It all started with wanting to run the Ballater 10 mile road race at the end of July. It would be my first longer road race, so I wanted some company. I asked Rachel
if she wanted to join, considering she has a passion for collecting race medals and is a seasoned long distance runner. Unfortunately, she couldn’t, but came back with this:
I was in! I scrapped the idea of running Ballater (I thought it would be too much considering I would be starting half marathon training and had two races in August), and went for this virtual race instead. I was also happy to actually be running next to Rachel; whenever we’ve run the same races, the only time I see her is at the start when she speeds away, and at the end, when she’s waiting for me at the finish line. This virtual race was organised by The Runners Knees
down in London; there would be participants from Australia, the UK (four of us in Scotland), Sweden and the US. It would take place ideally June 29th, any time of the day, as long as you completed it. We also had to tweet with the hashtag #virtual10miler
during and after our runs, and we would then receive a medal in the mail. I invited Amy
to join, as it would be a great way for myself and Rachel, and our two American blog friends across the pond to kinda-sorta run a race together.
Any long runs around my place would be really hilly, which I didn’t want, so Rachel and I arranged to run up in Aberdeen. I arrived at her place yesterday shortly after 9:30 am. Rachel picked up some fuel, and we snapped this pre-race photo:
|Ready for our race, but not for the photo…. 😉
Rachel took me around a few of her regular park routes, full of turns and beautiful scenery, like what we saw at Johnston Gardens, where we stopped for a quick stretch 1.5 miles in.
|Fully prepared for her photo this time
We both treated this as a long run, so we ran a very casual, conversation pace. This would be the longest distance I’d ever run, so I wanted to take it easy to feel the success of completing it without feeling like I was going to die. I was also looking forward to running in the city and seeing Aberdeen, because I’m so used to the country views and seeing large rolling hills, cows and tractors. The first few miles consisted of stops and turns with Rachel beginning ‘I think it’s this way…’ and then we’d head off in another direction. Our aim was to run to Hazelhead Park and along the trails for a while. Rachel wasn’t feeling so hot the first three miles due to a friend’s going-away party the night before and a small breakfast. We made it to Hazelhead park with Rachel in desperate need of more fuel. After she chugged a 7up and we got some water, we were off again for a bit of an out-and-back route through the park. We encountered this outside the park, post-out-and-back:
After Hazelhead Park, we stuck to a good pace and ran back towards Rachel’s place out to the newly refurbished Duthie Park. We passed the botanical gardens, and I commented about how my husband, the landscape gardener, would love them. Rachel asked if I’d ever been in, and when I replied No, she said ‘Let’s go in.’ ‘And run around?!?!’ I asked. ‘Yeah!’ she replied. And so we did: through the botanical gardens, dodging overhanging branches of trees, and excusing ourselves as we passed some grannies taking in the plants.
We left the gardens, back into the park, my Garmin beeped 10 miles, and like that, our run was finished! I couldn’t believe how quickly it passed, it definitely helps when you talk the entire time.
|My stats: I burned 1238 calories!
We had a cool down walk all the way back to Rachel’s. She bought me a cold A & W Root Beer (not sold in grocery stores here, but at Baskin Robbins instead), and then I headed back down the road to southern Aberdeenshire. I met up with my husband, who’d done a practice triathlon of his own in preparation for his sprint one in August, and we enjoyed a meal at Castleton Farm Shop Cafe
, where I indulged myself and had my cheeseburger
Due to post-long run weird appetite that makes you feel hungry, then full after about five bites, I only managed just over half of my meal unfortunately. The rest of the day consisted of visits, grocery shopping for our camping trip tomorrow, and a delicious meal of slow-cooked pork, roast potatoes and green beans with pine nuts, courtesy of my mother-in-law.
Overall, I’m extremely happy with my run: I felt strong throughout and always thought I was able to do it. I’m thankful for Rachel’s company as well, it made the run go by so quickly! Although our time was very conservative, it was still faster than my horrible 9.63 mile run, and this included bits of stopping and walking to find the right route as well. I also made sure to have two meals post-race, along with a small snack and a fulfilling dinner, which all contributed to normal post-race energy levels rather than crashing on the couch at home. Today (Sunday, the day after), I feel a wee bit stiff, but not at all tired and pretty normal actually. All good things!
And on such a high note, I’m taking a week off of running. I’ve been going steady since we got back from our ski trip to Italy
in April, so I deserve a good week of resting my legs. I’ll still be active though, and will be out on the Atlantic Ocean in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, on my stand-up and paddle surfboard instead.