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Friday, 25 February 2011


Almost forgot to mention - I've nominated a charity for the Marathon - Crohns & Colitis UK. Since emailing a few bike industry contacts and all the members of Ystwyth CC, i've raised £320 so far with more promised.

I didn't expect this and so thanks very much  to all who have sent in some donations.

PS - Dan has apparently raised the stakes in the Sweatband war, coming up with an all-brown number. I'll have to see it to beleive it!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Battle of the sweatbands...

Dan Burgess has been donning a sweatband straight from Wimbledon 1981 over the past few weeks, suggesting that I also wear something similar for the big event.

After some delving in my box of 1990's cycling gear that I forgot to throw out, I came across what I was looking for, a luminous green, yellow and pink Assos sweatband that would look better on Jane Fonda's head in one of her fitness videos.

So the challenge has been met. We can both now look as stupid as each other on our training runs.

Last week was tough (ain't they all?), I must have pushed it a little too much in the Tregaron half as my legs were in bits till the end of the week. I brought up the rear on a few of the Tuesday night efforts and even after a rest day, I was 10 minute miling on Thursday.

The calf muscles are not happy and so after Sunday's 15 miler, I booked a massage today and must say that despite the severe pain as the physio dug in, he seems to have freed up a lot of the knots and grizzle that he says has accumulated over the past few weeks. I guess I'll need to go back a few more times to keep the injuries away.

Time to get the grizzle back.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Gwaeth Caled!

Last week was a toughie! Lots of  runs with me, myself and I, what with missing club night due to work commitments, and Dan also away on a romantic Spa break in Bath.

I hauled my creaking carcass around town on the Monday after our mammouth 1hr 45min run on the Sunday. It complained like an old diesel in winter but with Tuesday off it meant Wednesdays speed work would at least be done fairly fresh. I have noticed that my recovery time is improving as the weeks go by, but Thursdays marathon pace 8 miler was painful for the first 4, but surprisingly sprightly for the final lap, which was nice!

With Sundays Tregaron half marathon looming, I cheated on Friday by taking the day off. After two hard sessions, I simply didn't feel up to it. I guess i would have forced myself had Sunday not been a race, but I justified it by telling myself I'd race hard on Sunday.

After a casual 5 miler on saturday with the Mrs doing a farly good impression of Mickey from the Rocky films, riding her bicycle alongside me, I headed to Tregaron on Sunday morning for a welcome return to the blue, yellow & black vest.

This would be my first race since the Teifi 10 last April and so I was both looking forward to it and yet had a tinge of nerves, because I guess it was a proper race!

I was a complete wimp whilst warming up, after deciding it was blinking freezing i put some thermals on to the disgust of Mr Burgess who told me in no uncertain terms to man-up. This i duly did and so it became a vest only affair. It was the correct choice as within a mile of the start, i was both warm & wet. The thermal vest would have weighed me down no end.

Aber AC had a good turnout on the day, with Dave P, Lou, Steve, Goronwy, Bridget, Clive, Ian, Paul Rose, John Evs, Maureen Pritchard, Dan & myself all taking to the start line.

It was raining, pretty cold but there was little wind and so the conditions were slightly poor yet not crazy.

As the gun went, Dave was soon in the second select group, behind the front three Sarn Helen runners with Lou, Ian, Dan & myself in a strung out third cluster of runners.

We stayed together until the right hander off the main road onto the back road towards Swyddfynon at around two miles, after which i found my climbing legs and started catching some guys up ahead. The next six miles was a ding dong between me and three others with Burgess yoyoing off the back yet making amazing returns to the group on the downhills. The race was on, and I was finding that I was getting clear / making up ground on the uphills but losing out downhill, apart from to a bloke from TROTS who despite walking up all the hills, managed to stay at the front of our group??? He must have a very special walking technique!

Onto the Cors Caron and I was mid-race scalped by the first lady. Both she and Mr TROTS looked good and I concluded that they were going for a sub 1hr 30. Some quick Cliff Thomas style mathematical equations were then done to ascertain the situation with four miles to go and it was an outside chance. I'd have to sub 6.40 the last four miles tho!

With a mile and a half left my Garmin was telling me it was off, as the girl & Mr TROTS must have miscalculated! Sheesh, to come this far and not get it would have been disappointing. I passed 12 miles at 1.22.45, meaning the last 1.1 would need to be done in 7.15! I was fed up of finishing both running races and cycle races on the wrong side of important time splits, and so I fired the emergency generator up and squinted my face and went as fast as I possibly could. The vague blur ahead was the long straight road into Tregaron from Bont. There should be a PA caravan there somewhere but I couldn't see it. It was further on than I remembered, darn it, keep sprinting. There was black smoke in the engine room by this point but as the big timing board came into view, it was displaying nice things, namely 1.29.45 as I crossed the line.

I'll take that for a first race after injury, and hopefully on a flatter course, I can work towards a better PB in future.

As the rest of us finished, we all headed to the Rugby club for a well deserved bowl of Cawl and to applaud the winners of the categories. Lou grabbed second female as did Anita for her age group. Dave had a great time but was a victim of the age category boundaries this time, pinning him up against the 40 year olds.

Roll on a rest day I say!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Run-Protein-Bath-Eat-Sleep-Work --- repeat

Am now entering week three of 'proper' training, albeit delayed thanks to the ankle slip.

I still have eight more hard weeks ahead, followed by a two week taper. I'm gonna have a proper taper as it seems I need to take it easy for this amount of time to ensure I get the 'Mark Smith' bouncy-springy leg feeling back. At the moment the legs are in a perminent state of sluggishness, a state I guess which is normal for people who run every day, maybe until you get to a certain level of condition where a four mile run feels as easy as walking up one flight of stairs....

Last week was a good one though, only one session missed, thanks entirley to Arriva trains (who else!). Thursdays marathon pace run was again a half wheeling Burgess episode, although I was able to converse this time a little better. I'm sure he is beginning to think I am anti-social at times! Fact is, i am the epitomy of the theory that men can only do one thing at a time. Actually I can both run and talk up to a certain level of effort, after which it's just run and try to avoid collapsing into a broken heap.

We welcomed Ian Evans to our Sunday 12 miler, and again went out to Wallog and back then added the Aber 10k on for good measure. It's not even half marathon distance, but it was the longest run so far. We have Tregaron this Sunday and will then ramp up from there. Again the notorious steps from the Clarach side of Consti were my undoing, but apart from that the run was pleasant save the last mile when Dan announced that a sprint finish would be 'fun'. Despite not really taking part, the effort of not trying to lose too much ground to the other two was enough to tip my legs over the edge and so it was straight into the bath whilst downing a pint of protein, followed by an afternoon nap!

Hopefully by the end of week eight, running 15 miles will seem like a walk in the park, but I very much doubt it!