With January's good intentions, I expected the turn out for tonight's pack runs to be quite good. And I half expected to see some new faces. Neither. Just the usual group of core die-hards.
The route for tonight was a "good six miles" - which means seven - round Knightswood and back through Maryhill. And to set the year off on a good start there were a few nose-bleed hills thrown in for good measure.
I was the only show from the pack E troops, but Captain Maz wanted to run with me. It was her debut club run as a Garscube Mum. She gave birth to her gorgeous son Finn - by Cesarean Section - only three months ago. Now any new-Mum would embrace the maudlin state of trackie-bottoms, the baby blues and sleep deprivation, but not Maz. Her body snapped back into shape and she'd signed up as a reserve at the club x-country three weeks later. Yes, that's three weeks after what is classed as a major operation. As lovely as she is, Maz is the walking proof that justifies the brunt the Irish receive is everyday jokes. Her sweeping statements are infamous. Whilst disguising her pregnancy during the early stages, she asked if she could run with me because she "felt awful. Terrible" and "wanted to run really, really slow and take it easy". Now that's motivational chat from the Ladies' Captain. Unbeknown to her, she provides the much needed comedy value that the club needs. At the training weekend last year, she told the group over dinner that you could drive in Ireland without a license. After about 20 minutes of debate and dispute, she pipped up and in her lovely Irish drawl announced: "you're not supposed to. But you can."
If there's truth in the theory that woman come back stronger runners after childbirth, then Maz will be the prime example. When we started out on the "easy" run, I know it was going to be anything but easy. Maz was considerably faster than me before blooming. So much so, that even after pregnancy, childbirth and sleepless nights, she was still faster than me. I'd like to think we were pushing each other, but I think I may be flattering myself. By the half-way point our chatter had turned to gasping.
I've had a bit of a cough for the last week and this was quite noticeable when we hit the hills. I continuously apologised for my spluttering. I always find the cold really affects my breathing.
On through Jordanhill, over Kelvindale and up to Maryhill we kept up a steady pace. The hill up Scaethorn nearly floored me, but we finish the last mile hard. It was definitely the toughest run I've done this year. Te he.
Jill, you better polish-up that shameless competitive streak of yours. The Irish are back on form.
And for the boring, just for the record stuff: Garscube, GWR, Lincoln, Anniesland Rd, Southbrae, Whittingham, GWR, Dorchester, Scaethorn and home. 6.78 miles in 56:44. Average pace 8.22. Slower than expected. Darn hills and dodgy lungs.