Tuesday 30 August 2011

Graham Clark 3.9-mile Road Race

30th August 2011
Activity on Garmin Connect | Results
Knockhill Racing Circuit
Tonight I ran the Graham Clark 3.9-mile Road Race on Knockhill Racing Circuit, organised by Carnegie Harriers.  There was a bit of a delay in starting due to 3 cars screaming around the track.

I'm not sure why with a name like Knockhill I was thought the route would be flat, but my plan was to aim for 7 minutes per 1.3-mile lap. I set off reasonably fast, and clocked 3:03 for the first kilometre, albeit it was mainly downhill. I was then leading for the first mile, but could hear footsteps gaining and realised I was being closely tracked by 3 runners - Chris Russell of Fife, Roger Clark and Ewan Jack (the "world's fastest doctor") sporting a Central AC vest.

Chris Russell and Roger Clark went past before the end of the first lap, so I was left running with Ewan for the 2nd lap, and I suddenly felt very tired. I couldn't quite imagine how I was going to complete a 3rd lap at this speed, so I decided my only option was to be slightly tactical.  At the end of the 2nd lap I backed off a fraction and allowed Ewan to open up a small gap, thinking I could get a rest and then chase him down at the end. However, once the gap had opened I realised I wasn't that bothered about catching him any more, and was more concerned about holding onto 4th spot.

I reckon I could probably have caught Ewan with slightly more effort, but finished 4 seconds adrift in the end.  Anyhow, it was good little race, and far more challenging than I'd anticipated. And for the record, my splits were 6:48, 7:17, 7:17...  so I probably hammered off a bit too fast on the 1st lap.
Knockhill Racing Circuit

Elevation Profile
Kilometre Splits

Sunday 28 August 2011

Ochil 2000s Hill Race

27th August 2011
Route on Garmin Connect
Ochil 2000s route
I entered the Ochil 2000s race more in hope than expectation. I tried to start slowly, and only lead for about the first 200 metres before throttling back and taking it easy on the climbs. I dropped a bunch of places on the first climb up Innerdownie before getting a bit more into my stride on the rolling hills towards King's Seat. I was exchanging places with Michael Geoghegan on a regular basis, and trying to keep up with Graham Kirby and trying to stay ahead of Cameron Burt. I think all 3 got away just before Ben Cleuch. I tried to shave a corner across to Ben Buck, but don't think it helped much.

On the out and back to Ben Ever I was caught by Craig Love. The next section to Blairdenon leads through horrific peat hags at first, which bunched things up a bit. From Blairdenon I elected this year to veer more to the left on the descent to stay on better ground, and I think this worked up to a point since I caught up again with Cameron Burt and Jasmin Paris, however I think I should have stayed ever further left since Andrea Priestley was running a bit higher and closing me down. I sort of ran with Cameron for a bit at the start of the descent to Jerad.

Just as we reached Jerad I had Andrea and Jasmin barreling down on me, so I made a stupid mistake when I saw Ellie with my replenishment drink and didn't take the time to stop and swap bottles. I quickly regretted this on the climb up Dumyat when I suddenly felt completely washed out. Funnily enough Cameron Burt did stop and swig my drink, and was now re-invigorated and closing me down fast.

I managed to keep ahead of Cameron at the summit of Dumyat, and started descending just waiting for him to pass. Ross McLennan was just ahead on the descent making it nice and easy having someone to follow. It wasn't until the bluebell woods that Cameron finally came past, just before the steep mud slide. I then followed Ross and Cameron down the steep tarmac hill before the sharp right turn up the track alongside the University boundary wall.  I knew I needed to attack now so increased the pace and passed Ross and then jumped in front of Cameron just before the hole in the wall.  I wasn't sure what Cameron's sprint finish was like, but with 500 metres to go I kicked and tried to make a decisive break.  I thought I'd dropped Cameron but as I reached the end of the finishing funnel there was no sign of any dibber box, so I had a bit of a mad panic trying to find it with Cameron hurtling down on me. I looked around the finishing tent and eventually found the box on the table beside the laptop, and managed to dib just before Cameron arrived.

My time of 3 hours 13 minutes was the slowest of my 4 outings on the route, but I was pleased to reach the end for once without getting cramp.

Friday 26 August 2011

Cowal Games 5k

25th August 2011

Results | Route on Garmin Connect

I'd not done this race before, but I assumed it would be pretty similar to the Willie Jukes 5-miler that heads south out of Dunoon along the coast road.  I took the new Argyll Ferries passenger service across from Gourock, and met Mick McLoone and Sean Gaffney on the boat, so I knew immediately I'd have some competition. The registration was at Queens Hall and the race began outside the Yachtsman Cafe. Just prior to kick off, I bumped into my old work colleague Andrew Swift who I thought lived down near Oxford or Bristol, but in fact turned out to live right here in Dunoon.

I could see from the starting line up that I would finish anywhere between 2nd and 6th, depending on whether I could live with the pace. On the whistle I lead out out the field for the first 100 metres, before Stephen Trainer drew alongside. I then matched him for another few hundred metres before suddenly deciding to drop in behind him for some shelter from a noticeable south westerly breeze. I managed to sit right behind Stephen up until about the first kilometre, but then started to drop back and was immediately caught by Mick McLoone who was running with Sean Gaffney. I tried to go with these guys, but was suddenly feeling quite jaded and didn't have the confidence to press the pace. This meant that I was also caught by Dave Henderson and Steven Campbell, and was getting closed down by an Inverclyde guy. At the turn, I managed to find just enough extra to pull away from the Inverclyde guy, and at this point I should really have been charging after the 4 guys in front, but I couldn't quite raise my game. In the final kilometre, I was toying with the idea of catching Sean Gaffney who had been dropped by the 4 Glenpark boys, but I couldn't dredge up that extra % to close the gap.

I wasn't really thinking about the time that much, so was pleasantly surprised to realise that I'd run 16:50 which is exactly the same time as my 5k PB set back in 2007.

Cowal Games 5k route

Thursday 25 August 2011

Ayr 5-mile Trail Race

24th August 2011

Route on Garmin Connect | Results
My third year in a row at the Ayr 5M trail race. It had been pouring with rain all afternoon, but thankfully brightened up in the evening. I arrived quite early and jogged around the first part of the course to gauge how wet and slippery it would be, although seeing as I only had one pair of shoes with me it wasn't going to help much. I was wearing Adidas Adizero Adios racing flats, so was hoping I wouldn't need any grip.

Waiting for the race to start, it became apparent that none of the fast local runners had turned up, so I was fairly sure I'd end up leading the race. With that in mind, I set off around the track at the start as fast as possible and tried to drop the field as soon as possible. I was soon running on my own with the lead bike just in front. There was a short loop on soft wet freshly mown grass, before returning back to the river path. I tried to keep pressing until the end with a view to getting under 29 minutes. I turned back into Dam Park Stadium on 28:08, and thought I had enough time and put in a strong finish. My time was 29:06 which was 10 seconds slower than last year, and 2 seconds faster than 2 years ago, so all fairly consistent. Next to finish was Chris Clarke of Glasgow Uni Hares & Hounds, who was delighted with his 2nd place!

Ayr 5-mile Trail

Thursday 18 August 2011

Broadwood Loch 4.5k

Activity on Garmin Connect | Results

Advertised as a 5km, unfortunately this turned out to be only about 4.5km on the night, since a 500m loop was missed out in the 2nd kilometre.

I'd been feeling run down with a virus for a couple of weeks, so wasn't sure if this was a good idea, so just decided to have a steady run. I found myself in the lead for the first 150 metres before Robert Gilroy took over, followed by another 3 runners plus Paul Thompson. I tracked Paul, then made the mistake of overtaking him after 1 km. Greg Hastie then went past, and Paul soon caught me again. For the final 2 km I had Denis Williams of Shettleston and Steve Gray of Arbroath Footers both breathing down my neck, but I managed to hold them off to finish 7th, one place behind Paul.
Correct 5km route
Comparison of 2009 route and truncated 2011 route

Saturday 6 August 2011

Tour of Clydeside 2011

Kilbarchan Klassic
1st August 2011
Results | Route
The Tour of Clydeside kicks off with an 8.7km out and back on the cyclepath at Kilbarchan. I set off with intent and lead for about the first kilometre before being caught and passed by David Gardiner followed shortly after by Gavin Harvie (both Kirkintilloch Olympians). I attempted to chase Gavin, but failed to make any ground. At the 4 and a bit kilometre turn I was caught by Paul Carroll (Clydesdale) and Chris Moses (Helensburgh). I decided to have a rest for about 10 minutes by jogging behind and Paul and Chris, but they were moving too slowly, so I had to pass them again and start chasing down Gavin. With about 800 metres to go I'd decided to really go for it, but Paul beat me to it, and he kicked first, however he'd kicked too soon and I simply used him to launch my final attack to catch Gavin. I charged him down as hard as I could but only got within 2 seconds him on the line.
Canalbank Canter
2nd August 2011

Results | Route
The 2nd race is a 7.7km out and back on the canal towpath at Clydebank. Once again, I set off as fast as possible and lead at first, but in a repeat of last night David Gardiner came past, soon followed by Gavin, with Chris Moses breathing down my neck. I couldn't muster quite such a strong finish as last night, but again I finished 3rd, this time 11 seconds adrift of Gavin.

Clydebank Canal Canter
Photo: Ian Goudie

Garscube Gallop
4th August 2011

Results | Route
The Garscube Gallop is a bit different with a challenging hilly route in Dawsholm Park. There were a few extra runners who turned out for this one, with Adam Taylor, Andy McCall, Paul Thompson and Owen O'Neill making their presence felt at the front. I tried not to start too fast this time, but on the first small lap got a bit too excited and overtook David Gardiner and Gavin, before flagging a bit on the 2 longer laps. I managed to jump Chris Moses just before the line to preserve my 3rd place finish of those doing the series, and finished 6th on the night.

Garscube Gallop
Photo: Ian Goudie

Bellahouston Belter 10k
5th August 2011

Results | Route
The final race is the only one in the Series of a standard distance. I was hoping for sub 36 minutes, but wasn't quite sure how tired I'd feel. Once again Gavin went out hard at the start, and I just tried to cover his moves. I was pretty much right behind him at the end of the first lap, but then flagged a bit just over halfway to allow a slight gap to open. I was then chasing harder and harder towards, still reasonably confident I'd catch him if I kept working. I also had Chris Moses right on my heels for the final 2 or 3 km, so had to keep on pressing forwards. In the end I didn't quite catch Gavin, but held off Chris by a couple of seconds to finish in about 35:48 which was a pleasant surprise, since I didn't feel like I was running that fast. The overall race was won by Stuart Gibson of Ronhill Cambuslang in 31 minutes something.
The Tour of Clydeside was won by David Gardiner, with Gavin Harvie 2nd, and myself 3rd.
Final results

Bellahouston Belter 10k
Great Scott Photography