Saturday, March 29, 2014

Good To Go

It was a good call to head out to the orienteering. I had a decent run in the spring sunshine. It wasn't the quickest but I didn't make any horrendous mistakes. Nine was probably the worst offender, suffering a little from tunnel vision. I ran very close on my first attempt to locate and then switched in the wide angle lens... I had a little loop at eleven due to being on an unmarked path parallel to the path I thought I was on but overall not too bad. And fifteen was a case of losing concentration from fourteen before relocating myself and switching the brain back on.

Over all it wasn't the worst I've run. I could have run slightly more direct on a couple of the longer legs as the features were fairly distinctive but I felt more comfortable running tighter lines albeit at the cost of a bit of distance - it's only training after all.

The van is almost packed. Just the food box and then I'm good to go. Hopefully the weather will remain sound for my trip oop north. The forecast is still showing as okay so I'm crossing everything it remains that way....

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weather Dependant

Well I've planned my 'fair to middling' weather routes for my Lakes trip. At the moment it looks like I might get away with it - but then again the limit on accuracy is about a day so by Sunday I could be steeped in snow or wearing my bermuda shorts...

I've decided to have another crack at making a complete fail at tomorrow's Cleeve Hill orienteering - there's nothing like setting ones targets high - before driving up early evening. I'm not looking forward to the drive. It's a necessary evil. Hopefully it won't be as much of a problem in the future though as I've put together a petition asking the government to move the Lake District closer to London. I think they'll go for that.

My itinerary for the trip is as follows. Day 1, a trip around Helvellyn and the Dodds - don't panic Paul - starting and finishing from the eastern side, 25.5km with 1450m ascent. Day 2, moving south down the A592 a short way, is a tour of Patterdale, 20.5km with 1350m ascent and Day 3 is a variation on the Kentmere Horseshoe fell race route but starting and finishing from the A592, 24km also with 1350m.

I've tried to limit the length of the runs while incorporating a reasonable amount of ascent. They would all qualify as long A's so they should provide a bit of a challenge. I have a feeling I might be on my knees by day three, begging for mercy, but I won't be in a rush so I can take my time. At this stage in the comeback it's all about being in the mountains not how quickly I get round. The speed can come later once I've got back the power...

Day 1, 25.5km, 1450m ascent

Day 2, 20.5km, 1350m ascent

Day 3, 24km, 1350m ascent

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Just Eaten At The Moldy Fig...

Apparently a jazz term. Not sure I'd name my eatery moldy anything even if that holds water.

Been a longish day. A two and a half hour drive. Eight hours at the grind stone. Oh, and a not so speedy speed session to finish - although I only managed four reps before I was discombobulated. From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks, as my Nepalese guru would undoubtedly say.

After a tiring day, away from home, I'm just pleased my rekindled desire to recapture my running form won the battle over lethargy...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Didn't Realise...

I came third in the aged mans category of the South Wales Summer Fell Race Series last year. Didn't realise I even ran enough races to qualify! I suspect there were probably only three who did....

I'm off to sunny Hampshire tomorrow - work not pleasure. I'm taking my kit but it's likely to be some long days so it might not come to anything.

Monday, March 24, 2014


What is the weather going to do from Saturday to Tuesday? Do I had to Snowdonia if it looks iffy or just all out risk it to the Lakes. A long way to go if it's a wet one, living out of the van.. I think it's a decision for later in the week but I'm hoping the Lakes gets the vote.

Resting tonight to hopefully run the Pomphrey Hill 5k tomorrow. My legs feel surprisingly okay considering I felt so terribly unfit yesterday. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Well That Wasn't At All Completely Knackering

Today's destination was Tal-y-bont reservoir for a loop of the Brecon Beacons race route. I was out there with Pat W  and I was glad of the company. Conditions were a little iffy and I'm not sure it would have as enjoyable solo - sssh, no, stop it. To be fair I think we got away with the weather. True, there was a little hail, a little snow and quite of bit of gale force winds. Possibly even nudging into storm force on the final ridge run towards Waun Rydd but over all - oh, and the cold, the terrible terrible cold - as I was saying, over all one mustn't grumble. It could have been far worse.

I got my first scare on the descent of Tor-y-Foel. I got a shooting pain in my right foot. Like I'd stepped on drawing pin bare foot. I stopped and took my shoe off but couldn't find anything. I set off again and took a few more steps, there it was again - oh, and it began to hail. Anyway, I hobble down off the top and sheltered behind the wall to investigate. Still couldn't find anything so we carried on. Fortunately it didn't really raise it's ugly head again and it was limited to the very occasional spark of pain every now and then. Odd, very odd.

We followed the normal route - as you do - and by the time we hit the main ridge, above Neuadd Res, we were touching the snow and the further along the ridge we ran the more snow we hit until we were running in the snow proper. I have to admit I was struggling a little. I think the after shocks from yesterday's night race were kicking in... Not wanting to hold Pat back, with conditions okay and visibility good, I decided I would side-step Corn Du and Cribyn to allow Pat to crack on. The legs feeling how they felt at that point it would have definitely been a mistake for me to hit Cribyn.

The hail and snow came and went every so often but the wind remained strong throughout. Eventually, having got past the big hills, we hit the finishing straight. Saying that, the ridge run to Waun Rydd and the 5k descent back down to Tal-y-bont reservoir is one hell of a long finishing straight and I certainly wasn't feeling strong at that point but certainly not wasted. I started to get sense of humour failure along the ridge though. The wind started gusting all the more strongly, at points it brought me to a stand still and what little power I had left was draining fast. Eventually, turning out of the wind, we made our way back down to the car and headed home. It's been a good days training weighing in at around 31km and 1200+ metres of ascent...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Night-time Tomfoolery

Still seems a little odd to hang around all day for a race. Normally by five on a Saturday it's relaxation time but not today.

It was the fourth and final installment of the RogueRuns Night Race series. Mallards Pike was the setting for tonight's race and it was a good route. A little hilly and some great twisty, gnarly sections. Those are the best bits - unless you are stuck behind someone not going as quick. Having said that, I didn't mind being held up a little on the first section as the 'view' I had was good.

I was happy with my run. It wasn't that quick but I didn't fade. My legs feel achy now though - not sure how well I'm going to cope with tomorrow's planned Brecon Beacons race route run of 20 miles...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Not Quite

Okay, not all. My legs are destroyed. I've been walking around like Douglas Bader today. Yesterday was supposed to be the tipping point. There was no way I could do a proper training session tonight though, so the static bike got it. Tomorrow I'll be into the race zone with Saturday's RogueRuns Mallards Pike night race in the diary. Do I run a proper training session tomorrow or save myself? Yeah, I guess I probably do the training since I'm nowhere near being 'back' and just treat the night race as more fun training.... Up Sunday is a mountain run of around twenty - hopefully...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Head Hurts

It was relentless coding today. With an install date of Friday for code that wasn't even started I just had to crack on. I can honestly say I've never written - and rushed - so much code in so short a time. I've no time to test and haven't even scratched the surface of the screen such are the demands of things at the moment. I tried to be as thorough as possible but there's going to be snags - or 'glitches' as a colleague would say. I'm guessing Friday might be another long day..

Anyway, more importantly my legs are still ached from Monday's session. My calves ache, my quads ache and my hamstrings are a little achy. Guess what I've planned for tomorrow's session.... Oh, and I should add I put in an hour on the bike and am about to head out for a thirty minute run.

Monday, March 17, 2014

How Hard Are Hill Sprints?

I think I must've sustained a knock to the head at work today. For some reason I got the bright idea that hill sprints would be a good way to get maximum initial gain in the shortest possible time. I'm hoping it was a good idea but talk about tough. How could such a short session be so hard work? Ten 15 second sprints up the Longhope Hill. By the half way point in the session I had had enough but kept on for the full ten. My heart rate hit 185 during the last few reps. Fingers crossed it pays dividends...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Control Collection

It's been a restful day. I was up early for a Sunday and after a few electronic communications I was over to Moseley Green to collect in some orienting control stations. Turned out to be quite good orienteering training. With them collected and a cup of coffee later round at the Dodds it was home to do bread.

The new proving box worked well and after a feeding and a quick activation the sourdough is into the fridge to hibernate till next weekend. Used the spare for pancakes this evening - is it wrong to make a pancake pie thing? And what if it's a sweet pancake pie with blackberry jam filling? Is that wrong for dinner?....

Been casting an eye to my Lakes trips. I've only one in the diary so far but I need to lock down some night stop-overs. I've got a half dozen spots picked out but I need a few more in case of 'problems' as backup..

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Concept Becomes Reality

Didn't get to the mountains. Had a good long lie in instead and went for a local ten miler with quite a bit of road running. Oddly the road running felt quite good. Maybe there's a few road races left in me.... What a great day though. Almost felt spring like out there.

What today's run has shown me is that I really need to sit down and write myself an actual honest to goodness training plan instead of just bobbling along doing this and missing that... but I think I'll start after tomorrow's run - where ever that will be.

So without further ado, here is pic of the thermostatically controlled proving box...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Can't Decide

So I'm going to see how I feel in the morning. I am tilting towards the Brecon Beacons fell race route - clockwise. It's looking like being a good weather day and, being as easy to follow route, I can sit back and take in the views while I run....

More importantly, I've put my idea for a slow prove, constant temperature proving box, on test. There's nothing proving, I'm just testing to see what stable temperature it reaches. It ain't exactly rocket ship design but hopefully will provide a more controlled environment for proving.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Must Be Fate...

Yes, one of my potential long holiday weekends coincides with the Borrowdale Fell Race in August - and it's not a championship year. (I don't like champs years as things are too 'busy'). I've reccied it but never done it. I think this is the year.. remind me to book the holiday....

And now my head is spinning. Trying to plan some races is bloomin hard work. So many races and so little free time. Still, on the upside, the Helvellyn Dodds race coincides with an already booked holiday weekend so that's got to be rude not to run... and it'll stand as partial Bob G recce.

Oh, and the sourdough pizza was good. I think the SD is just about ready for mainstream bread making. I'm going to slow down the process now and feed on a single loaf a week basis...

Pip pip

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Vera Is Shining Bright

But not like a diamond. Then again she bloody well should, having spent the best part of two and a half hours cleaning her. What a difference though. The green... growth!? - what is that green stuff that forms on stuff left outside, like your weekend use van? lt's all gone now but not without it's price. I am knackered but it was worth it. Every inch was jet cleaned, scrubbed and then polished in order to hopefully slow the return of the green... My back is aching a bit now though.

After that I split off some of my sourdough starter to make a loaf... turned out okay but I need to wait a bit longer until I can taste it. Scrubbed the decking - another chore that needs doing this time of year. Fitted in a short run - my legs don't feel too bad. A pleasant surprise. Although having said that, I could probably have got away with another day up north but I'm not sure how well l would have coped with the climbs. And in the afternoon, when the sun came out it was just plain relaxing to sit out in the front garden. Listening to the birds chirp and the cat squeak - she does that.

Anyway, here are a few photos from the weekend...

 On the way up (slowly, very slowly) towards the final target of Cardair Idris

Panoramic looking out to see during a break on The 'slow' ascent.. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Well I'm Home A Day Early

But it's not all bad. I had two good days and it was thoroughly restful - apart from the knackering runs. Restful in that I was able to switch off from the stresses of modern life. Three days, I think, would have been too much too soon. I struggled on the main climb today. It was another 450 metre beast bit across pathless, soft, spongy ground and far steeper than yesterday's main ascent. I conked out once and took five before carrying on. Once I finally reached the first summit my hamstrings were tight but the rest of the loop, fortunately, didn't entail any other long ascents. Even so I felt more than too tired for another struggle tomorrow.

There's plenty of chores to be getting on with here at home, and providing my legs don't feel too stiff I hope to make a short, flat run somewhere local. On the upside I'm already looking forward to my next trip North at the end of the month - and I have a feeling I'll manage all three days next time... (disclaimer, baring bad weather). Got to keep the momentum going now...

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Day One Complete But...

My legs are knackered.

My drive up yesterday was uneventful baring the minor panic when I reached A470 after Newtown and it said 'Road Closed'! Fortunately the workmen there told me it was closed beyond Mac-something and as I was turning off before then I could carry on. Phew, would have been a big diversion to go around.

I found a great spot to overnight - with on suit toilet facilities and had a peaceful nights sleep. I was up early-ish though - for a holiday day and quickly set about deciding what route to run. In the end, with the misty conditions prevailing I opted for the longest of my planned routes, giving tomorrow a chance to brighten before visiting Cadair Idris and taking in the views.

As it turned out I managed to pick just about the worst part of the day for my run. By the time I was into the last descent the sun came out and the rest of the day was cracking.

Apart from stopping my watch for about 2k and 200m ascent it was a good run. The missing 2k was also good but I was annoyed with myself, having spoilt the track for strava purposes.

The only slight mis-calculation was the final climb. Turned out to be a 450m killer. That's 1500ft in old money - I felt old by the time I eventually got to the top.. Still, it was a solid 25k with 1300m ascent and no significant navigation errors in the clag.

Up tomorrow is a shorter 18k but with only slightly less ascent it might finish me off. Fingers crossed it doesn't.

Right I'm back into the hills having driven slightly out in order to get phone signal... Well a man's got to blog, don't he!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Wish I'd Headed Straight For The Mountains First Thing...

Instead of committing the travesty that was today's performance in the Cranham orienteering. To say I was flippin' rubbish is doing a disservice to the word rubbish. I was, quite honestly, awful today. I couldn't hit a bearing if I was given a 40 degree tolerance. If the controls had had those inflatable tube men you see on car lots I don't think it would have improved my run by much. Those of a weak disposition should avoid browsing Strava for fear they will laugh themselves to death. It is at this point I shall type the word 'cock' and move on.

I'm all set for my drive north. The van is loaded bar the last few items. Routes planned. Maps printed. All that's left to do is look out a few lay-bys for the night stops. Going to chill back now (giving myself final thinking time in case I've missed anything) and wait till early evening to depart.

Toot toot

Friday, March 07, 2014

And The Winner Is...

Cadir Idris and friends. In the end I went for an area that's not only mountainous but also has some good looking forestry. I've picked out a few routes over the tops and also a few through said forests in case the weather isn't so good. At the moment I might be lucky on that front but I guess we'll see 'cause you never can tell.

Up tomorrow is the Cranham orienteering and for once I won't be running to and from the event - shocking. I'll be saving myself for the drive north. My first trip to the mountains of 2014. Toot toot. And not to mention a break from the office till Wednesday - not that I actually get to the office much at the moment.

My route options range from 8 miles up to 15 miles and ascent between 3000-4000ft. Nothing too severe but then it will be three days back to back - and I ain't done that for a while. Initial thoughts are long short long but it does depend on the weather. I'm fair looking forward to it now...

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Hebog Or Idris

The weather looks 40-60 for my Snowdonia weekend. It's now a toss up between Beddgelert or south of Dolgellau for a gambol around Moel Hebog and its subsidiaries or Cadir Idris respectively...

Been a chilly one today, out on site as I was. Fair chilled my cockles - matron. On the up side my legs didn't feel at all bad. Saying that I did get the burn everytime I traversed the twenty steps up to the control kiosk.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Steady Eddy But Knackering Recce

Well that was hard work. Had good company but it was definitely not easy despite the steady pace. And the weather? Don't mention the weather it was flippin' glorious. I had to take off my nordic eighteen layer storm thermal waterproof to a million pounds hydrostatic pressure with nine times taped seams off before we even set out..

V and I set off from Llanbedr just before ten and took it steady on the way to Crug Mawr. We then tested the side off descent down into the valley. I have always just followed the main path and cut off at the end down the steep section. I think the side off is better. It's not really any less rough but is does extend the distance of the descent, making it less steep and isn't really any longer in total.

The section over to Sugar Loaf was straight forward. Followed by the run down into Abergavenny, equally straight forward. We used my alternate route after the river and then we were quickly it to the climb of death - I remember why I don't like the Blorenge. A not so swift run across the top and  we were back to the car in Blaenavon. All in all a good recce with a few route tweaks discovered...

After the drive home I finished off with an hour on the bike and that's it. I'm done.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Recce Time

I'm having a rest tonight. No training. Okay, 40mins on the bike but mostly nothing.

All set for what looks like being an 'okay, at least it's not blowing a gale or lashing down with sleet' kind of day. Not sure how I'll cope with the 15 miles but we're only going steady so it should be fine.

Tootle pip

Monday, March 03, 2014

Better Start Planning

I've some routes to plan. Baring dire forecasts, I'm off to Snowdonia this coming weekend for the first of many mountain weekends. I've even scheduled things so I can balls up the Cranham orienteering on Saturday before heading north...

I'm going to plan a mix of routes taking in high and low ground. If the conditions are iffy I can stick to the low ground. I'm looking to set up operations in the Beddgelert area and make a first visit to Moel Hebog amongst others.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Great Day Of Training

The Tour of Torpantau fell race midday - only a short one, 12k - followed by a ninety seven minute bike session - indoors of course. The heavens have truly opened now. Why such a funny number, you ask? Well is was meant to be a quick thirty - not that thirty minutes can actually happen any quicker. They can go slower, taking in to account time dilation effect at near light speeds but not quicker - although, thinking about it, at those speeds depending on your point of reference.... I think I've gone off piste.

Right, where was I? Oh yeah, the odd time spending pedaling. I got caught up in Linux geekery - yes the bike is set up with a laptop table thing. I can do geek stuff and exercise at the same time. Booyaka booyaka - no, I'm stopping that nonsense before I get complaints..

Had a good run if not fast. I put my new super lightweight waterproof to good use in the fairly unpleasant conditions and it worked a treat. On the run off Cribyn I thought it was going to be ripped apart by the gusts but I needn't have worried.

My speed over the ground was slow but I actually felt quite strong. All in all it was thoroughly bloody good fun. All I need to do now is get out there week in week out to clock up so some series mountain miles and get myself mountain fit...

Pip pip

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Tour Of Duty Ahoy..

Yep, I'm all set for the Tour of Torpantau. Now, when I say all set, what I really mean is, I'm going to be there carrying five bags of sugar less than last year - and that's got to help. My legs have now recovered from last weekend - which is nice - but I have a feeling I might not quite repeat last years fifth place. Unless, of course, all of those quicker whippets have navigation failure again. That is, I fear, unlikely. Still, be good to see where I am in relation to last years 1hr and 22minutes.

I think I'm going to try my new descent route on the return from Cribyn. Controversial, perhaps, but I think I might be able to run it faster than the formal route. I guess we'll see...

And I've heard a rumour that Creber's been out tweaking his route... Let the games begin...