This will come as no surprise to most of you but I don’t really know what I am doing.
Last year running wise I had a massive focus, I knew I wanted to compete at the steeplechase. My aims were in black and white, no dubiety; I knew exactly what I wanted. I was fortunate, worked hard, had a lot of luck and got where I wanted to be. Yay Go Marko, you little jammy baldy running imposter, somehow you got away with it. That has been and gone though. My body was not really made for the chase and certainly, at this moment I have no desire to put myself through the pain that I did just to do something I’ve done already. It took me many months to get rid of the injuries and niggles I picked up and I lost all momentum I had built up. Don’t get wrong, I’ve been watching the clock ticking down on the entries for the British Masters but the thought of getting injured again and the financial outlay on top of it for something I’ve already done hasn’t quite got me to push the enter button, even though I actually do believe I could give the best of them a run for their money again. If I am going to retire from an event then doing so as Scottish and British champion is the way to do it eh?
So what then? A marathon isn’t for this year, I have no endurance base having had a poor winter. Last year I ran a 2.14 800m off no specific training and thought I had a bit of potential. Someone else who I listen to and respect thought the same and I was fortunate to win the Scottish indoors at it, though it has to be said slightly slower and without some of the big guns in it. I haven’t ran anywhere near it since, the 2.18 of a couple of weeks ago showing that that promise hasn’t been followed through on, and even my biggest advocate of 800 focus is now telling me it isn’t my event. Unfortunately I still have some entries in though, the Miler Meet I picked 800m but wish I had entered the 3000m instead. In addition, I have an 800m OGM on a windy Friday night in Livingston to look forward to but more of that in a moment.
Aye, I’m a bit lost.
I’ve got back into a situation of training on my own again to try to do some event specific stuff and it is pretty much for nothing. Is it worth training on my own for something that it has ended up I’m not very good at? What do I change to? Have I wrecked my full year already? Unknown, but possible, but there you go Facebook, that is what is on my mind. Ah this isn’t Facebook, it’s a blog? Ah forget all that then and back to the action.
*cue exciting title music*
Friday night. Windy. It’s Livingston Open Graded Meeting 800m track fun time. Hang out the bunting and book the mariachi band. Really not looking forward to this but it’s what it is. The last 800 had been honking, but the mile last week had been better. What did I want out of this? To simply run better. With it being windy time wasn’t really a factor and I was just wanting to start better, compete better, and feel better about myself after it. Ended up I was in a fast heat with myself, Lewis from Edinburgh, and Cammy who was coming back from injury the oldies in a heat of whippets. The wind calmed down a little and we were off fast. I won’t bore you with huge details but I decided to go out fast, a different approach for me. It’s an OGM so it matters nothing if it goes wrong. When you go through 200m in 32 and you are 10th you know it’s a fast race. Through 400 in around 66ish with Lewis on my shoulder (see pic below) and the hope for a fast time but the legs weren’t there and I came home unspectacularly in 2.16.76. Much better than two weeks prior, and much more enjoyable, but aye, I’m clearly not an 800m runner.
Onto Sunday and instead of a long run or session I decided to do the Shettleston 10k since I had a deferred entry from 3 years ago. I actually had a deferred entry from the year before covid, hence I was no. 1 for the series.
The most unexpected no.1 since Pass the Dutchie (aye ok ask your parents). I wasn’t able to make the Helensburgh or Dumbarton events so thought I may as well do this since it’s a Sunday and it’s local. I have, to be honest, ended up out the loop with 10ks and having run around 36 and a half at Grangemouth last month just hoped I could be in around the same ballpark. Strangely, I had no nerves as it would just be a run out. A good hard work out and if I could get near 36 low then I would be delighted. I ended up really enjoying the morning. Had a good catch up with a lot of good people which was brilliant. The course was to be two loops inside Glasgow Green and conditions were almost perfect. Some sharp turns aye, but no climbs of note, just some gradual inclines. I decided, just like Grangemouth, that I would go out around 36 pace and see how long I could hold on for. Nothing to lose.
Off we went and maybe faster than I had intended but a first k of 3.27. I had been trying to run with a group containing Millie from the club who I knew was out to smash not only her own PB, but also that of her Dad (to be more accurate the artist formerly known as Iain, now known as Milliesda). She is flying just now. She can go, I am not maintaining this, but already things have spread out. Chris from the club flies past me chasing Millie. He was first M50 in the last race in the series and has raced himself into fantastic shape. On my shoulder were Justin and Mark also from the club, and a lad from Inverness. Good, good runners. Mark also an M50 so a competitive edge forming already. Again I don’t want to bore you with a step-by-step account but it was actually an exciting run and indeed exciting race. Chris got away and Mark and Justin went past me chasing him down.
At 3 -4 k I am dropped off the back but seeing a gap behind me know that I have to try and latch on. As we get to 5k I have caught up again and actually take the pace on thinking that I can not only catch Chris but break Mark as well.
Through 5k in the low 17.50s, just like Grangemouth. All about staying strong now. Catch Chris as I hoped and try to pull away from the group. Instead Mark comes haring past me, followed by Chris and Justin. The legs I hoped I had aren’t there. In my head I have a mantra going “Hang on the back and trust in my finish”. The track work must be good for something and it had worked for me at the Scottish 5k but I need to be in touch. At the bottom part of the course, as we take the sharp turn at around 7 ½ k, Mark has a sizeable lead on Justin and Chris and I have been dropped off the back for the second time and I don’t think I’m going to be able to pull it back. The sub 36 attempt is going by the wayside too. There’s no-one behind me to run with, I just have to remind myself of the legendary talking calf “If you think you’re beaten you are”. I am trying to dig in, keep Justin and Chris within reachable distance, and hope I get a second wind. Mark looks too far ahead. About 1 1/2k to go and Chris goes after Mark. If this is the battle for the M50 victory then it’s going to the wire. I wish I had the legs to be involved. 1k to go and some great support from the Bells at the side who convince me that the group isn’t far enough ahead that I can’t catch them. I have nothing to lose. Even passing one person is better than none. With 700m to go there is a long straight of around 400m, with a right hand bend at the top then around 250m of a straight, one more bend and a last 50m or so to the line. Chris is away but Justin and Mark have come back to me. Probably around 300 to go and I am ahead of both of them. Chris is sprinting ahead but I have the dander on. Unlike the old me I have no fear of trying and failing.
I am catching.
He knows someone is there but I suspect he thinks it’s the other Mark coming back again, and his arms are pumping.
But I’m catching.
Last tight bend to the finish and we are neck and neck. I haven’t worked as hard as I have over the last k to fail. I believe I have the speed to nick this. Chris’ pace has taken him wide, on the left hand side as my old pals Musical Youth said, and I squeeze through on the right. It’s good old honest effort by us both sprinting on tired legs now and on this occasion I am the fortunate one to gain the advantage, but I’m sure on another day it’ll be one of the others. Great racing by the elderly Red and White train. Amused to see my last 400 has been the same time as my my second 400 at the 800 on Friday.
Fair play to Millie who had stayed the pace and finished well, ahead of us, another big PB for a very promising young athlete. Chris is on the deck straight away, I later find out it’s his first sub 36 in 7 years, what an effort when you *whispers* consider his age. Aye sub 36, I am delighted to have nipped home in 35.55. Can’t ask much more than that. An enjoyable run, an honest race, a sub 36, and £50 to spend on running gear.
Result. Big respect to my clubmates, we all spurred each other on in this run. I always say you can’t beat good respectful racing. It’s what I love about racedays anyway.
So what’s next? Another 800m in the BMC Miler meet. At least they are helping with my general speed but I won’t pretend I am looking forward to it. Where am I going and what am I doing? I’m still not sure, it’s for me to ponder over the next few weeks, but only I can decide. Answers on a postcard if you have any idea though.
Thanks to Mike Taylor, Kev Queenan, Daren Borzynski for the fab pictures.
Couple of songs today, on the playlist. The title of the blog, Change my mind, as it’s what I am doing by Glasgow’s Medicine Men, and as a bonus, my pals from 1983. On the left hand side.