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!