#19: Victoria

I had a haircut this week. I think most people have a haircut that they’ve decided on years ago, and then go see a barber / hairdresser on a fairly regular basis in order to maintain that same haircut. Personally, when that person with the scissors asks me what I want doing, I normally have absolutely no idea. The last year is probably the longest I’ve ever gone with the same style, and even with that continuity I still go through a range of styles over the several months until it becomes completely unmanageable and I decide it’s time I go get it chopped off again. Invariably during the few days after I’ve booked a haircut (because that’s what we chaps do these days) my hair will have a few days of looking actually quite good again which puts a bit of doubt in. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, I do live my life right on the edge. Life is a roller coaster, just gotta ride it.

I also did the Edinburgh half marathon. The short version of this was that I got a PB by 4 minutes and have behaved like an ungrateful sod about it ever since. Long story short, a lack of distance specific training, a big dollop of over confidence and conditions being a little on the warm side meant that I ran rather a little over pace in the first few miles, then ran out of steam a touch earlier than I’d hoped, leading to 5 miles which have haunted my dreams ever since. There’s a much longer version of this here, but I do have to warn you that it’s pretty running nerd heavy and contains more than a little bit of self pity.

I was talking to a friend about running the other day, and it occurred to me that running events are a little bit like gigs. It’s a time when humans all get together in a big sweaty mess, you’re normally proudly wearing a t-shirt from a thing you went to recently like a badge of honour, and almost invariably the smaller more DIY ones are the best. Every now and then we all book tickets for that huge gig like Hyde Park Calling, mainly because you’ve forgotten just how awful it was last time. A bit like Pizza Hut’s all you can eat lunch buffet, only with that you never ever forget how awful it is.

Damage report from EMF was pretty minor thankfully. I had a few days of my hip flexor thinking it would be funny to have me walk like I’d taken part in a rodeo. My toes were also a bit minced, and I reckon in a few days now the bruise under my big toenail will looking pretty awesome. Otherwise though I just felt a bit fuzzy, and have taken it fairly easy all week. I’ve done a couple of easy runs, but ducked out of training because I felt goosed. Approaching the weekend I started to feel a bit better, but still had no appetite to brutalise myself again just yet, so the plan was to stay fairly close and take it fairly easy. It’s this sort of attitude that doesn’t make me a great champion.

This week we ran out of bread on Friday. This meant that for breakfast leaving the house on Saturday, I was going to have to resort to the porridge oats I’d bought recently in order to try and make flapjacks. Incidentally, if anyone can supply me with a decent recipe, I would be very much obliged. I’ve so far had two attempts, the first lot were basically granola and were best eaten with a spoon. The second I went a little too far in trying to stick them together and ended up with baked porridge. Wifey reminded me that stirring the porridge anti-clockwise would summon the D’eil, and that sounded a bit too much like having Noel Edmonds show up for my liking so I figured I’d just do what I was told. As luck would have it, making porridge is a lot less prone to mishaps than flapjacks. It still takes a lot longer to make and consume though than toast, and comes with a far greater risk of burning your mouth. Once again, I am some sort of adrenaline junky.

Out of the train at Partick, and off I go up up the Crow Rd along the route I have committed to memory. As I near McDonalds it seems that Noel Edmonds may have tagged along for the ride after all, as my innards start flagging a potential code brown. Now, I don’t want to get too crude on this one dear reader, thankfully nothing bad happened, but I was definitely aware that it was not safe to attempt to let off steam. Onward at the double and into the park I was very glad to see some excellent public conveniences to sort everything out. Phew! Now all I needed to worry about was running around Victoria Park 3 times.

Off we go along the tree lined path that takes us to the loop we’ll be doing. We’re past our first marshal and the water opens out in front of us. We follow the gentle curve of the pond round to the right and I can see some cute powder blue bridges going over the water. I’ve started a little bit too far back and I’m having to move round a few people, but I quickly find a space as we pass the small bridge and leave the water behind. Along a long green section, it occurs to me that the park is in some ways similar to Victoria Park in London where I’ve had some great times running as well. We move down to the left and I start to wonder if we’re about to leave the park, but we’re instead following a narrow path along the perimeter which takes us to sharp right hander and up a short gentle incline before another right and I can see the end of the first lap. It’s at this point I heard the piper on the course. Now, I may have said some less than complimentary things about bagpipes over the years, and maybe it’s that I’ve now lived here a while and the tottie scones have imparted some tartan into my veins or something, but the effect of hearing some pipes on the course was incredible. Massive grin on my face, I punched the air and started lap 2.

Off onto lap 2 and I’m again following the course around the water. I’ve again taken the course fairly wide which has meant failing to avoid the tree roots for a second time, but I’m a bit preoccupied with the swans I can see, then some massive what I think might be daffodils sprouting out of the pond. A young lad at this point bounds past me with an unfeasible ease, I figure he either turned up late and missed the start or he just walked the first lap for some reason. No matter, off we dash to the very edge of the park, round the corner and up the mini hill to bring us back to the piper and start lap 3.

Off onto lap 3 and I’m now keeping tabs with a grey haired chap with a ponytail who from behind reminds me a little of Rufus from the Bill & Ted films. I now notice the lovely purple flowers on the bushes near the water, which means the lady who told me I was looking way too cheerful might have had a point. Still, it’s a little too late now to be worrying about that and I’m quite content to keep this tempo up. I’ve not mentioned any mile times in this write up for the reason that I didn’t look at my watch at all as I ran. As the lap wound on I felt the work rate increasing as it always does to keep the same tempo, but was quite happy to keep working. Up the gentle incline and I passed Rufus and pushed for home. Another brilliant morning in Glasgow, done.

Scores! 78th place, 22.02, didn’t sh*t myself.




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