Thursday, May 31, 2007

Option one

Whey hey!!! I actually managed to get out for option one - my 800m hill reps in Ashton Court. Not only that, I managed all five - and it was peeing down again - boo. Not quite sure how I managed it! And on top of all that it was the fastest I've ever done them!

My previous fastest set of five panned out at an average 3:45 per rep with the each rep a good few seconds either side of the average. This time round I was much more consistent. The first four were 3:30, 3:29, 3:29 and 3:28 but unfortunately the legs began to buckle on that fourth one and I very nearly packed it in. Once I'd done the jog recovery back down to the start I very nearly just continued running back to the gym. But I turned and came back for more. Sadly the fifth was slower. I just couldn't force myself up there any quicker - and believe me - I gave it everything. I could only manage a pathetic, pitiful 3:31 ;) When I eventually made it to the top I was f@#&ed - I could hardly stand - but the endorphins soon kicked in and I happily made my way back to the gym for a quick whip round on the weights.

I'm so pleased with my sessions this week. I managed a decent, if not great time, at the Bridge Inn, followed by a fast session on the track yesterday and then today's hill reps - I think you'll agree I can give myself a day off tomorrow ahead of the Midland League on Saturday where I shall running the 400 Hurdles (if nobody better shows up) and then performing the 3k Steeple Chase - and believe you me, if you ever see the way I do it you'll agree it's a kind of performance art......

Thought for the day: The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground....

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Beautiful monsoon

It was a tad wet on the track tonight. In fact, it tipped it down. Sean and Nick had a bit of a wet T-shirt competition going on - not sure who won 'cause I sure as hell wasn't looking - didn't want to bring my tea back up! Sadly, there was no Harry again tonight - shame on you Harry. Hopefully he will resurface on Saturday to perform the 800m over at Yate in the Midland League Division 5 match.

Tonight we were on the short stuff again. The lads managed 4 x 400m, 4 x 300m and then 3 x 200m. I only managed three of each but I have to say it was my fastest set of laps for quite some time, 68, 67, 69 followed by 51, 51, 51 and 34, 32, 34 to finish. I worked really hard tonight. The legs were to the point of buckling underneath me in the last 100m of each fours and threes but I was determined to make it hard tonight - oh her misses. I definitely didn't take it easy. My legs were like jelly after the fours and threes but I really enjoyed it tonight - in spite of the drenching we all got. There was even a rainbow at one point - 'lovely'.

Not sure what training I will do tomorrow. I might try my hill reps over Ashton Court - four or five 800m reps but can't say for sure whether I'll have the commitment for that. Fall back options are to go for a hilly run or, barring that, do bugger all - I hope I can muster one of the first two options!

Thought for the day: Regret for wasted time is more wasted time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Oh I wished I had stayed on my feet

Not the greatest Bridge I've ever crossed but I'll take it, 18:21 (9s down on my course best). On reflection, I guess it's actually not too bad considering things. I was out of the gates a bit quick though - Don't think I've ever been out to the turn in 8:44 before - so I guess it was a little toooo quick! The Mad Runner stomp - usually employed when hill climbing - kicked in with 800m to go and it was all I could do to get to the finish. The knee felt a little sore right afterwards but it seems ok now.

 Well done to Sean H, he had another blinder, knocking 11s off his PB to clock 16:27 and claim 5th place over all.

And finally, thought you might like to hear my latest piece of prose (or maybe not). Penned in memory of the Mynydd Troedd fell race last Sunday. Can't think of a decent title for it ...

Oh I wish I had stayed on my feet,
But the mountain was just far too steep,
Arms flailed in the air,
Without any care,
Oh I wish I had stayed on my feet.

Oh I wish I had stayed on my feet,
But my running style wasn't so neat,
I charged like a horse,
And struck with full force,
Oh I wish I had stayed on my feet.

Oh I wish I had stayed on my feet,
But the deadline I just had to meet,
Near the finish, I fell,
Bashed my knee, hurt like hell,
Oh I wish I had stayed on my feet.

Thought for the day: No one is listening until you make a mistake.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Off topic

Well the knee is a lot better today. It still looks a bit swollen but doesn't really feel too bad. But as a precaution - and this goes against the grain - I have decided to give it a days rest just to be on the safe side, plus it gives me a days taper before the Bridge Inn 5k tomorrow.

So what's the off topic all about - and no, I'm not talking about an out of date Topic chocolate bar. I decided to be bit nerdy after the race and install the much talked about Linux distribution called Ubuntu onto a spare usb disk I had lying around. I have to say the installation was really quick and easy. It detected all the components of my laptop; sound card, graphics, bluetooth, network and even the wifi - which automatically connected to my router without any problem what so ever. And all that only took about twenty minutes - job done.

So what do I think of it? Well my first impressions are that it's easy to install and use plus it looks good. It does all the things I need it to do; it plays all my music and video without a hitch, it loads my documents and photo's (it even runs picasa - which is an excellent photo organiser). You can even enable fancy 3D graphics (subject to your graphics card) which adds a whole range of fancy window decoration, transparent windows and 3D effects - none of which you need but it gives it that 'wow' factor - and even with that switched on it still feels more responsive than XP. Will I make the switch? - no. There are just too many programs I use that only run on windows so I won't be switching any time soon but Linux, in the form of Ubuntu, has come on a long long way over the last few years. Ubuntu's Feisty Fawn takes linux out of the realm of the nerd and brings it to the masses. And the best thing..... it doesn't cost a bean, nadda, zilch - just download, burn to a CD and off you go.

Thought for the day: If something goes wrong, blame the guy who can't speak English.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mynydd Troedd

How the hell do you pronounce that anyway? So how did the race go? Pretty good actually. The gloves were off - or should that be the cap - 'cause there was no filming today - this one was a full on race. I met a few of the usual faces beforehand and then we were off.

The weather wasn't good - strong winds and persistent rain - but having said that it could have been a whole lot worse - at least we could see the summit - if barely - way way up in the sky! This was a race of three halves or should that be climbs. They weren't as steep as, say, Blorenge, but pretty hard effort was required all the same.

I took things steady early on because I'm still not sure of my strength on the hills yet. I have to say, I still don't feel at home on the way up, my calves were burning but I got there and that's what matters. I felt I was in a race today and there was a bit of moving backwards and forwards through the field - gained a few then lost a few then gained a few. I also had in mind a time I wanted to beat.

As I stood at the top of the final descent I needed to get to the finish in under 4 minutes and with the descent somewhere in the region of 900 feet, that was that, the brain had to be switched off - there was no other option - as caution was fed to the sharks. I felt I was sprinting, hurtling towards the finish at break neck speed. Whether it was really that fast is up for debate but to me it felt frighteningly, arms waving around in the air like a right spanner, fast. It was to the point where the brain doesn't have time to calculate where to put the feet and instinct takes over. With 50 metres to the finish I was flying - really - I was flying, the earth just dropped away beneath my feet as I soared like an eagle .......... but that quickly turned to dropping like a stone as the reappearing earth was, sadly, beyond my Herculean jump and I came back to earth with an almighty bump followed by a quick forward roll and I was straight back up on my feet and through the finish.

I have sustained substantial bruising to my right knee. Nothing feels broken or out of place but it is damn sore at the moment - and five hours later it's still 'tingling'. No fell race is without risk and if you come down like a mad man - or mad runner - then you have to expect a bit of collateral damage. Anyway, as you all know, I am indestructible so I fully expect to be up and running at the Bridge Inn 5k on Tuesday, if not even a short training run tomorrow.

The big question, did I beat the target time? Well, as a matter of fact, yes I did, all the ones, 1:11:11 - 'ave it. And as a factoid, the final 700m (that's distance to the finish not height) of the descent took a mere 65s - so I guess I really was going pretty fast - that's 2:30 mile pace! (Disclaimer, all facts and figures are from my GPS, the speed of which can go up and well as down, for independent advice contact your independent GPS advisor)

Thought for the day: If you run downhill like a fool expect to get hurt

Friday, May 25, 2007

Lazy days

Well, I'm well into my taper. Two days down, one to go - brilliant. I'm looking forward to the race now, it's the first one in a while that I've decided to take semi-seriously. The last one I really went for was the Chedworth Roman Trial and I had a good run there so fingers crossed for a good one in Sunday. I think the 7 mile distance should be fine - I should stay the distance reasonably well - or at least I hope I do - it'll be a bit pathetic if I don't! Even though I haven't been doing any hill training I'm beginning to feel strong(ish) again. I really need to get out and start putting in some quality hill sessions so I'm ready to take full advantage of my strength on the uphill sections of these fell race jobies but after Sunday I'm not sure when I will next get to run a fell race, might not be for a few months, have to wait and see how things go. My main focus has to be the Berlin Marathon - and to that end I really need to start thinking about putting my plan together and getting in some longer runs. It's only 18 weeks away - and that will just fly by if I'm not careful.

Thought for the day: We cannot change the direction of the wind - but we can adjust our sails.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tiptoeing round the track

Managed to get the track. Didn't manage to do the full session. I wasn't up to it and more importantly neither were the legs!

The regulars were out again tonight with the exception of Harry, not sure what's happening there cause even Rick is back in the grove cranking out the reps. He's busy getting in some training ready to kick ass at the next Div 5 Track Match in a couple of weeks time!

I ran one 400 followed by three 800's with times 72s, 2:38, 2:40 and 2:40. To be honest my heart wasn't in it tonight. The pace wasn't too bad but I'm still feeling the exertions of the last two or three days - making this my fifth day in a row - cccrrhhh, planet earth come in please, that would make it the exertions of the last four days - doh. I blame Sean, he bamboozled me on the track tonight and my head is still spinning :)

Onto other matters, the award ceremony for Nick's second place in the Weston Prom series went off well, if a little under attended.

And finally, off now to decide whether to take up the challenge from my friends from across the border, you know, I recon I could well be up for it......

Thought for the day: Change is inevitable - except from vending machines.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Recovery is the order of the day

So, all things being equal I went for another run today - what am I like? Am I crazy? Nope, just a little mad - but I made sure it was a really really easy one - and besides the legs actually felt a lot better today - which was surprising. The pain in the quads has almost gone.

I went out with the lads and ladesses from the the gym. To force myself to go slow I volunteered to bring up the rear - oh er - and what a nice set of rears they were - say no more, say no more. Anyway, it was a good little run. We were out for about an hour and ten and we didn't cover that great a distance but I feel it's done me good. Whether I will be sufficiently recovered by tomorrow to do the full on track session or not is open to debate but one thing is certain, I will definitely give it a go - after all I'll be resting from then on until Sunday.

Without further ado, from the Hogweed Trot 10k, not my greatest I have to admit, in fact I've yet to produce my greatest, but here it is anyway, Episode 12: Hogweeds Revenge.

Thought for the day: Dogs have owners. Cats have staff!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Can't believe I just did that ...

... run the Hogweed Trot 10k - with sore, painful legs. It was another well organised event - something I've come to expect from the Hogweed Trotters - with plenty of marshals dotted around the course. It was slightly more undulating than I was expecting but with fresh legs it would have been a course to suit me. With my sore quads it was more of a training run - and to that end it was still satisfying.

I set off slowly, with no real time in mind - most people wouldn't even be out there running when your legs feel the way mine do at the moment. It's never a good sign when every step you take when walking to the start hurts!

 My time of 41:10 was slow by my standards but quick enough to consider it a fine tempo run. With another fell race coming up this Sunday I'm actually planning on giving running a miss from Thursday onwards - to give myself a bit of a recovery taper. I recon by race day I should be well rested and strong as an ox. 

I wonder how bad the legs are going to be tomorrow? Anyway, I managed to film tonight's race so hopeful I will get it on the web shortly.

Finally, well done to Gareth C. He continues to improve race by race, tonight setting another PB. In the car, on the way across, I predicted that he should be able to go sub 37, and thus it was written. And at the appointed hour, did the prophecy come to pass, with a time of around 36:40.

Thought for the day: You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Lovely weather, shame about the legs

Not unsurprisingly, my legs were a little sore today but, all things considered, not actually as bad as I feared. Obviously, me being me, I went up AC for our Sunday morning run anyway. I pretty much knew from the start that I would drop off the back quickly and, after about 3km, I did just that. I managed about 9km before heading down the gym for thirty minutes on the bike on an easy level.

More about yesterday, I have to say I can see myself doing more of these hikey type events - as opposed to straight races - where you can take a bit more time without pushing to the limits. I have my eye out for some longer stuff, say 40-50 miles. And the 'gladiators' were great. I took a bit of a gamble breaking them in yesterday but it paid off. I have no blisters, rubbing or chaffing anywhere, they fit snug as a bug in a rug and the grip they provided was brilliant - champion.

Thought for the day: Don't be irreplaceable. If you can't be replaced, you can't be promoted.

PS I've decided I should be up to running the Hogweed Trot tomorrow night (7pm kickoff), I might not be up to racing but it will be good training and besides, I haven't taken the cap-cam out for a while - be good to dust it off again.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Well I managed to survive.....

What a fantastic event. It wasn't really a race. There was no start time and your time for completion wasn't recorded. If you wanted your time you had to record it yourself - obviously I recorded my time - not that it was a race. The official start of route 'A' - the long one - wot I did, weighing in at an official 43km, was 7:30. According to my gps it was nearer 45km and, for information purposes only, about 6,500ft of ascent. You were allowed to start any time after the official start time. I decided I should let a few get off ahead of me - so I could use them later as 'route fodder' and track them. This turned out to be a sound tactic. Although, there were points when a bit of ye olde map work was required. I haven't used a map for ages but it's a bit like riding a bike - you might be a bit dodgy to begin with but after you've guided yourself over the edge three or four times you soon get the hang of it again - only kidding - about the going over the edge not the getting the hang of it.

So off I set at 7:40 and took things very easy. I decided before the start that I would not allow myself to even attempt to run up any of the ascents, limiting running to the flat and downhill. Even so I felt 6 hours was a good target to aim for.

The weather threw everything at us. At the start the sun was threatening to make an appearance by the time we reached the first summit it was raining and blowing a gale. As I trekked across the ridge to the next summit, at points I was running on an angle to counter act the wind - just to stay up there. And was it every cold - my face started to go numb so I had to stop to get my hat out. Then, a few summits down the line, the sun was getting ready to make another appearance and that was pretty much the story of the day. Overall though, I think the conditions were pretty good - although I did hear one guy moaning that the weather was better last year!

I steadily overtook people through the hike. The highlight being a group of soldiers - as I slowly got nearer and nearer the racing adrenalin kicked in and I went flying past, within a mile they were out of sight. The next bit of needle came on the way to check point 6 (of ten). It was like this, there were these two blokes who had the same tactic as me - running on the flat and downhill but walking on the ascents. I ran a bit, they looked back, then ran a bit. It went on for a few miles but eventually the racing battle haze came down, as I turned to the 'darkside', and reeled them in and finished them off in the space of a mile. When I next looked back they were miles away - beaten men. I then returned to the 'lightside'.

At check point six, the marshal told me I was in sixth or seventh place - not that it's a race or anything. Over the final miles I picked off another two 'A' routers (that I know of) so I may well have finished in fourth or fifth - I repeat - not that it's a race.

I wasn't too pleased about having to go up 'Lord Hereford's Knob' on the way to check point seven though! That was bang out of order. Anyway, I just managed to scrape home under the six hour mark, with 5:58 but it required a lightening fast final descent - something that I didn't really want to do but I would have been disappointed to not get sub six - so I just had to go for it. I threw caution to the wind. One of those final places I gained was gained on that descent as I went screaming past - quite literally screaming - my quads were shot and I was getting out of control but I made it down safely.

After my disaster on Thursday this has put a spring back in my step - probably won't have that spring tomorrow but if I feel at all capable, I think I am going to head over to the Hogweed Trot 10k on Monday night. I hope I'm recovered. I've never been on my feet for six hours before so I'm not sure what the after tremors are going to be like. At the moment the pegs feel ok and for the most part I did hold the 'darkside' in check during the event so hopefully everything will be fine.

Thought for the day: Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement.

Four thirty

Well, it's four thirty in the morning and I'm just going through my final kit checks. Compass - check, map - check, weather proofs - check, torch! - check, pants - check ....

Not long until the off. I've decided that I'm going to take it nice and easy. With all my kit in the rucksack it weighs half a ton - but better to be safe than sorry since the weather on the hills can be unpredictable.

I'm going outside now, I may be some time ......

(but I'll be coming back - oh no, you all groan)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Shouldn't have done that

I definitely should not have done that - run the Weston Prom 5 miler that is. I was pants. I just ran completely out of steam. I actually withdraw from the race at the half way point, reached in a time of 15:15. I felt awful, the calves - is it calves or calfs, or is it really a word at all and should I use 'calf muscles' instead, being a man of science, I have no clue as to the correct usage and so will continue, rightly or wrongly, to use 'calves' - right, now we have that straight on with the show - were tight and I felt a bit sick so I just pulled over to the side and stopped. And there it was starring me squarely in the face - my first ever failure - the first time in my seven years of running that I have ever just given up in a race and failed to finish.

Or was it? As six people came past, about twenty seconds elapsed and with all sorts of things going through my mind and me just stood there motionless - the madness returned. I don't do quit. I knew the time was shot but the mad runner never quits. I put the keys back in the ignition and fired up the engine. I was off again. As a couple of Clevedon boys came past I somehow managed to get back up to speed (almost) and ran just off the back of them. As we turned at the far end of the course for the final time I started to move past them - not that I was running quickly - but never the less I was going to finish. I came home in a slow time. Somewhere outside 31 minutes - I don't the exact time because I'd already stopped my watch when I pulled out at the half way point. I was 30th in the race but I finished and that's all that matters to me.

Now maybe I shouldn't have run tonght - and maybe there's a lesson hiding in there somewhere but I don't think it's a lesson I will ever learn. Anyway, I feel ok now, and overall it's been a good six days of back to back running and four hours of bike. Nothing is broken so there's no real harm done - except to my pride, but if you know me then you'll know I'm not too fussed about since I don't have much of that to begin with.

Congratulations to Nick T, he didn't run tonight due to a slight niggle, but he did come second in the series. I collected his prize which I will bestow upon him at an impromptu ceremony next Wednesday at the track - if he's there - and can something be impromptu if you've just gone and planned it?

Thought for the day: The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Whoo hoo new shoes

My new 'Gladiators' have arrived and they feel more comfortable than my last pair of fell shoes, the Walsh PB's. I like the grip I get from my PB's but they rub wickedly on my heels. This pair feels like I'm not going to have that problem - superb.

On to training tonight, and was it ever tough? - too tough. We ran six sets of 400m, 30 seconds recovery then 250m with a 2 minute recovery between sets. I only managed three full sets before skipping the 250's, so I finished with three 400's with big recovery. The lads, just Nick and Sean tonight, ran the full session and ran it well.

The last four days of running (and cycling) caught up with me tonight. I wasn't as consistent as I'd normally hope to be. In spite of that I'm still pleased with the session because I worked full on. My times were; 74, 39 (chased Nick home on that one), 73, 43, 74, 42, 71, 72 and a final, give it all, 70s.

And finally, thanks to Simon's comment yesterday, I shall be performing, ah hem, I mean running the Weston Prom 5M tomorrow and forgoing the hill reps. As he quite rightly pointed out, I can run up a hill any old time but won't be able to run another prom race for ages. So there 'tis, I shall be racing tomorrow - 30:47 to beat. And in anycase, I'm far to knackered to put in another training session!

Thought for the day: The most powerful force in the universe is gossip.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Fourth day in a row Tuesday

My fourth run in a row followed by my fourth burn up on the exercise bike afterwards. It was another steady run of around an hour and I'm feeling stronger each time I run - although I do feel extremely knackered right now. I may have slightly overcooked it so far this week. That is to say, I might be a bit crap on the track tomorrow but fear not, for I shall be trying my darndest - is that a word? Probably not - who cares? Whatever Sensei Rick throws at my tomorrow I vow to do my best in the eyes of the god of the track, Legus-Kwikus.

Further on in the week I have a bit of a dilemma, da dah dahhhhh - don't panic, nothing major. I don't know whether to go and run the Weston Prom 5 miler on Thursday or go do some of my home brew 800m hill reps. Ideally I'd like to do both but that isn't an option, unless, of course, I have some kind of magic time device - and as such a device doesn't exist, it looks like I have a decision to make.

Thought for the day: Your friends will love you anyway.

PS. And yes Nick, the shades in the new pic are my lucky hurdling ones, as worn at Hereford.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Another fine day

At first, after considering my most excellent training on the weekend I was tempted to give it a miss tonight - did I? - not @&#$ing likely - I'm back on the trail and I'm not getting off it for anyone - and that includes me! So it was off down to the gym for a quick change and out onto the grassy alpine slopes of Ashton Court. I ran for 40 minutes at a steady pace - but as it my trademark - I gert legged up the hill.

After the run I headed on into the gym for a quick hour on the bike, on my now customary level 13 - unlucky for some but not me. Can you have a quick hour? - I don't know but the time went quick - may have had something to do with all the fit laaaadies mooching around. Then there was just time for a quick 200 ab crunches and some work on the tricep and back before heading home.

Everything continues to fall into place. So well, infact, I've just ordered up a new pair of fell shoes - the fetchingly titled 'Mountain Bear Gladiators' - let battle commence.

Thought for the day: The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Oh, it's raining again

Oh no, I'm soaked to the skin, oh no, it's raining again. If you are a duck then today was great. If you like to run then it wasn't quite so good but that didn't stop our merry band of men and women getting out for an hour in and around Ashton Court - and getting soaked in the process. It rained the whole time but didn't really put us off.

I had another great run and felt strong throughout. I dropped back a bit in the middle section - to make sure one the group stayed within range - never leave a man behind and all that - but then I ran a mile and a half at 6:20 pace to catch back up to the group. We finished off by running back into Ashton Court through the bottom entrance ( snigger, - cut that out) and wended our way back through the woods to the cafe at the top. I felt good and strong on those final hills - I had plenty of running left in me and, just like yesterday, I felt I was really running up hill - almost, very nearly - but not quite - legging it - give it another week though and I recon I'll be there.

Then it was back down the gym to finish off with another high intensity hour on the bike. I got some good lactic acid build up and really felt the 'burn' in the final ten minutes. Overall it's been a cracking weekend of training for me and I feel totally back on track - not the running track, went no where near that this weekend - but truly back in the running groove and I'm lovin' it.

Thought for the day: He who hesitates is probably right.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

This morning's route

And as threatened/promised, here's a scary picture
of me hitching a lift from a kindly dolphin!

Feel good run

Such a good feeling. For the first time in a number weeks I felt really good during and especially after my run this morning. Something has been missing of late but what ever it was I think I re-found it this morning.

Conditions weren't particularly pleasant. It was windy and it was wet - leading to a touch of JN (that's joggers nipple - nice). And it wasn't massively fast either - but it was reasonable. Most importantly, I felt the power coursing back.

For the route, I chose 'old faithful' - my thirteen miler of a thousand hills - except there's actually only five - but they're big and they're tough. Total ascent 1800ft.

I ran with my gps, or Gordon, as I like to call him - once he's strapped to my arm he has no choice in the matter. I stuck to the target pace of 7:15's - until the last few miles - when I picked up the pace to bring the average down to 7:08.

I must admit I didn't feel as strong on the hills as once I did but for the first time in ages I actually felt like I was running the hills rather than just making my way to the top. In a few weeks I will be powering the hill like I used to.

Afterwards, it was just like the old days, I hit the gym and put in an hour on the exercise bike, setting it to the highest level I use - beauty.

So watch out - 'cause I'm BACK......

Thought for the day: The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bottled it

I just plain could not be arsed to go out and get wet tonight. That's not to say that I didn't put in a hard session. I went down the gym and put in a solid 60 minutes on the exercise bike. I really put in the effort and cranked up the level. I worked up a real sweat I can tell you.

The weight is beginning to tip back in the right direction. I'm back down to about 10st 9 and the abs are approaching rock solid once again - moving on quickly. I have a long run planned for Saturday where hopefully I will manage an hour and half but who can tell and I hope I will have the mental strength to get out for a run tomorrow as well - I have the mental it's just a question of the strength!

Thought for the day: All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Woe is me ......

Sadly my entry for the Big Black Mountains Challenge ...... has been accepted. I was so wishing I was going to be too late - oh well. I can't back out now. Once I say aye to something then that's it - a done deal. I don't do backing down. I'm not ready for such a hard challenge - not ready at all - 43km up fifteen 600 metre summits in the Brecons in 10 days time!!!

Turning to training tonight, the weather was horrendous. It rained through the entire session - horrible, drizzly nastiness - the stuff that gets you really really soggy - where nothing stays dry - and I mean nothing - say no more.

All three of my young jedi's apprentices were present in various forms of preparedness but our jedi master, Rick, was absent - something about a secret mission (shhhh). The session itself was four sets of 300m, 500m, 300m with a sharp 60s recovery between reps and a jogged lap recovery between sets. I made sure we kept to the tight recoveries - there was to be minimal slacking on my shift - I'd like to say no slacking but I'm nice so I allow a tiny bit.

On a night like tonight I actually think the lads were happy to keep the recoveries tight to avoid standing around in the cold and damp. Anyway, the session went ok. My right hamstring is still tight so I ran steady if not outstandingly fast but I made sure I was consistent. My 300's were spot on 53s and my 500's were bang on 96s - not quick but ok for a dire night and a dodgy hamstring.

Thought for the day: Happiness comes through doors you didn't even know you left open.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Soggy old run

My right hamstring was well tight tonight before the run - in fact it's been tight all day but I don't have to care about that until I need it to run. I'm pretty sure the hamstring tightness is the result of the hurdles on Saturday. I guess I'm not as young as once I was and that the hurdles are a young mans game - but will it stop me? You bet it will ..... NOT, seriously though - there's no way I'm not hurdling again - nice double neg.

I headed to the gym and then out with gang. I put in twenty minutes on the bike and some stretching before the run, in some desperate but ultimately hopeless way to loosen up - it didn't work - doh.

Anyway, that didn't stop me and although we started off slow - or I did. I quickly played catch up and after about 30 minutes in I was no longer limping. By the end we were fair dinkum flying, hitting 6:20 pace for the last couple of miles - excellent. I was pleased with tonight's run and although it drizzled most of the time it was a pretty enjoyable eight and a half miles. Now I've finished the hamstring feels fine. But by far and away the best thing about tonight's run was the fact that even at the end, when we were going quickly, I was breathing really freely and feeling very comfortable. I think it's safe to say we've seen the last of mister chesty cold - and good riddance.

Thought for the day: It's easier to get forgiveness than permission.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Bank holiday blues

My legs are soooo bad today - there's a bit of the old 'lift them into the car 'cause they won't do it by themselves' going on - if that makes any sense. Suffice to say I haven't bothered going for a run. I've done a good deal of oap style shuffling while I've been out and about though. That's about all I'm capable of at the moment - how sad is that. The pegs will be ok tomorrow though - I WILL be going for some sort of run - and you can take that to the bank and I'll definitely be ready for Wednesday's track session.

Thought for the day:  Time may be the great healer, but it's a lousy beautician.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Nerding Sunday

My legs were pretty stiff this morning but I managed to get for an early run with Rick and Dave T. We managed 55 minutes of easy paced running. It was good to see that Dave managed to get out because like me, he ran the steeple chase yesterday and was duly stiff - oh behave.

After the run my nerding skills were required over at Yate again - to input the scores for the Young Athletes League Match. Sadly Bristol didn't fair too well, finishing in 3rd place but points wise they weren't a million miles off the pace so there is some hope for the next matches.

Well, after sitting all day behind the computer my legs have now seized completely - I do not expect to be capable of even an easy run tomorrow but I shall I cross my fingers in the hope that I can muster something.

One final point of interest - ok, so maybe not that interesting - actually not very interesting at all - alright I won't mention it - oh go on then, you've twisted my arm - you all know (or maybe you don't) that my 5k time from yesterday was - how shall I say this - rucking fubbish - but it was actually a track PB by over 40s! I am so in need of setting a decent track 5k time.

Thought for the day: The sole purpose of a child's middle name is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Happy hurdles

It was another fun day at the track up in sunny Hereford. We finished in fourth place but only six points from third. There was some good, some bad and some just plain ugly but most importantly we all had a great afternoon. The highlight was probably our double second place in relays - and well done to John, Simon and Bruno - all first timers doing a great job for the team in the 4x100 amongst other events. Other performances I have to mention are those from Nick (PB in the 1500 and first place), Patrick W (fellow fell runner), John A (long jump and triple jump maestro), Harry (all round nice guy), Bill (field supremo), Rick (da Boss and all round top bloke), Jerry (distance guru) and Dave 'the boy' Taylor.

So how did I do? Pretty well even if I say so myself. I was really pleased with my 400 hurdles. OK, so it wasn't the fastest ever, taking a yawn causing, 75s but that was quicker than the 80s I was expecting. But what a race. I was drawn in lane five and within 100m the three guys inside me had gone past. I kept to the game plan of going out steady and by two hundred there was a glimmer of hope as I managed to hold the gap to the guy inside me. I ran a storming bend to close the gap before plying on the power to overtake him in the home straight and take the bronze - nice. Ok, Ok, so I bigged it up a bit - well, quite a lot really. I can see myself getting a few seconds quicker once I have more confidence with my hurdling ability.

In my other events I set a new PB in the 2000m Steeple Chase, knocking about 20s off my previous to lower my time to 7:55, not sure of my position - I think I was fourth (just found out I was third) of six in the A string. I equalled my time in the 400m with 65.9 to come last (or as I like to say 4th - as there were two none runners so I still scored worthwhile points) and set a slow 5k time of 18:48 but the main thing was my race position of second in the B string - sadly Jerry lapped me in the home straight as he finished - now there was clearly no need for that! For me it was a tacticle race because I was knackered. I realised that first place in the B string was beyond me within 200m of the start, as the guy set off way quicker than I can run but for a few laps I ran on the shoulder of the second place man. I determined I could whoop him and then set off to make a nice big gap before some nice even paced laps to the finish to claim that second spot.

The Long Jump saw me set another PB, nudging my distance up to 4.41, breaking my previous best by 22cm. More importantly by breaking my PB I managed to gain an extra place, finishing second in the B string. The hammer was my only blot and I should have done better - I am distraught and nothing anybody can say can console me. I offered my resignation but they declined to accept it - oh well. And finally the Javelin was just about OK. I was within a metre of my best, with a final throw of 27 something, but I needed that final throw to edge out Rick in our personal battle of the 'not very good Javelin throwers'. And that was that. Seven events complete and some good placings and results. It would have been eight but because of my rubbish hammer throw I was dropped from the 4x400 relay team - to give me some time 'to reflect' - only joking - though I am mentally scarred by such a pants hammer throw.

Quote of the day: "Ordinarily he was insane, but he had lucid moments when he was merely stupid". - Heinrich Heine, Journalist, essayist and poet.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Hereford here we come ......

It's 65 miles to Hereford, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of lucozade, it's overcast, and we're wearing sunglasses...

The Madmobile is taking to the road tomorrow when we go on a road trip to Hereford. Ok, so it's not going to be the longest road trip in the world but you can't have everything. We're very nearly in danger of having a strong team for our division 5 match - with the exception of me of course. Though, what I lack in speed I more than make up for in stupidity.

In some ways, it's going to feel odd having more than just four athletes present. Normally a full car load is considered an excellent turn out but we're approaching four car territory - now that's scary.

I'm rested and I'm ready - Hit it.

Final part of the 12 point guide to keeping a healthy level of insanity ...
12) Tell your children over dinner, "due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I got tightness in the calves

My calves where tight tonight. I headed out for a forty minute easy run but it was even easier than planned because the calves were so incredibly tight. Only in the final couple of k did I start to loosen up and feel comfortable and then I managed to speed up a bit. In fact I sped up to the point of flying along - if I had wings I might have taken off. I'm guessing the bird (nudge nudge wink, say no more, slap wrist for being sexist) way ahead may have played some small part in my increased pace and improved running form but as I say, never waste the chance of a training muse. Then it was a quick session on the weights before home for tea.

I'm taking a full rest day tomorrow. To rest up ready for the track when I will do my best for Queen and country - and if they're really lucky - the club as well.

Almost there with the guide ...
11) When leaving the zoo, start running towards the car park, yelling "run for your lives, they're loose!!"

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Just Nick, Rick and me too

What a let down at the track tonight. No Sean. No Harry. Shocking! But at least Nick turned up. He ran by himself tonight and seemed to go OK. Rick didn't work him too hard because he's saving him for the Track on Saturday - but he didn't give him much recovery between reps either. He seemed to be going round almost continuously - nice one Rick, crack that whip - whut tish (that's the spelling for the whip cracking sound incase you couldn't guess - or in grown up speak, a bit of onomatopoeia - but I'm not grown up enough to use that).

About my session, well I turned up early and set up five of the eight hurdles I will be hopping over on Saturday - not the actual hurdles you understand but the configuration and placement within the lane. I ran three laps with a bit of rest between each one. I took it easy since I was aiming to familiarise myself with getting the feel of clearing those little - or not so little - devils. It went well, maybe not pretty and certainly not quick but I felt comfortable getting round and didn't stutter into then too badly. Saturday and the 400H should be fine - I'll make it round - a glorious last place me thinks!

Onto the session proper, I ran five 400's with a nice big gap to get my breath back. I'm still having breathing problems but the reps themselves where quick - even with a bad head wind down the back straight. I ran 70, 68, 69, 70 and 71s - with which I'm well pleased.

Regarding the Track meeting, in addition to the 400H I have decided to run the 5k and pretty much signed myself up for the 2k steeple chase as well - in for a penny in for a pound - now I've gone and written it I can't take it back!!! Now that's more like the Mad Runner we're all used to. Bring it on ......

The 12 point guide to keeping a healthy level of insanity,
10) When the money comes out of the cash machine, scream "I won!", "I won!" "3rd time this week!!!!!"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Not so restful gym run

After another successful day at work I headed out to the gym for a quick session on the weights before shipping out with the Tuesday running group. There wasn't so many out tonight as there has been in the past but they always suffer with the numbers after a big race like London or the Bristol HM. I'm sure numbers will begin building again.

Anyway, tonight we ran a short interval session, four 3 minute bursts with a two minute recovery. We ran a kind of bleep test format between trees in Ashton Court. It was actually a pretty hard session because you had to keep stopping to change direction. I managed to cover about 800m in the three minutes which included 18 about face turns so it was run at a pretty quick pace. I suffered with the breathing but not to the same extent as last weeks training.

This is the second time that I've planned to go for an easy run with the gym crew only to find out that they're doing a hard session instead. Maybe, just maybe, once I'll get out for an easy run with them - where I can really get myself recovered.

And finally, I must get down to the track tomorrow, to the worn out track near home, and all I need is an outside lane with hurdles placed in a row - that's right, I need a test run so I'm ready for the 400m Hurdles next week - whoo ooh. Just need to get round without being disqualified - or doing myself a mischief!

More from the guide ...
9) Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.