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!

Sport Relief Week and New Kit

Well, there’s no escaping Sport Relief this week at school – there have been activities on every lunchtime, and a collection going around during registration every morning.  It is a constant reminder that I’m doing 6 miles for Sport Relief on Sunday, and I have raised a great, big, stinking ZERO pounds.  Still, even the registration fee goes some way, and I usually buy some kind of merchandise on the day, so I don’t feel as bad.  Plus, over the years I have pretty much exhausted the goodwill of my friends by fundraising for various runs, so it isn’t like I’ve done nothing charitable in my life.  I mean, for real, I’m a teacher.

Yes, I did buy them because they matched my nail polish.

Anyway, speaking of money, I’ve been dropping some hard cash this past week.  I hit up Run4it in a big way, initially to look for trainers for my boyfriend (who is doing the 3 mile run on Sunday, but whose running I imagine is akin to a flailing monkey on acid).  What I ended up with is a new pair of trail running shoes (a sensible purchase considering I’ve signed up for the Ythan Challenge and Tough Mudder, and street shoes just wont cut it), and the sports bra to end all sports bras:  The Shock Absorber Run.

Now I have always had a problem with boobs + exercise.  As a natural 32F, it often took some extreme hardware to keep my chest in check.  It was unheard of me me to wear LESS than two sports bras at a time, and STILL, there was bounce.  But last year, for a whole host of reasons, I had breast reduction surgery.  I’m now sitting at a still voluminous 32DD, and while I usually still double up on sports bras, I definitely feel more ‘restrained’.  However, this sports bra, the Shock Absorber Run, is amazing.  Nothing moves.  It is as though my own hands are clamping down on my breasts and holding them to my skeleton – I am impressed.  My reservations about the £37 price tag have disappeared, as well.  Ladies – if you have substantial boobs and have never tried this bad boy out – do it.

Anyway, it has been an amazing few days, sunshine-wise, in Aberdeen.  That, coupled with the lighter days, has been really uplifting – it’s amazing what some good sun can do for your spirits!  It was even semi-light when I left spin on Monday night!

Totally looks like a tornado. Isn't.

Oh.  And last night after spin I managed a 5 minute plank.  By the end I was grunting like Tony Soprano approaching climax, but I got it done.

The Dark Night: Return of Enthusiasm

Well that’s a week of hard training done, and the knee is holding up well, so I’m feeling a bit more optimistic.  Optimistic enough to have signed up for the Sport Relief 6 mile run at the end of March, and to have convinced my tooooootally non-running boyfriend to sign up for the 3 mile run (translation: I signed him up online and demanded he hand over his credit card).  It’s almost enough to make me forget my first half marathon is in a mere 35 days!

I managed 20 miles this week, which is solid, but not fantastic.  I did, however, also manage 2 spin classes, 3 Body Pump classes, a power yoga class and 2 Body Combat classes.  And these things are freaking tiring.  So while I might not be Miss Ultra-Obsessed-With-Running, I can’t help thinking that all this ‘cross-training’ is a good thing.  Plus, I’m upfront about being in it for the race bling as much as the enjoyment of running.  Truth be told, I love going to my gym classes.  They’re fun and I totally dig hanging back at the end to bitch about random people at the gym (WHO TOLD YOU THAT YOU LOOK OK IN LYCRA, LADY?!).  In fact, if bitching were a sport, I could probably consider my training upped by roughly 20%.

This week I’ve also enjoyed creeping on other people’s running blogs, because it is super comforting to know that there are so many people out there doing the same thing as you, struggling with the same things, worrying about the same things.  Basically, it is awesome knowing that you’re not the only one who sucks hard sometimes (and somehow gets through it).

And in the words of Columbo, just one more thing: A big ‘right on’ to my friend Grant who managed his first 10k yesterday on the treadmill.  We’ll kick ass at Garioch next month!

Aberdeen Sport Relief Mile

I had never even heard of this before last week, but another Aberdeen-based “race” is always welcome!  If I entered it would mean every weekend in March would have some kind of running taking over, which would usually be a problem for the boyfriend, but as two of the races involve me getting a lift with other people running, leaving him to enjoy some free time, this might be doable.

It’s a Sport Relief event, and it looks great because it has 1, 3 and 6 mile events.  I’d like to do the 6 miler, but I’m trying to convince Ian (boyfriend) to enter the 1 or the 3 miler.  After all, if he’s going to be doing Tough Mudder in July, he’ll need to be used to the distance (roughly 11 miles).  Especially since everyone else is either already running, or starting to take the idea of training a bit more seriously.

I think I’ll wait until this knee niggle clears up before commiting to more runs, though.  I will say that the foam roller has really eased up my quads and ITB tract in the last couple of days, and my knees are already feeling the benefit (which THRILLS me)!  I’m going to attempt an easy 3 mile TM run before spin tomorrow and give the muscles another good seeing to at home afterwards and gauge how I feel then.

Being destructible sucks ass.