Friday, May 30, 2014

I Think I Might Actually Die On Sunday....

So much fitness have I lost that stage 8 of the Rack Raid Relays, Usk to Tintern, might just finish me off. It will be interesting to see just how poor I have become... I might even get relegated to the C team come race day...

Oh to be fully operational. I remember what happened to the final Death Star - despite not finished, it was claimed to be operational and look what happened to that! [the geek winks at the camera] 

Thursday, May 29, 2014


What better to come to than a small gallbladder in the middle of the bedroom - nice. I wonder small animal was victim to the killer squeaker :-(

Worse was to come as I later stumbled across - fortunately not into - the regurgitated remains - nice. Still, I managed a short run this evening before the rains came - and did they ever come? They surely did. Torential I tells ya.

Not totally looking forward to Sunday. I am going to struggle like never before on the Usk to Tintern stage of the rack raid relay. I still believe I have the strength, just lacking the power and speed. On the plus side I've heard it's a completely flat 13 miler....

Monday, May 26, 2014

Finally Some Good Weather

Managed to get myself over to the heart of the forest for a proper run. Fed up with darting out for a quick 20-30 mins during a break in the rain.

I didn't take a map, just a compass. The plan was.. well I didn't have one. I just ran where the paths run free. Managed just over 15km in an hour and twenty. I didn't go fast, nor slow, just steady.

I stuck to the main tracks. Some I've run before, some I haven't. Met a man acting suspiciously pacing out from the depths of the forest.... - apparantly I was running in an embargoed area for an event in September - oops! Still, I was only running the tracks and he said not to worry - and I'm shit at orienteering anyway - not to mention slow... so no advantage gained.

So after a five day break it's back to the rock face tomorrow :-(

Friday, May 23, 2014

It Hasn't Stopped...

Raining! What a pants day. Just couldn't face slogging it out in the miserable dampness. What a thoroughly rubbish end to May. The end of May? - that's practically June! Four weeks till mid summer's day - and I'm wearing a jumper. Not good. Not good at all. Still, at least it's good for the veg patch - having now fenced it off from my feline nemesis.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Stress Test

Well, with the forecast as it was and is - and the weather actually fulfilling the prophecy for once - I think I made the right choice not to do the makeshift camper thang this long weekend. Instead I decided to go for a slightly faster run than I've managed of late. Don't get me wrong, it was by no means a fast run but it was my fastest average pace for more than a month.

It was a good run around hope wood. I pushed on the ups as best I could but didn't have any power. I let gravity take affect on the downs - and the back held up. Not fully fixed yet but I'm definitely almost there. Just need to focus on upping my fitness as much as possible in the ten days I have before the rack raid relays.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finally Caught The Cat $h!tting In My Veg Patch...

My own bloody squeaker! Shoo'ed her away. Turned my back and she was straight back on there. Grrrrr

Luckily I had some chicken wire to fence it off. Annoying but better than turd tasting onions...

Still unsure how to use my time off. The forecasts pretty much everywhere looks.. poor. Think I'm probably going to stay home and travel locally for a run here and there. Then at least when I get soaked I won't fester in the back of a tiny makeshift camper... On the upside at least I'll be able to do some baking. I've a discard being fed...

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Last Day Of The Week Tomorrow


Still undecided what to do for mini break though. The forecast looks right pants. However ever it pans out I needs to run me some long runs.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Yipee, I Can Touch My Toes Again

I haven't been able to for over a month but I finaly have the ability to bend to touch my toes once more - with straight legs, just to clarify. Been a semi rest day before another run tomorrow.

My Lakes trip starting Thursday is in the balance. The forecast is not looking very good to say the least but I'm certainly not cancelling yet. I will make my call nearer the time but rest assured I'm not spending three damp days living out the back of my makeshift camper. It is only Monday, after all...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Hasn't Been A Bad Weekend

I managed two runs. Not massive distance but I've lost so much fitness, it's a start. I do believe this comeback trail I'm on is possibly going to be the longest comeback trail in the history of comeback trails....

Fourteen days till RR-day and I'm a little scared. There is so little time and so big a chasm to span - but I'll do it.

More importantly it was a walnut and prune loaf from this weeks sourdough... and Stacey is safely back in the fridge now.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Not Too Uncomfortable

But by 'eck have I lost fitness. There's going to be no Sarn Helen race for me this Sunday - not unless I decide to do myself in. No, I've got just 14 more days to get myself ready for Usk to Tintern in the Rack Raid Relays. Quite a challenge.

I'm really going to have to knuckle down to it. A run tomorrow. A run Sunday. Going to stay local but definitely need to focus. I can do it..

Today's day off has been thoroughly relaxing and I got a good run done down in the southern area of the forest at just over eleven miles. The Forest is flippin' lush this time of year...

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Into The Forest Tomorrow

The weekend has started - nice. To kick it off I think a run in the Forest is in order. Undecided where to run though but I'll find somewhere - [reaches for map]... I'll maybe try somewhere I've not visited often. Possibly the south Forest area.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I Can Almost Feel The Start Line...

My confidence factor is now hitting 90% as to making the start line for the LAMM. I've three and a half weeks but I've lost a lot of fitness but I can definitely do it.

More importantly, the first chilli harvest of the season is imminent as are the first mini bell peppers. The tatties are kicking on and the slight green shoots of onions just visible. On the downside the basil is slightly behind and I'm itching for new season pesto - oh, and the local enemy cats continue to sh!t in my raised beds, grrrrrh.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

By This Weekend...

Seriously, I'm making great gains on the back healing front. A few days ago I was practically looking to duck out of the LAMM. Now I think I'll almost be fully operational by this weekend. So much so, with ten hours up on the month, Friday is looking like a Flexi-day and a proper run somewhere... sorry Judith, but (potential) happy days ;-)

Monday, May 12, 2014

I Think I'm Going To Make It

With four week's to go till the LAMM I think I'm going to make it. Despite a 'freeze up' during Saturday's orienteering the back is feeling freer today - is that a word? perhaps 'more free' is a better choice of words. When I say 'ever' what I really mean is pre falling on the stairs like an old fart.

However described, I've definitely had more movement today and less discomfort - and I'm close to being able to touch my toes again...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Almost A Disaster

Sense prevailed and I gave the Marlborough Downs a miss. To partly fill the void I ran the Parkend orienteering instead - and it almost ended in disaster....

I parked up a couple of miles away and jogged over to registration. I felt pretty good. The back feeling easy. First time in a while I've run relaxed, not having to keep the abs tense to support the back. But it wasn't to last.

After a brief bit of socialising at registration I set off on the blue. It wasn't really bad back running terrain but it was fun - up to the point I slipped and ricked my back again. From there it was slow going - that should read 'even slower going'.

I made a few mistakes today and on a few occasions it was literally 'the pits'. And don't mention my compass. It played up big style today and will not be being used again - probably finding its way to the trash.

It just wasn't stable. On more than a few occasions it led me a merry dance, showing me north only to move around and show me another north fifty metres later. The only way to get a totally reliable north was to stop, hold it as flat and steady as possible - not good when the clock is running.

Looking on the bright side. After the jog back to the car and an afternoon of baking, the back is feeling okay again so no harm done. Fingers crossed it's still all good tomorrow.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Thirty Three Dilema Street

Should I? Still unsure as to whether I should run on Saturday. There are more points against than for, if I'm honest. My back hasn't improved as much I'd have liked but it has improved and I am so far from fit enough to run 33 miles at the moment it's almost funny. I do think I'm probably still going to give it a crack though - I've always been tinged with a hint of madness.

I need to confirm two things though. One, am I going to make the various cut-off times? And two, am I mad enough to try? - uh, I mean, I'm going to sign a legal waiver that makes the race ineligible for my 'never not finished a race I've started' claim to fame - just in case. If the judge throws that out of court then I definitely won't even be attempting to make the start line...

Marlborough Downs Challenge here I (probably) come, ready or not....

ps it's a pretty big NOT....

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Still Struggling

Definitely continuing to improve but I'm not sure it's fast enough. On the up side, with a lack of proper training, I'm managing to keep the weight stable at 10st 10lb so when I do get going again I'll be starting from a good place.

Missed the first of the LCL races tonight but jogging round wasn't an option. Fingers crossed I'll be fully operational for the next one...

Sunday, May 04, 2014

Back To Baking

My back is feeling better. There is a glimmer of hope I might yet make the start line for next week's 33 mile Marlborough Downs Challenge. It is a barely visible glimmer though. Most important is that I get myself fully operational for the LAMM - and that ain't far away.

Apart from today's baking I've been taking it easy. Tomorrow I'm planning to take a run in the forest. I only hope the weather holds.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Grass Cut, Chores Done, Time For Master Baking

What a corker of a day. Too good to waste - even with a bad back. I made it to the Bixslade Orienteering midday. I didn't run fast but mostly navigated okay using my newly acquired skill of holding the map and compass in the same hand - revolutionary for a OS mapper. It works well though - not that ever doubted the wise words of wisdom I'd been given.

I had to make a few non-direct route choices on account of the ground being too rough to traverse with my dodgy back but I got round in one piece, if a somewhat slow piece at that. Still, it was good practice although I did struggle with those god damn platforms. My heart is beginning to sink a little when I see them listed amongst the controls.

I cocked 'em both up today, 8 and 12. Twelve was fair enough, I didn't have a decent attack point but I was able to correct myself from determining that the platform I'd got myself to was the lower of a couple marked close on the map and a quick compass adjustment got me there. It was eight that was the more annoying. I new exactly where I was on the map, exactly where I wanted to be and still took ages to spot the bloody thing. Ho hum, I think I might be getting a complex...

Anyway, with that complete I headed home for half an hour on the static bike to wind down. Then it was grass cutting time followed by a session on the vertical negative air pressure particle extractor - aka, the vacuum cleaner before finally prepping for a session in the kitchen. Let the master baking commence... and after that I've two days of absolutely nothing. I might think of something to do but then again, I might not.

Not Quite

Well that was a bit of an epic fail.....

I wound my way over to the edge of the Berwyns. The drive was unremarkable except for getting caught behind a large motorised caravan. At every turn I was crossing my fingers, hoping it would turn away from my route - but it didn't for a long, long time, perhaps thirty miles! The queue behind was huge. Why the drivers of such slow moving vehicles can't just do the decent thing and pull over for two minutes to let us faster moving bad boys crack on is beyond me. Selfish, pure and simple. When Vera is holding things up she does the proper thing and puls over to let those behind go past. I lose a minute, they gain twenty. That's the way to do it.

Anyway, back to the fail. I arrived, by midday - you can infer from that, that I didn't leave stupid early, I didn't need to. Based on conditions I went with the bumbag and a selection of fine foods - read, nasty tasting energy gels and bars - and some water. It was a murky day so the views were a bit rubbish but at least it wasn't raining and then I was off to ascend Cadair Bronwen.

I very quickly realised two things. Firstly, although my back has been improving it certainly ain't fixed and secondly, I wasn't going to finish with dry feet. Solid ground it was not. I went steadily. Neither fast nor too slow and I was managing the back but after half an hour I knew I wasn't going to make the full distance so I changed plan and converted to an out and back. Keeping to the inland side on the way out and ridge edge on the way back.

Despite my lack of proper running this last month I felt surprisingly full of it - sssh, stop it. I had a few twinges in the legs but I think that was due to a touch of bad back runners leg - a condition one gets when one modifies ones style - or lack of it - to absorb more 'shock' in the legs. I got to the turn around point, took a look at the limited view and headed back.

I never really got to the point of feeling tired but it was never the less a frustrating run. I'm feeling concerned as to the LAMM in a months time. I'm really not sure my back will be up to it. In all I covered just shy of 19km and had a lot more running in me. At that point my back didn't feel any worse than when I started but it was definitely a hindrance. Then came the fail.... Literally 50m from the van, possibly less, I slipped on a patch of sphagnum moss. With my normal cat-like reflexes hampered, I went down. Not badly, falling to my hands, but the damage was done. The sudden motion was not good for my back. I got up and back to the van but I new it was game over for the weekend.

Having struggled to change out of my running kit I decided further running in the mountains this weekend wouldn't be sensible. Even if it settled down overnight would I start the next run with the back feeling slightly worse and then the next run even more so? I decided it wasn't sensible to continue with the plan so packed up and came home.

I'm happy to report the back isn't feeling too bad today but it's probably a little worse than this time yesterday, not by much but enough to feel the difference. It is disappointing and very frustrating....

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Ready For Take Off

Vera is kitted up and fueled, Stacey fed and returned to the frigid wasteland that is the back of the fridge, I've tweaked the routes a little and I'm wearing sunglasses - hit it.....

I was going to head up tonight but as I'm only heading as far Bala - after my great discovery that it's a bank holiday weekend - I should be fine with an early morning drive. I'll probably head off 7am tomorrow, be there by ten and then I'll have the rest of the day to explore the Berwyns. From the map it looks like a cracking ridge run..

I've a few night stop over points picked out. Hopefully one will workout.. Then the plan is to drive to Llanuwchllyn Saturday morning and run the Ras Aran race route before heading back south east for the final night stop over and Sunday's slightly off piste loop back towards Ras Aran starting and finishing at one of Wales' highest road passes, Bwlch y Groes. The thirty seven pence question, is Vera up to that? Fingers crossed.....