Hot Hot Hot – Strathclyde parkrun 407 and Alloa Half marathon 2018

Disclaimer: Some people like running in the cold or wind better than in the heat and vice versa. One man’s food is another man’s poison. If you ran it yesterday you’ll know how tricky it was.

Jargon: To CeeLo – to sweat like the rapper CeeLo Green wearing a woollen polo neck, football socks and thick cords whilst he jumps frantically on a trampoline in 100 degree temperatures at Midday having not put on any deodorant and having drinks and towels withheld.

I remember the snow.

The wind.

The ice.

The “Should you wear shorts over your tights?” debates (the answer is no).

Training for a marathon and wishing the weather would be better.

Give me some sun, give me some warmth, let me run in my shorts!

But look into my eyes, not around the eyes but in the eyes. I want you all to forget that. Don’t make me out to be a moan that is never happy, because this weekend was something different. I was born in Paisley and I was brought up and live in Lanarkshire. If I go abroad it takes me a week to get from blue to white, then the second week to go a lovely shade of tomato. I don’t do the sun well, especially when it comes to running. My only international vest in 1989 and the Dumfries temperature was in the 90s and with the steeplechase being one of the last events and I sat in the sun watching the rest of the events. Came to my race and was drained, knackered, season’s worst, second last. Haddington Half marathon, the Haddington nightmare, Helensburgh 10k Helensburgh disaster,. You see where I’m going. Training run last week as I haven’t done many long ones since Manchester and 14 miles to see my friends the transmitters. Stopped and walked on tired legs and in the heat a number of times. Ooooft that was rough.

Saturday parkrun this week was pacer Saturday and I was back in the 25 pacing zone. Had a wee jog warm up and was sweltering, with a massive case of the CeeLos. Humid, hot, roasted and glad I was pacing 25 and not 20 like Big Bad Brian from Airdrie. A crack pacing squad assembled


and we were off. Pace settled down quickly and had a chat with a few folk looking for the 25, one warning us that he puked last week so I was glad when he ran ahead…. Was good fun with people dipping in and out of the group, got called a hard taskmaster, but thankfully most of them going ahead rather than dropping off. Had a wee chat with a fella who was using it as a recovery with his wife after doing the marathon last week, fair play, then onto the real business of that last k. Despite the heat and the sweat pouring off me it was brilliant to see the people sprinting past me and hammering for that line as I shouted like a numpty. Home in 24.56, 4 seconds too fast but I never said I was perfect and was happy enough with that.

The next day I stepped into the Ello mobile for the trip to Alloa and the rescheduled Half Marathon. Fair play to the organisers for rescheduling, what a task that must have been, so chapeau to you. It’s my PB course from last year so despite not doing much long stuff since Manchester I still felt confident about having a go. The forecast was looking ok. No wind, maybe drizzle, clouds. Had a wee warm up and I swear I could hear the opening bars of “Forget You” as CeeLo started coming on stronger than he had the day before. Said a multitude of hellos

then realised it was about to start and I wasn’t in the pen so squeezed through into the back of the front pen but still further back than I intended. Ayrshire’s Face Ian filled me in on Microwave Davie’s latest injury woes on as the Sun continued breaking through and smacking our baldy nappers. It was getting muggy, clammy, roastie toastie, sweltering , beeling and the like. The first mile I found difficult to move at all. Couldn’t get in the rhythm I wanted as I was too far back and was scouring for wee gaps to get through. After 3k I was already some 25 seconds down on last year’s time and I was finding my breathing difficult in the general clamminess, so at this stage had already decided not to go chasing down a PB. I had a time in mind prior to the race and the catch up for that was far too much, so that was going to be out the window and maybe for another day. I do remember Haddington and while it’s not the demon monkey on my back it once was I did learn eventually to respect weather conditions. The climb up through Sauchie felt worse than usual, but maybe that was just Big Bad Brian’s patter.

Got paced up the hill by Portobello’s Lightnin’ Triathlete then it was onto what is traditionally my weakest part of the run where the world races past me, the downhill through Fishcross and on to Tillicoultry. Got chatting to a lad from Kilbarchan who recognised me from Manchester and who I tried to stick with until he flew away from me on the Hillfoots. Also started chatting, while I was blowing out my arse, to someone who wanted a mention in the blog.

Sorry Kevin Hughes of Leven Las Vegas, we don’t do requests, mentions or birthdays. *

Drinks stations found half the water being drunk the rest being poured over the heid. It was so bloody humid. Last year the Hillfoots were subject to a hefty headwind but this year no excuses, but I just couldn’t find my rhythm. We watched as someone appeared to just run off the road into a field, maybe seeking the mystery bush to hide his toilet blushes. After checking the fella was OK Kilbarchan man was away. I was trying to keep up pursuit but it wasn’t happening, I was nipping to the head of a group then being swallowed up again, my pacing all over the place as I just found the legs feeling heavy in the heat. The same vests of Pitreavie, Portobello and Ayr amongst others slapping me down every time I thought I could push on. The wee dogleg bit of the course, how I detest thee. You exist only to annoy me, to make me zig and then zag, to make me see who is next to come and overtake me. You may be able to tell I wasn’t enjoying this section this year : ) The Hillfoots seemed longer and I know it was all purely mental. I was in a hefty Ceelo state and looking at my pace now and was realising that even getting under 1.30 was going to take an effort.

But I really was trying.

Thankfully hit Menstrie and the left turn towards the hill of doom at 10 miles, it was great to see a friendly face at the side of the road with my old Buddie Griff. Slightly different route and along the path instead of over the bridge, through the 10 mile marker in 67 odds then onto Menstrie Brae. Immediately 2 guys I had been running with stopped and started walking which confused me somewhat. But I kept going up into the sun. It was a solo effort with no one in front of me for a long long way and it seemed longer than in previous years. I actually felt like I had the Brae to myself (excepting all the sadists with their cameras 🙂 )

Got to the top where last year I kicked on towards the PB but this time there was no one in front of me on the stretch of road from the roundabout to the turning for the next hill. The dander was down this year and it was all about sums in my head. Could I still get under 1.30? What I didn’t realise until I checked the splits afterwards was that at this point I was only actually about 11 seconds slower there than I was last year on my PB. I had made up a wee bit of time on the Hillfoots though it had seemed slower. But last year I was mid marathon training and was really strong and flew the last couple of miles. This time it was a case of get to the finish in under 1.30. Up the sleekit wee bugger of the secret hill at mile 11, some encouragement from the Legend, then down the other side that went on forever. No 3.40 kilometres this time. A shout of “MAC Malkie” from Big Neil then eventually the turn to the finish.

Glad to make it home and see I was under the 1.30 and better than I was expecting in 1.28.19, only 42 seconds outside my best. My second fastest ever and in that humidity, so while I would have liked to went for a PB, and it’s another week that didn’t quite go to my plan, I really can’t be disappointed with my performance.

Quite simply I did the best I could on the day, and that’s all we can really do. Thanks Alloa, you’ve been a blast again. Got the bling, the t-shirt and the much needed water, watched Ello showboating the finish, said a few hellos then went and bought a couch and had birthday cake with my Mum.

As you do.

So the early season PBs now dried up which is unfortunate as I thought I had shown the potential to beat my 10k and half PBs. But as I have said before training and racing are different things. As long as I can go out and do the best I can on the day that’s what counts. Next up the trails, then Roon the Toon, both new ones for me so looking forward to them. No expectations now except shoes on, heid doon, and run. See you out there 🙂

The tune? It’s the Cure from Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me. Hot hot hot! Thanks Strathclyde parkrun, David Hislop, Bald Dave, Stephen Dunlop, Jon Comrie and Neil Richardson for the pics.

*We accept payments through paypal, or any running gear, or even just a cake, I like cake. .

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