Dubai weekends and the RAK 1/2

Arabic Billboard - what, you can't read that?

On Friday I ran my very first 1/2 marathon.  Up to this week the longest I had ever run was a 10K (6 miles) – too be fair to my struggling athleticism, that was tacked on to the end of an Olympic Tri.  This week I ran 14.5K (9 miles) to prepare for the 1/2 marathon and then…


…on Friday I ran 21K (13 miles) – in case that seems like an odd day to have an organized race, Muslim weekends are Friday and Saturday.

I have to take this time to give myself (and anyone else that ran) a big fat HOLLER!

I love running.  I love it so much that when I’m done a daily run I get a little depressed.  I come home, stretch and feel sad that I’m not still running.  For that reason I took on the goal of 10 races in 2010.  One friend put my silly little goal in rational terms after I told her that about my PRD (post-running depression):

Dhoti - the skirt Indian men wear oh-so-well

“Have you ever run a marathon?” she asked.

“No,” I replied.

“Well, you know that’s what it is, right?  You just keep running without stopping.”

So, here’s my race schedule, inshallah (inshallah is a word used here at the end of practically every sentence.  it means “god willing” and when you start using it you will find that it starts to feel supremely natural.  careful though – it’s addicting):

January – Chilly Cheeks trail run – Reading, Pennsylvania – 7M/12K

February – RAK 1/2 Marathon – Ras al Khaimah, UAE – 13M/21K

March – Dubai Autodrome – Dubai, UAE – 6M/10K

April – Mt. Penn Mudfest – Reading, Pennsylvania – 9M/15K

May – Broad Street Run – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – 10M/16K

June – God’s Country Marathon – Potter County, Pennsylvania – 26M/42K

Emirati Cops...don't you love the hat?

July – ???

August – Random U.S. location with Sammy D. thanks to The Road Trip (new working title: The United States of SammyDarlaJulia)

September – Ditto for the random U.S. location.

October – ???

November – Philadelphia Marathon – Philadelphia, PA – 26M/42K

December – ???

Abayas just look better.

The coolest thing (that was a literary-void phrase) about the RAK Half is the fact that it took place in an Arab country.  Most racers will agree that the race atmosphere is part of the fun of the race.  There is something about the pre-race warm-up among thousands of fellow runners, the helicopters overhead, and the gun going off.  Running across the starting line with throngs of people looking to breakdown their bodies in the same way you are.  All of it is a rush – a goosebump-inducing rush.  Not that I’m a connoisseur, but this one was obviously different from a race in the States.  Here’s my list of 6 reasons why:

1. The street signs and billboards were in Arabic.

Just another mosque in RAK

2. Along the road were crowds of Indian and Pakistani construction workers in their plaid dhotis (long skirts) out to watch the crazy ex-pats run their little hearts out.

3. The roadways were blocked by Emirati police officers.

4. Some of the race marshals were wearing abayas…with fluorescent green vests on top.

5. A mosque wasn’t a rare sight along the way.

6. I didn’t hear a single American accent except when crossing paths with Brook around the 13/18K mark (13K for me and 18 for him – at 6 feet something his legs are a little longer than mine, although he’s convinced I could have shaved an hour from my time had I run in real running shorts and not yoga pants).


1 Comment

  1. John H. said,

    February 25, 2010 at 11:24 pm

    Running isn’t a contest. A race is. I’ve been running on a regular basis for almost 10 years now. Never run a race. Or won one. Races are good motivation for people who don’t run. After they race, they stop running. Running isn’t a competition. It’s a form of lonesome self-control. It’s nice to do to sense the weather. Seek the truth and run for the sun. When it’s winter, run to mock it. Winter feels like spring when you’re heading uphill. Snow feels like summer.

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