Monday, March 30, 2009

One day later

My legs don't feel too bad after what was a hell of a long run for me yesterday. Hands up, my legs are a bit stiff but not as bad as after the Hogweed. You know what? I must be getting fitter.

Well yesterday has been and gone and I'm typing this as I pedal away on the recently repaired exercise bike. With the first of the British Championship Fell Races coming up in Ireland on the weekend it's time to get rested. And I reckon an hour on the bike is fair.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Oh blimey

I think I've run a little too far and I don't think my legs belong to me anymore since I can no longer feel the pain. We covered 17.5 miles and 4,000+ feet of ascent on a gloriously sunny day in the Black Mountains - I have the sun burn to prove it.  We hardly saw a soul 'cept the odd mountain biker.

By the end I was knackered. Pedwar was knackered. Brown Dog was knackered. I'm sure Helen was knackered. But Ernie? He was more than knackered, he only just managed too climb into the van for the journey home - and I don't think he was faking.

It was my longest run since August. We treated it as a bit of a day out as much as out and out hard running. I don't think I'm going to have any trouble sleeping tonight - being able to walk tomorrow? Now that's an entirely different kettle of fish...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

And that's a poor effort

I didn't so much run like a sack of spuds, more a couch potato. I was worse than ever - and at the moment, that takes some.

Helen came 7th overall, her best position of the winter series and 1st woman - but I won't mention that she just missed the course record - damn it.

I think I made top 15 but can't confirm that. However, I can confirm that my race was lost on the ascent - that and the fact that there were lots of quicker runners running.

I was pleased with my descent, gaining 4 places from the trig but I had to stop and walk too many times on the way up. You know what? I really need to do some training - even a little bit...

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, March 27, 2009

And you though petrol was expensive?

At just ninety pence per litre, petrol is an absolute bargain compared to the price of printer ink. I have just done a brief calculation and, if ink was purchased by the litre, it would cost - wait for it, wait for it - over seven hundred pounds! Yes, you read that correctly, £700.

This short rant hides the fact that, after chasing around Gloucester on my way home from work to obtain said elixir (commonly known in Dungeons and Dragon terminology - anorak on - as minus 43 elixir of reduced bank balance), I haven't trained today but with Pen Cerrig Calch  tomorrow, I'm not too bothered - do I look bothered?

Right, I'm off to do some printing - and then I'm going to pan for gold - surely at the price I paid there's got to be some rare metals in there somewhere...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lunch time the time to run

But by 'eck it were windy - and I'm not just talking about Graham. There was a real strong head wind on the way back in and the final hill was a killer. I was puffing something terrible - how can you get so knackered on a 25 minute run?

I just made it back in to the office from the morning's site visits and met Clive T. He wasn't running but said Graham was keen so without a moment to spare I launched myself up the three flights of stairs to grab my kit, change and head on out to meet him. Alright, it wasn't that hectic but it doesn't sound so good if I just say I got into the office, caught up on some paperwork before going out for a run. No, that's not half as exciting so I'll stick to the 'I just made it' story. Anyway, I felt OK on the run - until that last bit - and I'm pleased I got out there.

What finished off the day nicely was spending an hour and a half dismantling the exercise bike to find and fix the source of the terrible clanking sounds. I fixed those easy. There was, however, just one slight problem, the resistance no longer worked and it just free wheeled - fine if you're a lazy bastard but not good if you actually want to exercise. After another 30 minutes I got it all working, put it back together and headed home - no, hang on, I already was - and am - home

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In the Nick of time

What a turn up for the books. Nick, yes, Nick, old Nick - well, he's not actually that old - was back at the track with Sean, Rick and me. He's back from Uni and looking sharp. He's training for a half marathon and threatens to return next week!

Tonight, on a colder night than of recent weeks, we ran five sets of 500m, 300m reps with 60 seconds(ish) between the 5's and 3's and then 2 minutes between sets - except I opted to run ten 300's with what ever recovery it turned out I got. Even though I ran less than the rest I still found it bloody damn hard going. I was pleased with my times of 55, 54 and 53 seconds though, with more 53's than the any other and the fifth or sixth was actually a 52 - but being a mathematician, I've edited that one out as a statistical anomaly.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Severely broken...

... The exercise bike, not me. It sounds dodgy. Clanking and grinding noises a plenty. Something has come loose which I don't think will be too hard to fix if I can get the case off - that's going to be a sod. New fangled modern manufacturing techniques using plastic and the like with little latches here, there and every-flippin-where and to add to all that I haven't got a big enough socket - stop it - to get the crank arm off and that bad boy's got to come off first before any of the rest comes apart.

Still, I managed 45 minutes in front of the Gadget Show - well, what else would I choose to watch on Monday evening at 8pm? My legs feel OK - it's the back which is the problem. I haven't run a real hard road session for ages and all that pounding has given me a back ache. No permanent damage though.

I'm still living on the fumes of yesterday. It felt great to race the Hogweed. Moving through the field. Ah, the nostalgia of it - yeh, the nostalgia all except the being 5 minutes slower than last year - ho hum.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

It's over now

What a flippin' hot day! I didn't see that coming. In light of the conditions I made sure I stopped at all the water stations to take on board fluid. That may have cost me ten seconds a time but I'm sure I would have lost more time had I not.

I had a good run all in all. True, I was over five minutes slower than last year - the hot conditions could account for some of that, but alas, not the larger portion. No, the main difference between now and then is simply training or in my case the lack of it. Still I enjoyed it and ran a sensible race.

After the first mile or so and a somewhat steady and controlled start I was lying in 28th place - it always take a mile or two for a long race to settle into the natural order. I needed to be sensible and not go too quick early doors. The consequences of over cooking it on such a hot day - nice - could have been disastrous and fortunately I was wearing my good head.

With the race settled I started to reel in those ahead. One by one I closed them down. As the miles passed I headed up the field. By the eight mile point - the killer hill - I was into 26th. By the top of the killer hill I was up to 24th. Ahead I could see yellow top and far ahead of him, green top. I thought I could take the yellow but considered the green a place too far - it wasn't like I'd ever catch the brown, blue, pink or black - they were out of sight.

Anyway, I had good support from Helen and the hounds which spurred me onward and upward. By mile eleven I was closer to the yellow but still had work to do. Both yellow and green took on water at the last water stop and it was there I made my move. I sailed through the water station and caught yellow and passed him on the penultimate hill. After holding him off on the short downhill, green was within touching distance. I  ran the final hill as best I could - why does a hill always seem longer when your tired? There are a few false summits - OK, that's overstating it, but by the top I was clear in 22nd and I catching a lone Nailsea runner fast but the hill ran out too soon and once we got onto the final downhill charge to the finish there was no way I could get him - would have been a bonus anyway as he was out of sight until that last hill.

My time of 1:33:53 is indeed my slowest half marathon for a few years but I'm pleased with 22nd from a field of 300-ish. My feet are aching. My back is aching - didn't expect that - but legs feel OK. I guess they feel OK at the moment but I'm guessing Tuesday will be the day.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Staining at the leash

It is the day before tomorrow - don't go forgetting Mothers Day - and the day after yesterday which can mean only one thing. Yes, it's the Hogweed Hilly Half V and I'm ready. When I say ready what I really mean is that I'm so totally unready that I'll be lucky if I get round. Still, in for a penny...

Anyway, I've been taking it easy today. The only exercise has been a little walk with George - the rest of the gang went with Helen to the BMAF Cross Country Championships and with their support from the side lines, she took the Bronze - result.

The rest of my day's been spent painting wood stain on our new Mrs B proof fencing, defending the fort from the Jehova Witnesses and sitting my arse on the couch - nice work if you can get it. I only hope that now I've claimed that the fence is 'Mrs B proof' that she doesn't make me eat my words...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Well that was painful...

No, not the legs. My left quad is still slightly sore but it didn't hinder me, nor did it hurt while I was running. No, the pain I'm talking about is running with the hounds. They were pitiful today. Not even Mrs B could keep up!

Now I know it's not because I was quick - I plodded along - but those pesky pooches - Lazy, Bone-Idle and Can't-Be-Arsed - seemed to have lost the will to live today. They kept lagging so far behind I almost had to call out International Rescue - F.A.B. Virgil. I wish I'd taken George, for once I reckon he would've been leading us out.

Well, there it is, my last run before the Hogweed - race number 245 - is done. I'm probably - make that almost certainly - going to run my slowest half for a few years but I don't mind. Being able to run it at all looked a bit dodgy mid week so I'm glad all the aches and pains have all but gone.

Oh, if you're wondering about the mid-afternoon posting of the blog, I pulled a half day and as I pen this entry from the decking, looking out over the fields bathed in golden sunshine, I'm glad I did - it almost feels like summer...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


My left quad is still in a right state. I know it's going to be OK by Sunday but I wasn't able to train tonight - I still went to the track though. I ran ten very slooooowwww laps just to try and stimulate a bit of blood flow - and even that was painful.

It was just as well I was bad because Rick wasn't able to make it - I stepped once more unto the breach to time Sean laps. He ran eight 400's in 66 seconds with a 65 seconds recovery. What started out as easy became tough by the last but credit to Sean, the lad sticks at it - I know someone who could learn a thing or two from his work ethic - don't say it...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another bad day of the aching legs

My legs are feeling even worse today than yesterday - isn't that always the case. There was absolutely no point in getting out for a run at lunch - that and the fact I was still out in the field - no, not an actual field - when luch came and went. Don't worry though, I made time for a late lunch of tuna salad.

Anyway, I forced myself onto the bike for another half hour session to try and get the legs ready for tomorrow's track session. Whether the legs are good or not I shall be taking it easy ahead of Sunday's Hilly Half - not that my entry has turned up yet - might have to blag it on the day.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Bad legs are go

My legs are well knackered after yesterday's run. Sure, it was a bit 'hilly' but we didn't crank up the pace. So I'm surprised my legs feel quite so bad. Anyway, unlike recent times when I've strained the legs a bit, I managed some training today. Only the bike but I made the effort.

I'll be out of the office tomorrow so I probably won't manage to get out for a run at lunch but I'll try and do something. Still, I'm pleased with yesterday's run - I just need a few hundred more of them.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A grand day out

What fantastic weather. It was like the middle of summer - and knowing our summers of late, probably a damn sight better.

We had to leave poor George at home on account of the fact his MOT ran out years ago, his tyres are worn and the engines been round the clock more than once. Still, as they say in the trade, he's been there, done that and has a right to his retirement from active duty. New boy on the block, Ernie (fastest sight hound in the west), more than held his own against Brown Dog and left Pedwar standing. Not bad for a dog that's done little more than lope around in someone's house for most of his life and has never been near a hill, let alone a mountain.

I couldn't quite hold my own and after the last big down and up from Pen-y-Fan down to the valley below and backup up to Cribyn I was knackered. All hope of warp speed was lost and even the impulse engines only just held together. Suffice to say I had to take a slight shortcut. At 11 miles and over 3,000 feet of ascent it was my longest - and hardest - run of the year. I am thoroughly knackered now and almost in need of resuscitation. Should have done me some good I hope and at least I managed to get in that 'final long run' before the Hilly Half next weekend.

Ernie leaps the void

It really was a grand day out. For more pics visit the gallery at

Today's Profile and Route

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mr Medals thinks he's a cat

But it doesn't take rocket science to realise he's not getting through there.

House troubles

Well my nice relaxing Saturday has been thrown into disarray. I was going to go for a short run around the woods and then generally relax. Instead, our waste - read sewerage - system has gone pear shaped - again. Suffice to say I've now moved to defcon 6 to get the man round to sort things out. I can live without many things but using the bog ain't one of them.

Anyway, I've had to stay in and wait for him to arrive so I've only managed to fit in another bike session, albeit 45 minutes this time. I crank up the resistance to a high-ish level so I do get a burn but I would much rather have gone for a run. The weather out there is great but I'm stuck here - and that makes me sad.

I only hope we can get something sorted or else I'm not going to the mountains tomorrow either and that's going to be a real pisser. The weather looks good for tomorrow - double whammy. Oh, for that long run. Never mind. I'll hold my stiff upper lip and wait to see how it turns out....

Friday, March 13, 2009

A night on the bike

After a solid days work, lots to do and equally lots done, I made it home and got on the bike. Only 30 minutes but I'm OK with that. I've been giving thought to what to do on the weekend training wise.

At first I was thinking the Sunday run at Ashton Court with Rick and Sean but now I've decided I'll try not to be too slow and head over to the Brecon Beacons for a long one with Helen - stop it [agonising death awaits me for that one].

With the Hogweed Hilly Half next weekend it's going to be my last long one before the race. Normally I'd taper but I need this one final long run - when I say 'one final long run' what I actually mean is 'only long run' before the race. I haven't actually managed any run of 13 miles this year. I've been close a couple of times with a nine and a ten but none at the distance or beyond - and to think I could once knock out twenty in the blink of an eye - ah, those were the days. Those days will return...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

All right my son

It tried to rain but it ended up just drizzle. Not really bad conditions at all. Back to just Sean and Rick at the moment. Although we have been training with Dave B's group for the last few weeks I like to think we're still in our own little group - just the three of us. We can make it if we try. Just the three of us, Sean, Rick and I. Just the three of us, building castles in the sky, la la la la.

Right, to the serious stuff. I didn't run too badly tonight. I only managed four of the five 800's but I did pace Sean for the penultimate 200m of his final 800m - if that makes any sense - and it nearly killed me. That's lad is fast. Too fast - I should slap his legs.

I managed splits of 2:48, 2:42 2:42 and 2:47, which considering recent form, isn't too bad. I can remember a session going back a few months where I was out at 2:52/53 for 800's - and I dare say I ran some even slower but there's no way I'm going to make a claim to remember that. Anyway, the first couple we comfortable but when the inevitable tension came as I tired, it came bad and it was the finish of me. Still, there is some improvement - all I need to do now is run a decent number.

Oh well, I'm off now to start day 1 of week 6 of the push ups plan - I'm almost frightened to look how many I am required to crank out...

And while I remember. Apparently Sean had a bit of an accident at the start of the Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships at the weekend. He got his vest snagged on one of the posts dividing start pens from each other, the posts are connected to each other via rope. As the gun went off, he was forced to yank the first post out of the ground - which subsequently pulled the others out - and proceeded to drag them up the course while trying desperately to un-snag himself. I would have liked to have seen that - I wonder whether he made it on to the telly?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bicycle fun

OK, not really much fun - the exercise bike is almost as boring as the treadmill - but at least I can see the TV from the bike. Catching up with the latest edition of channel Five's Gadget Show - well what else would a good geek watch? - really helped to while away the hours - or rather, minutes, as I peddled my way to forty five. My quads felt like they'd had a right good work out by the end. My prehistoric bike uses a belted flywheel for resistance and the longer you go on the harder it gets - and it really does get tonnes harder. Plus you get this lovely friction burning smell from the belt - nice - and no, there's no health and safety issues - a thorough risk assessment has been carried out.

Right, I'm off to recuperate.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Looooong day

Made it home by 9 - or twenty one hundred hours. Suffice to say, training has suffered and having only completed day 3 of week five of the push ups plan yesterday I'm not intending to start week 6 just yet. On a positive note, I've reserved my place and sent off my entry for the Hogweed Hilly Half V in a couple of weeks time. Cor, blimey guvnor, I'm enjoying racing again. Almost time for the cap cam to make an appearance...

Sunday, March 08, 2009


I might have a go on the bike later on. I might not. I've been tired today. So very tired. So very very tired. I didn't rise from my slumber until gone 10 - and even then it was a struggle. I don't feel unwell, just tired - think I mentioned that already.

Well, the drive north on Friday and the race yesterday meant I missed day 3 of the fifth week of the pushups plan so I forced myself to do them this evening. Suffice to say it was hard. So very hard. So very very hard.

Maybe tomorrow I will feel a bit more energised. I hope so. I want to train. I'm keen to train. I feel now is the time to hit some longer runs. I'm going to try and get a place in the Hogweed Hilly Half but I might have left it too late. Not going to run any sort of a time there if I do get a place but it's a well organised race and one I really enjoy.

The Half Tour Of Pendle

Here is the route of yesterday's Half Tour of Pendle.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Pit and the Pendle-um

Well we made it to the fields of Barley and the Half Tour Of Pendle. The weather held - what ever that means - and I really enjoyed it. Wasn't my finest ever race - I'm not fit enough for that at the mo - but after a cautious start I worked my way into the top half and finished comfortably inside in my first ever English championship race. 179th out of 384 - ok, for the mathematicians out there, thats actually only 13 places inside the top half - or as I call it, comfortable.

Helen was fifth but the team was first, so that's a steady start to her campaign. Oh yeah, I was under five minutes behind her so I'm really pleased with that.

Just the journey home to contend with now so fingers crossed the traffic is light.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Ernie - the fastest sight hound in the west

As I have been so tired these last few days I've decided to rest up ahead of Pendle. I'm quite looking forward to the race - I do believe the old madness is returning - and you know what? I don't even care I'm not fast anymore. I'll just try to catch the man - or woman, no sexism here - ahead or keep infront of the man behind! I actually feel excited.Oh yeah, do you like the newest member of the family? Ernie - the fastest sight hound in the west...

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Running towards empty

I struggled at the track tonight. I've been feeling tired this week and the truth is I don't really know why. I managed just six 400's in 78/79s with the final two in 76s. The track was icing up and the top bend was slippy but I had my spikes so that's not the reason I was so slow. Just about all the muscles in my legs felt slightly tight - quads, calves and hams.

It's a long race on the weekend, the Half Tour of Pendle. OK, what's long to me isn't necessarily long to everyone. It's only a medium as part of the English Fell Championship, or is it the British Fell championship? - don't ask me, I only run - or try to.

So do I muster a few more scraps of exercise tomorrow and Friday or do I rest? I need to train to improve my fitness, to get back to where I used to be but equally I want to have as good a race as I can manage. I guess I'll sleep on it...

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Back to bikesics

What a horrid night. Did I get out for a run - did I heck. My legs feel completely recovered which pleaseth me greatly as I did race twice at the weekend. Still the rain put me off - yes, call me wimp - but it was, and still is, just plain nasty out there. Instead I climbed aboard the exercise bike for 45 minutes. Not much else to report other than the fact that the pc on which I type this post conked out a hour ago and I've only just managed to get it up and running - oh, the advertising - see you tomorrow Rick.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Still living on the fumes of yesterday

I'm still on a running high after the weekend's races. OK, hands up, when I say still running what I mean is the still buzzing. It feels damn good to see the way back from the abyss of idleness. I'm not there yet and I didn't manage a run today but I'm happy with the half hour I spent on the bike instead. My inner thighs - sorry to mention them in polite society - are achy. It's not an area I expected to feel an ache but it doesn't seem too bad - and I'll stop mentioning it on account some of you might be having your tea.

Well, I've still the pushups to complete but I'll knock them out later.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Nancy Muriel

That's the name of the Eddie Stobart lorry I passed on the way home and has absolutely naff all to do with, well, just about anything at all, really.

Oh, I guess I should mention the race. It was brilliant. Very enjoyable and I did what I said on the tin - I made the top twenty. Only just, mind, but I'm chuffed with my 19th place (47:50) and even though I was 1 minute and 45 seconds slower than last year - bearing in mind I didn't race the day before last years race - I'm getting closer to fitness.

Mark D was out for a run and his fitness is showing. I'm not sure of his finishing position but he was in the thirties from a field of well over the century - and he's pledged to run a leg of the Cotswold relay for me, provided I can enter a team and haven't left it too late.

Right, about the race - that's the Ironwood Challenge. First off I have to congratulate Nailsea RC for putting on another perfectly executed race - no, they didn't kill anyone. There were lots of marshalls and plenty of cake at the finish - what more could you want?

I ran a controlled race. Starting steady, I worked my through the field in the first two or three kilometres. Then things settled down and my position stablised. I guessed I was towards the top twenty but couldn't be sure I was inside so I had to stay focused and continue to work hard to the finish. If I got anything wrong with the tactics, it was going off a little too steady because the first kilometre is a bit single carriage in places, especially on the first downhill section and I was slightly blocked, wanting to go faster, with the handbreak off, but couldn't - not without trampling the man ahead to the ground - and that's not my style.

Oh happy day. Bring on the next race...

The profile and route of todays race, for those interested (distance 9.7km, 1,200 ft ascent).