Sunday 30 January 2011

Bellahouston 4k Cross Country

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

My 5th outing at the Bellahouston 4k Cross Country, and the first time that another Westie has turned up, with a very welcome appearance from John Quinn (no relation to Robert Quinn as far as I know).

Paul Thompson of Helensburgh is normally my benchmark at this type of race, but unfortunately he wasn't here today. So instead I conjured up 3 main aims for the race:

  1. To start smoothly without spiking my heart rate, and then slowly move up the field
  2. To hang onto Jeff Farquhar of Pitreavie and maybe just pip him on the line
  3. A third and slightly irrelevant goal was to see if I could match the fastest woman's time.

So, I deliberately didn't go right on the startline, but stood further back a bit behind Stuart Gibson and Michael Gillespie who I knew would be starting faster than me. When the gun fired I was immediately blocked and boxed in for a while, which helped to limit my pace to 3:07/km pace for the first 200 metres.

I then had the satisfying experience of passing a constant stream of runners during the first lap until at 1.4km I realised I had suddenly caught and passed Jeff Farqhuar. This wasn't really my plan, and as soon as I passed Jeff I wondered if that was a good move, but tried to focus on chasing after David Henderson of Greenock Glenpark who was only a couple of places ahead. I felt sure I would catch David, and I also thought that I'd done enough to get away from Jeff.

Neither of these turned out to be true since I faded in the 3rd kilometre dropping to 3:37 pace and getting passed by Jeff and caught by a young Shettleston runner, or perhaps I caught him and then he rallied, it was all a bit of a blur by this point. Anyhow I latched onto the young Shettleston guy stride for stride which was dragging me closer and closer back to Jeff. We both jumped by an Inverclyde runner who appeared to have nothing left, then with 400 metres to go I decided to go for it. At 250 metres to go there was sharp turn through a gate that killed my speed, and at that very moment the Inverclyde and Shettleston runners both came barreling past with an unbelievable turn of pace. I tried to follow suit realising this was exactly what I needed to catch Jeff, who was still a comfortable distance ahead.

With 60 metres to go, Jeff appeared to be coasting to the finish so I tried to go past with such pace that he'd have no response. Once I'd passed Jeff I still had 50 metres to go of sheer effort and panic. I wasn't prepared to take any chances that he'd found a sprint finish, so I lost all form and charged for the line with arms thrashing. The Inverclyde guy stopped dead on the line right in front of me, so I hurtled past him into the funnel.

I have no idea why runners stop before reaching the funnel, unless they specifically want to get the time of the person they've just beaten, which makes no sense to me!

So, the outcome was that I did indeed pip Jeff by 1 second, and finished the race in 58th position but as 2nd V40 (a long way) behind Robert Quinn. I also managed not to spike my heart rate at the start by deliberately getting boxed in. I clocked 13:49 which is miles faster than I've run the Bella 4k in the past, and my first time under 14 minutes. It was a different course today, but in fact it was more twisty than the other course.

Elspeth Curran of Kilbarchan successfully defended her title, which was no big surprise given her outstanding current form. I was expecting her to be at least 20 seconds faster than me, but checking the results at the end I noticed she ran 13:49, the exact same time as myself. I was therefore quite pleased to achieve targets 2 and 3 with precisely no seconds to spare!

Saturday 29 January 2011

Glasgow Parkrun #107

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

A record turnout of 370 runners at this morning's Parkrun. The startline was therefore a bit of a scrum with quite a few unfamiliar faces.

I tried to rein in the start and went through the first 500 metres in 3:04/km pace with a bunch of 5 juniors belting off ahead of me. Once up the first climb I was sitting in 8th place behind the 5 juniors plus Ross Bark and Tommy Hearle who didn't look that far in front.

Given that I'm doing the Bellahouston 4k Cross Country tomorrow, I didn't want to totally gut myself, so instead concentrated on running smoothly and trying to speed up on the 2nd lap.

I passed 2 of the juniors at the end of the first lap, and then tried to press on and maybe catch someone else. I pushed hard up the final hill and suddenly realised I was more or less within catching distance of Tommy Hearle who didn't look like he was trying too hard. But once on the run downhill to the finish Tommy opened up and gap seemed uncloseable, however just as the ground levels out there is still a bit to do, so I put in a final effort and very nearly caught Tommy on the line, but not quite.

I felt like I was plodding round, so expected to do about 17:35, however my recorded time was 17:19 which is only 6 seconds off my PB, so with a bit more application my goal of sub 17 minutes does not look completely impossible. However with various other races coming up on Saturdays for the whole of Feb, I probably won't be able to do another Parkrun until early March.

Friday 28 January 2011

Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne

A little idea for July 2011...

View Haute Randonnée Pyrénéenne in a larger map

Saturday 22 January 2011

Devil's Burdens Relay

Activity on Garmin Connect

My 11th year in a row at the Devil's Burdens Relay, and possibly the last one in its continuous loop format.

We had 5 Westerlands teams out on the course, with the women and mixed team off at 9.30am. On the 10.30 start we had Tim Austin and Adam Gatens on Leg 1 for the A Team, and they did well to finish the 1st stage in 2nd position behind Jethro and Tom of Shettleston.

Cameron Burt ran Leg 2 and finished in a group with HBT, Bellahouston, Ochils and Carnethy all close by. I ran Leg 3 with Niall McAlinden and we finished in 61 minutes, handing over to Brian Bonnyman on Leg 4.

Sunday 16 January 2011

West District Cross Country

Race details | Activity on Garmin Connect | Photos

The postponed West Districts, originally scheduled for last December.

Kilbarchan AAC took 1,2,3 in the senior ladies race.

I felt fairly washed out for the men's race, and just tried to hang on after the opening stampede. The only people I caught were Marc McColl and Greig Glendining, but other than that I was slowly dropping down the field the whole race, and really not feeling quite right.

Saturday 8 January 2011

Glasgow Parkrun #104

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

Another Saturday morning. Another Parkrun.

Cold snowy conditions so once again the 5-lap off-road course.

I arrived a bit late after clearing piles of snow off the car, then horrible stomach problems meant I only just reached the start with no time for a warm up or to change into spikes.

After my hard 10km around the Kilpatricks Race Route yesterday afternoon and running with a sore stomach meant I was feeling pretty washed out straight away, and after the very first climb it was clear I had no chance of chasing Niall this week, so I spent the first 3 laps sitting in 3rd place behind Luke Traynor and Niall just waiting to get passed.

I tried to keep a steady pace after the initial cavalry charge and in fact ran 3:48, 3:59, 3:59, 3:59 and 3:59 for the 5 laps. At the start of the 4th lap I got caught and passed by Greig Glendinning and Craig Ross from Bellahouston RR. I rallied slightly in Lap 4 and got back in front, but at the start of Lap 5 Greig went past again and I couldn't quite respond so Greig finished in 19:41 to my 19:44, with Niall a good 32 seconds in front this week.

Monday 3 January 2011

Greenmantle Dash

Results | Race details

My 10th Greenmantle Dash in a row, and only 2 seconds off my best time of 18:03.

Given that conditions were pretty much perfect, my target time was to go sub 18 minutes for the first time, so I started as fast as possible and was first over the wall and fence, and reached the river level with Michael Reid of Moorfoots. After 2 minutes or so I was feeling pretty wrecked, so backed off a fraction going up the fields until Cameron Burt caught me, at which point I sped up a fraction and climbed alongside Craig Mattocks, with Grant Stewart trotting away up the steep hill just in front.

The climb always goes on a little longer than I remember, and I lost concentration at the turn when I should really have been focussed on the descent. So I just dawdled down waiting for people to pass, when I should have been attempting to accelerate at every footstep.

Strangely nobody passed me until just before the fields when Cameron Burt nipped past in his ladies Westies vest. I thought I could easily just track Cameron and pass him on the road.

What I hadn't expected though was a runner in red catching me. I thought this was Michael McGovern at first, but on closer inspection when I turned my head I realised it was Bruce Smith, so I quickly responded and pulled away, but then Bruce drew close again, so I responded again, and then Bruce pulled right alongside at which point my resolve suddenly broke and I stupidly backed off, thus missing out on a PB and first M40.

It was a bit disappointing to give up like that at the end, but encouraging that I was so close to my best time for the course (18:03) by running 18:05.

Sunday 2 January 2011

Summary of 2010

All race results | Hill race results

I've just totted up my races for 2010, and discovered I completed 51 timed events (including club handicaps). The early part of the year was scuppered by illness and injury, so I missed a lot of key events like Carnethy 5, National Cross Country, Ben Lomond, etc.

I didn't manage a single marathon or half marathon, but did complete 9 hill races lasting more than 1hr50, getting horrendous cramp in most of them due to lack of conditioning. Apart from these 9 races, plus Leg 3 at the UK Hill Relays, the other 41 races were all under the hour.

I only raced once outside of Scotland, and that was at the Dublin Masters Cross Country in November, although I did hike 800km across the Pyrenees in July on the GR11, and ran up Mount Teide on Tenerife in November.

I managed 4 PBs: Ayr 5-mile Trail Race in August, National Cross Country Relays at Cumbernauld in October, and Glasgow Parkrun and King's Seat Grudge Match in November.

In December I ran every day as part of the 2010 Marcothon devised by Debbie Consani, and during December I only raced 3 times at Strathclyde and Glasgow Parkruns, each time on snow or ice, so the times are a bit meaningless, but I finished 5th, 1st and 2nd.

Going into 2011, I'm hoping to consolidate some better performances on the road and cross country. I will take part in a few hill races, but more for the social aspect than being competitive since I have little or no natural ability at hill running.

As mentioned previously, my main goals for the coming year are to stay uninjured, run more regularly, and get a decent marathon time like something around 2:45.

Saturday 1 January 2011

Glasgow Parkrun #103

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

My first race of 2011.

101 runners completed the course on a cold, dreich morning.

As for Parkrun #101, the route consisted of 5 laps of 1 kilometre giving 10 climbs up to the wooden gazebo in the corner of the field diagonally across from the Burrell.

I did my usual setting off as fast as possible, and lead up to the gazebo trying to open a gap straight way, but I could feel someone sticking to my shoulder and saw that Ross Milne of Central was not going to be easy to shake off.

I ran the first 3 laps in the lead with Ross right on my shoulder. I was half imagining it going to a battle on the final lap, but Ross took me by surprise by surging on the 4th lap and opening a small gap. This was enough that I couldn't respond, so I just coasted round the last lap, but working hard enough to hold 2nd place.

I felt a bit disappointed afterwards that I didn't put up a proper fight, but at the time I was feeling extremely jaded from a poor night's sleep and drinking the night before.