Perth Kilt Run 2013

Time (chip): 27:51 [Results here]

Category Position: 36/183

Medal: Yes

IMG_20130810_194816

Short version: You are now in the presence of a World Record holder!

Long version:  After missing out on the World Record to Perth, Canada last year for the number of kilted runners by less than 20 people, I was keen to return to the Perth Kilt run for another shot this year, and, rather amazingly, I had managed to persuade (translation: forced) Ian to sign up last week.  We planned on running around together, but being unenthusiastic about running, Ian wanted to add a couple of items to our Saturday itinerary, including visiting Elcho Castle and exploring a tower that sits precariously at the edge of some cliffs, both within about 5 miles from Perth city center.

Despite setting off early, we ran into one or two navigational issues, and would be cutting it pretty fine for registration if we visited the castle first, so we opted to register before sightseeing, which actually worked out because it meant we could rock up half an hour before the race prepared.  After winding in between farmhouses, we eventually reached Elcho Castle, which is pretty well maintained (as in, it has a roof, and (some) floors, and even some glass in the windows).

Elcho Castle from the front

Elcho Castle from the front

It’s described as a 4-storey mansion, and Ian and I both marvelled at the amount of spiral staircases (and latrines) this place had in comparison to other castles.  After exploring inside, we found that we could even walk along the roof, where there were rooms for people to guard the castle (complete with arrow slits), but with the luxury of their own toilet and fireplace; these people were living the dream!  Being up on the roof also meant excellent views:

View from the guard room on the top floor.

View from the guard room on the top floor.

IMG_20130810_195655From our vantage point, we could see the tower we planned on visiting later in the day above the cliffs in the distance.  If you squint extra hard, you can maybe see the tower on top of the cliffs that kind of look like a shark fin swimming through trees:

IMG_20130810_195624Once we had looked around (and I had embarrassed Ian by playing around with the kid’s fancy dress selection – no photo), we decided to head back into Perth to find a parking spot and ready ourselves for the main event.  We lucked out, scoring what I would imagine was the last free spot at the sports center, and kilted up.  Ian decided on the ‘extra patriotic’ look, perhaps inspired by my Paris ensemble:

Before the Perth Kilt Run

Before the Perth Kilt Run

I swung into the ladies at the sports center for a final bathroom call, and then we ambled towards the start line, marvelling at some of the costumes.  There was even a team of 10 carrying a Chinese dragon:

IMG_20130810_195209Ian and I stood in the starting pen and were just aware of the countdown to the start over the noise of people, and started shuffling forward before settling into a steady pace.  As this was a fun run, there were people pushing strollers, people with dogs, handfuls of small children dotted about the course, so it wasn’t unusual to have to do a bit of weaving, but we were just enjoying the atmosphere.  I even ran into a fellow dailymiler, Gavin, who shot past after saying hello.  Just when we were starting to get warmed up, the finish line came into sight.  I had joked earlier with Ian that we should cross the finish line holding hands like vomit-inducing couples sometimes feel the need to do, but instead he challenged me to a friendly sprint that I couldn’t say no to.  We both sped up, and we could hear Gavin shout, “Go Rachel! Go Ian!” from the crowds.  For the record, I won, although he claims he was “stuck behind someone who darted in front.”

The plan was to set off for the tower, but as we were leaving, Ian’s mind turned to his stomach, so he had a gourmet burger from one of the (several) stalls, while I had some juice and the banana I picked up at the finish.  And a bite of his burger, which was delicious.

Finally, we set off towards Kinnoull Tower, which, believe it or not, sits on top of Kinnoull hill.  Because the tower is at the edge of some pretty steep cliffs, it is unfortunately a popular suicide spot, which we were reminded of as we set off on the woodland walk to the top:

IMG_20130810_194939

It was about a mile or so to the top of the hill, but the views from the top were great, and we could even spot the Elcho Castle:

Elcho Castle - in that clump of trees Ian is pointing to

Elcho Castle – in that clump of trees Ian is pointing to

IMG_20130810_195144IMG_20130810_195018IMG_20130810_195046

Dangerous cliffs

Dangerous cliffs

Once back in the car and en route to Aberdeen, I fell asleep, and upon my return enjoyed a warm shower and something tasty to eat.  Another early night (hopefully) for a relay tomorrow!

Race for Life 10k Aberdeen, 2013

Time: 57-ish minutes

Medal: Yes

IMG_20130704_191703

The Race for Life is an annual 5k for women with the aim of raising money for cancer research.  I have run the 5k a handful of times, but this year was the first year that Aberdeen also had the option of a 10k (a few of the bigger cities have had a 10k option for a year or two now).  It didn’t clash with any other races (unlike last year), and it’s for a good cause, so I signed up for the 10k a couple of months ago and kind of forgot about it until last week.

After Saturday’s less-than-pleasant 10 miler, I was feeling optimistic about Sunday’s Race for Life.  Why?  Well:

  1. It was ‘only’ a 10k, so if I can get through 10 painful miles, 6 should be easier than criticizing the acting in ‘Lost in Space’ (it was on last night, and it was not good).

  2. Even though the word ‘race’ appears in the name, it’s an untimed charity run, so my general game plan was to turn up, and run it casually.  In fancy dress.  Then go home.

Simple, right?

I went to bed a bit later than I had hoped to on the Saturday night, as I met a friend for sushi, and to catch up.  Apparently it has been a while since we last saw each other, because we had so much catching up to do that we were essentially kicked out of the restaurant because they had to close (they were very tactful about it).  By the time I got home, I was drained, and went straight to bed, setting about 12 alarms (as usual) for the next morning.

You may think 12 alarms is excessive.  Ian certainly does, and is usually pretty vocal about his feelings after being woken up several times early on his weekend morning unnecessarily.  He is especially annoyed because I seem to be immune to pretty much any noise when I am asleep.  Like alarms.  And Sea King helicopter.  Perhaps you see where this is going: I slept in.

Instead of fancy dress, I scoured my cupboard for something pink, but not being a very girly girl, this soon changed to ‘something cheerful’, which ended up being a floaty blouse that would be more at home at a gay pride march, but cheerful it was, so it went on.  I then kissed Ian goodbye, left the apartment, and jogged down to the beach.  The fact that I achieved my maximum heart rate JOGGING DOWNHILL was not a harbinger of joy and optimism.

At the predetermined meeting place, I ran into Susan, and slowly more and more familiar faces arrived.  Susan had also jogged down to the start, and was going to add a little extra onto the end as a long run in preparation for Loch Ness in September.  Since we were both in no hurry, we decided to run together.  We had plenty of for some group photos, and then we enthusiastically took part in the group warm up, before packing ourselves into the start chute with 5,000 other runners, jogger, and walkers.

L-R: Nishat, Nava, me, Jeananne, Naomi, Suzy, June

L-R: Nishat, Nava, me, Jeananne, Naomi, Suzy, June

Beautiful sunny day for a grumpy medal slut.

Beautiful sunny day for a grumpy medal slut.

Now, as this was the first time Aberdeen had put on a 10k race as well, we were all curious about how they would arrange the course.  We had been told by the organizers, however, that it would not be ‘just two loops of the 5k’.  This was a relief, as the beach is a pretty dull (and exposed) place to run, and doing laps is soul destroying, so when we realized that we had been lied to, and that the 10k WAS going to be two laps of the 5k route, we were all a bit deflated.

I really feel this photo (Ian Sharp) captures my enthusiasm.

I really feel this photo (Ian Sharp) captures my enthusiasm.

Every other time I have participated in the Race for Life, I have sardined myself at the very front at the start.  This year, joined by friends, I jumped into the crowd, a fair distance behind the start.  The guy on the tannoy had mentioned (several times) that runners should go to the front, and walkers should position themselves at the back, but this advice clearly fell on deaf ears, as within about 100m we found ourselves trapped behind walkers, sometimes 7-8 abreast (and holding hands), leaving us to either stop behind them, or barge through rudely.  By the time we had covered half a kilometre, we had probably dodged over a hundred walkers.  The thought of our second loop elicited a heavy sigh from a few of us, as we realized it would probably take about half an hour for all 5,000 participants to funnel through the starting area and get onto the course.

After about 2k, the course thinned out into people who were not walking, but it was a hot day, and, again, my heart rate was soaring, so I was glad to see there was a water stop at the half way point.  Unfortunately, by the time we reached it, we had to join a huge, chaotic ‘queue’, and wait for a couple of minutes as a group of about 5 people poured water into plastic cups.  5,000 participants.  The hottest day of the year so far.  No cups of water prepared.  I’ll let that just sink in for a while, while I take a couple of deep breaths and imagine something calming.

After the water, we were heading back to the start on the other side of the road.  The side of the road we were supposed to be on.   Also on this side of the road, a bunch of people walking, people with dogs on leads, small children wandering about in pink fairy wings, wheelchairs, pushchairs, crutches – all going in the opposite direction.  They had been squeezed onto our side of the road because of the sheer volume of people taking part, and the pink mass showed no sign of thinning as we got to 3k, 3.5k, and 4k.  Susan and I had seen a few of the 10k runners weaving in and out of bodies on their second lap of the course, looking annoyed.  Finally, at 4.5k, the last of the walkers went past, and then we hit the turnaround point for the 10k.

Within a few minutes, we were in the same position as the fastest 10k runners, navigating our way through large groups of women, as well as having to be aware of people who stopped for no apparent reason.  Susan and I also experienced the strangest thing to fall in front of us during a race, I think, so far.

We both saw a seagull flying dangerously close overhead.  It is important to mention here that seagulls in Aberdeen are a mutant species.  They’re like normal seagulls on steroids.  They have regularly been seen eating pigeons, other seagulls, and are notorious for thieving whole sandwiches from innocent pedestrians trying to have lunch on the go.  They are loathsome.  They also have an uncanny skill of being able to land a splodge of bird crap on a person with frightening accuracy, and when Susan and I looked up, to our horror, we saw a mass heading straight for us.  We both slowed, and a mere 2-3 feet in front of us we heard an almighty ‘splat’.  We paused, probably from shock at the size of what had been dropped before us, and realized that we were looking at a partly eaten fish.  All of my complaints about how I was feeling and how much I didn’t like this event were washed away as I thought how grateful I was that we hadn’t been that little bit faster, but stinking of fish.

The remainder of the second lap is a blur of discomfort.  My heart rate continued to alarm me, and I continued to ignore it most of the time.  Finally, we approached the finish, and Naomi’s dad managed to capture the two of us in the home straight, mid-chat.  I don’t even want to know what I’m saying, but if I were a betting woman, I’d wager that I am not saying, “Wow, I can’t believe this race is over so quickly, I feel so fresh!”

At least Susan seems amused.

At least Susan seems amused.

Hopefully whatever bug I’ve managed to pick up will go away soon, because I’m kind of over feeling like walking up a flight of stairs requires a 10 minute recovery nap.  Still, in the grand scheme of things, I can’t really complain.  The Race for Life aims to raise money for cancer research, and while I didn’t fund raise for it (because people would raise an eyebrow if I asked for sponsorship for a 10k), I have decided to fund raise for Macmillan Cancer Support, aimed at providing care and support to those affected by cancer, in memory of my grandad.  If you’re feeling flush, you could always drop by the online fundraising page.  If you’re where I was a few years ago, and paying for your entry into clubs with an old sock full of pennies that add up EXACTLY to the entry fee, I won’t be offended if you ignore this.

Anyway, I am genuinely uncomfortable with the idea of asking people for money, but it’s for an excellent cause, and I promise not to bring it up again.  And I don’t really know how to end this post, because everything I think of writing sounds awkward.  So, yeah. Happy 4th of July.

La Course du P’tit Dej’ (The Breakfast Run) 2013

Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

One of the reasons I had enough clothes to justify checking in a bag as well as taking a substantial carry on for a 4 night trip was the Breakfast Run – a 5k fun run starting at Ecole Militaire … Continue reading

I am a walking disaster.

If you were to compile a list of things to do just days before a marathon, I can guarantee that unless you were compiling said list for someone you loathed, it would not contain the following item:

  • Bash your foot off of your friend’s baby gate with enough force to cause swelling and pain every time pressure is applied.

Except that’s exactly what I did yesterday.  I have been walking about on it (use it or lose it) and icing it with a chunk of frost from my minuscule freezer (I guess I can say I’ve defrosted part of the freezer as part of my super productive day), and it seems to be getting less painful, particularly in the shoes I’ll be running in.

Icing the foot - ignore the remains of a 6 month old pedicure.

Icing the foot – ignore the remains of a 6 month old pedicure.

Still, considering we all fly out tomorrow (!!!!!!!!!!), I had a lot of stuff to get done today. Stop one was the bank to let them know that if, oh I don’t know, a payment went through for a hotel in Paris, PLEASE so not block my card like you did when I went to Australia last!  I am assured that everything will run smoothly.  I will believe that when I am home.

Step two was groceries, because I am cooking up some killer pasta tonight.

Step three was travel insurance.  Essential.  Especially since I am such a klutz.  I mean, no more than 5 minutes after I left the travel shop with my insurance, did I manage to drop a shopping basket onto my nose.  I don’t know how either.  Unbelievable.  It is currently (hours later) still throbbing.  This is how I feel about what I have done to myself in the last 24 hours, which, by the way, are meant to be restful.  Relaxing.  Sedate.  Notice I did not say: self-destructive.

Feel free to admire my tinted lashes.

Feel free to admire my tinted lashes.

Still, I have managed to not tear a limb from myself so far, and I don’t really need to do anything too dangerous today, like peel a banana or use the toilet unaided, so hopefully I will not have to resort to drastic measures:

Screenshot 2013-04-03 at 15.01.14

 

In other news, two of our party of three (aside – that totally reminds me of ‘Party of Five’, which I loved) have decided to participate in the Breakfast Run, a 5k on the Saturday morning before the marathon on the Sunday.  Runners are encouraged to represent the countries they come from.  Luckily, Amazon does next day delivery, so now I have the flag, the tights, and the leotard to assault the eyesight of many with my stars, and stripes, and more stars:

906779_148872881956141_231277597_oUnfortunately, with all the errand running today I didn’t have time for the yoga class I was going to go to, but that’s maybe a good thing, since yoga and I do not really get along.  In fact, my yoga experience can be summed up in one image:

yogaHere’s to a relaxing and SAFE rest of the week (and beyond).  To everyone running Paris on Sunday, I’ll be the black and blue one!

 

 

Ronhill Vizionteering at Run4it, Aberdeen

Ronnie, who sends me information and virtually every single running event in Northeast Scotland, sent me a link about an event at a local shop that was on the day after I arrived back in Aberdeen.  I wasn’t really planning on doing it, because I wanted to do weights at the gym, but as Grant completely failed (way to go, buddy) to book me in for the class, I was open to other exercise opportunities.

My first day back at work was brutal.  I slept from nearly as soon as I got home around lunchtime on Monday until about 8pm, which was heavenly.  I then could not return to the land of nod until after 2am.  I had to be up to shower for work before 6am.  I was a pretty grumpy customer when I trudged into the school, and any trace of sunshine was slapped off my face by the thunderstorm of news that was a whole-school meeting after school.  Whoever picked out the dates for these meetings has a heart of black tar, if indeed they have a heart at all.  I failed to disguise my horror at prolonging my suffering for the day and received looks that said ‘We know…. We know….’ from my colleagues.

I somehow soldiered through all of my classes, possibly exaggerating the intensity of periphery Sandy-related turbulence, forgetting several times mid-sentence what I was saying, looking at kids and realizing that in two weeks I had forgotten their name…  I also managed to keep my eyes open (mostly) throughout the staff meeting at the end.  Then I dragged myself home in the dark (screw you clocks going back and stealing an hour of my daylight).

*Related: Scottish ‘summers’ are amazing in the fact that you have, like, 22 hours of daylight every day, but Scottish winters are horrific.  You go to work in the dark, see some weak ass sunshine through a window, despair when twilight appeared, and then go home in the dark.  It sucks*

Once home I realized that I had texted Ronnie in a moment of insanity to tell him I’d be there.  After getting changed into running gear and bracing myself for the cold, and then waiting for Ian to get changed out of his work clothes so he could cycle to his mum’s for dinner, I made my way to Run4it, one of Aberdeen’s specialist running shops.  There were several people there who I had met before, either at races, at parkrun, or online, and I was given a card to write my details on and then fitted with a (blindingly) bright Ronhill running jacket.  It was (blindingly) pink, and had a light attached to the back.

There was a pretty decent turnout (it WAS a free event), and in the end I think about 24 people showed up.  We arranged ourselves into teams of two (I teamed up with Ronnie), and were given a map of Aberdeen and 5 clues (totally unnecessary since the points were already labelled on the map).  We were told that it was a round trip of approximately 4 miles, if done right.  We had to reach as many of the checkpoints as possible, have our team card stamped at each one, and then make it back to the shop within 45 minutes.  For every minute we were late, we would have 150 points deducted (there was a possible 1500 points to earn, so late minutes were not appealing).  Ronnie asked me what I wanted to do.  I replied, “Win.”

Pre-event photo (a bit blurry) courtesy of the Blackberry belonging to one of Run4it’s members of staff.

All of the teams gathered outside, the timer was started, and we stampeded off along Union Street (Aberdeen’s main street), dodging pedestrians, prams, traffic, bikes, bus stops, and rubbish bins with the elegance of a drunk antelope.  My Garmin, not quite alert to the fact that I was thousands of miles away from where it thought it was when I turned it on, was taking its sweet fucking time to find a satellite, so I have no idea what pace we were going or how far we had travelled.  The only thing we had to go on was time and feel.

We huffed and puffed our way to the 1st checkpoint at the Castlegate, surrounded by two other teams (team one comprised of two dudes, team two comprised of two chicks.  The rest had all gone for different checkpoints to begin with, so we had no idea how fast they were going.  Our group of 6 seemed to have the same idea, so we kept running in the direction of our second checkpoint at the Beach Ballroom.  One team (dudes) tore themselves away, and we kept a steady pace (I imagine) behind them, taking a slightly different route.  We hit checkpoint 2 just before the team of two ladies, and then shifted our direction for checkpoint 3, Pittodrie Stadium.  We took what Ronnie assured me was a ‘shorter route’ on some track with no lighting and lots of uneven ground (treacherous), and the team of ladies was hot on our tails.  Eventually we came to the checkpoint (the furthest away from the shop, therefore the most valuable points-wise), had our card stamped, and started racing uphill towards checkpoint 4 – Marischal College.

During our journey there, we remained within spitting distance of the team of females. There were several road crossings we had to navigate, and Ronnie got into a bit of an argument with a bus driver, but neither of us was struck by traffic, so everything was still good.  I was starting to get pretty out of breath by this point, and began to think these two chicks might get in before us.  After all, they seemed slightly faster and we all had the same final checkpoint – His Majesty’s Theatre – to get to, before returning.

Despite being bummed about this, Ronnie and I stuck with them, getting stamped seconds after them at the theatre.  They headed back towards Union Street, but Ronnie and I decided our only hope of winning was to take a shortcut.  Now it was game on!  We ran up one of the side streets, and despite better judgement I allowed Ronnie to lead us through what can only be described as a grassy dumping ground behind some blocks of flats (in the dark – again), before we emerged onto one of the little streets than runs perpendicular to Union Street.  As we approached the end, I was amazed we hadn’t seen two hi-viz, hot pink blurs fly by before us, and I was even more amazed that when we turned onto Union Street and looked back, we saw the two women behind us!  I shouted at Ronnie to speed up, too afraid to look behind, and we made it back, panting, in 36:45!  About a minute later the two women turned up.  And of course the all male team we ran with at the start had already made it back to the shop and were relaxing and enjoying nibbles.

Once I had my breath back, I looked around and my heart sunk.  About half the runners that were taking part were already back in the shop, and the rest were trickling in steadily.  Luckily, not all of the teams had made it to every checkpoint, however, and Ronnie and I found out we had made it back in time to snag second place!

Once everyone had returned, we had a little ‘awards ceremony’ where the three top finishing teams got a certificate/gift voucher and their photo taken, and then the spot prizes were handed out to those who could correctly answer questions from the Ronhill representative (who had since removed our pricey jackets).  After a bit of a chinwag with everyone, Ronnie and I decided to put in a few slightly more relaxed miles, which we did, and then we parted ways.

Jet-lagged, exhausted, and content with ‘winning’ something for the first time in ages, I had a shower, got into pyjamas, and curled into Ian for a very cosy sleep.

Tonight?  Out to Hazelhead for some trail running, then on Sunday a 6 mile cross-country race!  I don’t think I’ll dominate, but it should be fun.

West U Halloween Dash 5k

Time: 26:10

Gender position: 45/135, Age Group position: 7/19

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

 

I’d like to say straight away that I am still not acclimatized to Houston’s heat and humidity issues.  And I ran this 5k dressed as a Native American warrior chief because the website ‘encouraged’ fancy dress, and specified there would be a costume contest after the race.

I had signed myself and my unsuspecting mother up for this race as a ‘bonding’ experiencing during my visit.  Whilst not entirely impressed, especially given the 8am start, she did not outright refuse, nor did she completely hate the idea of dressing up (though recycling an old 80’s chick costume was, in my opinion, just lazy).

This was a community event, and there were several families there.  The local supermarket, H.E.B., provided fresh bananas, water, and coffee to everyone there.  Loads of parents made baked goods to sell.  There was music.  It was sunny.  A cool front had hit Houston (still skin melting temperatures for someone used to running in Scotland).  My mother and I arrived with about 10 minutes to spare, but most of that was used up by everyone moving to the revised start line (2 guys wanted to break a 15 minute 5k, and so they needed it to be an accurate distance.  Spoiler: they demolished the race).

This was a no-frills start, and a horn went off out of nowhere, signaling the start.  So we were off!  I didn’t bother taking music with me as it was just a local 5k, but I immediately regretted this decision when I realized that I would be listening to my beaded necklace smash against my chest every time a foot hit the ground until I was done. At least it was only a 5k.

The route was through residential streets, and plenty of the locals were out cheering on the runners.  I had lots of ‘Come on Chief’ and several ululations from the supporters, and that helped me soldier on even though my faux leather fringed calf guards were practically sodden with my sweat.  I managed to keep a steady, but average, pace throughout, and I had a mini-kick at the end, though nothing spectacular.

Approaching the finish line

After grabbing a bottle of water, I found a spot by the finish and cheered on fellow runners, but I was definitely more enthusiastic for the 5% of people who were also in fancy dress.  Eventually my mother came walking towards the end.  I was shouting for her to “Finish Strong, don’t walk!” but she had apparently hurt her calf and didn’t want to jeopardize her important tennis match on the Monday.  She walked to the end.

She came through in just over 30 minutes, but for some reason her chip didn’t work, so she isn’t listed in the results – which is a bit of a bummer for her first official 5k.  There was a girl dressed as a cat who she said she was in front of the whole time, so we looked up her time (after stalking her to take a note of her number) to give us a rough idea of what time my mom could have finished in.  It turns out if she kept running she’d have won the prize for the fastest female coffin dodger!

Walking to the finish

Speaking of missing out on prizes that should have been yours, the costume contest was bullshit.  I had scoped out my competition throughout the run, and during the kid’s fun run afterwards, and I knew I was pretty much the only decent female contender.  Once the contest started, I was waiting in the adult section along with Captain Underpants (a dude in tighty whities and a cape), a dude dressed as Snow White, and a dude in a full gorilla costume.  We looked at each other and all agreed that two of us were going home winners.

They had the kid’s costume contest first.  We all clapped like we cared when Princess Fiona and a whoopie cushion paraded before the judges.  Next category was ‘best couple/group’, so the four of us hung back.  But then we overheard the judge award a prize to best couple, then best female group, then best male group.  And then he moved on to the running awards.  What the actual fuck, man?  The gorilla took his mask off and looked super pissed.  The guy in his underwear looked at us and asked, “Is that it?”.  We had all run a 5k and hung about a children’s event to win a costume contest, and we were totally blown off.  Even my mother exclaimed, “What?  This is bullshit!”.  I should mention that competitiveness runs in the family.  Monopoly games can become violent.

The four of us, jaded and deflated, decided we weren’t hanging around for ‘If you’re happy and you know it’.  I still had the Mighty Mud Dash to get ready for, and I’m certain the three men had better things to do on a sunny Saturday, so off we went.

It’s Tuesday and I’m still bitter.

 

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!

Spotted!

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.

Aberdeen Sport Relief Mile (and Craigievar Castle)

Aberdeen Sport Relief Mile

Distance: 6 miles  (5.66 according to my Garmin)

Medal: Yes

Too coordinated?

21 degrees Celsius in Aberdeen today, and the hottest day recorded in March in the UK ever – what can be bad about that?

Despite a heated argument with my phone last night regarding clocks going forward and smartphones being too ‘smart’ to accept manual time changes (really?), I was up early for the Sport Relief mile (or in my case, 6 mile) at Duthie Park, here in Aberdeen.  With staggered start times for the different events (1, 3, or 6 miles), everyone finished at roughly the same time, and the course was clearly marked, but that’s where my praise ends.  The ‘course’ was a ‘half mile’ loop, and the 6 mile fun runners were told we had to do 12 laps to complete our 6 mile run.  Exciting.  Also, according to my Garmin, the laps were slightly under half a mile, and after my 12 laps I had only run 5.56 miles.  Still, it was a gorgeous day, and the run was for a good cause, so it wasn’t too bad – in fact, I got to know the marshals pretty well by then end, and despite the ‘sturdy’ lass in a KISS t-shirt walking the entire 6 miles WHILST SMOKING (!??!?), everyone seemed to be giving it their best effort.

Especially my boyfriend.  He ‘doesn’t run’.

I had managed to convince him to sign up for the 3 mile run, which he reluctantly agreed to, and he looked less than enthused this morning.  Despite that, he actually finished in good time, not stopping once!  He was panting, red, and in ‘some mild pain’ afterwards, but he managed, and bagged his first ever running medal!  My friend Grant also came along (for the 6 mile race) and kept me company running the laps.

Runners in the park

Glad to be done!

With our bottle of water, we walked back to my flat, showered, then grabbed some lunch.  Grant went home (to ‘laugh at [his] hungover sister’) and Ian cycled home to pick up his car, a 1954 MG TF (he is very fond of this car).  The initial plan was to drive to Banchory for an ice-cream, but upon reaching Banchory and eyeballing the queue for the ice-cream shop, we drove on:

As we were in the area, we thought we’d stop by Craigievar Castle.  Surprisingly, the car park was empty when we arrived (we soon realized that it was not yet open season, so you couldn’t go inside), but we headed to the castle and towards the Hill Trail.

The walkway to the castle

2 miles = 1-1.5 hours?

We thought we’d try the Hill Trail, instead of the Bluebell trail because a.) it was a bit early for the bluebells to be out and b.) hills imply views.  Scoffing at the notice telling us it would take us an hour and a half, we hit the incline.  We walked through peaceful wooded areas…

Ian pressing on

More woods

After about 20 minutes we reached a clearing and got some decent views:

Hills, etc.

Before heading back to the castle for a few obligatory snaps before setting off home:

Suck on THIS, Annie Leibovitz!

Doorway of the castle wall

So how was everyone else’s weekend of running (or otherwise)?  I know at least a couple of you were involved in Sport Relief – how did everything go?  I just have one more week to make it through before two beautiful weeks off for school Easter holidays.  There is an hourly countdown in my head!