Saturday, August 31, 2013

Took My Eye Off The Ball....

Again! I was going okay at the Ninewells orienteering until I bumped into a certain chap. I kind of switched off for a few minutes, made a bad call and from that point, subconsciously, I gave up trying. It's not normally like me to give up but I didn't really see it as a race in the true sense. For me it was another spot of training. Up to the point I dropped the ball I was naving quite well. I was into most of the controls quite accurately. So on that front I was pleased.

It was a score event today with minus points for every minute not back inside the hour. I was back with five minutes to spare but couldn't be arsed to go collect the three controls within a few hundred metres of the finish. I had plenty of time to get them I just couldn't be bothered.

On the plus side my achilles seems okay, it felt a little tight on the jog back to the car but overall I'm pleased. On a few on the longer controls I pushed the pace - as far as me and pushing the pace go - and everything was okay. Should be fine for the main feature of the weekend, the Four Fans Fantastical Festival Fell Race. A brutal challenge of strength, endurance and navigation in the mist or a stroll in the late summer sunshine as it looks like being. I say again, boo.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Well The News?

The achilles feels okay - which is nice. I went for an easy run and despite sweating like a b*$tard - I don't why - there was no tightness. Should be good to go for the Nine Wells orienteering tomorrow but more importantly the Four Fans Sunday. The weather is not looking good though. It looks like there will be no mist or low cloud - boo.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Where The F&(% Did That Come From?

What a waste of time that was. I had my route planned. Night stop over picked and I was ready to go. That, of course, was yesterday. Today I awoke to find my left achilles sore. Where did that come from? An under-use injury? Certainly can't be an over-use one... Disappointing. But you've got to make the best of these things. I really want to run Sunday's Four Fans Race so I am not going to wreck things now. It's a worry though. (I've saved the routes for another day).

I went for a short ride this morning just because it was such a bloody nice day. This afternoon I went for a very steady jog through Flaxley Wood. My achilles felt tight the whole way. Can't get my head around why the damn achilles is playing up. I'm inclined to cut my leg off - that would definitely solve it.... (Joking).

Hopefully normal service will be resumed tomorrow. There's gonna be trouble if my achilles doesn't feel better.....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

And That's A Wrap...

Stop what you're doing. Put down your tools. The working time is over.....

I still haven't decided what I'm doing tomorrow. The one thing that's certain beyond doubt is that I won't be going to work. The west Black Mountains still lure me and the forecast looks okay. The only slight question mark is that I'll be back there Sunday for the Fantastic Four Fans Fell Fiesta - it's not really called that, I just got carried away with all the Fs....

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Two Days Off The Pace

Well it's been two days away from running but I'm not unduly worried that I've lost the faith. Not sure I'm going to muster for much tomorrow either. It's going to be a long one at work me thinks.... Still, there's always Thursday and Friday. Did I mention, it's my last day of the week tomorrow - result. I'm thinking of going for a two day wild camp Thursday/Friday over in the west Black Mountains. Possibly with a partial recce of the Four Fans again but heading further west, night stop over and then heading back with more recce of the FF at the end. Looking to go 20-25 miles a day with full pack. Is it just me or does that sound like not the most relaxing break in the world ever? I'm thinking Carlsburg probably isn't going to be involved in the planning....

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Back To The Old Hunting Ground

Had myself a thoroughly bloody enjoyable run this morning with Rick back on my old stomping grounds of Ashton Court and Leigh Woods. It wasn't like we were going rocket speed or anything but the pace was strong enough that I knew I was running. Running solo you get used to plodding along. Running in a pack - albeit a small pack - there's more urgency to things. It wasn't a race. It was even a tempo run but you do push that little but more. You don't ease back on the hills so much. In every way you work a little harded and it was just what the doctor ordered.

We ran through Leigh Woods and eventually ended up on the tow path before heading straight back up and towards the A369. A trio of fairly hard core mountain bikers came past just before the path turns steeper. To Rick, that was like a red rag to a bull and he climbed strongly, comfortably hanging on to the tail of the last biker. Me? Well I lost a few metres but despite that I managed a decent effort.

From there we headed around Abbots Pool before the final climb back up and into Ashton Court. A lap of the top field, with just over 10k registering on the watch we reached the sanctuary of the top car park. It was good to catch up and I really must get back down there more often. A few sessions like that would definitely help the old me return. I might even try and plan in a trip south to Bristol once a month...

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Never Going To Be A Great Day When.....

There's a fault with your sewage pump - not a euphemism - and you have to delve into the depths of the 'waste' sump..... mmmmm, lovely. Thankfully it wasn't a major fault, quickly fixed but I had to wash my hands half a dozen times before I was happy they were properly clean!

Anyway, to more important matters, I royally screwed up today's orienteering over at Cranham. I got off to a steady start, navigating myself around the first 9 controls reasonably efficiently, using the map well to steer myself around the course. It wasn't the easiest terrain though. Whether it was just down to my poor route choice but I found that on certain bits the only sensible way to a control was to go through some of the denser woodland areas. It was that or a long way around. Maybe it was just me.

It all went wrong on the way to ten. In truth it was my own fault. It was a long traverse and the obvious way was to the follow the footpaths... I took my eye off the ball - or more accurately, the map. The organisers notes on the website made it clear that some of the paths shown on the map might not exist in quite the way appear on the map and that some new paths wouldn't show on the map at all. With that knowledge I should have stuck to closely monitoring the map - but I didn't. By the time I realised I wasn't where I thought I would be I was a little lost and had to follow a bearing to pick up an obvious feature. That lost me much time. Eventually to ten I rushed off towards 11. I should really have taken my time and regrouped but I didn't. With my ability to map read temporarily deserting me I did, what some might consider, a bloody good impression of a headless chicken - what a nob. Anyway, after almost deciding to jack it in I finally found eleven and from there to the finish the route was pretty much all obvious paths.

Despite it being a total disaster it was definitely worth going. Hopefully I will learn from the lesson and the cob webs have definitely been blown away ahead of the start of the season in a few weeks time.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Trouble With...

Taking a couple of days off work? You get to do five days work in only three afterwards. To say I've been a little busy at work is a slight understatement. I've practically been to the five corners of the empire since Wednesday. Almost not looking forward to next week's two day week.... I did say 'almost'....

Was raining heavy by the time I got home and I couldn't face it. I know I should have but I didn't. An hour indoors on the bike instead and now it's rest time. Not sure what's up tomorrow. I quite the idea of orienteering but we're still on the summer 'training' fixtures. The league doesn't start till next month. Still quite fancy it though and I could make a bit of a longer run out of it. It's over at Cranham in the Cotswolds so I could run a stretch of the CW there and back. Looks like being a wet one though...

Might see if my old crew - oooh, ganster stylee, jeez what kind of sad do I sound? - retorical, don't answer. Digressing, I might see if anyone is running from Ashton Court on Sunday morning as I'm down to Bristol for lunch. And Monday? Too far into the future... Looking even further forward I need to plan something for next Thursday and Friday. If the plan is anything like the weather forecast that far ahead, reality will be totally different to the plan....

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Strava 5k PB

You gotta laugh. Almost certainly set on the long downhill stretch last night although the long downhill wasn't 5k by any means so there must have been some ups in amongst it. Still, it's pretty sad how bad my Strava times are. If ever there was a focus to get a little quicker its the challenge of getting a descent 5k time on the books. Worse still than having a really sh1t set of PBs on Strava is the fact I flippin' missed the first of the new series of the GB Bake Off - aaaahhhhhh. Thank the lord for iPlayer......

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Trelleck Twenty

It was the final LCL Road Race of the season this evening over at Trelleck and it was my fastest. Okay, not technically the fastest as they are all varying distance but I equalled the pace of the previous one and this one was a mile longer. I completed the very undulating 9.9km in 43:22. A time that I known I can lower significantly if I can knuckle down and get some sort of training habit going. I think I've improved a little during the season just by getting out there for four of the five races. Now if I could tag on some actual training that would be all the better.

I started the evening off with a slowly jogged 5km up to Trelleck from the Bigsweir Bridge. I took it very steady to save myself for the race. After the race, with my magic-shine shining bright - but not like a diamond - I jogged the 5km back down to the car.

Been a tiring end to an other wise restful couple of days. I pretty much did sod all Monday but got on with a load of spring cleaning and tidying the garden today culminating in a trip to recycling centre. I think my batteries might actually have a bit of charge in them. All set to get back to the daily grind tomorrow - booo.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Silt Busting

Well that was damn hard, back breaking work. Although not strictly a riparian owner, if I don't keep the brook clear it's going to be me who pays the price when the great floods come... Okay, so it's not exactly a brook but the waters do flow for ten months of the year, only drying to a boggy channel during the hottest periods of the year. It's source, 'The' source of the River Napping - as I don't ever refer to it, and is completely made up - is the run off from the fields, 100m away. It never actually dries up completely though. It is however, a fertile oasis and becomes overgrown at the end of every summer.

Today was the day I got stuck in and cleared that bad boy and this year I decided I needed to dredge the level a little. The last few years have seen the silt levels increase quite a bit. Shifting half a tonne of heavy silt was blinking hard work. It looks quite tidy now though and won't need much more work before it'll be sufficiently clear to cope with the rains that winter will deliver.

It was sweaty work. Down in the jungle of overgrown plants. With humidity close to one hundred percent. I was dripping within the hour. My shirt soaking. Wiping the sweat from my eyes, I did not tire from the task. Well, okay, I didn't tire for another hour. Was a good job done though - if not entirely conducive of a weekend of rest....

Friday, August 16, 2013

Closed For The Weekend, Come Back Wednesday....

Yes folks, I ain't back to the daily grind till Wednesday. Res - wait for it, wait for it - ult! But oh, what a drive home. Night - wait for it, sod it - mare! Massive slow down at Almondsbury... Massive slow down at Falfield because a car with a trailer carrying a police car managed to slide itself off the motorway and into a hedge. It wasn't affecting the motorway itself but as always, amateur drivers gorp and slow down. Another twenty minutes lost. Arrrgggghhhh. Finally moving swiftly, that's it right? Maybe a slight slow down through Gloucester but that's it right? Nope, hitting the home stretch, another massive slow down. Cue ten more minutes of crawling. God, had I ever had enough by the time I finally reached the sanctuary of home a mere forty five minutes late. At least the sun's shining outside - this evening at least....

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Well I Was Hoping To Head To Chepstow Training Tonight...

Seeing as though I didn't get clear of work in the Big Apple - that's Bristol, we like our cider - till gone 18:45 the chance was gone. Didn't get home till just gone eight. Tired after a long day I could not be arsed for training. It was raining. That bloody drizzly stuff, the stuff that get you soaked without the decency to present itself as proper, wholesome rain drops. No, I'd had enough of the day. It wasn't all bad though. The mystery bowl of frozen food I took out of the freezer this morning turned out to be macaroni cauliflower cheese - and it was bloody, gert lush. So far this week, I'm up a flexi-day already and there's still bloody Friday to come. Over and out.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Well On The Way To The Weekend...

and it's going to be another long one... Toot, toot. Yep, that's right, Monday and Tuesday are booked. What to do? Where to go run? Need to give it some thought. There is the Nant y Moch fell race on Saturday - where ever that is! Maybe stay over and run a bit more on Sunday and Monday? I'd quite like a decent race. Or I might head to the peak district for the running I had planned a month ago but had to cancel because of work. Decisions, decisions.

Tonight I put in an hour on the bike after a goodly day at work. My legs feel recovered from the weekend. Was good to get the blood pumping. And that's a wrap.

Monday, August 12, 2013

I Think I Need A Holiday...

To recover from the weekend. I feel right, gert knackered. Unfortunately my next holiday is booked for next Monday/Tuesday - that might be too far off... and even then I'll probably be camping and running bloody miles so it won't be very relaxing. Suffice to say it was a rest day today. Not sure what's up tomorrow. I'm almost tempted to run the Rose Inn 5k... but we'll see...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Roger, Over and Out

My engine finally ran out of steam. After down grading to the Pandy stage (36) from the Hay Bluff ridge (34+35), I still found it hard going - and not to mention slooow. After two tough days I knew enough to know I was done. I was really hoping to break the 100km barrier but it wasn't to be - this time - as I called it a day at 95km and headed home. Physically worn down but with the legs, surprisingly, feeling only a little sore. Probably going to have a rest day tomorrow - apart from work, of course. That, sadly, is going to be more hectic than ever. And when I say 'probably' you may as well fill in 'definitely'...

It has been a great weekend though. Was nice to get know my fellow harriers a little better - even if I did earn the moniker 'Old Dave' vs the newer, quicker, stonger 'New Dave' - grrrrrh. Still, I suppose it's better than 'Slow' Dave vs 'Fast' Dave......

Saturday, August 10, 2013

22 And 17

Okay, it was really 22.5km and 16.5km but the total of 39km. That's 82km for the weekend so far. Too be honest I'm not really very confident of making the planned 30+ tomorrow. I am f*(%ed.

Going to see how it goes tomorrow. Am re-scheduling from running the Hatterall ridge to running out of Pandy and seeing how things go. Planning to finish off the weekend running Brockweir to the finish of Offa's Dyke.

However it pans out it's going to have been a bloody great weekend of running and merriment with friends...

Friday, August 09, 2013

28 And 15

Not a bad days running. Not feeling too much the worse for wear. Pleased to have got in 43km run. The outside of my right calf is feeling sore but I'll be ready to kick off day two at 8am tomorrow morning....

I'm hoping to run the first three stages which will only be about 22km so I should be okay. If that goes alright I'll tag on some more in the afternoon. Guess we'll see in about nine hours time how well I've coped.....

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Pretty Easy Drive

Well don't you know, it only takes three hours from home to here. Thought it would take a little longer. Smashing. Here, by the way, is Prestatyn and the start of Offa's Dyke. Tonight we ate for tomorrow we run...

We're starting around eight and relaying though the day to Four Candles, I mean, Four Crosses. It's going to be a long day and I'm looking forward to my stages especially the bit over the Clwydians - thinking that's not how you spell it.

Wake me up in the morning...

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Feeling Knackered

...and I've not even managed any training this week. It's been a draining one so thank goodness that's it for me. Been pushed and pulled in all directions this week and I feel like I'm about to explode. The worst thing about it though, is that I'm leaving my colleagues in the thick of it but I've two days holiday booked and as I'm an unimportant cog I ain't going to be cancelling them. A man - or rather, this man - can only work so many 11 hour days. It's not like I'm a spring chicken anymore. If I was a horse they'd be melting me for glue.

I'm looking forward to the Offa's Dyke Chepstow Relay starting Friday and I'm hoping I can chill for what's left of today and tomorrow morning before heading north. I've not fully sorted my travel arrangements for the extended weekend. In fact I've not sorted the arrangements at all. Better get a move on! Still hoping to run twice on each of the three days and cover somewhere near 20km per session. That's going to be a tall order so the main focus will be completing any of the stages where I'm running solo so as not to break the relay. Right, that's it. I'm done.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Dodgy Direction

Well that was some kind of navigation. Definitely not good navigation, mind. It was bloody horrendous out there. Didn't stop raining the whole time and with the strong wind, it was slightly stinging in places. V and I reccied the Four Fans fell race. My main interest was the route choice from Fan Frynych to Fan Nedd. I was reasonably sure of the best way. The recce confirmed it. Ssssh, can't tell.

After that we took our eyes off the ball. Despite being low visibility we couldn't be bothered to get out the compass. We probably should have... Rest assured the compass will be to hand in the actual race. So, chatting about food and baking - as you do when out recceing in the mountains in poor conditions - we pretty much went off course on every other aspect of the route - good work. I wasn't bothered as there isn't really any route choice from Fan Llia. So with compass to hand there will be much less wandering off line. In poor visibility, like today, it will all be down to the compass as the ground is quite unremarkable underfoot with few distinguishing features.

Anyway, we descended way far to the right - doh and then had to cut back. We climbed to Fan Fawr before really going astray again... We put ourselves back on track after we had descended a little to regain some visibility - and an extra mile or two - doh. The river crossing was fun as we clung together to get across - there's been a fair bit of rain this last week from the torrent that was raging. Made it home in one piece. Been another two good days of training.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Impassable Pass Passable

Well that was a nice surprise. The impassable path of two weeks ago had been completely cleared. I was going to run the upper path through Blaisdon but seeing the lower path clear I went there instead. Ooh hang on, now I'm worried. Does that mean the Forestry Commission are tidying things up ahead of selling it off?

Anyway, back to the start. I set off over to Flaxley intending to run steadily and try a few more new paths. I went out the far side of the woods, down the road a little, towards Little Dean and around the back of Welshbury Wood into Flaxley. There's some money in that yer Flaxley Abbey. Must be worth a bob or two.

From Flaxley I took the steady climb across the fields into Mugglewort Wood, Blaisdon Wood, Hobbs Quarry and home. In all I covered just shy of ten miles as I'm saving myself for a tougher day of it tomorrow over in the west Black Mountains. Not looking forward to the heat though. The forecast is looking warm again but with some of the wet stuff. Going to be hard work in this kind of heat with no cover. Got to be done though.

Friday, August 02, 2013

The Fourth Run

In a week. It's been a while since I've run four times in one week.59k ain't exactly miles - no it's kilometres - but it is the most for quite some considerable time. I'm definitely going to build from here.

Tonight's run was refreshing if slightly broken. I knew the path along from Hobbs Quarry would be overrun and took the scythe for a spot of bramble slashing. Strava is pretty good at stripping out the slow moving/stationary sections so it doesn't look like I stopped at all. Most importantly I had no internal battle with myself about getting out there and I enjoyed it.

I'm undecided about the weekend. I'm looking forward to a recce of the Four Fans race on Sunday - the recce not the race on Sunday. Not sure about Saturday yet though...