Archive for August, 2011

Rindzin’s schedule

August 30, 2011

Here is the timetable for Rindzin’s barefoot attempt on Sunday. I think she could afford to set a slightly quicker pace if there is any one out there who would like to help her? 

I will be joining at Keynsham and her brother will take over at the White Horse in Hambrook.

Sunrise, 6.31
Start (just after 6.30am)
Leg 1, Clifton suspension bridge to Dundry, 5m
07:50, Leg 2, Dundry to Pensford, 5.5m
9.15, Leg 3 Pensford to Keynsham, 5.5m
10.50, Leg 4 Keynsham to Shortwood Hill, 5.5m
12.30, Leg 5 Shortwood Hill to White Horse, 5.75m
14.15, Leg 6 White Horse to Patchway Community College, 5m
15.30, Leg 7 Patchway to Blaise Castle, 6m
17:00, Leg 8 Blaise to suspension bridge, 6m

The Green Man Video

August 21, 2011

Check this out. It’s a commercial, and does not give due credit to Martin Beale and Tim Down, without whom they might not have got round; but it’s worth a look for the atmospherics alone.

I am Neil ……I am Woodwose!

August 8, 2011

Woodwose, What is a Woodwose? Well If you ask 99.9% of people in the world I imagine you would get a blank expression thrown back at you, as until earlier this year, I, like most people, had no idea.

A friend of mine knew of my love of ultra distance running and sent me a link to The Green Man challenge and I was intrigued. But I had only just completed theMalvern Hillsultra-Marathon and needed a little recovery. But still I was interested.

I started following Gaveller’s Weblog to see who was taking the challenge and it got to the stage where I was checking it more often than my own Facebook pag., This was bordering obsession and I had to do it; but I had not checked any of the sections so  gave myself little chance of completing it because of navigation and besides I had an I.T. band problems that I just couldn’t shake so it would be foolhardy to even try……

So I messaged Chris Bloor asking if he knew of any aspiring Woodwoses about to take the Challenge?

Mark Beveridge was this man and we made an attempt on June 18th. In short, Mark completed and I pulled out at the half-way stage with the I.T band problem raging away.

 6 weeks later I feel fitter and stronger and ready to go, unsupported as always just carrying enough supplies for the job at hand. I only had one condition…RAIN, if it was raining I would give it a miss as every time I go ultra distance It pours and it makes my life miserable.

As I arrived at Green Man at 05.45 on Saturday morning it was Raining and as I stood there sheltering under the big tree. My audience of largered deerall stared at me as if to say “Are you going to let some rain stop you achieving your dream?” I thought of the 48 that went before me and looked at my watch it said 05.59 moment of truth, do I? Don’t I?

I am stubborn and pressed the start button on my Garmin and off I went. Things look different this time, bushes have grown, grass has grown, 2 trees down on the climb to Dundry church and I was slow for the stage.

Dropping down out of Dundry I was reminded of how privileged we Wodwoses  areas I gazed out overBristolin its entirety. Long way to go.

Reached Pensford with no Drama and made some time back. I didn’t stop at Dundry or Pensford as I know my limits and this distance is well within my range so I plugged on through to Keynsham. For some reason I got a little confused in the park and put a little more  time and energy into it than I needed to.

I got to the Dramway in good shape but as I went along the cycle path I felt the I.T band tighten up so I applied some hot ibuprofen gel on and carried on.

As I reached Siston Common things got sticky, and I admit that one wrong navigational decision and I ended up 3 miles off track, now I am not in the habit of backtracking so I trusted my nose and eventually found the track again but it had cost me lots of time.

From Shortwood Hill it was all new to me as that was where I pulled out on my first attempt.

This seemed to spur me on without prior knowledge I seemed to navigate far better and stayed problem free for a while…….Until Bradley Stoke, need I say I went completely of track here until I re-found the path at 3 Brooks and Savages Wood.

These small errors had cost me any chance of putting in a respectable time as I had already added 5 miles to the track, but by this time becoming a Woodwose was far more important than being fast, this was much deeper than speed over ground this was about Beating the challenge.

As I crossed the M5 at Aztec West I got a call from Chris and he said he was going t meet me and run me in the remaining 11 miles or so.

He met me in a field somewhere…anywhere…nowhere. It didn’t matter, all it meant was I didn’t need to look at directions and maps anymore.

We jogged on as far as Spaniorum Hill and Chris said maybe I should choose the pace for this. Good choice Chris.

We still jogged and by this time I was showing 45 miles and I should have finished by now. 11 hrs 20 minutes. That would of done me, but we still had to complete Blaize to Green Man, “How far ?” I asked Chris “10k “ he replied.

To far for my legs on this day and I had to walk the last section, we broke into the occasional shuffle but nothing of any meaning. As I overlooked The Bridge I felt a new wave of energy but isn’t that always the way. I can’t run anymore today, the 12 hrs have been and gone and all I want is to keep a promise I made to The Green Man 12 hrs and 44 minutes earlier.

I arrived at the same spot I had overlooked all those hours ago and it was still raining, the Deer had gone but I had changed, I had achieved a dream and became a Woodwose. If I’m right number 49.

I am in a group of people that numbers only 49 in the world.

This is special and I am happy to have taken one day out of my life to join this club.

I am proud of all my racing medals and on a good day I can run a 1.43 half marathon, I have 4 titanium screws in my back, 3 in my shoulder and always run with my heart.

Poem for the day – two – August 7th

August 8, 2011

Life’s honouring-deeds we start and do not do –

I know, I know that these are counted too.

The flowers that do not come to flower

but drop to earth and lose their power,

the rivers that run dry in desert, never to renew

I know, I know that these are counted too.


Today’s intentions that are not seen through,

I know, I know that these are not untrue.

All my deeds so long delayed

all the tunes I have not played

sound out on your bina’s strings, all performed by you.

I know, I know that these are counted too.

Rabindranath Tagore 1861 -1941

translated by Joe Winter

I, on the other hand, am not so sure!


August 8, 2011

What’s in a number? I saw Neil Banwell in yesterday. He’d been having a bit of trouble with the navigation. I met him between Easter Compton and Aztec West and kept him company to the Green Man. He didn’t get in under 12 hours, but he had done 45 miles whilst the clock was showing something like 11 hrs 20 mins. By the time he reached the Green Man, he had over 50 miles on his Garmin. You might say he ought to have more checking out the route before he set out – but then again my new maps showing links to public transport haven”t been verified yet – and Martin Beale always said we ought to make it 50 miles so it could qualify for something or other!


Woodwose XLV – in retrospect

August 7, 2011

It’s over. 11hr59’37. 23 under – plenty, in the end [**]. Jordan’s number. Gate’s still locked. No Chris. Text him – record the time

And it began 12 hours ago, in the rain with Chris Bloor and Neil Banwell, Green Man visible through the locked deer park gate, at Ashton Court

Finished a few minutes ago. Feel ok, a bit thirsty. Lovely evening …||… Finished 20min ago. Back at car. Raging thirst. Trying to ignore it. Can’t wait much longer for Chris  …||…  Finished 30min ago. Chris has snacks, but I don’t feel like swallowing, and spit them out. Is he interested in today’s events, or just trying to gauge my
state? – doesn’t matter. Can tell I’m slurring, and stomach keeps cramping. Will get worse staying here – need to get home

Or did it begin in February, with a conversation during Moti’s Green Man attempt?

Been home an hour or so. Had a cup of tea, shower and pizza, and feeling fine. Think I’ll stay in though

Actually, I meant to do the Green Man Challenge in 2010, but instead had to address the possibility of permanent running retirement. And I’d been asking Moti about it for a couple of years before that, to apparent disinterest, since Chris’s talk/run at their “Off-Road Day”. Moti and its staff were a key reason I began running though, opening in Bristol as I was reading Karnazes’ book, and for a long time I’d labelled the Green Man Challenge as both a physical and group event

It’s afternoon and the sun’s out. Only aware of distance and time in a very general sense. Neil’s gone [***], and the navigation’s feeling more natural, so I’m mostly ‘in the moment’, with the surroundings and some passing thoughts. The city’s noise enfolds me, changing with location and time of day. Why do so many runners block this out?

“Forest of Avon” still seems largely an oxymoron, but a great statement of intent. Oddly, the sense of ‘treeness’ and greenery has actually felt stronger where it’s more unexpected, following a narrow green corridor, entwined with the built environment, and I’ve enjoyed those sections. Today’s early (rural) stages I did with Moti in February : more attractive now, though long grass and nettles/brambles made it harder work, but their ‘familiarity’ (despite wrong turns) made them less interesting than others

When you see a bridge over a familiar motorway – a 4/6-lane slice of an orthogonal world – do you wonder who uses it, and what’s beyond each end? I just crossed one of those over M5, (after smacking my shin on a “cycle trap” – won’t forget what that is, nor “kg”). I’m in that world and I’m reminded for the nth time today of Will Self’s psychogeography pieces (which I didn’t really ‘get’) and hazy fragments of a radio programme about “A Walk Around the M25” [Iain Sinclair]. This is more what the Challenge has become about for me over the past year: discovery, identity, and a greater sense of the place I choose to live, not bound by predictable routes and views …though it is still coloured by others’ bias, with their choice of significant landmarks (in instructions and maps). Today is about the journey, not the destination (time) …which is apposite, given its circularity

Very aware of the cutoff now. Missing instructions – but got to Blaise.
Time tight – but think surprises are over. Terrain unfamiliar – tracklog a
simple shape. “Middle path” downhill too far left? Tracklog different?
Trust the instructions. No forks to work me right. Up&down the side slope,
versus fallen trees and brambles. Always can’t-quite-force-my-way-through
thick hedge at the top. Wasting time. Tumbling, sliding, mud all up my
back. Had to get out, quickly, anywhere. And here I am. Back on pavement
and in sight of the proper exit. Ready for a last effort

It’s not about a goal that’s worth the pain – it’s reaching a level of pain that makes the goal worthy” — Rich Roll

Nearly finished. Having to push hard [**], today’s fastest miles, HR over 160. Can’t stop taking walk breaks though – central governor or MTFU? Heh – channelled some G, there. You’ve got yourself back in a position to do this – failure is simply your choice. This cutoff does matter. The goal will be worthy. It’s uphill. Need a little cushion –
may have to dodge traffic at the top. Wonder if Chris is there

Finished yesterday. Knees are a bit tender down steep hills, but nothing like the soreness I get after a marathon at full pace, nor even a half.
The bike GPS I carried yesterday won’t divulge even the part that I got it working for, so at the moment my only record is the overall time and splits for the first 12 miles. A bit disappointing …but also fitting, in a good way

Finished just over a week ago. First post-Challenge run was this evening and sense of pace was a bit distorted. Still have remnants of the cold, but need to start main training bloc now. Then off-road training this winter, for next year’s X-Man, so maybe help some friends take on the Green Man

I don’t think it’s over

[** : Re-reading the rules, after writing this, I see various
definitions have changed. I actually had an extra 12 hours, or a few
hours to sunset. But it may not have been classified as a run]

[*** : Half way, with an injury. Great effort]