The Joy Of Socks (Andrew)

Once a week I run at lunchtime from our office in Larbert. I usually prepare my bag the night before so I have my kit, my towel, a change of clothes and my trainers. I was a Boy Scout. Be prepared!

Except, I wasn’t a very good Boy Scout, and a couple of weeks back I forgot the most important item of all. Not my towel, there’s always ways to dry off even if you forget a towel, including but not limited to a roll of toilet paper, which we shall never speak about.

No, the worst item you can forget is a fresh pair of socks. Once you’ve been running you don’t want to wear your socks again. They need to be banished into the darkest deepest parts of your bag so that the smell is smothered until you fish them out later with a pair of tongs to throw them in the washing machine.

But if you have no socks, what do you do? Nothing. You can’t wear loo roll on your feet. Nor can colour in your ankles with a black marker and pretend you’ve actually got socks on.

Instead, you have no choice but to dress like an 18 year old trying to get into a nightclub, ankles flashing on too short trousers.

I had to spend the rest of my day making sure not to leave my desk so that no one could accuse me, a 44 year old man, of being some kind of Hoxton Hipster from 2015.

“Is that your ankles I can see?” Someone would ask.

And I have to explain that I work in social media marketing and as a part time barista and that this was a uniform, not a choice.

So, from now on, to avoid this happening again I now have a pair of emergency socks in my bag. That way if I ever forget to bring a pair I can break out the emergency socks so that I can walk freely again without showing off my ankles.

Outdoor Swim Review: Carron Valley – May 2022 (Iain)

I had my fist visit to Carron Valley since the Autumn. The water temperature was 12C which meant it was chilly but not too cold for a swim.

I was hoping the Osprey’s that nest in Carron Valley might be there but there was no sign of them yet. Maybe next time…

Check out the video to see what a swim in Carron Valley Reservoir is like.

Ease of Access: https://goo.gl/maps/vkcjfRm5cx6dYWt7A Park at the gate next to the loch. Its 10m to the waterside. 

Water quality: Warm and shallow at the edge of the loch but it can noticeably drop in temperature the further out you get. 

Swim Quality: Excellent. Lots of things to sight against. Water is choppy but that makes it more fun!

Other People: A couple of folk out walking and the odd car/cyclist going by. 

Would I go back: Yes. It’s my default swim location. 

Loch Leven Half Marathon 2022 (Iain)

How much trail is on the Loch Leven Half Marathon?

Before the race, I was asked this by two different people. Both were very disappointed when I said “none, its a road race!”

I think people assume its a trail race because there is a nice walking route around the Loch. But it is actually mostly on roads. There is a sneaky little bit of trail right at the end but not much.

The route is an anti-clockwise loop around Loch Leven. I’ve ran the course clock wise and anti clock wise. I did it anti-clockwise the year Andrew I turned up and realized we’d forgotten to enter! We didn’t want to cheat and run with the official runners so went the opposite way instead.

How difficult is it to run a circle in reverse? It turns out it was very difficult. We took a wrong turn and ran 16 miles instead of 13. At one point we ran across a farmers muddy field whilst it was pouring with rain. Considering its a 100% road race I’m not sure how we ended up in a field!

The race race registration and finish line is the local school campus. It was then a near two mile walk to the start line. Some races start in beautiful locations, this one doesn’t. It was side street next to some industrial units.

A woman walked up and down the road shouting at everyone “keep off the road” but it was too little avail. As soon as she passed everyone moved back onto the road.

I was desperate for the loo so I decided to stand in a long queue and see if I could make it to the front before the race started. To succeed at this, , the key is to hold my nerve. As the race gets closer more and more people abandon the queue. I bet that if I held on long enough most people would have left and I’d get a cubicle.

I was correct. Most people left when there was only a couple of minutes left to the start.

The first part of the race is on a partially closed road. Even though it was cloudy it was very warm. I felt good but I was planning on biking for 5 hours the next day so i didn’t push too hard.

The picture does not do justice too how hot and sweaty I was.

The main hill is half way around. Annoyingly this was also the hottest and windiest bit of the course. The wind was against me. Normally i like running up hills but it felt like hard work.

Andrew kicked and left me with about a mile to go. I didn’t have any power so I didn’t even try to keep up. I ended up finishing about 30 seconds behind him.

My aim was sub 1hr 45 min. I did that…just!

Andrew and I at the finish line. I’m 30 seconds behind him.

My first Podcast (Andrew)

When books are converted to films it’s hard to read them again without hearing the voice of the actor that played them. Until then, you will have your own idea of how they sound. Maybe Jack Reacher sound deep and gruff. Or Harry Potter like a chipmunk. Whatever it is, you now hear the voice of Daniel Radcliffe when Harry Potter speaks.

I don’t know what voice you have give me. Am I deep and gruff or do I squeek like a cartoon animal? Either way, if you want to hear what I actually sound like then you’re welcome to listen to the latest Glasgow Triathlon Club podcast where I talk about running every street near my house on a Glasgow A-Z.

You can listen to it hear (and on Apple Podcasts/Spotify etc): Listen here

The Sound of Football: Brechin (Andrew)

Every fortnight we cover the best and worst football songs from every club in the UK from our book ‘The Sound Of Football: Every Club, Every Song’. You can buy it here

Brechin City

Nickname: The City

Ground: Glebe Park

Stadium Capacity: 3,960 (Seated 1,519)

Song: Two Can Play That Game

Brechin’s unofficial song is the Tractor Song:

I can’t read,

And I can’t write,

But that doesn’t really matter…

Cause I’m a Brechin City fan,

And I can drive a tractor!

(Source: terrace chant)

This celebration of a singular talent is appropriate for Brechin and one player, in particular, Bobby Brown (not the R & B singer).

Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs was a spring chicken fresh from the youth team compared to Brechin’s Brown. While Giggs rewrote record books at Manchester United by playing for over 20 years, there are unsung heroes at other clubs who play on year after year to show that footballing life doesn’t stop at 35, 40 or even… 50 years old.

Between 1983 and 1998, Brown played 444 games for Brechin. What’s remarkable is that he should have played many more. He made his debut for Brechin’s first team three years after joining the club. Even then, he only played one game before he was sent back to the reserves. However, he became an almost permanent fixture on the team sheet once he forced his way back into the first team. We say ‘almost’ because, for a brief time, he was involved in a very peculiar ban when the Scottish Football League wouldn’t let him play. After all, Brechin already had a Bobby Brown playing for them.

In the early 90s, Brechin signed a second Bobby Brown (still not the R&B singer), and the Scottish Football League wouldn’t let both Browns play at the same time because they shared the same name. Brechin had to appeal to FIFA, who ruled there was nothing to stop two players with the same name playing. Or as Bobby Brown (the R&B singer) so famously sang ‘Two Can Play That Game’*

In 1994, Brechin held a testimonial for Bobby and the matchday program revealed the secret of his success: “Bobby has been, is, and always will be, a good professional“. It then added that Bobby was “not blessed with a lot of natural ability, but has produced a level of consistency more talented players will never achieve“.

It’s this consistency that meant Brown was still playing football for Broughty Ferry FC, a non-league side, on his 50th birthday. While standards may have slipped in recent times, it was not by much. In 2008-09 he was Broughty Ferry’s Players’ Player of the Year – at forty-nine. In comparison, his fiftieth year saw him make thirty-seven starting appearances for the club.

It’s legends like Bobby that teams should celebrate. Although Brechin has won leagues titles in the lower reaches of Scottish football and bounced back and forth between the third division and the first, players like Bobby provide the club with the heart and soul and bedrock of consistency that fans crave.

*We suspect this story may be a wind-up from a Brechin fan.

Buy the Sound of Football from Amazon.

Film Friday – I Trained Like an Olympic Sprinter for 30 Days (Andrew)

Film Friday is a weekly recommendation of one video to watch this weekend.

If you want to run faster then you need to run faster, that’s what I’ve been told. You can’t training to run faster by running the same speed you always go. You have to run faster to run faster. Except…. you don’t. Or at least you don’t most of the time.

Watch this video to understand what it actually means to train like an Olympic sprinter and learn how much of that training is training to train and not sprinting faster.

Book Review: Up – My Life’s Journey to Everest by Ben Fogle

The first ‘adventure book’ I read was Ben Fogle and James Cracknell’s ‘The Crossing’. Their story of how they rowed across the Atlantic – and a book which inspired the format of book TwinBikeRun – which you can buy here! – as chapters jump between the viewpoints of both of them. A format which leads to two perspectives on events. And a format which would have greatly benefitted ‘Up: My Life’s Journey To Everest’ as while I don’t quite agree with this one star Amazon review:

“Fairly well written but disappointed to discover Mr Fogle is such a selfish man. Will not be buying anything else he writes.”

It does have a point. If you want to read about Ben Fogle and only Ben Fogle then this book is the one for you even though his attempt to climb Everest was a joint challenge with former Olympic cyclist, Victoria Pendleton, she barely gets a mention. Even though hers is arguably the better story – she had no experience of climbing, no history of adventure and the challenges she faced and the decisions she made were far harder than any Ben Fogle faced. His toughest challenge was paying his Sherpa a summit bonus and to head back down the mountain before they’d reached the top so that Fogle could take their equipment when his own failed.

While the book is called “My Life’s Journey” and not “our journey” and it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than his story, it did feel like another voice was missing and only part of the journey was told.

You can buy it here

Cycling Gran Canaria (Iain)

A couple of week ago I went on vacation to Gran Canaria. It was a trip that was originally booked back in 2019 but the small matter of a global pandemic got in the way.

It was a 4 hour journey from Glasgow to Gran Canaria. All passengers had to wear a face mask on the plane. I thought maybe I could get away with taking it off whilst drinking but the stewardess announced over the radio “If you’re thinking you can order one drink and then nurse it mask-less all the way to GC then forget about it! Keep your masks on!”

You can’t get anything past an air stewardess. They have seen every trick in the book.

Both Glasgow and Gran Canaria airport were very quiet. Which meant we were in and out of both pretty quick.

I could claim the holiday was winter weather training but I’ve never understood why people go somewhere sunny to train. 90% of Scottish races are in the cold and rain.

If I want to train I should go somewhere with weather worse than Scotland. Then, on race day, even if the weather was bad I be relieved that it’s not as bad as the time I trained in hailstones and a gale in the the Arctic circle.

I hired electric mountain bikes from http://www.free-motion.com/en/gran-canaria/ I’ve free-motion bike a few times. They are easy to deal with and the bikes are good quality.

From out hotel in Melonares there was a few good on and off road routes to try. Check out the video below to see an example.

I’ve cycled in Gran Canaria, Tenerife and Lanzarote, Of the three islands. I prefer Gran Canaria. The roads are quieter than Tenerife and it is not as windy as Lanza.

But I didn’t see any professional cyclists training. I have seen professional on both Terneriffe and Lanza so maybe don’t come here if you have any ambitions to win the Tour De France. Just come if you want a lovely place for a spin on your bike.

A selection of routes to try:

Degollada de las Yeguas

Popular lookout point in an expansive nature reserve offering sweeping views of the canyon.

https://www.strava.com/routes/2954827771921487844

Ayagueres

An easily accessible climb that starts in Melonares. Quiet roads make it perfect for cycling.

https://www.strava.com/routes/2954828309085539176

El Pajar

A quiet coastal road from Melonares to a small local village

https://www.strava.com/routes/2954829480665579368

Ayagueres (off road)

A tough off road route but very scenic!

https://www.strava.com/routes/2954829805937932260
%d bloggers like this: