More Ultra Flattering Running Photos

As if I needed to even say it, but the title of this post is laced with sarcasm, because I look like ass in these photos.  But there was a totally buff chick running the Fraserburgh 10k on Sunday, and she too looks like ass in her running photos (not included), so I have hope that I may actually be classed as ‘attractive’ in some circles.  Behold!

Fraserburgh 10k photos: Graeme Clark

Ythan Challenge Photos: source

Fraserburgh 10k. I’m 215, and Grant is behind Mister 130.

Attempting, and failing, a photogenic ‘wave’.  Please note the weird bulge on my right (your left) tit is actually my mp3 player, not a strange growth.

Running up that hill…. no problems.

failed wave #2


Also for your viewing plesure, a few photos from the Ythan Challenge on the 17th of June.  First up, a shot of me conquering the rope netting and making it my bitch.  Seriously, I had to wait in line for ages waiting for people to pathetically scramble over this thing, even going two at a time.  I felt I was particularly skilled at maneuvering over this particular obstacle.

I’m the chick on the right, showing the rope who’s boss and getting all the admiration from the crowds.

And at the end, I obviously had to show the woman ahead of me who the real champion was, by sprinting past her like an enraged hippo.  Here she is congratulating me while I attempt not to puke from the exertion.

Glad not to be experiencing a heart attack.

And one final photo.  Kynon handing me water as I’m sure I gasped something about needing something to wash down ibuprofin with because my shin was dying.

Almost drugged.

Anyway, my shins are still pretty sore during any real exertion, so I’m obviously stoked about the Stonehaven Half Marathon this Sunday.  I think I’m going to treat it as a long run, as I’m scheduled for 13 on that day anyway, and I’m going to unburden myself with the pressure of racing for time by trying to stick to my ‘marathon pace’, which is anywhere between 9:15/mile and 9:30/mile (I’m guessing).  The medal at the end will just be an added bonus for finishing a very social training run.  And the beer will just be me celebrating the fact that I have 7 weeks off work for the summer holidays!

Yeehaw, bitches!

Fraserburgh 10k (24.6.12)

Gun Time: 52:16

Position: 86/146 (Gender Pos: 18/60)

Medal: No. (But we all received a race memento and goody bag)


I hadn’t planned on doing this race.  At all.  But I knew a few people who had entered (Ronnie and Dawn) and they had both encouraged me to join them for the morning.  Because of my shin splints, however, I didn’t commit, and really, I was kind of glad I had a race free weekend as they seem to be few and far between at the moment.  However, after my ‘test’ run on the treadmill on Friday, I was convinced that I could manage a 10k in a reasonable time if I stuck to my half marathon pace, and the lure of a possible medal for a measly 6 miles was playing with my rational thinking.  And then, pissing about on Facebook last night, I see this:

So decisive…

An hour later, I had caved:

Even after witnessing the forecast:

Rain. Heavy rain.

Later in the day, my friend Grant came over to watch Apocalypto (which I thoroughly enjoyed, and didn’t even notice that it was nearly 2 hours long).  I mentioned the possibility of the 10K, with perhaps more than a hint of a persuasive tone, and by the time he had left, we had agreed to just go ahead and do it.  I braced myself for an 8:30 pick-up.  And rain.

Getting into the car, I could sense Grant’s enthusiasm.  He was clearly just joking around when he looked over and greeted me good morning by uttering, ‘I hate you.’  Just looking at him, I could sense he was majorly pumped for the morning’s adventure!

Can’t you see it?!  Anyway, I could kind of see why he was perhaps a bit put off:

The forecast was accurate.

We arrived in Fraserburgh, given the title in 1998 of being the heroin capital of Scotland, with ample time.  We registered and collected our safety pins and bibs, and then decided to take a driving tour of the town.  Five minutes later, we decided to grab some fuel from the giant Tesco that was on the way in.  We treated ourselves to a salted pretzel each.  Bad idea, it turns out.

At 10:30, we headed back to the sports center, where there were more runners gathering together, trying to ignore the rain.  We found Dawn, and then Ronnie (and his mum), who we chatted with until we got called up to the ‘start line’.  After a countdown, we were off!  Starting at a sub 8 minute mile was unwise, and almost immediately I felt a burning in my chest (good morning heart burn) and was overwhelmed by the taste of salt, which was to remain with me for the duration of the race.  Lovely.

Two kilometers in, I had settled into a more reasonable pace, but the rain had become so strong I was forced to abandon my mp3 player.  This turned out to be OK, as Grant was only just behind me, so we both settled into what we called a Tough Mudder team building run.  This involved complaining about the rain, and chatting:

I’m being partially blocked out by the guy in orange, Grant is next to me in white. Photo: Fiona Paterson

We ran through a few residential streets, before turning onto one of the main roads.  We then turned onto what seemed to be a long private driveway, at the end of which was the water station.  After this, all we had to do was go back the way we came!

Our camaraderie lasted until approximately 250 meters from the finish, when Grant remarked, ‘I guess it’s just down to the two of us,’ sparking an irrational competitive rage within me.

Sprint finish.  Photo: Fiona Paterson

And then it was over, and the rain kind of stopped, which is typical.  We waited for Dawn to come in, and then we all headed our separate ways. But not before some post race photos by/in the car.  Here I am trying to take out the memento to pose with, while Grant took some ‘candid’ photos, which he felt were necessary:

As you can see, Grant is just as thrilled about having run a 10k as he was merely anticipating it:


I tried to lighten the mood to avoid being left for dead at the side of the road somewhere between Fraserburgh and Aberdeen:


Something tells me, however, that he didn’t appreciate my rendition of ‘Never Ever’ by All Saints on the way back….

So Serious

So tomorrow marks the end of my first week of marathon training.  Total miles so far?  Four.  And that was Friday.  On a treadmill.

I guess participating in a mud run with an existing sore calf and some sexy shin splints was not totally sensible, but it was totally fun.  I’ll hopefully be able to push that number into double figures tomorrow, and I wont have a choice next week as I’m registered for the Stonehaven half marathon, but it doesn’t change the fact that I’m pretty bummed I haven’t had the flying start I’d hoped for.  I have been hitting the gym (2 Body Pump classes, 3 spin classes) so it’s not like I’ve been sitting on my sofa stuffing my face with cheese in a tube.

Anyway, I present you with a photo a friend spotted on Facebook of the start of the Ythan Challenge.  She downloaded it, so I have no idea who to give credit to for the actual photo-taking skills, but if you took the photo, and you’re reading this (unlikely), let me know and I’ll splatter your name in the caption!

I’m the super cheerful one in all black.

Ythan Challenge 2012

Time: 1:19:49

Position: 222/432 (Gender Position: 40, Category Position: 25)

Medal: Yes

I originally signed up to this race as a ‘test run’ for Tough Mudder Scotland, which is now 4 weeks away.  I also liked the idea of a multi-terrain race speckled with obstacles – – and mud!  Unfortunately, after my LETR (longest EVER training run) last Sunday, my calf has been giving me jip, so much so, that I had only run 3 gentle miles this week.  I was a bit apprehensive about running as I:

  1. Didn’t want to be in crap loads of pain afterwards, and
  2. Didn’t want to injure myself further.

Clearly I am not often described as sensible, and so armed with 4 meters of bandage wrap from Superdrug, I got ready for the race.  I had stayed over at my friend Grant’s house the night before, as he lives in Ellon close to The Meadows Sports Centre, so I also had a delightful rendition of ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ courtesy of his 8 month old niece’s sing along book.  Way to get PUMPED!  Here is what I looked like before he 12k course:

Clean. Dry. White bandage.

The Meadows Sports Centre had plenty of room to get changed in, and plenty of toilets so that queuing wasn’t so bad (although this could have been down to limited entry numbers).  After picking up my t-shirt, timing chip and race bib from registration, I mulled around with my friend Grant, who unfortunately missed the small window between registration opening and entries filling up.  I also chatted with Ronnie, from the gym, Niall, Rhona, and Kynon (pronounced Kin-non, not K-eye-non, as I initially thought – pronunciation really doesn’t come across well on Twitter!).

We were to set off in 4 different waves, the colour of your race bib indicating the wave you were allocated to.  Wave 1 was orange, Wave 2 was yellow, Wave 3 was blue, and Wave 4 was green.  I was in the blue wave, and a few minutes after the yellow wave set off, we were being counted down to start.

I set off at a reasonable pace, mainly because I wanted to make sure running on my sore (I’d rate it 6.5/10 for pain at the start) calf was not crippling.  After about a minute, the pain numbed into a dull ache, and I decided to ignore it for the rest of the race.  Just as I settled into my stride the pack came to an abrupt halt.  “The first of many,” a fellow runner commented, throwing me an eyeball roll.  We were waiting for runners to navigate single file down some steps to a riverside path.

Once down, it was good to get moving again, but the narrow path made it difficult to overtake, so I guess I was successful at not shooting off too quickly!  Eventually the path widened out, and, despite being branched in the face by a gentleman directly in front of me (who laughed when he heard my ‘Oooof’ as my face got owned), this section was rather uneventful.  The gentlemen did say it was unintentional, but had it been his son, it would be another story!

After crossing a bridge and running/sliding through the woods, things started to get interesting.  I can’t remember the exact order of the obstacles, but there were plenty of hay bales, which I didn’t realize would be so tall!  It was a bit of an effort pushing myself over them, but they’re much easier at the start – to that I can attest!  There were also a couple of sections where we had to crawl under netting, which was easy enough to get through.  The real ball buster, for me, was the damn Ythan River!

I should make you aware, reader, that I am not a fan of the cold.  It is mid June, and I haven’t changed any of my heating settings from January.  Friends often complain that my flat is like a sauna and could I not, “put on a [censored] sweater?!”  I recall watching an episode of Bear Grylls: Man Does Stuff that Inevitably Ends in Nude Push-ups.  In this episode, it is explained that one of the dangers of jumping into ice-cold water is a heart attack because of the shock your body experiences.  I feel that I was not far off from experiencing this horror today after trudging through the ‘bog’ and then sliding into the freezing river.

As soon as the cold water surrounded me, I was rendered completely useless.  All I could do was take short, sharp gasps for air while I stood tit-deep, paralyzed in the river, wide-eyed and stunned.  Now, I can’t remember how the topic came up, but one evening a few years ago, my boyfriend and I were discussing rape.  I argued that unless the attacker had a gun to my head, or something similar, it would be practically impossible for him to rape me.  Ian disagreed, and said that with brute force, rape would be achievable on my person, especially by someone with his strength.  This led to 30 minutes of pretty aggressive wrestling on our part, concluding with his admission of defeat.  Status: un-rapable.  Well, future-potential-rapists, I have found my kryptonite – freezing water.

Thankfully (for me), there was one other woman experiencing the same reaction to the cold as I was.  After several moments, we grabbed each others’ hand and started moving – quickening steadily with a goal of getting out of the water!  Once we’d been hauled out, we set to running again, feeling the extra weight of wet kit for the first time.  Soon we were faced with a second dip in the Ythan, but thankfully it was much shallower here (thigh-deep), and it wasn’t so traumatizing wading through.  Unfortunately, this is when I got a heap of grit inside my shoes (and socks, somehow) that caused me to stop no less than 3 times during the course to remove a shoe (and sock), wipe away the grit as best I could, peel my wet shoe (and sock) back on, and start up again.

It was around this time that I had a spectacular face-plant into the muddy trail, landing hard on my wrist and knee.  I’m sure I was the picture of grace, but I brushed myself off and kept going.

Amongst the pleasures devised for us on the rest of the course were more hay bales, tree trunks to hurdle over (including one with a ridiculously robust twig that snagged a ridiculously sensitive part of my anatomy – thankfully I was still numb from the cold water), tyres and tubes to crawl through, and neon sticks to run (uphill) through whilst trying to avoid smacking yourself in the face (unsuccessful).

Once we passed the 10k mark, there was an audible sigh of relief from the runners, and we soldiered on to the field where we started.  I had been warned that those trickster race organizers would have more treats to greet us before the finish line, so I wasn’t surprised to see some steep up- and downhill parts to conquer before the end as well as yet more bales of hay!  After the final bale, it was the home stretch, and I broke into a sprint (why do I always feel the need?!) to overtake the woman ahead of me.  I crossed the finish line and proceeded to gasp for breath and experience extreme nausea, as normal, before realizing I hadn’t stopped my Garmin, as normal.  After bagging the medal and some water (thank you Kynon!), popping some painkillers, and seeing Rhona cross the finish line, I found Grant and headed for the showers, which were totally necessary.  Witness:

Wet. Cold. Muddy. Sore.

Overall, I had a great time.  The race was really well organized, and the marshals were extremely helpful, particularly the ones who were stuck in the river guiding everyone through, and those who helped haul people out of the bog and river!  The route was clearly signposted with red and white tape, and they had bananas at the finish line!  I would definitely come back next year (if I can get a spot in time) and I’m pretty psyched about Tough Mudder next month.  And I must say – that’s one really sleek medal, guys, bravo!


And now?  Time to pop some more painkillers, ice my calf, and plan work for tomorrow.

Marathon Training Starts Monday

Monday, June 18th, 2012, will mark the official beginning of my marathon training.  I’m using Hal Higdon’s intermediate plan, meshed with my own routine at the gym (I refuse flat out to give up my spin and weights sessions), peppered with races throughout (medals and motivation).

After my longest ever training run last Sunday (14 miles!), the reality of what I have signed up for began to sink in.  I was ready for a siesta on the sofa and a meaty pizza after that long run, so the thought of having to do it again – twice – is a crushing blow to my personal view that I am, in fact, badass on a Chuck Norris scale.

With two half marathons under my belt this year (so far), and 3 training runs of the same distance, I can consistently crack out sub 2 hour halfs, which is good to know.  My main concern, however, is being able to keep up with this pace for double the distance.  I understand that to get an idea of your full marathon time, you should double your half time, and then add 30 minutes.

1:53 + 1:53 + :30 = predicted marathon time

This would have me gasping for beer over the finish line at a respectable 4:14:00.  I am not aiming for a Boston Qualifier like Amy, and I am certainly not deluded enough to think I could crack out a sub 4 hour marathon on my first attempt without dedication that is, in all honesty, beyond me at the moment.  I just want to finish the whole ordeal injury-free, and suffer through the Monday at work without too much pain.

Thankfully, a few of you fellow bloggers (I actually hate the word ‘blog’ and all of its bastard children) are starting marathon training now as well, so it’s nice that I’ll have people in a similar situation to follow, especially those with a bit more experience!  A friend from the gym, Ronnie/Connie (depending on his mood), has recently signed up for the Loch Ness Marathon as well, so I wont be so alone!

Now for the crappy bit.  The night before my marathon debut, I will be in Edinburgh at a friend’s wedding.  I will be watching all of these people I know drinking champagne and cold beer, and I will be guzzling Powerade.  They will be sitting down to enjoy a delicious meal, and I will be cramming pasta into my mouth as I say my goodbyes and get on the last train to Inverness.  My boyfriend will be staying in Edinburgh to drink, eat, dance and celebrate with friends, and I will spend the entire train journey panicking about injury, proper fuelling, pacing, and suppressing thought of collapsing at mile 25, alone.

C’est la vie.

There are, however, more pressing matters.  This Sunday is the Ythan Challenge, which I signed up for in an attempt to prepare myself for Tough Mudder, which is only 4 weeks away!  This Sunday will be another of our team’s training sessions, and hopefully I won’t be the main attraction for the midges.  These little suckers are the UK equivalent of mosquitoes, except they’re tiny: we’re talking large grain of salt size.  And yet, the havoc these pests can wreak, especially on an unseasoned victim, is ridiculous.  I am covered in bites, and cannot stop itching my arms, legs, chest, and –worst of all – my neck!  At least I got mild revenge by inhaling about a thousand of them during my run…


They even got the tiny space between the bottom of my tights and my socks!


Anyway, for all you non-UK readers, here’s a photo taken by a friend from the gym (my phone’s battery had given up, so I asked her to step up), of the Olympic Torch coming down Union Street in Aberdeen.  I can’t say it was a particularly momentous event (at least for me), but at least I can say ‘I was there!’ to people.



[PS I apologize for the frequency of gross body part photos.]

Tough Mudder training: Part 2

Apologies in advance, this post will, I fear, lack any comedic value as I am too tired to think of anything clever, although I was ON FIRE earlier during a cheeky gossip session with a friend.

Today was my longest ever training run: 14 miles.  I had originally set out aiming for about 10, because I was feeling a bit tired, but within the first half mile of my run a guy swept past me which triggered an irrational competitive rage within me, and so it was decided: I would follow this man as far as he traveled, and then I would return home.  Unfortunately, I did not bet on this guy running nearly 7 miles further before turning around.  What an asshole (not really).

I kept up with him until just after 10 miles, but by then, after only a banana for breakfast and starting to flag, I decided to stop for a stretch, a banana blast High 5 energy gel, and a rummage through my new 3 litre Camelback (on it’s running debut) for my mp3 player to provide some motivation for the home stretch.

10 miles in, requiring more than a breakfast banana for fuel…

After hitting the milestone 14 mile mark, I hobbled to my flat, stretched, demolished a glass of chocolate milk (my new drink of the moment), and sat with my legs up against a wall for a bit, all to the amusement of my (hungover) friend Grant, who had used my sofa as a bed last night.  A quick shower later, we headed out for some comfort food, before heading back to the flat to watch some terrible old films on TV.  Both of us felt sluggish (for different reasons) and both of us were dreading our planned activity in the evening: Tough Mudder training with the rest of our (available) team members.  It was around this point in the day that I asked myself: Why did you have to run as far as that dude today, you total idiot!?!  I took advantage of the remaining time, but was all too aware of the clock ticking towards 5pm.

I would have been 100% happy with staying exactly like this for the rest of the day.

The time came to head off, and after downing an electrolyte drink, head off we did.  There were 5 of us in total, and I had planned a (horrendous) workout for us all.  We found a good sized field in Hazelhead Park and set to it. I had planned to do laps of running followed by intense circuit-style exercises.  2 laps of the field was about .4 miles, which seemed plenty to me, especially today!  Our workout was as follows:

2 x laps running

  • 20 burpees
  • 15 squats
  • 15 push ups
  • 15 sit ups
  • 20 burpees
  • 12 squats
  • 12 push ups
  • 12 sit ups
  • 20 burpees
  • 9 squats
  • 9 push ups
  • 9 sit ups
  • 20 burpees (these ones sucked hard)

.5 x lap running

  • 25 back extensions
  • 25 sit ups

.5 lap running

  • 25 leg raises
  • 25 sit ups

1x lap

  • 20 x Right leg lunges/20 x Left leg lunges
  • 10 push ups
  • 30 second plank
  • Repeat x 3

1 x lap

  • Abs (including crunches, bicycle crunches, russian twists and the cherry on top? A 4 minute plank)

1 x lap

After this, Ian took over and we did some interesting (and possibly dangerous) team building, including carrying each other across a field and hanging from monkey bars. Overall, we were working out for about 90 minutes, and by the end, we were all pretty ready for it to end.  We have decided to up the intensity in the coming weeks during bi-weekly sessions.  Delightful.

Anyway, after today, I felt I fully deserved to put my feet up and enjoy this:

Demolished in roughly 7 minutes.

No wonder my feet look like this:


My left foot. Before the 14 mile run today.

Snippets of the past week

This weekend is one of my rare ‘non-race’ weekends, but that doesn’t mean I wont be running.  Marathon training for Loch Ness at the end of September begins shortly, so my next long run is scheduled for Sunday.  I’m aiming for about 11 miles.

I say aiming as I am very aware that I also have a Tough Mudder training session in the evening, and I don’t want to be too burnt out for that.  It’s only about 5 weeks until Tough Mudder, and our ‘team’ only had our first workout session on Wednesday.  Everyone seems in pretty good shape, but it will be good to build a bit of camaraderie before the big day – especially as we’ll be camping together!

Other eventful things that happened this week:

The transit of Venus occured, often considered a harbinger of bad luck.  During this rare event, Ray Bradbury died.  Coincidence? (Don’t worry, I’m not one of those people that smothers their walls in tin foil and claims my thoughts are being read, or that believes 2pac is still alive)  I don’t really dig sci-fi as a genre, but I didn’t mind his Green Town trilogy.  I’m a sucker for all things nostalgic (I own Little House on the Prairie box sets and have read EVERY SINGLE ONE of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, and I remember ripping every episode of The Wonder Years from Napster when it was still around), so anything set in small-town America is bound to get me hooked.  For reference, my favourite book of all time is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and it killed me that I had a shred of respect for Victoria Beckham whe she mentioned she named her daughter, Harper Seven, after her favourite author.  Anyway, my books are like my babies, so it’s probably good that I’m an English teacher (except it leaves me little time for reading for pleasure!).

No room for trinkets on my bedroom shelves

I celebrated Nation Running Day by, creatively, running!  Even though I wasn’t in the US!  And what gorgeous weather we had for it (sarcasm):


I thought it was quite appropriate that my new running shirt arrived in the mail that afternoon, and so decided to wear it to commemorate the special day.

An accurate representation of my mood that day.

This past week, the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. 60 years on the throne is pretty good going, and she must have some stellar make-up artists, because her skin on BBC HD was FLAWLESS!  People in England seemed much more in the spirit of things, but that could be because those of us in Scotland didn’t get a 4 day weekend!  Luckily I got the Tuesday off as a public holiday, but I spent a good deal of it working from home, so festive I was not.  The city centre did seem to make a token effort to celebrate the big day, however:

Bunting – and the continuing theme of ‘clouds’.

Finally, for those of you that haven’t already seen it in Danielle’s blog, we had yet another appearance in local press!  Danielle and I were interviewed at the Kilt Run by the Perthshire Advertiser, and we appeared in their article covering the event:


Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!  I’ll be thinking of you when I’m plodding away at a comfortable pace.  I’ll be enjoying taking the time to spot things I would normally overlook*, and ignoring my pace on my Garmin for a change!

* like this!

The fame continues…

Well, after becoming a hit in Serbia (I think – my Croatian is not what you’d call fluent), and after being quoted in a national newspaper, it was only a matter of time before the BBC came after me.  It seems their cheeky paparazzi caught me at the Kilt Run on Saturday and featured my face in their slideshow of Jubilee celebrations in Scotland!


Obviously I have been in touch with my parents to let them know that I will expect nothing less than pure white, 100% Egyptian cotton sheets when I come to visit in October.  They have also been informed that security will need to be beefed up during my stay to avoid being hounded by the Houston press.*

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to pre-autograph some photos to save myself time when the masses of fans come knocking at my door.  **


* I got the feeling, somehow, that they weren’t really taking me seriously.

** Just in case there is any doubt whatsoever, I’m joking.

‘Daily Mail Reporter’ is a lazy journalist.

I got home after the Perth Kilt Run to find I had two pending comments on my blog.  One from a fellow runner saying nice things about what I write, the other from somebody telling me my blog was ‘sadly’ on Serbian news.  I had pretty much dismissed the comment as spam until I clicked through to check my stats for the day.  I was confronted with this:


To put things into perspective, in the nearly 6 months in which I have been writing this blog, my busiest day barely had 200 hits, and that was mainly people looking for results and photos for the Balmoral 10k earlier this year.  I guess the random commenter was right!

This led to an investigation with my trusty friend Detective Google.  While I found the website (in Croatian) that linked to my blog, and got the gist of what was being said thanks to various online translation bots (it was about the unfortunate design of the emf finishers’ medal), that was not the weirdest moment of the evening.  For during my online searching, I came across an article on the Daily Mail website.  It appears they have used several quotes from my post in their article:

So while I’m glad ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ found my article amusing/useful, I am also kind of annoyed that all they had to do was cruise Twitter and liase with Detective Google to mash together an article.  For a paycheck.

Considering I did the legwork (literally and figuratively) for my original post, I feel a bit cheated.  Since what I wrote comprises nearly 20% of the Daily Mail article, I am surely entitled to nearly 20% of Daily Mail Reporter’s paycheck.  Am I right?

Oh, and because I could help looking at the comments, here is the utterly charming ‘highest rated’ comment from the article:

No problemo, classy commenter.  Knock yourself out:

Shlong medal and Rachel’s rack.

PS: To any magazines, newspapers, etc. out there, if you’re looking for a columnist, I’m cheap.

Perth Kilt Run 2012

Time: 42:27

Position: 231/1019 (Gender position: 42/363)

Medal: No, but we did get a t-shirt and goody bag.

Relaxing in my new Kilt Run shirt!

The Perth Kilt Run was an attempt to break the world record for kilted runners.  Perth, Canada, set the record with 1,096 runners, and, sadly, today we fell short by just 16 runners.  While that was a bit of a shame, it was a great day out, and an amusing run!

I took the train to Perth this morning.  It seems Aberdeen train station is not a bustling centre of culture and community before 9am on a Saturday:

Though I admittedly dozed most of the way, I did notice a kilted man walk onto the train at Carnoustie.  When we arrived in Perth, I thought ‘he looks like he knows where he’s going, let’s follow him!’  And so I did.

NB: I am not a stalker

When I arrived at registration, I pinned my number on, attached my timing chip, and had a lovely chat with some old ladies in the loo before I checked my watch and realized I had aaaaaaaaaages until I told fellow blogger and Kilt Run participant, Danielle, I’d meet her.  Good thing there was a Jubilee Weekend celebration on, then!

I headed towards the park where I realized the 1,000 pipers were about to set off on parade.  The place was absolutely packed!

The crowds

The pipers

After soaking up the atmosphere for a bit, I headed back to registration where I found Danielle and her husband, who decided to just run the 5 mile course on a whim!  It was the first time I had met Danielle in person, having previously only spoken via blogs/twitter, and I’m pleased to say she was just as easy to talk to face to face.  It turns out we have quite a lot in common, and it was really nice to bust out some ‘American’ English and not have a confused face staring back at me!  While her husband was buying trainers, socks and shorts so that he could join in, we got a photo with the Famous Grouse and spotted cyclist Mark Beaumont, who is kind of a big deal in Scotland, and who was also running.

Half past one arrived before we knew it, and we started getting in place behind the start line.  We found a small group of Canadians that had flown over for a week who were running!  That’s some dedication!  At two, there was a countdown from 5 and everyone – slowly- started shuffling along.  The course was pretty crowded for the first half mile, and I even passed the Grouse making impressive speed (considering the weight of the thing).

The crowds at the sides of the route were impressive – I wasn’t expecting so many people!  There were also plenty of kids with their hands out for high fives.  One cheeky bugger moved his away at the last minute with the classic ‘You’re too slow’!!

The hardest bit about the run, apart from wearing a woolly kilt in sunshine, was the fact that you had to pass the finish line and do a final lap.  It’s so cruel to show the runners where they’ll be …. eventually!  But we all eventually made it to the end, picking up some well deserved water, jelly beans and a goody bag with the event t-shirt.  And then we hit the beer tent for a pint!

When the beer was gone and our bags were collected from the local leisure centre’s lockers, we set off, just catching the replica Spitfire flying over the crowds.  It was a finisher’s sprint to the train station for me (too much time in the beer garden chatting!) and I made it to the platform with 6 minutes to spare before my train set off.

Another dozy train journey behind me, I met Ian for dinner at Nando’s (because Danielle mentioning it earlier had made me crave it)!  I also treated myself to a very fancy Camelback that will hopefully come in handy during my long runs for my marathon training.  It’ll also be useful for climbing any munros this summer.  And now?  Off to bed so I’m well rested for my 6 mile run tomorrow (at a much slower pace, thankfully).

And as for the world record?  There’s always next year!