RAK 2017 in the bag

Another RAK half marathon is done and dusted… but this time I was not able to get a PB on the run. I’m a little upset at myself for not getting it, but I know that I have not put in the proper training and amount of mileage needed in order to get that PB, so considering that I at least managed to finish faster than my half in November, I’m satisfied with the outcome.

As always, I spent Thursday night in RAK (this time with Nat) and got a good night’s sleep in a comfy hotel bed before the big day!

We were up bright and early, eating our oats for breakfast and then met up with friends who were running in their first half marathon! Exciting!!!

Our hotel was only 1.1 km’s from the start / finish line so we walked across, and headed straight for our start chute, and waited for the gun to go off and set us all on our way.

My plan was to aim for 5:30 – 5:40 km pace, for as much as possible, knowing that at that pace I was certain to get a sub-2 hour finish time. And my first 10 km’s were bang on!

But once I was just past 10 km’s I felt uneasy in my breathing and had to take a short walk break. I picked it up again after only a few meters, but by the time I got to 12 km’s, based on how I’d slowed down in that time, I knew I was not likely to get under 2 hours…. but if I could just stick to under 6 minutes per km, I was sure that I would still be in line for a PB.

I kept at it, but once again somewhere after 13 km’s I had to stop and walk again. I grew frustrated at myself here but knew that I had a very long way to go, and I was not going to let this race get the better of me. All I had to do was make sure I slowed down and kept to a steady pace… slow and steady.

With the new layout of the course, the 15 km mark is on the opposite side of the road to the start / finish line, so as I was coming up to that mark there were tons of spectators around, giving off such a fantastic vibe (even though it was mostly for the runners on the other side of the road who were crossing the finish line), but I then heard my name and turned to see a friend standing there, cheering for me 🙂 What a way to give a girl her second wind! I immediately felt strength surge through my legs and lungs and off I went.

I got to about 17 km’s and felt the wheels loosen a bit again… another small walk break was needed. And then I was off again, turning the corner, only 3 km’s to go. You’ve got this!

Er, no you don’t. Only a few hundred meters along and yet another walk break was needed 😦

This was just before 19 km’s and I then told myself that it’s just 2 km’s to go – you can run the rest of the way! Go girl!

But once again a tiny walk break was needed while I still could not see the finish line, but then, not far ahead of me I could see the 20 km mark – I was not going to be walking when I reached that, and there was no way that I would walk within this last km!

I shoved out all bad thoughts and put one foot in front of the other, gave the 20 km mark a high five as I ran past – once again hearing my friend cheer me on from the side line 🙂 – and pushed my way over that finish line, managing a strong (almost) sprint for the last hundred meters or so, and finished in a time of 2:05:15 🙂

About to cross the finish line

About to cross the finish line

Done and dusted!

Done and dusted!

5 Neighbourhoods. 1 Run

Last night was my last long run scheduled before the big race in 10 days time… the RAK Half Marathon has once again arrived!

Another thing that’s arrived is my race pack for the half marathon – that arrived today finally 🙂 Excited! New start / finish point, new route, hopefully new PB (fingers crossed!)

All the goodies :)

All the goodies 🙂

So, about last night’s run…

Well, I decided to try out a new route that would incorporate 5 neighbourhoods. I had a rough idea of the route mapped out in my head, I packed my gu’s, laced up, and headed out the door – not entirely certain if this was logistically possible, but I had to knock out 16 km’s somewhere.

JVC → Sports City → Motor City → Studio City → Arabian Ranches (and back).

And you know what?! It was awesome! It involved a couple of times having to stop at traffic lights, once for a very long time as it’s a huge intersection, and I probably shouldn’t have been running around the massive round-about across Umm Suqeim Street, but other than that it was a fabulous run!

My aim was to have a slow and steady, long distance run – more about the length of time and distance on my feet than the time I was able to complete the run in… and I perfectly accomplished what I was after 🙂

I felt strong practically the whole way – had a bit of a struggle at about 12 km’s but it disappeared once my gu sweet kicked in, and I was strong right to the finish!

It reminded me that I am strong enough to crack through the half marathon next weekend… but will I be able to break my previous PB?! Only time will tell, I guess!

I just have Wadi Bih this weekend to get through and then it’s clear sailing until the half…

So, until then, never stop running!

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