Probable reduction in training. Why ?

Kickboxing 22and23/2/10

Monday 60 mins very intensive sparing session. Lots of short fast rounds.
Tuesday 45 mins less intensive work on pads.

Malverns Training Run 21/2/10

A nice steady 11 ish miles.

The idea was to go out for a long slow run. We parked the truck at the Northern end of the Malvern hills and started the climb up and then along the ridge. It had snowed over night so some parts were hard going. The weather to start with was a little unpleasant but improved through out the run.
Methuselah at the trig point
The road ahead
The view looking back along the ridge we'd just run down. All we had to do was run back.
Me at the trig later on (weather much improved)

Hopefully these longer runs will help prepare me for some of the longer races I have planned later in the year. It would also be nice if as a consequence of the longer runs I were to loose some weight.

Moel y Ci Fell Race 20/2/10

A trip to North Wales for this "BS" 5 miles 950 feet fell race.

A nice race with a mixture of terrain. Paths,trails,hills,snow,rock,mud,fields and Forest.
I was recovering from a cold on this one,but,after missing the race the previous weekend, due to a dodgy knee, (which was/is still playing up) I was determined not to miss another.
taking it easy (Gwenfor's picture)
It started off ok and I was in my usual sort of position in the pack. After about 10mins though I think the cold caught up we me a bit. People started going past me and I didn't really care. I decided just to take it easy and get round. Towards the top, after a nice start with the weather, the snow began drifting in. I was getting a bit cold and I decided,as it was now mostly down hill,the best way to get warm was to pick up the pace. At the top I saw fell running photographer Alistair Tye who as well as taking photos was also marshaling and doing his bit for a group of volunteers that provide radio cover and help at fell races in North Wales.
picking up the pace a bit
A nice descent saw me over take a couple of people.
I finished 69th out of 99 entrants 57:16. If I do it again next year without a cold I think I could knock off 5mins.

Weights 17/2/10

Sticking with the 3 x 20 reps at half max weight for each exercise.
Chest press, flys, triceps, biceps, lat pull downs, upright row, seated rows.

Kickboxing 15/2/10

90 mins sparing with random exercises thrown in. Sparred with lots of different people with different levels of ability. I'm enjoying my kickboxing at the moment .

Clee/Valleys Tshirt

Still "high" from the Valleys weekend .

After the Long Mynd Valleys fell race we didn't hang around as we both had things to do. However, I found out after wards that because I had done both races, and finished in the top 25, I had won a tshirt. Seeing as I haven't won anything for years (I think the last time was a karate tournament years ago) I decided I had to get my hands on it. I contacted the organisers, Kieth and Pauline, who kindly agreed to let me pick it up (should have asked them if they had any left over from last year aswell)
I finished 21st . Top 25 sounds impressive to me when I think of how many people did the Valleys race. But when you look at the number that did the Clee race(41) and how many did both races(27) it looks rather less impressive. Never mind, Free Tshirt !
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Wrekin Run 14/2/10

Another gentle jog round the Wrekin 60mins ish

I didn't get over to Wales to do the Ras Tarren Hendre fell race on the previous day. I toyed with the idea and even set out for it in the morning. But, my knee was still hurting from a bike ride just over a week ago and after the Valleys weekend and a run in the week I reluctantly decided a race wouldn't be the best idea for me.
However, I had already planned to meet Methuselah at the Wrekin for a "light" training run. He donned his 10kg weight vest to even things up a bit and off we went on the above route. Finished off with 10mins of log "kill carrying" at the end. I felt as if I could have pushed harder but it was probably about right with dodgy knee.
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Wrekin Run 11/2/10

A 60min lazy jog round the Wrekin

Didn't want to over do it as I'm still feeling the effects of the Valleys weekend and I'm thinking of doing another race on Saturday . Only one climb , the rest , trail run .
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Swim/weights 10/2/10

30 mins in the baths then home for a gym workout . Still sticking with 3 sets of 20 reps on half max weight for all upper body stuff . Feels OK

Kickboxing 9/2/10

A nice light 45 mins mainly on pads . Legs very stiff from the weekend of running .

Long Mynd Valleys Race 7/2/10

212 people took part in this years 24th running of the Long Mynd Valleys Race . It was my second time and I was hoping to beat last years time . The weather this year was much better than last and I had "M" along to pace me , so, there was a chance I could do it .

I knew from last years experience and a recce I did a week earlier we would have to save as much energy as we could for the last third of the race . That's were the three steepest highest hills are . That being said , there was still a matter of the first two thirds 8+miles . Which has four hard climbs and a 2+mile slog across the top . Added to that there were some steep down sections as well as some fast sections down the valleys and several water crossings (this race has everything).

The plan worked well . Taking it steady on the first couple of climbs past check point 1 then a nice gentle run on top . We were laughing and joking on the flat section and even had enough time to stop for a photo shoot for Pete (Fell running photographer) . It was only then that we started to turn it up a bit . Putting on some speed for the descent down the valley . But , still time for another pose for the camera . This time it was Alistair with the lens and his usual encouragement or was it jeering ? I can never tell ;-)

Check point 2 passed . Next , a nice steady climb and a chance to get some energy on board . This was in the form of kendal mint cake (pure sugar). I think I timed the mint cake just right as it started to kick in for the next climb after check point 3 . A bit of navigating was required after that as people were going off in different directions . We got it about right as we dropped onto check point 4 at around the right place (ahead of some of the others). Another fast descent down the valley (where we over took a few people) to check point 5 and the start of the hard work with a long climb up "windy batch" the first of the last three killer climbs . I usually loose a few places on the climbs but this time I managed to hold onto my position . A steep descent followed before the next climb up "callow" and check point 6 . A monster of a hill but again I managed to hold onto my position and M and I even managed to put some distance between us and the next runners . I was feeling good for the little bit of contouring before the next steep and slippy descent , although I had to walk for a few minutes as the previous climb was taking its toll on one of my calves , I was getting cramp . It soon went away and we slid down to ashes hollow . Here we saw Alistair again and another photo before the last climb . Now it was starting to catch up with me and I struggled to get up yearlet (check point 7). We still over took a couple of people , but , at the same time were being over taken . One more steep descent to go . I didn't realise until afterwards but here is where M slipped and bent his , recently operated on , knee . I was intent on keeping up with another runner on the last fast valley descent and didn't notice M wasn't right behind me . I managed to over take the runner but annoyingly I missed a cheeky little short cut which the other runner took . He then popped out a few yards ahead of me on the path . One last short steep descent into carding mill valley and the finish line . Luckily M hadn't damaged his knee and came in a minute afterwards .
I loved doing this race . It has everything you could want in a fell race and it's on my door step .

So , did I beat last years time ? YES ! I knocked off 17 min from last year . I came in position 158 with a time of 2:48:04 . The winner , Andrew Davies , ran it in 1:39:41 that's fast .

Thanks to Mercia Fell Running Club for putting on an excellent race . Thanks to Alistair for the photos and encouragement and a massive thank you to Methuselah for pacing me so soon after his knee opp . I'm sure he could have run it much faster but maybe wouldn't have had as much fun as running at my slower pace . Cheers dude .

Titterstone Clee Race 6/2/10

A great start to the "Valleys" weekend .

Short sharp shock . AS 2.5 miles 750ft .

I only just made it on time . Luckily I managed to dump my truck next to the start line and scribble some stuff on an entry form . I was putting my trainers on as the pre race speech was going on . Then we were off . My legs could have done with a few more minutes to warm up . As could the GPS on the phone . It doesn't look like it started tracking till a few hundred yards into the race . I don't think I knew what was going on until about half way up when my lungs and legs were screaming at me to stop . Luckily for me it was misty on top and a few runners unwittingly took detour on the way back down . This falsely boosted my position up the ranks a few places .
Photo from Alistair
Looking forward to the Long Mynd Valleys Race tomorrow .
On the way home I thought I'd pop in and see a mate at the Dojo in Kidderminster . He was doing a sponsored 100 x 2min rounds of kickboxing sparing in aid of the Haiti earth quake disaster . He was on round 80 when I got there but still looked fresh as you like . I joined him for about 10 rounds , got my ass kicked then left for home . Well done to James for his efforts .

30 mins swimming 5/2/10

Last bit of light exercise before the "Valleys" weekend .

Bike ride 4/2/10

Needed to pick my car up so decided I should cycle there . Unfortunately I got a puncture after 21 miles and had to scrounge a lift the rest of the way . Glad really as my back side was in agony by that point and I was only about half way . Should try to use my bike a it more . Apart from me arse needs to become used to the saddle again I think the exercise is quite good , no real impact on the joints but gives the legs some steady work .
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Wrekin Training Run 3/2/10

A good run round the Wrekin . Started on the western side and had a steady jog over little hill then continued up to Wrekin summit .Then down the other side to just beyond halfway house and a right turn to double back around the southern side to a point where you can take a rarely used path (marked with a pile of stones) and go back up to the summit . This section on the south side is one of the steepest bits of the Wrekin and , for me at least , it's speed walking and not running . A nice coast back down the western side , to finish off , and back to the truck (with the obligatory log for the wood burner)

rarely used path . the pile of stones can be seen on the left hand side
view going up the southern side
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Swim/Light Kickboxing 2/2/10

I'm not really very good at swimming, but as I have baths near to me I'm going to try giving it a go a few times and see how I get on . 30 mins steady swimming .

Later in the day I went to a shortish light Kickboxing session . I don't think I could have handled another one like Mondays session for a few days . 50 mins pad work and light sparing .

Another Beating 1/2/10

Back to the Dojo for a session of sparing .

Because I usually train in a different place I don't often get chance to spar with my instructors sons Matt and James . I think I'm quite good at kickboxing but they are on a different level . I can usually keep sparing almost indefinitely with other people and not really get hit . I seem to have a mental block with Matt and James . I end up making rookie mistakes , I don't relax so I end up getting more tired and out of breath , I don't move around enough so get hit more and I don't attack enough so I give them more chance to attack me . Demoralising but it has however inspired me to keep going back and get better .
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Little Hill Sprints and log rustling 31/1/10

At a secret location somewhere in Shropshire at the AlJ training camp........

(slide show has sound)

Started on the west side of Little Hill again and jogged to the top . M had a real spring in his step and again bounded off ahead from the start . Once at the top we walked down the eastern side and readied ourselves for 5 hill sprints . Each one was about 15 seconds worth (although probably slightly slower on the last one). Although usually demoralised by M's ability to leave me standing on prolonged up hill running I , for some reason , manage to get my own back on the sprints (something about "fast twitch fibres").
Sprints complete we walked back down towards the truck and passed a pile of logs . We couldn't resist some Geoff Capes/strong man type exercise with the logs . Needless to say , the logs ended up in the back of the truck for usage in the wood burner next year . Usually I only take logs that I know are too small to be of any use to the foresters . I think this time I/we might have got carried away .
Two days later and I'm still feeling the pain in my legs

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