Saturday, February 28, 2009

Short race at Longtown

Another good day for racing... and another good race. I was much improved from Tuesday and had a good run.

That's not to say I'm as good as I once was - but I managed to give Helen a scare as I caught up to her on the ascent. Mind you, she redoubled her effort and slowly edged just that little bit out of reach. It wasn't until the last 100m of the climb that she really got away though. Up to that point I still felt I had a chance but once I got to the top my legs were jelly and I knew I had sod all chance of catching the queen of the downhill. I did catch one or two of the runners ahead though, on what was a descent of about as fast a condition as you'll find in any fell race.

I can't say I felt strong on the way up and a few came past but I felt much better than I did a few months ago. There is still much to be do but I'm feeling better about things.

So, it's the Ironwood Challenge tomorrow and I feel positive, even after racing today, that I can climb into the top twenty. I'd like top fifteen but... well, I guess we'll find out tomorrow. I'm thinking steady, if almost slow, start with a strong finish will be the tactic of the day...

Oh, and here's today's race profile and route of 3 miles and 1,200 feet ascent.

Friday, February 27, 2009

All systems go

I am finally pain free from the scalp down and I'm going to try and enjoy the race tomorrow - no doubt 'er indoors will whoop my sorry ass - but before this week's glitch things were a changin'. [Got to keep up the fighting talk, raises eyebrow to camera].

Now that the weather is improving I'll soon be able to get out after work and if I can keep adding in a few lunch time runs the endurance will soon come back. Then all I have to do is throw in a weekly hill, interval, fartlek and long run and I'll be sorted - not asking much then...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lunching out

Well, after the last few days disastrous training - or almost entire lack of any - I managed an easy run with Graham during lunch. We were only out 25 minutes but at least I'm back out running without the pain. The neck tension and muscle aches seem to have all but disappeared - which is good considering I've the Longtown fell race on Saturday followed by one of my favourite races on Sunday, the Ironwood Challenge (which is part of Nailsea Running Clubs three race series and a cracking little race).

The IC is a great multi-terrain race of about 10k and 1,200 feet of ascent, taking place in the woods above Long Ashton, Bristol. The route takes you up and down, out and back. The last few times I've finished in the top 20 and I managed fourth last year - suffice to say I might have to buy a top twenty spot this year 'cause I sure as heck don't think I've a chance of getting there on foot. Still, stranger things have happened at sea... What the heck does that saying mean anyway?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oops I didn't do it again

I was going to the track tonight. Really, I was. Don't look at me that way. Stop it already... I didn't. Boo.

Work took me out into the cold. I wasn't expecting it to be that cold since the temperatures of late have been getting higher and higher - it was practically summer during the weekend - it damn well wasn't down by the reservoir. I got right cold and by five I'd fair had enough. Still the trials all went well and I collected some good data but I was a little chilled - and not in a cool dude kind of way.

Suffice to say I'm making my excuses because I didn't make the track session. I feel bad. I wanted to but by the time I got away from work my neck muscles where feeling a bit achy. Generally it does seem better. I will be taking my kit to work tomorrow and will try my upmost to get out for a lunch time run - even if it's a slow jog. This week has been a disaster. I want to draw a line under it right quick and move on...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Not going through the pain barrier

I drove over to the Bridge Inn, got out the car and jogged to the race hq. It was at that point I realised I couldn't race tonight. Although my neck isn't stiff any more the tension from running caused too much pain in my neck muscles. I decided to jog the course instead and started at the back of the field.

As the race progressed I moved through the field without ever getting inside 4 minute kilometre pace - now that's slow even by my standards. I finished in 20:30. OK, so that's not exactly a jog for me but easy enough that I didn't get too much tension - and pain - so perhaps I got some training benefit from it.

There is nothing more anoying than sustaining an injury that is not related to running but that stops you training. I don't think I'm going to be able to complete week 5 of the push ups this week, so I shall put that on hold until next week. Ho Hum.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Stiff neck, flippin' heck

I had a bit of a stiff neck yesterday but didn't think too much of it. Don't know where it came from. It was just one of those things. Later in the day I spent 90 minutes taking out the glass from the interior bulkhead of the van - that glue stuff they use on that is total bastard. I don't think I've ever come across a more gluey glue than the stuff they use to glue automotive glass in place - they should use it on the space shuttle, they wouldn't be getting bits falling off if they did, that's for damn sure. I still didn't give much thought to the neck - but I sure as heck gave thought to it when I woke up pained in the middle of the night. It has been a right killer.

I got through the day at work without too much trouble - using the full body turn method - because to turn the head at the neck was bad. I looked like a right old git and it isn't much better tonight. Suffice to say I'm not able to do any training tonight - there's not any chance I can even manage the sit up or push up plan. It's the Bridge Inn 5k tomorrow and I'm just crossing my fingers I'll be fit to get a run out...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The day of rest

After yesterday's race my legs need a rest. They don't feel too bad but I'm trying to be sensible these days - not too sensible mind. Anyway, I've just entered an absolute bucket load of races; The Ironwood Challenge, The Nailsea Festival 10k to name a couple along with four championship fell races. They're all listed on the race schedule now, so I won't be backing out. Well I guess I should try and force myself onto the exercise bike later, by way of accomplishing some training today.

On a final note, I wonder how JH got on at the indoor's today. As if driving the minibus up to Parliament Hill yesterday wasn't enough, he's back up that neck of the woods again today - only this time he's actually doing some running...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

And the results are in

I didn't place quite as highly as I had hoped - but then the field was a bit larger than I thought it would be, weighing in at 1455 finishers. My finishing position of 948 was, however, slighty improved - percentage-wise - from the Midlands Cross Country. At the Midlands I made the top 66.7% while at the Nationals I improved by 1.6% to climb into the top 65.1% - every second counts - and so too, do the decimal places...

Scoring for the team

It was the first time I have ever scored for team Bristol and West - and at the Nationals to boot! I should put my hands up and say we didn't have a complete team - boo - so I could, in fact, have walked around the course dressed as a pantomime horse and still scored for the team.

Having said all that, I felt I had a good run. I started steady - read towards the back - and picked my way through the field - much like my tactics at the Midlands - and it worked. I finished pretty strong and actually managed a negative split. The best bits for me were the muddy up hill sections. Where those around me struggled I seemed to bound - OK, bound may be a little strong - up, skating across the surface, gaining multiple places - topper.

My finishing time was around 56:45, and on a 12k course with 900 feet of ascent that doth please me greatly. I'm surprised I made it inside the hour and comfortably at that. I haven't a clue what my position was but it had to be in the tripple figures and no worse. I guess I will find out when the results are posted online. Fingers crossed.

Helen was 62nd but seems to be ailing even as we speak. With the first of the championship fell races coming up in two weeks I hope it isn't going to be a bad one. Still, 62nd isn't bad - at least it's double figures.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Easy does it

Today I managed to get out for a run in the real world - no treadmills for me this time. Graham and I went for twenty five minutes at lunch time and we took it steady - no point in shooting my bolt before the main event tomorrow. I'm really quite looking forward to being totally exhausted and finishing near the rear - stop it - of the field.

I've also had the idea, well, Graham and I came up with the idea between us really, to look into the possibility of raising a mixed team for the Cotswold Relay in June. For those that haven't heard about it, it's a great day out and a ten stage relay race along the entire length of the Cotswold way starting at Chipping Campden and finishing in Bath. I've run it twice before, both times running leg 1 and both times winning - mind you, the other nine runners helped a bit.

Right, I still have my push ups to complete - 160 of the little sods tonight so cue the Rocky music...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A numbing sensation

Day 2, Week 4 of the p & s plan went off successfully yesterday with a max rep of 45 push ups and 65 sit ups. Every day in every way it continues to get tougher.

After a good drive home I decided to tread the boards of the mill. I managed 35 minutes before boredom almost forced me to eat my own feet - and that's not easy when your running, you have to sort of hop run on one while you tuck in to the other and then - no, I didn't really try it.

Right, I'm off to shower and then it's tea...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Easing down for the National

... I only hope I don't come unseated at Becher's Brook.

Danny was absent tonight but Bruce and Sean were there. We ran relaxed this evening on account of the Cross Country coming up on the weekend - yes, I'm going to run it as well. I haven't run the National for, well, a long time and when I did I didn't even manage to finish inside the top one thousand! - so I'm not sure that really counts as running it anyway. It's going to be triple figures this time out - I'm thinking top 999. Seriously, I'm aiming to go a bit inside that if I can but at 12k I might fade a tad in the latter stages. A steady start might well be the order of the day. Apparently Parliament Hill is, with a clue in the name, a little hilly.

Anyway, enough of the diversion, what about tonight? Well, as I said, we ran an easy session; 600, 500, 400, 300, finishing with three 200's all run at an easy pace. I felt good - almost smooth - but I'll not go quite that far. Never the less there wasn't much of the normal tense shoulders and I even finished those last few 200's in 32/31 seconds while still remaining totally relaxed - perhaps I should change disciplines - maybe not.

Right, I'm off to do my pushups...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Made it home Monday

Well after the snow, the hail, the fire and the volcanic activity of recent weeks, I finally made it home on a Monday night - back of the net.

My legs are a bit achy but not too bad. I elected the exercise bike as the training weapon of choice and banged out half an hour. I also carried out day 1, week 4 of the pushups - and the situps - and if I thought last week was getting tough, this week puts the icing on the cake. Heaven only knows hard weeks five and six are going to be. Still, stranger things have happened at sea.

And I was spot on with my result from yesterdays race, 25th on the nose - commentators eye, no hang on, that should be runner's eye, or maybe runner's leg? Whatever. Helen made the top twenty in, you guessed it, 20th place but only 28 teeny weeny seconds ahead of me - I sense a changing of the guard...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Green shoots of recovery

No, not the economy - that'll be f#@$ed for a good while yet - no, I'm talking running. More importantly, my form. I had a right good race. In fact, it was the first in some considerably time that I've actually had race thoughts - that is, thinking about chasing someone down - or, rather, trying to keep a certain person behind. I really raced it hard and for the first time in absolutely ages I thought I might even manage to pull off the unthinkable - but sadly, it was unthinkable and the certain person caught me, overtook me - and then left me for dead as I faded badly. Still, the green shoots are there - and I gave that certain person a bit of a scare.

The Muddy Woody 6 was a really enjoyable and well organised romp through the woods and does just what it says on the tin - it was run in the woods and was very muddy. Although we did get a chance to wash off the mud during the two river crossings - OK, river crossing is a bit grand - but the water did come up to me crown jewels on the second crossing - chilly.

Well done to Wye Valley Runners for running the event - there was even free coffee and a doughnut awaiting us at the finish - and a T-Shirt, and a cuddly toy, a fondue set, champagne glasses - no, hang on, that was the Generation Game.

On a final note, I reckon I was maybe, 25th overall, which, from a field of possibly three hundred is pretty good. Helen was just ahead - strange that - and took first in the womens' race, and first vet - probably shouldn't have said that - I'll get my coat.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The calf is still a bit dodgy

I need to give my right calf a bit of a rub. We're racing the Muddy Woody tomorrow and I just hope I can make it round. It's only six or seven miles. To be truthful I'm not actually sure how long the race is - or even where the start is and come to think of it, what time it kicks off - I don't know much really. Perhaps I should look up the details on 'tinternet.

Anyway, I had to fit in a bit of coding this morning, before some more work on the van - the canine perimital barrier is now complete. Finally, I did 45 minutes of pedaling and now I'm off to rub my leg...

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 3, Week 3

Or to put it another way, I've reached the half way point in the hundred pushup plan - not forgetting the situps, can't leave them out, wouldn't be fair.

I have to say that it's beginning to become a struggle. Tonight was 22, 30, 20, 20 and 40 - and my arms feel like jelly. The situps were 33, 42, 30, 30 and 60 - and my abs are burning. Still, must be helping build core strength.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Give it some lunch

Well, I managed another lunch time run. Two in a week - that's a flippin' pb - and there's me thinking I might never get another one - back of the net. Seriously though, dang it, I'm not going to be serious. It was good to get out and up over Dundry. I ran solo on account of the fact that both Graham and Clive had run to work.

My calf was a bit sore for the first ten minutes or so but it didn't stop me pushing the pace. I put in a steady effort up the hill and from there on in it was all downhill. I completed in bang on 32 minutes which is about two minutes quicker than the last time I ran it. All in all I pleased with the run. It makes up for my lame - nice - session last night.

Not sure if the hat trick is on though...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Not quite right yet

It was so icy on the track tonight that we would have been better off dancing on it. So instead of risking a fall - well, they do say the elderly have a greater risk of slips when it's icy - we headed out onto the roads instead. OK, not actually the road, more the pavement on account of not having a death wish, well only a small one anyway.

Right, it was the full crew again tonight - although we had forgotten about Bruce as we headed out - but fortunately they passed us in the car and Mike bundled Bruce out in front of us, forcing us to slow down to avoid mowing him down as we pounded the pavement - just kidding. Oh, and Jerry was back at the track but he was on his plan B to use the top bend, where it had thawed slightly, for shorter reps.

The lads ran a fartlek session of around thirty five minutes while Mike and I pootled along, off the back. After about ten minutes of running my right calf tightened up and there was no chance I was going to go any faster than an easy jog. I'm glad I did something though, if only for the psycholgical affect if not the training one - and I have day 2, week 3 of the pushups plan - not forgetting those pesky situps as well, mind. I shall be starting out on those in a few minutes...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Out with the water board

I felt like a run. My right calf muscle still feels a bit sore but I wanted a run. As twelve o'clock - or high noon, if you prefer - approached, I hot footed it over to Clive T's work area. I did my risk assessment and then enquired as to whether he would like to join me for a run and after a bit of cajoling, the man from technical drawing, he say 'yes'. Graham was nowhere to be seen.

As I mentally prepared, Graham strolled back into the office and enquired as to whether I would like to go for a run. I said, "That's funny, I've already spoken to Clive about going for a run" and then he said, "Bugger off then, the two of you obviously don't need me" and burst into tears - only joking. A few minutes later the three of us headed out for twenty five round the park and back.

It was good to hear Clive's moaning and grumblings again, as we carved our way through the snow and ice - some things never change, and you know what? in a way, that's quite reassuring...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Just as well the leg is crook

'cause it sure is nasty out and it's the perfect excuse not to have to get out in it.

I did complete day 1, week three of the hundred pushups plan though. However, silly me forgot to do the exhaustion test yesterday, to work out which of the three levels to complete but seeing as I've been pushing more than thirty I stuck with the level three sets.

Somehow, I seemed a bit flat but I completed - and the situps too - but it seemed tougher than last week...

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Oh joy

Well, I haven't quite made it onto the bike yet but it's just started bloody snowing again - as if that damn white stuff hasn't caused enough damage. It's been nice. We've been able to sledge and it's caused freak injuries but enough is enough. Stop it.

Oh bum

Well, we made it to Dursley - just a shame the race didn't - oh bum. Conditions had forced the organisers to cancel and to be fair to them they had posted to that effect on 'tinternet - we just didn't give it a thought to check - oh bum. We thought something was up when we pulled into the empty car park and our hearts sank.

I'm almost glad though, after sustaining a mystery calf tear during yesterday's bobsleigh which i massaged last night - making it ten times worse. I was going to run but I'm limping and it would have probably have ended all training for the week. There was no way I was going to have handed Dave T the bragging rights - whatever the cost would have been. Still, it's not an issue now.

I'm thinking an easy bike session later...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Not exactly Val d'Isere

but never the less, it was fun. With the Dozen, taking place tomorrow - that's Dursley, to you, we went for a walk - and slide - on Gloucestershires answer to the slopes of Val d'Isere - May Hill.

As we trundled on the increasingly icy roads, heading further from the main road arteries we came slightly unstuck. With the top in sight and mere metres to go, the Son of The Beast just couldn't cope with the final steep climb and we slid around on the icy surface. After spending several minutes trying to ascend the glacial flow we finally admitted defeat and slid back down the road, turned it around and found somewhere on the low lands to park up.

Then we released the hounds and walked back up to the top with said, whiny, faker and the super dog in tow, chasing around in the snow - although it has to be said that whiny often seems more interested in the household refuse sacks at the end of driveways.

Finally we made the top, having trudged through the snow which lay a foot deep in places. It was time to unroll the thick plastic bags and make like the GB bobsleigh team from the top of May Hill. As we launched ourselves down the steep slopes it was like being on the Cresta run. Hurtling at unbelievable speed we blew away all in our wake but after a few more hikes to the top we had seen enough and returned home.

The from May Hill across to Sugar Loaf - which could be seen
with the naked eye, but alas, not the puny phone camera.

Friday, February 06, 2009

I thought I suffered snow blindness

... but then I realised that the sun had set.

I never made it to Bristol today. I set out at seven but even the main A40 was slippy and from what I could hear on the radio it sounded as though things weren't too good down there either so not fancying a precarious three hour drive, I very carefully inched my way back home - a thirty minute round trip covering all of six miles! It's lucky I can connect into work through 'tinternet so I could at least work from home - on second thoughts, is that actually lucky?

Anyway, I finished working at about half four, put on my long-johns and headed out. I ran over to May Hill and by 'eck the snow were deep there. Back at the house the snow was a few inches but towards the top it was six to twelve and there wasn't much sign of it thawing. Small children - and come to mention it - big children were sledging with gay abandon.

I wasn't quick and it was bloody hard work. All that having to pick your feet a foot offf the ground can't be good. I went up at a snails pace - and didn't come down much quicker on account of it being a bit  - well, you get the picture.

Well, I was out there for close to an hour and a half, and by the time I got back it was pretty much dark - I think I might have mentioned that already. It makes up for not running yesterday and now it's time to hang up the boots, sit on the couch and make like a potato.

EDIT: Oh, and I completed day 3, week 2 of the hundred push up and two hundred sit up plan - back of the net.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

In your dreams

Well, tonight I received an email from the Bristol Half-Marathon mob informing me that now is the time to enter their fantastical 10k. I don't want to knock all those people who are going to run but there is no way I am going to be parting with £2 per kilometre to run up and back the Portway. Yes, the entry fee is a whopping twenty quid.Not sure if that's the affiliated price or not, but even if that's the unaffiliated price it would still make it eighteen. Or to put it another way, that's the price of entering 9, yes nine, fell races - now, I know where I'll be spending my money. Right, enough of the bitching, time for the session.

All the recent attendees were, well, attending. Danny, Bruce and Sean as well as Rick and Bruce's dad of course. We ran with Dave B's group making it a big group - and we took over the track. We ran two 900's followed by three 500's and then three 300's all run with around ninety seconds of recovery - although those at the front might have got a bit more. Oh yeah, and it was cold, very very cold - there were icicles forming on my 'blank'.

I ran well - not great, but then I sure as heck don't expect to - but it's a start that I want to continue. It's the second Wednesday in a row that I've come away feeling positive. That's not to say it was easy - it was far far from the madding easy. I struggled for breath after each of the shorter reps but I managed to recover in time to start the next and my groin - too much information, I know - started to ache.

My splits were satisfactory. 3:20, 3:15 then 1:41, 1:37, 1:37 and 54s, 54s, 52s which meant I managed to run the progressively shorter reps at a progressively quicker pace - back of the net.

Oh, and I've completed day 2, week 2 of the pushups and situps plan - topper.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Long day Tuesday

It's been a mighty long day and I'm pooped. Sadly, I wasn't able to fit in a run. I really need to get myself focused but sometimes things happen and I get into something and the time is gone. So it looks like I have to settle for the track tomorrow.

I'm going to try and stay more focused. Everytime I feel I'm on the way back I get distracted. Me thinks it is time to sit down and make a plan or at least list some key sessions that I need to complete throughout the week. Now is the winter of my discontent and I must, absolutely must, draw my line in the sand from which I start to train wiser. I must work out a way to get motivated and fit things in - oh er mrs. The fate of the world depends on it - Maybe not. I need a coach - or a bus, or even a white van...

Monday, February 02, 2009

Made of the white stuff

What a frosty day - that snowy stuff just keeps on coming. At this rate, I might be walking to work.

Anyway, my legs don't feel quite as bad as I was expecting after the weekends racing - maybe I didn't run quite as hard as I thought I did yesterday. Any feelings I had towards going for a little run, however, were completely wiped out by all that white stuff and since I didn't brave the drive home there's not even the possibility of the treadmill. Still I managed day 1 of week 2 of the hundred push ups and two hundred sit ups plan - that seems to be going well at least.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Am I over the May Hill?

I was a whole 3 minutes and 36 seconds slower than last year - as an excuse you all know I raced yesterday and my quads felt bad before the race so under the circumstances I don't think I can complain. I'm not going to mention that Helen was 10 seconds quicker than my time from last year - bugger, I said I wasn't going to mention that. She was on a double header as well - there's some black magic going on there - either that, or she's just plain good at the moment. She won the women's race after a battle with Cheltenham's Laura Kent to make it two wins in a row. She's on for a hat trick next year - but unlike the world cup, they won't let her keep the trophy in the event she does it.

Now, for the details of my race. I felt I ran pretty well. I went out slowly and built. After about three miles my race position was settled but I slowly picked my through the field ahead. My fell running stood me in good stead for the down hills where I gained maximus placimus. I fair surprised myself across the sticky, muddy sections where I also made good gains - normally I'm crapola through the mud but today I seemed to skim across the surface while those around me sank.

Anyway, by the final climb I was completely b#@$*cksed but limited the damage to a single lost place. Then came the final downhill section of about a mile and a half where upon I overtook three or four runners before eventually reeling in that chap that got past on the hill.

I suspect that my legs may be more than a little sore tomorrow but the weeks training will have been a price worth paying. It's been a fine weekend - and it's just started snowing...