Week ending 22nd December 2013
Week ending 15th December 2013
I'm still suffering from the injury although it is getting better.. slowly. I started the week by doing a short session on my cross trainer the day after the night TAB across Pen y fan. I measure my effort on this by counting the calories burned, I burned 1,000 calories in 23 minutes no records there but I felt OK afterwards. I tried an easy run two days later, I was hoping that the easy run would ease stiffness in the muscles but it just made it worse again, and for the following couple of days I was back to limping badly. By Saturday I was back to being able to walk normally without pain killers and knowing that I am now starting to lose fitness but needing to get this injury healed, I thought I'd try exercising the muscles in a different way, supporting my hip by using the bike. I tried a 9 mile loop that I had never been on before but liked the look of on a map for a run. I didn't push hard at all on this ride, in fact I specifically took the mountain bike so I could change down lots of gears if the hills became steep, which one in particular was VERY steep and I needed 1st gear and to lean over the handlebars to keep the front wheel down. I can't wait to get on this hill running with a pack! After the ride I was in a bit of pain but didn't want to take any ibuprofen as I wanted to see if the exercise helped... I lasted 3 hours and I had to take some, but the day after I was fine.
I may completely lay off tabbing until the day of the winter Fan Dance, I'll just go for these easy bike rides.
6th December 2013
Night Tab doing the full Fan Dance route.
The warning order went out that we were to meet at the Red Phone box and the TAB was to commence at 23:00. Strider and I arrived at 21:30 in order to cook a bit of high energy food and eat it with time for it to settle on our stomachs before the off. The others started arriving from Nant Ddu Lodge just as we were finishing our food at 22:00. The meet 'n greets commenced along with a bit of admin then we all gathered for a group photo by the phone box.
Thirteen people made a line of head torches and glowsticks on the path up to Pen y fan. Unfortunately close to the start one of our number took a tumble and twisted his ankle, judging by the limp that he had the injury was quite painful so he was advised that with over 14 miles still to go it would be sensible for him to go back.
Everyone made their way up to Pen y fan at their own pace, however, at key locations the leaders waited until all now 12 of us caught up. The first one was at the gate where everyone waited for Sean and I to catch up after dealing with the ankle incident. After a quick briefing of what had happened we were off again, creating a long line of glowsticks stretching up the path to Corn Du. Again the leaders waited at the junction to the path which traverses Corn du so as to make sure no one took the wrong path. After a head count we took this path and we all met again at the summit of Pen y Fan. Visibility at the top was limited even if it had been daylight and we all picked our way slowly down Jacobs ladder. None of us moved at speed as to do so with only what seemed a pin prick of light from our head torches to see by would have been irresponsible.
We re-grouped again at the bottom of Jacobs and began to negotiate the path around Cribbyn to Windy Gap. I was concentrating so hard on the path that I hadn't noticed the skies clear and we were graced with a magnificent view of the heavens, but with no moon it was still very dark, so unfortunately going without the head torch was still out of the question. As we walked along the Roman Road I was not concentrating on the path as much as I had been and I was occasionally stopping to look at the stars. I did try running a couple of time towards the end of the Roman Road but the pain in my leg by this point was beginning to get me down despite having taken Ibuprofen and Paracetamol.
At the half way point we stopped for a few minutes for some banter and although I found it funny, unfortunately I wasn't in the mood to retaliate (sorry guys). I had time to down a cereal bar, a gel and a few more pain killers then change the batteries in the head torch before we were off on the return leg of the Roman Road.
I started the return at a leisurely pace until a few minutes after Sean passed me I decided to up the pace. I just put my head down and started tabbing at speed. The only thing I was interested in was the circle of light in front of me, which started playing tricks with my eyes, it seemed to get smaller and smaller and I felt like I had tunnel vision. By the time Sean reached Windy gap I'd closed the gap between us to about 50 yards.
Again no one pushed on until everyone had reached Windy Gap and had rested for a few minutes then we all picked our way around Cribbyn to regroup again at the bottom of the dreaded Jacobs ladder.
I totally ignored what the other guys were doing on the painful ascent of the ladder, concentrating on taking small steps and placing my feet carefully along with reciting the entirety of 'Invictus' to myself to take my mind off the pain in my leg. This was the first time I'd ever managed to climb Jacobs without stopping. However, it wasn't my fastest time climbing the hill.
At the top I hauled myself up the last few steps receiving well meant and justified ridicule from the guys and flopped to the ground amoungst the group with the two collies making a fuss of me, or they may have been trying to keep warm with my body heat. I moved to a position out of the mind and took shelter until the order was given to move on.
From here I just moved at a leisurely pace enjoying the scenery, what I could see, chatting to Gerald and on occasions when I'd moved ahead of the trailing group, I enjoyed listening to the almost total silence as we were in the lee of the hill. At one point I even turned my head torch off and walked the path using only the ambient light to see. I switched the torch back on when the others got close and the four of us walked the last 200 yards together.
This was one of the best nights I've had on the fan made greater by the fact that I was in the company of great men... and collies.
13th November 2013
I know it's been a while since I last posted, 3 days short of 3 weeks to be exact, due to the injury, which to be honest I think was due to a difference in style of training. I cannot walk fast and in life in general have trouble keeping up with my wife when she is just casually walking around a supermarket. Sean is a VERY good Tabber, which is essentially very fast walking with boots and a Bergen and although I tried really hard, lengthening my stride to keep up I still couldn’t and had to jog occasionally. I run or Para shuffle all my training runs so I think this change caused overstretching and strain to my groin area and it still hasn't completely healed plus I've had a chest infection for the last 5 days, which hasn't gone yet. Anyway I'm determined to run in the Endurance life C.T.S Half marathon this coming Saturday so I went out for a nice easy gentle run only carrying my daysack with one litre of water and my phone (essential to record the run on Strava). The actual run was ok, yes I had the occasional coughing fit but that wasn't what I was trying out. My leg, which is more of a groin injury, held out for most of the run, I started thinking “this is great, all I needed was a loosening up run like the last time I was injured” but towards the end I started to feel it, not severely, just a slight abnormal tightness.
I did a good stretching session after the run lasting for approximately 20 minutes, only gently stretching each muscle and only holding each stretch for around 20 seconds. I also did another 10 minute stretching session about an hour after. My groin is really stiff now and when I walk it’s quite painful and I have a limp.
At the moment I’d still LIKE to run the C.T.S but will have to see how I feel on the day. Whatever I choose I'll be there, either as a competitor or supporter.
26th October 2013
It's taken me a while to work out what I reminded myself of walking after today's run... the 'Edgar' cockroach alien from Men in Black! My inner thighs are chaffed. I had sore calfs and shins yesterday, and woke up this morning still in pain from them, so compensating for a very sore right shin has given me cramp in my left buttock, hence the VERY strange walk with the arm movements for balance.
I opted to sleep in the van at Storey Arms last night so that I wouldn't have to get up at stupid o'clock in order to meet Sean at 7am. That went well, I got a very comfortable nights sleep and woke 5 minutes before my alarm went off at 6am. I proceeded to make breakfast and boil water for the obligatory flask. Sean arrived just as I was about to eat breakfast and we ate together in the van chatting and watching the extremely gloomy weather. I popped a couple of pain killers for my calfs during breakfast but they didn't do much, just turning the stabbing pain into a dull continuous ache, which, by the time we reached the half way point had turned back into a stabbing pain.
We set off as Sean had arranged at 7am. Unfortunately the others who said they were going to join us hadn't arrived and we had no way of finding out if they were actually coming. So it was just Sean and I making our way up to Corn Du in the dark.
It took us an hour to get to Pen y Fan after traversing Corn Du (I still despise that path) and we took a couple of photos whilst taking on a gel. Going down Jacobs ladder and the Roman road we didn't see a soul, which is quite unusual for the Fan. It was along the Roman road that I realised Sean walks like my brother 'Strider' and I almost had to jog just to keep up. As we were going past the forestry after the river, my pain killers wore off and the pain came back with a vengence, so at the half way point I downed another 2 ibuprofen along with my pasty and we set of on the return journey after taking the 'proof of being here' photos.
I kept dropping behind on the return trip along the Roman road, having to run to catch up with Sean, I did however only allow myself to drop back around 50ft at most before I caught up again. This changed after Windy Gap on the traverse around Cribbyn, I dropped back by 200 yards at one point. Even trying to run to catch up with Sean only got be holding pace with him and at the bottom of Jacobs ladder Sean waited for me, giving me much needed encouragement all the way to the top, which suddenly appeared in the mist when we were only about 50 foot or so below it.
After the tortuous climb up Jacobs and considering how my legs were feeling I surprised myself by keeping up with Sean when he broke into a run on the way down from Pen y Fan. I only dropped back a bit when going along that hateful path that traverses Corn Du. Sean had to wait a minute or so at the river for me to catch up and we walked up the hill together. He left me again as we started running again at the top but I kept pushing even though by now the pain in my shins and calfs was back and had been joined by buttock cramp.
I reached the bottom maybe 2 or 3 minutes behind Sean in a time of 4hrs 36 minutes not including the 10 minute break, so a total time of 4:46. Even the 4:46 beats my summer time by 20 minutes!
I don't usually take sugar or milk in tea but the tea from the burger van with milk and 2 sugars tasted amazing!
Sean is very fit and strong and his tactical ability on a hill far exceeds mine, he knew exactly when to walk and when to run, usually I just go for it, pay the price later. I have to thank Sean for this fast time.
23rd October 2013
I ran home from work with a 47lb bergen wearing trainers. I had intended to change into boots and carry on for a 10 miler but was in 2 minds about it. When I pressed the wrong button on Strava and stopped the run instead of pausing it while I put thick socks on and changed into my boots, I just gave up leaving the run at 3.4 miles (I know Strava says it's 3.3) I'm happy with the time, only 1 minute 26 seconds slower than my fastest carrying weight on this route, but carrying more weight. I weighed my bergen properly yesterday after having added cold weather clothes and cooking equipment and without the 2 litres of water or Army smock it weighed 39LB. So the run on 9th October which was my fastest on this route with weight was actually with around 40 or 41LB.
16th October 2013
I ran home from work with a 45lb bergen wearing trainers for the first 3.4 miles then boots for the Troserch section. I was't feeling right even before I started. The run home was ok, only a couple of minutes longer than my average but I wasn't worried as I wanted to carry on for a 10 mile total run. The first time up Burning calfs hill wasn't too bad I managed to run to the gate, which is about a quarter of the way up and has become my target to RUN to. I felt as though I was really pushing myself hard during the whole of the Troserch section of this run, beginning to hope for a sub 1:50. Then it all went pear shaped half way around on the second loop. I managed to complete the entire run without walking (apart from the usual places up the hills) but the time was slow and I was VERY disappointed with the 2:04. Even though this is only 3 minutes slower than the last time I tried this exact route.
The following day, walking from classroom to classroom in work I was becoming short of breath, so I think I have over-trained and a few days off are in order.
12th October 2013
I completed the Strava marathon series challenge! This included the 13.1 mile challenge back in August, the 20 mile long run challenge in September and the 26.2 mile run in October.
I didn't run with weight, just a rocket pack containing 2 litres of 'elete', gels and a couple of cereal bars. I started off taking my time just enjoying the run and feeling confident. This feeling stayed with me until about the 18 mile mark, where I started to feel the pain. I began to struggle. The happy jog that I had been doing slowed to a shuffle and every time I brought my legs forward the very tops of my thighs hurt. This pain wasn't the normal ache of hard training, it was a shooting pain which made me have to stop and walk occasionally. I did have to walk up the hills from here on. so the 5th overall achievement on the Berrington Hill is a bit of a cheat as only 4 others have run it.
When I got to 20 miles I was ready to give up. I didn't care about completing the challenge. I just wanted to stop running and sit down. The 20 mark mark was only about 500 yards from the end of the run, but I still had 6 miles to go, 3 miles up the valley and then turn around and come back, plus I knew the Berrington Hill was coming up. These last 6 miles were horrible, I couldn't stand up straight, my legs just didn't want to move and I was in pain. Funnily enough I found the walk up the Berrington, which I'd been dreading, easier than the run/shuffle down. My usual training mantra of reciting 'Invictus' to myself didn't work, nor did repeating 'I must not act like a JOE!'
I knew that I'd have to go further than 26.2 miles as Strava has a tendency to take away some of the distance. The last thing I wanted was to run 26.2 miles and then Strava say it was only 25.8 or something like that, which would mean I hadn't completed the challenge. My intention was to get to my intended end point, check the mileage and run around the block until I reached 27 miles. You would not believe the elation I felt when I checked the mileage about 200 yards before reaching the end and it said 27.3 miles!!! Strava still took it down to 26.9 miles. The distance, including when I stopped to get things out of my bag or just to ease the pain took me 5 hours 6 minutes. The time on Strava is MOVING time.
11th October 2013
Today's run was supposed to be an easy loosening up run ready for the Strava marathon challenge, which I'll be doing tomorrow. It's didn't exactly turn out that way.
I ran the same route home from work as I did on the 9th October but without weight. However instead of taking my time I got a CR on Penprys road climb and I beat my previous course record by 3 minutes 37 seconds.
4th October 2013
Half way through the 10.2 mile training run with 41LB Bergen today, which I did running home from work, then immediately running Burning Calfs Hill loop twice, I decided to try and see if I could do the 10 miles in under 1:50 like I'd need to do for the Paras 10. The run is mainly across rough country, goes through VERY muddy ankle deep water twice on each loop, so four times in total, each water feature is about 50 yards long, the majority of the paths are soft deep mud or ankle snapping rock, just like the Roman road on Pen y fan. I go through a mid thigh deep fast flowing river twice. It also climbs 963 feet. Unfortunately I didn't make the sub 1:50, instead only managing 2:02 but I will try harder and a sub 1:50 will be within reach!
I have decided to stick with the lighter weight due to the fact that, this run especially FELT fast, but wasn't particularly fast. This I think is due to the fact that I inevitably run slightly slower with the heavier pack, and this slower pace is becoming my natural running pace. So, I think I'll stick to the slightly heavier than I need it 37LB plus 3 litres of water and try to get my speed up.
2nd October 2013
I didn't run home from work tonight, opting instead to do 2 loops in Troserch Woods. I did Troserch X Roads then Burning Calfs Hills loops, exactly the same as last Sunday.
I did record the run on Strava but the GPS was all over the place, saying I did one mile in 3 minutes 14 seconds... I wish! It also took me, during this fast mile, a mile AWAY from the actual route I took. I deleted the run on Strava as the Personal Records created on this run would have been impossible to beat.
I started the run not feeling it, the first mile was hard. By the time I'd got to the top of X roads hill, which I walked up, I had warmed up and was running properly. On the second loop I managed to get to the top of Burning Calfs hill only 2 minutes over my target time of one hour. From this point I really started to push the pace; or it felt like it. I finished the 7.4 miles in 1 hour 33 minutes, one minute slower than Sunday. I thought I'd beaten my PB today, the way I felt I ran the last third of the run, I'm a little disappointed.
Week Ending 29th September
I ran home from my day job carrying the Bergen weighing 45LB plus 6LB of water so a total of 51LB on my back PLUS the ankle weights which weigh 2.5kg each. As with previous runs with the ankle weights, starting the run felt extremely awkward. I felt as though I was really putting an effort into pushing fast but not getting anywhere. I made it home in 43 minutes, 4 minutes slower than the last time I did this route with ankle weights and a 40 LB Bergen. However, immediately after I got home I removed the ankle weights and put on my boots for the route through Troserch Woods I have called Burning Calfs hill Loop. I made the run up Troserch hill shuffling the same as I had with the ankle weights. This was the idea, wanting to quickly pre-exhaust my legs with the ankle weights then push further, "training-for-the-last-few". There was no way I could run up Burning Calfs Hill, I even REALLY found it difficult to start running again at the top. The ankle deep mud, which I've started deliberately running through instead of avoiding because it's as slippery and sticky as snow was particularly slippery today. My feet were sinking into it at random ankles throwing me off balance. Then the mud didn't want to give my boots back, making just pulling my feet out of the mud feel like I still had ankle weights on! Even the steps going down a particularly steep part of Troserch X roads hill were hard. I wasn't able to do the run without the hip belt and it has caused a long but very narrow blister where the hip belt was pinching my skin against the belt on my combat trousers.
I completed the 7.5 miles in 1:45 giving a per mile pace of 14:04 though it did take me 10 minutes to get my boots on as my wife was talking to me, so I had a little bit of rest there total time of 1:55. Although during the run it felt like the usual really hard training session, afterwards (4 hours now) I still feel exhausted and my pulse rate is elevated, which has become unusual now.
I have no idea why Strava can log the exact same run with such a variation in distance. The following images are screen shots of the Troserch X roads with Burning Calfs Hill route all logged using Strava.
Anyway I did the Troserch X roads with Burning Calfs hill loops, which today, according to Strava was 6.7 miles with my bergen weighing 46lb plus 2litres of water, making the entire weight 50lb. I had decided to increase the weight of the bergen just like I had previous to the summer Fan Dance. The last time I ran this route just before the Fan Dance I carried 42lb in total and completed the distance (7.6miles that day) in 1:41. Today I completed it in 1:48 not 1:35 as Strava says. Looking at the map of the run, the route was nowhere near any of the paths I actually took. I think my phone lost GPS signal several times which is why the mileage and time are short.
I was worried during the run that I had lost fitness due to the fact that I haven't been running any big distances with the pack for over a month! I did find the run hard, wanting to give up only doing one loop and walking up the X roads hill. I felt as though I was shuffling more than running, plus when I get to the bottom of the steps coming back down X roads hill I usually feel as though I'm running fast without too much effort. This didn't happen today.
When I got back to the road I forced myself to do the second loop going up Troserch road then Burning Calfs hill, which I couldn't run up. My target time for getting to the top is 1 hour, most of the time I achieve this but today I was 9 minutes late. Not too bad, but I want quicker, 50 minutes would be nice! I also had to do up the hip belt on the bergen after about 2.5 miles as the shoulder straps were beginning to dig into the tops of my shoulders. This lifted to bergen almost entirely off my shoulders, but for the last mile I undid the hip belt again.
I intend now, as it's only 16 weeks until the Fan Dance to only train carrying the Bergen, except for the 26 miler I have planned next month to complete the Strava marathon series challenge. I was also worried about blisters as I wore my boots today and the last time I wore them was actually on the Fan Dance in July, but I had no problems, the boots felt really comfy.
When I first started training for the Summer 2013 Fan dance I decided to measure my fitness analytically using my wife's cross trainer. Here is the original post from 15th February 2013.
Right now I weigh 12 stone 13 pound so I'm going to aim for 12 stone or less.
That was the last time I went on the cross trainer until today!
Now, seven months later, without dieting but trying to eat healthily I weigh 12 stone 1 pound. I did 1000 calories in 17 minutes and 5 seconds on the cross trainer today and I felt OK after. Yes, I was sweating A LOT, more so than when I do the outside runs, but that has to be expected as I was inside my warm house, but I wasn't even feeling like I needed to throw up like I felt in February.
Week ending 22nd September
I won't be doing any training at the weekend as my 10 year old has asked if we can go wild camping.. I don't need asking twice. So this coming weekend's activity will be posted on the Adventures page of this website.
We didn't go camping as Squatt changed his mind when he woke up and saw the weather. I stayed home and helped my wife paint the childrens bedrooms.
14th September: 20 mile run for the strava september 20 mile challenge
11th September: short run home from my day job to test out my foot
Week from 31st August to 8th September
OK, I know the title of this post is longer than a week but I haven't been out since the 30th and it doesn't look like I'll be running for a few more days.
The 'bad foot' mentioned in my previous post turned out to be a stretched and bruised (though I couldn't see any bruising) Lateral Plantar (see diagram) this has caused me to be in pain just standing for even short periods of time, let alone running!
So most of the week has been spent RICEing and massaging. For those that don't know R.I.C.E. stands for Rest. Ice. Compression. Elevation. I've been desperate to get out running all week. Today (8th Sept) doesn't feel too bad but I'll still give it another couple of days to make sure. On the plus side, the rest has given all the blisters, bruises and blood blisters a chance to heal and my feet almost look healthy.
I did enter the EnduranceLife Coastal Trail Series Gower Half Marathon, which is on 16th November 2013 as preparation for the Fan Dance in January. Some of the guys I met through the summer Fan Dance are also entering and it'll be good to meet up with them again.
Week from 24th to 30th August
23rd August Troserch x Roads and burning calfs hill loops without weight
I have decided to enter a 10 kilometer race in November as part of my preparation for the winter Fan Dance. Today's run was to see how fast I can do a very hilly, muddy and slippery 10k. The full distance of today's run was 7.0miles a bit more than the 6.21miles needed but I have broken the route down to include a set 10k section. The route still climbs 803 feet with 3 long hills 2 of which are extremely steep with muddy and rocky paths. There is a water obstacle i.e. a river that I run THROUGH instead of using the bridge! This river at the moment is only just over mid calf depth, I don't think it'll get much deeper during the winter, but if I think it's too dangerous to wade through I'll just go over the bridge. I did the full 7 miles today in 1:10:50 (h:m:s) and the 10k section in 1:04:44. There is room for improvement as the 10k that I have entered looks (on Google Earth) to be similar if not a little flatter than my training route. The winner of the 10k finished in 58:30 last year, If I use my times for today on MY route I would have come in 7th place. I know I cannot really compare scenarios but it's a great psychological boost, giving me the incentive to try for a sub 58minute time.
A few of us who competed in the Fan Dance are doing this 10k and I jokingly Tweeted to them that "it'll be Fan Dancers showing them how it's done"... I intend to try!
21st August millennium coastal path with 40 LB bergen
people just out for a walk with their family. I almost always get a hello and smile from the cyclist, guaranteed to get some form of acknowledgement from the runners, the family outings invariably give a friendly comment, but the dog walkers just look at me in contempt as if it's my fault they've got to clean their dog's mess up, which they rarely do along here....rant over!
I started to feel the strain at about the 10 mile mark, the same as last time, turning my run into a shuffle. I find this flat route harder than the Llannon/ Swiss valley loop route which climbs over 1,000 feet and is a mile longer than I ran today. I completed today's run in 2 hours 15 minutes giving a per mile time of 10.3 minutes.
20th August 15 mile midnight ride home from work
18th August Llannon, Swiss valley loop with 40lb bergen
16th August Troserch X Roads and Burning Calfs Hill loops with 40LB bergen
13th August Millennium coastal path: Strava half marathon attempt
11th August Troserch X roads route
9th August ride home from work
7th august Llannon hill
A new Run: 5th August 2013
The internet has made it much easier to find new runs with inclines that I need, compared to when I first started running back in 1984. I found a 5 mile hill only a mile or so from my home through a person I'm following on 'Strava', I adapted his route to suit me. I used Google Earth to look at possible routes deciding upon 2. I think that I made a mistake training for Jacob's ladder trying to get a fast time in the summer Fan Dance. I fell that good times are made on the long slog back up the Roman road, so this is what I'm going to train for.
Initially today I intended to go to the top of the long hill which has been called "Llannon Climb" on Strava. However, when I got to the top I was feeling quite fresh so I turned left heading for Swiss Valley. I thought this was about the same distance back, maybe a mile longer from what I could remember from the map at the time. the whole route (according to Google Earth) is 13.8 miles with a total climb of 1213 feet.
The road from Llannon to Swiss Valley is SCARY, no path and it's a fast road, I kept swapping sides to be on the outside of the bend as twice when I couldn't cross the road, cars didn't see me till the last minute, and how one of them missed me with his wing mirror I'll never know. I was feeling strong until about 3 miles from the end when behind my left knee started to hurt. I completed the run without the bergen, boots, gels or water in 2 hours and 17 minutes. Something to aim for when I try it with the bergen and boots!
For some reason the run will not upload to Strava so I've done a Google Earth screen shot of the route and elevation profile.
End of July after fan dance
26th July Run
22nd July 2013 first serious ride since November 2011
A good friend of mine lost his Brother Corporal Lloyd Newell. Lloydy was fatally wounded whilst on operations in Helmand Province, Afghanistan on 16th June 2011. A
Other blogs that are well worth reading
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