Hard to Handle – Strathclyde parkrun 350 and Tom Scott 10 miles 2017

Disclaimer: You know me by now, if nothing else I’m honest if not a little irritating, deluded and self deprecating. This has been a week that’s exhausted a lot of the running emotions and I won’t pretend it has been my best. Some people will get to the end and tell me to lighten up. Even Morrissey doesn’t return my calls.

The week started with a final pre London 21 miler. Felt reasonably good for the first 10 miles then got some foot pain for the last 11 which didn’t subside. Since I had lost my Flipbelt (doh!) I didn’t have my phone so couldn’t stop since I was 10 miles from home. I asked them cheekily/kindly on Twitter to send me another one but as yet they haven’t risen to my bait. The last 4 or 5 miles were uphill which wasn’t great and 4 weeks before London and going into what was supposed to be my heaviest mileage week this was a bit of blow. I was showing all the hallmarks of inflamed tendons with pain at the front side of foot, and tenderness around the ankle. I had no qualms about cutting back the week, and reassessing my London time aims. It’s ok you know. 60 projected miles for the week became 33, and the bulk of them were at the end of the week. No marathon paced or midweek long runs. One final speed session and a slow, short trail run was all I could muster with recovery and rest being the key. Maybe the more mature me but I would rather just get round now, than hammer it and miss out.

I had made commitments to pace 25 at Strathclyde parkrun on the Saturday and didn’t want to let anyone down so went along, did a slow lap of the loch as a warm up/ test and felt ok. Kitbag was pacing 27, and the Legend decided to join me as we established “Sub 25 club”. Tracey from one of my facebook running groups said a hello to me before the run and charged me with making sure her son Liam got a sub 25 PB. Aye ok, no pressure 😉 I like pacing 25 as I remember the excitement of my first sub 25 a few years back when I came in in 24.59. Along with the 1 hour 10k it’s one of those great barriers to beat. Conditions were perfect as we went away and we hit our markers pretty well. Young Liam stayed with us, along with another few people and it was brilliant to see them go in the last kilometre away from us, and to watch them limbo dance under that 25 barrier with ease as I crossed the line in 24.56. Well done all of you 🙂 I have said it before and will say it again, try pacing sometime, it’s great fun and it does make a difference to people.

So the big question was to be whether I would be fit enough to run The Tom Scott 10 miler on the Sunday. If it was inflamed then naw. If it wasn’t then aye. Easy. Woke up in the morning with just small pain. That’s ok. I’m positive about this. Had a couple of miles warm up with the Legend and all felt fine. No excuses and no risk in my humble opinion. Had a great catch up with a lot of people, the highlight being the conversation with Robert Gilroy about him getting some Hokas to help his Achilles and becoming the Circus stiltman of Cambuslang. The boy is a legend 🙂 . Up to the start and had a chat with Shona Doherty about London as she is after another sub 3 there. 3 weeks away. Started to feel nervous about that replacing my nerves about this run. I told you, I’m not right. And we were off. First 400 a wee bit fast, I knew that as I was running alongside Bella’s Italian Stallion who I expected would be well under the 60. I did 65 odds last year, so had worked out that if I could average my kilometres in the very low 4s, then I could try and sneak under 65. This 3.25 pace not quite right though ….. BabybelNeil, MrSpeedoshortsKennedy and newguyRosswithnonicknameyet from MAC were away from me like a rocket, but it wasn’t for me. Shona and her group were just ahead so Iatched onto them knowing that I wouldn’t be able to stay there but at least I’d get the first section through at a decent pace. And I felt fine. Through 3k and the first wee climb then down to the beach and I passed Ross, still trying to keep in contact with the likes of Shona.


Next section is a wee climb again and I felt great. Got to the descent though and people flooded past me. I really, really need to work on this. I don’t know why I find downhills so hard to handle. Fellow blogger Kenny Taylor of Bella flew past, Shona and her squad got away and I had l lost sight of Neil and Mr Kennedy again. Back on the flat and I could tell I was starting to get a little exposed. The group had dropped me and there was no real group following. Through 5 miles in a shade over 32 mins was perfect. I was going to have to dig deep for the PB but it was in my hands. Hoped I could keep in contact with the group but they were working hard together and as we got from 5 to 6 miles I was out of contact. Thanks to the support I got in that section by the way, much appreciated Robert and all. It really helped me. The unfortunate thing was passing a few MAC runners who had had misfortune on the way and had to withdraw, this spurred me on to make the most of the last 4 miles.


thanks to Tom Scott Road Races (C)Bobby Gavin

Getting left behind….

It was tough. I had a little wobble over the zig zag hill swine thing. I was cautious at Gallacher Corner where I have seemingly permanently wrecked my finger after my fall at the Vets relay. But I was pushing it. Really trying. But I just couldn’t make up the distance. It was hard on my own. I was getting closer to Mr Kennedy and Neil as I could now see them, but didn’t have the power in my legs I wanted to close them down in time. Managed to pass a few runners in the last k including Hamilton’s legendary Andy McLinden who was running on his 66th birthday (!). Also managed to stop at the finish flags not realising the timing boards were further on. Doh. Stopped watch, started it and ran again and forgot to stop it again. Until I heard it beeping when going for a Mars bar. And then stopped it. Mega doh.


1 place behind Neil. Not far behind Mr Kennedy and the Shona gang. And a new official PB of 63.51.


Not just beat the 65, but also spanked the backside of the 64. Now that wasn’t shoddy at all. But a day later as I write this and I’m a little disappointed. That may sound churlish to some but to me it’s a mark of the progress that I have made. I believe that if I had held onto that group for the descent I could have ran a lot quicker again. While I can look at myself in the mirror, for one of the first times I can say “There is more in there”. That isn’t arrogance. That is progress. I AM stronger. My mind proved it is stronger on that last 4 mile solo slog. So I am happy with that. There were some great MAC performances. Chris in 57 and Cammy in 58. The Chairman, the Legend and Andy’s brother Sir Brian had had a great tussle.


And the PBs went on and on through the MAC squad. Great to be a part of and a great atmosphere.







Thanks to Bobby Hill, Law & District and the rest of the volunteers and organisers for a superb event. Three weeks until London and today my glutes feel like they have been severely prodded by a collection of red hot pokers, but that will subside. The taper starts now. Hopefully by London time the niggles will have gone, I’ll be fresh, confident and I will get round with a smile on my face, that’s all I can ask. And although I haven’t managed to do all the miles and training I would have liked, I am actually proud of what I have managed. Bring it on London, me and you are going to have a bit of fun. And a huge thanks to my MAC mate Dougie for the sterling work on my vest. Really appreciate it.


Thanks to Arthur Duggan, Cameron Newell, Ann Leach, Kevin Ramage, AlanWatson, Bobby Gavin, Ross’ maw and wee Paula for the cracking pics of a quality day. And thanks to everyone who said hello, really helps me enjoy race day and takes the edge off my nerves.

Today’s song? This is apt as I typically find downhills so hard to handle these days. There is no sweeter voice in music. Take it away Mr Otis Redding.

3 thoughts on “Hard to Handle – Strathclyde parkrun 350 and Tom Scott 10 miles 2017

  1. Pingback: Overcome/ Hell is round the corner – a few days in London | markgallmac

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