After the last few weeks not going according to plan in terms of training, I had been feeling slightly hesitant to actually get out there and run the half marathon. My doctor gave me the all clear, and also advised to keep a ventolin pump with me on the day, just in case. So I did.
The day before race day, I took the afternoon off work, picked my friend L up and we headed out to Ras Al Khaimah to check into the Hilton Resort and Spa and chill for the afternoon. We enjoyed some lounging by the pool(s) – they had about 4 pools at the resort – had some late afternoon nibbles and then headed across to the race-hosted pasta party. All runners and their friends / supporters are invited to carbo-load on as much pasta as you can fit in. It’s a nice early night in order for the runners to get to bed and get a good nights sleep before having to get up somewhere between 4:30am and 5am the next day.
L and I were up at 5am and headed over to the runners breakfast, and then drove down to the start/finish line in time for me to line up at 6:45am for the start. At this stage it was way too late to back out, and I had now gone from being hesitant due to my chest to feeling super excited that the day had arrived, and then to feeling nervous – like all runners would have. I had my plan in mind which was as simple as TAKE IT EASY. Listen to your body. I was not aiming for any record-breaking times; all I wanted was to run, and finish, the race that I have spent so much time training for, and looked so forward to.
7am and we were off! I started off at a pace that I believed was slow and steady (I would only look at my time at 10km, otherwise I get too focused on my time) and felt really strong. A girl joined me at about 6kms and we paced each other really well until 10kms where she stopped for some water and I carried on. I checked my time and had done the first 10kms in 1:04… slightly faster than I had wanted to so was a bit upset at myself, but was still feeling very strong so tried to slow down ever-so slightly in order to save some energy for the end.
I got to 12kms and still felt great – legs were doing well, knee was feeling fantastic, chest was doing exceptional, breathing well. All looking good. When I reached 14kms I decided to have an electrolyte gel as this was now the farthest I had ever run in one go. Still feeling strong. 15kms. 16kms. Only 5 to go.
I then felt a slight twinge in my left quad but nothing to stop me… however it did slow me down a touch. 17kms. 18kms (only 3 to go) and now starting to feel it. But it’s only 3kms to go! I knew that if I stopped running I’d battle to start again so although now at a rather slow pace, I continued running as I was feeling mostly good. 19kms and I had a quick peek of my time – just under 2:05, which meant that I was well within reach of a sub-2:30 finish time! The girl who had paced with me at 6kms joined me again at this point; we exchanged a quick hi, and she moved slightly ahead of me. 20kms – only 1 more to go!!! I now picked up the pace and managed to cross the finish-line with a (net) time of 2:22:43!
13 minutes off my last half marathon time! I was well happy! And still feeling in a decent state (as much as one can after having just run 21 kms!!)
After the race, L and I were hanging around while I stretched and caught my breath, and this guy comes up to me and says he works for Adidas. He noticed that I was kitted out all in Adidas (shoes, shorts and cap) and he’d like to offer me a prize worth AED600 – all I have to do is take this bracelet (which he then placed on my wrist) to their stand and hand it in.
My prize – a brand new miCoach!!! The Adidas personal coach tracks your performance measuring heart rate, speed, movement, calories etc., and also offers personal training programs that you set up on your shoe and link to an iPhone (or similar) and then download the stats after each practice session. Yay!