It’s hard to explain, to put into words, and quite frankly as you are all aware I score as highly on eloquence as H from Steps would score on a “Legends of Rock” Top Trumps card. What’s that? Oh aye where was I before I drifted off on that sea of piffle patter? Aye, hard to explain and all that. Sometimes you can just get that feeling when you are running, when you know you are on your limit but you lock into that groove, you get carried and swept along, comfortable, though anything but comfortable. It hurts but you know you can see it through, the intent is going through your veins, determination in your every step.
There’s nothing going to stop you.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not from winning races or beating other individuals, those are factors outwith this particular frame of mind, it’s you in that zone, on the cusp, one step either side from disaster or failure, but knowing your line is taking you over that particular bridge of baws. It’s rare, I certainly don’t get them often, but at Cumbernauld 10k I actually did and, spoiler alert, I actually had a run that I was a wee bit proud of.
Like any dire made for TV movie we now take a flashback to 2018. One decent sub 38 10k at the Goodwin, but a one off, the rest mid 38s and stuck in a rut but October after a lay off would see me just dip under 42 at the Clyde runners 10k before just managing to go under 40 at Blackpool. Overweight, under confident, not enjoying things and not sure what if anything to do. That picture of my arse almost bursting out my shorts at Blackpool parkrun, and the resulting comments afterwards, was really a wake up call. Was way off my racing weight and got abuse for acknowledging that too, you know there’s always people either side of you, doesn’t mean you don’t get to have your own insecurities. Anyway back to the happy blog (though there will be a grumpy bit later) and I made the decision to have one more go. I trained for a 3000m in January and surprised myself with a win and PB at the Emirates. I set myself some targets and one was to get back under 38 again, to prove it wasn’t a one off and I hadn’t hit that plateau. 37.30 was my big target. I won’t go over old ground but by the end of the Brian Goodwin I had sneaked under 36. I know what’s that about? Had a honker post holiday at the Run the Blades the wrong side of 39, but then got fitter again and ran well at Paisley but round in 36.31. Was the sub 36 a flash in the pan? Was it too ambitious to try and do it on the track when I had my wobble. There was only one way to find out, and this time I wasn’t scared.
I was annoyed though.
I know, as the bearded Osborne said even when running well my glass is always half empty. Why the annoyance? I had entered this race a while back. I knew what I wanted to do. Had toyed with doing the international XC trial for the experience but decided I would rather do what I had committed to do. The club then arranged their track champs for the same weekend. Now my club for whatever reason is split into two – track and field and senior endurance. Me? I just like to run, do track, do road, trail, whatever. I’m not into all this split stuff. Too political for me. Anyway I had toyed with doing that on the Saturday and Cumbernauld on the Sunday but thought I’d keep myself for the Sunday, I felt I could do something decent. But I’ll see, maybe I’ll have a wee run out. Then the post went up. Red rag to a bull to be honest. I can’t be arsed going and getting the post and I’m sure the intent wasn’t the way it was put across but telling us to not only be there for that first race but to ensure we were there all day and there would be no excuses. Oh really? Some people weren’t happy and said so. Threats rather than invitation suggested. Those comments deleted. “No excuses” stayed up.
Aye if that’s how the club feels then I will run it my way. I’m not toeing the club line so I’m purely doing it for me. The vest will stay in the house and I’ll wear my own one. I’ve probably wore the club vest more than anyone else this year. Got a lot of exposure for the club but not this time. This time I will probably get my wrist slapped instead. My race, my challenge, no excuses. A 48 year old naughty schoolboy. That’ll really encourage the one club philosophy. Encouragement and support in whatever you choose to do is a good thing. Anyway, enough with the negativity. Gave me a chance to wear my new vest from Balega who were partnering in the race as well as trying out the new ultra glide socks and maybe it spurred me on. Or more likely it was my focus to give it a go, make amends for Carluke, prove I wasn’t a one trick pony. Even though I keep forgetting it’s my shoes getting all the times not me. I missed seeing them out training in the wind and rain on a track in EK on their own, but that’s another thing 🙂
We were cheered up straight away when the pacing FC and myself picked up Kev and he came out holding a cuddly unicorn. It emerged it was a hot water bottle and he had a sore bum. Couldn’t make it up. I told him we needed a picture, no excuses.
The atmosphere was amazing through in Cumbernauld, met and had a chat with a lot of good people. Decided I was going to go all out for the sub 36 but wasn’t telling anyone. You can’t always give it away, then the stress bites. You’ll be sub 36 says ladies winner Kristin Lownie of PH. Hush dafty says I. But I was going for it. Just wasn’t telling anyone. Off we went and it’s a fast start.
Alongside Ronnie from Perth and just behind Stephen from West End who had had a superb XC trial race the day before. And then he stopped, taking no chances feeling tight after claiming his Scotland vest in the trial. The next few miles were a pleasure to run, myself and Ronnie stride for stride racing, friendly, respectful but competitive running. Hitting the markers, and an ooops from Ronnie when we went through 5k in about 17.46, a 5k PB for him, and about the same time from Carluke when I disintegrated. But no, not this time. Worked together, working with lads from Kirky and I was in that zone I was telling you about. It was tough but I knew I could see it through this time. There was a gap ahead to the next group where it was Big Iain from Cambuslang who I’d been in a similar position with at Cambuslang 10k. I wanted this today. The support was superb, despite getting called Brian as I motored hard up the hill, trying now to escape Ronnie and catch Iain with maybe 3k to go.
No mans land but maintaining pace. Mantra in my head, lose Ronnie, catch Iain. No offence meant to either. The loch side portion is tough, the GPS goes out , it’s tight and winding and the surface is undulating, but I was bridging the gap. Coming up to the last K and I catch Iain and Andrew Kirk. I won’t lie, I have given everything but know if I can just maintain it then there is a sub 36 chance. I’ve paced it well. At this point Iain goes to pull away, I go with him, Andrew says well run guys and goes behind us but we don’t get away. I don’t have the legs to kick on. The stadium coming and the watch is kind. Andrew comes flying past and Iain tries to go with him but I can’t respond, I know it’s on though. I run as hard as my legs will allow to the line.
A look at the watch and a wee fist pump. 35.31, a new PB by 26 seconds, 12th overall and 2nd place in the V40s.
No complaints about that one. A minute faster than Paisley, a second sub 36, a PB 3 minutes faster than I was averaging last year. Special mention to Graham McCabe who had got on the podium in 3rd, Ross from Cumbernauld for his v50 win and Paul Burns from MAC for a quality 4th. The atmosphere at the end, a lot of happy people, Ewen had paced 45 to perfection and Kev got his first sub 45 in along time. There was a part Team Baldy reunion, 40 pacer Big Bad Brian and Gav and his party arm. It was brilliant and I loved it.
So there you have it, to be honest a time I hadn’t considered I was ever capable of running. I am proud to be mixing it up with runners I have always looked up to. A big two fingers up to myself rather than anyone else. My blue vest was causing a stir with a couple of clubs asking me if there was any reason I wasn’t in a MAC vest, I liked that 🙂 So next stop the GSR, and my first half of the year. My only PB attempt left, having had that 1.27 PB for a few years now. As races get longer I get worse so no guarantees I can get near it but you can be sure I will give it a damn good try, my 2013 GSR self below would be proud. No Excuses.
Big thanks to Dougie Holmes and his team for a fantastic event. Thanks to June Duggan, Cumbernauld 10k, Jacqueline Cowan, Kev Durnian, Gav Hinde for the pics. The song? Sir was and Deployed, one of my favourite songs of the year. I set things out for myself here and deployed what I had to get what I wanted, and it worked 🙂 Thanks everyone for reading. Yes there’s been a bit of grumpiness in what is an exhilarating run for me, but this is my forum to vent, and it won’t always be there, so I’ll make the most if it while I still can. Tick tock 🙂