Right, I am totally full up with cake and crisps and juice and all sorts of things I shouldn’t have been eating! Lugging this extra weight around with me for the next couple of weeks will be annoying but it needs to be done I suppose!
My first run over the new year period was on the 29th December at Strathclyde parkrun into the teeth of the strongest wind I had felt (since the last time I ran the parkrun!). I can’t say I enjoyed this run too much and my time wasn’t the fastest. One thing I have noticed is that for someone who claims not to care about times too much I have become a bit of a slave to the pace I am going at on my Garmin. I seem to check this a little too often and if I am running what I perceive to be too quickly I will slow down and if I am going to slowly I will beat myself up a little. I think I may make a big effort not to look at my watch at all the next time and just run how I am feeling. Another weird thing on Strava was that it looks like the entire run was done downhill slightly. Strathclyde Park is reasonably flat and Strava usually give me a couple of sections being downhill by a metre which is balanced out with a couple of sections being ever so slightly uphill. As you can see below, this whole thing was downhill which makes little sense, but not to worry.
Then on Hogmanay I decided to go out for a 90 minute run. I should have did this on the Sunday but I thought it would be a nice way to end the year. I racked my brains trying to think of a nice flat area to run on nearby but I couldn’t really think of one so I took myself into Glasgow. As a Geography geek I knew that rivers in their lower course flow through quite flat land so I figured running beside the Clyde would be a nice wee run for me. I parked at the Transport Museum and paid for my parking (3 hours, £4.80) – I could have just went for the 2 hours but I was worried I may need to stop and rest a little too long.
After 1km I stopped in the SECC to use the bathroom facilities. The Carnival was on. I used to love the Scout trip up the Carnival and was always excited at all the watches I would win in the grabber machines. The watches all broke within a couple of days but I still felt I had beaten the system! This area of Glasgow is really nice now. There was a time in the 70s and 80s when shipbuilding started to decline and this area became derelict and run down but the Garden Festival of the late 80s and subsequent regeneration have seen this area become a bustling hive of industry and commerce. This link here has plenty of information about all the different schemes.
This was a harder run than I thought it would be. You can see by my splits that the going wasn’t as fast as I usually go but, again, I need to blame the wind, and the hills that I didn’t expect!! I knew that running upriver would involve a slight incline so it was probably more psychological than anything else. As you can see from the map below, my route took me through some interesting areas of Glasgow. I passed through an area to the south of the CBD, then down into Glasgow Green. I only really see this area when running the final 500 metres or so of the Glasgow 10k or when at a busy event like a Stone Roses concert or the World Pipe Band Championship so it was strange to see it so empty. I did not know there were rowing clubs boat sheds in there. My run continued past Glasgow Green into an area with lots of vandalism. I saw a man not pick up after his dog after it had attended to its business and wanted to say something but I didn’t have the bottle to be doing that.
As I continued along the River Clyde Walkway or whatever it’s called I noticed a load of rubber rings on poles, that must be pretty expensive to maintain. I also noticed a pretty horrendous smell. When I got home I checked the map and there appears to be a sewerage works around here somewhere. I turned back and passed the man with the dog again. I passed a load of other runners – only some gave a nod of recognition, maybe around half. I saw what looked like a marina type thing, or a place where people kept their boats out the water in winter and I saw a sign under the Kingston Bridge telling me it opened in 1970, I thought it was before that.
Not sure I enjoyed that too much. My friend Craig from Ireland who runs really fast told me that soon a 10 mile run will feel easy, I look forward to that day because this run was hard!
Now to New Year’s Day. Some parkruns are held on this day and neighbouring runs will stagger their starting times to allow people to do 2 parkruns. I had set my sites on the Strathclyde one at 9 and then Greenock at 11 but ended up just doing Strathclyde. I had wondered how busy this would be with it being so early on January the 1st but a quick check of the results showed a turnout of 392 – brilliant – and 14 volunteers too! I really enjoy seeing so many people out getting healthy and being sociable. The more the merrier! I first realised it was going to be packed when I saw how many cars were parking on the roads leading into the park. The road along to the car parks was closed so people had to park elsewhere and walk/jog – added an extra 2.6 km onto my day’s exercise but that was fine.
This was maybe my favourite parkrun since I broke my PB. The atmosphere was great as it was so busy and it was great seeing so many different running vests and run tee-shirts from around the country and around the world. I have recently joined a group on Facebook about parkrun and there are some right geeky statistics about attendances on it – and I mean geeky as a compliment here – which showed that loads of parkruns got record attendances on January 1st – amazing. I think about 150,000 people were involved all in.
Add to all this the classic “High Pressure in Winter” weather conditions and it was all set for a lovely start to the year.
I felt I ran quite well within myself here. I was cautious because of the previous day’s exertions so started off nice and slowly but, as the distance ticked by, I began to feel more and more comfortable. My splits below show I ran each kilometre faster than the one before, I think that is called negative splits, or positive splits. Whatever it is, I am happy with it!
So, here we are. The start of a new year, one which I hope I can get right into running properly. I have the London Marathon in April to look forward to and I have entered the ballot for the Great North Run. I also have my eye on a few half marathons including Inverness in March which I have already entered.
Thanks for reading this. Please share it if you find it interesting or if you find it rubbish and want to laugh at it!