Saturday, 28 March 2009

It's not looking good....

I'm just not getting the training in.

Last week i got out once, this week twice so far, with the skyline tomorrow. I;ve not managed to run for much more than an hour, cumulatively, this week. I'm in a very unique period in my career that will never happen again. I'm creating a new organisation from scratch with my colleagues - not just a small thing but the country's 4th largest local authority. It comes into being on Wednesday and i'm working 12 hours a day and will be hard pushed for the next few weeks, until i've recruited my team.

It just doesn;t seem a very good time to train for a round. So, i'm going to call it off.

If all goes well, i might go for August, but really, i might just leave this for another time in my life. I have enough stress and donlt need another source of pressure.

But i'm going to train as much as i can still - i'm going to use the light nights to get out and get fit for a summer of racing. I miss racing, training for target races and being part of my sport. The Skyline tomorrow marks a return to fell racing and 2009 will be a year of good racing.

I'm going to get plenty of hill runs and speedwork in. I'm going to return to the club once a week (not been for a month) and return to the track on a wednesday.

I feel releived - a round is a wonderful but all comsuming thing. Races are different, you can build up to them over a short space of time from a decent bed of fitness. That is something that will keep me fit and sane.

The PBR will be done - just not yet


Sunday, 15 March 2009

15 March - Full training, half hearted...

Had a couple of weeks of good training, despite working like a dog and putting in 60 hour weeks. Not been very good on the blog though - just been frantic/knackered...

This last week has seen no long run but 8500' climbing. Got 6000' in the week before. Just shows that you can get some serious climbing in once the nights starts to get light. Darkness staying away till 1830 means Moel Famau becomes reachable after work and winter finally feels like it's coming to an end.

Despite spring's advance, the impending clock change and more chances to make fellrunning part of the normal day - i'm torn. I'm not really sure that the Paddy is a realistic proposition this year. Two reasons really - one is that the new job is going to make getting fit enough difficult, although i think some days off and getting out most evenings along with doing events like the fellsman should make it ok. The second reason is the worrying one. I'm happy to be training for a round, i love the motivation that goes with that, but there's something missing that I had when i prepared for ther BGR. It's a love of the round. I don't know snowdonia and am looking forward ro exploring it, but until i do that, I can't get worked up about the round itself like i did the BGR - which traverses an area i know and have loved since i was a kid.

I need to mull this over. I also need to get out and explore. I also need to decide because i don't want to mess people about. I'm tempted to keep training and aplly it to smething else. The Wasdale fell race perhaps? Maybe Steve Parr's lakeland 2500'ers round - a 36 hour round in my beloved Lakes. I don;t know.

For now, it's the PBR. I hate giving up and so will keep going. I'll get a 2 day recce in soon, and then decide. Trouble is...when? Work is demanding but i'll see what I can do.

I'm a funny boy at times....none more so that at the moment.

Last week's training:

Mon - Quick way up and down Moel Famau - 3M, 1000' ascent
Tues - Ditto - getting bit dark on the way down - gorgeous moon and lights below. Glad i took headtorch!
Weds - too much on at work to train
Thu - Cycled to work and back
Fri - 7M, 2300' ascent run on MF, really good run. Muddy conditions but 1hr 20min is a good time for that route
Sat - 3 railways - 1000' - quick session squeezed in between lots of chores and other things to do
Sun - 3600' - gamelin reps (2) plus some nice hillrunning from Britannia Inn. 2 hours.

Total - 8900' ascent, probbaly about 35 miles? distance not really important

Tune in head - Snow Patrol - If there's a rocket tie me to it

Monday, 16 February 2009

All is well, now time to train....

The results from my CT scan are back. The GP surgery rang having chased the results up and the verdict as relayed by the kindly receptionist was that there was 'nothing suspicious' to report - all is well.


I'm so relieved. Very very relieved.

The stress has been palpable - those close to me are probably sick of me. I've been busy at work, which has been a blessed relief, but the pre-occupation has been ever present which has made the last three weeks almost unbearable.

Whilst not operating at the kind of intensity or frequency that the PBR requires, I have been training throughout this period. I've not dared do anything than go through the motions atthe risk of tempting fate, so it's been a bit mixed and unstructured. Road runs, some speed work, some hill work, some races and even some circuit training (which hurt!). I do feel fit, and ready.

I'm not ready enough though to be confident about doing the PBR in May. I just think that it makes for a pressured run up to the event. I'm going to go for early July. this means I can use the Fellsman (early May), Dave Sykes' BGR (early June) and lots of long summer nights to get really fit and ready. Work is also very busy and April/May will be very demanding, and so a late May PBR is just not on.

I'll canvass for availability amongst my terrific Tattenhall supporters, but the first weekend in July seems about right.

It already feels more achievable now.

This week's training:

Monday - rest, tired from Long Mynd and XC races
Tuesday - 7 miles, included 6 * 500m efforts
Weds - Circuit training - ouch
Thursday - 10.2 miles - including 4 * 0.8M hilly efforts and 3 downhill efforts
Friday - rest
Saturday - walk in Peak District - 10M, about 1500' ascent
Sunday - wet run, Lose Hill Ridge and Cavedale - 7M, 2000' ascent

total - 37 miles, not much climbing at all (4000' tops)

Sunday, 8 February 2009

What does it matter when you're well...?

I got quite a shock today (actually, I got a few during the eventful Long Mynd Valleys race - more on that later) - one that made me smile, despite the fact it was a telling off! There I was dashing to the loo for a(nother!) pre-race pee when i was confronted by a fellow fellrunner who told me quite certainly that I have to make sure I update this blog more often! So, whoever you are, here's a new installment.

I do have an excuse. I've been a bit preoccupied. Since going for my x-ray, my GP has decided that he was a little suprised by what he saw so he has sent me for a CT scan. He noticed that my lypmh glands in my cheste were swollen. He didn't think it was to do with my spate of chest infections and thinks it is something i've had for ages. He's sure that's not anything sinister (but didn't rule it out - they never do) but more than anything, he just wants to know what it is. Good friend, erstwhile doctor and all round good egg Doc Martin had a chat with me and was very reassuring - thinks it's probably something congenital and looks a bit odd on the x-ray. The fact is, i;ve been running and racing and feel absolutely fine. None of the other glands are up and i have no symptoms. I'm hoping so much that Tuesday's scan firms up what I already know...

Runnign wise it's been great - at least at the weekends. Work is making mid week runnig tough, but last weekend was great - 4 closed XC loops in 29 mins and then a great day in snowdonia with dave and ian in sunday with 6000' climbing around the snowy slopes of the glyderau and carneddau.

This weekend saw a 2 race weekend - saturday was the XC race at Oswestry (did ok, just so pleased to be able to run) and today was the very very snowy and icy Long Mynd Valleys - 4500' and 11.5miles. Descending on ones arse was a bit of a novelty but the snow and ice meant a new technique - impromptu tobogganing. The time was much slower than last year (2:30) but conditions were mainly to blame, as was the race the previous day.

I feel like i'm just glad to be able to run, and each run feels like confirmation that i'm ok. For now, that's the focus.

Once the scan is done, and the results are fine (keep thinking positive!!) i can think about getting more climbing in each week. And then the Paddy might seem something i can prepare for. Right now, that seems like a pipe dream. I don't think i'm anywhere near where i should be for that, although being healthy is a pretty good start.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

w/c 19 January - a more mixed week i cannot imagine

It's Sunday and six days ago I was not a well bunny. Fever, a raw chest and very pissed off. Even yesterday I went along to the North of England cross country champs and bailed out at the last minunte cos i was worried that i was not ready for racing - and how pissed off was i then! Probably a good move tho, my chest was still just a little rattley even tho there was no infection.

Nothing like a good day in the hills to sort that all out! Kill or cure!!

And what a day!!! Today I went out with Ian and Pete, two much stronger runners than I, to the depths of Snowdonia. There was plenty of snow above 2000 feet, we had some blizzard-esque conditions to contend with for a short time as well as some sheet ice and even cornices. Our studs were sometimes found wanting... It was brilliant.

Starting from Llanberis, we climbed through the quarries to the lofty Elidir Fawr and into a very cold, windy, misty and icy scene which seemed to suggest a short day ahead. The summit ridge was deep in snow and there were holes aplenty for a limb to explore and recoil from! I slipped at one point and have copped a serious looking gash on my shin. From the summit we decided that the Glyders were not a place to be running today but opted to make our way over to Ogwen and then climb Y Garn from the other side. This was Ian's idea and was based upon choosing the most difficult way to traverse the terrain, i.e. across ridges and not along them. As we traversed above Ogwen abd then climbed Y Garn, the snow conditions were fab - people with axes and crampons were probably tutting at us (as we passed them) but it was wonderful. I was tired and weary after being ill and didn't climb that well - but i stuck it out and that's what's important. Ian and Pete were really strong, Ian especially. This was demonstrated after our ascent of Y Garn when after skidding through more ice on an iffy slope below the summit, he decided that we should drop to the stream seperating Y Garn and Elidir Fawr and then re-tackle Elidir straight up a very very very steep slope. This was 1:1 and steeper in places and was a 1500' pull up the rocky band near the top. All in all, we'd climbed 7000' and done 15 miles by the time Pete's Eat's provided relief in ommeltte form....

The best news is I'm back and the setback has gone. My legs are sore and i'll rest until Tuesday, but i'm back and this day out has re-stoked my desire and love of long, strong days in the hills....

Roll on next weekend when i'm free both days!!!!!

15 miles

Saturday, 17 January 2009

17 January - Inhalers! X-rays! Arrrgh!

I've got a chest infection. 4th one in a year. The doctor thinks that's worth a look so I have an x-ray booked on Tuesday and I have to use an inhaler.

I;ve been so poorly. Feverish, hot and cold, tired....awful

All this out of nowhere! I was training so well.

More to report after Tuesday.....

Sunday, 11 January 2009

w/c 5 January - Wise owl, or wuss?

This was, on balance, a good week's training, especially when you consider that it was my first week in a new job and the fells are not always especially accessible this time of year.

I did something on 6 of the 7 days this week, climbed about 6500' in total and put in a hard weekend and so i should be pleased, and i guess i am.

Just wondering whether i'm as determined and 'fell hard' as i was. Yesterday (Sat 10 Jan) I went to the Carneddau to reaquaint myself with my classic loop out of aber which takes in 16 miles and climbs 5300'. I've done it before in January and was looking forward to it again.

I got there and set off up Moel Wnion and into a fierce wind but could see quite well. As I climbed Drosgyl (climbed well too) it got colder it was notceable that the weather was coming in. I got to the summit cairn and decided i shouldn't go any higher today. The plateau on the Carneddau is consistently above 3000' and it was not great at 2500 where i stood. The wind was very very cold and it looked threatening above. So, muttering things about discretion and valour, i turned back climbed the small peak of Gyrn and ran back up Wnion again before heading back to Aber for soup and a sandwich at the lovely cafe. I ended up doing 9 miles, about 3500' ascent and was out for 3 hours 15 mins.

Two years ago i did the full route, again alone, in January in similar conditions. There was no snow, but it was cold and windy with no vis above about 2900'. It was a little better than yesterday but the same ball park. What spurred me on that day was a determination to get fell-tough and be ready for the Bob Graham and whatever it threw at me. Yesterday, that hunger wasn't there. What was in the forefront of my mind was that if i were do twist an ankle up there i'd be in real trouble. I'd get really cold, really quickly if i couldn't move and who knows what predicament i'd be in then. But it didn't stop me two years ago when the hail pinned me down high on Yr Elen and the top of Foel Grach was an ice rink. The weather was clearer then, and the ice not as widespread lower down so i guess it would have easier to push on, but i can't help wondering whether i just bottled it yesterday?

Honestly, i think the difference between two years ago and now is that i have done a big round. Back then, i didn't know whether i was capable of doing the BG or anything like it so didn't want to pull out of anything. Now i'm more calculated. I know that during the winter months, it's all about getting a good base of fitness and getting the climbing in. You don't need to go up high onto an icy plateau to do that. For me now, it's not about proving myself every time i go out to build confidence, cos i already have confidence. I simply need to get fit.

So, i think i did make the right decision, but a few tough days in the hills wouldn't hurt either. If this has served to ramp up my determination, it ccan't be all bad.

This week's summary

Mon - 3 miles easy on very very icy roads.
Tues - nothing
Weds - 6 * 800, all around 3 mins, with the last two a bit faster, Rossett.
Thurs - 8.5M road - easy
Fri - 4M very easy at work
Sat - Carneddau - as described above!
Sun - 7 railways - so that's 2400' climbing. Tough after yesterday but did well.

Summary - 6500' ascent, 6 outings, probably only about 30 miles

Tune in head - tiny dancer, again!!! :)