Sunday, August 30, 2009

Easy run that wasn't

Well it seems like a lot of stuff isn't happening - I'm still trying to get over the coffee incident. We went for a run through Flaxley woods this morning. My legs felt achy and being a little on the slow side these days I had to work a bit harder than 'easy' to keep up. It wasn't tempo but it definately wasn't easy. On the bright side I wasn't last. That honour went to the ever idle Pedwar.

So the rest of the day is dedicated to, well, rest actually. That and re-designing the poo pump. Our current system is getting on and tripping so we need to take some premptive action. I have found a grinding pump I reckon should do the biz and I'm drawing up the control circuit as we speak - all of which is probably too much information but in a few weeks time those terds ain't gonna know what's hit them...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The coffee that wasn't

I think I had my best race for a while - it's not that I'm not sure I had a race - I can tell from the legs that I had a race, it's that dispite finishing back in 90th place I performed the best I have for ages. Graham Mcara was only 10 metres ahead at the finish and I've not had him in sight all year! The second indicator is that I actually ascended strongly and overtook people - and that definately hasn't happened this year!

No, it was a much better run and I feel good.

The calder valley women ran well, again winning the team race and all but confirming the English title again. Helen's foot didn't help too much as she battled the pain into 6th.

Well, we decided to come home tonight on account of the worsening weather and stopped off for a snack and a coffee. The woman that served us was all but having a breakdown, shouting and bawling about not getting time to clean suffice to say I didn't quite get the americano I was after. The capachino I was served is not to my taste but I wanted to live so I didn't complain - trays had already be thrown across the floor and I didn't want to spoil the day so I called into Smiths afterwards for a coke. That was the most expensive coffee I've never had, and what added insult to injury - the capachino I didn't drink is 30p more than the coffee I actually ordered - oh well, the cola is nice.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Almost very nearly

A look at the weather earlier almost put me off but I rallied and went. It was only Sean, Rick and myself tonight but we worked hard - well, I worked as hard as I can at the moment. I don't seem to be able to quite nail it like I did a year ago but I'm getting there, if a little too slowly.

The track was slippy in the damp conditions but I held off donning the studs since I'm still cautious of putting too much strain on the 'A' word. We ran 400 reps off a 60 second recovery. Sean ran the first five over hurdles places at the steeple chase points while I started each lap with a forty metre head start. We hit 67/68 seconds per rep - and I really was slipping around in the road shoes on the Whitchurch track. Which, incidently, is unique among athletic tracks as having an almost ice rink like quality in even the mildest of damp conditions - Bristol council really is going all out for twenty twelve...

I digress, back to the session, after the first five we ran a jogged lap before setting off on a further five reps. This time Sean ran the 400's flat while I still had the 40 metre head start. I only managed two laps before I felt the tightness in the 'A' word and packed it in. Sean ran all five.

I'm pretty pleased with the session. Although I was running a short measure the pace of 67/68 equates to 74/75 for the full measure and I feel there is more once the leg eases for good - which it will.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More rest please

I decided to take a rest. It's been a good week on the training front and although I've only run four times in seven days (ending yesterday) I did various other things on the weekend culminating in that hard tempo yesterday. As I climbed the two flights of stairs to my office at work I knew it was time for a rest. I shall be ready for the track tomorrow though. The ol' achilles is just about holding together - you all know by now that I'm indestructible - so tomorrow I am hopefully to go quicker than of late.

Oh yeah, and I've had the race numbers through for next Tuesdays inter-companies AXA/GWR 5 mile road race. I've not raised an elite team - I'm in the team after all - but it is at least a team. So if there are any of you out there also running, I shall see you then. And then of course, before that, there is the final short course English Champs fell race up at Dentdale on Saturday...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Went for it

I really went for it tonight - and I reckon I did well. I took Mrs B and we ran like the wind - no, my mistake, Mrs B had the wind.

As I said I really pushed on around the same route in Flaxley wood as my two efforts last week. This time I meant it though. I covered the 9 and a bit kilometres in 45:34 and since it includes 1,000 feet of ascent I don't think that's too shabby for a lazy old git such as myself.

After having put on a few pounds over the last few months - shut it - I've started to reverse the rot. I've shaved off two pounds during the last two weeks - that was one long beard - ho, ho, ho. I'll be back to my racing weight in no time - now all I after to do is be able to run once I get there...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A walk?

Yes, we went for a walk - and we really didn't run at all - amazing. It was a bit claggy up top, over in the Black Mountains but it wasn't at all unpleasant. What was amazing was that there were almost no signs of life other than Pedwar and Brown Dog - and I'm not sure Pedwar really counts [puts on body armour]. Although we did spot a few people after a couple of hours, I can't help thinking it was their loss that there weren't more people out.

Anyway, we walked about 21 km and ascended somewhere in the region of 3,000 feet recceing some of the route of the Black Mountains race (coming in a few weeks) but we failed miserably in the mist to find the most direct route down into the first valley - doh. We did recce in reverse from the bottom to the top though, and worked out where we should have gone down - stop it.

All in all it was a right nice day and even though we walked I'm feeling pretty tired now...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A better day to golf

Well I played a lot better than last week - it don't take me long to get back in the swing - ooh, that's bad. My second game in a year saw Deep Red - that's my driver if you didn't remember - fire all nearly all of its cylinders. I only missed the fairway twice all day - and one of those by just a yard or two. Oh, and it went looong most of the time as well.

The rest of my play was, sadly, not quite so accurate or consistent but it was a start. With a bit of work around the green I could be good again, honest. There were a few highlights though. Including a Birdie two on the eighth and six pars - it would have been another couple 'cept for a small number of woefully bad putts - and yes, we are talking not just lagged but truly truly pants. I hang my head in shame at the thought of those few. But that's all part of the game and although I didn't complete every hole - it being a better ball and not being required to - I reckon I played to around about my handicap of 15. As I play so little I'm pretty pleased.

Now if only running were as easy...

Friday, August 21, 2009

End of the working day

Home from work at half five - now they've started those damn road works on the M5 it'll be that way for a while - bugger. I took Mr Meddles and Brown Dog for another 6 miles in Flaxley - I think I've worn Meddles out! He didn't stop panting for over half an hour. They both lagged behind again but they know the route so I wasn't overly concerned.

In light of the dogs tiredness I decided to run a few kilometre efforts, three in all. The first, on the steady slope to the Flaxley high point. The next, along the meandering track to the far point along the flat(ish) bit. The final effort was on the steep climb back up to the top and you know what it right floated my boat. I really enjoyed those heart pounding, leg aching efforts. And I very nearly got into the old hill climbing grind - and I've not been there for, well, years.

That's twice I've got out straight from work this week - that's a seasons best - and although I didn't feel like I wanted to I'm glad I did 'cause I bloody well enjoyed. The feeling of pain on that final effort - bloody topper - but you know what? I want more...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Back tracking

I decided to risk running the session with the lads tonight. My achilles felt a bit better. Certainly not fixed but I was feeling it less.

We ran 400's using the rotation technique. Not knowing how many I would manage to complete, I ran steady. Lapping at 80 seconds I wasn't too disappointed with how I ran. It was now were near the 75's I was running a month ago but a lot better than not running the session, as has been the pattern in recent weeks.

After a few laps I took a breather before resuming for one more 400 before we stepped down to a 300m in 54s and finally a 200m in 33s. The lads did a few more two's but for the first time of the evening I could just feel the left a-word so I decided to stop.

It's been a positive return to running reps on the track so I just hope I can keep the momentum going.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Swimming with the fishes

That's what happens when you mess with me - just joking. No, it's what happens to Pedwar when you let him into the back garden after a humid 6 mile run in Flaxley Wood - he goes swimming with the fishes in Helen's pond to cool down. Oops, better keep that quiet or there may be trouble...

I got home from work at just gone five, a quick change and it was out with Pedwar, Brown Dog and our current rental, Bella for a leisurely six miles through the woods. On what was a very pleasant late summer evening we ambled around the woods at a not too quick pace but even so the dogs found conditions a fraction hot. Still, on the positive side, no one went awol - always a bonus.

We did have a bit of chicken trouble though. On the path leading to and from the woods, the owners of said chickens didn't really seem to care that their chickens were roaming free - I've heard of free range but this was just silly. Some of those pesky hens were milling around the edge of the main road - ho hum, that will be a tasty bit of road kill for someone.

Anyway, one of the chickens came with inches of death as it decided to run right out in front of me and the dogs. Only my super human strength was able to hold the back the tide of hounds. They pulled. They tugged but they had not reckoned on the power of the mad runner as I hauled them away. Leaving stupid chicken, as, from hence forth, it shall be known, to live another day - or a few more minutes before it gets splattered on the road.

On a final note, I have to say that I'm down grading Brown Dog from top running dog - sorry Helen. That honour must know be bestowed to Bella. She barely left my side during the entire run. There was no need to stop to let her catch up or give her a call. No, when running with Bella there is no worry of her going awol. Simply superb.

Pedwar's Pond

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Well that didn't go so well

I eventually got going on the golf front - it was just a shame it took me 15 holes to get into the groove before I started firing on anything near both barrels. And even then the short range stuff wasn't great as I frittered away the last couple of chances to redeem myself.

I feel I let down my partner a bit but Uncle P claimed he didn't mind and we did have a laugh - and more importantly, we didn't have any fights - as can happen when me and my two brothers get together.

I did at least show what 'old hardware' can do against the onslaught of these technicological advanced modern drivers. I fired out a couple of long ones - stop it - with 'Deep Red' - the model of my ten year old driver - leaving all in its wake - including the drives of my brothers, who themselves, hit quite a mean drive. Sadly, I naffed up around the green though - the old adage, drive for show putt for dough, was sadly very apt.

Anyway, I am a bit knackered what with the dog walking and the golf - hard to think golf is that tiring but I can assure you it is and no doubt I will be aching a bit tomorrow from it. On the plus side I think I'm grooved in, ready for next weeks game over at Knowle...

The results are in...

of the British Fell Championship and I came 123rd equal - what a laugh.

At the moment - this being a scheduled post, having acutally blogged it last night, which is actually 'this' night as I type but it will be last night when it hits the blog - confused? Well you should be. Anyway, at the moment I am on route to Filton Golf club for the Four Ball Better Ball Open - oh I do like swing my club and strike my balls - ooh er.

Oh, and did I mention 123rd= - stop laughing. Golf results to follow, I wonder if I can beat 123rd?...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Ernie you plonker

From a rainy start and an earlyish start it was off to Blaisdon Wood with the hounds again. I gave them an hours romp and predictably Ernie wandered off. For half an hour we all trotted along but then all of a sudden - and it wasn't deer chase related, honest guv - Ern just turned ninety degrees off the path and strode off into the middle of the undergrowth. Why he doesn't I don't think we'll ever know. Anyway, the rest of the gang all stayed well grouped except for the odd incursion and after another half hour we arrived back at the van. I then went back into the wood to dig out Ernie, who, as it would happen, was just pootling along towards the gate - Ern, you stupid boy.

Well after the wet start I decided I would go for a 12% elevation treadmill run to stay dry - not wanting to get any more clothes soaked. I ran for 10km at that 12% gradient setting and I can tell you now, it was bloody hard going. I had to keep stepping down the speed on account of being knackered - not to mention dripping - nasty.

According to the counter I burnt over 1000 kcal but I don't put much faith in that, I don't think it can have been that much. It wasn't a bad little workout though - and I rigged up the TV to watch the Triathlon on BBC1 - well done, Alastair Brownlee, the winner - and British too boot, whoo hoo - so it wasn't that boring either.

And after all that? The bloody sun has come out so I could have gone for a proper run. I ain't going now though. The sofa awaits - after I've walked the dogs. Fed the dogs. And picked up the poo - from the dogs - the highlight of my day...

Friday, August 14, 2009

A story of seven

What a day, oh what a day. With Helen safely on her way to Italy I am in charge of the Seven Hounds of the Apocalypse - yes, we have a few rentals. Not that I'm scared or anything you understand. I can cope [large gulp].

Well first off, I have completed my tax return and filed it online. It took way less time than I thought it would - that's the power of being ultra organised. All facts and figures to hand. Neatly coded on my tax spreadsheet. Ready to fire into the online forms. And the best bit? With my payments on account paid earlier in the year, Mr Tax Ma...Person owes me back some cash - result.

Next up, my shinny new electricity meter has just been installed which means I can get out for some sort of run later rather than waiting in all day - result number two.

And finally, and I don't want to have to admit this, but I have decided I need a key race. A goal to go for in an effort to get out there and train - can't think who's been banging on at me to the fact that I've got no target to go for with my running...

All I have to do now is find a race - and I'm thinking a long one, just to prove I still can. Once I've got that I can sit down and work out a training schedule to fit around work and life in general. The planning starts now...

Good luck to Helen in Italy on her down hill only leg, running for the British team consisting of Angela Mudge (former World mountain running champion) and Claire someone (who is also really good). Fingers crossed it all goes off well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I mustered

Well I might not have made the track but I did at least 'ride' to the occasion and put in an hour on the bike in front of possibly the worst movie I have ever seen. Starring Van Damn, I suggest that you give 'Until Death' a very wide birth if you ever have the misfortune to come across it. Van Damn wasn't great in his prime. He is not in his prime. And neither is my back.

Severe injury

My achilles has been improving but I have to admit that I wasn't totally convinced I was going to be able to run some fast reps but I really believed I was going to be able to run some quicker, longer reps at least. However, all that is inconceivable now.

On a day that saw me splash over three hundred notes for a full service and mot - on the car, not me - I would have failed big time. And no, I wasn't ripped, I just needed a few expensive parts which I knew was coming so I wasn't surprised by the cost. No, on said day, I have sustained an office based, chair related injury of a most severe and debilitating nature. I haven't a clue what I did - that sitting your arse on a chair malarchy is a risky business I can tell you. At some point I did something and when I stood to leave at the end of the day I had a spasm in my back and wham bam, knackero backo. And it's giving me the run around - which is more than I'm going to be able to do. There is now no way I can run at all - bugger.

On a more positive note, I have my Bristol Water team up together for the AXA 5 Mile Inter-Companys race on Tuesday the 1st September. The annual event is usually good natured and it's always interesting to see who turns out - and for which companies - there are always some ringers...

Now leave me as I weep into my pillow at my inability to go to the track - or more appropriately, my inability to do any training if I got there...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Farmers can't half be selfish

I've just been crawling at 20 miles per hour in a huge queue of traffic for 7 miles. What's that you say? There must have been some major road works going on or worse a road traffic accident. No, that I could forgive but to trundle your tractor at peak time is pretty selfish in anyone's book. I know they've a job to do and all that but with a little planning they could be a lot more considerate. Oh well, forgive and forget.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Blaising hot

We got over to Blaise this morning for an easy run with Rick - no Sean as he was competing over at the Avon League and no doubt gunning for another PB, fingers crossed.

We would we have gone up to Ashton Court but there is this damn ballon fiesta malarchy going on at the moment. Disrupting the traffic and causing misery, mayhem and general doom. OK, there was no actual doom, well maybe just a little. Still, it was damned inconvenient of them. Do they not ever consider the runner? Only kidding, I'll let them off just this once - but only this once. I can't be getting too generous in my old age.

Where was I? Oh yeah, the easy run. We ran a loop around and about the place with the hounds, who, it has to be said, were all very well behaved - even Ernie stayed close by most of the time.

It was hot and we ran slow but after yesterday's epic it was about as much as I could cope with. The achilles, although feeling a bit stiff - stop it - didn't give me too much grief and after 50 minutes we were back at the van. Then it was into the cafe for a quick coffee before we all went our separate ways as Rick had to get up to Bristol's premier running shop, Up and Running (38 North View, Westbury Park, Bristol, BS6 7QA), for the start of his shift. Where, incidently, I shall be purchasing a new pair of Mizuno Wave Harrier trail shoes when I get a spare moment - oh, you can't buy ads like these...

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Knowing when your beat?

- I knew.

We drove over to Llanbedr at just gone midday. By the time we got there and kitted up it was close to two o'clock and off we set. From Llanbedr it's almost straight into the ascent. Steep at first and then after a couple of kilometres it steadies to a meandering climb all the way along the ridge, passing Crug Mawr towards Pen y Gadair Fawr. It was along this ridge that Helen ran me into the ground. She pegged it away from me and I just couldn't keep up. Still, I got there in the end - but apparently, she'd had time for a small siesta, a cup of tea - with cucumber sandwiches with the crust cut off, of course and some fondant fancies.

From Pen y Gadr Fawr we dropped down north eastwards into the valley before Helen headed up the other side to Chwarel y Fan - try saying that with your false teeth in. I say Helen because Brown Dog was panting a bit in the heat and I very kindly volunteered to take her along the road in the valley to await Helen at the road crossing as she came down from the ridge at Bal-Mawr before we both then headed back up, through the woods, to Crug Mawr - I was so looking forward to that climb of 7-800 feet to the ridge but the animals come first in my book, can't face to see them struggle. Sadly it meant I ran a mile less than H and that little bit of ascent less - shame, a real damn shame.

Finally, after 3 hours and 20 minutes we made it back to the van. I GPSed it as 25km and 3,600 feet of ascent. Even if I did miss out that small bit - all in the name of animal care, mind - I'm still quite pleased with the run. The last time we ran the same route - with the extra mile and 7-800 feet I took a staggering 4 hours 9 minutes, so even with the reduced route I was still a fair bit quicker than last time out...

To the mountains...

Off shortly to the Black Mountains for a long run with H and Mrs B - that's Brown Dog in case you'd forgotten.

It looks like being a hot one so I shall be sunblocking up - but then again I shall be taking full kit along as well because up in the mountains, even on what seems like the brightest day, you never can tell...

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Didn't want to run fast

I took it very easy at the track tonight. My left 'A' is still playing up so instead of trying to run fast I simply ran 20 laps of the track at an easy pace - and even then I could feel it. Still, I tried a few faster bursts - ok, the bursts weren't really very bursty but I increased the pace a bit.

I don't really feel as though I've trained tonight - which is probably because I didn't really train but I feel a bit better for getting out and doing something.

On a lighter note, I've got my hands on the Seaview 17 results and I did indeed make the top twenty - so that was a result. In fact, I actually made the top fifteen, coming home in 14th place, so that's quite pleasing.

For anyone interested, here are the Seaview 17, 2009 results

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Home at last

After a longer than hoped for journey home - arrghh for slow drivers who pootle on a Sunday afternoon - shoot the lot of them - it's time to relax and put the old pegs up.

We're not sure of the medal positions in the British Championships yet - suffice to say, I didn't quite get enough points to feature. Helen, on the other hand, has but as yet the calculations haven't been completed so we are waiting to see what colour (silver or bronze) - fingers crossed.

And to round off a good weekend, she's been asked to run as part of a three woman team in an international mountain race in Italy in a couple of weeks time. I, on the other hand, sadly, didn't get the call...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

In the shadow of Snowdon

Just a quickie on account of very poor reception up here in Snowdonia.

I have just scored my first ever British Championship points for 46th place -that's 5 points!

I started near the back and limped for the first ten minutes because my achilles hurt but then I got going and moved through the field - nice. Am chuffed.

Posted by ShoZu