After last Sunday’s 10k I decided to see how training went during the week, and see if I felt like finishing off the first half of the season with a parkrun. Tuesday’s session was a mad hill one with 3 x 100m 200m 300m 400m with a jog down recovery. It was a brutal session, but fortunately I felt better after the first couple of reps and was carried through by a great group containing sub 36 10k runner Mark Paterson, Lanarkshire medallist Clare Hughes and Mr Superfit Brian McLinden. Brian and his brother Andy of Hamilton Harriers are a little bit older (is that kind enough?) and head and shoulders above most of us whippersnappers. My aim this season has been to try and keep near Brian at training and it has so far worked for me. On Thursday we did a progressive 5 mile run, 3 sections, slow, steady and fast. I managed to hang onto the back of the group containing Brian, Mark and Nick Hughes. Wanting to keep my fast section steady at one stage I went past Brian, he took one look at me increased the pace and ran away from me. I ran the rest of the run alone….. lesson learned and slapped down by the master….he is an inspiration. My last 3k were in an average of 3.54 though which is a lot faster than I usually train. So I thought, wee sneaky parkrun on Saturday, no one will know, no pressure. See what’s in those legs?
Woke up Saturday and it wasn’t as nice as it had been but the wind seemed gentle enough. Got down to the park and had a good jog round. There was a wind but not too bad, and seemed to be a crosswind rather than a head and tail wind. It will be what it will be. I then bumped into another 6 MAC runners. Craig Mackenzie – flying in training but not racing enough. He was aiming for sub 17, and was definitely capable. Alan Tait, another man with a 17 min pedigree. Gary “the Shark” lines. The unofficial club captain. Roadrunner’s man of the year. Most improved athlete. Nice hair as well. He is the Fonz of Motherwell Athletics Club. Quiet race my arse. Kevin Durnian back after injury, Craig Whiteside, Gary Wood. There would be no hiding today. “Go!’ and offski. I went out far too fast like a mad yin. First half k in about 3.10 – 3.20 k pace. Suicide. Legs started complaining, my pace decreased down to almost 4 min pace. I was not going to trouble my parkrun best of 19.26 like this, let alone my 5k PB of 18.57. The negative thoughts as usual clouded my baldy head. No point. Drop out now and you can be away home before anyone finishes. It really is terrible. I talked myself round though and the first k evened itself out at 3.42. Run for Fun, come on! That was ok, the next 2 k would be crucial. Craig was away in a leading group of 3 in the distance with Alan in a group not far behind. Gary seemed to be dropping his pace slightly too and was only 2 or 3 places ahead. I dug deep and managed to do the next 2 ks in 3.50 and 3.52. This was fine. We were past the turn and I was happy. Legs felt ok. Wind was bearable. The 4th last time at Strathy had been my downfall so I knew I had to be consistent. De ja vu kicked in. For me to go the pace I needed to go I would have to go past Gary at this point. I had never been near him in a run before. Although I knew he hadn’t run much in the last few weeks I didn’t want to anger him the way I did with Brian on Thursday. I went for it and went past him with about 1 1/2 k to go. I could hear him breathing hard behind me but kept the poker face on and looked only ahead running hard. Sod the watch now, it was a simple case digging deep to try and finish well and to have a wee race. I got to 1k to go still ahead of Gary and went for it big style. The next kilometre was a bit of a blur but I got to 200m and knew I was feeling good. I had a sprint finish and beat a fella on the line. I crossed the line and saw I was once again 11th. I will NEVER get that top ten…. then looked at the watch. I had run the 4th k in 3.43 and the last in 3.31. My last mile was a mile PB of 5.41. Finishing time? 18.39…… oooooooooooffffffftttttttttttt! Not expected especially after the first k.
The racing head of the last 2k had me doing better than the timing head of the first 3k. I don’t expect to ever beat Gary again as he, as I said, hasn’t run much in the last few weeks, but it was a thrill and a boost to beat a runner of his calibre. I hope he doesn’t mind me making a song and dance about it, but for people like me days like this are a bonus. Craig won the race in 16.43, taking 37 seconds off his PB. Amazing stuff and a lot more to come.
The MAC results were as follows:
1 Craig Mackenzie 16.43
8 Alan Tait 18.17
11 Mark Gallacher 18.39
14 Gary Lines 19.01
49 Kevin Durnian 22.08
73 Craig Whiteside 23.30
85 Gary Wood 24.19
So this is the end of part 1 of my season as I am away on my holibags this week. 2 weeks of indulgence and I can’t wait. Since my injuries and head problems of the cross country, February and early March I have since managed to PB at 5k 3 times, 10k 3 times, 4 miles time trial twice and for 10 miles. I was ready to chuck it, a few months later I am instead in my best form since 1991. I know I am not a great or, even good, club runner, but I have got myself to a level I never expected to get to and achieved times I thought were way outside my reach. I hope that reading through the last few months it can give some of you a wee bit of hope that things can turn around for you and you can achieve your aims, keep training, enjoy your running and some day something will click in your head. It can be a race that gives you confidence, a training session that goes well, it can be mixing things up (marginal gains works!) , but give it a go. Ignore complacency and every now and then throw caution to the wind. What’s the worst that can happen? What’s been my turning points? 2 of them. My youngest son said to me “Run for fun” and I do that every time. It’s my mantra. It works for me, and defeats my negative thoughts. Secondly was throwing caution to the wind at the Scottish 5k which gave me a confidence boost and sorted my head out. Be brave and enjoy yourselves, seems a good philosophy to me?
As I say this is my last blog for now as I head off on holiday. Maybe it will be the last ever, as who knows what the next couple of months will bring after time out? I do have my new shoes to break in on holiday. I probably won’t stay quiet for long.
So thanks for sharing this journey with me since the turn of the year. I’ve been touched by your support, enjoyed meeting you at races, accepted your abuse. I am sure that we will all meet again, until then RUN FOR FUN 🙂