Now I am no youngster, you all know that. I’m long in the tooth, bald on the head, been around the block, know that injury can come in many shapes and size, be it toothbrush shaped, poodle shaped or just general old-aged wear and tear. After two consecutive sub 18 5ks my next quest was to try and get a sub 38 10k again before the next injury struck. I have only managed one since my 2011 reboot, and that was two years ago, and I have never really nailed one. Been nowhere near it since but really felt I was on the right lines for a tilt soon, perhaps at the Grangemouth Round the Houses next month? But I thought that last year after my 17.48 5k and struggled to a 38.55 at Shettleston as the body just couldn’t handle my attempted sub 38 pace. That really affected my head for the rest of the year and I really never believed that I could do it, so I simply didn’t. Come October and Blackpool 10k and I couldn’t even break 39. So nothing taken for granted but I wanted to try again and stage one was the focus of this running week. I thought 37.30 was a realistic target for Grangemouth so started training towards that pace. MAC had their “4 mile” time trial which does seem a little shorter but I aimed to go out at 3.45 k pace for as long as I could and on the night I was able to hold it all the way through, with a fast last section when I realised I could smash my set 3 times best of 23.52 and actually sneak under 23 for a big PB in 22.57. Won’t pretend it was comfortable but had lasted further than I thought so the head was feeling good. Track session on Thursday again done at 10k pace, 6 x 800s and was actually too sharp but still a decent attempt. It came to Saturday then, the Springburn Cup, the Jack Crawford 10k and a real dress rehearsal attempt to see how long I could carry it off for and see what I still needed to do. I was focussed on the task in hand, no distraction, as this has been a big issue for me in the past. I get affected by who is the race with me, that I am not good enough to be with them, that others are going to beat me, that the conditions are too bad, I’m going too fast for my ability, that t’internet trolls are waiting to tell me to accept my limits at any sign of failure.
It was a wee try for me to see how long I could last, nothing more, nothing less, which is just as well as the forecast was honking wind wise. I had done this race twice before, the general gist of it being out and back along the canal, and both years there had been a wind, but in different directions. If you are bothered the previous blogs are here 2018 2017
Added to the potential distractions were a gaggle of baldies in the form of Kilmarnock’s John Speirs who is flying in his quest for a sub 3 marathon, assisted by shedding base layers and becoming more aerodynamic, Airdrie’s John Brogan who runs low 37s for fun, and sub 37 if he can be bothered, and the GHX himself Garscube Gavin Hinde. Let them do their thing and I’ll do mine, don’t get upset if they hare away, don’t get caught in a race with them, do my thing, no distraction. 3.45s, 3.45s. Had a warm up and saw that the wind would be against us on the way back, the opposite from last year. That’s ok actually as I could see if I could hold my pace to the turn, so all good. It is what it is. The four baldies all together at the start, Speirsy chomping at the bit to go. Gav’s arm of tunes starting to play. Mr Brogan being the cool one while I check my GPS for 80th time. Off we go and together up the first hill to the first turn then Gav and Speirsy go away. Sitting at 3.30 pace so myself and Mr Brogan ease it down and he starts talking. And won’t shut up. I’m blowing out my arse at 3.45 pace and he is chatting like it’s a Sunday run, telling me about his nightshift 🙂 2k through the housing estate then the hill down to the canal. Gav well clear with Speirsy in pursuit and Mr Brogan away from me. Stick with the plan, no distraction. Onto the canal and it’s important to hit your rhythm here and I didn’t do a bad job of hitting my aim getting to 5k in just over 18.40, just ahead of Mr B and just behind Gav. Speirsy was well away, already tasting the champagne and writing his Facebook post of glory. I have to add that there were another few hundred in the race as well as us and already the leaders were coming back past us having hit the turn at about 5 1/2k and heading for home. The turn and around the human cone of encouragement and boom straight into the wind. Decision time, settle into it, or maintain the pace despite having to put more effort in and the risk of blowing up earlier? Immediate decision, nothing to lose. Went past Gav and to the head of our wee group. No protection, but no regrets, no distraction, try and hit the pace. Hit the pace as best I can. I was starting to pick off runners as we went over the next few K only losing maybe 4 or 5 seconds per k, so I wasn’t a million miles off with 7 k gone. Still no fear and the heid down and working. Seeing folk ahead getting closer, wee Speirsy one of them. Not chasing him but gaining, just running with the watch. 8k and 3.45 on the dot, really pleased to have got this far and not blown up, could ease it off here and ensure I get sub 38.
Job to do, see how far I can go.
About a mile to go and I pass Speirsy. He’s fighting hard, he encourages me, he knows sub 38 on for us both. Paul Clawson of Bella ahead. Catch him at 1 k to go and for 500m we play cat and mouse, each trying to spring off but no. My legs go to rubber now and Paul dances away, last 1/2k I dig in. I’m tired, I’m hurting, I know I am going under 38 but it’s case of how much.
The two Johns behind me, Mr Brogan finishing fast
PB is 37.46 and it is do-able. Pushing the best I can, I see the finish, the wind trying to stop me, Paul getting further away but the line comes. 37.14 on my watch.
I raise a wee arm in the air and hit the deck, absolutely knackered just as Mr Brogan crosses the line right behind me with Speirsy and Gav right behind him. Massive PB for Speirsy too, superb by him in the middle of marathon training. Gobsmacked that I basically made it all of the 10k, with 4 1/2k against the wind, a jelly legged wobble at 9 but managed to keep it going. I surprised myself, I really did, I had a feeling that it may be in my legs, but wasn’t sure if it was in my head. The baldy lads all straight away congratulating each other. Friendly rivalry, the best type. Chat with a few folk then back to the car for a selfie as still in a trance before going to the pictures with the boys and somehow staying awake.
Official results not out prior to me doing this so I was cheeky and contacted Springburn Harriers on twitter who told me official time was 37.15 (always rounded up :)) and that I had placed third in my age group.
That’s crazy stuff for me, but really chuffed and enjoying this wee ride while it lasts. 5K and 10k PBs in the bag now, my two season aims and it’s March. There is no pressure, no reason for stress, daftness, anything. And I am loving every run just now, even Thursday’s race crew recce of the forthcoming Nite Lite race on Wednesday night when Kev fell on his arse in the mud 🙂
Thanks Kenny Philips for the pic, glad to see we are pals again 🙂 and to David Dinnie. Thanks Springburn Harriers for another great event. not easy but a great season starter. The song? Mr Beck Hansen, No distraction. It had to be.