Dropping it down a gear or two.

It has been a wee while since my last posting and for the usual reasons. After knocking my pan in on the parkrun I found myself in toilingland again. Ran on the Sunday and struggled on a slow run. When Tuesday’s session came the pain was too much for me to even complete the warm up and it was a long shuffle of shame back to the car. I took the huff but had some good advice from club chairman Ewen and took a week off. It’s a long season. I don’t have to do every race. There’s next year’s title to go for. (I wasn’t actually going for this years, but I get the gist.) A week later did a slow 5k on my own. I felt ok ish, niggly but bearable. I went along to the club tempo on the Thursday. I ignored everyone else and just did a steady 4 miler on my own. I reigned in my competitive nature as it’s stupid having one at my age and with my limited ability. I let people go that I normally wouldn’t and did the 4 miles in 27 odd minutes, running through 5k in about 21.40 and keeping a consistent pace. Pleased with that and no real repercussions afterwards. I skipped the Saturday session as I am avoiding sessions in consecutive days for the next wee while and I wanted to do the Sunday Run as this brings me to my main blog entry.
Occasionally the club organise guest runs where the MAC troops gather some place different to go for a meander through pastures new. This one was be through Bannockburn way, and running to the North Third reservoir and cliffs with our quite frankly bonkers guide Davie Armour. A good 20 or so of us made it through on what I can only describe as a “fresh” morning. We were prewarned that there was a lot of uphill on this run, some of it would have to be walked and that Tommy would attempt a sprint finish. The first section was through the Bannockburn heritage grounds and up a wee road towards the forest. The climbing was starting almost immediately but was gradual. Into the forests and the underfoot conditions were ideal for running on. It was a nice steady but gentle pace with us regrouping along the way.

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Craig was looking at prospective points on the course to potentially bury more victims while the rest of us were enjoying the views and the banter. Michael Wedlock was making a rare excursion with the riff raff and decided to stamp his authority on the proceedings by sending us up the wrong way over a climb that needed hands to be used to pull ourselves up. We were quickly called back and chastised whereupon Michael blamed Craig and we had our first downhill stretch of the day down to the reservoir. We ran alongside it and then the toughest part of the run a very steep zig zaggy run with almost vertical steps which took us up to the top section and the gorgeous views that awaited us. We had a wee break to regroup and pose for pictures, but only after watching coach John Hughes struggle with technology as he tried to look through an iphone lens to take a picture while his puzzled face was on the on-screen display to the rest of us.

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Once we had stopped laughing we started the descent. After a mid descent regroup there was a long straight section down and Tommy kicked for home, sprinting hard on the uneven, stony, rocky surface. Then he stopped and started jogging back up the hill. “What’s wrong Tommy?” we asked, worried about our Hero. He had forgotten to switch his Garmin back on and was going to do it again. Even Davie was shaking his head. From here on in it was nice and steady back to the centre through gorgeous grounds (where legend has it Davie was once confronted with a man with a club for trespassing, maybe that’s why he sent us out at the front). We stopped just short of the centre so we could all regroup and finish the run together. The sense in all of us doing our stretching on a weak bridge that had a sign on it saying “Weak Bridge” and that looked like a weak bridge is still lost on me, but the bridge remained intact, we got the rest of our group together and strolled through the grounds having a good look at all the history.

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I enjoyed the run, reminded me that not everything has to be 100 miles per hour all the time. We live in a beautiful country and sometimes it’s nice to check it out as we dander about. My tranquil mood was somewhat shattered when John pulled me aside and said he was considering moving me up into the first team for the National Road relays at Livingston next week. While nice to have the gaffer acknowledging my progress (though it’s more likely there have been about 45 call offs)  I would like to have been fully fit and training as well as I can. I have until tomorrow to make my decision as to whether I want to be considered, so guessing I will have to put myself through a tough session tomorrow night and see how my body stands up. Or falls down.

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