Wednesday, February 28, 2007

I'm Gonna Be (211 Miles)

To celebrate my February mileage I've written a wee song. It's called 'I'm Gonna Be (211 Miles)', and is sung to the tune of '500 Miles' by the Proclaimers. It goes like this:

But I would run 211 miles
And I would run 211 more
Just to be the man who ran 211 miles
To fall down at your door.

Tomorrow I'm going to a karaoke night at the Shanghai Shuffle in Glasgow, organised by a number of my work colleagues who are running in this year's Glasgow Women's 10k. I'm hoping to get the opportunity to try out my new song there - I'm sure it will go down a treat.

Till then, singers.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Scotland 17 Italy 37

The domestic female and I were at Murrayfield today as guests of a couple of close friends. Apart from the 80 minutes of the game it was a fantastic day - excellent hospitality, great company, and plenty to eat and drink both before and after the match. Maybe not the ideal training preparation, but hey - sometimes you have to have a life. My long run tomorrow will be interesting.

I have to say that the 80 minutes of rugby were quite unbelievable. For those that didn't see it, Scotland conceded 3 tries in the first 5 and a half minutes, which meant we were 21 points behind before the game had really started. We gave away the first try within 20 seconds of the start. All 3 of these tries were a result of individual errors and were entirely avoidable. Despite this appalling start the game was still there for the taking, but the Scottish team seemed to forget that 3 points were available for kicking penalties successfully. We counted 10 occasions where Scotland gave up the chance to kick 3 points from a penalty, each time attempting to score a try, but with no great success.

Having said all that, many congratulations to the Italians. Before today they had never won an away match in the 6 nations championship, so the win today was a noteable achievement on their part. But one thing has been puzzling both the domestic female and me for the last few hours. The Italian flag is green, white and red. Why then do Italian national teams (both in football and rugby, and probably in most other sports) play in blue? Answers directly to me, please, or else use the 'comments' functionality on this blog. I'd really like to know.

Finally, congratulations to John Kynaston, who completed a 32.5 mile training run on the WHW today. I received texts from him at various stages, letting me know how he was getting on. It sounds like he did really well.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Avoiding the burn

Some of you may remember my previous comments about the 2006 Central AC cross country championships at Dunblane. This was the event where I fell in the burn and ended up spending the following afternoon at Stirling Royal Infirmary to see whether my thumb was broken (which, thankfully, it wasn't). Anyway, I resolved not to do this race again, because of concerns about my personal safety when trying to jump over burns - I am over 40 now, after all.

It was therefore a surprise to many in the club when I turned up this afternoon at Queen Victoria School for the 2007 edition of the race. I didn't run particularly fast - 25.44 for the 4 mile course, which was a minute and a half slower than last year - but in my defence I did a hard 20.5 mile run yesterday, so took things reasonably easy today. We had to cross the burn a total of 10 times, at 3 different parts of the course. I worked out my 'burn crossing' strategy beforehand: this was all about finishing in one piece, with the time taken to get across being almost irrelevant. I was hugely relieved to implement my strategy successfully and to finish in one piece.

I've run a total of 65 miles this week. That's a lot higher than my normal weekly mileage, but I wanted to get some good running in the bank at this stage of my training programme. I'm feeling quite tired now, perhaps not surprisingly, but hopefully I'll get the benefit in due course.

Friday, February 16, 2007

F*ck*n crazy

I was just about finished a run today at lunchtime in Glasgow and was heading back towards the office, when I passed a chap who was undoubtedly the worse for drink. It had been a great run - I felt good, it was a lovely spring day, and I felt at one with the world. "You're f*ck*n crazy jogging in this part of town", he told me, as he staggered from one side of the pavement to the other. I thanked him for his kind words and headed on my way. Each to their own, I guess.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

So near...

Full results from the national xc are now available on

There were 413 finishers in the senior race. I finished 210th, as I mentioned yesterday. That means I just missed out on my top half target, by an agonising 4 places, or 6 seconds. I'm gutted. Graeme Haddow from East Kilbride finished in the all important 206th place. Graeme and I were together coming up the steep hill with about 300m to go, but he was a bit stronger and managed to pull away.


Saturday, February 10, 2007

Did I make the top half in the National XC?

Regular readers may remember that one of my targets for the year was to make the top half of the field in the National Cross Country Championship. Well, I'm not long back from Callendar Park in Falkirk (which, incidentally, was a cold place to be this afternoon - thank goodness I wasn't sitting for an hour and a half watching the football). I finished in 210th place, in a time of 49.58. I was felt I ran quite well, and was fairly pleased with my time.

So, did I make the top half?

The answer is that I don't know yet. The Jackson team, who do a lot of the organisation of the cross country champonships, produced results remarkably quickly, but only issued the first page of the men's race. They said they would finish the results off later tonight and post them on the internet. That means, unfortunately, I do not know how many people finished the race, and as a consequence don't know whether I achieved my target or not. The mathematicians amongst the readership will already have worked out that I need there to be 420 finishers if I am to achieve the target. For the last few years the finishing numbers have been close to this - maybe slightly more - so it is going to be close. You can be sure I'll be checking the website at regular intervals this evening to see if I have made it, and I'll pass the information on as soon as I know.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


I set the alarm for 6am this morning and headed for Rowardennan to meet a few of the guys for a long run. As planned, we left Rowardennan car park about 8.45am and headed north, past the Inversnaid Hotel and along the really hard bit of track up to Beinglas Farm. Then we turned round and came back exactly the same way. I tried to get a bowl of soup in the restaurant at Beinglas but it was closed. I then tried to get a bowl of soup at the Inversnaid Hotel, but they weren't serving food today and could only do me a coffee. No surprise then that cramp started to kick in on the last section, but I managed to run through it without any great problems, mainly by throwing an ever increasing number of jelly babies down my throat.

For the time junkies out there, it took me exactly 3 hours to get to Beinglas, which included just a few minutes' stop on route at Inversnaid. I was about 10 minutes longer coming back, but that included a 15 minute stop at Inversnaid, so the times were fairly consistent. I reckon we covered about 27 and a half miles in total. I had no real problems with my cough, and am hoping that I'm finally over the worst of it.

The section of the route north of Inversnaid is bad enough once, but to do it twice in the one day is beyond a joke. I was on my own all the way back as the 3 speed merchants had headed away into the distance. I'm sure that the general loneliness contributed to my tiredness, and it felt as though that part of the route went on for ever. It was a great relief to reach Inversnaid.

Finally, I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear that I eventually got my soup in the Rowardennan hotel after finishing the run. It was worth the wait and I would recommend this as a place to go for something to eat. They even serve meals at 3.30pm in the afternoon - how unusual for the Scottish hosptality sector to actually meet its customers' needs, and serve food outwith the normal lunchtime or dinner time shifts. Well done to the owners of the Rowardennan hotel. It would be good if a few more hotels took note.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Out of 2 cups

I feeling pretty gutted tonight. This afternoon Falkirk lost 3-0 at home to St Johnstone in the 4th round of the Scottish Cup. That followed a 3-0 defeat to Kilmarnock on Tuesday night in the semi final of the CIS Cup, which followed a 2-0 home defeat to Kilmarnock in the league last Saturday. In the space of a week we have dropped out of the top 6 of the SPL, have been knocked out both the cups (on one occasion to a club from a lower division), and have seen one of our top players sign a pre contact agreement with Rangers. It's not good. The only small consolation is the fact that I didn't go to the game on Tuesday night or to the game this afternoon, as it would have been infinitely worse to have watched either game in the flesh. I also have to admit to an element of satisfaction in seeing Hearts knocked out of the Scottish Cup today as well, losing to a last minute goal at Dunfermline. That would have been a sore one for them.

To add to my general bad mood, Scotland lost 42-20 to England in the rugby. I wasn't expecting us to win - we have a very poor record at Twickenham - but it was still a bit disappointing to watch, especially as Scotland were actually ahead about half way through the first half. One of the English tries should not have been given, as Jonny Wilkinson put his foot down over the touchline before he grounded the ball. I don't think it would have made any difference to the overall result, however.

On a slightly more positive note at least I'm running again. I've had 4 easy half hour runs this week and my cough is definitely getting better -not before time, I have to say. I'm going to go up to the WHW tomorrow and have a run from Rowardennan to the top of Loch Lomond and back with a few of the guys. I plan to go at an easy pace and not push too hard- easier said than done, perhaps, particularly when one of the guys going is a former winner and course record holder of the Devil O' The Highlands Footrace, a 43 mile run along the WHW from Tyndrum to Fort William.

Next Saturday is the National Cross Country championships at Falkirk. It is a special event and a fantastic occasion, in which just about all of the top Scottish endurance runners take part. One of my targets for the year was to finish in the top half of the field. That will be difficult, especially as I've missed quite a bit of training with this virus, but I certainly plan to give it my best shot. No wine next Friday night, that's for sure.