Run Garioch 1/2 marathon 2013

Time: 2:10:xx (ish)

Medal: Yes (though the same as last year’s)

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Anyone who knows me and regular readers of the blog might be aware, thanks to a few minor complaints here and there, of my intense dislike of the cold.  In case it isn’t clear why I was not looking forward to this race, I would like to clarify that I really do hate cold weather.  Today’s forecast? Freezing with a chance of extra freezing.

Screenshot 2013-03-23 at 19.49.34

No thank you.

To make it even more difficult to get out of bed this morning, my name didn’t even appear on the online start list.  You see, the really shitty company that was responsible for entries and timing are really shitty (from personal experience), and had wiped a handful of entries from the half marathon, even though they were more than happy to charge us for our place.  On the day, it was also discovered that racetimingsystems had managed to screw up the chip timing, so it was just gun time results for all races!

I had phoned Garioch Sports Centre about the start list issue on Friday, and was told that as long as I brought proof of payment I would be allocated a bib.  What I was not thrilled about, however, was having to wait until after registration closed to receive my bib out of a selection of bibs that had not been picked up, because it meant that I had to hold onto my phone (with a screenshot of my bank statement) and by the time I had my bib there was no time to stash it in Ronnie’s car.  For the record, today I was Jon Bell, and I think I looked rather youthful for someone born in 1974.  An impressive set of moobs, however.

IMG_20130324_150657Despite all of these reasons that made it so, so easy to decide to not bother and stay in bed, there was one nagging reason that stopped me from being such a wimp.  I had promised to run this with my friend Grant, who I had ‘enthusiastically encouraged’ to sign up for his first half marathon with the promise of enjoying the run together.  I sometimes wish people would say ‘no’ to me more often…

Just like last year, there was a lot of squeezing amongst people to get into the main sports hall to register.  Ronnie was the driver for today’s run (of course), and today we were joined by Teri, Rhona, and Mark.  We we all running the half marathon apart from Mark, who had his sights set on the 10k.  After running into several familiar faces/chatting/using the toilet/registering/hanging about to get a bib, we had about 15 minutes before the start of the race.  The four of us, plus Grant (who arrived by bus), made our way outside into the horrendous cold, and then to the starting area.  Did I mention the cold?  Because it was cold.

As my running jacket didn’t fit over the voluminous layers I had chosen to wear to prevent my frozen body from being discovered in a ditch when this freak weather decides to piss off, I had to be more creative with my outfit.  Initially, I had toyed with the idea of wearing a fleece monkey onesie, as it was very cosy, but settled on several thermal layers with a thick (and, as I would discover, quite weighty) Australian rugby jersey.  I stuck with a single pair of thermal tights, one pair of gloves (though I was considering two), plus two buffs, and a very bright woolly knitted hat.

I meant business.

I meant business.

There were one or two smirks at my choice of kit, and probably several runners who thought I was maybe a first timer who would be panting heavily and stripping sweaty layers from my body within the first couple of miles, but can I reiterate that I HATE THE COLD!  I also didn’t look quite so ridiculous when the horn went, and we all found ourself running into a snowy headwind.

Rhona pushed on ahead, as she was spurred on by her recent success (and beasting effort) at the D33 ultra last weekend, but Ronnie, Teri, Grant, and myself stuck together.

The first few miles were fairly uneventful (I’m choosing to omit the extended essay I COULD write on how much the cold was aggravating me, but I think we all get the point now), and we were chugging along at conversation pace fairly happily.  Unfortunately, this did not last, as Ronnie started feeling the strain, and despite the group slowing down to let him keep up, his injury and recent time off regular running were causing him to struggle, and he waved us on.  Not content with this, I urged Teri (who had informed us all the she needed a bathroom stop) to find some shelter and take her time, to allow Ronnie to catch us up.  It also gave me a moment to take a couple of pictures:

Snow, snow, and some snow.

Snow, snow, and some snow.

Looking back at the runners behind us, and Teri having a slash off on the right.

Looking back at the runners behind us, and Teri having a slash off on the right.

Ronnie caught up just as Teri had sorted herself out, and we set off again.  Unfortunately upon starting up again, Grant’s knee began to protest, Ronnie slipped behind again, and then Teri’s knee started acting up.  Overcoming adversity, we plodded onwards (and upwards, and downwards) into the biting wind, and even broke into song halfway through (a tradition I may have to stick to after having more success at mass participation this time round).

The rest of the miles were a bit of a blur, and I started to lose the ability to talk properly (because my mouth was so cold).  My ass also went numb, as did the entire front of my body.  I remember being grateful that the course was altered (for safety reasons) and the two notorious hill sections were cut out of the re-route, and I was pretty pleased when Grant and I passed the 12 mile marker (Teri had gone on ahead), as I was not comfortable with how cold it was.

At this point Grant was really struggling because his knee was hurting pretty badly.  I tried my motivational ‘Nearly there!’ stuff, as well as my tough cop ‘Don’t be such a bitch!’ stuff.  Neither had much of an effect, though, because Grant was pretty determined to get this thing the hell over with all on his own.

Finally, the finish line was in sight, and after a heavy dose of swearing and grunting from the male half of the group, Grant and I crossed the line together, and I left him to bask in the glory of finishing his first half marathon wince, look miserable, and give me the finger.  We found Rhona (who might have secured a PB by a few seconds!), and Teri, and went inside to stretch and take a cheerful group shot before going outside to cheer in Ronnie:

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Once we were all ready, we took our medals, tech shirts, and slightly thawed bodies back to Ronnie’s car in the Morrison’s parking lot, before Rhona, Teri and I raided the bakery section of the supermarket.  Strawberry jam donuts cure everything, for the record.  I nestled into my seat, blasted by the heat and wrapped in a foil blanket, and spent the car journey home regaining feeling in my extremities.

Fuck me, it was cold.

Garioch 10k 18.4.12

Chip Time: 52:31

Gun Time: 53:34

313th finisher (81st female)

Medal: Yes

Time to redo my nails.

After a semi-disasterous half marathon last weekend, I was a little concerned about how I would perform today, but I also felt relieved that I’d only have to run half the distance, and I was back in my 10k comfort zone!  I had never run Garioch before, so I was glad to pick up some tips at Saturday’s parkrun, when I was volunteering as tail runner.  It looks like I wasn’t the only Garioch runner saving my legs, as several of the volunteers were at the race today, and I got to say a friendly hello.  From some of those who had run the race I established that it was hilly, so not one for PB’s.  I was also told that at around 7k, the route actually passes the finish line at the sports centre and goes off on a 3k loop before ending – VERY handy to know, as I didn’t get too excited when I saw the sports centre come into view , and I ran past at a steady pace knowing I’d be there soon.

Before parkrun yesterday morning. The weather today was just as nice!

I got a lift to the race from my friend Grant, who was also running – his first 10k!  It was obviously a momentous event as he actually obliged when I told him to pose for photos!  We got there in plenty of time, registered, and spent some time enjoying the rays before the rush of runners arrived.

Fueling up, bitches!

The race was well-organized, despite a couple of hiccups involving flooding toilets and late registrations holding the start back by about 10-15 minutes.  The weather was glorious, just like the previous day at parkrun.  Unusually (to me), the half marathoners and the 10k’ers started in the same pens and took off together, splitting onto separate courses just before 4k.  I thought it was a bit of a shame for the halfers, as they’d have people zooming by at the start and they’d feel like they were just plodding along!  Just before the horn there was a speech and a minute of silence to remember the 34-year-old runner who died near the end of last year’s race, Mark Sharp.

Once the run had started (uphill from the word ‘go’), everyone shuffled along, dodging in and out of pockets of space between other runners for the first kilometer or so, until everyone found their pace.  The sun was shining and for the first time this year, I felt warm running in Scotland!  There were a lot of undulations throughout the run, and a couple particularly brutal bits, but with that came a few downhill sprints where you could catch your breath.  I ran with a pretty steady pace throughout, and never felt like I was overexerting myself…… until the sprint at the end.  I can’t help breaking into any energy reserve I have left when that finish line comes into view.  And it’s even more sweet when you overtake guys in that final stretch!  Despite having my earphones in and blasting ‘Promises’ by Nero, I heard the announcer call out my name when I crossed the finish line, and I felt like a rock star picking up some water, my technical t-shirt, and, of course, my medal.  So much of a rock star, that I forgot to hit ‘stop’ on my Garmin.  Every freaking time!

Done!

This race was also good fun because of the amount of people I knew that were there.  A few folk from the gym made it along, some volunteers from parkrun that I’d met the previous day, and even a new twitter friend.  Running is quite the social activity!

So how was everyone else’s racing weekends?  The weather is picking up, and so are the events!