Thursday, March 31, 2011


Yes, I was seriously handicapped tonight. I wasn't last off but I was pretty near the back, possibly three started after me - which meant about thirty started in front! For those not in the know the race is a staggered start based on previous performance with the fastest starting last. If the handicapping is correct it's a blanket finish. Suffice to say, it's not often that happens but it's still a nice fun event - but that's not to say you don't try bloody hard.

I took it out steady and tried to maintain an even pace throughout. The course is testing and certainly not flat. There is a price to pay for going to hard - stop it - too early. Fortunately I avoided paying the price as I ran a controlled race throughout.

From the half way point to route climbs steadily until the final, fast descent to the finish. I was able to power - OK, that's probably the wrong word - plod my way to the top, overtaking a few before hitting the descent to the finish. I caught a few more on the run in but was just unable to catch Andy S who had the strength to pull out an awesome sprint in the last 100m to hold me well and truly at bay.

I finished 21st in a time of 32:13. I'm reasonably pleased with that on the 5 mile course with about 500 feet of ascent all told. My time was one minute and seventeen seconds better than my best of last year. That's a whole 3.83% improvement! No, seriously, that's a good improvement. It is. No, really it is. Spoil sport.

I've a rest day of sorts planned for tomorrow - if Martin and I don't get out for the lunch run, that is. Otherwise It'll be half an hour of something. Hopefully we will run but I'll be taking it easy ... ish. Got to save myself for the 15 mile hell run that is Llanbedr to Blaenavon on Saturday....

Tonight's handicap route:-

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gonna Be Like The Old Old Days

The days when I raced. Then raced a little more...

In the firing line after yesterday's Bridge Inn is the first race in this years Chepstow's Handicap series, a five mile blast through the woods. Moving forward to Saturday it's the easy, almost flat 15 mile Llanbedr To Blaenafon fell race - I'm lieing about it being flat by the way. Rounding off the four races in six days will be leg four of the Bitton Road (cycle path) Relay on Sunday. A flat - and this one really is - five miler along, yes, the Bitton to Bath cycle path. Gonna be just like good old days...

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good Run

But it weren't easy. I was trying hard tonight - and didn't I flamin' know it!

From the gun, at the start of tonight's Bridge Inn 5k, I moved along steadily in the first kilometre. From there it didn't get any easier, sadly. It was a constant struggle to keep pushing. I stayed focused - while those few around me faded. Or was it me that was strong? Either way I held it together to finish in a seasons best - and I chucked shortly after. Haven't tried that hard for a while - and you know what? It felt good.

Despite the 18:50 time I still only managed 47th! The Bridge is becoming mighty competitive these days...

Still got to be happy with my fastest time for more than three years. The come back continues - and it feels bloody good.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Here We Go Again

Another Monday. The start of another week. And for me it begins without a run - yet again. That wasn't a shock though, as I'd been booked for a spot of the old moonlighting so got home late. Would've been good running conditions. Still, as bike sessions go, whiling the hour away watching the gadget show isn't a bad way to do it. And the abs are really firming up with the continued sit-ups. The core feels strong. I feel it's all coming together.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Activated The Escape Route

Yes, my estimate of the timings for today's long run were way off. And, come to think of it, so was the intended route length. As it was, having activated the emergency short cut, I still managed to clock up 24 miles with 6,100 feet of ascent. And believe me, the short cut really was quite a descent short cut. I reckon had I run to the plan I would have been out beyond 30 miles - I reckon someone's been tampering with my measuring string...

Anyway, I was up at the cra .. I was up early and over to the mountains before eight, kitted up and set off. The weather was glorious - at least at first and for most of the run. I ran within myself trying to estimate the effort of the real traverse. Still think I'm gunning just a little too hard but better that way than too easy. The energy gel intake was successful again. Really getting to grips with taking on board the fuel at regular intervals and all in all it was a good days training.

I planned the route to give me a proper crack across from Waun Fach to the forest descent. Managed to successfully find the route points from the first recce and got through to the road in the valley in good speed. Also managed to run what I think is a faster way across from Pen-y-Gadair Fawr to Pen Twyn Mawr. I followed the slightly longer, curved route on the firm track as opposed to the direct but somewhat more boggy route. I think the track is faster. I was able to run a nice steady, easy pace all the way apart from the last 300m. I reckon it's a couple of minutes quicker - off to examine the data...

Tried out a different route up to Chwarel y Fan from the road as well - that's the point of recce - but the jury is out on that one. It was certainly more 'smash your way through the forest' but it did seem to get the climb out the way in one short blast. Back to the data....

Finally, from Chwarel y Fan I ran along the ridge for a kilometre or so before dropping down to valley and up the other side to Offa's Dyke. From there it was three miles back along the dyke to Llanthony.

Oddly, as I approached Llanthony the route was marked with flags - it was only the flippin' Llanthony Fell Race. Start time 2pm and as I hit the end of my run it was only 1:30pm - I had time to run it and for the briefest of moments I truly was tempted. If I'm honest, if I wasn't going out tonight I damn well would have run it! As The Mad Runner it's what people expect. And what's another three miles when you've already done 24? Sadly, I let them down, as sense prevailed. I bid my fell running friends a good race and left the scene, stage left.

Well I can't sit here typing all day, got a night out to prepare for. Right, where are my dancing shoes...

Today's route:-

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bit Of A Disappointment

With such fantastic weather I was fully planning to run through the woods on my arrival home. I wasn't going to be getting all naked through the blue bells though - you can get arrested for that in some places, although probably not in the Forest of Dean, thaim got strange laws up yer.

Anyway, as I departed from work and made my way to the M5 motorway - or as I like to call it, Hell - I detected a disparity in the space time continuum near junction 13. That is to say my traffic app on my Android phone was showing total closure. Think man. Think man. How do I avoid this? - yes, the voices in my head were back.

So thinking on my feet - well, more my 'seat' actually - I decided to head west - luckily I had my Stetson and those spikey, wheely things that go on the back of your boots - spurs, that's them - for it can get a bit 'wild' across the bridge to Chepstow and beyond..... I even managed to get my weekly shop done in the Tesco as I passed on by.

By the time all that trauma was over I was fifty minutes later home than normal and my enthusiasm for the run had, like Elvis, left the building. In any case, I've a long one planned for tomorrow so I guess I'll be rested nicely for it. Twenty eight miles on the cards - but I have an escape route to cut it back to twenty one if time is defeating me. I'm not going to be missing the night out in good old Bristol tomorrow night. That, my friend, you can take to the bank.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Short On Work

Longer on exercise. OK, that's a bit misleading as I did go to work and I was there longer than I exercised for but relative to normal, things were more that way than normal.

I got up late and headed in for 10 and left at the normal time. I even managed to box clever on the drive home to avoid the pain of the Huntley road works - tossers - but I wasn't a victim today. A slightly longer route saved me ten minutes in the long run. And talking of running, Martin and I headed out for the Dundry loop. I felt leaden but got road in a reasonably decent 31:15. Not my quickest but only a minute back and to be honest it felt far slower. I stayed the distance well despite not feeling springy or quick. Martin kicked my sorry ass yet again, coming home in around twenty nine and a half.

On other matters, we've entered the Bitton Road Relays on the 3rd of April. The might of Bristol Water won't exactly conquer all before us but we'll enjoy the event. Still a runner short on account of the ever completely unreliable Clive T having shied off. I know he'd enjoy it if only he could understand that, yes, it is completely acceptable to be slower than you were thirty years ago and in no way will people judge - well, maybe I would, but nobody else would - just kidding. If only he'd forget the time and soak up the atmosphere and just enjoy. Oh well.

Tonight I finished off on the bike and some sit-ups - got keep sharpening the ol'abs...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Bloody Road Works

Why are they doing this to me? Highway Authority bastards. I hate them with a passion most can only dream of. Why bother causing road chaos replacing a set of traffic lights that aren't broken? Hast thou not heard of the old adage, 'If it ain't broke don't frickin' fix it'? - Obviously not. Seriously though what is the point of replacement before they break? To stop road chaos when they break you might think? But from the chaos the road works are causing they might as well maximise the life, save a bit of money by eeking the last bit of life out of the old lights and just do a bit of planning to be ready to replace when they do break. End of the day, waiting till they break won't actually cause any more disruption than they are managing to do now. Put me in charge. I'll get things sorted. I'll put things to right. Through the application of common sense - and I'm quite common - I'll sort this country out. Just gimme' a chance. Vote me for president - you know it makes sense.

Oooooommmm. Ooooooommmm. Right, calm now.

Tonight I got home late - no, mustn't kick off - and shot straight into the kitchen to prepare tea. A lovely Sweet and Sour Hong Kong style stew, extra hot. Then it was an hour on the bike, a 2k row and abs, press-ups and pull-ups. All done. Feet up.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Rest Day - Can It Be True?

Yes, it really is true. I have taken an honest to goodness, full blown rest day. The weekend was bloody fine and having clocked 33 quality miles I feel a rest day is justified. My legs feel good. Not tight but I can feel the muscles asking for a rest - so that's what they're getting. Don't worry though, I'll be back to normal by tomorrow.

Oh yeah, before I forget, I managed to scrape into the top thirty yesterday - result. In fact I only went and made the flippin' top twenty! 20th place - slam dunk, yeah baby. And from a field of 242 finishers. Have to say, still slightly shocked by my performance after my twenty miler. All looking good for the future...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

26 Seconds

Off last years time! Stunning. I was pretty gob smacked to run so well. My legs didn't feel fresh but neither did they feel dead. I covered the 13.1 miles in 1 hour 31 minutes and 47 seconds and placed towards the top thirty, probably mid thirties in reality. Pleased with that on the hilly course that has somewhere in the region of 1,500 feet of ascent. Best of all there wasn't a huge deluge of the fast Chepstow runners present so I even managed to place third Chepstovian, scoring myself an excellent 98 points in the Champs - a great way to start my campaign. All in all it's been a fantastic weekend of training. Long run and a great race. Whoop Whoop, pop pickers.

So to the race. My game plan of start slow and build was, well, thrown out the window before it even started. Stood on the front line of the grid, as surely an idiot like myself does, I legged it with the best of 'em as the gun sounded. After that rush off blood I feared for the last few miles... Those thoughts brought me back to earth and I steadied the ship and eased back into steady running. Minimising the effort - my new fad - as much as possible. If people want to go past on a climb I just let them. I was playing the long game - and it worked. As the race progressed I slowly but surely - don't call me Shirley - caught runner after runner. I stopped to walk on the two steepest ascents to eat an energy gel. Both times runners slowly 'ran' past my 'walk' but once on the flat, with my fresh batteries I soon got them back with profit.

After my efforts yesterday I was honestly expecting to fade over the run in but I didn't. I just kept pumping out the miles at the same rate. There wasn't a hint of flagging. I finished the last mile as strongly as I started the first and even now, a few hours later - and an hour's bike done - my legs still feel good. I could almost go run another half marathon - maybe not.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Maximising The Speed To Effort Ratio

That's what this long distance running is all about and today I achieved in spades. That has to be one of my best training runs - EVER! The weather was beyond spot on. The Sun shone brightly but not to the point that it was too hot - we're still in March.

Managed to haul ass over to the Brecon Beacons for my planned nine am start of my Stage 3 South Wales Traverse Recce. I got under way shortly after. My main aim for the day was to try and gauge my pace against my target splits for each of the sections. Slight problem, I'd forgotten to look them up before hand - school boy error! So without that I decided to try and run easy. To run well within myself and if anything go too slow. I walked the climbs and eased along on the flat while holding back on the descent. It sounds stupid but it is the descent that does the damage. If you steam downhill too fast it's pretty much all over.

So anyway, from the car park I arrived at the Storey Arms 1 hour and 19 minutes later ready to begin the stage for real. I should just mention, on the way across, on top Duwynt I stumbled across a crashed aeroplane! Still there from November apparantly, there's a news article about it here.

I digress, start the clock, I was off. I decided to try a direct line to Y Gyrn following a track at first before braving the tussocks to the very top. I walked. Took my time and arrived in 19 minutes and 35. That had to be slow but it wasn't the target split is 23 minutes but of course, I didn't know that at the time.

From there I decided to loop round to Duwynt. I've tried it the other way with Pat but feel you lose too much height. The way I found was well inside the path marked on the map. Lost minimal height and all in all was a great line. Slightly longer distance than the more direct route but I reckon I expended much less effort and in this game it's all about maximising the speed to effort ratio. If you get that right you are quids in. I was round to Duwynt in 26 minutes and 14 seconds (the target was 35 minutes). Again I really felt like I was holding back. I could have run far more of the ascent than I did, gone faster on the flat but the aim was to minimise the effort while maximising the speed. Economy is key.

The run off to Corn Du and then Pen-y-Fan were slightly quicker than the targets but they are such short sections they don't account for much. Even so, I still took it steady, and walk the walk where normally I would run.

Another thing to mention I was trying to balance my food intake during the run. For that I set my watch to a fifteen minute countdown. Every fifteen minutes it would beep and I'd take on board an energy gel. I was trying a SIS Isotonic one. I was pretty religious with it and it worked well and there were no repercussion from the internals. I kept feeling strong all the way. I was also religious in continually sipping the electrolytic drink all the way too. I think the isotonic SIS is the way forward.

From Cribyn I eased along steadily over to Waen Rydd. Walking the bypass of Fan-y-Big, running the ridge while stopping to walk on the occasional 'uppy' bit. That was a long section but I didn't realise at the time there is a split down at the Roman Road off Cribyn which I missed. I successfully found the trod that takes you right to Waen Rydd so I can tick that off. It wasn't all sweetness though, I was way too quick. I didn't feel I was pushing hard but I reached Waen Rydd in 39 minutes and 9 seconds where I should have taken 56 minutes. I honestly was running hard. I was pottering along but 17 minutes is an excessive amount of time inside the split. It's that damn ridge run. It sucks you in to cruise mode. I must make sure I take care on that part in the real thing.

From Waen Rydd I picked all the right paths over to Alt Lywd in 17:45 verses the target of 22:00 so that wasn't too bad but then again, that was 20% up, but it all felt comfortable.

The drop from Alt Lywd is somewhere I'd be happy to use the full time allocation. It's a steep, rough descent which can really do damage. I was a little up on the target but only by a couple of minutes, in 15:12 against 17:00. I'll be happy on the day to use the extra minutes to save the legs from a pounding. As it was I took that bit very steady so it's good to know I can afford to take it even more so.

Then it was just a case of getting myself back to the car. I followed the start of Stage 4 up to the forest track and then followed that all the way back to the car park. In all, I covered just shy of 20 miles with 5,500 feet of ascent in 4 hours and 12 minutes. It felt easy. I didn't push and hopefully I will having something left for the Hogweed Hilly Half tomorrow - but I wouldn't lay any bets.

All in all it's been a bloody brilliant day. Best of the year so far. I even managed to cut the lawn upon my return. Just off for half an hour very easy on the bike to try and resuscitate the legs ready for tomorrow...

Today's route track:-

Friday, March 18, 2011

Looking Bloody Good

For tomorrow if the weather even halfway approaches the forecast. If the predicted weather holds true then I am in for a treat.

I've got my route sorted for the recce of Stage Three of the South Wales Traverse. Going to drive over to the car park on the hill a few miles past the Talybont Reservoir and then ease over, using the most direct route possible, to the Storey Arms from where the third stage starts. Once there it's just a case of following the route as closely as possible. I say 'just' but even on a good day things can go wrong so I shall be paying utmost attention at all times - while enjoying the views of course.

I've a pretty good idea of all the best lines but I'm going to try something different - but not completely so - from Y Gyrn to Bwlch Duwynt. I'm going to see how the 'loop round' works as opposed to the 'drop down' route. I'm a firm believer in 'minimise the ascent' but not to the point where it's shit terrain. After tomorrow I'll know the best way - to my mind, anyway.

From there I know the route over to Alt Lwyd pretty well. Although I've only ever run the cut across to Alt Lwyd itself just once before. Got a good gps plot from the last time so it should be fine. From there I'll take my time to make sure I get a good feel for the drop to Abercynafon before heading up the other side of the valley to the main track and heading west... - to the car, not into the sunset. I'm aiming for an earlish start so if I see the sunset I'll be having a mare.

Tonight I eased back with an hour of you know what - no matron. Feet up and relax...

Tomorrow's Route:-

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Lunch Was Run

and Martin killed me - in a being left far far behind in a running sense. I didn't even try to keep up. He shot off like a scolded cat and was almost out of sight within minutes. My legs felt heavy at the start - and the feeling remained throughout. I'm not unduly worried though. I don't need speed at the moment, just raw unadulterated endurance. On that front I remain confident. My weight is steady, I feel fit and my core is strong - the abs are looking right 'Peter Andre'.

We ran the anti-clockwise Dundry route - which has pretty much a mile of climb - and I went up steady and strong. Not quick - that was Martin's job today. I was a minute down at the top - nice oxymoron-type-thing - but stopping was never entertained - as has in previous weeks.

I continued steady from the top and eased on back down to complete the run in a slow 32 minutes. I've been two minutes quicker but it's all about staying power and that's ok. I'm putting in more training these days than I ever have. I wouldn't say I'm running more but once I factor in the bike sessions and rowing I'm definitely clocking up more monthly hours. Last month I clocked up over 50 hours of cardio. This month is similarly placed...

Oh, bike session tonight of course - do I really need to write that?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Middle Of The Week

Well we're past half way, over the top so to speak, and like an avalanche we can pick up speed towards the weekend. It's the Hogweed Hilly Half Marathon on Sunday but I can't really afford to taper.

This isn't going to be a good year for me in the Chepstow Championship - the Half is a champs race and as I've yet to register a single race to date, I'm going to at least register a counter by running it.

Going to select a traverse recce for the Saturday. Possibly a run from the Storey Arms to recce stage 3 complete, but I might start at the end and run to the start and then back to the end - damn it, I've confused myself.

Anyway, 2k row and sixty on the bike tonight. A few sit-ups and I'm done...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

To Work Or From Work, That's The Question...

I did both! More specifically I dropped the car off at the garage for a 'fault recall' and ran from there to work. Then, after a full day as a desk jockey, I ran back to get the car - and it was a damn sight easier than the run in, on account I'd eaten my pack lunch and left my work clothes in the office, so my pack was practically weightless!

Bonus points to the garage, for just fifteen minutes of parts replacement, nothing major, mind, they only went and gave it a full wash - back of. I reckon they're trying to tempt me back for the service and MOT later in the year.

After a good drive home - in a clean car for once - I hopped on the exercise bike for sixty to finish of the days training...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lazy Hazy Days

I had a day off from work to 'sort out' a few things. That done it was time to make hay in the glorious, if a little hazy, sunshine. After the tiredness of the weekend I decided an easy run from home was in order and so set out to conquer May Hill via a meandering, scenic route.

At first I followed one of my normal routes up to Hobbs Quarry before hitting Huntley Hill. Then as I ran over HH I spotted a path I've never trod before and followed it. A nice, if somewhat boggy, variation to add the repertoire. Then it was back to the norm as, well, that's enough of that. Suffice to say I covered just over nine miles and about 1,750 feet of ascent in a very very modest 90 minutes - but to be fair to myself, I did keep stopping to admire the hazy view because, and I don't know if I said this before, it was a bloody glorious day.

Going to ease out the legs with thirty minutes on the bike later but for now I relax...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Out The Way Early

I've decided another resting day is required. My batteries feel like they've got a lot more charge but they certainly ain't full just yet. I'm not unduly concerned about missing the long runs I'd planned. This game is all about the bigger picture. The larger campaign. You have to give away a few small islands to conquer the main land.

The official High Peak Marathon results are still not posted - an annoyance - but I've managed to locate what appears to be a valid set of results, albeit without the check point splits. I'm happy (with a tinge of sadness that we weren't higher placed) to confirm we were indeed 15th, in 10:45:47, less than ten minutes from 13th and only thirty from 5th - and we threw away twenty of those on a navigational hiccup. If only I'd been a tad stronger. If only.....

Anyway, for those interested, here's a link to the (unofficial) results and here they are in full for you:-

High Peak Marathon Results 2011

Pos.   Team Name                      Time     
  1     53  Flipper's Gang            8:24:30  
  2     52  Avon Mountain Athletes    9:17:07  
  3     51  High Peak Rollerbladers   9:57:37  
  4     50  Nuns From Chinley         10:00:26 
  5     17  Congleton Royce Harriers  10:15:05 
  6     25  (Don't) Follow Thy Leader 10:16:38 
  7     48  Team Krypton              10:17:40 
  8     29  Team Accelerate           10:19:47 
  9     15  Four Virgins to the Feath 10:21:14 
 10     47  Clayton Cruisers          10:21:40 
 11     42  Kinderlowlife _           10:24:16 
 12     49  3 Blind Mice and a Farmer 10:25:32 
 13     43  For Goodness Shakes       10:37:35 
 14     32  Peperami Pacers           10:41:51 
 15     40  MDC                       10:45:47 
 16     44  It's Dark Out Isn't It ?  10:58:21 
 17     36  Half Man Half Totley      10:59:24 
 18     46  Mahogany Ridge Fell Runne 10:59:33 
 19     19  Average Joes              11:04:20 
 20     34  Team Flapjack             11:06:28 
 21     35  Sleepmonsters _           11:19:40 
 22     39  Westerlands and Guests    11:21:49 
 23     24  Bowline Bogtrotters       11:25:15 
 24     28  Lost Lads                 11:27:49 
 25     38  Calder Somnambulists      11:33:17 
 26     26  Pussycat Dudes            11:36:17 
 27     12  Team Campag               11:54:54 
 28     33  Team Pot Noodle           11:57:37 
 29     41  Dark Peak Ladies          12:23:14 
 30     31  The Lost Boys             12:26:00 
 31     18  Calder Valley Mixed       12:28:09 
 32     27  The Eight Legged Groove M 12:56:01 
 33     20  Rucksack Club Ragtags     13:34:55 
 34     5   Carteghena Wolves         13:38:01 
 35     16  Lazy Pie Eaters           14:04:30 
 36     10  Unaccounted Four          14:07:29 
 37     3   Marathon Schmarathon      15:08:22 
 38     14  The Spartans              15:30:27 
 39     4   Go Girls                  15:44:23 
 40     2   Royces Rollers            16:04:57 
 41     1   Plight of the Navigator   16:46:01 

        21  Little Feat               13:22:07 
        13  Team Awesome              14:06:13 
        6   Peat's Sake                        
        11  Team WAD                           
        22  Goyt Valley Striders               
        23  Gixerjunkies _                     
        30  NAV4 NFR                           
        37  Enduracell (SPORK)                 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

No Go

After a massive over sleep this morning I realised something. Something momentous. Gargantuan. I need a rest. So there was no long run. There was no run at all. I've spent the day taking it easy - read, doing sod all. Hopefully I will be recharged by tomorrow...

Friday, March 11, 2011

Get Tired With It

And oh what a laboured run we did endureth this mid-noon time. We threatened to bottle out completely but in the end Martin and I braved the day and ran.

We opted for the Malago loop because, well, we plain didn't fancy 'The Hill' as it is not known. My legs felt heavy. Operation treacle was in full swing. It was one of those runs where from the very off you start counting down the distance. As anyone knows that never helps the time pass quickly and so it came to pass that the thirty three minute run - read, painfully slow - seemed more like an hour - not back of the net, in fact, I think that shot on goal just went out for a throw-in!

Still, we felt more happy about it once we got back inside. It was one of those runs neither of us wanted to do but knew we should. So when it was all over we at least had the satisfaction of having not given in to lethargy.

Onwards and upwards. I almost forgot. Another hour on the bike tonight and that's my lot. I think I will give the super long run a miss tomorrow. Maybe head to the Malverns or more likely a couple of easy hours in the forest might be on the cards...

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Yep, at 5:13pm I pulled onto the driveway. That's a couple of minutes off my previous quickest arrival home - and there was no speeding, it was all strictly inside the law - back of the net.

Took things easy tonight. Easy 75 minutes on the bike and I cut the row back to just 2000m. Going for another lunch run tomorrow to gauge my level of fatigue. I'll use that run to decide where and how far I run on Saturday. The plan says thirty miles but I will throttle that back if I feel I'm still fatigued. I reckon I'm ahead of myself towards my goal of the traverse this May so I will train clever and avoid peaking too soon - or breaking myself down. Things are going well and I'm keen to avoid a balls up...

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Dundry For Lunch, Bicycle For Dinner

The fatigue really showed though. My legs felt OK as we - that's Martin and I - headed out from work towards the Dundry climb. Martin has missed a few weeks of running with one thing or another and this was our first luncher for a while. He still had the better of me.

My breathing was laboured and if I was wearing a heart rate monitor I suspect it would have been reading a higher value than it should for the slow pace we were travelling at. It just shows, you don't just run with your legs. Your cardiovascular system plays a pretty important role too - and mine was showing the fatigue induced by the High Peak Marathon. I'm not recovered from it yet, that's for damn sure.

We reached the top in a slow time and it didn't improve on the run in. On the steep descent I managed to close the gap to Martin, who'd stolen a march as we rounded the top. Due, in part, to the fact my legs were OK and I could shift 'em quick with the aid of gravity to ease the cardio effort. But after that he got away from me again and finsihed thirty seconds clear. I was round in just over thirty two minutes which wasn't bad considering.

Tonight I am currently in the middle of a 60 minute session on the exercise bike before I retire to the comfy sofa.

Today's route:-

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Flaxley No Show

I had a bit of draining day at work but at least the site visits are now finished. Once I packed it in at six I felt a bit tired. Managed 75 minutes on the bike while I did a spot of mailing, reading the days news and updating the household budget - yawn.

It's strange but after a couple of weeks on site I'm thoroughly looking forward to a full day at the office. Even managed to schedule a lunch run with Martin. I feel pretty much recovered from my weekend ordeal but guess I should be cautious. The up over Dundry will find me out if I'm not.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Maybe A Run Tomorrow

You know what, I reckon the old pegs might well be ready for a run tomorrow. Mayhap a gentle run round Flaxley Wood. Can't believe how much better my legs feel. I wore my compression tights to bed - nothing kinky, these jobbers are used by pro athletes - and all day today. They are a boon to the healing process. I swear by them - well, I swear.

Tonight I put in a decent effort on the exercise bike, followed through with the 2k row and finished off with a ton+ sit-ups and push-ups. Good work if I say so myself. Still itching for the Hike Peak Results...

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Long Time Dead

Probably shouldn't have but I did. No, not the Long Mynd, that truly would have been bonkers - although I am sad to have missed such a great race. Today it's painful just walking. I did however, hop on the bike for a decent sixty minutes. Not on full whack but not hard enough - stop it - to know I was exercising.

Now I know there are those who would cringe at exercising the day after such a huge run. Coaches who would forbid it. Resting is for wimps and anyway, I don't play by the rules. What's right for me is simply what I feel like doing. Loose cannon, that's me. And you know what? For all the looseness of my cannon - sssh, no - my legs do feel better for it. Walking is just a fraction less painful. Descending the stairs just a few seconds quicker. For the coming week my plan is to take things easy but not stop. Lots of bike. Some row and all the delights of core body work.

Right now, I'm itching to get my hands on the High Peak results. To see how we did. I know I should have done better. I make no excuses. I thought I was ready for the vastness of the challenge. I prepared the best I could at such short notice and I certainly gave it respect. The lessons will be learnt. My weaknesses addressed. This is just the start of a new era of mad running...

Saturday, March 05, 2011


I honestly want to say never again. I think I probably did say never again. And I told my mate Pat where he could go if he ever needed a stand in for an event such as the High Peak Marathon. But you know me, it's almost certain that it won't be my last Ultra. Yes the pain is bad and I ache but in the words of the great philosopher, Arnold of Schwarzenegger, I'll be back.

Anyway, let's start at the beginning - usually a sound place to start something. I was a late recruit to team MDC consisting Dan B, John S and Pat W, for the High Peak Marathon. They needed a forth - I was it - doh.

So, I couldn't get off work Friday and had an afternoon drive with John and Pat to Edale. We got through the traffic on the M5 and M6 rather smartly for a Friday rush hour - bargain. After a stop off for tucker we arrived at Edale and met up with Dan. We got through registration and kit check in short order before getting an hour's doze but before we knew it, our start time of eleven thirty was up and team MDC, number 40 was off.

The first few miles were pretty good. Nice firm going and the night sky was clear. It was a pleasant night on which to run - at least at the start. We over took a goodly number of teams in those first miles before the terrain became more rugged. I was rear gunner for the squad - on account of the fact I was the weakest link in this particular equation. But they put up with me and I think we made good time really.

If I'm honest, after the first few miles I now have a hard time discerning the different sections of the route so I'll tell it how I think it should be told. Suffice to say I do remember that there was a) peat and b) more frickin' peat, oh yeah, and did I mention peat, there was some of that too. Bloody unending miles of peat bog. Ok, so that's not accurate but feck did it ever go on. On and bloody on.

It sapped my strength. It sapped my energy. Damn near sapped my will to live - that came later on the long section through an expanse of peat erosion. Up ten feet, down ten feet, up ten... you get the picture. Finally, free of all that shit - known in the Peak District as peat - we were greeted by miles of flag stones and rough ground on the Pennine way. At least I think that's what was next up, my memory of the whole squalid affair is somewhat hazy. Next up came the rocky section - I think?

By now my feet were bloody killing. Going down - sssh, no, stop it - was most painful of all.
Thankfully, through it all, my team mates put up with interminable slowness. Then I think there was some tussocks? A bit of ballsing on the navigation front - but I'll not complain about that because on the whole the lads did a fantastic job of manoeuvring us around the course. Now drizzling - but at least that saved itself for the sections in daylight, when it would blur the vision through my glasses - yeah, cheers for that. Then there was a bit more peat, some mud? I'm arsed if I can really remember. By that point I wasn't really even thinking straight.

Well anyway, in the end we made it home inside the team MDC self imposed target of eleven hours. Indeed, for much of the race we were on target for close to ten. But with about six or seven miles to go I had a bit of tummy trouble - nothing nasty, cept' for the nasty green poison gas clouds I was polluting the fresh country air with - and I felt a little sick. I kept that to myself - not the wind turbulence, I think they could smell that. How did we get on to this little topic of delight? In hindsight, I probably should have shared with the group - and not just the gas. I had to stop fueling - aka, eating - for fear of being sick. That depleted me and the sands began to drain from the timer. I - and hence the team - were reduced to a full on walk. I felt bad but I just couldn't run.

Then, with about two and a half to three miles to go, I got a rage inside. I felt so angry it was all slipping away. That we'd fall outside 11 hours because of me. I channelled the anger. I hate failure and I started to run... and from there I pretty much didn't stop until it was over. I don't know where it came from but without it wouldn't have made the grade.

We came home in around 10 hours and 47 minutes.

As reward - for you do get a reward after such exploits - you get the gift of the inability to walk...

At the moment there is pain, such unbearable pain but I'm betting by tomorrow it will seem like the best weekend ever - maybe not, but I bet I'll be thinking back to the events of Friday and Saturday with a smile. Thanks chaps, for giving me a go.

The High Peak Marathon is a four man team, starting at night covering 42 miles - if you get the route perfect - and 9,000 feet of ascent - if you get the route perfect.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Real Honest To Goodness Rest Day!

No training tonight. Rest. Just rest - with a bit of carb loading.

Been busy making a check list - took ages - it's a bloody good list mind! Didn't take that much longer to actually get all the kit up together - result. Got a few extra bits to sort tomorrow but apart from that I reckon I'm ready - apart from the running. Looks like too much though. All the compulsory kit is going to weigh me down.

Praying for a nice sunny night tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Preparation - nope, you're not getting a third - I'm not that prepared. Been getting ready for Friday's race but not there yet. I've constructed my list but will finish off getting my kit up together until tomorrow night.

My additional gear has begun to arrive - good old Amazon. Waterproof gloves, overtrousers and hydration tablets are sorted. Fingers crossed the gels and, more importantly, the waterproof socks arrive tomorrow - apparantly they've been despatched. The socks are the most important thing for me. Apparantly the race route has a large section of peat bog - I can hardly wait, I love trudging across miles of unending, soggy, bogland. Can't face all those miles of wet...

I'm right into the taper now. Only an hour on the bike. No row. Nothing else. Tomorrow I shall just plain put my feet up - and eat pasta of course. Other than I think I'm ready.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Bit Of A Silver Lining

I've now managed to look at the route of Friday's race - it's not as hilly as I was expecting. It only appears to have about 8,000 feet of ascent. I might be wrong but for a forty two miler that's almost flat! And yes, I am joking. I fully expect to be begging to be left to die by the end.

Tonight I've put in a 5000m row and an hours bike plus sit-ups and push-ups. Took it a bit steadier on the bike as I am beginning to ramp down to Friday. I think I'm going to need everything I've got - plus a bit more I've not. Feel a bit anxious but also edging closer to looking forward to it. I reckon I'll be fully looking forward to it by next Monday...