Friday, November 30, 2012

Epic Bloody Fail

With the van loaded last night I was all set for a day - and more importantly, a night out - in Bristol. I was well up for it. Cue battery failure this morning in the pre-dawn frost. Having risen sub six I was not happy. Not happy at all. It just wasn't happening and after a fruitless attempt to get the damn van fired into life I had to give it up. With the dream crushed there was nothing left to do but resort to the car for the drive to work, somewhat later than planned and thus ending all thoughts of great uncle boo's up in Bristol tonight.

To add insult to injury the drive home was a dis-bloody-aster. I was into Gloucester on schedule but then the fan was struck multiple times by a myriad of faecal matter. Volume of traffic due to the road closure from the flood caused everything to grind to a soul destroying halt. Nout anyone could do. Just had to suck it up. I was home seventy five minutes later than normal. I don't want to talk about it. It's been a very disappointing day. I want to weep a little. I was really looking forward to getting pissed as a fart - and then some...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Emperor's New Leggings

Yes, my left buttock is to be banished from sight once more with the arrival of my swanky new sub-zero compression leggings. Is that a sigh of relief I hear? There's nothing worse than buttock peep so we can all sleep a little more soundly now. Still hoping to repair the old pair but they'll never be the same.

Now to today and isn't it getting cold? Hark at me, but really, it is. After the floods comes the freeze and I'm not looking forward to it. I was out in the field today, so to speak, and will be for much of the rest of the year - and beyond. The 'field' I refer to is, of course, the many various sites I find myself working at not an actual field. By the end of play I could hardly feel my toes. Wasn't really that cold out but, stood in one place and not really moving much, the cold eventually found its way through the thermal layers. Managed a rather pathetic run this evening before I final conceeded defeat and headed in for a warm shower...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What The Hell Has Happened

It isn't raining? That can't be right, can it? Anyway, it was the Pomphrey Hill Sports 5k tonight - but I didn't run. I got away from work late-ish but got there in time to rig up the generator and light for the start/finish with minutes to spare...

It was good to see a few Chepstow Harriers out tonight - although some of them need to tune up on their time keeping skills, missing the start by almost a minute - glad I'm not the only who makes that particular school boy error...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Great Depression

It was only meant to be a small depression but after failing to find the bloody thing it turned into a great depression. It swept over me as I failed to locate control 23 - the last one - and supposedly in a small depression. To be fair I was fair given up by then anyway after failing so epically to find control 22. Up to that point I was actually having one of my best orienteers ever. But I'm getting ahead of things.

I decided to go long and hard - ooh matron - and set out on the brown course. There wasn't really much to report for controls 1 to 21. I maybe made a few less than optimum route choices but I used the features well. I'm really starting to relate all the subtle shades and markings to the features on the ground. I probably ran half the course without looking or needing the compass and just using the features. It was all going so well...

I was round to control 21 in 1 hour and 37 minutes. That only left 22 and 23 and no more than 500m to run... Cue operation right royal f$^% up. I don't think I could have possibly run it worse than I did. The rain had made ditches look like streams but that's no excuse and basically I lost it. Call me Mr Angry. If the course planner had popped out of the undergrowth at that point I think I'd have given him a Glasgow kiss. After having spent more than twenty minutes to dib out 22 I then spent another eight minutes on the final one. Angry? I was fuming.

What should have been no more than an hour and forty five turned into two hours and seven. That is my biggest orienteering failure to date. Out of the jaws of a reasonable run I snatched possibly my worst. And worse still I ripped my pants. My nice expensive compression leggings don't give so much compression in the arse area any more.

Trying to take away something positive from today's debacle I am at least starting to show signs of being an orienteer rather than just a navigator. Still waiting for my first ballsup free run...

Right, now where's the duct tape, I've me some compression leggings to repair...

And don't laugh too hard or you might get hurt - I, uh mean, you might hurt yourself...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

And The Flood Waters Continue To Rise

Will this bloody rain never cease? Forecast says no. Not looking forward to 12-16 hours straight rain with its estimated 25-30mm of rain fall. You know what, I think I'll go for a run - maybe not. I am hoping there's a break in the weather by midday tomorrow though. There's a spot of orienteering to be had over Cannop Ponds way.

I wouldn't be surprised if it gets cancelled but I hope it goes ahead. There's a 9km brown course on offer - ooh er, ssh, no, stop it. Could be pretty interesting conditions underfoot - or should that be underwater. I know the area a little but not as well as some parts of the forest. Fingers crossed...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Shit, I've Not Finished The Ark...

and this rain ain't stopping. Tonight's rain has run straight off the saturated fields and down the side of the house. So far everything is holding. The drains are taking the strain but I really don't want the rain to get any heavier. Suffice to say I shan't be going out tonight.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Soggy, Very Soggy

It's been a wet old day. This morning I opened the front door to the sound of rushing water and for a moment I feared... but venturing out into the darkness I realised it was just the storm drain doing its job. The brook was swollen, mind, but had another foot to rise before she was breached. What is normally a trickle was a three foot deep torrent - just as well I cleared it back last weekend.

Out on the roads it wasn't a much better picture. Heading to one of our remote sites there were a few dodgy moments. In the dark it's difficult to tell how deep the flooded sections were. Fortunately I was lucky. Heading home it was an ever worsening picture. I had to turn around three times where the road was totally flooded. I reckon I had to travel an extra twenty miles to get home. Not good but at least I made it. I'm hoping the rain isn't so bad tomorrow. I reckon the brook will subside but the field is sodden. More a marsh than a field just now. That won't soak away before tomorrow's forecasted rain. I think it'll be okay though...

On the upside I eased away the days stresses with my secret recipe macaroni cauliflower cheese with a chorizo twist. My top tip for a cracking cheese sauce... don't bother with that flour straight into melted butter technique, no pour in a third of the milk to the melted and then add the flour a bit at a time as you stir. End result no lumps and dead quick. Add the rest of the milk then the cheese. Job's a good 'un. Silky smooth sauce. The only downside? You don't get biceps like an Argentinian mud wrestler.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Not Going Out In This

I was rather hoping those bods down at the met office would have one of their more typical days. Sadly, it turns, out they were having an off day - they got the forecast correct. It's been peeing down all day and it still peeing down now. My spidey senses were tingling from the off. As day broke over Breakheart Hill with its red glow filling the morning I was afraid it might be the shepherds warning.

My legs are still sore but its mostly localised to the quads. I was going to loop through Flaxley for an easy 10k but not in this. More bike. Legs should be back to normal tomorrow but I who knows if I'll muster for anything.

I did manage to get out into the garden during a short gap in the rain to plant up some garlic in one of the raised beds. I also improved the cat anti-dump defense - so I shouldn't be reaping any unwanted kitty turds come harvest time. Then I just had time to stir up the compost heap to get some air in. Don't really know if it's the right time or even the right thing to do but it just seemed right to mix up the kitchen scraps with the green stuff. And then the rain came - again...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Coldest Day Of The Autumn So Far

Minus 2.6 degrees but the sun soon showed it's face - might have invented a new phrase for a drinking game there.. and it turned out to be a cracking day. Not many left this year I fear. Sadly my legs were not capable of taking advantage of such a nice day. They are wrecked but not as wrecked as I thought they'd be. I can actually walk - always a bonus. So I headed out into the garden and did a bit of tidying. Most of the leaves are down so it was an appropriate time to gather them all up to make some leaf mold. - whatever the hell that is! I finished off with a pathetically easy hour on the bike while the bread proved and the pasta dough chilled. Home made spaghetti with tuna and tomato sauce for tea...

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It Was Only A Slight Miscalculation...

Okay, I mucked it up big time. I was intending to run about twenty miles today. A reasonable increase from my recent longest run of about fifteen. However, marking up a twenty kilometre outward route followed by twenty kilometres back along the Cotswold Way does not, in any branch of mathematics I'm familiar with, equate to twenty miles. It does, in fact, equate to almost 25 miles. And, here's a top runners tip, when attempting a 25 miles run do not, under any circumstances, run the first half on a twenty mile pace schedule....

I set off from the Air Balloon car park, following the Cotswold Way south for about a mile before heading inland on a meandering route which finally met back up with the Cotswold way some twenty kilometres later at the Haresfield Beacon. It was as I approached the Beacon that it suddenly dawned on me that I wasn't actually going to be running twenty miles. All of five seconds after that, it struck me that I was going to be in a bit of pickle in an hour or two. My pace was too fast for the actual distance I was about to run.

And, as foretold in the prophecy, an hour or two later I was crawling. The miles seemed to stretch out to infinity (and a little beyond if the truth be told). I eventually made it back to the car some 4 hours and 35 minutes from whence I had started. I was, as they say in the trade, a little bit pooped.

On the plus side there was no sign of cramp and had I set off at a more sensible pace for the actual distance I ran I think I would have been pretty solid. All bodes well for being able to support, as promised, a friend whose going to run the entire Cotswold Way next weekend. I feel a lot more confident now.

In all I covered 40km with about 950m of ascent. All in all a good days training...

Friday, November 16, 2012

It Burns, It Burns

After what can only be described as a really pants drive home - a little fog and everyone seems to poo their pants. The motorway wasn't great but compared to Gloucester? No, I don't want to talk about it... Anyway, after the 2 hour journey - normally an hour and fifteen, yes, you heard correct, I won't speak of it again - I de-stressed by cooking up a tasty quorn kebab with a corking, ring-stinging, nose dripping chilli sauce served on a bed of lettuce, cucumber and onions. I definitely think it'll help with the runs tomorrow, er, I mean tomorrow's run. Still haven't entirely made my mind up where to run. Leaning towards exploring a bit more of the Cotswold Way on a section somewhere between Stroud and the Air Balloon roundabout.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Been A Bad Week For It..

I've been a lazy lazy sod. I managed a bike session tonight but other than it's been a really poor effort in what's been a funny old week and now that the end is fast approaching it's time to plan a nice run on the weekend. Do I go Beacons? Malverns? Cotswolds? It's a tough decision but someone's got to make it. What ever I decide I need to inch up the distance a little. Then of course, there's Monday's day off to consider. I am assured that the weather's going to be brilliant...

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's No Miles To Home

I've got vapours in the tank, no cigarettes (because I don't smoke), it is dark, mind, but I'm not wearing sunglasses, so that's okay, and nor can I be arsed to hit it.

In fact, I can't be bothered to hit anything tonight. Is that bad? Probably but there it is. Going to attempt a solo lunch run tomorrow. Will I have the will power? Probably not...

Well that was short and sweet.

I think I need an achievable target. Something to aim for without being too ambitious but enough of a challenge to fire me up...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Where Did That Come From?

I am, of course, talking about the sun. What a cracker of a day. I can't say I was out of the blocks early but I did eventually drag myself out from under the warm duvet - mainly due to Sherman, aka "the Tank", crashing around the bedroom chasing a toy mouse. I took that to mean feed me, feed me now or I wreck the place. Taking the hint I got up, fed the felines and set about the days chores. By midday I was done and headed out over May Hill. It really was a cracking day. The views stretched as far as the eye could see.

After a loverly - I spotted the typo, but as I'm a Bristol lad I thought I'd let it pass - warm shower it was into the kitchen to cook up a feast for the birds - sadly, I'm talking the feathered variety. I've been keeping various left overs to make lard cakes. So after a quick blitz in the processor I added the mix to melted lard - mmmm, lard - and potted it up with some string to hang from the trees. Got to look after the birds...

Finished off the afternoon with a quick dip in the stream. I was of course wearing my thigh length waders - ooh, matron. The vegetation was beginning to get a bit overgrown again and we don't want it flooding do we...

Friday, November 09, 2012

Darn Tootin' That Was Nasty

So cold. So very cold and so wet. So very very wet and windy. So very - you get the picture. It really was a bastard from start to finish. There was no let up for the entire 17km route and 725m ascent from Blaen-y-Glyn car park over to Lower Neuadd reservoir, up to the ridge and along to Pen-y-Fan. We missed out Cribyn and Fan-y-Big, skirting the summits rather climbing all the way up. I have to raise my hand and bow my head in shame for selecting the 'wimps' option on account of my legs were a bit trashed from yesterday. I say 'we', I was out with Ben G of Mynydd Du nee Dark Peak. Then it was along the ridge of a sort before dropping back down to the car park.

My hands were freezing by the time we got back. I could hardly operate the key to the car - a very tricky, technical feat I think you'll agree. Once I did manage it, I fired up the engine and set the heaters to stun - I mean hot. It wasn't the day to be standing around chatting. Dry clothes donned we didn't hang around and headed home.

It was nice to have some company on such a poor day. I think, had I been there by myself, I'd have wimped out. I only hope I wasn't too slow for Ben. He's a bit quicker than me. All in all it's another training run ticked off but my legs really are feeling it now. I have, however, managed to warm up so I can put up with a few aches.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

They've Gone And Changed The Route!

I decided to run a circular loop from Cleeve Hill south and east around to Seven Springs and then back along the Cotswold Way. And does Seven Springs actually have seven springs? They're not marked on the map. I digress. I set off steadily in cool conditions. It wasn't cold but it would have gone that way if I'd stopped for any length of time.

It wasn't a bad outward route although there were one or two occasions where the foot path wasn't obvious and I needed a bit of dilly dallying to pick it back up again. Then, with 1-2km to go to my turn around point I suddenly found myself running on the Cotswold Way! Hang on, I'm not there yet!

I carried on running because I was certain I knew where I was on the map and where I was wasn't where the Cotswold Way was - crinkey, the a lot of w's. Then once I got to my turn point is all became clear. They've gone and re-routed a small section between Seven Springs and Dowdeswell Reservoir.

So, not wanting to re-trace my steps I carried on along my planned route and picked up the CW after the re-routed section and from there it all became easy. Except it didn't as no sooner was I back running on the CW I bolloxed it up going past the reservoir. While admiring said reservoir - as any good reservoir spotter - I missed the obvious left turn before the woodland zone and followed the path along side the spill way, so hypnotised was I by the mass scrawl of graffiti, and ended up following a muddy path through the woods. I knew I'd gone wrong but couldn't be arsed to back track so I just piled through the forest back to the proper path. Now from there, it really did become easy - except I was beginning to tire but I made it back in one piece.

In all I covered just over 25k with 625m of ascent. With the navigation and the mud it was surprisingly hard work. Not sure how fit I'm going to be for tomorrow's Neuadd Res, Pen-y-fan, Cribyn, Fan-y-big loop starting and finishing at the Blaen-y-Glyn car park. At least with that route there are one or two escape routes to shorten it a little...

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What To Do, Where To Go?

Polite answers only please. Don't have the van at the moment - fingers crossed on the MOT - so where ever I go I won't have the luxury - or more appropriately, the relative luxury of being able to cook up something to warm up the cockles - ooh, matron - on what will most likely be another chilly day. I have to say I do fancy a day trip to the mountains. The forecast isn't too bad. Might have a pootle out from Tal-y-bont res...

That said I'm also tempted by another session with the Harriers - but that would almost be habit, twice in one week! I think it might even be curry night tomorrow as well, so doubly tempting... Perhaps I'll save the mountains for Friday...

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Led Astray By The Ladies

Those cake bake judges took things a little too seriously for my liking. Having said that, a few of the bakers went at it pretty full on. Fair play to the gold medalist. His cake was a master piece. It must have taken him the best part of a week to decorate. Puts my hour in the kitchen to shame. Still, I came joint third - with just about every other cake that wasn't first or second. Despite that defeat I reckon most of tonight's bakers would have had some difficulty creating a battenburg - not that I'm bitter.

Training was the highlight tonight though. It was good to grind out some hill reps. Short and sharp. Just the ticket. Each rep was about 130m with the jog back as recovery and straight into the next. There was a two minute recovery after the first six before another seven - as I can't count. So much easier to run in a group and by god was it a big group. There must have been 30+ out there.

Then a few of us finished off with a recovery jog back to the leisure centre. I felt right knackered by that 30 minute 6.3km cool down. Those ladies certainly know how to run. Leading me astray...

I enjoyed the training tonight. Definitely going to make more effort to get to training in the future...

Monday, November 05, 2012

Nothing More I Can Do Now

I've put down my utensils. The baking is over. Nothing more I can do now - other than bribe the judges - but that's not my style. I think I've done a passable job but have to admit the ol' battenburg is one tricky son of a bitch. I'm not the most practiced cake baker. I can count on one hand the number of cakes I've baked. It was more than just the baking though, it was the putting it altogether that was so bloody tricky. Pleased with the flavours. Overall I'm happy. And as my Nepalese Guru would say, there's no point in baking off - not a euphemism - if you aren't going to push the envelope of your ability just a little...

All I need to do now is remember to take my fluorescent jacket and running kit to work so I can go straight to training - oh, and take my cake, of course. It's been so long since I turned up for a Chepstow training session I almost can't remember what time it starts - it's 7pm, right?

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Shard

Is still in the foot. It ain't the best to walk on at the moment. Bike session it is but too be fair I'm not that disappointed as the whether is nasty. No snow just cold, drizzly nastiness. Going to have to wait the foot out a few days and see if it resolves itself. If not I'll have to go see the professionals - and I don't mean Bodie or Doyle.

Oh yeah, currently siting in 4th place overall in the orienteering. That's not saying much as most people haven't run both events. Expecting to be much lower by the end of the season but it would be nice if I can improve enough to keep inside the top ten. That's my target...

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Just Like El Cid

Only it wasn't so much an arrow as something spiky through the sole of my shoe and into my foot. Like El Cid I carried on. What ever it was, it snapped off leaving a tiny shard embedded in my foot. I didn't know what it was but it was painful. Did I stopped to take a look? Course not, I was in an orienteering race and I'm not namby pamby. I limped along for a few minutes before the endorphins kicked  in and the pained was numbed.

I had a pretty decent run out at the Trellech event. Blue route, of course. Started to navigate a bit more to the features and less to the compass but I still managed to really badly muck up control fourteen. Round and round I ran the rugged rocks beneath me. Eventually coming to my sense I picked out the fence corner and took a bearing in - now why didn't I do that first off? School boy error.

I'm jumping ahead. I started off okay. No overshoot today. I was into the zone quickly. Three wasn't ideal but I didn't lose much time despite the looping route I took. Eleven wasn't the best either. Sheeplike, I followed where there were a few others searching instead of actually looking at the bloody map. Once I did that I was in and away. I didn't fall for the same thing on twelve and got that one okay despite the quarry being a mite confusing. The final mistake was an overshoot to sixteen but didn't cost me too much time before completing in 1hr 21mins. I was in thirteenth at the time I finished but I expect to drop down the leader board a little. If only I hadn't mucked up 14 and hadn't dilly dallied on three and eleven... But then I expect everyone says that.

Well, I'm all done for today's training. I ran 4k to the event and with the painful foot, ran the return leg back to the Bigsweir Bridge. All in all a good days training. A might over 16k and 420m of ascent.

Off now to try and dig what ever it is that's in my foot, out...

Thursday, November 01, 2012

It's Gettin', It's Gettin', It's Gettin'...

Kinda chilly out there in the field. Not an actually field you understand, although it was pretty muddy. No, I'm talking out of the office and onto site. Standing still, working at an electrical panel, it was the first time this autumn that the cold started to creep into these old bones of mine. The sun was shinning outside - in the actual field - but inside it was definitely, what I like to call, proper cold. From here on in it's only going to get worse. I'm thinking of getting me some thermal long johns...

Tonight it was the turn of the exercise bike. Didn't have the energy for a run. Looking forward to the orienteering at Trelleck on Saturday though.