Smokies 10 Mile Road Race 2014

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.

Smokies 10 mile shirt + beanie

Smokies 10 mile shirt + beanie

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:

I'm standing on a tree trunk, surveying my kingdom.

I’m standing on a tree trunk, surveying my kingdom.

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.

Deeside railway line.

Deeside railway line.

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…

smokiesfbBut 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:

Me (looking demented), Kate, and Elaine - half a mile or so from the end.

Me (looking demented), Kate, and Elaine – half a mile or so 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.

Templeton 10 Mile Road Race 2013

Time: 1:36:42 [RESULTS HERE]

Medal: No, but I was pleasantly surprised when we got a technical shirt at the finish.


After my DNS last weekend, I was determined to get back on track, especially since I have really struggled since Loch Ness with being sick, and being under strict instruction from my physio to do no exercise for over a week to let my swollen, angry hip calm down.

To put things into perspective, I usually work out 6 days a week, with a total time between 8-12 hours.  This is a mix of running, cycling, weights, cross trainer, etc.  The week after Loch Ness I managed a single 4 mile jog.  The following week I managed a couple of spin classes, a weights class, and a painful half marathon.  The week after that? Two spin classes and a weights class.  And after that? A 6 mile run, a weights class, a spin class, and a DNS.  Not great.

So Monday, all guns blazing, I began my comeback week.  It looked a little something like this, and it probably isn’t a smart way to gently dip back into work outs:

Monday: 45 minute spin class, 30 minute HIIT class, 1 hour pilates class.
Tuesday: 3 mile run, 30 minute HIIT class, 1 hour weights class
Wednesday: Rest day (parents’ evening at school and sports massage)
Thursday: 45 minute weights class
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 15 mile trail run
Sunday: Templeton 10 mile road race

Why yes, I did decide to try out a back-to-back long run weekend with a ten mile race as my recovery run.  I may not have been so cocky about my planning skills if I had actually taken 30 seconds to look up the elevation profile for this race.  Behold, pain:

Yes.  It did feel as bad as it looks.

Yes. It did feel as bad as it looks.

With storm level winds forecast, and with rain hammering against my bedroom window, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when my alarm went off at 6 am on Sunday morning.  On stiff legs, I went about gathering everything I would need (but forgetting half of it in a morning fug), and before I knew it, Ronnie was outside, raring to go (this could be a slight exaggeration – he seemed less than enthusiastic).

Ronnie doesn’t have a small car by UK standards, but even I was aware of it’s bulk being pushed around on the dual carriageway as we headed towards Dundee.  Upon our approach, we drove under a “WARNING!  STRONG WINDS” sign, and chuckled.  We.  Were.  Pumped.

We arrived at the start after the main (and overflow) parking had been filled, so had to park up on the sidewalk with other late(ish)comers.  Then we left the comfort and warmth of the car to head towards registration, which was quick and painless.  We had about 50 minutes until the 10:30 start, so decided to take shelter back in the car, like everyone else was doing, before heading down to registration at about 10:05.

A quick pit-stop in the toilets, and we began the roughly 1 mile trek to the start line, half jogging, half walking.  We had been told that the hill we ran down at the start would be the hill we would be running up at the end.  Dick move, race organizers.

I ran into Danielle and Sally, who I had met during the Dundee 1/2 last year, and we also found Claudia at the start.  Before we knew it, we were off, Claudia surging ahead and out of sight, and after a couple of minutes, during which I felt like I had been hit by a bus, we were horrified that we were pretty much bringing up the rear.  There were a lot of club vests on show, so I knew there would be a lot of fast runners, but I guess I was expecting (hoping) to see a few more people behind me.

The hill we were enjoying for the first half mile or so was the hill we would be running up to get back to the finish area, or so we had been told.  Considering I was panting doing a 9:30 minute/mile pace, I did not have high hopes for my time, but kept reminding myself that this was a recovery run, and that I had run 15 miles the day before after a prolonged hiatus.  I was also paying very close to my ankle (which I had rolled 4 times the day before and felt a little shonky), and my hip (that had forced me to rest due to inflammation, and that had been playing up after about 9 miles of the trails).  Thankfully, there were no noticeable protests from them.  Just my burning lungs, and the skin on my face being completely violated by the icy wind.

We hit some pretty serious incline quite early on, and through gritted teeth, powered our way up the first one.  A few undulations later and a rather uninviting hill loomed on the horizon.  Around this point, Ronnie seemed to be struggling, and slowed to a walk.  I called back and asked if he wanted me to wait for him, and I honestly can’t decide if I was happy that he said, “No, go on.”  I was hurting, and would have welcomed the break, but at the same time, it was freezing, and I quite fancied not having to amputate frostbitten limbs at the finish.

Sally and I grunted up the second long incline together, and although my heart felt like it would vault out of my chest, I was pretty impressed with myself for not giving up.  We were rewarded with a bit of a flat section, but this was to be short-lived.  After a couple of twists and turns around farm land, we saw the third ‘step’ on the course profile.

This particular hill turned left and right, so we couldn’t see what was coming next.  I tried my best to stick with Sally, and when we hit what I thought was the top (it had started flattening out a bit), we turned a corner to face another steep stretch.  Sally still felt strong, so she went ahead while I opted to power walk uphill.  As she left, she told me she’d probably see me soon, but I wasn’t so sure!

Annoyingly, the short, sharp part of this hill didn’t go on for too long, and at the top a seasoned Templeton runner assured my that, apart from the end, this was the worst of the hills done with, and we were about to be treated to a nice stretch of downhill.  Angels sang, I kid you not.

Shortly after the downhill began was the course’s only water stop, and despite seeing Sally’s bright pink shirt up ahead, I walked through it to drink and catch my breath.  After another couple of miles I caught up to her and another woman chatting, and stuck with them until we turned into a vicious headwind and started our final few uphill miles.  Here, Sally and I pulled away as we made our way through a more residential part of the course.

Look how much we are enjoying ourselves!

Look how much we are enjoying ourselves!

At about 8 miles, I could see Claudia up ahead, and while Sally was happy to chug on, I was wrecked, so told her I’d be slowing down a bit.  I was in that desperate place where you count down every .05 mile you have left, and when I saw the 9 mile marker (in the middle of the hill we were climbing) I kept telling myself to just not stop, because it would be over in ten minutes.

The final section took us through a section of the forest on trails (uphill, because that seems to be the theme here), until we burst out onto the road with a steep downhill on the grass to the finishing chute, a few places behind Sally.  I grabbed some of the water on offer, watched Claudia come in, and then saw Danielle coming down the hill in luminescent orange.  With no sign of Ronnie just yet, I knew his calf must still be giving him hassle, so I raided the home baking in the tent on his behalf and took a (highly unflattering) photo with Sally.

Me and my quarterback neck - so alluring.

Me and my quarterback neck – so alluring.

Ronnie did come in after another 5 minutes or so, and looked in pain.  His calf was swollen and obviously sore, so he stretched and gave himself a once over before we all decided that despite the sunshine, it was way too cold to be standing around, and we should probably all go home.

After the race and in the car, I was feeling smug that my ankle and hip had behaved, and that I seemed to be suffering no ill effects from such a heavy training week.  Unfortunately, after a shower at home, Ian and I went for a walk, only for it to end with me limping home.

Although there’s no obvious swelling or bruising, it hurts to walk on my right foot, and there is clearly something wrong with it, but I’m hoping that it’s just inflammation that will go down after a couple of days.  Nevertheless, this means I’m not doing spin or the HIIT class tonight, opting instead to just do my hour of pilates, and hope there’s an improvement tomorrow.

Runner’s Knees Virtual 10 Miler

Time: 1:51:52

Medal: Yes (to be delivered)

It's the personal touch that makes them.

It’s the personal touch that makes them.

A quick word of advice: If you plan on running 10 miles at 9:30 in the morning with a friend, going to another friend’s birthday/leaving do, staying out until the wee hours, drinking, and karaoke are not a good idea.  Especially if you have been sick for the last two weeks.

I was rudely awoken on Saturday morning by light coming through the gap in the curtains (and an impending sense of bowel discomfort) at about 6 am.  Despite having brushed my teeth thoroughly a mere few hours before, my mouth felt as though it was stuffed with cotton balls.  I attempted to get some more sleep, but the grim reality was that I lay in bed dozing on and off for another hour an a half, before my alarm informed me it was time to start getting ready.

I hauled myself to the bathroom to realize that, as usual, I had failed to remove my ‘drinking’ make-up before going to bed.  I would like to clarify that I rarely drink, but while I try and be sensible (I only had 3 pints last night), I am a super cheap drunk, and small amounts of alcohol have profound effects on me (willingly performing a duet of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ with a virtual stranger).  Anyway, as you may be able to tell, I was not enthusiastic about the prospect of doing exercise this morning:

And yes, I am sitting on my toilet in my underwear.

And yes, I am sitting on my toilet in my underwear.

Still, at least I would have some wonderful company for this ‘race‘ in the form of Danielle, who had agreed to drive to Aberdeen and set a new distance PR as she works on increasing her distance runs for the Aviemore half marathon in October.  She told me after our run that she was worried that she would slow me down. Ha. Hahaha.  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  (Spoiler: she was wrong)

I had planned a course on my limited knowledge of a secret trail leading to Hazelhead Park, based on my enormous experience of walking along it.  Once.  While in my head, I knew the general direction I was going, the reality included a lot of backtracking in the first few miles, and educated guesswork (sorry Danielle!).  My heart rate was sky-rocketing, my legs felt like led, I was dizzy, and I felt like I was going to throw up.  By mile 1.

Danielle had mentioned that after about ten minutes she likes to stop and stretch.  I pushed us just that little bit further so we could enjoy the surroundings of Johnston Gardens while we had our break – and I attempted to breathe at a normal rate for a minute.

IMG_20130629_100622After what I felt was a painfully short rest stop, we set off again, continuing uphill (the first half of this ten mile route was on a gentle – but steady – incline) and eventually along the secret trail paths (evidently not actually so secret, as we passed several runners), and finally to Duthie Park.  By mile 3, I was done, and even keeping a pitiful 11:30/mile pace was a real struggle.  I told Danielle I needed to drink something, and ended up at the pavilion in Hazlehead Park, more thrilled than is socially acceptable to find cold cans of 7up.

I had to take a break here, and actually sit on a wall to let my heart rate come back down to a number that didn’t make me think I was suffering from a heart attack, and had my 7up.  Hopeful, we set off again.

Although I was struggling, I knew that the 7up would kick in soon, and the second half was going to be all downhill.  This made me ignore the severe discomfort I was in, as did concentrating on the trails we had found ourselves on that went through the golf course. After 4.5 miles, we turned back, and everything started feeling a bit less horrendous.  Just a bit.

Danielle at the half way point, full of energy and enthusiasm.

Danielle at the half way point, full of energy and enthusiasm.

Me at the halfway point, ready to collapse/cry/vomit.

Me at the halfway point, ready to collapse/cry/vomit.

I thought, for Danielle’s benefit, we should take in not one, not two, but THREE of Aberdeen’s parks during today’s run, so we went back to our starting point, and then further downhill to Duthie Park for a final mile around the grounds there, including a brief jog through the Winter Gardens.

And then, glory be, the entire ordeal was over!  Danielle had set a new distance PR, and I was still breathing (heavily).

We walked back up to town to buy a can of root beer (essential), and then Danielle was off, because she had only paid for 3 hours of parking, and my pathetic state had meant we used the entire 3 hours.

I had just enough energy to wash myself, and then Grant came around for a couple of hours before his bus to his new home in Glasgow.  I may have blamed him for moving to Glasgow and having his leaving do the previous night for my pain out loud, or I may have just thought it.  Either way, I got the ten miler done, even though it is probably the last thing I felt like doing when I woke up, and at least Sunday’s plan was ‘just a 10k’…

Arbroath Smokies 10 mile Race 2013

Time: 1:27:00  [Results here]

Position: 114/311

Medal: No, but we did get wine and a t-shirt!


Having run this race last year, I knew that I should be expecting some hills.  The plan for this race was never to race all out (despite my shaky willpower when it comes to reigning it in sometimes all the time), because it was basically my long run for the week.  This plan was partly successful.   I’ll start from before the start.

Stuart and Naomi picked me up just after 8, then we swung by Claudia’s to collect her, fresh from her trip to Oslo.  Claudia didn’t have a guaranteed entry, but had planned to pace a fellow runner, Carol, around the course whether she was wearing a bib or not: a noble gesture!  We arrived at the sports hall in Arbroath shortly after 9.  The race didn’t start until 11.  Needless to say, we were not pushed for time, so we took advantage of zero toilet queues, registered (even Claudia), and then found ourselves a comfy patch of hallway and chatted to people we knew as they trickled in.

Naomi and Stu

Naomi and Stu

Ishbel and Claudia

Ishbel and Claudia



Pre-empting the mass exodus, we left the sports hall with about ten minutes to spare before the start, and headed towards where the start line was last year, partly to become accustomed to the cold, partly to allow our Garmins to find a signal.  We were soon joined by the rest of the runners, and, like last year, failed to hear any race briefing (if there was one), or signal that the race had started, and started running as the crowd moved forwards.  Off we went!

I started next to Naomi and Susan.  Naomi will also be running the Paris marathon, so it looked like I’d have someone else to run around the course with, since neither of us were concerned with time.  Susan was racing, and she wanted to come in under 1:45:00 (totally achievable), so she stuck with us from the start as well.

The first couple of miles were ‘undulating’, and we knew that the bigger inclines were coming up.  We managed to stick together, and had a pleasant chat for half an hour or so when Susan and I pulled ahead.  I told Susan that I wouldn’t look at our time or pace until after 5 miles, and then we could work out what to do about hitting her goal.  It looked like I had become a pacer!

At the halfway point, I glanced down at my Garmin for the first time and noticed we were streets ahead of Susan’s goal time, which I told her, but we didn’t slow down because we were now on the glorious ‘downhill’ part of the race!  Seeing 7:xx staring up at me during what felt like an average effort felt pretty badass (even though, as I said, we were definitely going downhill).

At about 6 miles, my plan fell to pieces.  Up ahead of me I spotted a woman wearing the same shirt as me.  I don’t even know why that was important to me, but the thought of her finishing before me was not OK.  I glanced back and noticed that I had pulled away from Susan a bit, but she looked strong, and there was only slightly more than a 5k left in the race, so I charged onwards.  After about half a mile, I caught up with same shirt (obviously complimenting her on her impeccable style), and then pulled ahead, setting my eyes on my next victim.

I was aware that my breathing was becoming more laboured than it had been for the first 6.5 miles, but that flip had been switched inside my brain that made me crave the high of overtaking people.  Last year, when I ran this race, it was the longest race I had ever done at the time.  I remember being absolutely decimated by mile 8, and thinking the road back to the sports hall would never end.

As I ran past the mile 8 sign, I felt strong, continuing to pick runners off one by one.  I told myself I wouldn’t let anybody pass me, and I didn’t.  I was smiling, the sun came out from behind the clouds – I felt invincible!  Before I knew it, I was skirting the sports hall and running into the muddy finishers’ chute on the field, to rapturous applause (in my head).  I was asked, “Red, white or rose?” as I was offered my goody bag, and then found Ishbel, who remains speedy and crossed the line in a cracking 1:21:38!

I glanced down to look at my time, and despite taking nearly two thirds of the race relatively easy, I had only come in a couple of minutes over my PB!  I didn’t have too much time to think about that, as Susan flew around the corner, and finished in a goal-crushing 1:29:29!  Naomi came in a minute or two afterwards, and we all went inside to discover what delights were on offer this year.  It turns out, quite a few:

IMG_20130303_163021Now, I wasn’t completely done for the day, as I had set myself a challenge on Facebook without really thinking it through, where I would do a push up after the race for every ‘like’ I got on a post.  Well, I can assure you that true colours were shown when so-called friends decided to share this with everyone they know, and several strangers helped to push my total up to 50.  With an official counter and photographer, I blasted out the full 50 push ups, on my toes, in a row, before collapsing in a heap for a minute or so, though I am sure my form suffered quite a lot during the final 10:

Halfway through

Halfway through

After my heart rate was back to normal, more and more people we knew finished and came in for something to eat and drink (there really is a decent spread at this event).  We had a section of the floor where we got comfortable and waited for the raffle to begin, holding our race numbers close.  I have no idea what I’m looking at in this photo of all of us after the race:

601778_10200558441944982_784628809_nAs I never win anything in raffles, I was not holding my breath.  But when the prizes were nearly all gone, I heard my race number called out, and went up to collect my very own shrink-wrapped Arbroath Smokie, which you can see in the photo at the very top.  Quite a fitting end to the 25th Anniversary of the event, and thankfully, well sealed, since we all had to drive back to Aberdeen.




I used to run a lot, and I used to be a lot faster.  If any of you reading this have been reading my blog for a while, you might know that I had 2 operations last year that prevented me from exercising for months.  I gained weight and lost fitness.  I used to be able to run a relatively flat 10 k in 47:xx, which is a average pace of 7:xx.  Now?  Not so much…. yet.

Over the course of the year, in the various races I’ve taken part in, I’ve noticed a trend in my overall pace.  It is, thankfully, decreasing.  I mean, we’d be having to take a good hard look at my training if that was not the case, but anyway.  It has been slow and steady, but if it keeps going down, I’m happy.  Below are the races I’ve competed in this year with my average pace for each of them:

  • Arbroath Smokies 10 mile :  8:29/mi
  • Inverness Half Marathon :  9:27/mi  (discount this as it was an overall disaster!)
  • Garioch 10k :8:28/mi
  • Kilomathon (13.1K) :  8:27/mi
  • Balmoral 10k : 8:29/mi (but if you consider the extra .03 miles, 8:24/mi)

While I’d love to be improving faster, I can’t say I’m not happy with this.  I think the intervals I’ve started throwing in might actually do more than make me hate life for involving treadmills!

So what do you guys do to improve speed?  Until about a month ago I only ever ran at what I felt was a sustainable pace.

I look like ass when I run

I came across some photos of the 10 miler on Sunday, and managed to find a couple featuring my sweaty, washed out face.  OF COURSE the photos of me had to be taken after mile 9.  Every other time I saw a camera along the way, I smiled for the photos (of which I am certain 98% portray me as at least slightly demented), but after the 9 mile marker I was oblivious to anything except my desire for it all to end.  Hence, no smile, even though I am looking DIRECTLY at the camera.  I can almost hear myself thinking ‘I don’t even care if a trail of drool is cascading down my face, take your damn photo’.  I’m number 321.  Enjoy:

Photo courtesy of - Thanks!

Anyway, in preparation for the abuse I’ll be giving my body this weekend, I am taking Saturday as a rest day.  Those who know me will understand how much of a sacrifice this is, as Saturday is awesome for both parkrun and gym classes, but I have worked out non-stop since last Thursday, so screw it.  I’m going to clean my flat, which would, at this point, make bachelor pads look pristine.  I’m actually ashamed of the state of it.  I am also going to pamper myself.  Brows are being tinted so my face has a slight chance of looking decent in any photos on Sunday, and I’m getting a ‘Rescue Pedicure’, which my poor feet are looking forward to.  Judge for yourself, but I would say they have only become more gross-looking since the last foot-fetishist-boner-killer photo I posted:

I'm sorry for posting this*

Anyway – managed an easy 5 mile run this evening, mainly because it was mild and sunny when I finished work, but also because I had planned on trying out my first ‘carb loading’ session tonight.  I’ve never bothered before, but since it’s a half marathon, might as well fuel up, right?  So what wholesome food choices do I make?

  • KFC boneless chicken 3 piece meal (with chips)
  • pan au chocolat
  • approx half a large loaf of bread with nutella
  • an entire pack of MAOAM sweets

I’m sure that is EXACTLY what I should be filling my body with for Sunday’s race.  At least I managed to resist beer…

*I’m lying.


Arbroath Smokies 10 Mile Road Race 4.3.12

Official time: 1:24:56  (PB)

99th finisher (out of 333)

Medal: None, unless you’re crazy-fast (but we did all get a t-shirt and goody bag)

First race of the year, first PB of the year (by default, but totally still counts), and first 10 mile race – such excitement!  At least excitement is what I expected to feel this morning, until I gazed out of my window upon the delightful Scottish weather.  Here is a shot from the inside of the car, on the way to Arbroath, just before we passed the road information sign announcing: Snow forecast.  Terrific.

A touch of rain - and sleet.

Luckily, when we arrived it had stopped bucketing rain from the sky, but it had not stopped being totally freezing.  I was very glad I wore the long running tights.

Anyway, The crowd was friendly and I had some good chat before the race, and picked up some handy information.  For example, it was good to know there would be a hilly start, with a down hilly second half before I set off, or I may have ended myself at mile 3.

I’m a fan of summarizing, so I’ll keep the overall ‘Race Report’ short and sweet by breaking it down into defining thoughts per mile.

Mile 1: Glad I brought my gloves, it is freeeeee-what the hell, how can she wear just a singlet and micro mini shorts? Oh, we’ve started, bring it, hill, I’ll destroy you. Holy shit, check my pace!  That’s a 7!  I am AWESOME!

Mile 2: My pace is still awesome.  I am slightly concerned I will suffer for this pace later on in the race.  Pffffft!  Whatever. I am AWESOME!


Mile 4: I recovered like a pro after that hill – BOOM!  Still a decent pace.  Damn my hands are sweaty.  I’ll take off the gloves.  Hmm, where do I put the gloves?  Stuff into bra? That’s some sweet thinking on your feet, Rachel.  I am AWESOME!

Mile 5: Shit, that guy just took a photo with a super-professional looking camera and I have gloves stuffed into my bra.  I’m going to look like I have a growth on my chest in every single race photo.  Should I move them?  Nah, best not to look like I have a dong instead.  Smart thinking, baby, you’re on top!

Mile 6: Shouldn’t have tried to drink out of the plastic cup, I am freaking soaking. Hey!  We’re going downhill! WooooOOoooOooOOOOOoOOOoooOOO!! Check my pace.  I am AWESOME!

Mile 7: I want to die.

Mile 8: I’m a fucking idiot for signing up to this.  Why did I sign up to this? My underwear is chaffing my vagina.  How does that even happen?!  My shower is going to sting, hardcore.  This is shit.

Mile 9: So close.  Please don’t die.  Keep going.  Wait, why am I listening to PJ Harvey?  This is not uplifting at all!  Ah, here we are, some relaxing System of a Down.  Lovely.

Mile 10: Chaffing is worse than cancer and AIDS and world hunger, I will never enjoy sex again, where the shit is the finish line?  Wait, is that the sports centre?  Oh thank fuck, it’s over.

So as you can tell, I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am totally not regretting the Half Marathon in Inverness next weekend.  At all.  But knowing that if I stick to today’s pace I can make it in under 2 hours is pretty groovy indeed. And the goody bag?  Well, who can complain when they give you booze at the end of a run?

Minus a Twix Bar, a bag of crisps and a bottle of water.

To everyone that gave gel advice – thanks!  Unfortunately my stomach has been really weird all day, so I just stuck to Gatorade and dried fruit, and am still not feeling totally right.  I will definitely try a gel or two next weekend though.  After my Mile 7 lull today I think I’ll need it!

Oh and the weather cleared after the race.  We visited some of my boyfriend’s relatives for lunch, then met a friend for a quick visit before heading home to some typical Scottish views:

Mountains and nature and shit.