Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Taking it easy at the track

After yesterday's race I decided to take it easy tonight - I lied :)

We ran five 800's 'cept I added an extra one to make six as I have a fear of odd numbers dating back to the time when I was run over by a milk float carrying an odd number of bottles.

It was one of my faster sessions tonight. In fact, I don't think I have actually run six 800's back to back before. Recovery was a bit loose but I was still pleased with the reps. I started steady with a 2:37 and 2:38. Then came a 2:34 as I chased Nick down and beat him on the dip. Well, I say beat, there is actually some debate as to whether I stole it on the line or not so we are eagerly awaiting the official photo finish - which is currently being developed by the Kodak labs in Dusseldorf. We should have the results for you a week next Thursday. The 2:45 was as a result of that gargantuan effort on the rep before and I was pleased to recover for the penultimate rep of 2:41. The boys gave me some heckles on my final, solo rep - which was nice - and lifted me to a final flourish of 2:40.

Nick was running really well tonight. He seems to be flying at the moment. Harry was also on form and Rob stuck with it to complete the five. Harry and Rob may have gone off a bit quick on the first couple but still pretty good.

PS I made up the bit about the milk float - it is, as they say in the trade, total bo@#%cks. I just wanted to put in an extra one as my fifth rep was fast enough to merit it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Building bridges

Had a pretty good run at the Bridge tonight. I'm not really that fussed about the time - and I was within 2s of my pb - again. Yes, it would have been nice to go under 18 but I know it will come once I start focusing the training. I'm not really doing sensible training at the mo, mainly just speed work and short interval and then racing on the weekend. I'm not doing any tempo runs at the moment and it showed tonight as I faded a bit in the latter stages. I was basically running slightly beyond the limit but it will come. I have my race calendar set until the start of March and after that? Well that's when I will start to hone the training to include hills, tempo and long runs. That's when I will be looking to start going quicker.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Easy Monday

A brand new week beginneth and with it, new hope for the long and winding race ahead.... [slap] Each new dawn brings fresh opportunities.... [slap, slap].... ah, that's better. Must keep taking the pills.

Took an easy day today, just a quickie down the gym (be careful) and then home to plot the Long Mynd race on my shinny new map. From studying the route and the multitude of hills I have developed a cunning plan. A plan so utterly cunning you could put a tail on it and call it a weasel but I shall call it - a hang glider. Can't see any mention prohibiting them in the rules....

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Run bike: part deux

I actually managed to put my money where my mouth is for once and did the session I planned for - now that doesn't happen very often (attaches gold star).

Sean, fresh from his great run at the Midland Cross Country Championships - where he was part of the Silver medal winning U17's, worked me over this morning. I was aiming for an easy run and it started out that way. However, once we got onto the tow path he just kept cranking up the pace. We were ripping it up along there - well I was ripping it up, Sean seemed comfortable and I'm sure he could have cranked it up a notch or two more but I was thankful he didn't! We were out for just under the hour and all in all it was probably a much more beneficial session than an easy run would have been.

Then it was transition time again. Managed to knock a good few minutes off the change over this time compared to yesterday. I whipped it out for all to see - the bike that is, on with the wheels and attached the breaks in the blink of an eye (a very slow blinking eye that is). Then on with the padded shorts today - for biking/saddle reasons if you know what I mean - and off into the wide blue yonder - well Leigh Woods anyway.

Put in slightly less time today. Only 1:24, but long enough to be satisfied. The hills I selected today were even steeper than yesterdays. I was really puffing on a few of them and pumping the legs like you wouldn't believe. I certainly got some good lactic burn and managed to hold it together through the pain to get to the top without dropping down the gears or slowing. The legs were like jelly at the top but I pushed on all the same. Trying to go as quick as possible and recover a bit at the same time before hitting the next hill.

The weekend has been good training and close to five hours worth of run and bike in total! I could get to like this combined training. Since the bike uses the muscles differently to running I recon I could do this every week without it affecting my running. And the great thing about the bike is that it didn't seem like I was out there for 1:30 at a time. Whether it's the faster speed I don't know but the time seemed to go much quicker than with running.

Anyway, my thoughts are now turning to next weeks fell races. I say races because I'm tempted, although I know I shouldn't even be thinking it, to run both the Saturday race (3M) and the Sunday race (11.5M). I'm a complete novice at this fell lunacy and not really sure how to approach all this navigate your route stuff but I'm good with maps so what the heck - after all, I didn't get where I am today without being almost entirely insane!!!! And if I do run the shorter race I shall take it easy - top twenty will do (only kidding).

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Run bike....

Didn't manage to get out for that run yesterday - but I made my penance today and in any case I needed to get a bit of bike work in ready for my mountain bike duathlon on the 18th Feb. Haven't been on the real bike for a few months and so thought I better get some training done! It's only three weeks away and I'm racing both weeks in between so I'm not going to have much more chance.

I've entered the long event which is a 2 mile run followed by 10 miles off road on the bike followed by another 2 mile run. It says on the entry details that first timers should not enter the long one and do the 1m/5m/1m instead because it's a tough race - but it ain't worth getting out of bed for that!

Anyway, I put in an hour run around Ashton Court and Leigh Woods and then back to the car for the transition (getting the hang of these fancy terms already!) to bike. I hope I make a quicker transition in the real thing but then I guess I won't have to get it out of the car and put it back together first!

I chose a fairly rugged route to try and simulate the type of terrain I may meet in the real race and made sure it took in quite a few good hills. I was out there for an hour and a half and covered about 30km. Converting that to 10 miles would put me around 50 minutes - providing the real bike section isn't massively much harder than my route today. So, providing I can hold my own with the runs - I mean on the run sections - I recon I should be able to claim a top 50 spot. Don't know if this is realistic or overly cocky but who cares? Better to have aimed high and flopped than never tried at all.

I shall put in the same training session tomorrow. A run with Rick and who ever else turns up followed by an hour to an hour and a half on the bike.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Even chillier....

Well tonight was even more chilly than yesterday. Only the hard men and women of our sport would turn out for training on a night like tonight and so it was that our small but elite group of die hards entered the fray. Have to thank Keith for braving the cold to time us.

It was a repeat of last weeks session, four sets of one zoo lap followed by a short lap with about 90s recovery. I managed to run almost identical times to last week on the back of Tuesday's and Wednesday's sessions which I ran really hard, so I'm well pleased.

Haven't decided if I'm going for a long run tomorrow - I'd like to think I can shift my toned, athletic butt off the couch after work. What do you think? You know, you've got to let me know.... Should I stay or should I go?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Track glorious track

Conditions were pretty good tonight, fairly calm if a little chilly but as I say, the cold won't kill you (well, maybe it could kill you, but what the heck we risked it - and if it did you wouldn't need any bleach!). The boys were all out tonight, Nick, Sean and Harry with the exception of Ben, due to what I hope is only a very minor set back for him after his win on Thursday. So fingers crossed for a speedy return for you Ben and chin up.

I felt a bit tired from yesterday's session on the Prom but still well up for it tonight. I don't intend to shirk training from now on. I have been guilty in the past of taking it easy during a session. Sometimes not completing the entire session and other times slowing and not working to the limit. But 2007 is my year of taking it to the limit - and not just one more time but every time. This year, even when I have had doubts half way through a session, I have gamely battled on, as was the case tonight.

We ran three 600's (1:54, 1:54, 1:53) followed by four 400's (72, 75, 75, 74). It was during the 400's that my legs gave up and it became a battle of will as much as a physical one. After the first 200m of each lap my legs began to burn with lactic acid but I pushed myself on. Although the laps were a bit slower than last week it was still maximum effort. After the 400's came three 300's to finish (53, 53, 51). I began to feel a little sick after the first three hundred but it soon passed and determination drove me on to complete. On the final one I was chasing Harry hard and as we hit 50m to go I thought I was going to catch him but he could hear my asthmatic war cry as I approached (aka my dodgy breathing) and managed to hold me off by, ooh, I would say, a good metre and a half. It certainly helped pull me along to a final flourish though, 51s. Probably as fast as I've gone on a three hundred.

Now off to recover ready for my trip to the zoo tomorrow....

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Better than a poke in the eye with a rusty nail...

I tried contact lenses for the first time today and stuck them in for tonight's training session on the Prom. Have to say that they weren't uncomfortable at all and really quite easy to shove in. Taking them out is going to take a bit of practice though. It took me several attempts to get the little devil's back out! After just one use I think they're going to work out great. Vision was much clearer than with the ol' glasses - didn't have any of the distortion I normally get when the gogs bounce around under the rush of great, huh, cough, speed that I'm traveling. So, my overall impression of contacts after my first time is a big thumbs up. And you know what? I might actually be able to see where I'm falling next time I come down a mountain in the pouring rain!

On to tonight's training. It was another quick one for me. We ran 2 large, 2 medium and 2 short reps with somewhere in the region of 90s to 150s recovery proportional to the length of the rep. My big ones, I'll rephrase that, the two large reps were both just outside 6 minutes in 6:03 and 6:01. That's 13s quicker than I've gone before. I ran the medium reps in 4:03 and 4:01 which again is a 14s improvement on my previous quickest. The short ones were slightly slower than my fastest but still pretty good, 2:26 and 2:29.

I'm beginning to get some consistency with my pacing on these sessions. I'm hitting the point of maximum effort without slipping over the edge and having to slow, thereby loosing some of the potential gain. The last rep proved I was just at that point of knackeration (nice made up word) on that last rep which is how it should be. On another positive note the knee's been fine again today. All that twisting and slipping on Sunday seems to have done the trick - excellent.

Finally, I've decided I will not be racing this weekend. Instead I shall be putting in a some mountain bike work in preparation for my upcoming duathlon in Feb. And I've decided I'm going to race the Long Mynd Valleys fell race up in sunny Shropshire the week after. It's 11.5 miles with 5000ft of ascent and last years winning time was in the region of 1:45 so it looks like a stroll in the park!!! - groovy. Well, you know what they say, when the going gets tough - get in your car and go home :)

Finally, finally, well done to Ben R and Nick T for 1st and 3rd in last Thursdays Weston Prom Run. It's great to see Ben getting back to form and Nick chasing him hard. I guess all that time they're spending studying my running form at the track on Wednesday night is beginning to pay off - they can see exactly how they shouldn't be doing it!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Kneely but not quite

Today has been the first day since my long run just before Christmas that my left knee has not hurt at all - yippee! I don't actually know what I did during that particular run to cause the problem. All I know is that for the last few weeks, after every run I could feel discomfort for a day or two (and since I didn't break off from running for more than that it meant it was pretty much constant!). It was never particularly bad though and once I was up and running the pain went but today has been the first day without feeling the problem at all. I've been able to go down stairs without feeling any discomfort which is truly the first time since it happened. I was expecting it to be bad today after yesterdays race, it was killer after last weeks fell race but instead - nada. I know, I know I'm my own worst enemy because I should have rested up and let it get better but I'm of the 'grin and bare it' school of stupidity.

Anyway, I have had a rest day today except for an hour on the bike and half hour on the weights but that doesn't really count. I'm all ready for tomorrow's Clifton Prom session and I think I should be able to give it some. Oh, and just set a new sit up record for one sitting, 222 - nice.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Massacre

Well I have to admit that The May Hill was much more of a massacre than I expected! It was much harder than I thought it was going to be. Well done to the race organisers for a great race with loads of marshals to make sure we didn't take a wrong turn - definitely one to add to the running calendar.

My recent run of good results continued as I finished in 12th place out of somewhere in the region of three hundred, I'm guessing (I was race number 332 and there were more entering on the day). It was a course which took in everything. A bit on the road, then some good firm uphill sections followed by some down right muddy sections. At one point I thought I was going to do a 'Vicar Of Dibley' - there was a large puddle in the midst of one of the muddy sections, the water came over my knees - I thought I was going to disappear!

And finally, I might have found a race for next weekend, Thornbury's Riverbank Rollick 8.1 - sounds wet - but then I got some good practice today.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Slip sliding away....

Knocked off work early to go and get myself a recovery ten miler. It were awfully muddy out there in Leigh Woods and Ashton Court today. I was flipping slipping all over the place. Additionally, I slightly miss calculated the route as it turned out to be nearer 11.5 miles. That's my longest since the start of December! I don't suppose it will have done me any harm though and I guess it's about time I started putting in some longer runs. Maybe I should think about getting back up to a weekly fifteen miler.

On the run the pegs felt unresponsive so I took it easy, no point in killing myself. I pushed on the hills though - everyone knows a leopard can't change his spots - and felt surprisingly good. Hopefully I will be feeling sprightly by tomorrow and then super sprightly on Sunday for the race.

Overall, this has been another fine week of training. Considering how broken my legs were at the start of the week I've managed two really good sessions on Wednesday and Thursday and a decent long run today. Have to say that Wednesday was the highlight, still can't believe I managed those 72s on such tired legs.

And finally, I still haven't managed to locate a race for next weekend so suggestions on a postcard to ....

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Windy Thursday

Well my fence made it through last night but as I suspected from looking at its rather rickety form against the early morning dawn it didn't see the day out - what a bugger. Three panels down, one obliterated and two looking decidedly the worse for wear. Oh well that's a little job I've got to make time for.

Now onto important matters. What am I having to eat tonight? - only kidding - I meant tonight's training up at the zoo. Bit of variation tonight which broke up the session really well. Instead of running eight single laps we ran one of the normal singles with 90s recovery and then a different, slightly shorter lap with more of a steady rise in it. Stir in a little wind/gale, a sprinkle of drizzle, repeat four times and there you have it. The two different laps really made the session pass much more quickly than normal. Like yesterdays session, tonight's was another quick and consistent one for me. 3:06 for the longs ones and 2:24 to 2:27 for the shorter ones. After yesterday and today I'm beginning to feel like all the effort is starting to pay off. My legs were still tired tonight but I made sure I completed the session. I feel I'm benefiting both mentally and physically from these hard work outs. Giving me more capacity to dig deep.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You beauty

That super spicy meat feast pizza before training did the trick. I was on fire tonight! Well maybe not on fire but certainly pretty damn fine - for me anyway.

I let the boys get on with it tonight. They were on the three 900's, three 500's and three 300's session but I decided that was too much and ran eight 400's and a single 300 to finish. It was meant to be nine 400's but I was that close (really need to see my fingers doing a pinch with 1mm air gap) to giving up on the 9th rep and turned it into a 300 instead of stopping. Had a bit of fun on the first rep - I gave the boys a shock as I hit the front with 100m of my lap to go (they still had 600m to go). They didn't know what hit them as the Davemyster came storming past. Once in front I was kind and let them know I was only doing a 400 so they wouldn't chase too hard - I'm not a totally evil bastard.

Unbelievably it was pretty much the fastest set of eight I've ever strung together! I've run 6 reps in 72s and tonight I again managed the first six at consistent 72s, the last two slipped a bit to 73/74s but I was really pushing hard to maintain the pace by then and the recovery on those last two was only 60s which was a bit short for me. In light of how tired my legs were - for they still didn't feel anywhere near fresh before the start - I'm really pleased. With fresh legs I recon I'm probably in the 70s zone for the session which is a definite improvement in speed from a few months ago.

I'm aiming to run tomorrow's session, need to find out where it is though. Then a long run on Friday, when I say long, maybe 10 miles, before a rest day on Saturday. Then I should be fresh for The May Hill Massacre 8M on Sunday. I don't recon it will be that tough but I'm hoping it's hilly enough that I can use my strength on the hills to get another high finishing position. Just have to wait and see how it goes I guess.....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Not so much mile reps as a big eight mile rep!

The legs are still not great and I almost missed training tonight. In the end I managed to haul myself over to Aztec. Not so much to do the mile reps - the legs just wouldn't have coped - more as a psychological boost - to make me feel like I'd done some thing. I decided to jog round and put in eight miles of easy running. The training session was really just an excuse to get out there and jog - without it I would have sat on my big lardy all night!

Anyway, I actually began to get a bit of pace in the legs by the end. The first couple were just a warm up in 8:30 and 8:00 then I ran 7:00, 6:48, 6:30, 6:20, 6:01 and then a final 7:40 cool down lap. I ran the laps continuously without recovery as I was going so slow. I was quite surprised I managed to get one run at six the way the legs felt before hand. I just hope I haven't put myself back by running that quicker one cause I hope to do a proper session on the track tomorrow. I guess I'll find out in the morning if the legs are still pants or not.

Well, I can hear the 'ting' of the cooker which means my quorn korma with poppadoms and nan bread are ready for the eating - proper athlete food.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Another rest day methinks

Well almost, my legs are still too sore to run, maybe even more sore than yesterday - curse doms ( that's delayed onset muscle soreness to you). Made it down the gym instead though. Put in 30 minutes on the Bike, which wasn't really that painful and I was actually able to hit it pretty hard considering. On a positive note my fitness level is great at the moment. The old pulse rate came zooming down between intervals so I'm certainly no where near fatigued or over training - which is nice. In light of that I'm happy to crank on with the training as normal this week and maybe add in some extra miles as I have somewhat let the mileage slip of late. Now I think it's time to start building it back up a bit. I want to be in good half-m shape in case I feel the urge.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The day after

My legs are wrecked! Can't believe how bad they are after a measly 2 mile run up a hill. Got out for 50 minutes this morning but it was hard work, really hard work. I was fair puffing coming the end. And I only managed half hour on the exercise bike afterwards instead of my customary hour (albeit on high level).

I need more leg strength to power up those hills so I will be adding some leg work to my gym workouts. Starting tomorrow I'll be putting some legs extensions, squats and calf raises on the list. I recon that'll do the trick.

Saturday, January 13, 2007


Well, I awoke this morning with both apprehension and excitement. This was to be my first fell race and I was looking forward to it. Partook of, what is fast becoming my race day ritual, a nice big bowl of super race fuel - ready brek (how sad is that!).

I was itching to get there and race but I wasn't quite sure how long it would take. Consequently I may have left a little on the early side - I was the first one on the scene. I wasn't sure if I was at the right place but shortly a few more cars turned and I knew it was race on.

The weather was a bit naff. As you can see from the pic, dull, drizzly and windy, especially on the top, of which you can see the peak we ran to (obviously you can't see the wind but it was there, I tells ye). Anyway, did a bit of a warm up and prepared for the off. At 2pm sharp, the crack of the starters gun echoed down the valley and we were off - there wasn't really a starters gun more of a 'wave of the small yellow flag' but that doesn't sound as good.

So that was it, off to the peak and back. This was a short race, only about 2 miles but it was pretty tough all the same. It was tremendously steep. So much so that after the initial run it turned into a sort of get yourself up there as quick as you could be any means. Suffice to say it was the old hands on quads method. Which worked quite well. The wind at the top was strong, almost blowing us off the hill.

Incredibly, I got to the top in eighth place! Then came the insane bit - the downhill. I have to admit I was quite scared at points coming down. You have to be brave and kind of just fall. I couldn't see much through my glasses in the rain and just had to hope I found good footing. During the next few minutes I had more than a few brown trouser moments I can tell you. One person came past towards the bottom of the decent but that still left my in the top ten. I think I did OK coming down. On the final run in I gave it my usual sprint finish to pick up that place I lost to finish in eighth place. I was both stunned and chuffed to bits. I have to say I think I held my own on my very first foray into the wonderful world of fell running. And you know, I think I like it!

I have to say though, it was both scary and exhilarating. I thinks it safe to say I shall be doing a few more of these insane fell races.

It was also a good day for Bristol and West as we placed three in the top ten. That's right boys, the BW brigade is back in town and we're kicking ass! Patrick Woodisse was fourth and Helen Fines was tenth and winner of the women's race (and well on the way towards a series win). Now there may be a few that noticed that I finished ahead of Helen for the first time ever. However, I'm officially scratching the result from the record books on account that she had a bad cold (and I have the gloves to prove it!). Therefore, I decline to claim a first victory over her under those conditions. But you know what? when she's fully recovered I still recon there's a chance....

Friday, January 12, 2007


Diddly squat, nout, zilch, call it what you will but that's what I'm doing today. It's been a hard week and up until yesterday I was beginning to get a bit weary from all the training. Yesterday's session changed all that. I was so tired before the start and during but I just seemed to go on drawing something from somewhere. It showed me how important the mental aspect of running and training really is. As they say in the trade, where there's a will there's a way (sorry, John, this isn't some kinky reference to you!).

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Glutton for punishment

Went straight down the gym from work and put in a solid half hour interval session on the bike, set one level higher than I've gone before. Certainly made me pump the ol' legs. Good relaxation though, sat there, peddling me short, fat, hairy legs as I read 'Sherlock Holmes: The Sign Of Four'. Then pumped iron for a further half hour.

I felt tired from yesterday but guilty I hadn't managed to get out for the run I had intended this morning. I made up my mind, I wasted no more time - and went to Mike's Zoo session. Tonight we ran eight slightly extended single laps (about 880 vs 820m). To be honest I took the first one easy and built from there since I wasn't sure how I would go. My splits were 3:26, 3:17, 3:07, 3:06, 3:04 and 2:57, only six, as I decided I should stop there as I felt knackered and I had really pushed on that sixth one. Each of the laps was hard work but I just kept trying to close the gap to Jerry and Charlie (or at least stop it growing so quickly) - and keep John W behind me for a long as I could (he gave us all a head start). On that Final one I managed it! So I decided what the heck, in for a penny in for a pound and ran the full session. My last two laps were 3:00 and 3:01 but I was hanging on on the last lap, desperate to keep John behind me - but alas, resistance was futile and he came blasting past on the final up hill bit.

Never-the-less it was a hard fought session, beating my own demons in the process to complete the full session. The interesting point was that it was windier than yesterday, I did the bike beforehand and I still managed to run at a very similar pace (the sixth, seventh and eighth were actually ever so slightly quicker) to yesterday's 800's but on a slightly longer lap - how does that work?

Praise be for a rest day tomorrow before a short fell race on Saturday where I hope to dip my toe into the crazy craft that is falling down a mountain while trying to land on your feet as you fall.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

That's a nice bit of 5 by 8

Or in normal speak, five 800's, ran at a consistent, if slow pace. We were a bit thin on the ground tonight. Nick and Ben worked well together. They put in five 1k's plus three 400's to finish, which is a longer session than normal, so well done them. Mini-Ben was out tonight as well, just getting back into it. He gave me some good pacing on the first lap, running very consistently. Gave me a target.

Conditions were good tonight. You could feel the wind on the home straight but it was much less strong than of late. Additionally, as a one time special offer, it didn't rain on us! Although I was slow tonight I still felt it was a good session. It wasn't slow because I took it easy, it was slow because I just couldn't go any quicker. I was focused throughout and working hard, especially on each of the second laps. There was no easing up and I really pushed down the home straight. Felt the old jelly leg kick in on a few of those laps.

I've been working hard for a couple of weeks and I might take an easier one next week. I still feel I'm benefiting from all the hard training and getting stronger. Not sure if I'm getting any quicker but we'll see.

Twenty before breakfast....

Miles - yeh, that's likely - no, just minutes. First time this year I've managed to haul myself out of bed for a recovery run so that I'm ready for the evening session. Was it ever a battle! You know the kind of thing, you're there in a nice warm and cosy bed and then it begins... time to run - no it's not, just a few more minutes - no, got to get up now - no, don't bother, you can do it tomorrow, etc. In the end I'm glad to say that the 'got to get up' side of the argument won.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The gods were smiling ...

... despite the weather being terrible all day we managed an almost entirely dry, calm training session tonight - and I didn't even have my lucky, holy - sorry - holey underpants on!

Tonight we were on Clifton Prom hill reps. The turn out was great - almost a full platoon. The quick boys and girls ran three big ones up to the Observatory followed by some medium ones. Everyone else ran the medium reps - except, of course, for me (there's always one - tut). After my success on the weekend I decided to run four big ones! I hasten to add NOT because I was with the quick boys for I was no where near them and only joking about the success thing. The real reason is simply that I have some hilly races coming up in the next few weeks and I wanted a tough workout.

I was really pleased with the consistency tonight, 6:16, 6:18, 6:14 and 6:20 with a one minute recovery after the first rep and then two minutes between the rest. The bonus tonight was that my pace was quicker than the session in December - and I only ran the shorter, medium reps then!

Everyone finished off the session with two small reps, where I managed 2:27 and 2:33. My legs had gone to jelly come the end but it really was a great session. Now off to recover ahead of tomorrow's track session....

Monday, January 08, 2007

Well that took a time

I was up all night banging - shut it. Finally got it finished by about 5:30am in the morning. But as I take a step back and admire my handiwork I have to admit, though I say so myself - proper job.

Well here it is ..........

As you can see it has George III styling and if you look closely, there in the middle, you can see the imperious looking trophy.

............ and if you believe all that cobblers then I fear for you, I really do!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Almost Perfect at the Forest of Dean Trail Race

Today was my greatest ever moment in running. The weather was pants. Fine drizzle before, during and after the race but that couldn't distract me from my date with destiny.......

I opted for the 10.4k. Basically it's a two lap course with a short run to the lap and from the lap to the finish. There was also a one lap 5.4k and three lap 15.4k race all taking place together so you weren't sure who you were racing.

The first half of the lap was uphill and then - obviously - downhill to the end of the lap. I really didn't notice the uphill section but really felt the benefit of the downhill bit. There seemed far more downhill than up. Graham and Suzanne would beg to differ.

I went off steady and ran even pace for the first lap. At the start of second lap Clevedon's Vito came sprinting past me! He'd decided to give everyone a head start - some might say he got there late and missed the start - I'll let him decided. Anyway, he came home as first senior man (second in the race).

I was working hard on the second lap and managed to catch up and overtake four people on the uphill. There was one runner tracking me all through that second lap but luckily I managed to hold him off. That second lap was about 30s quicker than the first, which was one of my aims - to finish strong.

After a sprint finish of sorts I came home in 40:35 and .......... 2nd Senior Man!!!!!!! My greatest ever placing in a race. I am chuffed beyond belief. (I was 4th overall and still bloody pleased with that). Today I claimed my first ever piece of silverware - ok, not quite silver - a golden plaque adorned with jewels and intricate carvings? - all right, a wood effect plastic plaque with gold plastic bits - which I shall, never the less, cherish forever - after all, it's likely to be my only ever (almost) win.

It's true that the field may not have been the strongest ever assembled but in the words of Rhet Butler, 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn"

Well done to Suzanne for first place in the 5.4k senior women's race (second overall) and Graham for 13th in the 10.4k.

Finally, whoo hoo hoo ...... sorry, I mean, off to build my trophy cabinet......

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Going for a time trail

No training today. Resting up - ahead of a race tomorrow in the 2nd Winter Forest Of Dean Trail Run. I'm looking forward to it.

Not sure what time I'm going to do. I'm going to try and pace myself evenly somewhere around 6:20 mileing. The times from last years race all look slow so it may be a tough course - I'll find out tomorrow. If it looks flattish then I will up my pace to, say, 6:10's. Above all I want to try and run even laps and finish strong.

... and I can't believe Pudzianowski lost World Strongest Man last night - he is one strong son of gun.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Feel good Thursday

Tonight's session was gert brill for no other reason than I overcame my wicked, evil, impure thoughts ... of not completing the session. We were up at the zoo again running one double lap (as a bit of a warm up really) and then six singles. On laps three and four I was really questioning whether to pack in the session but I overcame it. Incredibly, I managed to run all of the singles in exactly 2:51 - except for the last one ... which was a 2:50, whoo hoo. That's about the same as last weeks singles but the recoveries where tighter tonight. It was hard work and no mistake. I had to dig a little deeper on each successive lap but that's what it's all about. No pain, No gain. When I asked the questions of myself tonight I got the right answers for once.

It's been a hard week, a race followed by three hard sessions (and obviously I put in 45 minutes at the gym before tonight's session). I'm feeling the buzz again. My spirits are lifted. Definitely a hard week but if I can feel like this afterwards then bring it on...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Tired ... what more can I say

It caught up with my today and bit me on the arse - but it was still worth it. I ran at the limit and didn't have anything to spare. Normally I can pull a bit out on the last rep but not tonight. I ran six 700's with 2 minute recoveries. My first four reps where all smack on 2:20 (a bit on the slow side I'll grant you but that damn wind was ever present on the top bend and home straight which would have added a second or two - never good when you have to start making excuses for a shoddy performance but there it is). The final two where both 2:23's and that final one was a real battle to hit even that. I didn't see much of the lads tonight - because I didn't bring my binoculars, they were that far ahead! So although the session was slower than I should be capable of it was, never the less, a good one. My legs were jelly on those last two so hopefully I'll still get some training effect from the session.

Ben ran with us tonight but I think he continued onto a slightly longer session, like a duracell bunny to my ordinary one. The rest of the lads and Jerry put in three 300's to finish. I had nothing left so gave them a miss - plus it began to p#*@ down with rain at that point - what's a bloke to do? Couldn't get my hair wet could I? - ooooh I'll get my handbag - only joking (said in my deepest, hardest sounding voice) - shut it you muppet.

Well done to Sean for his handicap win on Sunday. He looked perfectly normal tonight so he must have recovered from what ever caused him to be handicapped - oh, I see, a time handicap race, right, that sounds more sensible.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Squaring up for a run

Tonight's session was over at Aztec again. I like the mile reps but tonight I knew from 30s into the first rep that I didn't have any speed in the legs. So instead of four single mile reps I ran two double mile reps. I ran the first in 12:12 with mile splits of 6:15 and 5:57 and the second in 12:08 with mile splits of 6:07 and 6:01. Overall I was pleased with the session because I did push myself. I was tired from yesterday, had to run them solo and worked hard, especially on the last rep to come in quicker than the first one.

I'm looking forward to tomorrows track session as I feel I will have recovered a bit more from the hangover by then and be ready to run a hard session with task master Rick cracking the whip.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Not since the great storm of 1953 ...

have I been buffeted and rocked by winds of such magnitude and ferocity. The two(ish) laps of the Hangover 10k at Kewstoke were, to say the very least, extremely testing. I had this great idea last Friday that I'd start the year with a pb and chose the Hangover 10k as the race to do it. What a brilliant idea - NOT. On the morning of the race I realised it wasn't gonna happen. I came home just outside 39 minutes, about 1:26 off my pb and every step on that last lap was hard. The wind was horrendous. I recon that somewhere between 4 and 5k of the race was run into the wind. The section down the see front was bad - really bad, directly into the wind. The wind just did not let up and it must have been a good mile. What made it even worse was the fact that after the first lap you knew what was coming at the end of the race - I've seen grown men cry at less (all right, all right - I've cried at less). Anyway, I'm glad I did it. If nothing else it was good training. Then I went down the gym afterwards for a crafty half hour on the exercise bike - what? I pass the gym on the way home from Weston, it'd be rude not to. Introduced myself to the delights of level 14 interval.

The usual suspects were all on parade (just goes to show I'm not the only sad git who drags themselves out of bed on New Years Day). There was the Mighty Phil Parry, fresh from his run at Exeter yesterday, leading the way home, finishing just outside 33 minutes. Then came Dangerous Dan Moore finding it tough in the wind. When I met him at the finish all his hair had been blown off! (Nice to meet Mrs Dan by the way). Next up was Ben Robinson, coming back from injury, and finishing somewhere around 36 minutes. He was a bit disappointed with his time but I think he'll be pleasantly surprised the next time he races in calmer conditions. Following on his heels (well almost) was his dad, Matt 'get your slippers' Robinson. He showed me a clean pair of them today, beating me by about a minute (the swine). Sian was there and Graham Grew too (think that's his Surname - I'm terrible names).

Finally, let me wish all of my faithful bloggerets (all three of you) a happy and fortuitous New Year in 2007. Long may you run like the wind (no reference to Crumpies brussels sprout soup intended).