Sunday, October 04, 2009

Training Camp 2009 : A Review

Having finally arrived back from the Lake District I feel the week should be memorialised somehow so here's my brief journal of what happened (or not!)

I wasn't going up with the minibus (I never go up with the minibus - I say it's because it's more convenient than going over to Oxford but really it's so I can take a huge bag and enough trainers to last a lifetime) as I was racing the South of England Road Relays and then taking Carl and Anupam up as well after our legs. Anupam and I both did first leg and I then went and did my usual walk and talk around the place before we left. We did a quick warm down and I decided that seeing as we were both ready to go and all together, it probably wouldn't hurt to wait a few more minutes and cheer people. Big mistake. Anupam promptly came up with the knowledge that his racers were currently halfway up the first hill and doing another 2 loops of the course on Daniel Thompson's feet as he'd stolen his trainers. Once plans for a citizen's arrest midrace were mooted we decided to go over and shift Anupam's stuff from Martin's car to mine (including a guitar...) and despite protests we'd be able to take it all, Anupam stayed to supervise before finally heading back to pick up his racers. On the whole I think Martin and I's plan for Daniel to send them piece by piece through the post over the term would have been much more satisfying.

Anyways- we finally set off- only an hour after we were meant to! Despite the application of the Brucey factor (extra half hour just in case) we were still an hour down and not making good time.

(Bonus points for naming the show and the episode this came from in the comments section)

Once on the road things started flowing though. Despite numerous debates about one and two stop strategies and whether Anupam had to wear clothes in the car (he did) and whether the cut price Jelly Babies were edible (they weren't) we actually did make good time and opted for the two stop strategy. A quick break and enough grub to last us most of the week from M&S (having just about managed to resist the temptation to grab a Burger King - Anupam's squeals of disappointment as we went past the next Services with a KFC were audible from back in London) we finally got into the Lake District and then began arguing as to whether we trusted the Tom-Tom or Tash's directions. We eventually decided on Tash's directions (in 30m take a right turn, then when you see the pub go left - missing out on the 20 miles inbetween!) which got us there safely at around 10. The minibus had managed to arrive earlier despite struggling up hardknot pass which resulted in everyone having to get out and walk. They did eventually realise this meant no one was actually driving the minibus up the hill so Cathy got back in and drove it up.

So- being an OUCCC training camp by the time we got there everyone had left for the pub and with only half an hour of drinking to go we set off in furious pursuit. Having accosted a bus depot and a mnin-railway we finally found the pub were everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and remarkably sober and being served by the charming Naomi. Time to put an end to that!

*** The rest of the evening is somewhat of a blur- I vaguely recall making a hilarious joke at Chris' expense which was apparently mean, making a very large bluff in a poker game and button-holing Andy for around an hour in the Men's loos (no- that isn't a euphemism) before finally stumbling up to bed with Anchorman blaring in my ear***

The next morning I arose with a little bit of a headache to the sound of very loud talking downstairs. Unfortunately the bunkhouse was very small and sound carried through-out the whole thing but we were off on a run! Tash used to live in the area and led us on a "3 mile loop" which I swear was actually much longer but took us through some very pleasant countryside and was my main run for most of the week. We were then led up a scramble to see what was apparently a very deep waterful which had Mcgurk and Titheradge sprinting to see who could reach the top first before realising the hill was about 400m longer than they thought it was. Oops. The waterfall was breathtaking and we then carried on climbing having to walk a little bit due to the steepness. We then went down through the moor and some of us added on an extra half hour once we got back with Ms. Badouin showing herself to be in excellent shape kicking away over the final 400m!

Afterwards we headed out to Whitehaven which as it turned out, wasn't really that interesting but we did have a very pleasant walk along the coast together with making our mark. Then a quick trip to Tescos to buy food (booze!) and we were back home.

In the evening we enjoyed ASDA value burgers cooked admirably by Mr. Gold. Then again to the pub but this time still slightly tender from the previous night I managed to admirably abstain whilst Anupam took himself down in thoroughly excellent fashion. By this time Mr. Duncan formerly of the terrible tabs had joined us and introduced us to the wonderful game of "mine" whereby everytime someone said the word mine they were forced to do press-ups. Increasingly ingenious plots to get the word said evolved through-out the week "I'm struggling with this cross-word- Seminal work of Adolf Hitler?" "Where does Copper come from" or from Mr Gold " Anupam- whose is that pudding?" repeated several times at increasing volumes. Some epic jenga was played.

We also had a very pleasant walk to see a field Sean had found for the session. This turned out to be a field which Sean had made up. We were unable to find the field and Sean's reputation as someone who likes to make things up to get attention continues. He also took advantage of a sheep.

The next day we had a session of 3/4/5 x mile planned off 60 seconds recovery on the roads. Well I say that, but it really was no simple task as approximately 57.21% of the previous day had been spent arguing about whether to run it on the road or the field, for time or for distance, what the distance should be, and whether Anupam was to be allowed to do it without clothes. Some nice running especially from Mr. Heyes and Mr. Assmundsen who is rapidly emerging as Oxford's secret weapon. Be scared Tabs. Be very scared.

(Yes... I'm aware he's not much to look at....)

In the afternoon we all just chilled out, watched Iron Man whilst some of us did oil massages and then a few of us headed out for a second run of the day around the three mile loop with Tom, Andy, Carl and Anupam (I think...) with my watch eventually giving up on me.

In the evening we went back to the original pub for a meal. It was pretty good with my black pudding starter being excellent followed by a very reasonable sirloin steak (rare). Much a pennying went on followed by a return to the bunkhouse and some interesting games which will never be repeated including a shocking Never Have I Ever performance from some of the group featuring Mile High clubs, public transport and the defilement of school libraries. The evening concluded with Jamie adding in his third run of the day in minamilist clothing.

Wednesday we were out for a much easier day as a group ran out to Ravenglass and a smaller group of us were following in the minibus and running back. Thankfully in the later group (old man Reynolds needs his sleep) we got there in time for hte changeover with it raining and debated which carpark we were meant to be in for a fair old while. Finally the other turned up having gone the wrong way and we headed off with Cathy starting off saying "Ouch" every step having done too many press-ups. This still didn't stop her nailing it up the hill though with some of the better bloke runners in the club out of breath. Mr. Samuel's displayed excellent navigational skills and is considering becoming an orienteer if it wasn't so declasse. As the "motor" of the group I ran in the centre. Jet engine Heyes ran behind whilst Carl was the windscreen spotting stuff out. Ms. Heyes was of course the pilot deciding where we were going whilst Tom Tom Samuels gave the directions in a stiff upperclass tone. This was possibly my favourite run of training camp.

During the day we went to visit the world's oldest working water mill. It was old. There was water. Some pretty ingenious machinery though. More entertaining was the nearby rockpool which Tash insisted you could and she had jumped into despite the water appearing about 50 cm deep. Off a escarpment about 3/4 metres high. David Taylor managed to slip on the rocks and nearly put himself on. On the way back Matt Gold invented the game with one rule "What Matt Says Goes" - whilst personally I think this is potentially akin to giving a 15 year old a 24 pack, the car keys and a funnel the game worked fairly well with the principle aim being to touch a species of animal and once touched that species no longer counted. After invading private property to find a chicken and Anupam harrassing some cows in a field he took an early lead through Duncan managed to find a squashed frog on the road.

This was unfortunately followed up by one of the world's first slug eating competitions. Yes. Slug eating. Duncan had a truly awesome specimen to devour and despite it's beer flavourings it did appear to be a struggle to get down.

Then followed up with a very pleasant 45 minute recovery run whilst everyone else did circuits and we wondered where on earth Gold, Heyes and Ansell had gone to on their trip to the supermarket. Finally we left for the restaurant (pub) leaving them to fend for themselves. The pub was very pleasant with a succesful trademark simultaneous double penny of a pennied glass leaving Mr Duncan in a precarious downing situation. Unfortunately I didn't get my gammon steak as ordered but was instead left with an overdone rib-eye steak. Thankfully Chris switched roughly half of his gammon steak for a tiny portion of my rib-eye. Sucka!

After the meal quite a few headed back (losers!) whilst the rest headed out on the mini-bus to Whitehaven in vain attempt of a rocking night out. With the only nightclub in the town closed we ended up in spoons with a pitcher of Purple Rain (+ 2 Vodka shots- excellent value) - arguing selection policies, politics and whether we could get away with calling Social Services and getting them to take Andy away.

Sadly we were now onto our final day after arriving back at the bunk-house in a relatively poor state. Something might have happened- I really can't remember. Dave and Martin threw up - it was a poor effort.

The final day was a hills session in the morning where most were doing 15 x minute with a 90 second recovery (girls only 12-14) with me stepping it up to 20. After Tom managed to lead us down a very wet trail for our warm-up and Anupam led a drills session along an incredibly pot-holed trail (If I don't have a straight,flat, tarmaced road to run on I get cranky) we started the session with me carrying my trainer and dropping it at the end of the first rep. For the next 18 reps I hit that trainer everytime before pushing a bit clear of in the final rep with Sean taking photos of us all running. Very pleased with the consistency here and everyone seemed to have a pretty reasonable session.

After everyone had waited for me to finally finish warming down we headed back and settled in for another afternoon of massage, Old School and general lazing. Quite a few people headed off on walks of varying length (apparently someone saw a Lake- I managed to avoid seeing one my whole week there...) and the like and seemed to have fun before my final run of the week with Anupam and David Taylor (who kept on pushing the pace!).

A group headed off to the pub whilst some of the others concerned themselves with abusing a set of frozen chickens. Arriving there I was informed that Tom had just told them to come back for food as it was ready. Promptly ordered a pint and started enjoying it before we headed back and were told firmly that we were going to have to queue up single file because we were late. Sadly immediately after food no-hands desert started and whilst some good efforts were made we could definitely use some coaching...

Promptly followed by no hands milk, rice pudding and in mine and Hayley's case red wine which was not succesful (and might have been the beginning of the end for her...).

After this "Cafe Disco" was opened and whilst beer pong was frantically organised dominated by Ms. Hanstock, some chatted and others began a "Ring of Fire" something wonderful happened. People started emerging in towels. Towel day was back with a vengeance baby! My hangover-brainchild last year of combining the towel with a belt to create a garment was being rapidly adopted (even by the girls) and a full blown towel party emerged! Then we got down to some serious boogeying after a masterful speech by Chris and a demand for Beer and Vodka funds from penny-pincher Das. Whilst for some the night ended quickly! for the rest we carried on into the early hours of the morning with McGurk's rocking tunes. There may have been a speech again. I really won't comment. But it did seem to go better than last year's. I think the difference this year was that I was topless. Definitely. Maire and Claire were under strict instructions to guard the girl's dorm which unfortunately failed when Mr Titheradge was found upstairs having Claire giggling along and feeding Maire Vodka Jelly. Fresher Sam was opening up some fantastic moves on the dance floor and the evening finally came to a close with Anupam cooking a load of chips. Danny T and Anupam decided to try and combine a naked mile with leaving a note and money for Naomi asking her to call them. On the way to the pub they lost the money leaving us with the enduring image of the two of them crawling naked on the road searching for money. Full moon that night...

Possibly having some notes on the Oxford Spirit helped as well...

So with the night drawn to a close we were leaving the next morning. Old men Darling and Reynold's had a decent lie in (seperate beds- though admittedly it is difficult keeping Darling out of mine and/or Ian's bed once he's had a few...) before venturing downstairs to say goodbye to the minibus as it took most home. Only for us to try the cars and discover Jamie's had gone. Popping the bonnet would be a mere formality for most of us but Jamie actually knows about cars. It didn't really help. The bloke from next door wasn't much use either agreeing with Jamie that it was the "electrics" and "modern engines" (key words for me to remember for next time) before we finally had to leave him having called the AA (Mr. Darling being the only OUCCC member to have had to call out the AA twice on training camps after his previous tight squeeze through a narrow hole) with the journey back commenced training camp was over for another (final?) year.

Many thanks to Chris and Tash for working so hard on the organization and Mr Gold for some excellent grub.

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Bryn Running

Training diary and musings on running in general.