Time: 1:32:09 [Results]
Medal: No, but this year we got a t-shirt and, ‘scandalously’ (according to several) a beanie in place of the traditional bottle of wine.
This is the third year in a row I’ve run Smokies, and each year I get slower. But I have an excuse!
Less than 2 weeks away from my first ultra (I feel like I’m mentioning that a lot recently…), I haven’t quite hit the ‘taper’. Though my idea of tapering is vastly different from most (it usually involves me just swapping to any exercise other than running, and maybe taking off the day before), it will be pitiful for the D33. Mostly because I’m using it as my longest training run for the Highland Fling, and as I have Milano City marathon 3 weeks afterwards, there will be no racing heroics on the day; I’ll walk when I need to, I’ll slow down if I have to – my aim is not to break myself. What this all means is that I am still logging big miles during my weekends, and this weekend was no exception.
Saturday morning’s wake up call (my ridiculously annoying alarm on my phone that will one day drive Ian to homocide, I’m sure) was at 5:30am. Breakfast, getting dressed, and curling up in a ball on the floor next to my radiator consumed the next 30 minutes, and then I left for Aberdeen train station, where I would meet a lovely lady from the metro running club (who shall for mysterious reasons remain nameless) and Ronnie.
Stonehaven bound, we made a point of using the bathroom on the train before arriving at Stonehaven train station. Though it was beginning to get light, there was mist on the horizon, and a deep chill in the air. We set off along the Slug Road, and up towards the Elsick Mounth trail – aiming for the reverse version of one of the group long runs in February.
It was slow going in places, as the trampled mud had frozen, and there was a lot of slipping about, but eventually we made it to the top of the hill, by which time the sun had come out and skies were blue. It was still freezing, but sunshine is my crack, so I was happy:
After this we were on trails and country roads for a bit, until reaching the Deeside railway line, which is what the D33 will be run along. We stopped for a photo with a cow, because I thought it was cute:
The railway line is boring, at best, especially if you’ve live near it and use it frequently, but at least we had good company for the run back towards Aberdeen.
Roughly 8 miles from Aberdeen, I enjoyed my first al fresco piss in years. I forgot how liberating urinating amongst nature could be, and it’s good to know that there are some relatively secluded areas behind bushes if I get hit with an un-ignorable urge to pee come race day.
After nearly 21 miles, we called it a day, hopped off the railway line, and walked home, via the supermarket (at least in my case) for food (fajitas, in case you’re wondering, and yes, they were delicious). There were a lot of tight places in my legs, so I make a token effort to use the foam roller before turning in.
Now, Sunday is usually the single day a week where I don’t set an alarm, so I was
mildly disgruntled pissed off that I had to wake up early again. Still, I’m thankful to Claudia for giving me a lift, because Ian might have dumped me if I woke him up early on BOTH weekend days in addition to begging for a lift.
With my stellar navigation skills, we managed to arrive at the Arbroath Sports Centre with 46 days to spare until the race start, so we enjoyed using the toilet with minimal queueing, picking up our race numbers instantly, and chatting to familiar faces before returning to Claudia’s car for warmth. Again, it was sunny, but it was cold.
About 20 minutes before the race start, we went back to the hall to wait for the migration to the start line, and I met Kate and her friend Elaine, who were both planning on sticking to a nice easy pace and getting through the race in one piece (Kate is also running the D33 and the Highland Fling, and we’re both suffering a bit from training).
Despite the race results being your gun time, we stayed at the back for the start, and only realized the race had started when the bodies in front of us started moving. My calf was sore. My hip was sore. My hamstring was sore. I was very glad I had company that had agreed to stick with 10 minute miles…
But after a couple of miles, everything started to loosen up, and even though we were busy chatting the course away, our pace kept creeping up, and we made a (rather pathetic) attempt to reign it in a bit. Eventually, we gave up because we all felt decent, and just ran at the pace that felt comfortable. Clearly, I was feeling alright about half a mile from the end:
The three of us crossed the line together (despite what the results might reflect), and we were all handed our goody bags before making our way to the sidelines to watch the other runners come in. Shortly after, Claudia finished, bagging a PR, and we headed back to her car to pick up some warm clothes, passing Carolyn (also flying in with a new PR), Amy (what’s up lady who said hello!), and Danielle (again….PR) on the way.
Armed with warm things, Claudia went for a shower, and I headed for the amazingly quiet massage table, managing to get on pretty much straight away for a donation. Whoever the lady was there was fantastic, and did not hold back working into my calves. Covered in menthol oil, I headed back to a group of friends, and chatted until the awards ceremony and raffle. I wasn’t as lucky as last year, when I won an Arbroath smokie, but Claudia managed to win a foot roller/massager thing, which she seemed pretty pleased with.
Raffle over, and clouds looming, we said our goodbyes to everyone and headed back to Aberdeen, where I had a well deserved nap on my sofa, and then watched Robocop for the first time in my life, because Ian said that I needed to, and that it was a solid 10/10. I can’t believe Dr. Robert Romano and Red Forman played bad guys! I’d also maybe give it a 7/10.