Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Slow motion

It was the first of the Winter Bridge Inn races tonight and with a little niggle in my left hamstring - and the small matter of being just plain bloody slow at the moment - I was never going to be quick. In truth I didn't even look at it as a race, more a tempo run.

At the moment I don't think I'm capable of running a single kilometer at my old PB pace - so there wasn't any point in even considering running five that quick.

I started towards the back so as to control my initial pace and avoid the adrenalin run at the front - that worked and my first kilometre was 3:56. I moved through kilometres two and three in 3:54 and 3:57 respectively before another steady 3:54 in the fourth. The final kilometre saw me rally to a death defying - ok, a non-death defying - 3:49 as I pushed on past a mass of fellow runners.

I was pleased with the manner of the run - if not my ability to run fast. I was steady, controlled and it will have done me some good. It certainly felt good to be finishing strong. I know I could have pushed a little harder and gone a little quicker but we aren't talking more than a second or two per kilometre and that still leaves me no where near where I want to be. At least this way I should be able to run a decent training session tomorrow on the track - those extra couple of seconds here or there would have finished me and at this time it's all about trying to maximise my training before Stroud - or I'm in for that whooping...

Thought for the day: Life's precious moments don't have value, unless they are shared.

Monday, September 29, 2008


We of the engineering department had an away day to Blagdon to discuss much stuff - but during the intermission Graham, Clive and I took off for a short but nice run up to the top. We waved hello to the Mendip Hills and then scuttled off back down the hill from whence we came.

Clive was his jovial self - as always, and I quote, 'if there are any uneven bits I'm heading back' - we were running on the road - nasty, hard going, those roads! Anyway, he survived and considering he is so unfit he managed to run the ascent pretty strongly. 'I guess it must have been a lucky ten minutes', he quipped. (I made that bit up).

So it wasn't the longest run in the history of running but it was nice to get out with my mentor, the man who made me the runner I am today - mind you, I won't be going again if he takes us on such uneven surfaces again - you could do yourself a real mischief on those things called roads...

Thought for the day: Others can stop you temporarily, but only you can do it permanently.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Another run in the forest

We went out for another run in the hazy, late afternoon sun. We retraced our steps of yesterday starting out in the reverse direction before taking a different route home. We only ran five and a half miles today with 800 feet of ascent against yesterdays ten and a half miles and 2,500 feet of ascent - sure is hilly in these yar parts.

I reckon that if I can manage to get myself out for a few more runs I'll find the old strength again - which is just as well with the Stroud Half Marathon fast approaching. Helen is going to give me such a beating there. I'll be lucky if I can break an hour and a half - I'll never hear the end of it.

It's a shame we're hitting autumn and the Darkness - that Justin Hawkins has got a lot to answer for - oops, must keep grip on reality. Seriously though, the change of scenery and vast number of paths through the forest should give me plenty of muse.

Right, I'm off for some more of that diy. Where are those blasted fence planks...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A room with a view

Here is the view from my room as I pen this blog.

We went out for a cracking run this afternoon. It was so ace to head out the front door and be in the countryside. We circled our village in a large loop, taking in May Hill amoungst other sights from the forest.

I'm not sure how far we ran but it took bloody ages and it was very hilly - you know what, I reckon I'm going to enjoy it here.

And after that epic run I still had time to go diy crazy - well, diy mildly silly. I knocked out another four metres of fencing, fixed the dog stairgate and constructed my office desk - from whence I pen this post.

This has been a long, tiring week but now we're settled in it's great - now just have to try and get some normality to my training - being saying that for a while...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What the heck happened there?

I'm not really sure what happened tonight. I was yawning before the start - I had to give myself an intravenous coffee infusion straight after work just to keep my eyelids open. But when we started the session - just the four of us, Helen, Sean, Rick and me - I was like a man possessed. I hasten to draw attention to the fact that it was only the four of us - we have been betrayed. Judas, clutching his thirty pieces of silver has left the building taking Dan and the Eritreans with him - only kidding.

We ran a pyramid session; 400, 600, 800, 600, 400 with a 100m jog recovery all washed down with three 200's with a 200m recovery. I ran like the wind - OK, I ran like I had the wind - but it felt like I was turning back the clock. My splits were 73s, 1:52, 2:38, 1:56 and 74 followed by the 200's in 34, 33 and 32. It was like I'd rolled back the years to recapture my youth. Helen ran well, beating me on all but seven of the reps and Sean ran a blinder too.

I don't know quite where I summoned it all from tonight and in truth I'm not going to ask too many questions. I just hope it all happens again next week...

Thought for the day: When in doubt, don't.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Moving on up

After a busy weekend, the pie shop beckoned - only kidding because that's a figment of my imagination. I missed training tonight on account of wanting to get a few more necessities, the simple bare necessities, forget about your worries and your strife...

I'm staying over in Bristol tonight before returning to the Forest and the call of the Banjo's tomorrow - I've got my canoe trip planned. Then it's going to be the track on Wednesday.

Thought for the day: My progress may be slower than others but at least I haven't given up. That is the greatest downfall that comparing yourself to others can do - it can make you give up because you haven't gotten as far, created as much, or learned as fast compared to other people on the same or similar journey.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fencing with the plumbing

The major housey crisis has been averted. We aren't having our new washing machine delivered until Tuesday - and with a leaky valve that meant 4 no water. In order to have a shower, make a brew or even a flush of the loo ment flooding the floor those few minutes! Anyway after a day trip to an outlet of 'a certain large chain of diy superstores' I managed a swift valve change. Turned back on the water and ... it didn't drip. Not one drop. Result, shower time, party on.

Helen was off wining a team silver at the Midland Road Relays - I should have been going as a reserve - for one of the mens team, not the woman - but had to get that leak fixed. I am in Mike Down's bad books but it's not every day you move house - and I really did want to go, sounds like I missed a good day.

After the plumbing I built 10 metres of feather-board fencing, interspersed with putting Helen's Ikea desk - no parts left over - result - and further small dog fortifications - to keep the little blighters in as opposed to warding off an attack of the ankle biters. I am now knakered and off for a shower. Only another 18 metres of fencing to go...

Thursday, September 18, 2008


This is to be (or not to be? That is the question) my shortest ever entry to the blog-o-sphere. The end.

Just kidding - about the end, not the shortness of the post. I had some sorting out to do and some chilling out before tomorrow and the move. I think I've got everything up together but only time will tell. Inevitably I will get there and realise I've forgotten some vital piece of the puzzle.

Heck, this is getting past the 'shortest ever' mark so I better shut up.

Just one more thing before I go. The chances are I won't be doing any training tomorrow either - did I mention I didn't do any today? Well I didn't. And there is half a chance my services might be required for a leg of the Midland Road Relays - but I guess they'll be desparate if that happens...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The exchange

Well today was the day - no, there weren't any teddy bears nor for that matter were there any picnics - but today was the day we exchanged on our new house. These are exciting times.

Now on to the important matters, did I get any training done? Of course, why would you ever doubt? - oh yeah, recent lapses, silly me. Sadly, I was far from the madding track. I only managed the bike, but it was a good interval session and my legs were thoroughly burning by the end. Helen put in a vicious looking 400m interval session on the treadmill.

Anyway, things move a pace towards operation completion on Friday...

Thought for the day: Years teach us more than books.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Just a kwik one

The slightly stressful times continue to build - but I'm still holding onto my firm grasp of reality - shut it.

I managed half an hour on the bike and worked up a bit of a sweat. It's true to say it was the best bit of training I've ever done but I'll take any training I can fit in at the moment. My legs still felt a bit rubbish and in truth, they had more than a hint of the jelly about them afterwards.

Anyway, it's almost d-day on the move so I'm off to prepare...

Thought for the day: Remember: Don't Insult the Alligator till after you cross the river.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Too achy

Well I didn't make any training tonight - I very nearly did but in the end the aches and pains won out and I bottled it. My left achilles has been tight for about a month - I hasten to add that it doesn't affect me during a run, just feels tight during the warm up and when walking around.

At the moment, although I don't feel too stressed, the pressures of work and the house move must be taking their respective internal toll but hopefully it won't be too long before I can breath easy and get some damn fine training in.

I'm a little sad I didn't make it to training because a little bird tells me me that Mike T was going to be there and it would have been nice to see him getting back into it after his set back earlier in the year.

Anyway, as threatened, here is the Llyn-y-Fan fell race route and profile - all 2,000 feet of it - nice.

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

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Well that was fun [grimaces to camera] - damn near killed me.

Helen wanted a tempo run. Not wishing to wimp out, being a boy and all, I gave it a go. Total distance was just under 10 Miles with seven at tempo - I don't actually think I managed to get up to tempo pace at all. After two miles we kicked off the tempo part of the run. As the pace increased I - well, I didn't - and Helen drifted out the front door.

I don't think I managed much more than seven minute miling at any point. Neither my legs nor my lungs had it today and I just couldn't go any faster. By the end I was wasted - well, actually by about three miles I was wasted and by four all I wanted to do was go home but I knew the Mad Runner would never admit defeat so I just kept plugging away until the end.

Thought for the day: The path of least resistance is the path of the loser.

Saturday, September 13, 2008


What a bloody good day we had today. And, what perfect weather - I don't know how the organiser managed it but I reckon he has some connections with a higher power.

I ran ace today. OK, not ace on the good runner scale of ace but it felt bloody ace - I am buzzing. Of course, Helen whooped me but for the first time in a while we had a bit of a tussle - until the final descent - and then it was race over for me. We finish in a one two - well, it was 5th and 6th - but you get my meaning of consecutive places. So it wasn't a huge field but I so enjoyed getting out there, proper like an' all. And one chap, Kevin, just found my Sugar Loaf video from last year and said it was great seeing himself on it - seems like I should get out there and do a bit more filming and get back into the spirit of fun.

As like in the old days, I recorded the route today so I will be posting that up as soon as I get it uploaded to the web.

Anyway, I expect to be fully knackered tomorrow - but rest assured I will be running. I might be slow and limp along, but I will be running...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A bit lazy

Only 'alf an hour on the bike in front of the telly. My legs have been a bit tight during the day - mainly the calves from all that bloody sprinting yesterday. Why do I do it? I keeps a tellin' myself no but I just don't listen. Anyway, I should be ready in time for Saturday's Llyn y Fan race. It's only five and a half miles but at 2,000 feet of ascent it'll be too much for me to cope with. I shall try my best and treat the climbs as necessary training.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Blustery days keep the doctor aways

Another day, another session on the track. All right, 'A' session on the track.

It was a horrible night. The wind was foul. All around, did howl. By the end, muscles tight. By 'eck, it were a horrible night - but we had a very large group braving the conditions.

Our squad sported such past members as Danny - well, that was about it for the past members. Timba was back for more - always good to see a young lad not being put off and eager for more training. More intriguing was a young woman and her father - and her mother, but she didn't run - who have recently moved to Bristol and who looks quick. I think she's originally from Eritrea but don't quote me. Oh, and I should mention Dan and Jerry were once again propping up the front with Sean while I, of course, propped up the rear - ooh, no, misses, stop it. And not forgetting the most important person of all, Rick - just kidding, I'm mean Helen [starts donning the body armour - and not the cheap stuff].

Well, that about wraps it up for tonight. Oops, I almost forgot to tell you about the session. We ran - at the request of Jerry - four 400's with a jog 90s, 200m recovery followed by a five minute rest before continuing with eight 200's with another 90s recovery. I ran OK. The 400's were a bit slow, averaging about 77s with a nasty, wicked, evil 80s slipped in there somewhere but the 200's were better with the first few at 34s before cutting that down to 32s and a final 30s. I were right pleased with the last one because I just felt I needed to see if I had the old magic - and you know what? I think I still do...

Thought for the day: A cat in gloves catches no mice.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Dead legs and tangerines

I made it to training tonight up on the Downs - and never have I been less prepared for it - OK, maybe once or twice. I was pretty rubbish - I'll be kind to myself and limit my description to merely rubbish - but Sean was looking relaxed and going well. Rick had a bit of trouble - Betty - and pulled out to avoid injury.

We started off with a 3 minute effort and after a short recovery we then ran three 6 minute efforts with a two minute recovery before finishing with a final 3 minute effort. It's at this point I must confess - yes, really I must, the third of my 6 minute efforts turned into a 3 on account of, well, being completely pants.

My legs just didn't have it this evening. They just felt so dead but I managed the session so that's a positive. Hopefully I will manage an easy run tomorrow.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

A case of the shall we shan't we

I didn't mention that I might have been running a 10k race today just in case I didn't manage to make it - I didn't. Instead, after much vexing, cogitating - sounds painful - and soul searching, we made it out for a reasonably paced ten miler. I showed Helen the finer sights that Whitchurch and the surrounding area has to offer. Such as the bad lands of Knowle West - we skirted around the edge, not daring to enter without police escort. The delights of the pie factory. The marvel that is Horse World - although Helen often finds herself drawn, inexplicably, towards there routinely and then back into the 'church' as we locals don't call it for a fly by of Asda'l' and then home for tea... only it was lunch time so I guess that makes it home for lunch.

Oh, yeah, and once we got home we discovered that Brown Dog, the super dog extraordinaire and flown over the back fence and buggered off to the Co-op to choose us something nice for said lunch - ah, bless.

Ps, I made up the bit about the pie factory.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The old Wednesday route

I decided to brave the weather and try my luck on the old Wednesday night route. Unfortunately I didn't get much luck - it p#&$ed down the whole time. I was wetter than a ostrich mistaking a swamp for the sand. I was drowned - so its lucky I can swim.

It wasn't the fastest time I've ever run and if I am honest my time of 31 minutes dead was quicker than the times I was running back in 2006. I have gone quicker and if I was at the same level as I was last year then I should break thirty without much trouble. I guess it goes to show how far I've let myself slip. Still, it's a marker that I can use to gauge my recovery.

Thought for the day: A tonne of crisps is consumed every three minutes in the UK! (But not all of them by me I should add).

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Trailing at the track

We had a strong head wind tonight down the home straight but Rick was kind and only made us run it once per rep. Now you might think, hang on a minute, I bet you only ran four hundreds - but you'd be wrong because we ran the 600/300 session as of a few weeks ago. So Rick really was kind - even if the weather wasn't.

I ran like, well, someone who can't run. I was a right potato. I struggled to cope with two minutes for the 600 hundred with the fourth drifting to a death defying ... 2:08 but I managed to get back towards two minutes for the last one. The three's weren't much better as I struggled to hit 57's and one drifting to over a minute. The only silver lining was that the recovery was shortish, weighing in at about 45s and 90s. Oh yeah, and one more silver lining was that I raised myself to the heady heights of a final 53 second 300m - but then I was finished - he shoots, he misses - doh.

As to those attending, there was no Rob - booo - but we had a new lad, and forgive me for the spelling, Timba? Anyway, others in attendance were - and this is in no particular order of preference [winks to camera] - Helen, Dan, Jerry, Sean and time keeper extraordinaire, Rick.

Well that's it for tonight. Maybe I will manage to get some training done tomorrow - and maybe I won't - but I hope I do...

Thought for the day: Get all the fools on your side and you can be elected to anything.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

This thing called work

...keeps getting in the way - oh yeah, and this thing called knackered legs. In a way I'm glad of the excuse really - I would have been soaked to the skin had I attempted some 8's on the track this evening - I'll save myself for tomorrow. It's just a bit of a bummer though. Every time I give myself a kick start and attempt to put in some decent training I get scuppered. There have been so many false dawns of late. Anyway, I've decided the only way to get myself to train consistently is to find a target. To set myself a goal and then just get out there and achieve it. Operation thinking cap commences...

Thought for the day: There's a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot.