Pollok parkrun

This weekend I had planned an easy 10 mile run today and 5 miles tomorrow. When I was running on Thursday I decided to do the Pollok parkrun instead of an easy run on the Braes.

I still wanted to clock 10 miles though so decided to park the car a couple of miles from the Burrell Centre and do an easy run before and after the parkrun.

It worked really well as the car park was packed so would have found it hard to park anyway! As I ran to the run I was thinking what would be a good time. I knew I wasn’t in sub 20mins shape but hoped that I could get under 21mins and maybe be closer to 20 than 21 …. ie under 20:30.

I decided to start fairly near the front as it can get a bit congested at the start but I wanted to start comfortably rather than having to run faster than I planned.

I was slowly catching runners over the first half mile or so and when we got to the first long hill the nearest runners ahead were about 10-15 yards in front and I couldn’t feel/hear anyone directly behind me.

I slowly caught them over the next mile or so and went past about 5-6 runners as we reached the point where the second lap starts.  One or two tried to stay with me but I could feel I was pulling away from them on the long hill.

I was happy with my pace and worked hard right to the end. I often get caught on the final downhill but not today! I pushed right to the line. I finished 21st out of almost 400 in 20mins 29secs so I achieved my goal of being nearer to 20mins than 21mins! Just!

I finished just ahead of the first female runner.

parkrun 02-06parkrun 02-06 page 2

My splits ….

splits 02-06

My HR …

HR 02-06

I’m planning to do an easy 5 mile run tomorrow. It will be the first time this year I’ll have run 5 times in a week. I wanted to gradually build up again after my ‘enforced’ rest!



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Review of January 2016

Today I had another run at lunchtime around Pollok Park. The plan this week was to have a slightly easier week and I’ve enjoyed running as I feel over the last couple of days. I’ve decided to do the Pollok parkrun on Saturday with a couple of miles warm up and a few miles after to make 10 miles.

In January I ran 104.44 miles which is the lowest January for many years. I’ve kept close records since 2007 when I really started ultra training and this year has definitely been the lowest since then. Obviously the main reason was that I didn’t start until 13th January due to my ‘collapse.’

January comparison

Full list of all my runs …

all runs - jan 16

In graph form ….

graph - jan 16

In diary form ….

Diary - jan 16

Types of runs ….

types - jan 16

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Runs and Result of my Heart tests

On Monday night I decided to join our club Monday night run as we were doing a different session and I didn’t want to miss out! Storm Henry was blowing so there were only 5 of us but Donald led us on a fun session at Houston Park.

The loop was about 0.36 mile and we did 12 loops with about a min recovery. The ground was very wet and the wind was hard work at times. I took it steady as I could feel the effects of Saturday’s long run in my legs.

route 02-01

Here are my stats for the 12 loops ….

fartlek 02-01

Today I went for a run at lunchtime around Pollok Park and the weather was so mild. I really enjoyed it and feel I’ve got a bit more of a spring in my step again.

Last week the consultant rang to tell me that everything is fine with my heart and my collapse was probably due to the virus that was going round our family at Christmas. So that’s all good news.

I asked whether I could see the full report and the consultant kindly sent me my ECG from New Year’s Eve when I was taken to A&E and the result of my Echocardiography.

I couldn’t really understand what they meant so posted on Facebook and a number of friends helped me understand them.


I sent this to Debbie McK who is a nurse and helped me understand it ….

ECG is normal. Just slow heart rate which I would expect from an athlete.

Debbie also suggested I make sure I keep my fluid intake up and gave a helpful explanation of why that is important.

Well your echo would suggest you were a wee bit dehydrated at the time (IVC collapse on inspiration) total collapse suggests the the central venous pressure is a wee bit low. Imagine a river pushing through a narrow space the pressure at the narrowest point is high if the river is full and running with lots of water. As the river dries up the pressure lessens. Same with the IVC. The more fluid the higher the pressure. The pressure of the chest when you breathe in can press on the IVC causing it to collapse. It sounds really worrying but it’s totally normal. Would have been different an hour after a good drink of water.

I posted the results of my Echocardiography test on Facebook asking if anyone could explain what it meant?

echo result

Here are some of the answers I got  ….

From Debbie McK

You have a slow heart beat, you have mild regurgitation of your mitral valve. Majority of people have this at (ahem) a certain age. Your hearts chambers are normal size and shape. Slightly larger on the right atrium but still within normal limits. Your tricuspid valve is fine with a wee bit regurgitation. This is also nothing to worry about. Your big vessel running from your heart that gives blood flow to your legs is a bit bigger than normal but you’re an athlete so no surprise. So round up basically your heart is good. Your valves are working well and your in good shape

From Dr Andy M

The bottom few lines are literally the bottom line. It’s working well at a rate you’d expect and the only valvular problem is the single most common one affecting 2% of the population and is unlikely to ever cause you significant symptoms.

From Andy W

I perform and report echos. From the figures the right atrium is slightly big. The left atrium should ideally be measured by volume but from the figures given appears towards the upper limit of normal, this is a really common finding in an athlete. Given your symptom of a collapse the fact that there doesn’t appear to be a problem with your aortic valve or lv function is reassuring. Without seeing the images obviously this is only interpreting numbers. But nothing worryingly in the details given.

I also like Gordon G’s reply ….

It means your the fittest and most positive man for your age this side of the big river.

So thanks to everyone who responded. It’s good to know my heart is in good shape!!



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whw Training Run

This weekend the whw race organised a training weekend based at the Oak Tree at Balmaha. Quite a few folks stayed for the weekend and lots of others including me came over for the day.

The plan was to run from Balmaha to Inversnaid and back which is 30miles but there was the option of turning back before Inversnaid depending on how far runners wanted to go.

Robert S from Kilbarchan AAC, who is doing the whw race this year, gave me a lift. Katrina was then going to drive over in the afternoon after her 16 mile run and we would have a meal before heading home.

We had a good turnout of over 60 runners especially given the weather forecast! We had a group photo before setting off at 10am.

01-30 whw run 3

I decided I was going to do the full 30 miles as I have the Hardmoors 55 coming up in two months so I needed to get the time on my feet. I do feel that I’m a month behind where I would like to be but it is what it is!

I was a little apprehensive about how I would go. I found the 15 miles last Saturday on the Braes hard work but I was hoping that running with others who help!

route 01-30

I took a video clip of everyone starting as I had decided to start right at the back which would help me start nice and easy. It also meant I was guaranteed to have people to run with.

Fiona R was out with her camera and took a photo of Ian M and I after a few minutes of running.

01-30 whw run 1

Most people were wearing several layers, jackets, hats and gloves. I decided I would start with a base layer and long sleeved top. I didn’t put a jacket on all day! The weather was not as bad as I was expecting. The wind was strong at times and we had some hail/snow showers but for most of the day it felt fine.

I had a quick chat with several friends as I made my way. Marco caught up having started a little later. We ran together for a mile or so before he pushed on. Marco was showing me the new Inov-8 gear he was trying out. It looked impressive.

I ran with Malcolm G for a while and various others including David R, who I’m following on the podcasts, arriving at Rowardennan in 1hr 28mins which I was very happy with. David R stopped to refill his water but I pushed on running with Malcolm and Colin who had run UTMB last year. Malcolm pushed on and at some point I caught Paul B or he caught me! We ran together the rest of the way to Inversnaid.

We both agreed that the miles flew by as we chatted. One of the great things about running as a large group is that hopefully everyone finds someone to run with. I normally find in a race I spent most of the time on my own which is fine but on a training run I’d much rather run with friends.

One of the benefits of running with people is you don’t spent much time looking at your watch or thinking about what is sore! I was happy though that I was moving well and felt okay.

With about a mile or so to go before Inversnaid the quicker runners were on their way back. I stopped for a quick chat with Grant M and Jamie A amongst others. Robert S looked as though he was going well. A number of them seemed to be on their own but hopefully they joined up.

Paul stopped to eat a cheese sandwich about half a mile before Inversnaid so I ran to the half way point on my own. The river was in full flow. I arrived in 2hr 58mins. Ian B arrived a few seconds later. I assumed he was ahead as I hadn’t seen him but he explained that he went on the lower new path to check it out.

01-30 whw run 2

Paul came in and was straight off again. Ian wasn’t quite ready so I set off on my own. I ran for a few minutes and realised I had a choice of trying to push on and see if I could catch Paul ahead or ease off and wait for Ian. I decided on the later!

After a mile or so Ian caught up and we ran most of the return journey together. Ian is building up to the Cateran 110 mile race which will be his longest race. He has had a few bigger weekends so was feeling a little tired. I think it helped both of us having the company.

We chatted about all sorts of things and again the miles were ticked off without having to think about it too much. About a mile before Rowardennan we caught up with Clara H. Clara explained she was doing the race this year for the first time. Once we explained who we were and our role in the race Clara had a number of questions about training and the race which we enjoyed answering.

The three of us kept a decent pace going and it really helped me as I was starting to feel it a bit. After a while Clara pushed on and Ian and I stayed together. But we could see Clara not too far ahead and with about 3 miles to go we caught her again.

Ian pushed on this time and I ran the last few miles with Clara. We finished the 30 miles in 6hrs 10mins. I was more than happy with that especially given how I felt last weekend.

01-30 whw run 4

Ian & Sandra kindly let me use the shower in their room and by the time I came down Katrina had arrived. We spent the next few hours chatting to various friends and enjoying a lovely meal.

So it was a great day out and encouraged me that I’m back on track with my training for the Hardmoors 55 and 160.


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Midweek Runs

Firstly a quick update on my Heart Tests. The consultant at the Royal Alexandria Hospital in Paisley rang yesterday. I was in the middle of an event at the Emirates so had to ring back. I spoke to the consultant’s secretary who told me that my heart is fine and that I’m able to drive and run again.  So that’s all good news. Thanks to everyone who liked my message on Facebook. Almost 300 ‘likes’ !!

RAH tweet

I did ask whether it was possible to see the details of the report. She explained that they don’t normally send the report but she would ask and see whether it is possible. I’m interested to see what it says!

This week I’ve had 3 runs so far …

Monday – Club Fartlek Session

I decided to try and push a bit harder than last week. The session was 10 x 3mins with 90 seconds recovery. We ran around the 1.5k loop at the back of the On-X Centre at Linwood. It makes a change from running on the cycle track.

There was a good group of us so plenty of runners to chase and be chased by.

For the first 4 I was feeling okay but I really struggled for the final 6. You can’t fake these runs. You either have the fitness to maintain an equal effort throughout the session or you don’t and on Monday I didn’t have it. But I completed the session and this gives me a base line to work from. At least my last one wasn’t the slowest!

fartlek 01-25

Wednesday – Early Morning run

Jo & Seth were down from Inverness to visit and as they were coming for tea I didn’t want to run after work so I was up and out by 6am to run just over 6 miles. I took it steady but I can feel that my ribs are definitely on the mend.

It was good to get the run out of the way before work. I was at the Emirates for the third day on the run as we were doing some some Athletics events. Laura Muir and her coach Andy Young were there as well so they called in and we got a great photo of Laura with the children who were taking part in the event.

Laura Muir

Thursday – Lunchtime run

I was able to run at lunchtime today so it was nice to be able to run in the daylight. Plus it was very mild so no gloves or jacket.

I’ve worked out a new route from my new place of work which doesn’t involve running along the along the Barrhead Road.

I averaged 7:38 pace and for the first time for a while I felt I had a bit of a spring in my step. Still a long way to go but at least I feel I’m heading in the right direction.

route 01-28

I’m looking forward to running with the whw training weekend on Saturday. The plan is to run from Balmaha to Inversnaid and back (30 miles) though some will turn back earlier.  I’m planning to take it very steady on the way out and see what I have in my legs for the return journey!


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Fun weekend

We’ve had a fun weekend so far. On Friday I received a letter from the RAH saying that my heart echo test was fine and that my heart is pumping well!


Hopefully I won’t have to wait long for the result of the 24 hour ECG. I would love to get read the report. It’s not often that you get your heard checked over so it would be really interesting to see what it said.

On Friday night we had a get together with the group from Kilbarchan who run on a Monday night. We thought it would be good to have some regular evenings where we can meet and share together.

For our first one we invited Scottish super star Hayley Haining, who is a member of Kilbarchan and trains with us, to share her tips of training and running a marathon.


It was an excellent evening and Hayley shared lots of great tips and lessons from her international career. I recorded her talk for those of our group who couldn’t make it.

If you are interested you can listen to it here.

On Saturday morning I was up and out by 8.30am for a run on the Gleniffer Braes. I checked on my training diary and realised I hadn’t run up there since August!

I had a feeling it was going to be tough and it was! Since running the White Rose Ultra on Sunday 1st November 2015 I deliberately had a break from longer off road runs and enjoyed some shorter faster races and runs.

I had planned to start my off road running again at the beginning of January but my ‘collapse’ put paid to that.

So I feel I’m quite a few weeks behind where I would like to be but I’m determined to build up gradually. Plus my ribs are still sore and the further a run goes on the more I feel them.

I’m planning on joining the West Highland Way training run next Saturday which will be 30 miles so I was keen to run 15 miles to get me going again.

I did my normal loop and then added another smaller loop of 4 miles or so.

route 01-23

The weather was very mild and I ran in a long sleeved top. I wore gloves for most of the way as it was a bit windy on the tops.

01-23 braes 2

I felt okay for the first couple of hours but last hour was hard work. My legs were struggling and my ribs were really hurting especially if I jumped a bit and jarred them.

01-23 braes1

I must admit I was very glad to get home and into a hot shower. I feel I’m a long way from where I want to be but I know I’ll get there if I continue on a steady increase. I think I’ll feel so much better when my ribs are healed fully.

On Saturday night Katrina and I drive to Crieff to be part of a group of friends who were going to surprise our friend Ian Beattie on his 50th birthday. Sandra had organised for us to meet in the Caledonian Bar and she brought Ian in for a drink and we were all there singing Happy Birthday! It was good fun.

It was great to catch up with lots of friends. I met a few people who faithfully follow this blog or the whw race podcasts I do so that was a bonus.



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Heart Monitoring Tests

This week I’ve had a couple of runs so far. On Monday night I was back at Kilbarchan club for the Fartlek session. The snow was still on the ground so we went to the industrial estate where the lorries come and go so the road is clear.

I wanted to ease back in so I stayed with Katrina for most of the session. It was good to be back and I enjoyed the run.Katrina’s knee was a little sore so we didn’t do the final two runs. The session was 1 min (30 sec recovery), 2min (1min), 3min (90secs), 4mins (2mins), 5mins (2mins), 4mins (2mins), 3min (90secs).

fartlek 01-18

Today I ran home from work as I had an appointment at the RAH (Royal Alexandra Hospital) in Paisley for my second test.

On Monday I had an Heart Echo where basically they took an ultra scan of my heart to check everything is working okay.

Today I have been given a Heart Rate Monitor to wear for a day. They will then analyse the data again to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary.

Heart Monitor test

It will be good to get the all clear!

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