An amazing thing happened on Thursday night. I actually made it along to a Central AC training session - I'm almost positive that's the first time that's happened this year. I was one of the first to arrive and we did a decent warm up, then some 'diagonals' on the football pitch, then a warm down. I quite enjoyed it, although it was a bit disconcerting to be lapped during the warm up by Robert Russell, even though he is an ex Scottish National XC champion, and won last Sunday's Grangemouth 10k.
As well as going to the Central training, this week I've managed a fantastic run round Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh, another good run round the south side of Edinburgh, a lunchtime run along the canal and past Firhill in Glasgow, and a 20 mile run today round Strathearn. I guess you could say I get about a bit. Today's run round Strathearn was really good. I ran with the 2 Phils (Phil T and Phil M), both of whom are 1) Strathearn Harriers 2) experienced hill runners and 3) to be honest, a lot more comfortable on the hills than I am. We started somewhere near the Glenturret distillery, headed through Crieff, over some hills to a wildlife park near Comrie, through Comrie, and back over some even steeper hills passing a resevoir before returning to our starting point. For the vast majority of the run I has a fantastic view of the two Phils' backs, and I had no idea where I was. I tried to pretend that I was feeling great, and that it made more sense for me to sit behind them a bit, but I don't think either of the Phils was fooled for a minute. The only consolation was the time - Phil T had told me before the run that 3 hours was a good time for the route and that today he expected 3 hours 20 to be more likely. We finished in 2 hours 51 minutes, having run the last 2 (downhill) miles in something close to 12 minutes.
This is a big weekend for long distance runners, with both the London and Lochaber marathons taking place tomorrow. I know a number of people who are taking part, so good luck to all of them. They'll be hoping the conditions are better than Rotterdam last Sunday or Boston last Monday. At Rotterdam the temperature reached 34 degrees, and eventually the officials decided to close the route because so many runners were passing out due to the extreme heat. Boston was the complete opposite, with very heavy rain and wind gusts of up to 50 mph. The winning time at Boston was 2 hours 14 minutes. While I may think that was not too bad a time at all, and I would probably be quite pleased with it, it should be pointed out that it was was the slowest winning time for something like 30 years. The women didn't fare much better, with the first lady something like 2 hours 34 minutes - not great by international standards.
The forecast for London is for the temparature to reach 23 degrees. No doubt Brendan Foster, Steve Cram et al on the BBC will say something like "absolutely ideal conditions for marathon running", but the reality is that these temparatures are far too hot, especially if you have spent a winter training in Scotland in average temperatures of around 5 degrees. It would definitely kill me. I have never run particularly well at London - I've done it 7 times (1992, 1993, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002) and my best is a not so great 3 hours 7 minutes. Almost every year I've found it too warm. Tomorrow I'll be sitting in front of the television, hopefully eating a couple of bacon and sausage rolls, knowing full well that it just isn't the kind of event where I could expect to run well. Won't stop me wishing I was there, however....