Sunday, 26 August 2012

Great North Run Training in Glasgow

There are now only 3 weeks to go until I try running my first half-marathon, so this weekend was time to see how the training has been going and do another long training run. The aim today was to run the full race distance. I get bored at times jogging along, so thought that if I had a few goals to aim at today it would keep my interest up. Also I decided that if I live-tweeted what I was doing on twitter, I would force myself to complete my loop to avoid public disgrace. Looking at a map of Glasgow last night I came up with a route which started in Partick, was 13 miles long and would take in all the professional football stadiums in Glasgow. As the distance fitted perfectly it seemed like a sign that I had to give it a go.
I passed my 40th birthday two years ago, and with my wee brother decided 18 months ago to train for the Glasgow Great Scottish Run 10K as my dad was talking about doing it. Since getting myself fit enough  to shuffle around that distance I've managed to keep it going. As I'm diabetic, requiring insulin injections, it has caused me a few challenges, which I've solved with some advice from the charity Diabetes UK. So this year having decided to try to run a half-marathon, I plumped for the Great North Run, a 13 mile race from Newcastle to South Shields which this year has the bonus of having the great Haile Gebrselassie and Mo Farah running it alongside 55,000 others. I am running it to raise money for Diabetes UK and if you wish to you can donate at JustGiving.
So early on Saturday morning I headed down to the Clyde from Partick and crossed at the bridges beside the SECC and Science Centre, a typically grey summer's day as you can see. 
10 minutes gone, crossing the Clyde..
 This bit was familiar to me from occasional visits to support Partick Thistle at Ibrox, when usually I'd catch a pint on Dumbarton Road and walk this way to see Rangers. Nowadays it is the home to a Third Division outfit, and they have a fine wee ground. Perhaps if they improve from the standards that they achieved today (drawing 1-1 with Berwick Rangers) then in a few years time I'll be back to this place of fun and friendly smiles.
20 minutes gone, 4km in, Ibrox Stadium
Heading eastwards towards the next stadium was a bit of a challenge for me. As a typical westender I rarely venture to the part of Glasgow known around here as "the Southside", but as I had spent a tense and ultimately rewarding evening here last week at Hampden I soon found my way to my next target. Known to most people outside Scotland as our national football stadium, it is home to "The Spiders", Queen's Park Football Club founded in 1867 with the motto "Ludere causa Ludendi" (play for the sake of playing). Still an amateur team after all these years my trip here last week to watch Partick Thistle win 5-4 in the dying minutes of a Ramsdens Cup tie will live long in my memory. 
50 minutes gone, 10km in, Hampden Stadium
Halfway (or half-time) now and with having diabetes once I've been running 50-60 minutes I find that I need to top up the sugar levels with a handful of dextrose tablets. I've found jelly babies are easier to get over with a dry mouth when running.
Next stadium is a bit of a cheat as Shawfield is no longer a football ground, as Clyde FC left here in 1986, leading a nomadic existence, briefly sharing Firhill, before settling in an anonymous concrete stadium in a Cumbernauld wind-tunnel, where famously there seems to be a mechanism for turning off the hot water for the visiting players' dressing room.
60 minutes gone, 12km, Shawfield Stadium
Right. Half-time break on the southside over, second half about to start. Back across the River Clyde at Glasgow Green and into Glasgow's East end. Coming over this way always brings back memories of a CIS Cup game against Celtic in 2002. Alan Archibald was in the team that day which was drawing 1-1 after extra time, and we were into sudden death penalties, almost tasting victory but missed the chance again and again, and Celtic squeezed through. That was a long walk home. Today was the first time I had seen the new velodrome and sports arena across from Celtic Park. I hope the area around here does benefit from the Commonwealth Games, as it has looked pretty desolate in recent years around here at times.
1 hour 10 minutes, 14km, Celtic Park at Parkhead
Leaving Celtic Park I ran past the stall holders at the Barras setting up shop, then through the city centre, over Cowcaddens and up Maryhill Road.
The last bit of this run was always going to be a bit of a slog, so I had saved the stadium of Glasgow's current form team, Partick Thistle, as my final goal. I've been coming here since I was a boy in Maryhill Primary School, and they are still my local team. It has been fantastic fun this year at Firhill watching them winning games, controlling possession, passing the ball and playing some confident, classy football. The 3-0 victory yesterday over Dumbarton could easily have been 6-0 and there were lovely periods of play in that game. A few years back I went to the football for almost 3 consecutive years without seeing a single Thistle victory as we plummeted through the divisions and although we've been stuck in mid-table of Division 1 for a few years now, this looks like our best chance for a while of promotion. However, it is early days, and if you haven't been in a while, come along. You might like what you see.
1 hour 45 minutes, 21km/ 13 miles. Firhill Stadium
(NB me running in my "Blurple" away strip in which we've won every game so far this season)
Anyway, I managed to achieve my aim of a 13 mile run, taking in Ibrox, Hampden, Shawfield, Celtic Park and Firhill. I did it in a decent time and I feel ready to head down to Newcastle and Sunderland and see what football grounds I can add to my list above. I still had a bit in my legs as I slowly warmed down on the shuffle home and am pretty sure I passed Danny McGrain walking his dog in the Botanic Gardens on my way home, who managed to play top level football at Celtic whilst dealing with diabetes. If he could do it with the equipment and medications that they had back then, it is clear that diabetes needn't be an impedement with all the help and technology we get now. If you feel like sponsoring me, just follow this link to JustGiving. Thanks

P.S. Thanks to for covering this. Here is a link to their article.

P.P.S. One person asked about my diabetes management with this type of exercise. When exercising regularly I find that I need to reduce all of my insulin doses across the day and I don't make tweeks before specific runs. I aim to start a run at least an hour after insulin/ a meal, with a blood glucose between 7-11mmol/L and if exercising for over an hour will need a sugary snack during a run. As I mentioned above a handful of jelly babies I find easiest to get over. Doing this my blood glucose was 6.9mmol/L after the above run, but extra testing is required for a couple of hours afterwards as it can still fall. This is what works for me. PC

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