Long Mynd Valleys Recce 28/1/10

With the Long Mynd Valleys Race coming up very soon I thought I'd try and do a full recce of the route to prepare my self . It's about 12 miles with 4500ft of assent and descent . Last year I got round the course in 3:05 ish . This year I would love to be able to break 3 hours . Although the "valleys" aren't that high (compared to the lakes or parts of Wales) they have some pretty steep bits . The route takes you up , down and across the valleys and saves the highest steepest hills for last . I did manage to complete the course , but , in a rather disappointing 3:50 . I hadn't had any breakfast that day and although I took some food to have on the way round I accidentally left it in the car . I'm hoping that remembering to eat on the day and the race itself will drag me along at a faster rate . I am mentally prepared at least .
the route
view from the flat section on top
can't remember which hill this was but it shows the sort of terrain
view of the Valleys I took the day after while doing a test flight for someone
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Weights 27/1/10

A change from the usual . Dropped all the weights down to about half of max for each exercise and did 3 sets of 20 reps . Still felt as though I'd done a decent work out .

mamouth kickboxing session 25/1/10

I WENT TO AN OTHER BRANCH OF THE DOJO , IN KIDDERMINSTER , TO TRAIN/SPAR WITH SOME DIFFERENT PEOPLE . MY INSTRUCTORS TWO SONS WERE THERE SO AFTER SOME CIRCUIT TRAINING TO WARM UP WE ALL HAD A KNOCKABOUT . I'D FORGOTTEN HOW BLOODY GOOD THEY BOTH ARE ! I GOT BATTERED . KNOW MATTER HOW GOOD YOU THINK YOU ARE THERE'S ALWAYS SOMEONE READY TO KICK YOUR ASS . 1:30 MINS OF GOOD TRAINING. UNFORTUNATELY I ENDED UP WITH SOME BIG BLISTERS ON THE SOULS OF MY FEET WHICH WILL STOP ME DOING MUCH OR A FEW DAYS .

POSTED FROM MY PHONE NEEDS EDITING

Wrekin Training Run 24/1/10

A short run up the Wrekin with "M""P" and "?"

After all the training I've done recently I thought I would pull off a good time up the Wrekin , but , it took me 40 odd seconds longer than last time (which is a lot over a short distance). Bugger .

Methusalah , however , managed a fantastic time . Even with his recently operated on knee , got off to a good start , pulling away from me from the off . A little demoralising but glad to see he's well on the road to recovery .

The "Panther" also attended but chose to walk up with Mrs M (AKA ???have to think of a name).

WFRA Nav Course 23/1/10

When the WFRA (Welsh Fell Running Association) had to change their date for the first navigation course (weather) . I was lucky enough to get a place due to another person not being able to make the standby date .

videoGlad I was too !

It was held at the village hall in Llangynidr , which is close to the Breacon Beacon National park and the Black Mountains .
The day for me started at 06:00 and a cup of coffee before the drive to make 09:00 start .
The course started with introductions followed by some "team" building exercises on map reading and navigation theory . Then the first nav ex , which was in the hall navigating round 25 chairs or so . The course instructor , Mark Saunders , put alot of emphasis on "it's a race" which put a bit more pressure on , resulting in the first errors of the day . Very light hearted and good fun .
Next we drove up to the the top of the local hills . Quite flat featureless terrain apart from the many "shake holes" scattered around . We were given detailed maps of a small area and given the task of finding various small flags hidden in the undergrowth and in some of the shake holes . Lots of short runs just to test the theory of map and compass usage as well as the concept of counting footsteps to work out approximate distance .
Then back to the hall for lunch .
The afternoon saw more theory . This time the emphasis was on attack points , route selection and contouring . Another short trip in the cars to a different point in the hills and we were paired up , given some more maps and given the task of finding more small flags in slightly more difficult places and having to use the attack point method (easy to find feature close to the hard to find flag). Then the pairs split up to navigate to the same point but using different routes to see whether direct up and over or round the hills was quicker . Different people with different strengths got different results . The final task of the day and we were split into three person teams for a relay race . Again this showed that , although we had all learnt to navigate (well a bit anyway), add the pressure of a race and mistakes were made . Fast runners loosing out to more careful navigators , slower runners running round bogs and beating faster runners trying to run through the bogs . But , like the fell races I've done , it's all about the taking part .
It was a great deal of fun and I met some more like minded nutters .
After the long drive back , I was rewarded with a few pints of ale down the local . Perfect day .

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Little Hill Sprints 19/1/10

No photos at the moment due to a "blogger"error .

Little Hill is n the western side of the Wrekin . Only a small lump but perfect for hill sprints . I parked on the west side of "little" and jogged up to the top , passing some nice looking logs for the wood burner on the way up . Once over the top and down the other side of "little" I did 5 or 6 flat out sprints to the top with a walk back down in between sets . Each one took about 10/15 secs and each time my legs were becoming more jelly like . My lungs were also burning after each one . Didn't take long , then I jogged back to the logs I'd seen and picked a few decent sized ones to take back to the truck . Repeated this a couple of times .

Kickboxing 18/1/10

After the Wrekin run earlier in the day I drove to the Dojo and did an hour of kickboxing . 30 min circuit training , 15 min pad work and 15 mins sparing . Harder than usual . I put this down to still recovering from the excesses of the last few eeks and running the Wrekin earlier .

Wrekin Training Run 18/1/10

Another blast up the Wrekin . Time getting back to normal 17:58 to the top . Most of the snow/ice gone now , but , somehow I managed to find one of the few bits of ice on the way down and ended up on my arse . A nice gash on my arm to prove it .

Wrekin Training Run with M 16/1/10

A quick run up the Wrekin with a friend . He had a knee opp a few weeks ago and wanted to test the new knee out .


He also had a new pair of daft monkey feet type shoes (Vibram Five Fingers(Treks)) he wanted to try .






Alot of the snow had gone but there were still some icy bits which hampered both of our progresses (even with monkey feet and mudclaws). May be not such a bad thing as it would have meant he couldn't try too hard on his knees first outing .
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Church stretton Training Run 15/1/10

I set off with the intention of doing most , if not all , of the Long Mynd Valleys race route . Unfortunately , even though the thaw had started , the snow was still deep in most places and where it wasn't deep it was turning into a horrible slush . After not very long at all , my feet were soaked through and freezing . I pushed on to "Jonathons Hollow" but the cold feet were becoming unbearable . Added to that it started sleeting and on top of the hills the wind was alot stronger than in the valleys . I wasn't having much fun so I decided to bin it . Problem was I still had to get back to the truck . As soon as I turned east and dropped into the valley it became more pleasant again but I couldn't feel my feet and wanted the warmth of a new pair of socks . I ended up crossing the point I'd crossed earlier and decided to take the reverse route of the the new years days run back to the truck .
Got a new phone with new GPS software . I don't like it as much as the old one at the moment but I'll persist with it for a while .
A victim of the recent weather . The rest of the wild life seemed to have taken advantage of the surprise meal .
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Time to get on it 13/1/10

I've been dodging the scales over the last few weeks for fear of what they might tell me . With two Birthday parties , one Christmas and two new years parties I knew it wouldn't be good news . Usually the training keeps the weight off , but , with the Dojo closing for a few weeks and a lack of running I had no chance . It wasn't quite as bad as it could have been , but , an extra half a stone is still not good .

So , a new year and just over three weeks till the Long Mynd Valleys Fell Race .

I did a feeble 30 min kickboxing session last night (not even worth blogging about) and found it pretty hard .

Today I thought I'd give the Wrekin a blast . I found the first climb harder than the last time I did it . Was it because of the extra snow underfoot or the extra weight to carry up with me ? Probably a bit of both . Conditions on the way up and on top were pretty poor . It took me quite a while to warm up with the stiff breeze blowing in my face . Once going down the other side under the shelter of the forest it became much more pleasant . To add a bit of variety when I found logs that the foresters had left behind I carried them to the lane for later retrieval . Then ran round the north side of the hill back to the truck . All in all , with the log moving , I was exercising for about two hours . Not a bad start . All I have to do now is avoid parties , beer and crap food . Umm , beer .

On top
Down the other side
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The Morning After Fell Race 1/1/10

My second run of this new years day race (5 miles, 900ft) . Its a well attended local race in Church Stretton . It took me a couple of minutes longer than last year . I put this down to spending more time down the pub the night before than last year . Great fun (even with a hang over) and lots of nice soup at the end .
Photos from Alistair http://www.fellrunningpictures.co.uk/

Wrekin training run 31/12/09

A really nice run around up and over the Wrekin through the snow



It was very busy on the Wrekin with people taking advantage of a bank holiday . And , amazingly with all the people and dogs about , I saw two deer trotting through the woods towards the top .
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