VINTAGE: Baker Hughes 10k 2009

Time: 47:58

Position: 671/2537 (Gender position 82)

Medal: Yes

This was to be my second time running the Baker Hughes 10k, and the weather was glorious.  A friend from the gym, Will, had recently got into running (not my fault, entirely), and we had decided to meet at the gym beforehand for a warm-up.  I remember we had both discovered power yoga, and we did some vinyasas in one of the studios.  He’s gay, but I have no real excuse for that.  I should have just turned up drunk, like I did the year before (where I PB’ed, by the way, and have never managed to run a timed 10k faster, disgustingly!).

Anyway, after the warm-up, we headed to the start area where we basked in the sunshine, an Aberdeen rarity, and tried to pretend like we had no pre-race nerves:

It was just before this photo was taken that Will decided to inform me he had chosen not to wear pants, and that he could see his pubes poking through the lycra.

Soon after a bit of photo posing, we made our way to the start line, and before we knew it, we were off!  I remember starting behind Will and trying to keep up, but slowly and steadily his red shirt bounded further and further into the distance until I couldn’t see it anymore.  This obviously annoyed me, and I have never listened to the System of a Down album I had playing without feeling a tinge of bitterness since that day.

The course is pretty uneventful, and I just focused on getting it done and not stopping, a technique that seemed fairly effective for me.  As this was a PG moment (pre-Garmin), I had to rely on the kilometer markers to inform me of how much torture I had left to endure, and when I saw the 9km sign, I hit the gas, knowing from my treadmill tendencies that I had less than 6 minutes left to blast out.

Turning that final corner before spotting the finish line was fantastic.  I broke into a sprint and in my head I felt like spectators were getting a real treat watching my rippling leg muscle glimmer in the sunshine, illuminated by my healthy, glistening sweat.  In reality, they may have glanced in my direction when they heard me grunting my way past some dude who happened to be ‘the chosen one’, the person I had decided at that point I HAD TO BEAT.  I crossed the line, felt like puking for a while, and had my medal placed around my neck as I tried to get back to a normal breathing pattern and find Will, who I knew would be ready to subtly drop into conversation in any way possible that he had beat me (I was right).


Please excuse my lack of eyebrows – these were the days before I had discovered blondes need to tint.

I hadn’t beat last year’s time, and I hadn’t beat Will, but overall I had a good race, and who is going to complain about getting another medal to display, right?

Baker Hughes 10k 2012

Gun Time: 52:56

Chip Time:  51:08

*EDIT (21/5/12): Chip time updated to 50:52

If you were unhappy w/ your chip time, check again – it’s likely to have been updated!

Position: 1111/3774

Medal: Yes

Medal, obviously

My opinion is that parts of this race were a bit of a shambles from the word go.  For those new to the blog, the original race bibs had to be replaced because there was a spelling error on them.  They said ‘Abeerdeen’ instead of ‘Aberdeen’.  Misspelling your own name…. That takes some skill.

In addition to this, and likely because of this, many race packs were arriving very late, and some of them were incomplete (my friend was missing his race shirt, a somewhat obvious thing to miss out of an otherwise non-bulky packet).

But the thing that I have an actual problem with are the chip times.  Not once have I had a chip time SLOWER than my watch time.  I always start timing from just before the start until I have definitely crossed the finish line (I usually forgot the stop the thing).  This is good, because it means I am never disappointed.  Today, after sprinting like a beast over the finish line, I forgot to stop my Garmin.  When I eventually did hit ‘stop’, the time displayed was 51:01.  This meant I was safely under 51 minutes for my chip time.  So imagine my confusion when I checked the results page to read my chip time as 51:08!

After some careful investigation (joining in twitter/Facebook rants about time), I came to the conclusion that there were a lot (and I mean A LOT) of people who had chip times that were 10-15 seconds or more off their Garmin times.  So it wasn’t just me, which was a relief, but something had obviously not worked correctly, which was really annoying.

Anyway, I’m counting my Garmin time of 50:53, which, although is nowhere near my PB, is still the fastest 10k this year, and since I have become able to run again after nearly 2 years off, so I’m happy that things are progressing.

Notice the time at the end before my speed drops off (ie: I cross the line and slow down, trying not to barf)

I’m especially happy with my time as I spent the majority of yesterday shivering with cold sweats, mopping snot off my face and sleeping on the couch.  I felt equally gross this morning, but could not skip out on an event that was a mile’s walk from my flat (and a bit).  There was coughing.  There was spluttering.  There was shortness of breath.  There was feeling like I could happily lay on the road and cry, as long as it meant not running.  And then there was my body’s ‘fuck you for making me do this’, also known as ‘being curled up in bed, in pain, on a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon.  I am already starting to feel some of these after effects in my post-run photo:

The alka-seltzer breakfast had worn off.

At least my friend Grant was in a fitter state to run a 10k today, and managed a new PB!  It’s just a shame that it might actually be 10-15 seconds faster than he currently thinks it is:

Posing like it’s going out of fashion

This is the fourth time I’ve done the Baker Hughes, the first time being in 2008, and this is the only time I’ve ever experienced anything negative.  Hopefully the results can be sorted out, especially for those out there that PB’d and fancy an accurate recording of their time, otherwise I’m sticking with my Garmin time, thank you very much!

Another parkrun PB, last minute race packs and new races.

After the success of last week’s parkrun, I was doubtful I could improve today.  To cut a long story short, I did improve, and have a new parkrun PB of 24:01.  Such a nagging itch in the crotch that I was a mere 2 seconds from coming in under 24 minutes, but ho hum, maybe next time, right?  I was also pretty happy to finish 5th female.  Single figures is always pretty sweet (and there is simply no need to investigate and find out how many women actually participated – who needs to be brought down?).

In other news, I finally got my race pack delivered for the Baker Hughes 10k here in Aberdeen next Sunday.  There was a delay because they noticed, after sending out a few batches of race packs, that there was a spelling mistake on the bibs, so had to halt production, get new ones made, and then start resending stuff.  It was a nice surprise to come home to after the gym and parkrun.  I’m pleased that the technical tee is significantly less boring than ones in the past – they’ve used lots of colour!

Nice easy number to remember!

I was kind of thinking about running the 10k at half marathon pace, because I want to rock the Edinburgh half marathon the following weekend, but I know once I’m at the starting line, I’ll find it really difficult not to just hit the gas.  I guess I’ll make my final decision when the starting gun goes!

Finally, all these long runs on the weekend make me seriously dread my full marathon training that will need to kick into gear in July-ish.  I can see myself getting really bored of them, without any atmosphere and all on my own.  Solution?  Search online for any long race that can be substituted as a ‘long run’ for motivation!  So my marathon debut will be at Loch Ness in late September (the day after a friend’s wedding in Edinburgh, so I’ll have some magic to work there).  Two weeks prior to this, I have entered the Crathes half marathon, and two weeks prior to the Crathes half marathon, I have blindly entered the BRG Challenge, a 17.5 mile hilly beast of a run up North.

In a couple of days when my updated race schedule registers in my brain, I’ll perhaps be slightly irritated with myself for depriving my body of a few weekend lie-ins, but in the end, I think it’s for the best, pre-marathon, not only as training, but to help me feel more confident about actually completing the distance in one piece…

parkrun PB

On Saturday I was up early to walk down to parkrun before Body Pump at the gym.  Within about ten seconds of leaving my flat, I wished I had brought my gloves with me, but the thought of going up ALL those flights of stairs made me think ‘whatever, I can live without them’.  The forecast was for sunshine, so I figured it was early and it would heat up. Ha ha ha, foolish girl.  Anyway, I arrived with heaps of time (I usually jog down, so had totally overestimated how long it would take to walk), so I sat in a sunny spot and admired the view while I waited for a guy from the gym, we’ll call him Connie, to show up in his car so I could ditch my stuff.  This was going to be his first 5k (timed) and it was looking like a promising day for it (despite the bitter wind).

View from Aberdeen Beach toward the North Sea

What you can’t see from this picture is the approaching cluster of dark, ominous clouds behind me.  I didn’t notice them at this point.  Call it selective viewing…

Anyway, ‘Connie’ arrived and we had a quick moan about how cold it was before I dumped my bag and all unnecessary (for running) clothes into the trunk of his car and found my parkrun barcode.  After nearly losing it, I stuffed it safely in my bra, and we went for a quick jog to warm up.  My legs were still sore from the massage yesterday, so I wasn’t really anticipating any amazing pace, but I still had it in my head that I wanted to get under 25 minutes.  After sub 8 mi miles at the Balmoral 10k last weekend, I kind of thought I should be able to manage that.

Just before 9:30, the crowd gathered and got ready to go.  After a brief speech congratulating one of the local parkrunners for finishing the first female at the Balmoral 10k, and another for being the first Aberdeen parkrunner to attend 10 events, we were off!  ‘Connie’ went steaming ahead, and I did briefly think ‘ouch, that’s going to come back and bite you in the ass near the end’.  I picked a relatively fit looking male and decided to use him as a pacer, settling comfortably into his wake.  After a minute or so, I glanced down at the Garmin and noticed 7:03/mile.  Oops.  Not wanting to totally burn out, I hit the breaks a bit, and settled closer to 7:45/mile.  Sweet, right?  That I’m casually saying I ‘slowed it down to 7:45’?!  Don’t worry, that smug feeling was wiped out of my system pretty quickly.

Around the 1k mark, the wind picked up.  Not cool, mother nature, not cool.  I managed to keep it under 8:00/mile, but I avoided peeking at my heart rate. After a couple of minutes of wind in my face, it got worse.  The dark, ominous clouds that had been off in the distance were now pretty much upon us, and as quickly as I thought ‘I wonder if this will be snow of rain?’, tiny, needle sharp hailstones came flying at us – HORIZONTALLY.  I shit you not, this was beyond ridiculous.  I could barely see ahead of me, but did notice the runners ahead as blurs, holding up their arms to shield their faces from the hail.  This continued for about 5 minutes or so, and I did have to check my arms several times for blood, because I was convinced it hurt too much to not be bleeding (no blood, I’m just weak I guess).  Once I’d turned down onto the promenade, I was shielded a bit from the hail, and checked my Garmin to read 8:xx.  Balls.

I decided to just chug on, and happily noticed the pace speeding up as I neared the end.  I saw ‘Connie’ on his way to the finish after he had turned the final corner back to the start and gave him a wave (He did very well indeed, 22:47 for his first 5k!).  As I turned the corner back into the wind, I started speeding up in an attempt to make up for lost time and for the first time ever, remembered to stop my Garmin when I crossed the finish line.

And the results?  24:22, 7th female finisher (first in my age group!), and 46 seconds of my previous parkrun PB in February.  Did I mention, through horizontal hail?

I’m pretty pleased my speed is coming back, and if I can maintain that pace for the Baker Hughes 10k later this month, I’ll be closer to my usual 47:xx finishing time than last year’s disaster!  To be honest, if I can finish in under 50, I’ll be happy.  As long as I keep seeing improvements!

Anyway, to reward myself for achieving what I’d set out to do, I enjoyed beef rendang and cider for dinner.  De-freaking-licious!  Beef rendang, for those who think I’m making up dish names, is a tasty malaysian dish that I first had when I lived in Indonesia as a kid.  I’m not normally a fan of jar sauces, but if anyone wants to try, Marks and Spencer’s beef rendang paste is amazing.  All you need to add is coconut milk.  I normally add a pack of mushrooms and an onion to the frying pan (because mushrooms and onions are like my crack).