Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ennerdale Splits

Well I eventually got the cut off times for Ennerdale from a kindly soul and it doesn't look like I'll be able to go off slowly and build like I did in the Three Peaks. By all accounts the first couple of Check Point cut offs are tight - and I'd not be one to disagree. In fact I think I will have to go at from the off just to stay in the race - and I'm aiming to complete in 5 hour 20 minute. What that means for the rest of the race is that it will be fairly unpleasant. The later cut offs, however, look a doddle - well, they would've been a doddle had the first couple not have been too stupidly quick.

Have to say that disappoints me a little. I don't think there will be any scope for enjoying it but at the end of the day, the race organisers have the final say. Without their effort there would be no race at all. So if they say kill yourself to check point three and then suck up the pain from there on then suck up the pain it is... Anyway, I have worked out my splits and hopefully I can make it round. Still not looking forward to the long drive up...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why Is Fell Running Such A Secret Society?

I love running in the mountain. I love racing in the mountains but I don't like fell running being such a masonic institution. Why is it so difficult to find the official check point list for a race? Surely the race website would host such information? And check point cutoffs, they'd be listed? Perhaps not. Now I'm not planning on missing the cut offs but what are they? Where do I find out such basic information? I don't mean to be a bitch 'cause I'm really looking forward to a weekend up in the Lakes but why make it so difficult? I guess I need to find out the secret handshake.... Rest assured once I find out the above information I shall be posting it for all those who follow in my foot steps. I shall knock down the walls of the secret society. Where there is a secret route, I shall publish it. Where there is a secret list of check points I will lay them bare. Here endeth the lesson...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ennerdale Itinerary

Well that's the route map printed for Saturday's beast of a race. 36k with 7,000+ feet of ascent. Yep, it's a beast alright. I'm heading up Friday night after work. Could be in for a slow one it being a major bank holiday and all - and I do mean major bank holiday. Even on a good day it'd be a six hour drive in Vera . I think I'll aim to get myself as close as I can, pull over for the night and then onwards early doors. Looking forward to it with both excitement and more than a tad in trepidation. Just me, the open mountain, some great views and a pair of very tired legs come the end. Gert ace. Plus it will be good training for the Saunders...

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lets Hear It For The Silver Medal

OK, so there was no medal. I'm just bloody glad I managed to run within four minutes of the San Domenico runner. In fact I only lost a mere 1 minute and 15s. I'll take that. All in all a good outcome from the Rack Raid Relay both in terms of the running and in terms of a social day out in the sun.

Having a restful evening right about now. I was knackered this morning after yesterday tiring day. The batteries are recharging - and they'll need to be if I'm to survive Ennerdale on Saturday. Need to start making plans on that front. First up, the route. I think I might need a rough idea of where I'm meant to run. Totally not ready for a mountainous 23 miles in the Lakes but hey ho, in for a penny. I'll get round one way or another... 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hot Hot Hot

It was scorchio out there. I picked up the race from Stage 3 and followed it from there to the finish. The might that is Chepstow put out three full teams - so a big well done to Field Marshal Lou and everyone who helped along the way. As to the results I'm pretty sure the B Team took the first B Team prize - yeah - just a shame I was seconded into the not winning A Team at the last minute - yeah. Gone was my Monmouth to Raglan 12 miler for the B Team. In its place the all too short 5.5 mile final stage for the A Team. I knew it was too short and fast but I gave my best.

I'd heard several reports that the last half mile was a real steep climb to the finish. I decided there was no point in taking it easy to get to the hill. How much time could I gain on the hill if I held something back? Not a lot was my thinking so I went hard from the off. I was actually surprised how up and down the route was before The Hill. There were no big hills on route - apart from The Big One of course - but there was a lot of tough undulations along the way. I think I did OK. My time of 38:48 was about where I thought I'd be and I honestly couldn't have tried any harder. My problem is that my five mile pace isn't a lot faster than my ten or fifteen...

The big question is whether I managed to stay within four minutes of the third place team runner. I'm certain they were ahead of me. If I was within four minutes of them then the A Team was second. If I didn't then we're relegated to third....

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ready To Raid

Well I didn't exactly make it across to the Parkrun this morning. The alarm clock sounded but I didn't get up. I felt knackered and flogging myself around the woodland 5k wouldn't result in a fast time plus I'd probably be even more tired tomorrow. Not that I really thought about all that at the time. I just hit the off button, put my head down and nodded back off to the blissful land of sleep.

After the failure to rise I decided to take it easy today. It was an omen I didn't want to risk ignoring. I have a feeling it's going to be hard going tomorrow in the heat. A nice easy day milling around the house and grounds it was then. Did a little gardening. Did a little tidying. A little of this. A little of that and the most important thing, I got all my kit up together for tomorrow's Rack Raid Relays. I've studied the route of stage six, Monmouth to Raglan - I'm not running it, I just liked the look it - just kidding, no I am running it. I'm aiming to run 4:15 kilometres. Not sure I'm quite capable of that pace right now so I will gauge things in the first few k's. I'm upping the pace based on my recent-ish Forest Half where I ran on knackered legs.

So, I've read the rules and regulation. I've got a full water butt. A veritable plethora of cups. The sun block is set to max and I'm wearing sun glasses. Hit it...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Day Fourteen

and I've been watering my potatoes - shh, no. Oh yeah, and of course there was the speed session. Boy am I hot now. There is literally steam coming off me. I increased last week four reps to six. Although to be fair I was a little slower this time out but I blame that on the heat. I'm pleased that my renewed vigor for training is continuing. I'd like to call it enthusiasm but I really don't have any, so vigor it is and that's despite a still slightly erratic work schedule. By the time I finish the month I will have worked about an extra week's worth of hours.

So that's my two week training plan complete. I didn't achieve all the goals but I did achieve the main ones, namely two hill sessions and two speed session. Tomorrow I'm going to try the Parkrun again and then chill out so I'm ready for Sunday's Rack Raid. While I'm chilling I shall plan my training for the week ahead although it will probably be quite light so I am ready for Ennerdale next Saturday. I'll probably just run one hill session early doors and call it a day...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day Thirteen

and I decided to get the shopping done - boring - so it's a bike session ready for my speed reps tomorrow. Going to follow that up with another crack at the Forest of Dean Parkrun on Saturday. Sunday I'll be having a day out supporting Chepstow in the Rack Raid Relay - and running stage 6, Monmouth to Raglan (I think it's stage 6). I only hope it's not so bloody hot.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day Twelve

But no drummers drumming. Recovery today with an hour on the exercise bike. Up tomorrow or Friday is another speed - or slightly faster than slow - session. Last week it was four reps so I want to aim for six of the same. I'll be resting Saturday so I'm fresh for Monmouth to Raglan in the Rack Raid Relay on Sunday. Ideally I'd like to bash out a long one - matron - on Saturday but I won't. I will rest - OK, maybe an hour or so on the bike...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Day Eleven

and it all went wrong... I did not get away from work until gone six thirty. That meant I couldn't make it across the Bridge to the Caerleon LCL race. Suffice to say I was - and still am - disappointed. I was well up for it. As I drove home my heart sank. From the eagerness to race, by the time I neared home, I was ready for a night on the sofa...

But I rallied. As I drove over the final hill into the village I had a revelation.OK, that's a bit strong but I did realise the hill on the edge of the village, despite being a pretty busy A road, would make a pretty descent hill rep without having to travel far. Suddenly my enthusiasm returned. I donned my kit and headed out for five reps of 500m by 150 feet ascent (as measured on my altimeter). Not quite as steep as my Flaxley Wood hill rep but the same distance - and a damn sight nearer home and thus, less daunting - and hence, more likely to happen on a more regular basis.

Pretty pleased with the result. I managed almost identicle pace throughout - 2:35-2:37 per rep - off a three minute jog back to the start. Forty seconds a rep quicker than last week's set but then again it was flatter so not really very comparable. I've definitely a warm glow inside just now having managed training on the type of day that would have seen me hit the sofa a month ago. Still pretty gutted I didn't manage to get to the LCL though. A set of five hill reps doesn't quite match up to a 10k race, letting your team mates down in the process...

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day Ten

Hang on, what about day nine? No, I didn't miss it out - but I did amend the plan on account that I thought work stuff was headed south and I thought I'd best not stray too far from the phone. So it was two hours on the bike waiting for the call... As things turned out I shouldn't have fretted and I shoulda' gone for my run - hell, I'm like an old woman - no disrespect to old women intended. Oh well.

Resting tonight. I've decided I will get across the 'Bridge' tomorrow for the LCL Caerleon race come hell or high water. It's about 10k and last year I managed a poor 40:51. Will I beat that time this year? I bloody hope so - not sure I will though. I'll go at it hard - ooh, stop it, matron.. No point in hanging back. I know I've the strength to hang on past the point I'm knackered. It's about time I took another one for the team. Time to race myself fit. Tomorrow I race...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day Eight

And a Parkrun. I managed to raise from the pit in time to head to the Forest of Dean Parkrun. I decided to race it properly and finish today's training with a recovery bike session afterwards rather than an extended looping run - I knew there was little hope of not falling short on one of the loops and calling it a day with too few miles clocked. A long run is fine. By the time you're in the middle of nowhere you have no choice but to run many miles back. A looper doesn't give you that comfort - and I am weak...

Anyway, I found the 5k Parkrun pretty tough. I was certain I would take a course PB - on account that my current record is bloody rubbish. I set off towards the front and went out hard. I don't think I overcooked things as I managed to take 5th place at about half way and I was catching 3rd and 4th all the way to the end but didn't quite get there. Despite indeed claiming a course best I was a little disappointed with how little I improved it. I was expecting to improve by more than a miserly 25 seconds. In mitigation it was a wee bit slippery out there and playing dodge the new tree growth didn't exactly help but I can't say that would account for more than a couple of seconds here or there. More training required me thinks...

Overall it's been a good week on the training front. I managed to complete most of the plan with only the odd tweak here and there. Hopefully I can muster for a second pair of hill and speed sessions next week and then build the momentum onwards and upwards from there. Need to work out the best way to get a long run in tomorrow though, without straying too far from home - but without too many loops...

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day Seven

A bike session - in the dry. It's peeing down outside again! All in the plan mind, I'm not wimping out. I should be fresh for tomorrow's Parkrun. Although I won't be fresh for it after I've run a few miles to get across to the start. Since I'm semi on call for work I can't stray too far from the car so no long run in the mountains, hence the Parkrun. I hate short loops to bulk up the mileage but I've not got a lot of choice. The weekend is race time or long run time. Looping it has to be. Mentally, I shall have to dig deep.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day Six

Back to it! Haven't run a set of speed reps for literally years - not that my reps were particularly speedy. The rep in question was 700m up the main street of the village. The odd numbered reps were slightly up hill and - you guessed it - the even's back down again. I had no idea how fast to set off. What pace could I maintain for 700 metres? Who cares and off I went. 2 minutes 37. Despite being a lot slower than once I ran, my lungs were pumping and my legs wobbly. Oh god, shoot me.

Marker down I spent the two minute recovery breathing deeply to prepare for the next. Downhill - toot. Two minutes elapsed and off I went again. It felt easier going downhill - at first - but with the slightly quicker pace, with 150 to go, I was still praying for the end to come. Pushing, pushing to the finish. 2 minutes 23. Thank goodness I managed a quicker one on the return but my legs felt knackered and I'd only run two reps. Oh well, at least I was only intending to start with a measley four - I had an inkling it would be bloody tough and I'd not manage any more than that. Cue the two minute recovery.

Back up hill, rep number three, 2:39. Pleased with that - and midly surprised because my legs turned to mush in the last fifty. The final two minute recovery up and I headed back for the finale and another lung crunching 2:23. Job done, I jogged home.

Despite being a bit pathetic I'm pleased I got out there after another long day at work. Last week I would have simply slumped on the sofa on arrival home. This week I got out there. True, I had a bit of slip yesterday but I countered that today. I am determined to keep plugging away at this running lark until I'm back - and beyond. Every day in, some small way, I'm going to get a little faster...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day Five

and a relapse... A long but ultimately productive day at work has left me a bit drained. Rather than train on empty I've decided to swap the easy run for a rest day. Part of me is disappointed that day five sees me on a wobble but provided work is equally as productive tomorrow as today I might, just might, get home feeling pepped and ready to run that speed session. I really hope it does and I do...

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day Four

and a bit of rest day. So it's an hour bike session for me on high resistance. Grinding it out... After that it's a core body workout to try and regain some semblance of a six pack - instead of a single keg.

My legs feel a little achy after yesterdays hill session but they're not too bad really. Can definitely feel the difference a day makes though as I pedal away infront of the tv.

I haven't decided on tomorrow nights session or where to run it. I'll probably stay local for a steady one and save myself for some speed work on Thursday. There I've written it so it's out there in the wild to shame me come Thursday night. Might hit out a recovery bike session Friday ready for the FOD Parkrun on Saturday.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day Three

Hill Reps - and what a shock to the system. I can't remember the last time I did a session of hill reps. Not that my set of four can be considered a proper session but you have to start somewhere. The road to running redemption is not meant to be an easy one - if it was I would have done it months ago.

I arrived home from work in determined mood. I was not going to bottle today's training. Kit on and out the door for the 3.5k run to my hill in Flaxley Wood. The run there and back again, in itself, has about 500 feet of ascent - I was almost knackered before I started. The session itself was a lowly four hill reps of 500m by 200 feet of ascent. I managed each one in just over three minutes. Now that's not very good but I honestly couldn't go any faster. At least I didn't surrender to the walk - although some might say they could have walked quicker. With all four reps under my belt I ran back home.

In all I covered about 10k and 1,300 feet of ascent. More important than how quickly I ran - or more aptly, how slowly. More important than how few repetitions I ran is the fact that I got myself out there and did it - and that hasn't happened in a focused manner for months (and months). Can't even remember the last time I ran three days in a row.

The big question now is, will I manage Day Four?...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day Two

And the training continues. Today's 12.4k completed in a reasonable hour and ten. Now I agree that does sound a little slow until you factor in the 1,500 feet of ascent. It was a case of back to old faithful, my Longhope Three Peaks route.

It was a bit cooler out there today but the visibility from May Hill was good and I could just about make out Lord H's Knob in the far distance - the dirty old man. I took it fairly steady but worked on the climbs and despite wanting to stop at times on the steeper bits, I didn't. Despite being cooler, the increased effort on the climbs meant I was still sweating like a b£$7@*d come the end.

Now I just need to keep up the momentum that's building and hop on the bike for an hour. Here goes nothing...

The Longhope Three Peaks...

Saturday, May 12, 2012

14 Days

That's how long I have to get my lardy, fat arse - with complimentary love handles - back into shape for the Rack Raid Relays. This Mad Runner doesn't do 'letting the team down'. First off, I needed to measure just how bad things had got? So this afternoon I ran my Flaxley timed loop. I ran steady. Not too all out but more than a jog. It was really pretty in the woods - if I can say that without sounding too gay. Everything is kicking into life. Bluebells. Other stuff wot I don't know and the aroma of wild onions hanging in the air. Best of all, not another soul. I think I can almost remember what it is about running that I so enjoy...

Surprisingly I was round the 9km loop with 800 feet of ascent in just outside 45 minutes. That was towards my faster times so perhaps I've not gone as far downhill as I felt I had - the love handles would suggest otherwise though... Next up, an hour on the bike to pen this post, work out some goals and plan my training. Going to approach things as a series of target races with the ultimate goal of the Offa's Dyke in September - providing the training goes sufficiently well.

As in golf, I'm just going to focus on the next shot - or in the case of running, the next race - and forget what's gone before and what's to come after. The next race gets my focus. To that approach, I'm already breaking my own rules as my initial three week plan is going to be designed around the Rack Raid Relays with Chepstow in fourteen days and then Ennerdale the week after.

It starts now...

Friday, May 11, 2012

And Now For The Gardening Report

It's been a while since I posted about my small, round tubers - oooh.

My tomatoes are past four foot high and climbing. Small flower heads are forming - is that good? Too early? You might have guessed I'm no expert but it seems early. Mind, growing in the conservatory perhaps it'll just be an early crop - or not. I don't flippin' know.

The herbs are continuing to come along nicely. The basil has stalled a little but it's still growing - and I've even managed to use some in my cooking already - mmmm, mmm. The Coriander knows no bounds - but I think I want it to get some. Shall I chop a few of the massive stalks off next time I harvest instead of just taking the leaves? Will new shoots form? Guess I'll see in a few weeks...

The beetroot is now on its way and I'll soon have to thin out the weakest - only the strong can survive in my Darwinian garden. My three chilli's are still looking strong. Is six inches good? - don't be so smutty. Hopefully that's normal - I said, don't be so smutty - and they naturally grow slowly. I guess I'm expecting to see them fire up like the tomatoes - use the patience, Luke, use the patience.

And finally I've completed the second cover up of the secret potato plot - ssh, it's a secret. Those bad boys seem to be pushing onwards and upwards strongly. Oh and a quick mention to the garlic which is also looking good - I just hope it's split or done what ever the hell it does...

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Trapped At Work

and I do mean trapped... So, the day's going okay. Things headed in the right direction and with a lucky wind, blowing in the right direction, we might just limbo under the bar in time for the weekend. Cool. Might even make it home early into the bargain... hang on, stop right there mister. Such luck cannot be permitted - cue lorry loading a digger in the driveway. Blocking it totally. Aaaaaaahhhhhhh! Cue thirty minutes of waiting. Cue not home early...

Looking towards the weekend, I'm hoping to go Orienteering in the Forest on Saturday. Be the first time out for my shinny new dibber - ooh, matron...

ps. the Ennerdale entry has made its way to the post box so I'm in - cue another trip north with Vera...

pps. there's been a lot of '...' tonight...

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Entered Ennerdale, Excellent

OK, not quite but the forms are filled in. I just need to get them to the postbox - on time. Got a few days left... What value though. At just £9 that works out at a mere 40p a mile - bargain! And if you can't be arsed with the math that makes it a race of 23 miles - the 7,000 feet of ascent are thrown in for free - bargain city Arizona. Maybe I'll get a bit of focus on the training front - wot with only three weeks to go an' all...

Maybe not.. Been a long 'ol day at work but home now and relaxing. Probably headed for more of the same tomorrow but things are headed in the right direction so I mustn't grumble. The training will just have to wait a day or two more..

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I Think I Saw The Sun Today

Don't want to swear on it as it's been a while... Managed a run after work today and finished off with half an hour on the bike. Still not feeling totally mojo'ed up just yet though... but as I've abandoned the SWT for now I might see if there are entries left for Ennerdale. Probably lost too much fitness to have a real crack but I'm capable of getting round without a problem. I think the entry is still open and it might just focus the mind. Maybe it'll give me a reason...

Monday, May 07, 2012

Missed It

I can't believe I overslept this morning. Even allowing for the fact that I forgot to set the alarm, I still can't believe I overslept to the extent that I missed the race. Quarter to flippin' ten! Can you believe that? I struggle to stay in bed past eight o'clock these days. Guess I must have needed the sleep. Hope the Devauden 10k went off okay though. The weather was a bit of dampner but hopefully the turn out was good - with luck there won't have been too many lazy sods like me.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Fitting It All In

Been busy this morning. This yer goodlife stuff doesn't look after itself. Had to crack on with all the chores as later I'm hitting town with the Wrinklies. Lock up your dau... ooh, that sounds wrong. I'll stop that line of enquiry right there.

And now for the boring bit. Got the grass cut - boring, yawn - but it needed doing. Heaped the tatties - that's my terminology for piled mud around 'em - more yawing I'm afraid - but like the grass, it needed doing if I'm to get a tasty crop later in the year. Tended to the tomatoes - can't believe they're up to around three foot already! Watered the rest of the plants and most excitingly - OK, maybe not, cue more yawning - my beetroot has started to show - ooh, matron, sssh, no, better tuck it back in. Seriously though, the beetroot is just starting to burst forth. Need to work out what I'm going to do with my onions - no, sssh, stop it.

Managed to fit in a small run this morning and now I'm finishing things off with an hour on the bike. Then chill time before the drive down to Bristol. This boy's gonna be back in town...

Friday, May 04, 2012

Decision Made

I'm not heading west tomorrow. Feeling tired and two days of racing ain't going to improve that. It's been a while and it's time for a night out. So that's it, decision made. Cue some drunken dancing... If I'm lucky I can get my arse out for a run before hand.

That leaves the door open for the Devauden 10k on Monday...

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Fully Serviced

And that meant a run to work and then a run back again to the garage. Shed a tear at the cost but it's done now and I've the MOT as evidence. Think I was lucky with the weather, got a little damp on the way in but nothing the radiators at work couldn't dry out. And I made a real fashion statement as I swanned around in shirt, tie - and running shoes. Very professional, that's me. Pleased I managed to get in a mid-week run for once, even if it was only seven miles in total. Every little helps... and no, I'm not sponsored by a well known supermarket.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

To Go Fly A Kite?

Up to the highest height? Well I'm thinking about it. The kite, in this case, is the Red Kite Challenge on Saturday. An 11.5 mile challenge over Aberystwyth way. It is, of course, compulsory to follow that race with Sunday's sister race, Ras y Diafol. An 18 mile follow up. It's considered, by many, to be rude to run one without the other and from previous results it looks like there is usual 20-30 runners who aren't rude. It'll be a bit of a travel but if the weather looks reasonable I may give it a crack. Suffice to say, I won't be going if it's too wet. I shan't be camper-vanning it if I going to get soaked to the skin - call me wimpy.