My first solo trip, and I say first even though I haven’t been on another one because it definitely won’t be the last one, was to Scotland. I got this crazy idea that I would run a half marathon in Glasgow after only dabbling in road races before and having surgery on my meniscus. In fact, my longest run prior to this had been maybe 5 miles. But I love to run 5ks and I love to travel, so naturally they must go together! The plan was to spend the first three days in Glasgow with the half marathon on the third day. Then I would head on the train over to Edinburgh for another three days.
Glasgow was amazing! The mix in architecture between the historic buildings intertwined with 20th Century buildings gives Glasgow this historic industrial atmosphere. My first day in Glasgow the weather was overcast and gloomy, this was the perfect backdrop to visit a gothic cathedral and cemetery! The Glasgow Cathedral is an imposing gothic cathedral with the Glasgow Necropolis set in the background. You can spend the afternoon taking in the beautiful ceiling, stain glass windows and historical artifacts within the cathedral then get lost on the winding paths within the Necropolis. I spent the night eating, drink and making new friends in the northern section of City Centre. If you get the chance grab lunch at Bread Meats Bread on St Vincent Pl., they have an array of burgers, BBQ and beers.
Day 2 was spent walking around Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, its free and beautiful! I have to tell you the weather, besides a tiny amount of rain the first day was superb the whole trip, so not sure why everyone says it only rains in the UK. The museum has remarkable artwork on display and installations including the must see Salvator Dali’s Christ of Saint John of the Cross. Public transportation in Glasgow is super easy to navigate, the trains run in a circle clockwise or counterclockwise on the Eastern or Western tracks, this is an affordable option over taking a taxi or renting a car. After all that walking and culture, I went to the The Howlin’ Wolf on Bath St. for some food and music. It was an early night because the next day was the BIG RACE DAY!
The Great Scottish Run was epic. For anyone who has run in these large races you know that they tell you to get there super early so that you are in your corral on time waiting and waiting and waiting. Surprise! This was no different. I stayed in City Centre which was just a few blocks away from the race start in order to avoid any road closures, traffic and all around “I’m going to get there late” panic. For those that don’t know I get severe anxiety if I even think I am going to be late for something. Like annoyingly internal panic that I am sure is not pleasant for my friends and family to deal with. But anyway, having never run a half marathon I was nervous and excited. I definitely had lofty goals and an excellent training plan, on paper, but failed in the execution portion of the training.
I have to say if you want to see a city and not just all the tourist destinations then running a race is a great way to do just that. You see neighborhoods and parks you wouldn’t normally venture into and get a small taste of what that city is really about. The course started on the northern side of the River Clyde, crossing the river after a few miles, then all the way down to Pollock Park and back over the river to the finish at Glasgow Green.
That first mile though, wow, it was straight up hill along St Vincent Pl. and definitely set the tone and pace of the whole race. I loved and hated every second of it, but I think that’s normal. I was happy enough with my time of 2:27 having not trained properly and coming off of recovery. After the post-race party I went to Côte Brasserie on W Nile St for some much need wine and dinner. I headed back to my hotel after dinner to relax, pack and prepare for my adventures in Edinburgh.