Runner’s Knees Virtual 10 Miler

Time: 1:51:52

Medal: Yes (to be delivered)

It's the personal touch that makes them.

It’s the personal touch that makes them.

A quick word of advice: If you plan on running 10 miles at 9:30 in the morning with a friend, going to another friend’s birthday/leaving do, staying out until the wee hours, drinking, and karaoke are not a good idea.  Especially if you have been sick for the last two weeks.

I was rudely awoken on Saturday morning by light coming through the gap in the curtains (and an impending sense of bowel discomfort) at about 6 am.  Despite having brushed my teeth thoroughly a mere few hours before, my mouth felt as though it was stuffed with cotton balls.  I attempted to get some more sleep, but the grim reality was that I lay in bed dozing on and off for another hour an a half, before my alarm informed me it was time to start getting ready.

I hauled myself to the bathroom to realize that, as usual, I had failed to remove my ‘drinking’ make-up before going to bed.  I would like to clarify that I rarely drink, but while I try and be sensible (I only had 3 pints last night), I am a super cheap drunk, and small amounts of alcohol have profound effects on me (willingly performing a duet of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ with a virtual stranger).  Anyway, as you may be able to tell, I was not enthusiastic about the prospect of doing exercise this morning:

And yes, I am sitting on my toilet in my underwear.

And yes, I am sitting on my toilet in my underwear.

Still, at least I would have some wonderful company for this ‘race‘ in the form of Danielle, who had agreed to drive to Aberdeen and set a new distance PR as she works on increasing her distance runs for the Aviemore half marathon in October.  She told me after our run that she was worried that she would slow me down. Ha. Hahaha.  AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.  (Spoiler: she was wrong)

I had planned a course on my limited knowledge of a secret trail leading to Hazelhead Park, based on my enormous experience of walking along it.  Once.  While in my head, I knew the general direction I was going, the reality included a lot of backtracking in the first few miles, and educated guesswork (sorry Danielle!).  My heart rate was sky-rocketing, my legs felt like led, I was dizzy, and I felt like I was going to throw up.  By mile 1.

Danielle had mentioned that after about ten minutes she likes to stop and stretch.  I pushed us just that little bit further so we could enjoy the surroundings of Johnston Gardens while we had our break – and I attempted to breathe at a normal rate for a minute.

IMG_20130629_100622After what I felt was a painfully short rest stop, we set off again, continuing uphill (the first half of this ten mile route was on a gentle – but steady – incline) and eventually along the secret trail paths (evidently not actually so secret, as we passed several runners), and finally to Duthie Park.  By mile 3, I was done, and even keeping a pitiful 11:30/mile pace was a real struggle.  I told Danielle I needed to drink something, and ended up at the pavilion in Hazlehead Park, more thrilled than is socially acceptable to find cold cans of 7up.

I had to take a break here, and actually sit on a wall to let my heart rate come back down to a number that didn’t make me think I was suffering from a heart attack, and had my 7up.  Hopeful, we set off again.

Although I was struggling, I knew that the 7up would kick in soon, and the second half was going to be all downhill.  This made me ignore the severe discomfort I was in, as did concentrating on the trails we had found ourselves on that went through the golf course. After 4.5 miles, we turned back, and everything started feeling a bit less horrendous.  Just a bit.

Danielle at the half way point, full of energy and enthusiasm.

Danielle at the half way point, full of energy and enthusiasm.

Me at the halfway point, ready to collapse/cry/vomit.

Me at the halfway point, ready to collapse/cry/vomit.

I thought, for Danielle’s benefit, we should take in not one, not two, but THREE of Aberdeen’s parks during today’s run, so we went back to our starting point, and then further downhill to Duthie Park for a final mile around the grounds there, including a brief jog through the Winter Gardens.

And then, glory be, the entire ordeal was over!  Danielle had set a new distance PR, and I was still breathing (heavily).

We walked back up to town to buy a can of root beer (essential), and then Danielle was off, because she had only paid for 3 hours of parking, and my pathetic state had meant we used the entire 3 hours.

I had just enough energy to wash myself, and then Grant came around for a couple of hours before his bus to his new home in Glasgow.  I may have blamed him for moving to Glasgow and having his leaving do the previous night for my pain out loud, or I may have just thought it.  Either way, I got the ten miler done, even though it is probably the last thing I felt like doing when I woke up, and at least Sunday’s plan was ‘just a 10k’…