Week 3 – Palm run

I probably shouldn’t have run this race 😥

A little over a week ago I got up early and went for a run before work. But I had to cut it short after only 5km’s as I experienced a sharp pain in my leg and had to hobble my way home. The next day at work my leg would ache every time I stood up. This was not looking good.

I phoned my sports massage therapist and made the earliest appointment I could: Sunday afternoon. He had a look at my leg, we chatted about the symptoms and surrounding aches and pains, but he could not give me a definitive answer as to what was causing the pain 😦 The plan was then to TAKE IT EASY for the week. I had to head out for 2 x run/walk sessions, the first one being just 20 mins and the second one being 40 minutes. Both of them brought about absolutely zero pain!

Green light to race – provided I don’t push it with any PB hopes in mind. Fine.

Up bright and early on Friday morning after a fabulously quiet and early night on Thursday, I headed off to the Palm Mono Rail to catch the metro across to Aquaventure to get to the start of the race.

I met up with a few of the other optimalFITNESS runners around and we all lined up for the start together, to then head out at our own pace for the race…. mine being ‘slow’!

I didn’t have anything other than feel to go on so I couldn’t accurately judge my pace – I just went at what felt like ‘slow’. By about 3km’s I was feeling great – no pains in the leg – so decided to pick up the pace ever-so-slightly. And by 5km’s that was a fool thing to have done 😦 I felt the niggle come on and by about 5.5km’s I stopped to walk for a bit. Then ran for a bit and was then forced to walk more by the time I reached 7km’s… I was SORE!

I contemplated pulling out of the race (I had told myself that if I got sore I would do so) but if you’re a runner out there reading this, you know how hard it is to do that! I just could not bring myself to sit out and wait for an ambulance to come fetch me and drive me the last 3 km’s back to the start/finish line… I would cross it, no matter how long it took, or how slow I had to go. But I would attempt a little hobble run as and when I could. So the last 3 km’s were very much walk/run, until the last few hundred meters that I ran to cross the finish line.

I don’t deserve this…

And then really felt the pain!

I could not put any pressure on my leg and walking was not really an option except for completely limping. NOT HAPPY!

So while the race was something new with these beautiful views of the Dubai skyline, it is a race that I really should not have done and I know that, but it’s just so hard to make that decision to not run… I now have to find out what’s causing this pain and hope that my chances at running RAK in 3 week’s time have not been ruined 😥

I went home after the race, had a lovely bubble bath and then lay on my bed with my feet in the air, while getting some study reading done… at least a good book and a cat cuddling me are two ways to put a smile on my face!

Unhappy Hazy 😦

I’ll be back with updates on my leg’s progress… fingers crossed for me please!

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Week 3 – IGNITEDUBAI Race at Meydan

This week saw another running first for me – a new race held out in the grounds of Meydan Golf Course, sponsored by Puma… the #IGNITEDUBAI Series.

Although this was the first race of the new series, I knew it was going to be a good race because I have been running in races done by the organisers (Super Sports) since I started running in Dubai, and I know that they know what they’re doing and always put on a good run.

#IGNITEDUBAI

#IGNITEDUBAI

Of course, this was no exception.

It was a night race, which felt really weird. I’ve done one night race before – the very first We Run Dubai – and still have no idea how to fuel / eat properly before the race.

And unfortunately this time it failed me completely… but I’ll get to that 😦

So, I arrived early at the event, heading over straight after work, and spent the time doing a few warm up runs and just generally pottering about a bit, until they called the racers to the start line for the countdown.

In the starting chute

In the starting chute

We headed off, and my first 4km’s felt great, getting them ticked off in just 21 minutes! In the 5th km I took a tiny walk break as had probably set out just a tad too quick, but was then back on it and again feeling pretty strong.

Until just before the 7th km mark. That’s where the wheels fell off. Quickly.

My gut decided that it was time to find a toilet. NOW. But unfortunately there are no porta-potties on this run because it’s just a 5km loop, out on the back roads of the golf course 😦

I had to stop and walk a bit, and then carried on again – it’s only 3 km’s to go! I kept chanting the distances to myself… getting closer with each step. I managed to find a batch of strength and took off with a shot, trying to get to that finish line the toilets as quickly as possible 😮

Running across the bridge - very blurry as taken while actually running ;)

Running across the bridge – very blurry as taken while actually running 😉

The 9th km was a total fail (7:30 it took me to finish it!) and at one point, with probably only about 700m (yes, 700m!) to go, I actually sat on the ground and had a little cry, and had 2 people stop and ask if I was ok. “Yes”, I said, and waved them on – wasn’t going to go into the gruesome details 😳

Well, I eventually managed to stand up, pull myself towards myself and get to the finish line! I even managed to smile as I crossed that line in just 57:22 – and made a beeline for the toilets! 🙂

So, what did I learn from all of this – well, to not eat chocolate before running!! That was the only thing that I had done differently to any other day when running in the evenings… not the right day to risk something like that, but honestly, I really did not think it would affect me like that. Lesson learned 😉

All in all it was a good race – very well organised, as always, and we got to enjoy a post-race meal that was part of our race fee that we paid. The course was relatively simple, but a decent enough route, and had some corners, u-turns and 2 tiny little hills as we ran up, over and down the bridge.

Set up for post-race dinner :)

Set up for post-race dinner 🙂

The next race of this series is in February – unfortunately I’ll be on holiday at the time so I’ll miss it, but the one after that is in April and I intend on going back, and more than making up for my fail of this one!

My next races coming up are Wadi Bih in 2 weeks, and RAK Half Marathon in 3 weeks! 😎 Always running ❤

Pre-race smiles

Pre-race smiles

Week 34 – Salalah Half Marathon

When I first sat down and drew up a bucket list, on it I included running international races. So when my race/running buddy, Nat, suggested a half marathon in Salalah, I jumped at the opportunity! I can finally say that I have got a foot in the door! Albeit only in a neighbouring country, and my bucket list does state that I want to look at races further afield than just around here in the GCC / Middle East…. but, you gotta start somewhere, right?!

So, I made sure from that point that I did not skimp on my weekly runs and did my best to get some proper distance in – after all, this race was a half marathon! But, running in the UAE, in mid-summer, is not an easy feat. Temperatures over 45 °C, humidity between 60% – 80%. I got out the door as often as I could, and ran for as long as I could although unfortunately never getting further than 9km’s 😦 But I was not going to let that deter me. I’ve run about 5 half marathons before and I knew that I could do it!

We flew out to Salalah after work on Thursday evening and arrived at the hotel late at night, so we simply hit the sack. Friday morning we were up for breakfast and then headed over to the start line to collect our race bags. Since we then had a few hours to kill before having to be back for the 4pm start, we asked our taxi driver to show us around. And what a treat that was! He took us up into the mountains, past the Sultan’s palace and down to the beach, and then back to our hotel so we could grab a last minute nap and lunch before the race.

We headed across to the start line at about 2pm as we were told to be there early to collect our bib numbers and timing chips. We then hung around waiting for other runners to arrive, and for that inevitable countdown to the start of the race.

I think I'm ready :)

I think I’m ready 🙂

Was I nervous? Yes. But to be honest I carefully pushed those thoughts from my head because, although it was humid and crap weather (drizzling and grey), I had been training in this kind of humidity so I had planned my race around that. Just go with your body. Don’t push yourself too hard as this is the first race of the season, and you clearly have not had nearly enough time on your feet to be warranting any great times. Just get out there, and enjoy the run!

No turning back now - lined up for the start :)

No turning back now – lined up for the start 🙂

I decided to run without knowing my pace – switch those little voices off – and went entirely on feel. I felt great setting off and settled into a nice rhythm with a couple in front of me. For ages it was just the 3 of us, until I eventually passed them at about 4km’s (there was no signage on the route so everything was guestimating).

After that I slowly got closer to another runner who eventually told me to ‘just go ahead and pass me’, because he knew that I was closing in. I comfortably passed him and wished him well for the rest of the race, and then set my eyes on the next person to catch up to and hopefully overtake. Slow and easy.

It was around this point that my music then died. I always run with music so knowing that I still have approximately 14 km’s to go with none was a little worrying… but I had no choice so I pushed those thoughts out of my head. And I did quite well at it… until I reached approximately 8 km’s where my body decided it needed a rest. Time for a walk break 😦 And I now started focusing on every ache and pain in my legs and body.

Taken just before my first walk break

Taken just before my first walk break

I kept pushing myself and was so happy to see Nat as we passed each other around the halfway point (she was quite far ahead of me) – it picked up my spirits just that little bit that I needed. I had come halfway… all I had to do was get back to the finish line now.

The second half of the race was incredibly difficult for me – I was run-walk-run-walking the whole way back. I tried to keep the running bits as long as possible, and when I had people come up behind me that I’d recently passed, it helped push me along to keep ahead of them. And once I saw the lights of the finish line in the distance, I knew that I had to just dig deep and finish the race as strong as possible.

The last kilometer or so I pulled on all my reserves and made sure I ran it all. As I got close to the entrance of the finishing straight, I picked the pace up, and saw Nat on the corner cheering me on! I slowed down just a touch again so that I could take the final corner and then sprint to the finish line – crossing it in a (disappointing) time of 2:27:16.

I was very thankful to then have Nat tell me that everyone had finished around 10 – 15 minutes slower than their target so it made the finishing time a little easier to swallow… I had hoped for a 2:16 / 2:20 finish so I was within the range of everyone else.

We made it!

We made it!

Race overview

As this was the first race held by the Muscat Triathlon Club, there were a few teething problems, but mostly it was a great race (nothing they can do about the weather!)

Having the bag collection and then bib number collection split into 2 was a terrible idea – why they didn’t have it done at once is beyond me and it was very frustrating for runners to have to hang around the start line for around 2 hours for no reason. But they did have a DJ there who kept the atmosphere lively, so not a total fail.

Having a 4pm start was really strange. I’ve done a night race before but I don’t remember that feeling so weird. I wasn’t sure how to fuel properly during the day and was so worried that I’d overeat, or over drink. However, I don’t know if it was a terrible thing to have the later start and I would probably enter another race with a start like this.

The course was an extremely easy, completely flat, out and back route. But there was absolutely no signage in terms of how far you’d run, or which way to turn. Luckily the police on duty knew what was going on and were extremely helpful, even to the point of being very supportive and cheering us on! And the volunteers were just amazing! At one water station on my way back, I was really struggling and walking at that point and the volunteers started running next to me and really helping to get me going again. Unfortunately the water stations themselves were not great in terms of them handing out full 500ml bottles of water. This is a total waste. I also don’t know why they had coke at the water stations… but they had orange slices which seemed a huge hit with some of the runners, so kudos to them for that 🙂

Coming in to the finish line I was hot, tired, sore and thirsty. And they had run out of water! This was not a wise thing to let happen. While they did tell me that it was coming, they should be more aware of how much is left at all times so that they can get more there in time before it runs out.

Overall, not a total fail as an event and I would probably look at doing it again.

(Extremely long post finished 😉 )

Heading back to the hotel after a very tough race 🙂