Yesterday, 31st October, was the inaugural Newton 10-mile race in Dubai – and boy did they do a great job!
As you’ll know from my last few posts, I’ve been feeling a little nervous and unsure about this race because of not being quite ready and fit for it… but I was determined to get out there and just plod along and do the best I could on the day.
And then the day before the race (Thursday) I got struck down with a nasty head cold – completely blocked up with the most awful sinus headache… I left work early to go home and sleep for 2 hours, thinking that when I woke up I’d feel better. I didn’t. HOWEVER I kept going as if I was to run the next morning, making my spaghetti bolognese, and planning an early night… but as the night wore on I was having serious doubts and serious thoughts of dropping out. I even checked the website to see if I could cancel with the option of a refund. Nope.
I eventually decided that a DNF (did not finish) next to my name would be sooo much better than a DNS (did not start) and so I got myself to bed early with the plan of getting up and going to the race. I knew that if I felt totally awful during it I would bow out gracefully.
Thankfully though I woke up in the morning feeling 90% better and knew that I’d made the right decision… egg mayo sandwiches were made and off I went.
Feeling the expected amount of nervous before a race, I found myself at the start area, warming up, stretching, getting ready, last minute-pees, eating gu, and watching the crowds while we waited for the call to head to the start line.
3 minutes later and we were off – I hung back at the back of the pack right from the start… at one point I turned around to look behind me and saw that there were only approximately 4 or 5 other runners behind me… so I was really at the back of the pack. But I did not let it deter me. I kept my pace around 6:35/km for the first few km’s and felt great. The first few km’s of the run went around the outskirts of the golf course which meant that it was up and down tiny little hills following the course, and not long after that was out onto the road, through a short burst of sand.
But once we were out on the road I felt very comfortable and strong… I knew my pace was exactly where I’d hoped it to be – maybe even slightly faster but I was feeling great. At around 6km’s I had a little chat with one of the runners and realised that I really was strong because I was able to hold the conversation. The realisation also hit me that 6 km’s is pretty much the farthest I had run since the beginning of October and yet I was feeling MUCH better than on any of my previous training runs. I knew I could do this 🙂
Leading up to the 7th km and slightly past it we faced some serious headwinds (my cap almost blew off and I had to grab at it!) which made that stretch a bit tough, but we turned the corner just after 7.5km’s and it was a lovely long straight along a wide path. I kept body checking myself and each time I came up feeling great. At about 8km’s I had my second gu and told myself that if I was still feeling this good at 10 km’s then I would pick up the pace.
And I did! Between 10 and about 14 km’s I picked up the pace quite nicely, then backed it off a bit when I started tiring out, but around 15km’s we entered the golf course area again and I knew I had a little over 1 km to go – so I gunned it hard! I had to back off after a few hundred meters but I continued running along at a comfortable pace, turned this corner, that corner, the next corner – and there was the finish line! I made a huge dash for it (almost falling flat on my face as a tripped over uneven paving just past the finish line) and crossed the line in 1:44:00!!!!
Unfortunately my endomondo went a bit mad after the 16th km and it showed that the next 500 meters (coz I was too tired to stop it immediately and therefore it kept recording while I paced and walked around and stuff) was done in a time of over 1 hour!!! So that means that I don’t have my actual average pace, but you’ll see below that my per km times were good for the last part… this was definitely a negative split race for me 🙂
Overall the only 2 negative points I can make about this event are:
- The buffet needed a bit of attention. The quality of the food was fine, but they ran out of fruit and when I asked about it the guy said to me that he can bring some later, but that doesn’t help the people currently in the queue (me being one of them) wanting fruit after my run.
- (This one was not the organisers fault) The municipality decided that it would be a good idea to lift all of the drain covers along the route (and elsewhere) on the pavements… which is exactly where we were running. Not exactly very safe. I did not hear of any incidents so I hope that all runners made it through without getting injured on any drain covers.
Everything else on the day was really well done and I will definitely be taking part in this one next year 🙂