Saturday, 20 September 2008

Glenpark Harriers – here we come!

Tom has been headhunted off the esplanade while out on one of his training runs to join the Greenock Glenpark Harriers Running Club! The story behind this is actually a bit more complicated – if you want to find out the details, read on!

For a while now, in fact since the WHW-DNF, I have been trying to encourage Thomas to join a running club. I thought it might be good for his training, especially over the winter, structured speed training and general social aspect etc.
He has been quite reluctant as he does his “own thing” training wise and does not want to be roped into frequent races etc. Even over a year ago I had met a nurse I knew from Inverclyde A&E at Tesco, who had joined Glenpark Harriers and she had tried to get both of us into the club, but apart from looking at the website we did not take it further.
Then on Saturday on the train when I read the Greenock Telegraph on my way to Glasgow, there was an article about the Harriers and how they had done at the Great Scottish Run. It was talking about Alan O’Rourke who “had brought them home” in a time of 1:23 and I was thinking, well Thomas was faster than him, he should really join them and get home “first”.
When I came back Thomas had been out on his long run with a few speed intervals. He had noticed a runner trying to keep up with him but apparently Tom got faster and faster and the guy could not keep up. On his return lap, this guy actually stopped him asking if he had “a few minutes”, was he already in a club, he should join the Glenpark Harriers and there would be a 4K race at the Esplanade the following week. Guess who he was? Alan O’Rourke of course. How many signs do you need?? :-)

I have decided to tag along when (and if!) Tom goes for his first training session with them after the Cologne Marathon. This is actually quite a life changing moment for me. Up to now, even after doing my 1st Marathon and a few HM, I have not really considered myself a “runner”.
In fact I have used running to stay fit, trying my luck at a few longer distances, but in my heart I have always been a “skater”. Unfortunately especially over the past 2 months the weather has been so bad that serious training on skates was impossible. I have had to realize that I will not be able to progress and get faster times on skates while living in Scotland.
After the Cologne Marathon where I will try once more to get under 2:00 (and will in fact very ambitiously join the 1:50 pace line with 2 fellow Scottish Skaters), I will therefore hang up my skates and exchange them for running shoes. I can join my skater friends on dry days during spring and summer as part of the occasional cross training, but I will not try to do any serious training. Instead I will concentrate on running – and so I should with the DOTH coming up next year and my name on the starters’ list!

Sunday, 7 September 2008

3 PBs, 2 new DOTH applicants, 1 new dress - a great day!

Today I ran a new PB in the Half Marathon at the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow! It was not only a PB, but I managed to get under the (for me) magical 2 hours on a rather hilly course. I finished in 1:55:21 and took 7 min of last year's time. And for the 1st time in my life I ran with mile splits instead of Km splits - what a revelation! Instead of counting to 21 and working out if you will make your target time, you only have to count to 13 and you are there! Psychologically it worked really well for me. Maybe it just means that I have been in Britain too long!

There was a PB for Thomas (1:21) - very well done! He is in great shape and preparing to beat his Marathon PB in Cologne and get under his magical time of 2:50. The 3rd PB came from our friend Andreas who now lives in England and runs with Kennilworth Running Club (1:56). For him it was also the 1st time under 2:00. He is preparing for Chicago and hopes to get under 4:00 there. We run similar times, the only difference is that he is at least 3 stones overweight and used to be a very fit Munro bagger when he was still living in Scotland a few years ago. Thomas keeps pushing him to loose weight and to try and chase him as his fitness is actually quite good (better than mine). But he still manages fairly good times for his weight, I think.

As we were all on a high after the run, Thomas brought up the subject of the DOTH 2009 (Devil o' the Highlands) again. He has been trying to get me to send off my application for at least 2 weeks now. He who never likes to do any admin work, form filling etc actually printed out an application form for me, filled it in as much as he could, put the address and stamp on the envelope and presented it to me. Well after I hadn't done anything with it he finally sent off his application last week. I secretly thought to wait and see what the HM would be like, maybe even wait for the 1st training run on the WHW. I did enjoy my little run from Kingshouse to KLL a few weeks ago and kept thinking about it. As we were relaxing in Starbucks after the HM and celebrating our new PBs I had a brilliant idea. We have now presented Andreas with his 40th birthday present (which we were still looking for until today). It will be a weekend at the Kingshouse Hotel next August and (hopefully) the entry to the DOTH 2009! Before he left up north today to bag 4 Munros tomorrow he was presented with his application form and just had to sign it. The plan is for the two of us to run and finish it together!

On our way back to the car park at Cambridge Street, conveniently at the opposite side of the city, where we wanted to get changed before heading to Starbucks I even managed to drag Thomas into a shop! He normally resists all my attempts of getting him to go shopping unless the shop is a running or an outdoors shop. Well, as we had to walk up Buchanan Street anyway and I had done so well (!!), he did not have the heart to resist a little detour into Karen Millen. I had seen and tried a really nice purple cocktail dress last week that I wanted him to "see". The shop assistant looked a bit worried as we walked in with our foils wrapped around us, but luckily my size was still there and Thomas liked the initial look, so she put it away for me to try it after I got changed and cleaned up. After the coffee we went back and I paraded the dress which Thomas agreed was a perfect fit and looked really nice. So out I came with a new dress, which will have its premiere at my grandmother's 90th birthday party in 3 weeks. I can't wait!