This long weekend was a very long one for me: two races on two sequential days. Today, I’ll do my Perth kilt run race report and tomorrow, I’ll tell you all about my first (and last) Spartan race.
This was the second year of the Perth kilt run. My small, non-Scottish clan attended last year and we were blown away by the community spirit and organizational acumen. This year was no different. If anything, I think they made some improvements.
Saturday afternoon, Mama and Papa Shuffler picked up Mr. Shuffler, my brother-in-law and me. Knowing that it was 32°C, I spent the car ride to Perth hydrating (and complaining about the slasher movies I’ve had to watch lately). At the race, we met up with my friends Chelsea and Renee, both back for their second kilt run.
Kit pick-up was a breeze. The only issue was the lack of Scottish tams which we had been promised. The volunteer I spoke to told me in a half-peeved/half-harried tone that there had been a “tam snafu” and we could pick our tams sometime in the near future. At that temperature, I don’t think I would have wanted to wear one anyway.
We chilled in the shade for a while, listening to the great live music and enjoying a performance by Perth’s official town crier. Apparently, a challenge has been issued to Perth, Scotland for them to beat Perth’s record of “race with greatest number of kilted runners” but they have until 2016 to break it. We Canucks didn’t think they should get five years but I suppose we can afford to be gracious. We can also up the ante on our end too! (Tell your friends…)
We marched to the start behind a band of traditional Scottish pipers. This year, I was expecting the cannon so I didn’t get that extra adrenaline boost that only loud weaponry can give you.
I didn’t have a particular time goal in mind in the days leading up to the race. I wanted to beat my time from last year and if possible, run under 50 minutes. But I learned the hard way last year that if you want to make running gods laugh, tell them your pace plans. And given that it was extremely warm, I just decided to run whatever felt comfortable and pick it up half-way through, if that felt okay as well.
I really enjoy Perth’s race route. The first 2km or so takes you in a circle of the town almost back to the start line. Then you head out and run through Canada’s oldest golf course before finishing in town. There were Scotland pipers every 2km or so and a well-stocked and enthusiastically-manned water table every kilometer. I really appreciated the fact that the organizers had planned for the hot weather. At the second table I passed, there was a line-up of children with water pistols who were taking great delight in hosing down the passing runners. There was even one of those shower-cranes at about the half-way point.
At the 4km mark, I decided that maintaining my pace would be more than enough of a challenge. However, I was able to pour it on in the last kilometer and finish strong. My Garmin said 54:08, which is about two and a half minutes faster than last year. It was a good race for me: no digestion issues and no nuisance stitch rearing its ugly head. I staggered through the finishing chute and soon found myself with a free, cold beer in hand, one of those improvements over last year.
I caught up with my friends and family and exchanged sweaty post-race hugs. Then we out for the traditional, post-race ice cream. Then we headed home, slept and did the whole thing again the next day, except this time with mud. More on that tomorrow!