Forever Yesterday – that second Scottish vest, 32 years on

Thanks for the kind comments on my previous blog and I am afraid this one is going to start the same way, with an apology. My blogs, my social media, man even my thoughts etc have all been clogged up with my running recently. I’ve been riding what for me was the crest of a wave, for once seeing the work I had done come to fruition and my ridiculous aims actually being achieved. I’ve got carried away with it all, got excited and it’s all happened at the one time, so my apologies for being in every ones face. This is my final fling here then it will all calm down again and that big baldy gurny face will take a wee back seat again.

For those of you that read my last blog I had managed the first two of my three part aims of my own trilogy to rival Back to the future and the Godfather (don’t worry, I was never going to go after the Police Academy mantel). The Scottish title, the Scottish record. I know, bonkers. Even Grease gave up after part 2 with Maxwell Caulfield on his motorbike (Spoiler, it was Michael all along!) but I was striving for my own ridiculous third part. I knew I would only have one very slim outside chance of it but it was to try and win my first Scottish vest since 1989.

Oh I know, ideas way above my station but go back to my first blog in November 2014 and the first picture.

It’s me.

1989 Junior international and I was lucky that year, got called in as a replacement. Never felt as if I belonged in there and it wasn’t long before I drifted from the sport. As I have said before, I will never be one of the top guys, even at a local level. I don’t possess the talent and ability that these guys do but as I have also said before all you can do is get in the best shape you possibly can and sometimes luck goes your way and you can be in the position to take advantage of it, and that my dear blogpeeps is what I did.

I’m new to the M50 age group, one of the youngest, I was never going to get a better chance to try and hit my lofty ridiculous aims. When I heard there was a Scottish Masters team going to the English Inter Area track and field challenge I got daft, aimed high and put my name forward. Was I selected? Of course I wasn’t. I didn’t even feature in their thoughts and why would I? I hadn’t achieved anything. But I have worked hard and to the best of my ability all year and just like 1989 the athletes who should have been running for whatever reason weren’t going to run and a place became available. I know I wasn’t first choice, or second, or know how far down the list I was and quite frankly I don’t care, but I was in the right shape at the right time and I was able to take advantage, and believe me although I may have been way down the pecking order I doubt there would be anyone more excited and proud to pull on that Scotland vest. Aim number 3 looking to have been achieved. But I don’t want to make things too easy, where would the fun be in that?

Last week and the steeplechase and my wee injury I went into it with got worse. My back was wrecked, the groin or maybe psoas agony. Basically I didn’t train all week, or pretty much sleep either due to the discomfort and pain. I thought I was going to miss out and that was a black cloud looming over me. I have some other races coming up, Scottish Masters 5,000 and 10,000. BMC GAA 1500. A wee rest and I would be right for them, but would I ever get a chance to run for my country again? I was lucky to get this chance. It has been 32 years since my last opportunity, they don’t come often for people like me. If I didn’t do it this time quite simply I wouldn’t expect to get the chance again.

Gamble time.

Do this and I could put myself out for a while. What would I say to others? “Don’t be daft, take a week out now or risk having months off later.” Good advice, but this isn’t to others, this is to myself. Defy logic, defy good advice, sod the consequences,

I want to represent my country.

Judge away, I made my decision and I will live with the fall out with no sympathy wanted. Scotland kit purchased and two short runs just to see if I could hack the distance then down I travelled to Nuneaton.

Now I am never near these squads so I don’t know all these folk and I am as shy and scared of people as you can get, I find situations like that terrifying, especially when I feel I don’t belong there and that they all know that, so I was really fortunate in that the other 3 members of my wee squad were also selected. Travelled down with Paul with GG and Forbesy (with Mrs F also competing) meeting us down there. Still terrified of people but trying to dip in on the periphery, it’s not an easy thing. At least I had a room to myself in Nuneaton’s swankiest Travelodge, or did until GG decided at 10 pm he was sharing with me having stolen someone else’s room who had just arrived.

I haven’t mentioned the heat yet. It was hot. Woke up the Sunday morning and already 27 degrees and it was to hit 30 as the day went on. Went through the athletes entrance.

Because I could. I just wanted to savour the day. My 3000m was to be the last event before the relays at 4.45 so was going to be a long day. Keep shaded, protect the baldy napper, keep hydrated, keeps nerves at bay.

I put my number on my vest though and put on the vest. It felt good. I felt proud. I think my 18 year old self would have approved even though the hair had fallen from his head to my chin.

1989 v 2021. 32 years of a difference.

The long day flew in though, with it being like a big league event with every place and point counting the entire team were cheering each other on in all the events, it was really good. Proud watching my training buddies excel. We got a team photo during the mid event break. I was in a Scotland photo. That’s bizarre.

Team photo. I’m in it. Bonkers.

Paul then stepped forward and started giving a speech in front of the team. Then I realised he was talking about me. Telling my story to the bemused team who had no idea who I was, then talking about the steeplechase from the week before before presenting me with a memento from the lads, a framed picture with details of my record on it. Gobsmacked, speechless, appreciative and having to step out my wee shadows on the sidelines to accept it. Thank you so much lads, a fantastic thing to have and really meant a lot to me.

Was soon time to warm up though. A few slow miles to try and calm things down. Every step was sore when I landed but it was runnable. Was I going to be at my peak? No. But I would give all I could. I think the heat could go in my favour, maybe it’ll slow a few folk down. Doing my strides on the back straight and the other runners started appearing. Lean and mean. Looking like real runners whereas I was playing at it. Saw a few pairs of vaporfly which annoyed me as they are supposed to be banned on the track and they are banned for a reason but it is what it is. My 50s race was to be combined with the 35s so 16 of us in it, 8 50-59s, and 8 35 – 49s, or 7 plus GG as he had stepped in last minute to get some points for Scotland after some late call offs. Kudos to him or doing that, due to that I won’t let on that I lapped him because that wouldn’t be fair, it’ll be our wee secret.

I won’t go step by step through the race, because this blog more about the event, but I’m happy with how I ran. Still don’t have the official results but started well, got into a group for the middle k as we raced, then chased folk down over the last couple of laps, finishing really strongly. Seasons best, well under 10 minutes, just outside my PB in 30 degree heat carrying an injury, so can’t be disappointed. Cheers Forbesy for the race pics.

As I say, no results yet, but general consensus appears to be that I was second or third of the M50s, so if that’s the case then I haven’t let my team down. Really enjoyed and savoured every second of it, and grateful for the opportunity to do it. So much so that when the call came to fill a space in the 4 x 100m relay straight after then I couldn’t say no could I? What a victory by us!! OK I lie, we were last, by miles. My first leg had us way behind as my legs crumbled straight from the gun and I basically just had to stride my 100. Good fun though.

I had a golden baton. That’s what counts.

So there you have it. Really proud to have competed for my country and to have hit my mad aims. Don’t expect it will ever happen again so made sure I enjoyed it. A couple of days later and as expected I am in hefty pain. The 5000s this weekend at least will be out the window but there are no regrets, no complaints and no moaning, but if anyone can recommend a physio local to my work in EK or home in Motherwell with availability and good rates, then genuinely send me a message as I need to get this diagnosed properly now.

Anyway as I said at the start, apologies for the deluge recently and it’ll back off now. Thanks to the SVHC for this opportunity, Eddie McKenzie for all his organising, the team for accepting me, the Incredibles for looking after me and Elaine for supporting and putting up with someone who needs to do a bit better in return. I can’t remember who took all the photos, so sorry, but thank you. To finish off though, have your wee dreams and don’t let other peoples negativity stop you from giving it a go. We can all work as hard as we can and that’s all you can do, but just sometimes that bit of luck will fall your way, just be ready to grab it.

Edit: results in. There were 7 M35 runners and 9 M50 runners in the race of which I finished 4th M50 (7th of 16 overall).

The song. From The Soup Dragons from Bellshill. Forever Yesterday. Just because I don’t have to keep harping on about 1989 anymore, I’ve got a 2021. Now on the playlist.

A few more photos here.

A second wee song that I only heard yesterday for the first time, BC Camplight, “I’m alright in the world”, now on the playlist. Just because.

4 thoughts on “Forever Yesterday – that second Scottish vest, 32 years on

  1. Mark, I last competed in 1986 before returning to training (for that read having a go at the throws) at the end of may. Like you it was a privilege to get to take part in the Inter-area as only my 3rd competition since my return and wear that Scotland vest. I hope to put up a better performance next year I promise 😊 if selected.

    Liked by 1 person

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