Saturday, October 31, 2009

Sugar and spice

and a few things nice - like a lung busting, leg aching race up to Sugar Loaf mountain and back - awesome dude - where the hell did that come from. Next I'll be 'have a nice day'ing. I'm stopping that right now.

Conditions were as close to perfect as you could get. A slight breeze. Cool temperatures. Medium to soft going and 105 fellow competitors all surging across the landscape to Sugar Loaf mountain, covering 5.5 miles and 1,400 feet of ascent (I think).

I was in determined mood - determined to beat last years time. I set off towards the front but not right up there and took it steady on the first climb up the road. Once onto the fell I pulled back a few places but continued to run steadily. The Sugar Loaf (Winter version - that's the one today, as opposed to the one in the spring) is a race of two halves - a first half and then funnily, a second one. I managed to run most of the way to the top except the last sharply steep bit.

It took me a couple of minutes to find my downhill legs after the summit and I lost some ground on the lad ahead. Eventually I got going and picked up a few more places on the fast run to the far point of the course. From there it was a steady grind back up a ways before hanging on for the last couple of kilometres which are flat and then downward.

I finished in a time of 46:50, which is 36 seconds faster than last year so it was mission accomplished.

Helen wasn't able to retain her title as she was running in the Cross Country Relays up in Mansfield. Tomorrow we are off for a long run up Lord Hereford's Knob - now if ever there was an ooh 'er mrs waiting to be typed, this is it - ooh 'er mrs

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Doing lunch

Well, the lunch time run was a success. A success in the sense that I actually got out for a run - and I headed out with work colleague and new arch nemesis, Martin.

We headed out on the Dundry loop - and I found it hard going. It's been a while - and it showed, as I puffed and panted my way around the route. I enjoyed getting back out there though. Hopefully we'll manage to get out once or twice a week - it definitely helps running with someone - it makes the likelihood of me actually going for a run about ten times more likely. It might only be five miles but every little helps and you can at least run a good, strong effort on the main hill...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tiptoe through the track

My legs were a bit knackered tonight. We ran just five 400's - well technically Sean ran six - on account of the fact that he ran six. I should mention he was out on 500's as well but you don't need to know that so I'll keep that secret.

Anyway, I wasn't quick but there we are. Have to admit I'm flagging to find the time this week. I need to energise. On the upside I've a midday run planned for tomorrow with Martin from the office and possibly Graham. Am desperate to get back into the habit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Not update

And the time is in - a whole 32 seconds quicker than last month, 19:27. Still not fast enough. School report, 'must do better'.


I was up for it tonight. I tried my best. I really did. It was not enough.

My first mistake occurred in the first kilometre - too quick, way too quick. Actually that was the mistake. Too quick, way to quick.

My tactic was to go out quick and not pootle at the rear - oh er - but I was too ambitious and paid the ultimate price - OK, not the ultimate price, but it was an expense. As the miles clocked by I got slower and slower. Finally, as the finish podium rose into view, through the moorland mist, I made my final sprint towards the line but it was all in vain - I overtake 3 people but that was no bonus.

I was slow - but I sensed, better than last month. I say 'sense' because I had a watch failure in that I double tapped the timer so I didn't actually time the race at all. I am on the edge of my seat as to the time - hang on, no I'm not. I pretty much know it's going to be quicker than last time but not as quick as I wanted.

Back to the drawing board...

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Yes, I nearly passed out as I pedalled away on the exercise bike - Brown Dog was passing gas - and it wasn't pleasant. I have a feeling it was probably against the Geneva Conventions - it certainly infringed on my basic human right to breath fresh, clean air - and to think there was all that trouble with the smoking in public places, that wouldn't hold a candle to Mrs B's flatulence - hang on, come to think of, I don't think anyone should be holding any sort of naked flame near Mrs B on tonight's form...

Anyway, now that I have recuperated, I can admit to having failed to get out for a run, managing an hour on the bike instead - not a substitute but something at least. Now I just need to taper back now before Tuesday's Bridge where I hope to go a bit quicker than of late. I'm not going to stick my neck out and make a prediction - call me namby pamby if you must - suffice to say I won't be pootling along at the rear when the gun fires.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A medium

It was over to the Black Mountains this morning with Rob G, Helen and Brown Dog. The weather was pants. The view from the tops were lovely - a sort of misty white in all directions. Rob was way too fast for me but he gamely kept coming back to make sure I was still there.

The run itself was good. I feel a bit knackered now - and very very wet. I was soaked through to the skin by the finish - even my pants are... too much information. At 2,700 feet of ascent and about ten and a half miles it was a good distance for me. I'm going to be really gunning for it at the Bridge Inn so need to spare myself before then. I'm going to - if I can be arsed, which I hope I will - get out for am easy run tomorrow. I only hope the weather is improved. The drizzle is so miserable.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I better explain

The lack of training at the track yesterday was down to the fact that my calves were still really really painful. It's the first time in ages that I've been out of action for three days after a race. The pegs are still sore today - but fortunately they are now easing. I only managed an hour on the bike yesterday, which is by no means an acceptable replacement for my intended session on the track - kilometre reps - but what can I say? If you'd been in my legs - I mean shoes - you would have done the same.

Anyway, I'm looking for a race for the weekend and then it's target race, Bridge Inn on Tuesday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Still recovering

It was a hard race yesterday. My legs are totally sore and aching. I can hardly believe how slowly I've been shuffling around. Today is most definitely a day of rest. Yesterday's Exmoor Stagger was a very enjoyable race - and worth today's pain. One for the calendar me thinks.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I'm really coming back

I had a great race down at Minehead in the Exmoor Stagger. 15 Miles is just outside my current comfort zone and if I'm honest, unlike last weeks race, I struggled in the last mile or so - and it was downhill! But then I was desperately trying to claim back one of the places I gave away on the final climb so I was really pushing with every last bit of energy. Anyway, I did get the place back and then kept pushing to the end to keep ahead. I didn't ease off.

Where I was buzzing after the end of last weeks race I was struggling to stay upright after this one. I was totally shattered but with a time of 2:20 I'm well pleased. As I wrote in a previous post, I set myself a target of 2:25 but would've been happy with 2:30 so...

I really feel it's all starting to go in the right direction. I'm still not clocking up enough miles in training but these tough races I keep doing seem to be doing the trick and I really do enjoy racing. The thrill of the chase. Trying to overtake the person ahead. Keeping ahead of the person behind. Brilliant. I can't get enough - stop it...

Oh, and I think I was 21st, so just outside the top twenty but as near as dammit as makes no difference.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Gone to the dogs

Just me and the pooches today. Helen was off to the National Road Relays - where she ran her course PB - or as that nobber on the telly screams, 'life time best' - life time best? LTB? I don't recall 'LTB' ever coming up on the results screen? Am I missing something? It comes up 'PB', that's P as in personal and B as in Best - get it sorted - I digress. Then she's up to the Lake District for tomorrow's Fell Relays - good luck Calder Valley.

I went round Flaxley Woods at a very leisurely pace with said hounds. Ern, as is his want, did his normal disappearing trick - Houndini- I mean, Houdini, would have been proud. Eventually he reappeared and we all went home for tea.

I think I'm ready for the tomorrow's Exmoor Stagger. It's going to be an early start but it looks like a good race so it'll be worth it...

Friday, October 16, 2009

I've decided to stagger

No, my poor, crippled, old dishevelled body hasn't given up the ghost quite yet - I'm on another comeback don't you know? No, I'm talking Minehead Running Club's Exmoor Stagger on Sunday. I've decided to go for it over the 15 mile course up to the Dunkery Beacon and back. It sounds like a bit of a tough one - indeed, some might call it a fell race, what, with over 3,600 feet of ascent.

I'm still buoyed by my performance in last weeks Muddle - and the fact that my kilometre reps are coming along nicely - it'll be another six of them next Wednesday and hopefully a few seconds faster as well.

I reckon the top twenty could be in range and I'm setting myself a time target of 2:25. I'm going to be going out of my comfort zone - again - but the racing as training seems to be working.

Oh, and before I forget, I've finally decided on my target race for October - and it's a bit sad - but I've chosen my home fixture of the Bridge Inn 5k. I figure it will be good to gauge my performance against my kilometre reps...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Didn't want to

but I did. Six kilometre reps at the track - as promised.

Both my calves are tight but I did it - those six one kilometre reps off a 2 minute recovery. The boredom of running long reps on the track is, quite simply, mind numbing. At points I nearly slipped - into a coma - but I came through. I just about managed 3:43's (ish) but one, the third I think, slipped a bit. My come back continues...

I still haven't found my target race for the end of the month though - that's a worry.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Muddling through...

the Mendip Muddle.

I went well today. It's a hard route - and the rain throughout didn't exactly lighten the load. It's not so much the ascent that makes it a hard race - compared to a true fell race there weren't any sustained long or steep climbs - more the sheer speed of it. You have to push all the way. There's no place to let your foot off the accelerator. It's just a sustained, hard effort from start to finish - and for possibly the first time this year I really did push as hard as I could the entire way. It's the first time I haven't run out of gas in a medium to long race - 20km.

I feel really pleased that things are finally starting to move forward. My 31st place in a time of 1:37:27 on a hilly route from a field of 220+ makes me feel positive. I just need to start adding a bit more structure to the training and I can build from here. But for now I'm just plain knackered.

Helen broke the womens record by around a minute. A record that has stood since 1997.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Easy run just for fun

We went out for an hour and ten minutes in Flaxley and then Blaisdon Woods. It was most definitely not the worlds fastest ever run. Mrs B, Pedwar and Ernie - or as I like to call him, Barry - accompanied us. I was slow but Barry, well, he was something else...

Tomorrow we're off to the Mendips for the Muddle. I'm not ready for a quick 12 miler but what the heck. In for a penny in for a pound. Will the kilometre reps will have any effect? Probably not seeing as though I've only run two sessions so far...

Friday, October 09, 2009

Firing on all cylinders

I made the weeks final travel to Bristol and back to collect as many bags of the cuttings, prunings and garden waste that I could squeeze into the van - it was quite a lot. Then it was back home to start my fire - and boy was it a big one - stop it. After aligning the fuel - that's the cuttings etc - into a mathematically optimum configuration for maximising the through put of air to provide a large up flow and peak per thermal magnitude per cubic metre of heat - I threw on a match and up she went. That's to say mucho big flames.

On the training front I went for an hour on the bike in front of the telly. It's the Mendip muddle on Sunday and I need to taper a bit. Then it'll be back for six kilometre reps on Wednesday.

Four hours later she still burneth on...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wet Wednesday

After a wet day it was, unsurprisingly, a wet night. My back is still aching, right in the middle, between the shoulder blades. No seated posture seems to ease it - oh well, I'll have to stand - the hell I will.

I was, as promised, running another set of kilometre reps over at the track. Sean was on the old 900, 500, 300m session and he looked to be going well - as he came cruising past as I plodded along.

After last weeks three, this week was going to be four reps on the same two minute recovery 'cept it went a bit wrong. Rick strolls up and says, 'It's five tonight then Dave'. Trigger brain freeze - must have been the wet and cold - did I mention it was cold as well as wet? I could've just said, no it's four but I didn't and agreed to the five - doh. There was no backing out. I was locked into five reps and you know what? I stuck to the task and ran the five - did I mention it was wet? and cold?

My splits were 3:42/43's, a little slower than last week but still faster than my current 5k pace and I kept within the two minute recovery so I'm pleased.

And finally, if that Rick mentions any number greater than six next week he's getting a slap...

[Secretly I'm pleased, it was good for me to run five reps - but don't tell Rick that]

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Tougher than training

I didn't get out for training yesterday nor, in fact, today. I have, however, been working like a machine in the back garden - stop it, that's not a euphemism - I really have been pruning, cutting and chopping like a man possessed. It's all got a bit over grown out back - I said stop it. So much so that you really couldn't tell whether there was a garden below the undergrowth or not. Well there's no mistaking it any more. There is definitely a garden there now and I have uncovered it.

My arms and back are aching but it's a good job done - that needed doing severely. There's now just the small matter of taking all the bags of 'green stuff' to the local recycling centre - doh.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

It's not right but it's ok

With the armed police ready to shoot on sight I was on best behaviour as I headed out for a two to three mile warm up. My legs didn't feel too bad but I could definitely detect something in my quads. Conditions were good. Not too much wind but almost too much sun for me - I's a cold weather man. Anyway, off we set at 10:30 which for me was a voyage of discovery.

I ran controlled and went through the first couple of miles on my target of 6:30. After than I dropped back towards 6:45 but still steady and controlled. I began to set my sights on 66 minutes because I didn't feel too bad, almost relaxed. As I worked my way through the field I almost - emphasis on almost - began to enjoy it. I'm not sure a 10 miler can ever be described as enjoyable. It's just plain hard work from the gun to the tape with no let up for good behaviour.

Anyway, it was all going OK and I was through 10k in a season best time of 41:10 (3 seconds inside my previous SB - which was actually in a 10k race funnily) but after hitting mile seven I started to deteriorate. My lack of training showed like a beacon of light of a grey day. I slowed. Then I slowed a bit more. And finally in the last mile, a little bit more. I eventually finished in a time of 67:40ish.

Overall I'm happy with that. It gives me a marker. And now I'm off to choose my month end target race...

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A chat and a race

As the assembled field headed off up towards Fan Fawr upon the firing of the starters gun - or in fell running terms, the race organiser saying the words, 'right that's about it, off you go' - I settled into last but three place for a chat with Dick Finch P.I. I was in determined mood. There was no way I was going to run quickly - I was determined of that. Helen disappeared into the distance very quickly and subsequently won the women's race.

As I approached the half way point of the climb I put in a tiny amount of effort to move myself towards the middle of the pack. It was quite hard to not push on though - it was a difficult task but I was up to the challenge. I cruised along the top before descending slowly back down to the finish. Result. With race one of the winter series under my belt I've only got another six to go before that mug is mine, all mine, ha ha ha ha [deep, evil booming laughter]

Anyway, I'm off to relax now ahead of tomorrow's Oldbury 10 - where I will be trying all out - promise.