Training day 7 – 5 football grounds and a basketball arena

I’m not sure why I decided to do this but the end of my first week of training was a 75 minute “easy run” so I thought I would try to run from Ibrox to Celtic Park.  Looking at this on Google Maps though I saw this was going to be too short a route so I thought I would chuck Hampden in there as well, this was my mistake, Ibrox to Hampden seems to have plenty of hills!

At the start – Ibrox Stadium

Kirsty dropped me at Ibrox at 10am.  Rangers are playing today and there were already supporters about the place with the scarf and flag sellers, Ibrox catering staff and some of the burger vans were getting parked up, I love burger vans.  I decided to do a lap of Ibrox first, a really impressive stadium.  Last time I was there I saw Morton draw 2-2.  I have also been to a couple of Old Firm games, some Rangers Champions’ League games when my brother was in Spain and a Scotland game or two.  It was here I heard the loudest noise I’ve heard at a football match when Morton played there in 1995, I think it was Paul Gascoigne’s competitive debut and the roar he got literally did make the air seem to crackle.  Pity he elbowed Derek McInnes in the face and Paul Blair missed a sitter but there we go!

Nice big main stand

I did stop briefly to take this picture, I really like that main stand, from inside the stadium under the floodlights it looks pretty cool.

I plodded my way through the South side of Glasgow towards Cathkin Park, home of Third Lanark.  I think they went out of business in the 1960s.

A picture of my brother’s dog Buzz for no reason that I was sent during the run

I was a little bit lost at this point but there was a set of stairs that were undeniably football stairs leading up a banking so I thought this must be it, the sign below confirmed it.

Cathkin Park, home of Third Lanark

I know very little about Third Lanark other than they went out of business and were called the HiHi as a nickname.  I think football historian Bob Crampsey may have supported them.  I liked this peaceful little piece of Glasgow.  I think someone is trying to fix this park up and get a Third Lanark team playing there again, I really liked the terracing and I reckon it would be a great place to watch a game on a warm summer’s evening, not so much in the winter maybe though.

Inside Cathkin Park

Then I made it to Hampden surprisingly quickly.  I really had no idea Hampden was so close to Cathkin Park.  Kirsty met me here to make sure I was alright and to take a picture.

Outside Hampden

Hampden is the home of Scottish football, the SFA and SPFL are based here and it was recently confirmed Scotland would continue to play here, Murrayfield in Edinburgh put in a bid for all the big games to be played there instead.  I think my first visit to Hampden was in 1986 for Aberdeen v Hearts in the Scottish Cup Final, Aberdeen won 3-0 and Walter Kidd was sent off for Hearts. I also went to the under 16 World Cup final, Scotland against Saudi Arabia in 1989 where many questioned if the Saudi Arabia team were actually under 16!  When Hampden was refurbished a few of my friends and I drove up from Dunoon to see Holland beat us 1-0 with a goal from Brian Roy in the game to mark the re-opening.  I think these details are correct, I am going google-less for this!

I was getting tired by here

The run itself was pretty tough up until that point, Ibrox to Hampden is really steep in parts but I passed through a really nice part of Glasgow along Nithsdale Road.  Next, I set out to Celtic Park, it must surely be nice and flat?

Shawfield, former home of Clyde

As I left Hampden I passed Toryglen football centre where I used to play 7 a sides on a Thursday evening.  A few minutes later I passed Shawfield Stadium where we had a football night out, I had an uncanny ability to bet on the dog that finished last in something like 7 of the races.  Shawfield is a greyhound track now but Clyde used to play there until they started shifting about, they now play in Cumbernauld.  This part of the run was flattish and my speed was picking up a little despite me being at the 7km mark, I can run on the flat for ages but hills are tough!  Kirsty met me here and I checked the next part of my route, it seemed to drag on for ages but I was pleasantly surprised to see Celtic Park looming before me relatively soon.

Almost finished

Celtic Park is Glasgow’s biggest stadium and the venue of one of my happiest nights as a Morton fan, when we beat Celtic 1-0 in the cup with a Dougie Imrie penalty.  I have also seen us lose here a few times.  It is a really impressive stadium and can be seen from a long way off.  I was at a Scotland v England game here a few years ago and would love to go to a Celtic European match, the atmosphere always seems amazing.

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The home of basketball

A new addition to the Glasgow sporting scene is the Emirates Arena, ideally I could have went in and ran a lap of their athletics track.  There is also the Chris Hoy Velodrome which I would like to try and, of course, it is the home of the Glasgow Rocks basketball team.

All done

At last I was done.  I chose to run from Ibrox to Celtic Park and not the other way around because I wanted the wind at my back most of the way.  In truth I didn’t feel much wind and next time I would do it the opposite way around so I didn’t have those brutal hills at the start.

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Proof that I did it!

As you can see, it wasn’t the fastest time ever but my splits below kind of show that I was managing ok once it came to the flatter areas.  That was an enjoyable morning and it was great to see such iconic venues from a different perspective.

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My split times, you can spot the flat areas.

 

Thanks for reading.  If you have made it this far and want to sponsor me for running the London Marathon for the RNIB then you can do so at this link here

You can also text SMTR76 £1 to 70070 (or £2, £3, £4, £5, £10) to give that amount.

Please feel free to share this if you want, I enjoyed running it and writing about it.

Official training week 1

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A thing on the wall in the Nike shop

That’s the end of the first week of training, it went alright I think. The way my training is written out it seems Sundays should mark the end of the week but I like to think of Sundays as the start of a new week so I am doing it this way!

Monday saw me doing 30 minutes of “conditioning” work. I am not too sure what is meant by that, the internet throws up many different ideas – one of the things seems to be press ups and stuff like that, I am not so sure I can do them anymore so I am just going to do a really gentle run on conditioning days. At the moment I am doing most of my running on a treadmill because it is nice and warm in the Aquatec gym and there are no hills – I don’t like cold or hills but I know I will need to dry my eyes and deal with them at some point.

Tuesday was 40 minutes at “easy” pace. I did 7.5 km in 41 minutes, it felt easy enough so I figured I had done ok. I am not sure if this is normal but sometimes the start of a run, the first kilometre or so feel hardest – then I seem to settle down and it gets easier – who knows?

Wednesday I was to do a gym class or cross training for half an hour. I hate the cross trainer, I went on it for about 3 minutes but couldn’t get going well at all. So I just did a 30 minute run instead. Is the reason I am to mix it up with cross training and stuff so that I don’t over-run and hurt myself? I will need to get that sorted.

Thursday I had to do 10 minutes easy, 10 minutes steady then 10 minutes easy. This was not bad. I chose 10.5 km/h for easy and 11.5 km/h for steady. I think 12 km/h is my threshold pace for when I have to do that. Again, this was not bad.

Friday was a rest day – I celebrated by going to Dunoon and visiting Anselmos for the first time in years! It has been taken over by someone else and the sausages have changed. Anselmos always had different sausages but now they just have the ordinary battered ones you get everywhere else – progress! Apart from that the new menu and everything looked great – as always, a tasty dinner, my dad’s haggis looked amazing, I have never had haggis from a chip shop.

Onto Saturday, 30 minutes cross training or gym class, I went for a parkrun. I think I will always do this on a Saturday. Parkrun today was a lot quieter than usual today, probably due to the horrendous weather forecast and cold wind, hail, snow, freezing rain and rain.

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A hardy bunch in lesser numbers today

153 people braved the elements though, plus the poor cold volunteers who did a great job. I was not feeling up for this at all this morning but I figured the most important runs are the ones you don’t want to do! Plus, if I start slacking off on the training I am in trouble, I need to get into the habit and make it an every day thing rather than an additional task I have.

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Trying to get in some kind of zone

The run went ok, for a few weeks now I have been meaning to have an easy parkrun to see if I could make it without feeling too tired and with the slippy conditions today it was as good a chance as any to try it out. I aimed to run it in 27 minute and 30 seconds and I did 27.44. I was quite pleased that I felt fairly fresh when I finished, it’s not always faster times that indicate progress I guess.

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A cold looking Strathclyde Loch

So then I went home and had 2 rolls and sausage, I felt I deserved it! Tomorrow is a 75 minute “easy” run so I will get a podcast downloaded and get on with it in the tropical surroundings of Aquatec rather than the icy environs of Mothewell.

A well earned couple of hot rolls

10 points to anyone who can name what programme is on the telly…

My modest sporting background in Dunoon.

Postcard view of a chilly Dunoon

Today I was in Dunoon. It was my Dad’s birthday (happy 73rd birthday Dad) and I always like visiting my hometown. Kirsty says we can retire there but I am not so sure I believe her. This blog is going to be a look at some of my background in sport in Dunoon and there are plenty of old clippings from the Standard and some pictures of current day Dunoon. There are plenty of names in the old paper cuttings, if you can’t make them out or zoom in too much give me a shout and I will zoom in on my copy and send it to you. As always, I am writing this to try to promote my sponsorship efforts for my London Marathon run for the RNIB. You can sponsor me by clicking http://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/stuartmtaylor or by texting SMTR76 £3 to 70070 (other amounts can be done as well.)

School Sports results

What better place to start than the school sports. I loved these days and was gutted when injury ruled me out of my P7 school sports day. These are the results of my final sports day, hopefully you can enlarge this to read the names. Not a stellar year, 2nd in the skipping race, joint 3rd in the obstacle race and 3rd in the 3 legged race.

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Dunoon Fun Run from the mid 80s. I am number 31 on the right.

The Dunoon fun run was probably my first taste of an organised run outside of a school sports day. Registration was held in the Argyll Gardens then we all ran to Western Ferries and back – 4 miles. I enjoyed it. My friend Innis suggests we ran it together one year and I stopped in Kirn Variety for an ice lolly, probably a Lemonade Sparkle or a Mini Milk.

Finishing straight in the fun run and the swimming pool
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A view down to Innellan

Another really fun race was the Innellan Fun Run. The view above shows part of the route. A current 10k and half marathon goes down this stretch of coast. I did the 10k this year, running into the prevailing South West wind was brutal! The Innellan fun run was organised as part of the Innellan Festival, a fine event which also had a 5 a side competition (picture of that later) and a pool competition in The Osborne, I didn’t enjoy that so much as I was always playing someone miles older and I was scared!

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Me and Innis finishing the Innellan fun run
Dunoon Stadium, home of athletics and Dunoon Amateurs and Cowal Games

Next is my time in Cowal Amateur Athletics Club, hosted at Dunoon Stadium. I always fancied myself as a bit of a long jumper but was no real use at anything else. Gary Clark was bullet fast over the short distances and Neil Walker was the long distance man. I was reminded earlier of the rocket fuel drinks of diluting orange we got in a room in that main stand – if the anti-doping federation had been about they may have had something to say about this – that stuff was potent and oh so tasty.

A Thistle Award

In Athletics club we competed for Thistle Awards, you got points for different distances or times in different events and they were combined to get you a number of gold, silver or bronze awards. These were then presented at the end of season awards ceremony in the Masonic Hall after we had spent all night doing the Conga and the weird “Superman” dance – great times! We got wee badges and patches to go with these.

I have just given myself the idea to try and see if my 42 year old self could beat y 10 year old self!
Can’t believe we lost

Occasionally we would have competitions against other Athletics clubs. Loads of names here, click and share if you want! I hope people can read this.

2 silver – no gold for me…
Modern facilities much better than they used to be.

Now onto my football career. Not a very successful one! I remember playing in the DYFL with some massively older people. My first game was for the Wizards against the Stings at the Grammar School. It was pouring down and someone passed to me straight from kickoff and I miscontrolled it. My confidence was shot. Who knows what could have been had I controlled that ball. Dunoon actually produced a large amount of players: Andy and Gavin Galloway, Neil MacFarlane, David MacGregor and Andy Graham. Recent additions include Lewis Strapp and Declan McDaid. I eventually got placed in the Nursery League with the Phantoms and started to play well (against younger people) I enjoyed that more.

Me at the Toward 5 a side competition
My favourite clipping ever!

Football was always great fun, I wish I was better at it. I was not the worst and sometimes was called up for “Select” teams that got to play on Dunoon Stadium in the black “Legends” strips. A local nightclub sponsoring 12 year old football teams may not be quite as welcomed these days! I also played for an under 18 team in Dunoon, the most memorable moment being whenwe lost 13-0 to Ferguslie Youths and our goalkeeper David Mitchell still won man of the match! Or the time a big fight started (I was not involved) and the referee called over Dunoon number 9 to send him off and was our best player. Someone then distracted the referee and our number 9 swapped strips with one of the weaker players so the wrong person got sent off – the Erskine manager went bananas!

Newly refurbished Queens Hall

In here was all sorts of things. 5 a side football and badminton being the main ones for me. Badminton was on a Monday evening and used a series of metal rings to indicate who was playing who. I once was runner up in a mixed doubles competition, see below! I also played badminton at Friday Club out in Kirn, I think it was only meant for Kirn Primary pupils but I was allowed to go and made new friends.

I was a runner up
Putting Green

We used to play mammoth putting competitions here in summer, 90 holers! Sadly no longer used for putting.

Finest view from a tennis court anywhere

Every day in the summer holidays was spent here at the tennis club – we did near enough everything except play tennis! Football, cricket, urban golf, chess, mountain bike men, table tennis, pool and running about the Castle Gardens – but not much tennis. I was junior champion in 1991, beat Mark Johnstone in the final. I tried to attack in the first set but Mark kept tapping it back to me and let me make mistakes so in the 2nd set I just tapped it back to him as well. It went down as the most boring tennis match in history. Umpire Neil Lea said he felt sick because his head was swinging back and forwards so much.

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We did play tennis sometimes
Castle Hill
Argyll Street – home of the bed race

There used to be a bed race in Dunoon, we took part once with the Scouts, racing hospital beds up Argyll Street!

The “family jewellers”

I’m just whacking in a picture of this shop because they always provide me excellent, quality service! Plus I used to play tennis against Timothy J Sharp and his younger brother.

Argyll Hotel and Argyll Gardens

Here I used to work on the bouncy castle and try to perfect flips and kicking the inflatable crossbar at the front of it. There also used to be trampolines here and little buggies as can be seen below.

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Those cool wee humbug things in the Argyll Gardens
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I did make the swimming team once

I also went to swimming club every Tuesday, it eventually became a little competitive for a non-competitive wee guy like me but loads of the members did really well, a really successful club.

Dunoon Pier

Finally the Pier. We used to engage in a spot of Pier Jumping off the waiting room roof that you can’t see here. We waited until the Waverley came in so the pier staff were all too busy to come and stop us. That was pretty dangerous now I think about it. Nowadays they have a mountain biking competition here and the ultra race and triathlon finish here.

So, there we have it. Having written all that it further reinforces how lucky I was to grow up in a town like Dunoon with so many adults willing to give up their time to help us get into sport. I am also really grateful to have supportive parents who ferried me to all those things and encouraged me to stick at it even when I wasn’t enjoying it too much – thanks Mum and Dad 🙂