The following contains running, wind, a wee fat bald man from the East End and a rant about selfish territorial self-absorbed idiots that shouldn’t be allowed to own animals. Business as usual then? Enjoy.
Another week comes to a halt as the Manchester Marathon juggernaut comes ever closer to it’s destination. Can’t complain on the week’s training, all markers hit and while not setting the heather on fire relatively happy with how I am progressing. Shortest blog ever then eh? Nah.
It was a race week.
This one is allowed as it’s in the plan. 9-13 miles with a race of 8-15k. So the Springburn Cup Jack Crawford 10k fits in perfect. I ran this last year (jack crawford 2017) and it’s a no frills out and back canal run. Exposed to the elements if the weather misbehaving, but a good hard work out with a good standard of runner. I was actually looking forward to the run out. I ran it last year in 38.27 and know I am not in the shape I was last year. Since I wasn’t even able to break 40 in my last 10k then aim 1 was to do that, and if I was in the shape I suspected I was in then I hoped I could try and get near the 39 minute mark again. Mr. Kennedy from MAC was looking for about the same so if I could keep him in my sights maybe I could get carried round. It seemed touch and go whether the race would go ahead due to recent weather, but fair play to all the Springburn Harriers who got out and cleared the canal paths, adjusted the start of the race and did everything they could to ensure we got a run out. Massive thank you to all of you, very much appreciated. I’ll be honest though, even despite that when I got out my bed on the Saturday morning and saw the rain and felt the wind I was kind of wishing they had failed. It was a manky day. The mood in Kev’s car as we went through was less than triumphant, and that was even worse when we jogged out part of the course with Baselayer John from Garscube. The wind was horrendous. The cold rain attacked my baldy noggin like seagulls on a discarded steak bake. Back to the sports centre to continue the warm up indoors, the warm up being moaning for 25 minutes, being full of self-doubt and wondering if I should wear 4 jumpers under my vest. John Hughes head again appeared on my shoulder. “The vest is not an over garment”.
Aye ok freaky ghost-heid dancing round my shoulders, away you go.
Up to the start, a multitude of hellos to similarly smiling athletes and we were off. First wee bit was downhill but narrow and the top dudes were away like rockets at the front.
I was happy to try and go out to the turn steady knowing that the first 5 and a bit K were to be into the headwind of doom. The first k relatively quick in 3.46 as expected due to a downhill and the start of a race always being excitable and I wasn’t far behind Mr. Kennedy so all good. But as the field started to stretch out into that second K and we got onto the canal path in earnest the race changed. The headwind of doom. It was rough. Through the second K in 4.04 and that was no use to anyone. I wasn’t going to chuck it in the wind. Stepped ahead of Mr. Kennedy to up it a little and spent the next few k running along with Garscube Gavin and his arm of tunes. (He was playing his choice of music from his phone, made the run a wee bit different). We helped each other up along to about 5k with Mr. Kennedy’s flapping number still being heard right behind. Through 5k in 19.45. Not conducive to a fast time and still ½ a k or so to the turn and Gavin went away from me as I watched the race at the front unfolding as the runners came past in the opposite direction, James Bowness having a massive lead, and Baselayer John hovering just outside the top 10, surely on course to smashing his PB.
Got to the turn and Gavin was catching a good group containing Cambuslang’s Simon Gold, then there was me, and Mr. Kennedy was maybe 20 metres behind me. The predator waiting to pounce. I had got through the wind and survived so was all about being strong to the finish, keeping my form and I was going to be well under 40 if not troubling the 39.So I dug in, the next k in around 3.50. Plan to try and maintain that to the finish. I was gradually catching up with the Gold group, hoping they would be the bus that would pull me to the finish. The flap-flap of Mr. Kennedy stayed just behind me. But now it’s rant time. And I really was bloody annoyed. Now yes I love running, you know that. But I am an animal lover as well. They are not mutually exclusive, and as well as sharing my home with my wife and 2 boys I also share it with a dog, 3 cats and a tortoise called Humphrey.
There is no need to pick sides between animals and running. There is no need to mark your territory but as we ran along the narrow canal path that was what was happening. There were 200 of us in vests racing. If you are out with your dog then why not consider the safety of you, your animal and the runners as we all have the right to use the path. But no. Mr. Territorial and his wife and their dogs. One each side of the path with their dogs behind them off the leads and running from side to side. I have a dog, and she’s a big soft daftie. Would I risk her getting hurt? Oh no, certainly not to prove a point. I am running pretty fast (for me, granted) and maneouvre to avoid the dog who runs at my feet, can’t go either side as the owners are on each side and I hit the dog square on. I could have badly hurt him. I could have been badly hurt. Lucky I managed to stay up and the dog yelps but seems fine. “Will you watch your dog mate?” I shout. “Naw, you watch my dog, we walk here all the time” is the response. What a pompous prat, trying to make a point and someone, person or dog, could have been badly hurt because he couldn’t share a section of path for 20 minutes. Shouldn’t be allowed to own a dog if he is willing to allow it to be hurt to make a point. Now I am not perfect. I know that. And I probably shouldn’t have roared at him calling him a total and utter f@cking pr1ck or words to that effect, probably a bit more vitriolic than that, but I have never been angrier in a race. Wise up sucker.
The other problem with that shouting was that Simon recognised my voice straight away. While I was wanting to mope in my anger the coach in Simon came to the fore. Simon coaches the Cambuslang youngsters and is a top lad. For the next few k he never left me alone. “Come on Marky boy, up it now, if you’re not sick at the finish you’re not trying”, “I don’t want to read the blog and see that a wee fat baldy guy from the East End has beat you” “Bragging rights mate, come on!” Encouragement flying. I felt sorry for the likes of Gavin and Triathlete Natalie Stevenson who had to put up with it but it was a magic help. He is genuinely a top lad, a real runner’s runner, just wanting everyone to run to their best. I was running alongside him with just 2k to go then the flapping got louder. Mr. Kennedy had joined us. And straight away overtook, he was going for the MAC bragging rights. “Yassss, club race!” roared Simon. It’s all friendly rivalry between me and Mr. K. We joke about it as I have only ever beaten him twice and both times were at the Brian Goodwin. We are both in the midst of Mara training so a final 2k battle just a bit of fun, so I wasn’t for letting him away. In a real race situation I would probably have bottled it, been too scared to go for it for fear of blowing up, but today? Sod it. Less than 2 k to go but I took it out, MAC Malky flowing through the veins with Simon shouting “That’s it Marky boy, through the gears.” I could see Lindsey Currie of Dumbarton ahead, a quality runner, and ahead of her was Andy Norris of Springburn who had knocked me out of the medals at the Lanarkshire 1500m by under 0.8 of a second. Always easier to look ahead and not back so I ran bloody hard. Reeled them both in. Again the course was long, the watch beeped at 10k and I had just done a 3.22k.
Ooft I will take that.
Legs held out and was only the last 20 or 30 metres that I really felt it, but ks 5 – 10 done in 18.26 (only 2 seconds slower than my fastest 5k last year), through 10k according to watch in 38.06 (my second fastest ever), and official finishing time for the 10.11k course (:))of 38.31. Very happy with that one.
Mr Kennedy and Mr Gold battle to the line, thanks Kenny Phillips for the pics
Thanks to Alan Dinnie for these pics
It was quite surreal as well getting cheered on by former St Mirren star Lee Mair, a change from the encouragement I used to give him at the Feegie Field of dreams. Appreciated big fella. Big thanks to my MAC team mates for a good days racing, well done to Baselayer John on a superb PB in 36.53 but a huge thank you to your man Simon. Appreciated and hated it in equal measures, but you didn’t give me the chance to finish meekly. You get your own song, and you probably own the album 🙂
Mr. Kennedy got his revenge on Sunday as took me on a 17 miler that I’m still hurting from. He of course carried on and did an extra 3 miles…. But all good fun. Actually missed racing and hadn’t realised it. 4 weeks to Manchester. One more 20 plus run beforehand. Bring it on.
There’s less than a week of week of voting left in the 2018 running awards for which this blog is shortlisted, it closes on Thursday. If you’ve enjoyed this then please consider a wee vote. I do need you too as I think even Humphrey the tortoise has more social media followers. The link is here, hope you don’t mind, it’s below under Online and Publications, then personal blog. Voting reset when the shortlist was announced, so if you voted before please do it again, or I will be last 🙂Vote for Markgallmac here – Publications and online / Blogs (personal).
Today’s song for my friend on the canal. PWEI, the mighty Poppies, or simply Pop will eat itself. Wise up! Sucker.