Friday, October 31, 2014

Am I Ready To Plan?...

and more to the point, what have I let myself in for? I'm over to Trellech Common tomorrow for a bit of a run around. I have the O-map from 2012, a compass, it'll be warm and I'll be wearing underpants. Hit it.... I want to get over there while conditions should be similar to next November. Time is of the essence - I only have just over a year to plan it...

Up Sunday is the Bog Bryn thing from somewhere yonder. Should probably check out the details...

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An Unwelcome First..

After another long day at work - seems to be becomming a habit I'd rather not have - I arrived home gone eight to a half eaten bat deposited in the middle of the bedroom floor. Yes a bloody bat! How the hell does a cat catch a god damn bat anyway? Yes, I know birds fly and cats catch plenty of them but come on, a bat? That is just not cricket Squeaker and I do not want a repeat.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Not A Bad Loaf..

Wasn't my fastest but then again it was a new route and about half a mile longer so was always going to be slower. It was more of a route variation than a complete redesign and on balance is a slight improvement, reducing the out and back section a little...

I actually quite surprised myself. I ran more of the up than I expected and descended more insanely than I've managed of late. Where I was a bit rubbish was the flat stuff. My leg speed is, well, non-existent.

I set off at the back of the pack. Not right at the back but nearer the back than the front - I'm probably over detailing this. I didn't expect to run the entirety of the first climb up the Deri - ooh, er misses - and, in fact, I didn't but I ran a lot more than I expected. I ran all the first road bit - yes, even that really steep bit at the corner. Dave the Power actually did a bit of overtaking at that point...

Once up onto the Deri I plodded across the level ground gaining a few places but not moving quite as quickly as I should be capable of. Onto the second climb I powered hard and ran at every point I could even if it was only for 10 metres - and it was in a few cases.

Finally to the summit of Sugarloaf I ran really well back down. I let the handbrake off and let my feet so the talking. I wasn't so good on the flat bit but the final climb back up to the Deri was solid before the drizzle came and fogged my glasses. That made for an interesting final descent because it's fairly stoney with tricky footing. Relying on the 'force' I managed to gain one more place but was glad to get to the finish as it wasn't entirely comfortable.

Overall, I went better and stronger than I was expecting. This racing regularly lark seems to be paying off. The grub in the pub at the end was welcome and it was nice to catch up with friends before the Landlord called time and we all went home.

Got home to find the sourdough loaf, proving ahead of the bake, had gone berserk. A rise that normally takes eight hours had gone supersonic. Fortunately, the structure held and I managed to get it into the oven without collapse. Disaster averted!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Looking Forward To Tomorrow...

Yes, I admit it. I purchased fish fingers with the sole intention of making a fish finger sandwich - but it'll be a posh fish finger sanger. The sourdough loaf is in progress... and I've the tomatoes harvested and ready for the tomato salsa. Posh I tells ya.

There's a race to run first though. Bring on the sugarloaf...

ps the above mentioned fish fingers have never come into contact with the Vietnamese River Cobbler - or nasty, gross, pee fish..

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Bit Of A Pants Day..

No, I wasn't wearing them outside my trousers but when you start work at 7am and don't leave till half past seven then you can lay claim to it having been a bit of a pants days - and before you say, I'm talking pm on the later timing. Feel weary, it was quite mentally draining. Back for more tomorrow... but at least there's the sugarloaf fell race to look forward to on Saturday. It's one of the better winter fell races. Nowhere near cardington cracker good but decent never the less.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Top Tip, Only Fools Rush In.. eat cauliflower cheese. It was gert lush but give it five to cool down. I didn't. Burnt my tongue. Lesson learnt - until the next time I cook it, of course... why do I never learn? (Don't answer that).

Sunday, October 19, 2014

At Least There Weren't Any Pits Today..

It wasn't the greatest of runs. It wasn't the worst. It sat somewhere in the middle. I liked the descent. I didn't like the ascent. There's nothing quite like a steep ascent to slap you in the face and say, you're not very fit are you fat boy.. No. I'm clearly not.

I can't say I'm overly excited by the prospect of more cross country but I think I will persevere with it. It might be a useful gauge of my fitness - should I ever decide to actually start doing some training...

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Absolute Pits

I parked up by the northern end of Cannop Ponds and ran along the cycle path, past Parkend and into the forest for the start of the Parkend Orienteering. It was only 5k but I ran too fast. It was meant to be just an easy warm up but it ended up being a run at practically my (current) top speed. I just couldn't slow myself down for some reason. Each kilometre clocked up was too quick. Slow down you fool. I thought I did. Next kilometre, just as fast. Doh.

After a few pleasantries before the start I set out on the Blue. Control one went well but from there it went down hill. I struggled to find control two in a large flat featureless area. Finally got it after losing a few minutes. Three on the other hand, was a utter nightmare. What I thought would be fairly easy - and quick - turned out to be the pits.

I got myself into the ball park but couldn't find it. I found '48', checked my list, no not on it. Cue the moment of the headless chicken. That's the moment in time where you run from pit to pit completely randomly, trying to work out which pit is which on the map but failing completely. Suddenly after much clucking, I realised '48' was on my course later towards the end so went back to it. Took a baring. Forty paces. Bingo. What a bloody fool. I lost a good five or six minutes. Morale was low.

I must admit to following Rich C to the next couple of controls before finding some enthusiasm for it again and began to start enjoying it again, the painful memory of three having dulled. Having said that, I soon got snarled in a dense area but eventually got through. Why is it you only see the path on map that you should've taken, heading not far off line, after you've gone direct and got snarled up? After that, I went quite well and mostly went direct to the rest of the controls - I certainly didn't waste much time getting '48' for real, that's for sure.

Overall, I'm happy how I nav'd - taking two and three to one side, of course. I took 75 mins but it could've been 65. Oh well, there's always next time...

With the orienteering done I headed back, retracing my 5k from earlier, back to the car and home. I feel quite knackered now but I'm sure I will be recharged for Tomorrow's Pontypool LCL Cross Country - still can't believe I'm going to run the cross country. I hate cross country. Must've received a knock on the head at some point I guess. Apparently this one is one of the best though, so maybe won't be quite so bad..

Friday, October 17, 2014

Not Such A Long Week After All..

Okay, it was about average length - the Earth's rotational speed tends to lead to that...

Off to Parkend tomorrow for the orienteering. With the current rainfall it's going to be wet under foot - but no doubt still fun. I'll probably add on a run there and back to up the mileage.

Still aiming to do the bloody LCL cross country on Sunday - madness.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

You Know It's Going To Be A Long Week When...

You enquire of a colleague, "Have you been based here all week?" and he replies, "Yes, but it is only Tuesday afternoon!". Oh cripes, is it really only Tuesday? Not good. Not good at all. That's not to say it's been a bad week so far just that it feels like I've already crammed in a weeks worth of work and we're only two days in. If it goes on at this rate I will be a wreck by Friday...

Still, there's the orienteering to look forward to on Saturday - or random forest run as I call it and then, of course, there's the Pontypool cross country Sunday - oh god, did I type that last bit out loud?... Quick, where's the delete button!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Battling The Forest..

There's certainly a lot of bracken out there in the Forest at the moment. I decided to go for a spot of orienteering training and so ran - or not - Bixslade from earlier in the year. It was certainly a lot different. There were a couple of control locations in areas of thick, thick bracken and I didn't bother to really accurately determine if I was on the control or not. Number eight in particular, being a god damn platform in an area of bracken, I didn't even attempt and just ran on by. And there was one section of thick growth were I found a slight track, not quite going in the right direction but it was better than battling the vegetation.

Overlaying today's track and that from the actual race I can see I managed to go more direct to a number of controls - excluding the above, of course. And I can see the features I determined to be the control locations do appear to have been so. I still made the same mistake to control four but at least I wasn't off by as much this time. I finished with a pacey couple of kilometres back to the car. Was a good run.

I wrapped up training with an hour on the bike - to download the track and write this post. I'm on forty eight minutes so far but trust me, I won't stop till I've hit sixty.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hello Freezer Number Two..

Yes, I've had to invest in a second freezer. Harvested the last of this year's chillies and had no more space to store them. After said purchase I've re-organised things and now have a whole freezer shelf full of chillies sitting pretty in the new acquisition. That's about fifty quids worth at supermarket prices.

And after the reaping I pruned the plants back to what are now basically stalks. All being well they will over winter and burst forth in the spring. Plus the second crop of tomatoes are just about ready. After the first crop, so early, I decided to let the plants grow on and now have a second batch. And even if they don't all ripen there's always green tomato chutney...

On matters of running I managed to squeeze in a 50 minute run through Flaxley between showers.

Friday, October 10, 2014

No Races Planned - Boo

I think I'll probably run the forest trails tomorrow. If I manage to get up in time I might run the Park Run 5k and finish off with an hour in the forest. Hopefully it won't rain too hard.

Still haven't heard back from the Mendip Muddle as to whether it's full or not so I'm thinking I won't risk travelling down on Sunday.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Bit Of A Rest And Crispy Bacon

After a successful race yesterday I decided to treat myself with a bit of crispy streaky bacon on my pesto pasta tonight. Grilled to the point where it snaps into pieces. So simple. Just three ingredients but oh how lush. Might manage some training tomorrow...

But for tonight I'm just livin' the crispy bacon dream...

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Horsing Around

I really enjoyed that! Like a road race but on grass - and through a few lakes for good measure. I set off too ambitiously in the first lap and faded on the second. It was surprising how much higher the jumps felt on that second lap though. I barely noticed them on lap one, by lap two they felt like full height steeple chase barriers. Overall it was a pleasing run. I certainly put in good effort but it does show up my weakness - not enough speed endurance - Michael Johnson would be proud of me mentionig that. He's always banging on about it...

There was a huge Chepstow contingent present and indeed, Paul and James took first and second overall, although there is to be a stewards enquiry as to the validity of that result in James' case seeing as he seems to have developed an allergy against wearing his club vest. Shameful.

Anyway, I completed the nine mile course a few seconds over 1hr 5mins which I'm happy with. Finished off the days training with an hour on the static bike - just like the old days - while catching up with the GBBO - just not like the old days...

Saturday, October 04, 2014

A Horse, A Horse, Tomorrow I'm A Horse..

Yes, I'm off to Badminton to be a horse. I didn't know I was until yesterday, mind. Hopefully it'll be a nine mile bit of fun. The only downside is that there is a fancy dress team prize - had I known that I would have got a few jedi robes organised for the rest of the team so I could have taken my storm trooper costume for a spin - pretty sure that would have brought home the win. Next year.....

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Still Deciding..

..Where to run on the weekend. It looks like it might be a wet one. SWOA orienteering over Blaenavon way looks interesting but I feel I need a more sustained, harder effort than the orienteering will provide. Ideally I'll run a longish effort Saturday - in the wet - and maybe find a nice, pacey race Sunday, possibly even on the road...

On a lighter note, don't you just hate it when, waste from chopping vegetables to hand, opening the compost caddy, you throw them in only for the lid to drop leading to you actually throwing said items all over the kitchen floor - no, I didn't laugh either...