Monday, November 13, 2006

Winter 2006/2007 shaping up nicely

Last week was my first 'structured' training week of the winter. I actually ended up doing less training than in recent weeks, but established a lovely pattern for me to get used to...

Mon: circuits
Tue: track
Wed: terrain run/orienteering
Thu: long/terrain intervals
Fri: steady run/cycling
Sat/Sun: long run/competitions/orienteering.

(By the way, this is me in action at the Compass Sport Cup - I'm often complimented on my fence-jumping ability)

Anyway, it's not exactly anything wildly unorthodox and as long as I stick at it and fill it out with plenty of extra miles on harder weeks, it should hopefully see me fitter and faster next year. The main difference to recent winters is the introduction of measurement (I guess this is what is known as an example of a key word). Track training and monthly time trials in Sheffield or on the squad course will provide this and it'll be interesting to see if it helps.

The only reason for any doubt as to why it might not help is that, right now, I seem to be fitter (faster?) now than ever before. This is on the back of 2/3 months of `what do I feel like doing today?' training and a grand total of 4 interval sessions since July. I surprised myself in the 2nd running (my 1st) of the GB Squad Time Trial where I set a decent time and was 2nd to Jamie Stevenson WORLD CHAMPION. Results here.

But I can definitely improve in the tough stuff as shown at the Twin Peaks where I was easily beaten by Oli Johnson on both days. Results here.

I've discovered that I can get away with doing a mountain marathon (my report now exists here) the week before a time trial, but I still can't get away with a heavy night out before an orienteering event (as my time of 30mins for 3.8km at Loxley Common on Saturday showed).

What's the point of this posting? I dunno. Maybe it's that while I'm sure structured and finely analysed training does work wonders (indeed, this evening, Sheffield's orienteers are getting together to plan what we can do as a group this winter) so does enjoying training. So I'm gonna try and do both.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Victory in A class at the Original Mountain Marathon

Here's Neil and I looking very manly after our recent adventure in Scotland competing in the Original Mountain Marathon. GG has talked about it in his blog and I've written a report for planetfear which will soon be up (which saves me writing it again on here).

Results are here

Things I'm particularly proud of include being the only team on any course with a day2 run-in time of 00:01. Clearly having the 2nd place team breathing 94 minutes down our necks spurred us on. Also I feel good enough today to go for a jog. Special thanks go out to Potnoodle for supplying our energy for day 2, McDonalds for providing cutlery and Morland brewery for providing courage.

So now that's out of the way I can get my hair cut.

Monday, October 16, 2006

2 out of 3 ain't bad...

Meatloaf was on the money with this succinct summary of my last 3 races. Alas, it was the 1 which I most wanted to do well in, that I screwed up...

British Fell Running Relay Championships - 14th October

There was a lot of hype surrounding the Dark Peak team - winners for the past 2 years, 2 international orienteers on the navigation leg (that was Oli and myself btw). Rather embarrasingly, we lost a couple of minutes on a particularly tricky "wall" (beside a path), some more time on a route choice (seemingly paths are quicker to run on than marshes), some more time in rhodedendrum (sp?) bushes in full view of the spectators, and some more time because I thought I was going to have a heart attack. No really. Having a cold last week meant I felt a little dodgy, but I thought I'd be able to run through it.

Phil had got us off to a good start on leg 1 coming back 8th, Rob and Tim probably didn't do as well as they could have and came back behind the Dark Peak veterans team in 11th, Oli and I passed the veterans at the map pick-up point, then passed them again on the way to the finish (hmm) but somehow pulled up 6 places, and Lloyd had a good run at the end to bring us back 4th. I was in a boo.


Compass Sport Cup Final - 15th October

So I was still not in the best of moods before this race, particularly as I had to get up at 5.30am for it and it was miles away. Also, I still felt a bit under the weather and I didn't want to get that heart attacky feeling back again. So I made sure that everyone knew that I was feeling crap and in a boo before I started so that it wouldn't look so bad when I didn't do very well...

So it was somewhat embarrasing that once I started running I felt awesome and I managed to do the 10.2km in 47.15 and take the victory. Maybe if it had been hilly or tough I'd have died, but I had no problems with my speed. Losing a minute right near the finish was frustrating but the rest was fine...

Except that I have a big scar on my face and now everyone's looking at me. It was on 8-9, I was running along and... thud...ow...what was that? face hurts...(look behind me)...barbed wire!...(feel face)...blood...lots of blood...(look behind again)...2 alsations running towards me...put map away and run for there's Oli... It certainly got the adrenaline flowing and I was lucky not to lose an eye or slit my throat. But I was unlucky that I now look like a prick.

GG's map (I didn't do much radically different - it was 22 and 23 I messed up)

Walton Chasers ended up 6th out of the 10 clubs competing, which I guess is a little disappointing, but it was good to be back in the final again after some time away.

Hope Moors and Tors Fell Race - 8th October

20miles, 3500' climb and before I got a cold. And probably why I got a cold too. I thought it may be good OMM training, but I was only out for 2 hours 33 mins and it was mainly pretty runnable, so it was probably nothing like the OMM at all. Still, I don't think I've ever run such a long race so well and I got the record by 11mins and I managed to make Neil scared of doing the OMM all in one go.


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Me Crane in Ukraine

Well I've just got back from a GB training camp in the country they named after me. I can't say I was particularly looking forward to it, not least because I haven't been thinking about orienteering too much recently and also because I'd heard tales of woe and sickness from people who'd been out to Kiev before.

But as it turned out it was probably one of the most enjoyable training camps I've been on. And that's probably because I wasn't so het up about how I got on in the trainings. Ok, I wasn't happy the whole time, especially the mornings after overindulging on the old "sports drinks"... But I was still able to train well, and when I was feeling fresh my shape was pretty good. I even managed to win the Yellow Jersey doing a 6.6km middle race in 32.32 (GG was next). However the Swiss and Finnish teams were out there and 31mins seemed to be the optimum time. But I haven't got the coveted Australian o-top in my possession cos BJ won it in a sprint race at the end of the week. I was 6th though and 3rd Brit - and the 40 secs I was behind David Schneider (who won) was all lost on the 1st control... So maybe sprint's an option for next year. I dunno. Things to think about. The main thing is that it was fun and staying in a massive city and getting the metro to trainings certainly put a different spin on things. Hopefully someone will be in room 1809 at WOC and enjoy the message BJ left outside the window...

Little Races and stuff

Ok, so it's been a while since I last updated, and it's probably good that I've not been "living it up" as much as it may have sounded on my last story. That was all good fun and everything, but I needed a bit of time on the old straight and narrow. I've been running every day without particularly caring how fast, how long, or where... which has been quite refreshing. And I've done a few races to keep me ticking over. Going back in time

17th September - WCH district event - Oldacre
5mins drive from my house and an area I know, err, well - losing wasn't really an option. But GG was there and looking to steal the glory. But I had a pretty strong run and GG made a few booboos so I won fairly convincingly in the end which was nice.

16th September - POTOC local event - Chatterly Whitfield
No results from this yet, and maybe that's a good job cos I didn't run very well. It was nice to try out a new area not so far from home and bits of it were pretty good. POTOC looked to be doing a great job attracting newbies. Personally, I didn't enjoy the litter and yobs and I had trouble finding a few of the flags. Still, it got me out of the house.

13th September - OD Sprint Series - Burton Dassett
This was a showdown against GG. 19 controls, match play, half a pint per control. Surely a sprint race on his favourite training area would somewhat favour the guy who came 9th in the WOC sprint... Oh no. I had other ideas. He lost 13-6 to me and somehow wormed his way out of the forfeit. But it's still there and he isn't getting away with it that easily.
Results (and a bit of analysis)

10th September - Totley Tormentor Fell Race
17ml, 4500' climb. I set off at a decent pace and got a bit bored of the sight of Neil's hungover backside but fortunately he died just before the finish a little more than I did and despite Dave Taylor nipping through I finished relatively happy with a nice run out on the fells copping bits of abuse here and there (but not as much as Neil). And Neil got disqualified for not having any emergency kit which made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

29th August - WCH training race - Rowley Park
3.6km sprint race in 10.02. Probably the fast mpks anyone's ever done in an orienteering race. I thank you. Yup, I was fairly going for it and the "terrain" (football pitches) did kind of aid my world record. It's funny though how the straights on the athletics track on the map appears to be 150m long...

The other news is that I've moved house. I'm now back in da hood (Sheffield) for the forseeable future and am officially the thickest person in my house (being that I'm the only "Mr" - my housemates Bown and Middleditch are both Drs).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wedding and White Rose

2 more days and August is over. That's what I'm telling myself. Then I can go back to normality: working, training and generally being a little more sensible. Not that I'm going wild over the next 2 days. Oh no. No chance of that. My head (and I suspect liver) is frazzled as I near the end of a 3 day hangover and it feels like I'm entering a period of deep sleep.

As Westlife said, "We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun." Now I'm looking forward (strangely) to an Autumn of getting back into training for next year and finishing off (probably makes it sound nearer than it is) my PhD and making plans for what to do after that (exciting!).

So the "weekend":
I rocked up in Sheffield having decided against doing the fell-race we agreed to. The plan was to have a curry with Oli and chums (just like the good old days) before heading to the pub. Oli called round with some Russian friends of his. These Russians, or more accurately, their bringing of vodka, would prove to be my nemesises for the next 2 nights...

Friday - the Wedding
And so it came to pass that Oli's big day started with me very hungover. But it was a gorgeous day and a merry band of us, including the man himself, headed out into the Peak District for a most enjoyable saunter. I ended up hammering it up Stanage Pole cos I thought it'd be rude not to. The ceremony and photos were all very nice and all that and all the brides and bridesmaids looked suitably attractive in their get up. Looking round it truly was a who's-who of British Orienteering - with a few Russians (tssk) and Swedes thrown in for good measure. Anyhoo, we then went off for the reception. My attempt, with Middleditch, to fix the length of the best man speech failed, but apart from that I had a brilliant time. On the way to the toilet once, I was collared by the evil Russians, who eventually let me go to the toilet, but not after having 5 (?) shots of vodka. I came out of the toilet and lo and behold Whigfield's finest, Saturday Night, is blaring out and, what's more, there are 20 girls (and no boys) on the dance floor dancing to it. It's not often a chance to make a hero out of yourself comes along and I most definitely pulled it off. At least it felt like I had at the time.

Saturday - White Rose
Here are the results from the White Rose. Now you may notice that I'm not on them. That's because I didn't run. There's no way that I could've. Middleditch and myself rocked up to the event campsite at around 6pm and promptly cracked open a beer. That was the first time I'd been outside on Saturday other than getting from the house to the car. From there the evening took off and I proceeded to make a repeat of the night before. I got so carried away that I even agreed to do the KIMM with Neil. Dammit.

Sunday - White Rose cont.
So I finally got out of the tent at 1pm when my sister arrived down from Newcastle. Now I haven't seen her all that much recently, and she'd just made a 2 hour drive to come and see me, but unfortunately it wasn't the exciting afternoon it should have been. I was unable to do much for obvious reasons. After much phaffing, we spent a lovely afternoon in Scarborough. Unsurprisingly, Neil got far too excited about his sprint map for next years British Champs, and I needed to have a kip in a coffee shop (upstairs, behind a sofa) but other than that we managed to have some fun. Sunday night wasn't fun: it rained, my head hurt and I didn't drink anything.

Monday - White Rose - Relay Gold!
I thought I'd better do some orienteering by this point. Actually, that's not true. Jenny Johnson put me in a relay team with Rob Baker and Nick Barrable and entered us. We were against Oli, Neil and Mat Dickinson. There was no backing out. But it wasn't going to be a normal relay. It was a Harris relay which is far too confusing to explain but basically involves the 3 of you doing a score event at the same time. You had 1 hour. Me, Neil and Mat had no watches. So Mat bought us some classy ones for £3 (total, not each!) in Scarborough. An accuracy of nearest minute was going to have to be enough. Apparently getting all of the controls would be "very unlikely". Anyway, 48 minutes later, my team had got them all and we'd won. At first I thought that I'd sort of enjoyed it, but wasn't sure, but I decided that I definitely did enjoy it when Oli's team finished and Oli was in a big boo. He had reasons to be upset though, and as his close friends, we did our best to remind him of them and rub them in. I won a mug.

Monday, August 21, 2006

What goes up must come down...

Urghhh. I've just had possibly the most fun 2 weeks of my life and have just got home and feel, well, tired I guess. And sad that the fun has ended. For now anyway...

Was it really only 2 weeks since the WOC banquet? My my how time has flown. I could write pages and pages about everything that's happened since then, but I won't. For my own benefit (i.e. so that I remember all the fun) I'll do some bullet points:
(NB, some stuff is omitted for various reasons eg. memory loss and tact)

WOC banquet
-Dressed as an Aussie
-Made some shapes
The day after
-"Completed" my breakfast challenge (+mushrooms-soya milk)
-Fell asleep in a team meeting
-Looooooong journey home
Dull mid-week at home
-Killed myself on a 2.5hr run
Oli's stag weekend preparations
-Took 24 cans of Carling, some golf clubs and a rope up onto Kinder Scout
-Pub quiz (lost)
Oli's stag weekend
-Cable skiiing (got round the 1st corner once) - arms sore
-Mountain boarding (fell off badly twice and gave myself whiplash) - head/neck sore
-Pub - head pain eases
-The Chin-Challenge
- complete legendary "3 minute crossing" in 2.56 including a can of Carling at the finish - ahead of Oli
- Big Bapz Mapz surveying team (Northrop and myself) produce a fine sprint race
- threw cheese off Mam Tor for everyone else to chase
- my team took victory in the strawpedo competition
- "the team" hit Castleton hard
- took a long time to get back to Edale
- beer, snus and 2 strawpedos knock me out
- try to walk back to Sheffield in my pants (fail)
World University Championships
-Loooooong journey out
-Awesome terrain
-Cocked up the long (dunno where I came - 30-something-th)
-9th in the Middle (best result for 10 months: good but not quite what I was after)
-Cocked up the relay
-Team did awesome
-Much much much banter
-The Banquet (victory for team GBR! - Village People and Spice Girls outfits go down a storm and we nail the dance routine)
-Looooong journey home

I do and I don't want to see photos from it! I'm sure stuff will filter through. Fortunately I don't have too long to wait before my next dose of fun - Oli's getting married on Friday then we're all heading up to the White Rose (3 day orienteering event in North Yorkshire) - I probably won't orienteer much.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Happy to be thirty-ninth - or sad not to be on the podium?

No prizes for guessing the answer to that. It all went horribly wrong for me today - I think I'm a bit ill in the stomach, my legs were heavy and I didn't cope well with being caught by Michael Mamleev early on. I was unable to fight for the 2nd half of the course and bumbled round the last few km into 39th place. I felt a long way off the best in the world today but more importantly, a long way off my own best.

But it was a WOC personal best result for me and it'll be piss easy for me to improve on it next time. And Jamie got Bronze!!! Sweet. I'm not gonna let myself be down for now cos Jamie got the Bronze!!! Sweet. And it's the relay tomorrow. Exciting. Then it's the banquet. Carnage. Then it's Oli's stag do. Punishment. Then it's the World Students. Confident. Then it's Oli and Jen's wedding. Romance. Then I can be in a boo about WOC and think about the future and all that.

Thanks to everyone who supported me during WOC - it means a lot.