Warning: end of year review. Egotistical and self congratulatory stuff within. Why not take a wee look at your year and have a smile too 🙂
So the training I’m doing just now is just trying to build a base for my marathon training starting on 2nd January. May have an indoor race start of January if I can get speed back in my legs but that’s it, so seems a good time to reflect on the year that was. How did I get on? Who did I annoy? I had set myself A and B Aims but scrapped them after injury. Apologies if this is a lengthy review as it was a rather eventful year. Feel free to read through the blogs for each month. I just have, and quite enjoyed it. Some great memories.
“Tommy Sneddon cruelly said that if I beat him he would kill himself”
I had just started back training again after the piriformis injury of doom. A literal pain in the buttocks. I had also put on over a stone which wasn’t particularly clever but entirely my fault. Some really honking training sessions, all for the greater good, and was hitting the spin and circuits classes regularly too to try and get in shape. Did the MAC Time trial and finished second last with my slowest time in 2 years. Was just delighted to be back though. Buzzing. At end of the month did the SVHC Relays, again honkingly bad, but was exciting to get out there racing again. Was happy to finish only 50 metres behind Robert Gilroy, the fact he was a further lap ahead of my team didn’t matter, I raced him for one wee bend (and then almost died :))
“the lycra clad legend threw himself to the deck like Superman after a bottle of buckfast, landing about 10 metres from the finishing line. He tried to roll over the line and ended up 2 meters short”
February saw more attempts at getting the fitness up.
A few 5Ks, from parkruns to the GRL, times in the right direction, starting at 20.31, ending in 19.17. Weight was shifting and the strength was coming back.
“Got my banana, got my t shirt (though the medium I said sounded more like flewbilum)”
Decided to do the first club champ race at the DBTR 10k in March. I won’t pretend I enjoyed it, and ran out of steam at the end, but was happy that I hadn’t given up and it was pleasing to sneak under 40 in my first outing of the season. A few long runs were thrown in and I decided to do Alloa half marathon having entered a while back, this was after a few days in London filming “Pointless”. Was very proud of my run that day, despite wobbling over the line with nothing left I had taken 3 minutes off my PB and got that first sub 90 in 1.29.33. A real season changer. No hiding behind the injuries now. I was recovered and raring to go. Bring on April because the dander was up. My blog “Accept yourself” was picked up by Athletics Weekly/ Running Monthly and run as a column later in the year, The fact I was never asked to do another and got absolutely no feedback on it is another matter 🙂
“never underestimate the power of the mind”
Almost sub 19 at the national road relays, 2 minutes faster at the time trial, a PB by 2 minutes at the Tom Scott 10 miler, and equalling my PB at a tough Springburn parkrun. Was really pleased with how my running was going and my racing was getting braver. All leading up to May and a block of racing. I’d reinstated my targets and May was to be a big month.
“Here again strikes the most irritating runner in Scotland. I suggest you stop running. I used to follow you on Strava – USED to, but deleted you due to your hoffic attitude.”
Confidence high. Training and racing well. After PBing at Half, 10 miles and equalling my 5K I went to the Scottish 5ks in Edinburgh and took 13seconds off my 5K PB. 18.10, ooft. The Four Horsemen all hitting their targets. The only disappointment was the worst hamburger supper in the world in West Calder. So what do you do when you are running well? You have the confidence to give things a go. Polaroids started with Helensburgh, scene of my first sub 40 last year. I went out really hard. Through 5k, 6k where I wanted to be, 7k wobbled and 8k the wheels came off. I had to walk for a few minutes as I had nothing in the legs and eventually managed to jog home. I had no regrets about giving it a go as my confidence was high. Others weren’t so kind and my blog got it’s new title (Thanks for that Paul) as I became the most irritating runner in Scotland and told to accept my abilities amongst other lovely comments. Initially shaken yes, but did the job in my next 2 10ks at Clydebank and Dumbarton proving I wasn’t deluded as I took over 30 seconds off my PB. Ran my first track race in an eternity as well doing a 3000m league race, and though well down the field had great fun. Never be afraid to give it a go despite what others may think, and how low an opinion they may have of you. If you can look at yourself in the mirror then that’s what counts.
“Ewen earned a slap before we had even got on the bus by suggesting that Pat go into the boot with the rest of the bags”
June was never quite going to hit the same heights and a hamstring strain saw me finishing off the Polaroids in just over 39 at Vale of Leven after a tussle with an alsation. The Brian Goodwin 10k saw me getting dragged round by Henry of Bella marginally outside my best, but my racing over the last couple of k saw me back in contention in the club champs that I had decided to ignore this year. A satisfying 3rd place at Strathclyde parkrun in a course PB had me pleased as I concluded part 1 of the year and headed off to France.
“the nationalities of the top 4 were English, Scottish, French, Welsh. And with it being Paris the course was heart shaped. Awwww”
Wow. 2 weeks of running in France, trail runs along the River Seine, tough tough climbs up the hills in the south, sandwiching the “bucket list event” that was finishing second in the Paris parkrun at Bois de Boulogne. Two weeks of the most enjoyable running of my life, even if I spent the rest of the time enjoying the food and wine culture a little too much :).
“Physically comfortable. Mentally uncomfortable. Every stress came to a head and I felt like was going to have some sort of panic attack and that my head was going to explode. I pulled to the side, turned round and jogged back to the start, trying to avert the gazes and comments from the 200 odd people that must have wondered what I was doing”
Started off difficult with family and personal issues taking their toll but got better as the month went on and I sorted out my head, slaying the Haddington half marathon dragon, running some track races and setting another Strathclyde PB 1 only second outside my 5k best. The aim was getting closer, Super Saturday at the start of September. I had a dream I had been working towards for wee while, and decided to go not just for that but to up the ante. “If you think you are beaten then you are, if you think you dare not then you don’t”.
“They offered to just post the medals out, but after I told them I had waited 27 years for this they relented, got the results sorted and I got my podium moment.”
Super Saturday 3rd September. There are days that you will never forget in running. When it all goes right for you. When the training you have put in gives you the results. So many of you will laugh at this as the targets are so modest in the grand scheme of things, but they were my aims. The putting myself through the pain barrier to get that elusive sub 18 5k in the morning at Linwood in 17.54. This got me silver in the club championships. Off to Wishaw in the afternoon and beating my 1500m PB to win the bronze in the LAAA, my first actual race medal since about 1989. I know I will never have a day like that again, and it is even better than all my days back in the junior when I won titles. I know, a poxy county bronze to some, but for me, a perennial mid pack man, this was something. Sadly wasn’t to be followed up with a 10k PB at Stirling as again the legs tired at 8k, but a sub 39 was still decent against a tough wind. Scottish Half at Edinburgh and pleased with fighting against the wind for 7 miles for another PB in 1.28.51. Not expected, but a good pick me up after Stirling. Finishing off with a great wee Q&A with some Olympians with advice that I took into the next month.
“OK, now I am lost. I know it’s 10 miles back so I am not doing a 20 miler. I decide to go straight on, climbing higher, seeing cycling clubs who laugh at me”
The Great Scottish Run 10k was entered after Stirling as I didn’t want to end on a damp squib. Thrilled to be in the “elite” (hah!) pen for the first time but I had a poor first 5k. Picked up well in the second half to marginally sneak another PB. LAAA 4k road relays and a course PB by over a minute. Time trial PB. Doing long training runs. Going really well. Got into London marathon on ballot on third attempt. What could go wrong?
A sneeze while brushing my teeth and my back goes. A few weeks out and missed the Southside six. Probably a break I needed anyway. Not to worry, a highly enjoyable season. Back in training within a few weeks, so no harm done, except a belly made of chocolate 🙂 I’ll learn one day…..
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Thanks for reading and supporting this year. It’s been good. See you on the road to London 🙂