Saturday, March 31, 2007

Suttonly I see......

Why the hell it means so much to me. To run. To race. To be part of a bigger picture, something bigger than yourself.

I didn't feel like going all the way to Sutton Coldfield today but sometimes you have to do what's right rather than what's right for you. That's what being part of a team is all about. Sometimes you give and sometimes you take.

Lady luck smiled and I got the race I needed, leg 2 of 12 in the Midland Road Relays. I made my personal goal of running twenty races within the confines of the year to the end of March and helped get our two teams into the nationals road relays in the process.

I ran a time of 17:43, gave everything and knocked 49s off last years time in the process. I only dropped six places on my leg, dropping down to 16th, which was pretty good considering that most teams put out good runners on the early legs. It gave the rest of the team a good base from which to build on and pick up the places I lost. Eventually finishing well inside the target of top 25 in 15th place. Our 'A' team finished just outside the medals in 4th with an under strength team.

The woman fared better. We only had one team this year - but what a team! They ran their socks off to claim an unexpected Silver medal. Massive congratulations go to Lisa, Heidi, Annabel, Clare, Suzie and Sian.

All in all it was a good day out and although part of me still wishes I could have run up Pen Cerrig Calch, I'm happy to have run at the Midland Road Relays and to have clocked up my twentieth race there.

Finally, well done to Helen F for claiming a win in the women's Pen Cerrig fell race. She's not fully fit and still suffering with injury so it's a cracking result - just don't go overdoing too soon- and they say I'm mad!!!

Thought for the day: A good reputation is more valuable than money.

Friday, March 30, 2007

My fear is realised

I am officially extending the month to include the 1st of April because I am required to travel to Sutton Park on Saturday for the Midland road relays (baring a last minute reprieve for mad behavior of course). Never being one blessed with luck, I'm sure to end up being runner 25 and excess to requirements come the race - it's hard graft or nout for me - just once, couldn't lady luck smile on me?

The Chedworth Roman Trail 10 on Sunday is now likely to be my twentieth - not technically part of March but for the reason above it shall, from hence forth, be known as March the 32nd. I'm not failing my target just because I play for the team. It's either extend the month by a day or I take out a contract on one of our runners. As assassination isn't legal (at least not in this country) it's going to have to be extend the month. I still have my fingers firmly crossed just in case I get that one lucky break and can go to Wales instead. Going to Wales a lucky break? What's the world coming to - only joking, I've really enjoyed my races over in Wales this year, they've been great and I look forward to a summer of races there - I'm not Anne Robinson - honest.

Thought for the day: Grief can take care of itself, but to get the full value of a joy you must have somebody to divide it with.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Up and over Dundry

Another hard day at work left me feeling that I couldn't be arsed to go down the gym - and subsequently didn't - damn. I had to fight myself to get out for even a short run - but I made it. Headed up over Dundry - the first time in ages but only for a quick five miles - still, I feel better for it, even if there wasn't much training benefit to be gained. I did, however, get up to the top quicker than I've ever managed before so I'm definitely recovered from the weekend. Here's a pic from the top, firstly looking back over my illustrious home town of Bristol and secondly, looking across to Chew Valley Lake (far in the distance).

It now looks like I shall be required to run at the road relays - as I knew would be the case. There's still a small but ever decreasing chance I won't be needed but the likelihood is that Pen Cerrig is off the menu. My problem is that I'm far too much of a team player to say no - I sometimes wish I could put 'me' first - but that just ain't my style - damn it.

Thought for the day: Everyone seems normal until you get to know them!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

12 Hour shift

First off I have to say I did not bottle tonight's track session. I might get some stick from the boys, 'yeah, yeah, sure you couldn't make it because you were working', they'll say but what they'll mean is 'you bottling, no good, lazy slacker'. Gods honest truth guvnor, at 7:30pm I was still in Frome busy working. I really wanted to get out on the track tonight as me and the legs were feeling good but when work calls I answer. I did not get home until 8:30pm - long after they'd all be safely tucked up in bed - how likely is that?

Looks like I might possibly not run at all this week - until the weekend that is, when I'll run a leg of the Midland Road Relays if needed (or more preferable the Pen Cerrig Caulch fell race) and then the Chedworth Roman Trail 10 on Sunday.

Thought for the day: The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship "I apologise" and "You are right."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Too many pies

Well, really just one big one but I'm sure full now, completely bloated. As you might have guessed, today was a non-training day. No gym work, no running, nada, didly squat, zilch. Two reasons for that. Firstly, I felt I should rest the legs for an extra day after the hammering I gave them on the weekend and secondly, I was dining out. Totally over ate, and regret it somewhat now - what more can I say - I need some serious exercise in the next couple of days to burn all those calories. I can practically feel my six pack dissolving - and that's just the tinnies from the fridge!

Thought for the day: Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Sore leg Monday

I have, once again, proved indestructible - mind you - it ran me pretty close this time. My legs are sore but not significantly so. I even managed to get down the gym for half an hour on the exercise bike - and the obligatory half hour on the weights, of course. I'm 100% confident I will be able to run my normal speed session on Wednesday at the track - cocky git - permission to give me a slap granted - but as a precaution I'm not going to run the Aztec mile reps tomorrow - not so cocky now, eh!

With the 20 race target all but in the bag I'm now looking for some new challenges in the coming months. Something that I can fit around my build up to the Berlin marathon. I'm initially thinking go long and slow - nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, say no more. I'm a great fan of over distance training - that is, training longer than race distance to be able to stay the course and be strong to the finish. So maybe I will look for a couple of short ultra's - nice oxymoron type word thingumy - somewhere in the region of 30 to 35 miles, with the emphasis on going the distance rather than running it quickly. As long as I build for that soon enough it should really give me some staying power for the marathon. I'm giving some serious thought to running/hiking the Lairig Ghru when I'm on my hols up in the Highlands of Scotland later in the year. It's a famous pass through the Cairngorm mountains, about 26 miles long. Could be fun!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Episode 10: The Cleevewold Wall

Today's film is named in memory of the 'Wall' wot I hit today.

Well done to Cheltenham & County Harriers for a great race. Well organised, route well marked and plenty of marshals.

Just as a point of interest I have raced approximately 97 miles in March and 173 miles since the beginning of the year - nice.

Here, for you delectation, is Episode 10 of Mad Runner, The Series: The Cleevewold Wall

Took it to breaking point......

And perhaps just a little bit further.

Well the day didn't start well. There has to be one doesn't there. One what, you ask? One idiot who didn't realise the clocks went forward!!! Got in the car with plenty of time to spare - or so I thought, at 8:20. Set in the coordinates to the gps and it very politely informed that it had adjusted the clock for daylight saving - how kind. OH MY GOD!!! It's now 9:20, the race car park is a mile from the start and the race starts at 10:30 in Cleevehill near Cheltenham, 55 miles away. Suffice to say I made it with about three minutes to spare but I had to run that mile from the car park fairly rapidly to do so. It didn't bode well for the race.

My legs felt OK before the race, not too stiff, and the blisters were under control as well. I wore my road shoes which meant I was in for a bit of slipping around during the race but even that wasn't too bad and could have been far worse.

So how did the race go? Pretty good until the 12 mile point. I was in about 16th place (by my estimation) and going well. I'd worked my way through the field, steadily gaining places as the race progressed. At 12 miles I suddenly hit the 'wall' in a fashion most people can only dream of. I was quite literally out on my feet. I had to walk at least half of the final 2 miles and was on the point collapse. I was physically exhausted and even when I tried to run it really wasn't much faster than walking. I'm guessing I didn't manage to get enough fuel into the system after yesterday's race because a 14 miler should be no problem for me under normal circumstances. I lost somewhere in the region of twenty places in those last two miles dropping down to finish 37th in a time of 2:01.

The walk back to car park was not pleasant. I was shivering and in physical distress but I made it, got some food down, and recovered pretty quick. I'm glad I did the race though, even with all the suffering. As I say, 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' - although I took it pretty close today - but I expect to come back even stronger.

With race 19 under my belt I am on target to make the magic 20 by the end of March - nice. I must admit now though, I'm pretty much physically wrecked. My legs feel sore - they'll be doubly so tomorrow - and my feet are painful as hell. The soles of both feet feel mega bruised. I don't think I will be doing much training in the coming week!

Thought for the day: If it wasn't for the last minute, nothing would get done.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Episode 9: Big Bad Hills

First off, I'd like to thank to Mandy (pretty sure that was her name, if not I apologise) and Owen for giving me a lift to the start.

Secondly, thanks to the runner in blue who recognised me from the blog - he's found his way into the film (at about the 1:30-1:50 minute point). Cheers.

Finally, thanks to the organisers, check point marshals and anyone else who helped. It was a great race and I shall be back - and it'll even be half a mile shorter for me next time because I don't plan on getting lost in Blaenafon again - I do all the hard stuff, over the hills, twists and turns and then get lost within a mile of the finish - and me, a city boy! Doh!

Anyway, without further ado, here is Episode 9 of Mad Runner, The Series: Big Bad Hills.

PS I'm feeling ready for tomorrow, bring it on......

Race 18 complete......

Well that was a toughie. As you can see from the profile there are basically three big climbs and the steepest and baddest is saved for last. I took it reasonably easy across the flat bits, legged downhill and just tried to get up the hills anyway I could. I don't feel too bad now so hopefully I've saved enough in reserve for tomorrow and the Cleevewold 14.

I finished in 15th or 16th place - would have be 13th but I went wrong in the final kilometer - what a tit - in the town of Blaenavon on the way to the leisure centre/finish - must check out the finish next time! It added on roughly an extra km and about five minutes to my time, which was 2:39:56. Oh well, always nice to make a school boy error. My gps clocked up 15.8 miles and just about 5000ft of ascent.

The cap-cam, sadly, didn't make...... it died ...... or rather, it ran out of battery at around 2:20, just on the section going across the top of the final hill. Hopefully I can cobble something together though.

And finally, something for those with strong stomachs. Both my heels now have massive blood blisters - or did have. I know, I know - you're not supposed to pop 'em but I have to try and dry them up by tomorrow. I got out my number six rusty nail and gave them a damn good seeing to. It was like a scene from the Texas Chain Saw Massacre. As long as my feet don't go sceptic overnight and drop off I'll be wearing my road shoes tomorrow because they are nice and comfy - oooooooh [holds handbag] hark at me.

Thought for the day: If at first you don't succeed - destroy all evidence that you tried.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Feet up Friday......

Well it's 17 hours to go until the start of the biggest test of my indestructibility so far. I came through last weeks test with flying colours. This one, I fear, will be substantially tougher. I still harbour the memories of the Long Mynd race and those fateful three steep hills at the end, where it was more climbing than running. On that occasion the mountains almost broke me - with the emphasis on 'almost'. I survived and I'm all the stronger for it. I have more understanding of how tough it will be and the challenge I face. Saturday's race is about four miles longer than the Long Mynd, weighing in at 15 miles! The record is just under 2 hours but I expect to take around 2:30. Sunday's race should be an all together easier affair. It's only 14 miles and about half the ascent of Saturday, coming in at a mere 2500ft. Will the mountains win? Will I break? or Will fate smile upon me? ......

Thursday, March 22, 2007

To hill and back again......

Sneyd hill reps again tonight but I made sure I got down the gym before hand to fit in a session on the weights. Can't go loosing my muscle tone now can I. My gym work is the one area that has been on the slide of late. As I've been racing on the weekends I've been missing lots of sessions - I'm a bad bad boy. Only a few more weeks to go though and I shall be back to normal - training wise normal that is.

On to tonight's session. It was near perfect conditions. There was no wind and it wasn't really that cold, at least it was far warmer than Tuesday and yesterday. It was a small but perfectly formed group - just the four of us, Craig P, Pete S, Jerry H and Me. With the English schools and the Bath half marathon on the weekend I think it's fair to say it was not unexpected for there to be so few.

The session was six of the standard 950m hill reps but Jerry and I decided, before the start, to run only four - so no one could accuse us of bottling it once the session got under way. Amazingly, it ended up being my fastest ever set of four by a couple of seconds per rep and also included my fastest single rep as well (3:45, 3:35, 3:40 and 3:41) - top dollar. Can't believe I managed to go so quick (relative) because my legs feel a long way short of 'fresh'.

It was good to see Jerry running much better than the last time I saw him a month or so ago. He looks like he's on the way back.

Thought for the day: Accept that some days you are the pigeon and some days the statue.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Come in red leader......

My wotsits have warmed up a bit from last night - stop it, I'm not going there. Must stay on 'track' tonight - ooh, that's a bad one.

I was red leader tonight. Rick couldn't make it but called me up to let me know the session. The lads are racing in the English schools on the weekend so it was short stuff again. We ran six sets of one 400m followed by one 300m with 90s recoveries. Like all good leader's I led from the rear - shut it. I'd love to lead from the front but unless I take a baseball bat to the boys legs that ain't ever going to happen!

We all worked hard tonight and put in a good session. Conditions were good. It was cold but calm. There was definitely something in the air though. The 400's were pretty quick. I knocked them out between 70 and 72, which is towards my top end, and the boys were in the range 64 to 70. Somehow the the legs wouldn't go any quicker for the 3's though. I was 51 to 53 and the boys were 46 to 50. I've been quicker and so have they so we'll put it down to the cold.

Good to see Ben and his brother out on the track again. Fingers crossed training goes well. Take it steady Ben.

Thought for the day: There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Chilly Tuesday

Not much to report today. Went out for 45 minutes with the guys from the gym. By-gum it were a cold one - near froze me wotsits off - must remember not to leave my crisps in my pocket when I go for a run.

The legs weren't too bad tonight, still a little heavy maybe, but considering the races I've run, my recovery rate in recent weeks has been fantastic. I'm definitely getting over these hard races much quicker now than two months ago. All this racing is proving great training.

Back to tonight's run. It's the first time I've been out with Mad Andy for ages. We get on well - I wonder why? He's running Berlin with me. Well, really, it's more I'm running Berlin with him. He ran it last year and was so enthusiastic he bought the company. Seriously though, for 30 seconds anyway, he got us all interested in it. Should be a good weekend come the 29th September - when the boys (and girls) from the gym go large in Berlin and hit PB central!

Thought for the day: Needing someone is like needing a parachute. If they aren't there the first time, chances are you won't be needing them again!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Legs eleven

I am surprised how good my legs feel today. They are actually less painful than yesterday evening. I can even go down stairs pain free!

The results of the Rhayader race are now online and my estimated finishing position was smack on the money - I was 27th out of 410. Even though I say so myself, I'm chuffed with that one. It's funny because it really didn't feel like I was racing - more like a hard training run. I don't feel I ran on my limit at any stage. Yes, the last two miles were gruelling but only because I haven't run further than 13 miles since the start of December. To come so high up the field is a real bonus and a really big lift. The winners time of just outside two hours is pretty amazing considering the course - I take my cap off to him - but not until I've finished filming of course!

Today's just been a recovery day. I need to take it easy this week because my planned 15 and 14 mile races next weekend are not going to be easy. As I drove to Rhayader I examined the skyline around Abergavenny. The Summits of Blorenge and Sugar Loaf look a bloody long way up and I guessing that Crug Mawr is just as mean looking.

Thought for the day: No one ever says "It's only a game" when their team is winning!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Episode 8: Ironwood Challenge

This has been another successful week of racing for me. I've managed to clock up races 15, 16 and 17 and, barring major catastrophe, I should make the target of twenty races by the end of March. If I do I will have raced somewhere in the region of 185 miles in 13 weeks, giving an average race mileage of 14.2 miles per week. Through March the average will be over 20 miles per week!

Anyway, without further ado, here is Episode 8: Ironwood Challenge

The Mad Runner Rides Again

My legs were not at their best this morning but not half as bad as I expected them after yesterday - they are, however, extremely sore now. I'm fully expecting to be hobbling tomorrow though. For the first time ever I'm going to seek a sports massage. I know, I know, that's far too sensible for me - even the Mad Runner has to have an off day now and then. It's damn hard work being mad all the time!

Anyway, onto the race. The course seemed to be a little different from what I remember but since it was four or five years ago I suspect that's just me. I set off towards the middle of the pack to try and save my legs for the end. I steadily picked my way through the field to finish in the unexpectedly high position of 15th! I was in no way expecting that. My time was 49:03. (The distance was just over 6 miles with about 1100ft of climb).

Once again, the race went off without a hitch. The Nailsea boys and girls certainly know how to organise a race. There were course markings and marshals in all the right places to make sure you stayed on the straight and narrow. There seemed to be a good size field and lots of spectators. It's definitely a race which deserves to be well supported. I look forward to the LA 10k and Nailsea Festival 10k with eager anticipation.

Bristol and West's John D was fourth overall, so well done John. I don't know the result but I'm guessing he was first M50 by, I should imagine, quite a margin - John, you'll have to give me a slap if this is wrong when next we meet.

Video to follow as soon as possible - what with Mothers Day and all!

Thought for the day: Never argue with idiots. They drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Rhayader Round the Lakes: The Movie

Well I just about managed to get the video online on the same day as the race - but only just.

It really was a great race covering a very scenic route. Great PB potential for anyone interested next year - only kidding - but I do highly recommend it. (It was actually a PB for me but only on account that I haven't done a 20 miler before). There were plenty of water stations and plenty of marshals - not that you could go wrong - the route was pretty obvious but better to have them as not.

Well done to the organisers, marshals, helpers and most importantly us insane fools that ran it. You can all give yourselves a well deserved pat on the back.

PS I have to admit that I have stiffed up a bit this evening - stop it - you know what I mean. I have twelve hours to be ready for Ironwood Challenge but as they say in the trade, 'you've got no fricken chance you numb nuts' - no, that's not right - I mean - 'cometh the hour, cometh the man'......

I live......

Well I managed to get around the course unscathed but it was quite tough. The 'undulating' was, according to the gps (and corroborated by my digital mapping software), in fact 3000ft of ascent.

So how did I do? Well, I took it out steady. From asking around before the start, I found out that the major climb started between miles 3 and 4 and went on until around mile 6. I decided before the race that I would split the climb into four or five sections with a little spot of walking to try and save myself for the later miles. This turned out to be a reasonable tactic. In addition to the steep climb the wind just happened to be right in your face on the way up. Don't get me wrong, conditions were pretty much perfect - nice sunshine and not too hot or too cold - I'm guessing you always get the strong winds like we had to day.

Anyway, once I got to the top it was just a case of knuckling down and getting on with it. I was aiming to finish in a time somewhere between 2:30 and 2:40. I didn't want to kill myself since I have my other race tomorrow - the Ironwood Challenge (8M). I got a good rhythm going and felt comfortable. I really didn't want to race it today, I just wanted to complete the course and get race 16 out of the way.

Unfortunately, I completely ripped up the game plan at around 7 miles! As I ran past the first of the lakes I caught a glimpse of my arch nemesis of recent weeks - Stroud's Phil M - just ahead. We've met in quite a few races this year, the Mayhill Massacre, The Cirencester Duathlon and the Hogweed Hilly Half to name but a few, and I haven't managed to beat him yet (usually he's about a minute ahead). In our last meeting, the Hogweed, he ran me out of the prizes in the last few miles, grrrrrr.

I could see I was gaining on him which caused the fog of war to come upon me. By mile nine I was past and clear. I soooo didn't want him to come back past later in the race that I really piled it on to make sure. For a few miles I hit sub half marathon pace! The last two miles were hard going though. I really felt the lack of training miles but hung on in there to finish in a time of 2:22:24. I gained loads of places throughout the race and recon I made the top thirty (out of 300+). I also had a good negative split of 1:14:50 / 1:07:34

By my estimate I recon I had a good nine minutes on Phil at the end. I think that settles the score - for now.

So how do my legs feel now? Not too bad actually. I think they might be a bit stiff in the morning but I shall run the Ironwood regardless. I just hope Phil isn't there because I really do want to take it easy!

Thought for the day: You need only two tools, WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape.

PS I managed to film the race but as it was a long travel (200 mile round trip) I might not manage to get it edited up until Monday or Tuesday. I will try my best as I know you're all dying to see it - NOT.

Friday, March 16, 2007

The calm before the storm

I've decided to taper for my next race - the Rhayader Round The Lakes 20. But since it's tomorrow it's not going to be the longest taper ever!

With last night's race under my belt, my 15th race, I'm feeling confident of making my target of twenty by the end of March. I'm expecting tomorrow's race to be tough though. I haven't run more than half marathon distance since December's marathon so the extra seven miles of 'undulating' terrain might just finish me off but it'll be good to test my powers of recovery. As you know, I will be racing again on Sunday in the Ironwood Challenge (8 miles). I haven't run the Ironwood for a few years and I'm looking forward to racing on home territory once more - I do lots of training through those woods - they be good hills, me-hearties.

Cheers Ben, I can't make the next Weston Prom race but I plan to run the one on the 17th of May. Hopefully you'll be back running and can show me how it's supposed to be done.

Thought for the day: If tin whistles are made out of tin, what do they make fog horns out of?

Here is a pic of the seafront at Weston from yesterday, with Graham G and Gareth C warming up before the start of the race. Even on the warm up I couldn't keep up!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Seaside Rendezvous

I enjoyed my first outing to the Weston Prom Run. It was a calm night - I'm told it is usually a lot more windy. Conditions were probably just about perfect. I really wasn't sure of how I would race tonight. I felt tired and my legs felt lifeless and on top of that I'd been on my feet all day at work which probably didn't help.

Anyway, I really thought I'd be lucky to break 32 minutes and set off at a fairly pedestrian pace. A whole swath of runners rushed past in the first 500m and I settled in to a position somewhere around the top 50 or 60. As the race unfolded I began to slightly increase my pace and pick up a few places. By the half-way point I must have just about edged into the top 40 - pop pickers, with a split time of 15:35. So I was well inside the 32 target but just outside 31.

From then on I just tried to hold things together. I wasn't breathing too hard but I felt I was on the limit of what my body was able to give me tonight. I continued to gain places and in the last 500m I managed to pass a friend from Nailsea Running Club - Nailsea Pete - as I refer to him (not being able to remember his surname - I'm bloody terrible with names - who am I again?).

By the finish I was hanging on and didn't quite manage to catch the Clevedon runner I was closing in on, oh well, that's life. I finished in 26th spot with a time of 30:47, which gave me a nice negative split of 15:35 / 15:12.

Officially that is a new PB by 1 minute and 14s, but unofficially I've covered the 5 mile distance quicker during the first five miles of the Stroud half marathon last year - but I guess you can never be quite sure how accurate the markers are in a race like that. Anyway, I'm claiming the official PB - which, quite frankly, I am stunned and chuffed with. After yesterdays lack lustre, tired performance on the track I really didn't think it was on. Hopefully once I have the mad race schedule out of my system I can get down and dirty with some focused races and set some blistering (for me) new times.

Well done to John D. who finished 2nd in the race. I don't know his time but he was a bloody long way ahead of me - he'd practically finished his warm down by the time I'd finished!

And well done to Nick T. He finished in 6th but didn't seem too pleased with his race. There looked to be some good quality in the field tonight - there was also some decent runners on the prom as well! Anyway, for his sterling effort, I award him the first ever official MRTU - Mad Runner Thumbs Up. And thank him for the cheer at the end of the race - it helped to knock at least an extra second off my time.

Thought for the day: Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.

Well done to Nick for spotting my mistake on the splits, as pointed out in the comment, should have been 15 instead of 20 (now amended) - told you I was tired, obviously mentally as well - no surprise there then (and to think I have a maths degree - they hand them out like toffee nowadays!)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Almost gave in......

...... but not quite.

Tonight's session was tough - almost too tough. We ran 4 sets of one 400 followed by one 600 with two minute recoveries. Yesterday's session on top of Sunday's hard effort had taken its toll. I almost stepped off the track during the 600m rep of the third set. I had slowed dreadfully but the shame I would receive from the lads I could not bear so hung on to finish. Then I drew on my reserves to complete the fourth and final set. My times? Sadly, not quick, 72, 1:50, 73, 1:53, 73, 1:57, 73 and 1:55 to finish.

As is normal for our Wednesday session, talk soon turned to disposing of the body - my body, that is - in case I died during the fourth set. The discussion centred on the merits of bleach verses burning - only joking - because obviously there is no contest for best method of eliminating evidence. Bleach wins every time - no, really, only kidding. And anyway, you'll all be glad to know (or maybe not for those that know me!) that we didn't need to carry out any field studies since I survived!

Sean was off running the Street 5k tonight, setting a new PB I might add, but the rest of the lads were all present and correct. And we even had a stand in for the absent Sean in the form of our coach, the inimitable Rick W. Lapping again after a gap of two years through injury and looking good - in a non-kinky, running form sort of way.

Finally, after tonight, I think I've all but destroyed my chances of a quick time tomorrow in the Weston Prom 5 Mile race. Break thirty minutes? I severely doubt it. Break 30:23? I'm going to try since that would be a new PB but, again, I think the likelihood is low. Anyway, you know me, never say never, I'm going to give it my all.

Thought for the day: If something's worth doing it's worth doing your best.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gym run Tuesday

I've been neglecting my mates (running wise) down at the gym for quite a while - we're talking several months. I used to get with them most Tuesday's but since I've hit the training trail with the MD I haven't had any chance to get out and run with them. Anyway, tonight I hit the road with them again - and it was good and we covered just over ten miles (which included a few hills). I also met and ran with a fellow Bristol and West runner, Mary P. She's targeting the Bath Half and after tonight's performance I think she has ever chance of achieving her goal. So good luck Mary.

Thanks to a kindly comment on the blog I now have my backup race pencilled in for this coming Saturday. It's a fair bit of a travelling over to Mid Wales but I've had some good races over in Wales so far this year and there's no reason to suspect this will be any different. I do have a dilemma though. Do I run the 5 miler or the 20 miler? Ideally I would like about ten miles but that isn't an option. All that way for just 5 miles? I think we all know where this one is headed......

Thought for the day: The power to command frequently causes failure to think.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Clocking off early......

I had to take a break from work early today. The thing I was working on turned out to require far more brain power than I had initially thought and by 3:30 my brain function had declined to the point where I was no longer thinking straight - nothing unusual there then :)

Headed out west and hit the gym (actually north with a smidgen of west but that doesn't sound as cool so west it is). I put in a solid hour on the exercise bike and then tagged on an hour of weights, working on the abs, biceps, shoulders and man breasts, that is to say pecs. Ye olde arms are aching a bit now (but the man breats are fine - which is nice). It was a damn fine session.

Well, race wise, Sunday was race number 14 of the magic 20. By the end of this week I will be up to 16. I am desperately searching for a race for this coming Saturday since it would give me a buffer zone (at 17 races) and take me to within spitting distance of the target (not a very nice phrase but couldn't think of anything better). The crunch week is definitely going to be the 24th/25th when I run the 15 mile fell race on Saturday and then the Cleevewold 14 miler on Sunday. That is going to be a tough weekend. Truly a week where I put my powers of indestructibility to the test.

Thought for the day: If a man speaks in the forest and there is no woman around to hear him - Is he still wrong?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

You know you're old when......

You get consoled by a young lady who comments, on my placing just outside the overall prize table, awarded to the first eight male and first eight female finishers and I quote 'You might get a prize in the M40 category' - I'm only thirty five and always thought I looked young for my age - how wrong can you be!!! Now off to order myself a zimmer frame which I obviously look like I need - and then cry myself to sleep.

Anyway, here is the video (which I apologise for being a bit long) and the race route with profile - which according to the gps contained approximately 2400ft of ascent.

Episode 6: A Stitch In Time

PS That's Bristol team mates Graham C and Mark D shown finishing at the end of the video.

On a final note, now I like google, and use many of their tools but I have to say that their video service is not the best. For this video I'm trialing and hopefully it will work ok.

A stitch in time does NOT save nine

The Hogweed Hilly looks to be every bit a great race. Well organised and marshalled. Even the weather was pretty decent. It should have been a joy to race but for me it was a bit disappointing. I was going along really steady until six miles but the steep downhill sections had taken their toll - I got a stitch which actually forced me to stop for a few seconds. Alas, I could not rid myself of it and the final seven miles where hell and really quite uncomfortable.

It was most disappointing. I was in about seventh place at the time and feeling good. I had plenty of leg strength and didn't feel in anyway tired. I was even beginning to start thinking about my race position and plan my method of attack on those few places just ahead. The stitch was a killer blow which turned the race from 'how high will I come' to 'how many places will I lose'. I was in such a good position but I knew I was doomed.

I've had this problem before. I bump up and down too much on the descents which jiggles my insides and I end up with a stitch. Oh well, maybe next year. I managed to hold on to a top ten spot - but only just, in a time of 1:28:30 but I should have been at least a minute quicker. I must train coming down hill if I am to rid myself of this evil curse. I should feel happy since 10th is still bloody good but I cannot rid myself of this feeling of disappointment born of frustration.

Well done to Lisa N. She overtook my at just beyond that six mile point and didn't look back, finishing 1st woman and sixth overall. And well down the Graham G, Mark D and Graham C.

And cheers to the shout-out at around seven miles, cheering for the Mad Runner, as recognised from the blog.

Thought for the day: Success always occurs in private, and failure in full view.

(Video of the race to follow......)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Sunny Saturday

I've just checked out the weather for tomorrow and it doesn't look as though it's going to be quite as nice as today. I'm getting that da ja vou feeling. Seriously though, it looks as though it could be a bit windy but there's no way it can be as bad as last last Sunday - can it?

I feel rested and ready to have a good run in the Hogweed Hilly Half. I'll be bringing out the cap-cam again. Hopefully I can capture some decent race footage - and maybe some of the picturesque scenery as I saunter around the course - but hopefully I won't be doing too much sauntering since I shall actually be trying to race for once. In theory, the course should suit me on account of the hills but some of the down hill sections look steep and I'm not the best road descender. Give me a mountain with rocks, mud and places to kill yourself and I'm like a man possessed but put me on a steep downhill road section and I'm like a girl (no offence or disrespect intended). Don't know what kind of time to aim for, maybe between 1:25 and 1:30? Guess we find out tomorrow!

Good luck to everyone running the Hogweed tomorrow - have a good one.

Thought for the day: How do you get on or off a nonstop flight?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Thank goodness it's Friday

I managed to get out for that run I had planned. I find it so much easier to get out and run when it's prearranged with someone else. Once I've made the plans it never enters my mind not to get out there and run. If only I could be as good when I'm heading out solo.

Thought for the day: Beauty is only a light switch away!

Scenic Views: Tumble Fell Race

Click to go Picasa Web Album to see the pics.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lazy git

I'm just so lazy! I could not be a#$ed to go down the gym tonight. I felt so tired after work I just headed home and I'd even made the effort to take my kit to work. As penance, I have at least arranged for a run from work at lunch time tomorrow, even if it's just going to be an easy one. Don't recon I'll loose too much speed or endurance in just one day. And anyway, I guess it's better to recharge the batteries than run on empty - sounds like something my Nepalese Guru would say, but this one's all mine and he's not taking the credit.

Thought for the day: Experience is a wonderful thing - it enables you to recognise a mistake when you make it again! (this one's his though).

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Speeeeeed session

Conditions on the track were the best we've had them for a goodly while. To make things even better all the lads were there - a full regiment, Harry, Rob, Sean and Nick - and for the oldies, Gareth and me. Everyone has been racing over the last few weekends, I think I can even recall taking part in a couple myself. So tonight was another short and sharp session of 4's, 3's and 2's.

I hit the three 4's in 72, 70 and 69s - which is about as quick as I've ever done them. The 3's where a tad slower than last week, we ran four and I managed 50, 50, 49 and 49s. I was pleased with that. I wasn't a million miles away from last weeks times and tonight the wind was easy where as last week we had the benefit of the strong wind behind us.

The 2's? What can I say? We ran two and I managed to set a new PB, not just a common or garden training PB but an actual PB - doesn't say much, I know, my previous PB was not exactly fast, set last year at Hereford, in a time of 30.5s. Anyway I managed 30.7 and ...... 29.6s - have some. Even managed to blanket finish with Harry and Nick.

Well, there 'tis. I was right about feeling good for tonight. It was marvellous. Now for some easing down before Sunday's Hogweed Hilly Half - should be a good one. I'm going to take it quite serious and do a three day taper - can't believe I just said that!!!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Miles to go

It was the Aztec reps again tonight and the weather, which had been looking great all day, decided to kick us all in the ...... and rain. Gladly, it didn't amount to much and for the most, conditions where actually pretty good. I was looking forward to it tonight - but once we got going it was a different story. Sunday was definitely still in the legs as I trundled round the first couple in 6:19 and 6:15 before managing to get going a bit on the third, 5:59, and fourth, 5:55. I'm suspecting the session down the gym before hand probably didn't help me much either :)

Anyway, I recon I'm now set for a good session on the track tomorrow.

Thought for the day: Why is the word dictionary in the dictionary?

2nd in the combined.....

Just a quickie (shut it). I was second in the combined event from Sunday! - that's those stupid enough to compete in both the 10k and Duathlon. Mind you there was only five of us! Having said that, it was close for second, third and fourth. Our duathlon times were within a minute of each other so I managed to take that second spot on account of my decent 10k - nice.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Monsoon Monday

It's Monday and I have a severe race hangover - NOT. Couldn't face the rain again today, though - not after yesterday - and in any case I haven't got any more dry clothes or shoes! So it was down to the gym for a workout with the weights instead of running. Before I hit the weights I did the exercise bike fit-test just to see how fatigued I was but clocked up my highest ever score, 51.9. So I'm guessing I'm not that fatigued! I can't believe how good I feel after a hard weekend of racing. Even the foot is fine. Maybe I need to pick more races or harder ones?

Anyway, I'm guessing that you've all had enough of my self enforced poetry week. So this week, I will be using performance art through the medium of modern interpretive dance instead. Thank god I'm only joking ...... or am I? - no, really, I'm just kidding - seriously, I'm just tugging your leg......


The slim chance has turned to no #*&$ing chance. I finished 60th in the Duathlon yesterday :(

Still I have to be reasonably happy because with a fresh set of legs I'm sure I would have made it. I'm not going to whinge and make excuses though. In truth, I would never have done any good - I was just plain pants on the bike. I'm guessing one training session on the bike is probably not quite enough - maybe I'll fit in two or even three next time - for there will be a next time!

The only surprising thing to note from the results though, is that my second run was only 27s slower than the first - and I ran like a complete spanner - oh, the power of determination - if only I could have ratcheted that spanner up by ten more notches......

Sunday, March 04, 2007

What a day....

Conditions horrendous
Wind, rain, hail it chilled us.
Top ten in the 10k,
Duathlon was OK.
Did opportunity I take,
Top fifty did I make?
Not sure,
so we'll find out tomorrow.

What a great day I had at Castle Combe. I actually managed a pretty decent time in the 10k (by my standards), 38:35 (which is within a minute of my PB) and finished in...... 'seventh' - back of the net . Now, I didn't expect that, especially after I limped home from the fell race yesterday. What a difference a day makes.

The weather conditions were, I quote the organiser, 'The worst we've ever had'. It was blowing a gale and the rain was continuous with some hail at the start of the race - which was nice - made your face all tingly. On top of that it was flippin' freezing. But at least it looks like I am in decent shape to have a proper crack at my 10k time once the weather improves.

Now, about the duathlon. Was it tough? Too bloody right. And as I predicted I was in a good position after the first run (2 miles) but got whooped by the cycle boys (and girls) once we hit the track. Still, there is a chance I made the top fifty but I think it is probably a slim one. The final 2 mile run was terrible. My legs would not work properly - my running form (never the best anyway) consisted of tiny little shuffling steps. I just couldn't run properly. To make matters worse my hands were so cold on the final transition that I didn't manage to get my right shoe on properly and the insole pushed into my toes, making it for an even more uncomfortable run. Still, I managed to pick up somewhere in the region of a dozen places so I guess everyone was in the same boat. I have lessons to learn regarding duathlon but they will be learnt.

It was, as I said before, a great day and well done to the organiser, Will and the marshals and helpers who braved the damp and the cold to host the event. Both races went off without a hitch and, in the words of the Governor of California, 'I'll be back'......

Thought for the day: How can there be self-help 'groups'?

PS just added, the link to the youtube version of yesterdays race, complete with the missing 30s from the start of the race.

Good news, bad news

Well the good news is that foot is ok. It's a bit sore but has full mobility. With 45 minutes till the 10k I shall soon be heading out for a short warm up.

The bad news the forecast is for rain and it's doing just that. Worse though, is the 20 mile an hour winds! I think I can rule out a fast time.

Anyway, must dash......

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Episode V: Tumble Down

Here is Episode V - don't laugh when I take the tumble - I thought it was mandatory and you'd be disqualified if you didn't take one at some point during the race!

PS Googles Video have somehow lost the first 30s of the race from start after the titles are shown, it is there in my original but not on the uploaded version - I will be providing a link to the you tube version as soon as it is uploaded - which hopefully will be complete.

PPS The foot seems to be easing a bit so fingers crossed for tomorrow - or should that be toes crossed?

PPPS I have decided my twentieth race, taking place on Saturday 24th March (unless, that is, I can find anything slightly easier) - it's going to make it a hard weekend, racing on both the Saturday and Sunday, with a combined race distance of...... 29 miles and 7000ft of ascent! But as my faithful Nepalese Guru would say, better to try than wonder what if......

Friday, March 02, 2007

It lived up to its name....

My foot bruised to hell,
On Tumble I fell.
Second place I did finish,
now off to replenish.
A massage I'm needing,
for desperate healing.
To Castle Coombe ready,
to run, run, bike, run.

I really enjoyed the race today. It was an Irish fell race, where you start at the top, run to the bottom and then race back to the top. Within 500m from the start I had slipped on a rock and gone a right pearler. Nearly did the splits, landed on my arse and bashed my left foot on a rock. I scraped myself off the floor and moved through the field to finish ...... 'second'. That's my highest ever placing (beating my previous best of fourth). It was a small field today and some of the top runners where missing, but second is second and you can't take that away - This fell stuff is quality.

I have my doubt's as to how fit for action I am going to be tomorrow for the 10k and duathlon but I've paid my money so I shall be grinding it out regardless. I didn't get where I am today without being more than slightly mad - and I am, after all, pretty much indestructible.

Thought for the day: There's a fine line between genius and insanity and I have erased the line.

PS video to follow.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Zoo...ming around the block

Up at the zoo again tonight but for me it was a take it easy session - or meant to be. With my mad March weekend fast aproaching, if I am to stand any chance of ... well, remaining standing at the end of it, I had to take it easy tonight. Unfortunately, although I took it easy in terms of slow times (we ran the four sets of single loop then small loop with about 60s recoveries) it was bloody hard work. I was about 4-5s seconds down on my recent lap times but it felt just as hard work. Oh well, [shrugs shoulders].

As you can see the blog is back, posting on the same day as I enter it - I managed to give the T-850 spam-prevention robot the slip, hopefully, after being run over by a tanker, burnt, blown up and finally crushed, he won't be bothering me again.

And finally,
I'm resting tomorrow,
I'll ease through the day.
No gym or a jog,
as my muscles unclog.
On Saturday ready,
to Abergavenny.
A fell race I'll rumble,
they call it the Tumble.
Thought for the day: Why do people order double cheeseburger, large fries and a DIET Coke?