Monday, December 31, 2007

A taxing afternoon

It's a full rest day today. No training - other than the mental agility training required for the completion of my tax return. Why does it have to be so full of such unfathomable language? I needed the full might of my maths degree to conquer it but conquer it I did - all I have to do now is pay the bloody thing - doh.

I shall be abstaining from all forms of alcoholic beverage tonight so that I am completely ready for tomorrow's race, the hangover 10k, Weston. Here's to hoping my dreams will come true in 2008 - hope yours do too. Bottom's up everyone and have a great 2008.

Thought for the day: Good manners are a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


I have wronged 'The Beetle' in my post of Friday, Back to the country for a second day. I obtained his time from the gps track but he mustn't have stopped his watch through the line. Anyway, I now right that wrong. His finishing time was 24:19, being much quicker than the stated sub 26 I gave him. It also means I now know exactly who The Beetle is, and unfortunately for him, still means he didn't beat for a third time in a row ;)

The deer hunter

We all made it back safely from the killing fields of Ashton Court this morning - and no one lost a leg - always a bonus. We did lose someone for a few minutes but found them eventually.

Anyway, we stayed within the confines of the park and meandered our way around for about an hour. I wore in my new gladiators - they ain't so new anymore. There were only three of us today but it was pleasant company, it didn't rain and it wasn't that cold so I'm not complaining. After the run I headed - can you guess? - that's right, I headed home - after I'd been to the gym of course!! I only managed 45 minutes on the bike today - but then I am tapering for the Hangover 10k on Tuesday. It will be a complete day of rest for me tomorrow - other than work.

I hope to go pretty quick at the Hangover but it isn't a quick course so there's no risk of a pb. I must at least beat last years time of 39:07 though.

Thought for the day: There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


I took another day off running in favour of the nice warm gym and my beloved exercise bike. I'm not even going to mention the setting as I suspect you already know. I obviously did a few weights after - my legs are still dead, five hours later.

Anyway, today I planned. In fact, I planned like there was no tomorrow. I have pencilled in 25, yes, that's twenty five races for the first three months of 2008. If it all goes off properly I will have topped this years tally by five races but it is going to be a tall order. There are 7, that's right, seven double header weekends - now that just ain't easy on the body.

Some of the notable doubles are the Rhyader Round the Lakes 20 (miles) followed by the Ironwood Challenge (8 miles) on the weekend of 15/16th March. I shall, of course, be attempting the EAS 10k and Chilly Duathlon again, both taking place on Sunday 9th March. Also worth a mention is the Llanthony fell race followed by the Gloucester 20 (miles) on the weekend of 1/2nd March. For the full list of my (proposed) races you can click on my race schedule link on the right.

Well now I've bored you I'll leave you in peace.

Thought for the day: The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't.

PS, I've just realised that Rick was first Vet 50 at Clevedon so well done - he's well and truly on the comeback trail. And well done to Terry T for first Vet 60.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Back to the country for a second day...

In the form of forty five minutes on the cross country setting on the bike. It was just a gym recovery day for me. I worked till midday and the buggered off down t' gym. I liken the cross country setting to the really steep ascent sections of a fell race. For minutes at a time the pedal rate is so slow but the quads burn. You have to force the pedals round and the heart rate and breathing are right up there. And as you pedal you pray that the little red led's on the display will somehow speed up across the screen to end the agony - but they don't.

I pushed a few weights before finishing off with my now customary ab crunches - 80 this time.

And did you see me in the Evening Post on Thursday? You didn't? Well you would have needed optical enhancement - I was the small dot to the left of race winner Craig Peter's (No. 745) wearing the red and white of Bristol & West.

Thought for the day: Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves.

Uh, [raises finger to the audience] just one more thing. While surfing the web - as you do - I came across 'The Beetle' who obviously ran and gps'ed the Clevedon Boxing Day race. TB put in a respectable sub 26 minute time, and has uploaded the route to

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Getting blown... the mountain. Well apparently it gets windier than what I witnessed today but it sure seemed windy to me. It was easily my windiest trip over the mountains - no, stop it.

I was lucky enough to have a guide - I said, stop it - as in someone knowing of the route - for today's day trip across the black mountains. We ran out from Llanbedr in a big loop partially covering the routes of the various fell races that take place there. Overall conditions were pretty good if a 'little' windy. We were never above the cloud base so there were some nice views to be had. In all we covered 14.5 miles which took in close to 4,000ft of ascent. On the way back I lost a contact lens in the wind which made it hard work getting my footing but you'll all be glad to know I made it back safely.

With every run on the mountains I learn a little more and in this game knowing the mountains is as much a part to racing well as out and out speed and strength are. Give me a few years and I'll know every nook and cranny - well, maybe not. Today was good and I look forward to my next guided tour.

Thought for the day: The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not necessarily to have conquered but to have fought well.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Well that went surprisingly well

Well that was a bloody good - and I must say, much needed - confidence booster. What a great race the Clevedon Boxing Day 4 Mile Race is. Well organised and well supported.

I honestly felt I had no hope of running quickly today. I've not been training properly for a few months and haven't done much really hard effort speed or interval work. It's unfair to say I haven't done any but somehow I've been lacking the fire in my belly to really push myself. Yes, I've done few tough session and a couple in the last week but is it possible to turn things around that quickly? I don't know, but either way not only did I get close to last years time, I actually managed to knock a massive three seconds off - yes, you did read that correctly - three of our earth seconds. Or to put it another way, 3000 milliseconds - whoo, hoo. I finished in 38th place this year, up from 53rd last year (in a field of 800+ finishers). Suffice to say I am pretty satisfied in a good days work. My time for the record, was 23:13.

Well done to Sean - my apprentice has learnt well from the master, to finish in 16th place overall, in a time of 21:55. And well done too, to Rob W for an impressive 22:52 in 32nd place - I had him in my sights but 100m is a long, long way in this game. And bad luck to Nick, who had a piece of misfortune in the race but I know he's tough enough to come back quicker, stronger and fitter. And well done to Helen for a top two finish in the women's race. And well done to Rick for beating me - the swine - but not unexpected. And nice try Mike T but I couldn't let you beat me three times in a row, could I? And I'd like to thank my mum and dad for conceiving me, 36 years, nine months and three days ago. Special thanks to my dead cat, spike, who sadly passed on twenty three years, one hundred and thirty six days ago, without whose whimsical chasing of inanimate objects none of this would be possible. Thanks to birds for singing, the bees buzzing, the fields that are green - the fields that are not green, the sky and lastly and most importantly, oxygen for making all this possible - I think I might be lacking some at the moment. (By the way, I made up the bit about the cat, thought it would add an emotional nuance to the proceedings).

And on a final note, I managed to get myself a big cheer for being the 2nd woman home - but that's a story for time and another day...

Thought for the day: A true friend is someone who is there for you when they would rather be someplace else

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The alternate queens speech

Ooh, hello ducky - not that kind.

Well here we are. Christmas day. Ready as always to eat too much and drink too much but with the Clevedon Boxing day race tomorrow I shall control myself to the max. I had a look at my time from last year - and to be honest - it scares me. Could I have been that quick? The records don't lie, but can I be that quick again? I'm not sure but I will give it my best shot. Hopefully cometh the hour I can step up.

Anyway, now is the time to reflect on the year just passed. Can we all look fondly back? I hope so. But if your year wasn't so hot may you be granted a better one in 2008. May we all run as swift as the wind, stay injury free and be happy.

Happy Christmas everyone.

Thought for the day: Accept the challenges so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.

PS I didn't get out for that early morning run - maybe next year...

Monday, December 24, 2007

The ritual of the Christmas run

And so it is at this time of year that the ritual must be fulfilled and the sacrifice made - as in accordance with the prophecy. And so it came to pass, that, at the allotted time, the trinity of three set off on a journey that was to test their friendship to the very limits. A journey from which they would return changed for ever. A journey taking them to the furthest reaches of the....... Avon Gorge tow path.

Yep, we, the three wise monkeys, from Bristol Water set out on the customary Christmas lunch time run. We decided upon the tow path this year and headed out for an easy five miler.

'I feel awful', 'I'm so slow', 'This is rubbish', 'I don't know why I bother' - yes, the ever eloquent Clive T was on form - as always. Graham and I soldiered on under the barrage of negativity. The weather was kind and all in all we had a nice easy run and a chat - putting the world to rights in the process.

And finally, I'm going to try - yet again - to get out for a run Christmas morning. I've been threatening to do it for a few years now but never managed it - maybe this year, eh? - maybe not...

Thought for the day: Your friend is that person who knows all about you, and still likes you.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Old age

It was a wintery seven and a half miles up at Ashton Court today. At the start we were shrouded in the early morning mist but by the end the sun was shinning, the birds were singing and life was good. It was nice to see Mike still committed to the cause - he's training for leg seven of the Castles relay [winks to camera, he doesn't know it yet] - and, looking strong. Please don't let him beat me at Clevedon, please, please. The list of those who're going to beat me is growing daily - time for some spinach.

Anyway, after mince pies at the end it was away to the gym for me for more on the bike - I think I'm becoming addicted to it.

Thought for the day: Truly loving another means letting go of all expectations. It means full acceptance, even celebration, of another’s personhood.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Last day of 35

Well, today is the last day as thirty five year old - oh, how the ever advancing father time marches onwards. I'm not bitter. On the whole this has been a good year. There's been a few lows in amongst the happy times. My running hasn't been what it should have been in terms of time and PB's but it's been a year in which I have simply enjoyed running - and, of course, discovered a new event, which seems to suit my mad cap style - namely the fell running. And I especially enjoyed the first part of the year, in which I managed to race those twenty races in the first three months. I aim to break that tally in 2008. And then there was all the filming - which was fun in a sort of 'look at the twonk with the camera on his head' way. Flippin' heck this is turning into the mad runner's review of the year - I'm stopping now.

I didn't run today on account of getting up late - and being too lazy. I made it down the gym though, for an hour on the the bike - cross country setting - what other setting would I choose? That produced more of the 'burn' - it really is a fantastic workout. Then it was onto the weights before finishing off with 75 ab crunches - which I am glad to say I'm still managing to perform - I'll be up to 100 before long.

Thought for the day: The big shots are only the little shots who kept shooting.

Friday, December 21, 2007

I do nuffin

I didn't fancy it tonight - so I did nothing. I intend to do some training tomorrow, just haven't decided quite what just yet. I will almost certainly end up down the gym but I don't just want to go for a long run beforehand. I shall be thinking long and hard on what exactly I shall do...

Thought for the day: A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Freezing fog froze my face

Well I had the desire tonight. I went straight to the gym from work, got changed and headed out before I could change my mind. I ran 1.15km reps, six of them. I almost, gave up after the fourth but the Rocky I training music fictionally played in my mind and that lifted my spirit and allowed me to complete.

I ran along by the quarry at the top of Ashton Court. It's a reasonably flat gravel path but the outward rep is slightly downhill and the return, slightly uphill - duh, rocket science. It was hard work in the cold, foggy darkness and although I ran slower than I wanted to, my reps were at least, consistent - and as a bonus, wearing two - yes, two pairs of gloves tonight, I did manage to keep my hands warm even if my face wasn't.

I find it terribly hard to train solo, especially in non-ideal conditions so the fact that I stayed the distance tonight proves something to myself - I don't know what, mind you, but definitely proves something - maybe that I truly am mad? But who cares?

Anyway, so what were my splits I hear you all begging to know? Someone, anyone? Well I'm telling you anyway. They were 4:05, 4:16, 4:06, 4:16, 4:05 and 4:14. Pacewise that's about 3:34 km's for the downhill ones and 3:42 km's for the ups and please, before you judge too harshly, bear in mind that I was on strict 60s recoveries - so strict in fact that some were only 55s because I didn't want to cheat myself. All in all I'm satisfied I put in the effort. And I reckon that the off road nature of the reps and the darkness accounted for a few seconds - but maybe I'm just cheating myself.

So was that the end? - what do you reckon - I was on a roll. I headed back in to the gym for a half hour interval session on the bike on reasonably hard resistance. The effort began to tell after twenty minutes but I held on to finish. Then it was inevitably onto the weights for a quick work out before heading home for tea...

Thought for the day: The secret of getting ahead is getting started.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

So cold things shrink

Ooh, it were bitter tonight, bitter I tells ye. So c.c.cold I thou.thought something m.m.might shrivel up and drop off - namely, my p.p.p.proboscis - well? What were you expecting me to say?

It was just Sean and Bruce again, thought we might see Nick but alas no. Anyway, we ran ten 400's using the rotational technique - I always enjoy safe training and the rotational technique helps avoid premature exhaustion. And on a cold night like tonight it's always good to wear protection as well - a good sturdy pair of gloves. But boy did my feet get cold, just couldn't keep them warm. Oh well, home now and beginning to thaw out...

Anyway, I was around about 76s per lap tonight with a 45s jog recovery. A couple were slightly quicker and a couple were slightly slower but I averaged 76s off, what for me, is a reasonably short recovery. Bruce was looking good hitting 73/74s and Sean was unstoppable on 69s - stop it. I find it so hard - I said, stop it - to breath deep in the cold, the back of my throat just stings. I'm pleased with tonight's session in light of the harsh conditions. Just hopping things warm up a little because these endless cold days are beginning to get on my nerves.

For tomorrow I am going to try and get out for some longer reps, maybe as long a mile but I really haven't decided when or where. I really need some though. If it's cold again I'm not sure I'll have the mental strength to get out there - here's hoping...

Thought for the day: Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Cross country

No, not what you think. It was the exercise bike setting down at the gym. I waited in all day for my new dining table to be delivered - it did arrive as per the schedule - but when it says between 8am and 6pm you hope it's going to arrive in the morning as opposed to ten to six. Oh well, least it was delivered when they said - no sofa debacle this time - but it destroyed my idea of going for a lunch time session of hill reps up Dundry. And by the time it was delivered I was so fed up that I couldn't attempt a half hearted session so I decided the gym was a better option - certainly a damn sight warmer.

I did work really hard though, the cross country session is unbelievably hard. I put in an hour's worth and for about half the time my heart rate was up at 160. My legs were buckling under the strain. The lowest it dropped to was about 145. The thing about the bike is it's just physically very difficult to keep the pedals going round when the resistance cranks up. At points I hit level 18 and it only goes up to 20.

The great thing about the bike work out though, is that it's easier than running to really push through the lactic acid barrier. My legs were on fire at times but you just have to keep pushing and because it's the legs which are taking the strain rather than the heart hitting its limit you can really keep pushing through the pain. I reckon it's got to help simulate the knackered, near the end of race conditions and because you can keep pushing through it, it's got to help increase the staying power - even if it does use different muscles.

Anyway, I'm not missing my track session tomorrow - so look out track here I come...

Thought for the day: Have patience. All things change in due time. Wishing cannot bring autumn glory or cause winter to cease.

Urgent update

Just a quick, totally irrelevant note I felt I just had to post. I had an Argos voucher for £10 and put it in a 'safe' place - which proved so damn safe I couldn't find it. I thought it expired on the 4th December and desperately searched high and low in the run up to then, but could I find it? Could I f#@k - hang on, let me just shoot myself in the foot....... right, that's done [limps back to computer].

Guess what? I just found it - why do you always find stuff like that after the fact? Anyway, I feel like the world is turning my way - it's only valid until the 24th, init!!! Yeh, now all I have to do is come up with something to buy before then to make use of it - I won't be wasting this second chance - I feel like George Bailey from the film A Wonderful Life - is that a bell I can hear ringing?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Return of the Nick

Yes, Nick was safely back in the fold tonight - top job. No Harry or Ed mind, but at this festive time of year - peace to all men, blah, blah, blah, and all that jazz - I forgive them.

It was a cold cold night on top o' the Clifton Moor. Mist gathered all around as the faithful band of brothers waited with baited breath. Suddenly, a ghostly figure appeared out of the darkness. Heading across the barren, desolate land. Floating phantom like ever closer. Closer. Closer.... It's alright, it was only Rick and off we set.

We ran a fairly short one tonight at, what for the lads was, a fairly leisurely pace but for me was quite fast. We all pushed on the final hill and then eased back before a final effort in the last mile. I plied on the power in that last mile, trying to test my staying power. I steadily increased the pace until I was up at 3:26 min/km in the last 500m, which I just about managed to maintain through to the finish. I was fair puffing and was almost sick at the end but I was pleased with the effort. Good and hard - just what the doctor ordered.

Thought for the day: You can always learn something from somebody.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Episode 16: No Christmas Present For Me

Well here is my seventh place race video. It gets a 'bit' bouncy in places - even more than normal - well I was trying! What do you expect - bloody hard work trying to keep your head steady. But just look at the Mad Runner go - in the lead for all of 200m before being reeled in.

As you can see I was right up there for the first part of the race, re-capturing 2nd place towards a mile in but alas, it was too much for me and I started to go backwards. I have a taste for victory now though and although it will probably never happen it stokes the fire burning deep within.

Anyway, here is Episode 16: No Christmas Present For Me

Got caught up in the race

Well I blew it today. I got caught up in the race, finding myself running with the leaders at the front of the field in the first mile and ran just a fraction over my limit. That, of course, meant the remainder of the race was a bastard, hard struggle. A few people came past - including the notorious Helen F on the final climb - but by then my legs had totally had it and I felt sick. I was powerless to do anything - and believe me, I tried - but fair play to her, paced to perfection.

I'm still pleased with another top ten finish though. I was 7th. In honesty, I don't think I would have been much better had I gone off slighly less suicidal. It was a course you could really get your teeth into. There were some ups and downs with about 800ft of ascent in total but overall it was a pretty quick, raceable course. The one thing I lack at the moment is some decent flat speed. I shall be focusing on putting that right over the next few months.

Thought for the day: To be wronged is nothing unless you continue to remember it.

The Christmas Forest 5

PS, Video to follow shortly

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Ready to run

I feel ready for a bit of racing tomorrow. I feel fit. I feel strong. So I should be able to go pretty quick. I'm taking cappy out for a spin - which always takes a bit of pressure off. When I do well while filming it's even more of a bonus and if I don't go so well - unthinkable, I'm not even going there.

I reckon it could be a bit on the chilly side though - I might take my thermal codpiece just in case. Anyway, Christmas Forest 5 here I come...

Thought for the day: Success in life is a matter not so much of talent or opportunity as of concentration and perseverance

Friday, December 14, 2007

Who's been walking on my car?

My left calf is a bit achy today, my right heel bruised and it's Friday - I think we know what that means. The T word ain't going to happen today. I shall go to the gym tomorrow but only for some weights and bike work.

I'm racing the Christmas Forest 5 on Sunday - not that I'm especially tapering for it, it's just my heart ain't in it for training this weekend. I shall be back into a full week starting Monday with the session on the Downs - and unlike last week, I will definitely be going - no force on earth can stop me...

So who has been walking on my car?

Thought for the day: The secret of success in life, is for a man to be ready to take his opportunity when it comes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Tired on a Thursday

It was a long day on my feet at work today and I mistakenly worked right through lunch without realising the time. By the time it got to gym time I was just too tired to go, that coupled with the fact that I missed my evening meal yesterday means I'm running pretty low on carbs at the moment. I am in severe need of nourishment - which I will be correcting imminently.

I'm not too fused about missing a few training sessions at the moment. Looking back it's been a hard year in which my running hasn't really moved on much - if any at all. I've run no fast times on the road other than Berlin - which I'm not mentioning. I never even got close to my 10k time at any point. It's time to take stock and focus towards the coming year. If I rest a little now maybe I can get get back the focus, the eagerness and the desire to really improve. As long as I can keep myself ticking over until then I'll be happy. Next year I must better my 5 and 10k times but the main focus will be fell running but I'm definitely going to try and break sixty seconds 400m on the track in the summer as an aside.

At the end of the day though, as long as I keep enjoying the fell running - which at the moment I can't get enough of - I shall continue to run with a smile - who wants to run on the road anyway?

Thought for the day: A champion is someone who gets back up, even when he doesn't want to.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Bit of a damp squib

Well that turned out to be a bit bollocks. The traffic put paid to me making it on time and I missed my guide - all my own fault so I can't complain - I was late, fair and square - strike one.

So having driven all that way and without any idea where to run I just picked a mountain I could see and ran up it! I was a little ill prepaid today because I'd cleared the car out a few weeks ago and obviously forgot to put my maps back in the boot - strike two.

Once I was up the mountain I basically ran for an hour following any paths I could find before turning around and running back for another hour. Didn't have a clue where I was running which detracted from what was a cracking day with great views. It hasn't put me off though, I will be back and hopefully, next time I can successfully make the jump to hyperspace to get me there on time.

Anyway, to dispel my disappointment, I decided to turn out for the Wednesday track session and hammer something out. We had a new member of the crew tonight, Bruce, who joined just me and Sean in a session of ten 300's. We did a reverse recovery period of 90s down to 30s and back out to 90s. I was a bit feeble tonight but glad I did it - helped clear the head. My splits were 56, 52, 53, 54, 55, 55, 55, 55, 54 and a final 52. Not my quickest but admirable under the circumstances.

I'm a bit knackered now - it's not often you run in the mountains for two hours and then knock out a track session three hours later - not if you're normal - but then I guess I'm not.

Thought for the day: Dream as though you'll live for ever; live as though you'll die today.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More abdomination

My left quad is still sore. Everything else about me is fine - all right, everything else on the physical side is fine - obviously I'm still not all there but there's no cure for that!

I gave the hill session a miss this evening. I have a reason why I need the leg to be ready for tomorrow. Let me tell you a story......

I'm heading over to the Brecon Beacons tomorrow afternoon for my first run in the area proper - it's only for fun, not a race or anything. I've run in the periphery of the Beacons, near Abergavenny and the like but never in the Mountains proper. Quite looking forward - note, not ooooh really excited ;) - to being shown the ropes so to speak. And therein lies the reason - some might call it an excuse - I prefer reason - why I gave the hill session a miss - you be quiet, no it wasn't because it was cold - all right, there was a bit of that.

Anyway, it was another gym session of forty on the bike and some more upper body stuff. And again I was able to crank out another 60 ab crunches pain free - so that was a bonus.

Thought for the day: A new broom sweeps clean, but an old one knows all the corners.

Monday, December 10, 2007


Yes, for the first time in about a month I was able to do some ab crunches tonight. It's been too painful of late but tonight I thought I'd test the water and you know what? There was no sign of any pain - which is nice - but also slightly strange. It was still bothering me on the weekend and if it's what I think it is, it shouldn't be able to go away on it's own but on tonight's evidence it seems to have - I'm rambling so I'll shut up. Still, 60 ab crunches - bargain - I think I'm just about going to be able to maintain the six pack - topper.

I had chance to glance through the results of The Blorenge. I'm even more chuffed now. The field was quite strong but I still managed to score about 90pts towards the series score. That's about as good as I can score but because of the strength of the field I expected to score lower. And I've never been within 30s of the guy who finished one place ahead of me. At Sugar Loaf he was over two minutes ahead - this course was half the distance - but still I think that's a good improvement. Maybe he had an off day, so I won't read too much into it but I am feeling pretty optimistic about my fell running at the moment - especially considering I haven't really been doing any specific training or much hill work - make that none.

So to tonight and my quads are still sore from the weekend. I decided there was no point in trying a hard session - I wouldn't be able to put in enough effort for it to be worthwhile but too much to allow my muscles to repair. Instead I went to the gym for 40 minutes on the bike - on an easy level so I didn't have to kill myself - followed by ten minutes on the rower. The concept II rower is such a lush piece of kit - if I had the room in my house I'd buy one.

I finished off with the ol' upper body routine; back, biceps, triceps, chest, shoulders and not forgetting the abs.

Thought for the day: Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Quad core

My legs are sore - but only a little. I went for an easy run with Rick and Sean up Ashton Court. We were out there for just over 40 minutes - and it didn't even rain - result. Anyway, I headed down the gym afterwards for a 40 minute blast on the bike.

I soon realised that the program setting I had chosen was a bit on the hard side for the state of my legs but the thing about me - you might have worked this out by now - I don't know when to quit. Like my record of never not finishing a race I've started the same applies to the stupid bloody exercise bike. I started the program so I had to complete. To reduce the level would be to admit defeat and I can't do that.

I don't know how much fluid loss I sustained - I know, you didn't want to know that - but by the end I felt dizzy and the legs were like jelly. It was a good work out though and I feel fine now and the legs feel pretty good.

Not sure at this stage whether I will make it to the Downs for training tomorrow - although the session planned does tempt me - and tempts me a lot - it finishes with a hard effort up Bridge Valley Road - I love hills...

Thought for the day: Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

The power is back

It was a good day. It may have rained and the wind may have blown but that couldn't stop me in The Blorenge fell race. To be fair, the rain and wind did drop during the race, with only the occasional gust but boy did it feel good to be out there. Powering up the hill and falling back down again like a psycho - gert lush.

I ripped up the game plan within about 400m of the start. The plan was to take it nice and steady so as to not put too much stress on this frail old shell of mine. Luton was only six days ago and I've been feeling really tired this week. But you know how it is - you can't keep a good nutter down and in the end I just went for it and powered the hill as best I could - and I actually felt remarkably strong. Yes, the legs felt heavy half way up - I guess everyone's do at that point - but I just kept pushing as hard as I could until I reached the top. Then the fun part - the downhill.

After some initial caution regarding how the groin would cope I got caught up in the race and so just switched the brain off and down I went. It was very slippy underfoot and I was doing a fair bit of mud skiing but I stayed on my feet and got to the finish in, what I think, is a very creditable 8th place - yeah baby. I even had to stop twice because I forgot to double knot my shoe laces and they kept coming undone - stupid boy. I finished the last hill, through the woods, with one lace undone because I didn't want to lose any more time.

And finally, Beryl has made the blog. It looked like she'd been through the wringer but she made it home safely, and thanks for the kind words - you can come again. And Helen F won the women's race - again.

Thought for the day: Always remember to double knot your bloody shoe laces before a race.

The route of The Blorenge, with about 1,400ft of climb.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Come on! Let's celebrate

Yes, that's right folks it's time to celebrate tonight. The floor is finished. Yes, I did say, finished and floor in the same sentence. I took the afternoon off work and went for it - all the way down the hall - and it only took me six hours!!! Finally, I am within spitting distance of completion. Just a tiny bit of finishing, which should only take an hour or so and that's it, done, complete, the end, game over - and all in time for Christmas - bargain.

I'm now officially worn out, my back is shot and my 'saw' arm is twice the size of the other. Just as well the sofa got here this week because I think I can hear it calling. What's that? 'come and lie down, come and lie down...'. Better not keep it waiting - I think I've lost the plot - no, I'm sure I have.

Suffice to say there was no training tonight but the legs do feel remarkably good all things considered and the groin is a little better so it's all looking good for Blorenge - come on.

Thought for the day: If the mountain's there, that's good enough reason to climb it.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Read it and weep

... I did. I trained tonight - of a sort at least. Probably shouldn't have but then I have an image to keep up. It was a fifty fifty turn out with just Sean, Danny and Nick training this evening. It didn't rain so that was a bonus but it was a bit windy.

Anyway, the spicy pizza I ate before training kept my energy levels up - especially the jalapeƱo peppers - beauty - but the legs were lacking the power. The lads ran a 400, 600, 800, 800, 600, 400 pyramid but I missed out the second 800. It was officially my slowest ever session - but then I don't think I've ever tried a proper training session within three days of a marathon. I was being careful though, and taking it slow, so it's no surprise really.

My splits - no laughing - I SAID NO LAUGHING - were 87s - 'ave some - 2:03, 2:53, 2:01 - best laugh you've had in ages I bet but, get this, 76s on the final 400m - now that's almost OK.

So it's going to be a few more days rest, maybe a bit of gym work and then.... the Blorenge on Saturday, a 2.5mile fell race with 1,400ft of climb. Not sure I'll survive but I will try my damnedest.

Off now to seat my arse - and legs - and anything that'll fit really - on my lovely new sofa and watch some tv. CSI me thinks - get the notebook ready - what's that? bleach, thick latex gloves - because finger prints can be transferred through the cheaper, thin ones... top tips indeed...

Thought for the day: Religion is for people who don't want to go to hell. Spirituality is for those who've been there.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It caught up with me this morning

Well, the exploits of the weekend hit home this morning. I awoke - as you do - at the normal time and proceeded to prepare myself for the day ahead. It was then I was hit by the unstoppable juggernaut or tiredness. I felt so drained I just had to go back to bed. Anyway, a few hours of dead to the world time and I was back up and ready for action. Made it into work for 10:45 - now that's a late start - nice.

In light of this mornings tiredness I decided I probably shouldn't train today. The legs are still sore but easing and after this mornings escapades I shall have an early night and hopefully be ready for a bit of track tomorrow evening. I don't think it would be sensible to run a hard session so I might be an honourary lady again and take it easy. I have to try and get myself ready for the third race in the South Wales Winter Fell Series - a slightly tall order because it's this coming Saturday. I want to get a series score so I shall run regardless of what shape I'm in - I'll just take it slowly and grind it out as I climb the north face of the Eiger.

Thought for the day: Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.

Monday, December 03, 2007

A new day dawns...

Yesterday is out of my system. I've decided to enter a new phase - I suppose, in reality, it's actually re-entering an old phase. I've not set any targets like last time - yet - but I'm going to start racing again - week in, week out. I really enjoyed it last time and provided some decent training along the way. I think I'm going to try and focus on shorter stuff and maybe do some specific training for a crack at lowering my 5 and 10k times - it'll be about time.

And finally - only a month and a half late - the Mongolian elephant caravan arrived today, bringing with them my lovely new sofa - yipee.

And here's a pic.

Thought for the day: People who care about other people are on average happier than those who are more preoccupied with themselves.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Not what I had planned

I think we can assume I didn't make it - understatement.

I gave it my best shot but conditions - and my stupidity got the better of me. I was through 20 miles in 2:16 but the wind of laps 1 and 2 had taken too much. At points the gusts practically brought me to a stop. I guess how I ran today was a kind of running suicide but I couldn't come all this way and not give it a go.

Within a mile, at around 21, I completely seized. It was so painful to run I almost cried - I didn't - obviously - but I was unable to run. Never the less I limped to the finish in a stunning time of 3:28!!!

Thought for the day: Be glad if you tried your best irrespective of the outcome.

The taping of the nipples

The weather has now officially arrived - this is going to be one of the most enjoyable races I've ever done. So it's time now for the time honoured tradition that is the taping of nipples. Is that too much information?

With less than an hour to go I'm all but ready. There's still time for me to bottle it though...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Green and pleasant land

I have arrived in the sacred place that is Luton - actually Dunstable but it only spitting distance so we'll call it Luton.
Well there's only 15 hours to go and I feel knackered. Going to try for an early night but I never sleep well in hotels so I don't hold out much hope. I drove through some truly horrendous weather on the way up - I hope those storms don't make it here.
Anyway, there's sod all to do so I may be forced to scrape the barrel and watch Strictly Dancing or whatever it's called - there are worse things in life - but I can't think of any at the moment ;).
Now, where's my food...

Looks like I need a miracle

I have just seen the weather forecast for tomorrow - and I really wish I hadn't. I shall be praying that the forecasters are as way off the mark as they normally are. According to the forecast the day starts partly cloudy - that's OK, I could live with that. Then it moves to light rain and mild winds - not the best but I'd take it. And by race time, 10am, it's predicted to have moved to rain with winds in the region of 25mph - oh bugger.

Under those conditions the chances of success are, at best, slim. I shall, however, stick to the plan and take it out on sub 3 hour pace. I know it means almost certain failure but I don't give up and won't give up. I sure as hell won't admit defeat while there's breath in my lungs. I shall run and run to win - OK, not win the race but win my race and go as fast as I can. I shall be a tiger...

Thought for the day: It is better to have lived one day as a tiger than 1000 years as a sheep.

Friday, November 30, 2007

42 Hours

It's getting closer and I'm still feeling relaxed. Come what may I'm just going to enjoy it - can you enjoy 26.2 miles run at a pace that you know will hurt come the end? - I can!

Again I didn't bother with training and the groin does feel better but it ain't goin' to be perfect - but I just don't care...

Thought for the day: Never look down on anybody unless you're helping them up.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The calm before the storm

Well it's just over 63 hours until I have some fun on the run in Luton. I shall be packing my Hawaiian t-shirt, my sunnies and of course, factor 78 sun-block - I shan't be getting sun burnt.

I didn't make it down the gym tonight - long day at work and to be honest, race day is so near I might as well try and rest the groin strain as much as possible. Anything I do between now and then isn't going to make much difference.

So come race day I shall be taking it - to infinity, and beyond!!!!!

Thought for the day: There is no such thing as 'too late' in life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm a lady

I slacked tonight. I was going to just round the track a few times but after three laps I was bored so joined in with the young ladies - and Dave T.

We ran two 3 minute reps (they did three), two 2 minute reps and one 1 minute rep. It was all very calm and easy until that final 1 minute rep. Round to 200m I was steady, controlled and then .... I lost it big time. I turned on the after burners like you would not believe and sprinted - and I mean sprinted the last 180m. I got to within 20m of the full lap in just 60s - yes, that's 20m of the full lap - and I even started to slow down as I approached the line because I thought I'd missed the whistle.

Extrapolating that to a full lap equates to a 63s lap. And considering the first 200m was really rather steady I reckon I've got a sub 60 in me. And to quote from someone - don't know who - I probably shouldn't of done that - but it was fun.

Anyway, I'm not doing any more training before Luton. Maybe an easy jog but nothing strenuous.

Thought for the day: Quitting while you're ahead is not the same as quitting - 'American Gangster'

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bridging it

Well we managed the PB. Not by as much as we'd hoped for but 10s is 10s and the nineteen and a half minute barrier is broken. 19:15 next time and then sub 19...

I felt good tonight. Really strong. I've decided, despite the groin strain, to go for it on Sunday. I'm going to start on 21 minute 5k's and see if I can stay the distance this time. If I do I will be sitting pretty on sub three. If I don't then what the heck, there's always the next race. But at the moment I feel invincible and recalling - again - my Nepalese guru's favourite - haven't heard much from him lately - better to have tried and failed than never tried at all.

Thought for the day: You don't lose anything from trying but you lose everything if you don't try.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Monday - furthest day of the week from the coming weekend - fact

Longest ever blog title - 'ave some.

Anyway, it was an easy day for me by all accounts. Just a simple gym workout tonight, nothing more. Lift a few weights, have a bit of a natter, half an hour on the bike - you know how it is. My arms are knackered though - I think I overdid the bicep curls - can't undo that now though and I don't think it will affect my legs.

I'm all set for pacing Suzanne at tomorrow's Bridge Inn 5k. With it being so close to the Luton Marathon it's the perfect way to prevent myself getting carried and racing quick - or trying to. I'm leading the 19:15-19:20 pace group - OK, so there is no group but hopefully the weather will be kind and she can hit target and chalk up another PB. Fingers crossed...

Thought for the day: The person who says it can't be done should not interrupt the person doing it.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The day of rest

I decided not to run today. I shall be on pacing duty at the Bridge Inn 5k on Tuesday ahead of Luton so I'm not really going to be doing too much in the coming days.

I've booked my hotel in the pleasant town of Dunstable - pleasant? Who am I kidding? Anyway, the acommodation is sorted so now it's just a matter of resting, getting there and then setting out fresh and rested next Sunday morning.

Thought for the day: You're either part of the solution or part of the problem.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Perfect ten

OK, not quite perfect. In fact quite a long way from it but today's ten miler was never the less a good run. I ran around about marathon target pace. I can't make up my mind whether I found it hard going or easy. Along the flat I was cruising but the hills seemed to take the wind out of my sails. Then afterwards I headed off down the gym for half an hour on the bike. Not sure what I will have time for tomorrow - I'll have to see what I can fit in...

Thought for the day: Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, 'I will try again tomorrow'.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Almost the weekend

Well Mike's session was over at Filton on the track - I is not doin' back to back days of that, no sir. So I went down the gym - my new, lower cost, gym to hit the bike. The gym instructors didn't like that and told me to stop or they'd phone the police. So I hopped on board instead and put in 45 minutes of hard graft. I don't know what it is but the bike's down Redwood seem to offer a much greater workout to those at my old gym. Once again my legs were a bit wobbly at the finish - all good training though. Then a quick blast on the good old, dependable concept II rower - rowing machine to the stars - and all round thoroughly bloody good work out. Then I finished off with half hour on the weights - trying to acclimatise to all the new machinery and getting the settings sorted - my biceps are aching like you wouldn't believe - I reckon my arms are two inches longer now.

I'm well and truly into my taper ahead of Luton in ten days time. I'm aiming for a relatively easy ten miles on Saturday and then I shall take it as it comes through next week.

Thought for the day (this one's a cracker): You cannot milk a cow with your hands in your pockets!?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yellow lightning

Wow! What a session that was and not only that it was another good turn out - almost a full house - but not quite. Jamie was still buzzing from his cross country exploits on Sunday - fair play - he is a 400m man, after all.

We ran three 800's followed by three 500's and finished off with three 300's. And even though I blow my own trumpet - stop it - it was a far far quicker session that I did tonight than I have ever done before.

My times were 2:32, 30, 31 for the 8's then 93, 92, 91 for the 5's and 52, 49, 51 for the 3's. Considering my 800m pb is only 2:24 that can't be bad. And the lads were stunned by my 49s 300m - as yellow lightning came tear-arsing down the final hundred metres destroying all in his wake - monumental baby. I cramped up through the line though - but it was worth it - I got to within spitting distance of Sean and Nick.

I managed to de-cramp in time for the final one, albeit a bit slower but I wouldn't have got close to the lads on the final one anyway. They absolutely legged it. Jamie, Harry and Danny were all around 46s with Nick and Sean even faster - awesome.

I don't think I've ever run training 800's inside 2:34 before so I am slightly buzzing at the moment. It was solid, hard effort tonight. I felt light headed at times. Struggled for breath at others but stuck in there, dug deep and came away with the prize - there wasn't really a prize, lads - just the prize of personal satisfaction. Bring it on...

Thought for the day: The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Busy day

Another non-training day - that's three in a row. I've been busy though and it's really just been a time issue - or the lack of it. I will be training tomorrow - I wouldn't dare miss my track session. Apologies to Sean for missing Monday, as I'd promised to give him a lift - I hope he got the message via the Chinese whispers that I left - sorry mate.

Thought for the day: Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Easy as BMC

Didn't have time for training today - busy schedule and all - but went up to the Downs to help with the BMC Cross Country race. I got a call from an anxious Rick to find out where the generator was - I was running slightly behind - stop it - but I got there with at least a minute to spare. Then it was straight over to construction work as Me, Jerry and Dave 'Come on, the lights fading' Taylor struggled to put up the tent in the pouring raining during a howling gale - I exaggerate - but not by much. Then it was time for the racing and I dutifully put on my marshals vest and went and took my position in a far corner of some foreign field. Three hours later I was relieved of duty, cold, wet and thoroughly, terribly p@&$ed off - no, not really, but I was cold - and I couldn't feel my toes anymore - thank the lord for my Gortex shoes or they would have been wet as well.

It was a top quality field in the men's race - those at the front knew they were in a race and that's for sure - but I'm not sure who won, though - from my far flung corner I coulda seea nuffin. Still, a few runners and parents thanked me - ah, I got a nice warm glow on the inside - shame it wasn't the outside! And good to see Jamie running in the U17 race. He might not have finished first but it's the taking part that counts - my arse is it - never the less, well done to him. Sean placed sixth and it looked like he enjoyed it.

I'm now beginning to warm up but my hands are still not operating at full typing speed - maybe in an hour or two - it's all the cold blood running through my veins.

Off to the downs tomorrow for some more high altitude training with the lads...

Thought for the day: Don't let one cloud obliterate the whole sky.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Electric shock therapy...

Yes, I need to book myself in for some after three separate unintentional sheep worrying episodes - well I was in Wales! Those sheep are annoying. I was running along quite merrily - no, that sounds a bit gay - I was running soundly when two sheep popped out of the undergrowth a few metres ahead and preceded to run along the path I was following. We ran together for a bit but they just kept going. Animals are so stupid, left or right and the worrying would have ceased but oh, no, not these sheep - straight on down the track. I stopped a few times and tried to walk slowly as possible but they just kept heading on. I ended up guiding them into the trees before they eventually they hit upon the idea of TURNING OFF THE BLOODY PATH - yeh, five minutes earlier would have been a good idea to come up with that one Einstein

Anyway, I had a great run today. The weather started off overcast but within half an hour it was bright sunshine - couldn't have asked for more. The run turned out to be 26.5k - that's about 16.5 miles in old money - and around 3,000ft of ascent. I know I said I wasn't planning any of the peaks but late on I decided to go off plan and up Tor-y-foel at the end of the run - you can't go to the mountains and not run up one - it'd be rude.

There was another couple of sheep worrying incidents with the worst one being me chasing these two sheep, that had obviously escaped from a field, down a track. I was concerned I was about to herd them onto the road and in the end I had to climb into a field to go around them before re-appearing down stream and chasing the pesky devils back a ways - the things you do. Hence the need for me to get some electric shock aversion therapy.

And one more thing, why oh why oh why do some people think it's a good idea to fly-tip? Not just that, these fly-tippers were hard-core - we're talking extreme fly-tipping. These scum - yes, scum - go onto the mountains just do dump a load waste. There was a section of the run, about a kilometre long where there was just tons of dumped rubbish - it really p#@$ed me off and got me in a bad mood. But once I was clear of that I calmed down again - oh, I was so angry - I could have burst a blood vessel. Some people - don't deserve to live. Rant over.

Thought for the day: Rest satisfied with doing well and leave others to talk of you as they will.

Today's route:

Friday, November 16, 2007


With just over two weeks until the Luton Marathon it's time to start my taper. I've had my race number come through, it's 672, with a yellowish hue and a smidgen of blue. I'll be ready to run, right from the gun, but it's only for fun and my time won't stun - blimey, I was off on one then...

...back to reality. I'm heading over the Bridge again tomorrow, to the Brecon Beacons. I'm going to program up the GPS with a 15 mile route starting by the Talybont Reservoir and heading round in a loop. I'm plotting the route using my OS maps - so I hope the tracks on the map really do exist else it's going to go all cross country on me. I did the same thing up in the Cairngorms and the routes I chose obviously don't get much use except by the occasional mountain goat - I hope these ones are better. I've tried to pick a flatish course without taking in the peaks but even then it looks like being 3,000ft of ascent - I guess you don't get flat in the Brecons.

Thought for the day: My country is the world and my religion is to do good.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Another long day

It was another long day at work but successful never the less and managed to get down my new gym at the end of it all. I signed up tonight.

I didn't get out for a run but put in 45 minutes on the bike to try to get a feel for the settings. I tried a routine called cross country. F#&k me was it ever hard - way harder than the other gyms interval session I used to do - and that was a tough session - but this was something else. When I got off my legs were jelly and I had to use all my will power to hold my posture as I walked to changing room so as to not look like a right arse - not that I really care if people think I am or look like an arse. I'm not sure that the cross country setting is going to get selected as my after run session though but it's a damn fine work out - highly recommended.

It is, I'm afraid, a feet up night in front of the telly tonight - I could be falling asleep any time soon...

Thought for the day: You shouldn't worry about the fact that other people don't appreciate you. You should worry about not appreciating other people.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I've got chills...

They're multiplyin' - but I sure as heck wasn't quite losing control.

It was cold tonight and at the start my heart wasn't in it. I'm feeling really tired at the moment. I'm not ill or anything (other than the virtual insanity) just tired. Tonight Jamie was back in the fold and we had a new member, Danny. We ran six sets of 400m controlled, 30s recovery then 200m fast with a jog back to the start.

I ran poorly on the first couple - here we go I thought - but I actually picked up through the session to finish with some reasonable efforts. My splits were 77, 35 (poor), 74, 33 (not much better), 75, 34 (what the hell is wrong with me?), 74, 34 (at least I'm not getting any worse!), 73, 32 (eh up, what's this?), 71, 32 (where did that come from?). I even managed to chase Sean close on the last couple of 200s. He got a shock when he turned round to see me hot on his heels - groovy.

Anyway, I feel much better for the session and I'm glad I went. Just need to find out where Mike's session is tomorrow - if there is one! The BMC Cross Country is on Sunday so there might not be one - anyone care to give me an update? I've decided I'm definitely not going to run the Weston Prom because I have too much lethargy to race. I will just about be able to summon the will to train but not race.

Thought for the day: He who awaits much can expect little.

PS There might be something in my new pre-race routine of getting hammered the night before. I've now got the results of Sunday's cross country and I actually improved my position from last year by 12 places in a slightly larger field. Added to my good result at Sugar Loaf with a similar build up. It's worth considering...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Carrying out the threat

Yep, I did indeed do no training tonight - I'm allowed a day off - plus I am knackered and want a good session tomorrow. If I run badly I will have no excuses and will, as punishment, give myself a severe slapping. Oh how mental am I? - don't answer that.

Thought for the day: Think, think, think. It will hurt like hell at first, but you'll get used to it.

PS, thanks for the heads up re Mayhill Massacre. It's a race that's right up my hill - oh, that was just plain bad. I actually did it this year but good to be reminded. I think I was 13th so I'll have to run well to better that. For anyone who hasn't run it, it's cracking muddy, hilly multi-terrain race - I almost disappeared up to my waist at one point! (website

Monday, November 12, 2007

Upper and Downer

We changed tack tonight and ran a longer one instead of the reps. Starting from the Water Tower on the Downs we ran down(er) to the Portway, along it and looped back up(per) via Stoke hill. The idea was to go out quick along the Portway and then ease back on the return. Things started off OK. Sean and Rick pegged it mind you, no problems there. I brought up the rear - no, enough. Harry and Ed started well but they're not used to the distance and slowed a bit - I did too but I can blame it on having to back mark.

On the return I pushed it up the climbs - as only I do, doubling back to meet with H and E. It was on Stoke Hill that I spotted them moving, how shall I put this, less than quickly - if you get my drift. Upon seeing me their pace improved a bit - suspicious.

Anyway, I have a rest day planned for tomorrow and then Wednesday's track session.

Thought for the day: Those who struggle can fail. Those who don't struggle have already failed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Bath time

It's that time of year when the call of the cross country is too strong to resist - actually, I could resist without any problem but I thought I'd show willing. So it was off to Bath for the second Gwent League fixture.

It was a new course this year, encompassing going up hill seven times instead of the previous four which in theory should play to me strengths. Today, however, my pre-race routine of a night out getting lashed didn't quite work. My head felt awful - which I freely admit is entirely my own fault so I accept the pain without complaint. I started off dead last - nice - but during the first half of the lap (four lap course) my head cleared and I was able to start running in earnest. At the finish I had picked off Graham, Dave T, Brett S and narrowly failed to chase down Mike T and Gareth but I guess I was within 30s of them at the end. All in all it was a satisfactory training race. I think there is plenty more to come.

Thought for the day: Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Flippin' heck Jerry!

I got out for a ten miler with Jerry this morning - forgot how he fair steams along. I struggled to keep up and was verily puffing good and proper come the end but it's good to get a solid run in. We ran along the river towards Keynsham and then back over the hills. It was a nice little route and a welcome change from my normal haunts.

Anyway, I'm off for more diy mayhem - smashing away the remnants of a dividing wall which is making the floor uneven...

Thought for the day: Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Man of my word......

but then it's quite easy to be a man of your word when you've said you'll have a rest day. In fact, not only was it a rest day it was also a half-day - you little ripper.

Alright, I own up, I did make a start of the hall flooring. So it wasn't all feet up and relax. I so lost the enthusiasm for wood flooring after I finished the living room. The interface point into the hallway was a bit fiddly, requiring lots of careful measurement and accurate cutting - suffice to say, not being the worlds greatest diy-er, I put it on ice. Anyway, I decided today was the day and cracked on with it. Now the hard bit is out the way I should be able to zoom on through the rest of it and finally tidy up.

Heading out for a medium run tomorrow. Haven't been able to get myself planned up to go over the bridge again and I can't face a long one up at Ashton but I reckon I might survive a 10 miler with my (partial) sanity intact.

Thought for the day: No one is useless in the world who lightens the burdens of another.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Eighteen, the magic number

There we go then Nick, I named today's post in your honour - not that you're going to read it today but maybe in a day or two once the 'head' fog clears, eh?

Now to tonight's training. Well, I guess the first thing is to say is that I made it. I was undecided yesterday but after the J-myster divulged the secret location of Mike D's session tonight I could hardly duck it could I? So, it was to Sneyd Park and the hill reps of doom - OK, not quite doom - more, the hill reps of mild slopey-ness that get a little bit steeper near the top and then level off again, whew, glad I got that out of the way - harder to name it than run it - alright, that's not exactly true. It was quite hard work tonight.

Anyway we ran six hill reps (950m) and my times were 3:48, 45, 38, 42, 42, 51. I was close to not doing the sixth but as the sole representative of the boyz (they don't do these sessions just to make that clear) the thought of bringing shame on them filled me with a sense of foreboding doom so I set off in pursuit of the illustrious sixth and final rep. As it turned out that was probably a rep too far but never-the-less I believe tonight's set was my fastest set of six - ever. I've done a set of four a tad quicker but then that's only four.

Not sure what I have planned for tomorrow - probably a rest day.

Birthday thought for the day: Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

PS There must be a problem with my post because my invitation didn't turn up. I was looking forward to a game of spin the plate, musical chairs and pass the parcel - maybe next year, eh, Nick?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Not the fastest

It wasn't my fastest session on the track tonight. Not my slowest so I'll take it. We were in reduced numbers tonight with Sean, very rarely absent, at a function and Jamie continuing his awol status. Nick and Harry made up the numbers as did a visitor.

We ran five sets of 500m/300m reps with 60s recovery between the 500m and 300m and 90s between sets. It was a chill night and I think it chilled my running. Apart from the first 500m in 1:29 the rest were all 1:33/34's and the 300's deteriorated from 53s down to 56s before finishing with a flourish in 52 - but only because some damn fool tried to overtake me - yes the cheek of it - in the back straight. I nearly caught Harry but his youth just had the edge.

Not sure where training is tomorrow. I shall try and find out. Although I might not be arsed to do any - we'll see.

Thought for the day: The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best is now.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No time

Had a full day at work today. Stood in a field with my laptop, watching the world go by - well actually I did a bit of work - which did actually work - in the end. Anyway, I didn't have time to hit the gym so today's rest day really did turn into a rest day - don't get many of those to the pound - sorry, kilo - or is it monetary pound? oh, I don't know - wish I'd never started that now.

Anyway, I shall store today's energy and release it on the track tomorrow - providing I don't explode in the mean time. And talking of exploding, you'll all be glad to know that when I awoke this morning the leg was still soundly attached - which was nice.

Well, this post has been a bit surreal...

Thought for the day: Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Revenge of the killer groin

I know, I know, waaaay too much information but the left side of my groinal area is sore - is groinal a word? probably not, moving on quickly. Obviously, it didn't stop me training because I'm not normal - in a nice way, of course. I even managed to complete the entire session - with my leg remaining attached to my torso - always a bonus, I find.

So to the session. We ran on the road tonight - well, not actually on the road, it was the pavement, anyway, it wasn't the grass for us tonight. It was longer reps and we ran four 5 minute reps of 1.46km with 2 minute recoveries - OK, the lads ran five minutes - I took longer because I'm old, decrepit and slow. I found it tough going, especially into the strongish wind and the lads burnt me off good and proper. I were gert miles behind. But it's good to run with them because once again I was close to shortening the rep length and once again I couldn't live with the shame so battled on to complete the session. My splits were actually pretty decent - for me. I'm surprised by the speed really, 5:09, 5:34, 5:16 and 5:29 (the faster ones are net downhill and the slower, the return journeys - if that makes sense). That's an average of 5:22, which equates to 5:31 1500m pace into a tough wind.

Anyway, I shall be giving myself a rest tomorrow - maybe a burn on the bike down the gym but no running. Then I should be ready for Wednesday - as long as I don't wake up tomorrow to find that my leg has dropped off.

Thought for the day: Indulge yourself by being generous - help someone out, perform an act of kindness, offer a compliment. The person who will feel most uplifted by you having done so is... you.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Episode 15: Back To The Top

It was up to Ashton Court today for a recovery run after yesterday's return to fell racing and what, for me, was a sublime few minutes at Sugar Loaf. It was just the four of us, Sean, Rick, Mike T and me. Sean raced in the National Cross Country Relays yesterday but from the outset he was off the front today - I don't reckon he ran fast enough at the relays.

Anyway, Mike T was right up there as well but I wasn't - I couldn't keep up. My quads were feeling the strain from yesterday - we're not talking wrecked - just heavy. I ran for just under the hour while they put in just over. All in all it was a good effort on a nice crisp morning - what more could you want? - well loads actually but that's a story for another day. And I should be recovered ready for tomorrow's reps up on the Downs.

Anyway, without further ado, here is Episode 15: Back To The Top

(if the video doesn't play here is an alternative link to the YouTube version)

And here, for your interest, is the route.

Off now to watch Paula...


Please have mercy, no more, for the love of sanity, pleeeease no.....

What A Feeling Inside (Ode To Sugar Loaf)

What a feeling inside when you get to the top.
Heart pumping, legs burning, you know you're alive.
Then off back down at terrible speed.
It's much too fast, will I survive?
Adrenal explosion, oh what a rush.
Fight to the finish, urge muscles on.
Cross line, race complete, what a feeling inside.

I'm so sorry to subject you all to that! When the urge takes hold, I can't control and the pen doth scribe across the page - I'm going to have to up the dosage aren't I?

Thought for the day: Some people bear three kinds of trouble - the ones they've had, the ones they have, and the ones they expect to have.

PS, video to follow soon

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Bloody marvelous

What a difference a week makes. I felt strong today - not super human but never the less strong. Last week I found the going so tough but that practice run really did do the world of good.

I ran hard today and felt good. Far better than I thought I would. I think I may even have squeezed into the top twenty in a field of about 100 give or take some. And I also managed to beat Stroud's Phil M. We've had a few good races this year but he usually ends up getting the better of me. I thought it was more of the same today as he came past during the first climb but I soon got back on level terms and he followed in hot pursuit all the way, finishing on my heels, just seconds behind. Without him pushing hard from behind - no, cut that out - I would have eased back a bit so I thank him for chasing.

The Sugar Loaf race is 5.5 miles and 1,450ft of climb and I finished in a time of 43:43. Any time inside 44 minutes can be considered pretty decent. Now 44 is a good time, mind you, nothing wrong with 44. If you get 44 you can be happy. If I hadn't managed to get 43 I would have been dead chuffed to get 44 - it's just that you know you've really made it when your time begins with 43 - have some, couldn't resist, sorry, you know I'm kidding.

Well done to Helen F for not only winning the women's race - and she really was in a race - and a close one at that but she also broke her own course record by over two minutes. And well done to Patrick Woodisse for a top ten finish.

Thought for the day: Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.

PS, Episode 15: Back To The Top will have to wait until tomorrow

Friday, November 02, 2007

Things are looking up

No training today but the cold is much better. The sneezing has been confined to one or two short bursts and the sniffles are much reduced. So it's good news for tomorrow. It might not quite be all systems go and my main rocket boosters might be due a main service but hopefully my retrorockets will see me to the top of Sugar Loaf tomorrow and with luck my heat shields will stay attached on the way back down - and yes, I know retrorockets are used to slow against the direction of motion - we can't all be rocket scientists can we?

Thought for the day: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Too clogged

My cold has worsened slightly. Now, we're not talking full blown man flu - that would be really serious. No, I'm not at deaths door just yet, just a little bit clogged is all. I could have gone out for a run this evening but I wouldn't have gained much from it. So I decided to have an extra rest day ahead of Saturday's Sugar Loaf - it's not like I'm going to lose all my fitness in just two days is it? - What's that? I am! Bloody hell, I better get out there for a quick ten miles - not.

At least the enforced rest gives me time to check out the cap-cam - make sure it's still working. Yep, good old cappy will be returning on Saturday for Episode 15: Return To The Top. Irrespective of how I feel I will be running on Saturday. After last weekends training run I know I won't be quick regardless of the cold so come rain or shine I will be there - and the Crown does nice grub so it almost makes the trip across worth while for that alone.

Thought for the day: When you realise what you have and appreciate it, then you have true wealth beyond measure.

Penance has been served

And I really didn't think it would be. I've been sneezing all day. Got the sniffles and during the session I was wheezing like a 70 year with a twenty a day habit. It was an amazing session and I honestly don't know where I summoned up the strength. Perhaps it was my self loathing of yesterdays flop - whatever it was, I'm happy to take it.

We ran six 400's with long 3 minute recoveries but the aim was to run fast. Nick, Sean, Rob and Harry where practically out pacing the wind while I also fared pretty well - even if I do say so myself. The lads were running in the region of 58 to 63s while I ran 67, 68, 67, 67, 69 and 68s. After the fifth one slipped out to 69 I was worried but equally determined to complete the session having kept every one under 70. I called on all of my reserves and made it so, number one. The only time I've ever gone quicker was when we ran five 400's with an even longer 5 minute recovery.

The lads marveled as I crossed the line - more than once - I was on a role - and no, I'm not going there...

Thought for the day: Opportunity dances with those who are already on the dance floor.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It was massive...

I don't think I've ever seen such a big one...... the turn out at the Bridge Inn. Why, what did you think I was talking about? You smutty lot. It was possible the biggest field ever assembled!!!

I had a poor run. My tactic of blasting out fast and hanging on was perfect apart from the fact that I didn't blast out fast and nor did I hang on. No I'm kidding, I did blast out fast - too fast - even for the blast out fast and hang on technique. I got to 2k and I was shagged. That's another fine plan I didn't execute well, Stanly.

I have no excuses though. I should have been able to stay the distance better. OK, my first km was probably slightly the wrong side of suicidal but that's still no excuse and I make none. Anyway, I finished in 18:32 and got beaten by Mike T, who came past in the last km or so. I foresaw he was a danger from that run at Ashton two weeks ago and so it came to pass, as 'twas written in the prophecy. For the record my splits were - no laughing - 3:23, 3:34, 3:47, - I said no laughing - 3:54, 3:54. If only I could have held those last two at 3:47s, that would have almost been respectable - but I couldn't, so there 'tis. Rest assured I will return and I will conquer.

Suzanne H had another great run, improving her PB down to 19:39 (13s quicker than last time). It's sub 19:30 for her next time. And Sean, after arriving with just 3 minutes to go to the start, owing to Bristol's poor bus service, had a flier and also claimed a new PB at 16:17 (a 10s improvement). I think he might have something there with the get bundled from the car at the last minute warm up technique - I might try it at the next race.

On the upside, at least I've got the track session to look forward to tomorrow. Where I hope to perform my penance for tonight.

Thought for the day: Life is made up of giving and getting and forgiving and forgetting.

Monday, October 29, 2007


My quads are still aching so I haven't been training today - unless you count a quick 30 minute run followed by an hour on the bike and topped off with a quick upper body weights session - got cha! Nope, I didn't do any of that - except for the weights bit, that is, but that doesn't really count as training. So it really was a day of rest. Time to give this frail corporal (another one to add to my list of big words I've never used before) form of mine a bit of respite from the abuse I send its way. Haven't really got much to say - for once, there, I said it for you - you were all thinking it anyway. So as punishment I'll bore you all with more of my prose, penned after my trip to Sugar Loaf on Saturday - stop groaning you nasty lot - on second thoughts, groan away...


There is a hill.
Its slopes call to me.
I know peace when I am there.
I see all.
I sense all.
I am the clouds.
And it feels good.

Thought for the day: When you can change things for the better, do so. When you can't, don't worry that you couldn't.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Only went and did it again...

What you ask? Forgot that the bloody clocks changed today - what a cock - I could have had an extra in bed. On the bright side at least I wasn't late this time - and I realised my faux paux before I turned up an hour early - so no harm done.

Anyway, it was up to Ashton in the pouring rain - how depressing, two days in a row of fine, drizzly rain - the kind that gets you wet. The stalwarts arrived, Sean, Rick, Mike T and Graham - and off we set - well, actually we set off before Graham got there but I was confident he would show so we did a lap by the road to see him arrive. It's great to see Mike so keen - but then he is building for another crack at leg 7 of the Castles Relay.

We managed just under 11k in around 57 minutes and to be honest that was as fast as I could go. It wasn't that I felt particularly achy after yesterday but I was just lacking in the power department. Although yesterday's run showed me my severe weaknesses I actually feel pretty positive that I coped with it reasonably well. I expected to feel far worse than I actually do.

And after the exertions of yesterday and today I decided to be sensible and not follow today's run with my now customary hour on the bike - I only did 45 minutes :)

The quads are now aching a little bit - but they'll recover by Tuesday I'm sure.

Thought for the day: A life is never ended until all the lives it has touched have ended too.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Slowly does it

I made it across to Sugar Loaf and clocked up 17 miles and 4,000ft of climb. Yes, the weather was rubbish - visibility at the top was zero. Yes, I was slow - 2 hours 54 minutes!!! - for just 17 miles - yeh, how pathetic is that and yes, I can't believe how much mountain running stamina I've lost - I am so out of practice. Next weeks race is going to be so hard but despite all that today was still a good day.

Off for a recovery run up Ashton tomorrow before preparing for a fast one over at the Bridge Inn on Tuesday - provided today hasn't taken too much of a toll on me...

Thought for the day: Never give up your dream even though you know you'll never make it.

A couple of pics from today

At the top

Lovely view

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Going loopy down in Acapulco

It was the zoo loops tonight. My first time with Mike's group for ages. Must have been almost five months since the last time. And guess what - I only missed the f#$king start didn't I. Jerry very kindly told me where the session was - didn't mention the new start time of 7:00 vs the old 7:30 did he!!! Lucky for me they never start on time so I only missed the first two reps - which I hasten to add - I solo'd at the end - no skimping for me thank you very much.

Anyway, I turned up just in time for the first short lap. The rest of the, have to say, impressively large group had already run a long and a medium lap. The recovery was 90s between laps. So without chance of a warm up I headed on out on the short one. Then it was another long (1.1k), medium (880m) and short (660m) before I ran my solo long and medium to finish. My splits were 2:15, 3:55, 3:01, 2:20, 4:02 and 3:08. It was a pretty good session especially on the back of my other two sessions this week but my calfs do feel a bit tight now. I felt I even managed to keep the elusive Jerry in sight tonight - but he probably begs to differ...

Joy to my rest day tomorrow before mission long run on Saturday. Haven't finally decided where I'm going, but I sure know where I've been. Hanging on the promises, in runs of yesterday, and I've made up my mind, I ain't wasting no more time. Here I go again on my own ....

Thought for the day: Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The magic number...

Can you adam and eve it? What? This is my four hundredth blog post in just a little over a year!!! - What a sad bastard I am.

Anyway, it was even shorter stuff on the track this week than last. 300's and 200's - it was a bloody ace session though. I've run slightly quicker three's in my time, in fact I've run slightly quicker two's as well - but never as many in row or off as short recoveries as we had tonight.

We ran six 300's with 45s recovery using the rhythm technique - oops, I mean the rotational technique - it makes the session go quicker! Then a jogged lap before six 200's with 30s recovery. Then as we completed the final warm down lap, "a 400 for luck", shouts Rick and off we went. My 3's were 50, 50, 50, 50, 52, 53 and the 2's were 32, 33, 33, 33, 33, 33 with the final 4 in 77s. My lungs were bursting - everything was bursting but the groin held together and all in all it was a very satisfying session. I was fair ready to club Rick to death should he try and make us run any more reps - he lived.

We were a bit thin on the ground tonight. Sean continues to look impressive and Jamie and I were like peas in a pod. He finished a bit ahead of me on some and me ahead of him on others. What am I saying, we looked nothing like peas - or pods for that matter.

Thought for the day: Know yourself and be happy with you, then the need to impress others will become unnecessary.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


It was a semi rest day for me today down at the gym. No running but I put in a hard half hour on the bike to work up a lather - oooh, dirty. Then it was a quicker than intended session on the weights due to the fact I couldn't stay focused - that woman on the running machine was so off putting - mouth agape, eyes out on stalks, drooling - I felt so self conscious ;)

Anyway, it's another IT night for me tonight as I'm off to install XP for someone to upgrade them from the nightmare operating system that was Windows Millennium - a woeful, simple woeful piece of software. Looking forward to the track tomorrow though...

Thought for the day: Relax and allow this moment to come. Savor the richness of it as it passes through your experience.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The meter's running...

On the cooking of my Quorn curry - mmmm mmm.

It was another great session on the grass - well, I thought it was great anyway - I think the lads did too, really. Running in the group really helps me keep the focus. I don't think I could put in as much effort solo - in fact, I'm certain I couldn't. It was an ever so slightly longer session than last week. We ran two 6 minute reps, one 5 minute rep, one 3 minute rep and two 2 minute reps to finish all with strict two minute recoveries. It was the same turn out as last week minus Harry - who forgot, or so I'm told, tut tut.

My pace was about as quick as last week, even with the slightly longer reps - so that was good. And I managed to run the last rep, a 2:20 to the trees, exactly as last week. This was my third training day in a row and the previous two days have been reasonably hard - we're talking 4 hours forty worth of running and biking so to be as quick as last week doth please me most excellently. I look forward to the rest of the weeks training with much vigor...

Thought for the day: Even the most difficult challenges, even the most demanding efforts can bring real joy as you work through them.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Pushed up the hill

It was a small but perfectly formed group of us up at Ashton Court this morning. Mike T was back - and I have to say running remarkably well. Graham C, Rick and me made up the numbers. It was a lovely day for running. The sun shone, the birds sang and life was good - well, OK, life was at least bearable. We ran for about 50 minutes and for me it was a good recovery run.

As we approached the bottom entrance - oh er, misses - I decided to put in an effort, to test how well I would go up the hill to the golf car park. Imagine my shock when Mike T came with me on the first climb to the House. I felt like I was pushing reasonably strongly but he stuck with me. In fact, I would suggest he pushed on past me! It was a worry. As we ran past the house he just went out the front door and I was even more worried. As we approached the final climb up past the deer park and estate managers house I tried again and got into the rhythm of the stomp. I finally managed to break free of Mike and just kept the hammer down all the way to the top. I was blowing hard by the end but it proved to me I still have it - it felt good. Hats off to Mike though, I have a feeling he could be trouble in the coming months - I shall have to keep a close eye on his running development...

Anyway, after the run I headed off down the gym for another tough hour on the Bike. It's all beginning to click back into place. I still can't believe how quickly I've got over the marathon. I almost feel as fit, strong and quick as I ever have. I shall have to test myself at the Bridge Inn - the proof of the pudding will be in the running.

Thought for the day: In every frustration there is a powerful message. Frustration tells you, in no uncertain terms, that something is not as good as it could possibly be.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Nice words of encouragement

Thanks for the comment on temptation and were it not for the fact that I'm just in from a 15 miler followed by an hours hard interval on the bike my balance would have been tipped. But it's a bit academic now as I'm a fair tad knackered.

It was really good to get back out there for a long run though but I found it hard to get going. I was twenty minutes in before I really started to feel comfortable and able to pick up the pace. At the finish my average mile pace was just over sevens so that really wasn't too bad.

I've decided I'm not going to race next week - it's just too far to go in a day - we're talking 400 miles of driving plus the 'challenging' race. Instead I shall definitely run a twenty miler and I might recce part of the Green Man Challenge route. For those who haven't heard about the GMC, it's a 45 mile route along the Community Forest Path around Bristol - and it might just manage to kick start my preparations to complete the entire path inside eight hours - which I hasten is on my list of mad things to do. If I like what I see I might consider an attempt in the early part of next year...

Thought for the day: Life is gloriously difficult. The universe is wonderfully complex.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I have been tempted. I've heard about a race on Sunday called the Stagger. It's a short run from Minehead to Dunkery Beacon, the highest point on Exmoor, and back. It's only 15 miles and 3300ft of climb - oh how I am tempted.

I yearn to run it. Looking at the times from last year I could make the top twenty. But I have vowed to train at Ashton on Sunday and I know I should really stick to the plan for a long run tomorrow. Then, at least, I will be ready for Monday's training session.

But oh how my heart yearns to race but for this one time only I shall let my head rule.

Thought for the day: If you're always chasing happiness, it will never be able to find you. Relax, simply give happiness a place to live in you, and it will be in great abundance.

PS There is still time for me to change my mind though....

Thursday, October 18, 2007


Well, I managed to fit in three hard sessions this week - the first time for a good few months and you know what? I feel fine.

With the National Road Relays on Saturday there was no Mike D session tonight so instead I went for a steady run in Ashton Court and clocked up a decent enough 55 minutes. I really had my heart set on another tough session so when I came to the zig-zags, in the bottom woods, I could not resist. I decided it would be highly sensible to run five hill loops. What's good about the zig-zag loop is you get a good effort on the way up and because the loop continues round and down on a treacherous, stony path you get good downhill practice as well - bargain. Anyway, once I had the hill reps out the way I was pumped and ran through the twisty, windy mountain bike path at pretty much full tilt. I was bombing and basically blasted the last 25 minutes back to the gym...

... Where - obviously - I put in a 45 minute session on the bike on high interval resistance. I was off the seat a few times with the effort I can tell you. Then it was onto the weights for a bit of work on the old upper body strength. Now that's the way to clock up a 2hr20 session after work - nice.

And you know what? I think I might have a rest day tomorrow before attempting twenty on Saturday on the route that I lovingly refer to as old faithful...

Thought for the day: There's no sense in fighting over the scraps that others might or might not throw under the table. Instead, get busy and create your own magnificent feast.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Keeping up with the joneses

Ok, so I didn't quite manage to keep up with the boyz but I didn't miss it by a million miles, for one of your smiles, my mammy - now I'm showing my age - hang on a mo' I'm not that old!

It was a session of 400's tonight. Ten of the little devils with a 100m jog recovery - which in the case of the lads is actually a pretty slow walk but, with a little coaxing, we kept them to about 90s. After the eighth rep things turned nasty - Jerry, Jerry, Jerry - they chanted - as I cajoled them to the line for the start of number nine. Don't panic - I got out alive.

It was a good turn out tonight, Rob W, Sean, Jamie, Harry and Nick and our times ranged from 65/66's at the front to my 71/72's. We all managed pretty consistent laps. No one dramatically slowed but everyone was knackered by the end - as you should be. And all in all I wasn't that far off the back. The last time I ran this session I was hitting 74/75's so that's quite an impressive 3s improvement - well, at least I think it is.

I think Rob was the only one who managed to speed up slightly through the session - but then he was getting lighter as the laps went by. It was like watching a game of pass the parcel as his seven layers of assorted t-shirts and jumpers came off lap by lap! And Jamie just managed to hold me off on the last lap. I gave everything in the last hundred to try and catch him but he just had enough - swine.

For the record my laps were 75, 71, 70, 71, 71, 71, 72, 72, 73, 72

Thought for the day: If you are always willing to make one more attempt, you will reach your goal. No matter what result you get, the only real failure is when you stop making the attempt.