Finally entered for the Great Scottish Run!

At long last I’ve plucked up the courage and today sent off my entry form for the Great Scottish Run Half Marathon, on 2nd September, 2007, here in Glasgow.

As I’ve been running now for 8 months, I had a bit of a dilemma about whether to run for charity or not. On the one hand I figured I do the running for fun, and would probably have entered in the race regardless. So as I am gradually building up the ability to run that sort of distance anyway, where’s the challenge?

On the other hand, I watched the race last year, and figured it was high time I got off my arse and actually *did something* about getting fitter. Fitness is not the sort of thing you can order online like most else I need or want. So I’ve been putting in a lot of effort, and think that there’s still a heck of a way to go to be able to run it comfortably. It might be ‘fun’, but it’s hard work! I’ve certainly never run that sort of distance yet: The furthest I’ve managed so far is just over 10km, which is under half the half marathon distance of 21.1km. Any way you look at it, a half marathon is still a heck of a distance for a new runner, and I’m pretty pleased that I’m feeling good about the prospect of running it, but am still rather pensive about how I’ll do.

So I sort of settled on a compromise. As it is a new challenge, and that I intend to do it ‘properly’ (ie. no quick six week training programme! I’ve already started and there are three full months still to go!), I decided I would only run for charity when I first tackle a new distance. So for this – my first half marathon – The charity I will be running for is The Prostate Cancer Charity, and I’ll be posting details about sponsorship in the near future: I don’t want to start too early!

I have certainly been staring at the application form for a long time now, and had been in two minds about even trying the half marathon distance, perhaps going for the 10k instead. Indeed, I went for a run this morning and pushed too hard (I was trying a new, much flatter route so surprised myself by my apparent pace), so came back feeling rather exhausted for the duration I was out. But my problem is I’ve not had enough of a focus on the patience and pacing required for a longer distance. So now that I’ve actually *posted* the form and entry fee, I think I may actually find it easier to focus on going slower and racking up the distances, with pace as a much lower priority (initially at least!).

Runners, runners, everywhere

It’s no surprise that when you take up a new activity you notice other people doing it a lot more. The shared experience and camaraderie, from a simple smile as you pass other runners, to talking about it with others, to writing about it on your weblog (who, me?). I’m yet to join a running club, but hope to do so when I’m a bit more comfortable over a longer distance, have plucked up the courage to go along, but fully expect that it will be a useful step.

We’ve just got back from a trip to B&Q (new blade for the lawnmower required), and our route takes us all the way around Pollok Park. I’d already noticed a lot of runners in the Park when I was out earlier, but there were a large number on the side of the road. I presume it must be a combination of it’s popularity up here, the beautiful weather we’re having right now, and perhaps folk being inspired to dig out their running shoes after last weeks London Marathon.

All great stuff, but I’m pleased that I started running back in September when the weather was getting colder, the rain increasing, and the nights drawing in. Having stuck with it over the winter months I think I’m now safely able to say that I’ve stuck at it, and it’s become an essential part of my routine, and a great way to prepare for work, or de-stress after it. The beautiful weather is certainly all the more enjoyable when memories of cold, dark, damp runs are a dwindling memory. Sticking at it was tough at times, but I’m pleased I have done. I hope the same is true for all those new runners out there at the moment.

I’ve sat on my application form for the Great Scottish Run for a while now, as I work away the last niggles that the half-marathon distance is within my reach. I’ve decided that I will run to raise money for The Prostate Cancer charity. I thought it might be a bit cheeky to run for charity, given that running is a hobby, but as I’ve never run such a distance before and it’s a very good cause, figured I wasn’t pushing it too much. I’ll be putting sponsorship details up in the next month or so, so start saving those pennies 🙂

What just happened?

Help me out here. I have some strange feeling I might actually have just gone for a run. I put on my old trainers, some shorts, and went for a 25 minute jog/walk/jog/walk type thing around Pollok Park this lunch-time.

My inspiration comes from the realisation quite recently that I don’t do any regular exercise, and seeing 20,000 people run past the end of our street inspired me to actually have a go at it myself. But then I often say that when I see ‘normal’ people doing these marathon things. Somehow though, this time it was was different. Perhaps it’s my age (33), or the fact that it’s not the first time I’ve said “I should do that”, or maybe even the smiles on Frances and her family’s faces when I mentioned I might be doing it, that meant this time I was determined to at least make a start.

It was, as is to be expected this early on, all a bit laughable really – I barely managed more than a few minutes at a time, but having a sense of reality about this is vital: It’s going to take time, so a small amount – regularly – should hopefully mean that things improve quite quickly. A minute or two’s run, followed by a few minutes of walking, meant I got round the Pollok Park circuit I had in mind in about the right time. It’ll also be a nice yard-stick for how well I’m doing. I’m already excited about the possibility of improving to the extent I can do a complete circuit without stopping sometime.

I’ve promised myself a few geeky gadgets to encourage me along the way. There’s a new iPod Nano coming soon, which I think I’ll get to while away the time, and maybe a digital watch with some wizzo features (as my mobile phone isn’t the best thing to be using to keep track of my time). Hey, a guy like me needs incentives!

I’m certainly not as brave, or as determined as Sharon, who seems to be in a similar frame of mind/stage right now, but entering the London Marathon next year!. If I’m still doing it by that time, I’ll be pleased. Whether I get as far as actually *entering* even a half-marathon is yet to be seen. If I’m still posting ramblings about jogging in a few months time, as the winter draws in up here, maybe, just maybe… 🙂

The Great Scottish Run

2006halfmarathonI’ve just got back from spending about an hour lending a bit of moral support to the runners in this years Great Scottish Run, which goes right past the end of our road.

Whilst I missed my friend Keith (I think I under-estimated how good a runner he was!), I stayed as long as I could giving a bit of support to the runners as they went by. It was particularly nice that a few folk acknowledged my presence – I can imagine after 8 miles, particularly if you’re not a regular runner, the last thing on your mind is saying thanks to people comfortably under an umbrella!

Every time I watch a race, particularly when I go out onto the street (as with the London Marathon a few years ago), I’m (briefly) motivated to set myself the goal of doing it next year. I’ve been quite interested by Gordon’s efforts in this regard – he’s actually decided to follow through with it. Maybe this month I’ll actually give myself the kick I need to get out and start doing some regular excercise… With the beautiful Pollok park on my doorstep, I’m fortunate where many folk are not for somewhere enjoyable and off-street to run around. Hmmmm. Maybe.

Update – 2nd Sept 2007 – A year on, and yes, I actually did run the half marathon! A full write-up here, including pictures taken by friends and family of the event.