The reasoning behind the madness!

The reasoning behind the madness!

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UPDATE! 25 Oct 2010

It is with great sadness that I write this update. On the 25th October 2010 my little sister sadly passed away at the age of 31. She had bravely battled MND for 11 years. She had never given up and had achieved to much even after developing MND, winning the Open University award for achievement to gaining a degree. She will be greatly missed and will for ever be in our thoughts. Love you sis :D

Well where to start, it was all originally done as I was carry to much weight and wanted to loose it. Which I am sure it most peoples story begins, however after loosing the weight I actually started to enjoy running outside. Joined some forums (BCTTT & Runners World), there inspiration and helpfullness has helped me a lot. Now I am also swimming and commuting a couple of times a week to work on my bike! Now since 2011 I accomplished more than I thought I ever would or could. From 5k runs to an Ironman in 2014 and The Outlaw in 2015. In 2016 I am going down a different route, I will be trying Ultra's as you can see from my events I have already entered 3 so far. Now I thought wait a minute I need to have one more motivation and that people is my sister Emma. Since the age of 20 she was very unfortunate and developed MND (Motor Neurone Disease), she is now 31 years of Age. Her health has deteriatated over the years and we nearly lost her last year. My mum had to give up her work and become a full time carer for my sister and my dad takes over the duties when he comes home from work. All the races I do will be in aid of my sister and all money raised will be donated to MND to help raise awareness and research in the disease. Thanks for all your help and enjoy my training blog,

Sunday, 14 August 2016

John Lucas Ultra (Team)

Decided for something a bit different that a few of us would enter the John Lucas 50 mile run as a team.

So there was Maria, James, Laura, Donald and myself. Yup I was the team captain. However though I let everyone choose what stage they wanted to do and what ever was left that was to be mine. I was to bring the torch home so to speak. I got the last leg which was just under 10 miles but was going to be hilly. Actually most of the course is hilly.

Laura was to start of us, followed by Donald, Maria, James and then Me. I picked everyone up except for James as he made his own way to his location. The banter on the day was brilliant, nearly got lost a few times as I did not know where each checkpoint was lol.

I cannot really write for the rest of the team as I only heard what they thought, which was all good. They enjoyed the experience just as much as I did.

We were not really thinking about positions, as we did not know about this. However I went about my pace as fast as I could to try and catch the 2 people in front one being over 10 minutes ahead. I took the hills easy and effort on the flat and downhill sections. By about 6 miles I had overtaken one of the teams and tried to catch Kirsty. I was starting to loose my pace as the course took in a section I did not know about. Really should take more attention to what the course is like. No matter I pushed and pushed myself till the finish line to be told I was under 3 minutes behind Kirsty. I was well chuffed in making up 7 minutes. To then be told by my team mates that we finished 2nd in the mixed teams. That was close. But lets be honest, there is no way I was going to get any faster to catch up.

My Leg 1:14:53 (9.8 miles)

As a team we are more than happy with the outcome as it was to be more of a fun event and to finish 2nd was AMAZING. This could be on the cards for next year if we keep the same team

Really need to get some pics.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

The Tour Of Clydeside

This was a new kind of race for me. This was to be a 5 consecutive day race. The distances were small (eg the longest was to be 10km). But you could put a lot of effort into each race with virtually no rest inbetween. The locations were different each night. You could just sign up for individual races but I wanted to do them all :D.

Monday 1st August (Kilbarchan Klassic 5 miles)

Took me a while to find the place. On route I stopped off at Yvonne's mum to wish her a happy birthday (Yvonne and the kids were there already). Then switched on the Sat Nav and went in search of the park. Was not to difficult to find met up with the rest of the people I knew. Warmed up and headed to the start line.

This was to be an out and back race, it was as flat a race as you could get. As I usually do, I set off way to fast forgetting I had another 4 days of racing in different terrains. It was a very warm night, should of brought some water with me (yes there was water at the end but at the start......) I kept pace with Alan, Peter and Susan. By about mile 3 I could feel myself start to slow down (maybe in was just my perception) Alan as he usually does picked the pace up in the last mile and was gone. I finished about 15 seconds or so behind him. I was beat I was hoping that it would not get any warmer as for the rest of the week or I could see me not lasting. The course was okay. Simple out and back you did run along side the loch but even some of that you did not see.

Finished in 34:50

Tuesday 2nd August (Garscube Gallop 4 miles, well I did)

This time I was going to a place near where I work so there was no rush. This was to be a trail race. Was looking forward to this. I arrived in plenty of time, just as well as I parked in the wrong place and had a bit of a walk to do. We were given directions and that we were to do 3 laps. Fair enough.

So off I went a little more conservative that I did the previous night. Felt good after the first mile and upped my pace slightly and was doing really good. It was muddy but not slippery. Was loving it all, until one thing happened. I did 3 laps and told the marshals I have done 3 laps but they sent me around to do another lap. Got about 500 metres in to the lap when one of my friends who was marshaling said to me that I should not be here and to head back. I did, said to the same marshals and they said "Oh you should of went down the other hill to the finish line, so off I jogged and of course very disgruntled. Everyone that I had passed on the run had of course finished before me, I was now down the leaderboard grrrrrrr.

Finished in 35:13

Wednesday 3rd August (Canal Canter 5 miles)

This was another out and back run along to the canal in Clydebank. Not as many people turned up for this one as the previous 2 nights. But this kind of racing was interesting. This was the "HUMP" day get over this one and you have passed half way and it is all down hill from there.......err maybe.

By now I had a goal a target there was 2 people I was wanting to see if I could beat over the series David and Alan. We were close together in the leaderboard. Well Alan was 2 minutes ahead of me due to Tuesdays mishap but that was about to change as due to traffic he turned up late. Which is a shame as I am sure the contest would of been a lot closer.

Tonight it was raining, but at least it kept me cool. Tonight I was going to put the bad of the  night before behind me and get more determined. I kept to a fairly solid pace throughout the run and kept my eye on the goal. I had my own race in my head, my virtual partner was the person in front. By the time I had reach the end my calf's were brick hard. I need to stretch every part of my legs of for about 10 minutes. Fluids was the main key, as I knew in bed if I did not I would get cramp.

Actually really enjoyed this race more than I thought. Even though it was and out and back the idea of running along side a canal made it more enjoyable and quick. Even though my time was not.

Finshed in 36:12

Thursday 4th August (Mugdock Park just over 4 miles)

Another trail race. Have to say by far this is the best course. It had everything, even had to dodge the cows. My legs were starting to feel the rest of the week now. Do not think I have had so many effort runs in one week. Usually just in one go. The weather turned out to be not to bad. The course was pretty self explanatory. There were marshals on the course to help and at least this time I knew where I was to turn off and head back to the start (after 2 laps). I got it right on the night. I seem to be enjoying the trail running more than the actual road running at present. I finished ahead of Alan and David. So that was a bonus. Only downside was I was knackered with still one race left.

Friday 5th August (Bella 10k)

The last night and my legs and me were sore. I was not sure how or even if I would finish the race. Surely I was not the only one to feel like this? Come on I have done Ultra Marathons further than this in total over the week. However though as said previously this is a different kind of racing. Effort on a 5 day consecutively. On different terrains.

Lets get the head in the game, this is the last race. No more after this (well in the series). 2 loops. Yes I can still count.

We were off, Kept up with Alan for the first mile and then he started to gain ground on me. I kept o the same pace as David, but he was needing to beat me by about 20 seconds. After the first lap I actually started to feel good. My leg muscles had eased a lot, tried to up my pace. Eventually I overtook David and by the last mile I could see Alan. I decided that was going to be my goal. See if I could catch up to Alan. So It was time to really push myself (I really should of used a heart rate monitor as that would of been interesting) I started to gain on Alan quickly with about 300 metres to go I was right behind him, I proceeded to overtake him and go for it in the last 200 metres. I finished just in front of Alan ( 1 or 2 seconds).

Really pleased with my attitude towards this race and thanks to everyone Alan, Peter, Susan and David. For maybe not knowing but pushing me that bit more than I would myself.

Will be doing this again next year.

The food at the end was worth it alone :D.

Saturday, 16 July 2016


I was looking forward to this. It was going to be a mixed terrain run starting from Partick. I was up early got my breakfast and then drove to my work where I left the car and walked to Partick Morrison's.

The day was lovely, I sat in Morrison's and had a bacon roll and a coffee, which in hindsight was probably not the best thing to have an hour before the race. Went outside talked to most of the people that I knew from other races and forums. Stretched off and did a quick warm up.

Then we were all called, rules explained and then a walk to the start line which was about a 1/4 of a mile away. It was a fairly small race looked just under a 100 people. I started quite near the back. I like to gauge how everyone else is and try to keep it to my race.

We were off, I find in every race unless you are right at the front you have no hope of getting anywhere in the pack until about a mile down the road. I tried to stick to a pace but felt either I was running up the person in front or some one was running up the back of me. My pacing for the first 4 miles was shocking in the way I was too fast. I was averaging 8 min miles which was about 1:30 faster than I wanted to do for the first 10 miles.

I ran along the Broomlielaw, past the Riverboat Casino and through Glasgow Green to Dalmarnock. All of which I cycle when I am cycling to my parents. It was then out and round some of Dalmarnock/Parkhead. To get back along the Clyde again. This is where the first checkpoint was, yes I had made up some bags for each checkpoint. A couple of miles before the checkpoint I met up with a couple of people, Laura and Sean and the 3 of us made idle chit chat to the checkpoint. At which Laura shot of into the distance never to been seen by me again.

After a quick top of of water bottles. It was time to head to the next checkpoint and half way point Strathclyde Park. I lost my way here a couple of times, as did a few other runners. Felt not to bad at mile 15 but we were now running on grass/fields to road back to grass. I did have on my trail shows for the entire run but felt as though my road trainers would of been better at this point. As the grass etc was hard better suited still for road trainers. Time I got to Strathclyde park my legs were heavy and I was slowing down. I had a 10 minute rest here to regroup and head off through the park. After I was through Strathclyde it started to get more sparse for seeing other competitors and I totally relied on signs etc.

You can guess where I am going with this :D, I got lost again. There was no visible signs that I could see, so I waited till the next person came along which was not too long thankfully. Unfortunately they were in the same position as me and did not know which way to go. So the both of us waited until someone came along that did. Once that happened I was off again but only for a mile where I stopped again as there was no signage. booo boo. Fortunately I saw one of the other runners up to my left running so I just followed him. By this time some of the areas through the woodland area was hard going and shin deep in mud (I hope). The wooden walkways at areas were rotten and could of fallen through some of them. Hence why I just walked over most of them.

By the time I got the the last checkpoint, Sean had caught up with me and the 2 of us just walked/ran from there onwards. I was done. The last 1/4 of the race was for me intense a lot of incline which I knew about as we were to finish in New Lanark. What I did not anticipate was that after the incline we ran back down again to run back up again. The to run about a mile past the finish to turn back on ourselves to come down to the finish.

At crossing the finish line I saw all the family there to support me which is always a great sight to see. I was handed a bottle of beer which was drank there and then :D.

Disappointed with my time of 7:45. In all honesty I do not know what went wrong or where it did. I was aiming for under 7hrs. Next time perhaps

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Mens 10km

Wanted to use this as a bit of speed work to see if I had improved in my pacing over this distance. Got the 5km kind of worked out. It was a lovely day at being that we started at the Riverside museum the scenery was nice to start with.

The start was a bit of a bottle neck and being that you could not see bollards etc in front there was a few near misses. The course is mostly flat and running through Glasgow at that time was hilarious. There is not much support after 1 mile. You basically run past the finish line, go through Glasgow Green to come back out to George Square and cross the finish line. In and around George Square was busy with spectators. Not that I noticed many as I had my head in the game as I saw I was very close to getting a PB. 

I thought I was slowing down in the last mile but managed to keep up with the person I pretty much matched the whole race. Yes he pipped me at the post but I did what I set out to do. I managed to gain a 10km PB

Time :- 44:59

Thought I had blown this as there was a lot of hazards through out the race. Just glad to see the finish line. It is nice to do these kind of races instead of the long ones as this is where it all started, they are fun and short. 

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Time for a rest.........

Well after "The Fling" and the 10km road race I decided to take a weeks rest of doing nothing Let the legs and body recover. This is what I should of done after The Fling instead of continuing onto the next race 3 days later. To say I was bored is an understatement, I was driving the family up the wall . I was seeing everyone's posts of their runs/cycles etc and here is me sitting in the house feeling sorry for myself. I ended up having to go for a sports massage aswell.............that was a sore one. Lesson learnt do not do a race after a BIG event.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Troon Tortoise 10km Road Race

I entered this before I even thought about what state I would be in after doing "The Fling". In hindsight I should of not even bothered to get to the start line. I should of just went down with the Striders and had my fish n chips and went home. You live and learn.

So with me already in a state after "The Fling" There was no part of my legs that was not sore and achy. I rolled up to the start and decided that I would treat this as a recovery run and take my time around the course. It was raining but not cold. There was a fair amount of the Striders doing the race we were all staggered at various points around the start line. Me I was near the back. 

Did more and more stretching and then I heard a distant sound of a whistle and we were away. The first 400 yards turned into a bottleneck and you had to slow down or else you would run over the person in front of you. It was all going so well until 5km where both my calf muscles decided they had enough and went brick hard. This is the first time in a 10km race that I have had to physically stop pull over to the side and try and relax the muscles. It was bloody painful. Not sure how long I was there for or even how many passed me. I got myself back into the race and started off with a very very slow jog and then built it up to a slow jog where I pretty much kept to the end of the race. I was disappointed with my time. However that was my stupidity one that I hope I never make again. 

It is a great race, one that I do recommend others to try. It takes in a lot of Troon and it is virtually flat. Yes there is some inclines but lets be honest every race has them. 

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Hoka ka ka ka

Now that the day has been and gone. Has it really been over a week since I did this.

The night before the journey, saw me having dinner at my parents house. A nice lasagne, yup get the carbs in me. Yvonne and the kids were staying at my parents that night as I would not wake them up when I got up. That also meant that I did not have a alarm clock. Yes the "wake up or you are going to be late" and the gentle nudge out of bed was going to be missed.

I got home started to leave out what I was going to wear, what I might wear, I may need this and that. Going by the weather forecast it was to be a cold morning and not reach above 7 degrees. Oooh boy did the weather forecasters get that one wrong. I had all my drop bags ready (one too many ooops). Was going to wait till morning until I made up all my water bottles. I decided thanks to Billy, to make up small bags of crushed salted peanuts and ready salted crisps. I owe you man :D. Now finally it is time to go to bed. Set alarm, make sure MP3 player, Phone and Garmin was all charged. When I did get to sleep it felt like I was only asleep for 10 minutes and I was back up again. In reality it was 3 hrs sleep I got.

Got myself dressed and headed downstairs for breakfast. For the first time ever in a race I could actually enjoy the comforts of my own house for having breakfast. While having breakfast I got all the water bottles mixed with tailwind (This stuff is amazing). I wanted to head out the door at the latest 3:15am, even though I was only getting myself organised I found that I was heading out closer to 3:30am. The plan was to park the car at my work and then walk round to Kelvingrove Museum to get the bus with the rest of the Flinger's (pardon the pun). The roads to Glasgow were basically taxi's picking up the left overs of the night before, I did get some strange looks sitting at traffic lights with my running gear on.

Got the car parked, signed in at security and handed them my car keys. To the reply of "This is way to early to get up and do a run, wait did you say 53 mile run ha ha ha?". Anyway off I trudged with all my dropbags, hydration vest, anti chaffing cream (this is important stuff) and coffee money, was told at Milngavie train station there would be coffee stall (there was). Waited out front of the museum to be greeted by other Flinger's but no bus. It was not due till 4:30am and we were 15 minutes early. By the time 4:30am had come there must of been at least 50 of us waiting for the bus. Still no bus, a bit of panic set in. Fortunately someone went round the side of the museum to find 2 buses waiting for us (thought the driver might of came round to say). We all went scurried round got on the bus and off we headed to the start line.

Once we had all arrived in Milngavie Train Station, the place was buzzing. There was people still registering, others like myself putting our drop bags at the relevant cars and then going for a coffee. Before I knew what time it was there was an announcement to head to the start line. Ooooh the day I had been training for was nearly about start.

Got myself ready checked I had everything that I needed (actually was not sure what I needed first time doing this distance). I just had to make sure that I got to every checkpoint before cut off times. While I was thinking this and setting my MP3 player up we were off.

Started with running through Milngavie town centre then out towards Drymen (Checkpoint 1). Getting to there was pretty much no problem, I went a tad faster than I should of (yes again) I talked to a lot of others en route, everyone was in a positive mood. The it was dry and relatively warm for 6am. Got to Drymen and filled up one of the water bottles and then headed out towards Balmaha.

Drymen - Balmaha

I knew this was going to get tougher as I had to go up and down Conic Hill (which I have never done). It started to get warmer and warmer as the day progressed. I slowed my pace right down. The course started to get a bit more "hilly". At last I had made it to the foot of Conic Hill *GULP* now to get myself to the top and back down. I will be honest here. I probably ran a total of 1/2 mile up and down the hill as I still had a fair amount of mileage still do after Conic. Once I made it to the top the scenery was breathtaking.

This is a small video of what the picturesque from the top. I could of stayed up there all day. But alas I was in a race so needed to get my sorry state down to Balmaha. Going down was actually harder than getting up I nearly lost my footing a couple of times and there was people steaming past me making it look all so easy. I just wanted to get to the bottom in once piece. Met a few walkers on the way down they kindly let us pass them. Got to the bottom and then ran the rest of the way to Balmaha. Which was only about a mile. As I came into the checkpoint I was greeted by the family. Which I have to say after 20 miles it was a great moral booster. I sat down and proceeded to have my first rice pudding. I cannot believe how good that tasted. I refilled both water bottles went across gave everyone a hug and they gave me words of encouragement. Next leg Was Balmaha to Rowerdennan.

Balmaha - Rowerdennan 

At least I knew what to expect as I had done a recce on this part of the course a few weeks before. It as going to be undulating to say the least and a short section running over a pebbly beach. You had to pay attention on where you were running and placing your feet as you could easily fall at any time, which to a few of the competitors it happened to and that is where there race pretty much ended. There was not much to see as it was a lot of wooded area. I was surprised to see a lot of supporters on the course cheering us on. By this point also there was a lot of relay runners going past.........yeah on you go there is no way I am going to even try and catch you fresh legged people. Once I got to just passed 26.5 miles I let out a HUGE cheer as this was me passed the half point and it was all "downhill" from there lmao. If only that was true. It is only 8 miles to Rowerdennan from Balmaha but I can tell you it feels a lot more than that. Waaaaay longer. I was slowing down a lot and my calf and ankle was starting to hurt before I even made it to Rowerdennan. I could see the caravan site so I knew I was not to far away from the next checkpoint. My dad was waiting at the entrance to Rowerdennan, he nearly never saw me...........too busy looking at his phone :P. He just got a picture before I went into the checkpoint. Yvonne and my mum was there with their cameras to take a picture of me at this point I thought I was dying. The marshals were amazing and let my family into the checkpoint area and cheer me on. To the person that gave my kids the rest of his drop bag thank you they loved it..............they never even shared it with me. At this point I really liked the table share program. i.e what you have left in your drop bag you put it onto a table  for any of the other runners can take. I took a dairy milk. I did leave cliff bars. Another water refill with tailwind and some Coke Cola, which I took with me (500ml). Then to head to the next checkpoint.

Rowerdennan - Inversnaid

I felt that I would never descend, It was just up up and yup more up. I pretty much walked this section with perhaps a couple of miles at jogging. My ankle was getting worse. I did stop a couple of times to see if stretching would help but nope. I walk/jog some of the time with Gordon, then Michelle and you guessed it pretty much anybody that could put up with me. Everyone on the course was friendly and always in good spirits no matter how they felt,  we each encouraged the other. We had all passed the half way mark and were now just looking at how far to each checkpoint as that was the goal. Half way between Rowerdennan to Inversnaid started to get more technical by that I mean you were jumping up down between rocks scrambling up hills (on your hands and knees), at some points it felt as though you were going vertically up even on the steps. Hard going (never took any pictures) If you thought you could go fast over this part ha ha ha ha. As the saying goes I bled time I think I was averaging in this section about 16 minute miles. If not even slower. Eventually I arrived in Inversnaid but there was no one to greet me there. It is too hard to get to, so I said just to leave it. As you can clearly see the picture tells how I felt once I got to Inversnaid.

Once again had another rice pudding, took on some more water. Enjoyed the view. I took about a 10 minute break here, I was ahead of my own predicted time. So wanted to gather myself and get ready for the next stage which I had already been prewarned was going to be the hardest of them all. Yeah to me. So made sure all water bottles were topped up (again 1 with tailwind, the other just water) and It was time to leave Inversnaid behind.

Inversnaid - Bein Glas

I could not get into any kind of walking or even jogging rhythm at all. This part was a very technical a lot of stopping and starting. Up over rocks, sliding down rocks, places where you could only either go up or down 1 at a time. It was hard on the ankles and legs. Once you got out to the top end of Loch Lomond and started to head up (to go back down eventually) and looked back WOW is all I can say.

I know I had to stop to take another photo, as you can see the weather was amazing (BBC forecasters got it wrong again). Yes I did walk up the hill.............slowly. About 90% of who I saw did. Who can blame us we had done about 38 miles by this point. At this point I noticed I was drinking more than I thought I was and with about 2 miles still to go. One water bottle was empty and the other had just over a couple of mouthfuls in it (Same with the Coke Cola). I was sore what felt like every muscle in my legs was screaming at me. I needed a pick me up. I text Yvonne to let her know how I was feeling and that I was just under 2 miles from them. Words of encouragement came back. So, now do not laugh. I downed all that was left of the Coke Cola............that is some caffeine hit, put Chandelier on the MP3 player and proceeded to sing (badly) at the top of my voice running down a hill doing aeroplanes. The looks I got was hilarious. Some people even asked if I was okay lol. I then came running YES running into Bein Glas to hear the cheers of my kids Erin and Rebecca, it was great to see them. Once again I took my time here. After this checkpoint there was ONLY 12 miles to the end. Could I manage to keep myself together and run to the finish. Well here we go. Waved by to the family as they were now going to head to Tyndrum and wait for me there.

Bein Glas - Tyndrum

Come on Andrew this is it no more checkpoints the next stop TYNDRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUM. 12 miles of mind games. I can do this I can do this. I have not come 41 miles to pack it in now, but guess what 8 miles from the finish line Garmin packed in. Noooooooooo. I wish I took some other photos en route as on the "grassy verge" I could of made snowballs there was that much snow but I do not think making and throwing them at the others would of made me a lot of friends lol. This was not a technical run but as it has been called by others this is a rollercoaster to the end. Up and Down followed by Up and Down and then again Up and Down. This was what it was to the end. Now again I was not watching how much I was drinking and I ran out of water/tailwind/Coke Cola  before the end (I found out later it was 3 miles) By this point I just wanted to see the finish line I had lost the will to live. Then up comes Jonathon, what an amazing guy the 2 of us walked the whole way to the end He even gave me a heads up that you can run down the finishing chute with your kids. So at this point I tried to get a hold of Yvonne, my mum and dad and no one was answering the phone I later found out why (lets just say Rebecca = Nappy problems). Eventually I get through let my dad know what is happening and to get them to the finish. I am only about 1 mile away. The last 3 miles as I had someone to talk to went past very fast. As we came up to the last turning before the finishing straight I said to Jonathon to go ahead and I will hold back to let him run down with his boy. Then it was my turn, I turned to corner and I promised myself I would not get emotional but alas I did. I saw everyone I got Erin and Rebecca and ran down the finishing chute.

Finishing time 13:40:05

Absolutely amazed at the whole experience. Even after all that I would def do it all again. Thanks to the family for being there and supporting me through it all I am not sure I would of finished it without there encouragement. The marshals were simply amazing, they could of not of been more helpful.