History part 2: Geckos and Silver Shadows

So I’m a bit of a music geek. Bit of anything except Leo Sayer (that’ll come later). I had played a bit of football for a few years but once my little ones came along there was no time. So there’s no exercise or socialising or anything really. It’s myself and my fiancee working all the hours we can to get by. I was sitting all the time at work and at home, I hadn’t realised but I was in almost the worst condition of my life (That’ll come later too.)

To pass some of the time while baby sleeping and the other half working there’s a lot of message boards etc on the websites of the bands you like. Facebook not really big yet so this is where the patter happens with people you don’t know. To cut a long story short I got to know a few people from a music board for a band that I like (Teenage Fanclub, still got it after all these years). One of the guys (who we shall call Producer Jim) lives round the corner and I get to know him socially and some of his online compadres who I have never met but like their banter. Anyway one of them, whose husband is also a member, wants to get him fit and puts up the challenge. It’s March 2011, and we are challenged to run a 10k in June 2011 in Glasgow, the MHFS 10k. I haven’t run a race since Grangemouth, but 21 years on I’m still cocky. I was a runner, I can do it easy, dawdle, I think as I light yet another Marlboro light, pour a vodka and eat another takeaway. I said yes, some of the other guys say yes and so it begins. It would transpire that this wasn’t the the worst idea that came from this particular group…..


…. but that’s another story…..

So I had no gear. Off I went to Sports Direct and bought, gulp, a pair of Hi-tec Silver Shadows, some 3/4 length Umbro trousers and that was me ready to go. Sunday March 20th 2011. I had just turned 40 the week before. Off I went to Strathclyde Park. It’s about 5 – 6 k around the loch, did it plenty as a youngster. So I stick runmeter on my iPhone, cue up some Teenage Fanclub (of course) and I am ready to go. Nothing ambitious, lets go for about 30 mins or so. Quick fag and off I go. Start off at a decent pace as I always did. When I was young. 250 metres, first half bend done and someone has jumped into my lungs, crawled through them and then put concrete into the inside of my legs. Anyone looking must have thought I was an eejit. In my Silver Shadows I am sprinting along, stopping, almost collapsing to the ground, walking, then trying to run again, maybe 50 metres and repeat to fade. I gave up and stopped when runmeter told me I had got to 5k. 43 minutes and 2 seconds. I had stopped the clock a few times too, so I was probably nearer 50 minutes. Cocky no more. Confident no more. I had less than 3 months to get in shape to do twice this distance. I needed help, I needed inspiration, but more than anything else I needed belief. But first things first, I needed another fag.

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