So anyway, my arms and abs are aching so I decided to take a full rest day today - although I have been into work so it's not like I've spent the day in bed. I'll be back on it tomorrow - and you can take that to the bank.
Thursday, December 31, 2015
So anyway, my arms and abs are aching so I decided to take a full rest day today - although I have been into work so it's not like I've spent the day in bed. I'll be back on it tomorrow - and you can take that to the bank.
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
I followed a slightly different format today - nothing quite like mixing it up a little. Oh yeah baby, I like to live it on the edge! Thirty minutes on the bike followed by the row and then another thirty on the bike with core strength reps to finish.
Tomorrow's plans to work from home have been thrown into disarray by an bit of an emergency in work so I'll be in Bristol first thing. Grrh.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Of course, I followed the row with forty five on the bike before the core strength work. Beginning to feel good about things. There is no sign of the sagging bits becoming less saggy yet but then it has only been eight days. 2016 could be the year....
Monday, December 28, 2015
Other than that, it's been a welcome few days off from the hustle and bustle. The only downside is that my oven has broken - boo. It's only the element though and the replacement should be here by midweek.
Sunday, December 27, 2015
Still feel a bit bloaty but better than yesterday. Followed the row by the bike and of course the abs and pull-ups. I might take a rest day tomorrow before heading back to the grindstone that is work on Tuesday.
On other matters, I finally managed to get to the supermarket. Mind you, I almost turned away when I was confronted with another very full car park. What the hell is wrong with people? Last Tuesday - chockers. Last Wednesday - chockers. Last Thursday - chockers. Saturday - Chockers. Today - chockers. Some people need to take a long look at themselves. If it wasn't for the fact I haven't been to the shops for almost two weeks and have practically nothing left except soursough starter and flour I'd probably turned back. Hopefully I now have enough food to see me through to the new year when the madness of people will be back to the normal levels of madness.
Saturday, December 26, 2015
Away from the training, I've been feeling a bit bloaty today. Hopefully a good nights sleep will fix that.
Friday, December 25, 2015
Thursday, December 24, 2015
Now I'm not going to get ahead of myself and these are very early days but with each session done I feel driven towards completing the next. I've even rolled out the big guns - the heart rate monitor - to gauge improvement in my fitness, keep me focused and inspire me onwards and upwards. I can feel some graphs coming to the training log spreadsheet. I do love a good spreadsheet...
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Anyway, I managed another good exercise session tonight. Another 2000m row, sixty minutes on the bike, ab-crunches and pull-ups. I'm now sporting an aching stomach and crooked neck. I've also put my training log on my blog. Nobody will view but hopefully it will act like a psychological carrot - or something like that.
Monday, December 21, 2015
I'm going to start with a cardio routine of rowing and bike and crunches, pull-ups and push ups for core strength. I want something I can do easily after work with minimal chance of making excuses. I should be able to accurately monitor my fitness level and once I'm ready I can start again...
Thursday, December 03, 2015
Tuesday, December 01, 2015
Saturday, November 28, 2015
I had quite a good run in the end. Didn't make any really big errors. A few small ones here. A couple of slightly non-optimal route choices there. Before I knew it, it was over. I was damp to the bones by the end and.. cold, so very very cold - okay I wasn't that cold but I was certainly happy to be standing under a piping hot shower forty minutes later.
Thinking of emigrating...
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Thursday, November 12, 2015
The Bull something race sounds interesting. There is a route choice near the end. One route is steep. The other less so. I think we can all guess which route I shall be taking...
Saturday, November 07, 2015
The day started pretty much the same way yesterday finished - putting out controls in the pouring ran. Thankfully I got the remaining controls out in just over an hour - still long enough to get soaked to the skin and beyond. Fortunately Vera was along for the ride so I was able to do a full kit change and get myself warm and dry - but not before I taped one section of the course and the route to the start.
After a hour assisting at the start the rain finally stopped and unbelievably the sun came out. After the peak had subsided I headed back to the registration area for a chat and to watch the weary runners returning and before long it was time to head back out to collect the controls. The assistance of Pete W was invaluable and there's no way I'd have completed the process inside half an hour of the courses closing without his help - nor, in fact the whole planning thing. His help was brilliant.
Planning aside, the highlight of the day was informing Andy C that the control he struggled with towards the end was also a control on the yellow course... (that's the least technical course for those not in the know).
Friday, November 06, 2015
Five batches placed, I covered about 10k in the process. Even managed to fit in a few hill reps. Two thirds are now in place and good to go. I should add that today's were the furthest placed controls so tomorrow's one third will be easier - I hope. Can't say I won't be glad once it's all over. It has been quite hard work, not to mention time consuming. But then again, without people stepping up and committing their time to the cause there would be no orienteering for anyone.
Sunday, November 01, 2015
Saturday, October 31, 2015
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Here's hoping tomorrow won't be so shitty...
Monday, October 26, 2015
I've taken it all very restful today. An easy half hour on the exercise bike to gently work the sore muscles. Harvested the last of this years chilli crop and pruned the plants back ready to over winter and harvested the last of the tomatoes. Might make some more tomato chutney as the latch was lush.
Ah well, back to the grindstone...
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Now I'm not really one for getting overly excited about race medals these days. The first couple are nice but after that they don't really mean much. In the case of yesterday's race though, I'm quite proud of myself. It was a war of attrition out there and I was a little worried I might not make it - Strava (gps track now posted) does actually prove I went the distance. And it's quite a nice looking medal...
More details of the race itself. I took it out too hard. There was a cut off at the far end of the course, 15k out - and was slightly worried of missing it! As it turned out I had more time than I estimated and so should have gone out a little easier. That said I would still have died but maybe not in such a calamitous fashion.
The low point was on the second to last climb. A long uppy-downy climb to Slieve Commedagh. Having made the decision to carry on after the second descent of Slieve Bearnagh I realised, a few metres ahead, that I was only just able to keep pace with a group of elderly women walkers. Thankfully I did manage to burn them off eventually...
The high light of my race was the descent off the final summit, Slieve Donard, the highest in the Mournes. Looking through various other Stravas, my split holds up well to runners finishing an hour ahead! If only I had done some training...
And for information, Channel 4 were out filming the race, to be shown sometime in November. There probably isn't much likelihood I'll make the final cut but it's probable the second woman will.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
That was one of the hardest race I've ever run. 35km with 2850m of ascent. And me such an under trained, unfit lard arse. I very nearly called it quits after the descent from penultimate penultimate ascent. The head said I'm too knackered to continue, there being a lower altitude way back from where I was but the heart said sod that. Man the hell up.
I'm glad I completed but by god I suffered. 100th place. A late afternoon nap awaits - especially since I got almost no sleep last night with some bloke in the dorm snoring for Britain.
Thursday, October 22, 2015
Monday, October 19, 2015
On the upside, this weeks Mourne Skyline race is going to be expectation free. There's no pressure - other than getting around before the cut off... Plus I have five days away from work - that's a pretty big upside in my book in the current climate of fear and uncertainty!
Thursday, October 15, 2015
It's not long now until the Mourne Skyline race and I am so not ready for it I think I might very well die. Still, I'm looking forward to it on the grounds that I will be far far far away from the shambles that is the restructuring at work. It will be the first time in many many months that I will have turned the work phone off - and rest assured it will being staying off for the entire time. Having it's very own holiday - if you will - resting at the bottom of a very deep drawer...
Sunday, October 11, 2015
I've tried my best to avoid the worst of the brambles and brashings but without keeping the courses on the main tracks there's going to be a few rough bits...
And don't forget (cause you'll need 'em), you can get your GaiterBlades(tm) from MadRunner.com for just $99.99 - brambles are so yesterday....
Thursday, October 08, 2015
Sunday, October 04, 2015
On a lighter note, I managed to get over to Trellech and I think - touch wood - that I'm within touching distance of everything being sorted...
Saturday, October 03, 2015
I took the direct line up. I took the direct line down - see my Strava. I can't really comment on whether it worked or not because I am so far from fit it's difficult to gauge where'd I have finished if I had taken the conventional route. Will probably try it again next year...
After the race a few of us went for a pootle up Corn Du. Well after an hour and a half drive to get there it feels wrong to only run a mile up a hill and a mile back down again... Not a bad way to spend an autumnal Saturday afternoon. We even got some sunshine!
Back over to Trellech tomorrow...
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Monday, September 28, 2015
Saturday, September 19, 2015
All was going to plan. I rolled up to the event, checked in. Collected my map, marked my controls and set off at about 9:42..
I had a little hiccup at control one. Not a disaster and I didn't waste too much time finding it. The problem I have with the Harvey's Map is what I like to call the "That's not a knife. This IS a knife!" quote from Crocodile Dundee. For a feature to make the Harvey's it has to be BIG, really BIG. Where there might be lot's of crags, only the BIG ones make it onto the map. Control one was more a rock face than a crag amongst many crags. A re-entrant is more a valley on the Harvey's. A sink hole, practically a small mine. You get the picture. Anyway, my error at control one helped me for the rest of the route and hopefully the rest of my Harvey's map usage...
With control one in the bag I then proceeded to cock up control two. It was more a case of not concentrating and planning properly than anything else so I take the hit. Again, didn't lose too much time.
Control three presented no problems but on the way to four I had a bit of a mishap. I fair f*(%ed down while crossing a the river. My foot just slipped from beneath me and I cracked my right knee good and proper but saved myself from a soaking with my quick reflexes although I did manage to flip one of my fingernails back on itself - not at all painful and of course there was no profanities spoken - like f*(% there wasn't!
My knee didn't feel to bad so I decided to carry on. Control four was okay - although it always helps when you come across a fellow competitor searching for the same control who starts waving at his partner when he's found it...
I took some good lines to the next two controls and wasted no time - other than my pedestrian pace - checking them off. Control seven was a longish slog but I knew the route there well as did I the route to eight and in both cases covered the distance pretty decently.
My nemesis was number nine, the last. It started off well as I ran under the Fan Hir ridge, knowing there was a bit of a path there. But once I got back up top it all went utterly Pete Tong.With probably less than 3km of actual distance to go I was feeling pretty good and with fifty minutes left to break the six hour mark I was feeling good... (apart from the slightly hurting knee).
From that point it all went wrong. Tussocks! I never every want to here the word again.EVER! My progress slowed to a crawl. The tussocks really didn't help my knee, causing much twisting and hurting.
Half way across the tussocks I tripped and my right leg cramped up. Hadn't felt any twitches before that. Spent three or four minutes sat in the tussock stretching before I moved on. Even more slowly than before. A few minutes later I fell into a deep tussock. Practically up to my chest and I could feel the cramp coming on again. I slightly panicked but also tried to relax. And just stood, feet underwater, trying to stay relaxed and stave off another bought of cramp which would have had much worse consequences.
From there I was even slower and just wanted to get back in one piece. My knee was starting to full on hurt so I was reduced to checking almost every step was going to make good contact with solid ground... I eventually made it to the valley bottom crossed the river and climbed up to control nine.
I was then back on the path for a bit before cutting off on a short-cut off piste and down to the finish. Never have I been more glad to make it back - and I wasn't last! Fourth of five with six non-finishers. I'll take that as a result. I've taken the sensible decision and hung up my running shoes for the weekend and decided to call it a day on tomorrow. With the Black Mountains race next weekend I really can't afford to do more damage.
I'm disappointed not to run tomorrow but I know I'd be doing more damage. Apart from the couple of hiccups I really enjoyed the MMM. I think the route was really good. Hat's off to the RogueRuns team for putting on a great event.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
Friday, September 04, 2015
We ran the dreaded anti-clockwise variation. A variation so evil in its despicableness that we haven't run it for something like two years. It's really pretty similar to the clockwise route except we run it in reverse...
It wasn't pretty. I wasn't fast but I'm glad I did it.
Wednesday, September 02, 2015
Heck was it hot today. It was like the middle of summer. I guess it was more the humidity that contributed to the feeling of hotness. Not sure it was very quick. Didn't take my watch. Does that really matter...
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Well done to everyone who ran or helped at today's Severn Bridge Half Marathon. Lot's of smiling faces present both before and after. My favourite moment of the day was helping a few of the gang extricate two thousand five hundred medals from their individual plastic bags. It was like shelling peas from a pod - okay no, it wasn't anything like shelling peas from a pod.
Off for a longer run tomorrow. There is the Machen but it's a longish drive for just 4 miles so be nice to run locally and chill before back to work Tuesday.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
First I used the south west descent off Fan Frynych . It wasn't actually too rough. Steepish but not too severe. It wasn't a bad route but I'm pretty sure it's slower than my normal route. Was all fairly normal from there. The tussocky descent from Nedd. The not too scary river crossing. The direct line ascent to Fan Llia before another slight change from normal.
I took a much more northerly route down into the valley towards the sheepfolds, just south of Nant Mawr. It took the steepness out of it and the entire drop was really fast plus the river wasn't quite so raging - raging enough to be ever so slightly scary though. A quick crossing it was not.
Then it was the slog to the top. I got a pretty good line to reach the top plateau only about 200m shy of the checkpoint cairn. I was pleased with that seeing as how the route choice had been a bit ad-hoc. From there I took the side descent taking a line pretty much directly towards the Storey Arms before picking up the normal path down to the finish.
All in all a good day out 'running' a real proper fell race. Can't finish without thanking the summit marshals out there today because it couldn't have been hugely nice for them - oh, and thanks Andy B for one of the best races in the calendar...
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Conditions looks to be pretty horribly. 80-90% chance of heavy wet stuff. At least it only says breezy so it might be a day for ditching the glasses and cracking out the contact lenses. Either way it's definitely going to be conditions to suit the navigators amongst us...
In summary, make sure you take your full waterproof kit 'cause I don't think the windproofs are going to cut the mustard tomorrow!
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Anyway, I set off from the van, having parked in the lower layby and headed up to join the Beacons Way. I got a pretty good line across the corner cut considering I couldn't be arsed to get the compass out and visibility was 100m.
From Fan Frynych I decided to try for the south western track as shown on the OS 50k but I wasn't entirely sure there's anything there as I couldn't see it on the satellite maps and the 25k doesn't show it. So I turned off the main path at the cairn and initially dropped off south before contouring to see if I could intersect any paths or trods but didn't find anything decent until I was down to within a few hundred metres of the valley path. I did think about seeing how far that went back up but I was getting soggier by the minute and I wasn't having the most fun I've ever had so decided to carry on. The valley path was quite pleasant even in the rain.
Once I got to Roman Road I followed it up a little (in race direction) to get a feel for how much 'up' it will involved because I am shocking at ascending these days - having said that I'm not exactly good at the flat or descent either but I'm definitely worse going up.
Then I returned to the hill and made my way up, across the rough stuff, to the main path and onwards back to Fan Frynych. I did a pretty fine job of hitting the path even if I do say so myself because I wasn't sure where to head off the Roman Road and couldn't see that far ahead through the rainy fog - and still couldn't be arsed to get out the compass - but I hit it smack on.
Once past FF it was back along the Beacons Way again - no corner cut this time - and back to the van to change into dry clothes for the drive home.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Hopefully tomorrow will be of a more normal duration and then Thursday I'm off to recce the bits of the Four Fans I've not reconnoitred before.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
Anyway, I've been busy in the kitchen today. With a glut of tomatoes, all ripening at the same time, I cooked up some tomato relish/jam/chutney - call it what you will. Harvested the last of the basil for a batch of pesto - some of which I then used on my sourdough based pizza for tea.
Ah well, back to the grind stone tomorrow :-(
Saturday, August 15, 2015
I started steadily and eased into it on the first long slog to Carn Pica and then held a good pace across the top and the ridge. The climbs to Cribyn and Pen y Fan weren't quick but not a disaster. The ridge run towards the trig that I don't know the name of, however, went a bit a wrong. I was running okay but I had a few tummy troubles - let's just say we won't mention the name Paula. From there I went down hill fast - but not in a good way...
By the time I got the other trig point that I also don't know the name of (second to last check point) I was beginning to dehydrate and cramp set in. Despite seeing Tor y Foel in the distance it didn't seem to get any closer as my pace took a dive. It took forever to finally reach the base of Tor y Foel and for a moment I was tempted to end the agony and skip it but I have my record to uphold - the never not finished a race I've started thing.
So I eventually made the summit of TyF before the fast descent - okay, not so fast today - back down to the finish. My competitive spirit kicked in, despite losing place after place along the ridge, as I pushed to gain one meaningless place. That, as it turned out, wasn't the greatest thing to have done because as I reached the dam my calves completely and totally cramped and I was reduced to a pitiful hoppy walk affair in order to retain the place I'd gain on the descent. Finally across the line, the agony was at an end. Except it wasn't as I had to get back the van in order to change. I spent ten minutes easy stretching which had a measure of success. After a further twenty minutes, changed and feeling cleaner, I felt more human - and could walk a little more normally.
Friday, August 14, 2015
My target time (that I'm not going to achieve) is my time from 2010 - has it really been five years since I last ran the Brecon Beacons? - 3hr 37mins. Come what may, it will be good to finally race it anti-clockwise...
PS 'race' in the loosest possibly sense.
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
So in the end our full Brecon Beacons recce turned out to be not quite the full monty. By the finish, wet through - hands wrinkled like I'd been in the bath too long - we'd clock up around 30km with 1350m of ascent. So despite everything it was still decent training. Just wish it could have been drier training.
Oh, and for the record, if the forecast on the day of the race is for scattered light showers then you can count me out because I'm not going through that again...
Monday, August 03, 2015
Hopefully the weather won't be too unkind during a full recce tomorrow. I feel like I'm getting fitter and stronger but 19 miles is, well, 19 miles and I'm not sure how well I'll stand up to that.
Saturday, August 01, 2015
Saturday, July 25, 2015
We deviated off the route a little on the way towards Cefn yr Ystrad to avoid the field, and followed the main track instead. Back on route I drew comments of 'are you sure?' on the way back onto the hillside - and to be honest for a few moments I wasn't quite sure myself! But it had to be right, it was in the right place just not as 'pathy' as it should have been. Turned out it was right, just very very overgrown and under used but we came out at the stile so that put an end to the doubts...
From there it was fairly open, rough running up and across to the quarry but the views were great. It's not often I take a moment to look at the views and with the sun shinning it was worth doing just that. Upon reaching Ystrad summit Matthew convened a forum to discuss if we were actually on the summit or not. Resorting to the map, we decided we were. It was then he sneakily loaded a rock into my back pack! I caught sight of him trying to add another - only at the time I didn't realise it was rock number two...
We headed off from the summit out of the quarry and down to the forest, to the north and a very pleasant path back towards Tor y Foel. Upon reaching the base of Tor y Foel Matthew decided to unload my backpack of the extra weight!
Finally, having gone up and over, and a minor deviation, we reached the dam and our days running was complete. I felt pretty good at the finish and it was pleasing to get in 25km with 4,000ft of ascent. I'm feeling fitter with every run...
Friday, July 24, 2015
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Up next, I made a dash to the recycling centre - or the tip, as we used to call it. Street side collections are great an' all but not when they don't collect half the stuff I have to recycle.
So then it was run time. A nice loop of the Sallowvallets area. It was quite a good run. I'm feeling stronger. I'd almost claim I'm getting my old climbing legs back but that would be a lie. Give it another couple of months though..
Finally it was paperwork time as I prepared the stuff needed for Novembers orienteering. And now it is time to chill...
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Surprisingly, despite not racing yesterday, my legs were quite heavy. Which hopefully means I worked quite hard yesterday. So it wasn't the greatest training but I did run some bits - when I wasn't fitting the forest. And I can say the forest was really bloody overgrown in places but it should be died down by November.
Anyway, looking onwards to the comeback, I'm keen to get my travel arrangements booked for Octobers Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race - only 35k race, incorporating 3,370m of ascent - should be a doddle! Once the travel is booked that'll really focus the mind...
Saturday, July 18, 2015
So anyway, I set off half an hour before kick off, loaded with my backpack that included a litre of emergency water - didn't expect that. That made it a little harder work but all the better training effect. As I neared the location of check point one, just before the race due to start, back down in the valley, I began to worry I'd left it a little late....
I began to up the effort rate a little in order to make it to my marshalling spot. It's surprising how much quicker and runnable the route gets after the main climb is out the way and as it turned out I needn't have worried as I arrived at my position with plenty of time to spare - about fifteen minutes.
As I said, the wind up top was chilling and I had to put on my waterproof to stave off the worst of it. Before long the runners started to arrive and it didn't take long for the entire field to pass through. Making sure I'd seen the last runner through, and not wanting to hang around as I was getting cold, I set off down to the finish - and I didn't hang around.
I descended quite well, and okay, I had a bit of a rest at the top, but Strava tells my I got a segment PB on the final fort climb! A good days training all in all.
Friday, July 17, 2015
Anyway, it's not been the greatest of training weeks. Ahhhhh, I'm slipping... Managed to get out for a run this evening. Bit of time trial to see how I'm progressing so that meant the Hobbs Quarry loop. I should quantify that 'time trial', in this case, meant trying to run at similar effort level to my other runs over the route. Another 37s quicker with similar average heart rate so, despite having a bit of a slack week, things are still moving in the right direction. I'm two minutes up on my time set a month ago.
Sunday, July 12, 2015
I was better on the descent, making up a good number of places. By the time I reached the road section I was down to empty and fully expected to be overtaken - but I wasn't. In fact, I gained one more place before eventually making it to the finish.
Big thanks to Mynydd Du, as always, well organised and some great after race snacks. The weekend has provided more decent training as the come back continues...
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Back to today and the weather was just about perfect. Almost too perfect, in fact, but as I broke out the sunblock the cloud subsequently closed in.
I was pants as ever on the ascent. The Pen y Fan fell race is pretty much all about the ascent. You can make something back on the steep descent but not as much as you can lose going up. I lost just over a minute on last year, summiting in a lowly 34:40. My silver lining was indeed making something back on the descent. 18s quicker than last year. I was slower overall but only by 50s. I'll be faster next year....
Friday, July 10, 2015
Wednesday, July 08, 2015
Tuesday, July 07, 2015
Sunday, July 05, 2015
Anyway, we needn't have set the alarm clocks for Saturday morning as we were awoken to a most massive thunder storm - the tent held up though. Luckily the rains stopped before we needed to head out and with breakfast cooked and consumed we made our way to the start. It was from there things went a little wrong....
We had somewhat of a navigation failure on the way to control one and lost many minutes but we soon worked out what we'd done, relocated and soon found it - but not before meeting Andy and Steve. They left us in their wake on the way to control two but neither them nor us achieved success in finding it quickly - although I blame the map - and that's my last word on the matter. After having finally found the right stream and the associated bend with the control marker we headed down and across to control three - which we equally poorly failed to find quickly but eventually did.
From there things picked up as we absolutely nailed control four and five - I won't mention that they were part of the mandatory crossing point... Seriously though, from there we didn't really make any more mistakes and finished in just over six hours and good spirits, At the end of day 1 we were sitting at 23rd overall (of 52ish) and 6th vet team - better than we expected bearing in mind our rather less than good start...
We pitched our tent and successfully cooked dinner and a brew - nothing wrong there. Chatting with the rest of the gang we awaited the arrival of the late finishers. It was from the moment Matthew arrived that it all started to unravel... I suddenly came over nauseous. I'm only joking about any connection between my feeling sick and Matthews arrival. But I did feel seriously nauseous and although I wasn't actually sick I couldn't even consider the cheese and biscuits. In fact I felt so off I just climbed into the tent in the hope I'd feel better - it didn't work - and I didn't sleep much that night either, as my stomach rumbled and bubbled like the witches cauldron from 'The Scottish Play'.
In the morning, determined not to retire, Neil and I prepared for the day ahead - although I wasn't feeling much better. I managed the cheese and biscuits from the night before and some water but couldn't manage anything further - not a good sign of things to come...
And to debunk those unfounded rumours circulating on the internet that The Un-dynamic Duo of Neil and I retired after Day 1, NO WE DIDN'T. We started day 2 and made an okay start. We reached control one in a reasonable time but I was struggling and shortly after I threw up. We carried on and headed to control two. I tried to stay hydrated but even sipping the drink made me feel nauseous.
We navigated to control two - or rather Neil did and I just tried to follow as best I could but I knew at that point I couldn't make it. We sat down at control two for a couple of minutes and I ate a gel but that made me heave and without being able to get the fuel in I was in trouble. There's a time to dig deep and there's a time not to die... so we took the decision to head home. We had a decent escape route back to the road. Had we attempted to get to control three it would have been a much more difficult task to extract myself off the hill.
Glad to be back home now and feeling much better but still a little off. Hopefully a good night's sleep will see me sorted... The worst part of the whole weekend was that I wasn't able to drink my pre-ordered can of Scrumpy Jack at the half way camp - see, I told you I was ill.
Thursday, July 02, 2015
PS, I'll be fully recovered for Saturday Neil, honest.
Monday, June 29, 2015
It's not really very long until the Saunders Mountain Marathon now so I need to balance further gains verses being rested. Tuesday might be my last run before the event or possibly Wednesday. I'd like to run the Tintern Trot on Thursday but I think that might be pushing the boundary.
These last two weeks have certainly improved my chances of not dying somewhere out in the wilderness of the Lake District on the weekend. I just need to start giving some thought to getting the kit together now...
Sunday, June 28, 2015
I've another run planned tomorrow - had a rest day today to recover from yesterday's 'long' run, and after that I'll play it by ear. I still feel I can make some gains vs being fresh for the Saunders but I need to make sure I hit the sweet spot. One thing I think I've achieved over the last thirteen days is the desire to get back to the form, allowing for age, I used to have. And you know what, I think I need to book myself some travel arrangements and accommodation in Newcastle, County Down for the Mourne Skyline Mountain Trail Race - wot I entered a few months ago - because this Mad Runner is going to make the start line...
So I missed an extra day but I've made up for it. Seven km on Friday and an extremely hot 20km Saturday east of Minehead on the coastal path - I say path but in my book running several miles of it across shingle beach isn't really what I call a path. It fair sapped my energy and I melted in the heat of the midday sun. Ten runs in twelve days can't be bad though.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
I'm still feeling good. My body doesn't feel overly broken after this somewhat sudden resurgence of training so, all being well, I shall be back on it tomorrow. The weekend is going to be more of a challenge though as it is Hot Summer Party time but all being well I will keep with the regime. After all, I have the ritual of the Saturday morning hang-over run to maintain...
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
Monday, June 22, 2015
Sunday, June 21, 2015
Saturday, June 20, 2015
Initially I thought we were in for a wet one as the rain descended over the Blaenavon valley but just as the race got under way the rains left as quickly as they had arrived. I set off in the middle order and stayed there. I didn't feel powerful on the short, first climb. I didn't feel fast long the flatish road section. I then didn't feel strong on the longer, second climb before not feeling hugely quick across the top and down again before once again not feeling overly commanding on the last ascent. I did, just by way of a change, feel pretty sharp on the final descent... one out of six ain't bad.
Over all I'm reasonably happy with my run. Despite all of the above I think I was probably ahead of where I'd have been if I hadn't started my bid for fitness last Tuesday. I continue the assault on precinct fitness with another run of some description tomorrow, another on Monday and so and so forth...
Friday, June 19, 2015
I am loving my new fenix 2. All those lovely fairly meaningless stats; cadence, vertical oscillation and ground contact time - almost a reason in itself to get out there running. My average heart rate was down by six beats and I was 22 seconds quicker. Although it's too soon to draw any real conclusions from such a small sample - ooh matron - I'm happy to at least pretend I'm on the mend...
Bring on the Coity race...
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Tonight I headed out on the Flaxley loop. Fast I was not. This ain't a game of speed. This is a game of survival. With the Saunders Mountain Marathon just fifteen days away I have a race partner not to let down - although surviving is also a pretty fair allure.
Tomorrow I go again. Probably back to the Hobbs Quarry Loop. Saturday it's the Coity Race followed by something not entirely completely different Sunday...
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Saturday, June 13, 2015
Thursday, June 11, 2015
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
Saturday, June 06, 2015
Today I tested out the slowly developing blue and over all I was pretty happy with it. There is definitely some work to do and I will need to double check all the control locations in relation to accuracy on the map but I feel much happier. Of course, I will need to run things up the official flag pole - whatever that might entail - and hope it gets a salute. Also, hopefully the map will get a bit of a spring clean after all the recent forestry destruction.
In all I covered just over 10km, flitting here and there, taking over 2 and a half hours! It was actually pretty good training though, despite the overall slow average pace. I did do quite a bit of running but equally quite a lot of slow walking, carefully checking things.
Monday, June 01, 2015
On other matters, I'm close to picking the first basil of the season for pesto. Can't believe how quickly it's come on. It was literally just germinating a few weeks back and now it's about ready. The chili are also starting to come on. Almost ready to plant on this years seedlings while being backed up by last years plants that survived the winter. Can't wait to harvest the 'Basket of Fire' and 'Devils Tongue'...
Sunday, May 31, 2015
I had a pretty good run but faded a little on the final climb. Despite only being 7miles, leg 2 of the Rack Raid Relay manages to pack in about 1000 feet of ascent. Hopefully my time wasn't too terrible so I won't get beaten up.
When I did finally make it to the finish I slightly regretted not making some arrangements to get back to the car. My plan of jogging back down the course to Skenfrith did not seem anything like what could be considered a good plan. I did manage it though, if somewhat more slowly...
Saturday, May 30, 2015
I had an okay run. I ascended a bit rubbish, descended pretty sprightly and ran the plateaus like someone who can't run for toffee - and where does that phrase come from? I was on the edge of cramp - sounds like title for a follow up to the film Run Fatboy Run - on the flat section from Mynydd Troed summit and then again across Pen Tir. I was okay was onto the steeper stuff.
Need to do some carb loading tonight to refuel for tomorrow Rack Raid Relay leg 2. Need to be over to Skenfrith fighting fit for the 8:05am start. Quite looking forward to it. Should be a nice 6-7 mile pootle ;-)
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Managed an after work pootle, so that, added to the harvest, is me done.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Sunday, May 17, 2015
Yesterday I ran a loop of the carneddau. It almost got competitive when I espied a runner in the far distance while heading off Llewelyn towards Dafydd and eventually Pen yr Ole Wen. I closed much of the distance down. It was nice finishing down off Pen yr Ole Wen directly back to the van without a slog along the flat.
Today I attempted to traverse Tryfan by the Heather Terrace. I say attempted as I didn't locate it directly from the start. I took a good look at it from the ground yesterday afternoon but still getting onto it alluded me. After some faffing along a much higher track and it's many scrambles past gullies I eventually spotted the proper path. After a ten metre climb down the going became much easier but my legs were shot after yesterday's effort so I ended up doing a shorter loop than I had intended. Definitely need to get over to the Brecons between now and July at ever opportunity otherwise Neil is going to be own his own running the Pillar Class...
Friday, May 15, 2015
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Most probable is a visit to Ogwin with the Carneddau and Glyders on tap. That way I haven't really got to think too hard. So I've only had the idea for a day but already really looking forward to it. Best get looking at routes...
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Monday, May 11, 2015
Sunday, May 10, 2015
On the upside the basil is well on its way, as are the Tumbling Toms...
Thursday, May 07, 2015
Monday, May 04, 2015
Sunday, May 03, 2015
This time it's the brilliant RogueRuns Mini Mountain Marathon in September. This adds to my Saunders MM (July) and Mourne Skyline Mountain-Trail Race (October) entries. No, don't ask me what I'm doing because I don't know.
Up tomorrow, more orienteering. Hopefully this time I'll finish...
Saturday, May 02, 2015
I was actually going quite well till control 24 at which point it all went south - looking at my gps I can see it should've gone east but I was in trees with the rough open to the west - exactly where the control should have been in relation tree to rough open. I reckon a map update is in order as the trees have grown up.
Anyway, having wasted loads of time and having still not found it, my sense of humour completely failed me and, after a few expleetives to release the anger, I headed back to the car park thoroughly pissed off - and it rained.
I hope Monday's orienteering will not see me swearing in the middle of a forest...
Thursday, April 30, 2015
Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
Tomorrow I'm up for a bit of Orienteering and then Sunday I'm going to flog myself around Offa's Orra. 20km of pain me thinks..
Sunday, April 19, 2015
I did manage 10 slow miles though. The path down there is pretty rough and not fast running - so suited me fine. Nothing beats a ten mile run as a hang over cure...
Thursday, April 16, 2015
I really am pants at the moment. Got out for a lunch run with Martin - first time in ages. I was so rubbish on the Dundry climb, working so hard - but yet still so slow - I had to pause to heave a few times before carrying on to the top.
On the plus side, despite feeling so unbelievably slow, we were actually 30s quicker than the last time out.
I really do need to find my mojo... Perhaps a few miles along the south west Cornish coastal path will do the trick this weekend....
Sunday, April 12, 2015
I found a few good controls and route sections and also ruled out a few. Also found a few new bits to add to the map. There's a couples of areas I'm not going to use on the grounds of brambles and general new growth making it too dense to find your own feet let alone a control. I have a feeling I'm going to be spending many, many days at Trellech..
On other matters, I finally found a cleaner strong enough to clear the limescale build up in the upstairs loo - 32% hydrochloric acid, nice.
Saturday, April 11, 2015
I didn't go too badly today at the orienteering. Really only made one mistake at control nine. Got on the wrong track - story of my life - and had to relocate. Lost a couple of minutes. Other then that I nav'ed quite well but just covered the ground too slowly.
I got in reasonable mileage. 2km there, 7km orienteering and 5km collecting controls and getting back to the car. Should be all systems go for a Trellech recce tomorrow and then Monday it's back to the grind stone..
And as an side, I didn't burn my tongue tonight and the pizza dough was superb...
Friday, April 10, 2015
On more mundane matters, it's orienteering tomorrow followed by... orienteering on Sunday. Well, sort of. I'm heading to Trellech for a bit of planning and to take a look at some possible control sites - providing the forestry commission hasn't destroyed them of course.
Monday, April 06, 2015
Anyway, we set off and just gone nine to check that the route marking hadn't been 'got at' as happened in the first year. We didn't run hard but it was still pretty knackering. The final climb was a right sod. On and on for mile and even at the top - or what we thought was the top, the evil and twisted Creber led us a merry dance up and down the slag heaps. Finally, with time running out we made it back without much time to spare from the eleven o'clock start.
I stayed just up hill of the start as there wasn't any point running down to the start only to run back up as second sweeper. I was pretty knackered after the first loop though and was glad I was only sweeping. To which end, it went a little Peter Tong, when a few runners, missing the arrow sign, continued running down the Tumble onto the road and far far away.
I'm not sure they had a good grasp of 'if you haven't seen any tape for a hundred metres, you aren't on the route any more' - I didn't see any tape for a good mile and a half trying to locate them. In the end I had to call off the chase, hoping that they retraced their steps in some manner before I set off in hot pursuit - although it was probably more of a lukewarm pursuit as I was feeling pretty knackered.
I have a suspicion they probably followed the public footpath up to Gilwern Hill but I guess we'll never know for sure. I hope they turned up safe and sound. The course really was well marked with tape or a marker every hundred metres - and I can confirm it was all there within two hours of the start. I'm not sure you could put down more tape without using up the worlds supply of marker tape.
Anyway, I headed back on a fairly direct route except on the very top which all got a bit confusing. The OS map showed a single, straight path over the top but on the ground that equated to tens of tracks zig-zagging and crossing all over the place. Using my shadow as compass, I managed to wend my way back to the race run in, having notched up a further 7 miles and 1400 feet of ascent.
As a day of training it's been brill. Lots of time on feet. 15 miles, 2850 feet of ascent and some stunning scenery - in amongst the rusting freezers and washing machines, left to die on the hill side...
Sunday, April 05, 2015
Saturday, April 04, 2015
I set of middle of the pack - probably nearer the back than the front - but at least that gave me a few targets through the race. I'd forgotten how long and steady the first climb up to Deri is. At first up the road and then onto the hill. I'd also forgotten how long the drag across the Deri is, as well. I picked up a few places.
I was feeling knackered on the final accent of Sugar Loaf but was buoyed knowing I had the fast, technical descent to come. All downhill and I enjoyed that bit. I gained another four or five places before hitting the road where I steadied to avoid too much stomping and that was that. Sugar Loaf complete.
Next up is sweeping at the Gilwern Grunt on Monday (and doing a route check before hand for some extra mileage).
Thursday, April 02, 2015
Definitely looking forward to four days off. It's been a long three weeks of site work. So it's the Sugar Loaf fell race on Saturday and possible sweeping at the Gilwern Grunt Monday. Other than that it's going to be relaxation time central.
Sunday, March 29, 2015
From where I parked up I cut it fine but just made it to the half way point to see the leaders go through and at that point they were three minutes ahead of the rest. I had to run solidly to get there.
I stayed there for quarter of an hour before heading out again to warm myself up. My next and final spot of spectating was about a mile from the finish. I put in bursts of effort on my way there, watched for ten minutes and then headed back to the car. In all I covered about twelve km with some good efforts mixed in amongst the bimbling.
Saturday, March 21, 2015
It started off okay. I was like the pacing version of a metronome for the first ten miles. Almost every mile was a 7:35 give or take a few seconds. As soon as I hit ten though, it was an altogether different story. In the space of the next couple of miles I was down to a crawl - almost literally. The pound of the tarmac took its toll and my legs decided they'd had enough. The last eight miles were a hobbling, stopping to stretch and rub, unending nightmare - except it did finally end once I reached the finished.
The race itself, the 20:20 Fission, 20 miles or 20km, was a good route, well organised and marshalled as you'd expect from the Rogue Runs crew. Not a huge fan of race T-shirts as they usually look naff - hark at me, style fashion guru - but this one bucks the trend.
I think I'm going to stick with it though. I need to toughen up a bit - and actually do some training - but then I always threaten that....
Thursday, March 19, 2015
Sunday, March 15, 2015
On the upside of a really crap run, I finally saw the 'monument you can see to the south of the Malverns ridge run' up close - and in case you were wondering, no that's not its official name. Yup, it's a big, tall monument thing. I've always looked at it from the ridge and 'thought one day I'll pay it a visit'. Today was that day although I didn't have time to stop and get a proper look.
Now had the monument been in the middle of the bramble fields I found myself trapped in - not once but twice - then, quite possibly, I'd have had time to take some etchings and a few sketches for my scrap book. As it was, I was happy just to get free with only minor cuts although it cost me lots of time. But then everyone was in the same boat so musn't grumble.
On the whole I didn't navigate too badly but the couple of errors I did make were big and those combined with becoming bramble-fast twice meant I had a really slooooowwww time and fully expect to be close to, if not totally, last.
Now relaxing in the chill zone back home. Yes, the boiler broke down yesterday and I'm crossing my fingers it can be fixed early this week - without costing too much. So not only am I two coats at work I'm now two coats at home too!!!
We didn't qualify for the final :-( but I was, if the results are correct - and I'm reading them right, part of the scoring team! And that's a first! If only I hadn't got myself bramble-fast....
PS, I don't actually have a scrap book
Thursday, March 05, 2015
Looking forward to Saturday's Dare Valley fell race. My arm is all but sorted - famous last words. Should be good fun, five times out and back along the flat road by the car park....
Monday, March 02, 2015
Sunday, March 01, 2015
I am, of course, referring to the conditions that presented themselves half way through the Tour of Torpantau. As I arrived at the car park in the middle of the mountains, conditions looked good. Vera did me proud in her herculean effort of hauling her massive frame up that bloody steep hill up to the car park, albeit if down in 2nd gear. Cold wind. Strong wind. Still, you can't grumble at not raining and some blue sky. Blue sky I tells ya - not sure why I went a little pirate there, moving on.
For those not in the know. The Tour of Torpantau - or TT as we don't call it - is not for the faint-hearted. Not only do you need to take a compass, more importantly, you need to know how to use it. A Full Kit Required fell race. Real belt and braces stuff - although they aren't mandatory. It is what we in the West Country call 'a proper job' fell race.
This year, being crap, old and slow, I decided to try something a little different and went west of Craig y Fan Ddu on the way out (and also on the way back but I always do that). I think it has some merit and if I could have found the trod I found on the return it would really be a goer. Said trod is around the 650m contour at the northern end and 620m at the southern end but doesn't go quite all the way to the main path.
Anyway, I pootled my way over the hill and far away, finally making it to check point one, summit Fan y Big. Conditions were starting to turn though. No longer was there blue sky. Pen y Fan now shrouded in hill fog and the wind felt a little more biting.
From there it was down into the valley and straight into the slog up to Cribyn. The first part is steep before becoming a more gently upward ridge run to the summit and check point two. Here conditions full on took a turn for the worse as the weather gods let rip with missiles of hail and a little snow - and that, my friends, is why we take full kit even when the sun is shining in the car park...
The return off Cribyn is normally a lush, fast descent. Today it was just a descent and I was glad when the hail eased a little. Face stinging with the cold, I took my normal slightly wider line on the approach to the steeper section, despite adding a little distance I find I can bomb down far quicker without having to apply any breaks.
At the bottom it was straight the final climb and before long - okay, who am I kidding - after many minutes I final got to the top ridge. The hail kicked in again on the climb before turning to rain. From there I retraced my steps back towards the southern end of Craig y Fan Ddu. Found the trod and the rest, as they say, is history.
I was glad I took Vera. There is nothing better than being able to change out of wet clothes without the wind and the rain lashing you. Okay, there are actually tons of things better than that but at that precise moment I couldn't think of any.
Thanks to the brave marshals at Fan y Big and Cribyn. It was not a day to be stood on a mountain. Well done to the runners and riders who braved the elements and lastly but most importantly, thanks to Andy B for putting the event on. His races are proper races and long may they continue...
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Gave Vera a spin today. Definitely needs a new battery. Half empty after just a few days but happily, with my new special technique, she fired on the second attempt tonight - will be taking the jump leads just in case though. Please note, no one is leaving the race car park after the race until Vera is purring!
Friday, February 27, 2015
Probably going orienteering training tomorrow and maybe even pick up a new battery for Vera on the way back. Yes, after much experimenting I have concluded I must've let the battery get too empty through lack of use, doing permanent damage. Going to set up a bi-weekly reminder to put the ol' gal on charge from now on...
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Hopefully I'll be able to run Sunday's Tor of Torpantau now. Maybe even manage the orienteering training on Saturday too.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Route planned. I set off for the heart of the forest but I never made it that far. Barely past Flaxley I slipped and jarred my shoulder again. It had been feeling better but now I feels like it's back to square one. Dejected, I plodded back home.
From here on in over the next couple of months work is likely to be full on but maybe that's a good thing and will give the shoulder a chance to really mend. The Tour of Torpantau (this Sunday) is definitely in doubt which is a bit of a bummer as it's one of my favourites. I might go run it anyway and pretend I'm the safety back marker.
So the 20:20 and the come back hangs in the balance. Looks like we might be seeing the Trooper at that event instead. They do need some extra marshals by all accounts...
Monday, February 23, 2015
So I've the day off work tomorrow - ahead of a somewhat busy period about to hit at work for a couple of months. I'm hoping to go for a flattish run in the forest, sticking to the tracks and trails. The aim is fifteen - miles not minutes. All depends on how annoying my arm becomes. Yes, it's still not good. It's improving but far from right and still painful. Not good. Hopefully the weather won't be too unkind and running in the forest will afford me some shelter. Fingers crossed...
Monday, February 16, 2015
Finally, the penny dropped... Why not use my car, parked not two feet away, to jump start her? So, car running, I linked the batteries with my bad boy jump leads - never quite sure which connection to make last - and cranked it....
Slow, barely better than when trying under the steam of her own battery, she stubbornly refused to fire but with the infinite - okay, not quite infinite but certainly many hours of power from the Kia C apostrophe eed - I tried again. And again. And with each attempt the cranking seemed stronger. Was that almost ignition? Again. Again. Fire godammit, fire. Again. Again... and finally the sweet purr of the engine as it lurched into life - sssh, don't mention the clouds of dark grey smoke hanging over Longhope! Thank f#(% for that. I was really beginning to think my plans for a trip away at the end of the month were in doubt.
Anyway, with the engine singing I took her for a twenty minute drive to shake out the cobwebs. When I got back, I switched off and left for half an hour to see how she would start - neigh, if she would start again.... Bang, first time. Almost instantly - so I went for another twenty minutes - just to make sure those cobwebs were well and truly blown away.
Hands up, I'm no mechanic but I wish I knew what the cold snap did to poor Vera. Mental note for the future, when it gets cold step up the weekly start to a daily one. Second, mental note, next time - if there is a next time - which I'm pretty sure there will be knowing me - remember I have a car which can be used to jump start....
Anyway, here endeth tonight's inane ramblings..... until the next time.....
Sunday, February 15, 2015
I ran the Flaxley loop, clockwise today. I'm not sure which is the easier direction - or, indeed, if there is an easier direction. Anyway, I really need to knuckle down to the training. The 20:20 Fission is fast approaching. At the moment I am confident I can make it round the twenty miles - just not confident I'll finish before sun down....
Friday, February 13, 2015
And now for the Yang - and it's quite a big Yang. I have somewhat injured my left shoulder. No, not a fall. I think if I had fallen I wouldn't have got injured at all. No, it happened before I'd even got to Pen Cerrig Calch as I was crossing a boggy section - and there were lots of boggy sections up there today. I wasn't in a hurry and slowed to a walk. With great care I placed my left foot on a small grassy tuft - I find they tend to be firmer footing but as fate would have it, not today. It wasn't in anyway what could be considered solid ground, as my left leg sank beyond the knee and I lurched forward. With cat like reflexes my left arm shot out to arrest the fall but as I pulled myself free of the quagmire I got a shooting pain in my left shoulder.
Taking stock, as I'd only gone about 2km I decided to carry on but it wasn't entirely pleasant running despite the conditions being relatively favourable. Any small movement of my arm caused sharp pain in my shoulder so I ran on, left hand clutching the waistband of my rucksack to immobilise as far as possible my left arm from moving.
I was pitifully slow across Pen Cerrig to Pen Allt Mawr. The conditions underfoot were wet and icey so I just pootled. After that it became more runnable but I was still bothered by the pain in my shoulder. Finally, having reached Mynydd Llysiau, having struggled a little bit with balance across the flat frozen marshy plateau, I decided it probably wasn't wise to continue on so dropped down into the valley and headed for home.
In all I covered just under 22km and 800m ascent so I'm glad I got the run in but it remains to be seen if I'll make it to the orienteering tomorrow or, indeed, Sunday's cross country. I suspect my shoulder will feel even worse tomorrow. These things tend to feel worse before they get better...