Sunday, November 25, 2007

East District XC League - Kirkcaldy

The less said about this the better, I think. I ran very poorly - one of my poorest races of the year. My training diaries show that every time I change job I run like a donkey (I had a particularly bad half marathon at Loch Rannoch in 1992), but maybe I'm just making excuses.

My time was 39 minutes 22 seconds for the 8,800 metres (just under 5 and a half miles). My clubmate Phil had been out at a party last night, actually stopped to be sick at one point during the race, and still managed to beat me by around 15 seconds. Not good.

Maybe I just need to have a bit of a rest and let this cold work its way through my system. I reckon I still need to so another 122 miles to get to 2,000 for the year - even with a bit of a break this week I should still be able to do it relatively comfortably, as long as I don't pick up any stupid injuries. So it's a plan - an easy week this week. We'll see....

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tyndrum to Crianlarich and back

I was on holiday today, before starting my new job on Monday. I had planned to run with John K on the Gleniffer Braes in Paisley, but John had a slight niggle on his hamstring so has sensibly decided to rest for a few days. As an alternative I decided to drive up to Tyndrum and do a WHW run, the first for quite some time.

I arrived at Tyndrum just before 12, had a quick bowl of soup in the Green Welly, then headed south along the WHW towards Crianlarich. It was a good day for a run - the colours were lovely, and the hills around Crianlarich looked fantastic with a light covering of snow from about 2,000 feet. There were very few people about, although I did surprise one elderly walker when I came round the corner to find him doing the toilet at the side of the path :) After a bit more than an hour I reached the deer gate at the Bogle Glen and decided to head right down the hill into Crianlarich, before turning round and coming back the same way. I reached the turning point (exactly 7 miles) in 1 hour 13 minutes, then came back slightly faster. I saw quite a few deer, all of which were considerably larger than the deer that live round about us. Wonder why that is? Are they different types of deer? Please leave a comment if you know the answer.

Anyway, I worked hard all the way back - it's a different type of running on that terrain compared to the roads, and it takes a wee while for your legs to get used to it again. There was even a snow shower at one stage, and it got quite cold at the higher points with the biting wind. I arrived back at Tyndrum just before 3, had a panini for lunch in the Green Welly, had a look in their whisky shop (and noticed they had a 43 year old Bowmore for sale with a price tag of £495 - gosh), then enjoyed the fantastic drive home through Crianlarich, along to Lochearnhead, along the length of the loch to St Fillans, on to Comrie, over the hill and home. It's one of my favourite drives. All in all a cracking day out, which has reminded me once again what a brilliant place Scotland is, and how lucky we are to have such fabulous scenery right on our doorstep.

ps - after finishing this post I've just noticed that my previous one was saying how lousy I felt because of my stinking cold. I'm sure you've probably guessed, but I do feel a lot better. I still have a bit of a cough, and I didn't sound great today when I stopped running (but then again, I never do), but I'm definitely feeling a lot better. Unfortunately I seem to have passed it on to allybea, who isn't particularly pleased to have inherited it :(

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Still feeling lousy

Not feeling any better today, in fact feeling even worse, so I didn't go to the Strathaven 10k. A shame, as I was looking forward to it and hoping for a fast time. That probably means I won't now achieve my target of a sub 38 minute 10k this year. Over the next few weeks I'll do a more detailed update of how I performed against the various targets I set at the start of the year.

Exciting news - I've joined Facebook, and been made a 'Father Figure' in the West Highland Way family. I'm very honoured about that, even though I have to admit that I don't have a clue what I am doing. I'm sure I'll get the hang of it eventually. In the meantime if anyone has sent me a Facebook message or has written on my wall (what is that all about?), and I haven't replied, it is simply because I don't know what to do yet.

Incidentally, I've just realised I haven't said anything so far on my blog about Glasgow being awarded the 2014 Commonwealth Games. What a great result - I was absolutely delighted when I heard the news last Friday. It's a fantastic opportunity for Glasgow, and for the whole of Scotland, to leave a sporting legacy for the Scottish people. Hopefully it's an opportunity we'll take.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Full of the cold

Today I have a stinker of a cold and am feeling miserable. I shouldn't really complain, as it's my first cold since January, but I think I am a serious doubt for tomorrow 'Run With The Wind' 10k at Strathaven. That's a shame, as I was looking forward to this race (particularly the fact that the overall course elevation is about 120m downhill).

Good luck to Scotland in the football this afternoon against Italy. If we win we're through to Euro 2008 - what an incredible achievement that would be in a group with France and Italy. If it's a draw we still have a slight chance (but we would be relying on Ukraine to beat France on Wednesday night), and if we lose then we're out. I have to say it is irritating me that both of the hosts, Austria and Switzerland, have been given automatic qualification, leaving only 14 other available places. Both of these countries would be unlikely to qualify from their own efforts, so why should they get an automatic place? I think it is time to scrap that rule, and make the hosts qualify like everybody else.

Friday, November 02, 2007

The 20 most annoying things about running

In no particular order, and with tongue firmly in cheek:
1. Seeing the sub 3 hour runners being called 'fun runners' or 'joggers' by Brendan Foster during his London Marathon commentary. These guys and girls have trained hard - at least Steve Cram recognises that. Why don't you do it yourself one year, Bren?
2. The aggressively feminist atmosphere at 'women only' races - woe betide any man who happens to venture too close to the course.
3. Short courses - if it's advertised as a 10k, make sure it is 10k. That shouldn't be too hard a concept, should it?
4. People shouting 'you're looking good' when you have 5 miles to go in a marathon and hit the wall 3 miles earlier. Let's be honest - I'm not looking good. So don't lie to me.
5. Being overtaken by a woman (full stop). But it's even worse when it is being filmed by a TV camera crew.
6. Old runners moaning about the lack of veterans' prizes - especially when they are the only person in their age category.
7. People who start on the front line of every race, even when they're not that good. It tends to happen in bigger events like the Glagow half marathon, and you spend the first mile weaving your way round them. There are normally signs at the start which indicate your estimated time. So here's a tip: if you think the race will take you 2 hours, why don't you line up beside the sign that says '2 hours'? That way you won't annoy all the faster runners who pass you in the first mile.
8. Daft excuses for poor performances, such as 'my horse wasn't feeling well' or 'I did a long training run yesterday and was still tired'. That's was your own fault, you fool - have an easy day before a race, like the rest of us.
9. Hearing the excuse that 'I don't run because it's boring' - especially when the person telling you this is one of the most boring people on the entire planet.
10. People who write to Runner's World to complain about being unsuccessful in the London Marathon ballot. If you're that keen to run a marathon, why don't you get a charity place or do one of the 30 other marathons in the UK?
11. Spitting into the wind during a race, and watching it come back and land on your face.
12. Someone else spitting into the wind during a race, and watching it come back and land on your face.
13. A half marathon marshall telling you to stop and wait for the traffic to go past. Yeah, that will be right. Did no-one explain that this is a road race? The cars are supposed to stop for the runners, not the other way round.
14. Club committee meetings where the most trivial issues generate 2 hours of debate. I don't care if the coffee at the 10k should cost 75p or £1 - just decide and move on please.
15. Rivals speeding up when you overtake them..
16. ..then slowing down again when they realise you are too strong.
17. People with no knowledge of running saying 'Paula Radcliffe is a quitter'. Come back and give us your opinion when you have run a 2.15 marathon and won a world championship, all right?
18. Portaloos at the East District relays. What's that all about? Way too civilised. What's wrong with the bushes, Alex?
19. Golfers who shout 'Don't you know this is private property?' Yes we do but read the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 and see who is entitled to be there, before you start shouting.
20. AGMs of Scottish Athletics Limited. I don't want to give up my Saturday to listen to 2 delegates having a fight about a chair.