Thursday, April 29, 2010

Visiting the old man

It's up to the Lake District for the weekends Coniston race, the second of the English Fell Championships. I don't know the route. Never been over any part of the course. I'll take my chances and rely on the force. All discussion seems to surround the best way off the old man - ooh er. Me? I know nothing. Will do doubt pick the worst possible descent and end up getting over taken by any part of the field that is still behind me at that point. There was talk of veering right, seeing a post then another post and then left a bit, right a bit, oh I don't flippin' know. Let luck be my guide...

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Not the greatest

The sunshine heralded in the start of the new Bridge Inn 5k Series - but sadly not the start of some fast running by me. I registered, got my number and went off for a little warm up. My legs weren't feeling sharp. Although not achy, I'm sure Sunday's long effort - which half killed me - had some lingering affect on my legs. Anyway, they didn't seem to want to go quickly.

I set off steady - 3:50 for the first k. Then slowed slightly with 3:56 for the next two k's. I was working hard picking off the people ahead. Kilometre four was my slowest of the race and frustratingly outside four minutes in 4:03, but even overtaking people as I was that was upsetting. I rallied for the final kilometre to record 3:57 and a finish time of 19:42. Disappointing, I'll agree, but at least it was inside twenty - and believe me I feared I couldn't even achieve that after the warm up.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Breaking Brecons

Pat W is running the South Wales Traverse in a few weeks and Helen and I tagged along on his recce for a long run. We ran the section of the route from the Storey Arms to somewhere past Talybont.

I have to put my hands up right at the outset and admit I had to cut things short and take a shortened route back to the car - I could nay take it captain, the dilithium crystals were overloading - read the legs were a little bit knackered. In all I covered 17 miles with 4,500 feet of ascent while Helen and Pat hit 20 miles and somewhere near 5,000+ feet.

It was a shitty day for a recce. The cloud was down, drizzling and wearing glasses meant visibility was rubbish. The sun did finally make an appearance in the last hour of the four and a half hour ordeal. Shouldn't grumble though. All in all it was an enjoyable day and certainly good training for the LAMM. I've run 26 miles and 6,000 feet of ascent this weekend. It's good to be free of cough, colds and over little niggles at last.

Today's route;

Saturday, April 24, 2010

A really nice day for it

The sun shone as me and the dog that is brown in colour headed off for a run. I'd picked myself out a new route. After running through Flaxley woods we turned south and swept downhill to the village of Flaxley. Then it was west alongside a small babbling brook before turning north and winding through ancient woodland. Finally we reached Blaisdon wood and picked up one of the normal routes back home. It was a very pleasant nine miles and 1,400 feet of ascent. As is always the case when picking out a new route there were a goodly number of pauses to check the map so the time is a bit irrelevant. Still, it's another new route option to throw into the mix.

Tomorrow we're heading to the mountains...

The route of today's run;

Friday, April 23, 2010

Back to bike-sics

Didn't manage to make the planned lunch run - had to take a very important call from the the states. No, not Mr Obama - that was last week, when I gave him some useful advice on the collapse of the financial system and the implications for the global economy. No, this was boss man GC, who's currently stuck in America due to the Icelandic Ash of dooooom - damn that low cost supermarket.

So instead of a run I managed a rather sad forty five minutes on the bike. Still, I'm feeling almost fully well again and looking forward to a couple of good weekend runs. Tomorrow it'll be something flatish and then Sunday, providing there's no catastrophe, will be a long and much needed run in the Brecons.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I'm no ringer

It was the first of Chepstow Harriers Handicap races. I knew from the outset I was onto a hiding after seeing my handicap rank. My estimate time for the hilly route of just under five miles was way too optimistic. Even at my best I reckon I would have been pushed to get inside it. In my current state I had sod all chance of getting anywhere near it.

I gave it a go and set off as strongly as I dared. Within a few hundred metres it was into the first climb and although not too long a climb I knew I was in for an agonising five miles. I dropped a couple of places as the course wound around. Up and down the tracks and trails. I caught a couple of people on the final climb before picking off another four on the mile long descent to the finish. I'm happy with that - at least next time I'll be starting higher up the field.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Made it to the track

but the track was dry. Some sort of young athlete event taking place. Doh. We retreated to the grass. Avoiding the dogs, the dog walkers, the dog poo - I sense there's a theme here - and stray golf balls, we ran some laps of the main park area. Each one gps'ed to smack on 500m. I've not been feeling totally topper this week and managed just five. Sean and Rick managed eight (although Ricks were a short measure so that he could keep up with speedy Sean).

I'm actually happy with my efforts. Still nowhere near the times I used to be able to run but at 1:40/41 per lap I was pretty pleased. Recovery for me was just over the minute. For Sean and Rick it was a tad over 90 seconds - that's the way the cookie crumbles for us slow, old bastards. You run slow. You don't get so much rest. Now, there's an incentive to run quicker (if ever I need one).

Still not feeling totally right. Got to start picking up soon though, as time is starting to run out for the LAMM. I'm gonna do it but it might just...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Feeling better

Well the weekend - and all its glorious sunshine - is almost over and I've had a mare. I did not make the race as I was still feeling under the weather. I was really looking forward to it but it would have been stupid to attempt it.

Anyway I'm feeling almost back to normal now - just in time for work - that's lucky. Time is ticking on the LAMM so I need to plan training for the week ahead...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What a pile of poo

Got myself out for a run this morning. It was terrible. Didn't feel that special last night which didn't really improve that much this morning. I don't thing I've ever walked so much during a 'run'. I can't even bring myself to report the distance or the time I was out there except to say it wasn't far and nor was it quick. The only slight silver lining was that there was 1,800 feet of ascent. Really not sure whether I should race tomorrow. I guess I'll give it a late call.

Friday, April 16, 2010

That's me finished

My legs have been achy all day. Can't believe yesterday's run could account for the stiffness - ssssh, no, stop it. I guess it must be accumulation of the hard effort last Saturday. The travel - thank heaven's we flew back before the 'Mount Vesuvius Incident' kicked off or we'd still be there - and the fast reps on Wednesday, together with that medium run last night. Did I mention there was actually 1,500 feet of ascent in it - didn't expect that.

Anyway, all I could manage was an hour on the bike tonight and I feel knackered. Need to get out for a long run tomorrow but it's going to be a challenge...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Song of the nightingale

I carried through with my threat and went for a run straight from work. I drove to Ashton Court, changed and set off - for those sharp eyed amongst you, that's not quite 'straight from work' but it's near enough.

I was out there for and hour and twenty and around 10 miles. Culminating in a run up Nightingale Alley - and I didn't stop. It was a great evening for running - although the toxic, poisonous ash from the Icelandic volcano almost did for me. Not content with losing our reckless councils cash to their banking collapse they're trying to choke us to death with the ash of doom. I survived.

Feeling tired now though. Need some rest but also need to keep piling on the miles. I don't think I can afford to taper for the Mynydd Troed fell race on Sunday. It's a Chepstow Championship race but for me it'll just have to count as another hard training session. Need to get some more miles in so Saturday's going to be another long run. No rest for the wicked - or those building for the LAMM.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Once, Twice

but not three times a runner.

I made it to the track this evening but better than that I made it out for that lunch time run as well. Both runs were a bit of a compromise and surprisingly I think I'm feeling Saturday's race. I'll admit I was a bit achy after the race but not really too bad considering the tough nature of the course. It was in my legs today though, that's for sure.

At lunch Martin and I ran our normal Dundry route but for me it was steady. Not as slow as I have been but more than a minute slower than my quickest. Still, I got out there.

This evening I decided to run run it short and sharp. I knew my legs wouldn't run the full lap at anything other than dead slow so I stepped it down to run 200's. I started off with a slow four hundred in eighty plus followed by a sixty second three hundred. The it was down to business. I wanted to see what the old pegs could do and proceeded to run four reps in 34, 33, 32 and 32s. I was pleased with that but found the last one really tough. I finished with a three hundred in 54s.

So there is life - or in this case - speed in the legs. No way I could run a full lap quickly though but at least the legs got a taste of running quick.

To put it in perspective though, Sean and Tim where hitting out laps in 56 seconds - now that is indecent - not to mention illegal in some states in America.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

No more rest

It was the bike tonight. I spent a few more hours tidying the house and ran out of time for a run hence the bike. My calves feel a bit tight and hopefully the bike will have loosened things up for tomorrow's track session. I've also got a lunch run planned and providing nothing bad crops up I'll be hitting Ashton Court after work on Thursday for a medium to long run. Still feeling pleased with Saturday's run...

Monday, April 12, 2010

The route of silence

And fresh from the weekends exploits. Here is the route of Saturday's Silent Valley fell race - not to be confused with the Silent Hill race - although just as scary.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Not so silent valley

What a great race. Felt strong through the entire 10.5 miles and 4,500 feet of ascent. Helen had a good run too, coming home in 3rd but not a million miles behind the winner.

I set off easy - as per the plan. The first climb, 5 minutes in, is an absolute bastard. From there I pushed on. With the worst out the way it was time to go for it.

I steadily gained places. Took good race lines and all in all had my best race for ages. Beating several people who normally best me into the bargain - and by some distance.

My goal of finishing inside 2:30 was accomplished as I crossed the line in 2:24 and about 94th place - back of the net. I'm dead pleased right now. I'm definately on the way back...

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wrecking recce

We arrived safely last night. Fellow Calder Valley runners have been arriving through the day. Things took a turn for the worst once Staff Sergent Stagger arrived and got us out for a full recce - I was only going out to have a look at things from the car park!

The race has it all. Steep, rocky ups. Steeper, rocky descents. Quick technical sections and boggy bits - and even boggier bits. It's going to be a long 11 miles and an altitude busting 4,500 feet of ascent - I'm knackered after just running the recce.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Corned feet

I am knackered. Five days. Five runs with this, the fifth, being the Corndon 3 Peaks Classic. After yesterday's tired run at Ashton Court I thought I was in for more fatigue today but I actually felt OK. Not brimming full with fresh legs and energy but descent enough. The race was less than the advertised seven miles, weighing in at only five and a half but that suited me just fine. It included 1,800 feet of ascent which was more than enough for me today.

The race headed up right from the start. Up to Corndon. I took it steady, almost tripped over on a dog but made it to the top - eventually. Then it was down rapidly to meet a short road section before another short, sharp peak and back down again. A final road section, climbing towards the third peak. The road gave way to track before eventually making summit number three. Then it was break neck speed back down to the finish.

I had some fun. Gained a few places on the second and third climbs - and gained even more during all the descents, especially the final one where I almost, very nearly almost, ran like a mad man.

Helen was pipped to the post by Anna Barlett but still had a good race in my opinion. And now it's time for some well earned rest before we're off to Ireland on midweek for the first of the British Championship Races - where I fully intend to not come last. There might be some radio silence...

The Corndon 3 Peaks Route;

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Long time absent

My first run at Ashton Court for a very long time. It was good to be back. Rick, Sean and Tim put me through it. I struggled from the gun and was worried I'd slow them all. They were jogging - I was sweating. I only seem to have two speeds at the moment; slow - and dead slow. Thankfully once we got over to the Plantation things steadied but they still seemed to be easy were I was finding it an effort. It was nice to be back though.

We were out for just over the hour, 11km with 700 feet of muddy ascent. I'm beginning to fatigue. Heaven only knows how hard tomorrow's Corndon race is going to be. Operation 'I'm going to be doing a bloody lot of walking' may swing into operation at some point during the seven mile fell race in the Stretton Hills.

And here for the record, is this mornings route.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Mynydd recce

We were off to the Black Mountains this morning to recce the Mynydd Troed fell race. Not that we really needed to recce it as we've both run it a few times (that's Helen and me) and there are always flags marking the way at various points - not today, silly, but there will be on race day. It was good fun. The weather held off its worst - although it was chilly - and no one got lost - always a bonus. Although James did attempt an alternate run in to where the finish will be come race day - I don't think he'll be picking that line come the race.

In all we covered about eight and a half miles but more impressive was the 3,200 feet of ascent. I felt it my legs, this being my third straight day, having totaled about 26 miles and close to 6,000 feet of ascent.

Then it was back to the pub for some lunch, a chat and then a quiz session from the Big Pub Quiz Book. Lou wasn't happy until we'd had a few questions on flowers and shrubs but to be honest I think Dick took the round - he knew a little too much on that subject if you ask me...

Tomorrow I'm off down to Ashton Court for a long overdue Sunday morning run through the woods...

Here's today's route;

Friday, April 02, 2010


Another soggy run - and cold. Where the hell has Spring gone?

Flaxley Wood was the destination of today's run. An easy, meandering seven miles with 1,000 feet of ascent run at a leisurely pace. Me, Helen and the dogs. Unusually Pedwar had a bit of life in him. The rest of us didn't, well, I didn't but it's the getting out there and doing it that counts.

Tomorrow we're off to Mynydd Troed for a recce with my Chepstow crew. And later this afternoon I might, just might, hop on the bike for an hour...

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Cotswold run

I pulled a flexi half this afternoon. It was meant to be a lunch time run - but it went on a bit. I was out of the office in the morning and decided to have a go on the Cotswolds during my break. In the end, I was out there in the rain - and hail - running about eleven miles with 1,700feet of ascent in the vicinity of the Haresfield Beacon. There were some cracking views to be had - or rather there would have been had the weather not been quite so rubbish.

By the time I got back to the car I was flippin' soaked, not to mention frozen. It was a good run despite all that and sets me up for a fine weekend of training.

We hope to get out for a long run in the Brecon Beacons (or Black Mountains) and I want to run at least one other hour plus session - as well as the Corndon race on Easter Monday. It's going to be a long weekend....

Here's today's route;