Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino, Mark speaking

*Sticks his head out after a while to see if the coast is clear.*

It’s been a while.

My last real blog was after the National masters Steeplechase in July and that did seem like a good place to hang up the keyboard having come full circle and all that. To be honest I had got more than a bit fed up with sticking my head out there for a number of reasons, but there was no final decision made and real life has pretty much took over with a very hectic work situation grabbing me by the guilded beams. Yep, that’s what tradition means. I went to work on my final blog post but I started something I couldn’t finish and here I am back, plus I don’t have any keyboard hooks anyway, so here’s a song.

I did manage a couple of races in the meantime but the quality and volume of my training slipped away as I found it difficult to juggle time. I have to say though, I really was enjoying it though when I did get out there. The first one was the Run the Blades 10k which was great fun, a 10k evening trail race at the Whitelee windfarm. Great t shirt and medal (it’s a medal, it’s a toy, it’s a cracker),a pair of socks with windfarms on them (I’m easily impressed)and the biggest bugger of a hill I’ve ever run up during a 10k. I went off hard behind the lead pack at the start but couldn’t maintain it on tired legs and both achilles were starting to protest a bit after having given me a few weeks of on/off grief, possibly due to not liking the new trainers I was breaking in, or possibly because I was neglecting stretching my calves and feet. Anyway I digress, midway through and sitting in about 11th place after a slow k and just ignored the watch, started racing for places and gave myself a target of finishing top 10. Got to 9th by the bottom of “the hill” and pushed on from the top finishing 7th overall and 1st V45. As I say, enjoyed the run, raced it as best I could on the night and no complaints, even brought the markgallmac plane for a bit of showboating at the end. I recommend this one and I’ll be back. Was really good to see Bella RR’s Alan Moss getting a podium place, he’s had a run of excellent 10ks recently. Loads of pics here, thanks to Graeme McNay, Richard Cooper amongst others.

Next up was my first ever 5000m track race. I knew I wasn’t in my best shape but was up for giving it a go. It was a warm clammy evening at Scotstoun and we were the first race in a night of top racing, but that meant we had first dibs at the Empire Biscuits after it, every cloud and all that. The oldies all together. After detesting the 10k on the track earlier in the year I was worried about this one but again really enjoyed it. Musselburgh’s Paul Friend was away with the pacer which I couldn’t keep up with and I was happy to keep myself just off the group containing Ted Gourley, Fiona Matheson and David Eckersley and indeed had myself in a perfect position right behind them with two to go, 800m to go, where I would wind it up from in a road 5k. Unfortunately I mentally let myself down and didn’t try and chase them down and go past them like I should have done. What’s my old mantra, “If you think you’re beaten you are”, I had already talked myself out of taking them on as I was sure I wasn’t fit enough to maintain it. What an utter yellow numpty, and afterwards I was really annoyed with myself. A decent 18.24 when not fully fit was a good performance but I was raging with the manner of my last couple of laps where a concerted effort could and should have seen me at least compete for second place rather than just coast home in 5th. Better to fail trying than finish in a whimper. Couple of pics here that I should have bought at the time and still will as Bobby Gavin does a magic job.

Lesson learned for the next one, and I got my finger out and started to bang in the sessions.

Except there hasn’t been a next one.

I really went for it in training and started finding some form, the aim being to try and get back sub 18 either at the track at Crownpoint, or at the MAC club champ race and the track training and rep training I was doing was pointing towards it. The transmitters run had also reappeared on my Sunday run and I was loving it. I reckoned with a group of 10ks coming up too that I could get in shape for another sub 38 tilt. Sadly the achilles niggles kept getting worse and this time weren’t to go away. I broke down mid session at Strathclyde Park and have managed only a few runs since. I’ve had treatment. I’m wearing insoles in my everyday shoes. I’m doing eccentric heel drops, and rolling a ball on my foot. I’m trying to keep the legs ticking over by doing turbo cycling in my loft but it’s not the same and I’m comfort eating like I always do when I’m injured. Two track races at Crownpoint have come and gone. The MAC Champ 5k gone. The MAC track champ 3000m gone. Paisley 10k, NAAC 10K, see ya. The next two weekends see the Stirling and Cumbernauld 10Ks and all my hopes for the rest of the year go with them. The GSR on the horizon looking out the picture for the second year which is really unfortunate. Couple of trail races further on that maybe, just maybe, I can dream of making, but they would just be training plods if anything. It would be another blog and rant entirely to tell you my feelings on races and their deferral/ cancellation policies when they have sold their places so so soooooooo far in advance but having already had that debate on the Running Friends Scotland Facebook page I know it’s feelings shared by many and also dismissed by many and we can’t all be right, but I also know that in future I won’t enter as many races so early and if I miss out because they sell out then there will be plenty of other races. In my humble opinion, and I know it isn’t uniformly shared, as entering races isn’t cheap and often so far in advance, deferring should be an easier option, and to do so you shouldn’t have to do it 4 years in advance whilst doing the macarena with your trouser leg rolled up and reciting the lyrics of “Copacabana”. Charge me an admin fee to do it and that’s cool, I know it gives race organisers extra work but we the punters don’t choose our injuries. Anyway rant over, back to the rehab work and hopefully I can get out there properly over the next wee while, but having written the year off anything is a bonus. Keep enjoying your running and hopefully catch up soon :).

The song. I hated it when I first heard it, now I adore it and the album. It’s out there doing it’s own thing and alienating people, I can relate 🙂

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