Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not Cooking On Gas...

because I'm on electric. So, after much cogitation - I love that word - I have finally purchased myself a cook book. Being, what can loosely be described as, bloody rubbish at cooking, a book with simple, easy recipes was required. Finally, after many - OK, a couple - of recommendations and deliberation I finally decided to part with my hard earned cash on the book recommended by running buddy Martin - he was most fanatical about it and put forward an impassioned case. It was a hard decision to part with so much money for a cook book that might not see much action - I now another 'thing' that doesn't see much action anymore. In the end I stumped the princely sum of £2.81...

The book in question - and the title does make it sound more pompous than the content inside would suggest - is 'Best-Ever Low Cholesterol Cook Book' by Christine France. After briefly thumbing through the pages it does indeed look right up my street - oooh, matron. The recipes within do not appear overly healthy at the cost of flavour. Said recipes do, however, look mighty tasty and, more importantly, fairly uncomplicated - I honestly reckon I might be able to manage these recipes. This might just be the cook book for me. From quick and easy starters, through delicious looking mains to scrumptious deserts - god, did I really say 'scrumptious'? What am I? Some sort of refuge from the Victorian era? - and most importantly cakes to bake. Mmmm mmmm. I can't wait to try out a few of the recipes held within.

Ninety minutes on the bike, a portion of homemade veggie curry from the freezer and I'm all done for the day.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Not Sure What To Make Of That

Well I couldn't stay sat on my fat arse all day, now could I? (Actually, I probably could have). Anyway, after completing a pain free ninety minutes on the bike that is just what I was planning. Not intentionally, mind, it was just that I could not face going out to get soaked again. It hadn't stopped raining all day and didn't look like stopping any time soon. Then, suddenly, as if it was famous last words, it stopped. It was now or never and I took the gamble. Donned my kit and got on out there.

I wasn't going to try the full Longhope loop after the bike session this morning and opted for the Hobbs Quarry Tour - and why the hell do I name my training routes? On second thoughts, don't answer that. The HQT is only three miles but hilly. Enough to gauge the state of the injury and after an initial couple of minutes easy running with no ill affect I picked it up and started to push. By the time I was heading along the top ridge I wasn't holding back much and there was still no sign of Saturday's problem. I was expecting to feel something, even if just a little discomfort but nothing. Odd, very odd and I'm not sure quite what to make of it. I suppose I should be pleased but the not knowing plays on my mind. Still, I was lucky with the weather. Not five minutes after making it back inside the heavens opened and the onslaught of torrential rain resumed once more - perhaps nobberous smiles on me once more...

Supermarkets, Who'd Trust 'Em?

Bit of a boring day ahead. Suffice to say the Longhope loop is not going to happen today - I got wet enough on Saturday to last me at least a month. I'm staying dry today make no mistake. So I guess the highlight of this May bank holiday is going to be my day trip to Tesco. More of morning trip really. Either way it wasn't much of a highlight. And while we're talking about supermarkets, don't you just love their special offers? Two tins for a pound or three for £1.58 - that sounds like an offer too good to refuse... You can't trust 'em I tells ya. Can't trust 'em at all.

Oh yeah, more bike today and I'm going to put thoughts of the traverse onto the back burner for a few days. Going to give myself some breathing space. It's time to re-group - and there's always the Ennerdale fell race on Saturday...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dilemma Dilemma

and thrice a dilemma. When to run again? and by 'run again' I mean run 'IT' again, The South Wales Traverse: The Rematch.

I'm not really sure what the hell happened out there on the hill yesterday. Although my groin is still a little sore, it really is only a little. It's a massive change from the sharp pain of yesterday. When I could only limp a long looking all the world like someone with special needs - do not say a thing. Not a word. Stum. I said shut it (and no disrespect intended).

I've tested out the water, so to speak, with a bike session. 90 minutes without issue this morning followed by another hour this afternoon. There has been no recurrence and no pain. Perhaps the incident was a sign from Nobberous, the god of fell running, telling me to get off the mountain early because the weather was going to beat me back anyway so retreat ready to fight another day. Either way it has given me a second chance to best the mountain. And my early withdrawal yesterday has given me the chance to take on the mighty Drovers - Stage 14 of the Welsh Castles Relay in two weeks. Although to be fair I would have preferred not to get the chance, if you get my drift. The only dilemma now is what date to set for the rematch?

I'm all booked up in June and I worry that July - even with British weather - may be too hot. So August? But there are a few races I'd like to do - and it can be just as hot as July anyway. So that pushes it back to September... By then the foliage will be at its thickest. So basically my dates are 23rd or 30th July, 6th , 13th August, 10th, 17th, 24th September or 1st, 8th, 15th October. All of which mean possible race sacrifices such as the Brecon Beacons Race, the Black Mountains Race - might have had a-bloody-nough of them by then anyway or the Fell Relays plus a few others. It certainly is a dilemma. All suggestions and advice gladly welcome...

Saturday, May 28, 2011

To Fail Is Human

Today I failed quite spectacularly - so I guess that makes me Super human. Um, I’m not sure that’s quite right... Failure doesn't have to be all bad. Let's face it, it ain't never gonna be a success but you can learn lessons. In fact you really should learn lessons or else the failure is total. At this stage I'm not quite sure what I should learn from today's flop but I know somewhere in amongst it all there is something to learn - and from it, I will. The other point to note about failure is that it deepens the joy of success - and mark my words, there will be success. I don’t do failure and I ain’t starting now.

Before I get any further I must thank Pat Wooddisse for getting me off to the perfect start, the pace was spot on and Dick Finch, Matt Reid and Mike Wood for being there in my hour of need. It just saddens me I couldn’t hold up my side of the bargain. And thanks ma and pa for getting up in the middle of the night to get us over to the start on time. Right, onto the story...

The forecast, first thing, was still showing a wet start and clearing - it lied. There wasn’t a f*%king hint of any 'clearing' going on. The heavy rain and strong winds were in for the day. And it was cold. Bastard weathermen - and weatherwomen.

We got to the start slightly ahead of time and waited for the weather to clear - it didn't - so we set out anyway. We took things real steady. I didn't intend to gain much on the schedule during the early stages - and, as was written in the prophecy, that held true. We summitted Garreg-Lwyd in 15:10 - 50s ahead of the schedule (16:00) - perfick. Then, following my modifed route to Garreg-Las, which we hit it in 48:48 - a further gain of 72s but to all intents and purposes damn near spot on the schedule and we hardly expanded any energy. Conditions and visibility were still, for want of a more technical term, shit.

Across to Bannau Sir Gaer we gained a little too much but not unwieldy so, six minutes to summit in 41 minutes. Bannau Brycheiniog - I’m not even going to try and pronounce that - was clocked up in 15:42 and a further three minute gain but we were only walking easy on the climb so I reckon the schedule is a little pessimistic. To this point it was all very easy and in reality the gains weren’t great so relatively speaking we were on the schedule give or take (we took).

We lost two minutes across to Fan Hir on account of a jacket change, 11:23. The rain was still pissing down and I upgraded from my lightweight jacket to the full gortex affair - if I get my hands on the bloody weather-people, grrrrrhh.

We lost a further 51s down to the Tawe Valley Road, 20:51 but the schedule is a bit wonky, to which I will amend, because we gained three and a half minutes up the other side to the A4067, 22:28. So Stage 1 was complete in 2hr55:27. A meagre gain of just over fifteen minutes on the schedule but close enough to it that I wasn't concerned we were going too fast. I was, however, concerned by the bloody rain - oh, and the wind. And the cold, yes, definitely the cold. I was aware that I was burning extra calories on generating body heat - I can think of better ways for that - but not with Pat (no disrespect intended Pat). As to the nutrition schedule that was going to plan. I had quenched my thirst by just about my planned amount and eaten the allotted energy gels and the like and I didn’t feel tired at all. Onto Stage 2...

My recce of the ascent to Fan Gihirych had set in my mind to take it very steady - and we did - reaching the summit 99s down on the schedule in 29:39. As we ran off Gihirych, picking the pace a little due to the gentle down slope, not more than a couple of minutes out, disaster struck - 'Pat can you stop, we have an issue', came a little voice, floating across the mountain - that would be me.

Pain crescendoed forth from both sides of my groin - ooh matron. I took the lead and took it steady, hoping the pain would sub-side - it didn’t. As we hit the track I had to stop and stretched a little. Increasing my stride along the track, I hoped to stretch things out. It helped a little but by the time we headed off Fan Nedd (40:14, 14s down) it came back on all the more.

I was hoping to run on the drop from Nedd but I couldn't. It was too painful. The descent was woefully slow going. The climb up the other side was altogether better and gave me a little hope but I still had a terribly feeling in the pit of my stomach - and no, that wasn't just wind. Suffice to say on reaching Fan Llia we'd lost five minutes, 37:04. It was now make or break. Either I could run this thing off or it was all over - I broke.

Five minutes out from Llia my run was over. I knew it. Pat knew it - and so did those god damn weather-people, grrrrrrrh. Being stuck pretty much out in the middle of nowhere we had to make a decision on what to do next - and make the decision quick. With the rain still pounding and the wind still chilling we needed to get off the mountain sharpish. It was either me back to the road and Pat over to the Storey Arms to come back and get me in the car or get over to Storey by the quickest route possible. I didn't want to be stuck down on the road waiting maybe an hour for Pat - a man catch his death of cold - so under Pat's masterful guidance we took a direct route across the void to the Arms.

At this point I could hardly move for the pain in my groin - too much information? Normally I grin and bear it, which to be fair, I did on this occasion as well, but by f*%k it was painful and I couldn't go quicker than a snails pace. Inwardly I was worried by my speed - or lack of it - and I know Pat was. We were getting colder by the minute but at the rate we were going our destination was over an hour away - and that wasn’t a good proposition. We just had to keep going, turning back to option A was no longer viable. On the up side, the Live Location seems to have worked so at least my frozen body could have been located easily - JOKING. I don't do 'not making it back'.

Fortunately, and rather bizzarly, once we hit a section of ascent I was able to move along at normal pace, almost pain free. In fact, not being tired at all, I felt I could actually have run up the gentle climb - but I didn’t as I think Pat would have told me off for being, again without being too technical, a bloody nobber. We made good progress and the increased pace warmed our cockles a little - and they needed warming, well mine did, it was bloody tiny by that stage.

Finally the end came into view - although being in view and getting there quickly were mutually exclusive it seemed. Time seemed to stop or perhaps the distance increase but eventually, now moving, once again, at the painful - on account of heading down - snails pace we were met by Dick, Matt and Mike who helped us off the mountain - or rather more honestly, me, off the mountain - to the relative warmth of Dick’s car. Stripped naked and re-clothed I soon began to warm up but for this day my challenge was over...

PS, thanks also to Matthew Lawson, who was going to run but was required for some strange reason...

Epic Fail

Yes folks, it did not go well. I will update later. Injury forced me out. Don't think it's major. And as Arnie would say, I'll be back. Yes, there will be a re-run...

Friday, May 27, 2011

Less Than 12 Hours To Go...

I'm going to be honest here. Brutally so. With just 12 hours to go till I set out on my longest ever run - by quite a margin - I can safely say I'm shitting myself. Twelve short hours to what will be, without doubt, the most challenging test of physical and mental strength - apart from overcoming crohns disease - I've ever attempted. I know I've trained well. I know I've planned well. That doesn't stop the feeling of pure fear. I've roped in some good folk to help me - not least 'The Getaway Driver' aka Dick Finch and Pat 'Don't Know What I'd Have Done Without His Advice and Help' Wooddisse. Can't finish without mentioning Matt Reid (alsoranrunner.blogspot.com), Mike Wood and my sparring partner from Chepstow Harriers, Matthew Lawson. And lastly my dad for driving me to the start in the middle of the night. I can't face to fail them. So I won't. End of.

The forecast remains one of 'mild' conditions. Some rain and drizzle with winds described as picking up to 'moderate westerly flow'. The visibility should be good, bad or downright ugly - so they're covering all the bases there then. And what does 'westerly flow' mean? Coming from the west or going to the west? I'm hoping it means coming from the west otherwise I shall not be a happy chappy. And while we're on that, what is 'moderate'? Moderate in that it's just a gentle breeze or moderate in that it's strong but not quite enough to blow you off you feet - I'm hoping on the previous.

Well, that's me done. I'm off for a bit of a nap. Big day tomorrow and all that. Oh, and don't forget to check out the Live Location Tracking tomorrow (fingers crossed it works)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Only A Day And A Half Now...

Last night, as I joined the final dots of my master plan, it suddenly dawned on me as to just how much preparation I still had left to complete. I realised I needed to have all my support runner kit up together by the time I met up with the 'Getaway Driver' on Friday morning. Doh. An emergency extra day off work was required and I've not stopped all day - I'm bloody knackered. On the plus side, everything is complete. And what isn't actually in the 'support pile' is on the list ready to be ticked.

I feel like Bruce Forsyth when I go through the list. One bag of warm clothing to change into at the finish. One bag containing a full set of spare kit including Mizuno Wave Harriers. A Bag of transition food. One bag of emergency 'top up' food - which I hope I won't need to use, 'cause if I do I'll know I'm on the ropes... Four sports energy drinks - just in case. Plenty of spare water with associated electrolyte tabs - can't be too careful. One bag of 'stage food' - all sub-bagged ready for my support runners to collect and carry. Twelve 500ml bottles of water similarly ready to be collected. One bag of 'standard fell kit' which will be transferred from support runner to support runner at transition. One MagicShine head torch and spare battery - ready to lighten my darkest hours. My bumbag to hold 'bits and bobs'. Sun Block - that's a bloody laugh, but you really can't be too careful. And lastly a full set of extra stage maps for my support crew together with split-time cards. [inhales deeply].

It's definitely all done now. All ready to go. I've picked out the kit I'm going to run in. Tomorrow I rest. Then Saturday I run. I've been keeping an eye on the forecast and it looks gloomy. Visibility doesn't look great. All in all the conditions look 'testing'. But through it all, I will conquer.

PS Shout if you see anythinng I've missed...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

56 Scary Hours...

Well I have officially done my last training session before the moment of doom - or in fact, the 21 hour long moment of doom. A very easy 30 minutes on the bike... and that's a wrap.

After yesterday's food requirement breakdown, tonight I turn my attention to drinking - not that kind. I've been on the wagon since the Spring Ball. My body is a temple - some of the time...

As a runner, I'm pretty lucky in that I seem to be able to cope well on low water consumption. To be fair I don't think that's just luck, I believe you can train your body to some degree. Now I'm not stupid enough to believe you don't need to drink while out running, especially when the weather turns hot. However, I think you can condition your body to work well off low volumes. My plan is to consume three 500ml bottles of water with electrolyte per stage. That may go up if it turns hot but at the moment that doesn't look too likely. I'll be using bottled water - sorry boss - but I want precise measures and an accurate way of recording intake. Drink the three bottles, job done. I'll be sticking to High5 Zero Xtreme for the electrolyte - and a caffeine boost.

The nerves are beginning to kick in. I've not felt this nervous about running for literally years....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

OMG Only Four Days To Go

Beginning to get a little nervous now. Need to start donning the cotton wool. Anyone with a cold can stay the hell away from me.

Just an easy 45 minutes on the bike tonight. Thirty tomorrow and then that will be it till the big day.

Tonight I have turned my attention to sorting out my eating requirements for day. I've broken it down into 'energy portions' based on the rule that the body only accepts in the region of 240-280 calories per hour. Using my schedule I've come up with the number of portions I need to get through during each stage. I'm going to bag up and label the portions for each stage and then just make sure I collect the correct bag at each transition. I'm splitting each bag into two sub-bags with a mix of carbohydrate and protein based foods to help me balance the intake so I avoid eating only carbs or only protein-based foods. It all seems a bit anal but I want to minimise the unexpected as far as I can. I'm relying on my support crew to get me the right foods at the right time because I am thinking I'm not going to be mentally charged by the time I get to the later stages.

I shall, of course, be carrying some extra gels and emergency foods for turbo boost as and when required but like an engine with nitrous oxide injection, you can't use that too much or too often or the engine will blow apart... I'll also have a range of other foods available at transition - but I'll not be sitting down to a pasta lunch like some advise. I shall be sticking to what I have tried in training.

For those interested this is the list of foods for on the stage:-
SIS Isotonic gels - so they can be taken without water if required,
Dried banana pieces,
Peanut butter sarnie-rolls - my own special concoction and
Perpetuem Solids - a late entrant to the event but a worthy one

and this is the list for transition:-
Ambrosia Rice - mmmm mmm,
Banana and
Malt Loaf

Monday, May 23, 2011

Not Quite A Rest Day

With the car required back at the garage to get it road worthy - aka its rear safety belt replaced - it was another run to work day. To be honest I could have done without that. My hip is still sore from yesterdays race - although I am pleased I've a bit of speed left in the old bones.

Running into work was one thing. Knowing I had to run back to the garage afterwards was quite another. Took it easy and the hip doesn't feel too bad. No more running for me now though - until Saturday, that is...

T-minus five days - beginning to feel scared...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Final Blast

Before my Traverse of Dooooom next week. Had a surprisingly quick run. 42 minutes and 34 seconds for the 7 miles of stage 12 of the Rack Raid Relay. And considering it wasn't a flat route that really wasn't too bad at all. 6-ish minute miling - back of.

What makes it all the more remarkable is the state of my hang over this morning after a corking Spring Ball. I'll say one thing for my employer, they put on a great do. The food was tasty, the Blues Brothers band was topper - but I'm not too sure about the string quartet. Drank too much and no doubt looked like a right nobber on the dance floor - my three left feet don't help.

Right, back to the race. I started out towards the front, just off the lead trio and if I'm honest I tried too hard to keep up. A mile or so in I realised I needed to ease off or die - OK, not actually die but fade really really badly. From there I just kept the pace as high as I could. The third placed runner was just in sight for the rest of the run but I just didn't have that extra gear today and settled for fourth. Fourth is good though, and should of been good enough to keep Chepstow in 3rd over all.

Anyway, I'm totally knackered now - who'd have thought after a mere seven miles?

Stage 12 of the Rack Raid Relay:-

Friday, May 20, 2011

First Ever Sicky...

...in my current job. That's the first one in four and a half years. Mind, I did make it in to work this morning but the stomach was still giving me gip. Couldn't concentrate on anything so had to abort and come home. A bit of a snooze this afternoon and things seem much improved.

Bit annoyed though as it meant I missed the lunch run and being the sensible person I am, I'm not going to train tonight either. Got to be fully operational for tomorrow's big night out - The Spring Ball. Got my DJ sorted - and more importantly, someone to take! Tonight I shall mostly be recuperating to be ready. Then of course, there's also Sunday's Rack Raid Relay where I'm running stage 12 for the Chepstow A team. Definitely can't miss that.

Well it's turned out to be a slightly lighter week than I was planning but I don't think I'll lose all the training in just one week. And I guess it's better to be ill this week rather than next - because that would really really - think I should add another couple more really really's in here - piss me off. Don't even want to think about that. It's been five months of hard training culminating towards just one day, next Saturday. Other than this little blip I'm still feeling good for it...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gippy Tum

Been a bit off sorts today. Got a goodly amount of work done though - specification written and big chunk of the coding done. I feel a bit bloaty. So instead of a run I've stayed indoors and done a gym session and bike to try ease things - it didn't work. Still feel bloaty. Mind you I get this from time to time so I'm not overly worried. It's normally a special offer, one day only type affair so I'd rather it hit me today and get it out the system ahead of the challenge next week.

Hopefully I will complete a huge trump later on and that'll deflate the bloat - but that's probably too much information...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Well That Didn't Go To Plan

I remembered to buy a birthday card for me mum last week. I even remembered to sign it and put it ready to take with me this morning. Put it by my lunch box - stop it - ready to take with me. Can't forget that... can I? You bet this numb nut could. Got just past Gloucester and doh! The card! Cue visit to the shops for a replacement. What a nobber. Anyone going to place bets as to whether I can store the 'spare' card safely for next year? - and then find it? No, thought not. Rodney you plonker...

Still, I'm well into my taper. Just a bike session today but it felt much easier than normal. Guess that means I'm getting rested nicely. Am going to try an easy run tomorrow. I'll be working from home on a software specification so provided it doesn't piss down a local run should be a goer.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Resting The Feet

After what turned out to be a slightly longer day at work than planned - some nob-head blocked our car in and delayed us by half an hour. Got home gone eight. After the normal 6am start I could not in any shape, way or form be arsed to do any training what so ever. At this stage it won't do me any harm to rest. Maybe Martin will have his kit for a run tomorrow...

Bring on CSI...

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Garage Gauntlet

That time again - the dreaded MOT. No not me, the sports turbo super car - that's the Kia Ceed to you. It failed but only on a minor. One of the rear seat belts had a nick. That would be one of the rear seat belts that I bought with the car. One of the seat belts in the same condition as when I bought the car - because I do actually remember noting the mark at the time but not thinking too much about it. You see, it passed it's MOT back then on purchase - so it can f*%king well pass it now. Suffice to say I had words - it's being replaced on warranty. Garages. Can't live without them - no matter how hard we'd bloody well like to.

Anyway, that meant I had the 5k run to work followed, unsurprisingly, by the 5k run back to the garage after work. Today I pushed it both ways. It was pretty much a full on tempo. Covering the ground in just over 21 and 20 minutes respectively (slightly uphill to work and downhill on the way back). Considering I was carrying my work clothes in the rucksack that wasn't a bad little pace going on. Finished off with 45 minutes on the bike tonight. Been a good day on the exercise front.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Maps and Schedules

I've been hard at work making maps and putting the finishing touches to my South Wales Traverse schedule. The maps, broken down into the six stages, are available on-line for anyone who is interested, links at the end. I have also published my schedule on-line. Stand back and admire the level of detail - no, I'm not that anal, the spreadsheet was created by others and I've just updated it with my pacings. Isn't it just a thing of beauty though...

After all that sitting down, hunched over the computer keyboard I headed out into the garden to cut the grass. Very nearly left that particular chore too late as the rain started just as I was finishing up. So it was back inside double quick - which is a damn shame as I was ready to chill on the decking. Finished off with an hour on the bike and some ab work before hitting the sofa...

So here are my traverse stage maps:-

Stage 1
Stage 2
Stage 3
Stage 4
Stage 5
Stage 6

There are a few deviations from conventional wisdom regarding the route with the main, and possibly controversial, difference being my alternative route over to the A40, missing out the Glen Usk Estate.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Finally Nailed The Descent...

That has to be the hardest 4k I've ever done - not to mention the slowest!!! Just shy of four hours. It was the up hill stretch that did for me. That and the fact I was hacking, slashing and pruning as I went. The descent on the other hand was as sweet as a nut. A more perfect route down through the forest does not, I think, exist. It took me under 15 minutes to descend and I was pootling. I didn't try to race it. I just had a bloody good, vegetation free, line. Mind, I didn't start at Pen Twyn Mawr so that adds on five minutes to the split but even so, it was a bloody fast descent without really going quick.

On all my other attempts I have faffed a bit through the lower sections of the descent. The top sections, provided you find the start of the trails, aren't too bad to follow. The trail goes a little cold towards the bottom and you have to fight your way through the trees to some extent. By walking up from the bottom I was able to discern a really good, mostly 'branchless' route - which I helped become even more branchless, if you get my drift. I also had to drag a few massive fallen trees out the way to unlock the perfect path but that was worth the effort.

I am bloody knackered now though. My Arms ache to hell. Not to mention my hands cut to ribbons but the route through the forest is now clear for the next generation of South Wales Travers'ers. I even put down marker tape on the lower section - and got rid of that bloody bit of wire that nearly did for me. So for anyone hitting the traverse this year, if you see my tape then you're on the money. And considering how hard work it was, swishing my new hand scythe was actually bloody good fun. It was highly satisfying to see those brambles overgrowing the top section suffer at my hand. There is a bit of an art to 'swishing' the scythe properly but once cracked those brambles didn't stand a chance.

Well, that really is the last bit of recce preparation done and dusted and if I can follow today's path in two weeks time then the descent really is nailed....

In all it's glory the gps trace of the forest descent:-

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Weekend Like No Other...

Like no other for six months, that is. It's going to feel so strange not having to go run for a stupidly long run this weekend - nor, indeed, next. Not going fully cold turkey though, I'm off to the Grwyne Valley for a bit of topiary. No running mind, just a bit of walking. I'm going to clear a few of the brambles and overgrowth from the tiny trail through the forest from Pen Twyn Mawr down to the road. Also, going to put down a few bits of marker tape to guide my path. I know I'm going to be feeling really tired by the time I hit the forest on my traverse so I want to minimise the chances of a cock up. I can't eliminate errors but I can do my best to reduce the severity or number of 'em. The forecast doesn't look too bad so it should be a good morning out.

On other matters, it looks like Google finally managed to sort out the 'Blogger affair' - only lost one post amidst all the downtime. Fortunately, as a man of many backups, I was able to restore the missing post myself.

I can't believe they don't have better resources and redundancy - nice one Google. Way to go. Is the day of Google over? I certainly think it's time I started to spread my eggs around a bit - sssh, no, matron!

Well anyway, a weekend of total laziness is here - well, mostly total laziness - brilliant...

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Lull Continues

No lunch run just more bike. I did mix it up with a 2000m row plus some sit-ups and push-ups - whoopy-doo. Felt a bit tired this morning so I'm off to bed early tonight. Got to make sure I pack my running kit for tomorrow's Handicap race though. If I forget I'll be running in my pants - that, I promise, would not be pretty. Not pretty at all. Possibly even nausea inducing. No, I certainly can't afford to risk it - don't want to get sued.

I'm going to use the Handicap as steady tempo training session. I don't want to run it too hard. Just steady steady steady - and finish feeling strong and full of running. I'm not even going to look at my previous time as I want to run to how I feel rather than to the pressure of a time. Should be good fun.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Easy Up Again

I'm saving myself for Thursday's Handicap race so it was an easy hour tonight. Martin and I have a lunch run pencilled in for tomorrow provided we both manage to remain at the office - and that's certainly not a guaranteed. Then up is Chepstow's Thursday Handicap. Hopefully I will have a good run but I will not be pushing to the limit. Nothing I do over the next two and a half weeks is going to be on the limit - 'cept maybe the Spring Ball where I'm going to party hard with the Big Nobs! (Not really, the big nobs bit that is, the party hard bit, oh yeah baby).

The next couple of weeks are going to see me run some faster stuff starting with said handicap and I'm going to limit the long stuff. Saturday's to be a ten miler, just a local affair. And that for now is the end of the plans...

Monday, May 09, 2011

Back To The Bike

I took it very easy on the bike tonight. My legs are still a bit achy but mentally I feel better for a bit of exercise. A bit of active recovery never hurt anyone - probably not true but what the heck. The hardest part of easing back the training is going to be the tapering back on the old calorie intake. To that effect it was a gert lush plate of chilli, pepper, onion chippie chips and veggie burgers for me tonight. A reasonably healthy and most definitely yummy dinner with a fairly low calorie count and good balance of carbs and protein - perfick.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Unbelievable Day

Yes, not one iota of exercise passed by this way today - not that the day is over yet but there ain't nothing planned.

My legs feel pretty good today. A little stiff perhaps - oh er misses - but considering they did just over forty miles yesterday, a little stiffness is perfectly acceptable. Mind you, I don't know what I'm going to to with all the spare time I'm about to get. Oh yeah, silly me, I've all the logistics for the traverse to plan.

And would you look at that, it's stopped raining and the wind has died down - I could go for a run...

Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Final Countdown

Well that is the final training recce long run complete and now the countdown begins. T-minus 20 days and counting.

The day started dry if misty and apart from a twenty minute down pour, it pretty much stayed that way all day - and I mean all day. We were round a bit quicker than expected but were still out there for nine and a half hours. I think we were very lucky with the weather really because once we got back to the car it started to rain - and hasn't stopped since - the gods favour us...

The aim of today's recce - apart from running my longest ever training run - was to try and accurately hit the splits for my 21 hour schedule and although we took things really very steadily we still managed to gain a few minutes on each section. In all we made a gain on the schedule of one hour and fifty minutes and I can honestly say that at no point did we over exert ourselves. At the finish at Llanthony Priory I was still full of running. I am so pleased with my run.

In the real thing I will be much more tired by the time I get to today's stages, I know, but after running today's 40.5 miles effectively on a 18 hour schedule, I was still capable of carrying on at the finish. Today's run fills me with confidence.

From now on I ease back. No more long runs. Just the odd easy one with a few bike sessions here and the odd row. Easy does it will be my mantra. And tonight I will sleep like never before...

Today's 40.5 mile recce with 7,000 feet ascent traversing stages 4, 5 and 6 of the South Wales Traverse:-

Friday, May 06, 2011


I am not going to lift a finger today. No, not even an easy bike session. Tomorrow is going to require the freshest pair of legs I can muster. If we follow the schedule we're going to be out there in the mountains for eleven hours and twenty minutes. I'm crossing my fingers it's not going to be a nightmare hot day.

Tonight I just need to make sure I get all my kit together. It's an early start tomorrow. Got to be on the road by 5:45 to get across to Llantony for 7:00. Oh joy. Early to bed...

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Easing Back For The Weekend

I stuck to my plan for an easy 75 minutes on the bike. Despite having an urge... to go for a run, I held myself back. With Saturday's long - and I mean long - run pretty much confirmed I need to rest up and carb load to some degree. We - Pat is assisting me again, his help has been invaluable - we are going to run in the region of 45 miles from Abercynafon all the way round to Llantony. On paper it's actually going to be my longest ever run and if I can make there I think I'll be able to make it any where, South Wales, South Wales, South Wales, Souuuuthh Waaaaaaaaales. Certainly going to be a long day.

Should be a good test of honing the skill of eating and drinking - hang on, I've not finished my sentence - eating and drinking on the run. When you're going to be out there twelve hours you need to be eating and drinking regularly. The mix of food types has got to be right. Get it wrong and your stomach loops the loop - been there and it isn't good. Get it right and, well, you just have to get it right.

Friday night's going to be a busy time getting everything ready for Saturday's early start...

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Going Over The Top

The sun was shinning as Martin and I strode out for our high noon duel - wasn't much of a duel though. It was the anti-clockwise direction today - oh joy. As it turned out that was good fortune because the wind was a right bastard - and I'm not talking beans - but circumstance had it that the wind was on our backs on the way out and up. Once over the top we somehow seemed to garner shelter from the natural landscape - or 'houses' as some prefer to call it.

For the first time in a while I had a good run. Managing to get round only about thirty seconds shy of my best - still got a whooping from Martin though. Feels like the long weekend was just what the doctor ordered. I feel rested and ready to rumble and that presented as a pretty descent run today.

Managed a half hour bike session tonight but that's my lot for the day. Onwards and upwards, onwards and upwards...

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Back To The Grindstone

Had an adminy sort of a day at work followed by a bit freelancing before the journey home. For the first time in over a week I woke feeling energized. I was up and at the world without a problem this morning. My guilt for my somewhat lazy long weekend has evaporated. My batteries are recharged - and it feels good.

Tonight, after getting home later than the norm, I put in just 45 minutes on the bike. I've the lunch run planned for tomorrow and I want a reasonable run out. Dinner was a tasty bacon and red onion Spanish style omelette - and even though I say so myself, it was bloody lush. I know it was somewhat basic cooking but from small acorns spring mighty oaks. I've said it before and I'll no doubt say it again but I'm going to have to get me a cook book and start expanding my repertoire. There is something both relaxing and strangely satisfying about cooking - probably the razor sharp knives have something to do with it. I could get to like it - the cooking and not just the slicing things up...

Anyway, almost time to put the feet up and CSI the evening away...

Monday, May 02, 2011

Not Deserving Of A Treat Today

I have been a somewhat lazy bastard. I had a lie in till eleven - in the words of the sacred Tony - 'FFS, what's that all about?'. Anyway, I had another day of general lounging around the house and grounds - by which I mean small garden - drinking coffee and sipping tea.

Managed a simple two hours on the bike in front of the telly. The breaking news story of the day was - and still is - engrossing. It's pretty unbelievable but I can't help but feel there are going to be repercussions. To me, it seems it was as much a mission for revenge as it was for justice. Revenge, as I have come to reason, is never good. It is never just. Revenge never solves a problem it just makes the pain linger longer. Rising above your wrongs is the only way.

I fear that large quantities of 'waste material' are going to find their way towards many fans all around the western world and possibly beyond. Now is the time to baton, what ever hatches you have, firmly down...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Earning A Treat

Another day and another lie in. I stayed up a bit late last night and that somewhat did for me today. Instead of the medium 15 miler I decided to put in two hours on the bike before heading out for a run. By the time I got out for the run my legs were nicely pre-knackered. I decided to make it worth my while and headed over to Huntley to treat myself to a nice bottle of plonk. There's nothing quite like giving focus to run by dangling a reward to the end of it.

I treated the run like a bit of a fartlek session. I pushed at times over the flat ground and took it easier at others. The main climb up and over Huntley Hill isn't a bad little ascent and I, for the most part, managed to grind my way up most it. This time of year is such a great time for running through the woods. The going is firm and everything is bursting with new growth. In all I covered just over seven miles with about 1,000 feet of ascent. All in all a decent little run completing a good days training.