None in two months then two in a week. I know what am I like with these blogs? First of all a big thanks to all who commented across all social medias on Sunday’s blog, really appreciated, abuse was at a minimum which is always nice 🙂
So having had my first race in ages the sensible thing would be to have another one two days later then eh? What do you mean no? I know, I don’t really know what I was thinking. It was the Shettleston open graded at Crownpoint. I entered it ages ago over 3000m as I thought I could give sub 10 another go. When I was running at my peak, and with confidence. I came into the year with a best of 10.23 from 3 years ago and won that indoors one in January at the Emirates in 10.18. As I got faster over May and June I had tried 3 times to go sub 10 and failed miserably. 10.09, 10.13, 10.02, the 10.02 when I was at my season peak so to be honest thought that now it was really a step too far. So now, after Sunday and the few weeks before, where am I? I am not quite there, maybe under 10.10 at a push but that will really be at a push and looking at the calibre of the start list I reckoned even going sub 10 in this one could be a last place. Ach what will be will be I thought until on the day when the nerves starting kicking in badly again. I was going to be last, lapped, so far off the back the crowd would shake their head at the imposter in heat 2. There were faster runners in “the slower” heat 3. They would be raging, write to Points of View, Anne Robinson would chide me whilst smacking me across the face with a wet haddock. And I would deserve it.
So this is where I was. My head struggles would make it difficult for me to get to the starting line, they have stopped me before, but I WANTED to do it so it was going to be a fight. So I warn you, this blog will therefore be a wee bit different from the standard I ran a race, look here is my kit and cheesy smile from 5 different angles blog that are ten a penny out there, this is from the perspective of a wee daft-heid, not a confident runner, and the only picture you are going to get is of a biscuit..
So I’m leaving work 10 minutes early so I can get home first before I head to Crownpoint. Already panicking and telling the Four Horsemen on groupchat of my stresses and worries. Told to get the big boy pants on, and I do at times think people feel I am at it, but I genuinely just don’t have the confidence of others, I can’t rationalise why I get this way. Get home and tell Elaine how nervous I am, how scared I am of humiliation. She tries her best to reassure me, my youngest boy Jon reminds me to run for fun. He knows the score. Cue up “Is this Music” by Teenage Fanclub in the car to try and lift me and I’m off. Arrive early, park up, nerves calming a little, but no confidence. Leave my specs in the car and when I go to register I can’t read the number beside my name.
Doh, you can’t even get that right, what a start says the old heid. The MAC vest is left in my bag and I pin the number on a non-descript black vest. Low profile. Below the radar. Don’t draw attention to the fact it’s me at the back, maybe I can fade into the shadows. Meet Cammy and Stevie from the club, Stevie feeling about his race the way I am about mine. Cammy telling me he is aiming for about 10 min pace for first 2k so try and hang onto him. The nervous hellos and chats with Mark, Stephen, Ross, Andy, Brian and more, then do a jog round and tell John Coyle he is looking fat to try relax my mood. First heat starts, it’s won in 8.24, watch Stevie try to stick with pace and blow up. Ooft. Cracking runs from Shaun and Stuart, different class.
Striding done and number 16 stuck to shorts as I am on the outside as one of the weaker runners in the heat. The number in case of a photo finish. I’d love to be close enough to anyone for a photo finish. Myself and Cammy both agree we would take a 9.59.99 right now, though I think he should be aiming at 9.30 personally.
Check my GPS 45 times.
Tie laces another 6 times.
Tie shorts again, double tied so I don’t do a mooney at the back.
Put pins on my sticky number in case it flies off in that photo finish I won’t be having.
Check GPS again.
The rain has stayed off, the wind is manageable. On the Line I decide to try and stick at 10 minute pace for as long as possible.
On your Marks, GO!
The head now starting to control my body.
Must start well to avoid congestion, this is fine maybe about 5th. The whippets are away but keep the heid. There’s John Coyle passing now, he’s certainly not fat, he can go away. British masters champion. These guys are a different class. 5 away already. Out of my depth. Don’t show fear, don’t look back, don’t look at watch, look only ahead and go by the 200m times provided.
The 200s need to be in 40 seconds, first one in 38/39. Perfect.
Keep the heid, keep the form.
400 and still a couple of seconds in the bank. Heels clipped from behind but manage to stay up but affects rhythm and two more go past me.
Great chance to drop out. Go on, take a tumble.
Heart tells head to feck off. I’m about 8th or 9th but not last and I feel relatively comfortable. Laps averaging 80, perfect, so still have maybe 3 or 4 seconds in the bank but I know that laps 5 and 6 always my problem.
Don’t let the elastic break, stay with the lads from Greenock and Cumbernauld. Midway through and it’s still on. Legs feeling it, but I can handle this. Go on baldy. Don’t look back!!
Ach what’s the point, I’ll blow up like I always do.
I’m fighting it. Just over 2 to go the lads in front of my group appear to be slowing, if I want this I will have to take it on as the lead group so far ahead. I go past and lead off my group. Fighting. Feeling the pace now. 600 to go, still a buffer of maybe two seconds.
It’s in your hands, but no way can you maintain this, going to be another glorious failure. No No No!!! If you think you’re beaten you are, sort it, come on!!
400 to go and Cammy comes past, won’t get drawn into this, I know he will pull off a lightning last lap, all about me. Think I have a two second buffer, an 80 last lap will have me under 10. I go back to the 300 reps I did last Thursday, that’s what is needed now.
Legs going to rubber but I want this.
It’s all mine now, don’t blow it, I might not get another chance.
Cammy flying away but I know I’m upping the pace. 200 to go and I think I have a buffer of 4 seconds. It’s on unless the legs die. Those Thursday lunchtimes at the EK track now earning their crust. Heid doon, striding out the best I can. Cammy flying past other runners, I’m gaining on John but since he ran a marathon two weeks ago that’s expected. Over the line and hit the watch.
9.51, Sub 10 and 9 bloody 51!!!!
Last word from the heid before he retires for the night…
Fair play Marko, you beat me today but you know I’ll be back….
I’m buzzing, fists clenched, demonic look in my face. Unexpected but utterly delighted. Sometimes these things come along when you just don’t expect them. Now again I know this is modest to the real runners, but it was a biggie to me, so indulge me, let me have this 15 minutes. The times were posted up, John Coyle had to confirm my time for me as I didn’t have my specs. How he and my head laughed.
A big thanks to Shettleston and all the volunteers for an amazing event last night. Superbly run. And a big shout out to all the runners, when we toe that line it’s all for ourselves, but before and after? What an atmosphere and what a great bunch of people I was fortunate to be around. Biggest thanks though to Elaine for the Empire Biscuit. That one was earned 🙂
I thought I had my 15 minutes of success earlier in the year so gobsmacked to get another wee shot, so here’s a song from the new Ride album, love it.