I did over 3,400 miles of swimming, biking and running. Which was enough distance to take me to Washington DC. Which makes me the second Lewis boy to get there. Donald Trump beat me to it. His mum is from the Isle Of Lewis just like my mum.
I like to imagine what Donald Trump’s life would have been like if his mum had stayed in Lewis. I think he would be selling Trump black puddings. The puiddingest puddings in the world.
I also like to imagine what my life would be like if my mum had gone to America. Maybe I’d now be Mr President. I’m sure I’d have done a better job at it!
Happy New Year Everyone. I hope 2021 brings you all health and happiness.
One of my goals when running 100 miles in seven days was to make it a mental as well as a physical challenge. I call this “the distraction technique”. If I distract myself with a mental focus on something other then the physical challenge then the task becomes easier.
So, I decided my mental challenge would be to learn how to shoot/edit video. And armed with just an iPhone and a tripod I recorded all my runs and this is the result….
SPOILER ALERT – there is no big emotional journey or life lessons or anything particularly meaningful in the films. It is just a man running in some nice places 🙂
“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom I can tell you I don’t have money, but what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career…” of cancelling races. Although it is usually me who cancels rather than the race cancelling on me.
I did not mind cancelling because the races were not my early season goal. My goal was the John Muir Ultra Marathon. I trained hard all winter to do the race. I trained in the cold and rain, I trained when it was dark, I trained early in the morning and late at night. All to be ready for the race.
BUT the race has been cancelled.
Am I gutted? No I’m not.
I race to train.
A race give me motivation to do all the things I have just mentioned. To get up early, to go out when it raining, and to not sit and veg in front of the telly.
So when your race gets cancelled dont be gutted. Be thankful for the health and fitness you got whilst training for it. There will be other races in the future.
Description: Start at the hotel and run along Chestnut walk (in the direction away from the main road) to the start of the John Muir Way. Turn right and follow the John Muir Way until you reach the road to Campsie Circle.
The start of the trail is at the start of Campsie Circle. The trail starts to the right of the first house, next to a small car park.
Stick to the edge of the trees on the right hand side. Don’t take the path that crosses the river. That is the wrong way 🙂 The path can be muddy at first but it soon becomes a normal track.
You will soon reach Lennox Castle. It was a mental and a maternity hospital although not both at the same time. Lulu was born here but she doesn’t like to shout about it.
You can actually get to the top of the castle but I couldn’t possible encourage such wanton violation of health and safety rules. So I won’t mention there is gap in the fence. I definitely will not mention that you should make your way round the back to the entrance to the tower.
The path goes round the back of the castle. Ignore the first turn you see to the right. Follow it until you come to a junction that goes up or down. If you head down the path you will see Celtic’s training ground. Keep heading up until it flattens out at a T junction.
Head right. Follow the path until you come to the next junction. Head left. The road to the right is a dead end.
The path is straight for a 1km and then veers to the left. There is a small track on the right hand side. Take this and follow it until you see the trig point. To get to the trig point ignore the gate. Walk on 20m and there’s a bt of fence you can jump over. The ground here is much drieer than the boggy area around the gate.
After an obligatory photo at the top. Return back to the start of the small track.
Head in a straight line until you come to Lennox car park and a concrete road. Follow the road until you are halfway down the hill. You’ll see a sign that says Lennoxtown. Follow this track and it will take you all the way back to the hotel.
This is a great 10K route…if you like running up a hill! It’s close to glasgow and you can combine it with a number of other routes nearby to make it even longer and hillier.
I also aim to do the Gullane Triathlon. I’ve said this every year for the last five years but every time I try to do it something comes up that gets in the way.
Hopefully this year Ill finally do it!
My main reason for wanting to do the race isn’t sporting but is instead culinary. The Old Course Inn in Gullane ( http://www.oldclubhouse.com/ ) does the best Nachos in Scotland. I’m always looking for an excuse to visit and have some!
It shows I managed to cover just over 3000 miles of swimming, biking and running which is enough to take me to Monrovia in Liberia.
I googled Monrovia to see what it is like. According to a map of the town there is an area inside it called Chocolate City. Which sounds delightful. I imagine its a wonderful place to live. Everyone loves chocolate.
I then Googled how Chocolate City got its name. It is not as delightful as I thought. Chocolate City was a place where people went and defecated. Families riding in cars along the highway would smell the stench of human excrement but instead of telling kids what it was they would instead say it was chocolate. Hence the chocolate area became known as Chocolate City.
I looked at my info-graphics from previous years. It revealed I did less distance this year than last (4,500 miles) That is about 1500 miles less. I like to think it was higher quality. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
I spent the week before the race full of the cold. Not the normal cold but life threatening man flu.
My fellow men will sympathise at just how potent this horrific affliction can be. Its only known cure is watching TV, drinking beer and replying “no. I’m ill” to any enquiries about whether any housework is going to be done.
I decided I wasn’t going to do the race as it always rains when I take part. Last years event was so biblically wet I spotted Noah leading animals two by two to his boat. I didn’t fancy running whilst being at deaths door.
But for the first time in my five attempts at the race there was no rain. It was actually a very pleasant sunny morning.
I decided to run. I was still ill and I definitely wasn’t fit enough for household chores. In fact, I think it might be a few weeks before I can even think about hoovering or helping out around the house. A run though is fine to do.
The course is two laps of Bellahouston Park. It’s not a very scenic park but it’s pleasant enough. It’s mostly flat but there is one hill that is tackled twice.
I decided I was going to run as fast I could. As soon as the race started I legged it away from Andrew. Later Andrew complained I went off too fast. No – he went off too slow!
The race was pretty dull. I spotted Andrews wife a couple of times so I gave her a wave. Which turned out to be more times than Andrew spotted her. He managed to run past her without seeing her.
I kept a good pace up for the whole race and I was happy with a sub 45 time. I didn’t expect to be as fast as that. Maybe man flu isn’t as bad as I thought….
Which reminds of a posh man I met at University who claimed
he was working class despite growing up in a castle. He claimed it was true
because his nanny was working class!
There is a phrase “An Englishman’s home is his castle.” In that man’s case it was literally true but in most cases it implies a homeowner (whether a castle or hovel) should have the right to defend their home from invaders. Not in an amusing Home Alone style way in which a criminal is hit in the face with an Iron by a small child but in a mad farmer way where a criminal is blasted by a shot gun.
This meant I was slightly afraid of Trail running in
In Scotland I can go anywhere (just about) as the public has
a right of access over land and inland water as long as they behave
In England no such right exists. The freedom to roam is only
as long as the public follow public rights of way.
I saw how protective people are of their “castle” whilst walking
along a public path. At one point, the path seemed to lead into the garden of a
house. I wasn’t sure about the path so I looked at a map and discovered that the
route through the garden wasn’t a public path but a private path. The public
path involved skirting round the garden.
I skirted around the garden. When I got round to the other side I noticed someone else had not checked the route and was now walking across the garden. It did not take long for a man to appear from the house. The man wore red trousers. Which matched the colour of his angry face. He shouted “WHY ARE YOU IN MY GARDEN?”
I don’t think the correct answer was “to admire your roses?”
For the rest of my trip I was very careful to check where I walked and ran.
When you are at a dentist, getting a tooth removed, do you close your eyes or keep them open?
According to my dentist, most people close their eyes, but I prefer to keep my eyes open so I can see what they are doing. I’ve paid enough money for the “experience” so I might as well get my money’s worth!
Which is why the day before the race I was looking up at a dentist as he prodded around my mouth trying to work out which tooth was causing me tooth ache.
After he wrenched the offending tooth out of my mouth I asked whether it was wise to run a race the next day? He went quiet and said “hmmmm…” which I took as ringing endorsement of my decision to run!
Last year, I wrote that due to limited parking I had to park the car one mile from the start. This year they had changed the parking: it was now a 1.5 mile walk.
Which turned the race into a 16 mile run/walk.
One thing they had improved since last year was the toilets. This time thhey had plenty of loos and plenty of loo roll.
There was a lot of rain before the start of the race but it cleared up to leave warm muggy conditions and one very large puddle on the course.
The route was the same as the previous year. The first half has a number of small hills and second half has two longer ones.
I started off well but quickly ran out of energy. I think my body was expanding all its effort on recovering from my tooth trauma. I managed to plod round in the roughly the same time as last year but if at any point there had been a way to quit and go home I’d have taken it!
It’s a well organised race on a scenic course. I’d recommend it to anyone thinking of taking the leap from road to trail racing.
After the race I put the tooth under my pillow. I’m still waiting for the tooth fairy to take it away. It’s as if she might not be real…
It is two years since I last did a standard length triathlon. Which is my excuse for why I forgot to take my bike helmet to transition. Thankfully, someone spotted my mistake. I ran back to the car to get it.
It wasn’t my only mistake, I lost my swim cap during the time it took me to receive my swim cap and then walk the short distance to the loch to put it on. I still haven’t worked out how I manged to do that.
The swim temperature was announced as 15C so I was surprised when I got into the loch that the water felt much colder. I swam a little distance to warm up and water suddenly became warm. I assumed it was just a cold patch at the start but the fluctuating temperature was present throughout the swim. On one stroke my hand would enter warm water and on the next the next it would enter freezing cold water. Very strange.
I enjoyed the 2 lap swim. The loch never felt too busy and I was happy to swim round with no one near me. I think swim drafting is cheating so I try to avoid it. I’d rather do the swim using my own power than be dragged along by someone else.
I got into transition after the swim and discovered the socks I had left there were inside out. I had to correct that before starting the bike. A gentleman has got to have standards!
The organiser had warned us that the roads might be slightly busier than usual because there was a classic car rally taking place nearby. There was also a beer festival on. Beer and cars. What could possibly go wrong?
Thankfully the classic car drivers must have been sleeping off their beers as other than a Model T Ford I didn’t spot any classic cars.
The organiser said no-one had ever got lost on the route. It was easy to see why. There is only one road and no option to take any other route.
The route itself was on a decent road surface. The road was undulating rather than hilly but there was a draggy climb near the end.
The race manual describes the course as “It’s almost completely flat (really!) – a couple of small undulations – maybe 5m climb on each. “
Not according to my watch. It shows there was 70m of climbing. Which is not allot but it definitely is not flat course. The trail means there’s lot of small up and down sections.
I like running off-road so I really enjoyed the run but it definitely did not match the description of the course.
It was a great race. I got a PB for the distance and its definitely a course I’d do again. The race gets a bonus point for its t-shirt which is a snazzy baseball style affair.