Friday, December 31, 2010

Return Of The Mad Runner

2011 is gonna be the year the Mad Runner comes home. Starting tomorrow.

I'm off to run my first score orienteering event tomorrow - but that ain't the mad bit. No the mad bit is the nine mile run to the start at Mallards Pike in the heart of the forest - and then the nine miler back home afterwards. And in case you're not sure, that's the mad bit!

Today Martin and I managed another lunch run. Our first back to back ever. The start of a new dawn. I ran strong again as we tested each other. Each pushing the pace a little only for the other to ease back alongside. Martin still has the edge but I've definitely improved. He felt the pressure. No bike tonight though - the Mad Runner is allowed a day off now and then.

Well anyway, time to wave a big, but not so fond, farewell to 2010 and the last few years - it's been a lesson if nothing else. Tomorrow is the start of something big... and ladies, you can consider this hunk, a hunk of burning love back on the market - and with low mileage, mot, road tax, full service history and having undergone a recent full re-tune is an offer you can't refuse....... or maybe you can? Look into my eyes, not around my eyes, right into my eyes, and relax....

Happy bloody New Year everybody. Let's make Two Thousand and Eleven a god damn f$%king brilliant one. The year the Mad Runner returns....

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Feeling Fine

Now normally I write a bit of preamble here but f@^k it - I had a bloody good run at lunch time. There I couldn't hold it in. It wasn't the hilliest. Nor the fastest but, as Tony would say, it felt greeeaaaaatttt.

Graham joined Martin and I as we ran a fairly flat route around the office. Probably about 7k I'd guess. We ran steady until we got into the Malago (spelling? Who cares) park. Then, having been given permission I dropped out the front door as my pace picked up. And for the last three-ish kilometres my pace just kept increasing. By the finish I was bombing. I really was. And it felt great, very nearly like the old me, the me of yester-year. Tonight I finished off the days exploits with forty minutes on the bike.

Got another lunch run planned for tomorrow and then Saturday there's something called orienteering? - what's that all about?

I feel like the new year has started already. Have I recieved a blown to the head? - no, stop it, sssh, no, matron! I feel like a new man and it's all down to friends new and old. Some in real life and other in the imaginery one but all much valued and hopefully I'll meet some of those imaginery ones. All of which leads me to wrap this up before it all gets too weird. Been, and I don't say this lightly, just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Extra Extra

Read all about it. Having been able to put my feet up for five minutes I've turned my attention to loosely planning my year in running.

My main goal for the year is going to be an ultra challenge. Having chatted through things with a couple of friends from Chepstow I think the 76 miles and 30,000 feet of the South Wales Traverse should present a worthy leg up on the path the ultra enlightenment. And I have a few of them interested in having a crack at it with me. Going to need to drum up some support runners for the attempt as well though. Any takers? The main thing to all this, is that in my mind, I feel capable of going the distance. After a few years in the running wilderness I feel the strength returning. The force is strong in me. My initial idea is to go for the attempt the last weekend in May, with its bank holiday for recovery.

Additionally for early season I've entered the Dursley Dozen, The May Hill Massacre and the Hogweed Hilly Half. I've also sent off my entry for the Long Mynd Valleys race - it's a British or English champs and has been moved so it doesn't clash with the Dozen - bloody kind of them! It's a bloody good race and hopefully, if everything goes to plan, I should get close to my 2005 time and possibly even nudge under the two hour mark.

Moving further into the year I'm going to put in for Ennerdale, Wasdale and possibly even Borrowdale - provided I get my entries in on time, as they're always popular races. It is about time I stepped up to a few of the more challenging races - This year I feel I'm going to have the stomach for the battle. By the Power Of Greyskull....

Getting Serviced

The car, that is. Picked what I thought would be a quite day to nip along to Feeder Road - and as written in the prophecy, it did come to pass. In fact, the traffic at 'Early O'clock' was so quiet I had to wait around for a while before the garage opened. Still, gave me time to catch up on the days news.

Finally dropped off the keys before donning my skimpy cat suit for the 3 mile run to work, with my office clothes safely stowed aboard my trusty running pack. And I was off. Dodging around the early morning pedestrians and cutting a swath through the traffic I arrived in no time - read 23 minutes. Showered, freshened and fully clothed I set about the days work.

With the lunch time Tuna baguette safely consumed I carried on into the early hours - of the afternoon - before once again donning my cat suit for the run back to collect my car are part with hard cash [wipes a tear].

Surprisingly the traffic remained light and I was home for tea as quick as a flash - a flash, that has to be said, took just over the hour to reach its destination - so I guess not really that much of a flash really.

Once home it was time for forty minutes on the bike before I could call it quits and head for the kitchen to cook myself up a tasty treat. Chicken and tomato pasta - I luvs pasta - and pies, I luvs pies too but I'm saving that for tomorrow.....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Restful Day

Not exactly a rest day on account of two hours on the exercise bike, but it was at least restful. All I've managed is a quick trip to the shops for supplies and some curtain rails - couldn't face actually doing the diy bit but at least I got the bits for when I do. Got pick out some curtains - that's going to be the hardest part.

The two hours on the bike was infront of cheesey Christmas film number seven. Possibly the cheesiest to date. But on the bike front I can see the improvement. My average rpm is climbing as the weeks progress. Legs feel a bit knackered now though. Got some good ab crunches and pull ups cranked out as well. All good.

Back to the grind stone tomorrow...

Monday, December 27, 2010

X Marks The Spot

It was the day of the Stotts Treasure Hunt and it was great fun. I guess there was about 30 of us out there in the Wye Valley. But before I write another word I'd like to thank the Stotts for a great day. They must've worked so hard to put together all the control points - some thirty odd - and the associated clues.

It was sort of orienteering - pick your own route to reach various point scoring locations and answer the associated question.

From the gun I headed out to control point one. From there I split away from the pack to rack up a fifty pointer up on Offas Dyke. I was now on my own but using my self proclaimed brilliant sense of direction I was soon passing people all the while taking detours to rack up bonus check points. By control nine (of 14) I realised I couldn't reach 10, 11 or 12 so diverted to take four bonus controls before hitting 13, 14 and one final bonus score. I got back one minute inside the penalty time - after which you lose ten points per minute - perfect timing.

In all I covered about 12k and 1,400 feet of ascent in the snow and ice and it was great. Then it was inside to the warm for some grub. I didn't win the race but having had a great day I'd say we were all winners.

Finished off back home with thirty minutes on the bike. And now its time to put my feet up with another Christmas film - if I can find one...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

No Rest For The Wicked

And in 2011 I intend to be WICKED.....

So far this festive period has exceeded my expectations. I'm feeling far more chipper than I could have dared to believe I would. I'm down to my new lowest ever racing weight of ten stone and it's all lean meat! I'm feeling fit. Feeling strong. Never mind the Blacked Eyed Peas having a feeling about tonight being a good night, the whole of 2011 is going to be a bloody good year!

Stayed over at my brothers last night, having spent a great Christmas day with family. I ate too much but - at only two bottles of wine - didn't drink too much, lol. Today I popped round a family friends for lunch before hitting the road and, as Chris Rhea would say, drove home for boxing day.

Tonight I turned to the bike - and then flipped it the bird before lounging on the sofa. Just kidding, no I intended sixty minutes which turned out to be 75 minutes as I decided to stay on and write this as a bonus. Tomorrow I'm off to friends for a social 'Treasure Hunt' run lasting up to 90 minutes depending on route choice. Should be good fun. I'm taking the mince pies.

Well, with 90 seconds to go, I'm going to hit 'post' and then bugger off to the shower and get all naked!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Another Christmas, Another Failed Run

I was up in time for the run - honest - but at -10.9 degrees out there (coldest on my records, beating the previous -10.4) I'm not going to risk freezing my nuts off. True, I've not had a lot of use for them this year but best to keep 'em in good working order...

Instead I'm knocking out a quick hour on the bike at high resistance. Then I can eat and drink with a clear conscience. For eat and drink I certainly will.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Twas The Night Before Christmas

When all through the office not a person was stirring, not even a PA - mostly on account that eveyone had f&%ked off on holiday, what with it being Christmas Eve an' all.

I was there. Not a lot of point of me wasting holiday - I'll carry over the spares and use 'em in 2011 when I've got myself a reason. BUTLINS!!!!

I was really pleased with me performance today - ooh matron, no, ssssh. I got out for 35 minutes at lunch. Off road in the snow. Gert lush. And as I ran my mind did wander, thoughts of happier times - and happy times to come. This is my new start.

The drive home was uneventful. The roads were as empty as they get and I was home by twenty past five. Then it was onto the bike for seventy five grinding minutes.

And finally, to kick off my Chinese Year of the 'Being One Fit Mother F%$&er', I've order the best rowing machine in the world - ever - the Concept 2 Model D. By the end of 2011 I'm going to have the body of a much younger man. Maybe even that of a 37 year old - and for sure I'll be doing one arm push ups on the dance floor.....

I'll go out on a limb and say it's been a good day as my days go. :-)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

38 Was Not A Good Vintage

39 on the other hand is gonna be a f%*king corker. Anyone who tastes ain't going to want to spit!

No time for training tonight, home late. Been a good day though. Lunch out with friends and the dinner with family. Thoroughly bloody stuffed - ooh no, sssh, stop.

Going to try for a double tomorrow. A solo lunch run - suppose I need to get used to solo from now on - followed by a bike session at home in the evening. Then I'll be ready for Saturdays inevitable over eating - and other excesses. What's worse is that Sunday's race has been called off - boo. Guess I'll be going solo again...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Missed Appointment

Yes, the lunch time run was off the menu. As happens, work comes first - when at work, that is - and today I was. The snow could not keep the force, that is the mad runner, at bay and I got to work without issue. It's just a shame work did what the weather couldn't. And the return journey home was just as sucessful.

Tonight I peddled my way to a solid 75 minutes on the bike. My last ever bike session ever - as a thirty eight year. For sooth, my friends - and, I suppose, those that aren't - tomorrow I reach the fine old age of thirty nine - ooh scary. But at heart, I still have the mind of a child and long may that continue.

With great age, comes great responsibilty. And to that responsibiliy I'm tempted by the Gloucester Marathon at the end of January. I said never again for the marathon but hell, never say never again. If I can crack 3:15 this year I can claim a guaranteed London spot next year - one of my earliest running goals. Have to say, although not in marathon shape, it doth tempt me greatly. Plus it could kick off my South Wales Traverse training. For those not in the know, this year is the Chinese year of the ultra long run...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Short But Long

And I'm going to get Strong. Ding Dong.

It wasn't the longest of routes - seven to seven and a half miles. It wasn't the hilliest of routes - 1,200 feet of ascent. And it certainly wasn't the quickest I've run. But it was bloody lovely out there. Cold? Yes. Too cold? No. I'd say just about perfick.

I ran over and up May Hill, across the top and down and up to Huntley Hill before heading back on the road. It was god damn slippy though and so much harder work than normal - hence the exceptionally slow time for seven and a bit miles - almost seventy minutes! Shocking.

The views from the top were... non-existent. It was an almost total white out. In fact it was so white across May Hill I couldn't even make out the undulations of the ground. It was just contrast-less whiteness for as far as the eye could see - which wasn't far. I was almost snow blind.

I'm going to finish off today's workout with an hour on the bike. Ding Dong.

Today's route:-

Monday, December 20, 2010

I Don't Like Cotton Anyway

It's been a funny day. I didn't manage to get much focus at work but all things considered on account of what day it is, it wasn't as painful a day as I was expecting. I either put it so far to the back of my mind that it couldn't break free - my mind is very deep - or should that be hollow? Or perhaps I truly am over the worst of it? I feel sad but at the same time consoled. Partly aided by a great bunch of FBer's. Some are new friends some less new and all the more valued but none old and all as fresh as the day I first met them. They are the best. They raise me up, so I can stand on mountains, they raise me up, to walk on stormy seas - as Rogan Josh would say. Oh bugger, I'm welling up - just kidding.

Anyway, I just about managed to make it home through the snow but the village is a white out suffice to say I shan't be getting to the office tomorrow. Going to try a lunch run in the forest though. I love running in the snow and we've got plenty here. Maybe a trip to May Hill will be in order?

Tonight I'm back aboard the exercise bike - although I might do some push ups later - now where did I put my eye of the tiger CD?...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Recovery Day

Great night out yesterday - or should I say, this morning. As is to be expected after such occasions, I am not feeling great. And I seem to have picked up a right bugger of a cold in addition - arse.

Managed an hour on the exercise bike and that, for today, is my lot.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fifty Fifty

What a cracking day. It wasn't going to be a day when I missed getting out for a run. The snow was crisp - maybe not so deep - but certainly even. The temperature hovered around zero but the sun shone and it looked great out. One of the few days over the last six months where life is worth living. And as a bonus it's the wrinklies night out tonight - whoop, whoop, toot, toot.

I headed into Flaxley Wood for about six miles with eight hundred feet of ascent. It was a bit rutted in places but that all helps to build strong ankles - provided you don't break 'em! And I wasn't the only runner out there. Using my apache tracking skills I could determine from the stride length and tread pattern that someone else had blaised me a trail. As to the actual run I took things very steady but got back in a surprisingly quick time. One of my quickest and I hardly broke into a sweat.

Well anyway, safely back home and into the warm I now sit aboard the good ship exercise bike to finish today's workout with an hour on the bike. Another double day of exercise - back of the net. Everyday, in every way I am feeling fitter and fitter.

Bedroom with a view

Friday, December 17, 2010

Cold Hands

Got a bit of work done out in the garden - but at a price. It was frickin freezing - I'm just glad it was only my hands that got cold! Bloody freezing. And not even any snow to show for it. There was a bit of a blizzard at one point but it only lasted ten minutes and never settled. After that I just had to come inside and warm my digits.

Decided not to go get cold again so I hit the gym for some leg work - literally - and an hour on the bike. And I took that to the next level. Level 11. Jelly legs, yeah baby.

All finished off with a nice tuna, tomato and chilli pasta - which, unusually, I cooked from component parts and not a jar! Totally full. Feet up. Bring on the Wrinklies Christmas Night Out tomorrow - Dave number one is ready...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lunch And Dinner Too

Despite the threat of 'weather' we headed out at lunch time. Once again we headed north from the A38 towards and, this time, around the quarry. It was a bit soggy underfoot but still traversable in road flats. And despite appearing flat on paper there was actually 500 feet of ascent. Not quite 'the Dundry run' but a couple of the hills got us puffing. And we were out there for a respectable 40 minutes - although three or four of those were spent map reading. I hasten to add we didn't go wrong. Luckily we got back inside the warm of head office before the rain came. In all we covered about 5 miles.

Not content with the run I put in another 60 minutes on the bike. Now I'm happy. When I say happy I don't mean happy in the sense of a year ago but I think I'm about as satisfied as I'm going to get of late.

Every day, in a little, small way, I'm inching forward with my life...

Best of all my weekend starts here - whoo hoo

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Too Much Christmas Pudding

Not being a big lunch time muncher I felt stuffed by the time I reached the coffee - it was a nice brew, by the way. I definitely ate too much. On top of that I didn't get home till eight thirty. Too late for a run but with all that pud sloshing around in my tum it was straight to the bat bike - ok, the normal one, I had to give batman his back. One hour later the price of indulgence had been paid.

Martin and I have planned our run for tomorrow. If its frosty we take to the fields. Otherwise we're over the hill.... shut it!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Successful Day At Work

Building a bit more of the Legend. Least I know I'm good at something. There were a few nobbers on the road on the drive home though. Eveyone knows I'm the last to speed - well almost the last, I have moments - and I pootle up and down the motorway prending to be a lorry in the inside lane but come on people, keep up with the traffic for pities sake. Despite that I was home before half five.

Moving on. I'm on a low ebb at the moment. Going the distance at the works night out last Saturday has taken its toll and I'm paying the price. I've been feeling pretty knackered all day and tonight I could only muster for 75 minutes on the bike. Better than doing nothing though. Going to get my head down early...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Later Than Planned

Home just after nine o'clock I couldn't even raise for session on the bike. Just about going to make it up the stairs to bed in a few minutes. But on the plus side my tuna pasta bake was bloody fantastic. Was I ever ready for it...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Want Chips

So I have been left with no choice but to cycle for an hour for my supper. Having consumed much beverage of a high calorific magnitude - not to mention its other properties - last night and into the early hours I was left with no option. Surprisingly, I felt pretty good this morning. No hangover or nothin' - result.

Sadly, although I did indeed feel OK when I eventually rose from my slumber, the key word here is 'eventually' because I was not in time to get across to Ashton Court for the ten o'clock run. Not by a long stroke.

Well, that's it for tonight. I'm off to get chipped up...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Making A Hash Of It

It was a great day for it - fnah - the Tintern Hash Run. Running out from the Fountain Inn we headed, well I don't know really, seeing as I don't run over that way very often - read, once a year at the hash. There were thirty three of us and the pace was leisurely. The conversation flowed. It was good fun. A very social run. It's not really meant to be a race and I think everyone enjoyed it.

On other matters, I took out 'son of cap cam' for a spin. It ran out of battery after about an hour - on account of the fact that I forgot to charge it up ahead of the race. I've yet to examine the footage but hopefully I will have something I can edit up into a short. I stopped half way round for about five minutes to try and capture most of the runners on film as they topped out one of the climbs. That stop dropped me way back down the field - let he who is first go last.

After that short stop I set off back towards the front before finally catching the leader with half a mile to go. He had done the work so I held back to give him the win - but it's not really a race anyway.

In all we covered just over seven miles and a reasonable 1,400 feet of ascent. A good Saturday morning run. Then it was into Fountain for a drink, a chat and 'meat' Thai curry. All very nice but all to soon it was time to head home to prepare for tonight's drinking session in Bristol...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Taking It Easy

Another day off and apart from a brief trip to the shops and the construction of my gym bench I've done shit all, all day long. It's a hard life.

Today I put in yet another sixty on the bike and as I peddled, came to a decision. [drum roll] I'm going to save up for a concept 2 rower. Yes, it's a lot of money and there are cheaper copies out there but as my Nepalese guru says, if you're going to buy a rower you should buy one that will last a lifetime. The Concept 2 will last two lifetimes.

I'm mostly set for tomorrow's night out. Got the sleeping arrangements, well, arranged so it's all systems go. But before that it should be a good day out in Tintern taking part in the Chepstow hash run.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Crossing The Country

The hour known as noon did approach and we did take to foot. We ran. Through fields of barley we ran - it was really more sort of grass - but run we definitely did. And it felt good.

It was a new route in the fields to the north of the office, eventually picking up the community forest path to head back to the A38 and the journey home. In all we were out for half an hour and we have a new route for the future. Plus we've got a few ideas on how to extend the route out towards forty/forty-five minutes - but that's a story for another day.

Tomorrow I'm off to update my wardrobe - day off, party time. The weekend starts here...

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Ebb And Flow

This week has so far been ebb all the way. The lunch run did not happen. The document I'm working on is up to 188 pages and my calves are still buggered. Guess I really gave it everything trying keep ahead of someone in a race on Sunday. In that I failed but not by much. The price, however, I am paying now. Anyway, I am hopeful tomorrow will be another day - to be fair, I'm certain of it. The lunch run is yet again rescheduled but come rain or shine we will run tomorrow.

And then my weekend starts. I'm off to Gloucester Quays Friday to get some new gear for the party season. This bad boy is getting suited up and then I'm out to get to every god damn party I can.

Oh, and can you guess, more bike tonight. Better than nothing though.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Heck My Legs Are Sore

Sunday's race has really kicked in today. My calves are killing. Had to cancel the lunch run - that and the fact it was so cold my nick-nacks might have frozen off! We have rearranged for tomorrow. I reckon the legs will be OK - but will it be any warmer? And more importantly, will my nick-nacks be safe...

Tonight, yet again, it was another hour bike session topped off with 80 ab crunches, 45 push ups, 12 pull ups - they mothers is tough - and a partridge in a pear tree - well it is Christmas.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Tell Me Why

I quite like Mondays. Tell me why I quite like Mondays. Guess they give me other things to think about.

Tonight it was the bike for sweaty hour - you needed to know that. My legs have deteriorated through the day. Woke up this morning feeling fine - sadly, I'm lacking the something special online my mind - give it time though. By mid morning my quads were beginning to complain. By the time I got home even my calves had gone on strike. Hence the bike as the only thing my feeble body was capable of.

I was 31st in yesterdays race out of the 200 finishers - happy with that as the Cardington Cracker always attracts a quality field - well, I'm in it for a start, lol.

Anyway, here's a not so sexy shot of me from the top of the second climb...

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Had A Good Race

But a real bad day. Didn't think people I don't want to see would be there. If I had know I wouldn't have gone. I know it's the cowards way out but every time I see them I die a little bit more inside. It is destroying me. Just when I think I am getting on with my life. Bang. There it is right at me. In my face. And I die a little more.

Beat last years time in the Cardington Cracker by 10 seconds in treacherously snowy, icy conditions - totally different from last years rather mild conditions. But I feel shit. Totally shit. And now I succumb to a bottle of wine to numb my pain.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Enough Of The Cold Already

It's too damn cold. Couldn't face a run. Didn't want the pain from the thaw. I am a naughty boy. Instead I did 75 minutes on the bike, level 10. Legs absolutely knackered.

Come warm or cold I'm racing the Cardington Cracker on Sunday. I have committed to the cause and I must not deviate from the plan. It's a cracking race and I'm looking forward to a good performance. My 'Bob Fleming' cold has all but cleared up so fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

When Two Become Three

For the first time in absolutely ages - I'll add another 'and ages' for emphasis - Graham was out with Martin and I for the lunch run. Instead of the normal Dundry run we headed cross country on account of the slippy conditions underfoot. And it was rather pleasant.

And as miracles go, Clive T, the optimism-less man, a man so pessimistic his glass is not only empty, it's got a bloody gert hole in it, actually had a smile on face after his run to work. He's been to a specialist, been gven some inserts and he's a new man. Might there become four?....

Anyway, not content with the lunch run I put in an hour not the bike tonight. Fingers crossed I manage to get out for my planned medium tomorrow...