It has been two weeks+ since my last post; part of this is due to some major technical difficulties from Blogger (or Mozilla Firefox?), which has prevented me from uploading any photos to this post the last four days I’ve tried. I’ve finally had success using my husband’s Macbook instead. The other reason is that I’ve been incredibly busy looking after three dogs for my in-laws while my husband jetted off to Portugal for a boys surf and camping holiday. He’s now back and the dogs are now home again, so efforts to blog are becoming more realistic again. I’m on holiday next week from school, so hopefully this blog will be full of new posts about the many ideas I’ve got to write about.
My husband has been saying for a few months now that we should try The Creel Inn, a restaurant in the tiny village of Catterline, nestled on the east coast of Aberdeenshire, between Stonehaven and Inverbervie. Like the many restaurants that scatter the east coast of Scotland, the Creel Inn offers fresh seafood an intimate and cosy seafood restaurant, with large portions of food that could be described as homecooking with a fine dining twist. Pat had been there for lunch and came home from work that day saying “The next time we go out for dinner, we have to go to the Creel Inn. It’s your kind of place!” My kind of place? I’m in! We reserved a table for this past Saturday, and drove to Catterline, which is just off a main road but still seems remote enough to feel like you’re in the middle of no where. The village itself was quiet, but the restaurant was alive! It boasts a pub and a sit down restaurant with a stone fireplace in the middle. The day’s specials, as well as special beers, are written on a chalkboard at one end of the dining room. We spotted the seafood platter for two special of coconut and chili mussels, langoustines, salmon and rock turbot, and ordered that to greedily share.
After a breakfast of smoothies, coffee and Peanut Butter Booster Bars, Pat and I packed up the car, left the dogs at home, and drove the almost hour drive to Dunecht Estate. Pat was already familiar with it as he had spent six weeks there, sometime in his early 20’s, grouse beating, (or helping the grouse hunt). Although we arrived earlier than expected, we still had to park in the overflow parking area and walk the ten minutes to the house itself and the start line. We quickly registered, used the toilet, said a quick hello to Rachel, then headed back to the car to change, ditch our bags and warm up. Pat did his usual morning yoga routine, I paced back and forth until he was ready. I could’ve left him at the car and gone to join Rachel and her friend to watch the children’s 2km race, which upon reading Rachel’s recap sounds like something the primary/elementary teacher in me would thoroughly enjoy, but after the Santa Run fiasco, where he locked my keys in my car and I spent the duration of the race calling a tow truck driver and waiting by my car for help to arrive, I wasn’t going to take any chances. My husband is fantastic in many, many ways, but he has a knack for losing things. Often.
|I did snap a photo of the kids’ warm-up though!|
Once Pat bid Namaste to his final yoga pose, we slowly jogged back to Dunecht House to await the start of the race. There was a warm-up, lead by a very enthusiastic and colourfully dressed Jazzercise instructor, so I reluctantly and embarrassingly joined the other women and one man in doing many uncoordinated (on my part) moves to poppy and catchy songs. Rachel and friends joined suite, and we were jazzercising around like a bunch of teenage girls at a slumber party through three songs. Fun times and laughter were had by all! And with that, we were warm and ready to race!
We headed over to the start, where Rachel asked me (and possibly a few others) ‘Are you going for it?’ I shrugged that I wasn’t sure; I really hadn’t thought anything of this race, only that I hoped to best my current 5km split of 28:49 (set at the Glamis Rudolph Run 10km in 2011); I was hoping for a time in the 27 minute range. Other than that, I hadn’t invested any mental preparation in this race because 5km is a very doable and easy distance for me, and since starting an actual training program (more about that in another post, this weekend hopefully!), I could treat this race as a tempo run. I was going to ‘go for it’ at a comfortably hard pace, and see what happened. I didn’t even know what the course would be like, but assumed that the medium-sized hill that lead up to the house and was nicely aligned with the finish line, would be part of the race finish.
|Said medium-sized hill|
The gun went off and off we went! The first kilometer was fast as it was downhill; in normal runs, my average km/h pace is about 6:15. My first kilometer for this race was 5:00! It just sailed by! My Garmin was making all sorts of noises as I had set it to ‘Race Mode’ even though I’m not sure what exactly Race Mode does other than seem to beep every half km or so. I glanced down at the first mile alert to see 8:53, really?!?! I’m still not 100% confident with my Garmin and its readings, but since calibrating it, it’s gotten much more accurate. I settled into my comfortably hard pace and began scoping out the competition, deciding my race strategy of picking people off one by one. I stayed with a few ladies until the second km, then made my first move to pass a girl I’d been running behind. I also used the F-1 racing strategy of cutting corners rather than following the trail and all its curves; this totally paid off because I passed a few more people doing this.
At about 3km, the mental games and doubts that come with racing crept in a bit, but I got rid of them because after all, this was just a 5km and I was already more than half way to the finish line. I had slowed down a fraction and allowed myself this comfort until the 4km signs appeared, when it was time to finish strong. We began to climb a gradual hill to the finish, the last of this very gently undulating but mostly flat course, (others might not think it was so flat, but anything is flat compared to running around hilly Laurencekirk). A man in a red and yellow Fetch Everyone tshirt passed me and settled about 50m ahead of me; my goal was to beat him. With about 200m to go, I began my surge. I got to within 20 feet of the man then realised I still had some race left to go, so eased my pace to recover just a bit. I looked up to see we were about 50m from the finish at this point, and so the sprinting began! I passed the Fetch man, a Fetch woman, and a few other women, and crossed the finish line out of breath and wheezing, but with a new PR! 27:39 on my Garmin, but officially 27:42! Exhausted, I rushed through the finisher’s chute, receiving my medal, a banana, a water and a goodie bag, all from well-wishing primary-aged kids. I found Rachel immediately, but not my husband, and we proceeded to reflect on our races. Rachel finished in 24:57, and Pat, whose first race was the Perth Kilt Run last year and who is training for his first sprint triathlon in August, finished the race in 22:31!!!!! Incredible for his first 5km!
We snapped a few photos with our medals, then walked back to the car to head home. Part of our journey took us through Stonehaven, where we spotted a European Market taking place! Naturally, we stopped for some baked treats reminiscent of France, Portugal and Germany. We also had a crepe at the cheekily named ‘Flipping Pancakes.’
I’m very happy with my race result, and it’s given me a boost of confidence heading into a new training program, designed to blast the bum and belly while giving me more stamina and speed. I’m on week 2, and holy crap, it’s tough! I promise to write a post on it soon, and hopefully it will give me some good results for the races I’ve signed up for: the Montrose 10km June 9, and the Aberdeen Beach Run 10km June 18th. Pat and I are also entering the Aviemore 10km in October, and staying for the weekend and eating at our two favourite restaurants in Scotland: The Old Bridge Inn and the Mountain Cafe.
Happy Thursday, one more day until the weekend and a week off (and hopefully a few more posts on my behalf)!