Monday, December 31, 2012

Lucky Omen?

Just found two fish in the pond. They've been hiding for two years! I thought they'd all been taken by the bloody heron but two have survived. I reckon that's got to be an omen of good fortune for the coming year. Got to be.

Anyway, the coughs and sneezes are easing, the sore throat's gone so I should be ready to score at Parkend - ssh, no, stop it. Mind you, it'll no doubt be a low score knowing me. F*(% where's that PMA gone? Should be good, wholesome orienteering fun though. It'll be the first use of my little dibber in 2013 - ooh, matron!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fell At The First Hurdle

Well I managed to miss the first race on the list - doh. I've a sore throat that feels like I've been eating sandpaper - I haven't. Sneezing, wheezing and coughing like an old man - well, an even older man at any rate. Decided it would be a bit silly to go race in the circumstances. I have, however, focused my mind - not an easy task - and come up with my target race, or in this case, races... The Welsh 1000s on June the 1st followed by the Vegan Welsh 3000s on the 15th. The entries are winging their way as we speak. The downside to my selection is that it means I probably shouldn't risk running the Ennerdale Horseshoe on the 8th - even for me that might a tad too mad.

Despite not making the race I've managed a workout in the gym, continuing my upper body workout plan. I will have my six pack back. Just hoping this damn cold clears up quickly or at least eases a little so I can go orienteer - as opposed to 'orient are' (hint, Christmas tune) - on Tuesday....

Saturday, December 29, 2012

The List

Well, better late than never, here is 'The List'.... Not definitive and highly subject to change but if I can even muster to half of the 38 races I'll be happy...

planned 30/12/2012 Seven Sins Challenge Off-Road
planned 01/01/2013 Parkend Score Orienteering Orienteering
planned 05/01/2013 Kymin Fell
planned 06/01/2013 BOK Orienteering Brierly Orienteering
planned 12/01/2013 Tor y Foel Fell
planned 19/01/2013 Orienteering Painswick Orienteering
planned 20/01/2013 Mercia Hill Trial Navigation
planned 29/01/2013 Pomphrey Hill Sports 5k Road
planned 03/02/2013 LCL Cross Country Monmouth Off-Road

09/02/2013 Titterstone Clee Fell
planned 09/02/2013 Orienteering Swallow Valley Orienteering

10/02/2013 Long Mynd Fell
planned 10/02/2013 Dursley Dozen Off-Road
planned 16/02/2013 Pen Tir Drop Fell
planned 23/02/2013 Orienteering Mallards Pike Orienteering
planned 26/02/2013 Pomphrey Hill Sports 5k Road
planned 03/03/2013 Tor of Torpantau Fell

03/03/2013 Hogweed Hilly Half Road

09/03/2013 Carding Mill Canter Fell
planned 16/03/2013 Llanthony Fell
planned 17/03/2013 Orienteering Symonds Yat Orienteering

23/03/2013 Ras Y Aran Fell
planned 23/03/2013 Orienteering Mallards Pike Orienteering

24/03/2013 Edale Skyline Fell
planned 24/03/2013 Forest of Dean Half Marathon Trail
planned 06/04/2013 Llanbedr to Blaenafon Fell

06/04/2013 Orienteering Flaxley Orienteering

07/04/2013 Blubberhouses Moor Fell
planned 13/04/2013 Sugar Loaf (Summer) Fell

14/04/2013 Kinder Downfall Fell

20/04/2013 Ras y Moelwyn Fell

20/04/2013 Anniversary Waltz Fell
planned 20/04/2013 Orienteering Harpury Orienteering
planned 21/04/2013 Offas Orra Off-Road

21/04/2013 Gisborough Moors Fell
planned 27/04/2013 Cribyn Fell

27/04/2013 Preseli Beast Bach Fell
planned 30/04/2013 Pomphrey Hill Sports 5k Road
planned 04/05/2013 Red Kite Challenge Fell

04/05/2013 Conniston Fell

04/05/2013 Pendle Cloughs Fell
planned 05/05/2013 Ras y Diafol Fell
planned 11/05/2013 Moel Eilio Fell

11/05/2013 Farfield Horseshoe Fell

11/05/2013 Orienteering Blakeney Orienteering
planned 18/05/2013 Cader Idris Fell

18/05/2013 Old Counties Tops (Team Event!) Fell
planned 19/05/2013 Sirhowy Challenge Fell
planned 25/05/2013 Cwmdu Fell
planned 26/05/2013 Helvellyn Dodds Fell
planned 28/05/2013 Pomphrey Hill Sports 5k Road
planned 01/06/2013 Welsh 1000m Fell

08/06/2013 Man vs Horse Off-Road
planned 08/06/2013 Ennerdale Horseshoe Fell

15/06/2013 Cwm Pennant Fell

15/06/2013 Great Lakes Fell
planned 15/06/2013 Welsh 3000s Fell

22/06/2013 Coity Race Fell
planned 23/06/2013 Kinder Trog Fell
planned 25/06/2013 Pomphrey Hill Sports 5k Road

29/06/2013 Foel Fras Fell
planned 29/06/2013 Buttermere Horseshoe Fell

30/06/2013 Callow

Didn't Quite Finish The List

I started it. Some fifty races with a few more to add but I didn't finish it. I ended up back at work - boo - and didn't get home till gone seven - even more volumatic boo. I'm not the happiest chappy in all the world. To add insult to injury on arrival home it started to pee down. On the up side I've decided to go splash the cash on the Seven Sins race over Blakeney way - if I can find the Wenchford picnic site for registration. No lie in for me then.

Fingers crossed nothing cocks up my plan. I really could do with a break from work getting in the damn way all the time. Here's to a less cocked up 2013. I needs me some PMA - don't go getting that confused with a similar sounding synonym...

Friday, December 28, 2012

Couldn't Find A Race

My race to fitness isn't going to be starting tomorrow. I can't find any races close enough to home. Don't really want to travel too far. There's a possible race Sunday but not sure I want to stump the inflated entry - by that I mean three times the price of a typical local fell race. So it looks like my race to fitness will start with the New Years day Score Orienteering at Parkend followed by the Kymin on the fifth. It would be handy if I can find a race for the sixth for a double header weekend.

For the rest of the season I'll be getting my race shortlist up together tomorrow and then the selection process will begin....

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Plan Of Attack

I've decided on my training plan to kick off 2013. I'm going to race myself fit. Back in the day I got really fit racing every weekend and I'm going to try and re-capture that. So far I've picked out about forty fell races from January to June. I want to add some orienteering, some road and some off road races to the list and then whittle them down to try and give me a race each weekend plus plenty of double headers. I want to make sure I add in some of the classics. The Welsh 1000m, the 3000s, Ennerdale, Great Lakes and others. Make a weekend of it. Maybe even a long weekend as things head from Spring to Summer. If that won't get me fit I don't know what will. I've also kicked off the hundred press-up and sit-up training schedule to try and get some upperbody strength.

Training wise it was a bad one. I didn't get home till eight, eleven hours at the rock face left me drained. If things go wrong on site I might be back on the road tonight. I am crossing everything that that doesn't happen. Everyone cross those fingers...

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Heavy, Very Heavy

Too much food was eaten yesterday. Far too much food. Feeling a bit bloated today. It was a good day though with the customary arguments - as are required by the family Christmas protocol. A Christmas without arguments would be like beef wellington without the beef.

The weather on the drive home wasn't too bad this morning and I was almost thinking of a run but by the time I got home it was same old, same old drizzly rain. Couldn't face it so I put in an hour indoors in front of the telly. Going to hit the sack early tonight and then tomorrow it's back to the rat race. Oh joy.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Driven Home For Christmas

and it wasn't anything like the road to hell - which was nice. Now down to business. It's time for some bah and a little humbug. I'm ready to slap down the ghost of Christmas past, punch out the ghost of christmas present and give the ghost of christmas future a damn good kicking. Not going to give much thought to training and the like over the next week. What happens happens, what doesn't doesn't. I'd like to get myself into gear for the orienteering on New Years day or whenever it is but other than that I don't have anything planned and anyway I've not got any time off other than the standard days. Then come the new year I start the new regime. Over the humbug fest - I mean festive season - I'm going to put together a mid-range training plan and target races and take things from there...

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Surprisingly Nice Out

Well that's today's exercise over and done with. A pootle through Flaxley Woods and then some bike while watching Gordon Ramsay not having a nightmare followed by Hugh Fearnley-Dick-Whittington banging on about brussels sprouts and other Christmas food. My legs weren't in great shape this morning - they ain't exactly special right now come to think of it. I'm sure it'll do me good in the long run...

Off down south later to over eat on Chinese food stuffs so I'll be needing more exercise tomorrow - after I get home from work. Then before we know it, it'll be the big day itself and more over eating. Will all the over eating ever cease? Going to try my best not to but it will no doubt be an epic fail on that front. Oh well.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Very Soggy Skirrid

It sure was very boggy out there today but I'm glad I made the effort to go. The Skirrid fell race has the makings of becoming a favourite in my fixture list. I almost didn't make it though - but not as almost didn't make it as The Finch, who had a spot of car trouble (hope he made it home okay). The road down to Monmouth was closed due to the weather so I had to find an alternative. Fortunately I'd set off early so had plenty of time to go around. Even with the detour I got there in plenty of time and registered as lucky number thirteen.

I was mighty surprised by the turn out. There must have been 60+ runners on a day where you'd have thought people would have struggled to get a day pass. To the race itself it was a boggy start across several fields of varying steepness - all upwards though. As I struggled along in the middle order I realised how terribly unfit I have become. Runnable inclines - weren't. After a slow trudge things got even slower on the first climb proper. Finally to the top a smiling Lou directed us over the top. The drop was steep and rocky. I wasn't able to go quite as quick as I'd have liked due to congestion - but keep that quiet or Boris might try and bring in charges.

After no time at all it was time to climb the nose back up, to the summit this time. I was surprised that I actually over took someone on the climb and pulled a little gap on a few others. With lungs bursting I finally reached the trig point and from there it was all down hill. To be fair I was a bit namby pamby on the drop. It was steep and I had my new leggings on and didn't want to get them shredded. The course was ripe for a bum slide - ooh er misses - but I stayed on my feet.

After a bit, the descent shallowed as the route returned to the fields and some slip slidey fast running. Laurie, Neil and Nikki were right on my heels on the run-in but I managed to keep ahead. Not sure of my placing but somewhere in the middle no doubt. I'd really like to be in the top half though. Then it was back to the Skirrid Inn for the prize giving before the journey home.

Well done to Mr C for a great race and thanks to all the marshals. The Skirrid was a joy on a such a grey winters day.

Approximate route (didn't take my gps):

Friday, December 21, 2012

Not The Most Spectacular End Of The World

Well I guess it wasn't the end of the world after all. So unspectacular in fact that it didn't even rain much so no risk of being washed away. All in all a very poor effort by the Mayans. For the school report, must do better next time.

Hurrah for the weekend. It's been a tiring week. I struggled to shift my arse out of bed this morning. I managed a go on the rower and the exercise bike tonight. Couldn't face anything more effortuatous - that's another of my new words. Hopefully I'll be feeling energetic enough tomorrow to make the journey across the boarder for the Skirrid race.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Better Wish Everyone A Happy Christmas Now While There's Still Time

Yes, that's right, another year is almost complete and another end of the world almost upon us. Apparently the Mayan's have forecast the end is nigh and if they forecast that we'd all be washed away then I'm more than a little scared...

What rubbish weather it is though. It's getting beyond a joke. Got caught in some mystery traffic on the way home. No reason for it all to come to a grinding halt on the A40. Can't find any reports of problems. An odd one. Talking weather - a British speciality - the forecast for Saturday's Skirrid race looks absolutely pants. It's a new race and looking at the terrain, likely to be very wet underfoot. I'm going to need extra special motivation in order to shift my arse over there if the forecast is even half right.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


After a month off the road for various reasons, and after a few test drives, Vera is good to go again. I am definitely going to get away to the mountains in the coming year. There are many hills and mountains I've yet to run across. I'm going to book up some holiday - 33 days of it with carry over - and then, come hell or high water, I'm going to use it. Unlucky for some, twenty 13 is going to be a good one for me. Have to admit I'm not a great one for new years resolutions but this coming year I'm making it a focus to 'try' and get to Chepstow training on Tuesday night's. I'm going to get me some speed to go with the endurance. I'm going to shed me some lard and I'm going to fly. I'm going to soar like a rather portly eagle...

On other matters, I have finally managed to get some sense out of BT - not too much though, mind. After six or seven calls and a couple of hours wasted time I have finally got the number for compensation. Mind you, it's not one of those fancy 'you're in a queue' style affairs. No, this one gives out 'engaged' so you have to keep re-dialing - in my case, about a dozen times before I finally got through. Can't understand why it hasn't got the normal queuing system of all their other numbers - it's like they want to make it really really difficult for you to get recompense for damaging your property. I should hopefully receive the claim form tomorrow or the next day. Oh, and the number for the BT Legal Compensation line for any one else unfortunate enough to be done over by BT is .... drum role .... 0800 671130. That's 0800 671130. Come on Google do your thing and index this number. That's 0800 671130 for the BT Legal Compensation telephone hotline...

Stiff Neck

Don't know where it came from but as I set out from Speculation heading to Ellwood I got a spasm in my neck and from there on I had neck ache. It did ease but made the first half of the outward journey less enjoyable than it should have been.

Despite the discomfort I put in a reasonably hard effort along the firm going of cycle path over to Cannop Ponds. From there I knew I would slow. The softer ground of the Nagshead Planation was plenty wet - yikes, I sound like an advert for kitchen tissue - and, not to mention, plenty slippery. Two feet forward, one foot back.

I finally made to Ellwood and circumnavigated the race route in reverse until I caught the front of the race. From there I snapped some photos of most of the racers before continuing the reverse of the route back to the start which was actually the finish.

It was great to see so many Harriers out and after a brief natter it was time to turn tail and head home. I went a bit steadier on the return. Mostly on account that I was surprisingly knackered. That fast start on the way out had certainly taken its toll and by the time I got back to speculation, some 19km total running later I was glad to see the van.

Here's a link to photos of the runners and riders in this years 2012 Forest of Dean Christmas Tree Race. I think I managed to snap most people although my camera is a bit old - like me, shut it - and isn't very fast - like me, I said shut it - so I might have missed a few... (and it might take a while for all of them to appear while they upload through the ether to the 'tinterweb).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

There's Nothing Like A Spot Of Cooking

And a right tasty Chicken and Chorizo Jambalaya it was too. Just the job after a leisurely afternoon run through the quagmire that is the Gloucestershire coutryside. Despite not seeming to rain that much over the last day or two it was never the less as wet underfoot as it was during the Great Rains of November. The brook was well up again. The water table is just so high. Not sure it's going to lower much till the summer - and even then it might not lower that much going by last summer.

Anyway, back to important matter, the jambalaya... So easy and so damn tasty. Fry off diced chicken, add onion, diced bell pepper, chorizo, finely chopped garlic and the secret blend of cajun spices - paprika, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, oregano and thyme - doh. Finally add a can of chopped tomato, long grain rice and vegetable stock. Give it a stir and simmer for twenty minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Then scoff like there are pirates about to invade - not sure where that came from.

Thinking of running tomorrow's Forest Christmas Cake Race - or what ever it's called. If I don't muster in time then I think I will park up away from the race HQ and go for a ten miler or so taking in some race spectating. There is sure to be tens if not hundreds of Chepstow Harriers out. Quite like the idea of jogging round the route cheering the runners on.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

When You’re Going Through Hell

Keep going...

Another day not at the office. Another day of unfulfilled expectation. Another day of not being able to find a contact within BT who can help me with my compensation for wrecking my drive. I've left messages on their claim line but no one calls back so it looks like I'm going to have to get a solicitor on the case. Not sure why BT would want to pay out more than they need to. It's a pretty clear cut case. They dug up my drive for no reason. Does that count as criminal damage? If they put a brick though my window it would be. So does shredding your driveway, private property, count too? If there are any solicitors out there who want to make themselves a few quid get in touch...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's Been A Daniel Powter

So busy at work. So much to do and so little time. Even missed the office Christmas lunch. Come to think of it, I missed lunch. Half seven to five pretty much without a break. More of the same tomorrow and the day after that... Getting fed up. Anyone need the services of a top ICA engineer?

Adding to the injury, BT have dug up part of my front driveway - and the house isn't even on BT. I'm number 10 and they should have f$&ked up the garden of number 18 - if only BT employees could read. Not happy. Not happy at all. Could well do without. Adding insult to the injury can I find out a contact point to complain and get compensation? Can I f^&k. Been pushed pillar to post. Five phone calls and still no joy. BT you will pay, believe you me. You can dodge but you cannot hide. Even if I have to drive up to London and ram-raid through the foyer of you're head office, YOU WILL PAY...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Been A Long Year

And thank heaven it's almost over. As Christmas fast approaches it's time for the all important review of the year...

Let's face it, it ain't been great. True, it's not been as bad as 2010 - to be fair it would have to go some to trump that particular vintage. Training has been, what can only be considered, poor. Work has been... busy. What races I've run, I've enjoyed. I'm slower than ever but still enjoy the chase. I am counting off the days until I try to turn over a new leaf. Soon into my 41st year I want to break some new ground. 2013 is going to be a new hope....

Saturday, December 08, 2012

The Pit and The Pendulum

The pit of doom. The pits. Pit-iful. Yes, it was another fail. I'm beginning to think I'm a little bit shit at this orienteering lark. At least this time I was surrounded by a couple of decent orienteers who where in as big a pickle as I was. Eventually they conceded defeat and headed home. I didn't. Nineteen minutes later I eventually found the pit that was control eleven. It was just such a damn confusing control. There were literally tens of pits in dense-ish forest. I was in the right area (the far right of the route trace) but just didn't lock into the right pit.

Up till then I was going okay. I had hit the controls pretty well and hadn't made too many mistakes but I wasn't able to cover the ground as quickly as I'd hoped. I kept getting snagged up in bramble. I got a bit shredded on a couple of occasions. You get to the point where you are losing so much time you just have to push through and take the pain - cuts and all.

Although I still think I'm improving, I can see it's going to be quite a while before I'm any good. However, I'm sure the skills I am taking on board will be helpful out in the mountains for proper racing...

Friday, December 07, 2012

Knock Knock

Who's there? The Knockalls Orienteering of course. Looks like it's going to be dry but cold and I'm looking forward to it. I've run in the Knockalls Inclosure before and it was soggy back in the summer so I'm expecting it to be very very soggy at the moment. I am hoping I can avoid any major mistakes tomorrow. Going to try and put in a bit more speed between controls. Fingers crossed...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Brain Drain

It was a mentally draining day in the office for me today. My arse hardly left the chair. I got a lot of work done. The only problem is that there is still an awful lot more to do. Yesterday was another decent day. I managed to tick off four items from the todo list - only problem was I added a further eleven. One step forward... I sense this isn't going to be the best week of training but at least there's the orienteering to look forward to on Saturday - I wonder how I will balls it up this week?

Monday, December 03, 2012

I Feel It Not In My Fingers

Nor my toes. I do, however, feel it in my quads. It was one of those days where I got stiff every time I sat down for more than a few minutes. Now you may think I missed that - but you'd be wrong. Fnah fnah, ooh er misses, no, stop it, sssh. Right, that's set things straight.

I managed a decent effort on the exercise bike tonight but didn't have much leg power. I want to try and make it across to training with the Harriers tomorrow but not sure how realistic that's going to be given that I'm going to working on site in the afternoon doing a bit of pumping - snigger - and won't be leaving until enough water has been pumped. I'd like to think it will all go swimmingly - wrong choice of words - but these things never go to plan. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Cream Crackered

or should that be Cardington Cream Crackered. Hell it was tough underfoot in this year's Cardington Cracker. None of the expected frost mind, just lots and lots of sticky mud. I'd gained three inches - ssh, no, stop it - in height by the time I exited the first of the fields at the first road crossing and they made us go around the field edge instead of the normal straight across route as the farmer had ploughed it ready for barley. Right that's my excuses in...

Anyway, I ran like an old festering pile of poo but never the less enjoyed the outing. I was the slowest I've ever been - but not by as much as the results have me listed. They must have missed one of the earlier runners time because they have me a minute slower than my already slow time of 1:37:12. Still, I squeezed into the top hundred in 74th place. Did I mention it was really heavy going underfoot and they made us run further this year?

Aside from running so pitifully slow I ran it about as well as I could have. I set off steady but not far off full effort and then picked it up from half way atop Caradoc. I descended pretty well picking up loads of places and from that half way point I reckon I collected ten or so places. Somehow the last few miles weren't as bad as normal. Despite the mud - did I mention there was lots of sticky mud - I had plenty of endurance to keep me focused through the last fields - full of mud, not sure if I mentioned that, oh, and a liberal sprinkling of cow sh!t.

I'm glad I made the effort to go. This time next year I'll be a millionaire - er, no, I mean - this time next year I will knock minutes off this years time or I will let people hit me with sticks as penance - but only thin sticks, more twigs really.

Any finally, praise where praise is due. Well done to the race organiser, his team, the marshals and most importantly the cake bakers and soup-sayers on this, the races 25th year.

Today's 9 miles and 700m ascent.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Well I Ain't Fit For It

But I'm gonna go run it anyway. I have an inkling it could be chilly on the tops and more than a little icy. I am of course talking about the Cardington Cracker. Last time out I managed 1:33 for the nine miles of undulating Shropshire countryside. This time I'll be happy with sub 1:40.

After the disappointment of yesterday I pretty much spent the day busying myself doing nothing. I did find time amongst the nothingness to charge up Vera's battery and rev her engine. Not going to risk taking her with me tomorrow just in case the battery is on its way out. Can't be getting stranded. I shall monitor things but I need it sorted by next Friday..

Friday, November 30, 2012

Epic Bloody Fail

With the van loaded last night I was all set for a day - and more importantly, a night out - in Bristol. I was well up for it. Cue battery failure this morning in the pre-dawn frost. Having risen sub six I was not happy. Not happy at all. It just wasn't happening and after a fruitless attempt to get the damn van fired into life I had to give it up. With the dream crushed there was nothing left to do but resort to the car for the drive to work, somewhat later than planned and thus ending all thoughts of great uncle boo's up in Bristol tonight.

To add insult to injury the drive home was a dis-bloody-aster. I was into Gloucester on schedule but then the fan was struck multiple times by a myriad of faecal matter. Volume of traffic due to the road closure from the flood caused everything to grind to a soul destroying halt. Nout anyone could do. Just had to suck it up. I was home seventy five minutes later than normal. I don't want to talk about it. It's been a very disappointing day. I want to weep a little. I was really looking forward to getting pissed as a fart - and then some...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Emperor's New Leggings

Yes, my left buttock is to be banished from sight once more with the arrival of my swanky new sub-zero compression leggings. Is that a sigh of relief I hear? There's nothing worse than buttock peep so we can all sleep a little more soundly now. Still hoping to repair the old pair but they'll never be the same.

Now to today and isn't it getting cold? Hark at me, but really, it is. After the floods comes the freeze and I'm not looking forward to it. I was out in the field today, so to speak, and will be for much of the rest of the year - and beyond. The 'field' I refer to is, of course, the many various sites I find myself working at not an actual field. By the end of play I could hardly feel my toes. Wasn't really that cold out but, stood in one place and not really moving much, the cold eventually found its way through the thermal layers. Managed a rather pathetic run this evening before I final conceeded defeat and headed in for a warm shower...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What The Hell Has Happened

It isn't raining? That can't be right, can it? Anyway, it was the Pomphrey Hill Sports 5k tonight - but I didn't run. I got away from work late-ish but got there in time to rig up the generator and light for the start/finish with minutes to spare...

It was good to see a few Chepstow Harriers out tonight - although some of them need to tune up on their time keeping skills, missing the start by almost a minute - glad I'm not the only who makes that particular school boy error...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Great Depression

It was only meant to be a small depression but after failing to find the bloody thing it turned into a great depression. It swept over me as I failed to locate control 23 - the last one - and supposedly in a small depression. To be fair I was fair given up by then anyway after failing so epically to find control 22. Up to that point I was actually having one of my best orienteers ever. But I'm getting ahead of things.

I decided to go long and hard - ooh matron - and set out on the brown course. There wasn't really much to report for controls 1 to 21. I maybe made a few less than optimum route choices but I used the features well. I'm really starting to relate all the subtle shades and markings to the features on the ground. I probably ran half the course without looking or needing the compass and just using the features. It was all going so well...

I was round to control 21 in 1 hour and 37 minutes. That only left 22 and 23 and no more than 500m to run... Cue operation right royal f$^% up. I don't think I could have possibly run it worse than I did. The rain had made ditches look like streams but that's no excuse and basically I lost it. Call me Mr Angry. If the course planner had popped out of the undergrowth at that point I think I'd have given him a Glasgow kiss. After having spent more than twenty minutes to dib out 22 I then spent another eight minutes on the final one. Angry? I was fuming.

What should have been no more than an hour and forty five turned into two hours and seven. That is my biggest orienteering failure to date. Out of the jaws of a reasonable run I snatched possibly my worst. And worse still I ripped my pants. My nice expensive compression leggings don't give so much compression in the arse area any more.

Trying to take away something positive from today's debacle I am at least starting to show signs of being an orienteer rather than just a navigator. Still waiting for my first ballsup free run...

Right, now where's the duct tape, I've me some compression leggings to repair...

And don't laugh too hard or you might get hurt - I, uh mean, you might hurt yourself...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

And The Flood Waters Continue To Rise

Will this bloody rain never cease? Forecast says no. Not looking forward to 12-16 hours straight rain with its estimated 25-30mm of rain fall. You know what, I think I'll go for a run - maybe not. I am hoping there's a break in the weather by midday tomorrow though. There's a spot of orienteering to be had over Cannop Ponds way.

I wouldn't be surprised if it gets cancelled but I hope it goes ahead. There's a 9km brown course on offer - ooh er, ssh, no, stop it. Could be pretty interesting conditions underfoot - or should that be underwater. I know the area a little but not as well as some parts of the forest. Fingers crossed...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shit, I've Not Finished The Ark...

and this rain ain't stopping. Tonight's rain has run straight off the saturated fields and down the side of the house. So far everything is holding. The drains are taking the strain but I really don't want the rain to get any heavier. Suffice to say I shan't be going out tonight.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Soggy, Very Soggy

It's been a wet old day. This morning I opened the front door to the sound of rushing water and for a moment I feared... but venturing out into the darkness I realised it was just the storm drain doing its job. The brook was swollen, mind, but had another foot to rise before she was breached. What is normally a trickle was a three foot deep torrent - just as well I cleared it back last weekend.

Out on the roads it wasn't a much better picture. Heading to one of our remote sites there were a few dodgy moments. In the dark it's difficult to tell how deep the flooded sections were. Fortunately I was lucky. Heading home it was an ever worsening picture. I had to turn around three times where the road was totally flooded. I reckon I had to travel an extra twenty miles to get home. Not good but at least I made it. I'm hoping the rain isn't so bad tomorrow. I reckon the brook will subside but the field is sodden. More a marsh than a field just now. That won't soak away before tomorrow's forecasted rain. I think it'll be okay though...

On the upside I eased away the days stresses with my secret recipe macaroni cauliflower cheese with a chorizo twist. My top tip for a cracking cheese sauce... don't bother with that flour straight into melted butter technique, no pour in a third of the milk to the melted and then add the flour a bit at a time as you stir. End result no lumps and dead quick. Add the rest of the milk then the cheese. Job's a good 'un. Silky smooth sauce. The only downside? You don't get biceps like an Argentinian mud wrestler.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Not Going Out In This

I was rather hoping those bods down at the met office would have one of their more typical days. Sadly, it turns, out they were having an off day - they got the forecast correct. It's been peeing down all day and it still peeing down now. My spidey senses were tingling from the off. As day broke over Breakheart Hill with its red glow filling the morning I was afraid it might be the shepherds warning.

My legs are still sore but its mostly localised to the quads. I was going to loop through Flaxley for an easy 10k but not in this. More bike. Legs should be back to normal tomorrow but I who knows if I'll muster for anything.

I did manage to get out into the garden during a short gap in the rain to plant up some garlic in one of the raised beds. I also improved the cat anti-dump defense - so I shouldn't be reaping any unwanted kitty turds come harvest time. Then I just had time to stir up the compost heap to get some air in. Don't really know if it's the right time or even the right thing to do but it just seemed right to mix up the kitchen scraps with the green stuff. And then the rain came - again...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Coldest Day Of The Autumn So Far

Minus 2.6 degrees but the sun soon showed it's face - might have invented a new phrase for a drinking game there.. and it turned out to be a cracking day. Not many left this year I fear. Sadly my legs were not capable of taking advantage of such a nice day. They are wrecked but not as wrecked as I thought they'd be. I can actually walk - always a bonus. So I headed out into the garden and did a bit of tidying. Most of the leaves are down so it was an appropriate time to gather them all up to make some leaf mold. - whatever the hell that is! I finished off with a pathetically easy hour on the bike while the bread proved and the pasta dough chilled. Home made spaghetti with tuna and tomato sauce for tea...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It Was Only A Slight Miscalculation...

Okay, I mucked it up big time. I was intending to run about twenty miles today. A reasonable increase from my recent longest run of about fifteen. However, marking up a twenty kilometre outward route followed by twenty kilometres back along the Cotswold Way does not, in any branch of mathematics I'm familiar with, equate to twenty miles. It does, in fact, equate to almost 25 miles. And, here's a top runners tip, when attempting a 25 miles run do not, under any circumstances, run the first half on a twenty mile pace schedule....

I set off from the Air Balloon car park, following the Cotswold Way south for about a mile before heading inland on a meandering route which finally met back up with the Cotswold way some twenty kilometres later at the Haresfield Beacon. It was as I approached the Beacon that it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn't actually going to be running twenty miles. All of five seconds after that, it struck me that I was going to be in a bit of pickle in an hour or two. My pace was too fast for the actual distance I was about to run.

And, as foretold in the prophecy, an hour or two later I was crawling. The miles seemed to stretch out to infinity (and a little beyond if the truth be told). I eventually made it back to the car some 4 hours and 35 minutes from whence I had started. I was, as they say in the trade, a little bit pooped.

On the plus side there was no sign of cramp and had I set off at a more sensible pace for the actual distance I ran I think I would have been pretty solid. All bodes well for being able to support, as promised, a friend whose going to run the entire Cotswold Way next weekend. I feel a lot more confident now.

In all I covered 40km with about 950m of ascent. All in all a good days training...

Friday, November 16, 2012

It Burns, It Burns

After what can only be described as a really pants drive home - a little fog and everyone seems to poo their pants. The motorway wasn't great but compared to Gloucester? No, I don't want to talk about it... Anyway, after the 2 hour journey - normally an hour and fifteen, yes, you heard correct, I won't speak of it again - I de-stressed by cooking up a tasty quorn kebab with a corking, ring-stinging, nose dripping chilli sauce served on a bed of lettuce, cucumber and onions. I definitely think it'll help with the runs tomorrow, er, I mean tomorrow's run. Still haven't entirely made my mind up where to run. Leaning towards exploring a bit more of the Cotswold Way on a section somewhere between Stroud and the Air Balloon roundabout.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Been A Bad Week For It..

I've been a lazy lazy sod. I managed a bike session tonight but other than it's been a really poor effort in what's been a funny old week and now that the end is fast approaching it's time to plan a nice run on the weekend. Do I go Beacons? Malverns? Cotswolds? It's a tough decision but someone's got to make it. What ever I decide I need to inch up the distance a little. Then of course, there's Monday's day off to consider. I am assured that the weather's going to be brilliant...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's No Miles To Home

I've got vapours in the tank, no cigarettes (because I don't smoke), it is dark, mind, but I'm not wearing sunglasses, so that's okay, and nor can I be arsed to hit it.

In fact, I can't be bothered to hit anything tonight. Is that bad? Probably but there it is. Going to attempt a solo lunch run tomorrow. Will I have the will power? Probably not...

Well that was short and sweet.

I think I need an achievable target. Something to aim for without being too ambitious but enough of a challenge to fire me up...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Where Did That Come From?

I am, of course, talking about the sun. What a cracker of a day. I can't say I was out of the blocks early but I did eventually drag myself out from under the warm duvet - mainly due to Sherman, aka "the Tank", crashing around the bedroom chasing a toy mouse. I took that to mean feed me, feed me now or I wreck the place. Taking the hint I got up, fed the felines and set about the days chores. By midday I was done and headed out over May Hill. It really was a cracking day. The views stretched as far as the eye could see.

After a loverly - I spotted the typo, but as I'm a Bristol lad I thought I'd let it pass - warm shower it was into the kitchen to cook up a feast for the birds - sadly, I'm talking the feathered variety. I've been keeping various left overs to make lard cakes. So after a quick blitz in the processor I added the mix to melted lard - mmmm, lard - and potted it up with some string to hang from the trees. Got to look after the birds...

Finished off the afternoon with a quick dip in the stream. I was of course wearing my thigh length waders - ooh, matron. The vegetation was beginning to get a bit overgrown again and we don't want it flooding do we...

Friday, November 09, 2012

Darn Tootin' That Was Nasty

So cold. So very cold and so wet. So very very wet and windy. So very - you get the picture. It really was a bastard from start to finish. There was no let up for the entire 17km route and 725m ascent from Blaen-y-Glyn car park over to Lower Neuadd reservoir, up to the ridge and along to Pen-y-Fan. We missed out Cribyn and Fan-y-Big, skirting the summits rather climbing all the way up. I have to raise my hand and bow my head in shame for selecting the 'wimps' option on account of my legs were a bit trashed from yesterday. I say 'we', I was out with Ben G of Mynydd Du nee Dark Peak. Then it was along the ridge of a sort before dropping back down to the car park.

My hands were freezing by the time we got back. I could hardly operate the key to the car - a very tricky, technical feat I think you'll agree. Once I did manage it, I fired up the engine and set the heaters to stun - I mean hot. It wasn't the day to be standing around chatting. Dry clothes donned we didn't hang around and headed home.

It was nice to have some company on such a poor day. I think, had I been there by myself, I'd have wimped out. I only hope I wasn't too slow for Ben. He's a bit quicker than me. All in all it's another training run ticked off but my legs really are feeling it now. I have, however, managed to warm up so I can put up with a few aches.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

They've Gone And Changed The Route!

I decided to run a circular loop from Cleeve Hill south and east around to Seven Springs and then back along the Cotswold Way. And does Seven Springs actually have seven springs? They're not marked on the map. I digress. I set off steadily in cool conditions. It wasn't cold but it would have gone that way if I'd stopped for any length of time.

It wasn't a bad outward route although there were one or two occasions where the foot path wasn't obvious and I needed a bit of dilly dallying to pick it back up again. Then, with 1-2km to go to my turn around point I suddenly found myself running on the Cotswold Way! Hang on, I'm not there yet!

I carried on running because I was certain I knew where I was on the map and where I was wasn't where the Cotswold Way was - crinkey, the a lot of w's. Then once I got to my turn point is all became clear. They've gone and re-routed a small section between Seven Springs and Dowdeswell Reservoir.

So, not wanting to re-trace my steps I carried on along my planned route and picked up the CW after the re-routed section and from there it all became easy. Except it didn't as no sooner was I back running on the CW I bolloxed it up going past the reservoir. While admiring said reservoir - as any good reservoir spotter - I missed the obvious left turn before the woodland zone and followed the path along side the spill way, so hypnotised was I by the mass scrawl of graffiti, and ended up following a muddy path through the woods. I knew I'd gone wrong but couldn't be arsed to back track so I just piled through the forest back to the proper path. Now from there, it really did become easy - except I was beginning to tire but I made it back in one piece.

In all I covered just over 25k with 625m of ascent. With the navigation and the mud it was surprisingly hard work. Not sure how fit I'm going to be for tomorrow's Neuadd Res, Pen-y-fan, Cribyn, Fan-y-big loop starting and finishing at the Blaen-y-Glyn car park. At least with that route there are one or two escape routes to shorten it a little...

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What To Do, Where To Go?

Polite answers only please. Don't have the van at the moment - fingers crossed on the MOT - so where ever I go I won't have the luxury - or more appropriately, the relative luxury of being able to cook up something to warm up the cockles - ooh, matron - on what will most likely be another chilly day. I have to say I do fancy a day trip to the mountains. The forecast isn't too bad. Might have a pootle out from Tal-y-bont res...

That said I'm also tempted by another session with the Harriers - but that would almost be habit, twice in one week! I think it might even be curry night tomorrow as well, so doubly tempting... Perhaps I'll save the mountains for Friday...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Led Astray By The Ladies

Those cake bake judges took things a little too seriously for my liking. Having said that, a few of the bakers went at it pretty full on. Fair play to the gold medalist. His cake was a master piece. It must have taken him the best part of a week to decorate. Puts my hour in the kitchen to shame. Still, I came joint third - with just about every other cake that wasn't first or second. Despite that defeat I reckon most of tonight's bakers would have had some difficulty creating a battenburg - not that I'm bitter.

Training was the highlight tonight though. It was good to grind out some hill reps. Short and sharp. Just the ticket. Each rep was about 130m with the jog back as recovery and straight into the next. There was a two minute recovery after the first six before another seven - as I can't count. So much easier to run in a group and by god was it a big group. There must have been 30+ out there.

Then a few of us finished off with a recovery jog back to the leisure centre. I felt right knackered by that 30 minute 6.3km cool down. Those ladies certainly know how to run. Leading me astray...

I enjoyed the training tonight. Definitely going to make more effort to get to training in the future...

Monday, November 05, 2012

Nothing More I Can Do Now

I've put down my utensils. The baking is over. Nothing more I can do now - other than bribe the judges - but that's not my style. I think I've done a passable job but have to admit the ol' battenburg is one tricky son of a bitch. I'm not the most practiced cake baker. I can count on one hand the number of cakes I've baked. It was more than just the baking though, it was the putting it altogether that was so bloody tricky. Pleased with the flavours. Overall I'm happy. And as my Nepalese Guru would say, there's no point in baking off - not a euphemism - if you aren't going to push the envelope of your ability just a little...

All I need to do now is remember to take my fluorescent jacket and running kit to work so I can go straight to training - oh, and take my cake, of course. It's been so long since I turned up for a Chepstow training session I almost can't remember what time it starts - it's 7pm, right?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Shard

Is still in the foot. It ain't the best to walk on at the moment. Bike session it is but too be fair I'm not that disappointed as the whether is nasty. No snow just cold, drizzly nastiness. Going to have to wait the foot out a few days and see if it resolves itself. If not I'll have to go see the professionals - and I don't mean Bodie or Doyle.

Oh yeah, currently siting in 4th place overall in the orienteering. That's not saying much as most people haven't run both events. Expecting to be much lower by the end of the season but it would be nice if I can improve enough to keep inside the top ten. That's my target...

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Just Like El Cid

Only it wasn't so much an arrow as something spiky through the sole of my shoe and into my foot. Like El Cid I carried on. What ever it was, it snapped off leaving a tiny shard embedded in my foot. I didn't know what it was but it was painful. Did I stopped to take a look? Course not, I was in an orienteering race and I'm not namby pamby. I limped along for a few minutes before the endorphins kicked  in and the pained was numbed.

I had a pretty decent run out at the Trellech event. Blue route, of course. Started to navigate a bit more to the features and less to the compass but I still managed to really badly muck up control fourteen. Round and round I ran the rugged rocks beneath me. Eventually coming to my sense I picked out the fence corner and took a bearing in - now why didn't I do that first off? School boy error.

I'm jumping ahead. I started off okay. No overshoot today. I was into the zone quickly. Three wasn't ideal but I didn't lose much time despite the looping route I took. Eleven wasn't the best either. Sheeplike, I followed where there were a few others searching instead of actually looking at the bloody map. Once I did that I was in and away. I didn't fall for the same thing on twelve and got that one okay despite the quarry being a mite confusing. The final mistake was an overshoot to sixteen but didn't cost me too much time before completing in 1hr 21mins. I was in thirteenth at the time I finished but I expect to drop down the leader board a little. If only I hadn't mucked up 14 and hadn't dilly dallied on three and eleven... But then I expect everyone says that.

Well, I'm all done for today's training. I ran 4k to the event and with the painful foot, ran the return leg back to the Bigsweir Bridge. All in all a good days training. A might over 16k and 420m of ascent.

Off now to try and dig what ever it is that's in my foot, out...

Thursday, November 01, 2012

It's Gettin', It's Gettin', It's Gettin'...

Kinda chilly out there in the field. Not an actually field you understand, although it was pretty muddy. No, I'm talking out of the office and onto site. Standing still, working at an electrical panel, it was the first time this autumn that the cold started to creep into these old bones of mine. The sun was shinning outside - in the actual field - but inside it was definitely, what I like to call, proper cold. From here on in it's only going to get worse. I'm thinking of getting me some thermal long johns...

Tonight it was the turn of the exercise bike. Didn't have the energy for a run. Looking forward to the orienteering at Trelleck on Saturday though.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

No Race But A Run

I made it over to the Pomphrey Hill Sports 5k... but I didn't race. My legs were still feeling achy after Sunday and, fearing another really bad performance, I decided to go for a run before hand. I headed out on the old summer route and despite it being pretty pitch black for most of it I managed to get round the 5k route only 15s slower than last months race time - how the hell does that work? On the up side, I guess it means I would have been improved had I actually raced. I ran hard tonight but not on the limit plus I couldn't see the foot in front of my face - not that my foot was in front of my face but you get my drift.

Hasn't been a bad day today all in all. Work wasn't bad. Quite productive really. I managed some training, as mentioned, and I got home before ten. All set for operation sleep...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Feast For The Eyes

The Malverns seems to be the place to go for a spot of bird watching... There were half a dozen fine specimens out there today running strongly. And hardy too because it was none to pleasant. There was a chill in the air coupled with fine drizzle that gave way to full on rain. Not pleasant at all. Still, at least I wasn't in the Howgills.

I went for a slightly different route on the way out as compared to the normal over the top route. I took a couple of side paths, missing out a couple of climbs but adding a little extra distance and facilitating a faster pace. I also added the circumnavigation of North Hill, Table Hill and an ascent on the summit of Sugarloaf - Hill, not the mountain in Wales - before finally climbing to the Worcestershire Beacon and the journey home. In all I covered 24.8km with 718m of ascent. pleased with the time of 2:23. I pushed quite hard today.

Plus I got back a couple of my Strava records after someone stole them mid week. Grrrh, mine, all mine...

Anyway, going to finish off with an hour on the bike in front of the telly and, most importantly, in the warm. Tootle pip.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fall Back

Yeah baby, extra hour in bed tomorrow. Operation lie in is sooo going to happen.

I managed to get out for a shortish run before I turned my attention to clearing up the massive pile of pruning I created a couple of weeks ago. I was waiting for the leaves to drop so I could recycle them onto the garden. Cue two hours of cutting and bagging, sweeping and picking. It looks much tidier out front now. All set now for a day trip to the local recycling centre. Let's see how my back feels tomorrow... Hopefully it won't stop me getting out for a long run - after the lazy bastard lie in, of course. Not sure where to go, cue some cogitation.

Oh and finally, a belated good luck to all those OMMers out there getting rather cold tonight me thinks. They won't be making best use of the extra hour in bed... seems like a school boy error to me...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Square Cake, Round Tin

Just won't work...

Tonight's almost constant drizzle has kept my indoors. It's that really nasty stuff. The stuff that doesn't feel like much but gets you soaked through to the skin - and in some cases beyond. I cranked up the bike resistance and fired out an hours worth. Not the best but it'll do.

Anyway, back to the headline, I'm going to attempt a battenburg for the Chepstow bake night and just realised my round tins weren't going to cut it. A square one's what I need so I've gone and got myself one of them yer new fangled silicone ones. Have to say I'm not sure about silicone - ooh er. Is it legal? Do they work as well as you common or garden metal ones? I guess it gives me something to blame if I get an epic fail...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Does The Sun Still Exist?

If it does, I've not seen it this week. It's been a week of mist. Anyway, I'm not Michael Fish so I'll shut up talking about the favourite British topic of conversation.

Haven't managed much training this week - read none. It didn't happen today either. I took my kit to work but somehow the time never seemed right. I've been here, there and everywhere so far this week. Perhaps tomorrow will be more productive on the training front...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What A Grey Day

Hasn't been a bad day on the work front today. Got a few bits and pieces sorted - including the auto summer clock adjustment software for one of our sites, just in the nick of time. Found more bugs in a recently contracted control system. Eventually I'll have it all working correctly.. The drive in was a bit depressing mind, none stop drizzly rain, road spray, fog and mist. Grim. Bloody glad I'm on a rest day so I don't have to head out into the gloom. My calves are feeling sore from yesterday's long hill session - means I worked hard. The Malverns really are one of my favourite spots for a hill session without the boredom of a hill session.

Anyway, I've been analysing my Malverns Strava from yesterday. Okay, not really analysing as such, more having a glance at the stats. I actually got some CRs - he shoots, he scores. I guess what that really means is that only slow runners Strava the Malverns. Still, they're up there now to be shot down - I might even have another crack at them in a month or two if not before...

Malverns In The Cloud

I thought I'd leave it a bit before heading out. To give the sun a chance to burn off the early morning mist - it didn't. So I headed over and up Hollybush - careful - onto the Malverns anyway.

It was quite chilly on the top with the mist or was it low cloud, blowing over the tops. Never been across the Malverns with visibility down to fifty metres in places. It was quite nice actually. Just when the going started to get tough on an ascent another ghostly figure would shimmer into view. Well, couldn't stop then could I and appear like an amateur. No, it was a good incentive to push onwards and upwards. This time I managed to run the entire way except for the stupid steps on the Herefordshire Beacon.

The mist did finally start to dissipate on the approach to the Worcestershire Beacon. As I headed into the final climb I was actually above the mist. It appeared like the Worcestershire Beacon was high enough to be above the clouds - except it was only mist but it looked odd in a nice way.

I'm pleased with how it went today. I was out and back in just over two hours and that included a compulsory stop to water the plants and the odd stoppage to admire the views. Well, I've learnt over the last few years that there's no point being up on the hills if you don't actually take a minute or two to look out across the vista. In fact, I was ten minutes quicker than my last outing. That doesn't a lot until you realise that's thirty seconds a kilometre quicker for the 20k route with around 2,750 feet of ascent. Suspect my legs might be achy tomorrow. I really did put in some good effort on the climbs.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Bit Of The Old Blue Peter

I've still got it - been to the doctor and they couldn't cure it, boom, boom. I am, of course, referring to a touch of the old Blue Peter sticky back plastic magic. A discarded cereal box, an old washing up bottle, the cardboard tube from a toilet roll... Okay, it was really just the sticky backed plastic but I still got it. Voila, one orienteering control list arm holder - back of the net. Here's one I made earlier...

Pretty pleased with my effort. Should do the job nicely...

Training wise, my back is still playing up but edging towards better. I reckon I need to get me into the mountains and practice more descending at speed. I think that's what did it and I think that's what'll cure it - or stop it happening again.

I went jarring free today with an hour on the exercise bike. Wanted a bit of a rest day. I thought about a proper ride but felt I'd work it too hard. I'm all about training days and easy days rather than banging it out every day. Quality over quantity - apart from double race weekends of course. Can't give up my double headers.

Fifty fifty for the cross country tomorrow. I think the last time I ran the cross country at Bridgend was back in 2003, almost a decade ago...


Friday, October 19, 2012

Mud Glorious Mud

It was another day of DIY as sadly the back is feeling like it did yesterday. All very annoying. Having reached the boredom point by midday I decided to go and run anyway. So it wasn't going to be the mountains but hey, I got out there.

I drove over to the recycling centre near Broadwell - two birds, one stone and all that. I dumped my load - shut it - of recycling and headed out for a flatish 8 miles. It was very very muddy in places. Perhaps not the best route choice I could have made. I had a few more twinges from the back as I twisted and jerked to avoid going down - not even going to bother with an ooh er misses on that sentence.

Had a pretty good run on the face of it. I tried to run at a fair pace. Not on the limit by any means but I knew I was working. The couple of climbs, as there were, felt okay. I pushed reasonably hard, maintaining a steady ascent. All in all it was a pretty good work out and you can knock a couple of minutes off my time for all the gates, styles and a spot of watering the plants. Just over the hour for eight miles on a muddy route ain't bad. Pretty pleased really. Just have to wait and see how all that jerking - ssh, no - has affected the back.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Backed Out

I felt a twinge in my back during yesterday's run for just a few strides. Didn't think much more about it. I have today. It's not like I'm crippled or anything but I've had to take a step back now and then.

Still feels a little achy but it has improved through the day. I wasn't really in a fit state to risk a run so I set about more jobs around the house. It was quite therapeutic to re-wax the windowsills. The downside, the house now smells all solventy. Hopefully the back will be, well, back to normal tomorrow and I can go for a run - no doubt the weather will be pants...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"It Looks Quite Nice Out", I said

"We might not even get wet"... Maybe not the best thing to say on the anniversary of the 'Michael Fish' incident. Might not get wet? Within five minutes of getting out the gates, on the lunch run - yes, you heard that right, the lunch run - it was pissing down. Martin and looked like drowned rats by the time we once again reached the sanctuary within the company gates. But it was bloody good to get out there despite the torrential rain. And would you believe within five minutes of getting back inside it stopped raining and the sun came out - toss.

We set off steadily, heading for the clockwise Dundry loop. Eyes stinging with the rain, we hit the top in 16:45 - that was a surprise. Splashing through the ever increasingly deep puddles we continued to run steadily. I finished a little behind Martin in a time of 32:29. Two and a half minutes faster than the last time out. Pretty pleased with that, especially as I was holding back a little. I was thinking ahead to the next run, I know I should be able to knock a bit more off - using a bit of the old psychology...

Been a good day. Got quite a lot of items ticked off the to-do list at work and that's me done for the week. The weekend starts once again... No sure if I'll make it across to the mountains tomorrow. The forecast looks a little bit pants. Think I might wait out a ride and get out there on the bike when there's a break in the weather. Not sure I'm going to like it on the wet roads though.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Back To The Humdrum

Well the enjoyable weekend couldn't be sustained into the week. On the plus it's another three day week so I don't have to suffer long..

The results of Saturday's orienteering are in and I got a bit of a shock. For a moment I thought I was 10th of 12. I knew I mucked up a few controls but two from last? Surely not - fortunately no, there was another page of results! [phew, wipes brough] 10th of 30 isn't quite as bad. It's not great but I managed to claim the fastest split for control two. OK, so it was only an informal event but in places I think I'm getting there. More practice is required picking out the features on the ground but I'll get there...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Doddfather

It was a pretty good day for the Harriers of Chepstow. We acquitted ourselves with aplomb at the British Fell Relays - I wanted an apple but we had to settle a plum. From a large field of 176 (although I think there were actually only 162 on the day) we managed a pretty decent 41st place. That makes Chepstow the 2nd most premier fell running club in East Wales [smirks to camera].

Matthew 'The Lawsonator' Lawson got us off the a cracking start, putting us firmly in the top third of the field. Next up were Peter, Paul and Mary - 'cept Mary had the day off. They stormed through the field to put us somewhere towards the top twenty or there abouts.

Then came the doddering duo of Paul 'The Doddfather' Dodds and little ol' me. We were pretty evenly matched. He outpaced me on the flat but I caught it back on the ascent but neither of us got too far ahead or behind and all in all we paired up pretty well. We had the navigation leg and all in all did a good job. Can't really grumble on our choices. We brought the team home in 29th at the end of leg 3.

We handed on the 'theoretical' baton to Mark 'The Butcher of Bakersfield' Harvey. Mark is more at home - at home - but he put in a steady performance never the less. At the finish he could be heard complaining about fall pretences and muttering something about where were all the roads he was promised...

So all in all a very credible performance. Top quarter is pretty darn good in the British Fell Relays. The weather was great. The sun shone down all day and not a drop of rain was to be seen. It really was a great day out.

Now for the stats, my leg was 11.5km with only 1,600 feet of ascent. For the Shropshire hills we got away lightly - result. The time? 1:17:44. I think I sleep soundly tonight...

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Another Heap Of Kak

Another day. Another orienteering event. Another couple of horrendously badly run controls - and I even managed to get off to a good start for once! I guess that was my downfall. I got cocky - except I didn't, not really. I just plained screwed up a couple of times. At that cost me. Ho hum.

As it was an informal/training event you get the map before you start but I didn't look at it other than to fold it in an appropriate place. I wanted to treat it like the real thing. So I dibbed my dibber - and then I dibbed my electronic score card to start the clock - fnah fnah.

I decided to focus on choosing the right route rather than the straightest line. It worked well to begin with. I picked off one and two quickly. Made an error of judgement out from two to pick up the path. The undergrowth was too dense and it slowed me. I really do need to start learning to read these fancy pants orienteering maps.

Once I hit the track I got over to three, four, five and six quickly. Seven was alright but I cocked up to eight. I misread the path I was on and faffed somewhat before realising I hadn't travelled far enough. I lost myself three or four minutes on what was really a very simple control.

Nine and ten were on the money but I monumentally mucked up eleven. I knew what I was looking for in terms of the symbol - an earth bank - but on the ground I really wasn't seeing it. My gps track looks like a spiders got at it. That pretty much spoilt what was going to be a decent performance - for once. Still, as long as I can learn from it I'll have a more chance of knowing what to look for in the future.

From there it was all pretty easy apart from a slight blip on fourteen but I didn't cost me too much time, maybe 15 seconds. All in all I pretty happy with how I orienteered today. I'm starting use the map features more and the compass less - and that's a good thing. I'm starting to run to the map and not solely the compass and it seems to make one hell of a difference.

I'm finally starting to get the symbols but I still have a long way to go with the map features, mainly the density and feature boundaries. As my Nepalese Ghuru would say, there's no alternative to practice, practice and yet more practice. I really enjoyed it out there today. Oh, and did I say I jogged a couple of k there and back for warm up and cool down. All that's left to do now is pack my kit for tomorrow's Fell Relays and then sit back and relax. Come on the Harriers let's do ourself proud - by not coming last...

Friday, October 12, 2012

A Bit Of Nothingness

It's been a day of, well, nothing. I managed a little pootle in the morning before the rain came and since then I've been busy doing nothing. And very relaxing it has been.

Looking forward to mucking up the first three or four controls in tomorrows Nine Wells orienteering - as per normal. I'll no doubt run far to far to the first couple before I get used the scale. And if the pattern of my orienteering holds true I'll complete that last three quarters of the course in the time it takes me to run the first quarter. I really hope I can break the pattern...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Today Was A Bit Rubbish But Ended OK

Called to site for urgent issues this morning I eventually got the particularly painful nut cracked. Ooh er. It's been a thorn in my side for a few days going on a few weeks. Mind you, it's been even more of a thorn for the lads that get called out during the night to re-start things. That said my reputation was being shredded. Increasingly vilified by my worshippers and with my magic fading I had to come good if I was to get out of there alive. The natives were beyond getting restless. The drums were beating and the fires stoked.

Finally, as we sounded out ideas, the answer revealed itself - now I could make some reference here to the ghost of Mr Saville flashing but that would be in tremendously bad taste, so I won't - as the sun set in the western sky. With the last vestige of daylight lost to the horizon I downloaded the last of the modifications and with that the plant purred into life and the harmony of the universe was restored - of course, then some bastard pulled the plug and we had to restart from scratch - ahhhh, but I got home eventually... 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Rest Week

Going to take it easy this week. Last weeks racing and training was pretty good and with a double header weekend coming up I want to be rested. Up Saturday is the orienteering - I wonder if I can get past the first few controls without a major ballsup - no, probably not. Then Sunday it's the Fell Relays in sunny Shropshire. Feeling pretty confident for the navigation leg - assuming I'm still down to run it. I can't claim to know the lie of the land as well as I do the black mountains but I think I can get by...

Sunday, October 07, 2012

A Time To Prune

And by 'eck did I ever. The bush - stop it - in the front garden - I said stop it - was out of control. It ain't any more. I was pretty brutal but I'm sure, come springtime, it will fire out the green shoots of recovery - unlike the economy, oooh political, right, I'm stopping there. To be fair it does look a bit wrecked but I'm sure it will be fine and honestly, it really did need to be done.

Anyway, I managed a ride this afternoon although to be fair I didn't feel like it. Wasn't really up for doing anything but I forced myself to get out there. Would have regretted wasting the day in its entirety if I hadn't. All that's left to do now is look myself out a recipe for dinner...

Saturday, October 06, 2012

I'm Back On The Road Again

I decided to take the bull by the horns. Lace up the old road shoes and get out there for something a little quicker. I chose a reasonably hilly route. Nothing too steep or sustained but enough of a challenge that I was reduced to a asthmatic wheeze once or twice. Surprisingly it wasn't too boring. Almost enjoyable if the truth be told.

I set out at steady pace along Velthouse Lane. Half way along passing a nice bit of eye candy running towards me - cue the pulling in of the stomach, reduced wheezing and trying to look more like a runner than a plodder - it didn't work.

The run out of Blaisdon generally wound it's way gently upwards before crossing the main road for the larger of the climbs to May Hill village, Glasshouse and May Hill itself.

I pushed along the flat, held my own on the ascent and as the run progressed I ever so slightly increased the pace. The last couple of miles, down hill, were great. I really focused on my form and pace. It felt like I was going at a fair lick come the end - probably wasn't but it felt pretty good - although I was beginning to blow come the last half mile.

All in all a very satisfying run. I covered the 16.4km in 1 hour and 18 minutes with somewhere in the region of 1,000 feet of ascent climbed. Job done and now I sleep...

Today's 16.4km road run with 1,000 feet of ascent

Friday, October 05, 2012

Finally The Inbox Is Empty

I very nearly lost the will to live going through the inbox. It took all day but it's done and I'll be starting next week on an even keel. Phew [wipes brow].

Haven't managed to find myself a descent race for tomorrow. I can't be arsed to drive ninety minutes for a two miler to Fan Fawr and back. Part of me quite fancies it but the non-mental bit says, don't be a dick. Guess I'll be staying local. I quite fancy trying to run a little faster for once. Perhaps I'll run alternating fast and steady bits...

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Gee It's Great To Be Back Home

Home is where I want to be. I've been on the road so long my friend, And if you came along I know you couldn't disagree.

The training was really worth while but it is definitely nice to be back on home turf. The drive went well apart from the stretch between Bromsgrove and Worcester on the M5. The highway agency - or total dicks, as I prefer to call them - had the signs showing 2 lanes. Everyone else seemed to interpret that as panic, panic one lane closed. Panic... Only there wasn't any lane closures. We had the full shilling. All three lanes were open for business. The mad rush to two lanes causing stop start traffic for miles was totally unnecessary. Is the death sentence for highway agency bosses too severe? No, I didn't think so either.

Putting my feet up right about now, ready to climb aboard the good ship back to work tomorrow...

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

More Bruntwood

Back out there again. It looked like we were headed for a wet one but the dark clouds held firm their grip on the wet stuff. All the better for us. We managed another half hour session but we ran a little faster tonight. With a little more effort and it felt pretty good.

So it's the final day of training tomorrow followed by the drive back down south. There'll be no time for training and I'll be glad to get back.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Bruntwood Park Golf And Country Club

Okay, so it was only a pitch and putt... After what was a slightly boring day we managed to get out for a half hour run. It didn't rain so we were happy. Not the most exciting but there it is. All being well we should get back out there tomorrow. With the lie of the land sorted we could probably take it out to forty five.