Sunday, December 28, 2014

Time To Plan

Well I can't put it off any/much longer. I need to put pen to paper - or fingers to keyboard as the plan is most likely going to be a spreadsheet. I've decided on the Rogue Runs Berkley 20 mile road race in the spring - although I'm not sure what the official race title is - followed by an as yet undetermined late summer/autumn marathon. I'm not sure of the actual date of the RR Berkley race as I can't get on the website at the moment but it's in the spring sometime so I need to pull my finger out and get on with some training.

First off, I need to look out some local training routes. Most of the time I'm off road but I need to work out a few on road - with minimal risk of death by road kill. My new years resolution is to a) do some training and b) follow the training plan - once I've written it, that is.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Remember People..

Be careful after you sharpen your chefs knife. After researching the best way to use an oiled stone to hone the blade, I can confirm it is bloody sharp - and my sliced thumb agrees. Maybe when I'm 43 I'll be more wise - but I doubt it...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Few Mistakes.. yesterdays Bixslade orienteering. I got off to an absolute pants start. My brain couldn't make sense of the thick wood section not being as expected and I drifted too far east. That got me into a section of nonsensical paths - at least they were nonsensical to me as to where I thought I was but actually wasn't - are you with me? Well can you explain it to me then!

Anyway, having thrown away two minutes before having really got started, I then kicked into gear. Using a combination of compass and feature nav, I picked up two, three and four fairly precisely before a little hiccup on five. I took my brain offline while running on the uphill path to five and ran all the way to junction before looking at the map and realising I should have headed off the path at the bend - doh. Lesson learnt, don't switch off, not even for a second. It didn't cost me too too much.

Six was my nemesis though. My gps shows I was close on first approach but in reality I was using too much guess work. I simply headed off the main path at a junction with a small track and ran on a bearing off that. I didn't do enough to ensure that the track and where I located that track on the map were one and same. I just didn't get myself to a confident point of attack and subsequently lost a good four or five minutes. After that the rest were pretty straight forward and I didn't make any mistakes.

I'm okay with my time of just inside 65 but in reality it should have been under the hour - but then we all say that don't we? I'm making progress though, making more accurate navigation, using a wider range of navigational tools. I feel I'm going to threaten the hour barrier more often in 2015. Just need to make sure I keep practicing. It's a bit like fitness, if you don't orienteer for a few weeks you really do lose that sharpness.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Looking Forward To Day Off Tomorrow

Not doing much. Should be good to recharge the batteries. Probably going to run the Longhope Three Peaks. It's similar to the route of some race they run oop north 'cept it's half as long and has no where near as much ascent - so not really similar at all...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Feeling Run Down

I managed to get out for a run after work tonight but it was tough. For the record I do not like winter. I'm pinning my hopes on the lottery and a session of warm weather training. Got a fairly busy work week ahead so I'm not expecting to feel any less run down and time soon. Need to locate my mojo, as it seems to have left the building...

Monday, December 08, 2014

Strong Winds Forecast For Tomorrow...

Yes, roasted brussels sprout, cauliflower and onion wedges with balsamic dressing and topped with crumbled crispy bacon for tea. I'm almost beginning to feel Christmasy - sure it'll wane. Even almost caught my first Christmas film of the season but thankfully I came to my senses five minutes in and turned it off. As to the running, my legs feel surprisingly okay.

Hang on, what's this... oops, the winds are starting to pick up already....

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Another One Slower Than The Last..

Yes, despite a brief moment of hesitation this morning, as I peered through the curtains at the ensuing monsoon, I made it to sunny, then cloudy, then rainy, then sunny again, Shropshire for the 9miles and 2600feet of ascent that is the Cardington Cracker. It's always worth the travel - even when you're out of shape - at the moment I'm an irregular trapezium.

I didn't have any intention of pushing hard from the start, as I discussed tactics with the Niki and Andy before the race got under way - that and admiring the double rainbow.

I'm not ready to race something like the CC all out from the gun just yet. I didn't take it too easy though, although I was perhaps a little over cautious on the ascent of Lawley. After that I started to increase the effort although it was a bit of a battle with the wind - weather conditions, not the beans. Both of the main ridge runs and the ascent of Caradoc were into really strong head-cross winds. At several points I was running at a thirty degree angle into it.

That took a toll and by the final climb I was a bit knackered so I took it steady to have something left for the final, overly long run in. That final stretch is probably the most character building bit of all. You're knackered, breathing like an asthmatic donkey on the way to glue factory and all you really want to do is ease off down to the finish but by then you're full on racing and every pointless place gained or lost is like the difference between winning the 10,000m Olympic final or coming last. It doesn't matter one iota in the grand scheme of things - but I'll give away an easy place over my dead body... Happy to say I managed to pick up three places on the run in so I'm happy with that.

Feeling it now though. The legs are beginning to ache. My time was a couple of minutes down but I'll blame that on the wet underfoot conditions and the ninety mile an hour typhoon winds. Be interesting to see how my positional percentage compares to last time.

Anyway, on a final note, my family keep enquiring as to what I'd like for Christmas. At the moment I'm thinking walking stick or zimmer frame...

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Fast Heading Into The Weekend..

There's a couple options up for grabs. First there's Saturday's Woodchester orienteering training at... well I wonder if you can work that out? Then Sunday it's that time of year again. Yes, it's Cracker time. That's Cardington Cracker time to you. I almost feel festive. Okay, no I don't. Bah humbug.

There is also the option of the Wyche Ridge night orienteering on Saturday night. I've yet to follow through... with the threat of a night-O - phew, I wondered where that was going at the start of the sentence.

Hopefully I can achieve the treble...

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Not A Disaster...

And I descended okay. In fact I was only 15s slower than my time from 2009! Not quite sure how to take that as I feel as slow as I've ever been - which I am - but by a much larger factor than 15s.

It's true, the Blorenge fell race is not my favourite fell race, hence why I've not run it for five years but it wasn't quite as bad as my memory of it. I added some extra mileage with a 3k warm up and a 3k cool down - nice change of units half way through the sentence but kilometreage doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. I think I justified the carbon footprint of the trip.

Considering the race is only 4k - and, I add, exemplary well organised, with sarnies and coffee at the finish - my legs felt well iffy on the cool down. I thought I was going to fall over on the steps down from the canal my legs felt so jellified.

Another race done. Decent training. Bring on the next one, probably the Cardington Cracker...

Friday, November 28, 2014

Can I Make It Three...

Three South Wales winter fell races in a row? Well can I? Tomorrow will bring the answer to that one...

I'm not a great fan of Blorenge. One long climb followed by a descent back down is not exactly my thing. I have a 5k loop planned for afterwards though - in order to justify the carbon footprint of the drive there and back.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Relaxing Day

A run in the sun - although it was a little on the chilly side. A spot of experimental baking, mince(pie) chelsea buns, and a homemade sourdough base pesto and tomato pizza for tea. All that's left to do now is sit back and put my feet up. Back to the grind stone tomorrow...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Well That Was A Lesson In How Not To Orienteer...

That was, as they say, about as inauspicious as it gets. You know you're in for a bad day at the forest when you struggle to find control number one, a mere 100m from the start. I opted for the brown course, and despite my legs feeling a little heavy I felt I'd go okay. I'd already jogged a couple of km from where I parked the car and on arrival at the assembly I got straight to it.

The best thing I can say is that I never really got too far away from my chosen route plan but just struggled in a few places to find the control. By the mid way point tiredness started to kick in and the mental aspects of orienteering became a challenge. I never really lost control of position, even stopping at one point to indicate to a younger orienteer where he was on the map, he thanked me and headed off to his control.

A few controls later I came across him again, looking equally perplexed before asking for assistance - him not me - which again, I was able to provide. It was after my brain really began to creak and by the twenties I actually had to stop at each control to check what number it was supposed to be - gone was the ability to look at the map and recall instantly the control number.

My fatal error came at 25. I say fatal, but no one really died - other than my ego. I was spot on to it but 26 was close and as I came away from 25, I aligned my compass out of 26 towards 27 and well, the rest was history. I downloaded my dibber - ooh, behave - at the registration only to be told, "you didn't get 26", "yes I did", I replied while looking to the map.. "you're right, I didn't get 26", I added. I could instantly see what I'd done. It was a shame to DDTA but my time was slow, my hair was long, caught somewhere between a bad orienteer and a good, so there was no harm done.

After a quick chat I plodded back the couple of kilometres to the car and home for a much welcome shower to wash away the mud, sweat and tears that is orienteering...

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Went Round The Loop

The Llyn y Fan fell race loop. Wasn't my fastest, that's 53 minutes but I was pleased to get under the hour in exactly 59 minutes. And for once it was a good turn out - helped in part, I'm sure, by being part of the series but it deserves to be well attended just for the views from the ridge alone - even if it was a little foggy today...

I took it out steady and followed the path and the ridge - there isn't a lot of choice until Fan Foel. The descent is cross fell back to the start. I decided to try something different this year and ran a bearing of about 295 to head back to the path just south of Nant Coch - mainly just so I could write the word Coch in the blog.

My real thinking was to reduce the rough stuff albeit at a cost of 150m distance. My sea legs aren't what they once were and I felt I could run the firmer footing of the path more quickly than the rough stuff.

In the end it didn't make a lot of difference as I remained pretty much where I was at the top, neither gaining nor losing position.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Slightly Lost The Plot...

It's only Thursday but yesterday I thought tomorrow was Friday - that was tomorrow based on yesterday being today - and that's in a week where I had a day off Monday... Confused? Join the club... It is Friday tomorrow isn't it?

Bike session tonight and maybe another lunch run tomorrow...

Up this weekend is the Llyn y Fan fell race in my favourite section of the Black Mountains. Sunday is the BOK Galoppen. Peep peep..

Oh, and night out Saturday - which might have a bearing on me getting to the Galoppen....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Can You Believe I Got Out For A Lunch Run?

No, neither can I! But it's true. Martin and I ran our first lunch run for, well, I can't actually remember the last time it's been so long. We only did the Malago loop, 5-6k, but that was enough for me. Next week, yes, next week we are hoping to get out for another run. Possibly Tuesday. Guess we'll see...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Double Fail..

That is, I didn't do the double in the end...

The day started at Usk with the Leisure Centre League Cross Country. It was, quite literally, running around a couple of muddy fields a few times - despite that, I quite enjoyed it! - Going to have to nip that in the bud sharpish...

Then, as soon as I finished I hopped in the car and drove to a layby off the A4067 for the Gyhirych Grind - ooh, matron. Turns out I didn't do the double after all. Instead, Andy B, a marshal down, I stepped into the frame, donned my marshal star and headed up to Fan Fraith.

It was proper good weather for it. The mist was down to 450m altitude. Wasn't so perfect for a marshal to find one of the most featureless summits in the world though. Despite being a short it would've been really fun to race it - but not for me today. My legs were dead on the climb so I'm quite glad I volunteered instead.

Half way up the climb to Fan Gyhirych, I began to think I might've left it too late to head to my marshalling point! With the race starting at 14:00 I eventually reached check-point one, FG trig-point, at 14:05. I knew I didn't have any faffing time in finding the indistinct summit of Fan Fraith.

As I headed across the ground between the track and the summit I made a change of route to ensure I hit the summit in one, I headed north for about 200-250m before resuming the bearing to hit the northern end of the summit 'plateau' and then followed it south and into the summit - and the five small pebbles that mark the spot... With visibility down to 50m I felt that was the safest way to guarantee I found it in one. Would've been pretty embarrassing for the summit marshal not to find the summit!

After counting 8 of the 11 runners through in under thirty minutes I began to worry a little by 45 minutes and then decided to abort at 55 minutes, with the assumption that anyone still out there was no longer going to attempt to continue the race and just head back instead. Not to mention I was beginning to get cold, stood in the middle of nowhere, in the drizzle for close to 45 minutes.

I soon warmed up and got back down without any issues and everyone was back down and safe. It's a shame only eleven turned up but I think people get put off when there's a requirement to use a map and compass - not just carry it for effect. For me that's what proper fell running is all about - using the compass not carrying it for effect - so I hope Andy holds the race again and I hope a few more people learn to use their compass and feel confident enough to use it. For certain you needed to know how to use it today... Good race.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Running Around In The Forest

And what a cracking autumnal day it was for it. As is the norm for me I ran to the event. I parked up near Hopewell Colliery and ran 5k over to Parkend for the orienteering training. It was quite misty but in a good way - fingers crossed it's misty tomorrow [wink].

I started with the 'paths removed' map. I made a few mistakes but overall I went pretty well. It's surprising how having no paths focuses the brain.

After that I went out on the short green (with the paths back on the map). What I found interesting was that on a few of the legs I found the paths a distraction! I found myself using just the paths and none of the map features. Once I switched back to the features I was okay. Good training. I feel I'm getting there - slowly. One of these days I'm going to storm it. Then I had the 5k run back to the car to finish. Covered about 17k in total.

Tomorrow I have the Usk cross country at 11am followed by the Ghyric Grind fell race at 2pm...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Ready For The Night...

I am, of course, talking about tomorrow's RogueRuns night race at Mos Eisley, um, uh, I mean Moseley Green - and no, I won't be storming around the course... Should be fun.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

The Test...

Yes, I've been trialling a sourdough based panettone. I didn't go the whole hog and fully fruit up the bad boy. I wanted to see how it would work in a basic rich dough. It was a five feed process over a 48 hour period but it seemed to work pretty well. In fact, I think the dough was actually easier to handle than my normal yeasted version. Using the sourdough allowed the gluten strings to form and it was much less sticky than normal when I added the butter etc. (secret recipe and all that). I think I'll run a full trial run in a week or two....

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Back On With The Waders

I decided to abort my plan for a long run - yes, I was put off just a tad by the nastiness of the pouring rain. Of more concern though, was the ever rising water level. I determined I might need to don the waders and keep the brook clear. Turns out I was right and by midday I was thigh deep in the waters, clearing handful after handful of debris. Then as the rain started to abate, the wash from the field hit, forcing me to roll out the first of the seasons sandbags.

Managed to get out for an abridged run in the afternoon. The sun even made an appearance. Tomorrow looks better so I should get a proper run in, without the fear of what damage the rain might cause. Going to have to give some serious thought to designing and building a partial defence bund/wall...

An inch of water and rising...

A biggg puddle...

The run off from the field building up...

 Time to deploy the sandbags...

A four inch deep puddle in the field...
The other side of the fence
is a four inch deep puddle that is the back garden...

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Been A Bit Of A Quiet Week..

First off, I completely forgot the Chepstow bake off, Tuesday - and by forgot, I mean, it didn't even register on my radar this last few weeks until I saw the pics on FB. This week has just been a funny one. Been on fire at work and I think that's absorbed my energy. I'm going to sneak a look at the maps tomorrow though and come rain and even heavier rain Saturday, I'm going to run somewhere...

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Almost Killed Myself Yesterday..

The recce of Trellech was enjoyable but I did almost do myself in. There's been a lot of felling. A lot of bashings. At one point I slipped a right pearler. An inch thick branch, mere inches from being, well, pretty much what would've been game over. It's not often I don't adjust and stay on my feet...

Later on I looked down to see my leg red with blood. Wasn't a deep cut though. Six inches long, but not deep. Not sure I'm going to survive this orienteering planning lark...

Can I really be getting too old for this shit?...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Am I Ready To Plan?...

and more to the point, what have I let myself in for? I'm over to Trellech Common tomorrow for a bit of a run around. I have the O-map from 2012, a compass, it'll be warm and I'll be wearing underpants. Hit it.... I want to get over there while conditions should be similar to next November. Time is of the essence - I only have just over a year to plan it...

Up Sunday is the Bog Bryn thing from somewhere yonder. Should probably check out the details...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An Unwelcome First..

After another long day at work - seems to be becomming a habit I'd rather not have - I arrived home gone eight to a half eaten bat deposited in the middle of the bedroom floor. Yes a bloody bat! How the hell does a cat catch a god damn bat anyway? Yes, I know birds fly and cats catch plenty of them but come on, a bat? That is just not cricket Squeaker and I do not want a repeat.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Not A Bad Loaf..

Wasn't my fastest but then again it was a new route and about half a mile longer so was always going to be slower. It was more of a route variation than a complete redesign and on balance is a slight improvement, reducing the out and back section a little...

I actually quite surprised myself. I ran more of the up than I expected and descended more insanely than I've managed of late. Where I was a bit rubbish was the flat stuff. My leg speed is, well, non-existent.

I set off at the back of the pack. Not right at the back but nearer the back than the front - I'm probably over detailing this. I didn't expect to run the entirety of the first climb up the Deri - ooh, er misses - and, in fact, I didn't but I ran a lot more than I expected. I ran all the first road bit - yes, even that really steep bit at the corner. Dave the Power actually did a bit of overtaking at that point...

Once up onto the Deri I plodded across the level ground gaining a few places but not moving quite as quickly as I should be capable of. Onto the second climb I powered hard and ran at every point I could even if it was only for 10 metres - and it was in a few cases.

Finally to the summit of Sugarloaf I ran really well back down. I let the handbrake off and let my feet so the talking. I wasn't so good on the flat bit but the final climb back up to the Deri was solid before the drizzle came and fogged my glasses. That made for an interesting final descent because it's fairly stoney with tricky footing. Relying on the 'force' I managed to gain one more place but was glad to get to the finish as it wasn't entirely comfortable.

Overall, I went better and stronger than I was expecting. This racing regularly lark seems to be paying off. The grub in the pub at the end was welcome and it was nice to catch up with friends before the Landlord called time and we all went home.

Got home to find the sourdough loaf, proving ahead of the bake, had gone berserk. A rise that normally takes eight hours had gone supersonic. Fortunately, the structure held and I managed to get it into the oven without collapse. Disaster averted!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Looking Forward To Tomorrow...

Yes, I admit it. I purchased fish fingers with the sole intention of making a fish finger sandwich - but it'll be a posh fish finger sanger. The sourdough loaf is in progress... and I've the tomatoes harvested and ready for the tomato salsa. Posh I tells ya.

There's a race to run first though. Bring on the sugarloaf...

ps the above mentioned fish fingers have never come into contact with the Vietnamese River Cobbler - or nasty, gross, pee fish..

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bit Of A Pants Day..

No, I wasn't wearing them outside my trousers but when you start work at 7am and don't leave till half past seven then you can lay claim to it having been a bit of a pants days - and before you say, I'm talking pm on the later timing. Feel weary, it was quite mentally draining. Back for more tomorrow... but at least there's the sugarloaf fell race to look forward to on Saturday. It's one of the better winter fell races. Nowhere near cardington cracker good but decent never the less.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Top Tip, Only Fools Rush In.. eat cauliflower cheese. It was gert lush but give it five to cool down. I didn't. Burnt my tongue. Lesson learnt - until the next time I cook it, of course... why do I never learn? (Don't answer that).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

At Least There Weren't Any Pits Today..

It wasn't the greatest of runs. It wasn't the worst. It sat somewhere in the middle. I liked the descent. I didn't like the ascent. There's nothing quite like a steep ascent to slap you in the face and say, you're not very fit are you fat boy.. No. I'm clearly not.

I can't say I'm overly excited by the prospect of more cross country but I think I will persevere with it. It might be a useful gauge of my fitness - should I ever decide to actually start doing some training...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Absolute Pits

I parked up by the northern end of Cannop Ponds and ran along the cycle path, past Parkend and into the forest for the start of the Parkend Orienteering. It was only 5k but I ran too fast. It was meant to be just an easy warm up but it ended up being a run at practically my (current) top speed. I just couldn't slow myself down for some reason. Each kilometre clocked up was too quick. Slow down you fool. I thought I did. Next kilometre, just as fast. Doh.

After a few pleasantries before the start I set out on the Blue. Control one went well but from there it went down hill. I struggled to find control two in a large flat featureless area. Finally got it after losing a few minutes. Three on the other hand, was a utter nightmare. What I thought would be fairly easy - and quick - turned out to be the pits.

I got myself into the ball park but couldn't find it. I found '48', checked my list, no not on it. Cue the moment of the headless chicken. That's the moment in time where you run from pit to pit completely randomly, trying to work out which pit is which on the map but failing completely. Suddenly after much clucking, I realised '48' was on my course later towards the end so went back to it. Took a baring. Forty paces. Bingo. What a bloody fool. I lost a good five or six minutes. Morale was low.

I must admit to following Rich C to the next couple of controls before finding some enthusiasm for it again and began to start enjoying it again, the painful memory of three having dulled. Having said that, I soon got snarled in a dense area but eventually got through. Why is it you only see the path on map that you should've taken, heading not far off line, after you've gone direct and got snarled up? After that, I went quite well and mostly went direct to the rest of the controls - I certainly didn't waste much time getting '48' for real, that's for sure.

Overall, I'm happy how I nav'd - taking two and three to one side, of course. I took 75 mins but it could've been 65. Oh well, there's always next time...

With the orienteering done I headed back, retracing my 5k from earlier, back to the car and home. I feel quite knackered now but I'm sure I will be recharged for Tomorrow's Pontypool LCL Cross Country - still can't believe I'm going to run the cross country. I hate cross country. Must've received a knock on the head at some point I guess. Apparently this one is one of the best though, so maybe won't be quite so bad..

Friday, October 17, 2014

Not Such A Long Week After All..

Okay, it was about average length - the Earth's rotational speed tends to lead to that...

Off to Parkend tomorrow for the orienteering. With the current rainfall it's going to be wet under foot - but no doubt still fun. I'll probably add on a run there and back to up the mileage.

Still aiming to do the bloody LCL cross country on Sunday - madness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

You Know It's Going To Be A Long Week When...

You enquire of a colleague, "Have you been based here all week?" and he replies, "Yes, but it is only Tuesday afternoon!". Oh cripes, is it really only Tuesday? Not good. Not good at all. That's not to say it's been a bad week so far just that it feels like I've already crammed in a weeks worth of work and we're only two days in. If it goes on at this rate I will be a wreck by Friday...

Still, there's the orienteering to look forward to on Saturday - or random forest run as I call it and then, of course, there's the Pontypool cross country Sunday - oh god, did I type that last bit out loud?... Quick, where's the delete button!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Battling The Forest..

There's certainly a lot of bracken out there in the Forest at the moment. I decided to go for a spot of orienteering training and so ran - or not - Bixslade from earlier in the year. It was certainly a lot different. There were a couple of control locations in areas of thick, thick bracken and I didn't bother to really accurately determine if I was on the control or not. Number eight in particular, being a god damn platform in an area of bracken, I didn't even attempt and just ran on by. And there was one section of thick growth were I found a slight track, not quite going in the right direction but it was better than battling the vegetation.

Overlaying today's track and that from the actual race I can see I managed to go more direct to a number of controls - excluding the above, of course. And I can see the features I determined to be the control locations do appear to have been so. I still made the same mistake to control four but at least I wasn't off by as much this time. I finished with a pacey couple of kilometres back to the car. Was a good run.

I wrapped up training with an hour on the bike - to download the track and write this post. I'm on forty eight minutes so far but trust me, I won't stop till I've hit sixty.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hello Freezer Number Two..

Yes, I've had to invest in a second freezer. Harvested the last of this year's chillies and had no more space to store them. After said purchase I've re-organised things and now have a whole freezer shelf full of chillies sitting pretty in the new acquisition. That's about fifty quids worth at supermarket prices.

And after the reaping I pruned the plants back to what are now basically stalks. All being well they will over winter and burst forth in the spring. Plus the second crop of tomatoes are just about ready. After the first crop, so early, I decided to let the plants grow on and now have a second batch. And even if they don't all ripen there's always green tomato chutney...

On matters of running I managed to squeeze in a 50 minute run through Flaxley between showers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

No Races Planned - Boo

I think I'll probably run the forest trails tomorrow. If I manage to get up in time I might run the Park Run 5k and finish off with an hour in the forest. Hopefully it won't rain too hard.

Still haven't heard back from the Mendip Muddle as to whether it's full or not so I'm thinking I won't risk travelling down on Sunday.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Bit Of A Rest And Crispy Bacon

After a successful race yesterday I decided to treat myself with a bit of crispy streaky bacon on my pesto pasta tonight. Grilled to the point where it snaps into pieces. So simple. Just three ingredients but oh how lush. Might manage some training tomorrow...

But for tonight I'm just livin' the crispy bacon dream...

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Horsing Around

I really enjoyed that! Like a road race but on grass - and through a few lakes for good measure. I set off too ambitiously in the first lap and faded on the second. It was surprising how much higher the jumps felt on that second lap though. I barely noticed them on lap one, by lap two they felt like full height steeple chase barriers. Overall it was a pleasing run. I certainly put in good effort but it does show up my weakness - not enough speed endurance - Michael Johnson would be proud of me mentionig that. He's always banging on about it...

There was a huge Chepstow contingent present and indeed, Paul and James took first and second overall, although there is to be a stewards enquiry as to the validity of that result in James' case seeing as he seems to have developed an allergy against wearing his club vest. Shameful.

Anyway, I completed the nine mile course a few seconds over 1hr 5mins which I'm happy with. Finished off the days training with an hour on the static bike - just like the old days - while catching up with the GBBO - just not like the old days...

Saturday, October 04, 2014

A Horse, A Horse, Tomorrow I'm A Horse..

Yes, I'm off to Badminton to be a horse. I didn't know I was until yesterday, mind. Hopefully it'll be a nine mile bit of fun. The only downside is that there is a fancy dress team prize - had I known that I would have got a few jedi robes organised for the rest of the team so I could have taken my storm trooper costume for a spin - pretty sure that would have brought home the win. Next year.....

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Still Deciding..

..Where to run on the weekend. It looks like it might be a wet one. SWOA orienteering over Blaenavon way looks interesting but I feel I need a more sustained, harder effort than the orienteering will provide. Ideally I'll run a longish effort Saturday - in the wet - and maybe find a nice, pacey race Sunday, possibly even on the road...

On a lighter note, don't you just hate it when, waste from chopping vegetables to hand, opening the compost caddy, you throw them in only for the lid to drop leading to you actually throwing said items all over the kitchen floor - no, I didn't laugh either...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sourdough Panettone?!

Is it even legal?

My legs are feeling achy. Was definitely a tough race yesterday. I did consider doing the Upton Bishop Big Dipper but seeing as I didn't wake up till 9:30 that didn't happen. Felt pretty wiped out all day really and with an hour on the exercise bike I'm not feeling any less wiped out now. Still, back to work tomorrow - so that'll be a nice rest [snigger].

Anyway, here it is, ad-hoc recipe sourdough panettone...

Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Ol' Running Up and Down Mountains Game Don't Get Any Easier...

..and I am thoroughly knackered right now, flopped on the sofa as I type. Adding to the tiredness my balls are burning [snigger]. Or more correctly the ball of my left foot. I managed to get a piece of grit into my shoe with around four miles to go and with places to win or lose there was no way I could stop to get it out. Well that's the aches and pains dealt with.

My race plan, for the 27km and 1400m of ascent, was to go out very slowly and work my way through the field. I set off towards the back and initially felt really lethargic. I didn't seem to be able to run much on the way to Pen Cerrig Calch but across to Pen Allt Mawr I got going and picked up a few positions.

I found the holy trail down into the valley and followed the right hand route up to Pen y Gadir Fawr, picking up the 'have faith, there's a path over there' path where it flattens a little which makes the run in much easier. I was a few minutes slower to the summit than last year but that wasn't much of a surprise.

I scythed it on the way down into the Grwyne Valley but came to a grinding halt on the way up to Chwarel y Fan. Once onto the ridge I verily bombed it along the top though - Neil G was impressed with my turn of speed. From there I was feeling okay, due to my slow start. I didn't even feel a hint of sense of humour failure.

I managed to pick up a few more places up to Crug Mawr and despite going slowly up mushroom-less alley I was, at least, able to do some proper running after the summit down to the finish - although the final steep bit right at the finish brought me to a stop. I crossed the line in 3:18. Five minutes slower than last year but I'm pretty happy with that. I thought I would be worse. All in all not bad outing to the mountains.

Well done to John Darby and the crew of helpers. Another cracking Black Mountains race and a great entry of 93 runners - I was 31st, just exactly in the top third of the field, nice. Bring on next year - and maybe I'll reduce my finish time....

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ready For It..

The 'it' of course, is The Black Mountains fell race. I feel pretty positive I can at least get myself around after the success of last weekends mountain fun. It won't be a walk in the park. Tis a tough race. Not Borrowdale tough but tough never the less.

I don't think I've run the Pen y Gadir Fawr climb since last years race so I hope I can find the super route to the summit. And when I say run, you all know I mean struggle my way up at a snails pace...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Preparing For The Coming Storms...

Okay, so they might be a few weeks away, even a few months maybe but hear me now, the storms will come... And when they do, the flood waters will freely flow down the culvert. Yes, I've been busy yesterday and today clearing the brook. It was flipping hard work. It had become pretty overgrown during the summer months. Full of brambles and nettles, I am spiked and stung but the waters now flow free so it's a good job, a necessary job, completed and hopefully it'll stay clear till next year - and I did get to don my thigh length boots..... waders, thigh length waders.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Feeling Quite A Lot Absolutely Knackered Now..

I did downgrade to the short course today. I had too. My legs were shot - as I hobbled around the camp site like a cripple. Having said that, after detailed analysis back at my personal command centre and hub of all things geek, 15 miles today wasn't exactly short!

So I set out up the footpath and out onto the mountain. Were yesterday I ran this bit, today I couldn't. The route to control one was a bit of a no brainer and I followed the path. There was more direct route to pick up the path sooner but it was steep and rough and I just couldn't face it.

I did manage to run quite a bit of the path though before finally reaching control one. From there things got rougher. The slog to two was a long one over rough ground apart from one little path I found. I was quite efficient with my lines and found it quite quickly. The route to three was equally obvious and I followed the skyline path before dropping down the steep gully path and a contouring path around Fan Brecheiniog to the sheep fold.

I should mention that the day was a scorcher and I am feeling a little bit sunburnt right now but I kept myself pretty hydrated which helped stave off too much tiredness - at least at that point. Control four was a little iffy. I found it okay but it was by a cairn not the northern boulder of a pair that it should have been. To be fair, I think the map is wrong. The boulders are drawn further away from the stream and path when in reality they are practically on the path.

After a bit of dithering over the route choice to five I finally decided to make the climb back up to the top ridge and cover the rough ground on a gradually descending line. It was rough but I managed to run some of it.

I found five okay and in short order ticked off six and seven before missing eight. I knew I was close but by then I was just edging towards tiredness induced sense of humour failure and rather than faff around up and down the gully trying to locate the re-entrant - I was pretty certain I was in the right gully - I called it a day and headed home in a time of 3 hours and 50 minutes.

It's been a tough weekend but one of thoroughly good training. The 'as accurate as I can determine them' stats for the two days are; Day One 21.5miles and 4,250ft ascent, Day Two 15miles and 3,250ft ascent. I'm pleased with that. I feel thoroughly knackered now but the fact I can still push myself around good distance on really rough terrain is pretty satisfying.

A BIG thank you to the RogueRuns team for organising what I hope will become a fixture in the calendar. Everything went off smoothly it's just a shame a few more didn't turn up and give it a go. So SPREAD THE WORD.

My routes for those interested are shown below, Day one light blue, Day 2 dark blue;
Day one was loosely clockwise (except 3 and 4).
Day 2 initially the path on the east before again loosely clockwise.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Feeling A Little Bit Absolutely Knackered..

Dang nabbardy that was hard work. In 22 miles on the mountain there wasn't much running. Tussocks? Yes, lots of them annoying sods. Bog? A fair amount of that too. Fortunately they weren't at their boggiest what with this dry spell. Still energy sapping though - and my energy was sapped.

I naved pretty accurately. I was pleased with that aspect and it was a very good course for it with a couple of really good legs.

The first control of the day was a reasonably long one for a starter and I soon got my head into the map scale. Two, three and four were all pretty good although I had a bit of a wobble to three as I put too much brain power into deciding the route from four to five.

Talking of that, it was a long one. It took me an hour and a half but I think I made a good route choice. I just didn't cover the ground quickly. Six was relatively easy but seven was a tussock bog fest. Not navigationally too difficult but tiring.

My main error was seven to eight. It didn't help that I was beginning get really tired but the main problem was my altitude-ometer which has lost some height - or gained, my brain is still mush. Either way I followed a lower contour than I thought I was on which pushed me further west than I was intending. I quickly realised what had happened and got myself back on track to finally get to eight and then it was the relatively easy drop down to the finish.

Feeling absolutely zapped right now. There is no way I can do another 22 miles tomorrow so I will drop down to the short course. Boy will I ever sleep tonight. I can feel my eyelids drooping as I type...

Friday, September 19, 2014

All Set For Take Off..

All packed. Van loaded. Ready to take on the RogueRuns Mini Mountain Marathon but at 30km a day it'll require a far from mini effort. What the hell have I let myself in for? Should be fun though and I can bimble along slowly...

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Yes, we are the champions of the, uh, work's annual sports day. With seven four man relay events in all we, the mighty ICA engineers - and health and safety officer, started slow in the first event, the egg and spoon race...

Things improved in the three legged race, where our superior technique led us to victory and up the leader board. We hit top spot after the sack race, led to Victory by Kangeroo Stu - that boy sure can hop.

We faltered a little in the hockey but some good running by Mighty Martin held us in the race but then it looked like we might struggle in the space hopper derby as Mighty Martin struggle to get bouncy with it. Fortunately bouncing Stu came to the rescue handing me the baton - err, um, space hopper neck and neck with team FM before I bounced to victory. Once we hit the top spot on the leader board we weren't going to give it up lightly as Javelin Justin Wanged his wellie in an almost perfect arc only to lose out on top spot by mere millimetres in the penultimate event.

The final event, The Big One, combined all the disciplines into the mighty show stopper. Pitted against our nearest rivals we hopped, hockied, egged and spooned, bounced and sack raced our way to victory in the final event to be crowned champions....

Disclaimer, I may have got the order of the events mixed up.

Monday, September 15, 2014

And Another Week Begins

My legs weren't too bad but I felt I needed a bit of a rest so I reverted to the exercise bike for an hour. Hoping to do some sort of run tomorrow - assuming I can maintain a bit of momentum. Up on the weekend is the RogueRuns Mini Mountain Marathon. I'm really looking forward to it - assuming there aren't any brambles... and with luck the weather will hold.

Really must look up the details though. Can't even remember what the distances are. Pretty certain I put in for the long course both days...

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Wish I'd Stayed In Bed...

Hell that was rubbish. So rubbish I didn't even finish. I knew it was going to be a bad day when I navigated direct to control one - and yes, it was a platform. There was no faffing, just straight to it. In fact I almost ran past because my brain shielded out the possibility that I could actually have got a platform right for once.

I was equally direct to two. I began to get a deep sense of foreboding. I needn't have worried though. I cocked three right up. I did recover from there to eight where I then had a disaster. A wrong choice to nine put me in a bramble fest. I knew I was close to the path but just couldn't get there. In the end I had to head in completely the wrong direction to extract myself. Nightmare.

Having lost so much time, cut and bleeding, the wrong side of the bramble field, I decided to call it quits. Although I did have a little go on the string course on the way back - even then I missed Mr Bump, although I got the one that looks like a purple raspberry - so the day wasn't a total waste....

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Seriously Now, I Really Am Getting Too Old For This S"!t..

It was day 1 of the Caddihoe Chase weekend orienteering and despite feeling somewhat knackered by the end I did enjoy the run. In fact I think it probably was my best run on a brown category course. The plan said 8.7km. My GPS said 11.7km. I didn't really go too far off route so I don't know where the extra three kilometres came from!

I do know where I lost some time though! I lost a few too many minutes struggling to find my nemesis, the dreaded control features that is the known as the 'platform' - or 'f*(king annoying flat bit that doesn't really look like anything different from the rest of the forest' as I like to call it.

Referring to my GPS again, I wasn't far away from any of them - 'cept the last one and I put my hands up to that for being put off by a much faster runner who cocked it up and I stupidly followed where he came from thinking he'd just come from it when in fact had I kept going for another 25m on my original line I would have come straight on it. The other ones though, I was close but no cigar and then faffed till I found them. I am now full on mentally scarred by platforms and every time I see one on the control sheet my heart sinks a little...

Anyway, not sure I will fare as well tomorrow on yet another brown category course. It's certainly going to be hard work. I shall give it a good crack though but I suspect I may run out of steam. Should be a good day though and it will have been three good days of training. Onwards and upwards...

Friday, September 12, 2014

A Double..

I ran just over five miles into Gloucester this morning and then five miles back. The first leg was steady. The return was run with a bit more effort. I tried to push things a little. Just nudging out of the comfort zone. Felt good.

Tomorrow is going to be a long one - well, not 'actually' any longer than normal but I'll be busy helping and running at the Caddihoe orienteering. Sunday will be just as busy with more of the same. Hopefully the weather will stay fine and it'll be a good weekend. Not sure how I'll cope with two days on the Brown course and the 44 controls in total. I suspect I could hit the sense of humour failure point...


Thursday, September 11, 2014

3 Days 3 Spiders..

Yep, definitely Autumn. Squeaker is loving it. Two big whoppers in the bedroom. Another big 'un in the livingroom, yum yum. Um, not sure this is sounding too good.

Not sure where those spiders are hiding in the bedroom though? - and they were big.. Probably been dancing on my face while I sleep....

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

I Could Feel Myself Waning...

As I drove home, I could feel my will power diminishing with every passing second. If I was to run it had to be at the moment of my arrival home. Any pause would result in certain failure - it was just as well I had pre-planned against my weakness. As I entered the house, there in front of me was my kit. All nicely laid out - read, dumped in a pile on the floor. I stripped. Donned the kit and headed out. My backup plan had worked.

It wasn't the greatest training - if, indeed, it qualifies to bear that title at all. I tried to put in a few efforts along the way but it was pretty pathetic. Despite feeling like I was going to bust a lung, I suspect the pace on those efforts was not much increased over that of my steady pace. Twenty five minutes but better than nothing.

So I never made it to proper training but I managed to defeat the evil of the comfy sofa this time. The empire of the comfy sofa is vast. Its reach immense and although I may not yet have won the war I claimed a small victory tonight.

For the moment, at least, I think my best shot at getting back into it properly is going to be to get out for a run the very instant I arrive home. To linger for but a moment may allow my inner weakness time to flourish. I can't let that happen if the evil empire of the comfy sofa is ever to be vanquished....

If I can get out there and do little and often, in time, I may find myself waxing more - um, that doesn't sound quite right - and waning less. Eventually leading to the full monty at club training on Tuesday and Thursdays - err, that's not sounding right either.

From tiny seeds mighty crabapple trees grow.....

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Tricky String...

Yes, I'm glad I'm not doing the string course next Sunday. Too difficult for me. Wasn't sure I found the distinctive tree, totally missed the second depression. Wasn't really sure that I found the log. No, I think I'll stick to the easier brown course and leave the string course to the professionals.

I am, of course, making reference to clearing the parking areas for next weekend's Caddihoe orienteering event. Was slightly back breaking work but hopefully all worth it when all the cars get parked next weekend. Corker of a day and some great views from the top - when we able to take a pause. Going to sleep tonight...

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Must Have Put In More Effort Yesterday Than I Thought..

Because I was bloody rubbish today. The whole run was a struggle. It didn't help that I ran a little further on a slightly hillier route today. I felt heavily under powered and don't mention the hill climbs. I felt like a three legged cart horse on his way to the glue factory. Despite all that I did get out there - and it would not have been difficult to stay in, let me tell you. I'm beginning to remember why I hate training.. although it does feel good knowing I actually got out there and did it.

There'll be no run tomorrow though as I am on forestry duty over Mallards Pike way, preparing things for next weeks Caddihoe orienteering weekend. I have a feeling it's going to be quite hard work. Right, I'm off to hone the edge on my machetes...

Friday, September 05, 2014

Hard(ish) Effort

Went into Flaxley Wood but rather than the full forest loop I headed out via Mugglewort Wood and pounded the road that is Velthouse Lane all the way home...

I put in few efforts along the way. Managed my fastest ascent into Flaxley in two years. That's probably not saying much but I'm pleased. I pushed a bit on the flat sections too. Over all, not a bad run.

I continue to get urges - sssh, no, stop it. Urges to run another marathon - and not just any old marathon, one of those stupid road ones. I might start with the Rhayader Round the Lakes 20 and take it from there - or give it up as a bad idea...

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

That's It, Weekend Starting..

The Forest beckons for a run tomorrow but not before the mother of all lie ins. Squeaker will no doubt do her normal "Simon's Cat" at around 6:00am - grrrrh. That won't stop the lie in though. Might even make it to 9:00am before I get up...

Bring it on!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Austerberry Variation

What a corker of a day. Almost too corking to be thrashing yourself across the rugged west Black Mountains. I ran a better race than last year and didn't crash and burn but overall I'm just a fraction less fit so that all added up to a slower time in the Four Fans Fell Race.

It's a proper fell race. There is some route choice and even when you've made your choice you still have to be able to run a bearing for a mile or two at a time. From my GPS trace people might think I drew it with a ruler on the descent of Fan Nedd and the ascent of Fan Llia. Also, pretty much nailed like an arrow the corner cut on the way to Fan Frynach to the fence line - although speaking of that there might be a new way to try for next year...

About the only thing that could improve the race is if Andy B, race organiser, can arrange for the clag to be down next year with 50m visibility - now that would sort the men who can use a compass to the boys that can't....

Back to the Austerberry variation. After extensive data analysis the Austerberry variation wins. I was a massive 16s quicker from the end of Fan Dringarth to the fence by the road below Fan Nedd this year. That doesn't tell the whole story because this year I started that section 3 minutes down on last year so that becomes 16s and I was running slower this year. [Doffs cap, stage left].

I have given much thought to the naming of the route from Fan Frynach to Fan Nedd and in homage to both parties I've decided to use the first part of Judiths name added to the last part of mine, henceforth the route name shall be know as the 'Aus-tin' way...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Needn't Have Worried..

Because it turned out great. I was worried last weeks tomato chutney was going to taste of nothing but vinegar and be a total waste of those precious tomatoes, lovingly grown - okay, there wasn't any love just a watering can and water. The whole kitchen smelt of bloody vinegar for several days after I cooked it up but I needn't have worried. I just made myself a cheese and tomato chutney sandwich and it was lush. Possibly even falling into the category of gert lush. The chutney only went and tasted like proper flippin' chutney, didn't it! I reckon I could sell the stuff - if I had more than one jar, that is.

Anyway, onto things more running related. I had a little pootle over at Bracelands in the Chairman's Challenge score orienteering. I didn't go great. It wasn't a disaster - apart from one control that eluded me quite badly. It's been a while since my last orienteering and I feel I'm back into the map now. My heart wasn't fully in it though and with over ten minutes left I headed back. It was definitely good to get back into it before the proper events start.

And up tomorrow, of course, is the Four Fans Phantasmagorical Fell Race. I'm torn between wanting a nice dry day for a scenic potter in the mountains or for the clag to be right down with zero visibility and potentially a better placing in the race. Let the weather gods decide....

Friday, August 29, 2014

Doing The Double

Should be a good weekend. It's the Chairman's Challenge orienteering up Saturday followed by the Four Fans fell race Sunday. I'm a little disappointed that the Chepstow track thing isn't earlier as I would have had a crack at the 100m, 400m and 1500m as well but when it comes to that or an hours orienteering, the orienteering wins. Would've been good fun on the track though. It's been a few years... Maybe next time - and perhaps with the steeple chase added to the programme...

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Veg Preservation Society...

All that trooping yesterday must have taking in it out of me. Six hours in, how shall I say it, not the most comfortable attire was quite hard work. I was a bit dehydrated - to be fair, better that than the other, it wasn't like I could even cross my legs. I think that led to my rubbish nights sleep but I'm all sorted now.

So anyway, I've been busy in the kitchen. I did get out for a tiny short run but couldn't get into it. So, to the kitchen. I pickled my chillies - ooh, matron. Roasted my peppers - ssh, stop it - and preserved them in olive oil with chilli and garlic. I'm hoping that I will be left with some tasty chilli garlic oil after I've eaten the peppers.

Up then was the bake. A sesame seed sour-dough three plait. The dough had been on the go since Saturday morning! It was a good bake but my plaiting skill requires some honing. Finally, I finished the kitchen business with tomato chutney to use up a) some of the many tomatoes that decided to ripened all at the same time and b) the apples that were just on the turn. At the moment, as it simmers to thicken, it's smells a little too vinegary but I did follow Beryl's Let's Preserve It so I'm hopeful it'll come good in the end...

There was going to be a fifth item on the itinerary but I ran out of steam - well, a bloke can only spend so much time in the kitchen before he actually dissolves! I shall test out my vegan chorizo style sausage on another occasion. It's been interesting research it though and it'll be a mix of various ideas I've read about. Certainly won't have used quinoa before! I know it sounds like a stupid thing to attempt, after all, chorizo, like bacon is flippin lush but it ain't very healthy and I eat too much of it. I reckon a vegetable based alternative, hitting a few of the flavour notes but without the unhealthy elements might be a good thing.

Friday, August 22, 2014

That Worked Quite Well...

A tasty vegetable stir fry for tea. Lacking soy sauce I gambled with balsamic vinegar with a little more salt than normal and a drizzle of sesame oil. Worked really well. Who needs soy sauce?

I've decided not to run the Brecon Beacons. I'm just not fast enough. Going to go for a long run in the heart of the forest instead - keeping away from the Caddihoe out of bounds area of course...

Up Sunday, I'll be 'trooping' over to the Severn Bridge for marshalling duty at the half marathon. Monday? Well, I've no plans at the moment.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Blimey, That Was Odd

I actually went to club training tonight! [pinches self] Ouch! Yes, I really did. It was just the steady run night but I enjoyed it. I put in a reasonable effort. Certainly more than a plod. Twelve and a half kilometres clocked.

I must make more effort to get along much more often. Once in a blue moon is not good enough....

Monday, August 18, 2014

Tuna Mornay Tonight

Crepes filled with tuna mornay, topped with cheese and baked till crispy for tea tonight - but is it right? It was flipping lush but can this be sustained? The main flavour isn't the tuna... it acts as just a source of protein... I find myself questioning...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Almost Stuck Up A Mountain...

Twice, yes twice, I almost ended up stuck up a mountain. The weather was good - claggy on the tops - but otherwise good, so I braved the north ridge of Tryfan. I wasn't going for anything fancy just your bog standard north ridge.

For the main part there are fairly obvious paths to follow. Lots in fact. Once or twice they led me to the precipice, meaning a bit of back tracking. On a couple of the times the back tracking was not so easy - and I was reminded as to why I don't like heights - twas a long way down.....

In a couple of places there was no option to scramble. To say I was slow would've been an understatement and at one point I ended up attempting to be a contortionist but eventually I found myself on the summit of Tryfan. I think it's safe to say rock climb is not ever going to be my thing.

The southern descent wasn't as straightforward as it could've been on account of the low visibility but before long I found the col and made my way up to Glyder Fach. I managed a little bit of wandering on the flat summit, almost coming back round on myself before I decided I best get my compass out. After that it was an easy crossing to get to Glyder Fawr.

As I descended from Glyder Fawr the sun very threatened to break through the mist - but it was only a threat and in the end it didn't. Then I followed the gentle ascent to Y Garn before taking a new path - new to me, not an actual new path - back down to Lyn Ogwen following a north easterly path skirting the edge of Llyn Idwal.

Before long I was back to the van feeling thoroughly knackered. I didn't cover as much ground today as yesterday - and I took an hour longer to not cover it...

Yesterday's Carneddau

It looked like being a really bad one. I arrived just gone midday and promptly started hammering it down. I watched a couple of brave souls - or should that be fools - setting out. Me? I climbed in the back of the van for a nap, hoping that the forecasters where going to get it right for once and that it would brighten through the afternoon.

Fortunately for me they got it right and by 2pm I was hitting the trail. It was far from warm on the ascent of Pen yr Ole Wen mainly on account of strong, cold winds but it was dry and I was happy with that.

The summit was in the clag but as I headed to Dafydd even that lifted. It was still bloody cold though. By the time I reached there the sun was out. I then headed to Llywellyn before taking the east descent back down to the A5 but not before tagging on the minor scramble up Helgi and a lovely, grassy run off.

The only minor disappointment was that last two mile slog along the road. It was always on the cards though. Today, provided conditions permit, I'm looking to head up the north ridge of Tryfan, across the Glyders and then make something up on the return to the van...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Reminisce The Steam Bunny

Well here it is. My little video from Saturday's Steam Bunny Bluff. Been years since I took the ol' video camera out for a run...

Oh, and I've been looking at routes for tomorrow and beyond. Staying with the Carneddau tomorrow and the Crib Lem scramble to Carnedd Dafydd. Friday, the weather 'should' be improving, the north ridge of Tryfan and then Saturday, no scrambling, just a loop up to Snowdon following Bwlch Main and back over Lliwedd.

Obviously all this might change based on conditions on the ground - as they say in the trade...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Been Reading The Cicerone.

Still have no idea what Snowdonia routes to follow this weekend. Am thinking a day on the Glyders. A day on the Carneddau and a pootle over the big one. That, of course, assumes the weather is not totally pants. Friday/Saturday looks alright. At the moment the plan is drive up early Thursday to Ogwen for Glyders or Carneddau. Stay there Friday and then over to Snowdon Saturday and home. All I need to do now is find a couple of scrambles. Nothing too testing - I'm not good with heights - but something I've not done before...

Monday, August 11, 2014

That Almost Went Wrong

I'm off to Snowdonia this weekend. Been a while since I've summited the big one and friends. Was planning on running The Four Fans race on the way back home. The only problem with that plan - and it's only a small problem - is the race isn't this Sunday. I'm really not sure how it ended up in the calendar for this Sunday since it's actually at the end of the month. I am just glad I checked things out before heading away. It would not have been a good end to what I hope will be a good few days in the mountains to be hanging around the Storey Arms car park waiting for no one else to arrive... I've arrived an hour late before, I even missed one race a whole day late but never have I been two weeks early. That would've been a new one on me. Disaster averted.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

What A Cracking Day

An early start and a long one but good. I arrived in Hay just as the race briefing for the inaugural Steam Bunny Bluff fell race was ending but then I wasn't really needed for that anyway. My job for the day, together with fellow sweeper Paul, was to run slowly at the back - not a problem. Fast at the front would've been an issue but slow at the back, easy peasy lemon squeezy. Having said that, I feel like I've been run over by a bus. My legs are aching more now than after my recce, some 90 minutes faster.

Conditions were pretty much as perfect as they could be for a 24 mile fell race. It looked like being a tad too hot for a moment there but as the race got under way the cloud came over a bit to give a little shade. The wind was pretty calm all though it blew a bit more strongly on Pen y Gadir Fawr across to Waun Fach. Not entirely unwelcome. There was even a little rain as we approached the last few check points - again not entirely unwelcome. In all we were out there for just about 6 hours and 30 minutes and I am now feeling pretty knackered. That's the longest time on feet for some considerable time.

Well done to Wheeze and all the marshals for making it all possible and well done to the runners for well, running. I think things went off pretty much without a hitch on the day. This is a good race, following a lovely route and deserves to become a permanent fixture in the calendar. Let's get the advertising campaign under way for next years race....

Friday, August 08, 2014

Looking Forward To A Bit Of Sweeping

I think I'm all set for tomorrow's Steam Bunny fell race. Okay, I've not readied anything but then I only need my standard race kit plus a few bits and bobs. Should be fun, a weighty seven hours in the sunny Black Mountains. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Been A Bit Of A Lazy Week

I decided I needed a recuperational week - and I really haven't done much. I've prepped myself for sweeping duties in South Wales' newest long fell race, the Steam Bunny Bluff, though. It is definitely going to be a looong day. The race starts at 10am and I reckon I'll not be back to Hay till at least 5pm! Might try and find myself a race for Sunday - but not if the threatened storm hits...

Sunday, August 03, 2014

My Legs Feel Okay

Perhaps I didnt run fast enough yesterday. My quads are a little sore though and I found a cut on my right ankle. I whacked it - sssh, stop it - on the drop off Bessy Boot yesterday but didn't think I'd cut the surface. No permanent damage though. Should be fit to run embarrassingly slowly at the LCL race on Tuesday.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

1st Place!

Oh, um, typo, 201st place. I had a mare. Conditions were terrible and I was out there battling Borrowdale for far too long. Way outside my target. 4:55. I'm not impressed. Having said that, it was a tad more challenging than I was expecting. With driving rain for three hours, drizzle for an hour and the bonus of an hour without rain it was not hugely fun. Add with strong winds and stormy gusts, pleasant it was not.

I set off mid pack and started okay. I got to Bessy Boot in good shape just a minute outside my target. From there to Esk Hause was were it all started to unravel. Running head long into driving rain and rough, boggy terrain pretty much destroyed me. By the time I reached Esk Hause I was ten minutes down.

By the time I hit Scafell Pike, with more battling against the wind and rain I was further adrift. And don't mention the rocks. I nearly came to disaster a few times. It was like they were made of ice and after those few times I slowed to a crawl across the rocks from then on. Better to survive in one piece to run another day. Then after the scree descent off Scafell Pike my shoes were full of bloody grit. I ran on for a time before I had to stop, struggled to undo my double knots, but eventually managed to get them emptied.

The corridor wasn't the speedy descent I was hoping for. I just had to take it steady in order not to kill myself or worse, break a leg, on the slippery stones. Half way up the Great Gable ascent I was reaching sense of humour failure. I just wanted it to end.

The run to Honister didn't improving things much and by Dalehead I was down to a slow crawl. The ascent took forever - and then with my legs drained, so did the descent. I still managed to overtake a few people though - obviously suffering more than me. Possibly the worst part was when the car park came into view and knowing it was still over two agonising miles away.

The silver lining was that at least I showed how soft us 'southern softies' are - not very. I was the only person I saw who didn't at some point put their waterproof jacket on. There just wasn't any point really. It wasn't cold, a bit cooler on the tops but let's face it you didn't hang around there long and with the rain the way it was, a light weight waterproof wasn't going to keep it out for that length time.

The final insult, and I kid you not. Literally - and I can use it here as it's been redefined by the OED - the moment I crossed the line the bloody sun came out. I kid you not. I entered the finish tent to drizzle, exited, all of ten seconds later and the sun was shining. Impressed I was not.

Didn't hang around long, got some food in me and then headed home on the five hour drive, hitting some pretty scary lightning storms on the M6. Home safe in the end though...

Friday, August 01, 2014

It's Looking Decidedly Damp

I'm all packed just need to hop in the van later and set sail for the north for tomorrow's Borrowdale fell swim - er, I mean fell race. Have you seen the forecast? It looks grimmer than the reaper himself. I don't know whether to wear my shorts or a pair of swimming trunks. At least it doesn't look like it's going to be cold, so that's a silver lining.

To the race itself, I've worked out some splits. How accurate they'll be is anyone's guess. Starting from the premise that I don't really know how fit or otherwise I am at the moment, I've picked a 4 hour 10 minute target - where the hell did I get that from? No, I don't know either. Anyway, that's the target. Trying to work that into splits is even more random considering the terrain. So for the record, here they are;

Bessy Boot 00:45
Esk Hause 1:30 (0:45)
Scafell Pike 2:00 (0:30)
Styhead 2:20 (0:20)
Clark Gable 2:50 (0:30)
Honister Pass 3:15 (0:25)
Dalehead 3:45 (0:30)
Finish 4:10 (0:25)

I've got my maps printed and have a feeling I might be needing them. It's going to be low visibility so it'll be a good test of navigation. I've run bits of the route before. Bessy Boot to Esk Hause will be new to me as will be Honister to Dalehead and down. It's only 17 miles with 6,500 feet over some of the best rugged bits the Lakes have to offer. Should be fun...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Race Plan

So I've got my race plan sorted till the autumn. In two days time, the Borrowdale fell race. The weekend after, sweeper at the Steam Bunny Bluff. 23rd August, Brecon Beacons fell race - clockwise, anticlockwise? Who knows. 31st, Four Fans - won't be running out of energy this time - then up on the 20th and 21st September, the RogueRuns Mini Mountain Marathon followed by the Black Mountains race at the end of September.

Sounds like a plan...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One More Day Till The Weekend

Yep, that'll be me done after tomorrow. I was going to head to the Lakes Thursday but now I'm running, maybe even racing, Borrowdale - also in, said Lakes - I'm going to go for an easy run Thursday, plan things and chill before heading up Friday. Depending upon how knackered I am after Saturday I'll either stay for a Sunday run or head home after the race. Quite looking forward to it. Lakes Classic number two, here I come...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Well Next Weeks Borrowdale Forecast Looks Iffy

... Happy days - sorry Judith. Looks like it's going to be operation thumb compass with map to hand. That said it might all change be next Saturday. Also, that said, I've only run there a few times so my local knowledge is limited to that of a foreigner.... At least I might not need the water bladder...

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Up, Up and Down

Waun Fach. I think I have covered pretty much all the bases on the best descent route off Waun Fach to the north end of the Grwyne Reservoir. I 'ran' up twice and descended once. Add to that my previous recce and that's four different routes but I'm confident I know which is the best one...

I set off from the Blaen-y-cwm car park just before eleven, sun-blocked to the max and carrying a full platypus water bag of carb drink. One things was not in doubt. It was going to be a scorcher. I headed north-east along the main path, gently upwards to the reservoir. Unusually for the Black Mountains, there were lots of people out there.

From the there I headed up to Waun Fach, testing route B - route A having been used on my first recce a few weeks ago. It wasn't too bad. Slightly indirect, as was A but not hugely rough going. Once at Waun Fach I and headed north along the ridge as planned and then back down the valley, back to the reservoir for ascent number two, using route C. A more direct route but steeper and more of the rough stuff.

Once to the top I turned tail, following route D, to return, once again, to the northern end of the reservoir. This was a deviation from my original plan as I had intended to head to Pen-y-G but my spidey-senses had tingled while I was ascending via C and so I made up route D on the spur of the moment - are you keeping up?

There's no way to eliminate all of the rough ground. There simply is no single path that links the top to the bottom but I think, in D, I have the winner. At least half the distance follows sheep trods and that makes the running much easier. The descent is also averaged out over the distance about as much as it can be. Again, it adds a small but of distance but I reckon you can recover that and make a profit.

Once back to the reservoir, I ran back down the path to the car while attempting to inject a bit of pace but by 'eck were it hot - that's a bit of practice at speaking northern for next week when I head to Borrowdale. Considering the heat - and I'm generally not good when it gets hot - I feel I went okay. I was round the 20k route with its 700m of ascent in two and a half hours and that included a bit of stopped time. The water bag worked well as I was able to keep at pace and drink steadily through the run. Something I'm not good at when using either a) a water bottle or b) streams.

Anyway, I shan't be attempting any further recce's. That's me done. I have the route and will sweep like a champion...

Friday, July 25, 2014

Got My Route Planned

Going to head to the Grwyne valley. Run to the reservoir and up to Waun Fach followed by a run along the ridge north and then back down the valley to the reservoir. Back up to Waun Fach by route number two before skipping over to PYG and back down to the car - won't actually be skipping...

And when will this sticky heat end? I am sweating while not even moving.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Heading Back Out To The Steam Bunny

This weekend I shall be heading back out to test a few more theories surrounding the Waun Fach descent. I want to mix it in with a long run. Probably not massively long because of the heat but I need to acclimatise to it just in case. Borrowdale, next week, could be a nightmare if this heat persists. Might even have to wear the water pack for it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

And Now For Something Random....

Vacuuming is almost fun with the little smiley face of Henry following you around. Can't believe I continued with a certain type of cyclone vacuum for so long. Recently said cyclone broke, and almost falling over on seeing the cost of a replacement I went with the half cost alternative - the smiler. Anyway, can't type all day, I've some dirt to scatter on the floor...

Monday, July 21, 2014

I'm In - Are You?

Well, provided I pass the entry conditions [winks at camera]. I'm talking about the inaugural RogueRuns Mini Mountain Marathon towards the end of September. I think it might just be my thing. Like a mountain marathon but without the scabby 'camping in a microscopic tent' bit. I'm in for the long linear in my beloved Black Mountains, west side - that's the rough bit in case you're in doubt. Don't think we'll see any of that Motorway quality trail to Pen y Fan - thank goodness.

I think it'll be a cracker. There's limited entry this first year and it's an absolute bargain - no, I'm not on the payroll, honest. It'll be the best few quid you'll ever spend. Seriously, if you want to dip your toe in the mountain marathon waters you'll not do better than having a go in this one. Google it. You know it makes sense...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Muggy Malverns

I went for the tried and tested out and back across the Malverns, starting and finishing from Hollybush - that's the southern end. It's a route that combines a long run with a hill session. The hills are all short and sharp. Some sharper than others and to be fair I struggled. I think I struggled more with the weather conditions than the hills though. Although looking back I was pretty feeble. The mugginess was horrible. I got really hot and it didn't help that an energy gel leaked in my bumbag so then I ended up getting hot and sticky. The gel got on everything - not good.

There were loads of people out enjoying the hills today but the views weren't as good as they can be. Seemed more than normal but that doesn't seem to be helping the paths from getting overgrown. A few of the early sections were quite overgrown. Hence the reason I'm sporting a fair number of bramble scratches and nettle stings.

I slightly spoilt the finish of the run. From Midsummer Hill I followed the left path towards Pillow Mound - yes, it's really called that. I've never tried it before and there were a few path off-shoots from it - one of which I should have followed, because before long the path I was following started to head in the wrong direction. I followed it for a bit to see if it would turn back in the right direction but it didn't. So then I decided - rather stupidly as it turns out - to try and cut back through the woods. Fail. I eventually ended up back on the path having had to abort on account of requiring a machete to continue. Yes, it would have been easier just to have back tracked along the path in the first place - but where's the fun in that?

Anyway, eventually I picked up the correct path a before long arrived back at the car. Was I ever hot though. I was practically melting and when I opened the car door the heat wave nearly took my eyebrows off. In all I covered 21km with almost 830m of ascent in a fairly slow 2 hours 15 minutes - seasonally adjusted the hiccup at the finish.

Haven't decided what I'm doing tomorrow. I think I'll probably give the Waun Fach fell race a miss but I might re-recce some of the Steam Bunny Bluff to work out the best descent line off Waun Fach and in the process catch the race at the summit.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

And That Makes Three

Well I made it across to Caerleon for the LCL Road Race tonight and I didn't go too badly. Didn't set the world on fire but I think I ran about as hard as I could have. I certainly pushed myself into the sick zone on both of the last climbs and the finish sprint.

I went off steadily, towards the back of the field and warmed myself into the race. Picking up places the entire way. It's surprising how much that helps. At first I made big gains but by half way things were more settled but I continued to steadily edged my way past runner after runner until the finish.

I finished the 9.7km in a non-too-speedy 44:45 but it my defense - and this sounds like operation excuses excuses - it is a reasonably tough, undulating course and more importantly, I am very very slow these days...

Glad I ran though. I'm going to try and put some more road races in my race calendar. Let's face it. Trying to knuckle down to some speed sessions, at this stage is going to be a bit optimistic so for now I will try and use a few road races as my training. It's worked for me in the past so hopefully will again. This all sounds a bit like deja vu but I really am going to try this time - honest Guv!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Unfortunately It Wasn't Full...

So it looks like I'm off to run the Borrowdale fell race at the start of August - bloody lucky me! My entry arrived this morning. I have just nineteen days to hone my fitness and speed, oh, and strength, come to think of it, I could do with a bit of improvement on my ascending as well. On the plus side, I think I should be okay on the descent as borne out by my splits from the Pen y Fan race. I think I have the stamina for it at least. I might not go quick these days but I can still go long - ssh, no, stop it. The one thing that is not in doubt is that it's going to be a tough one.

It's been a couple of years since I reccied the route and even then I didn't do the entire thing. A look at the map might well be in order. Having said that, I'll be heading up Wednesday night before or early Thursday so I might go for a few short, slow reccies of a few of the easily accessible bits. And I guess I need to sort out a few locations to stay. In the end I might actually have to book a campsite for once - almost unheard of for me! Any suggestions?

So, to tonight and I am resting. I've an extremely important race tomorrow night and I need to be fully recovered from the weekend. To be fair I'm not actually feeling too bad. By tomorrow I should be firing on all of my 0.17 cylinders...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Two Down, Forgot About Tuesday, So One More To Go

So I had a good race today and timed myself somewhere in the ballpark of where I expected. Today's effort was possibly slightly improved on a time/ratio/cost-analysis basis - not sure of that last bit - when comparing yesterday and today with my efforts back in 2011.

The weekend's weather was far better than the forecast led us to believe with only the merest smattering of rain last night and absolutely nothing during either race. I won't grumble and say it was almost too sunny today - doh! It was a bit of a scorcher.

As to today's race. My quads felt sore before the start but not overly stiff. I set off mid pack with the intention of not getting carried away early on. That worked out okay as I was able to grind out most of the climb although I was reduced to a walk in the first, steeper section and a couple of other steep bits. For the most I was able to plod away, ever onwards and upwards.

I started to over take people as the summit of Fan-y-Big came into view so my plan of a steady start worked to some degree. The ridge run, as always, seemed to have more frequent and steeper undulations than memory would suggest but I held steady before picking up six places on the rough but gentle descent.

Three of those places I politely handed back once I reached the road section for the last mile and a half. My pace on the tarmac can only be described as pitiful, as three racing whippets came storming past - and a fourth, Nikki M, was trying her best to emulate them but fortunately for me, the finish arrived just soon enough.

I didn't wait around for the results, feeling somewhat discombobulated I decided it was home time. All in all, it's been a good way to while away a sunny weekend. I've even managed to catch some of that sun - didn't think to apply the sun-block, what with the iffy forecast. I might pay for that later when my shoulders feel on fire...

Up Tuesday is the LCL Road Race where I will be, once again, donning the blue and red for Chepstow - although, with my poor performance on the tarmac today, I'm not sure how much of a dent I will make in the score sheet but I'll try my best - as always I do, when I'm wearing the vest - nice.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

One Down, One To Go

It was a sparkling day - to start with at least. The tops disappeared into the mist half an hour from the start but the rain held off until much later in the day.

It wasn't my greatest ever race but I performed in the ballpark I expected. I did not ascend very well, resorting to walk jog walk jog but I got to the summit - eventually and a lot slower than the last time.

The descent was better, managing to approach somewhere near my previous races. It will be interesting to compare my splits and positions for the ascent and descent. I could be top twenty in one - and a long way from that in the other...

So that's one down, one to go but my legs are feeling it from the crashing descent. Maybe they'll recover... Bring on Fan y Big tomorrow - ooh matron, sounds a bit rude!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Not One But Two...

Runs today! What the hell was I thinking? I ran five miles, on the road at a steady pace and then five more back, at a almost imperceptibly quicker pace. It was quicker but only by a couple of minutes so not a drastic increase but an increase never the less.

I'm all set for tomorrow's double. Okay, I'm not really. Haven't readied a thing but then I really only have to chuck some running kit in the van, fill the water tank, pack some grub and hit the ignition... As to whether I my ignition works, out there on the fell, is an entirely different matter. It's been three years since I last ran the Pen y Fan race, my time then was round about the 43 minute mark, with a descent time of 10-11 minutes. I'll use those to gauge things. Thirty one to the top?... One can dream.

I've got a couple of stop-over locations picked out so I won't have the an hour and a half drive there and back twice. Oh, that reminds me, add 'reading material' to the packing list. With the stop-over planned that can only mean that the Fan y Big race is go. Funnily, it's also been three years since I last ran that as well - who'd have thought? My time then was 1 hour and 32 minutes. To be honest I'll be happy if I can get inside an hour forty.

And if I survive that, I'll be in action Tuesday night on the pancake flat Caerleon LCL Road Race - four runs in five days, haven't been there for a while...

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Well I've Sent My Entry Off...

Can't find any info on whether there are still places available. It's a popular race so, in the words of Mr Eastwood, playing the esteemed crime fighter Harry Callahan in the film Sudden Impact, I might be 'shit out of luck' but I thought I'd send off an entry anyway. Oh, yeah, I should mention I'm talking about the Borrowdale fell race. Bouyed by my recce last Saturday I feel confident I am fit enough to challenge...... the cut off times :-)

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Tonight's Decision

So I've decided. I am going to run the double this weekend. The next decision is do l head to the Lakes on the 17th or the Peak District? I think it should be the Peak District. I've only ever run there once before - and that was for a race during the middle of the night so I've never actually "seen" any of it. After that I've another trip north at the end of the month and that will be to the Lakes, no questions - and if Borrowdale isn't full I'll give that a crack while I'm there...

Monday, July 07, 2014

Almost Decided

I haven't done the double for a few years now so I am quite tempted. Saturday's 24 miler has shown me that I'm not that unfit - slow, yes - but unfit, no. Not sure l ran either last year... I am, of course, talking about the Brecon Fans weekend of the Pen-y-Fan and Fan-y-Big fell races. l think it will be a good training session to do the double. Not sure I'll be in too good a shape for the LCL Road Race the Tuesday after though. That'd be further decent training though... Three races in four days? ... I've almost convinced myself...

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Surprised How Good My Legs Feel

The soles of my feet are on fire, mind, but my legs don't really feel stiff at all. Have to say after yesterday's epic recce I was expecting to have lost the ability to walk.

It's been a day of chilling. Marked up the Steam Bunny Bluff route on my mapping software. Went out on the bike for an hour. Fiddled with my sourdough - oooh, matron. Had a little nap in the afternoon. Made bacon pizza - lush - and watching Johnny English Reborn. Hap - pleasant times...

Saturday, July 05, 2014

24 Miles! The Tin Only Said 22!

Yes, I went for a recce of the Steam Bunny Bluff today - I'm taking my duty as sweeper seriously - and despite not deviating from the official route, turns out to be almost 24 miles (with close to 6,000 feet of ascent). That's a lot of twisting and turning to add on two extra miles!

I went over with Pat W and despite not being hugely fit - me not him - he managed to somehow drag me round in a rather pleasing 5hrs 4minutes and that included some ten/fifteen minutes of stoppage, checking the route and such. Over all it's a pretty good route with some great views if the weather permits - like it did today for example, almost had to reach for the sun-block.

Right, so now to the important matter of the extra miles. Where did they come from? Did someone secretly place them into the bumbag while we weren't looking? Okay, we did go wrong in the first mile, along Offa's Dyke, missing the way marker - school boy error - but we knew exactly where we were so no harm done and that didn't account for any extra. Then there was the one or two other little variations and investigations - as you do on a recce else what's the point? The biggest of which was on the Waun Fach descent where we changed our minds and looped back a little but wouldn't have been more than a few hundred yards. Nope I simply reckon it's a 23.5mile fell race - but there's no harm in that.

I also tried out my secret route improvement. Turns out it's a couple hundred yards longer but, and read this carefully, I shall say this only once, two minutes quicker. Pat went the standard way and I trusted my spiddy senses. We both attempted to remain at the same effort level so I think it's fair to say it was quicker. Two minutes quicker - oops, I said it again.

Really can't stress how pleased I am to have got round in such reasonably order. I was tired come the end but not completely out for the count. I don't deserve to be at the level of fitness I am but I'll take it. With some commitment I could be good again...

Friday, July 04, 2014

Looks Like A Wet One

Off to recce South Wales newest fell race tomorrow, the Steam Bunny Bluff. Looks like I might get a little wet. Added to that is the fact that 22 miles and much ascent over rough mountain is not going to be a walk in the park. I could be out there a while...

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Not An Unpleasant Trot

Not my finest but not a total disgrace all things considered. The things to consider, mainly my total lack of fitness and the absence of any proper training - in fact, the absence of any training at all.

My time was only a minute slower than last year. I feel quite positive really. If I can cover the ground like I did on the training I haven't done then I could actually be dangerous with even a little focus...

As to my race tonight, I think I ran it pretty optimally. I started mid-pack. Taking care to ease along the 2km flat section. That left me in good sted for the steady climb where I went, well, steadily. Strangely I got a stitch as I approached the top - work that out? I went well across the top before the mad downhill charge. I picked up places the entire way but got a stitch again on that downhill. I lost one place in the final 400m but as it was I was on the edge of being sick so there wasn't anything I could do.

Thanks to all the Chepstow Harriers out the marshalling and helping. Another well organised race. Top job.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Got To Have The Trots

Chepstow Harriers Tintern Trot, that is. Tomorrow at around 7:40pm I will be rudely reminded of what a tough little race the TT is. I say 7:40, the race starts at 7:30 but it's not till the end of the flat section that the race begins - or as I say, the pain ensues - that would be the start of the climb then...

It will be interesting to see how un-close I get to last year's time of 46:37. I suspect quite a lot un-close but I might be surprised. One can live in hope...

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Week Ahead

Going to try and get across the bridge over the river Wye for Thursday's Tintern Trot. Saturday I'm heading out for a recce of this summers new south Wales long fell race, the Steam Bunny Bluff. As official sweeper I feel it's my duty to become one with the route...

Had a pair of new visitors to the bird feeder this afternoon - or more correctly, the spill from the feeder. A pair of pheasants came walking past.

Managed a run this morning and tomorrow it's back to the gridstone...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Yep, Definitely Still Too Old For This Shit

Been another brill Butlins but my oh my am I feeling it now. I can hardly keep my eyes open. Wasn't the best drive home though. Diverted down the 38 and through Bristol to avoid gridlock on the five. Didn't lose too much time.

Well done to the hardcore crew staying the final night. I salute you.

The ritual of the Saturday morning hangover run took place once again. I was joined, as last year, by Amanda and Simon, as we headed south to the hills above Minehead. We managed smack on 10k and didn't really get wet - so that was nice.

And soon I think I shall be asleep until Tuesday...

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Party Time...

Despite the best efforts to thwart it, the summer party will go on. Butlins. Party time. Bring it on.

All being well I will get out for the ritual Saturday recovery run out of Minehead - and I'm not meaning race recovery. Have had a bit of a map failure so it might well be along the coastal path because I know the route well but I'd like to head inland this year. Maybe, reaching the Dunkery Beacon.

Just need the weather to pick up a little and then it'll be all systems go...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gone A Bit Volunteer Crazy

Not sure what the hell happened but I've volunteered to help with the Severn Bridge Half Marathon - sign up if you haven't already, how many times do you get to run over the original (and best!?) Severn Bridge? And to follow that up I've signed up to be sweeper at the inaugural Steam Bunny Bluff fell race. Think I must have got a knock on the head or something!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I Managed To Gather

Really enjoyed last nights night race - probably on account of my third place overall and first vet. It was a good, gnarly, twisty route - or should that be twisted, having made us get wet feet crossing a stream within fifty metres of the start. It was a shame that a few more people didn't turn up to run because of those that did I think most would have agreed it was a good race. Having said that, if there had been more I wouldn't have been in the prizes.

I'm pleased how I ran but my lack of fitness is still quite telling when it comes to a faster paced run. I managed to hold second place for the first, shorter lap. With Rich C taking the lead in the first few hundred metres I let him get on with it.

I began to fade on the main climb at the far end of the course on the second lap and was soon overtaken by the eventual second place man and also the fourth - he'd run the Malvern Marathon in the morning so I was firmly put in my place. I managed to recapture third spot across the top, on the way back in but by then I was puffing somewhat so was more keen just to end the pain than worry about my finishing position.

Thanks to RogueRuns for a great night race.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lovely Day To Make Sourdough Bread, Not So Good For Orienteering..

I have to say I was total pants at today's summer orienteering. It's more practice than serious competition - and boy do I need the practice. My navigation wasn't that far off on any of the controls but somehow I just didn't seem to home in on the exact spot. I think I managed to run almost directly over a couple of controls with spotting them before faffing around trying to work out where they could be. Controls two, six and eight were the worst on that front. From my gps I can see I must have practically rubbed against the control kite on my first approach. The last was also particularly poor but by then I'd lost the will to live. I'm going to lay some of the blame on the fact that the undergrowth is more overgrowth at the moment. At one point I almost had to get out my machete to hack through the jungle of bracken!

Have to say my control of the map and compass is improving though. Despite not actually finding many of the controls quickly I really feel I was putting myself in the right place. I made a few dodgy route choices but overall I'm keeping control of my location to the map far better with the new technique. So I'll take away a bit of positive from an otherwise poor showing.

On a more important matter. I've a sourdough loaf on the go and in a few hours it'll be ready for the oven with a bit left for pizza. Then after that I'm off to some bloody stupid night race wot some RogueRunners have organised. 22:15 I asks you? What time for a race start is that? Been a while since I've double raced in a day - and I might just finish on the same day if I don't get lost...