Saturday, December 30, 2006

What a terrible night

The wind (outside) was whistling round my windows all night. Had a terrible nights sleep. I felt so tired in the morning I just couldn't face a run in all that pants weather plus I can feel the knee thing again.

Managed to get down the gym instead for an hour on the exercise bike, interval level 13. I tested my fitness level before I got started with the hour session. You enter your weight, age and sex and then peddle away for five minutes. At the end of that time it gives you a rating of between 1 and - well I'm not actually sure what it goes up to but over the last few months I've been able to hit the ranking of 'Elite' for a score over 51. I'm guessing this is the top rank unless of course they have the 'dogs bo#@*cks' rank but I'm suspecting they haven't programmed that one in! I was stuck on 'excellent' for ages before I finally made the break through. Not sure it really means much but I guess it means I'm going in the right direction fitness wise. And it's nice to pose when the ladieeess are near, you know the kind of thing, just a casual bit of peddling with 'Elite' flashing on the screen, sweating like a pig and breathing like an asthmatic - ok, so maybe not such a good idea :)

Anyway, the bike session was good, if hard work come the last fifteen minutes. Really felt it in the quads. Finished off with some ab crunches, some bicep curls and some chest work. Then home for tea.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Not so easy easy run

I joined in with Clive, Graham and Terry for their annual Christmas run. They tell me they get out between Christmas and New year almost every year. There's nothing better than going for an easy(ish) run with friends at Christmas - just a shame I only had Clive, Terry and Graham to run with - ONLY KIDDING.

The weather was a stinker. Continuous drizzle and very strong gusting wind - no, I'm not talking about Graham and his brussel sprout soup!

Clive is still buzzing after his boxing day exertions and so led from the front taking Graham with him. Terry and I held back. We ran up over Dundry and back down the A38. Not sure how far it was but it took just under 34 minutes. On the run in Clive and Graham were 150m ahead after the hilly section. Terry and I just let them get on with it. After my hard session last night I wanted an easy recovery run but it was a real effort to stop myself from trying to chase them down. With about 800m I finally lost the battle. I couldn't hold back any longer and set off in pursuit. I didn't manage to catch them but made up about two thirds of the distance over that last 800m so I was fair flying along come the end.

Long may this Christmas tradition continue. It's great to join their hallowed ranks. Just hope it's better weather next year.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

We're all going to the zoo tomorrow

Well actually we went this evening instead! Well around the outside anyway. We ran three double laps around the zoo (6:02, 6:07 and 6:14) followed by three single laps (2:53, 2:52 and 2:50) with a two minute recovery. The double lap was 1.7km and the single one 820m.

I'm really pleased with the session as I put in big effort and worked hard throughout, especially the last three singles. My mile pace was good, all of them being at least as fast or a good bit faster than my last Aztec session. Additionally, the lap has some sharp turns where you have no choice but to take them slow which makes the pace on the rest of the lap even better.

I'm hoping I can take the same work ethic into all my future sessions. I'm more determined than ever to crack the whip (ooh kinky). I've been guilty on more than a few occasions in the past of just going through the motions during training and not really pushing myself. Tonight was the real deal for me. I pushed it to the limit and didn't cheat on the recoveries, keeping them tight.

Here's to a 17:30 5k in the first part of the coming year. It will happen - and you can take that to the bank.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Fading memories

Clevedon is but a fading memory... Now the hard work begins in earnest (not sure what he's got to do with anything but there it is). I was just outside the top 50 target at Clevedon finishing in 52nd place. In my category (SM) I was 47th but five ladies - I mean women (that's a private joke) beat me. That's close enough for me though.

Reflecting back over my year (running wise) this has been by far the best one ever. I've looked through my records and I've set 13 pb's this year verses six in 2005 and seven in 2004. And of those pb's I've actually knocked off far bigger chunks of time this year as well. I must be approaching my physical limit by now but then again I thought that at the start of this year. Is a seventeen minute 5k possible? I'm not sure but I wouldn't bet against it.

On a final note, the knee is much better today. I've been down the gym for an hour on the bike and the 'popping' is no more.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Body popping

Just finished the Clevedon Boxing day 4 mile race. As ever, greatly enjoyed by all who race and spectate. On the downside I can feel a kind of popping in my left knee as I walk. It's been a bit dodgy over the last few days and I don't know where or when I picked up the niggle but it definitely didn't affect my run and I'm sure it will be alright in a day or two. On the upside I set a new pb by over a minute, 23:15. Further on the downside, I thought I had the beating of Helen today - bol#*cks did I. I was soundly thrashed - oh well - it's not like I've ever beaten her before. Looks like she might remain unbeaten - ho hum. Well done Helen (through gritted teeth). On the upside though, I skinned the Skinner, Pete that is. He's beaten me soundly at the Bridge 5k races all season but I managed to get the upper hand today - Every cloud has a silver lining!

It looked like another big turn out for Clevedon. It never fails to amaze me how many damn fools there are out there that roll out of bed Boxing day morning to go and run 4 miles in the cold. As ever, the crowds were brilliant and this year we even had the luxury of chip timing and instant results - very professional. A big well done to Clevedon AC for great organisation and a great race.

Must add a well done to Clive T, good to see he enjoyed his run. Nice to see him actually smile after a run - a very rare thing I might add. Was it the first time? Answers on a post card to....

Well done to Gareth C. He had a good run today. He was only just behind me and I fear, catching fast.

Graham C had a good run as well, beating his time from last year.

Good to see the Dickinson twins out again, Mark and Matt. First race in a while for the pair of them. Hopefully we will see a bit more of them in the coming year. Sorry I didn't have time to stop and chat at the end - had to shoot.

And finally to Matt R, I'm behinndd yooouuu! - but I recon I'm catching. Don't go looking over your shoulder cause I'm a coming.

God, this has turned into a bloody Oscar style speech - I'll get my coat....

Monday, December 25, 2006

It's Chrissssmmmmaaaassssssss

Merry Christmas everyone and what a great day to clock up my centennial post. Obviously I'm not going to be running today. Always think it would be nice to get out and run on Christmas morning but each year when the day finally arrives can I be bothered? can I F*@#.

Anyway, eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die - well hopefully not - at least not until after a new pb at Clevedon tomorrow.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

Not sure what Sean had for breakfast this morning but what ever it was I need some. He was really tanking it along come the end. Left the rest of us for dead. We had quite a good pace going ourselves. We just let him go.

Liam was out with us today. He's just back from New Zealand - so I guess the weather was a bit of a shock to the system, it's the summer down there. Still, he seems in good shape so he's obviously not been slouching while over there.

And finally - Happy Christmas, and don't eat too many mince pies if you're racing at Clevedon on boxing day. I wonder if I can make the top fifty this year ?........

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Just the two of us

Graham and I got out for longish run today along the Bitton railyway cycle path. It was my longest run since the marathon - about 15k. We took it easy and all in all it was a good run. I'm out for another easy run tomorrow before a rest day and then Clevedon.

It's official - I'm now a vet!!!! Yes that's right, M35 today. Not many races host the category - and quite right too because 35 is way to young to be classed a vet - I'm still getting quicker for pities sake. I can't be classed a vet or I'll have to get out my pipe, smoking jacket and slippers. All this equality stuff has gone entirely too far. I don't want to be a vet and I not going to be one - I'm too damn young. I'll be able to enter the South West Vets Championships in the coming year. Am I going to? Hell no. To my mind I'm not really a vet for another five years.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Four Hill Christmas Special

Tonight's hill session over at Sneyd Park was different from the normal one. I'd never run this one before. It was Mike's four hill Christmas special. 2 sets of 4 different hills. The last one of the set was the normal hill loop so you could use it to gauge your performance. I ran the last one in 3:51 on the first set and 3:45 on the second. I put in a real effort on that last one, stumbled a couple of times with the tiredness, but it was worth the effort. In all it was about 4 miles of running on the hills and 5.5 miles in total (including the recoveries).

After three hard days I can have a rest day tomorrow. I'm continuing to really enjoy the training, I think, even more so because I'm coping so well with the three back to back hard sessions. I'm aiming to start adding a bit of twice a day training after Christmas. Running three or four easy recovery miles before work and then a hard evening session. Hopefully it will allow me to work even harder in those evening sessions.

Finally, only three and a bit days to go until Christmas - Oh bugger, I haven't got a Chimney!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Fog ...

The night was chill. Fog lay like a blanket across the dark moonless moor. No sound could be heard except for the blood curdling scream cutting through the darkness like a surgeons scalpel .......... TRACK!

I really enjoyed tonight's track session. Of the lads only Sean was present but I am assured that the others had been out training earlier in the day. I shall of course be asking the official adjudicator for confirmation of this.

We ran ten 400's with a 100m, 60s jog recovery. I paced each one pretty consistently with a slight edge towards quicker laps at the end of the session with lap times of 82.0,79.0, 77.5, 77.3, 75.7, 76.8, 76.0, 75.3, 76.0, 73.2. Sean put in some good work chasing down Jerry and I (he gave us a wee head start). Really can't explain why I'm feeling such a buzz from training at the moment. I really look forward to the sessions. Just hope it continues because right now, I'm lovin' it.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Excellent Aztec

Just completed my fastest and most consistent session on the Aztec mile reps. Ran 4 hard and 1 easy. The set of 4 were run at 5:48 (correction from 5:50 after checking the gps, making it an even more consistent set than I at first thought), 5:45, 5:45 and 5:48. The average pace was somewhere in the region of 4s a lap faster than my previous fastest but much more consistent. The last one was hard work but it was definitely worth the effort. I seem to have come back so strong after the marathon. I can feel myself lifting from the plateau that I'd found myself on for the last month or so. I'm hoping to get into the 23's for Clevedon. Last year I was in the 24's so I think it should be realistic.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A restful Monday

... well almost. Today was a non-run day so it was off to the gym straight from work. Put in a hard session on the bike, whacked it onto high resistance interval and relaxed while I read my book for 45 minutes. Then onto the concept II rower for a quick ten minute blast - does that bad boy ever work you into a sweat! Then it was a quick twenty mins on the upper body, got to keep in trim, before home for tea.

Well done to monsieur Crump on his cracking new 10k PB of 40:18 set at the Wyvern Christmas Cracker. Setting a new PB at his age, why that's almost illegal :)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Ashton no questions tell no lies

Up Ashton court this morning. We ran for an hour. Rick, Sean and me too. Gary and Tim put in an extra half hour. Went out of Ashton Court over to the Ashton Plantation, it's a good little run if you enjoy your hills as I do.

It felt easy. I pushed hard on the last couple of hills - just wanted to probe where I'm at. Felt really strong so things are looking good. I've had a slight twinge on my left hip over the last three or four days. I only felt it once today so I'm sure it will be gone in the next day or two. Went down the gym afterwards for an hour on the bike set on high level resistance interval.

I haven't decided what I'm doing tomorrow. Probably just a visit to the gym and some bike and concept II rower work.

I've planned my race schedule for the first part of the year ahead. I'm going to run a 5.4k trail race in early January. I might run the 10k version but definitely not doing the 15k one. Following that will be a short fell type race the following week. It's only two miles but sounds quite steep. It'll certainly be a bit of test on the way back down but fortune favours the brave (or stupid - not sure which category I fall into!). Next up is the Bridge Inn of course at the end of January followed by the Dursley Dozen on the 11th February and then a repeat of the January trail race on the 18th. Up next is the Final Winter Bridge Inn followed by the Tumble fell race on the 3rd March (not sure if it's mandatory to actually take one but knowing me I probably will - a tumble that is). If I'm required for a leg of the 12 Stage Midland road relays then I'll stick that in at the end of March.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Felt I needed a rest after my first week back in training. Gave yesterday a miss and I'm giving today a miss as well. I'll be out tomorrow though. I'm still really eager to get quick and looking forward to the Aztec reps on Tuesday.

Had a bit of a computing catastrophe. Unbeknown to me my server had gone crazy and only half of my email had been collected. Didn't realise it was happening until now. Suffice to say it's now sorted (unfortunately in means I have bucket loads of emails to answer). I've had to bring online a new server which has taken me about three days solid work to get going (every self respecting computer geek has to have their own server to serve their internal network don't they?). Anyway, this new one is super charged compared to the old one so hopefully my email won't go missing again. What's even better is I can now do my bit to save the environment because now I only need to take one computer into the shower instead of two! (In the interests of safety please don't take your computer into the shower as electricity and water can be hazardous to health - you have been warned).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Strolling down the promenade

It was actually quite a decent night tonight - weather wise that is. My legs felt pretty tired after the previous two days hard sessions. This was my third in a row and got to admit it was hard going up that promenade hill. We did six of the medium reps and two of the short ones ('cept I missed the first short rep on account of being too knackered). I'm really pleased with the way things have gone in this the first week of full training since the marathon. I've run five days out of six since Saturday and to add to that, work wise, I've worked more hours this week than in any week since my employment re-alignment phase in June (aka made redundant, bummed around for a few months, then became self employed). I can feel the (relative) speed returning - everything's relative - I'm no Phil 'Fleet of Foot' Parry after all. And another thing, talking of relative, do you know that if you run quickly enough the distance actually becomes shorter! - by virtue of the Lorentz contraction (no - nothing to do with Obstetrics). I could explain what that's all about (the Lorentz bit not the Obstetrics) but then I'd have to kill you and bear in mind that if you wish to try this you'll have to run at a speed close the speed of light. A word of advice, don't try this at home. I digress.

I took things pretty easy tonight. Don't get me wrong, I was working hard just not all out. I went hard on the last medium one though, going 15s quicker than the first five. I really pushed up the steep bit of the hill on that last one. For the final rep, the short one that misses out the steep part of the hill, I really put my foot to the pedal and the pedal to the floor. Took it out easy-hard until we started to climb then it turned into a full on sprint. I was eye balls out and it felt goooood....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I'm back and I'm cooking on gas

Looking back through the archives to 1st November and 8th November. We ran the same session tonight as then. Three 900's followed by three 500's finished off with three 300's. The recoveries where in the region of 2:30, 2:20 and 1:30's. I was a few seconds down on each rep from the 1st November and almost identical to the session on the 8th. Tonight was windy but the 1st wasn't so all in all I do declare - I am back.

We had a full contingent tonight and they were brimming with youthful exuberance - oh how they deserved a slap for that - and for whooping me out of sight. I didn't even get close to them tonight. Joking aside, it's good to see them all enjoying it, jockeying for position on each of the laps.

Got to mention Ben, it's good to see him back in training after a long layoff through injury. Go Ben.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Down at the dingley dell

Or in English - Coombe Dingle. The rain held off - must have been me lucky underpants to be sure. Thought we were in for a wet one but in the end conditions were pretty good if a little blustery. I run marathons in blustery conditions so a we bit o training in such conditions is no problem.

I was pleased with the way I went tonight. The session was a trifle complicated. A six and a half minute effort, followed by 30s recovery and then a one minute blast followed by 90s recovery. Then repeat but with a six instead of six and a half and trying to run as far as the first pair. Still with me? Well you're a better man than me if you are! Then we did basically the same but with a 4:15 and a 4 then a 2:10 and 2. Each long was followed quickly by the 1 minute blast. I must admit I missed out on the two's but my reduced session was still 25 minutes of hard running which I think is enough for me at the moment.

Anyway, I think I should be recovered and fit for tomorrow's track session. Let the hard work continue....

PS, managed to get down the gym today for an upper body and abs workout. There was heavy traffic to contend with yet again but I got there in time for a quick half hour before moving on to the Coombe session.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Bloomin traffic

Got out for a run yesterday with Rick, Heidi and amazingly ....... Harry. Now that doesn't happen every day! We went out for about 45 minutes around and about Ashton Court/Leigh Woods clocking up maybe 10k. Harry seemed to cope fine. I was pretty pleased as well because I didn't feel too bad and even managed to get down the gym again afterwards for another hour on the exercise bike.

I was going down the gym tonight, straight from work, but the traffic was horrendous. I moved about 500m in ten minutes and just gave up and came home instead. I am disappointed because I was looking forward to a good session on the weights but I'm not putting up with an hours drive for one that normally takes ten minutes!

Not sure if I'm going to Coombe Dingle tomorrow. I can't decide if I want to take it easy with the guys from the gym or hard with the MD. Decisions decisions....

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Crisp fresh morning run

What more can you ask for? Good running company, a lovely sunny morning and no wind or rain. What a great way to start the day. We went out for our Bitton loop which takes in a couple of hills. Thought I would give it some up the first one to see how the legs were feeling. Went up really well and felt easy, even accelerating towards the top. Don't think the marathon has effected me very much at all. After Aprils marathon I was pants for weeks. This time round I feel fresh and ready to go after just one week of rest. I went down the gym after the run for an hour interval session on the bike. Cranked up to the highest level I normally use and again it was fine. Almost seems to good to be true.

I'm really fired up for training again. A few weeks ago I was ready for a break, just going through the motions before the marathon. Now I feel so ready to train hard again I can't wait. Bring on the speed work for I am ready.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Bitton off more than I can chew

Back out with Clive 'Well that was crap I don't know why I bothered' Tucker tomorrow over at Bitton by the railway station. Clive never fails to bring a smile with his boundless enthusiasm and unfailing optimism. Nice one Clive. Just hope the wind and rain keep away.

It's been a one run week for me so far which is probably a good thing. I always try to get back into it too quick after the marathon and end up being pants for a month or more. Hopefully I can force myself to keep taking it easy. I will probably get out a few times next week, even heading out for Mike D's sessions but I won't be running any of them hard. Going to try and mix in lots of bike work which isn't so tough on the running muscles but still gives a good cv workout.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Back in the groove

Started back into training tonight with a very light session on the track. Only completed four six hundreds relatively slowly but that was enough. My 400m lap pace for the first one was about 85s increasing to 80s for the last one. It felt pretty easy but my left ham string began to tighten and I aborted halfway round the fifth rep. I was surprised I was able to go even that quick (or slow depending on your point of view!).

Anyway, I'm back on the training trail after a long layoff of .... two days!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Feel like death

Oh do I not feel good today. I've felt sick all day. Got up for work but could only manage an hour before I felt I was going to spew and came home (nice topic for the blog eh?). Just got up from a four hour slumber. Feel better but still not right.

Hopefully, I'll be fixed by tomorrow so I can do some light training. The legs feel OK today, a bit sore maybe but not too bad considering.

I've decided that I'm going to concentrate on the shorter distances for the time being, 5 and 10k's. So I'm going to be training for speed. Sub eighteen 5k is the target for January's Bridge Inn.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Mission accomplished

Well I hit the target almost spot on. 3:09:39.

The wind, if you pardon my French, was a right bastard. Steadily picked up throughout the race. On the third and final lap there were points going into the wind uphill that I almost ground to a halt. The main thing is I now have the confidence from this to take into next year.

It was a lot harder work than I intended because of the wind but its done now. A new pb by 17 minutes. Hopefully I will get over it pretty quick and be fit for the Clevedon Boxing Day race.

Now I have the 3 hour drive home to look forward to!

T minus 60 and counting

Not long to go to the off. Had my ready brek and I'm ready to rumble - hopefully not literally!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Am I full now

I am stuffed - in a food sense that is. Now just 13 hours to d day. Wonder how much of my book I can get read?

The restaurant

Just placed my food order in the restaurant so thought I'd post to the blog on my super dooper gizmo phone to kill some time. I've ordered the steak - I know I know I should go for pasta but what the heck. I'm not trying to set any records and I recon the steak might be just what I need to blast through the wind and the rain! I'm hoping my relatively easy target will still be acheivable in the bad conditions allbeit wih a bit more effort than I had intended.

Almost there

Well its finally here, the eve of the Luton marathon. 26.2 Miles of hell and then the drive home. I think I'm ready but you can never quite tell with such a long distance. I just hope that I can control myself and run slow enough in the first half. I have my supply of jelly babies ready and the tape to hold my feet together - that's taping them to stop blistering as opposed to taping them together and hopping all the way!

Looks like the weather is going to be kind up in Luton - big time NOT. The forecast for 10am onwards tomorrow is 100% chance of rain with 24mph winds That's going to make it fun. I just hope that they've got the forecast as wrong as they normally do.