Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Long time, no see

The track, that is. It's been weeks since I've been to the track. What with one thing or another I've not found the time. Tonight, I made the time. After all, the clock is ticking.

It was a chilly one. Strange weather we've been having lately. Doom. The end is nigh - only joking - it's a week next Thursday.

We ran 400's, that's Sean, Rick and me too. The weather seemed to be affecting us all. I have to say, I was on particularly bad form. I only managed to touch 80 seconds once! Shocking. And seven was all I could manage. Although I did mostly keep to 45-60 seconds of jogged recovery. Still, only the phrase, 'very very poor' comes close to a valid description of my effort. To top things off, my calves are really tight now - doh.

Anyway, I'm busy planning where to run tomorrow. Not actually right now - since I'm busy typing this, but just before I started typing and right after I finish I shall be planning. I intend to run direct from work and put in an hour+ before driving home. Just got to work out somewhere good to run between Bristol and Gloucester...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The LAMMing season

I've just got myself 101 reasons to kick up the training a notch - the LAMM. OK, that's really only one reason but it's a hell of a big ONE. It's not 100% confirmed but I'm going to hit the training trail as if it is. (For those who haven't heard of the LAMM, it's the Lower Alpine Mountain Marathon - a two day long distance, navigational race with multiple categories of distance. We are going for the A category which is about 60km over the two days - nice).

I'm going to start by constructing a proper training schedule. Yes, you heard that correct. I shall be putting pen to paper - or more accurately, fingers to keyboard. My initial play is to add in an hour and a half run straight from work on a Thursday. Wednesday I'll be hitting the track or a hill session. The weekend will be racing and long runs - and I'll be using the racing as hard training rather than anything else. So if a race is on a Sunday it'll be a long run on Saturday. Monday, Tuesday and Friday are up for grabs at the moment. Admittedly it's a bit of a shit plan at the moment but it's a start.

Anyway, my quads are still bad from Sunday so I put in an hour on the bike. I pushed hardish but the quads were the limiting factor. Tomorrow I head to the track for the first time in ages. The question is, will I make it there?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Forest of Doom

Things did not go to the plan. To be fair I really didn't think they would but that's not to say I didn't give it a shot. With it being a counter for the Chepstow Champs I want to run well.

The weather was uncharacteristically good - and total different to yesterday's forecast of rain - what a difference a day makes. Unfortunately a day was not enough to make much of a difference to my lack of build up for the race.

I set off near the front and raced on a sub 1:30 pace - it didn't last long. By mile five I knew I was in trouble. My legs didn't feel too bad but I just seemed to be lacking energy. I'd fuelled OK and was fully hydrated but I just didn't have it. I'm guessing I still had the effects of the cough and cold in my system. Although I'd stopped coughing yesterday (first time in ten days) I guess you don't instantly go from ill to well and there's a transitional phase where the symptoms are gone but you're not back to 100%.

Anyway, I was a bit all over the place from mile seven or eight - and slowing badly - but I perked up when I received some excellent spectation from Helen (and Brown Dog) at around about mile eleven. From there to the finish I just about held things together but it was not my greatest moment. Oh, well, I don't want to make any more excuses. I gave it a go but it wasn't meant to be.

I finished somewhere in the region of 140th to 150th place in a time of 1:33:50. Two weeks ago I was looking at sub 1:30 but having gps'ed the route this morning there was almost as much ascent (1,210ft) as the Hogweed Hilly Half - not to mention the muddier surface. So on the face of it my time wasn't a total disaster. I really need to get inside 1:30 now though. I've got 1:30 under my skin - and it's an itch I've got to relieve - before I come out in a rash...

And here's the route for those interested;

Saturday, March 27, 2010


I don't know if I should say it - at least without touching wood. Oh sod it, the cough seems to have left me - hope that isn't a foolish thing to say. I will be ready to run tomorrow but as to how much the lack of training this last fortnight has affected me? I'll guess we'll see by around 11:30 tomorrow morning.

The worst thing about tomorrow isn't going to be the running - although that is going to be under 90 minutes of pain - I'm going to be optimistic about that. No it's going to be the getting up early, what with the stupid clocks going forward an hour. I vote we keep British Summer time all year round. In fact, with the coming general election, I might stand as an independent for the Keep Summer Time All Year Round Party - although the name needs some work.

Ten means nine and that means a sub seven am wake up call - in real terms, not summer time adjusted bollocks. On a Sunday? That's just wrong!

On the plus side, I'm now firmly back in the 'looking forward to it again' mood - as I was a fortnight ago...

Oh, and I thought I'd update the blog interface a little.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Poor Patch

Well it's been a terrible couple of weeks on the training front. I've been busy but that's not why I've not trained much, it's this damn cough. I thought I was on the mend yesterday but it came on again through the day. Seems better again this morning - but I'm not holding my breath, no really, I'm not.

I think my dream of running a quick time at the Forest of Dean Half Marathon in just three days is over. I shall still run though. And I will still pace it as planned. It's just that I think I need a miracle now. And what makes it worse is that it's also a counter in Chepstow's Championship so I'll be losing points. And finally, even worse than all that, is the fact that I keep starting sentences with 'and' - and that's practically illegal.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

From the highs to the lows

It's been another bad week of training. True, I managed my first hill session last Wednesday but by cough is still ever present and I haven't run since. It's very annoying because things seemed to be going well and the Hogweed confirmed that. Things were looking good for 1:30 at the Forest of Dean Half Marathon but now, one week on, I have doubts. It shouldn't make much difference but the doubts are there now.

Anyway, Helen and I went for a six mile walk from Huntley this morning. The sun shone, the birds sang and it was all very relaxing. The dogs chased around a fair bit so they should sleep this afternoon - as might I.

I'm happy to report that Helen won Ras Aran yesterday and was ninth (subject to confirmation) overall. I, on the other hand, continue to cough...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hill reps on Kymin

I completed my first set of hill reps for, well, a bloody long time. In truth it was not my greatest ever training session but I'm still pleased I finally managed to get to one of the Wednesday night sessions. My throat is a sore as a badger armpit and I ran like a slug but I loved it.

We met in the Lidl car park - as you do - and then headed towards Kymin and the the reps. As a bonus, we ran past a small covered reservoir 12 times in all - back of the net. The session was 5 times 3:30 minute climbs with a jog recovery back down. Each rep was in the region of 600m - so, you can see I was slooooow. Helen was far ahead and Rob G was completely out of sight within about 30 seconds of the start of each rep.

They, say the first rep is the deepest, well, OK, they don't actually say that, not that I've heard anyway, but it's out of the way now.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Feeling good

I felt a bit ill yesterday afternoon. Not from any other reason than I ran bloody hard. Feeling fine today though, so it was just the effort of the run. When I race, I race hard. The red mist descends and I go at it full on.

My legs feel OK, not great, and I can feel I was in a race but I'm not hobbling. I'm really looking forward to the Forest of Dean half on the 28th March. I am well up for it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm not over the hilly just yet

I had a great run this morning. One minute and 41 seconds quicker than last year - result. Conditions were reasonable although it was windy in places - and that wasn't last night's bean curry. I felt good in the first few miles but then lost a few places during miles four and five - I began to wonder if I'd gone off too quick and was slowing.

And then the curse of mile six struck again - the same mile six as in the race a few years ago where I got a chronic stitch that lasted for pretty much the rest of the race - a few moments of panic ensued but fortunately this time around it only lasted a further few minutes and I didn't lose anything.

From there on it was focus focus focus. I had an eye on the clock and the other on the runners just ahead. I worked all the way up 'the hill' at mile eight and then pushed over the top to the turn. From there the next couple of miles were into the wind and required more focus.

I got a lift - no, not in a car - and a cheer at Hawkesbury-Upton from Helen, supporting with the dogs in tow. From there the final couple of miles were tough but I was determined. I gained another three of four places on the run in before crossing the line in 1:32:12 and those magical 101 seconds quicker than last year.

I reckon we're going to see sub 1:30 in a fortnight's time at the Forest of Dean Half. With this morning ascent weighing in at 1,250ft I can't see the forest half being as hilly. I wasn't sure I'd get inside ninety even again but now I reckon I will.

I've been looking back on my previous Hogweed times and my best is not, in fact, 1:26 as mentioned in a previous post, it's 1:28:31 set back in 2007, five months after I ran my current Half PB of 1:22:51 at Stroud, so I was in top form at the time. That puts today's run at only 3 minutes 41 seconds slower so I'm even more chuffed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

A week off

Well almost. I've managed just a single run this week - but then I am tapering for the Hogweed tomorrow. Although I'm not feeling very quick and as I've been working pretty hard on clearing and cleaning the house I'm not feeling overly tapered either - doh. After a few sales on Trade-It the house is t least looking a bit less cluttered. Today I was on bathroom diy and exterior facia cleaning duty. I feel a bit knackered now but the place is starting to sparkle - OK, sparkle is definitely too much but it is looking tidier.

Helen is busy over in Ireland winning the V35 Masters Cross Country Championship, I'm so proud. It's just me and the dogs and we all had a good walk this morning. They are now pacing the house and garden waiting for the afternoon gambol - they want their tea but it's not time yet.

Right, back to tomorrow's race - which technically isn't back at all since it hasn't happened - so forward to tomorrow's race... I just squeezed inside 1:34 last year down om my best by some eight minutes. I have to say I'm surprised I managed that time. It's strange. I feel faster now than last year but somehow 1:34 seems quick. I really want to be inside last years time but can I really run inside 1:34 at the moment? I know I haven't really been doing enough mileage but then again I wasn't doing enough last year either. No something is definitely awry in the state of Denmark. The pace has to be on the right side of 7:10 miles. Can I possible manage sevens? I want to think I can and that's what I'm going to try. Let battle commence...

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A light snack

That is, we headed out for a lunch run. We set off at a good pace. Conditions weren't too bad. It wasn't that cold but there was a little too much wind - stop it, not that type - for my liking. Thirty seconds down at the top. Things weren't looking too bad. I tried to push on the downhill and to be fair I did close in on Martin a little but I never got back on terms.

The final mile and a half run in was full on into the wind - no - and it was really quite hard going. Effort-wise it felt like a quick one but time-wise it wasn't. Being about a minute down on our respective bests. Still it was a good solid run - and I am on an easy week ahead of the Hogweed.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

A shining beacon

on a crisp, clear day.

Helen and I (and Brown Dog) drove over to Brecon for a run up the mountains. We ran a figure of eight loop. From the car park it was one steady climb to Pen-y-Fan then down a ways before heading up Cribyn before down to the saddle and back up Pen-y-fan and then - thankfully, oh, yes, mercifully so - back down to the car.

By the time I got to Cribyn my legs were shot. A bloke at the top said, in a cheery voice, "If your with that woman who's running, she's two minutes ahead" - yeah, cheers mate.

By the end I was down to impulse engines. The legs had nothing. It was only eight miles in distance but bloody hell did it ever feel like more. I suppose there was 4,000 feet of ascent so that counts for the equivalent of another four but flippin' heck, it felt like twenty. I am sadly far from my best. I know things have been improving, but I still have a long way to go. Still, it's been a goods weeks training all in all. Not ready for the Hogweed Half Marathon next Sunday but I'll do my best...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Not quite the full shilling

I felt like a right bag of potatoes today. My legs didn't seem to have any life - which was just as well really since Mrs B kept dropping back about a hundred miles. Each time I came to a turn I had to wait for her to come into sight before I could move on. If I'd been going quick it would have been annoying. As it was, it didn't really matter. The long run, as you might have guessed, did not materialise.

Eight miles was the distance with 1,300 feet of ascent. It was good conditions and a pleasant enough run through the woods but I just didn't ever get properly going. Ho hum.

It's not the total disaster though as Helen is off to the Black Mountains tomorrow so I'll jump on the band wagon and get my long run in then - provided the legs feel as though they are going to work...

Friday, March 05, 2010

A little bit of this

a little bit of that. By day I ran. By night I bike.

It is nine days till the first of my upcoming half marathons so I need to start piling it on. I know, I know, it's too late but I've got to give it a try. At lunch we - that's Martin and I - headed up over Dundry for our now regular, well, fairly regular weekly run. Fast we were not. He's missed a few weeks training and I was still feeling Wednesday's 10 miler. That in itself is a bit worrying. It wasn't like I was steaming it on Wednesday, so to be still feeling it a couple of days later does not bode too well...

Tonight I put in an hour on the bike in front of the telly - the Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer - what a pile of kak but it kept my mind off the boredom that is the bike so I really shouldn't grumble.

It's been a good days training but with limited time till Hogweed's Hilly it's back out for a long run tomorrow. I need at least 13 miles, some of which to be at race pace - but not too much, mind, no point in being silly...

Wednesday, March 03, 2010


I did not make the track tonight - boo. But that's not to say I didn't train. I don't know what happened. A rush of blood maybe?. Well I don't really know but the skyline across Dundry looked so inviting on the drive home from work that, well, I just had to get out there. I donned the shorts and top - first time for a while I've not worn longs, cranked up the gps and headed out...

It was a great evening for it. I ran and ran and ran. OK, perhaps not that last 'ran' but it was a fine night for running. In all I covered just over ten miles and 1,500feet of ascent and you know what? It felt goooood. I pushed on a few occasions and eased on others. At points it felt like I was cruising, wind in my hair, faster than the birds but all the while it still felt easy. I was out there for 76 minutes which, considering the ascent, wasn't too bad at all.

Feeling remorseful now, at having missed the track though...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Ten pin bowling

Well I managed an hour on the bike tonight in front of the telly. I really should have gone out for a run but I'm a slacker, I am. It's the track tomorrow and I need to plan in at least one lunchtime run with Martin but as we're already looking at Thursday that doesn't leave too many options.

On a different front, the house clearing is going well. The Assured Roofers have made a good start on the garage flat roof. From the looks of it they'll be finished by midday. But heck, that's got nought to do with running.

Right, back to CSI and the case of the bowling ball head, very grisly...