Monday, 17 October 2011

Three Too Fast Runs

I've not been keeping this up to date... things get in the way like holidays in Paris (currently my favourite city on earth... after Dulnain Bridge), DIY shelving (or personalised sculptures in blood and sawdust) and teaching music. The first of this bad bunch was an after work loop up to Hogganfield loch. The GPS on my phone has been playing up so it's impossible to prove that the first three kilometres were done at a completely unsustainable pace. I think we managed to scrape a fairly mediocre 8.32 minutes per mile over the 5.7 miles. It's strange to think that while we were running we thought we were running the fastest 10k of our lives!
Fast Run 6th Oct

Fast Run 6th Oct

This is another example of starting well. Running with Richard I have grown used to the sight of the back of his head as he disappears into the distance. I managed to keep up with him for just over 5k. Better than my last attempt which was 2k downhill with the wind at my back... so there is at least some improvement. I was glad of his general shouting and cajoling over the last few kilometres. I would probably have given up near the arch in Glasgow green if he hadn't started complaining we were loosing precious seconds off our lap time. There's nothing like a running partner who throws down the gauntlet to get another few miles out of those idolent pins.
Saturday Afternoon

Saturday Afternoon

I always like to learn the hard way. I'm up in Grantown on Spey teaching at the 21st Feis Spe. You're only as old as you feel. I didn't feel old untill I realised that I was a student at the first Feis Spe and that my Uncle aged somewhere past 55 just kicked my sorry ass at a 10k. I'm not sure he even broke sweat. I however am in pain. A long series of yoga stretches in front of the fire followed by a hot bath have had little effect on my aching limbs. I'm sure it's not right to be seeing spots but after we sprinted up a particularly bad hill in the Angach woods I was seeing more spot than path. On the way down I'm sure one of my lungs shook loose and I have a vague idea that I might have sweated out my kidneys. We're going for another on Wednesday. I fear that a night of songs and tunes in The Craig bar tomorrow might put pay to that plan. Mind you if he can run like that in his fifties I've got twenty years of training to get better... and surely he'll start to slow down sometime soon... surely?
Run With Uncle Iain

Run With Uncle Iain

Sunday, 2 October 2011

A Word on Football

An over excited fan.
Football or soccer is "a form of football played by two teams of eleven players with a round ball which may not be handled during play except by the goalkeepers.  Also called football and Association football. The object of the game is to score goals, by kicking or heading the ball into the opponents' goal. The game originated in England, and is played according to rules established by the Football Association, which has organized the major English knockout competition, the FA Cup, since 1872." 

So is everyone clear?

Thursday night was the second time in over seventeen years I have played football. It should be pointed out that there were too many boys in my final year at school and four of us were 'volunteered' into the girls netball team. This may at first sound like an emasculating experience from which a man may never recover. Let me put it in a different light. There now follows descriptions of the two games.

Grantown Grammar School Football:
Football: GGS style.
At our school the beautiful game was essentially a barely disguised fight in the rain with a ball that tore from one end of the mud soaked pitch to the other. Regardless of what team you were on you would be berated by your classmates for touching the ball, going near the ball or looking at the ball. Generally it was safer to lurk near the back and run away if the ball came anywhere near you. The complex idea of playing as a team had been forsaken for the far easier method of giving the ball to the best player and he would attempt to score single handedly by bullying, clawing, fighting and swearing his towards the opposition goal mouth. The introduction of rugby at our school was simply adding a different shaped ball to a game everyone was already very, very good at.

My brother remembers his first foray into a game of GGS football was running onto the pitch and catching the ball with his face. The ball, moving like a space shuttle re-entering earths atmosphere, hit him so hard that he can still remember the DOOIIING sound as it rearranged his features and knocked him to the ground.

Grantown Grammar School Netball:
Netball involved hanging out with the girls. I was never ever picked last. Imagine that, take a moment to digest this. Never picked last! The next point is really the clincher, especially if you are a teenage boy. The girls are wearing their PE kit and have breasts. Take a further moment to digest this. Now which game would you rather be playing?

Back to Thursday night and the hallowed turf of the Lucozade Power Leauge. Power League? What a lot of macho bullshit. It's literally a bunch of unfit guys running around the inside of cages hopelessly chasing after a ball. I digress.

So Thursday night and the hallowed astro-turf of the Lucozade Power League. I'd like to share a couple of new tips and tricks I've learned about football this week.

I carry this diagram in my pocket to 'help'. I don't know why.

1) Defence (or attack I'm not sure... probably defense) Run at the opposition player holding the ball as fast as you can. The chances are they will panic and either (a) run away or (b) pass the ball without thinking about it.

2) Although I am a terrible football player I am a far worse goal keeper. Two minutes squatting in front of that net left nothing but a noxious smell (I'll come back to this) and the other team three goals up. I let in more goals in two minutes than the rest of the team in half an hour.

4) When someone shouts 'Man On' that does not mean jump on their shoulders.

3) Eat at least two hours before the game and try to avoid a rich lentil curry. Chemical attack is not permitted in the rules of a game of five a side. There is also a very real danger of being sick and/or shitting yourself.

5) When someone shouts 'Goal Side' that does not mean run to the left side of the goal. It also doesn't mean run to the right side of the goal. It doesn't mean stand in front of the goal so someone please fucking tell me what it means and stop shouting.

6) You do not require a pen when marking. I asked.

7) The major difference between playing 5 a Side with a bunch of grown ups is that they:
(a) attempt to play as a team
(b) don't threaten to kick your head in every time you make a mistake
(c) accept that it's just a kick about and the fate world doesn't hinge on the winning of a little game of football played by a bunch of unfit over grown children in a cage. There are also ample opportunities for half time smokes, beers and pies.

8) You will have a pre-conceived idea of how sore you will feel after a game. For a more realistic view take your original figure and treble it then punch yourself in the shins.

For more information on the beautiful game I can highly recommend this inspiring textbook on the subject,  'Unseen Academicals' by Terry Pratchett. It containsp pretty much all the information you'll need including the closest description of 'Grantown Rules' football I have ever read.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Fast Wednesday: Stick and Carrot Technique

Roger '4 Minute' Bannister
Room 101, the hate half hour or the running interval session as it has come to be known. Five kilometres in half an hour three of which are done in the style of a fat Robert Bannister all sweating, heaving and eye-popping.

I casually say to my running partner Douglas,"I did six of these last week. Let's go for eight this week." By the time we've completed one interval I make the executive decision that six will be more than adequate.

The Route on Glasgow Green

For this weeks painful experiment we chose Glasgow Green. At first glance Glasgow green appears to be flat. Let it be known to anyone attempting an interval session, unless you are running on a bowling green nowhere, I repeat, nowhere is flat. The slightest gradient becomes the north face of the Eiger and even flat surfaces begin to take on hill like properties. 

The Charts. NB: 3rd interval nearly killed us!

On the charts 'Fast Wednesday' you can see that our attempt at jogging between intervals didn't last long. I hold myself fully responsible for that second executive decision. We did stick to our guns on one of missions. In fact we excelled ourselves in the final part of the exercise routine which was to Jog in a westerly direction for the full 5k then walk in a north easterly direction towards West Brewery and replace all the carbs that we'd just burned off. This we did in the form of a pint of their finest Hefeweizen which lasted all of two minutes and had to be chased with a further pint of St Mungo's. We did get some funny looks. The pair of us sweating profusely in our running gear pushing through the crowded bar carrying huge pints of beer. With that reward I am actually looking forward to next weeks half hour of suffering.

Mmm... beer in the sun.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Lost in the Dark

There are some things that you don't always take into account. One of the more obvious ones would be daylight. Douglas and I found ourselves somewhere between the canal and the Botanics running through the tunnels and under trees in total darkness. Knees up, arms outstreched and ears tuned to the faintest crack of twig lest we be set upon by a gang of ruffians.
Somehow we managed to navigate our way out onto what we thought was Queen Margaret Drive only to find ourselves at that weird shop on the corner of Kirklee Road and Great Western Road.
 Excuses, excuses... had we not been benighted along the canal I think we might have turned in a fairly good distance in the allotted 1 hour 20 minutes which would have saved us the mile and change walk home.
3rd Sunday Long Run

3rd Sunday Long Run

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Saturday Morning Run

Never ever would I have imagined myself running along the Clyde footpath before 9am unless I'd been at a party the night before and was being chased home by some over zealous neighbourhood watch nazi. Nevertheless I found myself chasing Richard down to Glasgow Green and up river towards Rutherglen. Not a bad morning for it either and watching the racing skiff crews being shouted at by grey haired men on bikes kept my mind off my aching legs.

Pretty pleased with the 10k time here. I've knocked another two minutes off my personal best.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Jedburgh Half Marathon: The Reason Why

So here was yesterday's attempt at killing Peter Currie. You can see the points where we came close.

Thought it might be worth publishing photos of the reason I'm doing this. So here it is... The 70's swallow tail single fin. It's probably about the same age as me and in marginally better shape.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Half Marathon Training: 2nd Fast Session

This is fast (excuse the pun) becoming the worst part of the training. It basically involves me running like fuck round Alexandra park trying to avoid spewing or shitting myself.

Here's the charts.

I was stretching at 10 minutes and tying my shoelaces at 13... honest.

To add insult to injury I followed that run by attempting my press ups for the day. Reset the program to day one and at four press ups. More on this over the next few days.

Gym induction today which was just like all gym inductions. Getting patronised by a spotty youth who is clearly fitter than me but can't bear to let me leave the building without prooving it. A gym induction should go like this...

SPOTTY YOUTH: Do you know how to use all the stuff in the gym.
ME: Yes. This is my fifth gym induction.

You'll notice in this version there are no parting shots like "Come again" or "Have you considered Spin classes" What actually happens is...

SPOTTY YOUTH: Do you know how to use the equipment. Don't answer fatty. I'm going to show you anyway. What do you work as?

ME: I photocopy rats for Glasgow City Council. It keeps me and the rats busy.

SPOTTY YOUTH: [on automatic pilot ignoring reply] Oh how exciting. Is that why you're fat? Don't answer. Use this machine. Smile you fat fuck. Let me show you how it's done properly. You'll never be like me. Does it hurt? I hope so you fat fuck. I hope so.

ME: I'm fine. It's just that I've run here from a meeting and haven't had a chance to warm up. [but wanting to say. 'What with the explosion of rats in the city centre these days I'm tired out from photocopying them for the council']

[Insert montage of me using every resistance and weight machine in the gym to the soundtrack of a choir wailing and cows being slaughtered]

SPOTTY YOUTH: We'll you lazy fat fuck that's the end of your gym induction. If you really want to loose weight become anorexic, get marooned on a desert island or get a gastric band. Don't ever come in here again. Have you considered a Spin class?

ME: No. I couldn't think of anything worse except perhaps a lifetime of gym inductions followed by interval sessions.

SPOTTY YOUTH: In the same way females must consider Zumba you are male and therefore must consider Spin. It has flashing lights and loud techno music and a man shouting at you. It is like the bridge scene from Apocalypse Now but with loud modern music and exercise bikes. You will taste the fear, sweat and mud. Come back and use the gym anytime you like but within the designated hours and not when there are people here who make you feel inadequate you fat fuck.

ME: Cheerio. Thanks for your help. [I will come back when there is nowhere in Glasgow left to exercise... so that'll be November unless it snows heavily in October this year]

SPOTTY YOUTH: No problem. Could you fill out this customer satisfaction survey. It allows us to measure the levels of awareness in all customers especially in these two key areas (1) Customers know less about fitness than us (2) Customers will never ever be as fit as us.