At night I had the same feelings that I had when I did my first 10k one month before, restless and woke up at 4am drank water and slept again and woke up at 6am.
It is quiet amazing how a passion or strong will makes you change your lifestyle without having a second thought.
When I called the elevator to go downstairs, I wished it did not come so fast, because I knew what’s waiting for me, a couple of hours of work.
I started a good start, was well prepared mentally and took 8 dates in small pack inside my pocket as advised by Salah. He also told me to make pit stops for water at any drinking fountains found in front of many buildings, so not to carry any water bottles.
At the 3k I was already warmed up and needed to take of one of the extra layers I was wearing and tied it around my waste.
I met Salah at 4 mark he ran with me for a couple of minutes and said he will meet me again on the way back.
At the 5k mark I stopped for 5 seconds to take a sip of water and continued, I made another 2 stops at the 13 and 18k. I tried to distribute the dates evenly every 5k.
Again I met Salah at the 16k and for the next 3k I made an extra effort and raised my pace which was very useful. It improved my total time and gave me more trust in my body and not to be afraid later on to raise the heart rate a little bit, as I noticed after a few minutes of the “high heart rate” alarm, it drops again in more comfortable zone.
We did saparate at the 19k mark and I continued the next 2 alone, arrived home at the 20k and needed to do extra 0.5 back and forth to complete the 21k. Need to mention that it was Salah who told me to try the 21k before El Gouna to be more comfortable on the race day, thank you Salah.
Well, here it is “I finished my first 21k, I am a half marathon finisher”, yes it needs dedication,work and perseverance, but it all lies in the head. Anything is possible, I feel “unstoppable today” like Sia says and unbeatable. Thank God “الحمد لله”.