Thursday, 29 October 2015

was it cauld, cumbernauld?

Yes indeedy. It could have been worse though, a LOT worse. At least the sunshine between monsoon downpours dried us off. Feet stayed wet the whole afternoon. I probably suffered more than most as we arrived far too early and so I had more than 2 hrs running around taking photos with soaking wet feet before doing the last lap of the Porty team relay.

We arrived so early because Andrew felt the 12.33 train might be cutting it fine. I think it was really so he could extend his walking lecture tour on the architecture of Cumbernauld. So we got off the early train with hours to spend strolling through the MiltonKeynesian delights of a town that has twice won the Carbuncle Award. Wikipedia also relates it has won "best town" at the Scottish Design Awards 2012 suggesting it is possible to polish a turd.

Apart from it's distance from Edinburgh, I really like the course and setting of the Cumbernauld relays. It is in the sprawling parkland attached to some grand house (presumably owned by the council) and kept me busy taking photos of the scenery and trees round which the runners were running. It is a shame that the swiftest Porty runners don't turn up en masse to such events but (rather hypocritically) I probably wouldn't have bothered travelling all that way for 15 minutes racing had it not been a club championship race. Having dodged a lot of the earlier road-based club champs races I am now obliged to attend the remaining, or hand the v50 prize to the Stave on a plate. While this would be in some ways a refreshing change from the norm (and reward his huge enthusiasm for the club champs this year,) I wouldn't wish to patronise him by making it too easy. 

We arrived just as the women were starting. Yana, Julie and Aileen were the sole PRC women's team. I was keen to get into my spikes as the ground was waterlogged and I didn't want to soak my non-running shoes. Which I left out beside my bag. Then it rained and they got soaked. Oh such fun. At least there was a stiff wind to move the rain clouds on and soon the sun was out again (and shoes drying.) 

Next the men. There was a good amount of teams. Probably because of the location, but there seemed to be more teams from through west than east. Bella had 6 teams. Maybe they just set more importance on the cross country, maybe it has become more of a tradition over there. It was great to catch up with Bella ex-Porty Gerry. Himself, Willie and I have always had a friendly rivalry and injuries and fitness not withstanding have always been about the same part of the field. 

Andrew chose to run the first leg.
The upside is you get a bit of wind shelter, the downside is elbowing through the crowds.

Craig started slowly (by his own standards) but worked through the field. Later I heard he had not long stepped off his bike having cycled 536 miles from London to Peebles over 4 days.

Chris doing his bit for the winning v50 team

Back to the good old days.
Gerry and Stuart used to work near each other.

Richard sets off up the first hill.

Paul T - 59 and still helping win the first v50 team.
What a guy!

David C had had good runs at Peebles and Stirling where he was well ahead of myself but today was slower than myself and fellow team mate Martin F who had a stormer.

Great backdrop for this photo at the top of the hill.
(Pity about the blue socks and hair dye in the foreground though! <Smiley winkyface.> I mean you're allowed to be rude about folk if you post a smiley winky-face afterwards, that's the rules isn't it?)

Fergus making up-hill faces.

It's not amazing visually but I was dead proud of this photo catching Richard handing over to Willie at the start / finish. (Perhaps to get a sense of how lucky it is I should post the other 3 of Willie on the start line totally obscured by runners, marshals, sponsorship banners etc.)

I could only risk a couple of photos at the beginning of his lap before getting changed and dumping the camera and making sure I didn't miss the handover.

Meanwhile Fergus is still giving it 100% much to the crowds' indifference!

I was a bit concerned that I'd blown my run chasing around the course for 2 hrs. It was difficult to stay warmed up without overcooking it, or cooling off and starting flat. I also got really hungry during the hour before running. I'd had breakfast at about 10am and nothing else till (lap 4) kick-off around 3.30pm and by the time I realised the tank was a bit empty it was too near to the race to fix it. I hoped I'd be ok and largely was. Had I been treating it really seriously I hope I might have done things a bit more intelligently. The start (my start) was "refreshing". The rain lashed down for the first couple of climbs. And there was a stiff breeze in my chops. (And nobody to hide behind.) I felt strong enough running and overtook all the runners just a wee bit ahead. Except for one dude who I chased till we came off the hill and I got him a few turns from the end. I wasn't counting runners gone past as it was impossible to tell 3rd lappers from 4th lappers (from behind). I overtook a few more than the 5 suggested in the results. Because that doesn't include the v50 teams as we were running as a masters (v40) team. I felt I did a decent enough job of measuring the effort out over the 15 minutes running, although I will be taking the Borders Series (starting next weekend) more seriously. Probably a recipe for disaster! 

Running over and I changed out of wet shoes into wet shoes and we made our way back to the train. I was absolutely starving and glad of a couple of scabby rolls near the train station. At least the sun was out. Got home about 8hrs after setting off, for a 15 minute run. 

There is a Scottish Athletics video here.

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