Friday, February 29, 2008

What not to train

No training today, a bit of work - which went well - and some planning, blah, blah, blah, boring. Seriously though, I'm ready for tomorrow's race. I feel good so it should be good.

I've checked the race diary for the seventeenth time - and yes, the race is still tomorrow at 2pm. I shall, of course, check another eight times between now and then - not that I'm paranoid - well, OK, just a bit...

Thought for the day: I'm so clever that sometimes I don't understand a single word of what I am saying - that's not good

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I trained therefore I am

I managed to get myself out for some training tonight. Well, actually, I managed to get myself in for some training as I went down the gym for a 45 minute burn up on the bike. I've missed a few sessions of late and found it hard going but I managed to force myself through to the finish. It's surprising how quickly you can lose form. I finished off with some decent weight work and my shoulders are paying the price - they are somewhat achy.

Most importantly, my legs feel in reasonably good shape so after a rest day tomorrow I should be in kick ass form at Llanthony on Saturday - they will all be kissing my ass as I power to the top and then sprint back down - all, that is, except those who beat me - but we'll keep those to a minimum. I've just got to hope I don't miss the start this week...

Thought for the day: Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur - Whatever is said in Latin sounds profound.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The fantastic four

Jerry, Bruce, Sean and me - although Rick ran the 300's and timed us for the 600's.

It was a chill but calm night. The stars glistened in the sky, like diamonds - on a gert huge wibbly wobbly piece of string. Right, back to this universe.

We ran five 600's with 45-60s recovery - Sean got 60s, I got 45. Then we ran five 300's with an equally short recovery - 'cept I only ran three 300's with a massive recovery on account of being a bit crap. Sean looked in good form, running easy but quick after his pb yesterday. Bruce seemed to be holding his own as well and Jerry? Need I really say anymore?

Anyway, I ran steady for the 600's in 2:00, 1:59, 1:58, 1:59 and 1:57. OK, so that's not great speed but after the last few days I'll take it - and I was only getting short recovery. It's not too bad is it? I ran the 300's purposefully quicker. With the longer recovery I had to really, didn't I? - and Sean was giving me enough stick for only doing three as it was.

So I ran 52s, 50s - and this is something special - coming into the final bend, the crowd looking on in stunned disbelief as I edged onto the shoulder of Sean, doing it the hard way - ooh, er, Mrs - round the outside, closer, closer, level. .. ... urgh, with 20 metres to go, the youngster just found the extra to hold me off - but then he is half my age. It was my fastest ever 300 though so I'm pleased with 46s. Not bad for an old'ish' timer.

Thought for the day: Be the labour great or small do it well or not at all.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Didn't bridge the distance

I ran out of steam a long way before the line tonight. I was in reasonable shape until 3k and then I just - well, died really. My legs tightened and my stride shortened to a kind of geriatric shuffle for the last 2k. Still, I'm reasonably pleased with 18:30 - if it weren't for the fact that others - who cannot be mentioned for legal reasons - beat the pants off me!

I have to admit that I didn't really recover from my long Sunday run. With my quads aching before the race I knew tonight was not going to be quick but I tried and that's all I could do.

Not sure what shape I'm going to be in for tomorrow's track session. I suspect I might not be completing the session but I will try.

Well done to Sean for a new PB, 16:14 and Helen for getting close to hers and - mutter, mutter - Mike T for equalling my course best - the swine - in 18:12. I don't think it's going to be long before he surpasses that.

Thought for the day: Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?

Monday, February 25, 2008

Don't fancy my chances

My quads are fair knackered today so I pulled a total rest day. I was going to go down the gym but decided I could do with the rest instead. The calves, however, in a reversal of fortune, are, in fact, fine - after some serious self massage last night - boy did it hurt at the time. I'm really not sure the quads will recover in time for a decent crack at eighteen at the Bridge Inn tomorrow but I shall give it my best shot though.

I'm not too worried about it really. My long run yesterday was long overdue and I am determined to make that the kick start to my summer campaign. I have the power, now all I need is the staying power - and it will come, yep, it will come...

Thought for the day: "Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity". - Albert Einstein

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I missed the start...

... by 24 frickin' hours. Yes, the main events page on the WFRA website said the race was today but the details bit (which I didn't bother to look at) said it was yesterday - and since there was no one else there I guess it's safe to assume the detail page had it right - bugger. I don't blame them though. To be fair, it does say please check with the organiser. Pretty funny really, but I really felt like I was going to have a good one so it feels like a wasted opportunity. Looking on the bright side, I'll save it all for next week's South Wales Winter Series race, Llanthony.

Anyway, since I'd gone all that way I headed off on a training run instead. I fully intended to follow the route from memory and set off pretty much on race pace. Got about halfway and the old memory not being what it once was, I wandered off piste. After a nice long run and a visit to Crowcombe - very nice little village, highly recommend a visit by the way - no I don't, what am I talking about? I finally reappeared in the vicinity of the car park and my car about an hour and 45 minutes later having covered somewhere in the region of 13 miles and 3,000ft (mapped it once I got home).

So, there it is, a monumental cock up but in the end the longish training run was satisfactory and pretty pacey really, considering the ascent involved. And if I'm honest I would have taken the visit to the Nationals and training over racing solo yesterday - I had a much better weekend this way round. [winks to camera]

Thought for the day: If a person does their best, what else is there?

Saturday, February 23, 2008


I had a day trip up to Alton Towers for the National Cross Country Championships - no, I didn't run - just support. The teams did really well with all four of the men/women junior/senior teams making the top six with the men taking an unexpected bronze. Better than that - in my humble opinion - but what does that matter - was the entire women's team of Amy, Charlie, Helen and Claire all getting inside the top 50 individually.

I had a bit of a jog around while watching but basically had a lazy day. Oh, and I was on hound control for an hour or two - but they didn't manage to eat me alive - all though it was a close call at points.

Anyway, I feel ready for tomorrow's Quantocks - so I'll probably run pants...

Thought for the day: Corduroy pillows: They're making headlines!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fantasy Friday

Without the fantasy but never the less a good Friday, all the same. Didn't get up to much training - that is - I did naff all. But I bunked off work early and had a nice, rest full day and watched Cloverfield at the flics - good film, a no watch look film. I should explain my film review scoring. One look at the watch is a good film, two looks is respectable, any more and you're getting into not so good territory, so no looks is very good - go see it. 'Ark at me, who do I think I am? Barry Norman?

Right, back to almost writing about running. I'm off to watch the National Cross Country Championships tomorrow - I shall be super supporter extraordinaire. I've not got my running vest so there is no way I can accidentally end up running - plus I'm rubbish and would be a disgrace to the club - and I wouldn't want that.

Finally, I'm happy to report that the left calf is now fully top notch so I should be ready for Sunday.

Thought for the day: Few women admit their age. Few men act theirs.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A little tired

I am a tad tired after an unwanted early start but at least I finally resolved an issue at work that's been getting on my t........ nerves. Too tired, in fact, to train I've just been lounging around the house, catching up on Neighbours - damn, must keep my gob shut.

Then, of course, there was the curious incident of the broken lock in the day time - a story, alas, for another time...

Anyway, I'm tapering ahead of the Quantocks race. Yesterday's track session, although pleasing caused my left calf to tighten right up but after some severe and some might say, painful - that is to say, down right agonisational - I think I made that word up - massage, it's actually pretty bloody good today - I didn't expect that, I really didn't. In fact, I can't believe how good it feels today. As they say in the trade, magic hands make light work - oops, I mean - no pain, no gain...

Thought for the day: When French speakers swear, do they say "Excuse my English?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


... again!!!

We had no instruction tonight and didn't know what to do so I decided we should run some 400's with sharp recovery - using the rotational technique - what other technique is there?

Recovery was a strict 60s - and I cracked Jerry's whip - ooh, kinky. So off we set running our eight 400's. It was another good turn out with most of the lads, including Nick again, which is really good to see, but none of the old fogies - except me - and one other - no, I take that back - just me.

My times were a mix of 74's and 75's. All nice and consistent but my left calf has now tightened right up. Still, I've got a few days before the Quantocks race on Sunday.

Good luck to Dan M by the way, as he prepares for some Master's 3k track competition.

Thought for the day: I have lots of ideas. Trouble is, most of them suck.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Today is the 19th

Well the calves are still very tight but at least I have a good probable reason for that. My non-Nepalese Guru suggested it was probably down to the frozen, firm ground from Sundays 10 mile race and the fact I wore my studded fell shoes - wise words indeed. I'll chalk that one up to experience - and then subsequently forget it as I'm bound to make the same mistake again - I never learn.

Anyway, I got out for an easy 45 minutes around Ashton Court after work this evening. I gave my new Mizuno Harrier trail shoes a go and they were both comfortable and really rather grippy - which was nice. Hopefully I've loosened the pegs a bit ahead of tomorrow's session - on the track I mean. I finished off with a quick whip round the weights area of the gym before signing off for the night.

Thought for the day: No man was ever shot by his wife while doing the dishes.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Couldn't make the session

My calf muscles were tight today - very tight. So tight, in fact, that they pained me to walk - and I have a high pain thresh hold - as some can attest to. So instead of attempting Rick's session, which would surely have made things worse, I elected to go to the gym and put in an hour on the bike. That worked out well and I was able to pedal without problem. My upper body is aching a tad though as I did a few more bits and pieces than normal - I have my figure to maintain, don't you know - tch, such vanity.

Anyway, I saw Sean at the petrol station down Asda'l' on his way to the session and made my excuses - I think he believed me. Really though, I couldn't have managed running today. I ran hard yesterday but it was only ten miles and I didn't think I pushed to the limit but maybe on second thoughts I did - I was sick at the end - which pleases me in that I still have the ability to push myself to the limit.

Not going to plan for tomorrow. I shall wait and see how I feel...

Thought for the day: Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

FOD off

What a bloody great day!! The sun shone, the birds sang, the frost - well, it just kind of sat there really, being cold - and I came 3rd in the 15.4k Forest of Dean Trail Race. My third podium finish. Ooh yeah, baby - he shoots, he scores.

I was in ninth place in the first 500m and then once we hit the start of the incline I just picked my way through to third. By the end of the first lap I was on my own in third and 10s inside my time from the last race. I decided to make my position safe and piled on the power up the hill. By the end of the second lap, third was guaranteed and I have to admit to feeling a little tired. I stayed focused - with the help of my supporter - to come home 13s quicker than last time - guess that answers the question as to whether I'm improving, holding position or going backwards!

Well done to Kate Goodhead for 1st place in the 10.4k race - and I really mean 1st. She reeled in the male leader in the last stages of the race to finish first outright - superb result.

Finally, well done to Sylvia Crump (Graham's other - and some say - better half) for taking third place in the Senior Women's 5.4k race.

Did I say before - what a bloody great day!!!

Thought for the day: What's another word for thesaurus?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

New shooos

Finally managed to get down to Up & Running - Bristol's hottest new running shop - to spend some cash. Came away with a pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 11's and my first ever pair of trail shoes - Mizuno Wave Harrier's. It's about time I had some proper trail shoes for those occasions when it's too slippy for road shoes but not rough enough for the Gladiator fell shoes. Still need to pick up my first pair of racing flats though - every gram must be shed in my quest for faster times.

No real training to report today. Just a quick visit to the gym for an easy half hour on the bike - no cross country session today, just light on the pedals, turning the legs over. Finished off with a few weights and then home to admire my new shooos...

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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Trot around the block

Just an easy one tonight - but the main thing is that I'm managing to motivate myself out the door when of late I haven't been able to - and that's good. I didn't push hard other than one or two little bursts. I really need to be factoring in a mid week long run so I can leave the weekends free for racing - amongst other things.

It's the final Forest of Dean Trail Race on Sunday so I should be fairly fresh for it and it'll be a good test of whether I'm maintaining my form, improving or - dare I say it - going down hill. Cometh the hour...

Thought for the day: We do not remember days; we remember moments.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Getting to the bottom of it

Well I'm finally getting the better of my projects at work - for now at least. I should be able to make a bit more time to train - and after recent defeats at the hands of a merciless fellow runner, it's not before time.

On to tonight. After a successful day at work I hit the gym for a session on the bike. I've really missed it over these last couple of weeks and I have to admit I've lost a little - but I'll get it back. Then it was onto the weights before veg out time. Yep, it's time for relaxing on the sofa and some telly. I've got two episodes of Neighbours to catch up - excellent - damn, did I just say that out loud? Shit, I did, didn't I?

Thought for the day: Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Yes folks, it was a personal best turn out - nine!!! Jerry The Man Metronome was there, as was the Masters Maestro Dan and six of the young pretenders - including the return of the Nick. Great to see him.

So, what were we all doing tonight? On such a cold and frosty night, what the hell were we doing there!!! Seriously though, Sean, Nick and I ran five 800's with 2:30 recovery while the rest ran a session of four 400's, four 300's and four 200's with a strict - and knowing Jerry - short recovery.

I ran 2:44/45's nice and consistently in cold, frosty conditions. The cold prevented me from running too quickly but I was even paced throughout and 2:45 is plenty fast enough really. I felt good and strong and maybe should have gone a tad quicker but it was a good session even so.

Need to get down the gym tomorrow - I see a session on the bike - blimey, I'm turning into Mystic Meg - I guess that means I won't be doing a session on the bike after all...

Thought for the day: Friendship is like a prism through which the many variations of beauty are revealed in our lives.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Well, you're not going to get the title but suffice to say I had a long day at work. Reasonably successful - but long. At the end of it I was too tired to train. My legs are still a little achy so it's probably best to rest ahead of tomorrow's track session anyway. I'm in need of an early night to recharge the batteries...

Thought for the day: In order for people to be happy, sometimes they have to take risks. It's true these risks can put them in danger of being hurt.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The day after Dursley

I managed to get up to the Downs for a run with Rick and Sean. It was just as easy one for me. We ran down to the Portway where upon they put in a 3k effort - I just continued at a steady pace. I wasn't jogging but equally I wasn't plying full power to the longitudinal thrusters - reality check initiated - ahh, that's better. We then just wound are way back up to the Downs covering about 8k in total and consuming about 40 minutes of our lives - time, which alas, we can never recoup.

Then it was off for some Salsa dancing. My legs are fair hanging now. Anyhow, I'm still buzzing from my run at Dursley - cracking day.

Finally, a quick well done to Rick for his impressive 24th place in Saturday's Gwent League fixture.

Thought for the day: Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.

One, two, three, pause, five, six, seven, and...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Beaten by a girl

Yes, today I joined the ranks of those men who have been beaten by a girl - such as the great Mick O'D amongst others. In my case there's no shame when said girl runs the 2nd fastest (women's) time in the events 20 year history.

I had a thoroughly bloody ace race at Dursley today. I was totally up for it and managed to knock just over 3 minutes off last years time to finish in 13th place - up from 30th last year. My time was 1:26:19 and I have to say I'm well pleased with that. I did fade a bit in the latter stages but I remained strong enough to get to the finish OK.

Interestingly, I renewed my battle with Purple Top - the chap I had the tussle with in the May Hill Massacre and once again I managed to get the better of him - by just one place - again. He had the beating of me today until around the ten mile mark. I had never quite managed to get on equal terms. At that ten mile point a runner with devasting speed and strength passed us both and luckily I managed to drift on the wave created by that runner and got through to the finish ahead.

Well done to D & C for wearing the reverse, cocked up, Mad Runner T-Shirts. Well done to Dave Beddows who finished in 8th place and well done to Helen F for yet another - this is getting boring - stunning victory - and finishing in tenth place.

Thought for the day: Most people are as happy as they make up their mind to be.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Darran? Darran? Who the hell is Darran?

I couldn't get in the mood today. I ran well enough - I suppose - but I didn't feel comfortable going up. I struggled. On the last of the ascent two runners, who I'd overtaken earlier in the climb, came back at me and passed with ease. I became really annoyed with myself and the way I was struggling and even started swearing at myself. I guess I should be pleased I still have the passion for it - that it can get me that het up.

Once I got to the top it was a different matter and I seemed to be able to pick things up and the descent was fine. I was able to come back down in a reasonably uncontrolled, let the hand break off, free fall manner.

The route of the Darren was fairly uninspiring - being a straight to the top and back affair covering about 3 miles and 1,000 feet of climb. I finished in sixth place in a time of 23:43 verses the winning time of 20:20. So in reality I should be pleased by a good performance and the appearance of an unexpected visitor. Oh, I don't know, something just didn't feel quite right with me today. I hope that what ever caused my malaise today lifts before tomorrow's Durley Dozen.

Well done to Pat Wooddisse for third place. He followed up his impressive run last week in the Longmynd (6th place) - where he thrashed me. Percentage wise I was closer to him today. And well done to Helen F for yet another victory in the women's race.

Thought for the day: Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Not quite the day I hoped

It was another long day at work. Managed to get the last of a few little problems sorted - which was nice to put to bed before the weekend. I've got nothing planned tonight. No training. Just vegging infront of the telly so I shall probably end up in bed early. Still I've got those two races coming up tomorrow and Sunday but at the moment I haven't got the enthusiasm for it. Still, I've got 19 hours to try and get in the mood.

Thought for the day: The things that you most want to do are the things that are probably most worth doing.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Badgered by a badger

I practically screamed like a girl on my run this evening - for sure as night follows day I managed to get myself out for a run. I went up over Dundry - the first time for a long time - and it was good. I started off steady and got up the main, steep, lung busting hill as quick as I ever do - if not even a fraction quicker. It was into a stiff breeze across the top and I took it steady. Then on the steep downhill section I had to take it easy as even with the illumination from my head lamp I could see naff all.

Right, back to the screaming like a girl. It was at this point that the local neighbourhood badger decided to jump out in front of me. Now, without being too crude, I almost shat myself - OK, being crude, I almost shat myself. Those bad boys are biiigggggg and with a fair lick of speed. I couldn't keep up!

Anyway, after I had recovered from the fright I picked up the pace. As is the sadness with me, my thoughts drifted off into the outer reaches of my slightly warped mind and before long I was bombing. I got into chase mode, imagining I was chasing down a runner far ahead - I told you I wasn't all there. I covered those last four or five kilometres like lightning to finish in about as quick a time as I ever have on that 12k loop - 13s outside 50 minutes. It's strange but it feels alot different in the dark and I stumbled a few times here and there which has to account for a few seconds. I don't believe it's possible to run as quick in the dark as it is in the light so all in all it was a thoroughly bloody good run this evening. A rest day me thinks for tomorrow ahead of the Darren on Saturday followed by the Dursley Dozen on Sunday...

Thought for the day: There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


The two founding members of my fan club were at the track tonight. I won't mention their names to avoid embarrassment - it's not something that anyone should ever admit to - should they D & C?

They've been pleading with me for some of my Mad Runner t-shirt iron on transfers - well, pleading is perhaps a little strong. Anyway, hopefully you will see the three of us in our Mad Runner T's at the Dursley Dozen - that, of course, depends on you being present at the Dursley Dozen. Obviously, if you're not in Dursley then you ain't going to see us - hang on, this is going all surreal again [cue Twilight Zone music].

Right, back to reality and tonight's track session. It was another good showing from the now usual suspects of Sean, Rob, Danny, Bruce and Jerry but tonight we also had a new boy by the name of Dan M. Apparently some say he's pretty quick, some say he eats babies for breakfast and some bow to his prowess as the Masters M45 10k Road Champion but I can't see that myself as he didn't look a day over 40.

So what was tonight's session? We ran ten 400m reps with a 200m jog recovery. When I say we, I actually mean me and the new boy. Everyone else did eight or nine - but that's OK - not everyone can keep up with the old timers - he shoots, he scores.

I was pleased with my laps. It was my fastest set for quite some time - in fact, a very long time - mid October. My times were 69, 70, 72, 72, 72, 72, 73, 73, 69 & a completely knackered 76s to finish - and I really was finished. Still, it was good to get a quick one under my belt considering I still had a bit of Sunday lingering in the old pegs.

Thought for the day: Friendship make prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Managed to do something

It wasn't maybe the best training I've ever done but at least I managed to make it to the gym today. My legs are fair wrecked still. I tried the bike but after 30 minutes I had to stop because I just couldn't keep the speed up through the pain - I do not believe I wanted to do that!

Not sure how recovered my legs will be by tomorrow and the track of doom - but I'm going to give it a go regardless. I need to try and get a longer run in on Thursday but lord knows how I'm going to find the time.

Thought for the day: Seek not happiness too greedily, and be not fearful of happiness.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Long, tiring day...

... at work. I really wanted to get out and do some training tonight. My legs felt OK first thing but after standing all day at work my legs are feeling sore right now. On top of that I had to brave the supermarket at busy time - I survived - and so did the other shoppers. On top of on top of that I feel completely knackered.

So apart from the disappointment of a long day at work that I didn't really want, a trip to the supermarket and no training because I'm too tired and my legs wouldn't have coped, it's been a great day. On the plus side, my careful, law abiding driving on the weekend saw me clock up a fuel consumption of 8.44 miles/litre - and in case your wondering, that's bloody great for my old banger, normally it doesn't even make 8 - result (but still rubbish).

Anyway, I desperately want some training tomorrow. I'm not sure what I will manage to fit in but I must do something.

Thought for the day: Our lives are not determined by what happens to us but by how we react to what happens

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Well the results are in

As I hadn't posted a thought for the day (due to live posting from the event) I thought I should.

Anyway, the results are now online - hats off to very rapid posting by the organisers. I finished in 36th place - 10 places up from last year and on closer inspection I was 1 minute and 55s quicker than last year.

Comparing this year to last it would appear that the majority of those who ran both years were somewhere in the region of one to three minutes slower this year - which cheers me up a bit - not that I was too badly uncheered but every little helps. I guess it means that it's fair to say the course was slower this year so at least I can hold my head high in that I did improve against the conditions.

And to borrow a phrase from a friend of mine, 'I ran like a sack of s#*t' and should have done better. I ran out of steam on the final climb and can make no excuse for that other than the fact that I'm just a bit rubbish at running. I shall repent of my sins, say twenty how's your father's and vow to train harder...

Thought for the day: Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience.

PS, I'm still smiling

A little disappointing

Things didn't go quite as well as I would have hoped. I didn't break 2. In fact I only beat last years time by about 90s.

Conditions were worse this year than last - colder and a damn sight windier - the kind of wind that brings you to a halt - but that's no excuse. I ran out of steam and that's just plain bad. I think I was probably a few places better than last year though - and at least I'm still smiling.

Maybe next year...

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Work took precedense

Well this week has been one of hard work. My day job went well - eventually. I successfully commissioned the job I was working on by 3pm Friday afternoon - leaving me free for other things... Training not included because of tiredness - amongst other things.

I'm ready for the Long Mynd Valleys fell race on Sunday - I think. There won't be any filming this year though because I am going for sub 2 hours. It will be a tough call as to whether I achieve it but as long as I go off steady and save enough for the rather tough finish I think I can do it.

Thought for the day: Don't try to solve serious matters in the middle of the night.