Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Nout But Work Today

It sure was a long one. I left home six thirty and finally got home with a few minutes to spare from nine pm. It was successful but long. The flag-ship cap-zone treatment works - the only one on the company - ran the full planned twelve hour shift plus an hour without a hitch. With things complete by eight we did not hang around long - and didn't need telling twice before getting the hell out of there.....

No time for training then. Still, it's not been a bad few days on that front over all. Can't grumble.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Third Race In Four Days

I was coaxed out and over to the LCL Road Race tonight. I can't say I ran the fastest I ever have but I tried as hard as ever I can. I decided to start towards the front, go out hard and hang on - and by the end I was really hanging on. It was a pleasant course but I didn't like the hill - especially second time round. Saying that, wasn't really much of a hill to a fell runner but then I don't feel much like a fell runner at the moment. I found it tough going on that second loop.

Anyway, I'm glad I was coaxed out to run. I actually enjoyed the pain of a 'relative' fast pace. According to Strava I clocked a PR mile, kilometre and half mile and 2nd fastest 5k all within the 8.3km race. That says more about how few road races I've recorded with the GPS while on Strava as opposed to actually running any faster of late. Still feeling the new found love of running....

Monday, July 29, 2013

So Lazy

Despite feeling pretty wrecked at the finish of the Seaview 17 I don't feel too achy today. It was bloody nice not to have to get up at six - so I got up at nine instead - result. That was earlier than planned and only to feed the damn cat who was squeaking at me for breakfast. Bloody women! If she hadn't bugged me I could have lay there all morning - and possibly into the afternoon....

Having got up I brewed a coffee and ate authentic muesli - Alpen is costly but good - while studying the route and stages for Chepstow's Offa's Dyke Relay. I'm not fit enough to run as much of it as previously planned - Sunday proved that. Instead I want to try and run 20-25 miles each day, split into a morning and afternoon session. For the rest of the day I generally pottered in the garden - between showers - and around the house, catching up on the chores.

The achilles is tight today but not sore. I put in a bike session while the rains poured. Tomorrow I want to get out for an easy hour on foot provided the achilles feels okay.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Oh Well, Not So Great

I'll cut to the chase, that was disappointing. I know I'm a little out of sorts fitness wise but come on, when has the Mad Runner ever struggled to raise his game on a double header weekend? This weekend, that's when - boo. God, I was rubbish.

I set off towards the front as if you start too far back you get well scuppered on the single file track. After about 2 miles I knew I was in for a battle. I struggled on even the lowliest of climbs. Not good. Not good at all. I quickly realised this was going to be about finishing the race to keep my record going rather than doing anything special. By the time I reached Porlock Weir I was really struggling. As I ran across the flats towards Bossington Hill I was all for jacking it in. The only thing which stopped me calling it a day is my record of never not finishing a race I've started. I was struggling but by god I was going to get to the end - even if it was going to kill me.

The climb up Bossington Hill was awful. I was grinding ever so slowly to a halt but I eventually reached the summit. All I could think about on the run across the top was, shit, there's still 10k to go. I was dieing on my feet but fortuntely no one came past - until I hit the sea front... As I stuggled along the front a couple of runners came past. There was to be no hanging on to get them back.

To put the icing of an already poor run, as I ran up Seaview - that's the name of the final road- the bloody train crossing barriers came down. There I was, stood, helpless but unable to go any further for an agonising two minutes. As I stood there twiddling my fingers a runner turned the corner and into view behind. I was urging the barriers to lift... and they did while there was still enough gap between me and him to see me home.

Never has buffet lunch been more welcome and the shower was heavenly. With my left achilles feeling sore I decided to call it a day on the camping and came home. It was a really draining race and I'm not going to be capable of much tomorrow. The achilles will probably be fine as I've not really ever been prone to problems on that front but it would be a pisser to have stayed down and then not been able to do anything. Anyway, I had a quick 30 minute nap before making the drive home, fully ready, nee expecting to have to pull over at some point for another recovery nap but it wasn't needed and I finally arrived home safe and sound.

I've still got Monday and Tuesday off so I will see how I feel tomorrow before doing something...

Penny Fan, Nice Lass

This one is going out late on account of that old fashion lady called no reception in the back of beyond. To be fair I wasn't that far out the back, just a mile or two up the road from Dunster in Forestry Commission entrance. I thought being up high might help - fail. Anyway, to the race. The weather held and after a brief speech by the race president we set off. I followed the roman road towards Fan y Big for four fifths of its length before pulling off direct to the summit - ooh matron. My descent back down was pants. I had a stone in my shoe, making it really painful. As the coll neared it seemed to disappear. Happy days - or not. The ascent to Cribyn was okay. I'm not as strong climbing as once I was but held it together. The descent was a totally disaster. That stone hadn't gone and had worked its way into an even more painful position. With hindsight I should have stopped and got it out - but I didn't. A normally strong part of my game was a total flop. Suffice to say on the ascent of Pen y Fan I did stop and take the rock out of my shoe - a case of after the horse has bolted. Once to the summit of PyF it was just a case of keeping things together on the rocky sections of the ridge - which I did. I finished in 1hr 20minutes. I'm happy with that. After all I'm soon to head out on the 20miles of the Seaview 17 so I'll claim I saved a little bit for today. Okay that's a lie but only a small one...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Back In Love With Running

These last few years me and running kind of fell out of love. I never stopped but it felt more like a chore. That's not to say I've not enjoyed the racing but that's about all I have enjoyed. Anyway, these last couple of months I've started to feel differently about my running and I've started to enjoy my pootles through the countryside - and they really are just pootles. It's no longer feeling like a chore.

I spent the morning dilly dallying. I fixed the van windscreen washer pump this morning in preparation for my camping trip. Harvested the last of my potatoes and red onions and then spent the rest of the time sitting in the sun listening to the birds and animals go about their business.

This afternoon I went for a run. I decided to take the footpath that follows Longhope Brook at the end of Mill Lane. Haven't run there for ages - and I didn't get to run there today either! At the end of Mill Lane the footpath was roped off with a Highways notice stating that the footpath is closed! Apparently there was a landslide a year ago which has made it impassable and unsafe. Obviously to someone such as myself I could have no doubt got past without trouble but I obeyed the notice and went around another way.

Looks like it won't be back in action any time soon though. The notice says it's due for re-instatement by November 2013 but it all looked very overgrown so I'm thinking there hasn't been much action on the fixing it front. It's a shame because it was a nice little section under tree cover along by the brook. Anyway, I took the detour past the sewage works - that was pleasant - before re-joining the original route again. I continued along into Flaxley Woods and pootled home.... It was hot out there but never the less very enjoyable.

Going to cook up some of those potatoes from earlier. I'm thinking of doing tuna and tomato bake topped with sliced potato. It'll give me a chance to use some of my cherry tomatoes and basil...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Plan Set

So, I've the day off tomorrow. Going to do sod all but chill - apart from going for a run. Lovely jubbley. Saturday I'm going to run the new Pen-y-Fan horseshoe fell race - come rain or burning heat I'm not bottling this time... Then I'll be heading down to Minehead in the van ahead of the Seaview 17, Sunday. Monday I'll be heading out over Exmoor before heading home. The only slight hiccup to the plan is that I don't have the OS map of Exmoor. So Monday might be a bit random.....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dayous Horibilis

Been a bit pants these last 24 hours. Was on the phone to work till 1am this morning. Out to site this morning to fix things and then on the phone till gone 6 this evening. Not going to say anything further. Touching wood - no, you grubby bastards, not that. All that and now Friday ain't happening so I could have gone on holiday tomorrow after all. Might book Friday off - again - as one of my 15 days still left to take for an even longer long weekend and just do f*(% all. It's an option at this stage.

Still hopeing to head over to Trelleck tomorrow night. Be even better if I book Friday off... Looking forward to the Seaview 17 now. Going to just enjoy pootling along the coastal path. Might be a bit of rain according to the forecast but that's not a problem. I won't be taking my phone on the run - happy days.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Holiday Reboot

So, having cancelled my trip to the peak district on Thursday for the sake of colleagues, my plans are rebooted. I'm heading down to Minehead for the Seaview 17 on Sunday. I'm going to take the van and camp up Saturday night somewhere close. Going to stay over Sunday night and go for a run on Exmoor on Monday before making a late call on staying over again for another run Tuesday. That bit's not decided yet. Need to print off some maps and plan some routes....

As to Saturday, I've two choices. Either the Pen-y-Fan horse shoe and then the journey south or the journey south and a run in Exmoor... I guess I've until Friday night to decide - think I'll see how Friday goes....

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Revenge Against The Brambles

I headed back out to Flaxley Woods this morning. Armed with my trusty hand scythe it was time to take my revenge. Legs still smarting from all those cuts yesterday, I jogged up the gentle slope and entered the woods..

As I ran, I took aim at any big brambles, reaching forth from the undergrowth to block my path. Swish, take down. I ran the clockwise loop around the woods today and for the first time, found the lower eastern path through Hope Wood. I've seen it on the map just never found it on the ground so to speak. I know why I've never found it though, I always thought it was a little further north than it actually is - that probably makes no sense but I know what I mean. Anyway, looking round for brambles - as you do - I spotted the path and took it.

The path misses out a small amount of climb but is far more picturesque and pleasant to run than the main forestry path. More importantly it was beginning to get overgrown and I wasn't havin' any of that nonsense. Swish, swish, swish. Die bramble, die. It wasn't exactly quick running but it was good to know I'll be keeping the path clear for the future.

I was out there a fair old time considering I only ran about 6 miles but I was expending a lot of energy and much of it wasn't on the running. Eventually I reached the exit of the woods and headed home. I finished off the days training with an hour out and about on the bike. I didn't go fast but I enjoyed it. I only stayed local but it was good all the same.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cut To Ribbons...

I decided it was still too hot for me on the mountains and opted for another local run over some new footpaths. I ran through Flaxley Woods and tagged on a loop of Mugglewort Wood - and yes, that is where she got the name 'muggle' from in that famous series of books....

Then I headed through Blaisdon Wood following the lower, western path - what a monumental pile of chicken poop that route choice was. It was like a god damn jungle - and I didn't have a machete. Like a dick I bashed my way along for a bit, having found a stout, fallen branch and thinking it would ease up once back under the thicker, denser tree cover - it bloody didn't.

So anyway, I was committed and decided it would be quicker to go orienteering style and headed off the path and into the woods themselves. That helped but the wood was pretty dense so I didn't speed up that much. Still, it was good not to be getting slashed by the brambles, my legs already bleeding from multiple stab wounds..

I shortly ventured back to the path hoping it would be less overgrown - it was but not by as much as I'd hoped. After another twenty minutes of bashing and hacking at the vegetation, I finally broke free of Blaisdon Wood and continued on my way over Nottwood hill. The paths were less overgrown and it was good to be running again. I finally hit the Blaisdon road and after a few more minutes running along it, it was soon time to head back off road.

The route over to Ley Park was a new one to me and the run through the woods was pleasant although still a little overgrown in small patches - cue more bashing. After a loop of the woods I was all too soon heading homeward. Across a few more fields before finally reaching the road and the 2 miles home. Ahhhgggg, where the hell was the stile to get onto the road??? Overgrown and I mean totally overgrown with bramble and nettles six foot high! I'm not joking when I say it took me a good ten minutes to bash my way through. I even damaged my baton - ooh, matron - losing a good two feet off its length! If it had got any smaller I would have been in real trouble. Thankfully I got through with only a few more stings and cuts to add to the collection.

Never has a cold shower been more welcome. Apart from the cuts on my legs it wasn't a bad run and I got a good upper body work out into the deal. The only thing I need to be careful of is that I don't get any grass growing out of places that grass shouldn't grow out of. I was plastered in grass seed come the end. It was everywhere - and I mean everywhere....

In all I covered 13 miles and about 1,500 feet of ascent but in a very very slow time on account the jungle.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Another Long Day

and now it's a case of waiting for the call I don't want to receive. Still not sure whether to run Waun Fach or not. Not sure I can take the heat. I want to race it but then that part of me that says, 'stupid boy, you don't do hot' kicks in.... Late discision called for.

Well I've cancelled my holiday for next Thursday and Friday on account of operational requirements. Will anyone thank me? - that's a negative on that. Have re-booked for the Monday/Tuesday after but that's not quite so convenient and I think I need to change destination. With my entry for the Seaview 17 in for next Sunday I'm now looking to make it an Exmoor weekend break. Travel down Saturday. Race Sunday. Recovery run over Exmoor Monday and home Tuesday...

Anyway, my dinner of tuna pesto (homemade) pasta (not homemade) with fresh as you like tomatoes was nice.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Two Long Ones

But sadly not training runs. Got done over yesterday at work and didn't get home till gone 7pm, feeling very hot and tired. Today trumped that and I didn't get home till eight. Mind you, I did stop off for the twenty minute weekly shop but even so.... Still, I think I finally managed to put the ghost of Chelvey to rest - until the next thing goes wrong.....

Just feel so sapped. Typing this is a struggle. This heat is doing me in. I'm hoping to get home at a decent time tomorrow and get to training. Haven't looked what's on the Chepstow agenda. I'm just crossing my fingers things go my way.

Monday, July 15, 2013

I'm Sweating

and I'm not doing anything. I break wind, I start sweating. Woe is me in this humidity....

Anyway, I think I managed to bore my nephew half to death on his work experience today - don't worry though, only another four days... He might survive. Then again...

Chilled in the garden tonight and was rewarded with the sight of the first dragon fly of the season - or was it a damsel fly, I never know how to tell. On inspection of the pond I also saw the newt again - and no I'm not calling him Tiny..... I can, however, confirm that it is definitely a palmate newt or maybe a smooth newt or possibly a great crested - okay, it's not a great crested. Okay, so I don't actually have a clue. I'm pretty sure it's a newt though.

I think my finger tips are actually sweating as I type this......

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Top Day Of Chilling

Got a lot done but it was relaxing all the same. First up the morning coffee, and while it brewed in cafetiere I mixed up and kneaded a herb loaf, ready for baking a hour or two later. Then up, after the coffee drinking, was the ritual of the grass cutting - a regular ritual, that one. Then I whipped out my ladder - ooh, no, stop it - and proceeded to fix the guttering down pipe which fell off a few weeks ago due to a rotten wooden baton. Then I paid a visit to the garden centre for a few more large pots to plant out the rosemary and thyme. It's not all good though, the wild strawberries seem to be heading for a fail. They're well behind and not looking good.

My legs are feeling surprisingly achy considering I only ran 12 miles yesterday. I guess that's down to running in the heat. Anyway, I managed a 30 minute loop round the village this evening. The air temperature feels a lot cooler than yesterday but I was still damn melted by the end - doh. Closed out the day with a spot of barbecuing. Mmmmm, smokey - in a good, none burnt, way. I went with steak burgers, sweet corn, mustard glazed onions, roasted chillies and salad - didn't cook the salad on the barby.

I wasn't totally sure about cooking sweet corn on the barbecue but it was possibly the best bit! The smokey flavour with the sweetness of the corn, flippin' delicious. It was difficult to tell when they were cooked though. Using a combination of direct and indirect cooking on the Weber I managed to bring everything together at the right time. I wasn't totally sure the corn was cooked until that first bite - they were done perfic. I've a few more bought burgers to use up but after that I'm looking forward to making my own in a few weeks... And top barbecue tip from a novice, once you've cooked that last piece get out there with the scourer (non-metal), soap and water and give the grate the once over. Only take a few seconds but that quick once over heads off a whole world of pain - I mean cleaning - later. Motto of the day, clean it off while its fresh before it burns on good and proper. Okay, not that catchy...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Not Sure..

Which would have been easier. I ran 12 miles this morning, mostly under tree cover but it was still Hot with a capital H. I think the Pen-y-Fan race, at only five miles, might have been less sapping. Then again, maybe not. It would have been five miles in the full on sun to the top of Pen-y-Fan and back down again. There wouldn't have been many places to hide.

I was dripping by the time I got back in. Took me a good hour to cool off. Did the cool shower ever feel good though... oh yeah...

The grass needs cutting but I couldn't face it in this heat. I zonked late afternoon - ssh, no, stop it. Put my feet up on the sofa and had a power nap to recover. That gave me the energy to pull up my garlic. My bulbs aren't massive - ooh matron - but they were ready for harvest. Drying now so I've got week or two to get shot of the bloody wasps nest that's appeared in the shed - arrrse. Bloody wasps.

Congitating on tomorrow....

Friday, July 12, 2013

Ahhh, It's Friday

Been another stonkin' hot one. Mentally preparing for an even hotter one tomorrow. Still a little torn. Do I go run Pen-y-Fan? or something local and longer? The trip across is going to be 90 minutes of basting in my own juices. If I stay over then it's going to be an afternoon, evening and morning of sticky heat on top of the fact I will be a melted, sweaty bastard after having raced to the top of Pen-y-fan and back. Even if I head home after the race that'll be another 90 minging minutes. That all sounds a little uncomfortable. After a full week at work I think I might just stay local. I won't decide until tomorrow first thing. If I am home tomorrow evening then I'm thinking it'll be a fine night for firing up the barbecue again.... looking out a tasty marinade for those steak burgers

Sitting out front tonight taking in the view and listening to the birds and wildlife - the sheep are quieter tonight. I think they got the message when I pinned the charcoal bag to the gate...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Was It Really Any Cooler Today?

Well they said it was cooler but I wasn't feeling it. Still melting temperatures for running. Managed another thirty minutes out there this evening. The best bit was most definitely the cool shower afterwards. That almost makes it worth it..

Tomorrow is supposed to be a little cooler before things crank up for the weekend. I'm hoping to get over to Brockworth for training tomorrow night. I should be okay time-wise from work. After that I need to run a long one on the weekend but not sure I can cope with the expected heat. I might default back to the Pen-y-Fan race on Saturday and then the Fan-y-Big race on Sunday. I might even be tempted to take the van and camp overnight to save a hundred miles.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Yesterday Repeating Itself

Scorchio! I went with a repeat of yesterday's training. An hour on the bike watching the tennis - quite exciting - and then a melting run in the early evening. I was even more melted than yesterday by the end. Scorchio, too scorchio...

Popped over to Gloucester this morning to pick myself up a Weber from a branch of a well known national chain of diy stores. Coming highly recommended by friends I decided to stump the cash for the quality barbecue that is the Weber. It should last years... Sadly it was barbecue for one this evening. Felt a bit wrong to be going to all the trouble for a bbq for one but what the heck. I had premium steak burgers served with a side of fresh potatoes, onion and peppers cooked in a foil parcel and salad with the first tomatoes of the season. I used the indirect method - ooh, matron. Had to think on my feet though. Got done over on the charcoal front. So many small pieces that would have just fallen through the grate. Cue heath robinson and five minutes later I had a much finer grate ready for action. There were no problems on ignition, the tower starter thing was brilliant. Light a few pieces of newspaper in the bottom and boosh, five minutes later it was flamin'. Ten after that it was cook time and on with the foil parcel, twenty later on with the burgers, twenty more and it was eatin' time. Have to say that despite the small charcoal pieces the flamee taste it imparted was good. Mental note, use a bit less charcoal next time, it could be burning all night. Might have to make my own burgers next time...

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Changed The Plan

I realised pretty early on that it was going to be too hot for a long run - at least for me. I really struggle when it's hot. So instead I stayed in the shade and put in an hour on the bike. Then in the early evening I did a thirty minute run around the village up through Hobbs Quarry, generally keeping to the tree cover. Even so, I was melting by the time I got back.

Before all that activity I headed into the garden to harvest the first of my earlies. And boy what a bumper crop! I had way to many to use myself so gave some away to my neighbours. Even just doing that brought me out in a sweat - the harvesting not giving them to the neighbours. Unbelievable.

Anyway, I was rewarded with a return of favour with some fresh strawberries and a cauliflower. You beauty. Suffice to say dinner is about as fresh as it gets. I've gone with an experimental potato, chorizo, chilli, quiche, cheese bake thing followed by some of those fresh strawberries in balsamic vinegar. The bake is on as I type so I can't take too long on this.

Well anyway, my weather station registered a peak temperature of 29 degrees so I think it was a good call to change the plan. I'm certain I would have suffered on a long run in this heat. Apparently tomorrow is due to be even hotter! Think I'll enjoy the sun while we've got it though, dinner outside...

Friday, July 05, 2013

Let's Face It, There's Going To Be A Lie In Going Down Tomorrow...

That's like my longest blog post title ever but surprisingly accurate. It's going to be a legen - wait for it, wait for it - dary lie in. Oh, yeah.

I can't be thinking about training tonight. I'll wait till after the lie in tomorrow to decide what to do and where to run. I'll have all day to come up with something....

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Not A Bad Trot

That's Tintern Trot to you. I reckon I was around 60th in 46 minutes. Okay, that's a long way off 14th from two years ago but then I am a bit rubbish these days... Still I'm happy with my run. I paced it well. I started in the middle order and despite it being like on the start line of the London Marathon, stop, start, stop, start, things soon spaced out. I think it helped me really as it made me run within myself. The first, flat section seems to go on forever and I steadily picked up places - without being over taken too many times. I actually enjoyed the stead climb back and up towards Offa's Dyke. I ran quite strong and gained more positions. I walked the last steep section as I'd have just expended lots of energy for little real gain.

Once on top I pushed along. To be fair to those just in front I was expecting to gain more places than I did. I like the rough, twisty section - and apparantly most of them did too! I charged down the steep section but by then the runners were quite spread out so I didn't gain much. Along the final section back up into the woods I ran quite strongly but still got caught by one runner - wasn't expecting that, so fair play.

I was a little disappointed to have to switch on the after burners for a last gasp 50m sprint. With 250m to go there was no way I could pick the guy ahead so I just cruised in, okay not exactly cruised, but I wasn't pushing. Then all of sudden, crossing the bridge, in sight of the finish, a runner had the cheek to try and over take. I wasn't having that. Mind, you I didn't want to use the after burners, but I don't do losing a place inside 100m. I hit the switch and fire through the finish - and then promptly threw up - nice...

Well done Chepstow. Another fine race and well done to everyone who marshalled etc. I think they had over 200 runners entered which I think might be a record - but don't quote me..

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Is It Really Wednesday

Already? Heck! Anyway, I managed a bit of jog tonight. I want to save myself for tomorrow's Tintern Trot - I am so NOT going to kick ass it's going to be legend - wait for it - ary. In fact, thinking of that slog along the old railway path... the long, meandering climb.... the steeper climb... the run along the top - I like that bit - the sharp descent... the final slog, slightly climbing... before the sharp descent and run in... hum, I'm not actually sure why I want to go run it!.........

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Went A Bit Wrong

Work didn't go quite to plan and so I missed getting down to Chepstow. Oh well, there's always a lunch time run tomorrow and the Tintern Trot on Thursday...

Monday, July 01, 2013

Not Quite The Full Rest Day I Was Hoping For...

The phone went off at 6:13am this morning. Duty bound, as I am, I called back - as by the time I'd woken and got over to the phone they'd rung off. My colleague got the problem sorted but by then it was gone eight. Back to the rest day I didn't feel tired anymore so I set about a bit of gardeny stuff. Potting on the sage plant into its planter and planting out a 'plant' - don't ask me what it is - into an empty spot in the front border. Then it was over to the sofa for a spot of looking at the inside of my eyelids... I got in an hour before the postie woke me. Grrrrrr.

Next up, I went for a 45 minute jog around Flaxley wood before heading into the kitchen to make an Irish soda 'cake'. I used eggs and butter and that makes it a soda 'cake' and not bread - apparently. Finished the day with a firery hot tuna pesto pasta. I used the walnut pesto today and accompanied it with a glass of red - back of the net. I think I might be looking at the inside of my eyelids very shortly.

Tomorrow I'm hoping to get across to Chepstow to continue my running resurgence. Up Thursday should be the Tintern Trot....