Week 49 – Creek Striders Half Marathon

It’s been 2 days since the half marathon and I still cannot wipe the smile from my face – I had a brilliant race!

I had a time goal in mind – nothing too wild since I knew that the course involved a bunch of bridges and a tunnel and was known to be a slightly difficult course. I knew that I’d be strong enough on the day to at least accomplish my time goal, provided nothing went horribly wrong – my training runs had all been really good and I now had to leave it to the running gods.

Up bright (er, dark, since the sun wasn’t actually up yet when I woke up!) and early, smashed my breakfast and headed off to my friends place to share a ride. Met up with a few other friends and off we went.

It was madness when we arrived there – runners all over the place! Really busy vibe, crazy busy toilets, and energy all over the place. We eventually lined up for the start, wished each other luck and set off once they’d counted us down. Scott, Csilla & I all ended up running together in the beginning; we found ourselves settling in to a really great pace and just stayed with each other for ages!

At about 12km’s or so, the 2-hour pacers ran past us. I was feeling extremely strong at this point and so I said “Let’s keep up with them!” Csilla was on board, but Scott wanted to back off a bit so he waved us on. We ran ahead slightly to get right behind them and then stuck there, feeling really strong the whole time! Eventually at about 17km’s or so we realised that we needed to pass the pacers, and so we did 🙂

But, the strong did not last… at about 19kms I started to really feel it and had it not been for Csilla next to me, I would have backed right off (she said the same thing about me!) We pulled each other along for those last 2 km’s, with the last km being my fastest over the entire course! I mustered up every last bit of energy and crossed the finish line in 2:02:29!

And to put that into perspective – my PB for a half was recently obtained in RAK when I did 2:02:05! On a flat course!

This has given me a HUGE boost of confidence that I will smash the 2-hour barrier in RAK in February 2018!!

The race was really well put together – such a great course with some fabulous morning sunrise views over the creek. I tried to snap a few photos while running but they’ve come out terribly… but the race itself was just great! And finishing it off with a huge bacon (REAL bacon!) and egg breakfast was wonderful!

We had at least 20 runners from the optimalFitness team out there which was great – such fabulous support from other runners and our coach. It really makes a difference knowing that you’ve got all that support 🙂 I will certainly be back for the Creek half next year!

Must.Push.To.The.End!

Smiles all around!

My GPS measured slightly differently so it shows a slightly faster time…

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Week 45 – Al Qudra Lakes camping site

At last! The temperatures in the UAE are dropping to below boiling, which means that we get to sit outside, enjoy more outdoor activities, not melt in your car… and go CAMPING!

I’ve camped plenty times in the UAE – mostly out in Fujairah – and it’s always a fabulous night out, sitting around the fire, music playing, drinks flowing, laughter a-plenty. So, this time we decided to try out a new-ish area, Al Qudra Lakes… an entirely man-made lake area, complete with wildlife, and it’s only approximately 30 minutes drive out from Mall of Emirates area. Winning!

(Taken off a Google search)

We loaded the cars with food, tents, sleeping things, drinks and people, and off we went. 6 of us girls were spending the night, and we had some friends joining just for the afternoon / dinner part of the fun… it’s so easy when it’s so close to home!

When we arrived we drove around the entire lakes area to find a spot – man is this place HUGE! We eventually settled on a spot and got sorted with unloading our goods and setting up camp… and then the serious business of making fire and stuffing our faces 🙂

It’s absolutely pitch black out there once the sun goes down; a real treat to be away from the lights and madness of Dubai for one night… which also means that the stars are AMAZING! Unfortunately no shooting stars for us though 😦

Sunset over the water

But that was not to spoil our night. We had a great time playing games, talking nonsense, having a giggle and enjoying a night out in the desert – to be woken up to the sounds of birds chirping. Fabulous!

Running to Breakfast: Home cooking :)

A slight variation on the whole running to breakfast series but hey, there was running, there was breakfast, ergo, Running to Breakfast continues 🙂

I haven’t done a Friday morning run in a few weeks so this past weekend my friend Zune asked if I’d be interested in a run, and she’d cook me breakfast afterwards… how does one say no to that?!

I then got Sara & Ellie involved, who in turn got another friend Tori involved, and boom! 5 girls heading out early on a Friday morning for a run around Victory Heights 🙂

The suburban streets of Victory Heights

We met up at Zune’s place at 7am and headed off. The loop around the outer perimeter is approximately 6km’s so Zune & I said we’d do one loop, while the rest of the girls were aiming for a 14km run.

We took it nice and slow, very easy conversational (a.k.a fat loss!) pace. When we arrived back at the house, Tori decided to head inside with us while we left Sara & Ellie to finish off their 14km run… and so we headed in and started getting breakfast ready!

Once the others had finished their run, we sat down to a healthy, delicious home-cooked breakfast! Winning!

BREAKFAST!