Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sunday Club Run

After my epic walk yesterday it was good to get my running kit on again for a more familiar workout. Six of us set of from the Allander this morning for a 12 mile training run. We headed along the Rangers path towards Dobbies Garden Centre and then along the road through Bardowie before heading cross country past Cawder Golf Club to the Forth and Clyde Canal. We ran a short distance along the canal before heading by road towards Torrance roundabout then along the river back to Balmore. From there we came back the same way as we ran out. I seemed to have no adverse reactions to such a long walk yesterday and it was a comfortable pace until the Victoria Park young guns upped the pace with about 4 miles to go and I had to work hard to keep with them.

Route on Garmin Connect

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Tour of Cumbrae

Today's training felt a little different - a 20 mile walk! My wife, Yasmin is doing the Moonwalk in Edinburgh in just three weeks time and I volunteered to accompany her on the longest of her training walks. So we found ourselves on the 9am ferry from Largs to the Isle of Cumbrae to attempt two laps of the island - 20.25 miles in total. Despite some pretty grim weather to begin with, we put our heads down and battered on through the wind and rain, completing the first lap in just 3 hours. It brightened up for the second lap but it took us a little longer after a quick pitstop for a coffee in Millport before completing the final 3 miles back to the ferry. Back in Largs we headed straight to Nardini's to refuel. Just over 6 hours is a long time to be on your feet - hope I am OK for the club run in the morning.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Polaroid Series - Clydebank 10k

After the excitement of the weekend it was back to the serious business of 10k racing for me. Tonight was the Clydebank 10k, the second race in the Polaroid Series. I was hoping for a significant improvement in my poor start to the series last week at Helensburgh, not least because Clydebank is a flatter faster course. It was good to see a few more Victoria Park runners out this week - I think there were five of us competing tonight. All started off OK and I went through the first 2 or 3 km at a reasonable pace but by half way my pace had slipped back and I felt I was working very hard. Finished in 37.08 - a bit quicker than last week but I was still some way short of my target - where has my speed gone?

Another well organised race and I got a text on the way home to confirm my time and position - 46th position, gun time 37:10 and chip time 37:08.

Next up is Dumbarton, the fastest of the 4 races in this series.


Tuesday, 25 May 2010

More Edinburgh Marathon Photos

Still a few more to come as soon as I have time to upload them

Monday, 24 May 2010

Edinburgh Marathon Photos

Here are some photos I took yesterday at Musselburgh.

More photos to follow - call back tomorrow

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Drama at Edinburgh Marathon

As temperatures soared in the Capital this morning, there was a dramatic finish to this year's Edinburgh Marathon. Wesham's Steve Littler swept passed the stricken Tipton Harrier, Phil Hinch to win in 2.26. Twenty three year old Hinch, running his first marathon, had led for most of the race but was hit by cramp within sight of the finish and the strong finishing Littler crossed the line 16 seconds ahead of him.

Southport Waterloo was well represented. Angela Delaney was first to finish in around 3.22. A great time in such difficult conditions. I saw Chris Cutner, Andy and Margot Bowker all come through at 9 miles but I don't have finish times for them yet.

Victoria Park CoG's, marathon machine, Gerry Craig finished in just under three hours, just four weeks after finishing a minute ahead of me at London.
Lots more photos - check back here tomorrow.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Edinburgh Marathon

It is the Edinburgh Marathon tomorrow and I am looking forward to going to watch others suffer for a change but I don't envy the runners, it looks like being very hot. Good luck to the SWAC runners venturing north of the border to run this one, to my cousin Lucy travelling from Norwich for her first ever marathon and to Gerry and Neil. I am taking my camera and so I hope to have some photos to post here tomorrow. A well known face amongst the competitors, at the age of 71, will be Dr Ron Hill taking part 40 years after he won the Commonwealth Marathon gold at the Edinburgh games. Ron hasn't missed a days training since December 1964 and not even a car crash, a bunion operation or having serial killer Harold Shipman as his GP has stopped his daily run. This year is the 40th anniversary of the Edinburgh games where he clocked 2.09.28 to take gold. At the time, the world best was 2.08.34 set in Antwerp by Derek Clayton. However, this performance has been largely discredited as experts believe the Belgian course, measured by car odometer could have been up to half a mile short (should have got Brian Grice to measure it). Clayton never beat Ron in a marathon but Ron's time was never ratified as a world best. When I started running, Ron - inspired by comic book character Alf Tupper was a regular in the Mid Lancs cross countries fixtures running for Clayton le Moors.

Hard Helensburgh

Running a 10k so soon after London Marathon and Monklands Half was tough! It was a new course this year due to road works on the normal route. The consensus afterwards was that the extra hills, twists and turns did nothing for fast times. There was no way I could get my legs to move as fast as I wanted them to and although I ran the second half quicker than the first I had to settle for a disappointing 37.29. A few years ago I would have been happy with that but I was hoping to run a bit quicker tonight. However, it is the first in the series and I have time to improve.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Helensburgh 10k

The races are coming thick and fast now. The Polaroid 10k series kicks off tomorrow night (Thursday 20th) in Helensburgh. Due to injury, I haven't done this one for a few years but it usually comes as a bit of a shock to the system after marathon training. Check out details of the series here and call back tomorrow for a race report.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Monklands Half Marathon - Sunday 16th May

This was my first race since London Marathon and I wasn't sure how my legs would respond to running fast again. I haven't done this race before but I was warned that it was a challenging course and it didn't disappoint in that respect. Basically one small lap and two large laps in and around Drumpelier Country Park in Coatbridge. I don't recall any flat bits - nothing too steep but always seemed to be running up or down. The toughest climb came near the end of the second and third laps and seemed to drag on for ever!

After a reasonably easy start I tagged on to the back of two Kirkintilloch boys but they left me on the second lap as the field started to spread out. I kept a reasonable pace going on the second lap but my legs were screaming the second time up the hill. I was passed by one runner on the second lap, managed to catch one of the Kirkintilloch runners and was closing the second one down as the finish line came into sight.

My time was slightly down 1.23.15 but I put that down to the course and the after affects of London Marathon. I was pleased with 12th overall and first Vet though. I am told that the David Morrison Memorial Trophy is on it's way to me. That's two trophies already this year and it is only May - I am thinking of contacting Everton FC to see if I can lease some space in their trophy room!


Tuesday, 11 May 2010

London Marathon Review

It is over two weeks now since the London Marathon and most of the aches and pains have eased enough for me to reflect and think about getting back to some serious training to prepare for some upcoming races.

This year's was the 30th London Marathon. I have done eighteen of them including every one since 1995, sixteen in a row! In the days preceding the race with travel plans in chaos due to the volcanic ash cloud, it looked like my biggest challenge was getting to the start line at all. I abandoned my plans to fly and booked the train instead. I have to say that Virgin Trains have improved considerably since the last time I travelled with them and I arrived in London relaxed just 4 hours and 20 minutes after leaving Glasgow.

With my number and chip collected it was off to the hotel to relax. The only concern now was the weather forecasters telling us it was going to be the hottest London Marathon on record - hadn't planned for that!

The morning of the race soon comes round and after a good breakfast we meet the rest of the SWAC team and walk to Charing Cross for the train to the start. This year I am back on the green start - 'good for age' but I am a bit put out, the rest of my pals are at the front of the red 'fast good for age'. As we start to split up at Blackheath to head towards our respective start areas it is just me and Joanne on green and we both do a double take as Richard Branson dressed up as a butterfly passes us! Far from being a hot start to the day, it starts raining as we assemble at the start and everyone squeezes into the tents to keep dry. With 20 minutes to go before the off, I wish Joanne well and head for the starting pen to get as near the front as possible. I get a good position with only the 'celebrities' ahead of me - I don't recognise any of them other than Gordon Ramsay.

The gun goes and after muscling my way through the assorted soap stars there is clear road in front of me until we merge with the main blue start just before the first mile marker. My target, as ever, was to dip under the three hour mark, my training had gone well and I had some good race times under my belt so I felt confident this year.

The miles passed quickly - the first few too quickly in fact - I was ahead of schedule and needed to slow down a bit. Just after half way - club mate Rick cruised past me looking very comfortable - he was looking for 2.45 and wanted to run negative splits so I wasn't too surprised to see him come past me. I felt good well into the second half of the race and despite a stitch coming and going from 16 miles onwards I reached 20 on target and starting to feel better. Victoria Park club mate Gerry passed me at about 23 and uttered a few words of encouragement - Gerry normally runs low 2.50's so I started to think this was going to be a good year. I couldn't stay with him but kept a reasonable pace going and as the finish line loomed I realised I was very close to 2.55 - one last effort up Birdcage walk and down the Mall saw me finish in 2.54.30 my second fastest ever. I hadn't run that fast since 1997! Time to catch up with the others - Gerry ran 2.53. What is it with him? over the past year, it doesn't matter the race distance - no matter how well I run Gerry is always a minute ahead of me!

Next I found Rick looking very pleased with himself - he had missed his target just but run a lifetime PB of 2.47. It wasn't long before most of the SWAC team were safely over the finish line and with the conditions being far more favourable than forecast, everyone had run well. Nick was still out on the course - he was a bit short on training this year and so missed the team photo (below) in fact he missed the train home too but that is another story.

What next?
It is Monklands Half Marathon this Sunday. I haven't done this one before so not sure what to expect. I am told it is not a fast course and I am far from sure my legs have fully recovered but it will be good to get back to some racing.