Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How Slow Was That?

No really, how slow was that? It was so cold out there tonight that I wore my mittens and couldn't operate my watch. I have no idea of quite how poorly I performed - although I know it's right up there with my worst. I'll be on tenterhooks until the results come out - or maybe not.

I started off at the back of the field. Not quite last but not far off. I took things very easy in the first half of the race. These days my stride length is tiny - like other things on a night as cold as tonight, fnah fnah. I focused on form and tried to stride out. That worked to some degree and it felt pretty good not to shuffle along. From half way I began to push things a little - but not too much, didn't want to get carried away. I ran the incline well and actively put in the effort. From there I eased along while still focusing on striding out.

As I enter the final 500m I moved past a group of three of four runners with a concerted effort and started to feel a little sick with increase in effort, tilting towards towards max - not been there for a while. I lifted off the accelerator in the last 100m - well, there's no point flogging a dead horse, is there?

I hope I ran close to 20 minutes but I can't help but think I was a little adrift of that and I'd like to use the excuse that my quads were still feeling sore - which they really were, so I will use that excuse...

Monday, January 30, 2012

Petrol Shortage?

Well that was odd. Just been to the garage to get some petrol for the generator and it was a no show on all pumps. Didn't expect that. I know there's been that bit of trouble at t'mill - aka the refinery - but I didn't expect to get to the garage and find the cupboard bare. Most odd. I shall attempt to appropriate some tomorrow instead. I don't think the genny will actually run dry at tomorrow's  Bridge Inn - but I'd rather not flirt with danger.

But I digress. My legs, or more specifically, my quads are feeling a little sore. A bit of self massage and an hour on the bike has eased things a little. I think I'll be ready to put in another ludicrously slow 5k tomorrow night. I'm not even sure I will get the right side of twenty minutes - and that will be sad. Totally bloody sad. Fingers crossed I get inside. Oh, the potential embarrassment...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

End Of The Weekend

It's not often I post twice in one day! but I'm bored...

I've been looking at my race schedule and at the moment - like old mother hubbard and her cupboard - it's pretty bare. Having thumbed the FRA calendar I'm looking at entering the Three Peaks race at the end of April. A long way to go for a race but I reckon it would fit well with the South Wales Traverse training. Then up, the following weekend, the Great Lakeland 3 Day - if only I could take that week off work and stay up north all week - but that can't happen. Still interested though. At three x 26 miles per day without any pressure, that would be good training for the Traverse. To which, it's now looking highly likely that I'm going to take my second crack at it on the weekend of June 2nd to 5th. The long bank holiday weekend, finishing on the Tuesday - cheers Queenie - should give me the best options for selecting the best day according to the weather - I am not going to set out in shit conditions like last time - lesson learnt. By aiming for that weekend the above race and event would fit well. I'm on the cusp of entering...

Back Again

For more running up mountains. This time with Pat and Matthew for a planned 20-21km - which, on count back, turned out to be almost 25km but my calculated ascent was about right, weighing in at 3,300 feet. We visited all of the normal places - but necessarily in the normal order - and the final loop back down into Llanthony made a nice change. Something different.

Conditions were, once again, brilliant. Yesterday's sunshine didn't make an appearance so things were a little colder with temperatures around 1-2 degrees and possible a little colder right on the tops. Visibility was great though and you see all the features of the mountains near and far. Best of all my tape from last year was still in place for the descent through the forest so that was about as good as it gets route-wise - provided, that's is, that your friend doesn't fell a tree on to you and shouts 'Dave' just in time for you to stop, turn and see a tree landing on your head - which was lucky, anywhere else and it could have done some damage...

No harm done we continued on and all in all it was a thoroughly great run. So it's been a 50k weekend with approaching 7,000 feet of ascent. My quads feel a little sore right about now but nothing that won't be recovered in a day or two. Good job. Mission complete. Just need to plan out next weeks training schedule and then I can put my feet up and chill for what's left of the weekend. Happy days.

Today's 25km run with its 3,300 feet of ascent

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Have To Be Quick

Haven't got long. I'm off out. Good training today though - as you can see from my route below. I went off on the wrong ridge on the way out to race - doh - but quickly realised my shadow wasn't in the right place and I wasn't heading north. So I whipped out the map, a quick dabble on the compass and I was back on track.I arrived without much time to spare, registered and headed for the start line.

I started slowly, sitting pretty towards the back of the field and slowly but surely - don't call me Shirley - worked my towards slightly in front of the back of the field.

My legs were feeling the earlier 10k to get to the race as I struggled on the climb but being a race you still work as hard as you can - at least I do. I was hoping to improve of the fast, slippy descent - and I did. I gained somewhere in the region of ten places as I skied my way towards the middle of the field.

By the time I was into the farm fields at the end I was puffing but it was all down hill and no one came back at me. All in all I pleased with my time of 31:12. Quite a bit slower than my previous 27:39 - but then I hadn't already run 10k and 1,200 feet of ascent on that day and nor was I carrying full kit and a few extra bits and bobs - well, you can't take short cuts with the mountain or she'll bite your arse!

No time for chatting after the race, I turned tail and headed back up the race route for the journey home - and I didn't take the wrong ridge this time. I covered a total of close to 25k and 3,500 feet of ascent which included the Longtown Fell Race. A good days training. Up tomorrow is another 20k and 3,000 feet of ascent but first I'm off to the Chepstow do...

Today's training, race, training route...

Friday, January 27, 2012

Almost time for feet up

but not quite. There's just the little matter of the last three quarters of an hour of my 90 minute bike session to complete before I can relax ahead of what's going to be a fairly busy weekend of activity. Of which, sadly, only a little bit is going to be nocturnal action - and even more sadly, said nocturnal activity is the Chepstow Dinner. Ho hum, should be good fun all the same.

So, I've been planning tomorrow's running. The schedule is tight but achievable - I think. Provided I get on the road by half eleven I should have time to park up at my secret location and head up to Dyke - ooh, stop it, no - Offa's Dyke, run along the top for a bit and then back down t'other side to Longtown for the fell race. By my estimation that should be a gentle 9k - but with a slightly less gentle 1,200 feet of ascent! I don't want to have to push it too hard - I said stop it - so I'm going to give myself an hour and a quarter to get over to the race and register. The race is only 5k but by then I'll be knackered so I'll no doubt go badly but it'll be good training in any event. There won't be any time for chatting after the race for me as I'll have to hot foot it the 9k back over the hill to the car. All being well I'll be back home by quarter to five. A quick shower and then I'll be down to Cheppers for the do.

Of course, I might well take my fancy dancing shoes with me in the car and perhaps - if I'm very lucky - head straight to Chepper's - or a place close by - to get cleaned up, showered and ready to boogie. Thus missing out the middle man - or home, as I like to call it. Squeaker will be miffed but she's getting fat these days so the dry food will see her all right. If I do get the nod to head straight for Chepstow it will save me a very valuable 30 minutes of driving. Need to make sure I pack everything I'm going to need if I do that though. I feel a list coming on...

Thursday, January 26, 2012


And how do you pronounce that anyway? Tasty though. I made up some flour torilla - first principles man, that's me - and on with the topping of butternut squash (had to use it up or lose it), chilli and feta cheese. Folded and onto the griddle pan. Pretty tasty but I might cut down on the feta next time out.

Managed 90 minutes instead of the scheduled 60 so that was a bonus. Then again I'm not sure there'll be any training tomorrow... Still, there's the weekend to look ahead to and it should be good. I reckon I can fit in a 10k run - to Longtown for the fell race. That's only a short one so it'll be the 10k back again to the car. Then home for a quick shower and down to Chepstow for the Club dinner. I'm pretty sure it'll work - but it's going to be close. The timings are tight. Up Sunday is a 13 mile run from Llanthony with friends. Looking forward to it - even if it won't be very restful.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Getting There...

On the work front, that is. It was a really good, productive day - oops, shouldn't get that excited about work should I? Still, as it's all about to get pretty darn hectic for the next four or five months so any day where it goes well is a day worth savouring in my book. I know it's going to be a real balancing act between work and play and getting the training plan right is going to be critical. Too much and I'll fade away. Too little and I'll never get there. Tricky times ahead.

A bike session tonight and I might see if Martin is on for another lunch run tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sounds Like A Plan

I realise I can no longer bumble along from day to day without a proper training plan. I'm not going to get where I want to go without a structured - or at least a more structured - regime of training. I need more speed. I need more hill climbing capability and I need more endurance. Those aims can't be achieved without some structure to it all.

I am going to try and alternate between a speed session and a hill session midweek, leaving the weekends free for longer, mountainous runs. With the lunch run once a week that should give me four running sessions a week. Around that I'm going to try and do 60 minutes on the bike most days and, of course, the all important core body work on the abs and upper body. Then I'm going to mix in some - as yet, an undecided number - of rowing sessions.

Now I'm not stupid enough to think that's going to happen overnight but I need to make it happen, and happen pretty quickly. Once I form a routine I'll be fine - or should that be 'if' I form a routine - I hope I do.

Training-wise today, Martin and I got out for the Dundry loop. It's been a while since we've gone over the top and while it was damn hard work, it was nice to revel in the glory - OK, so there wasn't any glory - of having got out there and done it.

Monday, January 23, 2012

No Traffic Chaos

Which didst surprised me most highly. With the M4 / M5 roadworks beginning to crank up a notch I was expecting life to get a little slower on the drive to and from work - well, after all, my driving might as well join my running in the slow lane. However, the traffic was flowing more freely than normal. Probably just a blip but if it wasn't then this blog post has almost certainly just put three or four nails in the coffin of free flowing traffic. I guess I'll just have to see how things go but I'm sure that during the next three years - yes, three years - of road works, that there are bound to be some bad days.

Anyway, I'm off to make myself a tasty Spanish potato tortilla with a Mediterranean vegetable twist. Smoke me a kipper I'll be back after dinner. OK, actually won't...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

All Upholstered Out

Wow did that ever take a long time. I thought it wouldn't take too long to upholster the bench seat. I thought, with my new staple gun, I'd make light work of it. A little bit of cutting. Stretch the cloth in place, staple, and on to the next bit, staple, and so on. How wrong you can be. I started work on it at about nine and it took pretty much through to two in the afternoon to finish it. Admittedly that did include putting it back in the van and taking a few pics but I really didn't think it would take that long. And hard work? Cripes, I worked up a right sweat and no doubt with all the bending, leaning and generally tilting in awkward positions, I'll no doubt have an ache on tomorrow.

Still, I'm pleased with the end result. The option to use cheap denim has worked out. I think it'll look even better once I upholster the sides of the van to match - but I need to ply the ceiling first and install the LED lights and, of course, I've still got the back-rest/auxiliary mattress section to upholster but that, I fear, will be a more difficult task on account of the sewing - I'll not be able to use my staple gun on that. I have a feeling that little job might go onto the back burner for a while. Right now Vera's a bit like the Death Star from Return Of The Jedi - she's fully operational, she just looks a bit shit.

As to training, my legs feel very achy. I am really surprised and I'm not sure what I shall do - or should that be, capable of?

So, without further ado, here are the latest pics of Vera.

Bench/Bed with mattress ready to upholster

Upholstered and in the van (auxiliary mattress section still to do)

Sliding section retracted
(The auxiliary mattress section is not shown here but the
idea is to store it as a back-rest to the bench using Velcro)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Well I Cacked That Up

What a disaster. I missed not one but two controls out in today's orienteering - and I honestly didn't realise I'd done it! That said, had I realised I possibly wouldn't have gone back as I was too shagged. Never mind. What I did do was good fun and I'm not going to lose any sleep. It was always on the cards I would f*(% up royally in the old orienteering game at some point. It was only a matter of time.

One thing I don't think helped was using the control list from the side of the map. I was forever flipping the map from side to side to read the control descriptions and then losing my place on the map when I flipped back. I definitely need one of them arm band control description holder whatsits so I can keep the map the right way up while being able to eyeball the control descriptions at all times. It's the little things - sssh, no, matron.

Away from that disaster it was a good day's training. I parked up at Speculation as planned and ran the 4.5km over to Five Arces for the Parkrun. I timed it about right, arriving with about ten minutes to spare. I then raced, what turned out to be, somewhat more slowly than I had hoped to but I didn't spare any horses over the twisty 5km course so I can't complain - I must be getting to old for this game*. I came 9th overall and 4th in the old fart category.

Then after a short respite I headed back to the car to dump a bit of kit I knew I would need - I always seem to carry too much extra kit these days. I took a different route back - well, it's nice to mix things up a little. Another 4.5km clocked. From there I headed over to 'The Pludds' for the orienteering, cue another 3.5km. Then, of course, the disaster was another 6km before a final 3.5km back to the car once again and the drive home.

In all I clocked 27km and 2,500 feet of ascent. Surprisingly for such a short distance my legs have stiffened up - stop it. Good training all the same. It definitely feels like I put in the effort. Just going to finish off with an hour on the bike to see if I can breath some life into my tired legs...

* PS, I'm not getting too old for this game, I'm only just getting started.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Decent End To The Week

Finished the week on a reasonable high - well, the work week anyway - have to wait and see how the other finishes... Twas a productive day.I'm almost looking forward to the continuation next week - ok, maybe not but I will be glad when it's done and dusted.

Anyway, I am all set for tomorrow and a great day of mad running. Maybe not quite fighting fit, I'm not far away. It should be bloody good fun. I'm going to drive over to Speculation and run to Five Acres (5k). Race the Parkrun (5k) and then hot foot it - although I should have plenty of time - over to Brierly (10k) for the orienteering and the Blue course - is there any other? Then it's the jog back to the car (5k). All in all I should clock up over 30k - and be totally f*(%ed by the time I get home. What could be better than clocking up that mileage and two races? No, I don't know either...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Non-stop Day

Boy am I glad to put my feet up. It's been a hectic day. Rushing here. Rushing there. Rushing almost everywhere. Ok, that's over stating it but I'm glad to be back home with my feet up. What can possibly be better than being home with my feet up? The fact that I have £5.49 off my next shop at Sainsbury's on account that they are a total rip compared to Asdal - and I bought a load of half price stuff anyway! But besides all that, what's going on with Ryvita Fruit? It's gone up from £1.20 to almost £1.60 in the space of a couple of months! That is taking the piss. Suffice to say it's now off the list - regardless of how tasty they are they aren't worth 80% more than regular ryvita. Thieving gits...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mountain Marathon

Well that's my first one of 2012 entered! The Saunders - yikes! And unlike my first attempt back in 2010 - which I have to say was a piss poor attempt - I do not intend to let my partner down this time. I will be ready when the time comes and a lot more fit, that's for damn sure and even though it's a long while off it never the less excites me - darn it, I'm a right saddo.

On other fronts it's not been the greatest day at work but at least I managed to catch up on some paperwork. Turning my attention to training it's going to be 90 minutes on the bike while the sausage casserole simmers in the slow cooker. Now when I say sausage it's actually veggie ones but they taste lush so I don't care if it's not proper.

Looking towards the weekend I'm hoping to get along to the Brierly Orienteering on Saturday but I also feel like another crack at the Parkrun so I think I'm going to park up somewhere in the forest and try the run I had planned for two weeks ago with a bit of variation. I'm going to run to the Parkrun, run that and then run over to Brierly for the orienteering, do that - Blue route of course - before running back to the car. That should give me good mileage while getting a speed session and some map reading practice. Should be a good day out - if a little mad. Then, provided I'm not too knackered I might get chance to make a start on the upholstery in the van...

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


From the brain drain. It was a more hands on day at work, out in the field - although it were right chilly. Home normal time though - which was nice. And I think it was good fortune to get away on time as that crash on the M5 near Gloucester could have really put a spanner in the works. But the best bit of the day has been the delivery of the foam matresses for the vans bench-bed. They look just the ticket. Nice and firm - stop it. Really rather comfy. That said, I don't know when I'll find the time to upholster them. It's a busy old time just now and I can see it's going to be hard to balance it all out. Finding the right balance of work, play and van converting is going to take careful planning.

The 'bed' awaiting installation...

Monday, January 16, 2012

Feeling Pooped

Nope, I've not done any training but it's been a damn tiring one. Another day sat infront of the computer software testing, testing and more testing. Pretty much eight and a half hours solid and my brain is shot. I feel more tired than after the weekends training - OK, I almost feel more tired, it's a close run thing. I think I'm going to sleep well tonight. Fortunately I have a day off from testing tomorrow so maybe I might get some training done - that is to say I've done sod all today. The last week has been hard going and the next few are due to be more of the same so I will definitely have to make the most of my weekends for training.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bakers Dozen

Well I did indeed manage to get back over to the mountains for my first back to back day of mountain running this year. It was also good to see Pat again, it's been a while, as we clocked up just over thirteen miles.

We headed out from Storey Arms at about nine o'clock - the car park was rammed but those parked there would no doubt have been headed in the other direction. We headed west. The plan was to run past Fan Nedd and then come back following the South Wales Traverse route.

It was another cold day but glorious all the same, although there were much stronger winds so it all felt a little colder. Definitely a day to be wearing all the layers. Everything went well and it was a most enjoyable run but by the end my legs were feeling it and I was bloody glad we hadn't added the extra bit over to Fan Gyhirych - or else I might have not made it back at all.

My quads are feeling a bit sore now though so I'm going to hop on the bike in a minute to recover before feet up time. It's been another good day...

Today's 13.5 miles with about 2,500 feet of ascent

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Meet The Colleagues

Miraculously I managed to get myself out of bed at half six. Gathered my kit and jumped in the van. I was off over to Llangorse for a medium distance run ahead of meeting my work colleagues on route. They were walking a 5-6 mile route starting and finishing where I did but later in the morning. I was aiming to intercept their route by about midday and was hoping I'd spot them as I climbed towards the route intercept - well that was the plan...

So I set off on the run at about nine. It was bloody cold and the sky was beautifully clear. There was low lying mist but I was above that. I set out running around the base of Mynydd Troed before climbing 'the nose' towards Pen Manllwyn and onto Waun Fach. From there I ran the ridge all the way to just beyond Pen Allt-mawr (to Pen Gloch-y-pibwi) before dropping off down into the village of Cwmdu. From there I ran on the road for a mile or so before hitting the hills again to climb towards Pen Tir. Now if I had my timings right I was hoping to see the group during this climb, ahead of me walking south westerly in the direction of Cefn Moel. My luck was in and I could espy them in the far distance - but they were bloody miles ahead. I was concerned I was too far back to catch them.

I downed an energy gel for a bit of a boost and set about catching them up. I put in a good solid contouring run to finally meet them with about two miles to go. From there we all walked in together. Then it was off to the Cider Mill for a chat and some grub - and the food was excellent, highly recommend a visit.

As the day heads towards night, it's been a good one...

The route of today's run (and walk) of about 19.5 miles with 4,500 feet of ascent:

A few pictures from the start of the run:
Mynydd Troed

Cockit Hill

The misty valley...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Weekend Ahoy

Well I'm just about over my cold. The voice is still a little croaky but nothing to fret about. More importantly my plans for the weekend are made. I'm off to the Llangorse area on Saturday. I'm going to get over there early-ish, aiming for fifteen miles worth of running before - hopefully - intercepting a group from work to finish off with three or four miles walking with them. It will take a bit of preparation to get the timings right but should be a good carrot to force me to run to schedule. Then Sunday I'll be heading over to the far side of the Brecons for a run with Pat W. Now that's more like it...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Arsed Than Yesterday

... but not by much.

It was an even longer day at work than yesterday. Again productive but very tiring. In the last few hours my mind began to turn to mush. I saw the sun rise through the window where I worked and then at the end of the day I saw it fall - and then some. Finally as the clock struck seven I hit the exit and high tailed it the hell out of there. Still, I'm well on the way to clocking up enough air miles for a flexi-day - and with that bad boy I shall head for the hills, or rather the mountains...

Now home I have managed to rally myself for an hour on the bike. That is all I can face and in about thirty five minutes I will hit the sofa and I'll scoff my dinner. Oh, and my throat almost doesn't feel sore, it's still a little but it's on the mend. That said, my voice is still croaky but less so than yesterday. I need this cold gone, like yesterday.

Back to the bike. Come on clock - I'm sure this bloody thing is running slow...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Couldn't Be Arsed

I was sooo bad tonight but I just couldn't face it. I know, I know, I need to knuckle down but I just could not be arsed. It's been a long day. My voice is all but gone and I have more of the same 'till the end of the week - and beyond. That's not to say it wasn't a productive day, just a bit of a boring one but needs must. I am really hoping I feel better by the weekend end as I am going to go for one mother of a long run in the mountains - and you can take that to the bank...

Monday, January 09, 2012

Voiceless In Longhope

Well I don't feel yesterday's run did me too much harm - except for losing my voice - shut it, that's not a good thing thank you very much. It was worth it though as my unexpectedly speedy training run has been just the tonic I needed. I've not ventured out tonight, feeling I should stay in the warm and not aggravate the throat any more than needs be. So it's back on the bike again before feet up time and a nice bowl of homemade vegetable curry...

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Determined To Run

My throat felt much better this morning. I felt more congested than throaty. If sense were to have prevailed I should probably have spent another day indoors - but fortunately sense did not prevail and I ran. I was going bloody stir crazy having ditched my plans for yesterday. I decided not to drive all the way to the mountains though and went for a run in the forest and having just entered the Forest of Dean Half Marathon I thought it might be good to give that a recce.

Apparently the course has changed a little from when I last ran it in 2009. The official website does not show the route but, while searching the Interweb, I managed to find what I think is the new route and apart from a slight cock up just after 19k (my run which started 800m away from the real start point, in the car park on the right when coming from Cinderford, off Speech House Road, so it would have been somewhere after 18k from the real start - if that makes any sense) I followed it fairly precisely - I think.

My mistake, just after 19k, was to keep on the main track as it bent to the right, the race route carries on straight which is actually turning off the main track. I corrected myself after I came to the junction I'd already been to earlier in the route. A quick left and left again and I was back on track all the way to the finish - 'cept I finished back at the main road by the car park and didn't turn left into the Speech House field. (You should be able to see where I went wrong from the map below).

As to the run itself, conditions were great. It was a lovely day and after a slow and steady start I managed to fair impress myself as I steadily turned up the gas. By the end I was going at a fair lick- and feeling pretty good. Glancing at the watch as I hit 21.1k I was through in 1 hour and 36 minutes and considering the initial pace was outside five minutes/kilometre - and I'm now officially an old fart - I am really quite pleased with myself. My throat and congestion weren't too much of a trouble although I was a bit 'Bob Fleming' now and then. Cue the coughing fit once I stopped back at the van. That was probably the worst bit. I must of sounded like I needed to be put down. In all I ran just under 23k with about 1,000 feet of ascent. Just hoping this damn cold gets gone before next weekend as I need to knuckle down to some training.

The route (barring the slight error) of the Forest of Dean Half Marathon, with slightly different start and finish points. Should be good for a recce of most of the route - just make sure you turn left off the path...

Saturday, January 07, 2012

No Go

And I didn't. I awoke to the funky beat of my alarm clock but knew instantly that running in the cool winter air would wreck my still sore throat. I am disappointed. It strikes as a massive psychological blow and I feel a bit fed up. I really wanted to do something mad - but not at the expense of making things worse. All being well it will feel better tomorrow and I can get out for a run but it won't quite be the same. Maybe I'll head over to Llanbedr if I feel up to it.

Anyway, with spare time on my hands, I have turned my attention to the van conversion. I didn't actually get out into the cold to work on it, it's been more a day of planning. I've measured up and order the foam for the seat/mattress and the auxiliary items I need for that. I've also ordered up the replacement internal lighting - fancy, low power, high luminosity led ones - and I've worked out how I'm going to ply the roof to maximise the height while still allowing for some insulation. I'm going to try and get that done over the next few weeks and then I can look to upholster it all before finally making a start on the cooking and storage area.

And one final thing, I've just put in my entry for the Forest of Dean Half Marathon - which just happens to fall the day after the Llanbedr to Blaenafon fell race - excellent double header weekend...

Friday, January 06, 2012

Ruby To The Rescue

My throat is still sore and I've nose is a bit bunged up - cue the ruby - and you know what, I think it's helped. My throat does indeed feel a little less sore. No doubt that's just wishful thinking on part as tomorrow's planned races and training hang in the balance. I'm really keen for it as last year it was my run to Monmouth and back with the Kymin race that kick started my traverse training - and even though it all went a bit wrong come the attempt, psychologically it feels important for me to do it. Suffice just an hour on the bike tonight with feet up to follow. Fingers crossed I feel better tomorrow...

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Didn't See That Coming

A sore throat, that is. It just snuck up on me out of nowhere. I don't feel off colour but the throat has been sore all day. Very annoying. I'm not venturing out tonight as it's too cold and I know that would only agravate it so I'm staying indoors and a session on the exercise bike. I only hope it clears up by Saturday as I have my maddest run for quite some time planned. Provided I feel OK I'm going to run to Five Acres to race the 5k Parkrun before continuing my run over to Monmouth for the Kymin Fell Race before finally running back home. That, I think we can all agree is slightly mad - oh yeah.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Little Surprising

It was blowing a gale as the terrific trio tumbled forth from the warm comfort of the office into the chilly early afternoon - that would be Graham, Martin and me out into the cold. At least it wasn't raining. The wind was really strong though. Overall conditions were probably less conducive to a fast run. It certainly seemed I was on for being left far behind...

I was still feeling the mountains in my quads from Monday as I floundered five metres off the back. Battling the wind was damn hard work and it all felt very laboured. We decided on the Malago again - or more correctly, I decided, as I really didn't want to face the hill. Anyway, by the time we reached the Malago I was stomping although I did pull onto Martin's shoulder. To get back there I'd used too much and as we hit the final gentle upward slope I was struggling to hold form. By the time we hit the main road for the run in I was bolloxed and the wind picked up some to really put in the boot. The final 200m was like running through a hurrican - not that I've ever actually been in a hurrican but I can image that's (not) what it would have been like. Eventually I crossed the line and I was pleased with my 30:55. Thirty seconds down on last week but my legs were tired and the conditions, worse.

All showered and back in the office it was a great surprise to realise my time was actually ten seconds quicker than last week - old age has addled my memory. I really thought I'd run 30:25 last week. Turns out last weeks time was 31:05 and slower than today - back of the net, pop pickers.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Damn Wind

No, ssh, stop it. The gales only went and blew down my bloody fence didn't it. More bloody hastle I could do without. Well I'll just have to sort it. No point in moaning.

My legs are feeling it today. Mostly in the quads. Been a good start to the year training wise. Managed to cook myself up a tasty half-price butternut squash curry soup and an hour on the exercise bike. Was aiming for a burn up on the rower as well but the fence saw to that. Hoping to get out on the lunch run tomorrow...

Monday, January 02, 2012

Proper Snow

Well, if I embellished the truth a little on my recent Llanthony run and the first 'snow' of winter I  didn't need to today. I got snowed on big time.

The drive across was sunny and somewhat glorious. I was near to overheating during the first half hour of running up from the Tal-y-bont reserve along the Taff Trail - yes, that's its real name. I held off the urge to take a few layers off - right decision. After that, within minutes, conditions changed from sunny to cold, wet and windy. The hail stones stinging my face as I powered - OK, more chugged - along. It was nothing less than forecast so the first half hour was a bonus but I'm bloody glad I didn't strip off 'cause I'd have been all hands on deck to get 'em back on again.

The rain and hail eased off after a while and visibility improved to once again reveal the tops. At this point I was still only about 12k into what was a planned 30k run but I felt alright although I didn't feel I was running efficiently and every step seemed a little laboured - and I hadn't even got to the difficult bits yet. To that point it had all been relatively flat.

From the reservoir at the end of the road I started the first major climb and it went well, if a little too boggy for my liking but I had my water proof socks on so my little pinkies where cosy and safe from the harshness of the cold, icy water. Once onto the top ridge for the run to Corn Du the heavens opened and the snow flooded the sky. It was almost a blizzard as visibility plummeted to less than 50m. Still, I knew the route I was on as well as anyone can and kept on grinding out the miles.

I had plenty of kit with me including spare layers and on that ridge, with the wind biting, I almost stopped to put some on but by the time I hit Pen-y-Fan the snow had stopped and dropping down off the top, just those few hundred feet made all the difference. I decided to stay off the tops from then on and skirted round Cribyn before slipping up the side of Fan-y-Big. There wasn't much to be doing to avoid the wind on the run across to Waun Rydd but as I ran the wind eased slightly and from there on down to Tal-y-Bont it wasn't too bad. The final drop off was hideously slippy though and after sliding a metre or more a few times - I stayed on my feet I hasten to add - I decided to ease off and walk the final bit. Once onto the track I picked it back up for the final half mile to the van.

A good days training and my longest so far of the traverse training, 29km and 3,500 feet of ascent.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Let 2012 Begin

A good night was had, spent with good friends, to see in 2012. Suffice to say I haven't mustered for any training but after a tastey carvery at the Yew Tree, Longhope I think I should do. Now, I'm not the greatest fan of the 'carvery' but if it's always as good as that I could be converted. All of which means I also didn't get across to the orienteering either.

Tomorrow I'm looking to head over to the Brecons for a decent run. The forecast looks reasonable for this time of year so I think it should be a goer. Failing that, if the weather is grim, I will divert to the Seven Sins race near Blakeney. At the moment I am undecided on where exactly to run - or how far. Decisions, decisions...