Giffnock North Christmas Handicap Race Report

Our friends Neal and Caroline invited us to join the Giffnock North Christmas Handicap Race.  It is a 4.80 mile route ….

GN Handicap race route

It is done a bit differently to our Kilbarchan one in that you have to predict your time and then the person closest to their time wins the prize.  Obviously as guests we couldn’t win a prize but I think it’s a great idea.

I was toying with times based on 7min per mile to 7:30 as I didn’t want to push flat out as we have our Handicap race tomorrow which is a flat out race.  Anyway I went for 35mins 05secs which is 7:22 pace. I did suspect that once I was running I might be tempted to go a bit quicker!

Katrina went for 40:40 which was 8:25 pace but I suspected she would go quicker as well. Katrina was concerned that she would get lost and that fear was well placed as she did!! At least twice. The best one was we had to turn left at the traffic lights at Sainsbury’s.

Katrina saw a guy in a yellow jacket directing people so ran to him and followed his directions. It turned out that he was the car park attendant and nothing to do with the race!! Katrina finished in 39:00 so well inside her prediction despite her wrong turns.

I set off on my own and quickly settled into a steady pace. I knew I was running quicker than 7:20 but decided to just go for it and enjoy the run.  I started with the clock on 10:55 so I knew it needed to be exactly 46:00 if I was to be spot on.

I caught a few people on the way round and one person, Dave, went past me. I nearly caught Caroline who finished a few seconds ahead of me. I saw the clock on 42:12 so realised I had run a fair bit quicker than I predicted.

In fact I ran the 4.80 miles in 31:17 which is 6:32 pace! I was really pleased with that and just goes to show how much quicker you tend to run when you have a number on your top!

So thanks to Neal and Caroline for inviting us and to Giffnock North for letting us run.

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Pollok parkrun race report

Thankfully Pollok parkrun was on today. I arrived about 9.10am so had time for a bit of a warm up. Neal arrived just after me but as he wasn’t feeling too well and had planned to take it easy he didn’t join me. Caroline was running but ran 12miles from their flat to get there.

Half way round my warm up I realised I was going to cut it close to arrive back in time for the 9.30am start! Thankfully a guy from Sweatshop was telling the runners about their Christmas sale so I was okay!

I set off about 4-5 rows back and settled into a steady pace. I was hoping to run under 21mins but as I haven’t done a parkrun since Christmas Day last year wasn’t too sure how it would go.

For the first mile or so I went past quite a few runners then settled into my position. I was feeling quite strong and felt I kept my pace pretty steady.  My pace graph agrees with that.

parkrun pace 20 dec
On the second loop one person went past me and went past 2-3 runners.  I was happy with my finish even though one more person went past me on the final downhill.

My heart rate graph shows that I had a steady run …

parkrunHR 20 dec

I finished 22nd in 20mins 17secs.

parkrun #304

I just about squeezed onto the first page of the results!  231 people ran.

One of the things I like about the parkrun results is that they also give you an age graded percentage which is an advantage when you are 55 yrs old!  So if you sort the results by age graded % I came 9th !!

Pollokparkrun by age graded

For my cool down I ran back cheering runners as they finished and then ran in with Neal, Caroline and their 6yr old friend Zak who ran the whole 5k. Impressive.

So that’s race 1 of 3 done. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s run which is Giffnock North’s 4.8 mile handicap race with a difference. For this one you have to guess your time for the 4.8 miles and the closest to their guess wins.  You are not allowed to run with a watch!

I think I’ll go for an average pace of 7:25 which would give me a time of 35mins 36secs. I would go for a faster time but we have our own Handicap race on Monday night which is flat out so I want to save my self a bit for that one!

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Midweek Runs

Yesterday was our Active School Team’s Christmas lunch so I decided to go out early for my Wednesday run. I was quite surprised how mild it was. I wore gloves but didn’t really need to.

It was still pretty windy though and obviously dark at 6.40am but it was good to get my run out of the way so I enjoy the rest of the day!

Today I was able to go out at lunch time so ran my normal Pollok loop starting and finishing at Bellahouston Leisure Centre.

On Sunday I’m taking part in Giffnock North’s Christmas Handicap Race as a guest. They do it in an interestingly way in that you have to predict how long it will take you to run the 4.8 mile loop. Then the person who is closest to their guess wins. To make it more interesting you can’t wear a watch!

I’m doing the Pollok parkrun on Saturday and it is our Kilbarchan Christmas Handicap on Monday (which is a flat out 4.2mile race) so I’m planning to do Sunday’s one at around 7:30 mins per mile pace which is a comfortable pace for a race.

So I decided to run without looking at my watch and see whether I could run at 7:30 pace and what it would feel like.  After 5miles or so I looked at my watch and I was spot on so I think I know what that pace feels like.

I’ll need to be careful that I don’t get caught up running faster with others  that I want to. I’m looking forward to it.

When I came home from work today there was a parcel waiting for me. Martin Mayrhofer had sent me some Jam from his garden, honey from his bees and some honey from Pitcairn Islands which was made by descendants from the Bounty mutineers as a thank you for my blog and podcasts,  So thank you Martin! I’m looking forward to trying them.


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SPOTY and fartlek session

On Sunday night Katrina & I went to watch the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards at the Hydro in Glasgow. The SPOTY review is a programme that I have watched for as long as I can remember. When I was younger it was a programme I was allowed to stay up late for to watch.

So when I knew it was going to be in Glasgow I was keen to go and be part of it. We both really enjoyed it and it was fun to see how it is all put together for the TV. I was hoping that Jo Pavey would win but pleased that she at least made the podium finishing 3rd behind Lewis Hamilton and Rory McIlroy.


Last night I was back at the club for our weekly Fartlek session. The session was a bit different in that we had a longer run at the start and finish. The session was 8mins (2min recovery) followed by 4 x 4mins (90sec recovery) and another 8mins to finish.

There were 5 of us and I found myself the quickest so I tried to start at the back and end up at the front. My aim was to run the 2nd half stronger and faster than the 1st half and I was pleased that I was able to manage that. Here are my stats for the session ….

tempo 15 dec

This weekend I have a few races coming up which I’m looking forward to

  • Saturday: Pollok parkrun (5k)
  • Sunday: Giffnock North 4.8mile handicap race (by invite from Neal & Caroline Gibson)
  • Monday: Kilbarchan AAC Christmas 4.2mile Handicap Race.

So my plan for the rest of the week is to have a couple of easy/steady runs Wednesday and Thursday.

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My own Park Run

When I got up this morning I thought I would go out and do an easy 6 miler or so and then I suddenly thought I could go and do the Pollok parkrun as my swimming lessons didn’t start until 11am.

So I arrived at Pollok Park at 9am with the idea of doing a warm up lap before starting the race at 9.30am.  I locked my van and was about to set off on my warm up when Richard and a volunteer said that they have just had to cancel the run due to ice on the track.

I wasn’t too surprised as it was quite icy. Richard said it’s a lovely morning for a run. I agreed so I decided to go for a longer run as I had a couple of hours before I need to be at the pool for my lessons. I run a lot through Pollok Park so I decided to go somewhere different.

I set off for Queens Park and then having run round there decided to head for Kings Park via Hampden Park before heading back to Pollok Park. So I did my own Park Run!

route 13 dec

It was a lovely morning and I really enjoyed the run. I ended up running for 9.59 miles and I was very proud of myself that I resisted the temptation to run another 0.41 miles just to make it up to 10 miles.

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Midweek Runs in the wind

I feel like I am ticking over a bit at the moment but I’m enjoying getting out for a run 4-5 times a week without pushing too hard especially this week as it’s been pretty windy.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I ran after work. It had been very wet and windy all day so I was expecting to get soaked but in fact in was dry. Very windy but dry! I ran in my jacket and buff but probably would have been okay without them.

John 10 Dec

Today I was able to run at lunchtime so it was nice to run in the daylight. Again I wore my jacket, buff and gloves but was too warm after a few miles so off came the buff and gloves.

As I was running through Bellahouston Park with less than half a mile to go I slipped on some mud and went down! It’s the first time I’m fallen on a run for ages. No damage done and most importantly my Suunto was okay!

When I downloaded the run to Strava I noticed that it now compares similar runs. I do this loop around Pollok Park a lot in both directions so it gave me a summary of my runs …matched runs

I probably do it more the other way round so I’ll see what it comes up with next time I do it.

I enjoyed interviewing Mike Raffan on Tuesday night for the latest West Highland Way Race podcast. If you want to listen to it search in iTunes for whwrace or go to the race web site. 

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Congratulations to Tracey

I decided to swap my planned Club Fartlek run to run with Katrina and Tracey instead. The reason was it was Tracey’s final run of her challenge to run at least a 10k for 50 consecutive days.

Katrina and Tracey run a lot together and I join them now and then! I wanted to run with Tracey as she completed her challenge as I’ve been really impressed with the way she has stuck at it.

A challenge like this is not just about the physical side of running every day but the mental and organisation side of things as well. Tracey works works shifts and has two children and a husband to organise so it’s a challenge to find the time to run. Tracey has run them all outside in all sorts of weather.

I took my camera along to get a photo or two.

NOVATEK CAMERAWe ran the loop towards Barrhead and past Dykebar Hospital chatting all the way. Tracey was looking forward to finishing the challenge and having a rest day tomorrow but she has already organised a run with Katrina for Thursday!

At the end of the run we gave some flowers to Tracey for completing her challenge ….


Short video clip ….

So congratulations to Tracey for completing her challenge!

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