Tuesday, April 30, 2013

And That's A Wrap

Pre-flight checks are in progress. The larder is stocked. The forecast looks as good as it can do at this range so it's looking good for launch sometime tomorrow evening and the 3 hour plus drive - boo. After that it'll just be a question of the running... To which, I have been busy planning and the schedule looks something like this....

Day 1, a recce to the north of Ogwen over a section of the Carnedds. I'll be aiming to head up to Pen yr Ole Wen over Carnedd Dafydd then to Yr Elen following the 3000s route, back to Carnedd Llewelyn and then over to Carnedd Gwenllian before cutting back and down to the west so it's not a complete out and back as that would just be too boring. In all I reckon it's about 23km with about 1,300m of ascent.

Day 1 (clockwise from Ogwen)

I've a much shorter route planned for Day 2 to give me a bit of recovery. This one is going to follow the 1000s route up to Glyder Fawr before following the 3000s route over and down Tryfan. I reckon it'll only be 8km but with 900m it certainly won't be a jog in the park. I will take my time though and note the features. It's not like I'll have anyway else to be. In fact I will need to take my time as I've saved the best till last.

Day 2 (anti-clockwise)

The final delight, day 3, is a trek up the pyg track, missing Snowdon and heading over Crib Goch to recce the 3000s descent down to the road. I'm not going to head all the way to Nant Peris as the route up to Elidir Fawr and round to Y Garn is pretty straight forward. Once down on the road it'll be back up to Gylder Fawr and Fach before heading back down once more. In all I reckon that one will be around 21km with an impressive 1,800m of ascent.

Day 3 (clockwise from Pen y Gwryd Hotel)

None of my recce's are going to be ultra massive in distance but I have a feeling I'm going to be more than tired enough all the same. At this stage it's about getting three decent training sessions. Taking a look at the lie of the land and not getting injured or too knackered such that I can't complete the three days. And if I do stick with the plan I will still have covered some 52km and 4,000m of ascent - or for those yearning for the return of Imperialism, that's 32 miles and 13,000 feet of ascent. Oh, I can feel my legs aching already...

Monday, April 29, 2013

Almost Confirmed

Just waiting on the final confirmation and then I'll be all booked off from Thursday. Toot toot. All being well I'll be hitting the road with Vera for short trip up to North Wales for a pootle around a few sections of the Welsh 1000s and 3000s routes. There are a few sections I need to acquaint myself with. Down from Crib Goch to Nant Peris for the 3000s definitely needs a looksey. Could also do with a look at Tryfan and Y Gribin. Come to think of it I've only ventured into the Carnedds once before... um, that's quite a lot to fit into a few days - especially factoring in not risking any one run being too long.

Managed some training tonight but I feel tired and want to rest up a little before the extended weekend. Need to look out some good places to park up overnight. Cue google maps and street-view. Oh, and I didn't get my marching orders this morning so I guess the MD didn't mind being accidentally called 'trouble'...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Aye, Aye, Here Comes Trouble...

Yes, that's not the best phrase to say to the MD! Well that's kind of exactly what I did last night during a visit to the gents - soft of. I was of course talking to someone else and as I finished washing my hands I turned towards the drier with the words '... comes trouble' still hanging in the air... Cue the MD entering the gents and we pretty much met face to face with those words seemingly still reverberating - doh.

Despite that it was a good night. Me and my borrowed partner in crime for the night - that sounds a bit wrong - danced the night away till around 2am. She wasn't showing many signs of the recent knee surgery. Hope there are no repercussions for her in a day or two.

Anyway, it's always interesting at a Work Do to see who gets smashed. You see people in a completely different light and there were definitely a few people who were a little the worse for wear by the end of the evening. For once I wasn't amongst them. And we won't mention Eye of the Tiger.... Happy day. Back to the humdrum tomorrow...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Well I Mucked That Up

That's what happens when you stop to answer a text when you're out for a run. As you do, I stopped the watch - you can guess what's coming - answered the text.... and yes, started running again without starting the watch - doh. Well that put an end to the Strava. What made it all the worse was that I went up to May Hill pretty strongly - truth. As I pushed the last little bit, starting to feel sick, I looked down at the watch. Eh, why's it show 1.5km? Should be close to 5km, ehh? Arrrrrgh, it ain't clocking. Bugger. I was feeling the buzz for once as I put in close to max effort on the climb. My thoughts filled with wondering how high up the leader board I would place. How big my VAM would be - ssh, no, stop it. And in the end I will never know. School boy error. Taking a positive from the debacle, I have no choice but to go run the route again - with the clock running next time.

Well despite mucking up the timing it was still a pretty good ten miles with an estimate of around 2,000 feet of ascent. The last three miles were flatish on the road so I could try and hold my form and push the pace. Apart from one un-runnable section of climb up an overgrown, disused public footpath, it was a pretty good new route to add to the arsenal.

All's left to do now is shower, comb the locks, don the DJ, head down to Bristol and then PARTY...

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Will Go To The Ball

Just need to work out what to run tomorrow. Don't think I can risk travelling across for the Cribyn. It would just add that extra bit of stress I can do without. The timings aren't off the scale but that extra bit of pressure of getting back, cleaned up and down to Bristol would detract from the enjoyment of the race. No, I think I need to stay local and forego the mountains. In my heart - I do have one - I know I need more time in the hills but equally I want a top night out without the rushing around to get there. Guess I'll make do with a route through the forest. Maybe I won't even get too drunk so I can get in a decent run on Sunday somewhere. Gonna be a Ballroom Blitz tomorrow night...

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I've Got Newts!

Sssh, no, stop it. As you do of an evening, I was pootling around in the garden, checking for signs of growth from the potatoes, listening to the birds chirp and the sheep mooch - the sheep being in the field not the garden. I didst espy a smooth newt in the pond. The living mass of frog spawn drew my attention before spotting the newt sat amidst their sprawling mass. Ooh, I feel like David Bellamy. My chillies are off and growing, the tomatoes firing up, the only disappointment is the thyme and rosemary. They look a bit feeble. Not sure what I'm doing wrong. Maybe they'll come on in a few more days. The sage, parsley, basil and coriander, though, are looking good.

Back to reality. What a day. The long day turned out not so long after all - RESULT. Everything, for once - possibly a one time only special offer but I hopefully not - went corkingly and by three o'clock we were done. Oh the joyous occasion. This day shall go down in the history books. It will be a day remembered across the generations. The story of which will last forever. After the universe has long faded the memory of this day will remain amidst the star dust. Maybe not....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Over Clocked

What was supposed to be final preparation for 'the long day' tomorrow and home for tea into a 'not quite as long as the long day but not that far off really day'. I did finally make it home but not so soon as I could catch the final showing of Neighbours on 5* - damn, did I say that out loud? Doh. Anyway, we finally got things sorted and ready for the go. Tomorrow is going to be a pain - not to mention, long - but needs must. At least it's payday and the money goes in the bank first thing so even if it all goes tits up that can't take that away from me. Let battle commence and 07:30 tomorrow [bugle sounds].....

Monday, April 22, 2013

Couldn't Be Arsed Tonight

My legs don't feel as achy as last Monday. They're still sore, just not as sore as last week. Is that a good thing? I don't know but I do know I'm too slow. Too old. Getting older by the day and unless I fight back I'll just be getting slower by the second. Guess there comes a time where the line in the sand has to be drawn. Do I live to work or do I work to live?

Think I'm decided I need to head north next week. Going to book it in for Thursday the 2nd and then head up to Snowdonia for a few days reccing the Welsh one and three thousands (change of units from metric to imperial there). Oooh, I might even fall off Crib Goch! In fact, when/if I get there, I'll be planning on it - to the north west-ish down to Llyn Glas.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Total Bonk

Well if I had any doubts I would race poorly today those doubts were scratched from the record around the 14km mark. It didn't feel so much like hitting the wall as being front ended by a god damn freight train. Up until that point I was going okay. So it wasn't going to be the fastest Offa's Orra I'd ever run but wasn't going to be too bad considering. From there I just got slower and slower and slower. By 18km I couldn't even run on the flat bits.  With time seeming to stand still, progress was slow over those last few kilometres. In the end I was just glad to get to the finish so I could get some of the ever so lush cake and a coffee. I was even cheeky enough to ask for an extra slice - for medicinal purposes.

With the cake consumed I then realised I was flipping freezing and foregoing the social niceties I just had to get back to the car to put on some more layers before heading home. Heck do I ever feel wiped out.

Well done Chepstow Harriers for a perfectly executed race - as always. And well done to all the spectators and marshals out on the course. Never have I needed a few words of encouragement more...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bit Of A Bimble

I'd like to say I had a good run - but I didn't. I did, however, have a pretty good bog stomp. To say I picked a runnable route would be an utter falsehood. It was rough as a badgers arse for much of the route. That's not to say it wasn't fun. I didn't even get sense of humour failure despite it being so bloody time consuming. I did, however, have to cut things short. I didn't quite make it to the planned Fan Fraith turn back point. Had I continued with the original plan I think I'd still be out there...

Anyway, I set off east from the Storey Arms following the South Wales traverse route up past Y Gyrn and onwards up towards Corn Du and back down again just to get some extra ascent in before I headed west into the rough stuff.

Once back down to the road below Storey, things got rougher. The route to Fan Fawr wasn't too bad if a little squiggy underfoot. The run off Fan Fawr down to the reservoir damn was runnable but tussocky in places and I made steady progress. The climb out of the valley to the forest plas-y-gors was rough and very boggy. Once or twice I thought I was going to be pulled below the surface, forever to remain assimilated into the sphagnum moss. Alas, I was able to pull free.

Once heading out of the forest I made my decision to cut the corner and start heading back. Rather than continuing to Fan Fraith I cut the corner past Fan Nedd and climbed to Fan Llia. From there it was the normal route back to the van, parked just below the Arms. The section from the forest to Fan llia was pretty terrible going. It was so slow going but there was just no way to run. It was good, tiring work though and despite cutting the distance back to around 18 miles with only 4,500 feet of ascent I feel as knackered as if I had run further.

Well I reckon I should be nicely warmed up now for Chepstow's Offa's Orra tomorrow. I expect I'll grab a PB...

Friday, April 19, 2013

Another Fine Mess

I only went and totally forgot. The subject of the forgetfulness - or senior moment -I refer to is a family meal out in Bristol. Doh. I just drove straight home after work. A little while later I remembered where I was supposed to be. To be fair, I'd forgotten long before that. I was meant to chuck a change of clothes in the car before I headed out this morning. Had I remembered it wouldn't have done me much good because I couldn't gone out looking like a scabby tramp - or could I have?

Anyway, I'm finally going to get over to Storey Arms tomorrow for my Fan Fraith loop. Should be 24 miles and so long as I head out early I should have all day to bimble around. Quite looking forward to running across parts of the landscape that not many venture in to. Might even sit down for a spot of lunch amidst the acres of open nothingness.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

That's The 15 Hour Hour Day Booked For Monday

Hoping it'll be more boring than troublesome as we steer the good ship(ton) Moyne towards uninterrupted customer supply. All we need is a tall ship and star to steer her by...Think I'll deserve a day off to run in the mountains after that.

Hoping to get in a bloody good run Saturday. I've booked good weather so if it rains I will be most unhappy. Aiming to get in a steady 25 miles in the central or western Black Mountains. I feel I need the distance - however long it takes. Soaking up the glorious spring sunshine - a man can dream! Up Sunday will be Chepstow Harrier's Offa's Orra - bloody good race, run it or miss out on a cracker. I intend to run like a sack of poo but hopefully avoid last place.

Anyway, I feel knackered. Need a good night's sleep without the bloody cat bringing in any more mice. She was out about five minutes last night and bam, a flipping mouse delivered to the bedroom and deposited under the bed for me to crawl around on my hands and knees rescuing. Then she squeaked for ages because I'd spoilt the fun. Grrrrrh.

Monday, April 15, 2013


Not sure it matters what training I did today - an hour on the bike in case you were interested - world affairs have taken the headlines. Bit of a downer in Boston. Hope it's a terrible accident rather than terrorism.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Cometh The Hour

Cometh the time to pen something. Can't leave my legion of fans [coughs] without something to write home about [coughs again]. Sadly it's been a quiet weekend - which was pretty welcome actually. Yesterday it was housey stuff. I was so tired I couldn't get out of bed. Then when I eventually got out of bed and saw the forecast I decided against heading into the mountains. Managed to get the second raised bed dug during a break in the drizzle ready for planting my onions.

Today I managed a run but in the damp drizzle it wasn't the best fun I've ever had. I finished with 90 minutes on the bike as I read through my 'Good Food Slow Cooker Favourites' - by god was I hungry by the time I finished. Almost every recipe sounded lush. Even the lowly 'baked beans' on page one got the taste buds tempted. I am going to have to try that one.

Don't know why I feel so tired. Going to head to bed early me thinks. Then I'll be ready for another thankless week making water...

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Hasn't Been A Bad Day

But I feel pretty tired. Don't know why. The cold is almost gone but I still seem to be waking up in the early hours. The knock on effect is that I'm feeling really tired. I didn't make it to the handicap because I feel too weary. Crossing my fingers I get a good night's sleep tonight. I'm tempted to sod off somewhere in the van tomorrow night but it depends on the forecast, how tired I feel and whether I can plan up a long run for Saturday at said mystery destination. However things go I'm not going to be running Sugarloaf on account that it's just too short. It's a fine race but 7 miles ain't long enough. Whatever pans out I need twenty miles somewhere.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Needed That

A chilled flexi-day. With 13+ hours in the bag already this month it's a case of use or lose 'em. I used 'em. Weather wasn't too bad - not that I really strayed far. Still ain't warm out but I was able to finally get my potatoes planted - only a month later than last year. Fingers crossed they turn out okay. I've planted some Charlotte 1st earlies, some casablanca 2nd earlies and some cara and blue belle mains. I don't know whether I should stagger the planting or not. Guess I'll see what's what in a month or two. Hopefully I will end up with more tatties than I know what to do with.

Next up was a spot of bread making. A nice crusty cob - sssh, no. I tried Mr H's oil on the work top method instead of flour and you know what? It only flippin' works. I was in no rush to prove it and I reckon for the first time I really let the yeast do its thing at its own pace. Pretty sure it's my tasty loaf to date. The longer, slower proving definitely made a difference. The only downside is that I've already eaten three slices and I'm tempted by more!

Between proving and baking I headed into town for a spot of retail therapy. My pan's must be close to thirteen years old and the handles have become more and more wobbly. It was getting to the point where I was beginning to worry about failure and a hot pan of liquid down the front wasn't something I was looking forward to. Cue some nice new stainless steel pans with copper bottoms. Not sure what copper bottoms do but they look smart - and I feel better for the therapy.

Finished off tonight with an easy forty five minutes on the bike. My legs are still sore but I can at least walk without looking like a cripple. I'm expecting to be back to normal tomorrow and all being well, ready for action at the Chepstow Handicap on Thursday - although my 33 minute handicap is going to be too much. Well, someone's got to come last and I don't mind obliging. Might even stick around for curry night assuming I've got the date right!

Pip pip

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Recce Plans

Well seeing as my legs don't work today it's time to do some planning for June. My legs are soooo sore - not that I wasn't expecting it. I looked like a cripple as I wandered around site - either that, or someone who'd had an accident in their pants - it was the former, not the later thank you very much! No training tonight.

So, time is marching ever onwards and I've still no plans for any recce's of the Welsh 1000s or 3000s. I've a few dates - as in the availability in the diary, sadly - Thursday 19th April, Thursday 2nd May or Thursday 16th May. Really want to get up there twice - ssh no, stop it. Not sure that'll will happen but maybe I should just say 'f&*( it' and go. I've a few ideas of what and where to recce. Not sure I'll be able to fit it all in on one long weekend so I really need to head north twice. Me, the van, the open road and the mountain, what could be better?... Of course, if there's anyone else around on those dates they'd be welcome to join the fun.

Anyway, I'm getting a waft of my supper cooking on the stove and I reckon it's just about ready. Let the eating commence.

Finished Off Nicely

Yep, that is me well and truly f@(%ed. My legs no longer function. My lungs are destroyed and I'm still making much mucus. If there was a use for mucus I'd be a millionaire....

Really enjoyed the race despite finishing in, what I think heard called out was, 59th place - boo - in just over one hour and twenty minutes - boo boo. That's a long way down from the heady 17th place in 1:07 during my hay day. I know like to consider that I have moved into my silage days.

I set off miles back in the field. I wasn't too worried about the race really. My legs were feeling it from yesterday and my coughing and snotting was only marginally improved. No, today it was all about giving the legs another tough 10 miles. Had I been at home to go out for a recovery run I probably wouldn't have and even if I had actually shifted my butt from the sofa then it wouldn't have been anywhere near the pace of today's race. Happy to have got in a combined twenty five miles of pretty solid running with a total ascent of around 5,000 feet over the two days. Think I shall be resting tomorrow.

Well done to Niki for following up Lou's thrashing yesterday with an equally brutal battering today. She finished 2nd woman overall and almost certainly first in her age category - unless the winner has found the formula of eternal youth - in which case can she forward me the secret...

Finally, well done to Cirencester AC for a meticulously well organised race. There were marshals aplenty and signage on every twist and turn. Thanks.

Today's Chedworth Roman Trail 10 mile multi-terrain race.

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Cracking Weather and Fantastic Views

...Just really rubbish racing - not unexpected though. I just couldn't ascend. The moment I hit any sort of climb I just couldn't metabolise the oxygen quickly enough to power my legs. I was okay on the flat and downhill and was able to get some decent speed so long as I didn't try and get too ambitious with it. It was just the climbs - and they near finished my off.

I reckon that was probably the best day of the year so far. Even have a few tan lines to show for my efforts. There was no wind and the temperatures on the summits of Crug Mawr, Sugar Loaf and Blorenge were unexpectedly mild. That's not to say they weren't caked in snow because they were. The underfoot conditions towards the summits and on the tops were tricky to say the least. Oh, and energy sapping. You really had to stamp in your feet to ascend to the tops to prevent slipping and that ate into the energy supplies - not that I ran out because I wasn't really using it up as quickly as normal. That said had I not been running at poorly 35% of available capacity I'd have still been miles slower than last year because it was just so hard going. I suspect the results will confirm that by the lead times being slower than normal. And despite almost snapping my leg on the final crossing of Blorenge were my foot landed on some soft snow and sunk in up to my knee and having a massive coughing fit at the finish - with accompanying mucous - nice - I thoroughly bloody enjoyed half killing myself. Great fun.

Well done to Lou whom gave Matthew and I a thorough thrashing - ooh matron. Suffice to say, Matthew gave me a mild slapping as we both slipped the wrong side of three hours - ouch, that hurt to say that...

Today's Llanbedr to Blaenafon race.

Probably Shouldn't...

but I am.... Yes, I'll be off to the Llanbedr to Blaenafon fell race shortly. It feels chilly but the sun is shinning gloriously. I've more phlegm than a sputum container from a bronchitis clinic but that ain't gonna stop me. What could possibly go wrong?....

Friday, April 05, 2013

Finally Fruition On Friday

After a week of inching closer to the bar we finally made it over. With everyone pulling in the same direction we got the site known, using theatrical, superstitious terminology, as 'The Scottish Site' back into supply. Everything is now crossed until Monday - and most probably beyond....

My cold is improving but I still think it'll be a bit of a struggle tomorrow. I'm still wheezing and coughing plenty phlegm but I don't think I'll die out there on the mountain. Sunday's Roman Trail might finish me off though.

It's been a hard, tiring week. The cold hasn't helped. Really hoping I manage to sleep like a log tonight - although I don't want to wake up in the fire place!

Thursday, April 04, 2013

So Close To Success

Yet so far. We nearly got it right today but in the end, we resigned ourselves to defeat. Will tomorrow bring the break through? I guess only time will tell...

Feeling jaded this evening. Another long day. No training and before I was able to blink the week has all but gone. Throaty, chesty cough is a little better so maybe I won't kill myself during Saturday's Llanbedr to Blaenafon fell race....

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Well That Were A Bit Shit

and there'll be worse in store tomorrow... Out the house by 6:30 and then home by 20:15 ain't exactly the most fun I've ever had. Who knows how much worse it'll be tomorrow? We had a laugh amidst the gloom though and set the world to rights along the way. I really hope we get things going tomorrow 'cause I can't face a bad one on Friday. I need to be home normal time to chill before the weekend's races. All of which means I didn't get out to run and I feel drained. It doesn't help that I've almost lost my voice, my new middle name is Bob Phlegming, and my throat is on fire. Happy days - yes, that's sarcasm.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Another Day, Another Frost - Grrrrh

So it didn't go quite to plan. After a week away it was a bit of a shock to the system to be hitting site at 7:30 after a frosty drive. And then my damn computer wouldn't boot - ahhhh! Finally managed to start chipping away at the fifty million emails after half an hour - boo. Caught up in the fun - yes, that's sarcasm - I missed lunch and with it the run but it wasn't a bad day. Not going to grumble. My kit has, at least, made it into the car so maybe tomorrow... Going to set my alarm for midday but as we will be attempting to go back into supply it could be real busy just around noon. Smoke me a kipper...

Monday, April 01, 2013

I'm Going To Hibernate

Let me know when it's Spring.... I'd like to think this cold is just an April Fools joke but it seems to have carried on past midday. I was concerned about sun burn last week. It looks like frost bite's going to be the main issue this week.

I managed a short run this morning but the cold drove me back in doors. I have a severe case of nasal congestion or as I call it, mucho mucho green stuff - or, Pure Green... It started with a sore throat Thursday/Friday and has moved to the end game. All being well I'll be back to normal in a couple of days. I finished off with two hours on the exercise bike watching old episodes of the Great British Bake Off Series One. I wasn't into baking back then so it was new to me.

So anyway, over the last couple of weeks I've had a break from the long runs but it's now time to get things under way again. I'm concious that work is going to be throwing spanners at my works - ooh matron - so I'm going to start taking my kit with me everyday and try and get a lunch run done. My aim is to make sure I always take at least a thirty minute break while I'm out on site and run a short sharp session as often as possible.

Then coming up next weekend it's the Llanbedr Blaenafon fell race on Saturday. It'll be a good gauge of my progress. Hopefully I've done enough early season to at least equal last year's lowly 2:38. Up Sunday is the Chedworth Roman Trial 10 mile multi-terrain race. There's nothing quite like a 15 mile & 10 mile double header race weekend to get the blood pumping - not to mention the legs aching....