It’s been a wee while since my last blog because I simply haven’t felt like doing one. Isn’t that terrible?But it’s lunchtime and I’m bored. So I have a couple of weeks to catch up on, some good training, some bad racing, some reality checks and some minor haddocking. Now I have to be 100% honest here, I have really been training well for me and that combined with my 5k PB and decent 5k at Monklands had my confidence quite high and really looking forward to my next set of racing. Block of 10ks coming. Some track races. Quite sure that I could attack my PBs at them as my head in a really good place and my legs feel good. But we will come to that in a wee bit.
I had a weekend off racing as the focus was to be on the race for life 5k that my wife Elaine and youngest son Jon were going to do. I’ve lost a few family members to cancer, my Mum is a breast cancer survivor and on the Friday I was at the funeral of an old football teammate who had lost his own brave fight so it was really emotional. Elaine hates anything to do with running to be honest, she simply doesn’t get it, and it’s safe to say that if it isn’t plugged in or wearing a Mario hat then Jon hasn’t any real interest so I was really proud of them both and all the thousands of others who turned the streets of Glasgow pink. I had my usual tear in my eye seeing all the dedications and was privileged being Elaine and Jon’s support crew. Well done to them and to all the rest of that pink army. I know there are so many charity things these days but if you are so inclined any penny you could spare here would be lovely 🙂 https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/page/elaines-race-for-life-217
So back to my running malarkey. As I was training really well I had entered the 1500m OGM at Livingston even though I had quite frankly been honking in every track race I had attempted since I came back . In the races last year I had been too conservative and led by the watch so decided this year to try and get in the mix a bit because I was sure I could run faster, and was convinced that I could trouble my latter day 4.48 PB. Lane 1 had top seed Vinny Carroll from Cumbernauld who I had finished alongside at Manchester and I knew he would likely be around the low 4.40s so sod the watch and just try and stay in contact for as long as I could. I did know that I would be looking at lap times of about 76 for about 4.45, with a first 300 of about 57, so would just use the finishing line clock. After a very warm day it had started to cool down with a wee bit of a wind but nothing of any real note, possibly about perfect for racing. And we were away. I had a better start than usual, used my elbows a wee bit to get in behind the leaders and round the first bend in about 4th or 5th. But it felt fast. Coming up to the end of the first 300 and the clock was round about 50 seconds.
Too carried away. I started to slow it down and the runners streamed past me. Through 400m in about 70ish. I knew I couldn’t maintain that and already the pack were well away from me, and I wasn’t far off last place. The pace slowed for me quite dramatically and not through choice I have to say. The legs were revolting and not just in their looks. Through 800 in about 2.33 so the slowdown had been substantial. I did try and up the pace with 400 to go and went up onto Vinny’s shoulder but he brushed me off and moved away and my rubber legs carried me round to the finish in a 2 year slow of 4.55 and 10th place. I have absolutely no excuses I just got it totally wrong in every way. Training and racing are not in direct correlation so rustiness and tactics need to be right as well. I had thought I was capable of running in the region of 4.45 and to run 10 seconds slower was not only a total reality check but also a solid tackety boot to the chuckies. There’s a big difference between conservatism and gung go and veering from one extreme to the other wasn’t my wisest move, even old timers can be eejits. The good thing about running though is you get to go again and quickly so next up was to be the Shettleston 10k. I had heard it was a fast one and I do feel that with a 5k PB of 17.48 then I should be running regularly under 38 mins instead of a one off never to be repeated so I was going to go for it. Wee interlude prior to that though.
Another bucket list thing of mine is that I was considering maybe doing one more steeplechase race before I stop running on the track. I haven’t done one since 1990 and on that occasion got lapped running for the West of Scotland and chucked running on the spot for over 20 years, so it would be nice to close that chapter on a happier note. Since I have been training at the EK track on a Thursday I asked them if I could get the barrier out to try it out. Track was fully booked on the Thursday but arranged for the Friday. Got there at lunchtime and it was brought out by the two fellas who worked the track. One of them had been working there 10 years and said it was the first time it had been out of the shed in all that time. Ah Bernie the b@stard barrier, it’s been a while.
I would like to say that I hurdled them like a latter day Tom Hanlon but I didn’t even manage one single hurdle. First few attempts I didn’t even manage to get over them as the bottle was crashing, but eventually was getting into some kind of rhythm of running up, increasing pace, quick step and over. Though when I say quick man it was slow. Could I do 7 ½ laps of it, 28 hurdles, 7 water jumps? The jury is still out on that and maybe I won’t go through with racing one but it was good fun to try it out again.
Now the not fun part of it. The muscles that had lay dormant all those years came out on Saturday morning with a vengeance. I struggled to walk. Hammies tighter than Wayne Sleep’s tights. The pain was rough, and when I got up on Sunday for the Shettleston 10k I felt so heavy. Aye, numpty heid Gallacher does it again. But was still going to give it a go. Get in with a group and try and maintain 3.45 ks as long as possible to get in between 37.30 and 38. Big gamble, I know. Caught up with a lot of people and then the sun came out and brought the wind with it, but we were off. First couple of k and sat in beside the shandy drinker from Garscube, Baselayer John, and the pace was perfect. Turned at the top of the Green and bang hit the wind, an unsheltered K against it and looping back past the start. Gav and his tunes had gone past, I was unable to hang into his group in front and at only 3k I was running alongside Connell from Killie with no one behind us and the group in front getting away.
If I was to tell you that in that last 7k I think only Connell went past me and I only passed a couple of people then it would be no lie. Another week another solo run. Nothing to pull me round and I lost it in the wind. It always seemed against me and I just never really recovered from the 3rd k. Through 5k alone in just over 19 mins and it summed it up that the last 2k, usually my fastest in a race were my slowest as I struggled in the wind, basically chucked it and once again came across the line in heavy legs in 38.55.
I won’t lie I was really disappointed and remained that way until I saw the results and realised that a lot of people, and many of them a lot faster than me, had posted times a good minute or so slower than their season’s bests. But again another race that hadn’t went even nearly to plan. But anyway. A disappointing week after some good ones. Not quite a full haddock but Hi, Hello to a wake up call. Training and racing are not the same. So many variables. So much more than hitting a rep in the time you need. Back to the drawing board and take it from there. But we go again. Have some Johnny Marr.
thanks Kenny Phillips for some excellent pics from Shettleston.