Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Plugging away

It was tough tonight. I was surprised how tired I felt - especially since I didn't exactly run hard last night. After a few warm up laps I knew I had to go longer reps and steady. Only Sean from the scooby gang made it tonight and he ran with Dave B's group. They ran 600m reps. I ran 800s.

I only ran four at a steady 2:50 with 90 seconds recovery. That's not very fast but just about faster than my pb 5k pace so for tonight it was fast enough - especially since at the moment my pb 5k is about 80 seconds quicker than I can run it at present. I'm thinking longer steady reps should be my focus of the track for a while. I know I can leggit quickly in short bursts so it's time to build up the pace on longer reps.

Oh, and I reckon I need some more sleep. I'm going to make sure I get plenty of sleep to recharge the system.


Helping me at work! Not running related though.

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Not up for it tonight

I can't recall a time I've felt so indifferent about a race. I guess it's down in part to the fact that at the moment I know my time isn't going to be quick. Off road is different. There are no times to compare things against. You just run. No expectation. No mile splits. Just you and the man - or woman infront.

Tonight the fear of what I'm not able to do broke me - it's only a temporary break. I still feel things are going in the right direction. Tonight? Mentally it just wasn't there. It was a good training though. My first four kilometre splits were identical - identically slow, mind - but never the less identical. My final kilometer was 15 seconds quicker than the others so that's a measure as to quite how slow the others were.

Well, I'll not dwell. Moving on...

Monday, April 27, 2009

After the storm

It was a day to recover. Reflecting back to yesterday, I had a good day. So the times weren't great but the racing was fun and I've put down some times I can aim for in my next races.

Tonight - as has become my routine - is time for the bike infront of the Gadget Show - big boys toys - result.

Tomorrow I shall be running at the Bridge Inn and I really hope I can better my winter times - cause they were truly shocking. I feel I can and I'm going to try and apply proper pace judgement this time - that'll be first...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Avon lady calling

It has to be said that today wasn't my finest ever set of Avon League stats. Come to think of it. I'm not sure I can recount a worse set of results. I ran, being optimistic, poorly - being pessimistic, well that's to rude to print here.

I suppose it's not actually that suprising seeing as how little training I do these days. Still, I enjoyed the racing part, if not the performance. The joy of the Avon League is that you get runners of all level so it doesn't matter if you're at the front or the back, you still get someone to race.

My 3k was slower than I thought I could run. I was aiming for 10:45, which in itself isn't exactly fast, but my 11:11 was worse than even my low expectation. My 800m wasn't much better. After a 45 minute delay - damn those sprinter's and their 1 million races of different categories - I was almost off the boil for the eight. I set out too quick for my current level of ability, going though the first 400m in 72. There was no place to go but backwards - and to think that I ran quicker than that when I set my pb. I slowed to a final lap 80 for 2:32 and another poor performance. On the upside I still got a buzz from the race itself - especially leading Jerry H and Dave B for most of the first lap.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Meeee and Mrs 'Brown'

We got a thing going on - namely, going for a run.

It was back up to May Hill today - that nondescript hill in Gloucestershire. In all we were out there for an hour and ten. We didn't go fast. We didn't want to go fast. No, it was steady, steady, steady all the way. I ground out the hills even paced and it all felt OK. The rain held off and I do believe the sun almost put his hat on - hip hip hip hooray. I think it started to get a bit hot for Mrs B, but I made sure she stopped for water and she was fine.

All in all a pleasant mornings run but I felt a bit bad not taking Pedwar or Ernie but they would have just slowed me down too much - even on what was meant to be a slow run. Seeing Pedwar bouncing up and down, pogo style as me and Mrs B ran off across the field was saddening but he'd have been bored of running within a few minutes.

Anyway, I didn't feel the calf on the run - so that was good. I didn't even give it a thought but as I type this I can feel a bit of stiffness in the bone - there's almost another lyric in there somewhere. I shall give it a massage and it'll be fine for tomorrow's 3k at Yate.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The week is complete

but alas, training wasn't great. Still I managed a bit on the bike tonight. I feel knackered though. It's been a long week. Successful, yes, but still long. My left calf is still tight from the track but I'm still hopeful of getting in a longer tomorrow - I won't say long since these days a long run isn't quite as long as it once was. Then on Sunday it's down to Yate for the Avon League and the delights of the 3k flat followed by the 800m. It'll be my first 800m for a long time and I shall just run as hard as I can without expectation - 'cause to put any expectation on it would be down right stupid. I will survive and then on Tuesday it's the Bridge Inn 5k. I won't have recovered but who cares. It's all good, hard training as I see it...

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I never made it to the Hereford race. I didn't clear work until just before five and the fight through the rush hour traffic was a fight I just couldn't win. I finally got home at close to half six. Now some say I still had time to make it to the race - I shall have words with them later. Hereford's got to be half an hour away and right now I feel knackered and slightly de-hydrated. So shall give it a miss - and anyway, I've sent Helen as my official envoy instead.

Next up is the Avon League over at Yate on Sunday. I'm down for the 3k and the 800m - that should be a laugh. I want to try and get in a long run on Saturday so I might not be quite as quick as people might hope - then again, they probably haven't got their hopes set that high where I'm concerned. It 'll be a good warm up for the first of the Bridge Inn 5k Summer Series races though.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wicked tight

Initially tonights session went well. We ran - or intended to - four 400's off 50 seconds, three 400's off 65, two off ... well I didn't get that far - arse.

I ran the first set in 76/77 seconds - I took that - especially off the shortish recovery. Next up the set of three, and at 74/75 seconds, I was going well. Then disaster - OK, not disaster, but disappointment at least. Both my calves tightened. I felt I was running just about within myself, ready to keep knocking the lap times down as the sets got shorter but there just wasn't any point in trying to take any further part in the session. My lap times could have only gone one way - and that wasn't the aim of the session - you don't make spaghetti by breaking eggs. And to add insult to injury, I got a stitch as a jogged round on my warm down - where's the justice.

Still, Sean was looking in very good form. He was hitting 64s until the final, single lap, where he, together with Josh, ran a 59 - and he didn't even look tense - swine.

So it wasn't a total disaster tonight. I feel I'm edging quicker over the weeks and months. I held good form before the body packed in - age, who'd have it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

A little achy

My legs feel OK - and at my current level of fitness, after a long run, that ain't bad. It gives me hope that some decent training I can make some quick gains.

I feel I punched above my weight yesterday. Infact, I reckon I've raced above my current level in the last few races - all I need now is to get my head around training. Racing thrills me but training? well it just doesn't.

Anyway, tonight I knocked out a grinding 45 minutes on the bike.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Right pleasing

The weather was almost too fantastic for the 20k race in the Wye Valley that is Offa's Orra. With 2000 feet of ascent I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I met Mark D at the start - he was surprised to see me - and at the allotted time - that's 10:30 to you - off we set.

I took it out steady but in reality it was probably just a touch above steady. The first part of the course follows the route of the summer Tintern Trot race so I knew what I was in for and ascended through the wide forest paths at a controlled pace. Hands up, I walked up the very steep bit and three or four runner's came past - the swines - but I knew if I tried to follow them I'd pay a very expensive price towards the end. At this point I was in 23rd place and felt good for a top thirty at the worst.

Across the top I made gains on a couple of runners and then thoroughly burnt them off on the first of the steep descents. The course then winds steadily up again and I struggled a bit, being overtaken by another couple of runners to slip back to 23rd. Once onto the flat I made gains, moving up into 21st place. Then group of runners where almost out of sight but once we got on to the second steep descent I charged down like a mad man and managed to get onto the back of them - not literally, just very close - I'm not that friendly.

The final section, alongside the river, seemed to go on for ever and I managed to catch and overtake 'Wheeze' - a fellow fell runner - and then eventually moved into 19th where I remained through to the finish. I began to tire badly with about 2-3km to go but dug deep to stay well ahead of my nearest rival.

I finished in a time of 1:36:40 and 19th place so I'm chuffed to bits with my performance. I didn't think I'd go anywhere near as quick - or make the top twenty. All in all a bloody good days training.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Around the hill

I can't say I felt too enamoured about going for a run today - and certainly not a long one. I don't know what's up with me. I used to be able to get up at 7am on a Saturday and go run for 3 hours but I can't seem to get the enthusiasm anymore.

Anyway, H has gone for a long run in the mountains and I just didn't feel like it - our National plans were aborted on account that the women's B team fell through - athlete drop out - so there didn't seem much point in traveling all that way to compete in an incomplete team when a long, mountainous run would be of more benefit at this stage in the fell season. I went for an hour's run up and around May Hill - a hill that is not as high as some in Gloucestershire but is, at least, not the lowest.

My quads felt tired and the effort up hill - all 1,100 feet of it - was telling. Out there on the run I enjoyed it. The sun shone and I could hear the birds twitter. I'm glad I got myself out but I wish I could raise my game in terms of feeling more up for it in the first place. I love racing but training? - that's another matter entirely. When I do get myself out there everything is fine and I really get into it but it's the struggle to get out the door that I'm battling at the moment - I hope I win it.

Well, that's my lot for the day - at least I've earnt myself a sausage sandwich...

Friday, April 17, 2009

What a grey day

Rest assured that I shut that door - after I bucked the bronco - stop it - that is the exercise bike. A bit boring I know but I think it must be doing me good. I hope it is.

I've decided not to go do the Track on Sunday - I know, I know, I'm letting the team down but from up here to down there it's a long old way to Exeter and to be honest I could get myself a nice long run in Offas 'Orror instead and I know which will do me more good. If the race isn't full (or if it is I shall try and blag a run by claiming I've come across from Sweden just to run) and I get a run then at the very least I can give myself away as a sacrificial offering to Offa himself.

Tomorrow is the National Road Relays where I shall not be running - unless, that is, Bristol and Wests top fifty male athletes all stub their collective toes in the morning, in which case I might get a run...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Grassed off

As suspected, we were back on the grass as those pesky youngsters had taken over the track. I got a nice surprise - although for a moment I thought I was being burgled - but then the hounds charged in and ... well, I'd rather have been - only joking. Helen had already trained so the dogs got an extra walk while I did my reps.

The gang was complete bar Bruce but it'll be the last time for a while as Nick and Rob are back off to Uni. We ran the same loop as last week - 'cept I swear it was a few metres longer tonight. It bloody well was, I tells ya. Well I hope it was as I could only manage 54 seconds per lap - a very consistent 54, mind, but never the less 54 - which was a second or two slower than last week.

We ran nine efforts with a 45 second recovery before embarking on three final 120 metre bursts, flat out, lungs busting - legs busting - you know the kind of thing and I very nearly managed to keep up with the young ones - but not quite.

I feel I've had a damn fine work out tonight and that's it for tonight

Monday, April 13, 2009

A time to recover

With the folks coming up for lunch, we headed out for an early(ish) easy run to get the days training over and done with - oh the power of positive thinking towards the need to train I have at the moment is legendary.

We spent an hour pootling through Flaxley woods with three of the hounds in tow. My quads felt achy so a pootle was about all I was capable of.

At the start of the run, Ernie - the dog with the largest bladder in the world - kept stopping every five yards to take a pee and lay down his scent but once he'd run the tank empty things picked up a bit - although we never got much above pootle.

I'm not sure what training I've got lined up for tomorrow. If I manage anything it will most likely be a lunch time run. The weight of expectation is almost too much...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

A pleasing result

On recent form, today's Mynydd Troed run has to be my best for a goodly while. I was only just slower than the last time I ran the course - and that was at the height of my powers - not that the height then was particularly great. I was 1:35(ish) slower but I'm really pleased with the result. It sounds silly to be pleased with a slower run but scroll forward to the bigger picture and it means I'm getting fitter and stronger. I need to keep up with the long runs. I must.

I was 19th in a strong field - the race was the first of the Welsh Open Championship. Helen won the women's race, improving on her own course record by 12 seconds in the process. She was 14th overall.

I can't wait for the next race. The Ireland race was a bit of a disappointment so this one has been a shot in the arm...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nice day for lazing around

I'm trying to rest so I run well tomorrow at Mynydd Troed - try pronouncing that on an empty stomach. I slightly hurt my hand but it won't stop me running hard. For tomorrow I shall be as ready and cunning as a fox - as long as said fox has been chased by hounds, run over by a lorry and shot by a farmer. If there is indeed such a fox, then as cunning as he, shall I be.

Mynydd Troed is a race of 7 miles and 2000 feet ascent so pretty tough but sadly, there is enough running in it to show how badly I've deteriorated. Last time I ran I was around the hour ten mark. If I can get with a few minutes of that time I shall be doing well...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Surely it must be doing me good

I'm fair worn out. My legs feel wasted - and I haven't really done that much this week. Come to think of it, I haven't done much this year but I happy. It was the bike again tonight.

Attack of the killer sheep

Change of plans. We went for a walk up Mayhill instead - and we always said we wanted to be chased by sheep.I'll hit the accursed treadmill tonight instead. Anyway, can't talk now, there's some serious marching to be done. We're only halfway...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Quickly does it

The blog - not the running. No I shan't be doing any quick running - that would be silly.

It was the bike for me tonight. Forty five minutes on the hill build setting - get's a bit frickin' tough by the end. The excitement of Jack Reacher at the almost finale shoot-out helped keep the pulse racing.

With Friday off work, I shall be getting out for a proper run tomorrow. Maybe on the easy side but definitely a proper run. One where you use your legs to propel yourself across the countryside. You know the kind of thing. Not sure if I can remember any of the routes around here - been so long and all that, but I'll give it a go.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009


No Sean tonight - that's the first time in a long while that he's not been to the track on a Wednesday. I await his sick note next week. Rob and Nick were back again. As was Rick, Bruce and Mike - that's Bruce's dad to you.

There was a young athletes open meeting going on at the track tonight which meant we were relegated to the grass of Hengrove Park - although there isn't much of that left, what with the new hospital and business park being built (damn those Councilor's and their small brown envelope's, nudge nudge, wink wink, wouldn't have happened in my day - don't get me started).

Anyway, we marked out a rectangle that we estimated to be about 300 metres. Maybe - read probably - a little less. Then we ran some reps. Twelve in all but the first was a feeler for the rest. Recovery was somewhere around 45 seconds with a jogged lap after reps six and ten. I ran the first in 55s and the rest were 52's with the odd 51 and 53.

It's always harder on the grass but for the first time in ages I felt good. That's not to say it was easy. After the first couple it became hard work and although I was sucking - careful - the air in the last hundred of each rep my breathing didn't feel as laboured as it has been over the last few weeks. And this weeks shorter recovery was enough to actually get recovered.

I feel lifted. The feeling of being able to push on the final straight. To keep the focus to the end. Simply, brilliant.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Wasting time

Internet down. Internet down. Don't panic. Don't panic Mr Manwaring - on second thoughts. Panic. Panic.

I've just wasted 90 minutes trying all sorts of things. The phone line was fine so it wasn't a water sustained injury. Rebooting this. Restarting that. Resetting. Changing passwords. Turning it off. Turning it on. All to no avail. It right buggered my training. I was going to do an hours bike in front of the Gadget Show. In the end it turns out I made my own episode of the gadget show trying to get the damn internet back working.

In the end I turned it off. Waited twenty minutes. Turned it back on and there she was, the internet back up and running. It was just one of those things by all accounts but think of the wasted time. If only I'd just turned it off and waited. Patience is a beautiful thing...

...Technology sure as heck 'aint sometimes.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Up those bloody mountains again

I'm happy to report that there were no mysterious incidents in the night time last night. The mystery wardrobe shaker eluded our detection.

We went out for a morning run before we had to drive back to the airport to fly home. It was meant to be any easy - my legs weren't too bad but they weren't good for anything too strenuous - then Cheshire Fell turned up and decided to go for a run. That's were the trouble started.

We ran down to the woods at the end of Newcastle but rather than just pootle through the woods we went back up into the mountains - the bastards. Suffice to say by the time we got into the steep climbing I was last and being dropped. I couldn't even keep up with Paul (fellow Calder Valley runner) - whom I managed to beat in yesterday's race by a single place, my 144th to his 145th - I should add, that we both managed to hold off Wendy Dodds in yesterday's race (if you don't know who she is you can look it up on Google) - result.

Anyway, back to today, I felt so heavy legged on the way up and struggled but once we reached the top I was OK. As we approached the summit some damn fool shouted 'first to the summit!' - red rag to a bull alert. A few of them made a charge but I couldn't be arsed. Fifteen metres later I was pelting full tilt and after a few more metres the after burners were on and they took me well clear - when I reached the cairn I really wish I hadn't been sucked in - can't let the wife beat me all the time though.

We got back to the youth hostel, showered, fed and watered and then left for the airport. An uneventful journey saw us arrive back home on schedule, ready to prepare for the next race...

PS. Helen was third yesterday, making it a good start to the British Fell Championship.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Mystery of the midnight wardrobe shaker

In the wee early hours a mystery man barged into our shared dorm, walked over to the wardrobe, shook it and walked back out again. A mystery, as yet, unsolved.

Anyway, the race was ok. Not great but acceptable. Don't think the course is going to make it to my top ten favourites as there wasn't much running to be done. If you weren't climbing steeply you were descending steeply. Good fun all the same.

Helen finished towards the head of the field - at this stage it could be a second place but equally it could be fourth - I'm praying for second.

Well the only thing left for the weekend is to see whether the mystery wardrobe shaker returns to the scene of his crime again tonight...

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, April 03, 2009

Mourne-ing in the mountains

The journey over to Northern Ireland was uneventful. Everything ran to time but by the time we reached the youth hostel in Newcastle it was time for bed.

After a short lie-in this morning we started the day with bacon, sausage, egg, tomato, hash browns - well I did, H was more professional. Then it was over to the Mourne Mountains to recce tomorrows race.

At 4 miles it's the first of the two short British fell championship races - but bugger me it's up and down - there was less climb when I climbed the north face of the Eiger in the Eiger Sanction - no hang on, that was Clint Eastwood. I have a suspicion I might struggle.

Posted by ShoZu

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I haven't recovered from Sunday's long run. I thought I had. To be truthful, I didn't even think it had worn me down that much. My legs didn't feel too bad - even on Monday. That cockyness has come back to bite me on the ass - big time.

My legs were dead to me. The session was 400m/200m sets but I ran one 400m followed by the 200, and knew I was finished - for the night, at least. It was great to see Nick return for a second week and - pinches self in disbelief - Rob W put in an appearance. Add in Bruce, Bruce's dad, Sean and Rick and it was like turning back the clock - apart from the fact that I was shit. All of which can't hide the fact that I need a small miracle to be ready for Saturday's Irish adventure.

Something I can learn from tonight's debacle is the fact that I'm not going to be able to run a few long sessions and a summer make - no, that's swallows isn't it? No, I've had a dose of reality tonight.