Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy With That

Not my fastest Llanbedr to Blaenafon fell race but it was inside 2 hours 40 so I can accept that for the 15.4 mile route with 5,000 feet of ascent. I think it actually might have been my slowest! But I was able to give a smile reaching the top of the Blorenge where a grimace is more normally seen.

Conditions were much cooler than of late. Some might say it was down right chilly out there - and I'd be one of 'em but once you were running it was actually pretty good weather for it. I took things steady from the get go and that's pretty much where things stayed. It was more my whole body tiredness that held me back today. I don't really feel like I've run anywhere near hard enough. My body doesn't ache with the normal post fell race fatigue. It's more just a general kind of fatigue. I just plain felt tired out there.

Under the circumstances my 16th place in 2:38:08 was really quite acceptable - although it did allow Mr L to notch one up. No doubt Mrs L will follow suit in tomorrow's Forest of Dean Half Marathon...

Going to finish off tonight with half an hour on the bike, low resistance, just to try and get the blood flowing and maybe prepare the legs for tomorrow's battle. Certainly going to be heading to the land of nod early to try and get some much needed sleep...

Llanbedr to Blaenafon Fell Race Route...

Friday, March 30, 2012

Not Ready For The Weekend..

because I know I'm going to suffer... My training over the last couple of weeks has been nothing short of appalling. I have no hope of bettering last years Llanbedr to Blaenafon race time of 2 hours 31. I can feel my fitness levels dropping almost by the minute. I will take sub 2:40, accept sub 2:50 and be disappointed with anything slower. Of course, that's provided I have enough diesel for the drive there and back...

However it goes I shall at least take some solace from being out there on the hill and I'll not dwell on the outcome whatever the result - I won't have time as up Sunday is the Forest of Dean Half Marathon where I fully expect to struggle to break 1 hour 45. Will be good to complete my first double race weekend for a while though and at 15 miles and 13 miles it'll almost be like a long run...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

That's Me Sorted..

I've panic bought myself a tanker full of diesel.. NOT. Fortunately I'm not a sad bastard. If the pumps run dry, they run dry. Maybe I'll even save a few quid if they do. Getting in on the panic band wagon is just total nobber. There were massive queues at the petrol stations tonight and I thought, gee, I really really want to be stuck there for half an hour or more. That's totally how I want to spend my first relatively early home tonight. Early being just gone six verses the last couple of weeks of eight. I even managed to put in an hour on the bike after watering the now, speedily growing veg. Really need to get myself a couple of water butts...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Potato Break

The first signs are there that the spuds are going to surface. Five little raised mounds, slight cracking of the soil and the tiniest hint of a green shoot bursting forth from each one...

Been another tiring, long and winding road at work. Not really fit for anything other than plonking myself down on the sofa tonight - and that's where I'm going to stay.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Every Day, In Every Way..

I get a little more knackered. Can't be arsed for any training tonight. Last week was a poor one for training. This one looks well set to better that - or should that be worser that - and then some. I really need to face the fact that I might not be ready for the traverse come June. I can't burn the candle from both ends. I'll keep on with the weekend long runs and see how things go but when the dust settles on work I may just accept this ain't the year I traverse. Don't want to admit defeat so early in the campaign but I'm not going to destroy myself and get myself injured wrecklessly. I like running in the mountains and I'd rather defer again, stay injury free and head north later in the year a few times for some good running and adventure. Perhaps I should turn my focus to the longer game and get myself ready for a late August/early September 60 hour Offa's Dyke traverse. The 176 miles in two and a half days should be a doddle...

Monday, March 26, 2012

That's Torn It

Ok, so it's not that bad but my right calf is sore. Sorer than sore, really. Another late arrival home. Another bike session as I didn't feel like anything more. That and the fact that the pegs are still a little achy from that damn road running on Saturday, and bam, the calf has gone. It didn't go during the bike session itself. Oh no, it happened after that. During that hardcore exercise known as watering the raised beds. As I headed out into the dark it just kind of happened. One minute nothing wrong. The next, oh gosh, that's torn it. Time for a bit of massage. Got to be ready for the weekends Llanbedr Fell Race on Saturday followed by Sunday's Forest of Dean Half Marathon. Now that's what I call a double header...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Quack Quack

Ducks in the spring - and I'm not just talking the time of year. I mean spring as in water coming out of the ground. Looks like there's a new couple in town but I they might not be staying so long given the number of pesky felines around here.

Been busy in the garden today on account of my legs are still in operative. Finally got round to planting on the tomatoes and chilies and also sowed up another pot of mixed herbs. Plus the spring onions are starting to shoot up as well and the garlic? Well that seems to be growing best of all.

And also managed to finish off the van. The last piece of paneling is complete on the upright shelf at the back. It's all systems go - although I'm not sure when I will be able to head out onto the wide open road. Maybe June if I'm lucky...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shouldn't Have Done That

My legs are wrecked. Really, painfully wrecked. It wasn't the distance - although 33 miles is my longest to date this year. No it was the stupid bloody road section through Chepstow and over the Bridge - and boy does that flipping bridge crossing ever drag on? As I headed for England I thought I was never going to get there. It seemed like someone had turned a conveyor belt on - and I was running on it in the wrong direction. It's been a massive reminder why I keep of the roads. I think those damn 9 miles broke down every muscle fibre I had in my legs. That said, I did get a fairly good tempo going and probably should have eased back a little.

Then of course, as I headed back to Bigsweir, I made the mistake of going up the 365 steps - there's only 312 though. Never been up 'em. Never going to go up 'em again. By the time I reached the top to pick up the Wye Valley Way my running for the day was over. I must have looked a right pathetic old fart as I limped along on impulse engines - I'm not sure the warp drive will ever work again.

Overall it was a good day out though. The first section of the run was along Offa's Dyke and very scenic although I was massively disappointed to see what they have done to the path as it climbs up from Bigsweir. It's bloody sacrilege! They gone and built wooden steps in the top edge of the wooded section. That was the best bit for me in the whole of the Offa's Orra race and those bastards in the council have neutralised by advantage. I'm able to take a minute or more out of my competitors on that section - or rather I was able. What's next, an escalator?

With that shock behind me I ran steadily down to Chepstow and reached work at just gone midday. In addition to all the crappy road running I probably pushed on a bit hard on the first half of the run. After a small intermission I was back out, retracing my steps over to Chepstow before picking up the Wye Valley Way back to the car and the rest is history. Suffice to say the return run was a awful lot slower than the outward one.

In all I covered just over 33 miles with just over 5,000 feet of ascent and that equates to my longest run of the year. Adding another 4 equilibrated miles on top of my previous longest - although I'm going to take a lot longer to recover from today's run - damn those road miles..

33 miles with 5,000 feet of ascent

Friday, March 23, 2012

Staying Local Tomorrow

Going to head down to the local section of Offa's Dyke for a run down past Chepstow and then back along the Wye Valley Way. I think staying local is the way to go. Heading off to the mountains is likely to result in a no show. After a long week - technically not actually longer than any other - I can't face an hours drive each way on top of six hours of running. I need a bit of a lie in and staying local will allow me the privilege while still enabling me to get out for a long run. Plus I need to be in an area of phone reception for work. I'm aiming for 50 kilometres - I like kilometres as they big up the distance.

Tonight I've hit the god damn sofa and I ain't gettin' off it for nuffin'...

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Will I Ever run Again?

This week has been heavy. Thursday already and I'm feeling it. Worked more hours than in a normal week and I've still one more day to go - and that's going to be more of the same. Struggling to summon anything for training. I have many more weeks of this ahead. I fear training is about to hit a massive dip. A dip so deep I fear my plans for the traverse will be at risk. Maybe I will acclimatise to it. I hope I do. At the moment I'm finding heading off to work at six, home for eight, tough.

Zero training tonight and that is bad. My weekend long run is in doubt as I may need to be available for work. That will be a hard hit...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Lunch came. Lunch went. I didn't even notice it's passing. By the time I realised, well, the time it was way past too late for a lunch run. In fact, it was way past too late for lunch. Fail. The kit is staying in the car though and I'm going to try again tomorrow. Eventually made it home but I can't face it now. Feeling knackered. A bike session is all I can muster for. Not the greatest but at least the chilies continue to shoot up.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Feeling Knackered

but I have a plan. Work has hit the critical phase of the current project. Fingers crossed. Legs crossed - no I don't need a pee, just keeping everything crossed. Busy busy busy. Long days. Not great for training and by the time I get home I can't be arsed - and as was written in the prophecy I couldn't be. I'm going to take my kit to work with me tomorrow. Chances are it won't happen but I'm taking the kit anyway and if I can I'm going to head out for a lunch run... What's the worst that can happen? I don't get out? or I do a Reggie Perrin and keep on running from Littleton out into the Severn... just joking, knowing my luck I'd bloody float...

As assumed from the above, I did f*&k all tonight but at least the plants have moved on. They have bloody shot up today. The chilies have gone from decent maybes to sturdy looking goers. Soon be needing to plant 'em out into more pots. Even my slightly dodgy looking tomatoes that I planted on into the grow bags seem to have stabilised and pushed on strongly. As per previous posts I've just got too many and so it's going to be sad to have to leave them to die... but only the strong must survive - it's the law of nature...

Monday, March 19, 2012

Go Garlic Go

All five of my garlic cloves are rooting and tootin' through the soil. Showing a goodly couple centimetres of green shoot bursting forth. Go garlic go. Yes, tonight we are going the Goodlife.. My legs are still knackered so I'm resting up.

The re-planted tomatoes - needn't have been worried - are shooting up and looking strong. In fact I've got way too many. I thought I'd be a bit rubbish at all this growing stuff, that they'd all die and I be struggling to get anything to grow. I reckon I've got ten grow bags worth! Tomato plant anyone? Is tomato plant the right word? Whatever.

The herbs are also looking good. The coriander, basil and chive are starting to pick up. Of all the stuff I've planted I'm just awaiting the spring onions to show.. Oh, and I almost forgot the chilies have finally kicked off and they appear to have gone a bit crazy. In the space of a couple of days they've gone from one or two slightly iffy are they aren't they growing shoots? to a dozen definitely growing shoots. I need more pots to plant them on in a week or two...

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hell My Legs Hurt

Too be honest my legs don't ache any more than expected after a day in the mountains but the finish to yesterday's run, down the ridge from Fan y Big, was a real pounder and my hips are sore. It was the last section off the hill that was the killer. It was like running on concrete. Nothing a days rest won't cure so I didn't go for a run this morning. That gave me time for a bit more work on the van. I've managed to ply a bit more of the kitchen/storage unit. Almost finished now. Just one more panel to fit and it's a wrap.

Then it was a quick scrub up and off to lunch with the family in Bristol. As is normal on a visit to N&R's I ate too much - but it's always so nice I can't help myself. And now it's time to hop on the low impact training device - or exercise bike as some people call it - for an hour to burn off some of those calories...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Over The Hills And Far Away

I was up pre-six and on the road by twenty past. I met Pat in Llanfrynach and we set off at about ten past eight. Today's run was going to be a tester and as seems the case of late the first hour was disconcerting. My legs never seem to want to move first thing that and the fact I had a 6kg pack loaded up with all my emergency gear, extra layers, gloves, first aid kit... the list goes on.

The forecast was for terrible weather and I wanted to be prepared for what ever it threw down. As it turned out the weather was the best its been for a couple of weeks and so I didn't half the kit I took. The strong winds never blew into town. The heavy rain and thunder amounted to nothing more than a few drops of rain. I sometimes wonder if the MET office's massive computer is really just a random number generator picking the forecast from a big long list. Today's conditions were as far from the forecast as any I've ever witnessed. Chocolate and Teapot spring to mind. That said, carrying the extra weight will help me prepare for the Saunders Mountain Marathon where you have to carry you kit including camping gear for the overnight stop.

So from Llanfrynach we headed up to Waun Rydd and over Allt Llywd. Then we dropped down and back up and over to Ystrad - the first recce of the season for that one. Looping round from there we came back on ourselves and that's were Pat and I parted company - amicably. I really enjoyed the first part of the run. It's always nice to have some company.

From there I covered some new ground down through the forest towards the Pentwyn reservoir - for a bit of reservoir spotting of course. Then it was back onto one of my more normal routes across to Corn Du, Pen y Fan, Cribyn and finally Fan y Big. It was a relief to reach Fan y Big because it was quite literally, all down hill from there...

I eventually arrived back at Vera at just gone two o'clock. So all in all it was a very reasonable 43km with 7,400 feet of ascent clocked up in just about six hours. A little shorter than planned but I reasoned that as I was actually attempting somewhere in the region of an extra 3,000 feet of ascent on this one over and above the ascent in previous runs I needed to be smart. As it was, I'm glad I knocked off those couple of kilometres because the ascent of Cribyn and Fan y Big were slow going and sapping. If I'd added another couple km's I might still be there...

Friday, March 16, 2012

I've Got A Long One

ooh matron - planned for tomorrow. Thirty mountainous miles to be run and I'm all set. Should be good fun and I've got some company so it'll all the better. Good ol' Pat W. Running thirty miles all by yourself is tough. It's not so much the physical - that's the easy bit. No, it's the mental toughness you need to carry on going when you're bloody knackered - for me that comes after about ten miles into it - lol. The other twenty get run on mental toughness alone. Of course, when the weather is good the views take your mind off the pain - but that's not going to be a pleasure for tomorrow. The forecast is - how do I say this in polite company? - far from good. It looks worse than last week and that was bad enough. Possibly going to be the worst conditions of the year so far. I'm seeing heavy, persistent rain - happy days - but it's got to be done. The miles must be run. To test yourself. To see what you're capable of. There is a price to pay - and that price looks like being soaked through. Well, at least for tomorrow. On another day, there'll be a different price to pay...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

More Wood For The Fire

The final sheets of ply are purchased. All set to finish off the unit in the van by paneling the sides. Not going to get it done Saturday on account of running all day - and possibly all night. Sunday, of course, is off limits - make a mental note, flowers. The card is already in the bag. In fact it's already in the car so I don't leave the bloody thing at home - I've never done before... I'll have to finish the van evenings.

Tonight I did an hour on the bike and twenty on the rower. Sweat on. Oh, and while I remember, my Forest of Dean Half Marathon number has arrived. I'm number 1195 - my lucky number, the year Alexius III Angelus overthrew Isaac II and became Byzantine Emperor - cool.

PS, and if you believe that... of course it was the year the Georgians defeated the Ildenizids of Azerbaijan at the Battle of Shamkor.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Looks Like A Beast..

of a run for Saturday - and it gives me the chance to run the final section of the Traverse that I've not tackled this year. The section across Allt Lywd across to Ystrad.

Now I'm not going to say for definite that I'll complete the route - as is so often the case with me, if conditions are rubbish I usually get bored and cut it short - but I really do need to try my best to be a good boy and run all those miles.

The route looks like a gentle 7,500 feet of ascent, as shown by the profile...
... but spread over a more than generous 50km - that's 31 miles in old money. I've even managed to plan in a section of the Brecons I've not run on before over by the Pentwyn Reservoir - well, I can't resist a look at enemy territory...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Compostables

Finally my composter has arrived. Since I decided to get one I've cringed every time I've thrown away stuff I know could compost. A spot of night time diy later and I'm set to get down and dirty with the worms. Come on you little wriggle things. Hang on, I'm getting ahead of myself, there's nothing in it at the moment and from the size of it, it's going to take a while...

Been on the bike tonight. A good solid leg buster. I was going to go for a run.. but I just had to build the composter - doh...

and there she is..

Monday, March 12, 2012

Looking At The Maps

Been giving the Offa's 120k - as I've named it - some more thought. The journey to Knighton doesn't seem quite so straight forward - which is a shame. Searching online reveals flippin' loads of different ways to get there. All of which entail lots of swapping and changing - and there was me thinking I could get a train straight from Gloucester. Damn fool.

The plan as it is so far is to travel up midday Thursday the 5th April, B&B somewhere overnight and then head out into the great outdoors Good Friday to arrive home late Saturday evening. The only weak link - OK, one of the many weak links - will be the weather because once I commit to it I don't fancy two days on foot in the pouring rain. It should be good training for the traverse and the Saunders.

Oh, and while I think about it. Tonight's homemade curried butternut squash and sweet corn soup was lush - plus four portions for the freezer. Oh yeah, I sure know how to live...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Mad Idea

Today was a good day but I was too lazy on the running front. My legs are tired but that shouldn't stop me. The day's been good it's just that I've been too lazy. Still can't seem to gee myself up. As I sit and relax ideas are formulating. Now, if I was stuck in the middle of nowhere I'd have no choice but to run, Forest, run wouldn't I? Yes, that's what I thought. Over the last year I've accumulated a fair bit of light weight kit - yep, I'm all set for the Saunders - but I can't just use it once or twice a year. [I can see where this is headed..]

I fully intend a crack at the Offa's Dyke in 60 hours later this year. Ah ha, why not try a bit of training for it! Looking at the map, Knighton has a train station. That means I should be able to get there pretty easy. I've not had a holiday for a while. Not been away proper since last September - for the wet weekend that was the Peris Hourseshoe. Giving serious thought to a little excursion on Easter weekend. A two day running - crawling by the end no doubt - extravaganza!

The initial concept is to start out from Knighton, carrying full kit including tent, and follow the Offa's Dyke path to Hay-on-Wye, wild camping up on the hill - and maybe a pint in the pub before hand. Day two across to - and past - Monmouth following Offa's before picking up the Wysis Way home. It will be tough. Of that I have no doubt. I will be moving on foot for the entire day without question. As long as I can plan in a couple of pub lunches on route, I reckon I can do it. First estimate is for a distance in the region of 110-120km (68-75miles). Should be bloody good.

Time to organise, plan and book it in the diary. Then I'll have no choice but to do it. Sounds like a proper Mad Runner plan...

Grow My Beauties, Grow

Been turning my hand to gardening again today. The herbs are looking in good shape, including my favourite, coriander, although it took a time to show its face. Next up I thinned out the tomatoes from the pot and re-planted to the grow bag. They now look a little sad but I'm hoping nature, being the wonderful thing it is, will work its magic. I'm the first to admit I don't really know what I'm doing. How big do they need to be before I thin them and plant them on? I don't bloody know. The books help but the three or four I've got aren't an idiots guide - and that's what I need. This is certainly going to be a bit of an experiment.

The chillis are my biggest worry. So far they are a no show - and they're the thing which got me trying all this. They better flippin' start sprouting soon. Just in case I have sown another batch of even hotter ones. Hopefully I will get some chillis by harvest time. Fingers crossed. Hopefully the newly sown spring onions will behave themselves and appear to the schedule.

With all the seeding done it was time to head outdoors into the garden to plant up some tatties in one of my raised beds. Apparently I will need to keep them well watered - better put a 'recurring' in my diary... And I knew there was a reason I kept that chicken wire - there'll be no cats s%!*ing on my plot.

Finally it was the turn of the grass to be cut with a little re-seeding on a few of the bare patches. I can see it's going to keep me busy from now till autumn - arse - and I really need my composter to arrive!

The grow-servatory...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bit Disappointing

Not with the run but the promise of gert lush conditions so cruelly withdrawn. I was bathed in sunshine on the drive across to Llanthony. I was bathed in sunshine as I ascended up to Offa's Dyke. After ten minutes along ridge the cloud descended and, well, that was that for most of the run.

Setting off I was really looking forward to some great views so in that respect the run was a rather large disappointment. Still, I got the miles run - and I even managed to add a mile pirouette as I ballsed things up royally in the near zero visibility as headed off Rhos Dirion for the ridge down to Waun Fach. I knew there was a gate to go through, and having veered a little off to the left to keep out of the boggy path I ended up heading off to the left on a small path. Once again my spidey senses told me something was wrong as I looped back round to attempt to locate the gate again. Second time round I kept to the right to successfully find it. Mind you, the bloke I passed - twice - must have wondered what was going on...

The other disappointment was that the live tracking stopped working so soon into the run. I checked on things once or twice and it appeared to be doing the business - ie, it was showing the route plotting away merrily on the screen but it must have got fed up sending it up to the interweb. Oh well, more investigation of other tracking software required, me thinks.

Anyway, back to business. The run along the ridge over Waun Fach and Pen y Gadir Fawr was fairly text book - even if one couldn't see anything. Even had time to stop atop Pen y G to give some directional advice to a group of walkers who asked for a little help. I'll tell you what though, the run from Rhos Dirion to Crug Mawr goes on forever and when you can't see anything it's pretty bloody boring - might as well have been road running - ok, maybe not. Finally as I approached Crug the cloud lifted and the sun came back out to play.

Having reached Crug I then dropped off across no mans land down to the edge of the forest - a little recce I've been meaning to do for a while to test the possibility of running a direct line midway up the forest boundary to Crug in the BM race. The terrain wasn't actually as rough as it looks. Can't say for certain as I need to run it in the proper direction but my initial feeling is that it could be a goer. I will know more once I go at it in the race direction.

From there I followed a few foot paths here, a few foot paths there - and a few that weren't there at all before ascending up to Bal Bach and dropping down to Llanthony and the finish. In all I covered 26 miles with about 4,500 feet of ascent and, as you can see from the route, I didn't add the bonus section for extra climb - but then again, we all knew I wasn't going to, didn't we?

Home now and bloody knackered. Toot toot.

Today's 26 mile loop out of Llanthony...

Live Track

Going to track the live tracking again for today's run. May or may not work depending on whether I can remember how to do it! Check the live tracking page for sucess or not... Be starting 10ish..

Friday, March 09, 2012

Planning For Tomorrow

A trip to Abergavenny, or more accurately, just on past it, Llanthony. I've got a big circular loop planned in the reverse traverse - nice - direction. Starting at Llanthony Priory I'm going to head up to Offa's and head out to Hay nonny nonny Bluff and across the 'Knob'. Then all the way round to Crug Mawr, passing over Waun Fach, Pen y Gadir Fawr and all the others on route. Finally the drop down into the valley, the rise up the ridge to Bal bach and the final descending back down to Llanthony.

In all I reckon that should be somewhere towards 40k and about 4,000 feet of ascent. If I'm honest I need a bit more ascent and if I'm still feeling energetic by the time I reach Waun Fach - which isn't likely - then from there I will loop round to Pen Trumau, drop down into the valley for the climb back to Pen y Gadir Fawr. That should add about 4k to the route and another 1,000 feet of ascent - and probably really piss me off. Going to be the first to admit that the likelihood of that addition is low to almost negligible - but you never know...

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Not The Best Lunch

My legs didn't want to play today. Pretty much from the off I knew I was going to have to settle for 'well at least I got out for a run'. The entire run was just a slog. I never got going. We ran out along the A38 - scenic as ever with the quarry lorries thundering past and the wind blowing in your face, and the whole world getting on your case, the pretty lady we ran past didn't offer me a warm embrace, nor did she make any attempt to make me feel her love - ooh nooo, matron, stop it.

As we turned off the A38 - I say we, but Martin was already bloody miles ahead by then - we hit the main climb. If I'm honest, although I was running like a donkey, the climb itself wasn't too bad and I got to the top in reasonable shape. Wasn't quick though. The running remained ragged and the time outside 32 minutes. Surprisingly not as slow as it felt and within a minute of my recent best. Still, it was a bit disappointing as I have no excuse for the poor performance nor do I attempt to make one. It was quite simply one of those runs that the best thing that can be said about it was the fact that you did at least get off your arse to do it. One to put behind me.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Glad To Be Home

Well that was a long day. I was back on the early start and into the office before heading out to site for a bit of this and that. Then into the afternoon I got caught up with a telemetry issue, not to mention a meeting ambush. Fortunately I got the telemetry sorted - the outcome of the meeting will be another matter entirely. By the time I got home I couldn't be arsed. The sofa it is...

Monday, March 05, 2012

A Little More On The Van

I managed to squeeze in a bit more work on the van tonight after the drive home and the hour on the bike. Oh, and while I remember, it's going to be a cold one tonight me thinks so get your scrappers ready just in case. Fortunate I was only doing some small finishing touches.

First up was applying the rubberised finish to the upright shelves. That will help to stop stuff flying off when Vera drifts the bends at massive speed. The other little job was fixing the anchor hoops to the walls for the bungee cords to keep the water tank in place. The rubberised finish of the shelf is grippy - but not that grippy when it's trying to keep 10-15kg of water in place. I didn't fancy that coming free as it could really break something.

Over the coming weeks I intend to fit a bit more of the rubberised finish to the other shelves and fix up a few 'lips' to other shelves all in the name of stopping stuff sliding around in transit. Then of course there's the ply to the sides of the cabinet and finally a few hooks and what not here and there. The other main focus is the design of some kind of easy to install door porch overhang thing that I can whip out and put over the sliding door doorway to stop the rain pouring in while the door is open. I'm sure there must be some kind of commercial product available but whether they'll fit a vanette I very much doubt.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Not Quite So Perfect

In fact, conditions were a bit pants. If the last two weeks long runs have been in brilliant conditions today's was a million, OK, a thousand miles away from all that niceness. First off, I was surprised to see so much snow! And the wind - stop it - it was bitingly cold. I had several layers and my gortex jacket but it still got through. Fair chilled me to my bones. After starting with the gloves I was quick to swap in the fur - artificial - lined mittens. I have to admit that the conditions got to me today and I didn't complete the planned route in its entirety.

The outward journey was hard work, heading west into the wind most of the way. That was sapping and a double whammy of reducing the pace causing the wind to chill me all the deeper. Oh, and while I'm moaning, we all have our favourite mountains - although I'm not sure what mine are. However, I definitely know my least favourite, it's that bloody Garreg Las. A total shit of a mountain. It's not the shape of it, nor the views or the way you cross it, it's just all the bloody rocks. It should be a nice gently descending run off (going south) but it isn't. It's shit shit shit the whole way. You can't really run much for doing your ankle or landing your foot on pointy stones. Hell, I was cross with myself for choosing to run - or not as the was the case - down the ridge. Next time I shall skip round the east side to then come back on my SWT route along the west.

Having finally reached the turn round, the return leg was better but the top ridge past Bannau Sir Gaer was hard work, running side on diagonally against the wind. And then, leaning so much into the wind, it would suddenly drop and I'd be almost over on my head - lucky I kept a few metres back from the edge...

By the time I got back to the van, although warmed up, being out of the wind and back below the snow line, I'd taken so damn long I decided to call it quits. I really couldn't face going up Fan Gyhriych to get myself cold all over again after having finally managed to warm up.

Oh, and while I remember, I've never seen waves crashing on the sides across Llyn y Fan Fawr before. I wasn't sure if I should have gone back and got my flipping surf board!

Anyway, the days run weighed in at a slightly disappointing 28km with 5,500 feet of ascent. Better than a kick in the head but not quite as good a hot mug of soup - talking of which, I'm off...

Looking up towards Fan Hir above the snow line...

Today's route...

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Out Of Retirement

Yes, I was back in action in my first Gwent League cross country race for over eight years - and I actually quite enjoyed it. Not while I was in the mix, mind. As I hit the end of lap one all I could hear in my head was, 'aaah, two more sodding laps' but I'm getting ahead of things.

I started towards the back to avoid bursting out of the blocks too quickly. I'm pretty sure the lap was a little shorter than I remember it but I didn't give that too much thought as I picked my way steadily through the field. One thing that was clear to me though, I'm still lacking core speed. Once again I concentrated on lengthening my stride and indeed I did make inroads on the flat during the first and second lap but it was the inclines where I made far bigger inroads to the runners ahead. I almost didn't change speed when moving from the flat to the slopes. Then of course there were the slippery descents, over all too quickly for my liking.

Into lap three I knew it was time to hang on, as my head was screaming at me, 'you bloody idiot, why did you agree to do this?' I knew I'd not be gaining any more places and in fact I lost a few but I dug as deep as I could and tried to hang on for a little bit each time someone passed me. It was nice to hear a shout out from Rick W as I ran the gentle woodland ascent for the final time. I didn't have the strength to acknowledge him at the time so I'll get my thank you in now. Cheers Rick.

Although only 10k, in fact a little under, I was never the less glad to hit the finishing straight with no one breathing down my neck so I wasn't forced to attempt a sprint. I'm not sure I could have. I crossed the line in 92nd place which, believe it or not, is my best ever Gwent League placing - in a time of 41 minutes and 20 seconds. Having looked through the results from back in the day and today I can see that the course is indeed shorter. It's about 6 minutes quicker for the lads at the front so factoring that in to my previous course best and today I reckon I was somewhere in the region of three minutes quicker, like for like. I'm pretty pleased with that.

On the downside, having got back home in good time and completed a goodly number of chores that needed to be chored, I decided to miss the orienteering on account of my legs feeling tight. I really need a long run tomorrow - for which I'm going to head over and run the first section of the SWT on an out and back past Llyn-y-Fan-Fach before then running an out and back to Fan Nedd over Fan Gyhirych - in all it should be about 40k and 7,500 feet of ascent. I have to understand my limits. The focus is the traverse. The orienteering is a bit of fun but I'm not going to put a required long run in jeopardy. 

Friday, March 02, 2012

Angry Pasture

Also sometimes known as cross country. Yep, that's where I'm headed tomorrow. I'll be leaving around 10am for the drive down to Blaise Castle for a high noon race start. It's been a long long time since I last ran Blaise XC. A very long time. In fact, it's been so long I was just a boy [cough] the last time I ran the cross country at Blaise some eight - yes, eight - years previous! Have to admit, even I didn't realise it was that long ago. And as I've run Blaise before I've got my old marker of 52 minutes and 8 seconds to better. But I'm old now and far more decrepit so I'll be happy to break the hour - will I f*(&...

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Will I?

Well? Will I? Manage to get out for a second lunch run in a week? It will be unheard of if I do. It will become something of legend. Modern day mythology. All in all quite a scary proposition - but I hope I do.

My legs feel better today. The hour on the bike felt good so a burn up over Dundry tomorrow should be just the ticket. After all, it's not like I'm too bothered about being fresh for Saturday's Blaise Castle Gwent League Cross Country - yes, you heard that right, Cross and Country in the same race. I've not raced XC - as it's known in the trade - for quite literally years. Not sure how I really feel about it but I'm committed now so it will be run. On the bright side, at least the Blaise course is a proper one - as opposed to a few laps of a muddy field.