Chip Time: 52:40
Position: 596 (out of 1915)
121st female, 63rd in category
Finally, back on track!
Today started early. The Balmoral 10k starts at a super awkward time of 2pm, which means your entire day is eaten up by this event. Even more so, as today I was getting a lift from a woman I go to the gym with (we’ll call her IB) who is also a runner (and a fairly swift one). We had both heard horror stories from previous years about the traffic, and had been advised to set off early. The original plan was 10am, but it was closer to 9:25.
The journey there? Smooth and quick. We arrived, despite a sunny forecast, at an overcast and at times hailing backdrop at Balmoral Estate just before 11am. H-O-U-R-S to go. We visited the cafe and I had a hot chocolate (and my banana, and bag of pretzels, and some jelly babies), and then decided to check out the 5k race before heading back to the car and dumping our bags. We made this last 2 hours. Those are some skills, right there.
Once we’d shed our warm jumpers and tracksuit bottoms and left the car, it was was goosebump city. Freezing. We power walked back to the main event and then alternated between walking and shivering for the remaining 40 minutes before the start.
Once the runners were eventually asked to assemble, we crammed ourselves into the starting pens. We were told to assemble by the placards with our estimated finishing time, but they only appeared a while later, and weren’t spaced very evenly. We settled somewhere near the middle, plugged the earphones in, and waited for the slow push forward. After a few start-stop moments, we were off!
The first 2 miles are on tarmac, but the path isn’t very wide so I got stuck behind quite a few runners and wedged off to one side. There was a lot of side-stepping and ‘Sorry!’ shouts over my shoulder for accidentally elbowing someone in the ribs. Mile 3 involved a sharp left turn and KABOOM! A hill. Before I’d started I had told myself I’d run the whole thing. I even switched off the heart rate monitor on my Garmin so I wouldn’t look down and freak out (FYI my max HR for today was 191). Still, it took it out of you, and I didn’t want to tire myself out for the second half, so I scampered to the left for a bit to power walk. When a dude in a pink tutu overtook me, though, it was game on until the bagpipers at the top that enticed a grin out of me – I knew that was it! Just after the descent, I spotted the ambulance crew and threw them a wave as I began to fly downhill – bliss after the last mile.
The next couple of miles were mainly downhill, and fairly uneventful. At one point I was going so fast I realized I couldn’t have stopped if I had wanted to, and with the wet ground there were a few moments of panic as I did not want to end up tits-to-the-floor after slipping. I managed to remain on my feet, thankfully.
The last mile and a bit flattened out, and there was one last cheeky undulation (uncalled for!), before the final stretch. I stuck to the pace that I was at, but couldn’t help sprinting the last 200 metres (because some chick was trying to overtake me – not happening). After crossing the finish line I had to keep moving because I was at the ‘faint/puke’ stage that I usually inflict on myself when I push at the end. I also, as per usual, forgot to hit STOP on my Garmin like a tool.
Once I had my breath back, I grabbed my medal and a medium t-shirt (HUGE!) and had a bottle of water thrust into my hands (but no goody bag). I went to meet IB (who finished in something like 49:xx), and immediately told her I felt rancid. She looked at me, agreed I looked like all the colour had drained from my face, and I headed for the first aid tent like an amateur (totally lame). A few minutes of lying down and having some friendly banter with the paramedic was enough to help me stop feeling queasy, and after a handful of jelly babies, IB and I set off for the car, where we made it back to Aberdeen for about 5:30pm. 8 hours for a run that lasts less than an hour. Mental.
All in all, the event was well-organized, but I could have done with more than one water stop (at the top of the hill).
For anyone that wants to guess which mile had the notorious hill, I present to you my splits (in miles):
- ? (forgot to stop Garmin)
Balmoral 10k elevation map