The Running Shop Beach 10km recap


 It is safe to say the reason I’ve put off writing this recap is because I pretty much hated this race. There was nothing enjoyable about it, and I’m now able to tick this race off my mental list of ‘Races to Never Run Again.’ The complete opposite of my #virtual10miler, the only thing in common with it was the fact that it was in Aberdeen.

I signed up for The Running Shop Beach 10km in shortly after starting my Bum Belly Blast training programme. I was on a high from a new 5km PR at the Dunecht Dash, and was extremely motivated to race. Although the Montrose 10km was the big race I had set my sights on, I hoped that I could do equally well in the flat beach run. To save you from suspense, I was wrong.

A word of advice: races are more successful when you run on rested legs, with a rested mind. My legs had had three days rest for Montrose; for this race, I had one day rest after three intense days of activity. The Friday before, I’d done 10 x 30 second hill reps. Saturday, or rest day, I had a 30 min. paddle on my stand-up and paddleboard (SUP) in the North Sea alongside my husband who was doing an open water training swim; SUP-ing is a full body workout you don’t feel until the next day. Sunday, I had a most disastrous and extremely hilly 9.63 mile run, where I learned many lessons. Finally, the race was a Tuesday night, after work, when I usually feel brain dead. This was no recipe for success, let me tell you!

A bunch of us from the Laurencekirk running group had entered the race. Altogether, there would be five of us: myself, Amy, Wendy, Brian and Kelly, who was running with a friend from work. Wendy and I drove up together, and we met Amy and Brian, who work in Aberdeen, at the leisure centre on the beach. After the race, us ladies had made plans to have dinner together at Nandos in Union Square, and I think, looking back, I was more excited for the meal than the race. Leaving my house, there was a slight breeze and it was warm, but upon arriving at the beach in Aberdeen, it was overcast with a cold wind. I’d taken a long-sleeved running top to change into just in case, and happily did so in the toilets before the race. We basically milled about at the leisure centre, then headed to the haphazard start, (I actually didn’t know where it was), and waited to get this race over with.

The Aberdeen beach promenade consists of an upper promenade and a lower promenade. The start was on the upper promenade, with the finish, lower. As the race started, (again, no official start line, so I started my Garmin when I began running instead), I still didn’t have a good idea about the race route. I naively thought there would be some kind of loop, taking us away from the beach only to return, but sadly I was wrong. I was so so SO very wrong.

Leisure centre on the right, lower promenade in plain view

Rachel told me yesterday that to run one loop of the beach is four miles,(if you were to start at one point on the upper promenade, run the length to the lower, run the length back up to the upper). This route was a combined loop and out-and-back: the race start and finish (parallel on the upper and lower promenades), were in the middle of the promenade. We had to run to the north end of the upper promenade, run down the ramp to the lower promenade to head south, run along the lower promenade, to then run up to the upper promenade heading north to the other end, only to repeat the entire cycle. If none of that description made sense, below is the race route from Garmin Connect, it gives you a better idea:

Less than ideal
I really couldn’t decide which was worse: 6.2 miles of boring, same-same route? OR the fact that you could see your entire route ahead of you, all the people ahead of you, and how much you still had to go? And never mind knowing that once you reached the south end of the lower promenade, you had to do everything all over again. It’s a toss up really. Did I mention I pretty much hated this race???

Also, did I mention the headwind?!??! Once you faced the south, there was a rocking headwind. So much so, that my pace dropped by 30 seconds every time I rounded to the south, but was quicker as soon as I was heading north again. My splits below will give you an idea of what a headwind/tailwind did to my pace:

Mile 1: 9:05
Mile 2: 9:24
Mile 3: 9:45 (facing south, the initial hit)
Mile 4: 9:27
Mile 5: 9:22
Mile 6: 9:58 (ouch – again, the initial hit point)

I had the negative thoughts of giving up and walking, and at one point, hated the race so much, I thought of just stopping altogether. I persevered though, and finished in 59:17. That slow time is the result of tired legs, tired mind, headwind and just not having the heart or desire to be into the race at all. Amy and Wendy finished with 50 minute PR’s, Brian finished in 48 minutes, and Kelly and her friend finished behind me. Some of us got various prizes of Asics gear (a waterbottle for me, a drawstring bag for Kelly), and the Running Shop had some isotonic drink and chocolate bars at the finish, but no medals. We were all more interested in our meal anyway, so we quickly changed in our cars and headed to Union Square mall.

It’s safe to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my meal, and the girls enjoyed losing their Nandos virginity 🙂

I’m happy to have done this race for the experience, and there were clearly lessons to be learned. It’s very safe to say that I will never enter this race again; despite it being a flat route, the absolute dull-to-the-core route is demoralising and just plain brutal. At least Wendy and I were able to enjoy the beautiful sunset on the way home.

Happy Canada Day tomorrow to all my Canadian friends, family and readers!!!! This image below completely sums up my French and Japanese heritage, it couldn’t be more perfect.
 I will be wearing my Canada t-shirt and hoodie all day tomorrow as we make our way to Barra of the Outer Hebrides.
Then continue up to South Uist and North Uist, Harris (where Leverburgh is), and finally, on to Lewis. We will be touring and camping in a VW campervan, with our surboards on the roof. We’re expecting clear blue waters, white sand beaches, and midges, tiny mosquito-like blood suckers that are reknown on the west coast of Scotland.
Hope you all have a fantastic week, and a Happy 4th of July to you Americans out there too 🙂 See you when I get back!

5 thoughts on “The Running Shop Beach 10km recap

  1. Happy Late Canada Day, and I hope you have a lovely excursion!

    Sorry about the yucky race conditions. I've noticed that 5K/10K races seem to focus much less on the scenery aspect, but you still captured a lovely sunset, and way to push through it!

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