Disclaimer: I know how I feel about running is different from how others feel and I am glad we are all different. I’ll be me, you’ll be you and we can all be happy. 🙂
Firstly thanks to all the kind comments on my previous blog on my Maranoiacoronavirusism and glad that the “Get it roon ye ya wee weather fud” approach was helpful to people 🙂
Still though events are dropping like flies (congratulates himself for not indulging in the crassness of comparing it to knickers in Greenock, I’ve typed that haven’t I? ach well, that’ll be me missed out the Running Award nominations again, I’m soooooo 2017). Where was I? Aye, at the time of writing the Manchester Marathon is still on. I see many people with their plan B marathons etc. in case of cancellation but it’s not for me. If I don’t get my run then there are plenty more races, Tom Scott 10 miler becomes available amongst others and embracing my positive side at least the training has got me in decent shape over what’s been a manky, manky winter. I get what MAC Coach John Hughes always says – “train for a marathon but don’t run one.” He should get his own book of quotes, the Hughesypedia, his comment of “the vest is not an over garment” also springing to mind whenever I see the wimpy runners of Airdrie and Garscube in their base layers. Anyway, train for a marathon but don’t run one – I do feel fit, I do feel strong, the only problem so far is I haven’t had a chance yet to give myself a marker of where I am. This week I was getting the chance to see.
This would be my fourth run out at the Jack Crawford Springburn Cup 10k in the last four years. It’s a no frills almost out and back race on the canal, well run by Springburn Harriers. Apart from the first k of a climb and the resulting downhill it’s flat, the only drawback being it has a tendency to have a headwind over the last few k. Ach it’s what we have been training in so bring it on.
Four years of the Jack Crawford 10k,
2017 – 38.27
2018 – 38.31
2019- 37.15 and a MASSIVE turning point in my running
2020 – Let’s see shall we?
Adding spice to this was the fact it was to be the first race in the 2020 Motherwell AC Club championship and leagues. Trumpets please! (aw man who let Rizzle kicks in? away with you!) I had got silver last year over the series as hardly anyone had bothered doing it but this year we had 19 people along for the first race which was a positive. I even got in the team photo this time.
Note the no arms around touching thing which was the general tone at the race. All good natured but elbow bumping instead of handshakes, apart from the Cumbernauld lads who decided shin kicking was more civilised. There was a great atmosphere and good craic all around, Team Baldy represented by Gav, John B and myself and despite not having done an individual road race this year my nerves were relatively ok. The wind was as expected, from the turn at 5 1/2k we were going to be into the wind but it would be what it was. No point holding back, it’s a hard training run above anything else, it’s in my plan and I am trusting in the plan. If I blow up then I don’t care. If people go past me then good for them. I am quite strange in my running just now in that I don’t care about other people and how they are doing and I know that offends people, I have been told it does, but purely how I do. If someone skelps my arse, good on them, it won’t bother me anymore. I love seeing people running to their best, it won’t make me feel inferior anymore. I hope that all makes sense?
Anyway, we gather at the bottom of the hill ready to start.
“What’s my aim? Let’s go faster than last year. Sub 37. Sod it let’s get as close to 36 as I can, like Tilli 10k, even if it’s windy. Look they are bumping elbows, they look like Morris Dancers. That guy there looks like Nick Cotton, but taller”
“GPS Signal? Check. Laces tight? Check. Too many baselayers getting worn here, the vest is not an over garment.”
“No looking back, no fear, believe in my training and let’s see where it takes me.”
That’s better and we are off. The uphill stretch before the first turn, running freely, feeling good. I know it’s too fast but let’s just not give up straight away. Paul and Davie from the club not far ahead, Chris ahead of them. Dumbarton’s Peter Currie there. He’s a cracking runner. He’s always in the V40 top 3 about 30 seconds to a minute or so ahead of me, let’s try and stay with him for a bit.
Up the hill and round the scheme, down to the canal and living the dream.
About 3k in and I’m still behind Peter but from 3 – 4k he starts getting away. I’m not giving up or reigning it in but I simply can’t keep going with him the way I had been. Derek from Cumbernauld goes past. From the side I hear “Are you Mark? I follow you on Strava, sometimes read your blog too. I must be going too fast if I’m beside you”. I am blowing out my arse as Sean Reid dances past me, moonwalking almost, chatting away like we are in the queue for a pizza.
5K goes on the watch, I am through in 17.43/17.44. This time last year this was my 5k PB. That’s a positive. Derek and Sean have pulled away but the elastic hasn’t broke and I’m feeling OK. Another positive. I know I have to keep in contact or I’ll start slipping back. 5 1/2k and around the talking traffic cone who encourages me. Thank you talking traffic cone. The wind hits me. Like running into a wall of erm wind.
That. Is. What. It. Was.
But I feel strong. Straight onto Sean and Derek. And past them.
Let’s take this on.
The runners are on both sides of the towpath now going different directions and the encouragement I was getting from fellow runners was amazing. I was head down into the wind and didn’t reciprocate, I am sorry, but I appreciated every single shout I got, it really did help me. Think it annoyed the people I was running with too 🙂 Eventually got past the elbows of Yacab of Springburn and I was at the head of my group with the next group a good distance away.
I still feel good.
I will not look back, only forward.
I am 100% focussed.
I will chase that group even though I can see every runner and know they are all better than me.
Chris Macdonald – arguably the best runner at MAC.
Charlie Storrie of Dumfries – ran 35 flat for 10k and has thrashed me every time I have raced him, including Blackpool parkrun when my arse was the size of a small country.
The aforementioned Peter Currie.
Graeme Paterson of Giffnock. A class runner and Vet international. And I don’t mean sticks his hands up cows arses in Guatemala. But since I don’t know him except to say hello maybe he does.
Maybe he does.
And I am, I’m gaining on them. I am well aware it’s early in the season and people use it as a fitness marker. I am aware the likes of Chris have done a 24 mile run in crazy quick times a couple of days before it. I am not a golden god for catching up with these guys and my head started saying to me to slow it down. They will take one look at me and grind me into the dust where I belong. But this time I told my wee heid to ram it, I kept running solid and Charlie was the first to be caught with just under a K to go. I know I may never get the chance to mix it up with these guys again.
Savour it, enjoy it and race as honestly as you can Marko.
Charlie encourages me like the sound lad he is but I know he will be back at me. Chris and Peter are together, Peter turns and sees me and kicks away, Chris encourages me. I’m still chasing Peter as we go past Graeme and my track legs kick in.
Marathon strong track legs and I somehow manage to edge ahead and keep ahead of the chasing pack and finish in 13th place overall , second V40 and 3RD counter in the winning MAC team in a new PB of 35.19.
Didn’t expect ANY of that at all. Thought if all went right on the day I could maybe get under 36 and I would have been delighted with that, and I mean this but the time was a bonus. I was really happy with how I ran. Strongly, no fear and mixed it up with people I have no right to mix it up with. The marathon training is getting me in shape.
Saw a lot of MAC PBs and happy faces, well done all, a good training group there just now. Had a wee cool down full of laughs with Team Baldy and then home for a big massive pizza.
The legs were jiggered and Sundays 20 miler was about as comfortable as an admin member of the IWOAAR Facebook group wearing vaporfly, but job done, the training isn’t supposed to be easy.
So 4 weeks to go to the marathon that may or not be. No point stressing over what I can’t control. One more really hard week then let the taper train choo choo into Marko central.
No matter what though I am enjoying the training and I am in decent shape. Decent enough for a good marathon? Who knows, but I feel good about myself and isn’t that half the battle? Next weekend is an excuse to “Never mind the Ballochs” but until then, baldy head doon, elbows bumped and work hard. For all you that have lost your marathon, look at the positives of your fitness, we will get another chance. Top it up and batter on through that wind.
Thanks Springburn Harriers for a great event, and to all the friendly faces who said hello, gave encouragement or even just a wee wave.
Incidentally I have ran that exact same course 3 times now and got 3 different distances. It’s been long, the right distance and on Saturday came up short. All on exactly the same course. I am an accountant so I don’t know why that is. In GPS all compasses go wild sometimes. I missed a PB in 2017 on the same course when I thought it came in long, so I will take this PB, though the naysayers have already started commenting. And frankly I don’t care. The manner of the run is what pleased me, I am just one of these people who will have every PB questioned, but it’s just a number, no animals were harmed.
Thanks David Dinnie, Joe Hoolaghan, Kenny Phillips, Gavin Hinde for the pics.
The song? The last time I was in a counting team in an individual race was in about 1988 or 1989. That’s when Close Lobsters had their last album out, until this month. From Paisley like me, so here they are, from the new album, All Compasses Go Wild.