Saturday, October 24, 2009

Race Report: Paisley 10k

Hey look, my blog is still here! Flips on the light and peers around. Alright, who wrote "clean me" in the dust on my monitor?

Seeing as I have another race tomorrow, I figured I'd better get moving and actually finish my race report from my last race, almost two months ago now.

Right. August 30th I ran my fourth 10k race in Paisley. It was also my best 10k race! I ran it in under 1 hour 17 minutes, beating my previously best time from a year ago in the Great Scottish Run by 39 seconds. Woot!

I had several goals for the race, and I'm happy to say I met most of them.

  • Goal 1: I was not last! Ok, given that there were over 1000 runners, this wasn't likely, but you never know. As it turns out, 65 people were slower than me. Knocked that goal out of the park.
  • Goal 2: Yep, I beat my times from the Great Edinburgh Run and the Great North 10k!
  • Goal 3 (unstated): Set a PR -- Check! My best 10k time before this was 1.17 something in the Great Scottish Run in September last year. That also happened to be my first 10k, but that's neither here nor there.
  • Goal 4 (unstated): Finish in under 1:15. Nope, didn't happen. This was a long shot, but it's a goal that is within reach. I think. Eventually.

The race itself was fun and well organized. Highlights of the race were running through St. Mirren Stadium and along the Paisley canal towpath. The only downside was this one pair of runner-walkers. As I was running the whole thing (woot!), we kept passing each other. Unfortunately, these two were conversing nearly the whole time and completely oblivious of others who might be around them. Just the two of them somehow managed to run/walk such that they often were taking up most of the path. And once, they even ran past me, immediately crossed right over in front of me, and then dropped to a walk, nearly causing me to plow into them. Argh!

However, aside from those two, it was a great race!

As to Paisley itself, well, it's basically a suburb of Glasgow. It wasn't always that way. At one time it was a textile powerhouse. They had several statues and monuments dedicated to various dead guys named Coats. By the way, if you sew, this is the same Coats associated with the thread company.

I got there late enough in the day on Saturday that I didn't get a chance to see anything of the town. But I did take some time on Sunday after the race to walk around and see some of Paisley. Here are a few pictures that I took.

Paisley Town Hall
Paisley Abbey
Public Torture Device on display at the Paisley Museum

My next race is tomorrow, the Jedburgh 10k. Given how I've been currently running, I don't think the under 1.15 time is in my legs just quite yet. But who knows, maybe the fall leaves will inspire me and I'll surprise myself!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I survived The Coffin Route diversion

Warning: This post contains a heck of a lot of whining.

I'm writing this post from my room at the Kames Hotel, near Tighnabruaich, on the Cowal Penninsula in Argyll. A hotel which has three small bar rooms in the floor below. Joy.

What am I doing here? Well, this is my big walking weekend at Cowalfest, the Cowal Walking and Arts festival! More about the walking festival in another post. This post is reserved for complaining.

The walk I'd signed up for today was The Coffin Route. In the festival program(me), the was is described as follows:
Imagine you are a pall bearer carrying a coffin. From Glenkin we take the Coffin Route over the saddle to the graveyard at Inverchaolin church and explore the history of the area. Forest roads and some rough open ground at maximum hight of 400m.

I admit that I was a bit nervous about this walk because it was rated as an E on a scale from A to E with E being the most strenuous. But I was looking for something a bit more challenging, and this seemed the best possibility for Saturday. And it didn't look impossible. "Some rough open ground at maximum high of 400m" seemed doable.

Well perhaps it would have been doable. The only problem was that thanks to some folks who wanted to go shooting, we had to divert from the usual route (which would have taken us within range of the shooters) to higher, rougher ground. A lot higher and a lot more rough ground. It's funny. Those hills seem so nice and smooth looking at them from far below. You'd never know that they were full of ankle-twisting ground, knee-high grasses and bracken, and moss so deep and spongy it swallows your whole boot when you step on it. I fell several times, and I'm still amazed that I didn't break an ankle.

Oh, and that first time I fell -- yeah, that's whem I'm pretty sure I lost my camera. (And trust me, there was NO POSSIBLE way I could have gone back to try to find it. I could have dropped it 5 feet away, and I probably couldn't have found it. Such was the terrain. It's what they call heather moorland.)

I lost my camera!!!

I'm really upset about this, in part, because it was my camera. My parents gave it to me. But what I'm really, really upset about is losing my pictures of this somewhat horrible day. Plus, in theory I have one more walk tomorrow, and I won't have my camera for that walk either! (Ok, I did stop to buy a disposable camera on my way out of Dunoon, but it's not the same.)

Sigh. In spite of the struggling through bracken and twisted ankles, the scenery both macro and micro was beautiful. I was trying so very hard to capture as much as I could so that I could remember and share. Even the darn twisty grasses and mosses of the moorland were beautiful. Golds and greens and even some reds. The heather was mostly done blooming, but here and there a few small, purple buds were mixed in to add little dots of color. The top of the hill was in clouds, which made for chilly walking, but also whispy views. Argh!!!! I want the pictures on my camera!!!

I guess, it kind of feels like I did that walk all for nothing. Just about every muscle in my legs is aching. I am grouchy and tired. I really wish I had stayed in Dunoon for another night or two rather than comming out to the other side of the penninsula. Because the buses don't run on Sunday and now I'm basically stuck here until Monday. Whine, whine, whine.

Tomorrow I'm supposed to go on one more walk, but I don't know. As I said, my legs hurt, and I'm really feeling like wallowing in my misery. I think I'm going to leave it to fate. Will I wake up in time, or won't I?