Glee Club Run

I joined the Glee Club for another run yesterday. I pick up Gavin & Lorna and then Lesley and the four of us chatted all the way to Brig o’ Turk where we met up with the group of 30 or so.

We set off on the 17 mile loop just after 9.30am. We had a photo before we started …Group start

The route was a pan shape with a 3.6 mile run to the top of the ‘handle’.

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The group stayed pretty well together for the first 3.6 miles to the start of the loop. I ran most of the way with Amanda Hamilton and a few others.

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Once we got going again the group split up a bit but hopefully everyone was able to run with someone. I was in the group at the front with 6 others including Elspeth, Jamie, Mike, Stuart C and Stuart MacD.

There was a bit climb up to the top and by the time we got there it was quite cold and wet so we stopped for a quick photo before setting off to complete the loop.

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I’m really enjoying these Glee Club runs as it gives me a chance to run on a new route each month but also gives me the chance to run with and make new friends.

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I ran the last few miles with Stuart MacDonald who runs with Giffnock North and knows Neal & Caroline. Stuart finished 6th in last year’s Cape Wrath ultra so I was keen to ask him tips on recovering after each day.

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Stuart is running the Fling this year but also doing Kilder Ultra Marathon 3 weeks before so we chatted about the best way to approach that one.

We must have been deep in conversation as we missed one turn off on the stem and ended up running into Brig o’ Turk and going along the road to the car park.

Mike and Stuart arrived just after us having come down the right way.

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The rest of the group came in over the next few minutes and then most of us headed back to Brig o’ Turk for some lunch in the cafe.

I really enjoyed the run and thanks again to everyone for a great run. I took some video clips and put them together in a short video.

This morning I was back up on the Gleniffer Braes for a run around my loop. I must admit I’m struggling a bit on these Sunday morning runs. My plan has been to try and run a bit quicker but the ground is so wet, muddy and boggy at the moment that I’ve not been able to run as quick as I want to.

So the highlight has been listening to a Five Live podcast ….

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They discuss various topics and it’s a mixture of serious and funny.  It certainly makes the miles go faster especially on a route like the Braes that I run a lot!

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Video of our Glee Club Run

I really enjoyed today’s Glee Club run at Glen Finglas today. I took a few video clips and put them together ….

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Product Review – Asics top and shorts

A few weeks ago I received an email from Andrew Jackson from Millet Sports asking if I would like to review some new running gear. I’m always happy to try new gear out so was happy to accept.

I chose a long sleeved seamless top and 7′ running shorts.

Asics Gear

As soon as I opened the package and tried it on Katrina’s first comment was, ‘you could wear that as a casual top’ so that was a good start.

The top is really comfortable and very light. The first time I wore it I was heading up to the Gleniffer Braes for an 11 mile off road run. It was quite cold and windy so I took a jacket in my bag and I expected to need it.

I was quite surprised that the top kept out all the wind and I didn’t need my jacket. It rained for a while but the top very quickly absorbed the rain and it was dry again.

I’ve worn the top a few times now and I have found really comfortable to run in. It is a good fit but with enough room for movement. I haven’t had any issues with chaffing or rubbing which is a key factor in a running top for me.

Here are the details of the top ….

£40.00

Product Code: 260142_firstsport

Stay comfortable when you’re covering long distances with this Men’s Long Sleeved Seamless Top from ASICS. Innovative Motion Therm technology provides optimal body temperature so you can push yourself to your limits. Seamless fabric and supportive upper panels provide a chafe-free fit for maximum comfort mile after mile. Finished with a reflective ASICS logo to aid visibility when running at night.

– Motion Therm technology
– Seamless fabric
– Reflective ASICS logo
– Style Code: 1346050904

I like slightly longer shorts especially for my longer ultra runs so these are ideal. The shorts are very light and comfortable to wear and more importantly to run in. There is a very small zipped pocket which fits a key.

The shorts I chose didn’t have side pockets which I prefer but maybe other models do have pockets.  They are now firmly in my running shorts drawer and I’ll be wearing them regularly from now on.

Shorts details ….

£21.00

Product Code: 260150_firstsport

Optimise performance with the ASICS Men’s 7 Inch Running Shorts. Motion Dry technology wicks away sweat from the skins surface where it evaporates keeping you cool, dry and comfortable start to finish. The ergonomic fit allows greater range of motion, while the elasticated waistband provides a secure fit.

– Motion Dry technology
– Mesh fabric
– Rear side zip pocket
– Reflective elements
– Style Code: 1340930904

Thanks to Millet Sport for a chance to try and review the top and shorts.

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Inverness Half Marathon Race Report

I have run the run the Inverness three times before in 2011 (1:25:38), 2013 (1:27:36) and 2015 (1:26:19) so I’m glad I ran this year to keep my every other year sequence going!!

Katrina has also run it a fair few times whereas Hollie, our youngest daughter, was running her first half marathon.

We parked in the Rose Street car park and walked the mile or so to the Leisure Centre to register. There was a queue to get in but once we made it to the sports hall we went straight to our desk.

Hollie was a bit disappointed that there were no small t-shirts left as she was looking forward to showing it off at her next Zumba class!

I insisted we had a group photo before we headed outside.

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Katrina and Hollie needed to visit the toilet (again) so wee wished each other a good race and headed in different directions.

I wandered over to the Run-4-it store to find Ryan who was running. We had a chat and headed out for a short warm up. The weather was good but the forecast did promise some rain later.

Lesley and Callum came over as I waited to start and we had a quick chat. Lesley asked me what time I was after. I said sub 1:30 but I was hoping for nearer 1:28. Soon enough the start time of 12.30pm arrived and we were off. I started fairly near the front.

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I put my watch onto mile splits and my plan was to try and keep it around 6:45 pace which would get me under 1:30.

I set off feeling quite steady and tried to keep my breathing relaxed. I went past the familiar figure of Erika and wished her a good race. Once I was over the bridge I caught up with Ryan who was running with a couple of team mates. He was chatting away so I assumed he was taking it easy!

When I reached the 1 mile mark I glanced at my watch and saw that I’d run it in 6:23. So much for taking it steady on the first mile! I decided to put my watch on mile splits so I couldn’t see the overall time.

For the next couple of miles I did settle into a steady run. I was breathing fairly hard and knew I was working hard without being flat out. On runs like this I like to count my breathes.

I count to 40 four times which normally takes me to about 0.7 mile. I then count another couple of 40 breathes and hopefully the mile marker arrives. Ryan slowly moved away and I was glad I’d made the decision not to try and stay with him!

I was going past a few people and others were going past me. Miles 2 and 3 were completed in 6:38 and 6:48. I was slightly concerned that each mile was getting slower but there wasn’t much I could do about it as I was working as hard as I could.

I knew Mile 4 is mainly uphill after the main roundabout so I was prepared for it. There were a few runners around me so I concentrated on trying to stay with them. A couple of guys went past running strong but I caught them again before the top.

I like this section of the course as it goes through country lanes. Miles 4 and 5 were ticked off in 7:01 and 6:50. I was into the heart of the run by now and at a pace which I felt I could maintain but it felt hard work.

I went past the roundabout that the route visits again at 9 miles and crossed over the main road. There were plenty of marshals out on the course doing a great job. I think this photo was taken somewhere along this section.

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I saw a lot of runner number 770 who I see from the results is Iain Shaw. We were together from around mile 2 and I finished 1 second behind him. We passed and repassed each other a number of times and I think it helped both of us keep going.

At mile 6 just before the school I was looking out for Jo, Jono & Seth as their house is very near to the roundabout. I couldn’t see them and found out later that Jono dropped Jo off near the finish as Seth had fallen asleep after church.

I ran miles 6 & 7 in 6:49 and 6:45 and I was pleased to see I was nearer my 6:45 plan. This section of the course goes through a residential area and there were plenty of people out supporting which is always encouraging.

As well as Iain there were a couple of runners from Aberdeen that I saw a lot of. Again we seemed to have different strengths and good patches we I kept going past them and being passed again.

Miles 8 & 9 are mainly uphill and once again I was digging in to maintain my pace counting to 40 over and over to help with my rhythm.  They took me 7:03 and 7:10 so I knew I would need to up the pace if I was to get under 1:30 but I also knew there was a good downhill to come and the wind should be behind us for the final few miles.

As we hit the downhill a runner went past looking very strong so I tried to hang on to him and he definitely pulled me along.  It was around this point that it started to rain and the wind seemed to pick up.

Once we reached the roundabout and were heading along the main road retracing our steps I was starting to count down the miles. Just over 3 miles to go. I was picking off a few runners and a couple of runners went past me.

I seemed to slip back a little and for the first time in the race there was a significant gap between me and the runner ahead.

Miles 10 & 11 took me 6:39 and 6:52 so I was holding my pace. As I reached the 11 mile mark I glanced at my watch and even though it was on the mile slips the overall time was showing …. 1:15.

So I knew I had 15 mins to run the final two miles but I wasn’t sure whether it was 1:15:59 or 1:15:00 which would make a big difference. So I decided to push as hard as I could and hope I could get under the 1:30.

It was good to get over the bridge and feel as though I was on the home leg. There were a few people out cheering and I was running with a group of 3-4 including Iain. We were all working hard to keep the pace up.

I went through mile 12 in 7:04. The route takes you round the outside of the stadium and then through the car park and onto the track. I put my watch to overall time and it was showing 1:28 as I approached the stadium. I remember thinking this might be my last sub 1:30 if I make it!

Once onto the track I pushed as hard as I could but when I reached the 13mile mark (time 7:05) my watched showed 1:29:30 so I didn’t think I’d be able to run the final 198 yards in 30secs!!

I heard the commentator announce my name as I headed for the line. I stopped my watch on 1:30:06 but I thought I might be okay as it took me 8 secs to get through the line at the start and I said as much to Iain.

It was a few minutes later that I realised that I only started my watch when I reached the start line so that would be my time. When I got my phone from my bag I already had a text saying my chip time was 1:30:08.

I had a quick chat with Iain at the finish as we collected our goodies and I congratulated the runners around me. I went inside to get my bag and change my top before I got too cold. As I headed to the hall Jo appeared. It was great to see her.

I headed inside while Jo went to wait on Katrina and Hollie finishing. I saw Ryan at the Run 4 it stall and asked him to take a photo but he handed it to Emily who was working on the stall as his hands were too cold!

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I headed outside and was hoping to see Katrina finish but Jo had sent me a text saying she was in. I looked at my watch and it was 2.10pm so I thought there was a very good chance that she had beaten 1:40 for the first time …. she had by 3 secs! 1:39:57.

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We didn’t have to wait too long to see Hollie striding for the finish in a time of 1:56:48. I met her at the finish tunnel and I insisted on a photo ….

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We went inside and put on our finishing t-shirts and medals for a photo on the prize winning stage!

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Jo took some video clips of the three of us finishing so I’ve put them together ….

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Inverness Half Marathon Update

Katrina, Hollie and I enjoyed the Inverness Half Marathon yesterday. Race report to come but here are our results and a short video that Jo took of each of us finishing.

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Weekend runs on the Gleniffer Braes

Over the weekend I’ve had a couple of runs on the Gleniffer Braes both setting off at 7.30am but the two runs were quite different.

Saturday – 15.66 miles with Cammie & Lesley

It was great to have company again for this run on the Gleniffer Braes. As I mentioned before Cammie and Lesley are doing the whw race for the first time this year so a lot of the chat is around the race.

Lesley ran the Glentress Marathon last Saturday and it was a tough race both physically with lots of hills and also mentally as it’s two laps which is always hard. It fact Lesley was saying that 44 people stopped after 1 lap and took a medal for doing the half.

I was very impressed that Lesley, even though she hadn’t been feeling too good all week, stuck it out and completed the second lap.

The underfoot conditions on the Braes was really wet and muddy so it was quite hard going at times but we kept a decent pace up all the way round.  We met Grant MacDonald who was also out for a long run.

I had one slip in the mud on the way round so that’s why I look the muddiest of the three of us!

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I also took a photo of Cammie and Lesley as they crossed over the wooden bridge. I must encourage them to look up!

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We were all encouraged by the run and I can definitely see that both Cammie and Lesley are running stronger as the weeks go by.

Sunday 11.85 miles on my own

I was hoping to push the pace a bit and see how I felt but the ground was just too wet and muddy so it was a bit frustrating to be honest so I was happy to get round and home for a shower before heading to church.

Finally congratulations to Laura Muir on her double gold at the European Indoor Championships. Laura is coached by a good friend and Active Schools colleague Andy Young. I’ve met Laura a few times through Andy and I’ve really enjoyed following her career.

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A week of speed sessions

Another solid week of workouts aiming to help me to run faster in preparation for the Inverness Marathon which is just over a week away on Sunday 12th March.

Monday – Club Fartlek session

There were only 6 of us for the session but we all pushed each other and worked hard. The session was 6 x 5mins. To help everyone work hard right to the end we started at the same point each time and noted where we finished.

Then each time we had a point to try and reach so show we were running each rep at about the same pace.

I set off hard on each rep and Ryan would go past me after a minute or so. I would try and hang on to him for a bit and then aim to keep the distance between us from getting too big.

Here are my stats for the session …

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I’m always happy to get as close to 5 miles for the 30mins as I can so I was pleased with this workout.

Wednesday – Tempo run after work

I decided to do an out and back on the cycle track. I’ve not done this route for a few years so it was good to see how I got on.

After a warm up mile I pushed hard for 4 miles. I was hoping to do under 7min per mile and was pleased to see that I averaged 6.46 pace.

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Thursday – Hills reps at Pollok Park

Tonight I did some hill reps at Pollok Park. For those who know the park I use the hill opposite Pollok House and start from the far end. So each rep is 0.44 miles and has 2 uphills and 2 downhills.

Today it was pretty muddy and hard to get a good grip. My aim was to try and run each of the four reps faster than the one before.

I managed it with 4:20, 4:05, 3:58 and 3:52.

So a good week of workouts. Saturday and Sunday I’ll be up on the Braes for some longer runs.

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