Running to breakfast – Al Qudra

Al Qudra is a well-known cycle track out in, pretty much, the middle of nowhere, towards the vast open desert lands. Dubai Municipality have taken the initiative to pave a pathway for cyclists that runs parallel to the road, but separate from the road for safety’s sake.

But are runners allowed there?

Al Qudra cycling track parking lot

Well, my running buddies and I decided we’d give it a try and find out the hard way – we just arrived there one morning, hopped out the car bikeless, and hoped for the best.

Since it was our first time to this area we decided to test out the ‘facilities’ and were completely wowed by them – a totally nondescript building from the outside, but upon entering it’s as if you’re stepping into a hotel’s toilet facilities. Beautifully and tastefully decorated, lockers running along the one wall, shower and separate changing stalls along another wall, and then a row of toilets. Completely unexpected great start to our run 🙂

The nondescript facilities 🙂

Once we’d got that out of the way we headed outside and did a bit of a warm up, questioning if we’d actually be able to run as we saw only cyclists all around us. We eventually decided to ask a group of cyclists and they were extremely helpful and friendly – giving us the advice to ensure we stayed left (facing oncoming traffic), and enjoy!

So we set off, with no distance in mind – just to run until we felt like turning around, and then run back. The track, and scenery, are exceptionally boring, but this is a very safe area to get some decent mileage in, without being too crowded.

The track, parallel to the road

The temperatures are starting to make life rather difficult and so after only about 6km’s we really started feeling the heat and were all very glad that we were only 1-ish km’s away from being back at the start line… and we now had breakfast to look forward to!

Running buddies 🙂

After our first choice of location was shut for maintenance, we landed up at Nathalie’s in Sports City for breakfast. We all immediately ordered delicious freshly squeezed juices of different flavours, and then got the food orders stuck in, which we pretty much managed to wolf down. Yum!

Week 41 – A new run, a new chill

I’ve lived in Jumeirah Village Circle for a little over a year now, and while I’ve been told that there’s a tunnel that connects us to Sports City, I’ve never actually done anything about checking it out (if you’re not a Dubai resident, I apologise for this probably not making any sense right now!)

Anyway, on my run the other night I was scheduled to do a run around JVC, which is approximately 9km’s… until on my drive home from work when I decided that it would be fun to find this tunnel and see if I could incorporate Sports City into my run – definitely something new!

So, that’s exactly what I did 🙂

I got home, changed into my gear and headed out the door in the direction I knew I needed to go to find this darn tunnel! And find it I did 🙂 It involves climbing down a bit of a sand bank from the side of the road, and then you run through this tunnel, which is underneath Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (again, non-Dubai residents, sorry for not understanding the magnitude of what that means 😮 )

The arrow points to SMBZR - a 6-lane highway, in each direction!

The arrow points to SMBZR – a 6-lane highway, in each direction!

The tunnel is fairly long – after all, it is the width of SMBZR – and it’s DARK! At first I had a tiny bit of concern in case there were rats or wild cats or something on the loose, but I just kept going, sticking to the middle of the tunnel all the way… and came out on the other side and bam! I was in Sports City 🙂

I then just ran where the wind blew – while I sort of know my way around, it’s different when you’re on foot, and I had entered through an area that I’d never seen before, so it was all a little weird. But I just kept turning right, thinking that at some point I’ll turn around and head back the same way I came in.

I pretty much stuck to that strategy for the whole run and boy was it a good run! I took it easy, not wanting to exert myself too much before the upcoming race this weekend (only a 10km, so nothing too exciting), but also not wanting to be too slow on my feet.

I was well happy with how I felt when I finished the run and even more happy that now I know of a new place that I can run which means keeping things a bit more interesting and not just running around JVC all the time.

My run :)

My run 🙂

And then I enjoyed a proper chill night on Thursday night – the night before the race (fairly uneventful 10km – finished under an hour, but no post required). I headed off to movies-under-the-stars at West 14th on Palm Jumeirah. Yes, I’ve done movies-under-the-stars before, and even on bean bags, but this was a new venue so why not throw it in here for something new?! 🙂

It’s free entry, and you can buy all sorts of stuff there to keep you happy – popcorn, hot dogs, drinks (alcoholic and non), snack packs etc. And with a view of Dubai Marina’s skyline… well, it’s hard to beat!

The screen with the Marina skyline in the distance...

The screen with the Marina skyline in the distance…

Where the food and drinks magic happens :)

Where the food and drinks magic happens 🙂

Week 37 – 5-day long weekends for EID

A belated Eid Mubarak to any and all of my Muslim readers 🙂

Eid-al-Adha, the long Eid, falls approximately 40 days after the end of Ramadan each year. Generally we are given 3 days of public holidays which almost always mean that we get a 5-day long weekend – bliss! And the schools really enjoyed it this year by being given the whole week off so a whopping 9 days off without having to apply for any actual annual leave!

Anyway, over this particular Eid break, I was here in Dubai so I tried to make the most of my days off by doing a bunch of things I don’t normally get a chance to do – visit the salon for a 2-hour long treatment during the day, go watch 2 movies in a row at the cinema, party it up hard with friends, chillax a bit, try out new lunch venues.

Over these 5 days I managed to do at least 3 brand new things so sit back and relax while I tell you about my fabulous Eid break 🙂

Friday night we had a games night at home so nothing new there, but a really enjoyable evening as always.

Saturday we chilled about a bit and were meant to go to dinner and then party it up but it was then announced that Saturday night would be dry i.e. no alcohol from sunset Saturday to sunset on Sunday 😦 So plans needed to be changed, and fast!

We decided to go to movies and instead of splurging our money on a night out drinking, we decided to splurge on move tickets – 7 Star cinema tickets which are super expensive (AED150 ticket only) but oh-so-much-fun! You sit in leather seats that recline fully, the legs lift up (like a lazy-boy), you’re given a blanket, and you can order food using the iPad that’s in the armrest of your chair, and they bring it to you during the movie!

We then decided that it was too early to head home so we bought tickets for the next movie (just the regular pleb type tickets) and watched a horror movie before heading home 😮

Sunday I visited the salon for a hair colour and to try out this whole brazilian keratin treatment that girls rave about…. and so far I’m loving it! I was a bit put off on Sunday when I walked out of the hairdresser because my hair felt incredibly oily but the girls assured me it didn’t look it. I pushed it for as long as possible before washing it again (made it to Tuesday morning!) and it now looks and feels great 🙂

My Hair's not quite that frizzy, but this is the idea...

My Hair’s not quite that frizzy, but this is the idea…

Sunday night we then decided to have a big girls night out partying which was the best fun! (And my hair looked amazing 😉 )

Monday morning was a total waste (haha) but I then headed off to lunch with some friends which was meant to be at a restaurant that none of us had ever been to, but the boys decided they wanted to have a few beers and this place is unlicensed, so we headed off to somewhere else… again not new, but another really enjoyable afternoon.

I followed that up by meeting up with the football girls to try out  a new escape room challenge which was SUCH fun and so hard and even scary to a point! This was then followed by dinner.

Tuesday – our last day of holiday… so Villa Kunterbunt (that’s the name of the house I live in 🙂 ) decided to go for breakfast together – and we tried out a place that none of us have been to before! Nathalie’s in Sport’s City. Just a simple café type place but done up really well, and the food was delicious (well, mine was at least – JPEG & Roomie were not that happy with theirs 😦 )

And that’s the end of the weekend! 5 days – Gone!