Company race day!

I managed to convince 14 of my colleagues to enter a race with me this past weekend 🙂

There were options on what distance to run – a few people choosing to run 3km’s, but most of them opting for the 5km’s… and me all on my own in the 16km option.

I arrived bright and early to pick up everyone’s race numbers and meet them away from the madness of the other runners collecting their numbers. Once we were all bibbed up and ready to go, we had a quick group photo and then off to the start line.

Unfortunately since I was the first to head off, and would be out there a lot longer than everyone else, I didn’t get to see any of them running, or finishing, or join in some of the photos after the race, but a few of them stayed behind and cheered me on across the finish line, which is always a great feeling!

And what a great race it was for me!!!

I ran this race about a month ago – the temperatures were still high, the humidity was high, it was a foggy start to the day with the sun coming out in full force about halfway into the race. It wasn’t the most race-friendly weather 😦 But, this time the temperatures and humidity had dropped a fair bit so I knew that I would be having a better run no matter what.

I had one goal in mind – stick to the average pace that I’d set for myself. About 3km’s into the race, a pair of runners came up next to me, and then went just ahead of me. I stayed behind them for a bit and when I realised that they were doing a few seconds faster per km than my initial planned pace, I decided to stick with them.

At about 8km’s I came up next to them as I noticed that they’d dropped by a couple of seconds per km and were now running slightly slower than my planned pace… but I decided to not get too full of myself and surge on ahead. Instead I kept them just behind me, keeping an eye on their shadow in my peripheral vision. And then at about 11km’s they came up next to me once again, and then just slightly in front 🙂 Once again, I fell in behind them and kept up with their now slightly increased pace.

We continued like this once again until at about 14km’s – only 2 to go! – and I realised that they were once again dropping by a few seconds so I decided to just surge on… it’s the home stretch! And so I opened up my run and crossed the finish line feeling extremely strong, knocking about 6 minutes off the race a month ago – and placing fourth in my age group!!!

I could not believe my eyes when I saw this! So I immediately clicked on my name to have a look at my race breakdown:

I absolutely smashed this run! I was in second place at 11.5km’s!! If only I’d surged on ahead at 8km’s a bit more… but being only halfway into the race I made the (probably wise) decision to not overdo things and preserve my energy for the end. But maybe a bit too preserved?!

Regardless, it was a great race. I’m supremely chuffed with myself as I’ve never come that close to a podium finish! And I definitely would have had enough juice in the legs to keep me going for another 5km’s at that pace when it’s half marathon time… which is a good sign for breaking the 2 hour barrier this season!

Coming in strong 🙂

I’m now looking into the next company run – likely to be February 2018 – and the staff are all rather excited about it! I’ve converted them! 🙂

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Week 43 – Westin Kilomarathon

Another race down the hatch for this season 🙂

But imagine my surprise (disappointment) when I specifically planned and chose to run this race because I wanted to do a half marathon now, then get a bit of rest before the next one in December, but when I registered for this race it turned out to be only 13.1 KILOMETERS, and not 13.1 MILES.

And to make it worse, I only realised this AFTER I’d hit register, and paid for the race… it was a few days later when I was having a look at some of the details and noticed that the number of laps didn’t quite make sense. 1 lap = 4.4 km’s. The distance I had chosen to run (13.1) is 3 laps, and 26.2 runs 6 laps. Now, I’m not the sharpest tool in the box when it comes to numbers, but even I knew that those numbers didn’t add up… and that’s when I noticed next to 26.2 was written KM; which would have made this distance 5km’s MORE than a half marathon!

Maybe the name ‘kilomarathon’ should have given me some clue, but honestly it did not occur to me since runners are usually so pedantic about people calling races anything other than what they are – a 10km race is NOT a marathon. Neither is 26.2 km’s!

But, I was signed up, I had booked a hotel in Abu Dhabi for the night, and was actually looking forward to getting away from Dubai for one night, and so the overnight bag was packed and off we went 🙂

And you know what?! It turned out to be absolutely awesome! Ok, and much harder than I expected the race to be as it involved almost only sand & grass – not something I’m very used to. My own fault really since I don’t do anything to train on this type of terrain! And in hindsight, I’m super glad I wasn’t running 13.1 MILES on that course… I would have really struggled!

Registration and race number collection was super easy, they had lots of chairs, beanbags and whatnot around for people to hang about on. There was a DJ playing some good tunes, and people milling about everywhere. It was a really vibey atmosphere prior to the race 🙂

8:10pm arrived and I was off – only 3 loops of this 4.4km course to go. I headed out waaaay too fast in my first km getting all caught up in the hype of adrenaline as people headed out. I managed to slow it down to almost my goal pace in the next km, and by the 3rd one I was bang on target… but not for long. As the km’s then ticked by, my pace got slower and slower as my calves screamed out at me in pain. But I ploughed through, allowing myself the occasional walk break up a hill or through the really tough sandy bits. My plan, at this point, was to run the grass and pavement bits, even if it was at a slower pace than expected, and walk in sand if I had to.

I managed to keep that plan in place for a while… although I really struggled on the second loop. But as I crossed the line for the last loop I knew there were now just 4.4km’s between me and that medal! I kept it slow and steady for the first half of the loop and once I reached the point of approximately 2.5km’s to go, I started to pick it up and managed to finish with a good sprint across the finish line! And to make it absolutely perfect, my friend handed me a beer as I crossed the finish line! Now that’s how I want to finish every race that I run 🙂

Having the room booked for the night was the best idea ever as it then meant a nice hot shower and straight off for some food and then off to a bar to chill out and enjoy some post-race beers, and not have to worry about the long drive back to Dubai!

PIZZA!!!!

I really enjoyed this race, and the course, even though personally I was not prepared for it. At least I’ve learned now that I need to do a LOT more training on anything other than the road!

Chilling by the pool the next morning 🙂