The RAK Half Marathon turned 10 this year and they threw out all the stops for it! It was really fantastic to be part of the run this year, especially after missing last year due to being ill 😦
The same as the other years I’ve run this race, I took a friend along with me (Al), we headed up to RAK on Thursday evening and spent the night there so that I could load up on a decent meal, get a good night’s rest and wake up at a fairly reasonable hour the morning of the race.
I mentioned a few weeks back that this year’s training was very different to years in the past – I did not start with any proper half marathon training in December like I often do because I was on holiday back home, so instead I just hit it hard when I got back to Dubai mid-January. The week before the week of the race saw me do an incredible 47 km’s during the week including the Wadi Bih run that I took part in – probably not the wisest idea ever, but it wasn’t planned out like that and I actually felt absolutely amazing.
The week of the race I went for a sports massage and my therapist told me that I really need to take it easy this week, even though I was very tempted to do just a 5 km run or so. He suggested that I rather do some light cycling (which I did at the gym) and foam rolling, and RELAXING. I listened to him, even though I really wanted to still be doing my regular gym sessions.
Anyway, the morning of the race rolls around, I had a good night’s sleep the night before and am feeling ready for this… although just a touch nervous.
I didn’t put any major expectations on myself for the day – I was just aiming for a time better than my last half of 2:17 (my personal best being 2:14).
The gun goes off and we head out over the start line and next thing I know the 1 km mark is upon us, I blink and all of a sudden I’m at the 2 km mark already! The km’s just kept flying up to me, even though I was trying to drop my pace to closer to 6 minutes per km… currently they were around 5:40. Eventually when I got to 10 km’s – 56:33 – I decided then to just go for it. I wasn’t going to try slow down or even speed up. I was comfortable at this pace and I was feeling fantastic, so I would just keep going and see what happens.
One foot in front of the other, sip of water, munch on a gu chew, more water, one foot in front of the other… the km’s kept rolling on by, and next thing I knew I was looking at the 19 km banner – only 2 to go! I had a tiny struggle between 19 and 20 km’s – my second slowest km dropping down to 5:54 – but then it was just around the corner and the home straight was in front of me! I gunned it, getting that last bit of adrenaline pumping through me, hearing the crowds, seeing the banners that they had up for the last 200 m, 100 m, and BOOM!
I crossed the finish line in a (gun) time of 2:03:45, and my nett time was an astonishing 2:02:05!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another personal best, and knocking an amazing 12 minutes off my previous personal best!
And the best thing about it was that I did not feel completely drained afterwards – I bumped into my massage therapist and he laughed at how much energy I still had… but that was the excitement of smashing my time 🙂 🙂
We then hung around for the Big 10 draw (10 random bib numbers each won a prize worth AED10,000 – most of them cash!), then headed back to the hotel room for a very well-deserved shower, and smashing some food into my face.
Thanks to RAK Half Marathon for, once again, an amazing race – excellently organised, well supported by volunteers at the water stations, race village and just all over the place, and a great new route!
And just to make the post a little more exciting… here are a few photos of the day: