Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Experience of the Week: Running around Arthur's Seat

Today I participated in the BUPA Great Winter Run, a 5K race around Arthur's Seat (more pictures here) in Holyrood Park here in Edinburgh.

The race started at 11:30, and late arriver that I am, I reached the place where they were lining up (on the north side of Holyrood park near the Scotish Parliament building) with maybe 5 minutes to spare. This was not how I planned it, of course, but it worked out because I had just enough time to stretch a bit and take a couple pictures before we were off.

The racers were divided into three groups (based on estimated 5K race times), and each group was started with a separate pistol shot, with a minute or so wait in between. I placed myself at the back of the last group, which it turns out was a good place for me to be. The folks around me seemed to be going about the same pace, and during the race they walked about the same amount too.

It was a beautiful, beautiful day! Unfortunately, about half the race was uphill. If I did this right, this link from Gmaps Pedometer should have pictures with the race course and elevation. I ran the first kilometer or so until the elevation started going up, and after that it was lots of walking with spurts of running here and there. I continued with the walking/running until maybe the 3 1/2 kilometer mark, after which I was able to run the rest of the way to the finish line. Yep, that last kilometer and a half were all downhill. :+)
(This picture is looking back toward the finish line.)

After crossing the finish line, I turned in my timing chip and collected my loot! Did you know that they actually reward you sometimes for doing this running thing?

I now have a nice, new long-sleeved T-shirt, my own personal thermal space blanket (silver square thing on the right), a sampler of muscle rub (yellow rectangular thing upper left), an energy bar, a bottle of sports drink, some cheddar cheese flavoured pretzels (less than 10% fat! (and they tasted like it too)), and my favorite thing, a medal! I honestly don't think I've ever received a medal for anything before. The other side of the medal says "Participate - Enjoy - Succeed". I think that's a good philosophy to have.

One highlight of the race was that they had bag pipers playing at the start and at every kilometer marker throughout the race course. How cool is that! Not something you're going to find at most races, I expect. I really regret that I didn't stop to take a quick picture.

I was planning to take more pictures after the race. At the very least, I wanted to get a picture of me all sweaty and triumphant at the end, but the batteries of my camera chose that moment to die. Darn.

I don't know what my actual race time was. The clock at the finish line said something like 45 minutes, but my actual time was probably a minute or two less with the staggered start. At some point, I think official pictures and race times will go up on the race web site, and I'll update this post when those results are in.

I decided to enter the Great Winter Run back in November, after I started running as my part of Team CB. And when I was out there today, that's what I told myself, "I'm running here for Team CB!" Thank you CherryBombs for all your encouragement and support! I could tell you were all there in spirit cheering me on!

Addendum: The site for the race says that my time was 39:15. Under 40 minutes! No way!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Running Update

While I was away over the holidays, I'm happy to report that I upheld my running end of Team CB. (The healthy eating end, not so much.) I think I ran a total of 5 times, and I have the shiny, pretty stars on my wall chart check list to prove it. Some of this includes going to the gym with my dad to run on the treadmill, but I also ran most of the way around the block where my parents live. These are country roads, so around the block actually adds up to over 5 miles! I'm talking intervals of running/walking. I'm no where near to the point where I could run all of it without walking breaks.
Of course then I got back home on New Years Day and promptly did no running until Friday, when out of desparation I joined a gym. Because I am whimpy about running in yucky weather. We got snow here in Edinburgh! What's with that?

The reason I was feeling kind of desparate was because one of the things that came in the mail while I was gone was this:

It's my entry number, timing chip, and race-day information for the BUPA Great Winter Run. I look at this and I wonder what I was thinking signing up for a 5K race! Yeah, yeah, if I'd actually stuck with my training schedule, I would be prepared, but all those weeks of only running twice instead of three times means just running for 10 minutes straight (the longest I've run without a walk break) is still quite the challenge.

So I'm trying to remind myself that just by running I win. Obviously, I'll be taking walk breaks. But, I still get nervous every time I think about it. What was I thinking!?!?