“You relay got me” or “there’s no place like gnome”

I didn’t run from the Thursday until the Sunday as I knew what would happen. Injured. Drop out. Shouted at by Benny. Ridiculed by Ross. To be honest I didn’t prepare very well for it even excepting that. I drunk whisky. I ate sweets. Lots of them. And pizza. And a KFC. The most ill prepared I’ve been for a while as I had pretty much chucked it before it started. Weight creeping up by a few pounds so I need to screw the nut. Anyway it was confirmed I’d be third leg for MAC, a 5k leg, so it’s do-able. Sunday came and hadn’t slept well plus we lost an hour, so Mister Miserable raring to go 🙂 I was picking up Kevin and went to the wrong Co-op in Chapelhall to get him. Magical omens.  We got there nice and early and Jim Proffitt was already there. Was rumoured he had been there since the Saturday in case losing an hour mucked him up. Others suspect he is homeless and wanders through Central Scotland like the Littlest Hobo, some suggest on the run from the authorities, but he is one of us, so we forgive him. Kevin and Nick took me out for a wee look at part of the course after I had negotiated the release of my Hooded top from Nick, who has threatened me with expulsion from team MAC by return. The start is downhill until we get to the first corner then there is a sharp uphill which carries on for a wee while, twisty turny as well. We had a look at the finish as well which is along beside the river and uphill again to the end. From the bits I saw then it was going to be a challenging 5k circuit. The format was 6 runners. 5k then 5.8 miles back to 5k and so on. Nick, Kevin, Gary W and Clare B were off first for the MAC teams so I took the opportunity for a wee jog guessing it would be about 50  – 55 mins until I ran. Good runs by them all, and Andy B was off next for us. I kept jogging about, did a wee bit of striding. Someone said hello to me and I had no idea who he was until he told me his name. I had last seen him 25 years ago at Cambuslang when he had a beard. Now he didn’t and I felt bad as I hadn’t recognised him. Nice to see you Dave Cooney, and thank you for the kind words.  The alarm went and all 3rd leg runners were called over.  Wind not too bad. Rain only drizzly. Niggles only slightly niggly. Bring it on.

Andy came home in 38th place and off I went. One of the problems when my back is niggly is I can’t stretch out too much downhill as it puts me in a lot of pain so I had a relatively restrained start. Which is just as well as the next uphill section into a wind was quite tough but I settled myself into a rhythm feeling niggly and niggly only, nothing that was going to make me withdraw. Now the position we were in had us in the battle for the female event whose race had started at the same time as ours though they were doing 4 legs. This was their penultimate leg and a lot of their big guns were on display.  Ewen Cameron get your mind out of the gutter, I meant top runners and you know it! Three of them went past me in quite quick succession which I have to admit was a bit disillusioning at first until I identified one as Olympian Freya Ross who is getting back into racing after injury. That was ok. I held onto her for about erm 25 metres but we then came to a spiral curly wurly stairway thing going onto a bridge so I let her go…… The next wee section saw me overtake people and be overtaken, was some good racing going on. We then came to a downhill stretch and I had to hang back. the back was sore, and the groin niggling, so I couldn’t stretch out as I would normally like. I still remember what I was told before, work hard on the downhills, but I couldn’t do that today.  

  

We had gone from going through underpasses and bridges to a residential street and now with about 1k or so to go we were onto a muddy riverside path. There was great encouragement from MAC’s John Hughes and Chris Macdonald and Cambuslang’s Mike Johnstone and Stevie Wylie all of whose words were appreciated.

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I was tussling with a fella from Teviotdale and one from Central Region as we got round the last 2 corners and the uphill stretch to the finish. I felt quite good and finished relatively hard. I knew I was a bit under par, particularly in the middle but kept pushing. I beat the Teviotdale guy and wasn’t too far behind the guy from Central who was really shifting. I passed over to Brian and off he went. Quick glance at the watch, about 19.45 so was pretty happy. Felt crap, couldn’t stretch out but had run another sub 20 5k on quite a tricky wee course. My splits were 3.56, 4.00,4.01,4.00, 3.48 so I was pretty consistent. I take satisfaction in that I’m toiling but can consistently run under 20 minutes, so if i can shake off my niggles then I KNOW I can beat my best of 19.30. I was supposed to be seeing someone last week about my injuries but unfortunately that fell through.  I had also finished in 38th place having started in 38th place so I hadn’t let the MAC A team down after all. I was faster (just) than Ross Burton who had again slept in but made it as he was on second last leg. I may never get selected again as more people make themselves available for selection,  but at least it won’t be because I was a donkey.

I had to to shoot off straight after my leg and missed the finish and the best story of the day. Over to Kevin.

“You missed the best bit of the whole day today….There was about 6/7 of us standing on that bridge at the 1k to go bit and we saw Tommy coming down the hill behind the back of the houses, as the path forked at the river he took a right rather than running by the river, we were all killing ourselves laughing as he reappeared 20 seconds later coming down what look liked the steps of someone’s front path….” Aye good old Tommy, don’t know if he stopped his garmin and jogged back, but he claimed “Took wrong turn and realised i was about to run into someones backyard so i had to go down an embankment to get back on the correct path”. Police in Livingston are apparently on the lookout for a thief in a baseball cap who stole a garden gnome and three pairs of wimmins knickers from a garden. If anyone knows anything please let us know……

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So I’ll see how I feel this week and maybe do the Tom Scott 10 miler next week. If any of you know a physio who is willing to give out free treatment in return for publicity in a blog read by thousands of people then tell them to dream on, but I’m sure my couple of hundred would be interested 😉 Until next week running peeps.

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