Running season is in full swing at the moment and I seem to have some sort of event taking place every weekend – and I’m loving it!
This past weekend was a first-time race for me – the Yas Waterworld Half Marathon. The race itself has been around for a whole bunch of years, but only the past couple of years at Yas Waterworld (probably because it was only built a couple of years ago 😉 )
Instead of worrying about getting up at stupid ‘o clock and having to drive down and then race, I decided to book a hotel on the island for Thursday night, and still get up at stupid ‘o clock, but at least didn’t have to sit in a car for over an hour and then run a half marathon.
I stayed at the Centro Rotana Yas Island, which I was very happy with. Basic, but absolutely suitable, clean and comfortable… and they extended my check out time from midday to 2pm, which meant I got to have an enjoyable nap in my room after the run before driving back to Dubai 🙂
So, the race. Well, the final outcome was good and I’m happy with my time…. but getting there was not fun.
I was aiming for a 2:05 finish and was well on track until about 12 km’s when I completely hit a wall (not a literal wall!) and found myself struggling for the next 4 or so km’s 😦 I kept pushing myself and somehow managing to find a small bit of oomph, but then I’d struggle again. This carried on until into the 17th km, which is when I started thinking that I’d maybe not even get a 2:08 finish time (the time that I gave myself as ‘the worst outcome’ time). But thankfully by the time I hit the 18 km mark I had found a great stride and pace again and felt really good (considering) and I was able to push myself through to the end – and crossed the line in a 2:08 gun time… which I knew meant around a 2:07 finish because it had taken me about a minute to cross the start line. I could absolutely live with that 🙂 ** Official finish time was 2:07:11
So, the race itself… well it was actually a really great race. The course is fantastic – completely flat except for a small hill at about 11 km’s and then another one crossing a bridge just before 16 km’s. The race starts at Yas Waterworld and heads out to the Yas Island hotels, down past the marina, back towards the water park, and then you turn right and head out towards the mall. This is where we climb the hill, and then back down the other side, and from here we head out to some rather deserted roads until we cross a bridge and start heading back – and in the distance you begin to see the waterpark and you know that you’re almost home! This was where things turned around for me and I was ever so happy to see those water slides sticking out into the sky 🙂
The organisation of the race was excellent! Yas Waterworld allowed us to enter the park and make use of their lockers which meant no frustrating bag drop areas pre and post run, and of course – fantastic toilets! As a runner we were also then permitted to stay around at the park the whole day if we wanted to, but if you weren’t hanging about, there was still a great breakfast spread that was put on, at no extra cost! Bacon, rolls, eggs, yoghurts, fruit, juices… delicious!
Unfortunately I didn’t do very well at taking photos on the day post-race, but I did capture a few pre-race… and I’ve thrown in the course map and my finish time for good measure 😉
After I’d gone back to the hotel, had a nap and then freshened up, I headed back to Dubai and on my way I stopped at (or make that, drove through) the Last Exit which is a pit stop, food truck kind of place that’s recently opened up on the last exit between Dubai & Abu Dhabi. With my braces on it’s a bit difficult to eat certain foods so instead of enjoying a take-away burger from the place, I just stopped, took a few photos and went on my way.
Quite a few more running and adventure events coming up in the next few weeks (watch this space), and then we start getting serious about training for the RAK half – dare I say it, but I’m hoping to break the 2-hour mark in this one 😮