Monday, July 30, 2012

Mundane Monday

Another week starts and it was back to work. Musn't grumble though, it wasn't a bad day. My legs felt a bit flat so I decided against a run and opted for a bike session instead. I'm going to try the Bridge Inn tomorrow but without any expectation. It will be interesting to see just how slowly I run...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

How Depressing Is Britain?

Where ever you look there are fat cat bankers milking us for every penny. Insurance companies 'avin a laugh. Solicitors trying to get rich off the back of the fat cat bankers, aiming themselves for a massive cut of your ppi claim. Other solictors looking to remove the word accident from the Oxford English dictionary - there's no such thing as an accident anymore - or so it was seem... Then of course we have all those grubby legal loan sharks charging you interest at rates upwards of a thousand percent on your payday loan. Next up in the firing line all those online betting ads, urging you to blow the money you haven't got - and then take out a payday loan with their mates down the road.. Oh, and finally, all those bloody online bingo companies. If you take away the social element of bingo don't you just end up with something totally sad? Not to mention needing to get back to those sharks again after you fail to shout 'house' and lose all your cash. A sad state of affairs...

Anyway, back to the training front. I didn't quite hit my Longhope loop target - on account of the thunder and lightening. I couldn't wait for the weather to clear - which it actually did in the end but by then I had already put in 90 minutes on the bike. So, rather than the Longhope Loop I ran the Hobbs Loop instead. All in all I don't feel too bad for not having stuck to the plan. Today's training still felt pretty good.

Update: Just back from the run and it was my most positive one to date - you may note that I so say had already run but I hadn't and I wrote the post while I was on the bike, to give me the motivation to carry through with the threat. I'm glad I did. I chose to run up the main hill on the edge of the village - and I ran the whole way. In fact, I actually pushed as I neared the top. Then I pushed all the way along the Quarry before cruising down the hill on the far side and holding form down the main street back home. I'm pleased with how things are going and am beginning to see a small glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel...

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lazy Bastard

Yep, that's me. Suffice to say I did not get up in time to run the Park Run. Instead I headed out for the Hobbs Quarry/Blaisdon Loop weighing in at around 11km with 800ft of ascent. It felt better out there today. I managed to run further up the first climb than I did on Tuesday and over all the pace was better. Add to the fact that I didn't feel quite so leaden. All in all a better run and I feel like things are starting to improve.

With all the wet weather and now the sun the woodland paths around here are really starting get overgrown. With that in mind I took my hand scythe out with me today - and I needed it. Cue lots of swishing as I cut a swath through the nettles and brambles. Suffice to say the paths through the Hobbs Quarry and Blaisdon wood are now much clearer.

Back home I hopped on the bike for an hour to finish off while watching the finish to the Olympic road race. I have to say the quality of the timing information was sadly lacking. If that's the best Omega can do we're in trouble for the athletics. It would have been much more exciting to monitor the size of the gaps between the groups of riders as things ebbed and flowed. Oh well, I suppose they did only have seven years to plan it... Perhaps they'll let ITV and the Tour de France production team run the show for the women's race tomorrow. Anyway, going to try and stick to the plan for tomorrow and run the Longhope Loop...

Today's run, 11km, 800ft ascent...

Friday, July 27, 2012

Working The Whole Week Through...

...from the office of all places. OK, not quite, I was out to meetings Tuesday but other than that...

I even managed to run three times this week. Admittedly very slowly but three times is three times. Tonight I put in an hour on the bike in preparation for having a go at tomorrow's Park Run. I'm not going to take it too seriously and I'll start at the rear - ssh, ooh, no, matron. I want to use it as a training aid in order to force the pace a little. There's no way I'm going to run quickly but if I feel like I'm in a race I won't pootle as much I did Sunday and Tuesday.

On Sunday I am hoping to start increasing the mileage. I'm nowhere near ready for a long run but I need to get a handle on things. I'm thinking maybe the abbreviated Longhope Three Peaks loop. At 11-12km it should be doable and hopefully it will be a bit cooler by Sunday - not that I'm complaining about the weather. I'd rather have a bit of summer than back to the monsoon season already...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Delayed A Day

Yesterday's lunch run didn't happen - so we did it today instead. Martin and I headed out for the Malago loop rather than the Dundry loop - mainly on account of the fact that there was sod all chance I would get over the top without stopping - not to mention an outside chance of cardiac arrest.

Anyway, we set out just after midday - why is lunch break scheduled for that bloody stupid time of day? It was so hot out there the roads were melting!

It all started very slowly and I managed, with great effort, to get slower and slower over the course of the next thirty minutes. The inclines, and they really aren't much on the Malago loop, reduced me to a crawl but I didn't stop. Martin kept himself just ahead, his silky smooth running goading me to keep forcing things along as best I could - the sod. If he'd gone on like normal I could've taken a short cut on the way back and ended the agony sooner. As it was he made me run the full loop and, by the finish, I was totally disconbobulated.

I am glad he forced me round though. The achievement of completing the full loop - and still being alive - gave me a good feeling. We were round in 33:30 which compares to a fast time of around 31:00. I was quite surprised to be as quick as that really but I can see I have a long long road ahead of me...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Another Run...

and an hour on the bike. It was sweltering out there and I didst sweat most profusely. Drip drip drip. Not nice. I reckon I need about an hour to cool down.

Anyway, after work I hoped aboard the bike for an hour as I caught up on the days news - as you do. Then, giving myself a fifteen minute breather, I headed out for my 5k Hobbs Quarry loop. Like Sunday's run, it takes in a total of about 400ft of ascent - and like Sunday I had to stop on the steepest bit, the sun beating down on my back as I struggled.

Under the cover of the woods, the heat wasn't so invasive and it was quite pleasant running - apart from the millions of flies. After a loop of the Quarry it was back into the heat for the final dash back home - although the use of the word dash might be reportable under the trades description act.

I'm pleased with myself for getting out there but it's quite disheartening to feel - and actually be - so sluggish. It really can only get better. Hopefully Martin and I can get out for a lunch run tomorrow although I don't think I'll be capable of the Dundry loop...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Can't Believe My Legs

My quads feel so achy after what was a pitiful run yesterday. It's not like I'm hobbling but they feel like I ran a solidly paced 15 miles - not a pootled 5k. Quite shocked really. I didn't expect to have any aches. I have a feeling it's going to be a long and winding road...

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Kingdom For A Run

Finally, thirteen days after having last run - some might dispute that said last 'run' was little more than a walk at the Saunders - I got out for a run. It was fairly pitiful though. Scratch that, it was totally pitiful. I had to stop on a couple of inclines that I normally cruise. That said it was quite a hilly route - then again, it's hard not to be at least a little hilly round here - but it wasn't very long, just over 5k (and 350ft ascent). It took me half an hour - boo. Pitiful but I've got to start somewhere.

I really need to just get out there day after day, little and often until I build the mileage back up. I really felt the slowest and most unfit that I've been since I started running ten years ago. Mustn't be too hard on myself but it really has to get a lot better. As I am now I can't even entertain the Brecon Beacons race or the Black Mountains. I've got time if I work hard.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Full Hour

Feeling much better today. I managed to get out into the garden to cut the grass. It almost felt like summer so I took the opportunity to sit out on the decking for a while. Then I headed in for an hour on the bike. Despite the relatively low setting I felt pretty tired after an hour but I think I'm just about ready to resume running...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thirty Minutes

I actually managed thirty minutes on the bike. Can't say I felt particularly energetic but it wasn't as bad as I thought it might have been. Still not one hundred percent but I think the antibiotics have finally kicked in and are doing there stuff. Maybe I'll be fit to run Waun Fach tomorrow, after all - just kidding. There is no chance of that. For the next few weeks it's going to be about getting some semblance of fitness back.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Well, having made it to work Tuesday, I had a bit of relapse overnight. By the morning I was back to square one - bugger. In response to that, the results finally came back from the docs - so they didn't get lost after all, they just sent them on the slow boat to China and back - I have been infected with the campylobacter bacteria. Cue antibiotics to hopefully mop things up.

I'm feeling better again today. In myself I feel normal but my appetite is still low and I'm conscious of needing to plan my trips out carefully - if you get my drift. Am hoping the antibiotics will kick in quickly and turn things around because I am stir crazy.

Not sure how to plan the resumption of training. I'm going to put together a schedule on the assumption that I am going to have lost lots of fitness and that I'll have to build from very low mileage up. Hopefully my fitness will come back quite quickly but I'm not going to stress overly. I'll be back when I'm back and enjoy the journey as it unfolds.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You Don't Know What You've Got Till It's Gone

It's true. You can't appreciate the joy of the fart unless there is no fear of the follow through. Hopefully it won't be gone forever. I feel much better today and even made the drive to work. Still haven't had the results of what it was exactly I had but as I appear on the cusp of being over it, it seems fairly meaningless now anyway. Maybe in a couple of days I will be once again be parping without trepidation...

Provided I have another good night I'm off for a walk on a small section of the Cotswold Way with a pub lunch. Going to take it very easy and lunch will be a very light bite. The fresh air should do me good. Depending on how things go I'll be cogitating on what to do and where to go on Thursday and Friday.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Back To Work...

Well, sort of. I didn't actually get out of the house but I did work. It was another bad night after feeling pretty hopeful of getting into work before hand. I even set my alarm for normal time but after being up and down all night - stop it - I couldn't risk the journey to the office. What makes things worse is that the results aren't back from the doctors and as they were taken on Thursday I'm suspecting the incompetent tits have lost them, meaning I'll have to start the process again and it'll be another bloody week before I can get on the right anti-biotic - cue grumpy mode. By then I'll probably either be dead or over it. I'll apologise tomorrow if, by some miracle, the results show up but I don't have any faith. Getting right fed up now. Enough is enough. I'm going to be so feeble if I ever get to running again...

On a happier a note, I can at least cheer myself up by reading about the traffic chaos that is about to ensue in London. I'm looking forward to the public transport collapse almost as much as the athletics...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

No Racing For Me

Another fitful night's sleep but better than it has been - I only had to get up three times last night - result. After a few false starts, I do actually feel better today than in the preceding four days. That's not to say I feel ready for action. I've spent most of the day lounging around the house but have at least made it out to the shop for additional supplies.

I'm gutted I wasn't able to take part in the first of the Brecan-Fans races today but I don't think I'll be racing for at least a week. I'll be happy when I can get out training again - or even feel well enough for a slow jog. About the only positive is that I have lost a few pounds - oh, yeah, and the weather has been been pants, so I've not missed anything.

Looking forward to my first night of unbroken sleep...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Not On The Up

Having been kept awake half the night I took myself off to the doc this morning. He asked me for a stool sample. I said, I'm not much good at carpentry - boom, boom.

Overall I'm about where I was yesterday. I am desperately tired and there is no way I can do any sort of training so the dip in form is going to continue. There is now no chance of running the Brecan Fans weekend and the chances of getting away on my mini break next week are fading fast. This being house bound malarky is driving me crazy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

On The Up

Feeling more human today, having spent most of yesterday in bed with stomach cramps. I felt pretty damn rough yesterday. Definitely not my best ever day. At the moment I have a bit of appetite back. I just hope I don't have another terrible night. Hopefully I will be almost back to normal by tomorrow. I really need to get back into the office as the paper work must be mounting up.

Looking towards the weekend, I'm not sure how sensible it will be to attempt the Brecon-fans double. Even feeling a bit better today, as I do, I wonder if I should race even one of them. After all, I have three days holiday booked next week and I want to be fit and healthy to head north for some relaxation and running in the hills. I won't be able to do that unless I am feeling one hundred percent. There'll be no point wasting the holiday. Guess I'll wait and see how things go over the next couple of days.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Condition Red

It's official, Man Flu has been elevated to the status of Man Plague. Condition critical...

Shoot me.

Recurring Nightmare

I had a terrible night's sleep. I kept getting this recurring nightmare that someone is telling me to 'run this bit'... Seriously though, I do feel a little off today. A very distant nausea sitting there in the background. That and the feeling of exhaustion and as the day has gone on I now feel a little chilly with just a small portion of the shivers thrown in for good measure. To top that off, my lie in this morning was very rudely interrupted by munching, crunching and slurping sounds coming from under the bed. To which I discovered the cat halfway through eating a bloody rabbit - totally gross. She seems to like the taste of rabbit - although from the looks of it, she doesn't like the ears. Well there was no going back to bed after clearing that mess up. Thin ice I tells ya, the cat is on thin ice...

Back to the running, I've plotted, as best I can, our route from the weekends Saunders. As you can see it turns out we ran a fair amount more than the course description's 48km, weighing in at a healthy 60km in total (37miles). This isn't altogether surprising because I'm pretty sure the course planner maps it straight point to point.

Altitude wise we weren't far off the planners estimate with day one bang on while we appear to have added an extra 400m on day two. Could have done without that but I don't see how we could have reduced it without taking a stupidly long route to control 4. A mystery I tells ya. My estimate on the total ascent over the two days is 3,400m (11,200feet).

It's not just about the stats though. The terrain was so rough in places that walking was difficult, running impossible - come on Dave, we can run this bit - grrrh. Boggy sections. Rocky sections. Tussocky sections. You name, it we crossed it. With terrain like that and the stats as they were it's not surprising I feel absolutely shattered today.

Day 1 - 34km (21mi) and  2,080m (6,800ft) of ascent

Day 2 - 26km (16mi) and  1,300m (4,400ft) of ascent

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Come On Dave, We Can Run This Bit

No, Matthew, we sodding can't. It's not going to be a long post tonight as I am totally knackered - courtesy partly of the Saunders Mountain Marathon, set in the Lake District, and partly because of the evil, underworld slave master known to some as 'The Lawson' - the most feared of all the demonic forces. Not sure I will ever run again.

There is something uniquely tough about the mountain marathon. There is going for hike in the mountains. There is going for a run in the mountains. There's even racing there. And there is the mountain marathon. A uniquely stupid event whereby those, devoid of sense or reason decide to traverse the un-traversable terrain all across the mountains in the name of fun.

'The Lawson' and I ran the hardest class of the Saunders, Scafell class - other than the solo class, the Klets. This being my second mountain marathon I had no choice but to plump for the hardest. Over the two days we covered around 50km and 3000m of ascent, covering some very rough terrain. The midway camp at the end of day one, in the middle of nowhere, was fun - once I had recovered the ability to walk.
Anyway, we finished in seventh place - not as grand as it sounds as the forecasted terrible weather had scared off half the Scafell teams - but our time for the two days was 12hr 49mins (or there abouts) which would probably only have dropped down us a couple of places in a full field. Overall, me and 'The Lawson' worked well together. We seemed to come to the same navigational choices - which were pretty close to the course organisers route. Where we differed was our fitness levels - I've turned to lard - and he hasn't - that and the fact I think he wanted to kill me. Forcing me to run when ever possible. On a couple of occasions he very nearly summoned the Hulk - but that is a story for another day...

Friday, July 06, 2012

As Set As I'm Gonna Be

The final weight of my rucksack, everything in, including food is, wait for it, wait for it, 5.6kg. I'm happy with that and it feels quite balanced. I think I have everything I need - but if I don't it's too late now as I'm heading out the door. Not looking forward to the 250 mile drive north but that's life. For every pleasure there must be pain to retain the balance - although, to be fair, with the weather the way it is, the drive up might turn out to be the pleasurable bit!

Matt L and I are entered in the Scafell class - well, if your paying hard cash to run you might as well get your money's worth and I have a feeling we could be out there quite a while. It sure is going to test the navigational skills to the limit but worse case scenario is that we come 22nd. Anything inside the top fifty in my book is a good one.

Smoke me a kipper I'll be back late Sunday...

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Kit Packed

Well almost. I've checked it all fits. It does but it's a squeeze. Total weight is going to be in the region 14lbs or 6.4kg for those working in SI units!!! Can't see how I can get it any lighter. I've pretty much included only the compulsory kit and most of that is close to being as light as it gets. Can't believe how bulky it all is. I can't squash the tent or sleeping bag down any smaller. The only other bits of kit I need to improve on is a lighter jacket and over-trousers but too be fair, they aren't exactly bulky or heavy as they stand. They have to be water proof so they're always going to have a bit of bulk to them.

I think I'm all set apart from working out exactly how many gels and bars to take. Been giving it deep thought but still haven't decided on quantities. Does one an hour for twelve hours on foot over the two days sound right? A couple extra for good measure? Still seems like a lot of extra weight. Definitely don't want to run empty though, that would be a disaster...

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Pre Flight Checks

I've been trying to work out just how the f*$% I was going to fit my Tera Nova Laser tent into my Innov-8 Race Elite 25L rucksack. It's length - stop it - was immense. Weren't never going to fit, I tells yer. Yes, it's light but far too long - I said stop it. Far too long, that is, until I realised the end poles broke down into two bits - doh, school boy error. In my defense it came in a long carry bag with those end poles pre configured and each time I've used it before I've had no reason to question. It's only when you come to pack it in to a small space you realise the problem. Anyway, it's all solved now.

I've got my kit list written. All the compulsory kit it present and correct. I've picked out my lightest kit out but worry if I should limit myself to the compulsory kit alone. Do I take an extra layer? It's looking likely the weather is going to be shit - but how cold will it be? Obviously I don't want to end up carrying extra baggage. The other conundrum is just how much food to take. I'm looking to gels and high energy bars for my main fuel but how many do I take? Each one is quite light but collectively could add up. It's going to be critical to keep fueled but I don't want to end up finishing with a bucket load left in the bag. I think I'll take more than I need and seek advice on how many to carry from my much more experienced peers - even the ones that can't follow way markers...

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Praying For A Break In The Weather For The Weekend

I fear it's going to be a bit of a wash out come the Saunders. Don't think I'll be taking my sun-block.

Been giving thought to what kit to take. Thinking compression kit as it's light and aids blood flow - plus it's light weight and doesn't hold water. Food-wise I'm going with SIS ISO Gels, High5 Energy bars, Dates and perpetum solids. For Sunday breakfast I'm going with instant porridge. Going to take some sesame bars as well as they have massive high calorie to weight ratio. The one lesson I've learnt over the last few years is not to run on empty so at the cost of carrying a bit of extra weight in the food department I'm not going to run on empty. On the plus side I have invested in the lightest weight tent and sleeping bag I could afford. I might not be the fittest I've ever been but I'm determined not to be as rubbish as I was in my last MM - the LAMM in 2010.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Holiday Season

Well it's four days till the Saunders Mountain Marathon with a day off either side. Come rain or shine I'm looking forward to the break from work. I need it. Out there in the mountains, however we go - that's me and the Lawsinator - it's going to be great to be away from it all. After that it's the Brecon Fans weekend of races and I am considering Vanetting up for the weekend rather than travelling out and back each day. Then - can there be more? - I've three days holiday booked, Wednesday through Friday, to go camp - but where? I'm thinking Snowdonia but maybe Peak District, don't think I'll head Lake District.

Sunday, July 01, 2012


of 81 and I was right with my initial thoughts on my time, 1:41:50 it was. Still, I'm happy with that. It'll give me something to smash next year - provided Chepstow let me have another crack at it, they might demote me to one of the easier legs...

On the plus side, at least I didn't get lost - unlike some. Which reminds me, I wonder how we're going to get on with the navigation at next week's Saunders Mountain Marathon - apparently there won't be any way markers to follow - not that some follow them even when there are...

As to the team results from yesterday's Cotwold Way Relay, I think Chepstow did brill. Our A team won the mixed (3rd overall!) and our B, C and D teams were 17th (7th/44 in the mixed), 61st (18th/19 men) and 77th (41st/44 mixed) out of 81 teams in total. Full results are available here,

My legs are fair aching today so I've rested up with an hour on the bike and a bit of gardening - well, the lawn doesn't mow itself and while the rain's at bay...