Tuesday, August 31, 2010
My team from Bristol Water somewhat fizzled out to a team of three. Not even enough for a scoring team let alone the two I had as dawn broke - stop it. Never the less the three of us set off towards the front of the pack and finished in the predicted order. Martin first, Me next and Dave third. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
My legs were paying for previous days racing. In particular the down hill pounding at the end of the Machen 10k was almost certainly the cause of today's soreness.
As I hobbled round the warm up field I felt like a cripple. My left hamstring was a bit tight and neither quad felt great. Ho hum. After a short sit down things felt better by kick off.
The first gentle climb was OK I gained a few places and gained a few more on the sharper descent - probably shouldn't have done that. The legs were shattered by the bottom of the hill and I still had four miles to go - doh.
The bottom section undulates slightly and I just about held the ship steady but I was dying on my feet. Next up, the climb - not big under normal conditions - it felt like a frickin' mountain. I was fading faster than a tie dyed t-shirt in a ninety degree wash cycle. Digging deep didn't cover it.
A few of competitors came past in the last mile. There was nothing I could do to hold back the tide. Then as I rounded the final corner, finish in sight I switched on the after burners to hold off the attack from behind and take place back from the Bank of Ireland - god damn bankers. Felt sick through the line - but held it in for once.
I have no idea of my finish position but after initially thinking I'd run slower than last year - which, to be fair wouldn't have been a disaster - on researching the archives I now realise I actually ran exactly 30 seconds quicker - result, converts over the bar. Tonight's time, 36:28 for the 8.8km undulating course.
Tomorrow I rest...
Monday, August 30, 2010
The race was also part of the Chepstow Harriers internal championship. I've missed a goodly number so need to get a couple more to get my score. I think - and this needs to be verified - that I was the 6th Chepstow runner home - possibly 5th, but I'm not going to get carried away - OK, maybe just a little. That places this as my best performance in the champs - back of the net. Just think what I'd be like on fresh legs.....
I ran hard from the start but after a while, on the relentless, meandering climb to the top, I ran out of steam. It was a surprisingly tough race. More trail than fell but a challenge never the less - just over 6 miles and 1,300 feet of ascent - not to be sniffed at.
By the top my legs were burning. By the bottom they were jelly. By the time I reached the final flat, road section and lap of the field I was dying on my feet. Through the line in what I think was 36th place.
Well done to the Machen Welfare Association for a well organised race (with lots of lovely buffet at the finish) and all the marshals out on the course.
All I need to do now is pray for a miracle that my legs recover in time for tomorrow's AXA 5 Miler...
The route for the interested;
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Conditions for the Battle of Sedgemoor 10k were pretty decent. It was an overcast sky with the odd drop of rain but a little windy in places - the weather, not me. There were a few points were you had to put your head down and push through the buffeting but all in all it was fairly conducive for quick running.
The race was rammed. A full 500 entry meant they were turning people away. A shame for those trying to late enter but good for the race organisers. With such a large field I made sure I was well towards the front. Even then when the gun went there were a few plodders ahead of me. When will they learn, when will they learn? It must be real fun being bustled and trampled out the way by faster runners.
The course, for those that don't it is fairly flat. There is a hill pushing out from the start but from there it goes back down and then undulates. There is quite a bit of undulation but it's all very gentle. Strangely though, total ascent is only 50 feet less than the Sunday's Hill 10k but that one felt far hillier in comparison. Just goes to show - quite what? I don't know.
Anyway, I set off middling to quick and went up the hill well. Then I used the section back down to gain time on the sacred forty minute barrier. By mid way I was well up. In fact I was through 5k in 19:18 - and that's my quickest 5k for a year or two - nice. To be fair that's probably an indication that I was slightly over cooking things born out by the rougher patch and gradual deterioration that followed.
The eighth kilometre, into the wind, was a really bad one. I lost focus. Lost time. Lost touch with the group ahead and really struggled. A couple of runners then overtook me - a god send - as I was able to lock on and get my momentum back. I picked things back up in the final kilometre to finish, wait for it, wait for it, in 39 minutes and..... 59 seconds. I have my fingers crossed they don't round me up. I went under the finish clock in 39:58 so I should be OK but you never now until the fat lady has sung. Sod it. I'm claiming sub forty what ever. First sub forty for two and a half years - party time.
So another Season Best, this time by over 50 seconds. A good Sunday's work if I say so myself.... Don't stop me now, I'm having such a good time, I'm having a ball, I don't want to stop at all. Bring on the Machen Mountain 10k tomorrow. Let battle commence.
Today's race route;
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
My energy level hit empty by the time I got home and with the continuing pathetic weather I could not rouse myself to run. Things are on the slide - it's just so hard to go out solo. I love racing but find the motivation for training so terribly challenging. In my ideal world - ooh, this could be scary... but it's not - I'd be able to find five races a week and race train to my hearts content but this world is far, far from ideal and at the moment training is moving to the back burner. I need to put my foot down and stop the slide. At least I managed another hour on the bike but it's not the same.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Sorry Sean, if you ran, I bottled it. Maybe next week...
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
My calves are still buggered - but improved. I've decided to rest completely and hit the track tomorrow. Probably a big mistake but what the heck. I need to get in the habit - and I'm not talking nuns.
On other matters I'm trying an online service called EverydayHealth (www.everydayhealth.com) to journal my calorie intake. It's freebie and no doubt I'll get some ads emailed my way. A small price to pay if it does the trick. It's pretty quick to add to the journal something similar from their list to that the you've just eaten. OK, so it's not going to be accurate but close enough is good enough for me - it's not like I'm exactly overweight but I do need to shift a few pounds. Every pound lost is a few seconds per mile quicker and that's worth the effort. I intend to focus - and logging what you scoff really does focus the mind. One look at today's journal and I'm done for the night. Plus I can see it's all been pretty healthy today - bonus.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Anyway, my calves feel tight but other than that I feel pretty good. It was an easy hour on the bike as recovery this evening. Haven't given it a thought to what I'll do tomorrow. Maybe mile reps? Maybe not. I'll have to see which way the wind blows.
On other matters, I've Signed myself up for a leg (or two) of the White Something Relay with Chepstow in two weeks - I do enjoy a good relay, especially an off roader.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
The coming week is going to be a busy one - so no time to be bored. Got lots on at work so I am crossing my fingers I have the energy to get out training. As to my targeted Cotswold Way attempt at the end of the month, I admit defeat. I haven't been able to clock up anywhere near enough miles. I've been pleased with my long runs - including the 33 miler - but I just haven't managed to get enough of them into the schedule. As to running 100 miles it's just not sensible - I'm mad not mental. As a replacement to the Cotswolds I have at least got the Sedgemore 10k on Sunday, the Machen Mountain 10k on Monday and the AXA 5 Mile Companies race on Tuesday - and I can't miss any as I've paid my entry and I'm team captain for the latter.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
The weather was shite - which was actually what I was looking for because I trust my powers of navigation while doubting that of others. With visibility low (less than 100m on the high ground) I figured there'll be a few of those runners ahead of me making some school boy errors - and there were.
I took it out steady and really held myself back. I felt pretty good. I got through the first four check points in good shape. Dropped a few places and gained a few - I think the net of those exchanges were in my favour.
Then it was along the top ridge to Corn-Du and Pen-y-Fan. I continued steadily because by the time you hit Pen-y-Fan your only about half way and there are still a couple of meaty climbs left. Down off Pen-y-Fan and up Cribyn with no major issues and a couple more gained places but then disaster struck....
As I started down off Cribyn major cramp struck. First on my left calf which I managed to stave off a major spasm and then a couple of minutes later on my right calf - which I didn't. I was down on the ground for about four minutes trying to get the muscle out of spasm - and lost two places as I was sat there on my arse. It was agony but all I could think about was that with around eight miles still to go, finishing was going to be a challenge. I had the option of cutting it short at the bottom of Cribyn but that would mean losing my 'never not finished a race I've started' mantle - and I wasn't prepared to do that.
Eventually the muscle got back into its normal location, I got up and continued down at a snails pace, sort of waddling to stave off further cramp. It worked and by the bottom I was feeling a bit more optimistic of finishing and pushed on up the final climb - ooh, how exciting - perhaps not.
The run in to the finish was less eventful and although I continued to get the odd twinge and never pushed it too hard. I caught one final runner in the last kilometre before crossing the line in a respectable 3 hours and 37 minutes for the 20 mile course with close to 5,000 feet of ascent. I was 13th, which incidently, is my finishing position in the Sugar Loaf race last week, so I have now nominated 13 my lucky number. My time is over 40 minutes than my official race PB and 20 quicker than the recce but without the 'C' word I reckon I'd be inside 3:30. Gonna have to get the cramping sorted -it's put paid to me running tomorrow in the campus to campus race so I shall rest up and watch some telly - so it's not all bad :)
And here's the route;
Thursday, August 19, 2010
The old track has done for me - just kidding. My legs - not mentioning anything else again - are aching though. It's mental to think that 2k of track running can cause more aching than a 20 mile run in the mountains. Guess I have some recovery to be getting on with. To that effect I'm resting today and also tomorrow. Should be all guns blazing in the Brecon Beacons on Saturday.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I was quite pleased with my splits though, if slightly embarrassed at how knackering it all felt. They were 77s and then 32, 32, 31, 32, 31 and 31s. Hopeful I can stick with it - making this another Never Say Never day of training - and a speed session to boot.
I'm now busy cycling thirty minutes on the exercise bike - madness, utter madness.
Oh, and before I forget, the Sugar Loaf results are in and I was 13th of 83 - so that's good - but best of all I hit past the 90% barrier on the 'compare to the top five average' method. 92.41% - I've not been there for three years. My best performance of the year by far. Bodes well for Saturday's Brecon Beacons fell race but I'm not going to get carried away... (well maybe just a little)
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
I really need to pull my socks up - not that I'm wearing any right now, showered and naked, 'cept for the bathrobe, as I am. Tomorrow must be more productive, I must do something - and by something I mean in the field of running as opposed to something as meaning anything, such as needle craft for example, which I shall not be doing in any form - not that there's anything wrong with needle craft - if that's your bag.
I simply must go run tomorrow...
Sunday, August 15, 2010
It was a good day for it though so I'm guessing all those that ran the 10 mile multi-terrain race had a good time - if the pain of ten miles is your bag. Still, I've the Leisure Centre League race on Tuesday atone for my sins and then it's the Brecon Beacons race next Saturday - and I sure as hell need to be fresh for that.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
For this years race I decided to make sure of getting there for the start and consequently arrived a little early but better that than pull a '2008' where I turned up 30 minutes late (but still didn't finish last). The only other time I've run the summer 'Loaf' was 2007 during my faster years when I just crept inside the hour for the 7 mile course with 1,800 feet of ascent. This year I was hoping to maybe edge close to the hour but settle for 61 or even 62 minutes.
I set off steady. My aim was to save something for the fast descent - you'd think you could be knackered and run downhill fast but to run well you need some reserves of strength-endurance - back at you 100m boys - to allow for rapid footwork required to really run quick over the rough terrain. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Ooh can you feel the excitement? Me neither.
For my race recap I'm going to compare splits with my 2007 run - not that I knew them during the race. In fact I don't think I even looked at the watch during the race. Anyway, I summitted - I think I made that word up - to the Deri (first climb) in exactly the same time as 2007, 15:18. From there the route is fast and flat - only I wasn't losing 28 seconds on 2007 to hit the end of the flat in 30:42. That fits well with my recent slow 10k's - I have no flat speed.
To Sugar Loaf I had pulled back a massive 3 seconds on 2007, 41:10. The old climbing legs must be returning - but it didn't feel like it during the race. It felt like a right pedestrian climb but the watch don't lie.
The descent, however, did feel good as I piled past a few runners. I had good leg strength and was able to really push on. That part of the run, on the rocky steep section and the flatter grassy bits did feel like the old me.
I finished in 59:27 which is a) inside the hour and a complete surprise and b) 6 seconds quicker than 2007 which is a hell of a big surprise and means my descent was 31 seconds quicker than in 2007. All of which bodes well for my upcoming fell races. Not sure how good I'm going to be in the Standish Woodland Chase tomorrow though.
Summer Sugar Loaf Route;
Friday, August 13, 2010
It was anti-clockwise today - ooh, we know how to large it up. Clockwise one week, anti the next - that's living life on the edge that is. Martin and I headed out at high noon and after a few minutes of steady running - and chatting, as you do - we started the climb and I was soon floundering in his wake. I did rally towards the top of the climb, managing to eat into his lead a little but once he was over the top, he was gone.
I didn't have it today but that's OK I'm saving it for the Sugar Loaf Fell Race tomorrow...
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Tonight I put in sixty on the exercise bike. Crap all on telly so I read the news. I'm totally newsed out - but can't even remember a thing.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
So at 10:30 I set off from the car (parked at Llanbedr) ran up the road and onto the hills towards Pen Cerrig-calc through Pen Allt-mawr and skirting Pen Twyn Glas. From there I dropped down into the valley by way of the Holy Trail. Miraculously I ran the perfect line over the top and round the tump to pick up the trail right at the top - bet your arse I don't do that in the race. No come race day, I'll be fannying around at the top no doubt.
Anyway, from the bottom of the valley I diverted from the race route to add on my extra miles. Instead of heading directly up to Pen y Gadair Fawr - and that is a bastard of a climb, no path just tussock after tussock - I ran up the valley and ascended back up to the ridge and Pen Trumau and Waun Fach. From Waun Fach it went a bit Peter Tong as I faffed around in the boggy grass on my way across to Pen y Gadair Fawr. Eventually I picked up the proper path - but even that it was a bit boggy.
Back on to the official race route, I took my time down off P Gadair F to save myself for the final two climbs. So it was down to the valley and back up to a 'Pile of Stones' - that's from the map. Then along the ridge to Bal Mawr before picking up the narrow trail to the forest gate. Have to say that the path was getting a bit overrun by ferns and stuff but I fought my way through. Then it was down through the forest, past the 'Pile of Sheep Shit' - that wasn't marked on the map - over the road and up through the forest on the other side to final ridge. Up Crug Mawr. Down Crug Mawr. Past the 'donkey turd' - not marked either. Yada yada yada and back to the car.
It was a very good run and I completed in 3 hours and 56 minutes, covering just about twenty miles and a little over 5,000 feet of ascent. I'm pleased with that. I ran goodly portions of the ascents - not the really steep bits but a good amount of the rest.
And here's the route - but don't follow it on race day, unless you want to add an extra 4k
Monday, August 09, 2010
Oh, and I've sent off my Battle of Sedgemoor 10k and Machen Mountain 10k entries - back to back 10k's at the end of August - part of my nine races in August race schedule. Bring it on - almost like the old days! (but not quite).
Sunday, August 08, 2010
I was 10 seconds slower than at Magor Marsh and finished 24th but it was the hill that destroyed me. I was twenty seconds to the good until the hill from where I dropped fifty seconds which I didn't make any gains on during the fairly steep downhill. From the top I was a broken man and the rest of the race was a struggle. My splits from there were close to fours but the damage had been done and I knew I couldn't get it back.
And for the record, I don't think I'll be running the Tenbury 10k again. It was a well organised event, well marshalled and well supported, so well done to Ludlow runners and the Tenbury Rotary club but as a 10k I want to run again? it isn't wasn't.
On other matters it was a strange day. I car shared and at times it was like the clock had been rolled back a year. Back home now and, well, I feel sad again.
Saturday, August 07, 2010
Oh, and while I think about it, having being reminded of Waun Fach, I've invented a bloody cracker of a long race - The Waun Troed Fell Race - the bastard marriage of the Waun Fach and Mynydd Troed fell races. By my estimate it would be in the region of 15 miles and 5,000 feet of ascent. My idea - as if you can't guess - would be to run Waun Fach and then carry on through the finish at the Fort down to the path where it started and follow the path left a bit, cross the road, through the farm, up the stream bed and onto the Mynydd Troedd race. That would be a cracker...
or maybe not, it's a thought. I might try it in training sometime to see if it's a goer...
Friday, August 06, 2010
Tonight I hit the bike for sixty minutes. The first of my double days. It was an effort - but an effort worth carrying through to the bitter end - although, hopefully the end won't be too bitter. I want to keep the momentum going.
This week has been light on the mileage front. Looking back, so was last week but I've raced well in between and hopefully Sunday's 10k will be another good one. I'm going to rest up completely tomorrow because I really do want to attempt sub forty. Oh, and Tuesday is booked now and I've decided to recce the Black Mountains route with some additions to bump the mileage past the magic twenty - not that it's that magical, but it should be a good.
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Been a non event today. The lunch run was aborted on the grounds that Martin was offsite. All training is off. I feel tired - and a little down. It's been going well - one day ain't gonna spoil it.
We've rebooked the lunch run for tomorrow. As to the weekend, Saturday, well that's got to be an easy run as I've lined up a 10k race on Sunday.
Ideally I prefer Saturday races so I can long run on Sunday. To get round that I'm going to take a day off on Tuesday and head to the mountains for a long one.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
Anyway, I had a long day at work. Most of it on my feet so by the time I got home I couldn't face a run - and I had done those reps yesterday and I've a lunch run booked in for tomorrow. Tonight it was back on the bike for another ninety. I'm starting to find it easier to climb a board. It's almost becoming a habit - which is where I want it to be. The longer term plan is to put in double training days, running and exercise bike - just like in those far flung days of old.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
I only managed four and I can honestly say it was only a hairs breadth from being three. Only my desire to recapture the past drove my to the fourth. So, as I said, it wasn't quick - and for those who bore witness - I wasn't pretty. The humidity was in the stratosphere and the salt got in my eyes as I dripped around my old mile loop. The wind on the far section of the lap was not my friend either - and why is it that when it's in your face it feels like a force ten gale and when it's on your back you can't even feel it? - I call foul.
Well for the record I managed 6:18, 6:11, 6:18 and a final, fading fast, 6:19 all run off a strict three minute recovery. Solo mile reps are hard but next time I try for five - and I will never say never, again.
Monday, August 02, 2010
I'm eager to get back inside forty minutes for the 10k. It's been a while - a very long while but yesterday's race gave me a whiff of it. A brief glimpse, if you will and I'm want it. So, tonight I rested in the form of ninety sweat inducing minutes on the bike in front of the telly. In the words of a famous philosopher, 'I'm coming up so you better get this party started' - Pink, 2001
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Up early - I gave dawns crack a miss for once - gathered my kit and headed over the bridge to Magor. I slightly miss calculated how long it would take me to get there, thinking it was further up the M4 than it actually was and could have had an extra 30 minutes in bed - doh. Anyway, I arrived safely.
With my entry taken, my race number, 104, to hand I nervously paced up and down for an hour. Ok, I wasn't actually nervous. And I didn't pace up and down either, come to think of it. So, race numbered up I calmly sat on my arse for an hour and chatted. As the time to race approached I donned my kit, did a steady couple of minutes warming up - didn't want to over do it, listened to the race brief and then pootled over to the start.
My legs felt OK after yesterday's fell race but I wasn't expecting fireworks - well you wouldn't would you? It's not November the 5th and it was the middle of the day so they'd be hard to see. I wasn't the only one doubling up the weekends races, Lou and Nicki were running from yesterday as well.
I set off towards the front and went for it. My first couple of kilometres were a smidgeon too fast but I steadied and felt good through to the seven km marker. At that point I was on for just outside forty minutes but I began to slow from there. It was all catching up with me - not to mention the runners behind as well. Kilometers nine and ten were my slowest by far as I drifted out to finish in 40:53. I'm still pleased with that though. It's my fastest 10k for over two years. In the great scheme of things it's a pathetic time but I feel confident of getting back on the right side of forty before too long.
Big thanks to Chepstow Harriers for organisation the race and Undly AFC for hosting it at their venue. It's been a good double header weekend.
Magor Marsh 10k race route;