Sunday, 26 October 2008

Help for Heroes

Just in case Tomo Thomson has been too busy to watch X factor, here's the link to the Hero's cover being sold for Help For Heroes.And no..... Martha Wainwright doesn't have a verse.

Sorry, my non tech mind can't post the screen thingy here

Bloody Clocks - Pardon my French

My problems with the changing back and forth of the clocks are legendary and this morning was no different. Arrangements made to be at the club at 8am to run with either Geraldine or whoever else turned up, with a fallback plan of joining JR on the Longcrags behind Dumbarton. Thank goodness for the problems on the OMM or no problem on the OMM depending on whether you believe the BBC or the runners. Switching the telly on to catch up with progress on the "rescue", I soon realised the time was only 6.25am and so I settled down to a larger breakfast then my normal pre-run meal and a couple of cups of coffee. I finally set off at 7.45 rushing as usual to get me gear together. Getting into the car I found my mobile phone that had been missing (but not missed)for a couple of days, and on it a message from Geraldine saying she was meeting Ali at 9.00 to do the Horseshoe. After a bit of humming and hawing about joining JR I decided to stay in the Vale and do a few miles prior to meeting at Ali's to join them on their run. I went to Balloch and parked up, spotting a lesser dressed Marco heading out on his run. Knowing he was to have been on the OMM prior to withdrawing due tom work commitments I looked to bump into him in Balloch, but then spotted him heading along Carrochan Rd towards Gartocharn. Brave man dressed only in shorts, t-shirt and gilet. Hope he didn't get too wet. Anyway, through Lomond Shores, Cameron House and Balloch for half an hour before meeting the girls for a leisurely trip round the Horseshoe. Geraldine and Ali started talking about what dresses Geraldine had to wear to a function she is attending and, having previously crossed her by turning up for training in my FLM finishers t shirt on the same night she did, I had to ask where she was going in order that I didn't make the same mistake again. Come on, you never know, don't knock it till you've tried it!! It turns out that when you and I are looking forward to a cold wet night time run, before settling down to watch the new series of Spooks, the lovely Geraldine is off to dinner with the French Ambassador at the French Consulate! OOH LA LA. Ferrero Rocher galore at the presentation night guys! Last mention of the evening was when she pondered the fact that the French President has a liking for young burds, perhaps someone will whisper "Ah Gjeraldeeen, you must veesit Paree in the springtime" Maybe the search for a man will take a turn for the better soon.
See running with others..... a total of 2 hours trotting, about 12 miles total, much better than running alone. Got wet, sheltered from hailstones, met another couple of runners, one of them a 2008 Flinger, Brian Garry before finishing with a cool down walk (or was Ali just knackered). Back to the car and home to a warm bath with a warning from Geraldine La Currie "What happens on tour stays on tour". However it hasn't happened yet, and you didn't tell me in confidence, so it's fair game I say!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

520 miles plus 4

A long days driving in horrendous conditions. I left at 5.30am to get through Glasgow before the rush and had breakfast in Gretna, after driving through horrendous wind and rain, despite this, 5 hours to Goole was good going even though I resisted putting the foot down when past the worst of the weather. a quick turnaround and was pleased to be given a 2.0d x type Jag to bring to Glasgow. I would have been even happier if I could have taken the Civic's seat. The jag was great in the weather, but the seat was a nightmare on my back and consequently my hamstrings. Things didn't go well, either when I got to the A66. It was initially closed to high sided vehicles which would have been fine given my dislike of HGVs on MY road. However just as I got to the Barnard Castle turnoff the sign changed to ROAD CLOSED TURN BACK TO A1.So a 60 mile detour via Newcastle and Hexham, before hitting the rain and winds again once I crossed the border. My only consolation is that the weather was going south. I eventually got home at 5.45 just in time to say hello to my other half and get changed for a club run. Mairi headed to the hairdresser so I didn't feel guilty!
On arrival at the club there were only three others JR(who else?) Charlie and Karen Lees. I only wanted to run, just to fix my stress levels after the drive. I was rattling! So we set off together, but JR soon got tired of me being in front and sent me away on my own as he and Charlie couldn't keep up. I told Karen she was with me as it wouldn't do her any good being with those two and we set off at a suitable pace for her round the Vale, with the route plan being to avoid the usual flooding spots! Karen was one of my JogScotland group before gravitating to Millies, so I felt quite at home giving her my usual monologue about training and keeping a diary......
She is going to Lochaber half marathon in two weeks as part of JR's contingent and was keen to find out what the course was like....... Hope she still goes, Jim

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Two run Wednesday

Up early this morning ahead of a busy day at home. Car to garage for it's service and MOT. Failed! broken spring and a brake imbalance, so 239 quid lighter. ran home about 4 1/2 miles at a fairly easy pace before attending to some domestic chores and going to hospital with Mairi for some test results. Good news in that her health remains static.
Some shopping for the ingredients for tonight's curry that was my answer to the what do you want for tea question, but first, off to jog scotland for a 5 mile trip round the Vale, reversing last nights route to take the hill that joggers hate out of the equation. No drama tonight and home in time to see Liverpool play Athletico Madrid.
Typing this then off to bed so I can hit the Goole trip early, hopefully getting home early enough to make the club night. Unfortunately the weather is promising to be horrendous so I'll see how progress goes.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Club night - easy run

Popped along to club as usual, and was able to settle for an easy 5 miles, no watch, no pace, no bother. After resting yesterday following Sunday's race I was still stiff especially since I had to drive from Aberdeen this afternoon. It was a rather nice Civic which wanted to go fast, but I was responsible and kept to the speed limit.
Times published for Aviemore show my gun and chip times to be the same (1.44.42) which is strange as it took me quite a wee while to go through the start. I suppose I must be one of the few problems. Never mind, I won't let it put me off going back next year, and dragging a few Millies with me!

A wee problem after my shower. Brian, the caretaker asked me to find Big Charlie whose wife had been involved in a bad crash just after we went for our run. Charlie was with JR's group and I went and got him from Lomond Shores where they had been doing their session. The info I was given was that she had shock and whiplash so we went to the Vale Jail to find out what had happened. Turned out she was home uninjured so all was well. That meant I missed the start of the football, but didn't miss the good bits %-)

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Aviemore Half Marathon 19th October 2008

As the only Millie running this race, (why?) I took the opportunity to treat Mairi to an overnight stay in the MacDonald Academy Hotel where the race itself is based. Due to another commitment that Mairi had, we weren't able to get away until after 2.30. Mairi had been driving all morning but as we were having to use her car, mine having no MOT, she pulled rank and drove up. Arriving about 7pm I registered at the main hotel reception and Mairi tried to negotiate the one way system to find a parking space near the Academy. Cue some unwanted instructions from me, which went down well. Not. Finally got in and I went down to register for the race and get my number. Great set up, with numbers,chips and shop all in the same room and a nice friendly welcome. I stayed away from the shop as I thought my brownie points were at an all time low!
A nice meal in the nearby Italian restaurant then back to the room for the end of x factor and an early night. I was determined not to have the kind of run that had left me knackered early on for the past two weeks, so I was well fed with pasta and had taken on plenty of fluids all day. Fine in theory but I lost count of the number of toilet visits I had during the night. Up at 7.30ish and down to the main foodhall for breakfast. Cereal and scrambled egg with coffee which was just about right, both in relation to amount and timing. It was well digested and gave me no problem in the race. (A wee bit of shortbread with my pre-race coffee at the start did try to make a re-appearance but only briefly.)Organisation of this race is very good. Registration for the Sunday arrivals was from 7.00am and a large fleet of buses took us to the start at Badaguish. I caught a bus at 9.30 after booking us out of our room, and a few minutes later I was queuing for coffee in the Badaguish sports hall. A short time later I met Ian Beattie and his mate Phil and I was introduced to a few of their friends. It was strange to be at a race where I knew so few people, but in true runner's tradition I soon made a few aquaintances before the start. I must make a mention of the gent who met the bus as it disgorged it's passengers. Every runner was met with a cheery "Good morning, and thanks for coming". Oh that every race organiser had such a welcome!
The race is advertised as "The half marathon course is a truly ‘highland route’ but without the hills! The Start is at a height of approx 1100 feet and the Finish at approx 720 feet."
Well this should be the subject of a complaint to the Advertising standards agency! And as for the wind!!!
At the start the course drops away steeply, so it's downhill from here then! Eh, no. The two mile marker is back on a level with the start and about 150 yards from it so what has gone down must come back up! Being a clever sort of guy I knew this, so took it easy,although it was difficult to start fast due to the number of runners. I hadn't gone too far before realising that I had drunk too much water and hadn't got rid of the excess. So I was in the trees at 2 miles at which point I had ben running 16 minutes, the next mile was mainly downhill although we had hit a strong wind as we hit a forest clearing, but it took 8.42 so it must have been some pee! I wasn't really looking for a good time, as I thought a trail/road course would have been a tough nut to crack, but I was disappointed to start as I had. I buckled down though and, although there were still some fair wee undulations and windy sections, got back to 8 minute miles which I maintained as an average for the race. At the 5 mile marker though I, and most of the people around me were almost blown to a standstill with a near gale force gust. Round Loch Morlich, the views here terrific, indeed the whole event is in a stunning setting, and after 8 miles the real downhill section starts and it's a five mile stretch with only two wee sharp ascents to bother you. Finally finishing in the park behind the MacDonald resort, where the commentator tried his damnedest to give every runner a mention as they finished. I managed a final sprint, which shoes I probably hadn't run hard enough. The next time I looked at my watch it showed 1.45 so I may have been in the low 1.44s which given my pit stop wasn't at all bad.
Medal, cups of juice, sweets, chocolate and a banana all on offer at tables after handing the chip in and then I was re-united with Mairi, who wasn't too happy that I hadn't seen her in the crowd at the finish.Unfortunately I didn't see Ian afer the race so can't report on his race, although I hope he kept his Full Scottish Breakfast down. He seemed reasonably confident of a good run and felt as if he has recovered from his Perth adventure.
Back at baggage collection, again well organised, Mairi asked if I had seen anything I fancied in the shop and added that she had been in the resort shop and it was full of running goodies. And here was me thinking I hadn't any brownie points! I didn't really see anything I fancied, but made great play that I could get the same stuff much cheaper in my usual outlets, which seemed fair to her, so I'm on for some retail therapy next time I'm in the town!!!! It's not only you ladies who get off on shopping!
Hitting the road after a coffee and muffin, we stopped in Pitlochry for a nice lunch in a wee cafe restaurant. Great soup!
So, a great event, well organised and crying out for a real good effort next year! Will I still be the only Millie?

Friday, 17 October 2008

A Loooong walk

Tuesday night being club night I toodled over to the Vale of Leven and arranged with Captain Chris to walk with him on Thursday. Then off on a tour of the hillier parts of the valley's streets, it being darker these days, Mollanbowie estate, Haldane, and back to the club with Pat, Elaine and a newer member Andy, with whom I'd never previously ran. I must admit I was knackered after the Haldane and announced that I would miss the planned climb into Bonhill. Everyone else seemed to be happy with what I was doing so we ended up with 5.75 miles in 50 minutes, not bad considering the climbs involved. I've put in less effort in races! Not what I wanted between the club race and the Aviemore half I am running on Sunday!
As I was down south on Wednesday, I didn't run and missed JogScotland for the second week. On Thursday I met wee Chris and his mate Andy, both of who are retired, for a bit of hill walking. I had been trying to tie in with Chris and JR for a walk for a few weeks, but did't manage to get out due to work and other problems. Little did I know what I was letting myself in for. JR called off as he had other things to do so it was just three of us.
Chris is a great wee guy. he is Chair of Milburn and indeed won the 10 miler last week. (No comment on his handicap allowance). Andy however was unknown to me but word was that he had been walking and climbing for many years and indeed spoke about days on the rock climbs on the Cobbler back in the 50's and 60's. Trouble was he planned the walk, which I'm sure would be easy meat for anyone who does any walking.
However, he is not in the best shape these days as witness his struggle to climb the initial path without stopping for a rest, and then decided that he didn't know where to find the path he intended as our ascent. So, we decided that as the initial climb was beyond us we would reverse the route and climb Narnain, via the boulders then cross to A'Chrois before descending via our original ascent path, or by any other name, reversing the route. The initial climb to Beinn Narnain was fine if slow due to Andy's lack of pace. On top it was hailstones and gale force winds. I was on the summit a good 15 minutes before the other two and I felt it was slow, so slow I was already fearing for the rest of the day. A bite to eat and then across the ridge to A' Chrois, again reaching he summit some time before the others. Despite the wind and hail visibility was fine and the views are stunning from the summit. We had been walking for 5 hours. At 2 pm we left the summit to follow Andy's route to the car. What a nightmare! Whilst in no danger at any time, other than of ankle injuries from knee deep clumpy,boggy grass and never at any time having any good walking underfoot, it took us 2 and a 1/2 hours to get down. There must be a better route, but Andy could only remember the route he had taken the last time he was up that hill, and that could have been any time since Christ left Partick, as they say in the west end. If I never come down that hill again I won't be sorry.
I don't have any confidence descending hills when running but I can sometimes get above jogging pace. However, this hill needed every step to be a careful one and at times the only safe way down was to sit and slide and hope for the best. Horrible!All in we were out for 7 and a 1/2 hours. I reckon it should take 4 and a half.
Better luck next time!

Monday, 13 October 2008


A short working day which took me to Clarkston for a manky Saab, by which I mean dirty on the outside, and then an aborted pickup of a Motability car. That cost me a few quid but meant I could get a recovery run in. 4 miles easy from the village to the first houses in Dumbarton and back.That includes a fairly long steady climb for about a mile but the bonus is it's downhill on the way back.It did set me thinking that I haven't done a session on the hill in Lennox Drive for a while. It's a fairly steep road climb off the Cardross Road and I must do it again fairly soon.
Off to Aberdeen in the morning so I might struggle for the club run.
I've had a good read of weekend postings on the various blogs and can't help but marvel of the way some of the guys (and girls) just keep running the way they do. I'm old and getting grey and it'll take a lot of getting used to. All I want to do in 2009 is complete the Fling and the WHW, and have fun doing it. If successful and no' a broken man I might look for a third ultra later in the year, Rotherham affording a decent rest period and may be an option.
I am convinced that starting running, and never stopping, is the way to do it. No matter how late you start, never stop.No matter how young you are when you stop, you will never regain what you had.I ran as a schoolboy and got to a pretty good standard. Then I gave it all up for bright lights and big cities. When I see guys like Andy Rennie at Irvine, and many others who still run fantastic times I realise what I missed. If you have any influence with young athletes, convince them of this and work as hard as you can to keep them in the sport.

Milburn Harriers 10 mile Handicap Shock as Debbie beats Marco

That's right folks, Debbie (+1) beat Marco in the Millies' 10 mile race yesterday morning. Held over the traditional Horseshoe course which measures something more than 10 miles and is tactfully described as undulating. Or "@*&ing hilly.
A 9am start for the front runners and rather generous handicaps for some of them given that we are all meant to finish in a dead heat. I never saw half of them again. Including club captain Chris Coyne, who toddled off with the winners trophy. Good to see a few guests turning out from nearby clubs and Jogscotland. However, it is thought that Steph worked out the handicaps late in the evening of the last club social night, such was the disparity of starts. For my own part, I ran 78 minutes 45 which was good enough for 3rd place in both handicap and men's scratch. Lindsay Cunningham of Garscube was fastest scratch in 63.53. Fastest lady was Elaine Somerville at 76.05 But I must repeat my headline..... Debbie 1.40.36 was waiting at the finish to see Marco .... 1.04.10. And I thought the handicapper was being tough on her!
Quite a few of the runners were patiently waiting for me to finish, but more had just buggered off without a farewell.More fool them, as Jan had been baking and the flapjacks and carrot cake, as well as the shortbread and choccie biscuits produced by the other members, made for a nice al fresco post race picnic.
One nice footnote; you may remember I wasn't at my best last weekend and my wee pal Jimmy left me to walk/jog back from the Carrick. His explanation being that he didn't want to get my sweat all over his wife's car seats. Well, he had a three minute start on me yesterday and arrived at the start looking as bad as I felt last week. I took pity on him and gave him a bottle of water to re-hydrate. Off he went and I caught him about halfway, asked after his state of health, then just buggered off and left him to suffer........ He who laughs last...... join my wee club Jimmy, you know it makes sense.
URL for run is

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Club Run

Good turnout, albeit some absentees. Big Ed made an appearance and he and I made tentative arrangements to run the Brampton - Carlisle 10 mile race in November, subject to HM Navy not sending him away on a mission. He is the club 10 mile handicap champion, and tonight he announced he would not be defending his title on Sunday as he is not fit. Then he takes me out and runs away from the pack, taking me away with him, and running much faster than I intended. The plan, and some stuck to it, was to run to Cameron House via the Old Luss Road, run through Cameron House, where the Scottish Football Team are preparing for Saturday's international - the cars in the car park being above the even normal high class. Spotted one Scotland t shirt running for the door trying to get out of the rain..... wimp.
Anyway, through Cameron House, Lomond Shores to Balloch, along Main St, through Jamestown, and return to club passing Davie Graham's garage. Anyone free to take any of the myriad shortcuts to suit their own schedule. We usually start slowly together then the group naturally splits after a mile or so, but Ed I'mnotfit set off at the front, my wee legs going three strides to his two (I'm 6'2!) and although some of the pack were running fairly close to us early on, by the time we got to MacDonalds at Balloch we were a group of two. To be fair it was pretty easy pace, although the big guy's Garmin ran out of juice so we'll never know. But by the time we got to Balloch at 4 miles I was feeling the run on Tuesday in my legs. Approaching Bonhil Bridge, Ed decided to go straight home as he stays near Milburn and had baby chores pending. So I finished on my own. As I got to the club Jan and Rob were heading for the car, but as far as I could see everyone else was still out. JR came in when I was showering and said that the girls were in the cafe, they had done a bit less missing Cameron House and adding Balloch park to what we did. Alison, however, had plugged on and did the whole run. Others haven't been seen since the start. Joined them for a cuppa before facing the elements on the way home.
So, Sunday morning at 9am sees the first runner off on the 10(?) mile handicap round the Horseshoe. A toughie and not one I really enjoy. I got an e-mail from Debbie asking if she and Marco could join us for the race. I'm sure they will be welcome and I've told them to contact Steph with their recent times so he can handicap them. I'm sure he'll go by Debs Loch Ness performance as her most recent race is probably the most accurate given her current condition. As for Marco, he can have a long lie and turn up about 11am for his starting time! Anyone else up for it? Just drop Steph a line with this years performances at 10k and half marathon and anything in between. You can get him on the Milburn site at the address on my sidebar.


No, not the out of town shopping centre at whose very mention most men shudder, but the housing scheme that the overlooks the beautiful Vale of the Leven. I used to shudder at the mere mention of that too, but like many runs I have learnt to enjoy (?) the climb. It was a regular part of training last winter and with the nights fair drawin' in thought it was time to put it back on the schedule. When I was asked what we were doing on Tuesday night, down at t' club (sorry- I was in Yorkshire yesterday) I threw it in as a suggestion and was pleased when three others agreed! However several others declined it's pleasures so it was a fraction of the club turnout who headed out to Renton, over the Polaroid Bridge, through the industrial estate and up the farm track to Beechwood Estate, then round the New Bonhill Housing Estate........ and when Steph and I got to the Main Street, somewhere near sea level again, decided we hadn't done enough and headed to Balloch to add some miles. Our other two amigos Jimmy Mc and Elaine had dropped back and I presume headed back over the Bonhill Bridge to the club. Steph had been suffering from a virus, unfairly described by our distaff members as "man flu" and was pleased to get a fairly long run at pace(?) in. I was just trying to throw off the laziness that I seem to have allowed to develop. 8.3 miles by G map.
URL for this route is:
Didn't get back from Yorkshire in time for JogScotland on Wednesday and as Mairi has a scan on Thursday I've taken the day off to drive her there and back. Good news is the train strike has been called off for today and tomorrow. I've got two jobs, fairly local but they would have been a nightmare without trains as the route is Cardross - East K - Shotts - Bathgate - Glasgow.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

London Marathon - Pleased to be rejected!

Earlier this year I ran the London Marathon and couldn't wait to enter next years race, sending off my entry at the earliest opportunity. I had a great time, as did Mairi, my wife. Two weeks later I supported my Milburn clubmates on the Highland Fling, and thought "I could do that". However, they date of the 2009 races were announced, and the are the same weekend! Barely feasible to do both, but would you want to?
In June I ran the last few stages of the WHW race with Jim Robertson, and I was hooked. Desperate to enter I realised that I would have to do the Fling to prove to the Godfather, and to myself that I was capable of the BIG ONE. But what about my marathon entry? Mairi has Rheumatoid arthritis and therefore not prone to following me around the country watching me race, so I have to provide added incentive to entice her south....... like west end shows, nice hotels, meals .... you know the feeling I'm sure. Now I'm faced with the possibility that I will be accepted for London and then have to break the news...... I'm not going, I'm running 53 miles along the WHW, you know, just the other side of the loch from where we stay. Hardly comparable to her weekend treat! So, London Marathon D-Day approached and it was with a bit of trepidation that I went to pick up the mail.Realising the package contained my consolation fleece I had a quiet smile, then wiped it off my face and broke the bad news to Mairi!
So, no need to lie to FLM about my serious injury and beg for a deferment! All systems go for my first ultra!
Now I just have to stop Mairi trying to get me a charity place!

Todays run was a short but hilly off road run on forestry paths and trails at Ardgartan. On my own so didn't do too much. But a beautiful day for a run and the views were spectacular. Picked up some forestry commission leaflets and now looking forward to Mairi going to Dunoon to work for a few days so I can keep her company and spend her working hours on the Argyll trails, and charge my keep to the Government.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

I met Arthur too.........

A week since my last entry. Several reasons. Over work, under trained and frustration.
The company I work for let me down a bit this week, sending me to jobs that had been cancelled and to jobs that existed but without the proper information to do the job. I was in Goole on Monday and probably got a ticket from a speed camera on the A66, local runs on Tuesday, off wednesday, a burach of a job on Thursday involving six cars and a transporter. Then they sent me to Dundee to pick up a car to go to Goole, only to find that the customer had changed the pickup to Tuesday, but my office hadn't picked up on the change. When I contacted them, they sent me on to Aberdeen to pick up another car and asked me to take that to Goole. I refused, as I would have been driving home after midnight, so I've got the car at home to take down next week. Then my boss phoned to say I've picked up a speeding ticket from a trip three weeks ago. So that'll be two of the buggers. My first ever but makes me thnk twice about driving as a job, as I don't want to pick up a ban, for someone elses benefit.
The other reason I didn't want to go down to Goole so late was that I was invited to one of my old colleagues retirement. Unfortunately I met Subversive Runner's pal Arthur. I hadn't made his aquaintance for a long time, at one time I did without him and his pals John and Ron for 5 years. Met a lot of old faces and picked up some gossip. Some of which I read in full on the front of todays soaraway Sun (Scottish edition). The Scottish Police Federation Chairman's son, also a cop, suspended for drug related activities....... very embarrassing.

Why do we have police? So firemen can have heroes!

So I set out for a ten miler with Jimmy Mc this morning. I don't know how some of you bloggers do it. Social events and running definitely don't mix in this runners legs! Got to about 5 miles when my breakfast decided to make an appearance, then came a blinding headache. Reduced to a walk and sent Jimmy on to finish his run. Thinks: "He'll get his car and come back for me," - NOT. Thanks Pal.

Runs this week were a six miler at the club on Tuesday, 5 mainly off road on Wednesday, then todays 10 or was it seven I ran? There was a lotta walking. Certainly not WHW material. Maybe more time next week as I have two days off and only one trip south at the moment. Certainly considering a change of job. Any offers considered.

Social night for the club at Bar51 tonight. Clubmate Steph stays at no 51, and he has a very socially designed, basement recreation area. He has invited the club along for a few shandies and a blether about plans for next year - and this winters training.
I'm taking the car! I might manage to run tomorrow.........