OK, fair disclaimer before I even start writing this baby… this race is not something new to me. I ran in the inaugural race in 2016.
However, I have nothing else to talk about that was absolutely new for the last week, so I’m considering these factors as new for this post, and about this race:
- A friend of mine has recently started running and it was to be her first time running in this race
- It’s the first time that her & I have travelled together for a race (we spent Thursday night before the race in Hatta together)
- It was the first time either of us stayed in the particular hotel
- I ran the race much faster than I expected to, which was a much better finish time than the first time I ran it – so a course PB!
We drove up to Hatta (just short of 2 hours – with traffic – from Dubai) and spent Thursday night at the Arabian Holiday Resort.
It was a very basic ‘resort’ but it covered all the right bits and pieces that we needed:
- Clean, comfortable beds
- Warm running water (although I didn’t turn my water heater on so had a cold shower post-race!)
- Breakfast post-race
- Friendly, helpful staff
- Only 15-minutes drive from the start line
The morning of the race was nice and cool, and the atmosphere at the race village warm and energetic… just the way it should be!
They called the 21km runners to the start line so I said bye to AK (she was running 10km) and told her to shout for me when I crossed the finish line 🙂
I had pulled a muscle in a race the week prior so I’d done very little training during the week and I had told myself that I needed to keep things very steady and easy for this race. My goal was to finish just one or two minutes faster than the last time I ran this, and as long as I stuck to taking it easy I shouldn’t have a problem.
After the first few km’s I was coming in a little faster than my plan but I was feeling absolutely fantastic, so I made sure to not go any faster than that, and promised myself that when I got to the big ass hills, that I would WALK up them. No matter what.
Not a friendly hill – everyone walks!
Next thing I knew I was passing 10km’s and I was feeling fab. Just another 11 to go. Then it was 10, and then we were into single digits… and I was still feeling fab. At one point I came up next to another runner who was walking on a flat stretch, and I could see a hill coming up ahead of us, so I told him to run to the hill and then he can reward himself with walking up it 🙂
With each km that was passing, I kept thinking to myself that I knew I was doing better than planned, and the best feeling was that I kept thinking of just how much I had struggled in these last few km’s the last time I ran this race. I recall being almost in tears at 17kms because there was yet another little hill to go up and I just could not bear the thought of it. The last km of that race was awful for me and I remember coming across the finish line and swearing it blind because it too is UP.A.HILL!
Some of our views at the top of the hills
But this race I was smashing. I got to the 20th km and because I knew that 21 had that sneaky hill at the end, I decided to push super hard in the 20th km (I would normally try do this in the last km of the race) so that I wouldn’t feel too bad when not being able to push at the very end. And boy did it feel great! That 20th km was done in only 2 seconds slower than my very first km. I was killing this race!
I eventually ran into the hotel grounds and began to make my way up that gradual incline to the finish line (AK was waiting on the sideline for me as promised 🙂 ) and I drew my last bits of energy and gave it my all at the end to cross the finish line in a time of 2:07:34… a whopping 9 minutes faster than the last race… and 8 minutes faster than I had set out to do!