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!

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Week 44 – Book nerd

I suppose I could be called this, not only because I a) love reading, and b) am doing an English degree, but I have now also spent a Friday night at home, alone, STUDYING!

Not what you’d expect from this runner, eater, drinker, party girl, right?! 😉

But it was fabulous! A night at home on the couch, books and study guides spread around me, Pride & Prejudice playing in the background, and me sitting taking notes on new material that I was reading.

Definitely something new in my lifestyle!

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 🙂