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 🙂

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Week 32: Greece!

This week’s something new is based on Wedding 4 of 4 for the year – and what a way to end off the run of weddings I’ve had ❤

My friends V&A chose to get married in Greece since she is half Greek / half German (he’s Egyptian), and so, of course, the Dubai gang put our plans in place to share accommodation and travel together as we have done for weddings of friends in previous years (most specifically the Jordan wedding last year!)

The wedding weekend consisted of many parts where all guests were invited to join social activities, from Greek dancing lessons on Friday to meet-and-greet dinner and then the big day… with lots of additional off-the-cuff drinks get-togethers thrown in for good measure.

Most of the activities were taking place in Vouliagmeni since that’s where the Reception took place on Saturday night, so our group decided to stay in an area close by – Varkiza. It was a little easier on the budgets, but just as beautiful and only an 8-minute taxi ride away from the action.

We stayed at the Stefanakis Hotel & Apartments which was perfect for what we needed – extremely friendly and helpful staff, happy to cater to our ever-changing requests; decent-sized rooms; a lovely swimming pool; cheap beers; breakfast included; great location.

Myself and Natasha arrived a day earlier than everyone else so we used the day to head into Athens city centre and do a bit of sightseeing on a walking tour of Athens. We were both into taking it very easy for the day so after the tour we found a lovely place to have lunch where we sat for hours, taking in the scenery and enjoying local cuisine (and beers 😉 )

The rest of our group arrived that evening and we then headed off to join some of the wedding crew for drinks… and get the wedding weekend off to a fabulous start 🙂

The next day we had Greek dancing lessons – hilarious fun, seemingly simple but actually rather difficult, especially when the music starts getting faster and you have to keep up with it! But a really fun morning – and now I can say that I know 2 Greek dances (Sirtaki – 3 steps; and Kalamatiano – 11 steps)

That night we were all invited to a meet-and-greet dinner, overlooking the Acropolis – just beautiful at night! Most people decided to take it easy (and not go out partying) so that we could be fresh and ready for the HUGE partying expected at the Reception the next night.

The next day was a beautifully relaxing day which we spent walking around our little area, enjoying a few drinks and local cuisine, sitting by the beach, and then enjoying some sunshine and pool time before getting ready.

And then it was time for the Reception – the reason we’ve all travelled to this glorious destination 🙂

The venue – Island Club Reception – was spectacular! Nice and private with fantastic views overlooking the bay, perfect lighting to set the mood, scrumptious food and the most amazing setup for the ceremony to take place.

Bringing multiple cultures together from such different backgrounds, this wedding certainly knew exactly what to do! From traditional Greek dancing to Egyptian belly dancing and drummers, there was no shortage of entertainment, music and fun!

From start to finish, this was a fantastic wedding filled with hours of fun, giggles, meeting new friends, reconnecting with old ones, experiencing new places, learning new cultures and traditions, speeches, dancing, fireworks, shooting stars, a red moon, sunrise parties and sharing the special memories that we all get to take away with us.

Cee’s Black and White Challenge: The Alphabet

Ages ago Cee started a weekly challenge with the Alphabet theme, 2 letters per week.

At the time I was a bit all over the place and did not have a proper routine in place for checking photos each week to submit to the challenge so I decided then that I’d wait until the end of the challenge, and then submit mine all in one go.

And today is that day! I give you The Alphabet, but mostly in colour, sorry! Enjoy 🙂

A or B

C or D

E or F

G or H

I or J

K or L

M or N

O or P

Q or R

S or T

U or V

W or X

Y or Z