Pictures from the inaugural Scottish/Glasgow parkrun

As flickr seems to be about to kill off its free service (at least in a way that is useful to me), I figured it was time to move the pictures I have from the first Glasgow/Scottish parkrun, somewhere else

The full set of pictures are available via this shared album link to Google Photos. A selection of my favourites[1] below.

Pictures were taken by Paul Flood. Alas Paul was the first Scot to discover that taking pictures of fast moving runners, in a tree lined park, was a lot trickier than we expected. It was also very cold.

 

[1] – By favourite, I mean representative of the event[2] and my memories. I cringe a bit at me-in-the-orange-vest
[2] – A couple are from after the first event (The C3 car and Burrell picture). Let’s call it artistic license.

Friends of Pollok

Back in June I attended a meeting of Friends of Pollok park. From my time establishing Pollok parkrun, it’s a group I’d always hoped would appear: It’s a stunning park, and in the climate of cuts and reduced expenditure, really would benefit from an advocacy group to work constructively with council, park managers, and nearby groups/organisations to support the park.

The council is helping support it, but the attendance at the June meeting was a bit… sparse. So I got home and registered a few domains (friendsofpollokpark.com), popped a basic Hugo site together, and got in touch with the owner of the current facebook group to get some of the content updated.

A month later, and a big uptick in the number of followers on the facebook group, the next meeting was standing room only. A fantastic result, and shows what social media can help achieve. Fingers crossed it’ll help get things progressing.

Slightly tricky part is the group is in a bit of an odd place just now: The council is trying to help the group to form (as an unincorporated group), so it can move forward under it’s own committee. Understandably attendees want to raise many of the issues with the park and see it progress, but it’s hard to see that happening without a committee making decisions and working with members.

Hopefully the next few weeks will see some progress and an enthusiastic park user or two taking on the fantastic challenge to form a much needed advocacy group in the community.

First 10 mile run!

I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself today. It all started yesterday when I picked up some new trainers. My old pair were really starting to look rather worn. I knew I was safely over the 400 mile point when it’s generally recommended to get new trainers, but holidays and general busy-ness just meant I couldn’t get myself out to sweatshop. But go I did, and I have a new pair of trainers. Marvellous they felt too that I couldn’t resist going for a short run yesterday.

This morning however I wanted to go a bit further as the half marathon approaches. I’ve been building up the distance for a while now, so was feeling good enough to see about going for a couple of kilometres more than I’d previously managed. I’d investigated a couple of route possibilities yesterday, but in the end opted to join a couple of long routes together that I’d previously run, and managed to run 16.1km (10.01miles) in 1:32:21. Funnily enough I hadn’t aimed to break the 10m distance at all – I’d been aiming for 15km, and felt good enough to do a little bit more.

By the magic of some new behind-the-scenes google link technology I’m hoping you’ll see the route of my run, in all it’s glory, below. If not, and you’re curious, you can click here for a new window:


View Larger Map

The start is a bit further down from our house: My Garmin is taking it’s precious time to find the satellites in the morning. But the first section of the route follows our road down to the Maxwell park, which I loop, then follow one of the nice long roads along the side of the railway. It’s then a cut across Pollokshields road and around Queens Park. I stuck to the outside as the hill on the southern tip is a bit easier outside of the park. The 4km mark is pretty much the highest point in the park.

I then headed over to Nithsdale road, which I recently ‘discovered’ as a great way of linking Maxwell Park to Bellahouston park. It’s long and straight, and there are only a couple of pedestrian crossings along the way. Into Bellahouston park for a small loop. I had been tempted to go all the way around, but by this point was thinking I’d be better making decisions like that after I’d reached Pollok Park and all it’s route options, just incase I started feeling it was getting a bit tough. At the exit of Bellahouston park I’m safely at 10km.

So in to Pollok park, and around what I call the ‘outer loop’ – Past Pollok House and the river, past the Cricket club, then doubling back down towards Pollok House. If I’d been feeling the strain a bit, I could have cut things a bit shorter and headed back home past the Burrell collection, but I was feeling good and the weather was super, so I carried on through the tree-lined paths. Only difficult bit was around the 14.5km mark, where the road gets rather steep. Normally I run down this path, and it was hard work going up the path at the end of such a long run. But managed it ok, to bring my run to an end at just over 16km, with another 5-10 minutes of cooling down, followed by plenty of stretching. So a bit tired and a little sore. With the rain, my tops got rather wet. Suffice to say I’m sore in unusual places!

All in all, I’m feeling *very* positive about my efforts. It’s a great distance to have under my belt, and I felt extremely good about myself all the way around, managing an average pace of 9:19/mile (5:47/km) was better than I’d expected too. fetch translates the run into a half-marathon time of 2:04:06. So with a few more miles to add to that distance, I’m feeling very confident about my half marathon estimations.

On the half-marathon front I’ve scarily already raised well over my target of £500! Not sure if I’m going to revise the target higher, or leave it as it is and see where it gets to (details are here, and in the right hand sidebar if you would like to sponsor me!). But it’s smashing stuff, and the notes and comments received from everybody have no doubt at all been, and will continue to be, a massive help in keeping me going in my training!

First 10 mile run!

I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself today. It all started yesterday when I picked up some new trainers. My old pair were really starting to look rather worn. I knew I was safely over the 400 mile point when it’s generally recommended to get new trainers, but holidays and general busy-ness just meant I couldn’t get myself out to sweatshop. But go I did, and I have a new pair of trainers. Marvellous they felt too that I couldn’t resist going for a short run yesterday.

This morning however I wanted to go a bit further as the half marathon approaches. I’ve been building up the distance for a while now, so was feeling good enough to see about going for a couple of kilometres more than I’d previously managed. I’d investigated a couple of route possibilities yesterday, but in the end opted to join a couple of long routes together that I’d previously run, and managed to run 16.1km (10.01miles) in 1:32:21. Funnily enough I hadn’t aimed to break the 10m distance at all – I’d been aiming for 15km, and felt good enough to do a little bit more.

By the magic of some new behind-the-scenes google link technology I’m hoping you’ll see the route of my run, in all it’s glory, below. If not, and you’re curious, you can click here for a new window:


View Larger Map

The start is a bit further down from our house: My Garmin is taking it’s precious time to find the satellites in the morning. But the first section of the route follows our road down to the Maxwell park, which I loop, then follow one of the nice long roads along the side of the railway. It’s then a cut across Pollokshields road and around Queens Park. I stuck to the outside as the hill on the southern tip is a bit easier outside of the park. The 4km mark is pretty much the highest point in the park.

I then headed over to Nithsdale road, which I recently ‘discovered’ as a great way of linking Maxwell Park to Bellahouston park. It’s long and straight, and there are only a couple of pedestrian crossings along the way. Into Bellahouston park for a small loop. I had been tempted to go all the way around, but by this point was thinking I’d be better making decisions like that after I’d reached Pollok Park and all it’s route options, just incase I started feeling it was getting a bit tough. At the exit of Bellahouston park I’m safely at 10km.

So in to Pollok park, and around what I call the ‘outer loop’ – Past Pollok House and the river, past the Cricket club, then doubling back down towards Pollok House. If I’d been feeling the strain a bit, I could have cut things a bit shorter and headed back home past the Burrell collection, but I was feeling good and the weather was super, so I carried on through the tree-lined paths. Only difficult bit was around the 14.5km mark, where the road gets rather steep. Normally I run down this path, and it was hard work going up the path at the end of such a long run. But managed it ok, to bring my run to an end at just over 16km, with another 5-10 minutes of cooling down, followed by plenty of stretching. So a bit tired and a little sore. With the rain, my tops got rather wet. Suffice to say I’m sore in unusual places!

All in all, I’m feeling *very* positive about my efforts. It’s a great distance to have under my belt, and I felt extremely good about myself all the way around, managing an average pace of 9:19/mile (5:47/km) was better than I’d expected too. fetch translates the run into a half-marathon time of 2:04:06. So with a few more miles to add to that distance, I’m feeling very confident about my half marathon estimations.

On the half-marathon front I’ve scarily already raised well over my target of £500! Not sure if I’m going to revise the target higher, or leave it as it is and see where it gets to (details are here, and in the right hand sidebar if you would like to sponsor me!). But it’s smashing stuff, and the notes and comments received from everybody have no doubt at all been, and will continue to be, a massive help in keeping me going in my training!

Sponsorship details for my half-marathon

Yesterday I started merrily sending out e-mails to family, friends, colleagues and pretty much everybody I can think of, to ask if they’ll consider sponsoring me for my half-marathon run in September. I’ve already been delighted to have heard from a number of readers who are keen to sponsor me based on my earlier posts, so it’s only fair that I pop something up on this website! There’s a special website widget (oh, you lucky people!) in my sidebar now which you can use, or you can have a read about what I’ve been saying in the e-mail:

> I’m writing to ask if you’ll consider sponsoring me in support of The Prostate Cancer charity when I run my first ever half-marathon, in Glasgow on the 2nd September, 2007. My father was diagnosed with Prostate Cancer a few years back. Thanks to the medical and scientific advances in recent years, as well as his talking to the Doctor about the symptoms early on, he’s since made a full recovery.

> However I think it’s vital to both try and help improve the funding into research and treatment of this condition, and help raise awareness of it: I didn’t realise but it’s the most common form of cancer in men: 1 in 6 men will be affected by it in their lifetime.

> So if you’d like to sponsor me please visit this URL:

> http://www.justgiving.com/richardleyton

> For an easy way of donating, and also very tax effective! An extra 28% is added by the government if you’re a UK taxpayer!. I’ve also discovered that my consulting company will match your main donation, so there is plenty of incentive to dig deep! 🙂

> I’m hoping to try and raise £500 from friends, family, colleagues and anybody else that might be interested in supporting a great cause. A donation of any size will help bring me closer to that goal, so I’ll be grateful for any amount that you can help with.

> Some of you will know that I’ve been running for fun since September last year, inspired by the runners in the 2006 half marathon who went past our house (many of whom were running for charity). I’d thought about running plenty of times before, but that inspiration usually left when I turned my back on the runners! This time it was different, and it’s certainly been tough: I’ve still got a long way to go in my training!

> Needless to say, I’ve been writing about much of this on my website, and will continue to do so as I build up to the half marathon in September: The 2006 Run, My first run, My first race, and my running album.

> There’s also more to be found out about Prostate Cancer here: http://www.prostate-cancer.org.uk/.

> Thanks again for your time, and your support!

> Kind Regards,

> Richard

Update
I should confess – just in case! – that there’s a ‘reasonable’ limit on the company matching amount of £2,500: It’s my own company after all, and I’m actually starting to worry a little! Hope that’s not beyond what folk think I *can* raise, especially given my initial target of £500 has now been revised up to £1500 due to the immense generosity of friends and family so far!

The 10k that wasn’t

A while back I mentioned I’d entered the East Kilbride 10k run, as part of my half-marathon training. To be honest though, since I discovered the very local MHFS 10k, the East Kilbride 10k lost a lot of it’s lustre. No matter, I still figured it’d be good to get the race practice under my belt.

Unfortunately, nature intervened and I didn’t end up going. I’ve unfortunately been battling a bit of a cold, and running just hasn’t felt like a particularly sensible thing to be doing. I’ll save you the specifics, but suffice to say the idea of running for protracted periods of time just doesn’t seem very sensible right now.

So sadly no 10k race time to report, and a general feeling of frustration that I’ve missed out on a weekends running. Hoping I’ll be able to manage a run later today or tomorrow, rain or not. Fingers crossed.

Men’s Health Forum Scotland 10k run

I’m pleased to say that the MHFS 10k went very well, and that I managed to get around in a reasonable time. I’d been hoping to finish it in 60 minutes (That’s what I put on my form), but had hopes for 55 minutes if I pushed a bit harder. In the end, I actually managed it in 53:56 – That’s my own time, not the ‘official’ time which I think I get tomorrow in the Evening Times special supplement.

I doubt I make a particularly photogenic runner (much less that I’ll appear in the 12 page supplement tomorrow!), but here’s a mug shot that Frances snapped just as I entered Pollok park, at around the 3.5km mark. A few more in my flickr ‘Running’ set. Richard at the 3.5km mark

The event itself was great, and a super atmosphere. Something like 2,500 entrants I gather. A delayed start was a bit of a pain, and it was a bit crammed in the early part of the course. There were also far too few toilets (10 if I recall, and no urinal that would have made sense for a male-only event), so a huge queue. And no water available at the start, at least that I could see: I’d forgotten to bring some along, but was well hydrated before hand.

But minor gripes aside, the weather was brilliant. Almost too sunny(!) along the earlier stretches. Pollok park was a relief with all the shade, and lovely and familiar. A great atmosphere, plenty of vocal support, and some great drumming from a marching band that seems to show up at most of the marches I’ve been on… Only downer was I seem to have lost my free t-shirt. So ‘only’ have a medal to leave hanging about in obvious places 🙂

I slipped in to old habits a little and ran a bit harder than I really ought given I’m trying to manage my training by heart-rate at the moment, but I didn’t feel much the worse for it at all. I paced myself nicely so that by the last few kilometres I had plenty in reserve and was able to overtake most of the folk I’d noticed rushing past me earlier on. Next week there’s the East Kilbride 10k to look forward to, although I’m undecided yet as to whether I’ll run it quite as hard as this.

But all in all, a great event, and I’ll definitely be back next year!

Update – Ok the official results are in, and I came 1307 out of 1975, and my official time was 00:55:47 – so quite a disparity from my own time. Must have paused it or something accidentally, although that really doesn’t make much sense. Or maybe the chip didn’t record me at the start. No matter, it’s still about the time I was hoping for, and gives me something to aim for next weekend in East Kilbride! 🙂

Men’s health forum Scotland 10k for men

I do apologise for folk who perhaps visit this website expecting apple-fanboy posts, or why being a humanist is a positive way to lead your life, only to be confronted by lots of posts about how much I’m currently enjoying running. Of course, folk reading it for the running might be in for a bit of a shock when my interest radar veers off in one of those directions 🙂

Anyway, just an addendum to my previous post about half-marathon training, and that’s that I’ve discovered and signed up for, another 10k. This one is quite literally “around the corner”, as it follows one of my own long training routes I started using recently. In fact it goes practically past our house! (We’re on that little ‘J’ shaped bit of road in the bottom-right of the map)

The 2nd Men’s Health Forum Scotland 10K for men is on the 17th June. It was a successful event last year, and it sounds like it’s going to be even bigger this year. My friend Keith, who I met up with on Tuesday, is running it, and a lot of his colleagues at work are taking part. It should be a lot of fun, and it can’t get more convenient/familiar than this, so a great way to start ‘proper’ running events.

Of course, it’s not a picture of perfection. The 17th June is Frances’ birthday, so not entirely sure she’s particularly enthusiastic at the prospect of my getting up early and disturbing her birthday lie-in…. But it *is* for the great cause of raising awareness of health issues in Men, and one very closely related to the cause I’ll soon be raising sponsorship money for: The Prostate Cancer charity

Some half marathon progress

Well I’m now quite excited at the prospect of entering the half-marathon here in Glasgow on 2nd September. I had been rather worried that I was being rather optimistic about my fitness, and whether I could manage the distance. But a few things have happened to get my optimism back on track, indeed I’m today sending off an application form for a 10k at the end of June!

The reason for my worrying was that I’d go out for a run, and not then manage my efforts particularly well. I’m basically not that good at focusing on what I should be doing after I leave the house, and get swept along by the adrenaline. I have (well, had) a terrible predilection to looking down at my watch and thinking about my pace, rather than what I had intended to do and what structure I’d intended to take. I also found I was getting really rather tired, and sneaking in walking breaks at times, and my times hadn’t really improved either in a good few months. So pain with no gain. And certainly no fitter or faster. I had hit a plateau and couldn’t see a way past.

So I started reading running books and magazines quite extensively the last few weeks with a view to better training and approaches, and it was very clear I was simply pushing too hard, too often. What I needed was a way of managing my efforts. A running club is definitely on the agenda, but I still feel I need to have been doing this for a bit longer – and certainly more consistently – before I join my local club which does have a minimum ability requirement. So, being the geek I am, I decided to splash out on a heart-monitor/GPS trainer gadget and manage my efforts myself, at least for now. I like working towards goals, and this gives you them by the bucket load: Run 1km at this pace. Slow Jog 2km in Heart Rate zone 3. Run 0.2km. etc.

It’s also *very* shiny.

It’s already proved it’s worth. I set out to do my usual run (so I could first understand what I was doing wrong), and was rather shocked to discover I spent most of the time in the top heart-rate band (Band 5 – 89%+ of maximum heart rate). No wonder I was feeling so tired! Training guides are really quite clear on the subject that you’re not really improving when you’re pushing hard all the time – that’s for race days, and even then it’s best kept to the end.

So I set off on Sunday morning to do something more in-line with the training guides (and, perhaps, common sense) which was a slower, easier run. I decided to aim for a 10k route to build on the distance, but not at any point getting into the top heart-rate band holding it mainly in bands 3 (70-79 of MHR) and 4 (80-89). Much harder said than done! Trying to find the right pacing so as not to trigger my new gadget to beep at me for having a Heart rate in the wrong zone was difficult. But it’s all about understanding you levels, and I got there in the end, and the result was a very pleasant, thoroughly enjoyable and refreshingly slow 10k at an average pace of 6.15m/km, so just over an hour. I know I can push harder if I need to, but for now I’ll just take the fact that (other than crossing a couple of roads), I didn’t walk at all, and learnt how to keep my heart rate consistent and in effective zones. If you’ve Google Earth installed, and are interested, here’s the route I ran (You may need to ‘Save As’ and then open it; The laps are my gadgets HR zone distance zones, ie. HR 4 for 2k). The joys of technology! 🙂

I’ve a few other programmes lined up: I’m able to plan my workouts in advance with the device which should make being more organised about my training much easier. But I do need to calibrate the pre-programmed workouts with my existing fitness level and half-marathon training programme I’m following. But this new device is looking very good, and that’s even before I get to get excited about graphs, maps and analysis tools at my disposal now!

Other plans in the next wee while: I’m hoping to get new running shoes tomorrow. My current pair are safely over the 300 mile mark now, so I need to get another pair in good time so off for a fitting. Then there’s the East Kilbride 10k on 24th June, to get me some race experience and see if a month of half-marathon training has helped.

But it’s a much more structured and enforced training programme for me over the next three months, which I’m hoping should put me in good stead to firstly finish it, but – with luck a time of around 2 hours. My only immediate challenge now is how I’m going to fit in the training runs when I’m on holiday *on* the Norfolk Broads! Thankfully there are plenty of places to moor, and lots of flat land, so it should work out well 🙂