Monday, 27 April 2009

London Marathon

I didnt really practice much for the marathon... well, in distance I did, but not on the right surface. Tarmac kills you faster than grass and dirt.
Started out ok, I had a camelbak of 4:1, and a single energy gel.
Led off at the beginning, happy days, quite warm and glad I had my sunnies on, drinking water at the start, but mainly throwing it over my head as we ran around the course.
Didnt actually see anyone that I knew the whole way through.
Bands were terrific and helped us along, and it was the most social run/race I had ever done.
I didnt really notice the miles building up until all of a sudden we were at Tower Bridge, then at the halfway point, and then it started to hurt.
The main pain was in the thighs- the Quads, and it didnt go away.

That was it really- thats the pain. It just carried on right the way through the Isle of Dogs, then back down to the Tower of London, so I grimly hung on, doing laps ranging from 5:15 to 5:35 all the way around.
Finished in 3:46:16, which was about 16 seconds outside of where I wanted to be, but Im going to blame the absurdly crowded areas for that, where I just couldnt get through the people.
Also, My garmin says I ran 43ish km as well, and that I had actually run the 42km in about 3:43 anyway... but there you go.
All done

pre marathon fayre

Went to the London Marathon pre-marathon fayre on saturday, very interesting.
Went there early, to do everything that we could, first up was the massive Adidas stand as you walked in, offering gait analysis and footpad technology etc.
(all things considered, the day before the marathon isnt the best time to discover you have a crazy pronation problem, but there you go).

So I did the test, and it turns out that my heel to toe transition is really quick, I spend about 58% of the time with my foot on the ground actually using my toes... so it was suggested that I get a shoe that slows down the transition.
Next up was over to Mizuno, where I had my feet scanned again, and they suggested I have the very shoes that I normally wear- Wave Creation 9- well, the 10 is out now, so they suggested that one instead...
And I also tried on their Harrier- the Yellow trail runner, which is actually very comfortable and has pretty good lugs, so I might try a pair of them out once my current inov8s destroy themselves.
Wandered around a bit and eventually found the High 5 store, where i had a very indepth chat about the 4:1 and stomach cramps with the guy.

Apparently the body can only metabolise about 60g of carbohydrate an hour. if you eat any more than that, it just wells up in the gut, and creates backlog.
with the 4:1, we are delivering about 45g of carbs an hour, and can only accommodate another 15g per hour...
which is about right with the geobars that we eat- half a bar every half hour... but it does slightly go over the limit... hence, by the end of an 8 hour race we NEED water.... interesting.

Cyclops went and bought some MBTs, which I also had a go with, very nice, but, really, I dont have the need or the cash for them at the moment, and we picked up a shed load of stuff.
The goody bag given to us on the way out included a jar of cranberry sauce, and a half pint of London Pride. Riiiiiight


So, Its been a while.
Looking for a job is more of a full time job than actually having a job... how bizarre.
Still nothing on that front, however a couple of races have been run, and not much in the way of training has been done, mainly as the racing has been the training.

First up was the iROC, up in Durham Dales on an old disused cement factory. The race had been in preparation for quite some time- specifically as there were a lot of permissions that needed to be put in place, and also this was the inaugaral event- so there was much to go wrong.
The format was 6 races over 2 days.
Well, 5 on the Saturday and a killer on the Sunday, but more of that later.

What made this interesting was the nature of the event. After each race we got to go back to the tent, chill out, talk about the next race in the series, chat with other competitors, and generally prepare for the next one.
Of course, not all competitors were racing in all the events, so there were some people who were more knackered than others...

Like idiots, Jibber and I entered all of them.

Race 1. Fell race.
Basically up the steep sides of the hill overlooking the cement factory, up. Up more, over, into and across a bog, up some more, and then down, etc. For a good 8-9 miles. It basically gave us a good overview of the entire event area and more, what terrain to expect, where to expect it and how it was generally going to look.
The final part of the run was down through the single track in the forest- it was obscenely technical. Lumps, Bumps, roots, bridges, steep drops, the works.
That served as one of the big "anticipators" of the whole thing.
It turned out that a lot of the racers spent the rest of the day in dread of the night bike race which was going to go through that single track.
I spent much of that race waiting for Jibber- I appear to be a faster runner than him- and could have gained a number of placings, however, I waited and we plunged through the ice-cold river at the end of the race, and ended in good style.

Race 2. Orienteering part 1
For this race each racer was given a sealed map as they entered the start area, each map had a numbered series of orienteering points, and you had to collect the points in the correct order.
There were 4 loops, and every racer had the loops in a unique order. The loops at the bottom were the shorter of the 4, the other 2 were much longer and required a lot of hill climbing skills.
I had a bottm loop first, then a hill loop, then the killer bitch of a loop and then the final one closest to the finish.
Going up the third one, I was astonished to see someone actually RUNNING up the hill/slag heap behind me. "that bloke is fast" I thought.
Yep, then I got caned by a girl. Props to her though- totally wupped me.
Got back in 1hr31min.

Race 3 Orienteering 2
This was meant to go over into darkness, but it didnt really get all that dark. It was true orienteering in that we had an hour to get as much done as we could.
I teamed up with Jibber for this one and we got as many as we could. I managed one more point than him with a final sprint along the bottom of the course. Quite a nice trot over the hills, but I was really beginning to feel it.

Race 4 Night MTB
This was the one that the Bikers were looking forward to, and the runners really werent.
I was very happy that I had my Maxx exposure Joystick head torch thingy- just the right amount of light. (more would, of course, have been useful, but light=lots of cash.
The start was a bit of a mangled affair with people not knowing when or who was going, but I managed to get away with 3 others (we were let out in batches of 4).
The outward trail was getting torn up by this time, and wasnt fun at all- (I was VERY VERY glad that I had spent 30quid on a new rear tyre a couple of hours before) and I started winding my way through people on the first climb up the road.
We then went onto the grass, still up hill, then more winding up to the top of a massive slag heap, and a massive scary downhill bit, which was most amusing.
So I had overtaken a number of people, and then it was down into the depths of the forst and singletrack- which was, without a doubt, absolutely fantastic.
There were a couple of uber steep bits that had to be walked, but other than that, it was really good.
Coming down the final road, I pushed on the power and really drove it home, overtaking another load of people before the end.
I came about 41st out of the whole lot, which, all things considered, was not bad at all.

Race 5 Night Fell race
Ok, was getting tired here, it was a 4-5mile slog up and down the hills, we had covered pretty much all of the ground during the day, but it didnt make it any easier.
ACLs and ITBs were in massive pain going down hills, had to go through that damn forest again, which was even more churned up than ever. I got back in 1hr 8mins, Jibber took considerably longer.
going through that damn river at the end really didnt help either.
Settled down to sleep once the music in the marquee had shut the hell up- at 1am, and woke up, somewhat concernedly at 915 the next morning, when we had only really had about what felt like 10 mins kip.

Race 6- MTB enduro
Never done an enduro before. Never want to do one in those conditions ever again. Knackered to the point of oblivion we set out- with a 500yard dash to the bikes, en masse, and then got on out bikes... now, I consider myself to be quite a hardy biker, but, by the end of the first loop, I was gasping, and by the end of the second, I was a gonner. I couldnt stand up on my pedals to go over rough ground as my knees hurt too much, I couldnt pedal up hill- I was in granny ring the FIRST time around, there wasnt anywhere else to go after that!
so after only 1.5hours and 2 loops out, I called it a day and limped in. Knees are more important than a few places on the chart.

I came 60th out of about 200 (I was 50th before the enduro... but there you go), and was totally knackered, with a massive cut down the back of my left leg from the DMR pedals.

couldnt have finished the race without High 5 4:1, nor power gels, nor geobars.
best endurance food ever.

Friday, 27 March 2009


On the downside, I have no job, a mortgage, and a yearlong course that Im about to start.
On the upside, I have shit loads of training time.
I feel a third blog coming on.

Monday, 23 March 2009

slightly overdoing it

IOW, set out at 9am(ish) after inputting a load of Geocaches into a GPS- (my forerunner is down, having to be shipped back- again, and the one I borrowed, I neglected to charge up- doh).

Ran over to Beaper Shute, then to Knighton, all in good time, though the caches were a little hard to find.

From Knighton I went out along the dismantled railway, then south to Godshill, south again over the downs and then to Wroxall.
By this time I had covered over 20km and was beginning to feel it.
Started on my way back, instead of going up Shanklin down- that would have been a killer, and went back via America wood, apse heath and borth wood (where my water ran out), up into alverstone, (where a blister on my little toe popped), up over brading down, into brading, and back home.
38km ish. in 6 hours.
certainly took quite a bit longer than I thought it would, and was more tired than I imagined.
Mind you, I wasnt wearing compression shorts, and was drinking water rather than 4:1, and I would have been much faster had I not had to keep stopping for caches, and not had horrendous hills to keep going up.

was fairly tired at the end of the day, but at least I know I still have the mental fortitude to pretty much cane out a marathon.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

New toy and circuits

So my viper belt and bungee rope came today, very exciting (not least because it actually got delivered and the concierge didn't screw it up).

Went out and did reps of 10 x 5 interspersed with a mins worth of skipping. (That's about 160 skips, to be honest I went by skip count rather than minuite, to make it more accurate.
No breaks between either, which took about 17 mins all told.

Went onto a circuit consisting of 12 pressups, 10 situps, 8 burpees, 15 high knee running steps and then 12 double footed jumps onto a platform.
each circuit took about 2 mins, then 1 mins rest. Did that 6 times before total collapse.
except it wasnt total collapse, I could still do the press ups, but the rest of it escaped me.

then had a chicken kebab.
thought it was a little more healthy than fish and chips...

pull ups

got out the RockRings for the first time in ages last night. Hung them at the bottom of the stairs, and cranked out about 5 mins worth of excercises.
dont want to overdo it at the moment, as just starting back.
Imagine twanging a tendon on the first evening training back after a lay off.
that would be annoying.

Biked to work today as well. all good fun, but really need to sort the gears.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009


after the slight biking debacle... well, ok, it wasnt a debacle, it was just totally knackering, at the weekend, I have decided to get out and pwn myself on the bike on a regular basis.
Today, circuits of greenwich hill, managed 5 times, not the greatest, especially as I kept getting whupped by a guy on a racer.
cranked my way up the hill and then over the grass at the top, (found biking on grass especially difficult at the weekend, so extra resistance must be found to practice against), and back down a dodgy path, and up again.
did a 6:26, 6:37, 6:44, 7:04 and 7:30.
the gears were really playing up toward the end, and Im going to have to sort them out...

Sunday, 15 March 2009

DAR Dorset

Up early on Sat to get down to Dorset for the second DAR of the season. My hand is indeed fixed, so we were actually in competitive mode, for the first time since last october.
Weather was good as we hooned down there, and once down in the valleys of dorset, found there was a fair headwind apparently coming in from the north west-ish.
We knew we were going to cycle second, electing to kill our legs first and then sit and pedal second.
We also had a plan to do about 70% on each discipline, as getting 100% on one is a silly idea if you are then totalled before you even start the second.

Off out on the running, and the hills, although not massive, were numerous, the first 10km was done in about 1 hour- or just over. pace then slacked off significantly and the next 10 km was done in 2 hours.
nothing to do with navigational errors, just more rests, slower pace, and less ability.
The first load of checkpoints were literally clip'n'go, but at later stages, we were using the time to have a breather.
Note for training, try longer- 2 hour runs keeping the same pace up all the way around, without slackening off.
Got back from the run, a little tired, but not battered, collecting a sneaky 10 pointer just as we got back, filled up on nutrigrain elevenses- a test to see if they provide the same kind of power as vomit inducing soreen, filling up camelbaks with water instead of the 4:1 we had on the run and headed out on the bikes.

The first hill was piainful.
beyond painful. I havent been on a bike since Christmas, or maybe before, certainly not in anger, anyway.
however, as we continued on, our legs got into it, and our average speed improved as we went along.
Tried to keep off claggy mud tracks and strength sapping grass "bridleways" finding that its often faster to take a detour, just to keep on roads, rather than battle it out along the churned up mud.
This worked out well on a couple of occassions, but out around around point 18, it screwed us up, looking back on it, it took us 4 km out of our way, cost 30 mins or so, and we should have just bitten the hard end and gone up the clag.
the long and short of it was we got to a point where we could have gone south and picked up about 60 extra points, but we just didnt have time.
without that mistake earlier, I think we could have done it.
the final uphill to point 2 on a grass track was hell on earth, not nice, and I thought I was going to die of a heart attack, however, got there and down, with about 4 mins to go.
715 points.
2nd out of the 5 male pairs and 13 out of a total of 27 competing.
not bad for a first competitive ride out since october, especially without bike training.
So thats the focus for the next couple of months.
oh, and the new thumb compass was brilliant.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Not really training, but

Passed theory.
Didn't know there were 50 questions, that threw me a bit.

Got 49 out of 50 though. Can't find out what I got wrong though, which seems a bit stupid. If you don't know, how can you improve?!
Passed though.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Im really quite fatigued (circuits, 8/3/09)

I was going to write about all the littrle runs Ive been doing recently but havent really logged- but I dont have my forerunner here at the moment.

Yesterday did a full blowout killyerself session with Jibber.
Started with a bowl of cornflakes, as you do.
Warm up run of about 4 km, just chilling out, then down to the tarmac outside the flat.
Break out the tractor tyre and the skipping rope.
track of about 20 metres which you flip the tractor tyre down, jumping in and out after each flip, while the other person skips continuously. (this was made somewhat more tricky by the quite stong wind).
Times 5.

short rest and then circuits.
15 x unweighted squats
12 x pushups
10 x sit ups
8 x burpees
20 x high knee steps
12 x jump onto a platform.
rest for haf the time it takes, and then do again until 30 mins is up.
I think we managed about 5 or 6 rounds on that, taking between 2:30 and 3mins for each circuit.

went into the gym where the heat was oppressive in the extreme.
the idea was to do rounds of 2 mins on the bike and rower at 115rpm on the bike and less than 1:50 on the rowing machine x4.
we managed it x2 before nearly collapsing from heat and lack of air, and I nearly passed out on the rowing machine. I think I might need some practice on that.

came out again, and did tyre flips while the other did planks. (left, right for one flippage, and then front/back for 1 flippage)

final task was to jog up to the top again, then find a kilometre circuit, and run it as fast as you can- ideally under your normal 10k pace, rest for half the time, and then do it again, until youve run 6 km.
Managed a 4:24, 4:24, 4:30, 4:29, 4:31 and then we called it a day as jibber wasnt going any faster than normal, and the weather was beginning to close in.

so thats 3.5 hours of exercise.
I ache today, in all kinds of new places Ive never actually felt before, but a good precedent.
Im thinking of all kinds of vicious circuits to do which will surprise my body more- never do the same thing twice.

Monday, 2 March 2009


Ok, so I didn't go running over the weekend- well, once up to the hut, listening to the prodigy, new album. That was a mistake.
Made me run waaaay too fast.
Got up there in 22 mins, and back in 21.
Managed to sustain 3:21 min per km down the hill.

Sunday evening my heels hurt, contemplated going for a run, but decided to listen to them, and spent about 30 mins following the first 2 chapters of yoga for athletes. Starting with sitting and going through to tree pose. Seems that I can sit comfortably on the floor if I sit on a chambers dictionary a potato cooking book and a rice cooking book.
Apparently as my hips get less tense I should be able to sit lower, as it were.
Running up to the hut again tonight. Doubt it will be in 22 mins though!

Friday, 27 February 2009


Went out on my bike for the first time in an age last night. Couldnt cycle because of the still slightly tender thumb, but had to get somewhere, so thought I'd take it easy and see how it went.

Twas only about 9km each way, took 30 mins on the wa there, and 20 on the way back.
London at night, its quite nice really. Once I can bike properly again I might have to make a habit of going out for a couple of hours after dark, and actually see bits of London that Ive not had a chance to get to before. (or gone through on a tube- hence not seeing anything.

Thumb slightly hurting this morning, though really its not that bad. Just enough to make me think that it needs another week before I get on a bike again.
Rest is good.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Chris sharma- lecture

Went to a lecture by Chris Sharma last night at the Arch bouldering wall.
Loads of people waiting in the normal bit, and the lecture was through a little door into the section which divides the wall in 2.
There was no way iin which ThAT many people could have fit into that space.
However, after quite some time, we were allowed in, went through and through a candle lit tunnel, into another railway arch, a cavernous place with a load of chairs out, a white painted wall, small stage and more candles.
Very atmospheric, especially with dust falling from the ceiling as trains went overhead.

Chris walked in, grabbed the mic and proceeded to amble to the projecter, right next to where I was sitting. So I spent the entire thing pretty much sat next to him.

The amount of stuff he's done is quite astonishing, obviously he's incredibly talented- sheesh- climbing 5.14 when he was 14, that ait bad.

The thing that came out most was just to have fun in everything that you do. Be psyched. Be motivated. Find something that motivates you, don't be jealous of things that other people are doing, be stoked for them, ebcourage them, but don't forget about the stuff that you do.
Make it fun and you will be motivated, fun = inspiration and motivation.
Excellent evening.

Sunday, 22 February 2009


Went off geocaching with cyclops on Saturday.
Beautiful day for a walk, so we took a train down to Boxhill. On the way down, we programmed in co-ordinates to our Forerunners, and marked them down on a 1:25k map.

There was a series called Snow white, had to find 7 dwarves, each of which had a number on it, put all together, they added up to give the ref for Snow White.
Spent an enjoyable 5 hours or so romping around boxhill and the surrounding countryside, at times bashing through ferns and brambles, and at others, wandering down sun dappled paths (could barely believe it was February).
Found all the ones we wanted to, and had a slightly fast walk to the end to catch a train. But caught the thing, which was good.

All in all, it was about 15km, in boots with a pack. Didnt get lost, only really used the GPS when we got within itching distance of the target.
Its actually quite a good map reading exercise, which might have uses for adventure racing.
good day out though.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

and again....

Ran home, slight twinge on my right calf as of halfway home.
forgot my shorts, so had to run home in just my leggings.

had music on as well, new sennheiser pmx 80s- very good, just as good as the 70s- which were green, stay in the same place as well as them, and theyre orange.

7km, 34:37,
avg 4.55 min per km

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Running home again

Was wondering whether to run home last night, what with a twitch in my left knee. It seemed to work itself out over the day though.
I think it was an instability twitch- caused by the mass offroad session over the weekend, rather than a shock caused one from excessive running. Still, going to keep a weather eye on it and not do anythin silly.

It was quite warm coimng home- with the featherlite on it was nearly too hot. No, make that it WAS too hot, I just didn't want to stop and take it off.

Masses of traffic around as well. Very glad I don't drive in central london. As it was, I swear I was getting carbon monoxide poisoning...

Thought I'd take it nice and easy, chilling out and not massively trying.

Still, managed 7.2km in 35 mins
4.57min perkm on average

Monday, 16 February 2009

Running in Wales

Sunday 15th Feb was a good day for a run.
Started out from Capel Curig at 10ish, and took the trail to the west that runs parallel to the road. After 4km, crossed the road and went up into the hills. After a while, bog ensued.
I missed the standing stone I was looking for but hit a catching feature- the stream that ran to the lake, and followed that. Rain happened, but really, not much of an issue.
Really getting into it by the time I got to the lake, up and around it, and then up a hill that was covered in heather. That was my slowest lap- open access, but no paths, so just heather bashing. that was about 2 hours in, and I had my second geo bar.
Topped out and followed a fence line, down until I hit the wood, which was excellent, mud, bog, tree roots and trees that had fallen over which had to be jumped, proper running.
Got slightly lost at one point, but backtracked and corrected myself within 5 mins, and careered onward down through the trees, over a river, passed a house and went back up over a saddle. The final part was all track, a mixture of stones, rock and river which took me right back to the house.
3hrs 7 mins, 24 km, average pace 8mins per km and average of 150bpm.
Also used a thumb compass, which I havent used before, turned out to be excellent.
only ate 3 geobars for the whole thing, went through maybe 1.5l of normal water, minor pain in the left knee, took Ibuprofen at about 15km, started to feel slightly tired at 21km.
A seriously excellent run.

Wales- trust yer compass

Saturday, ok weather, snow on the ground up a little higher, took crampons and axes just in case. 

I borrowed nics rucsac as mine wasnt really up to spec to carry winter gear. I was expecting to run or go absurdly light. Wandered out from Capel Curig with Sasmojo and West over to get to Tryfan. 

Went over a couple of hills and through a bog or two. I was most surprised and concerned to find my Scarpa Charmoz GTX's were leaking. Right boot, just over the toe, and that was within about 10 mins of starting. As a side note, I shall be testing these out at home in controlled circumstances... not a happy bunny as they arent even 3 months old yet. 

We got to the ridge before tryfan, glorious in its snowiness, and started to decend over to the saddle when the clag came in. We veered left- south, and by my compass we ended up going East. 

After looking at the ground we were on, and comparing it to the map, it was decided that the compass was wrong and we would continue on course .. the rocks MUST have been tampering with my compass. Not withstanding the other compass said the same, as did my Forerunner. Went along with it, to see what would happen, and where we would end up- which was patently not going to be Tryfan. 

After going around in a circle, we came across a stonewall and a river, and got our bearings back, hiked back up the hill to the place where we were about 1.5 hours previously. 

By this time, My foot was wet. Nasty wet, and I really didnt fancy going on tryfan in the snow with a cold wet foot- so we trudged back home again, making excellent time. 

In all, it was about 18km over 5hrs 10 mins or so. With an excellent navigational exercise thrown in. 


Friday, 13 February 2009

running home again

It started snowing as I put on my gear last night, however, as I went out, it stopped.
Most disappointing.
Ran from London bridge to home, took 34:47 mins, 7.08 km at 4.55min per km
average hr 159bpm.
quite a nice little jog home, and stretched out my right calf, which was feeling a bit tight from Tuesdays shenanagens.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

back to the grind

Despite my slight radio silence I have actually been going out for occassional small runs.
I was meant to have gone out over the weekend on the IOW, but ended up eating far too much and falling asleep in front of a fire, quite consistently.
However, I managed to overcome the apathy and rocked out last night around Blackheath. My Asics were wet from running to Explorers on Monday, so I wore my Inov8s and made sure I stayed on the grass as much as possible. Good to keep them soft, and in shape with my feet.
Ended up going around Blackheath, the whole thing 2 and a half times, 15.99km by the time I finally got back, 1hr 21 mins, thats averaging about 5.02mins per km.
I was averaging at under 5mins per km for the first 12km, and then slowed down some, though nothing too drastic.
Average heartrate at about 160bpm.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

no. I really hate gyms

Well, because of the snow that fell yesterday, and the evening before that, I decided that its really not a cunning idea to run outside.
I mean, I know Im pathologically averse to gyms, however, I figured that its better to do something you really hate, than go for a run in the snow and injure yourself. As we all know, being injured is the worst thing you can do, as you get fat, demotivated and generally screwed over.
So I went to the gym. Did about 15 mins on the treadmill at 11km, and 15 mins on the biking machine (reclining) average HR at 156, (155 on the treadmill and 157 on the bike).
It was a very do-able pace on the mill- but totally mind numbing, and I also felt a slight twinge in my plantar fascia, so stopped after 15 mins.
reclining bike was ok, but, again, boring. I actually found it getting harder at about the 10 min mark as my mind started wandering. Like, really hard.
Wierdly enough, as I started concentrating on my legs, and really putting some effort into it, it got a whole lot easier.
No wonder gyms hurt. I cant concentrate long enough to actually make it interesting.
Interesting. I need to keep up the concentration and the pain wont happen. Or maybe I'll just try even harder and end up destroying myself in half the time. There are no distance markers in the gym, so I guess Im going to have to use HR markers instead.
On another note, i went to the hand specialist today. Got it x-rayed and I have a suspected hairline fracture of my thumb. so nothing for 6 weeks. Thats the medical opinion, so it looks like a whole lot of running for me then.

Sunday, 1 February 2009

marathon training 1

Out for a run on sat, just to see how far I could get, not a speed thing, though I had to keep reminding myself that as I was going along- trying not to go fast.
Harder than I thought.
Only managed to be out for about 1hr17mins, got around 15km.
average was 5.12mins per km, which really isnt bad, all things considered. However, i did feel really tired on the run.
It could have been because I was slightly dehydrated- notice a pattern going on here.
Keep Hydrated.
average hr was about 168, which seems a little high to me. All endurance races to date have been about 140-155 average- i suppose thats because of the constant starting and stopping. It'll be interesting to see the graphs over time.
I guess im going faster now than i am in the endurance races as well.
A little tired in the morning, but nothing serious. Need to make sure I dont run too much as I'll start doing my back in.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Return of the Garmin

Exactly what it says on the tin. 

I am now the owner of a new Garmin- with the new ware on it as well, which is nice. 

Happy days, and out for a longer tarmac run tomorrow. Joy. 

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

run home III

Took a slight detour on the run home this evening, trying to get slightly longer on the tarmac, as it were.
Starting out from London bridge, went along the north side of the river down to Blackfriars bridge, across that, and back along the south side to london bridge and home on the normal route.
didnt feel too bad at all at the end- seem to be on the road to decent running again.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009


As I cant cycle for the moment, as has been exhaustively documented, I decided to run up to Explorers instead- loosen up a little from the weekend. 

Took about 25 mins or so, which, with a backpack, isnt too bad at all. 

Not having my Garmin is really getting to me now, as I cant really quantify anything. Called them yesterday and apparently there had been some kind of hold up. They neglected to say what the hold up was, just that there was a hold up. From my calling them, it was sorted in a couple of hours.

If I HADNT called them, how long would they have waited to sort it out? Considering it arrived there not last friday, but the friday before... goodness only knows. Not exactly covering themselves with glory. 

However, a new one is apparently on its way. It had better be. 

Physio this morning. Hand still swollen. He recommended getting an X-ray, just to rule out the possibility of a broken hand. You never know after all. 

So I tried calling Pruhealth, who told me that a physio couldnt refer me, I have to talk to a doctor, who then writes it on a bit of paper. I call PruHealth and tell them he's written it on a bit of paper and they let me go for an X-ray. 

The bit of paper doesnt actually go anywhere, or do anything from what I can understand, so whats to stop me from just calling back and saying Ive done it?

Really. I think these guys are a bit too cowboyish for my liking...

DAR- we didnt come last! we completed the run- and there was 1 person that didnt complete the run and retired- so we didnt actually really come last. 

Sunday, 25 January 2009

New Forest DAR

Damn. Fairly tired.
DAR was down in the New forest this time. Its a fast course, and generally has quite a breeze to contend with- especially when on a bike.
This isnt wasnt going to be the case for us- the left hand is still a bit buggered up and there was no way I could ride a bike without large amounts of pain and probably killing my hand even further.
So the decision was to just run this one, and not even take bikes so as not to be tempted into (more) pain.
The entire plan was to complete the run as fast as possible, which, looking at, seemed to be doable in about 5 hours or so.
We set out on the loop anticlockwise, knowing there was some serious bog to be contended with on the top and left hand side of the map. The points on the right were in forest which may or maynot be there thanks to the forestry commission, and it would be better to look for those whilst in a semi-coherent state.
for the first half of the run, all was going well. we werent stopping too much, we kept things real and could remember what was happening on the map etc.
after 2.5 or 3 hours we got out of the forest and had bog problems.
Not just any bog, this was knee/thigh deep bog with tussocks that may or may not have been tussocks, scratchy heather, deeeeeep bog water, gorse, trees, and other stuff.
Looking back at it, this was the turning point. 30 mins crawling through a bog is not conducive to speed or rest, especially when vaguely lost. But we soldiered on. More bog followed and we lost countof the amount of times we were falling over.
I should point out that we were trying the bog routes as on previous occasions we had tried following the paths with less than total success. The map does NOT correspond to the paths on the ground, as we have found out a number of times.
However, as time dragged on, so did our feet. Another bog, and the inevitable bog/river crossing which was better than the first bog we hit.
Finally finished in 6:37. Totally knackered, but alive. Jibbers left knee was in pain and his right ankle was showing signs of wear.
Astonishingly I had no blisters from my Mudrocs, and apart from massive lacerations from the heather/gorse/trees and large amounts of mud from numerous knee deep dunkings in bog, I was fine.
Surprisingly I dont feel as tired as I did as last week after the fell run, despit being out there for 5 hours more. Could be the fact we were constantly eating every 30 mins, and were totally stocked up on high5 4:1. but that was about 40km in 6.5 hours.
and I dont remember there being any bogs in the London event... so that should be ok.
Good race though. Glad we didnt bike afterward, or I think we'd have died.
NB- Tom Gibbs finished the ENTIRE thing in 7 hours.

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Run home part deux

Ran home from work again today, much the same as last time, though had more in the bag- by about 2 shirts and a pair of jeans.... so not that much, but it all counts.
distance- unsurprisingly 6.93 km
km average 5.02
total time34.49
and apparently 491 kcal spent. right......
not much faster, but I felt a lot better, getting my running legs back, or so it seems.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Running home 1

Ran home from work today. The Garmin hasnt come back yet, so I borrowed Cyclops's instead. It finally picked up enough satellite coverage over London Bridge so I ran from there.
average of 5.03m per km.
Not too bad, considering its my first training run for a while, but i dont think I could keep that pace up for 4 hours or so.
stretched out for ages once I got home, and had pasta and tofu. see how I feel tomorrow, and another run home on Thurs, see if I can match it then.

More Pain

Cycled to Explorers and back last night. 

Going there wasnt too bad, but pressure on my wrist gave me a bit of pain. Its like I should have bar endz to reduce torsion on my wrist. 

However, coming back, the pain was almost unbearable, added to which, it was so cold on my hands that in 7 mins, they were numb, and in 10, I couldnt actually use them. 

Got in and had the worst hot aches ever- running around my room screaming. Not pleasant at all. So it looks like the cycling section of the DAR is out. We might have to just run the whole damn thing again, and use it as practice for navigation and leg stamina. 

Monday, 19 January 2009


113 Zephr Independent 73.32

Not too bad, and in the top half (by 3 places) 

And I can still feel it in the hamstrings and quads. 

Weighed myself yesterday- 77kg. daaaaamn. So much more running for me then. 

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Box Hill Fell Race

Damn me.
Im knackered.

Got down there by train... there is a direct train from New Cross Gate to Dorking! Can you believe that? Honestly had no idea, so we got the train to London Bridge and then went past NCG and felt like right idiots.

Got to the place, no issues, was a beautiful and sunny day, a bt squidgy under foot, but nothing too bad. There were a lot of tri runners and a lot of club runners around, all looking dauntingly good.

We figured that Id end up red-misting at the beginning and running like an idiot and Jibber would think it was longer than it was and end up not going all out. Turns out we were right on both scores.
Unfortunately My forerunner, as noted below is being repaired, so I have no geeky stats to talk about.
First hill, there were LOADS of people walking. Literally, straight from the (mass) start. was almost like a brawl. up a hill, along a path and then a straight down.
Was overtaken by a suicidally fast woman at this point. No regard for life or limb. Or just total trust in her shoes. Probably both.
I was relatively fast on the first 3 uphills, but was really feeling it after that.
Something I noticed was how much faster everyone else was on the flat. Like wierdly faster.
I settled into more of an 8hour DAR pace, and everyone else thrashed past me. I guess if id have followed them I'd have blown up really quite quickly.

There was a fair amount of pain going around, but not in my knee, which is good. No issues on that front in the slightest- just general cardiovascular pain.
By the end I could tell my running style- especially my footfall was suffering- could hear it slapping away instead of being nice and stealth- but running downhill, I was just trying to get as many studs in contact with the ground as possible.
Running down stairs was interesting- though I managed to over take people on that front.
There was one really long uphill section... second to last hill I guess, where I had to pace myself between points. Walk to the tree. Run to the next one. walk to that molehill... that kind of thing.

Final sprint down the hill to the end was good. Though I did have a fleeting thought that it would be best if I didnt fall and break/twist/destroy something. Gave it a lot on that last downhill and nearly couldnt stop. Collapsed on the ground at the end and it felt like the sky was floating away.
Was ok after a few mins of lying on the ground and gasping like a fish though.
Not sure about the timing yet- I think it was somewhere around 75mins.
Walked back. Had a meal at a pub and a beer. Came home.
Collapsed. Seriously.
I cant believe how damn tired I am. Must have flaked out for a good 2 hours, and am vaguely thinking I might go back to bed.
Jibber is totally dead to the world.
Oh... and an interesting point. We were both dehydrated throughout the race. I guess its because we are used to carrying water and food around with us and dont have the need to stock up beforehand. I was gasping by the second hill. So thats a point worth remembering in the future for a fell race.

Friday, 16 January 2009


As I mentioned, I broke my forerunner 305 back in Norway. Screen basically got smashed, but it still recorded etc.

Called up garmin and it is out of warranty, which is a tad annoying, though I can get iit replaced. (No such thing as repairing these days, just replace the entire unit...)
Cost about 55 quid or so.
Theoretically it should only take 5 days or so. We'll see.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

physio on wrist

Sprained the heel of my hand, so its not actually the tendon, more like the ligament.
Not as horrifically bad as I thought, Just have to let my hand rest, not strain it, stretch the wrist and fingers, but not torquing them the wrong way, and ice massage it.
2 weeks off and then be careful for another week or so... and with the stretching, all should be good.

So lots of stretching and Core for the next few weeks.
Thats what Im saying. Lets see if I do it.

I Hate Gyms II

Running- 15 mins on incline 12, about 8kmph. fecking knackered.

Cycling- 15km in 20 mins, 10km in the first 11km. 102-5rpm.
I swear my heart was going to implode.

Gyms are so depressing. its all numbers and no euphoria.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Wrist tendon

So ouch.
It appears that the handstand workshop had a bit more of an impact on my wrist than I thought.
Left wrist, tendons on the thumb and index finger hurt considerably when flexed back.
I'm thinking this is lack of flexibility antagonised by considerable hardening up in the grippy direction from a number of years climbing.
They probably need to be stretched progressivly rather than be subjected to 2hours of abuse immediatly.
I've already booked myself into the tumbing course on tuesday, but think I may need the week off to ice it and rest.
If I can cancel I will, but we'll see.
Have been direct icing it, so theoretically, that plus rest should sort me quite soon.

Friday, 9 January 2009


First class at Circusspace today- on my first Carnet, which I decided to take as a handstand and hand balancing class. 

After a 15 min warm up, which wasnt all that bad, there were 4 of us in the class, 2 girls who were by far the most controlled and flexible, myself and a Cambridge Professor dude who comes down to Cicusspace every thursday and myself, who was by far the least controlled and flexible. 

What followed was another 15 mins of core strength "warm ups" which felt more like a workout than a warm up- planks, side planks, twisty stomach things, crunches, side crunches- dishes, the whole shabang. Doing hand balances are a lot more about core stability than I realised. 

Then came the hand balancing proper, which is interesting for me as so much climbing has tighened my wrist tendons on one side, (the wrong side for handbalance), and, this I didnt know, has also tightened my shoulders quite a lot as well- hence making it difficult to balance. Your shoulders have to be open and quite flexible to make a striaght balance... my shoulders are tense so I cant get into a balancing position easily and have to arch my back quite a lot- which, although balancing me, isnt quite right. 

So we did balancing, balancing squat to straight and back, straddle to straight and back pike to straight and back- all of which I am really quite rubbish at. 

By the end, I was surprised that my wrists werent in too bad a shape, and my core was knackered- unsurprisingly, so were my arms. The conclusion being, that I have to sort out my core strength, shoulder flexibility and general all round flexibility, and all should be good. 


So everything that Ive been wanting to do (or trying- in a fairly un-remarkable way) in the past few years, is necessary for this. Well. No wonder Im rubbish at handbalance. 

Bring on the practice. 

Oh- and a minor issue- I have a place for the London Marathon. Im thinking sub 3.45. 

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

I hate Gyms

Warmed up on a rowing machine for 5 mins at about 2:30 per 500m, then jumped on a bike- managed 10 mins at level 13, 10km at 102rpm, before feeling like I was going to throw up, hit a HR of about 180.
Stretched out hamstrings and then moved onto a running machine in the much much cooler room (rather than sweating like an idiot in the room with all the TVs and music and crap), and managed 10 mins on the highest incline varying between 8, 6 and 3kmph.
Hit an HR of 188 at 2 points on the 8kmph sets- and by the end I was kind of getting into it, but felt like death.
Why is it that running and biking outside is so much easier than inside? wierd.
Was doing it all to a 164bpm Podrunner mix- which is definitely the way forward indoors- block out everyone and everything else and just go for it.
I still hate Gyms though.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Circus Space

Well... an interesting evening. 

Joined up onto the induction program last night in circus space, thinking of going into something that strengthens the core muscles and general body conditioning. Ive been planning on doing it for a long time, but didnt have the time to go on the induction (which needs to be done before you actually do any classes)

There was a 15-20 minute warm up which included general gymnastic type stuff, where I was very aware of horrifically tight hamstrings. 

What followed was a tumbling introduction- the 3 girls in the induction had done gymnastics as kids, one did capoeira, and they were generally at a better level than me. However, I gamely went through forward rolls, backward rolls and cartwheels on both sides. Then came hand balancing- hand stands, rolling out of them etc. which was good to do on a very basic level, and finally was the acro balance- which involved doing balances with other people- very much static and core strength. 

All good fun. 

So I am at level one, which is good to know, and after a 2 hour "not exactly beasting" I was tired, but not knackered, had a blister on the bottom of my left foot, and was ready to get into it properly. 

Amy- the instructor was really professional, knew how to explain things, and was very patient. (Very handy). 

So Im all sorted to get stuck in- and rather than rocking straight into the tumbling this evening, which I could do- Im going to start on the hand balancing thing on Thursday. I hope. 

Monday, 5 January 2009

Back from Norway

Brief background of the last 2 weeks. 

Started in Hemsedal, boarding and skiing- actually ,mostly boarding- which was good fun. The snow was good to begin with, getting more icy as it went on. 

Temperature ranged from 0 to -20 or so, and I managed to get a fair few jumps going through the board park. 

One slightly memorable run through saw me nail the massive jump in the middle, and then catch the lower jump at a bad angle, ending up in a faceplant from 5ft. Black eye, bruising on the thigh (which is only JUST coming out a week and a half after it happened) and minor concussion. First time Ive had concussion as well, which was fun. 

Unfortunately I managed to smash the LCD display of my garmin 305, so Im going to have to get another one. Looked at some Suunto watches, and although they are good, they arent quite as training oriented. 

Dog sledding was great- the dogs were very loud, very keen, and ran like the wind. 

We were taught some background details on ice climbing by Leslie out in Gol, where it was about -15- a bit too cold for decent ice, but we got a couple of routes in, and amassed a vast range of knowledge about placements, ice conditions and general ice information ready for Rjukan. 

At Rjukan we only managed to get a couple of days worth of climbing in, WI2-3 was the highest we got- single pitch only, but it was a good taster to know what we are capable of, and what needs to be thought about for a later date. 

Managed not to get the hot aches at all- which may be because of the ice massage I was doing to my knee before I went- opening capillaries on a daily basis and getting used to the cold and heat. My feet got very cold though- especially the toes- so new socks will have to be investigated. The worst part was the ice axe placements when tired- it got more difficult to actually place with any degree of accuracy once the arms died. 

However, we all survived, and Im going to have to see about investing in a pair of Quarks and some Airtechs. 

Back to the running etc. as I was consuming massive amounts of calories to keep warm in Norway, and evidently not expending them at the rate I thought I would. 

added to that, Boxhill fell race is coming up on the 17th, a DAR on the 24th, and Ive booked into the Open 12 for June. The calender of pain is beginning to take shape.