The body is a peculiar thing it really is. In so many of my posts and blogs it has been all about the head and how it reacted blah blah blah, and yes the mental aspect of the sport and what we do is crucial but sometimes it’s not the be all and end all. Sometimes the mental aspect can be there, the training can be on point, and despite you being at what you think would be your physical and mental peak the slightest physical issue can bring it all down. I am not trying to sound like some great runner here, this applies at all levels, just on some days the slightest thing can knock that equilibrium out. The Men’s 10k I have talked about before, it was the turning point in my life and got me back into running. My first one was in 55 minutes, this year I was going to try and get as close to 36 as possible. Cambuslang I had come close, but had been a glorious failure with no regrets, and since then I had got mile and 3000m PBs, and to be fair to myself I was training well.
I don’t like being fair to myself. Where’s the fun in that?
My last few sessions before it though, especially one on the track, and I was all over the place. My heart rate high, pacing erratic, VO2 max dropping like a lead weight that week and just not feeling quite right. I couldn’t put my finger on it. Come Sunday I just wasn’t quite feeling right but somehow I was in the fast pen so wanted to run, and when I want to run I give it all I have. I think it’s all I know just now.
It was a peculiar run, it really was, I worked really hard throughout, running alongside Cambuslang’s Mark King for the best part who is mopping up the V50 prizes this year and despite the headwind and the GPS going a bit crazy at Central Station when we went under the bridge, when we got to 5k at George Square and a chance to see my family my splits were looking good for a fast time.
The race sort of lost its magic is we wound through Glasgow Green through tight bends and ever increasing winds but the watch buzzed for 9k, then I passed the 9k marker (out of sync) with both having me in a position where a sub 36 was looking on. I had worked really hard and was feeling it but went for it, running harder. I really started toiling and realised that last k wasn’t going to be a k. The watch beeped for 10k at 35.14 and I was still a fair bit away from the finish. My legs started going to rubber as I had wound it up from too far out. Round towards the square and I am almost jogging, there’s nothing there. Between whatever had made me feel under the weather that week, giving my everything, and winding it up too soon my body was starting to shut down. Disaster! Round the corner to George Square and a case of getting to the line. The last turn and the legs wobbling, shaking, Elaine said she thought I wasn’t going to make it over the line. Wesley Pattison with the cheek of kitten who scratches your couch but meows playfully as he does it sprints past me turning and waving to me. I wobble over the line and immediately sink to my knees. There’s nothing left, everything given. 36.28 with the watch measuring 10.3k, a more than decent time, but feeling like I had when I finished a marathon.
For the next few days I could hardly move, the whole week of the aftermath basically floored. Everything hurt. All the racing caught up with me? Went too early? Probably had a wee bug? A combination I think. When you are going at so close to your limits the slightest margin can knock everything off and I know I am just about at my absolute limits. I got lucky to get over that line, and not only that but in the top 10 and first in the V45 category.
Mens 10k history
2011 55.46 Position 2132nd Age Category 866th
2014 42.14 Position 199th Age Category 39th
2018 38.30 Position 37th Age Category 6th
2019 36.28 Position 10th Age Category 1st
I just can’t be disappointed with that level of progression as harsh to myself I usually am. AAAARGH What is going on? I need to self deprecate!
The atmosphere was superb and was amazing having my boys there to see me. Team baldy and some interlopers there in full force, and was good to join the Avengers/ Baywatch crossover.
The song? I showed some grit despite falling apart and the old legs shaking and wobbling over the line, so have some David Holmes and Gritty Shaker.
All week after it I was sore. Did a session at the club on the Tuesday on very heavy legs then had calf cramps at night and felt like I had pulled a muscle. The hammy playing up. Honestly I felt worse than I had after the London marathon. So drained, tired, sore, really did feel like I had run myself into the ground with my recent schedule. I wanted to run at the Brian Goodwin on the Friday. I had planned my racing and for this to be the “end of part 1” where the other racing would have me in shape for a tilt at a 10k PB as it is a fast race in a quality field. (That PB attempt was based on 37 or 37.30 at planning time mind you). Seemed my body ws giving up a few days earlier than planned but I was going to wait until the last minute. I took my gear to work, I travelled to Pollok Park. I got changed and warmed up and the hammy felt ok. Sod it I am doing it, and as I told everyone there I am going for it. If I fail I fail I have already beaten my season aims. I am going out at around 36 pace will see how long I can hold on.
Banter with fellow baldy runners? Check
MAC Team picture with me looking suitably removed from the rest? Check
Warm up complete, Billy’s Boots on, in the sub 42 pen realising too far back. We are led to the start in the glorious sunshine. No nerves, no fear, bring this on. Two laps between me and my summer holiday and a wee break from hard training and racing. Let’s leave it all out there.
We start off but this time Mark King away to a rapid start, I can’t get near him with the congested start nor would I want to. No mad starts for me, the jelly legs from Sunday praying on the mind a little. Round the corners and over the speedbumps and the field starting to spread out. Familiar faces all around and I am in good company, Iain and Tony from Cambuslang, a multitude of Bella vests including the Claw and PB specialist Brent, Nicky from MAC, I feel the sharp end of Toni from Ayr’s elbows. I am maintaining my pace well and the hamstring is feeling totally fine. No complaints, no excuses, it’s all about me, my pacing, my head and my ability. I feel better than I did last week. Out of the park and on the road section and I’m with Ross from Cumbernauld again, we are encouraging each other along. Lap 1 done, watch beeps 5k in 17.57. I am on schedule at around the same split I was at Cambuslang. In my own hands but I to be honest I am starting to tire.
The next mile I know I am slowing as we zig zig and hit the bumps but I manage to latch onto Brent. At this point the head is down.
I know how tight the margins are but manage to shake out the stupor.
“If you think you are beaten you are”
Let’s give it welly anyway.
3K to go and I am with another group having upped the ante a little and have shaken off Brent and the Claw. I seem to be playing cat and mouse with Freya Ross which is utterly surreal but exciting at the same time. We approach 2k to go and I am worried about the legs but know I have to kick it on now to try and get as good a time as possible. There is an outside chance of a PB, 36.11 is a realistic target. I am off the front of my group now and latching onto Iain as we get into the last k. A sub 36 is a remote possibility but I will have to run through the pain barrier and hope the legs don’t go. I am genuinely worried but try to encourage Iain on the way past as I start an early kick off.
The watch is at 35 minutes as we approach the first of the last two turns. I can almost touch the barbeque through the trees and hear the beers getting opened. Still counting in my head. It’s going to be tight. Last look at the watch and last big effort. Round the first corner and the legs still there though tired, second bend and the launch for the line.
I hit the watch.
I hit the deck.
I check the watch.
I am up dancing and screaming “Yassssssss!!!!!!!”
35.57. Right calm down, get the official print out. I remember Drumpellier 5k and my 16.59 being 17.00 on the officials. I’m babbling nonsense to folk as I try to get to the van. I get the print out.
Surreal, not sinking in but it’s there now.
Not something I ever thought I was capable of and a huge deal to me, I am sorry if that’s boring, and again I know it’s is modest to many, but it’s everything to me, a wee bald 48 year old former chain smoker.
This has been a great season for me, and this the icing on the cake.
PBs smashed as follows:
1 mile – was 5.21, now 5.03
3000m – was 10.23, now 10.02
5k – was 17.48, now 17.00
10k – was 37.46, now 35.57
10 miles – was 63.51 now 60.42
This has all been beyond my wildest dreams.
So now it is time for a wee break, a holiday, some easy trail running then regroup for block 2 of the season. Thanks to everyone who has encouraged me, had a read, slagged my baldness and said hello at races, it all helps and has all contributed. The time I have to write these blogs gets smaller and smaller so who knows when the next one will appear but a big thanks to all of you.
The song? Another 80s cheese classic as this one was the icing on the cake. Take it away Tin Tin.
Thanks Elaine Gallacher, Andrea Cameron, Lesley Ross, Kenny Philips for the pics.