Thursday 26 May 2011

Clydebank 10k

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

The 2nd race in the Polaroid 10k Series.

I started reasonably well and in fact caught and passed Paul Thompson after about 2km. However this probably wasn't a good idea. It wasn't until about 3km that Stephen Mulrine of Garscube went by, and on the first lap I was still within sight of Russell Whittington.

At the start of the 2nd lap after crossing the bridge over the canal I could feel myself fading, and got caught by Steven Prentice of Bellahouston Harriers, which shouldn't have happened given that he ran Edinburgh Marathon on Sunday. I was then also caught by Nick Reid who asked if I wanted to flip a coin to see who would win after last week's close finish. I said I'd let him win, so long as he gave me a tow past Paul Thompson, who appeared to be a catchable distance in front. Nick said "no problem, we'll easily catch him", and then sped off and dropped me with 4km to go.

I tried not to panic and figured that with 14 minutes of running left, there was still a chance of catching them both. I caught and passed Steven Prentice again, plus Donald Cameron of Clydesdale, and at 8km I tried to ramp it up like last week at Helensburgh.

At 8km I could hear new footsteps on my heels, moving faster than my own and suddenly Liam Conway sped past to make up for last week, and he had Craig Ross in tow. I jumped back ahead of Craig as we climbed the bridge over the canal, but then felt horribly flat with a mile to go as we hit the edge of the business park.

This was suddenly the business end of things when I should have been chasing down Nick and Paul, but I felt rubbish, and had no response for getting back to Liam and Craig. Plus Steven and Donald came barreling past with less than a kilometre to go. I tried to hang on for the dip through the tunnel for the sharp right turn and final sprint.

A good shout from John Bell had me on my toes and working and suddenly I found some speed that leapt me past Donald and brought me alongside Steven. I saw Steven try to respond, but I was now finally in my stride and closing rapidly on Craig and Liam, but too late to catch them before hurtling across the line.

Similar to last week, I finished 3 places behind Paul, this week in 35:24 for 16th position, so just 4 seconds slower than Helensburgh. Perhaps if I don't race at the Kilpatricks next week, I might stand a chance of going sub 35 minutes at Dumbarton.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Glasgow Parkrun #123

21st May 2011

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

My first Parkrun in a while, and my main aim was to beat my PB of 17:13, and to see if I could get sub 17 minutes. This would mean running 3:24 or better for each kilometre.

I couldn't see any known competition on the startline, so started with the intention of taking an immediate lead. I went through the first kilometre in 3:17, according to Garmin, although I don't fully trust the kilometre splits since the course takes sharp turns beneath tree cover.

I kept surging to try to drop the 2 young guys who were running right beside me, but after 2km they were still with me, and in fact had got just ahead as we closed the first loop.

The 2nd lap begins with a steady uphill drag, so I quickened my feet and went past Andrew Clark of Giffnock, and was closing on the leader Roger Naughton.

I should have tried harder at this point to close the gap, since once over the brow of the hill and into the descent, Roger pulled away again.

At the 4km point we turned left into a wall of tail end runners on their first lap. I lost sight of Roger as I tried to avoid slamming into the backs of runners veering across the path.

I did what I could on the final descent to the finish to reduce the gap to 8 seconds, and felt sure I'd worked hard enough for a decent time so was a bit surprised and disappointed to realise I'd only run 17:20 which was 7 seconds off my PB set last November. Must try harder next time!

Thursday 19 May 2011

Helensburgh 10k

19th May 2011

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

A record turnout at Helensburgh 10k, the opening race of the Polaroid 10k Series now in its 25th Year. The conditions were pretty windy and blustery, but comfortably cold to prevent any overheating.

I hadn't run a 10k in ages, so wasn't really sure what to expect, but I was hoping for some residual fitness from all that marathon training when I ran every day from December to March.

My only plan was to keep Paul Thompson and Niall vaguely in my sites, whilst trying not to overcook and it fade away during the race.

My first 2 kilometres were 3:25 and 3:24, but already Paul and Niall were a good 5 or 6 places ahead. I ran with Dave Houston for a bit, but suddenly found myself pressing on until I was joined by Nick Reid of Bellahouston at around 3km. Nick and I ran together side by side for the next 2km, before the elastic broke and Nick pulled out a bit of lead.

The turn along the seafront just after 5km was into a battering headwind, and I felt like I was grinding to a halt. I was caught by Euan Geddes (Garscube) who helped maintain the pace along King Street, with 10 or so runners lined up ahead. I could clearly see Paul and Niall, but they were not within realistic catching distance. Instead I focussed on picking off the 5 or so runners directly ahead, but still feeling OK, and suddenly realising I could Nick Reid again with about 200 metres to go, and putting in a last ditch sprint to attack Niall who was coming back rapidly.

I crossed the line in 21st place in 35:20, with Niall one place ahead, and Paul Thompson 2 places ahead of Niall. So funnily enough my plan of chasing Niall and Paul more or less worked, and gave me my fastest 10k time in over 3 years.

Saturday 14 May 2011

Goatfell Race

14th May 2011

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect | Photos

This was my first full length Goatfell Race since the glory days of 2004, when Westies took the team prize with 3 runners in the top 10. Ronnie, me and Manny. And I clocked a PB of 1:27:32. And my good friend Bish McAra was running only months after being almost killed in a car crash beside Dumgoyne.

Results from 2004

I'd completed a shorter version of the race in 2007 in truly awful weather on a modified course that missed out the road section, and instead included the descent at the end of Glen Rosa Horseshoe. So today I wasn't expecting to run as fast as 2004, but I was hoping to get close to 90 minutes.

The race begins with a lap of the sports field before trundling out onto the road. I set off with the intent of being first to the forest, and jogging down the road I soon couldn't hear any footsteps behind me. I had no intention of looking round to see the gap, so just kept a steady pace without over exerting myself until I'd turned onto the forest track just before 3 kilometres.

At this point I immediately slowed up to let Andy Fallas, Brian Marshall and Paul Faulkner past, shortly followed by Stewart Whitlie. At this point I thought I might be able to hang onto 5th spot for a while, so tried to maintain the gap with Stewart. However, it wasn't long before I was caught by the next runner who to my surprise turned out to be Paul Thompson.

I was slightly taken aback to have been caught by Paul so quickly, so redoubled my efforts and tried to match his pace, which worked until we were both caught by Charles Hutchinson (HBT), at which point I gave up to some extent and slumped back in 7th place.

I thought I might be safe in 7th spot for a while, but soon after the deer fence I could see Bruce Smith bounding up towards me, so I allowed him to go past in the hope that he would drag me back to Paul. Having Bruce to chase seemed to help a bit, but soon we were both caught by Alan Smith just before the shoulder.

Heading up the final steep slope of boulders and grass, I was trying to reel in Paul, Alan and Bruce, and was only a few metres behind at the summit trig.

Once plummeting back down, I got past Bruce on the steep stuff only for him to tear away from me lower down. I tried to chase but can't shift across rough ground like Bruce. I still thought I was descending OK, but obviously not fast enough since I got caught by Craig Stansfield (Rossendale), Gary Fraser and Adam Anderson lower down the trail.

I was fairly confident I'd catch Gary and Adam again on the road, and tried to pace my effort back to Brodick. My heart rate was close to 180bpm for the last kilometre, so I must have trying reasonably hard. I got past Adam with 1 km to go, but couldn't make any ground on Gary, so I finished 11th in 1:31:52.

Saturday 7 May 2011

Ben Lomond Hill Race

7th May 2011

Results | Activity on Garmin Connect

This was my first Ben Lomond Race since 2009, the year of the freak snow storm when I ran 1:24:02. The 4 years before that I ran 1:21, 1:17, 1:17 and 1:21. So today I was kind of expecting to run around 1:20.

The race started quite slowly, so I lead the first 800 metres, as far as the new deer fence with Gala's Fergus Johnston right on my heels. I had no intention of trying to maintain the lead once through the gate, so immediately drifted to one side and allowed runners to pass.

Once Paul Thompson caught me up I decided to start trying again, and was also having a bit of a battle with Gregor Heron who was climbing strongly.

Halfway up the climb I seemed to be catching Andy McCall, but never quite closed the gap. Des Crowe caught me for a while but I managed to pull away with Gregor.

At the base of the final climb, I was caught by Sarah McCormack with Gregor and Graham Munro just ahead. I managed to nip in front of Gregor and Graham just as we hit the summit ridge, which was enshrouded in thick mist. I tried to move along this ridge as quickly as possible and reached the summit in a fairly disappointing 54 minutes, a full 5 minutes slower than my quickest climb.

Anyhow, I wasn't really that bothered, I was more interested in trying to descent quickly with about 20 metres of visibility. I knew that by opening a gap it would harder for folk to chase. I dropped off the summit slope almost on the heels of Alastair Robertson and Alan Smith, but they took off much faster than I could follow, although I did pass Lochaber's John Binnie.

But for most of the descent I saw nobody, until lower down I caught glimpses of Niall coming backwards rapidly. I could see that I would easily catch Niall so long as I did nothing stupid. Perhaps I should have attacked a bit harder, but I just pootled down through the forestry section until I could suddenly hear Des Crowe and James Jarvis chatting very close behind me. This was sufficient incentive to shift a bit and get through the lower deer fence as fast as possible, now just metres ahead of Niall.

Barreling down the gravel path towards the car park Niall, James Jarvis and myself were almost neck and neck. Niall and I jumped onto the road simultaneously where I planned to launch my final attack, but Niall preempted me and flew away in an instant. I thought he'd gone to soon and I'd still catch him, and tried to generate the pace necessary, but it was all getting a bit too painful. And my final effort was too little too late, so I hurtled across the line 5 seconds after Niall for 10th place in 1:22:14. Barring the snowy day, this is was my slowest time in 6 years, but was the fastest I could manage on the day, which is all you can do.