parkrun and Pittodrie: The Abridged Version!

The day started with a great parkrun at Aberdeen this morning, running with my big sister and (briefly) my niece. Always a pleasure, we chatted our way round the course which took our minds off the somewhat unpleasant wind on the way out, and in true Aberdeen style we enjoyed a balmy, warm day on the return leg.

Afternoon saw me walking back in the same direction, this time to Pittodrie, home of The Dons, to watch the football with Bruce. I really should take a little more interest (or listen more), having no idea who was playing until yesterday!

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For me though, the football’s more about the crowd and the people watching. That’s the bit that fascinates me and possibly explains why I’ll go to a live match but am not that interested when it’s on the TV.

Arrived at Pittodrie after a wee stop off at the Kirkgate Bar. If you like a bargain it’s worth a visit – £2-50 for all pints in January! Bargain! Had a pie for lunch and a brief chance to enjoy the pre-match atmosphere…

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Fans queuing for the coveted Pittodrie pie
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Players coming on to start the match

Then up to the stand for the match. Not the most inspirational start, Aberdeen seemed to sit back a bit and although they were allegedly in control it wasn’t long before Kilmarnock went 1-0 up (thanks to the ball bouncing off Boyd’s bum from what I saw)!

The game picked up in the second half and saw Aberdeen score three goals, the second of which was a cracking shot! Final score of 3-1. Edit: McKenna scored 2 including the aforementioned stunning second goal; McGinn scored the third and final goal of the match. (Bruce suggested I add this bit as you can’t mention the opposition without naming the home side. You also shouldn’t use the word ‘bum’ in a football commentary, and the next part doesn’t really describe what the friendly wee chap from Kilmarnock was doing. However, I have to maintain my professional persona in the public domain, I’m assuming most of you reading this are adults, and as such I refuse to change it; you can use your imagination / experience and read between the lines! )

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I have to say that overall I was disappointed by the Dons fans. It would be good to see some more atmosphere and hear a lot more singing! Kilmarnock however, did add to my enjoyment. Their fans were very entertaining in their attempts to goad the home fans, to the point that one poor chap must have missed even more of the game than I!

After the final whistle we hoofed it back towards home, the one bus of fans ‘waving’ as they departed the car park. A quick march saw us reach the Great Western Hotel pretty swiftly where we settled in for some food – not the healthiest option ever!

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Boy, was it fine though! Fourteen miles tomorrow should run off the garlic bread! 🤣

My 135th parkrun and my motivation to keep going

The yoga’s been going well – my yoga streak continues with daily practice ongoing. However, I am still struggling with the darkness and the cold, and the resulting lack of motivation for running. It is what it is and I’m not going to beat myself up about it. I have two races coming up: Kinloss to Lossiemouth Half Marathon in February and Smokies 10 miler in March. Smokies is the one that I’m trying to focus my energy on as I think the boat has already sailed as far as Kinloss is concerned.

With that in mind, and the longer term goal of the summer marathon (Fort William again), I’m trying to refocus my energies and pick up the pace again. Today’s goal for parkrun was due to be a long run with a fast 5k at the end of it, but the reality of work and life meant that I was shattered last night, decided against setting an early alarm, and only managed to squeeze in a couple of miles this morning resulting in just over 5 miles in total.

Warming up, I’d missed my 8:30 chum, Colin, so headed out along the bottom prom knowing I’d meet him on the way back. That made for a fine start to the day. One of the best things about Aberdeen parkrun is the wonderful community and all the people I now consider friends.

My earlier intention of meeting Colin and then doing another loop disappeared in favour of a run in company so I found myself at the start with time to kill. That time passes easily as people slowly begin to emerge from the warmth of their cars. It’s amazing how some days it can look like there’s nobody around and then suddenly a couple of hundred people assemble at the briefing. I look forward to the day when a couple of hundred people also come with their listening ears turned on!!

Although below freezing, it was a perfect morning for running in so many respects. Very little wind and clear skies. Off we went, my intention being to push myself and try to run a little harder run than I’ve done of late. Not quite my intention, I also found myself tailing a wee group with Metro team mates Tony and Dino amongst it. Thinking Dino was perhaps pacing Tony (another one of the great things about our parkrun in Aberdeen – got a goal? Just ask, someone will help you achieve it), I tagged on to them, and as I felt strong pushed on a bit further. Dino then appeared to come with me.

We pushed on, running side by side with no exchange of chat (for once), until the turn. By this point I could feel that I was working hard but breathing okay. Onto the bottom prom I did utter a few words, and was told to stop talking – something to the effect that talking was wasting energy. Thanks Dino!

From this point onwards I received words of encouragement (or bullying) to keep going. I could happily have seen Dino far enough – somewhere out on the horizon in the North Sea would have been perfect – but I pushed on, trying to follow his encouragement and pick off runners as suggested. I’m not sure I was particularly successful in this, maybe managing one or two.

The lower prom seemed never ending, but thankfully did finally finish, and I was glad to get up the last tiny slope and onto the curve back to the finish line. At this point Dino informed me that my body was playing tricks on me knowing it was nearly done. Tricks or not, it hurt.

I held on as long as I could, but sadly don’t have the sprint finish of my fellow competitors, and conceded defeat as Alastair flew past, Dino left me in his wake, and Colin managed to stay ahead of me again. Very well done to each of them on their amazing sprint finishes!

Crossing the line in 21:15 (2nd female today, well done Hannah!) I was quite delighted, no longer wished to see Dino floating off towards Norway, and was actually very grateful for his encouragement. Onwards and upwards, the best time I’ve logged in a while. Here’s hoping if I can actually get myself out the door more often there will be more to come!

Sadly no photos today, so instead a wee motivational shot from last year’s Fort William. I’ve got this …

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Having now clocked the full results I’d also like to add a huge congratulations to my niece, Ellen, who ran a PB today and broke the 30 minute barrier! A great effort!