Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wednesday, so we all know what that means

... I had to go to the track. Well, I didn't have to. Nobody forced me but I forced myself. I continue to feel a bit tired and the jog over to the track left me feeling no less tired so I thought I was in for a shocker.

Rob W was there - after arriving a little late, but we knew he'd be late so that's ok - and so was Sean, together with time keeper and track intervalist, Rick.

We ran twelve 300's with a 90s recovery. I started out slow and picked up. After an initial 57, followed by a 56, I thought I was in for a terrible session but I soon moved on past 55 to 54's and 53's before a final flourish of a 52 and a 51. It was tough but I didn't push to my limit but having said that it wouldn't have taken much to push me over the edge. Eitherway it was a much better session the Monday's and it has left me feeling a lot better about myself and the state of my running. I know I've still a long way to go and the road is going to have many a winding turn...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Bloody awful

I don't really want to talk about tonight - it was truly pants. We ran five 3 minute efforts. Although we were all a bit lack lustre, that's Rick, Sean, Helen and I, I was by far and away the most lack lustre - it wasn't so much a case of lack lustre, more, no lustre at all.

I reckon that the Bridge Inn tomorrow might be a mistake but I'm going to treat it as training - and on current form, if I break twenty I'll have to be happy.

As a silver lining to tonight's session, at least we made it back indoors before the rains came down - it's the monsoon season here, don't you know...

Thought for the day: Always laugh when you can. It is cheapest medicine.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I think I'm Broken...

Or should that be Brecon. I made it over to recce the parts of the Brecon Beacons fell race that other fell runners don't reach - and it near killed me.

On a scorching hot day we ran up from the start point, collecting check points one and two - or the place where they will be - before heading back down and off route for a short cut before heading back up again and intercepting the race route to bag the last couple of check points - or the place where they will be - and making back to the white beast. It was a tough 13 miler with a fair amount of ascent.

Anyway, you know that point in a run, the point where you really don't want to run anymore? The point where you just want it over? The point where the tiredness becomes just too much? Well I didn't reach that point - only kidding, I hit that point and then some. I was f#@ked come the end - come to think of it, I was f#@ked a good 5k before the end. Suffice to say H still had something left in reserve - as did Brown Dog, who was panting a bit in the heat but I bet she could still have gone round again. It's all good training though but I'm not sure if I'm going to be ready for the race in time. I've only got three weeks.

And of today? I had my geek hat on today, scoring the Junior league meeting over at Yate so I didn't have time to fit in any training - well that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it. Up to the Downs tomorrow for Rick's session - interval session here I come...

Thought for the day: Never jump on a man, unless he is down

Thursday, July 24, 2008

That was tough

My first race for a while, the Tintern Trot, was ... bloody hard going.

I set off steady and let the field move away from me. The course heads out along the flat for a mile or so and then climbs with undulations up to Offa's Dyke. I picked up the pace and climbed steadily, working my way through the field. I pulled effortlessly away from Helen - after first catching her towards the end of the flat section.

Then, at the high point, it all went to shit. I was completely knackered and struggled just to stay on my feet. My lack of race fitness - make that - my lack of general fitness was laid bare. Suffice to say my initial bravado at pulling past Helen was short lived as she came blasting past on the top section and down the steep descent. It made me look like I was running backwards.

I had a nice battle with a lad from Chepstow. He caught me on the last climb but I killed him off on the rocky, short descent and held on to the finish.

I really enjoyed my first race for a while. It's been a long time since I've felt sick while out running and to be honest, it felt good to be back but it was a welcome relief when the finish came into sight - Helen was only half way through her cup of tea and cucumber sandwiches by the time I finally made it in.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Call me Mr Pole Vault

Yep, you can call me Mr Pole Vault!

I started tonight's track session - tonight on account of the fact I can't make tomorrow's track session - sorry lads - more important fish to fry...

Right, where was I? Oh yeah, the track session. I ran four 800's with a 2 minute recovery. Oh how slow was I. It was bloody hard work in what was perfect conditions - wish I could say the same about my condition. Poor - nuff said.

My splits were 2:38, 2:47, 2:42 and a final 2:49. Ok, so that's not a disaster but my legs felt like lead on the last two. Oh well, the only way is up from here.

And now to the main event - the pole vault. I had a dream... A dream where a man and his pole could live in perfect harmony. A dream where he could stick his pole in the hole and go horizontal - over the bar - you can't possibly imagine how much trouble I'm in for this piece of prose.

It was my first ever attempt at the pole vault and in truth it was a bit scary. The minimum competition height is a pathetic 2.1m - but that still looks high when you don't know what you're doing.

After maybe five or six attempts I was close. Close but there was no cigar on offer. I decided close enough was good enough for my first attempt but Martin D urged me on for one final attempt.

We re-measured my run up, lengthened my grip and prepared. The bar was raised - I mean lowered - to the minimum height, 2.1m. The onlookers, well, looked on - over to the sprinters actually, completely ignoring me. I breathed one final breath - not my actual final breath just the final one before I did the deed. The deed that took me up, up, up - come back after the break, only kidding - up, up and over. I was clear, daylight between me and the bar. I released the pole and pushed it away. I was over. The vault was complete. Mission accomplished. I am now able to clear the minimum competition height. Ready to be called into action on match day if required. The Mad Runner has become the Mad Pole Vaulter. You can call me Mr Minimum Height from now on.

Thought for the day: Can you be a closet claustrophobic?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Met Rick again

... Not really - again. His twin brother took the M50 win at today's English Championship Fell Race at Kentmere. More important than that.... Mrs B covered the course - well, almost all of it, closely followed by me in my role as chief supporter.

Seriously for a moment, I covered about eleven miles of the twelve and almost all the ascent in what was another fine training run.

But seriously, serious, Helen led from start to finish in the women's race to take maximum points in the English Fell Championship title race. She beat her nearest rival by over three minutes and only narrowly missed the course record, there was less than a minute in it at the end.

Thought for the day: I am so knackered I can't think of anything.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Life in the old dog

Well I wasn't going to post today - but someone cajoled me - I'm glad they did as I should post. So here it is.

I didn't run yesterday or today but I did play some fine fine golf. Ok, the golf wasn't exactly British Open - although with some of the crap being played there, maybe it wasn't so bad. I saved the best till last and put together a respectable twelve over par round to finish - not bad from a fifteen handicapper playing only his fifth round of the year. The weather was pants though. It ripped it down for the first five holes and then the wind howled for the next thirteen but the company was good. And as a wise man once said, it's not the winning it's the taking part - like f#@k is it - I won today - back of the net.

Anyway, after my two run rest days I'll be traveling back down the road tomorrow so it'll likely be another runless day. Sunday is the Kentmere race - but don't worry I'm not running, just supporting - although I do want to run a bit and get some training done. Not sure how long but if I can run about an hour I'll be happy. If I can't I'll still be happy - I'm like that you see, easy come, easy go.

It continues to be exciting times. Lots happening and on top of it all I think I've proven myself fit - maybe not quick - but fit. All I need to do now is test out just how slow I am. The Tintern Trot next Thursday seems like just the ticket. So lets bring it on and see if there isn't some life left in this old dog...

Thought for the day: If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lurchers Crag

or as alternative title, 'Bloody hell that was a long way'

Today was the occasion of my final long run - no, not ever, just for the holiday - so I thought I should make it a long one. And believe me when I say long, I mean loooong. It was the longest I've run for ages. Certainly the longest I've run this year. In all, I covered about 22 miles and ascended around 6,000 feet - practically to a higher plane of existence.

The final ascent to Lurchers Crag was a right bastard. It went on and on. It was one of those you're almost there, no your not, almost, no, al.., no and then finally you just appear at the top and then you're off downward - bloody lurchers - only kidding :)

In addition to being long - not saying anything - it was really rocky and bouldery, making it tough going. All in all it was a good days training and takes my total mileage during the last six days in the mountains to around 65 miles - not bad for a lazy bastard.

Anyway, it's time now to put away my running shoes and relax for the last couple of days of my holiday.

Thought for the day: True purpose has no time limit. True purpose has no deadline.

Ps, well maybe I might dust them off for a short run...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I think I'll stick to the running

It was just a rest day for me today - and while up here, that means a round of golf. Boy, do I wish I hadn't bothered. I was awful. It all started like a dream. I had a par on the opener with a three then onto the second for a birdie, also a three. With a start like that there was, unfortunately, only ever one way it was going - and that wasn't up. The descent into abyss of pitifulness was swift and within the space of three or four holes I was playing - or not playing - like a right fart. I couldn't have hit the arse end of cow with a banjo. Dreadful, truly, dreadful. I shall talk no more of the painful incident of the golf in the daytime.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, I shall be heading back into the hills for the longest - and deadliest - of my training runs. I shall be attempting an 18 miler with 6,000 feet. We shall see...

Thought for the day: There are worse things in life than death. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?

Monday, July 14, 2008

On the way back

I made it back out there into the mountains again - that's two in a row. Damn near killed me, mind, but I got out there. I can feel the strength coming back - alright, I can't really claim to feel that but if managing a second long run counts, then it's coming back.

Today's run was almost flat in comparison to yesterday's, measuring only 3,800 feet of ascent but it turned out to be about 2 and half miles longer at 16.5 miles. I followed the same final climb to Cairngorm as yesterday and, at about 1,800 feet from Loch Avon to the summit, it is, politely know, as a complete bastard of a climb - well, I politely call it a bastard of a climb. I'm not sure that many people call it anything at all as most sensible folk don't even go there. Oh, and for the twitchers among you, I saw ptarmigan as I forged my way to the top.

I have to say that between the climb and a bit of texting - or should that b txting - I struggled a bit but I just kept pounding onwards and upwards. I was inside yesterday's time by a whole 5 minutes by the time I got back to the car - that was nice. I think today's run was a fraction harder than yesterday, admittedly there was a bit less climb but the length more than made up for that - no, sssh, stop it.

It's definitely a rest day tomorrow - I'm going to play some golf so that shouldn't take too much effort...

Thought for the day: How do you know when it's time to tune your bagpipes?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Nice chap, that Ben

The weather was really quite decent - for once. I got up nice and early - well, I got up. I plotted the route, programmed the gps and off I went. I had a circular route planned of about 13 miles which, once you actually factor in all the twists and turns, turned out to be a shade over 14. My legs had not really recovered from Thursday's run. They were still painful. Some might say that I shouldn't have gone for such a tough run on impaired legs but I've never been one to do things properly. Anyway, with about 4,500 feet of ascent it sure wasn't easy jog.

By the end I was slightly knackered - alright, I was fair knackered. The final descent from Cairngorm to the car park is about 2,000 feet and boy did that ever jar my quads. I probably won't be able to walk tomorrow. Still it was nice to meet Ben MacDui for the first time.

It really was a thoroughly great run. So scenic - not that I was looking - much. I didn't so much as have my feet in the clouds today as feet in the snow! I even stopped to take a snap of me on the edge of snow field but I can't post it on account of the fact I have the cheesiest grin in the world and look like a complete tit - but I really did have my feet in the snow - in July!

Anyway, I'm off for a nice relaxing forty winks...

Thought for the day: Behold the turtle. He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Four over par

First off, let me begin by saying that my quads are destroyed. They kill like you would not believe. They even hurt when I touch them - well stop touching them!

I decided against running but I intend another mountainous one tomorrow. I intend to visit Ben Macdui - that's the highest summit in the Cairgorms, not Ben MacDui the local postman. At 1309m it should be another tough run. Not sure what distance I'll attempt but as long as the legs feel improved I will try about 13 miles again. Guess we'll have to wait and see.

So, back to today. I played some more golf. The first nine was poor - better than Wednesday, mind, but still poor. But oh, what a difference a half makes. I was on fire on the back nine. Ok, not exactly on fire but certainly nice and toastie. I came back home just four over to complete the round at fourteen over and one inside my handicap - not bad for someone who only plays half a dozen times a year. Better not get cocky though, we all know what happens when you get cocky...

Well done to Helen F for a cracking result in the Waun Fach race - don't ask me if that's spelt correct, how the hell would I know?. She took first place and ran three minutes (make that two and a half) faster than last year.

Thought for the day: Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?

Friday, July 11, 2008


Well yesterday was a bit of a wash out. It rained all day - and I mean all day. It did not stop once. I got up bright and early and headed out for a warm up jog before the main event - when I say early I mean eleven o'clock - but that's early when I'm on my hols.

Anyway, the warm up - in the rain because, as I said before, it rained all day - was about 5k and took just over twenty minutes. I was really proud that I was going to run twice but then it rained harder and harder and in the end I was really narked that I bottled it. I should have gone and got wet but it was just too cosy inside and just too nasty out.

Things went better today, I'm happy to report. I forewent the lie in and got up at half past ten. After a bit of breaky it was out into the murk but at least it wasn't raining - yet. I marked up a 13 miler on the gps and off I set. It was a nice route, up to Craigowrie and across the ridge of three other summits, but I didn't see much on account of the low cloud and rain - I had my head, body and feet in the clouds. After about ten miles I was ready for the end but had to push on because I had to get back to where I parked the car. By the time I eventually reached the car, 2 hours and 20 minutes after setting out, I was hanging. Still that's a 13 miles and 3,300ft of ascent in the bag. I wonder what I will run tomorrow...

Thought for the day: The man who smiles when things go wrong has thought of someone to blame it on

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

They don't call me Tiger for nothing

To be fair, they don't actually call me Tiger at all. Yep, I'm up here in Sunny Scotland - make that, it isn't raining at the moment Scotland - to play some golf and more importantly get in some big miles. I arrived at noon after an on time Easyjet flight, had time for a spot of lunch before I was out onto the course at Boat of Garten Golf Club.

I played like a fart. I was truly awful. It took me until the nineteenth before I got going. It was a good laugh though - you have to have a sense of humour when you play that bad. Anyway, I'm hoping for better the next time.

Tomorrow I intend a run in the hills. I'm not going to start off with a terribly long run because in these yar hills [the Cairngorm Mountains] I might not make it back alive. I'm thinking maybe ten miles.

I'm going to try and run every day for the next week or so to really get myself fit and back in shape. I may not complete that schedule but it's a good goal to start out with. He who dares Rodney, he who dares...

Thought for the day: Never, never, never *MOON* a werewolf!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Roma lasto parto

It was a rather pathetic effort at the gym this morning for me. I managed a short workout on the upper body and that was about it.

Its another hot day and we are taking it easy as we wend our way to the termini and the bus ride to the airport. In all we must have covered over twenty miles and there isnt much of Rome we havent seen - except, of course, for the millions of side streets and alleys bustling with activity - Im still missing those apostrophes though.

All in all its been a fine weekend but Im flagging now. The most dissappointing thing though, is that the B team took their best result of the year so far to claim fifth place - they obviously dont need me so I guess Im going to get the boot down to the C team.

PS, we dont have a C team by the way.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Roma mark two

Well boot camp continued for a third day - although we were both thoroughly knackered. The temperature is just so hot we were melting down in the gym. I had created my own little puddles - but perhaps that is a little too much information.

Anyway, all I could manage was an easy half hour on the bike but even that was too much. H managed the mill but nuff said. Then we off and out into the city. First on the list was a visit to the cat museum. Alright, it's not a museum it's a cat sanctury housing around 250 abandoned felines. Suffice to say we had to make a donation - of money. It made me feel sad so then we left.

Did I say, it's bloody hot here but we made it to the ancient area of Roma and the Colosseum, the Palatine Hill yada yada. The Circus Maximus was a bit dissappointing - it was just a field with some lumps and bumps. Oh well. Right, we've now been there, seen it and done that. Now it's back off through the rambling city streets and coffee shops...

Thought for the day: Is the Pope Catholic?

PS I am reliably informed that the ancient area is not in fact the ancient area as all of Rome contains ancient bits but the area refered to as the ancient area is in fact the area with the highest concentration on old bits.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


Well the holiday got off to a great start - Helen dragged me out for some hill reps up Dundry before we even left - I was knackered. Six 800m reps up East Dundry Lane is not easy and I was shagged by the time we finished - obviously she whooped me, powering to the top far quicker than I could manage - but my view was nice.

Then it was off to the airport and Rome. Everything went off well, the flight was ahead of time on arrival but boy was is it hot here. As we walked across town to the Hotel we came across a small eatery called Harrys Bar - what are the odds, a chap at work recommended it but what are the chances of just stumbling up the right street - marvellous.

Finally we arrived at the hotel which looks great, marble floors, fancy pictures everywhere and even a gym. You can guess what we had to do this morning - stop it - yep, an hour workout down the gym. So far so good, been round the Popes house, fitted in some training and now Ive even managed some geeky interent stuff - cant beat it - except I cant find the bloody apostrophe on this dodgy keyboard. Off now for a stroll around these botanical gardens weve found. Ahh, you cant beat it (except for the missing apostrophe) - (and a spell checker using the English language).

Thought for the day: Bloody hell, its hot here!!!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oh how my heart weeps

...NOT. It looks like this years Bristol Half Marathon isn't quite so popular anymore. As I recall the entries filled very quickly last year but this year they seem to be struggling to fill the race. Could it be that they are finally reaping the rewards of their bad organisation?...

Anyway, onto my training tonight (not that I'm bitter or anything, about the half marathon, I mean - well, maybe just a little). So, how was it you ask? Bloody rubbish. I really have no explanation as to why I was quite so rubbish tonight. We ran with Dave B's group tonight and both Sean and Bruce were running - but they struggled a bit as well. I, on the other hand, was just plain pants.

We ran a three sets of 600m, 400m and 200m 'cept I only managed one proper set. It was during the second of the 600's I dropped out after just 200m because I felt dizzy. The recovery was just too short for me so I decided to cut the session loose and run some solo 400's with a seventy second recovery. Why a seventy second recovery I do not know. I guess it was just the time I got to the start line for the first of my solo's and I just stuck to that for the rest - there certainly wasn't any science to it. It was slow going but I managed five of them but there's not a cat's chance in hell that I'm going to mention my times because that would provide rather a little too much merriment for you all - suffice to say slow was my watchword.

Thought for the day: An apple every eight hours will keep three doctors away.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Not bad if I say so myself

I made it down to the gym after a long day at work. Where I might well have aborted the attempt in previous weeks tonight I made it - I told you I was back in the hunt - and I didn't perform too bad if I say so myself. I went for the bike option and ended up completing a session only 5% down on my best - back of the net. Have to say the ab crunches were a struggle though. Still it's good to be back. Next up, mission track, the final frontier...

Oh - just one more thing, a friend and faster runner [mutters quietly] is trying out this blogging lark, catch up with him at

Thought for the day: Age is a very high price to pay for maturity.