PB Crazy

Hello everyone.  Again I find that it’s been a while since I last updated this blog.  I won’t go into it, but there is a lot going on in my personal life just now, so I guess I just haven’t really been up for it, but I do have several races to update you all on.

First of all we have Dundee Half Dram.  I first ran this race last year and really enjoyed it so I decided to go back for another shot.  I volunteered to drive so picked up Shona (Shondo) and Ann (Abz1903) just after 7am and we had a good run down to Dundee, following a quick bathroom pit stop in Tesco.

We got ourselves parked and registered and then joined the long loo queue, which to be honest went down quite quickly.  Timing for once was good and there wasn’t that much hanging around till the race briefing and then we wee off.

The first part is through Camperdown park and there is a fair amount of incline.  I settled into a comfortable pace and ended up running with one of our jogscotties (Amanda).  We ended up running together for about 9 miles before a tight shoelace meant Amanda decided to adjust it, but I decided to push on.

Towards the end of the run and before you come back through the houses there are a couple of inclines, which when you are tired are pretty hard to negotiate, however I managed to push on through the first one, but just before the top of the second one I had to have a little walk break.  After this you turn and you meet the 11 mile mark, so you know there is not far to go, however those last few miles seem to be the longest miles ever.

The sting in the tail (well one of them) is that you cross a railway bridge that is really steep.  It is really hard to run over and then you turn for the finish – into a headwind!  At times it felt like I wasn’t moving at all and I was trying my hardest to shift myself forward as I could see my time was looking good.  Not far from the finish there is a ‘wobbly bridge’ which is the only way I could describe it.  When I ran across it I felt honestly like I was going to collapse.  It felt like every single bit of energy was being sapped out of my legs.  Once over it though, I felt fine.  The final hurdle so to speak that you need to negotiate is some uneven grass which leads to the finish.  Not that easy to do a sprint finish but I did what I could and was rewarded with my first sub 2 hour 30 minute time.

Official result – 2:28:04

Dundee Finish
Happy to reach the finish line! – Photo courtesy of Tony Jones 🙂

Splits were:

1) 1m – 12:02(12:02/m) 69/109bpm 8cal 4.99/6.43mph
2) 1m – 11:28(11:28/m) 67/80bpm 5cal 5.23/6.54mph
3) 1m – 10:50(10:50/m) 101/127bpm 35cal 5.54/6.28mph
4) 1m – 10:36(10:36/m) 88/111bpm 16cal 5.66/6.41mph
5) 1m – 11:01(11:01/m) 67/80bpm 6cal 5.45/6.26mph
6) 1m – 11:28(11:28/m) 72/107bpm 4cal 5.23/6.31mph
7) 1m – 11:36(11:36/m) 61/86bpm 5cal 5.17/6.53mph
8) 1m – 10:56(10:56/m) 39/58bpm 19cal 5.48/8.8mph
9) 1m – 11:55(11:55/m) 33/43bpm 66cal 5.03/5.94mph
10) 1m – 11:32(11:32/m) 36/40bpm 52cal 5.2/5.89mph
11) 1m – 11:23(11:23/m) 36/52bpm 51cal 5.27/6.11mph
12) 1m – 10:43(10:43/m) 44/58bpm 12cal 5.6/6.69mph
13) 1m – 10:53(10:53/m) 44/58bpm 10cal 5.51/6.66mph
14) 0.16m – 1:40(10:13/m) 57/73bpm 5.87/6.79mph

We waited for the rest of the jogscotties to finish, then headed back to Camperdown park and then homeward bound, but not before stopping off for muchies and scoffing Strawberry Tarts, which were amazing and kindly provided by Garay’s Bakery (Dee Street, Aberdeen, just in case you would like to pay them a visit).  Very much the most enjoyable post race treat – EVER 🙂

Next up was the Ballater 10m race.  I’d never done this one before, but wanted to give it a go as I hadn’t raced over that distance since March.  This time Shona (Shond0) did the driving honours and we had Diane (Lip Gloss) with us.

As Aberdeenshire was hit badly by storms early in the year, the route had to be somewhat modified, but more on that later.

We arrived without incident, got registered and then joined the portaloo queue.  After at least one more bathroom trip, we gathered for the pre-race brief which mentioned the course changes and then we lined up for the off.  There is a lap of the field first before you head out into Ballater and pretty much by half way round that I was at the back of the field.  I just settled into a pace that I thought I could maintain and went with the flow.

The route was nothing short of breathtaking and took in the most beautiful countryside that Aberdeenshire has to offer.  The course changes showed us exactly what damage the storms had done as part of the route was completely washed away, so we were clambering down a bank.  It made the course a little more technical, but that bit more interesting.

I had been warned that there was a hill around half way.  The route I thought was fairly undulating, but when I turned a corner I realised I had hit ‘the hill’.  You go up so far and think you are at the top but there is more.  I ran when I could and walked when I couldn’t.  I’d also gained a few places so was feeling quite good.  When I finally did get to the water stop after the top of the hill I had a quick break for a drink and decided to push on.  There is a lovely downhill section here before you turn on to what is essentially a ‘tractor trail’.  I love trails so I really enjoyed this part, but before we got on to a more normal forest path we had to negotiate another washed out piece of the route, which was more of a scramble than a run.

Once passed that though the route flattened out on to forest track.  I was starting to get weary here, but had made up another few places.  However as much as I love running on trails, this part really sucked.  It was long and straight and seemed never ending.  It was a relief when I finally turned back on to the road and was heading back towards Ballater.  Just before you reach the town again, you go back along some of the same route as you did at the start, however you don’t quite go the same way to the finish.  This was the only part where it wasn’t completely obvious where to go and although there were arrows on the road, but this time you are pretty tired and not thinking straight.  I know some folks went the wrong way at this point, but I was lucky and chose the right path and before I knew it I saw the park and the finish line ahead.  One small downhill part to take you on to the field and then push on to the finish.  Really pleased when I saw the clock and my watch.  Guess what?  Yup, another PB 🙂

Official result – 1:50:35

Splits were:

1) 1m – 10:38(10:38/m) 199/228bpm 5cal 5.64/6.61mph
2) 1m – 10:54(10:54/m) 214/240bpm 5cal 5.5/6.88mph
3) 1m – 11:54(11:54/m) 190/240bpm 5cal 5.04/5.82mph
4) 1m – 10:47(10:47/m) 178/232bpm 9cal 5.57/6.71mph
5) 1m – 11:22(11:22/m) 161/207bpm 9cal 5.28/6.8mph
6) 1m – 11:18(11:18/m) 106/147bpm 16cal 5.31/6.94mph
7) 1m – 11:39(11:39/m) 145/203bpm 28cal 5.15/7.55mph
8) 1m – 10:32(10:32/m) 174/207bpm 61cal 5.7/7.05mph
9) 1m – 10:42(10:42/m) 92/131bpm 8cal 5.61/7.11mph
10) 1m – 10:35(10:35/m) 144/202bpm 14cal 5.67/7.29mph
11) 0.02m – 7(6:56/m) 191/191bpm 8.65/8.11mph

Again once everyone was finished we decided to get some food, so headed to one of the local cafes for much needed carbohydrates, which were yummy 🙂

Fast forward a couple more weeks and the most recent race which was Dyce Half Marathon.  This is organised by Metro Aberdeen Running Club and takes in an out and back route along the Formartine and Buchan Way.

Shona (Shondo) drove again and we got there in enough time to get our numbers, but the bathroom queue was so big we ended up nipping back to the car to collect our bags and rejoining the queue where we had left it pretty much.  Thankfully the race organisers let us know that they wouldn’t start the race till everyone had managed to pay a visit, so that took some of the pressure off, although I was having issues trying to get my race number on!

Eventually we were sorted and lined up outside ready for the off.  Again in this race the initial start and finish involve a lap of the grass, so I just took it easy at the start, again being at the back of the pack.  I fell into step with another runner once we got on to the path although I’m not quite sure what I was thinking in this photo:

Dyce Happy
Off my head? – most probably.  Photo courtesy of Katie Milne 🙂

I just settled into a pace that I was comfortable with and ended up passing a few people in the first few miles.  I could see one of my Metro friends (Jane) in front of me and tried my best to catch her.  The closest I got was at half way, but she was way stronger than me in the second half and it was all I could do to keep her in my sights.

I really noticed that the time was passing a lot quicker this year.  I seemed to be making good progress even though I couldn’t catch Jane.  We had the added obstacle of the bypass to negotiate this year, so there was a little detour which had not been there previously.

By 10 miles I was feeling tired, but still fairly good, however by the time I got to 11 miles I was starting to unravel a bit.  These seemed to be the longest miles ever.  Finally reached the 12 mile marker, but then cramp hit.  There was some swearing, but I pushed on, well as much as I could anyway.  Was not at all happy and could not wait to be finished at this point.  Finally I could see the park and had to take a few more steps walking to let the cramp subside before I attempted a decent finish.  I was so glad to haul myself over the finish line and stop.

Dyce Half Finish
Thank goodness for that! – Photo courtesy of Graeme Lornie

Official result – 2:24:31

Splits were:

1) 1m – 10:35(10:35/m) 132/148bpm 54cal 5.67/7.96mph
2) 1m – 10:39(10:39/m) 145/159bpm 80cal 5.63/6.62mph
3) 1m – 10:51(10:51/m) 156/161bpm 85cal 5.53/6.12mph
4) 1m – 11:14(11:14/m) 156/163bpm 90cal 5.34/6.3mph
5) 1m – 11:09(11:09/m) 160/166bpm 92cal 5.38/5.94mph
6) 1m – 11:16(11:16/m) 161/168bpm 92cal 5.33/6.04mph
7) 1m – 11:23(11:23/m) 157/166bpm 84cal 5.27/6.29mph
8) 1m – 10:51(10:51/m) 150/166bpm 91cal 5.53/6.21mph
9) 1m – 10:26(10:26/m) 144/162bpm 56cal 5.75/6.36mph
10) 1m – 10:54(10:54/m) 136/168bpm 65cal 5.5/6.55mph
11) 1m – 10:56(10:56/m) 150/170bpm 90cal 5.49/6.07mph
12) 1m – 11:19(11:19/m) 127/154bpm 91cal 5.3/6.61mph
13) 1m – 12:15(12:15/m) 111/141bpm 59cal 4.9/6.57mph
14) 0.07m – 44(11:12/m) 104/123bpm 6cal 5.36/6.41mph

For once I managed to finish in time for the prize giving, but not before I had scoffed a fair share of the food.  I missed it all last year, but was well chuffed to be able to feed my face this year.  The best bit was that I even got a spot prize. 🙂

Dyce Goodies
Medal and Alcohol – the perfect combination?

So that’s 3 races and 3 PBs.  I know I can’t keep doing this and I’m going to run out of steam at some point, but just not sure when that is going to be.

Next up this weekend is the BRG Challenge which took me 4 hours 48 minutes last year.  Since I don’t want to miss the bus back, I’m going to have to shift myself and do it in 4 hours or under this year, so I guess that will be another PB in the bag.

After that is Glenmore 12 hour race – my first attempt at an ultra.  I’m pretty sure it was a good idea at the time, but the closer it gets the more crazy I think I must be.  I totally blame Ann (Abz1903), she is such a bad influence 😉

Still I’m sure it will be fun – there is alcohol on my shopping list 🙂

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