The boy in the bubble – Allan Scally Relays 2019

Sometimes I shouldn’t be allowed out the house. I am not the cleverest at times, but not malicious with it, I am just careless and daft. Last week for example I fell going round a corner in Wishaw in the mud, then a few days later sliced the top of my head with a road sign saying “Airdrie” but it’s not my worst.

No.

I agreed to be part of a MAC team at the Allan Scally relays along with my fellow horsemen Kev, Ewen and Jim. 4 x 5k, lovely. Was really looking forward to it. It’s in March, entry in, brilliant. Did I check the date? No. It was my beautiful, wonderful and understanding wife Elaine who had helped me put the two and two together and we realised that the race fell on our Wedding anniversary. Aye in my own wee bubble and didn’t suss it out at all. Naturally she wasn’t happy and the new @rsehole I was ripped will come in handy. Thankfully my dog Betsy was kind to me and when my testicles were ripped off and fed to her she spat them out and helped me sew them back on. Aye, I’m not malicious, just daft and didn’t put two and two together. MAC were also covering the Strathclyde parkrun that day, would I like to pace I was asked? No Mr Bond, I expect me to die.  Eventually I was forgiven(ish) and I got my anniversary present a day early, a wee trip to the Emirates for the Europeans, and a magic night it was, seeing gold for KJT and Laura Muir after the most sensational last 200 I have seen on Scottish soil (or linoleum with it being indoors).

An amazing night despite Kev Queenan flicking my ears and then it was onto the race in hand the next day.

I was looking forward to racing with my three pals.

It was great seeing them all and having banter with other clubs too. Was all about enjoying the run, but to be honest I was hoping I could get a decent one around the low 18s for the 5k to show last week wasn’t a fluke. Had a good warm up and natter with Alan from Lothian who I had got to know since the 3000 at the Emirates. He was out to get me today and was improving every week.  The starting line was tight and I was a fair bit back but wasn’t bothered as chip timed so starting position would be ok. Or so I thought. The Boy in the Bubble strikes again. I was lucky to get the first leg so was hoping to get carried round but wasn’t prepared for how fast the start was. Ooft had to reign it in and still through first k in 3.28 or so. It’s a decent wee course, not flat but just gradual inclines rather than hills, a few tight turns, but some long straights. I had managed to get myself onto the end of a group containing Killie’s Connell Drummond and Garscube’s Katie White,  both exceptional runners, so I knew I was going well. I felt comfortable all the way and at 3k knew if I could pick it up maybe the last mile or so I could be close to 18 again. A mile to go and felt good, and felt brave, so went past Katie and up onto Connell’s shoulder. As usual he was full of encouragement as I went for it, but it wouldn’t have surprised me if he had come back past me. Great support out on the course as I go for home as best I can round the bends on the last k. I am passing people and I have no doubt sub 18 is more than on again. Last year my problem was I did 1 sub 18 and didn’t believe I was capable of doing it again and then I got nowhere near it again. If you think you are beaten you are. What could 2 in a row do for me here? I am going past people I haven’t been near before. Round the last bend and the finish in sight. Ewen shouts to me that I am in the 17.30s. Whit? Legs going a bit rubber but get to the line the best I can and hand over to Kev. Check the watch.

17.39.

Aye, 17.39.

20 seconds faster than last week when I had run my wee arse off for a Strathclyde course PB. 9 seconds faster than my PB set at Edinburgh last year that I thought I would never get near again.

Absolutely ecstatic. My secret aim at the start of the year? Ambitious, but a 17.30s 5k. Official time permitting I had done it in March.

Now I know once again that there were a good 30 or so ahead of me. I’m not near the front, but 2 weeks shy of my 48th birthday I did not expect to be hitting PBs again, especially beating the one that I thought was the best of all my PBs. This is crazy dreamland territory for me. I was hyper and in a daze as I went out to watch the rest of the race, a jog up to 1k to cheer Kev back in, having good craic with other teams, particularly good to speak to Springburn’s Andy Callan for the first time since probably the 1980s and surprised he still remembered me. I watched the race unfold as Central dominated, and was proud of all my team mates who had superb runs. What a great days racing.

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We had Empire Biscuits, that’s a good thing. Headed back home ready for a lovely meal feeling hyper. While getting ready St Mirren scored a last minute winner against Livingston. What a day, I even got a beer 🙂

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Today the official results came out and sadly the times were gun times and not chipped so the official time is given as 17.43. Still a PB but deflated me a wee bit not to have that time in the 17.30s, but it gives me something to aim for, let’s get back there and try and get an official 17.30s time. Maybe I can do it? Maybe I’ve gone as far as I can? Who knows but I am savouring this one because every one could be your last. Back to training, head down, carry on enjoying it and working the best I can and maybe I can get down a bit more, but if I don’t? I have already got somewhere I didn’t expect to get and I’m actually a wee bit proud of myself. Worth my bollocking from Elaine? Probably not, in fact definitely not, but the Boy in the Bubble didn’t mean it, so here is the 4 guitar assault on that very song from the Blue Aeroplanes. For any Paul Simon fans getting excited, I’m sorry.

Thanks to me, Ewen and James Shirlaw for the pics. None from Kenny Phillips again so I must have upset him. Thanks to Shettleston Harriers for a superb event, I can’t understand why my own club and others didn’t pack it out with teams. Maybe next year. Looked at the garmin and for the first time the VO2 max showing 60. Here the proof along with estimated times for races, aye I’ll crack the jokes.

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