Live in the Moment – The Scottish Half Marathon 2016

Man plans half marathon 8 months in advance for PB attempt. Man breaks PB months before that. Man forgets to train for any more half marathons. Half marathon comes up. Oops.

The general gist of my previous blog. So I was doing this having not done a long run in weeks as have been doing short stuff and working many hours unpaid overtime. After my flapping about how to run I made decision that I was going to go out and run the first few miles hard and see how I felt. If good? Carry on. If not? Ease it back. No stress, no pressure. No damaging myself. So all good. Was looking forward to the day as the two most consistent (consistently good that is) of the MAC endurance squad had a friendly wager on the result of the race. The loser had to get the winner’s name on their new trainers. The Tallest Mark in the World, aka the Larkhall Locomotive, is the half marathon specialist but Cocky Cammy, aka the Train Driver, has been smashing PBs over all distances recently and despite never having run a half before was confident he would destroy the Locomotive. Aye, was looking forward to seeing the outcome of this one.There were a few logistical issues in the run up to the event that I don’t want to dwell on, but needless to say I wasn’t paying 28 quid for my family to have to go on buses to the finish through major roadworks, and the news that despite the high price of the race the medals hadn’t made it on time was a bit of a head shaker before the event. Had a big bottle of Peroni and a World Buffet including much cake as well. What would be would be.

The MAC squad met at the Newhouse to go through in the cockymobile, the three of us accompanied by Kitbag Kev, the artist formerly known as Delboy, or was it an imposter in a mask? We’re not too sure, but the masks will be available on Kevs-r-us in time for halloween.


Despite the roadwork warnings of impending doom we made it to the Wallyford park and ride in plenty of time, and through to the Meadowmill sports centre on the shuttle bus in plenty of time for the start. More than plenty of time. We were able to have a good chill, a good natter and a wee stretch of the legs while we were waiting, though despite all this the Locomotive was still almost too late for the baggage drop vans and almost missed the start of the race.Myself and Kev were in the second batch of (red) runners as we watched Cammy and Mark hitting the front row. Aye they were up for it. After a delayed start we were on our way. Conditions were dry, not too warm, but we had noticed a wee bit of wind in the warm up. If it stayed it was going to affect us on the 7 mile straight road to the finish but hopefully it would stay calm and be nice to us. Aye right. I was feeling ok as we left the sports centre and my aim was to get as close to 4.10 ks as possible for as long as possible, as this would bring me in at 1.28, nearly 2 minutes faster than my best. Totally unrealistic, but as I said, just for first section to see how I felt. First real corner going onto the straight road and I felt my legs being clipped, glanced round and saw PHs Scott Love, the word on the street was that it was a revenge clip for Stirling. He went past me and I was happy to let him go off into the distance as I had my own wee challenges to go on with. It has to be said that the first 4 or so miles are generally downhill so I wasn’t going to get carried away with being under my aim after 5k, so maintained my steady pace without haring it down the slopes. As we went through the villages I even started to live in the moment, watching other runners high fiving kids who were watching I started joining in. High fiving the kids that is, not the other runners, that would be a wee bit weird. And awkward. Anything that takes your mind off the job in hand can’t be a bad thing.  At about 4 1/2 miles we hit the coast road, and it’s a turn to the right and a run of just over a mile and turn round a traffic cone (a different one from Stirling, unless it was just wearing different clothes, and had put on weight) and the long run home of 7+ miles along the coast. This was a good vantage point for how the race was developing as the leaders were coming back as we made our way out. First along in his hand bike was Anthony Stott who was going at a great pace. About a minute or so back was defending champion Bryan Mackie who had a good lead over the rest of the runners. In the MAC Battle the Larkhall Locomotive was about 20 meters or so ahead of a group containing the cocky Train Driver, so this race was hotting up. Not far to the turn and Scott was coming down the other side. A wee bit of encouragement to each other which was nice. And this was the story of the next mile or so. Now one of the things I love about doing this blog as I have said before is the opportunity it gives me to meet other runners, as I am a shy one ( no really!). And I reaped the benefits here.  As we hit the turn the wind hit us back. It was there with a vengeance. Easiest thing here? To crumble. To chuck it. Not today. Live in the moment. There was a procession of runners starting with Bella’s David Hulse who was coming round the cone just behind me. We gave each other encouragement. And for the next mile when I could easily have crumbled into that wind it was instead looking at the runners over the other side and words of encouragement passing from side to side and trying to maintain rhythm. Great stuff. Thank you David, Lyndsey, Kev, Dave, Scott etc etc the words and encouragement are magical. Once that mile or so was out the way it was a bit tougher as groups were forming and if you weren’t in one it was tough. I wasn’t in one. I caught a group and they ran away again. My fault for being irritating I guess.The wind was more than uncomfortable, and the simple fact was that it was going to stay that way until the finish. What would be would be. Strategy no 2. Under 1.28 not an option. I had a good buffer from first section so if I could hold my pace under 4.20 and finish well I could trouble 1.30 again. I would be more than delighted with that to be honest! If not I should certainly finish within my last half marathon time of 1.32 at Haddington. So many positives. So no fear, no bottling. Live in the moment. High 5s again to take my mind off the wind as we went through Seton Sands. Yes I had a wobble, but my average pace stayed below 4.15, so still on for about 1.30 pace. Hit the 10 mile mark in just under 1.08 so about 10 seconds faster than my PB pace at Alloa. Heavy thighs though. 17th k the wrong wide of 4.20 but managed to dig in, the next 3 k averaging about 4.13, so with 1k plus whatever extra there was (I expected a fair bit as my racing line had been awful on the coast road trying to get wind shelter) it was in my own hands. I saw the racecourse. And we ran alongside it for what seemed like ages. Then cut in and had a finish like the Strathclyde parkrun. You can see the finish from so far away but you bend out and in. Having looked at my watch as we came into the racecourse I was counting elephants again. I came into the racecourse in the 1.27s but was getting closer to 1.29 now. I had no power to sprint, I had left it out there, but was able to do the last k in 3.54 (faster than Stirling 10k last week???) and the last section of .2 odds took 46 seconds as I just sneaked under the 1.29 in a new PB of 1.28:51. New PB by 42 seconds. Oh I will take that!!!


Absolutely delighted. Caught up with PHs Scott who had smashed his PB in 1.28 dead, superb stuff and good luck in the marathon! The Larkhall Locomotive had beaten the Train Driver by almost a minute but great running from both guys, a 1.20 first half can’t be sniffed at for Cammy. To his credit he held up his part of the bargain, T shirt added in. Great banter from a couple of guys who are a credit to the club.


Was great to meet a few more people in person who I wouldn’t have spoken to if not for this blog. Was fortunate to just hold off Darren Deas from Meedies RC, great running for him smashing the 1.30 for the first time and was nice to speak to him. Great to see another PB from fellow #teambaldy member Scott Mc Cue, a pity Dave couldn’t get the triple crown, but next time, he wasn’t far away. So there it was, one of those unexpected PBs, and got it with no pressure. Running is a funny business.  What’s next? Well due to the fact I hate 10ks I thought I’d give the GSR one a go. Maybe running into that crowd at Glasgow Green will give me my 10k mojo back, who knows? All about the moment eh?

“Live in the moment” is a song from the superb new album “Here” by Teenage Fanclub. You should buy it. Their first top ten album in nearly 20 years. Better than Drake and DJ Yermaw and that Jonas panpipes guy.


Wee reminder:

I’m very happy to say that my wee blog has been nominated for blog of the year at the annual Running Awards. It would mean a lot to me if you considered giving me your wee vote if you enjoy what you read. The blog section is under community and it takes only a minute to register. Ta:)

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