Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another windy Wednesday

I've just done a few calculations and if everything goes to plan I will have raced the equivalent of one 12 mile race every week this year until the end of March. Looking at my upcoming schedule, the equivalent weekly race distance for the month of March will be in the region of 17-18 miles - you beauty.

Tonight's session on the track was quite a gentle, short distance affair. We knocked out two starter 400's (in 74's apiece) and then six 300's with quite a long recovery to enable us to really leggit. Bearing in mind I've never run a 300 quicker than 51 seconds tonight's set of six where, 51, 50, 49, 47, 48 and 49! I can't quite believe I ran that quick. It's fair to say we were taken from behind (ooh er misses) by the wind down the back straight but it got its revenge in the last 50m, where it was 'bring you to a stop' strong in your face. I'm really chuffed by tonight's effort and flabber-ghasted by the speed.

Nick was absolutely flying tonight; never seen him looking so swiftly as he did tonight, never seen him run so fast... he was bashing out 43/44s consistently. Rob, too, was on a flyer. He was hitting consistent 48's before a 47 and then just inside 46 on the last one. He was really gunning for Nick on that last one - fair play, guvnor.

And we had a new boy tonight, Gareth, and I'm sure it won't be too long before he's over taking me - since he already whoops me at the 5k.

Thought for the day: On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key.

PS, I am posting this on Wednesday but I have been locked out of my blog by Bloggers 'spam-prevention robot' - apparently, it's some kind of off shoot from google's skynet research project, the T-850 terminator, sent from the future to destroy me before I can hatch my deadly plan for world domination - either that or just a simple glitch and hopefully will be sorted shortly.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Race ten complete

It was too windy to bother trying to race tonight - I could see that before we even got to the starting gun. My right calf muscle is tight and has been for a few days so I knew there was no way I would get near to my PB. So instead of trying to kill myself I decided to run a good hard training session and leave myself fully fit for tomorrow's track session.

I decided to aim to run even kilometre splits - which for the most part I managed. My pace was on about 3:47's with the exception of the third km which was a few seconds slower. The course is a bit up and down and we were into a tough headwind on the way home. I felt strong at the end but definitely working hard. The pace in mile terms was just outside 6 minute mileing so all in all it was a decent session.

Sean did well again, finishing only 4s off his PB and I recon you could knock ten seconds off that for the windy conditions, so well done.

Thought for the day: "Luge strategy? Lie flat and try not to die." - Carmen Boyle (Olympic Luge Gold Medal winner 1996)

Monday, February 26, 2007

There my be trouble ahead....

Yep, I've completed nine races out of my target of twenty by the end of March. I have eleven more to go in just 33 days - that's one race every three days so I really have to pick the pace up somewhat. Hence the trouble ahead, there just aren't enough races I can find.

By the end of next weekend I should be up to thirteen but that still leaves seven in 27 days. I've pencilled in the Hogweed Hilly Half, the Weston Prom Run, the Ironwood Challenge, the Cleevewold 14, a leg of the Midland Road relays or the Pen Cerrig Calch fell race and the Chedworth Roman Trail 10 but that still leaves me one race short of my mad (or should that be sad) target. So any suggestions greatly welcomed for the elusive twentieth race. (Please don't point out that the Chedworth race is on 1st April because I have no choice but to cheat just a little bit - but what's a day among friends).

Training wise today, I managed to get out for a quick twenty minutes at lunch with Graham - technically you can't get a quick twenty minutes because time is an immutable constant (at least at non-relativistic speeds - but we're not going there again, thank you) and hence twenty minutes is ... well, twenty minutes, regardless of how fast or slow you run - but you get my drift - I hope. Then it was off down the gym after work for a 30 minute effort on the bike and likewise on the weights. This is my seventh day of full on running out of eight (and the eighth was that session on the road bike so still pretty full on). I feel stronger and less tired than ever. Bring it on.

Looking for a steady run at the Bridge Inn 5k tomorrow, in race number ten....

Thought for the day: Don't suffer from insanity - Enjoy every minute of it!

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Episode Four: Quantocksification

Episode four is now ready and on the web. The cap-cam still needs a bit more refining - maybe next week....

Anyway, here is the footage from the Quantocks Race.

And how about a small name that tune competition. There are four different tunes going on in this episode. Three are themes from TV. See if you can name them. Two are quite easy and one is a bit obscure - only the very saddest amongst you will be able to name it. If you think you know, why not fill in a comment with your guess. And the prize for getting all three TV themes? - knowing you're as sad as me!!!

My Quantocks are feeling a bit tired....

It was an enjoyable little run this morning over the Quantock Hills. The race covered about 7 miles and 1800ft of climb. It was blowing a gale on the top, making it hard work but down below the top it was really rather pleasant - and it didn't even rain on us. It was an interesting course with a little of everything, steep climbs, steep descents, mud and a few streams to boot - that is, I got a booter crossing the final stream - but the gortex flyrocs definitely helped to minimise water intake - which was nice.

I was pleased to break the hour, 58:26, finishing in sixth place and only about five minutes down on winner (I think but not totally sure so don't quote me). Have to admit I put in some good hard effort early on in the race but then eased back once my position was decided - which I guess was about two thirds distance. No point in killing myself - it's only a race after all - but another one I shall be adding to the list of do agains. It was a good course, tough but fair and the competitors were a friendly bunch making it a nice friendly affair to be part of. Have to say thanks and well done to the organisers for putting on the race - one of whom won it - fair play.

I managed to get some OK footage of the race this time (still a little on the pointy down side but I've managed to cobble together the best bits). Video to follow later.

Thought for the day: Don't cry because it's over - Smile because it happened.

The Quantock Race

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Bike test run

That is to say, I took the road bike I'm borrowing out for a quick (it's all relative) 10 miler to get used to changing gear and such like. Not sure if it's technically possible to get out for a test run on a bike (oxymoron alert) - I guess it's more of a test bike on the bike - but you get my drift.

Met Bitton's Pat S. over by the railway station while I was parking up. He was approaching the end of a two hour session - way to go Pat. If I can be half as fit as he is at his age I'll be well happy - he's practically super human.

Anyway, onto the bike - quite literally. I cycled along the Bitton to Bath cycle path. Straight out and back since it's about a ten mile round trip - the same distance as I will be racing next week. I was able to go much faster than I can on my mountain bike - even when I have the slicks fitted. Have to say the gear shifters were a little confusing. I could see a small switch on each hand grip but that only switched up through the gears. Took me a minute or two to work out that the down shift was a rotation of the break lever. Once I got the hang of that everything was fine.

I flew down into bath - I mean I was really quick - not I took off and flew into bath but it was much harder coming home as the wind was right into me. Overall though, it was a successful little session and hopefully it will stand me in good stead for next week - although I'm expecting to be well down the field as all the bike specialists will come tearing past after the first run. Hopefully, like last week, I'll be able to make back a few places during the final run.

Now it's time to turn my thoughts to the race tomorrow in the Quantocks. It's another fell style race covering about 7 miles and 2000ft of ascent. I'm going to take it steady and treat it as a hard training run - unless, that is, I loose control - which is quite possible, in which case I shall end up legging it flat out!

Thought for the day: A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station!!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Rest day?

Well, the rest day didn't go quite to plan..... I took my kit to work in case Graham was heading out at lunch time for an easy one but we decided to hit the Dundry hilly run instead. Not only that, I ended up running rock solidly up the hill and then really powered along from the top. For the final two and half miles I was running a good few seconds sub 6 minute miles and the last mile and a half undulates in the upward direction. It was a cracking solid effort and I felt strong. In light of the hard week's training I've had it really was a great run. The calf muscles didn't even tighten up like they've been doing all week and as a bonus I no longer feel the tiredness I've been suffering during the last couple of days.

So how is it with me at the moment? I have to admit that over the last few weeks my enthusiasm for running has been waning. I've enjoyed my races and had some good results along the way. In fact, I guess, I've had my best few results ever but somehow it still felt like something was missing. Some of my passion for this great sport had deserted me. I've been getting out there, putting in the training, completing the sessions and generally running them as fast, if not faster, than I ever have. But somehow the fire has been lacking - until now, that is. This last week my desire has returned. The fire has been rekindled, the flame that had cooled, is once again burning hot.....

Thought for the day: Nothing is foolproof to a talented fool.

Today's run

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Even more tired....

We were lucky with the weather tonight up at the zoo. It looked like we were in for a wet one but the rain held off and we made it round in the dry - excellent. It was ye olde, single lap followed by a small lap, times four with about 90s recovery. I was consistent again tonight with 3:00, 2:24, 3:00, 2:23, 3:01, 2:24, 3:00 and 2:23. For me, it was as quick as last week which was in itself was as quick as I've gone. The last couple of laps were tough and if it weren't for Lisa breathing down my neck on the very last small lap I wouldn't have made it round in the target zone. My legs were on a wobble coming up the final gradient but I just managed to find that little extra to keep the pace good.

I'm glad that's the last session of the week because I'm sorely in need of a rest. I'm beginning to flag a little. Don't get me wrong, it really has been another good solid week for me and I'm pleased with my performances. They've all been towards the quicker end of my spectrum, it's just I need a day off. I've run five days back to back including the duathlon so a rest is well deserved. It won't be much of a rest though as I need to get out on the bike on Saturday to have a practice ahead of the Castle Combe duathlon in a weeks time. Need to try and find a good route were I can burn some rubber....

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Managed to get myself over to the track tonight. Didn't feel totally up for it. We were at full capacity tonight on the runners front but our intrepid leader, Rick, couldn't make it. The topic of conversation soon turned to our suspicion that he was off to the local footie derby, all tooled up and spoiling for some action. (Rick, only kidding - we known you wouldn't need to go tooled up :)

Session wise, we ran ten 400's - using the rotation technique (oh er misses) - as is makes the time go quicker. Nick was knocking out 65's for the first half but drifted out to 68's - still pretty good effort though. There was a bit of wind about tonight (but we won't mention who had the curry) - seriously though, the wind was strong into us down the home straight. I managed three at 75, then six at 74 and a final 73 to finish. I've gone quicker when only running eight reps but not when running ten so I have to be pleased - and I really felt tired tonight. Sean, Harry and Rob were somewhere in the middle, between 65 and 71. Sean missed one of the laps early on but we all joined together once we'd finished to shame him into running a final one solo to make up for it - and fair play he ran a 65 which was good going, especially considering he ran it solo.

Tomorrow it's off to the Zoo. Not sure if anyone else is going to turn up so I might be Billy no mates - that'll be nice.

PS. For the record, Sean's absence last week was due to him racing down at Street in a 5k and no other reason as previously implied, wink.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

sMile and the world sMiles with you....

....jog and you jog alone. Tonight's Mile reps at Aztec were OK. I ran a reasonable session. Had to keep massaging the left calf after each rep on account of it getting tight but apart from that it was pretty good. Not quite the fastest I've run but still pretty good. Covered the four reps in 5:50, 5:46, 5:54 and 5:44. Not quite as consistent as I would have liked but you can't have everything.

Onto news of my next duathlon in two weeks time. A friend has kindly loaned me their road bike, which I picked up after tonight's session. At least I'm not going to stick out like a total amateur now that I don't have to use the mountain bike - even if it will be a dead give away by the way I ride! Now all I have to do is get out for a bit of practice.

Urgent update....

Duathlon results now in! Didn't think I made the top fifty - how wrong can you be ...... Top fifty, piffle, ...... top forty, oh yeah, ...... 36th out of 185 - have some. Got to be happy with that. Thought I did pants but it turns out I did pretty good on my first (and last) outing. The result is still not enough to make me change my plans and do another one though. One was definitely enough - but the result has brightened my day - definitely a case of polishing the dull side!

Monday, February 19, 2007

If you can't see the bright side of life....

....just polish the dull side. Well it is Monday after all.

Managed to get out for a run at lunch time with Graham and then headed off down the gym after work for an hour on the bike and a go on the weights. All in all a pretty good recovery day. The legs are not in bad shape after yesterday so I'm looking forward to the Aztec mile reps tomorrow.

Now I know you've all been dying to catch a glimpse of the cap-cam. So here it is in all (or should that be none of) its glory. You can see the quality design and workmanship. A little bit of string here, a bit of sponge there, a small elasticated Velcro band in army style camouflage effect - making the cap-cam almost invisible to the naked eye, a touch of sticky back plastic, an ostrich feather, the odd card board tube from a loo role and of course, an empty fairy liquid bottle....

Disclaimer: No animals were harmed during the manufacturing process

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Episode Three: Revenge Of The Bike

Well, I think this weeks installment of 'Mad Runner: The Series', filmed live at the Cirencester Off Road Duathlon, 18th Feb, 2007, is slightly improved from episodes one and two. I think I managed to capture a bit more of the actual race this time! I over corrected a bit from last week to end up pointing slightly downward but bit by bit I'm getting there. In about ten or eleven more races it'll be there.

The transition to the bike was a bit rubbish. Had to improvise and shove the cap-cam on the tri bar and strap it up. I didn't want to waste too much time - I was in a race after all, got to take it a little bit seriously. So I just boshed it on and went. Unfortunately it ended up mostly pointing at the ground - can't remember that happening before!!!!. As the bike section went on it slowly slipped down more and more, pointing evermore ground ward. It was worth a bash though, so no regrets for trying. As that wise Nepalese Guru of mine would say, better to have filmed and pointed at the ground than never filmed at all - perhaps that's open to debate.

Anyway, here it is in all it's technicolour glory. Hope you enjoy....

The mug said it all

No, not me - I mean the memento mug, 'I Did It In The Mud'. To describe the mud on the bike section would not do it justice. Suffice to say on two of the four bike laps I got off and ran with the bike as it was quicker. In fact I actually made up a few places while I ran. I recon that could be a sensible tactic for future mountain bike duathlons - not there are going to be any. Never say never but you can take it from me that this is going to be the closest I ever come to saying never and meaning it!

The run sections were fine, I was well up the field after the first 2 miler, probably top twenty but as soon as we got to the muddy section on the bike I was pants. On the final 2 miler I gained somewhere in the region of ten places - these mountain bike types don't seem to be able to run but they sure as hell make up for it on the bike.

Regarding the bike, I have to say that my brakes were a real problem. It's so old they had only just invented the wheel when I bought it so it doesn't have any of those fancy disc brake thing-um-jigs. Consequently the mud just clogged in the old style brakes and added to the resistance. I recon that must have added a good few minutes.

Even with my crap equipment I still recon I managed to get in the top half of the field. I finished in 1:29, a bit slower than I had intended - I was looking for between 1:20 and 1:25 but I guess I have to be satisfied. My splits were, 14:36 for the first run, with a transistion of about a minute and a half. The bike section was around 58 minutes with about a minute for the transistion and then 14:39 for the final run. But when all is said and done it was still a PB! - but we all know the reason for that. Oh, and one final comment, I had to where my road running shoes as my trail shoes were too painful on the hell blister.

Anyway, here is the route (small lap - run, big lap - well, I don't have to say do I?)

PS Video to follow later today once it's been processed by Google

Saturday, February 17, 2007

A little bit of fencing

No, I'm not talking epee or foil, I'm talking garden. I have six panels to replace after the recent wind and managed to get four replaced this morning. Boy am I tired though. May not have been the wisest decision I've ever made to do it this weekend but then again, as I'm racing every week I have to do it sometime. Think I may have injured myself in the process though. I bashed my knee while moving one of the panels - are they ever heavy. It's real hard work moving them on your lonesome. The knee is quite sore at the moment. Isn't that a bummer. I've been racing and training like a lunatic this year so far and managed to avoid injury. Then you do a bit of diy and take yourself out of action. Hopefully it will settle overnight so I will be OK for tomorrow. Now off to give the bike the once over....

Friday, February 16, 2007

That Friday feeling

Whoo hoo it's Friday. The weekend is here and on Sunday so will be my first ever duathlon. I am really looking forward to it. Not sure how well I'm going to apply myself to the mountain biking as I really haven't done much - that is, when I say not much I mean just the Saturday and Sunday ride I did a few weeks ago. But I recon that'll be enough (raises eyebrow to camera). My bike is a bit basic so I'll just have to see how I go. Still going to try for a top fifty spot though. Hopefully I can be as brave on the bike as I am throwing myself down a mountain. The run sections should be a doddle though - famous last words. But if you're wanting to join me then you're going to be out of luck as we have a full house with the event now sold out.

Training wise, my calf muscles are too tight to even contemplate running today. I was going to go for a five miler after work to ease this weeks sessions out of my system but I shall just do some gentle stretching instead. Hopefully I can get out for an easy one tomorrow.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Can't believe I ran so quick...

I've had a pretty hard week back in full training after Dursley on Sunday and the total write off that was last week after the Long Mynd. I honestly thought that tonight would be slow. My calf muscles were a little tight before the session and are a little bit more tight now but the session itself was absolutely brilliant.

We were up at the Zoo tonight and the turn out was low - of which I guess the Weston Prom Run can shoulder most of the blame. We've not done the exact same session before but my average lap pace tonight of each of the different laps was just plain quicker than I've run them before. In fact, the average was about 4-5s quicker and consistent as well - really consistent.

We started off with two big laps which I covered in 4:00 and 3:52 - OK, not the most consistent but I always tend to have a bit of a warm up on the first rep. Then we ran two repetitions of a single lap and a small lap of which I ran 3:00, 2:23, 2:59 and 2:24 - now I think you'll agree that is consistent. I was absolutely dying on the final two laps but I hung on to complete the session - and I'm glad I did. I still can't believe I ran that quick. My previous goes over the single and small have been anywhere between 3:00 to 3:09 and 2:24 to 2:28 but generally averaging about 3:05 and 2:27. So this week, on the back of a good session yesterday and the day before has been - simple put - a most excellent week.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

School boy error....

Well, we had some school boy errors tonight at the track. I'm not going to mention any names because that would be nick picking. You could almost say it would be perNickety to name and shame but one from amongst us was caught committing a most heinous crime - jog recovering in the inside lane with oncoming runners. School boy error. And Sean was conspicuous in his absence - nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, say no more.

On to the session. I was pleased with my run tonight. I was, as I seem to be becoming, ever consistent. Three 800's in 2:39, 39, 38 followed by three 450's in 1:21, 21, 20 and finished with three 300's in 54, 53, 52. I ran hard and the 300's were really tough work but worth it. The lads ran 9's, 5's and 3's and gave chase. I think it helped both me and them. They were able to focus and give chase while I tried to hold them off. Have to say Nick almost caught me every time. So well done Nick.

Now for a new feature on the blog. A feature I like to call, 'Follow The Mad Man' (or 'Run With Dave'). Yes, now you too can run the routes that other fear to tread. I shall be adding various routes as I run them. Tonight's route is from last Sunday's Dursley Dozen.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Sneyd hills

Did a quick half hour gym session before heading off for the Sneyd Park hill reps. I decided to run four of the 950m reps instead of the six everyone else was running on account of the race last Sunday. Ran them really consistently - all of them in 3:45 with 2 minutes recovery. Didn't push eye balls out on any of them and eased back towards the finish of each rep. I haven't run them that consistently before. I have been slightly quicker, about 3:38 is the fastest I can remember but on that occasion I faded out to four minutes for later reps. So tonight was good. My legs have recovered pretty well from Sunday. I still feel a bit stiff but if I can run that quick on slightly tired legs how quick could I go when fresh?

Looking forward to the track tomorrow - where hopefully I can put in a full session - I recon the legs will have recovered fully.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Training after a race

That's right, I managed to do some decent training today, the day after a tough hilly race! Haven't done that in a few weeks. I recon I can manage the full Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday sessions this week. The only potential hinderance is going to be the blistered heel but I'll just tape it up and run through the pain. I can take it. They don't call me The Mad "I'm Not Namby Pamby (Well Only A Little Bit)" Runner for nothing.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Far from the best

Well this is worse than me first little filum. Really need to do some testing during the week to get it sorted.

Once you've seen it these wise words of wisdom from my Nepalese Guru will strike a chord. If at first you don't succeed, try and try again but after the seventh failure chuck the bloody thing in the bin or flog it on e-bay.

PS. The results of the Dursley jury are in (hats off for a quick turn around) - I was on the money with the positional estimate - drum role - 30th, scrapes home, back of the net, pick that one out.

Other Bristol and West runners; Alec Woods 2nd (1st MV40) and Mark Dickinson 143 (15th MV50) (just getting back into it ready for the Castles in June).

I love Dursley

What a great run. Didn't know what to expect from the race today after a bad week. My tummy was a little bit dodgy and I paid for that at about nine miles where I got a tremendous stitch. It was so bad I had to stop for 10s and do some breathing exercises. Thankfully that did the trick and I was able to carry on at full pace to the end.

I felt strange during the race. I felt both knackered and strong at the same time. At two miles (with ten to go) I was wishing for the end because I felt so tired. But I seemed to just keep grinding out the miles. I was bad going up hill today because the blister on my heel has not healed from last week - it is consequently extremely sore at the moment. But downhill was good and I made up quite a few places each time we got to a big drop - which was nice.

Finally, the moment of truth, da da, 89:23 which is close to four minutes off last years time and conditions were definitely worse than last year with there being more mud this time. Result - have to be happy with that. I could be close to the top thirty vs top sixty last year. So I'm still managing to eek out big improvements in my race times so hopefully I can knock a few more minutes off next year.

Re the filming it looks like another pants effort. This time I have some nice shots of the trees and sky - might be useful to the ornithologists I suppose! Anyway, I will try and edit up some of the best bits (if there are any).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Angle of dangle

The legs were pain free yesterday for the first time in five days but I couldn't get out to train as I was away to Hertfordshire. The heel blister should also be sorted but I shall be taping it up just in case. This week I have managed to run precisely once and for 20 pathetic minutes. My head has not been good today but hopefully I shall be fighting fit and ready for the Dozen tomorrow.

I have finished the adjustments to the cap-cam. It's difficult to work out exactly the correct position that it needs to be set at because the position of my head moves around as I tire. I start out looking ahead then as I tire (usually after about five minutes) the old noggin starts to droop (I'm talking about my head, thank you). Hopefully I have got the balance right and the footage will be a bit more of the racing view instead of the butt eye view as used in last weeks clip. I guess we'll find out on Sunday or Monday .... or Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Legs still utterly wrecked

My quads are still in a bad way. I was able to move around the office more freely without the limping and shuffling but the quads are still painful. I managed a twenty minute run at lunch time which wasn't too bad. I went down the track tonight but just to jog a few laps. I only managed four and it was just too painful. There's no sense in doing any more so I am hoping they will be OK tomorrow for the zoo reps with Keith.

I'm hoping the legs are building some resilience to the abuse but I fear it may take a few more races before they are able to take the pounding week in week out. Hopefully long term it will make my stronger.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Achy breaky legs

Too knackered to train tonight. The quads are still bad - but less so than yesterday so hopefully I will be up to training tomorrow at the track. I may have to take it easy though. We'll see.

I have been tinkering with the cap-cam ready for the Dursley Dozen on Sunday. Adjusting the angle of dangle, so to speak, so it points more horizontally when I'm not (ie when I'm looking at the ground - which seems to be most of the time!). I'm also looking at ways to put in a tilt mechanism so that I can flip it up vertically when I'm climbing up hill so it looks up the hill rather than straight at the ground but this is proving more problematic since it still needs to be as stable as possible. Also need to look at a quick way of attaching it to the bike during the transition so I don't waste too much time. Oh why is life so full of technical difficulties for the aspiring nutter.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Oh what joy....

Yet again my legs are sore - big time (quads mainly). This brought much amusement to Graham and Clive as I hobbled around at work. Once I got going the pegs where OK but since I sit on the old lardy for hours at a time I had a few painful moments through the day. On the plus side I don't think they're quite as sore as after that first fell race and that was only two miles. I recon my body is adapting to the abuse I send its way - which bodes well.

I've added another new item to the blog - my race schedule (see right hand side). This is courtesy of an idea I read on a fellow blogger's site, John Kynaston's 'Training for West Highland Way Race 07'. Thanks for that one John it's a great idea and I have to say, from his reading his blog, that he seems like a chap with a similar yearning for pain as me. I knew there had to be another one out there somewhere :) Cheers John.

PS. Just an easy one at the gym tonight - giving the legs a rest - until tomorrow....

Sunday, February 04, 2007

And now for something a little different

Yes, I managed it at last - the something (not that) special. After a bit, scrub that, a lot of faffing I have finally managed to get the footage from the cap-cam onto the web. That's right, I filmed the Long Mynd race on my newest gizmo - the cap-cam. Alright, so it's a small barrel camcorder thingumyjig stuck on my cap but it worked after a fashion! I had a few teething problems with it (which you'll see if you watch) namely it was pointing too low - I didn't take into account my bad looky-down head angle as I run. That will be amended for future films (the cam angle not the head looky-down thing - I'm sure that isn't going to change).

Anyway, it's about 6.5 minutes of edited highlights. It's a bit wobbly, a bit looking at the ground and basically a bit pants but I tried :) Hopefully I can improve my technique for the next one (ooh er).

Alternative link to the Google Video page GoogleVideo

[PS the video quality is low because Google Video shrinks the size and hence quality during their processing bit]

Interim update

Sorry to say that things are taking a bit longer than expected on the something special front - looks like maybe tomorrow now - what a bloomin' let down I am - and even worse it's not looking quite so special!

Anyway, I'll feed you a bit more about the race.

Although I was out there for over two hours the time really did fly by. The first time I glanced at the watch was just after the hour but it seemed like twenty minutes. Not sure of the winners time. I think it was around 1:38 and there were two guys with equal time - one was Simon Bailey? I think. So I'm quite pleased with my effort really, especially since it was my first proper fell race (ps don't tell the organisers because novices weren't supposed to enter on account of it being a bit tough). Patrick Woodisse, fellow Bristol and Wester, finished in 20th (or there abouts) in 1:58.

More about the race. I have to admit that even after looking over the map and seeing the close knit contours I was gob smacked at just how steep the last three climbs were. I've never come close to ever going up the side of a hill like those today. The scariest part was that the downhills were just as steep! If you were out hiking you would take ages to negotiate the downhills - as it was we took mere minutes. Some of it seemed like vertical drops. On the second to last decent my legs gave. I was OK coming down but when I started to run again at the bottom along the meandering path I could hardly move. Fortunately, I recovered a bit before the final ascent which was the steepest and seemed the longest.

Someone at the bottom of that final hill was counting the runners through and before that final ascent I was in 46th place. Great, I thought, if I can tuck in I can get that top fifty spot I was looking for.

Three people came past on that final ascent - which nearly destroyed me. It was just so unbelievably steep - I have never experienced anything quite like it. I was hanging on. I was at my limit. My reserves where depleted and I didn't have much left but the Mad Runner is made of stern stuff. My legs where shagged, I was shagged but I dug deep, deeper than I've ever had to dig before. That top fifty spot was mine and nobody was stealing it. Once at the top I threw caution to the wind and just chucked myself back down the hill. I fell once towards the bottom but managed to pick myself back up and carry on. At the bottom I had gained two of the places I lost - back into 47th place and felt safe. I knew I had made it. I managed to pick off one more guy on the run in. I say run in, more of a run along before another suicidal drop to the finish. Then, there it was, the finish, and I crossed in 46th place.

I definitely need to get out there and run (or climb) steeper hills in training - to simulate the hills I encountered today. If I want to go quicker in these races I have to train for it. I was woefully unprepared for the enormity of this race but rest assured I won't be next time...

Nothing prepares you for a race like that!

That was unbelievable. Quite the hardest race I think I've ever done. I finished in 2:09 and made the top 50 (46th). The last three hills were so steep I was on all fours, and so long I was praying for the top when I was only a third of the way up!

Will I be back next year for revenge? - I wouldn't bet against it. With a few more races under my belt I think I'll go for sub 2 next time.

More to follow, including something a little special....

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Not long now

How's that for a lovely pair - stop that, I'm talking the route and profile. Looks like a nice Sunday morning stroll don't you think! The count down to the Long Mynd race is well under way. It's just over 17 hours to kick off and I've been putting the finishing touches to the hang glider... I'm feeling a little nervous now but not because I feel the pressure of what time I will do, more the pressure of actually making it round without getting lost!

On to other matters, my race number for the mountain bike duathlon is through, number 46, so my thoughts will be turning to that in a weeks time.

Off now to fuel up for tomorrow - I'm thinking Pizza :)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Sense has prevailed

Yes, sadly, sense has prevailed and I've decided to run only the Long Mynd on Sunday and forgo the Titterstone Clee race on Saturday. To that end, I rested yesterday instead of hard training and only put in an easy twenty minutes today at lunch time. I want to be 100% rested for Sunday where I shall be aiming to finish towards the sharp end. I know that I'm going to be out of my depth and quite possibly I shall be lucky to finish at all - since I am venturing very much into the unknown but as they say, if you aim for the stars you might just make the moon - and I'd be happy with that.

I'm just itching to get going now and Sunday can't come quickly enough. I've been studying the map and taking advice and I know it's vital that I don't get carried away and go off too quick. The race looks tough in the 2nd half where the three big hills kick in. So I just hope I can control myself - this may turn out to be a real test of will and I might find out that my love affair with hill running is over! But if all goes well I should have something interesting for the blog....