Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Under The Weather

A foggy start to the day - and that's just me. I'm gunging somewhat, and sneezing. On the up yesterday's sore throat feels better. I guess it'll be another couple of days before I'm clear of this damn lurgy. I don't feel like training. Hopefully I'll feel a bit more up for it tomorrow.

Monday, September 27, 2010

On The Up

September's Chepstow Championship numbers - that's the results - have been crunched and it's good news. I've moved up from 13th place to 7th. It's not all good though because there's a good chance I'll slip down a few places once the last few people achieve the requisite seven races. But it's not all bad. I've got my seven but one of those was a stinker so with a good result in the off road Mimsy Muggle race in a couple of weeks I can get myself an extra eight or nine points - enough, perhaps, to keep seventh or even... no, seventh will be a good place from which to base next years campaign...

My legs are bad today plus I've been doing more moving so tonight it's feet up in front of the Gadget Show...

Blimey, there's been a lot of '...' tonight...

Sunday, September 26, 2010


A day when my legs actually worked. Seriously though, I can feel yesterday's race but I'm not too achy. Just managed an hour on the bike but felt a bit jelly legged when I got off. Been a good weekend of training all in all and as a bonus I have two lots of people interested in renting my place down in Bristol. Fingers crossed...

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Warning! Batteries Low!

They are now, after the 17 miles and 5,300 feet of ascent that is the Black Mountains Fell Race. It was a warm, sunny day - which was a damn shame because it nullified my home advantage in the final British Champsionship Fell Race of the year. I was hoping for low cloud and hill fog because I know the route like the back of my hand while those from up north probably don't. Beggars can't be choosers though and to be fair the views from the tops were fantastic - and although racing, I'm so slow I get time to look.

Anyway, I set off in a very controlled manner. Last year I was out the blocks way too quick and paid from halfway. This year I wanted to have something left for the second half - and I did, although not quite enough to get me all the way to the finish but it was a much better paced race from me.

Once again, I cut my own path and hit the holy trail spot on, picking up close to ten places by the bottom - nice. I struggled on the ups. I just don't have the legs for it at the moment - which is not surprising as I've not done much hill work at all this year [read 'almost nothing']. Still, my race went well and it was only from the final summit that the batteries were showing low - but it's all down hill from there so I didn't grumble.

I finished in 83rd from a field of 200+ in a time of 3 hours and 7 minutes - 20 minutes quicker than last year. I'm pleased with that. With some hill/mountain work I could knock another ten off, easy. Next year I'll set the target at sub 3 hours - that would really be fell running.

It was good to see all my Calder Valley team mates not to mention the myriad of Chepstow Harriers. But now it's time to chill and get some grub down - well, more grub as I've already scoffed quite a bit but I've 2000+ calories to get through - yum.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Mountains Approach

And they're pretty big ones. Not the biggest, mind, but still pretty big and I'm looking forward to it. The forecast doesn't look great though - there's a little too much sun for my liking. I want it claggy and cloudy, the more mist the better so I can get a bit of advantage over those less familiar with the Black Mountains. Still, can't have everything.

Tonight I eat, and eat to win - just kidding. I'll be happy to come somewhere near the middle. Either way it's a bloody good excuse to be able to eat like a greedy bastard - gert lush.

I'm going to get off for an early night as it's been a tiring week - and a bit stressful - but it's calming down now. The mortgage completed today and 99% of my kit from Bristol is moved up here. I've instructed the agent to go find me a tenant and I've notified nearly everyone official of my change of address. Going to put my feet up after the race.

And now, it's time to eat...

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Just tried out my new telescope - NERD - but oh what a view of the moon. I can safely say I've never seen it as detailed as that before - other than in photo's but somehow seeing it for yourself is amazing - NERD. All the detail you can make out. Brilliant.

Well, I've finally shifted 97% of my stuff back up Forest way. Only my tools and the like left. The Bristol pad needs a top to bottom clean and then she's done. I've started the ball rolling with an agent to market it so fingers crossed I can pick my self up some tenants - and I'm not talking larger - quickly so it can start covering the mortgage.

No training again but I worked up a sweat on the last of the diy. Almost too late in the week to muster now. Saturday is the big race. I hope I can raise my game. The last couple of weeks have been a disappointment. Still, I've down a few bike sessions - can't of lost all my fitness, can I?...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Energy Requirement

Did you know that an electrical device rated at just one watt - pardon? What? - as I was saying, rated at just one watt, if left on all year round, will cost you towards £1. It's not immediately obvious and singularly it's not a lot but do the math and the waste comes to light - and you can turn that off for a start or at least replace it with a low energy version. Seriously though, that TV on standby, aah come on, it's only five watts - yes, but that five watts is costing you a fiver if left on 24/7 - or to put it another way, that's a fish and chip supper with a bottle of pop. And then there's the microwave. Do you really to leave it on 24/7? Do you ever use it's clock - and don't lie. Well, that's another five watts. So far, we've saved a tenner. It's amazing how much the little things - stop it - add up to. I've got myself a CurrentCost Envi to start monitoring my energy use as an experiment to see how much I can save. I'm pretty good as it stands but I'm sure I've room for improvement.

None of which has anything to do with running or exercise but just thought I'd mention my crusade. Tonight I was back on the bike for an hour. Didn't feel like pounding the streets - been a bit of that lately - the 'not feeling like it' bit. Still, there's always tomorrow...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Vax Amazing

I've been hammering the old Vax today. When I say old Vax, what I really mean is new Vax. It's working good - it's just some carpets can't be raised from the dead no matter water you hit 'em with. The upstairs is now clean and good to go. As too, the lounge. It's really just the kitchen to empty down - and to be fair most of that is done. All on target to meet my end of the week self imposed deadline and then this place is out to let.

My back is aching but I managed to hop aboard the bike for an hour in front of the iPlayer - no telly, just the iPlayer. The old Virgin Broadband has been a faithful friend for years, but alas she must go. I will be excommunicating her by the end of the week.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I Remember

Why I like May Hill. The views on a day like this are Fantastic - and that's with a capital F. Back on my old stomping ground - quite appropriate because I was stomping like a good un. There wasn't a hint of running to be seen - not, at least, when looking in my direction. I didn't seem to be able to run today. Nothing felt comfortable and the up hill sections felt especially hard work - all 1,500 feet of it. One has to ask the question, with such great views and lovely sunshine does it really matter? Course it flippin' does but I'll let it slide just this once.

Anyway, I covered just over seven miles in the gorgeous sunshine. More moving stuff to be done tomorrow and then almost certainly another slack training week as I finish off the house tidying. Need to make sure I get out once or twice though just to keep me primed for the Black Mountains Race on Saturday.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

It's Been A While

Busy couple of days. Long work hours. Moving house stuff. All adds up to not a lot of running. Still, after the half marathon effort on Sunday I'm due a couple of rest days. Surprisingly on that front, I didn't actually suffer much after affect. My calve was sore on Monday but that was pretty much it. Gives me confidence that I've good endurance - albeit at a slower pace. That leads me to think, so long as I take it steady, I can have a good run in the Black Mountains race in two weeks time. You can bet your ass I won't be going off too quick in that bad boy...

Tonight it was ninety on the bike in front of DemandFive, catching up with murder and mayhem cover up school - that's CSI: Miami to you.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Back Sub 90

And it's been a while. Conditions were too good. I like the cold but the sun shone so I had to make the best of it.

We, that's the might of Chepstow Harriers, were out in force. It's one of championship races. Seven to count from twelve but you need at least to road and two off road, the rest you can please yourself. This was the second of my road races to count and I can now state categorically for the record, I f#@king hate road running.

Anyway, I set off reasonably. I didn't get too carried away but in honesty I was probably a five seconds a mile too quick for where I am at the moment. I hit a bad patch at five miles but got going again and then hit another bad patch at ten - and didn't. It was a struggle from there. The sun was full on and I was sweating like a bastard. My left calf began to cramp slightly but to be honest it didn't really slow me down. I did slow but that was more down to the fact I was completely knackered. The sustained hard pace of road running was killing my softly.

I didn't really rally at all on the run in but managed to break the magic hour and a half barrier. I wasn't worried about missing the target - wasn't my arse. Across the final 100m of grass I had plenty of time to amble over to the finish. I had all of 1.2 seconds to spare - could have eased back a bit really. My official time is 1:29:58 and I even made the top 100. I was 100th - nice.

Anyway, it's done now. I can tick the box. I think I was 7th Chepstow man home so more good points in the Championship and I've got all my compulsory races in so I just need one more race for seven and a champs score. But it has come at a cost, I stand here - sit here before you, a crippled, hollow shell of my former self. OK, it's realy just my left calf but it's sore and I am thoroughly bloody knackered.

Never again - until next time.

Chippenham Half Marathon route - oh, and well done to Chippenham Harriers for putting on a brilliantly well organised event. Marshals a plenty and lots of support. I can see why people rate it so highly. Thoroughly deserved praise.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Carbed And Salted

Been up to more house tidying today but nothing to strenuous - got a race to think about. I feel more than a bit nervous. I've closed the door on the conservatory. The living room is clearly too - subject to the chairs going on Wednesday. The second and third bedrooms are also done. Just the master bedroom and kitchen to go.

Need to get a few journeys up to Gloucester next week and I will make my planned moving date. Going to be a busy week ahead.

Anyway, back to the serious stuff - tomorrow's race. Can't believe I feel so nervous. I've carbon loaded through the day. Pasta and chips - beauty. And been hydrating steadily. Plus my pre-race ready salted crisps are at the ready for the journey across to Chippenham. All systems go but I'm really not sure...

Oh, and I saw the international space station tonight - that's got to be a good omen (don't know why though).
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Chepstow In August

Well Chepstow's Championship results are in for the year to August. I've moved up from 15th to 13th after my good result, and best of the year so far, in the Machen 10k. I'm still two races short of a full measure - nothing unusual there then.

It's been a good couple of weeks on the 'getting the house ready to let front' and all being well I reckon she'll be under new tenancy by mid October. The last of the major maintenance jobs are complete with today's consumer unit replacement.

I'm in full taper mode ahead of the Chippenham Half. The diet is on hold for now and tomorrow I carb load. I don't know what to expect on race day. Can I go possibly go sub ninety again? I hope so but I don't want to get my hopes up. I know I've been going better of late and I've lost a few pounds. I'm down to 10st 10lb's so that should help. I guess I should be happy whatever the result. After all, I'm able to run and above all else, it's better to have run and lost than never run at all. But more than that, the one thing you can guarantee is that the Mad Runner will give his all....

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Taking It Easy

Been a light couple of days. Today it was back to the bike for an hour. Sunday is the Chippenham Half Marathon where I hope to stay the distance well enough to go sub 1hr 30min. Have to admit I still have big doubts I have the endurance at road race speed - ha ha, not going to catch me out uttering the words Speed Endurance - doh. Chippenham is also one of Chepstows nominated championship races so I need a good run to raise my position. After a good Machen 10K I need to keep the scoring going. In any event I'm easing back this week to give myself the best possible chance. Must remain strong and not fear the fade...

The house is nearing full readiness for letting. The DIY is almost complete. Shower, sink, conservatory, floor... it's all complete. There's only the replacement consumer unit install remaining and that's on the cards for tomorrow - by a professional I hasten to add. Then she's good to go. I've either packed up, thrown out, given away or sold my stuff in preparation. I'm going minimalist from here on in. No more hoarding. No more 'It might come in handy one day, I'll store it in the loft'. No, from here it's going to be, 'Don't need it, to the charity shop you go'.

Now I just need to get me some tenants...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Lunch Run Is Go

or should that be 'was' go. As written in the sacred prophecy, as the noon sun rose to the azimuthal high point, we headed out for the lunch run. Martin legged it from the start - I didn't - I couldn't, I was really feeling it from Sunday's runs - that doesn't sound pleasant, but you know what I mean. That said, I got to the summit of Dundry in my quickest time this year. But the effort was too great. The price paid was too high and I was f#@ked.

There wasn't much recovery going on in the final phase of the run. At least the strong winds were on our backs now though. I finished in one of my quickest times but I completely fell apart on the last section. Still I had my trusty tomato and roasted vegetable pasta to look forward to. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm - ooh, and an apple.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The After Win

Been a bit of a rest day. After work I headed to the conservatory for a bit of painting - it's gonna need a second coat... Then it was onto the bike for sixty. Then feet up in front of the telly - Gadget Show, of course. Job done.

Tomorrow, all being well, Martin and I are heading out for the lunch run - rain, rain, go away...

Sunday, September 05, 2010


A win, in the inaugural White Horse Relay in the mixed category. Yeah. Whoop Whoop. Great day out with Chepstow and our two teams. As to who ran for the men's team and who ran for the women's was down to luck - I was lucky enough to run in the women's team. I'm a laaaaady. I should add that the team was changed to a mixed before the day as we couldn't raise a women's only. A shame for them but my gain as we took top spot. Our men's team also went well but lost out to Chippenham.

The event is a 14 stager, mostly off road but with some road sections. There were some short stages and some longer. Teams could consist of between 7 and 10 members - so, depending on the team size, four of more have to run double - hence the short and long legs. Right, description done, back to the detail.

The day started grey and by the time I arrived at the start of the first leg to meet up with the team it had started to rain. The rain continued until lunch. But it didn't dampen our spirits. Chepstow got off to a great start, winning and 2nd place on the first leg - no pressure for me, then, on leg 2 and it didn't start well. I slipped as the gun fired and almost fell over - nice. After surviving that scare I led the field out for half a mile before the Chippenham runner drew level and after a few surges I realised he was much the stronger. He went wrong twice but still caught back up quickly. We then ran together to the final road before he sped away. I was second home and Andy O for Chepstow was third. Leg 2 was only 2.6 miles and mostly flat.

From there I'm not sure of many more leg results. It becomes much of a rush ferry people and following the race.

My second leg (leg 12) was the longest of the day at 10 miles of mostly flat (300ft ascent) running - and it started off like a road race. I have to admit to struggling a bit. Matthew L and Jason from Chippenham pushed on hard in the first three miles of hard track and road. I just about kept in touch five metres back but even at that early stage I had resigned myself to fifth place. I knew I couldn't keep the initial pace going and thankfully things changed once we got off road. The rougher ground played to my strengths and by mid way we had dropped Jason and firmly had the RAF in our sights. Matthew and I worked well to reel him in and by about mile eight we went past moving into second and third respectively. After that I began to wilt. I knew I couldn't beat Matthew and let him go - that's to say, he pulled away - it's not like I could have stopped him. By the finish he was probably 10 seconds ahead so it remained close and another good Chepstow result.

Well it's been a busy day but fun and I'm knackered now. I'm pleased with my 2nd and 3rd places - and the team win. Leg 12, road like as it was, was a good warm up for next weekends Chippenham half marathon.

Leg 2

Leg 12

Friday, September 03, 2010


The end of the working week, as it tapered into the weekend, has seen my motivation for running dip. Last weekend was practically a festival to the great sport - I'm still talking about running. The end of the week, however, a festival to doing sod all. Not good, really really not good.

I'm looking forward to Sunday though. I've a double header day - yes, single day, two runs - F.A.B. Virgil. I'm in one of Chepstow Harriers team for the White Horse Relay in Wiltshire. A 14 stage relay taking in the various - you guessed it, chalk white horses. I'll be running leg 2 and then leg 12. Don't worry it's street legal, well, trail legal. With ten runners per team, four are required to run a double - it's the law, well, it's in the rules at least. Should be good fun.

Tonight I mustered for forty five minutes on the EB, I think you can probably work that one out. On the diet front it's been a successful day - which it needed to be after a bad one yesterday. I reversed that result to finish today, healthy food 4 - 0 junk food. Not one crisp, chip or snack has crossed my lips - back of the net. Oops, should I use that on a night when England are playing?...

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Ever post. Long day at work. Tired. Couldn't be arsed to run. Ninety minutes on the bike. Off to bed shortly. Yawn...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

And A Fourth...

Just kidding. There's no race today. After straight days of it, today is strictly feet up. To be fair my legs feel much better today than they did before and after the race yesterday. I almost feel I could have managed a fourth... No, let the body rest.

I've been controlled on the diet front as well - although it's been touch and go this evening. A late lunch has left me feeling hungry at all the wrong times and the bag of crisps in the kitchen is calling my name - I have twice stroked its sweet curves but so far I have resisted. That resistance is partly down to keeping a food log. It's a huge focus and helps to prove that when you've eaten enough calories... then you have eaten enough. Simple as that and is real quick and easy to use. I should add that I'm keeping grounded. I shan't be over egging things and becoming obsessed, just controlled and with that care and control I will attain my old racing weight in a couple of weeks.

And you know what? I feel a bike session coming on...