Week 19 – Wings for Life!

On Sunday 7 May, I, along with 155,000-odd people took part in the Wings for Life charity run (for spinal cord research) which is held in approximately 100 different locations around the world.

It’s a simple concept. At exactly the same time all over the world, runners gather at the start line, be it day or night, rain or shine (and in our case extreme heat) at the start time. The whistle blows and everyone all over the world starts to run. There is no finish line though… 30 minutes after the start time, a ‘catcher car’ is set off at 15km/hour in each location and it has to catch the runners. Every 30 minutes it increases speed gradually; 16km/hour, 17km/hour, 18km/hour, and then it sits at 20km/hour for 2 hours. And the people are still running out ahead of it. Well, most of them anyway.

Under the UAE flag at the start line in Dubai

When the car eventually catches you, at whatever distance you have managed to reach, you have to stop running and you are recorded at that distance. Some people make only a few km’s – in Dubai specifically there were many people pulling out before the car even set off or managed to catch them, due to the heat.

Catcher Car

But soooo many runners are able to push the limits of running and keep going for hours as the car tries to catch them, and the last person standing – worldwide – is declared the overall winner. Of course, there are winners in each destination, but to be the last person standing is a massive accomplishment… and in this year’s case, the overall winner was not standing. Instead, he was in a wheelchair, and he pushed himself 92km’s before the car caught up with him!

And to top it off, he was in DUBAI! Where the temperature was approximately 41 °C at the start at 3pm!!!! An incredible accomplishment in so many ways!

I managed to round up 4 people, plus myself, from my work to get out there in the crazy heat and run for those who can’t, and I’m proud to say that we had 2 runners who did exceptionally! They made 16km’s and 11.5km’s…. I followed not too far behind at 8km’s, and then we had a 7km finisher and one runner, unfortunately, had to pull out at 5km’s, before the car even caught him. But an incredible run by everyone considering the extreme weather we endured for the run.

Me, at 6km’s… didn’t think I’d make 7km’s so took a photo at 6 🙂

I hope I am able to take part in this event next year (although it would be great to do it in slightly better weather!), and I urge everyone reading this to get involved too! It is a wonderful event for a great cause, and it is so inspiring to be part of this!

Run, walk or crawl – but do it for those who can’t!

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# 51 – Hill Repeats

To be a runner all you really need to do is get out there and run.

But to be a better runner, you should include various types of other workouts in your training to assist in speed, endurance, strength and all over body fitness… some of these workouts being HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), hills, cross training (swimming / cycling) etc.

In the last few months I’ve tried to include these other types of training into my workout schedule – I already do lots of strength training with my kickboxing and gym, so I’ve now tried to focus on more of the alternate ‘running’ workouts – intervals and hills.

I did hill training for the first time this past week and boy did I love it!

I went to the Dubai autodrome for my usual run there. I did one full lap and then doubled back on myself to get to the hill bit. I jogged down the hill, put my water bottle down and caught my breath a bit.

And then I gunned it up the hill!

And jogged back down.

I did this a bunch of times – maybe 8? I lost count. But all in all I did a little over 3km’s of running up and down the hill. I pretty much went until I was exhausted and then headed back to the pits at a very easy jog pace.

I will most definitely be including those more often in my training – maybe they should be my weekly Wednesday autodrome run?! Or at least every second week…

Unfortunately I forgot to take photos during my run to give you an idea of what the hill actually looks like so I outsourced some photos from a friend…. it’s quite difficult to show the elevation changes around a track like this, but trust me – it’s steep!

And now I leave you with this:

This is what running is about…

I had an awful run on Tuesday night – so bad that when I arrived home I was very close to saying “I quit” and never lacing up my shoes again 😦

But I did, on Wednesday, to go meet the new running group that I’m part of. It’s not a running club – it’s just a group of friends who get together once a week for a run around the Autodrome.

And boy was I glad that I went!

I had an excellent run – started strong (although didn’t think I would), felt strong throughout and finished strong. And all the way with negative splits between each kilometer! Winning 🙂

It’s runs like that that I remember why I enjoy the sport so much!

I’m now sitting on 20% of my 1000 mile challenge completed – a little behind schedule but if I continue to have good runs like last night then I see no problem with catching up very soon 🙂

Finally!

Finally!

And here are a few random photos of the cats lately…

Emmett cuddling in bed with me

Emmett cuddling in bed with me

Prince being terribly cute

Prince being terribly cute

Big Spot napping in a strange position

Big Spot napping in a strange position

Dora climbing on my back

Dora climbing on my back