Sunday, May 31, 2009

Scoring is boring

but you have to do your bit don't you? I was down at Yate to score the third of the young athlete matches. The weather continued to scorch and I felt glad to be in the announcers booth because it must have been uncomfortable sitting under the full glare of the sun's potent rays. I fear there will be more than a few sore people tonight. If there's one thing my Nepalese Guru has taught me is that on a day like to day wear suncream.

My legs feel OK. I'm a bit stiff but overall not too bad considering the effort of yesterday. Being cooped up, entering scoring data for six hours can't have really helped but I still feel OK. I 'm not, however, going to be managing any training tonight - it's still too hot and humid.

So it's back to the grind stone tomorrow and maybe I'll get some training done...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Suffering in the heat

Don't get me wrong, the sun is great. Without the sun we - that's the entire living ecosystem of planet earth - wouldn't be here but flip me do I hate to run in the scorching heat we had today up atop Cader Idris. It was baking - and I was wilting.

I started out near the front but went steady. After a few miles things were going OK. The climb went on a bit at varying steepness. Some was runnable. Some was joggable and some, well, some was just plain steep. I got to the top in reasonable shape. I'd lost a few places on the way up - I'm still not ascending well on account of not really doing much training - but overall I was pleased.

Then came the rough descent and things started out well. I gained a few places quite quickly. Then things went wrong. I totally ran out of steam. The heat had sapped my strength. I was dehydrated - despite taking on water at all the water stations - and actually stopping to do so - I still failed to beat the heat.

I still managed to keep inside the top fifty, finishing in 47th and a time of 1:53:43. Yes, outside my target of 1:45-1:50 but all the times appeared slowed by the heat so I remain happy. It was a good race.

Did I mention, I HATE THE HEAT.

And Helen took the Silver just behind Eryri's answer to Bruce Lee, Jackie (Lee) - a weak link, I know, but beggers can't be choosers.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Not sure I should have done that

I just finished an hours bike session and I always put it on high resistance. I'm knackered. My calves tightened and my quads are burning. Is that a good taper ahead of tomorrow's race? - probably not but training is still king at the moment. Racing is the good bit though and I'm raring to go at it tomorrow - stop it.

I've been looking at last years results to try and get myself a guide time and I reckon it's 1hr 45-50min - but I shall be gunning for the 45min end of the spectrum.

I really do feel up for it - come on now, I said stop it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Just when...

you think I'm actually going to start doing training day after day I go and give it a miss - doh. You see, I started watching a film on the True Movies channel, starring Walter Matthau, and you know what it was actually very good. After that finished, well, I didn't have the will - not that I had the will before or else I wouldn't have sat down and watched the film. I will try and do some training tomorrow, honest Guv, and then on Saturday it's the Cader Idris race in North Wales. Oh, and another thing, don't ever watch that True Movies channel. The films are out of the arc - practically before film was invented.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Wet, damp and windy

It was not a great night for a track session. The wind seemed to be coming at us from all directions and after weeks of lots of runners it was just me and Sean. Dave B's group were absent without leave.

Sean and I decided to run four hundreds off short recovery. After my race last night and my fastest 5k for a year - did I mention that? - I wasn't really focused. Sean wasn't feeling great either but he ran really well. I managed just five but in my defense we only gave ourselves 60 seconds - and I was very strict on the recovery. There's never any slippage when I'm in charge and manning the stop watch. I was happy my splits which averaged 75s with a couple of 74s and a couple of 76s. Sean was down on 67s with the last couple on 66s and 65s. After I ran my final lap (my fifth) I ran the final 100m of each of Sean's extra laps to keep him focused against the strong wind. He ran another three followed by three two hundreds. I cracked the whip on the recovery and he finished a fine session - just about still standing.

I don't feel it was my greatest ever session but I have to acknowledge that I raced yesterday - and my bones aren't as strong as they once were.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Making bridges

I ran my fastest 5k for over a year - OK, so that really isn't saying much but I'm still really pleased. My left inner thigh/hamstring area held out - so that's a bonus. It's still sore but I don't think it affected my ability to run. Mind you, the strong head wind in the final 2k didn't help my final kilometre splits - suffice to say I slowed a bit but the wind was really strong, honest guv.

So what was the time, I hear you ask? No laughing, 18:58 - I SAID NO LAUGHING. Stop it. It's my first time under 19 minutes since April 2008. Come on, stop laughing.

Off to the track tomorrow to continue the recent good work. I've still got a lot of work ahead but I've I got to try and be committed.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A time to jog

It's the Bridge Inn 5k tomorrow and although I've just had my best week's training this year I felt very heavy legged today. My left inner thigh - careful - is sore but hopefully tomorrow is another day. Well, of course tomorrow is another day, but I'm hopeful the soreness will have gone and what with all the endurance work I've been doing I hope to stay the distance a little better. I've not put in any work on the speed side of things but that seems to have been coming back over the last few track sessions anyway. So if I find myself recovered then I'll be gunning for my quickest 5k of the year.

So to today and we went for a very easy 5 miles across the fields from home and back through Blaisdon Woods. For me it's been seven runs in eight days - a season's best by absolutely miles...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

B n Q bank holiday

What a scorching day and since today is part of the bank holiday weekend - and I've managed to get over the extended journey home yesterday - I toddled off to B and Q for some diy madness. The madness in my case was to construct the second of my book cases - how jolly mad - and it took bloody ages.

After that it was out to walk the hounds but it was so hot they hardly wanted to move and after half an hour we returned home. That could only mean one thing for George, the canine vaccum, FOOD. So after he had performed his loop the loops - he gets a tad excited at meal times - I dished out the grub and then they all returned to the hard work of sleeping - except Brown Dog, who was up in the Stretton Hills running with H.

I then put in an easy half hour on the treadmill - some training, but not too strenuous. Tomorrow I plan for a proper run. Not sure how long yet but more than half an hour.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Drive back the tide

On what turned out to be a scorching hot day we, unfortunately, had to drive home. It's been a great week but we're both knackered now.

The drive was hampered by those idiots in Devon. Can you believe those fools arranged the Devon County show for this weekend? Surely they knew we would be driving home and wouldn't want any traffic disturbance. And, come to think of it, who gave permission for a bank holiday weekend? I don't know whose to blame but somebody's head is on the block. I suggest they make some notes on what went wrong and make sure it doesn't happen again. When I'm driving back from holiday I want a nice traffic jam free drive - not a bloody six hour nightmare. GOT IT!

Anyway, I've given the grass a hair cut. Watered the pots and now I'm off to put my feet up 'cause I is totally shattered...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Cape Cornwall

Today we turned north and headed for some of the North Coastal Path. In order to avoid the old out and back - as there aren't so many sticky outy bits along the geography on the north coast - I picked a route that headed inland across the heathland to begin with.

Starting from somewhere half way between St Ives and St Just I took an inland route across to the previously mentioned St Just. It was a brilliantly hot day although there was a cool breeze blowing southwards. The north coast - or as much as we saw of it - seems more rugged and wind swept than the south and consequently there didn't seem to be as many villages sat on sea front.

The route through to St. Just was a bit flatter than I was expecting which explains the limited 1,100 feet of ascent but the mileage for the run was just over 11 miles and all good time on foot for me. From St Just I headed to Cape Cornwall and then in an easterly direction along the coastal path to complete my final holday run. Of course, then I followed recent form by downing yet another of those Cornish Pasties - I have become quite expert at spotting them against the background of the myraid tourist attractions and gift shops - I'm thinking of turning pro.

I've manage to clock up 83 kilometres this week in the five days we've been here. That's just under 52 miles for those still operating in old money and probably somewhere near double my weekly mileage. Or to put it another way, last month I recorded a patheticly small run total of 105km. So I've almost equalled that in less than a week and you know what? I'm feeling tired but also much stronger. I feel I've regained a bit of endurance.

I can't wait for my next race, what ever that's going to be...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here comes the sun

Finally, the sun made an appearance. We headed out for another coastal run. This time making a loop starting at Portscatho and heading to Zone Point, overlooking Falmouth to the west and St Mawes to the North. We covered just over ten miles and 1,000 feet. The coast was very pleasant. Lovely clear seas - almost made me want to go for a dip - almost but not quite on account of the deep blue waters being frickin freezin.

We took knock kneed Ern, Fish Boy Pedwar and the Super Dog - George had to make do with the back of the van on account of his advancing years. I think today's route was the best of the holiday so far. When we eventually arrived back at Portscatho I managed to hunt down another of those Cornish Pasties - and although not quite up to the standard of my first, it still went down a treat.

Then it was round to St Mawes for coffee on the pier and a walk along the front - passing the house I holidayed in as a child many, many years ago - in a galaxy far far away. Then home for tea - or in our case, a movie in Falmouth later on...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cold blooded

but I warmed up along the way. We ran a circular loop starting at Mullion on the south coast and heading inland across country to Cadgwith. That part of the run was a bit of mare. At one point we lost the footpath we were following altogether. It was totally overgrown with stinging nettles a plenty. And when it wasn't totally overgrown it was hard to locate - something tells me the locals don't really like ramblers and in our case runners. At the end of that particular section there was a footpath sign at a height of about six inches - either there are a lot of tiny short people in Cornwall or the hypothesis on the not wanting walkers around them yer parts is right.

Anyway, we made it past the worst part only to find the next bit not vastly improved on the clarity of route front. Someone began to get a bit grumpy, especially after taking on water on the shoe front (the cow poo might not have helped). Still, the trusty GPS was partially programmed with the route so worse case scenario was a hop and a skip over some fences to the next route point. Finally we made it to the sea side village of Cadgwith and the coastal path.

The proper running started here. Mrs B still had plenty of running left in her canine frame - and we only had 16k to go. From Cadgwith we headed westward past the Devil's Frying Pan - not that I fancied a fry up at that point - towards Lizard Point. The path wound it's way up and down and around the coast. We reached and passed Lizard Point before finally arriving back at Mullion. I had slowed considerably from around the 20k point - I was gert knackered but just about hung on. Helen had to keep stopping to let me catch up - might not hear the end of that for a while...

In all we covered just over 26k and 2,150 feet of ascent. I am a bit exhausted but it must be doing me good. It is doing me good, isn't it?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Attack of the killer pasties

We got out for a run before visiting the Eden Project. It rained a little. It blew a little - and then Ernie buggered off. After a few minutes of searching he was located and we made it back to the holiday house. The hill reps didn't really materialise. My calves are sore and H's hamstrings were knackered so there wasn't much point in attempting the hill session - what a band of cripples.

On the plus side I tracked down one of those elusive Cornish Pasties after much searching - and it were right lush - a far cry from them 'orrible ones from a brand I can't mention but I think the letter 'G' features in the brand name.

Anyway, after the visit to Eden we went for a walk along the beach at Carlyon Bay. George found a rotten old fish. He was so pleased, he ran along the beach like a puppy - then Pedwar got hold of said fish and he mysteriously forgot about his injured leg as he too, romped around the beach with it. Ernie was scared on the sea waves crashing on the beach and Mrs B, well she was happy chasing around causing destruction - but to be fair, there was, thankfully, little of that going on today.

We headed back via the coastal path, by the side of the golf course, and fortunately there were no golf related incidents other than George helping a man miss his putt - that George, he's so helpful.

Tomorrow we have a longer run planned along the coastal path around Lizard Point. I'm off to work out the route...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cornish pasty

We have been in Cornwall for just over 5 hours and so far I have not managed to locate any of the fabled athlete food. I am, of course, talking about the holy grail of athletic food - the Cornish Pasty. None of that chicken nugget rubbish. That stuff is just for gold medal sprinters. No, it's the Cornish Pasty for me.

The four hour drive down wasn't too bad although the pouring rain was a bit depressing but it hasn't actually rained since we arrived. Making the most of the gap we went out for what turned out to be a nine miler with 1,100 feet of ascent. My legs don't feel great but we only went at a steady pace so I was just about able to keep up with Ernie, the knock kneed pooch.

I'm still feeling knackered so I'm looking forward to a lie in tomorrow ahead of the planned hill reps - no rest for the wicked...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What a busy day

I am so knackered. It was an extremely busy day yesterday but everything went off just brilliant.

The weather just about held for the race. It threatened much but during the race apart from gusting winds the rain kept off. I ran pretty well - Helen beat me out of sight - but I was happy with my effort. As per the norm, I struggled on the ascents but flew down the descents - almost back to my best - the descending that is, not the ascending, no, that was bloody rubbish.

I was wasted by the finish. As I ran off the last of the descent into the penultimate field, with a runner just 30 metres ahead, I put in a burst to catch him. My legs gave way under what can only be termed 'the jelly leg affect'. I fell. Did a forward roll - using this technique to glance back and check there was no one chasing too closely. Finished through the roll back on to my feet before continuing across to the finish. Suffice to say I didn't catch him. For interest, this technique is only ever used by highly expert fell runners to check how far ahead they are - and, of course, those who are completely knackered - I'll let you decide which category I fall into.

Then it was home to wash and dress ahead of our wedding party in Monmouth. It was a great evening with loads of our friends and family - and DJ Phil - and I think everyone had a good time.

Anyway, it's the day after and I'm shattered. I need sleep...

Friday, May 15, 2009

The day before Cribyn

I've been resting ahead of the Cribyn Race. I was going to have a short jog yesterday after work because my legs felt surprisingly good after my fast track session - but the weather was shit so I wimped out. As my Nepalese guru would say, he who stays dry doesn't get towel wet.

The Cribyn is going to be tough - even though it's only five and a half miles. I'm hoping I won't be brought to tears by the ascent - but it's a distinct possibility. And the weather is forecast to be a bit nasty - we're talking 65 mile an hour winds on the tops and naff all visibility. Hopefully everyone will return safe and sound and ready to paaaaarrrrrttttttyyyyyyyyy - and eat the post race cake...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Not quite faster than a speeding bullet

but pretty quick never the less - for me anyway.

The weather held and Sean and I ran with Dave B's group. I guess we've run enough times now that really we're one big group but I still hark back to the days of Rob, Nick, Bruce, Harry and Sean. Oh well, moving on.

The aim of tonight's session was speed, speed and more speed. We ran four sets of 400m, 90 seconds recovery, 300m and 5 minutes between sets - although some of the time keeping was a bit loose but I'll cast no blame for that.

To be honest I can't believe how quick I ran. I ran 69s, 51s for the first two sets. Then 67s, 52s for the third and 67s, 31s for the final one - you might have noticed that the final 300 was on world record pace. There is a good reason for that - it was a 200 on account of the fact that I was wiped out after the last 400 but really wanted to do a final something and a 200 was all I could muster.

Still, I'm really very pleased I ran so quick. I do believe it's the quickest I've run this year! I'm not sure I've even been inside 70 seconds for a 400, so even with the looooong recoveries I'm still pleased. I wasn't sure I could run that quick anymore. There's life in the old dog yet...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Run (in the) forest, run

I took Ern and Pedwar with me for a short recovery run in Flaxley woods. At 9k and fifty minutes it was just about right except, perhaps, for the 1,000 feet of ascent - I'm not sure a recovery run should have quite that amount. Come to think of it, I'm not sure one should push on the hills either. Oh well.

The sun shone and the deadly duo lagged far, far behind. I had to keep stopping and yelling for Ernie to catch up but eventually we made it back home. I feel a little bit knackered now and in definite need of some refueling.

Only five days till Helen's Cribyn Race [grimaces to camera]...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Photos from Badminton

Some rider jumping a fence
(the photo that didn't show up yesterday)
((and then it did - technology, I give up!))

Some other rider jumping a different fence

Yet another different rider jumping yet another different fence

George and Ernie tired from a day not doing very much - that's very tiring don't you know, doing nothing.

Can we go home now?

Pedwar's the name, winning dog shows is my game

The dog show

Well it's been a grand day out. Mr Pedwar finished the day with a fourth, a second and a win. Brown dog, George and Ernie won sod all.I didn't think I'd get any training done this weekend but how wrong can you be. We entered Pedwar and Mrs B in the racing. Pedwars efforts were abysmal. Mrs B faired better by at least finishing the course in a time near the top of the leader board. Helen decided to use her right to a substitution and brought out Ernie who impressed - we gave George a miss as we didn't have all day.While the dogs chased the lure up the 300m course and in the absense of the motor bike, muggins here ran the lure back down the course.I must have run 30 or more reps and an equal number of recoveries back up the course. I now stink like a pig, have legs like jelly and now have to drive back up the M5 home - least I got some good training done...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

A day out in the country

My first ever Badminton and the queues of traffic were massive. So big were they that we pulled off into a layby on the A46 and walked about three miles across the fields to get there - on official public footpaths I hasten to add - none of this illegal trespass stuff.

Although the sun didn't get out from behind the cloud much we've both managed to catch the sun. It was a good day though and as they say in the training manual it's time on feet that count and baring about half an hour we spent the day walking or standing watching the riders - and that was six hours worth.

The highlight of the day was the escaped lurcher dog that chased one of the riders for thirty seconds. The rider showed his expertise as he steered his horse around the obstacles without being put off and indeed, he managed to complete a clear round without time penalties. The lurcher, well he was in trouble with the lurcher high council for bringing the lurcher nation into disrepute. Naughty lurchers - you can't take them anywhere - although I'll quickly add that ours were impeccably well behaved.

(And I should also add that the picture form the previous post doesn't seem to have sent - so you'll just have to imagine the picture of horse and rider mid leap).

((Now it's there! Now you don't see it, now you do! - I'll get my coat))

Horsey Horsey

Horse and rider jump clear on the quick way over fence 6.

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, May 08, 2009

Why don't modern TV remotes work further than a metre?

Why are modern remotes so crap? They have no range. As I sit astride the exercise bike not 4 metres from the TV it is barely able to alter the volume. Is it a remote or a proder that you press against the casing of the TV? Oh I remember the days when you could take pride in your remote. The days when you could zap the channel from another room with the signal bouncing off the walls. Of course I can also remember the days before remotes but now we've got the technology we could at least bother to make a decent job of it.

Anyway, I'm currently knocking out 45 on the bike. My legs feel tight from Wednesday so I'm just easing them back in, so to speak.

We're off to Badminton tomorrow to hob nob - or was that, eat Hob Nobs?

Not sure what training I'll fit in...

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Right, ready to post

Finally after tea has been cooked, consumed and various emails written I've got time to blog.

Tonight's session was more successful than of late. Before the session began I had a twinge in my back - here we go again, I thought - but after a few warm up laps and some strides the twinge disappeared and I was able to start the session.

Sean and the lads ran 400's off a very short recovery of 35-40 seconds - now there was no way I could do that. I opted to run 300's instead with a longer recovery in the region of 90 seconds.

I was actually surprised with my times. I tried to focus on my form - such that my style could be deemed form - and run smoothly and not get tense. I think it must have worked because my first four were 53 seconds followed by a 51. I was aiming for ten reps so I stuck in a three minute recovery at half time before kicking off the sixth and seventh in 52 and 53 but things were beginning to get tough.

It was at this point - the point where I was gasping for breath, on my hands and knees, crawling towards the start line for the next rep - that I decided I would stop if I dropped outside 53 but to my great disappointment I managed the eighth rep in 53 which meant I had to go again - bugger - still I could always fail on the next... but sadly I didn't as I ran a 52 - f#@$. So that meant I ended up running all ten with the final one hitting 51 again and that was me finished.

Then it was home for tea and emails - the circle of blog continues...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Cribyn time

The lovely weather we've had over the last couple of days had well and truly disappeared as the small gang of intrepids headed over for one last recce of the Cribyn Race - as arranged on the FRA Forums. There was eleven of us in all - counting the three dogs - Helen, Helen, Chris, Nick, Brian, Hanneke, Andy and me. The only absentee was Wheeze who has unfortunately sustained a calf injury - if only he had worn some black gloves while out training - that would've kept him injury free...

My legs felt OK considering my mammoth Saturday run but I was soon languishing towards the back - it was only a social run and everyone was very social about it. As we neared the top of Cribyn the cloud descended and things soon cooled down. It was decided chilly as we stood on top - I'm talking about the weather not the atmosphere at base camp as we awaited the approach of dangerous Andy Mullet. Then it was off down to the saddle and up the other side to Pen-y-Fan.

My face began to freeze off but eventually we all made it safe and sound to the summit. Then it was the enjoyable descent back to the car park and once back safely below the cloud things started to warm up - not the atmosphere within the gang, that was always cheery.

It's funny how the descents always seem so much more enjoyable than the ascents - odd that, must be something to do with the burning sensation you get in your legs when ascending. Anyway, after the run it was down the cafe for a chat with tea and biscuits - 'cept I had a nice cheese and ham toastie - yum - and come to think of it, I had coffee instead of tea, on account of tea being the devil's drink.

I feel thoroughly worn out now so it's time for feet up...

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Six hour marathon

but unfortunately it was sat behind the computer entering the team declarations and the scores on the doors at the Young Athletes League Meeting at Yate. It was good conditions for the athletes as Birchfield Harriers wiped the floor with the rest - they practically had more points than all the other teams put together. On the upside there is only one way Bristol & West can go from here...

My legs feel tired. Not sore - that'll come tomorrow. I'm not sure I have the mental strength to climb aboard the exercise bike especially as we have a trip up Cribyn penciled in for tomorrow. If yesterday didn't kill me [checks pulse, yep, didn't kill me] then tomorrow's recce very well might.

Oh yeah, and Helen claimed third in the British Fell Championship Long Course race yesterday so all is well in Longhope.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

I might have over done it a little

I'm totally knackered. I should have gone up to Coventry to do a 2k steeple chase but I got so into shelf building I completely lost track of time - when a man has his tool in his hand - I think I'll stop there before I incriminate myself. The shelves are nice but I feel guilty for not making it to the track. I have earnt myself some bad Karma points there.

So having missed the track I went for a long run. I plotted a route. Downloaded it into my gps and then I was off. I headed out from Longhope following the Wysis Way towards Monmouth - that's the final destination of the Wysis Way, not my destination. No, that really would be a long run.

I followed the Wysis over to Micheldean and then up and over to the northern edge of Cinderford before getting into the heart of the Forest of Dean. From there I left the Wysis Way and made my way back home. But not before running under a huge tapestry thing hanging in the middle of the forest - thaims strange things goin up yer. I touched the southern edge of Cinderford and Littledean before going up Green Bottom - stop it - and finally cutting through Flaxley woods and back to Longhope.

Well there it is. I covered 17 miles with 2,500 feet of ascent. I have to admit I thought the route was going to be about 14 but once you take into account all the twists and turns - not to mention the slight deviations from the plan - it soon mounts up.

I'm totally knackered. My left knee had a touch of the old ITB pain in the last three or four miles but nothing to write home about and I'm not far off full scale cramp in the calves. So all in all a bloody good long run - possibly my longest of the year!

Friday, May 01, 2009

... and holiday traffic - fortunately it was all heading south and as I was going north I didn't, frankly my dear, give a damn. Poor helpless saps. Why do they put themselves through it every bank holiday? What with that and swine flu is the world coming to end? Is this armagedon? Judgement day? No, far more likely, it's all an elaborate ruse by our government to distract us from the financial crock of s@#t that is ruining us all.

Tonight I hit the bike and the diy - not at the same time mind. After an easy leg turn over on the bike I made a start on my bookshelve construction project. It completes tomorrow.,