I’ve always wanted to run the Aberdeen Baker Hughes 10k. Well, when I say always what I actually mean is for a good few years since I knew it existed. However, I have always been away at the Cateran Trail 55 Ultra Race on race support duties. This year I decided to enter. On my fitness spurt back in December and January, I thought this would be a great idea. Fast forward a few months on and how does two weeks of training sound? Yup.
I wasn’t worried about running the distance but I was thinking I should have put a few more months into the training. Still as things worked out, I just wanted to enjoy and feel the atmosphere – that was all I ever wanted to do. It was my first proper city race and what better place to run than at your local one.
The night before I must say, I was apprehensive. Why, I’m not really sure. Maybe it was the sense of potential personal disappointment, the fact that I was going on my own (not that I minded at all, it was just the sense of the unknown) or the fact that I might sleep in and miss it. I almost felt more apprehensive with this than I did the night before I had to give a presentation I hadn’t yet finished to 150 people….strange. However this morning I was absolutely fine.
My race pack arrived around the beginning of May. I always feel a little odd receiving a t-shirt before the event as sneaky people could wear it unearned. However I was determined to wear it, even if it didn’t quite fit in my ‘what I’m going to wear so that I’m not too hot or too cold plan’. Temperature wise I would probably have worn a long sleeve top and capri leggings so in modification I decided to wear this over a long sleeve top (it is quite thin) and shorts with some sports boxers which MikeR no longer wanted. That was until I discovered that both pairs of shorts and 3/4 leggings had just literally been put in the wash. Ooops. Oh well leggings it was!
My next dilemma was what to wear to get to the Beach Boulevard where it all kicked off. So I picked my oldest paint covered trousers and yet another couple of MikeR throw outs in an attempt to reduce their attraction for someone else while they sat in the changing tent. Luckily this worked and they were still sitting there when I returned.
Breakfast was my usual piece of bread with peanut butter or cereal and a bowl of fruit. Except that this time I had both! Wasn’t a day to be planning on changing things much. I took a piece of brownie with me to munch on before the start which I ended up not having. Breakfast did me well.
At shortly after 8am with everything I needed on my person or not worth nicking I set out to walk the 2.2 miles to the start. This was a great warm up, just enough to get the blood moving around but not enough to be tired for the race. It worked for me in the same way my walk to the gym does every morning. Luckily the weather was dry and it was a very pleasant saunter along the beach front. It was great as it was deserted because the road was closed. There was hardly a soul to be seen.
I arrived with about perfect time. People were milling about and there were loads of blue race t-shirts! I had to nip to the vegan cafe (I know, amazing right!), Bonobo, to get some change to put in the donations tub for the changing facility but at least now I had a delicious vegan chickpea, mulberry and something else brownie to look forwards to at the end. Extra clothes jettisoned, it was time for the warm up which was a quick 5 minutes of stretching exercises to get the heart going. After that we headed for the start pens. I decided to optimistically and confidently go for the 56-60 minute one. Was this the right choice…..? Read on and find out!
It was about 5 minutes after the start/gun time before our group got to cross the start line. It was really weird because within about 0.5km of the start there was almost complete silence save for the pitter-patter of trainers on tarmac. With it being a city race I was expecting lots of people cheering. I wasn’t disappointed from this, it just wasn’t what i expected. Overall the race went pretty well. A stitch almost made an appearance just before the 5km mark but it disappeared fairly quickly, possibly helped by the water stop at that point.
I did feel bad taking water bottles and having only three mouthfuls before discarding them to the side. However, having filled 100’s of cups with water and juice as quick as is physically possible before I know that this isn’t an option! Smaller bottles might have been less wasteful but standard ones are probably cheaper.
Anyway. It was pretty fun running down King Street along the road then round through the flats in Seaton. Or that could have been because it was only 2.5km from the end. There was a small but mean hill coming up to the finish just after Pittodrie Stadium. Generally though it’s a pretty flat course. At the finish I put on the gas for a last minute burst. It was just as well I did because I finished in 59 mins 59 secs! What a close one that was. I was aiming for under an hour and that it what I got – by a hair! We got handed a medal, goodie bag, banana and bottle of water in the finishing chute. It was really well organised and as far as I’m concerned it went very smoothly.
The walk back again was a great cool down though my legs were pretty tired by the time I got home – I realised I had done about 11 miles in total! I think it would be good training for a long distance race to do a walk, do a fast race and then walk again. Again it was blissfully quiet as the beach road was still closed. I could smell the gorse and hear the birds which was really wonderful. If you don’t do the race just go down for the peaceful walk. It makes such a change from all the cars and people there normally.
I was surprised at the range of food in the goodie bag. I wasn’t going to post a picture of it, but then Suri decided to make herself comfy so the picture is actually of her….really.
Having just discovered that there is a pop up vegan cafe in Aberdeen, I checked out their Facebook page. Unfortunately they didn’t do as well as they had hoped in terms of selling food and were trying to sell off excess. It worked out well for me though – I got an awesome range of breakfast burritos, brownies, slices and muffins delivered to my door for a fraction of the price earlier in the day! And it all tastes sooo good.
If you get the chance pop along, they are open on Saturdays 11am-4pm at Aberdeen Wellbeing Centre, McCombie’s Court. I definitely plan on going there when I am in town next time. The food I’ve had so far is really great. Check them out on Facebook.
Did you run it this year? How did you get on?