Gallus Glasgow

Gallus Glasgow

Well, Glasgow was indeed pure Gallus over the past fortnight.

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Our Commonwealth Games experience began on Friday, 25th July when we arrived in a sunny, scorching hot Glasgow for the live ‘Friday Night is Music Night’ broadcast from the City Halls. We were thoroughly entertained by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, John Owen Jones and Gloria Onitiri. Boy, could that girl sing!

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We were also lucky to see several British sports stars including Dame Kelly Holmes, Matt Pinsent, Rodger Black, Colin Jackson and Steve Cram. Wowsers!

We then enjoyed a Saturday night wander around the Merchant City, before heading to George Square to take some photos at the Giant G:

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I even got to ‘high-5’ Clyde:

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And to hug him, of course!

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Saturday morning was an early start, and we caught the train back into Glasgow, and headed to the SECC for the Judo. The security was very slick and efficient. and we were inside the venue in plenty of time.

Our seats were fantastic: very close to the action, and I found the contests surprisingly easy to follow. Although we only saw preliminary rounds, through QF, SF and repêchage, there was plenty of success for the home nations teams, and we saw many well deserved wins.

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When the event ended, we stopped off at the Crowne Plaza hotel for a lil’ drink. And, we were surrounded by BBC execs: Clare Balding and her team were sitting at the next table prepping their show for later in the evening 🙂

We then walked along to Glasgow Green, to experience the Commonwealth Games Festival and we had arranged to meet Simon, Pamela and Matthew, Joe, Stacey and RJ, and Angie and Ryan, and his nephew Kieran. The queues for security were quite long, but when we were inside, there were lots of activities and fun for the kids – including the big kids!

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We had a few little drinks there, and when the rain made an appearance we retreated to a nearby pub.

@The WelshWookie and I had dinner reservations for Brown’s, which was wonderful. I had lobster linguine, while @TheWookie had steak. Yummy.

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Sunday morning was a little damp, but we headed into the city once again to see the marathon. Not long after we arrived in George Square, the male marathoners past us. Those guys are fast! We then met up with the wonderful Allison aka The Running Princess and her husband Steve which was fab! We watched the female marathon runners pass by, and Allison gave me the MP3 player with her running tracks on it, as part of the Great Music Swap. Stay tuned for a later post on this! 😛

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@TheWelshWookie and I walked back down towards Merchant City, and had a look around the Irn Bru ‘pop up’ museum, before stopping to cheer on the marathon runners as they made their second of three laps around the city. We then headed to Glasgow Green, and were lucky to find a spot around 100 metres from the finish line, where we could cheer the runners.

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The atmosphere was fantastic! Yes, it was a little wet and showery, but everyone was in good spirits. And when Michael  Shelley from Australia rounded the corner an realised he was at the finish line, his joy was palpable!

We then spent the rest of last week working, but glued to the Games all week.

And, on Friday at lunchtime, we headed through once again to Glasgow, for this weekend’s shenanigans!

We met up with Angie and Ryan in George Square, before catching the shuttle bus to Hampden for the athletics. And what a ball we had!

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Our seats were fantastic: right behind the flag poles, at the start of the race track. It was also just where the pole vaulters were performing.

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We had a wonderful evening, and the events seemed to fly by, including the men’s 10,000 metres, the ladies 800 metres, with Lynsey Sharp bagging a silver medal for Scotland! We also watched the pole vault final, triple jump, ladies high jump final, discus and javelin. And we also saw the heats for the 4×400 relays and, of course the 4×100 relays too!

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We were very lucky to be seated just where the anchors would start their run, which meant we could see plenty of two of the biggest sprint stars in the world: Shelly-Anne Fraser-Pryce and, what’s the name of that fast guy again? The entertaining one? Ummmmm.

Oh, that’s right.

Bolt. Usain Bolt.

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Despite all of the controversy during the week, he received a fntsatic reception from the crowds and he did not disappoint with his explosive running. Wowee.

You can see him in action here:  

The evening ended with the women’s 100m hurdles, which was also very impressive. We then headed back to the queue for the shuttle bus before stopping off for a night cap on our way home.

Saturday morning and we found ourselves heading back into the city for two events. It was pretty wet and damp, so we had some breakfast at the station before we caught the train to the SECC and joined the queue for the para-powerlifting event.

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As we queued the rain started, and the brollies went up. The tickets said gates would open at  12.30, but that came and went and we were still waiting in the pouring rain. Turns out there was apparently a misprint on the tickets, and they weren’t ready to let us in! Needless to say I was soaking wet, and not impressed.

Finally, we were allowed in, and both security and the Clydesiders did their best to get us into the dry of the Clyde Auditorium (a.k.a. the Armadillo) quickly. We found our seats easily, and settled with a beer to enjoy the event. The athletes were really impressive: how they have overcome various levels of disability to lift and achieve so much was inspiring. We also saw a new world record, when Ali Jawad from Team England broke his own world record not once but twice! I reckon that was one of my highlights of the games.

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When the event finished, the rain was still pouring, and so we headed back to the Crowne Plaza again, knowing we could have something to eat and wouldn’t have to go back through security once again.

The gates for the Boxing were due to open at 6.30pm in the newly built SSE Hydro, and so as I paid the bill, I saw that we’d been given a 20% VIP discount! 😀 The staff must have thought we worked for the BBC or something, as most of those there appeared to do so.

Anyway, we left the hotel at around 6.45pm, and found that the doors had not yet been opened, and for the second time in one day we found ourselves queueing in the rain. Finally, we got in, and we were in the circle, overlooking the boxing ring.

In fact, we were sitting next to the VIP area, and throughout the evening, lots of the referees and officials were coming to stand just in front of us to have their photos taken above the ring, as it was the perfect spot for that!

We saw the finals of the women’s middleweight, and the men’s middleweight, light heavyweight, heavyweight and super heavyweight. The atmosphere was simply amazing! The star of the evening was Saint-Pierre, from Mauritius, who was very entertaining. But, the audience were shocked when the bout – and the gold medal – were awarded to the New Zealander he was fighting!

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By the time the boxing drew to a close and the medal ceremonies were complete, the rain had cleared and we walked to the train station, stopping for a night cap before catching the train back to Dumbarton.

Our final taste of the Commonwealth Games excitement was brief, on Sunday. It wasn’t just wet, it was torrential. We had to head into the city to run an errand, and we were lucky enough to watch the men’s road race from the dry within the Apple Store on Buchanan Street.

When we got home, we settled down to enjoy the closing ceremony, and to reflect on all of our fun over the past couple of weeks.

Glasgow did itself proud: the people made the games: the friendliness, the hospitality and the support was brilliant. The Host City volunteers were a credit to Glasgow, and the Clydesider volunteers (including my sister and my mum) really made the games very special, and made everyone feel very important.

I’d like to share my wee voice of congratulations, and thanks to everyone involved in some way to making the Commonwealth Games such a wonderful success. Puredeadbrilliant!

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Commonwealth Games Marathon

Commonwealth Games Marathon

Many of you will remember my post last year, when I excitedly announced that I had secured tickets for judo and for athletics, including the 10k, at the Commonwealth Games being hosted in Glasgow this summer.

I’m really looking forward to it!

Yesterday, the marathon route was announced, and I’m so excited by it! There are some great vantage points along the route, and it covers loads of roads I’ve run along before!

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It begins in Glasgow Green, which is where I ran the MoRun back in November, and is also the finish for the Great Scottish Run too.

It then heads out along the River Clyde to the SECC and The Hydro, and over the Squinty Bridge which is also part of the GSR route.

Next, the route goes through Bellahouston and Pollok Parks, which is part of the route for the Glasgow Women’s 10k which I didn’t run in 2013, but I have run it 4 times before, and it’s over 10 years since my first one!

The route then follows the old GSR route back through Glasgow’s south side, and back into Glasgow Green. It’s a great route!
I now have a few months to work out where I’ll spectate from 😀

Meanwhile, the first week of half marathon training has gone well. I got in a slow 4 miler today, the first of my ‘long’ runs, I know they’re just going to build from there. Mileage for this week: 13 miles. Bring on week two!

In wedding news, it’s my hen weekend next weekend, and I can’t wait! 🙂 It’s now less than 9 weeks until the big day!

Do you have a long run (or a not-so-long run, like me) planned this weekend?

Race Report: Mo Run 10K

Race Report: Mo Run 10K

Date: 9th November 2013

Profile: Flat

Terrain: Road

Weather: Frosty cold, wet

Website: http://glasgow.mo-running.com/

Positives: great fun, lovely atmosphere. very flat course

Negatives: lack of instructions

The night before the MoRun, @TheWelshWookie and I met up with my bestie Pauline, her OH Gavin and her two wonderful kids, my god daughter Olivia and her bro Christopher. We had a lovely evening carb loading, and swapping birthday pressies. Amongst other things, I received a fab new bag which has instantly become my new race day bag:

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As we had packed on Thursday night, I had my gear all prepared and ready:

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On race day, we were up early, and got ready before leaving the house. We must have looked a sight!

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Our early rise was greeted with a beautiful sunrise, through the rain. It was cold and frosty, and I had opted not to wear a base layer. I quickly realised this was a mistake, and so it meant that I had to do a quick car-change 😉

We arrived at Glasgow Green, and parked in the same place as we did for the GSR last month. We walked down to the gazebos, in the rain, to pick up our race packs and our head bands. It was so cold! But the park was looking beautiful!

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We headed back to the car, fixed on our race bibs and our head bands:

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And then we had a gel block each. Soon, it was time to brave the cold and join the rest of the runners near the start line.

Our first stop was the portaloos, as the queue was pretty long. I saw that we weren’t the only people dressed up, which was great! I was the only one sporting a green wig and moustache, though 😉

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The atmosphere was friendly, and we milled about a little, waiting for the pre-race warm up and instructions. There was a gazebo containing the PA system, and we kept warm tapping toes and dancing a little to the music (OK, maybe I was the only one). There was a guy with a mic, but no one could really hear what he was saying, which was odd.  Anyway, I figured out that they were calling the 5K runners to the start line first, and they got off pretty quickly. Oddly enough, the start line was not the start. I was about 50 metres further away. Hmmmm.

Here’s my view from the start:

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Soon, the 10K runners were moved to the start line, and we were off! I had a false start with my SportsWatch, as we ran over the finish line before the start, so I started my watch a little early.

The race itself was entirely inside Glasgow Green, and involved two laps of the route. The route was lovely and flat, with no hills at all. We ran past the Peoples Palace:

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And we also ran past the new national hockey centre, which will host the Commonwealth Games hockey sessions. Our pace was slow and steady, which was our plan all along, as @TheWelshWookie hasn’t run since the Zombie Night Run. He re-injured his knee, and so has been resting it for the past fortnight.

We also ran along the banks of the canal, and watched the rowers out on the water. As the park was open to the public, we had to run around dog walkers and others who were out and about, as well as the slower 5 and 10K runners, but all in all it was fine. The support was great, particularly from the race marshals, many of whom had some really motivational signs!

I enjoyed the second lap, as I knew by then that the course was lovely, and the time seemed to pass quickly. There was one water stop, but was only manned by two people, so some runners were having to stop and fill up their own water.

At 6K, the clouds opened, and dumped an icy rainfall onto us, for the remainder of the race. Shortly after that, at around the 7K mark, we had to stop, as @TheWelshWookie’s race bib had come off-  the rain had made the bib tear easily and so it had torn free from the safety pins. I reckon that cost us a couple of minutes at least, but as we weren’t worried too much about time, we just started running again when he was sorted.

The final half kilometre or so was great; running up towards Nelson’s Monument. Only, a few inconsiderate runners who had finished had decided to walk four abreast back down the path, meaning that those of us still running had to run around them while they laughed and joked as they walked! I’ll put that down to their post-race euphoria, but why they were allowed to do that, I don’t know.

Anyway, we were happy to reach the finish line, and collect our superb MoMedal 😀 and a bottle of lucozade sport. As it was so cold and wet, we didn’t wait about – we headed straight for the car, knowing that a warm shower was only a half hour away!

We posed for a couple of photos first, of course:

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Here’s the map of the race:

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I’d definitely do this run again!

My Stats:

Time: 1:03:29 which included the stop to sort out @TheWelshWookie’s race bib

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The Medal: a cool moustache, with runners along it:

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Goody Bag: no goodie bag, but we did get a MoRunning headband and a bottle of lucozade sport

T-shirt: no T shirt

@TheWelshWookie was running to raise funds for Movember, and he is still growing his moustache. Will give you a fundraising update when I have it! 😀