Saturday, June 30, 2007

Have some ......

I had a great run today on Leg 1 of the Cotswold Way Relay (12 miles and about 1600ft of ascent). I really enjoyed it - drizzle and all. I was hoping to scrape home in around 1:30 but my time of 1:27:54 exceeded all expectation and put me in 12th place. That's a massive six minutes quicker than last year and more importantly I only gave away 6 minutes and 40s to the leader so I'm really quite chuffed - it even makes up for having to get up at 4 o'clock in the morning!

Big thanks got to Simon R and GWR for giving me the run - I think I've just about atoned for my disastrous run for them at the Castles - I'll no longer have to run and hide whenever I see one of them approaching :) Good luck to the rest of the team.

Regarding the run, I paced myself quite well and held back just enough so that I was able to finish reasonably strongly but without anything much to spare at the end. My pace remained pretty steady throughout - obviously it decreased and increased on the steep ups and downs but overall I was running on or around 4:35 kilometer pace the entire race.

The resurgence of the Mad Runner continues......

Thought for the day: I can go for miles if you know what I mean. I'm comin' up so you better get this party started.

By way of a change (not), here is the route of Leg 1 of the Cotswold Way Relay.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Epsiode 13: Bridge Over Troubled Water

I'm resting up after the exertions of this week successful training - ahead of the Cotswold Relay tomorrow. I'm confirmed running but switch to Leg 1. I ran it last year and went slightly wrong at one point but I'm pretty confident I won't make the same mistake this year - I think I can pretty much remember the route. I'm also feeling pretty positive of having a good run. I ran 1:34 (7:50 miling) last year so hopefully I will make it a bit faster this year - maybe 7:30's??? We'll have to wait and see.

I'd like to see the race through to the finish but I've a birthday party to attend to in Hertfordshire so won't be able to - it's a fair old drive to Hitchin!

I've finally managed to get the video off the camera from Tuesday's Bridge Inn, so here in all it's glory is Episode 13: Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Thought for the day: Is it possible for someone to become addicted to therapy? And If so, how would you treat them?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Nailsea does it

I was on my best behaviour tonight as I was racing through Dave T and Nick's patch, oh er.

Nick came out to play and together with Rob W, the forgotten member of the boyz - as he pointed out, raced with me - well, more sort of ran away from me - I don't think I smelled, sniff, no - they just weren't able to go as slow as I can - which takes years of careful practice. Graham C has the skill - sorry Graham.

Dave T was marshalling tonight - a most important job without which races like these just wouldn't happen, so cheers Dave. As is normal with the Nailsea RC organised races everything went off without a hitch - the 8k marker was a bit out (7 to 8 was about 200m too long) but apart from that it was another great race and the rain just about held off until the end.

I paced myself quite well, it was a good tempo run with mostly consistent splits, managing to get round slightly quicker than I did at Clevedon, in 38:34 and tonights course was much tougher and the wind really picked up. Again, as on Tuesday, I finished strongly and didn't hurt too much at the finish and I reckon I even made the top twenty - the first time in quite a while - so things are continuing to improve - which is nice.

Rob finished just ahead of me but there was no sign Nick at the finish - I'm guessing he was up in the club house, feet up sipping tea, looking down on us mortals who struggle to get round. He must have been right up at the sharp end.

One final piece off news, I might have myself a run in Cotswold Way Relay on Saturday - the tricky, hilly, long - Leg 2 - I feel more confident of an improved performance....

Thought for the day: Forget the Joneses . . . I can't keep up with the Simpsons!

The warm up

I got here (Nailsea) early. My left hamstring is tight so I've just been on a 3k warm up. It feels better now so I think I'll hold together for the race. I'm looking to get close to 38 tonight - fingers crossed (T minus 60 and counting)......

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Now I know it was only training but oh what a session. The boyz were well and truly back in town tonight, Sean, Nick, Harry and Rick.

Rick ran five 200's as well as time keeping. Harry ran five 300's in 43/42s and Sean, Nick and I ran five 400's. We had big recovery - and by big we're talking a five minute jogged lap but the aim tonight was to run fast like we've never run before - and we did just that. Nick ran 58's and Sean 59's. Neither believed they would manage all five that quick. Tonight they stepped up.

So how did I do? Well first I'll mention that my PB for the 400m is 65.4s set last year. So, to tonight, I completed the first 400m in 69.2s - not bad considering yesterday's tempo run/race. Next up, lap two in 67.6s - I think we can guess where this is headed.... Then came lap three in 65.8s - agonisingly close.... Then lap four in .... 63.2s - a new PB by over 2s, unofficial of course, but definitely 63.2s as verified by two separate Swiss engineered time pieces - well OK, not exactly Swiss but it was recorded and ratified on two different stop watches. And to prove it was no fluke I forced a 64.1s for the fifth and final effort. My legs were actually hurting with lactic acid in the final 100m, as I pushed myself to the limit. I couldn't peel myself up off the track for a minute or two afterwards (but at least, unlike Nick, my legs didn't have 'tiny little men in them') - but oh what a session - and two laps inside my previous best.

The lads were chuffed with their times as well. They now have a bit more belief in themselves and hopefully they can convert tonight's speed into fast times on the track in the coming young athlete match on the weekend.

Now it's time for a rest before tomorrow's Nailsea 10k. I almost feel euphoric - not quite, but nearly - I don't want to get carried away or anything!

Thought for the day: Money can't buy happiness ... but it can certainly rent it for a while.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I had a nice tempo going there ....

Well that was a pleasing run tonight. It was a great tempo run. I'm really pleased with the consistent pace and the strong finish, picking up the pace with 2k to go. My kilometer splits were 3:44, 3:44, 3:45 (the uphill bit), 3:42 and 3:39 for a time of 18:34. It was a hard effort in the last kilometer but then I was hitting my pb pace so that was to be expected but I really wasn't anywhere near hurting. I reckon that with a few more long runs in the legs, the continued speed sessions and some more hill work I will soon be back to my best.

The best part of the night had to be seeing Harry Clayton (Vet 70) back running. I've spoken to Harry on what must be a dozen times over the last few years, but always from the side lines as he's stumbled from one injury or illness to the next so it was fantastic to see him back racing. I have my fingers crossed he's fit and healthy after tonight because it means we might well cross paths again over at the Nailsea 10k on Thursday.

Depending on how the track session goes tomorrow I might try and run with a bit more venom at Nailsea. I won't go mad - well, maybe a just little. I think I'll aim to tempo myself - that sounds a bit dodgy - to somewhere around 38 minutes, which will mean 3:48's. The Nailsea course isn't flat so the splits may well be a bit up and down - oh, that's a bad one, get it, up and down on a non-flat course! - I'll get my coat .....

Thought for the day: The things that come to those who wait are the things left by those who got there first.

PS, I filmed the race tonight so the video will follow as soon as possible.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Back down to earth

After the high of the excellent training on the weekend - all in my mind, of course - today was a day of coming back down to earth with a bump. That's not to say it was a bad day, just a day where I ran out of time. It was a good day at work - got some stuff sorted but enough of this idle chatter.

Training consisted of my trusty steed - the exercise bike and a quick half hour on the weights. I really need to get out on the real bike but it requires more planning and more time. I decided to give the running a rest ahead of tomorrows fast tempo race over at the Bridge Inn. I will once again try to go out quick and hang on. Hopefully I can go as quick as last time but conditions may dictate things a little.

I've also decided that I'm going to film the race - rain and wind permitting that is. It should help to take my mind off the fact that it's a race - and lessen the disappoint of a slow time. I've filmed a few races so far this year but just realised I haven't actually filmed a home fixture! I shall put that to rights tomorrow - however, it might be a bit of bumpier ride than the normally bumpy ride as I shall be trying to go fast - well, 'me' fast anyway - you might need your travel sickness medication!

Tootle pip.

Thought for the day: The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Easy does it

It was just an easy hour run today - or it was meant to be but Rick took us on a slightly hillier route than I had planned on. I just about managed to stay on the back of the group but if they had gone any quicker then I would have been out the back door - no question.

Onto to next week I have the Bridge Inn 5k on Tuesday and then the Nailsea Festival 10k on Thursday with my usual track session on Wednesday. I'm not sure how quick I will go at either race because I'm not going to ease back on the training. It will be good to see how the longer runs of the last week or so are effecting me. As to race tactics, I think I'll go out quick - when I say quick I really mean towards my PB pace - which sadly isn't that quick - to see how much staying power I have. I'm not going to be disappointed because I'm sure I will fade but it will be good to gauge if I'm feeling any stronger than in the last couple of races. Hopefully I will stay the distance a bit better. I certainly feel stronger.

Thought for the day: The trouble with being punctual is that nobody's there to appreciate

Saturday, June 23, 2007

It's all coming back to me

I'm really pleased with myself today. Not only did I manage to shift my butt out the door but I managed the entire run without any thoughts of not going the distance. The distance in this case was 19 miles and I chose a reasonably hilly route as well, with about 2200ft of ascent. It was certainly hillier than last week and my pace was 16s per mile quicker as well.

The most pleasing part of the run had to be the hill climbs. I haven't been climbing the hills well of late. It used to be a strong part of my game but I've struggled of late, in fact I'd say my hill climbing has been c#@p lately. Today, for the first time in ages, my patent pending 'stomp' method started to kick in. Purists would scream in horror at my style but it always worked for me in the past and I want it back. I kind of stomp, get into a rhythm and the next thing I know I'm at the top of the hill. Of course, after the run, I hit the exercise bike at the gym for a quick half hour - you know me!

It really is all starting to come back to me......

Thought for the day: The road to success is always under construction.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Off topic but funny

I found this while surfing. It takes the mickey out of Microsoft table style computer of the future - it is totally not running related but I found it funny. So here it is;

Just a rest day

Well it ended up being a rest day. It was a close run thing though - who am I kidding? - no it wasn't. It's Friday and no force on earth could have moved me to get out there and train today. I should, however, be fully up for it tomorrow when I attempt to put in eighteen big ones.

After yesterday, I feel a lot more optimistic about getting back to those big miles I'm known for. In two or three weeks time I hope to be back up on a weekly 20 mile long run before extending to 26 in the final throws before the marathon. Some say you shouldn't go that long in training but it's what I thrive on. I never do mega weekly mileage, just one big one (quiet) and one medium, the rest is shorter, quality stuff (relatively speaking, as I'm not sure any of my running could ever really be described as quality) - that way I get my strength without risking injury.

Thought for the day: You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is 'never try'.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oh happy day

What a great feeling - the feeling you get when you start out on an eleven miler feeling pants and moving at the pace of a zimmer frame wielding pensioner but by the end you're running at your 10k pace - now that's a great feeling. I followed that up with 45 minutes on the exercise bike and then twenty minutes on the weights. Oh the joys of exercise induced endorphins.

Off now to relax and chill. I haven't decided what training I'm going to do tomorrow - I might even take a rest day ahead of my Saturday long run, which I hope will be in the region of 18 miles. I say hope because I plan to run eighteen but whether I manage to carry out the threat is another matter entirely - fingers crossed.

And before I forget, good luck to John K and all the other runners taking to the field of battle over the weekend as they take on the 95 miles of the West Highland Way Race.

Thought for the day: I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Windy Wednesday

- and no, I'm not talking beans. The home straight was killer, right down the throat of the wind and as we had some longer reps it meant we hit it more times - doh.

We had a good turn out tonight - stop it. Two new lads, Harry and Rory, and the return of another, Matt. Of the regulars we only had Sean so I will be expecting doctors notes from both Harry and Nick next week! Rick couldn't make it either (but he had already excused himself in advance) so I was da Boss, hosting proceedings.

So to the session. We ran three 800's, three 400's and three 200's with 2 minute recoveries. Sean ran 9's, 5's and 3's. He started back from us and chased us down. I think we all had a good session. The times were a bit down on what Rick had planned for us - but the wind really was very strong - honest and we all really put it in on the short reps.

The two new lads seemed keen, they worked hard and seemed to enjoy it (enjoy may not be exactly the right turn of phrase but you get my drift) - I don't think I put them off and hopefully they'll be coming back for more in the coming weeks.

Thought for the day: I'm not cynical. Just experienced.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Not quite to the plan......

Things didn't quite go to the plan. I got caught up in work things. I had a nice schedule of 'stuff' to do. The first two jobs went OK but once I got to Cheddar things took a turn for the worse - I managed to cock things up a 'bit' but fortunately it all got going again. Then, on my way home, I diverted to Clevedon for another little problem. Suffice to say I ran out of time - but heck, all this talk of work - this isn't running stuff, so I'll shut my gob and get back to proper stuff - can't have two plans going up the wall on the same day!

The way home from Clevedon passes the gym so I decided to head in a put in 45 minutes on the bike by way of recovery instead of a run. I only managed a sandwich for lunch and by six o'clock, without eating much all day I was feeling low on energy so it probably wouldn't have been wise to run, anyway. Although it wasn't the ideal recovery day it was ,never the less, a recovery day of sorts - and at least I managed to 'will' myself to do something - rather than slip towards the lure of 'dark' side by do nothing at all.

Thought for the day: Famous last words - "Hope they've done a thorough risk assessment on those sharp arrows, they could have somebody's eye out" - King Harold, 1066

Monday, June 18, 2007

The full on Monday experience

I am determined to keep the training momentum going. I have to start putting in some hard work. Today it was the 800m hill reps again - and like the session a couple of weeks ago I managed to complete all five reps but I was slightly slower this time round, consistent but slower, only managing 3:33's. Still, there was a stronger wind today which didn't help and the slowness didn't come about because I wasn't trying - 'cause I really bloody was. It was a good forty minute session and I'm feeling positive.

Afterwards I headed back to the gym for an hour on the bike. The legs were pretty dead. I always do the interval hill workout which increases the resistance over time before dropping back down and starting again. I can always tell when it's been a hard day because I can't stay sat - I have to get off the seat to keep the peddling going when the resistance hits its peak - today was one of those days! Then I finished off with a short session on the weights on account of starting to feel pretty weak - I needed some carb so I headed home.

Tomorrow is going to be as easy day with the gym running group so that I'm ready for Wednesday's track session with the boyz.

Thought for the day: Keep smiling, it makes people wonder what you're up to.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday morning

We had a nice big crowd out again. There were seven of us - the magnificent seven - well, maybe not quite that magnificent although there were one or two proper athletes among our ranks. And no, before you ask, I'm not going to name those who qualify for the magnificent category and those that don't. Perhaps, as a group, we were more of the marginally enthusiastic seven.

Anyway, we headed off round Ashton Court and Leigh Woods and managed a decent enough 45 minutes. A couple of the others made it to the full hour but 45 was enough for me. I could definitely feel yesterday's run in my legs but at the end I wasn't in too much distress - I should be good for tomorrow when I shall hopefully try for my 800m hill reps. Then with an easy day on Tuesday I should be all set for some speed work on Wednesday. There, I've said it now, so I can't deviate from the plan now.

Thought for the day: Resistance if futile.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Battle of will

I managed to stay out there for 2 hours and 5 minutes but I had a severe 'wobble' just after the hour - I was close to heading back to the gym. I went through a ten minute period of 'it doesn't matter, a hours good' - 'no it isn't' - 'yes it is' - 'no it isn't' - I'm just glad the 'no it isn't' won out because it would have been hard to take after planning for a two hourer (I know, that's not a word but it should be) and it would have made it twice as tough to stay out there the next time. Now, however, after putting that particular demon to bed, I'm back on the wagon and ready to roll.

After the run I headed into the gym for a half hour ease down on the exercise bike. It's amazing just how quickly you can fall into the old routine. I should be ready for our Ashton Court run tomorrow - but how quite how nimble I'm going to be is another matter entirely.

Thought for the day: Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday reps a shock to the system

I had a good day at work and got a good few things done. Then it was over to the Downs for the kilometre reps. It was a bit of a shock to the system - training on a Friday, that is, as it's usually my rest or, as I like to call it, my lazy bar steward day :) When I got there I realised I'd have to change out of my shirt and tie into my running gear. As I stripped to my underwear I just prayed that the cops didn't spot me as I stood on the pavement flashing.

Met Rick and Lucy F up by the Water Tower and then it was into the reps. We ran four with a two and a half minute recovery. The odd reps were comfortable, with a helping wind and gentle downhill slope. The evens were tough though, as we ran them in reverse. I was pleased with the session as I've been missing longer reps from my training. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going now. And I'll tell you what, if ever I thought I trained hard then it's nothing compared to Lucy's training. Fair play to her - with all her training she deserves to do well in her pentathlons, biathlons, dodecahedronathlons - I think I might have made that one up.

I'm still on for my long training run tomorrow. Hopefully I can keep it together to run somewhere in the region of fifteen miles. I'd like to put in twenty but I don't think I'm quite ready for that just yet. Give it a few weeks and I'll be there. Unfortunately it means that I'm going to have to give the fell races a miss for a while - I might fit in one or two but if I do they'll be as part of training.

Thought for the day: Nine out of ten people who change their minds are wrong the second time too.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Easy(ish) on a Thursday

I took a break from running today and hit the gym instead. Since I'm going to be knocking out the k reps tomorrow I felt OK about that. I didn't take it that easy though. I did an hour full tilt on the exercise bike before crunching my abs - painful. I was sweating like a Swedish sauna surfer come the end - but that's probably too much information!

I've got my result from the Clevedon 10k, I was 38th of 321 finishers - not the best but there it is.

Off now for a much needed rest......

Thought for the day: Politics is the art of preventing people from sticking their noses into things that are properly their business.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

No rest for the wicked ......

or in my case, the slow. I got straight back on the horse after falling off last night, more determined than ever to put things right. It was a hard session tonight, in fact it was evil. All of the lads were present, Nick, Sean and Harry. Harry, as a special treat, was allowed to run with Rob H, putting in eight 200m reps. They seemed to be covering the ground rather too rapidly for my liking.

Rick had us running 400m pairs with just a 15s recovery. I decided that it would be suicide for me to try 15s so I did 30s recoveries instead. Even so it was wickedly hard. I managed my 4's in 71 to 73s with the exception of the last one of the third set which dropped out to 75 so I decided it was a good place to call it a day. I felt 6 400's was a good enough after yesterday. Nick and Sean managed the full 4 sets of 2. How they managed on just 15s is beyond me.

I'm not sure what I shall be doing tomorrow but Rick is planning a session of kilometre reps on Friday with Lucy F and I am going to try for that. It's been a while since I've done longer reps and could probably do with some.

Thought for the day: Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Here is the Leg 10 route from the Welsh Castles Relay.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Well that was a bit rubbish

Went out and ran the Clevedon 10k tonight. I did rubbish. I set off at a good pace 3:41 kilometers and maintained it exactly round to 4k point. Between 4 and 5 it was like someone attached a weight to my back. It was like running through treacle. My pace dropped almost instantly down to 4:00's and stayed there for much of the rest of the race before a slight surge in the last couple of k's. I know I shouldn't expect much after a hard weekend but I can't help feeling disappointed. I eventually finished in pathetic time of 38:45, just over a minute outside my PB and quite honestly a poor effort. Perhaps I'm getting old.

I'm off now to say twenty hail Mary's and a couple of how's your father's in penance of my awful performance.

Congratulations to Helen F though, who, unlike me ran a corker, knocking somewhere in the region of 30s off her previous PB, to set a new time of 37:15 (it might have been 37:12 but I was feeling a bit light headed when she mentioned it so I shall wear my body army next time I see her just in case).

Thought for the day:

In this proud land we grew up strong, We were wanted all along
I was taught to fight, taught to win, I never thought I could fail
No fight left or so it seems, I am a man whose dreams have all deserted
I've changed my face, I've changed my name, But no one wants you when you lose
Don't give up, cos you have friends
Don't give up, You're not beaten yet
Don't give up, I know you can make it good

Monday, June 11, 2007

The next day

Clive T was still buzzing after the Sunday when I spoke to him at work. He's already giving thought to next years campaign. I think all the team, even those muttering 'never again', enjoyed it really. And well done to Clevedon. It's great for them to get the Victory in their 30th Anniversary year. If we couldn't win it (and we couldn't) then there's no other team I'd rather see win it except for maybe GWR who I hold in special esteem.

In terms of the results it was a race of two halves. At the end of day one we were in last place in the vets race (36th overall), 94 minutes behind the leaders and 45 minutes behind the second place team. At the finish we had closed the gap to 55 minutes behind the winners and just 2 minutes behind second place as we finished in 3rd spot (and 17th overall). In terms of overall time we were about 90 minutes quicker than last year. All in all it was a meritous performance by the lads (and lasses).

My other team managed to finish ahead of Westbury but behind Bitton. I only hope I didn't let them down too much with my lacking performance on Saturday. It was just too long a day. I must give some serious thought to the possibility of travelling up on the Friday night next year - if anybody will have me in their team after this years perfomance that is.

I'm still feeling tired today and had to knock off work at half time because the eye lids were drooping but after a hour or two nap I was recharged a bit - but not sufficiently to get out and do any training.

I'm going to give the Clevedon 10k a last minute decision. Sense would suggest I don't run but madness would indicate otherwise.

Thought for the day: That man is the richest whose pleasures are the cheapest.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Just one more thing ......

Forgot to mention that Mark 'Destroyer' Dickinson ran leg 10 with me on Saturday evening. Like me I think he suffered from the early start and van driving - I didn't do any van driving but it was the general driving I was on about. Also, like me, he may not have managed to go as quick as he would have liked but after such a long day just getting to the finish of the Castles longest leg is an achievement.

And now for the award of best performance by a novice and someone who deserves special mention, Mike 'Sorry we made you run such a bastard hard mountain stage for your first time out' Taylor. I can attest to the fact that leg 7 is not a pleasant leg. It's about eleven miles with a good section of up hill grind before a suicidally steep decent followed by a three or four mile drudge to the finish. The downhill is the worst part as it destroys your quads and then you still have those few miles to go to the finish with your legs wasted - so well done Mike.

Clive 'Don't Panic - of which he didn't actually do that much except for the bag incident' Tucker was a little worried that we may have put Mike off for life but the story ends happily on that front. When we met Mike with his family in Cardiff Castle he was heard to mutter those immortal words 'I want to do that one [leg 7] again'. Clearly, he has the spirit of a mad runner......

It's over now

I hope you've enjoyed my foray into live reporting - it's been hard to fit it in (stop it) - what with my duties as support car one, runner and all round top bloke. I'm now officially hanging - it's been a long weekend. I only managed to grab 4 hours sleep last night - making it a twenty hour day yesterday!

Back to the race. Mike went well on his leg (18) and then Welsh Terry followed that up with 2nd place in the vets race holding off both Southwest and Blackpool to move us into 3rd place overall in the vets race. Then finally, Phil came home 2nd overall on leg20 and clear 1st vet - more importantly he gave us valuable time over Blackpool in the vets race to ensure third place.

Notable results from the weekend;
Sian Monahan, Female Stage Winner
Clive Bromhall, Mountain Stage Vet Winner
Alec Woods, Mountain Stage Vet Winner
Phil Parry, Male Vet Stage Winner
Team Result: 3rd Vet

Well done to all the team for a thoroughly damn good effort.

The 'oap crew' as wot survived down to Cardiff.

Waiting at the finish

I've arrived at Cardiff Castle and eagerly await the climax of this spectacular festival of running. The atmosphere has been great all week.
As hinted, Sian managed to overhall the two vet teams ahead of her by the finish, finishing 3s ahead of the 2nd vet team - excellent.
Alec 'Wippet' Woods came home first vet on leg 16, only being beaten by the youthful Dan Robinson.
Dave 'Give It Some' Gapper had a cracker on his leg (17), 5th overall and first vet team by a long way.
Dave handed over to Mike Adams on leg18. Don't know anymore but you can guarantee he'll get to the finish.
As we speak Terry 'I'm From Wales' Morgan is running leg19 down to Caerphilly Castle where he will hand over to Phil 'Lightning Fast' Parry to bring the baton home.
After leg 16 we're lying in 4th place in the vets race but with a chance to move up to 2nd if we get a few breaks. After Dave Gappers leg we every chance of moving up.

The boyz are back in Brecon

we're awaiting the terrier at the end of leg 15 after doing our marshalling stint at the start of leg16 which Alec Woods is running for us - he should get a good result.
The weather continues to be hot and humid - not ideal but we just have to cope.
Update of Sians leg 13, she was seen towards the top ten with a few miles to go as third vet team but only a few metres behind the first vet teams on the leg (and they were men) so she was going well and hopefully finished within range as makes no difference.

Farming advice with Jerry

As Terry 'Terrier' Townsend and I await the start of his leg - 15 down into Brecon, Jerry gave us an overview of the benefits of sheep over cattle for the husbandry of your pasture land - nice.
Back at the race, early reports suggest the Clive Bromhall is in good shape just off the front two (youngsters) on leg 14 - Drovers.

Terry and Jerry at the Drovers Arms as Terry applies the vasaline - ooh no misses.


Made it to the start of leg 13 to see Sian off. I'm sure she'll have a good run - it's an unusual day for her to have a bad one.
Stayed to see Paul in - finishing strongly just outside the top ten - great result.
The race as a whole is not going so well but with some good runners to come later in the day things should start to pick up. Clive 'Superman' Bromhall has to be worth a shout on the prestigous Drovers Leg.

A new day......

A chance to reflect. I feel a bit better about my run now that I have got my brain working again. I was really on the edge there for a moment but I was only 4 mins down on my target so that's not too bad.
Anyway it was another early start - 5:00 as I had to head off and pick up Paul, our leg 12 man, who had driven to the start of leg 13. Everything went to plan Paul as team manager Clive 'Don't panic' Tucker stroll to the start with plenty of time for warm up and in Clive's case - chat! (pictured)

Hopefully by this time Jerry 'Van Man' Hogan is going well towards the head of the field on leg 11 out Newtown.

Saturday, June 09, 2007


That was tough - nuff said. I was slightly slower than I was aiming for, 1:34 but the heat and length of the day took its toll.
Chris 'Dangerous' Herbert survived the car drive of death - Tims 2CV.
Mark even had time for some bird watching (dirty old man) as we dropped off Dave 'Bad Boy' Bedwell.
Ant Wiltshire ran leg 9 but I don't know any of the details.
Overall we've had a great day with good team spirit and fantastic weather - too hot but mustn't complain.

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Just made the drop off of an important package at Barmouth for the start of leg 6 - Brett Saddler. The crew of the good ship support car one will soon be departing for mission Dinas Mawddwy shortly to drop off Dave Bedwell
Not sure of the race position at this stage but Dave 'The Boy' Taylor seemed to be going well on leg 4 - he was is the top dozen when we saw him.
Hopefully Tim 'Death Car' Horn will have a steady run out of Harlech on leg 5.

Run-Out at the Oakeley Arms

The team milling around at the start of leg 4 - waiting for Graham 'Mountain Goat' Crump to come flying through the finish of his leg from Cricceith.
Not sure how we're doing but Chris Herbert had a good run - coming home ahead of his self imposed target - on leg 1 before handing over the baton to the ever consistent Dave Mortimer on leg 2.

and we're off

After a 5am start and a pleasant 4 hour drive, taking in the breath taking vista of Snowdon, we arrived (just) for the pre-race briefing before heading over to the start.
Clive didn't panic too much on the way up but there's plenty of time for things to change.
Only six hours till I take to the field of battle - I will have been on my feet for 14 hours by then so I hope that doesn't take its toll.

The start at Caernafon Castle.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Almost there ......

Tent - check, spare tent - check (you never know), water - check, other stuff - check. Yep, I'm all set and ready to rumble - oops, alarm clock set for 4am - check.

I'm hoping to blog some live updates and pictures through the weekend as the race unfolds subject to a) having enough time when not needed to ferry runners to and from the start and end of their leg and b) phone reception - as it can be a bit dodgy in places. Fingers crossed.

By way of a test transmission I'm posting this from my phone, including a picture that I took when I was working off site a week or two ago.

...... Yep seems to work.

Thought for the day: We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Two days to go

I decided to rest up today ahead of what promises to be a pretty full on weekend at our outing to Wales for the Welsh Castles Relay 2007. I've just had a look back over the last week or so and realised that my plan of concentrating on training for the Berlin Marathon has been a little off skew. In a period of eight days I ran 4 races - so much for easing up on the racing while as I kick the training up a notch. And counting back a little further it's been six races/events in sixteen days - what the hell is wrong with me!!!

Anyway, I'm relaxed now, ahead of the weekend where the overriding factor will definitely have to be .................. put on plenty of sun block - even if it doesn't look sunny - you've only got one skin so don't waste it - probably not exactly true since skin cells keep on growing and shedding your entire life but once the cell's dna is damaged it's pretty much f#@*ed for life.

Thought for the day: Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Easy down at the track

My left hamstring is still tight and to add to that my groin is playing up - too much information me thinks. Anyway, I managed a 300, 400, 500, 400, 300 pyramid session albeit a little bit on the slow side, 50s, 70s, 89s, 70s, 50s. I didn't really want to do anymore for fear of aggravating things so I finished with a few jogged laps.

Some goods news though, Harry was back in the clan tonight but for every action there has to be an equal and opposite re-action (Newton's third law) which meant we had to miss Nick so that the natural balance and harmony of the universe could be maintained (I'm told he was revising for an exam tomorrow - so good luck Nick). The ever present Sean made up the numbers with Rick both running and timing. After the pyramid the lads (and older lad) ploughed on with some 200's not sure how many - I just knew I couldn't manage them tonight.

Thought for the day: The quickest way of ending a war is to lose it!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What an excellent day

I had the most marvelous news this morning - I've won the lottery - only kidding, like I'd ever be that lucky - and anyway, I think you have to purchase one of the ticket things to be in with a shout.

Meanwhile, back in the real world - I've got a run on the weekend and it's a cracker, leg 10 - a half marathon mountain stage - back of the net - oh lucky day. I'm going to aim for 1 hour 30 which I reckon should be feasible - difficult to say how much time the hills will add to my half pb of 1:23 but it makes sense to be realistic. The one thing you can depend on though, is that I shall be giving it the works. I know it's going to be hard to get into the top third of the field on this leg because there will be a lot of good runners out there trying to help win their team the prestigious Kings, Queens (no, not Julian Clarey) and Monarchs of the mountain. The mountain stages always attract plenty of strong runners - but I'm not scared.

I didn't get out for a run today, just a burn on the bike and rowing machine at the gym instead. The legs are still a bit stiff and I don't want to let my team down on Saturday so I'm going to taper and everything. And on top of everything else I hit 51.5 on the bike fit-test bike - doesn't really mean much but it's the first time I've topped 50 for ages so it backs up my general feeling that I'm on the way back.

I shall, of course, be hitting the track tomorrow for a quick speed tune up before taking it easy on Thursday and Friday ahead of the big event.

Thought for the day: Yipee!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Little bit stiff ......

The legs! The legs are a little bit stiff - you smutty lot. Actually they're quite a bit achy - mostly in the quads so it was just a weights session for me today. They're easing tonight so I should be up to running tomorrow.

I have a dilemma though. It's the Welsh castles relay this coming weekend and as usual I'm driving the support vehicle as we only put in a vets team - and I'm just a wee youngster so I don't get to run. This year I'm hoping to try and blag a run for a team - any team - who is short of a runner - and I'd prefer one of the harder legs, a mountain one preferably and as long as you like - but beggars can't be choosers so I'll take anything. The dilemma I have is whether assume I won't get a run and do a normal weeks training starting with an easy one tomorrow, to help the legs recover, and then the track on Wednesday followed by hills on Thursday - in which case I won't be rested if I do manage to get a run or do I plough into hills tomorrow, knowing that the legs won't be a hundred percent, and then the track on Wednesday followed by the easy one on Thursday and assume I will manage to get a run? Is the cup half empty or half full? I can't quite make up my mind.

Decisions, decisions......

Thought for the day: If you're going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it, you might as well laugh about it now.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Getting back to form

It was the morning after the day before and I didn't know what to expect from the LA 10k. It's a hilly one so in theory it should be good for me. However, my left hamstring was tight after yesterday and no amount of warm up or stretching gave any relief. I decided I should run it anyway - in for a penny and all that.

I set off a little too quick but managed to get up the hill in reasonable shape. The hamstring seemed to be holding its own so I tried to push on but there was nothing there. So instead I looked to consolidate. I held it together pretty well and got through to the finish in 40:20 and about 20th place. I was catching the guy in front but, alas, too slowly. I reckon if the race went on for another ten miles I might just have got him!

The course was a little changed from previous years but I think it's still comparable - it's a hard course and the main climb remains the same. I was just over a minute quicker this time round than last year so I have to be pleased with that. I estimate that this course is about two minutes slower, for a forty minute man, than a flat 10k, in which respect, my time compares to about 38:20 on the flat and means I'm getting back to my best.

Well done to Annabel Granger for her first place in the Women's race, followed home by Nicola Brookland.

And on other fronts, the preliminary result of yesterday's Division 5 Match - we won by just 2 points on 193 points from Kidderminster & Stourport on 191. You see, every point counts. For example my PB putt moved me from 5th to 3rd - 2 points. Simon Park's outing over the 400m - an event that is about 200m too long for him - gave us an invaluable 5 points - every little helps.

And what makes the weekend just about the tops - the A Team won the Division 1 Match as well but they ran away with the victory - well maybe not quite running away with it but it wasn't nearly as nail biting as our win - they won by 3 points!!! (234 against Corby's 231)

Thought for the day: Every little helps.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Fair to midland-leaguing

The gods smiled today - and we were blessed. The weather was great, almost too sunny for running the longer races - I had to apply the sunblock like never before.

We fielded another big team for the second Midland League Division match of the season. We hosted this one on our home track - in Yate? That's right a city the size of Bristol can't be arsed to cater for the needs of the athletic community - so much for bringing on the youth of today for 2012. I don't think that Bristol City Council realise that mugging and the '100m leggit from the police' are not actually Olympic events - they think were guaranteed gold's in those events so we don't need decent sport/athletic facilities. So off to Yate we went.

The team spirit was good yet again with everyone knuckling down and doing their bit. Glad to see Harry again - with his signed letter excusing him from Wednesday's track session. He had a good run out in the 800m, running a few seconds quicker than at the last match and picking up good points in the high jump to boot.

I had some good results as well. Didn't do as many events as last time - only four - but it was a case of quality over quantity this time.

I took 2nd place in the 400m Hurdles 'A' string with a new PB of 72.4s (2.5s off). Then I headed over to the Javelin to fit in two throws before heading out on the 3000m Steeple Chase - which I have to say I took pretty easy - but this time round I actually had the balls to hurdle the barriers - rock on! I managed 3rd place in the 'A' string with another PB in a time of 12:27 (33s off). Then it was quickly over to the Javelin to take my final three throws as I had qualified for the further stages (the top six after three throws get another three). I pulled out all the stops to set - you guessed it - another PB, this time adding almost three metres to my previous best, with a mammoth throw of 31.20 and 2nd place in the 'B' string - who's the daddy.

Then it was time to put my feet as my work there was done - but I got a late call up to the shot putt - never my greatest event. Anyhow, picture the scene, I was languishing down in fifth place in the 'B' string with a putt of around 5.5m, which was close to my previous best - having never broken six. I stepped up to the ockey and launched possibly one of the finest putts to ever grace the putting circle - time stood still as the sacred Orb of Iron lifted majestically though the air, almost defying gravity before finally coming to rest at a distance of 6.22m to claim 3rd spot and another PB - four out of four - well slap my thigh.

Not sure of the team result but I hope we did well. We certainly had some good results today, especially in the sprints and relays.

Off now to rest up ahead of tomorrow's Long Ashton 10k......

Thought for the day: People do not lack strength, they lack will.