.

I gained a few places on the walk but once I approached the ridge climb my legs started to feel much better and I started to run again - honest, it might not have been quick but I was really running. I managed about two thirds of the climb to Corn Du before I was walking again - legitimate. From the top of CD it's a quick blast off into the dip and up Pen-y-Fan. As per my recce of two weeks ago, I managed to run all the way to top again.

Then it's into the 'down' section - and in this case, down means down. Steep down. I lost one place to one seriously suicidal bloke but gained a few myself. By the time the descent eases things were pretty spread out and then it's just a few minutes of fast, very fast, running to the finish. All down hill - yeah.

I finished in 43:38 and 12th place. I'm pleased with that. My legs feel like someone has been hammering at them with a pickaxe but hopefully they will recover - and hopefully before tomorrow's race. I'll be running Fan-y-Big - chuckle, chuckle - regardless.

Pen-y-Fan Race Route;

Friday, July 16, 2010

All set

Been off to get supplies for the mini break. Got all the necessary running energy requirements covered - I think. No lucozade though. Have to search out some on the way across tomorrow.

Other than that I think I'm ready to take on the double header of Pen-y-Fan and Fan-y-Big - such an hilarious name for a mountain, never fails to bring a snigger even during the darkest of days. Fan-y-Big, Fan-y-Big, Fan-y-Big. Chuckle, chuckle.

My legs feel pretty good. I no doubt still have some residual tiredness left over from Wednesday's run but yesterday's slow jog definitely helped. All set - might even go for the record with it's £500 prize...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wet one

I made it over to only my second Chepstow training run. It was wet. I was tired. I plumped for the short route. Good for the legs - downside, it was a slow run - so more time in the rain. We covered about 11k.

I'm glad I made it across there and I'm glad I ran. It feels like it's done my legs the world of good. To be fair the pegs weren't actually feeling too bad - which surprised me. Tomorrow is definitely a rest day ahead of five days of fairly intense running that includes the Brecon Fans races.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Beyond the outer limits

Never in the field of my running has so many miles been run in so few sessions [just the one]. I have never run so far. 32 - don't adjust your screens, you read that right - 32 miles. I ran out from Chepstow again and ran all the way along Offa's path to Monmouth before heading home on the Wye Valley Walk. That's 32 miles and 7,000 feet of ascent - and I was knackered at the finish but recovered pretty quickly.

I loaded the pack with various foods, 2.5 litres of drink, map and compass and waterproof - just in case. I wasn't planning to get lost but only a fool breaks the two second rule, I means sets off unprepared - even on a pretty straight forward route in relatively hospitable territory things can go wrong.

Anyway, I set off at 11am - but quickly stopped... at the Bank in Chepstow to pay in a cheque - as you do when you're running.

The run out to Monmouth was very pleasant. Offa's path mostly wends its way through woodland. Breaking cover here and there but mostly sheltered - which was just as well because the weather for the first half hour was pants but after that the worst just about held at bay. The final part of Offa's headed up over the Kymin, following bits of the winter Kymin race route - which helped pass the time. Then it was down into Monmouth and out onto the Wye Valley Walk [WVW].

The first few miles of the WVW were pretty uninteresting, across fields, to the side of the Wye. There were a few kayaker's on the river which provided a few moments to break the boredom on that section but other than that it was mentally tough.

Then it was into Redbrook and over the bridge to the Welsh side - that's right, I crossed to the Dark Side. I missed the path and headed up the road by mistake - and it was noticeably up. I should have been pootliong along the flat and I was climbing - doh. I still felt good at that point. I found a path back down a few minutes later and rejoined the WVW for another few miles of flat, boring running. I pushed on.

Then I went wrong again but not by too much but soon picked up the proper route. The WVW climbed above Llandogo across to Tintern and I began to tire. The climb was hard. The run down into Tintern was less so.

The grind out of Tintern back up was too much for me. I was about 26 miles into the run, with 6 to go and I crashed - and crashed big style. For a few miles I had a very tough time. I couldn't run at all on the way up and to make matters worse, as I neared the top my 2.5 litres ran dry. My personal energy tank was empty as well and I got the shakes - never a good thing. I dug deep. Took on lots and lots more fuel and gave all I had. Once I reached the top ridge I ran as much as I could. I knew the quicker I got back the quicker I could tuck into my ham sandwiches so I just kept on going.

Once I got back down and crossed the road, 3 miles or so to go, I knew I would make it and began to feel a bit stronger. I pushed as hard as I dared but the pace was slow. Desperately bloody slow. My average pace from Tintern was shit. I had a good time going for the first 26 miles. But that was a distant memory by the time I finally got back to the car.

Then it was into a certain branch of the UK's leading supermarket chain to pick up - and pay for, I hasten to add - a celebration pizza. Then it was the drive home to go cook it. I am now officially a bit knackered just about now.

Today's route;

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Decision time

Tomorrow I attempt my longest ever run. If I have any chance at all of meeting my end of August attempt on the Cotswolds I have to attempt some really long runs. It looks like the weather has finally turned. There's a high probability I'll be getting wet out there. Maybe that's better than roasting alive though. It's a rest day today so I'll be fully ready for the challenge - hopefully [turns to camera and weeps].

I was originally planning to head over to the Brecon's but I figure I can get a descent run from the Wye Valley - and it's closer. Plus, I intend to be over Brecon way all weekend and the first half of next week so don't want to spoil the fun.

I estimate tomorrow's run will be in the region of 32 miles with ascent of around 7,000 feet. It's going to be tough - not to mention it'll take me all day - but I will prevail.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ninety minutes

I went for the bike option and put in - can you guess - ninety minutes. A good solid effort. No much else to report really. Got a call out from work just after I finished but fortunately I had time to hop in the shower 'cause I was minging. Well, that's all sorted now so I can get on with relaxing.

Wednesday I'm thinking of heading back to the River Wye to run further up the valley than yesterday. I have options on 20, 25 or 30 miles - those being the crossing points, well, the dry ones anyway. Then I have two days to recover before the Brecon Fans race weekend. Too be fair I'm not interested in being fully rested for the races. They're just an excuse for hard training.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Back-to-back weekends of back-to-back runs

and next week I have back to back races planned - oh dear lord, save me.

It was another 'take you mind off your troubles' run and pretty much went to plan. Except, that is, for the missed turn off Offa's path above Tintern, sending me about two miles extra before I found my way back to the planned route. Still, I was full of running at the end so I'm glad I missed it.

I really feel I'm starting to get my old strength back - how many times have I claimed that? After a myriad of false dawns - not her again. I truly am starting to grind up the hills without stopping like I used to - a very long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. I pretty much ran the entire way today barring a few really short and sharp hill bits but there really weren't too many of those, thankfully. Most of the climbs were long and steady. But hard enough effort that the 'me' of two months ago would have been walking by the end.

The grind out of Tintern was probably the most challenging both physically and mentally. I just put my head down and kept slogging away. It was probably two miles worth which made it feel all the better for finally reaching the top ridge and then running free. As free as the wind blows. As free as the grass grows. Born free to follow your heart. Live free and beauty surrounds you. The world still astounds you. Each time you look at a star... got off topic there.

Where was I, oh yeah, today's run. So in all, the planned run (11 miles) turned out to be 13.5 with about 3,000 feet of ascent. So it's been a total of 34 miles this weekend and heading for 6,000 feet of ascent. And my legs feel in better shape than after last weekends double - although to be fair there was a bit more ascent last weekend, even if it was less real distance. If I can be arsed I'm going to go for a run tomorrow as well...

Today's route

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Battered, brusied and blistered

To be fair, I've not actually got any blisters. Come to think of it, I've not been battered, nor for that matter, have I any bruises. I am, however, sporting multiple flesh wounds of the bramble variety, multiple stinging nettle stings and I'm covered in black fly and bits of flora - she's not too pleased either. And I am totally knackered.

The heat was sapping. There is no way I would have got round the Greenman. Today's Three Peaks Path was hard enough, weighing at a mere 20.5 miles and 2,500 feet of ascent. So for my well being it was a good and sensible call - you won't see me typing that too often.

The route itself was mostly well marked but there were a few dodgy bits. Having said that, the worst bit was a section across completely overgrown crop fields - but they looked more like weeds than any crop I've come across before. For about 800m it was very slow going. Said 'crops' were above head height. It was here I sustained most of the damage. When I finally made it through I never really managed to get going again. So it was a bit of a mental challenge to get to end. But get to the end I did.

Well I'm off to get myself a well earned pizza. I've burnt enough calories to eat two - but I'll stick to one on this occasion.

Live tracking

I decided against trying the Community Forest Path today. 45 miles in this humidity wasn;t going to be any good for me. Instead I'm trying out the 3 Peaks Path south of Bristol with slight variations. In all it should be about 19 miles. To be honest I've been moping around again and in real danger of wasting the entire day so heat or no heat I need to do something.

And as for something new, I'm trying out live tracking. The map below only updates on page refresh but the link to should update live (or as often as the GPS gets reception)

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Mt Spewmore

I had a pretty good race tonight and actually exceeded my - albeit, quite low - expectations. Conditions were a bit too hot and humid for me so I wasn't too hopeful of a good 'un before the start. From the gun I ran reasonably hard but gave myself a scare after just 1km - a 3:50 meant I'd run the first km faster, by six seconds, than any km at last weeks Bridge Inn 5k. That knocked me a bit and I wobbled - giving Matt L and Lou a chance to come back at me. I recovered and pushed on. The rest of the race was pretty uneventful and Sundayshill wasn't really that much of a hill - not that I'm grumbling.

I got inside my 43 minute target at Thornbury's Sundayshill 10k. Actually I went one better and nudged inside 42 as well, finishing 21st in 41:48. I'm pleased with that. Despite comments to contrary, I didn't find it too hilly. That's not to say it was flat but I'd only rate it undulating. Still, it's probably not a PB course.

And the best bit - in a somewhat sick way - was that I was spewing like that Icelandic Volcano 400m out from the finish. I haven't managed to race that hard for many a month. It's not the spewing - let's be honest, that's pretty gross - but the fact I was able to race hard enough and keep on pushing past the point of no return, right to the finish - and beyond. I've still got it...

Well done to the hundred's of Chepstow Harriers who turned up - 20+ and well done to Martin from work for beating me - yet again and to Graham and Mrs Graham for - not beating me. Condolences to Phil L who picked an injury but egged me on in the last 800m and lastly well to Thornbury Running Club for putting on another flawlessly well organised race.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Booked 'em, Danno

The days off work. All set to go run some mileage in the mountains a couple of weeks.

I was going to try some mile reps tonight - I know I said I wasn't going to do much of that stuff anymore - and so it came to pass, as in the prophecy. Instead I peddled my way to 90 minutes on the bike while watching the Tour de France. I'm really enjoying it this year - the tour not the bike session, that was just plain tough. Especially the last thirty minutes. Quad busting as it was, I dripped all over the floor like a leaking tap. Mop, mop.

I feel a tinge of disappointment that I didn't hold my nerve and run the mile reps but in the longer term I reckon the time was better spent on the bike. Better, that is, for the endurance which is what I need. The speed - if it ever comes - can come later.

Up Thursday is the Sundayshill 10k, an alternate Chepstow Harriers championship race, organised by Thornbury RC. I won't run quick and I have a feeling it could be my slowest 10k for many years but who cares. So I'll try and steel myself for some training tomorrow night.

As to the Greenman Challenge pencilled - albeit loosely - for the weekend? I'm not sure I have a realistic chance of setting any sort of time and it could well end up as a long walk but if it's forecast to remain hot I'm not sure I'll even attempt it. I've really not managed to fit in any where near enough miles but I have at least managed a few longer runs - which I survived. And as I've not managed to recce any of the north sections either - so that's not going to make it any easier.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Crack squad

Be careful how you say that after a few beers. Yes it's at this time of year attention turns to the upcoming AXA 5 Inter-Companies race. I'm drumming up support for an elite team from Bristol Water. It will, of course, be 'elite' in the loosest sense of the word - that is, four or more people capable of completing the five mile course. I'm not sure the MOD's finest will have too much to fear.

Anyway, I've been giving some severe thought to my training schedule. As an aside, it's the bike tonight, to give my legs a chance to recover from the weekend. I enjoyed my run in the mountains so much that I've booked a few days off work to get out there mid week as well. I'm hoping to double header on the 17/18th for the Pen-y-Fan/Fan-y-Big races and then stay on over for three days of recceing the South Wales Traverse and other parts of the Brecons I've not run on before - and there is an awful lot of that.

Well I'm starting to get a good sweat on now so I've got to stop babbling lest I drip on the keyboard...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Got my arse in to gear


I spent most of the morning moping around the house before I eventually came to the conclusion that I needed a run. Taking stock of the options; local - boring, Mendips - didn't float my boat today, Cotswolds - been there a few times lately, I plumped - that's a bloody amusing word - for a run along Offa's Dyke.

Having still not collected my things from Matthew L after the LAMM I gave him a call to see if he was in. He was and as a bonus he and Steve C were planning to run along the Dyke as well. So I packed my bags and headed over the Bridge - damn that toll fee.

We ran at an easy pace and chatted as we went, setting the world to rights. In all we ran about eight and a half miles with about 1,000 feet of ascent. It was a thoroughly pleasant run and the rain even had the decency to hold off until we got back in doors - which was nice.

It's the first time in years - literally - I've run that kind of session after a hard session the day before. I've really struggled to string back to back runs together and it was especially nice to have some company.

And for the record, today's route;

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Edge of cramp

It was a very close call.

I'm not a great hot weather runner and the heat today gave me a high salt loss through sweating. Which almost cost me dear - dear in terms of having to walk instead of run on account of cramp. Fortunately I just held it at bay but I had one or two twinges. The kind of twinges where you're mere milliseconds away from a full on cramp. But it was a good days training and I managed to surprise myself in how much of the ascent I was able to run. Run, that is, in the loosest sense of the word. There's many a soul who could actually walk faster than my up hill run but run I never-the-less did.

In all I covered 32km and 5,000 feet of ascent. That's roughly 500m more than the actually race as I started my watch/gps from the car park not the reservoir wall. And the best part? I actually beat my race time from two years ago! (That's the only time I've run it before). I was 17 minutes quicker today - just shows what a mare of a race I had back then.

Anyway, here's the route for those interested. And note there's a minute to be shaved off your time if you gamble and take the 'cut the corner' short cut on the ridge after Fan-y-Big (you don't actually go up Fan-y-Big in the race but it's the best point of reference I have).

Friday, July 02, 2010

Steeling myself for a big one

It's been another rubbish week of training. I've not been in the mood. Going to make amends tomorrow though. I'm heading over to the Brecon Beacons to recce the Brecon Beacons race so it's going to be a tough 19 miles for me. Hopefully the sun will hold off just a little as I don't want it too hot but I shall be carrying my water pack just in case - and taking sun block of course. I'm not sure how much ascent there is in total but I will definitely not be going fast. The only downside is going to be forcing myself to raise from slumber early so as to not waste all the entire day.