Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ah, the old Christmas run

It was a reduced field from previous years but the old gang got out on the road again. If I was serious about the race tomorrow I wouldn't have run today but it's only a bit of fun for me and it was good to be running with the people that I first started running with - namely Clive and Graham. We've only run a few times during the last year or two and today was nice. The frosty wind made moan - but on we ran on regardless.

We were out for about 35 minutes up over Dundry and although I wasn't pushing hard I can feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes - I even feel it in my legs a bit. I'm slightly worried about my left ankle which started playing up after last night's session and I can feel a slight pain there again today - sod it, I'm still racing tomorrow. I didn't get where I am today by being put off by a few niggles.

Finally, I wish you merriment and happiness for the coming year. Long may you all continue to run with the wind on your back...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Back in the fold

I ran with Mike D's training group for the first time in, oh, I don't know, over a year? To be honest, I'm not really sure. One thing I am sure of, however, - I'm a damn sight slower than I was the last time I did train with them. There were a few friendly faces, Phil P and Sean to mention two.

We ran up and down the Clifton Prom in three different loops, large - 1.5km, medium - just over 1km and short - 650m. Now, in the past I've run the large in just over 6 minutes, the medium in just over 4 minutes and the short in about two and a half minutes - I should add at this point, that the loops are far from flat - you run up a pretty steady climb during all three and the large has a somewhat steeper bit towards the end.

Tonight we ran three large, two medium and two short and apart from the first one I was on my lonesome - on account of being shit. Even so, I stuck to the task in hand - you don't get fit without cracking a few nuts. I ran my last two reps, that's the short ones in case you've become confused - I had by that point, after everyone else had finished, warmed down and gone home - only kidding, they'd stayed behind to chat.

My splits were 6:20, 6:22 and 6:30 followed by 4:30 and 4:32 and finished off - and I nearly was - with 2:40 and 2:35. Now I know I've been quicker but it's a start. I can build and after all, it was close to five miles of (relative) fast running - which is way more than I've done in eons.

Sean ran well. I think it helped him to be part of a larger, quicker group. He had people to chase instead of being the lead man, as is normally the case.

Anyway, there isn't any track tomorrow on account of the end of the world - [coughs] I mean, the end of the year - so I hope to head out from work at lunch for a steady - and I do mean steady - half hour from work with Clive T and Graham. Then there's the race on Thursday, some 5 mile effort in Gloucestershire and I think Phil P might be giving it a go there - he's much faster than me in case you were wondering and a real contender.

So that's your lot for tonight. Tootle pip.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I had the luck

and managed to get out for an hour and fifteen of running. I was honoured to be given the very important job of tiring Brown Dog - I failed. We ran through Flaxley Woods and covered about 8 miles and 1,500 feet of ascent which is surprising as although there are parts where you can feel you're running up hill it certainly doesn't seem like the run covers that much ascent. The GPS (and maps) can't lie so fifteen hundred feet it is, captain.

So, it is with great reluctance, that I must return back to the reality of work tomorrow. I'm still not sure what training I'll be doing tomorrow but I'm going to try for the Prom session on Tuesday. Then I'll need a day of rest on Wednesday to prepare for a 5 mile race on New Year's day.

At least for now, the new training leaf continues...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Over the threshold

We got back this afternoon and crossed the threshold - that's the narrow block of wood in the doorway to stop, or 'hold' the thresh from escaping out into the street, the thresh being the straw that we scatter on the floor - although we stopped using thresh in the late 1700's. What am I on?

I feel a bit tired but it's been a brilliant week. Have to say I'm not looking forward to going back to work on Monday but at least I have tomorrow to prepare myself.

I've not managed any training today but with some luck I will get out for a run tomorrow. I'm also intending to get to the Bristol and West training on the Clifton Prom on Tuesday. Not sure if big Rick is doing anything on Monday but I would be up for that if he is.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Walky walky

We decided to miss the race. My legs weren't great so we went for a walk instead. We were bathed in brilliant sunshine for the first time this week. The dogs - faker, whiny and the super dog - all came along too.

We headed down through the old ghost slate mines, haunted by the ancient miners long since forgotten - ok, so that's all made up. We ended up in Llanberis and a visit to the pie shop - they have them here too, not just in Bristol. The weather really was cracking - did I mention that already?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

At last a good run

So Christmas has finally rolled into town. Helen and I headed to the hills in the son of the beast with Brown Dog in tow.

It was our longest run of the honeymoon but for the first time I felt OK. We set off up Pen yr Ole Wen - a right leg burner from the start. We soon hit a bit of a climby section and for a moment, just a moment, Brown Dog faultered - but she made it up after a few tries - just like me she doesn't give up.

Eventually we made the summit before heading down the wrong path for over 200m of descent which we then had to re-ascend before taking the north path along the ridge around the tops. It was runnable - and we ran.

I really enjoyed it. What a way to spend Christmas. Simply ace. The views, however, were bloody rubbish. Low cloud meant we could see sod all. Two and a half hours after we started we made it back to the van.

I've put in more hours this week than in any other single week this year but I'm feeling better for it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Birthday run up Snowdon

Another Birthday, another year of wisdom acquired - maybe not. It certainly hasn't been a run of the mill one. I've become dead slow at running - but I'm on it, I'll soon be quicker. Started a new job, moved home and got things together with the best gal in the world - and best of all, ended up marrying her - although she'll hate all this soppy s*#t - moving on.

As a birthday treat we ran the classic Snowdon horseshoe - my legs are showing signs of distress and we still have a few more runs planned, and another race on boxing day. By the end of the week we'll have clocked more than a few feet of ascent. I'm a bit sad to miss Clevedon this year - but this is better and I'd never swap.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to my Birthday Christmas pud - one of the advantages of a birthday so close to Christmas. As my Nepalese guru says, 'Never turn down the opportunity for Christmas pud'.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Recovery run...

Not. We went for a medium length run in the mountains. It really wasn't much more than 5 or 6 miles but took us up beyond the 1000 metre mark - not ideal for a recovery run and I suffered through lack of training - but then again this is my honeymoon training boot camp - and I hope to come back a faster fell runner - if I survive.

Helen, my new wife - not that I have any others, soundly beat me back to the car park. My legs were gone.

I hit the ripe old age of 37 tomorrow but sadly, there is no rest for the wicked as we'll be heading back into the mountains and a far longer run than today - I hope I survive...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Ringing in the changes

We're up in North Wales for the week and arrived last night. Mobile signal isn't great so the blogging is not going to be extensive.

Anyway, we ran Eryri Harriers' Christmas fun run - read, no prizes just an extensive raffle for charity. Being a fun run we took it easy - did we f$#&. I legged it from the gun but eventually dropped out of the top ten to finish 11th or 12th. Helen ran ace and finished 6th overall and a long way clear of the second woman.

Although only 5.5 miles I was pretty knackered come the end and it was good training of which there is much more to come through out the week - do you know, it's pretty hilly up here in Snowdonia.

Oh, and we won the special Eryri prize on account of being on our - of a sort.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oops I didn't do it again

Looks like I failed again. Today's been just too topsy turvy. I had a good commute into work - where has all the traffic gone? - shouldn't have said that, should I? And work was also good but being a specy - I can't be without my goggles for too long. The contacts are fine but I can't wear them in all the time and being a slightly absent minded, mad professor - ok, I lied about the professor bit, but not the mad part, honest guvnor, I left them pescy specs at the town house, doh. Had to go pick them up during lunch which scuppered my chance at a run. And tonight? Well, we're off out so you'll just have to call me Mr Potato.  

Thought for the day: While the rain comes down why not take the time to turn those potatos into chips.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Back to the bike

I managed a bit more training tonight. A lowly 45 minutes on the exercise bike. I shall try for another run tomorrow lunchtime on the - you guessed it - the Dundry route. I won't have much more time to spare what with H's office do in the evening. It will be then or never. Well, never with regard to Friday not never as in till the end of time.

Anyway, it's a short one tonight - stop it. 

Thought for the day: Better to understand a little than to misunderstand a lot.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oh dear, oh deary, deary, dear, dear, oh deary, dear

That was truly awful. I was rubbish. Bruce returned but had a bit of a rumbly stomach and had to stop. Sean looked strong as he pounded the boardwalk and Rick brought me my order from Bristol's best running shop - Up and Running. I was still rubbish.

We joined in with Dave B's group and ran four sets of 600m then 400m with just 60s recovery and a jogged 200m between sets. I had some discomfort with my right foot and had to stop after the first set to adjust by which time I was lost.

I steadily slowed down from an initial 1:57 / 76s pair up to 2:09 / 80s by the fourth set. I was puffing and panting - as you should be - but only when you're running a damn sight quicker than I was. I reckon that running all but the first set by myself made things a touch harder but I really don't think I would've been that much faster even if I'd run as part of the group.

I'm looking forward to some serious training in the next week or two - 'cause I sure as heck need it what with all my planned races coming thick and fast in 2009.

Thought for the day: A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Bristol and West Christmas party - disco time.

A snap from last weeks do, as I test a new way to blog from my phone.

Posted by ShoZu

Lunch anyone?

Clive T's spider senses were on top form - he'd taken himself out of the office until about two in the afternoon and with Graham still a bit off colour it was down to little old me to tread some pavement.

High noon arrived and I was out of the blocks like Usane Bolt. One minute later I hit the street running - OK, it might have been closer to five minutes. I chose the old Dundry loop - the loop made famous by such esteemed runners as Terry M, Mark D and not forgetting Clive T and Graham C of course. It goes something like this; out the front gate and round to Highridge common. Then up over the edge of Dundry and back down to the A38 before heading back to the start.

I've been inside 31 minutes for the hilly route that comes in close to five miles but today it took me 32:24 - now I'm quite pleased with that, even if I say so myself. I even managed to get up to the high point in an 'about as fast a time as I ever have' 16:24. I died on the run in mind, but it was a good hard effort.

I'm going to try and run the same route once a week - maybe missing out Christmas as things tend to go a bit wonky this time of year - but after that I'm going to use it as my fitness gauge.

Thought for the day: Those who live by the sword... get shot by those who don't.

Monday, December 15, 2008

I'm too lazy for my shoes

Too lazy for my running shoes, so lazy it hurts.

Yes, as you can guess didn't quite make it out for a run. This slacking is entirely too much - and at time when I was just getting going again. The Tuesday Bristol training group is over at Coombe Dingle but I really hate it over there - all that muddy grassy stuff - urrgh. Not doing that.

I have a window at work, a small iota of time eeked in between a couple of tasks where I can, with the luck of the Irish, get out for a lunch time run. I'll see if Clive T is game for it - ooh, er mrs - haven't had one of those for a while - but I will wager he'll not be. Anyhow, I shall do the old up over Dundry loop and see what kind of time I manage. Perhaps the lunchtime run is the way to go for now - at least until something better comes along...

Saturday, December 13, 2008


By the way, I did squeeze in 45 minutes on the exercise bike between getting my hair styled, the drive home and the drive north. In the rush of it all I forgot my bloomin' coat so I might be getting wet tomorrow - nobber.

And that's a poor showing

I have struggled this week. The first half of the week was taken up by my utterly bad legs after the race last Sunday. My excuse for the latter part of the week? Just haven't been able to make the time - and the cold, oh, the cold.

We went to the Bristol and West / Westbury combined Christmas party last night. Where, once again, I went through the motions of my sad excuse for dancing - although by way of a change from my normal drunken moon walking I performed my robotic dancing instead - and I did that without the aid of any booze. Sadly, I am a lost cause.

Anyway, we're off up north to Halifax for the Calderdale Way Relays tomorrow. I'm on support duty only as I'm not required by any of the teams - but then again, I am a bit rubbish. If I was team captain I wouldn't pick me...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

So cold...

I didn't know whether to put on my spikes or my ice skates. It sure was icy on the track. The crunch of breaking ice could be heard echoing around the arena as those brave enough to train punctured the glassy film as they ran. And I'm sure there was more ice at the close then there was when we started.

It was a good turn out with Sean, Bruce - and his dad, Mike - Rick and Jerry all waving the banner. Although, as is normal these days, Jerry was running his own 400's as we ran 200's with a non-stop jogged 100 recovery. I have to say that I was more than a bit rubbish tonight. My calves hadn't really recovered from Sunday. They were - and still are - very tight. I knew I had to take care and with the ice making the track more like concrete than normal I ran very slowly - 40 seconds for each repetition - now, even by my standards that is woefully slow.

Eight was the limit for me on this frosty evening as my increasingly tight calves forced me to call a premature end. Sean and Bruce knocked out a goodly number more - and, I should add, a damn sight quicker. I need to do something tomorrow but I'm not sure what...

Thought for the day: It is easier to get older than it is to get wiser.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Not so final resting place

My calves are deadly painful today. A slight extension of the legs and the pain... oh the pain. I've decided on some gentle stretching tonight so that they will be ready for action tomorrow - at the track. After two weeks away from the track I'm not going to be missing it - even if I just limp around slowly.

The last few weeks has definitely been an improvement training wise but I still need to step it up. My routine is beginning to get there but it still requires more work. Now this festival of 'Christmas' as it fast approaches is going to put a spanner in the works...

Thought for the day: Doing nothing is very hard to never know when you're finished.

Monday, December 08, 2008

I'll keep this short

because I'm too lazy to go upstairs to write this on my computer so I used my phone instead. I did, however, manage to actually do some training. It might only have been the bike but unlike my lack of focus for training of a few months back I did do something.

As this thing is fiddly to use, I'll stop now. Oh, and it was half an hour on the bike - for those who are counting.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The works

Well that all went a bit wrong. It would appear that I am a bit more pants than I thought. I took it out hard for - the first kilometer. Then the realisation struck home that I'm still firmly on the first rung of the runners rehabilitatory ladder - the next 13 kilometers were a struggle.

As the race progressed, I steadily lost places. Only briefly managing to turn the tide on the steep downhill sections where my loss of sense and sensibility allowed me to go faster than the average bear, Boo-Boo.

The finish, when it eventually came into view, was a very welcome sight. I was just outside my target of 1:35 for the 9 mile, 2,700 feet ascent fell race, making it home a minute later.

It's true to say that this wasn't my greatest moment in fell running but it was good practice all the same - and only five ladies, four oaps, three hill walkers, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree managed to beat me home - so that was alright. Oh, and I made the top 254 (out of 254).

Helen took the women's race in a non-course-record time of 1:28 - whoo, not-record-breaker - although she does still hold it from last year. Mrs B got some cake and chips so she was happy and I ate 'the works' in the Little Chef on the drive home - ah, there's nothing quite like quality, home cooked food - shame we went to the Little Chef really.

Further training is required. Make it so, number one.

Thought for the day: I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

Profile and Route of the Cardington Cracker

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Lovely bit of cake

A visit to the local shop for a pint of milk saw me purchase a right nice bit o' cake - a fruity little number with a bit of orange thrown in for good measure - beauty. That's just the kind of dietary requirement an athlete like myself needs before a tough race. The only thing that could have topped that would have been to have consumed a tasty spicy chicken pie for the first course - oops, I think I've said too much.

Anyway, I raring to go. Bring on the cracker...

Thought for the day: It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

Friday, December 05, 2008

A new hope

My taper continues. And no, before you think it, I've not been a total lazy sod. I might not have managed a run - it's far too cold for that, me being from the south an' all. I did, however, manage an hour on the bike. It was hard effort in the last fifteen minutes but I just kept telling myself it was doing me good. I'm sure it's going to get me up those hills on Sunday a little more easily - well I flippin' hope it does anyway.

I can't say I'm totally looking forward to the Cracker up in Shropshire - because I know I'm not really in shape for it and after seeing the forecast - it looks like being a cold one to boot. My only hope is that I can summon the power of the mad runner to see me through...

Thought for the day: 'Budget' - A method for going broke methodically.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

White Beast II: Son of the Beast

I have what looks like being a very tough race on Sunday, the Cardington Cracker. Apparently last years women's race was won in a time that was reported to be, and I quote, 'very quick'. Oh, and incidentally, Pat W almost got his ass kicked by said women's race winner - no doubt I will get my ass kicked by her this year. Anyway, at nine miles and lord knows how much ascent I'm expecting to find the the going tough.

All of which hides the fact that I am tapering for the race. Well, really I'm just too knackered to train - but I'll call it tapering instead as it sounds better.

Oh, and we've bought a new beast, Son of the Beast. A Vauxhall Vivaro - so if you've heard anything bad about the vivaro - keep it to yourself. I don't want to know. Really, I don't want to know. We like it and that's all that matters - sssh, no, sssh, don't say anything. Shtum.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The long day

I was up and at the world by 6:30 this morning on my way to Sheffield for a work thing. The drive up was fine until someone decided it would be good to park up in the third lane of the M1 - maybe not such a great idea. It made me late.

The conference was interesting enough that I didn't fall asleep - always a plus. But then came the drive home. I left at 16:00 but after a crash on the M5 left it closed off from the M42 I had to find an alternative way home - cue TomTom, the worlds bestest ever car navigator. It found me a route around the trouble.

I finally got home at 19:30 to be greeted by 'er indoors and a lovely plate of Iranian cuisine. Anyway, I'm way past too tired to do any running stuff. The rub is that my legs feel fully recovered. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

Thought for the day: Dogs VS Cats

A dog thinks: Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me,
provide me with a nice warm, dry house, pet me, and take good
care of me... They must be Gods!

A cat thinks: Hey, these people I live with feed me, love me,
provide me with a nice warm, dry house, pet me, and take good
care of me... I must be a God!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I wasn't going to...

...but then I did.

Not a run though. After three straight days of running and racing I couldn't take a fourth. My legs do actually feel a lot better than yesterday. Not fully recovered, mind, but no longer painful. Perhaps that killer run last night wasn't so bad after all - still, it felt bad at the time.

So to this evening and a half hour on the bike. I didn't pull out all the stops but it was hard enough effort to activate the apocrine and merocrine glands - that's sweating to you. All this is the name of enjoyment. The things we do, eh?

Oh, and here's the missing photo - after such a big build up it's a bit of an anticlimax. Still, I shall try and brighten up the blog with a few photo's from now on - that is until the filming resumes in the spring...

The climb through the woods - before the 'steep' bit!!!

Thought for the day: Mental Floss prevents Moral Decay.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I could go off that Jerry

My quads have been painful to the touch today - after I realised that... I stopped touching them. It didn't node well for tonight's run and with Sean and Rick making up the foursome I knew I was in trouble - and I wasn't wrong. We set off just after seven and almost immediately I was flagging - so much for J's email claiming his legs were a bit achy - he was bloody legging it. This being 50 malarchy doesn't seem to have slowed him down any. But then again, I reckon he was trying to send out a signal to Rick, a year his senior but in the same masters category. There may be trouble ahead...

Anyway, it was a good 11k for me, practically a tempo run on current form weighing in at just under 46 minutes. Heaven knows how bad my poor quads are going to feel tomorrow. Still, I must try and do something. Maybe the bike me thinks.

And, in case you were wondering, I haven't a clue where yesterday's photo has gone. It claims to have been posted to the web but there ain't no sign of it. I will try to post it again tomorrow. I dunno, all this techno stuff - it's just plain wrong.