Sunday, February 28, 2010

Not quite a rest day

but not far off.

My legs are tired from yesterdays race - and the rest of me is tired from the long day. I decided upon an hour's bike session instead of a run. I can't admit to really firing on all cylinders, all guns blazing. At least it was something.

The photo's of yesterday's race are now online and guess what? I can't find a single one of me - not that that's a bad thing. I always look like a right nobber so on second thoughts - result, back of the net.

Anyway, not sure what's on the cards for the week ahead but it better be a damn sight more training than last week. I've got the Hogweed Hilly Half in two weeks and I am woefully short of distance...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Never say Noonstone again

It was a thoroughly knackering yet, uncannily slow run, at Noonstone, today, over the 9 mile course with 2,000 feet of ascent. The terrain was wet and boggy pretty much all the way. It wasn't what I would consider to be my favourite conditions.

I got off to a shit start, with four to five hundred runners to fit into the start pen they kept pushing us back from the start line - muggins 'ere, ended up near the flippin' back and it took me 36 seconds to cross the start line! Even then it was a couple minutes of slow running before things spread out enough to start picking my way through the slower runners. My race was pretty much over before it began.

Anyway, I plugged away and ran as hard an effort as I could in the snow and wet - did I mention, it snowed during the race, and there was plenty of snow and ice on the ground - my poor, cold feet. After a few boggy ups and downs I reached the first navigation check point in 238th - that was a little disappointing. I dug in across the top as I churned my way through the peaty wetness - at one point I sank almost to my waist and were it not for the few clumps of heather that I managed to grasp, it would have been a full body splash down - and I'm not talking wrestling.

Well I survived that little scare before making it across the finish line in 220th place. I was pleased to have gained those places but my poor old toes were frozen. An hour or two later, after frequenting the race HQ - aka the pub - all was right with the world and we headed home...

Helen was seventh in the women's race and although she's a little disappointed with her performance I know she'll pick it up for the next race...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Worst week ever

Training has been the worst it ever has this week. I took three days off work (as you might know) to clear the house. It was hard work. I filled the skip, built the fence and laid the floor in the bathroom. But it came at a price. And that price was tiredness. The kind of tiredness that meant I just didn't get any training done at all. With Noonstone coming up this Saturday I need to taper which has resulted in a complete and utter non-week of training. I'm not sure I can remember the last time that happened. Still, I guess you don't loose it in a week - and it's not like I haven't been working out, I just haven't been running is all. The only downside on this weeks extended taper is that I don't really feel like I have tapered. I certainly don't feel rested. Oh, well...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A piercing run

at Piercefield Park and another of the Chepstow Championship races ticked off - although it wasn't my finest. At least, I hope it won't be.

My legs were not as bad as I was expecting them to feel but my inner groin area - I'll stop there. Anyway, it was a proper cross country course - none of this running around football pitches nonsense. It wasn't exactly fell running hills but you certainly knew you were going up - when you were going up. And wow! What a ton of Chepstow runners. There were hundreds!

As to the race itself, I set off a bit too fast. I could feel the groin - that's enough of that - but held things together OK. Despite the tired legs I managed to gain places on the up - my old killing ground - and then defend on the down. Things became more settled after lap two but I continued to gain a few places.

Come the final lap I was desperate to hold off the challenge of a fellow Chepstow Harrier. I worked tremendously hard on the final up section to maintain the gap and then with only a few hundred metres to the line, it was mission complete. I have no idea where I came in the field except that I wasn't last. Hopefully, this won't be a counter for the championship because I know yesterday's run affected my performance, but never the less it was bloody good training.

Then it was back to the leisure centre for coffee and cake - you can't beat a bit of cake. Whether my legs will work tomorrow is open to debate - I'm thinking not...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Perfect preparation

for the second of Chepstow's championship races. Me and the Brown Dog hit the central Forest for a long run. At the planning phase the route was about 24k and designed to roughly follow the route of the Forest of Dean Half with a few additions. I should mention that it's another Chepstow Champs race so I'm sneaking in a recce.

Now you'd think the fact that I've never run the Forest Half might be an indication that there's potential for deviation - and you'd be right. I'm pretty sure I mostly hit the route but there was a bit of doubt on a couple of occasions. In the end in turned out to be a couple of miles long, weighing in at about 27k with 1,800 feet of ascent - and that's quite a bit more than I've done of late and I am suitably knackered - perfect prep for tomorrow's cross country, wouldn't you agree?

The run itself was fab. Crisp snow covered about half of the route, while nasty flush covered the rest. The snowy bits all added to the effort and I reckon were worth another half mile on top. Then at about half way I suddenly popped out of the woods and onto a more arterial track filled with loads of people. All jogging, stretching and warming up. Apparently it was some kind of oreinteering event and me and Mrs B piled through the middle - so I bagged myself a couple of checkpoints (or what ever they call them) - well, I didn't want to come last now, did I?

Then it was away from the hustle and bustle and off to complete the rest of the run. The only other moment of interest was coming upon a perfectly solid, reasonably newish looking gate across the middle of the track. No fence to go with it. Just a gate. I went around - as it was locked...

PS I am totally disconbobulated

Friday, February 19, 2010

The route is planned...

I have picked out my route for me and Mrs Brown for our run tomorrow. It is safely uploaded into the forerunner. So far its looking like 24k - but that's all the straight lines, by the time I run the bends - and go wrong a dozen times it'll be closer to 30! Anyway, we should hopefully follow the route of the Forest of Dean Half Marathon if it all goes to plan.

Tonight, as mentioned earlier, I biked for 60 minutes while reading - Peter Kays latest, its pretty amusing.

Now I need to fuel...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tight again

I didn't feel up for the lunch run - luckily Martin persuaded me and off we went. It was the usual Dundry run in the Clockwise direction. Unlike last week we pushed the pace a bit. To the top of the hill we were in good shape and by the finish it wasn't our fastest but not too far off. I'm glad Martin twisted my arm.

As I sat at my desk in the afternoon I could feel my calves tighten - not really what I wanted. I decided to miss the track to avoid a repeat of last weeks debacle. Instead I put in 45 minutes on the bike - and you know what? the legs feel just as tight now as before the session. I was hoping to feel a bit looser - bummer.

So what's coming up? I'm planning my longest training run of the year on Saturday - 15 miles and then on Sunday it's off to Chepstow for another of their championship races. Now you might be thinking that 15 miles the day before isn't the greatest taper for a race but come on, it's cross country from pities sake? I mean, who finds cross country good fun? Not me, that's for damn sure - but it's one of my new clubs champ races so it'd be rude not to...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The day of the Dursleys

and unlike a triffid this bad boy stings real nasty...

Conditions were good. The sun shone and it wasn't too chilly - it felt chilly mind, and I took the wrong decision to wear a long sleeved under my running vest. That was my second mistake. What happened to the first? Well that would be down to the bean stew we ate for dinner last night. Although delicious at the time, it left me feeling a bit windy this morning - if you get my drift. My stomach did not feel at all settled.

To the race. Things started OK. I'd made a note of certain timing points from my race a few years ago, when I ran just under 90 minutes. I was hoping to get near that.

At the first timing point, the emergence onto the golf course, I was in good shape. Then we ran around the edge, back into the woods and then out across the golf course again. On exiting that section I was a minute down on the plan and struggling a little - the bean stew was fighting back.

I made slow progress along the major road section, getting overtaken by a myriad of hardy souls - or is that soles? But by the time we turned off and headed into the woods I was feeling a lot more stable in the stomach department.

The run through that second section of woodland was good to me and I traded a few places to my advantage. The steep down played into my hands - while the steep climb did not but I held the ship steady.

There wasn't much to note across the barren, lunar landscapesque tracks over British Nuclear's land and back onto the road but it was through the next section of woodland that I gained another couple of places while continuing to feel renewed - and not too knackered.

The hill at mile 10 wasn't that much bother this year as I gained another couple of places and the run around the golf course, along the road and down through the final section of woodland to the finish was comfortable, although I didn't have much in reserve.

I finished 43rd and 1:31:21 so, although outside the magic 90 minute barrier, I'm still pleased. It was a good run and I held the distance well. Helen, not having the greatest of runs - not those type of runs, although she too, ate of the bean stew - was pipped into second place.

Friday, February 12, 2010

The one that wasn't very long

- stop it.

Drive home good - stop - tapering for the Dozen on Sunday - stop - fifty minutes on the bike tonight - stop - should have been sixty but had to sort out an emergency at work - stop - all freshened up after a lovely hot shower - stop - legs feel heavy - stop - time to put the feet up - stop - goodnight

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I feel so bad

It's turned into another rubbish week of training - and time is running out! If I'm to be able to finish the English and British Fell Championship Long races - and we're talking 17+ miles and thousands of feet of ascent - I need to start getting some miles run. You might not believe it but they don't clock up by themselves - which is a bit of a downer.

Sunday is the Dursley Dozen, so that means I can't really put in a long run on Saturday but time is short. I've entered the Forest of Dean Half Marathon and will be posting my Hogweed Hilly entry tomorrow so they'll help but they're not any sort of substitute for long runs. I've got to focus. I've got to plan more. Right, commence operation Focus and Plan.

Anyway, I got out for a lunch run with Martin - it was a cuttingly cold wind out there and the calves are still sore, not to mention tight. And this evening I peddled my way to 60 minutes on the bike.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Not quite what was planned

I made it over to the track after a two week hiatus. Things did not go as planned. We were running sets of one 400m followed by a 600m. I was slow. Sean ran 500m/700m instead and chased us down - like a pack of hungry lurchers baying for the blood of a colony of fluffy bunnies.

It was freezing cold tonight. My face practically froze off - and everyone laughed at my over sized mittens - but do I care? Do I f#*£? My little pinkies was toastie inside them mits.

As to the training, my left calf muscle could not take the strain and during the third set I pulled to the inside of the track. It's nothing disastrous but bad enough that cutting things short was the only sensible option. It's the Dursley Dozen on Sunday and although the hilly, muddy twelve miles will be too much for me to finish strongly - I want to bloody well finish within Sunday! And knackering my legs on a track session definitely isn't the ideal way to prepare for a race such as that.

Cometh the hour, I'll be ready (of a sort)...

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Ouch, the calves

It was another day of seizing up each time I sat down for too long. The pain has moved from the quads to the calves today - which was nice.

With the shower of hail as I left work my mind was made up. Another day off running. Instead - can you guess? - I put in 90 minutes on the bike. My legs felt fine as I worked out but now I've stopped I can feel the soreness in my calves. Odd how you can do one type of exercise and feel nothing but do something different like walking and feel the soreness - that ain't never right.

Monday, February 08, 2010

I think I'm about to rant

and it mostly has nothing to do with running. Well actually the rant has nothing to do with running and the blog post is mostly off topic, hence mostly nothing to do with running. Here goes...

Why is it that, having subscribed to the Junk Mail Opt Out thingy on the web - that would be the mail preference service - that the Royal Mail is still allowed to deliver what can only be described as junk mail? I'm talking, of course, about the Royal Mail's very only junk mail!

They claim that they have to be able to deliver this crap because it sometimes includes special government notices and advice. Well, to be honest, the government advice mail is always a big crock of shit - and a huge waste of money - and, no doubt, lines the pockets of some mate of big Gord, with the contract to design and print the drivel. Well, I'm sick of it. Practically 73% of my household waste is made up of this shit.

Let me be brutally honest. I don't want this crap. I never asked for it - hang on, signing the Mail Preference Service I specifically requested not to receive it - and it's destroying the environment. Killing Polar Bears. Melting the ice cream - caps - and evaporating the ozone layer to let through the Suns UV death ray.

If this government - nee, the worlds governments - where truly serious in saving the planet they could start with making junk mail illegal. There is no need for it. It is needless waste in it purest form.

The journey of a thousand saved environments starts with a single outlawing of junk mail.

Oh, and my legs are very stiff from yesterdays run - but oh, want a run...

Sunday, February 07, 2010

What a massacre

In my humble opinion conditions where tougher than in last years race. The frosty, semi-solid ground was replaced my warm, sticky, clay based mud - and lots of it. I tried to stay with Helen on the first of the two main climbs, through the woods to the top of May Hill but by the time I came over the top and into the woods on the far side she was but a distant memory. I was still feeling good and pushed as hard as I dared on the downhill - not wanting to destroy my legs too soon as there was still a fair bit of climbing to be run in the second half.

From half way and the really muddy section I just tried to hold things together and for the first time - and this was my fourth attempt at the race - I didn't have to stop once as I ran the final hill - I say ran in the loosest sense. It was slippy as hell and I was not going fast but I was definitely running.

There was a big crowd at the top of that final climb cheering us all on which was most welcome. Then it was onto the road and downhill - praise be for down hill, hallelujah . A couple of runners came past but by then I didn't care. A glance at the watch indicated I was on to beat last years time as long as I didn't disintegrate. I didn't.

I finished in 1:04:42 which is about 2 minutes and 40 seconds faster than last year and only 59 seconds slower than my fastest time on the course. I was 29th up from last years 37th. Suffice to say I am very pleased. The improvement continues.

Helen won the women's race in a new course record time after a close battle with Laura Kent. Helen pulled away after May Hill on the descent but things closed back up by the finish where mere seconds separated them.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Who ate all the cake

It was Martin's birthday today and that meant cake, mmmmm, cake. To celebrate we ran the clockwise Dundry loop. Clive T was drooling at the sight of said cake but that's another story.

It was the first time I've witnessed someone get to the high point in under 16 minutes - no it wasn't me. Martin hit 15:50 and then followed through - I'll re-phrase that - finished in 30:35 for his fastest time yet. I hit the top in 16:06 which is my quickest of late and possibly my quickest ever but I didn't follow through - that's lucky - 31:26 for me, which although a few seconds slower, is still alright. I really faded on the way back home.

Then to insult the day there was a case of a suspected young fool driver running out of petrol on the M5. I say run out of fuel because he seemed to just drift to a halt in the single lane contra flow section. Cue forty five minutes of singing along to the radio - the little shite. All of which made the rest of the journey home a very happy affair.

At least I can legitimately put my feet up tomorrow ahead of the Sunday's race but it's been a shit weeks training - or rather, the lack of it.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Something - better than nothing

I missed the lunch time run on account of being away from the office in the morning. We have rescheduled for tomorrow at high noon.

This evening I managed an hour on the bike. Now that its a smooth ride, with shinny new bearings, its quite pleasant. I watched an episode of 'How I Met Your Mother' and read the news as I ground out the miles. Busy going nowhere - but working the whole hour through.

Starting to feel quite nervous about the Massacre. I really want to have a good run...

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Not off to a running start

This week is not turning out to be a great training week. Make that a really poor one. A long work day yesterday has left me feeling tired. By rights I should be heading to the track, well, right about now... but I really don't feel up to it. My throat is feeling a bit sore. I've got a bit of a headache. No, I'm going to take an early night and prepare for a lunch run tomorrow with Martin. It's the May Hill on Sunday so I'm going to have to face that this week is not going to amount to much. I can't afford to do a long run on Saturday if I want to go well in Sunday's race. Oh, the ups and downs of it...