Sunday, March 29, 2015

Forest Spectation

The forest, at the end of March, can mean only one thing. The Forest of Dean Half Marathon. And no, I didn't run it but I did have a little bimble about watching some of it.

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

Absolutely, Definitely, Without Any Doubt, Getting Too Old For This Shit...

Well that could've gone better. My return to the road was not entirely successful. When I say not entirely successful, what I really mean is, it was agonising total fail. I did complete the twenty miles though, so at least I keep my record of never not completing a race I've started.

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

Not The Best Prep...

It has been a busy week at work, starting with 14 and a half hours on site Monday - and that's not counting the 3 hour drive there and back. That has pretty much zapped me for the rest of the week. I'm getting old. Once we started the upgrade of the control system, and the point of no return was reached, then we had no choice but to keep going - the same could be applied to the 20:20 Fission I guess.... Definitely hasn't been the best build up for a tough race. I am severely hoping that tomorrow goes well and we get finished early.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Well that was a bit of a thorny disaster - I think I should've gone to the cross country instead! But I'd committed to the Compass Sport Trophy qualifier before I realised there was a clash so had to go.

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

A Two Coater..

Yes, on site for an operational test I took - and wore - two coats. A fleece lined jacket and my puff jacket over the top. Just call me the michelin man - and it very nearly kept me warm - I said very nearly. By three my feet were chilled to the bone. A successful day though so musn't grumble.

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

The Inverse Pain Distortion...

Arm feels almost pain free today. I twanged it yesterday on the final descent, saving myself from a fall. Today. Almost don't know it was injured. How does that work? Thinking of jaming my arms, legs and head in the door multiple times - if recent findings continue, I'll have the arms and legs of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the intellect of Albert Einstein...

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Walk In The Park...

If said park has a snow and hail machine and a massive cold air wind turbine....

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...