My Second Half Marathon Aswan42

Once I finished my first marathon, I said: What did I do to myself? Next night I was signing for my second half marathon in Aswan.

After 48 hours of rest I did some cross training on the Elliptical bike followed by stretches.

For the following 3 days I ran 6, 10 and 14 kilometers and then tapered to 5 kilometer 4 days before the race.

48 hours before the race I felt like catching a cold and had some sore throat and generalized leg pain.

Arrived Thursday afternoon to Aswan, checked into the hotel, had a walk on the corniche then ate lunch.

7pm, went for the race registration and attended it’s briefing.

10 pm, bedtime but couldn’t sleep at all, very worried, didn’t feel good and was too excited and anticipating to sleep.

4:45 am, woke up after a disturbed night sleep, took a quick snack and was heading to the race venue at 5:15 am.

It felt quiet crazy walking to the race before the sunrise and thinking of what you are going to throw yourself into, but I felt energetic despite all the fears.

6:15 am the race started, I smoothed into the race with a slow pace and enjoyed the rhythm for the next 10 k. Starting from the 5k mark for each 2.5k I stopped and grabbed a small banana and a sip of water.

My plan was to start to gain momentum in the last 5k, but I started to pull myself from the 10k mark, from that moment I kept improving my pace and passing the runners until I reached the finish line.

Although my time was 5 minutes slower than the previous race, my plan was much better and smarter and it felt good and right to distribute the effort along the race.

It’s better to finish strong and powerful than to finish weak and depleted.

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Mental and Physical Harmony

I always preferred listening to music while running than to listen to the sound of my breaths, and I do believe that some songs do add extra power and pace to your body in times you are desperate for any extra help.

When I started this blog I thought of not writing only on running but on reflections on running and our daily life and all what I think off while running.

My cousin who is newbie runner like me, reminded me of listening to podcast while running and how time really flies, I thought of giving it another try and it really helped.

First, podcasts are audio formats of any media form, could be a book, assay, talk show, TV show, radio show.

Second, download an app on your phone, whether it is an iPhone or android you will find plenty of apps under audio/video or podcasts category.

Time now to explore the different shows and add some to your favorites, most apps will offer the offline download option so you can save data.

I liked RadioPublic very much and tunein and if you like audiobooks you can subscribe to audible.com were you can find all the bestselling books in audio format, or take a free trial, buy individual books or add audio format to your already owned book on amazon. Tunein offers in addition to the free service, a paid subscription service that gives access to a very wide variety of audiobooks and shows for a lower monthly fees, however you don’t own the books after the subscription ends.

I thought of trying the free shows first and I really liked it very much so far. Last week I needed to do a couple of easy runs in preparation for my next half marathon next Friday, so I did download a couple of shows and it really felt so good.

It felt like my mind and body are in great harmony both being stimulated in a steady and comfortable way to be in better shape.

Remember running is not always nice and enjoyable, because when you start to run you will notice that you will need to give a lot in order to get one of those heavenly runs.

Now go run and wait search for the harmony and enjoy.

13 things Running & Life Share Together

  1. You choose your route, you like the track, streets parks or the desert.
  2. You choose you distance, long distance, short but it doesn’t mean you will reach your destination.
  3. You choose your running partner, sometimes he chooses you or you might meet by chance or you might choose to just run by yourself.
  4. You choose your pace; some people like to go slow and steady other like to run hard and get more tired but they take a risk of having an injury but at the same time you reach your goal faster and triumph as leader.
  5. You never know what’s going to happen as some things may come up during the run or life and hinder you from reaching your goal
  6. Sometimes you are tired and sometimes you feel you can fly
  7. Do not judge people by their look as ability, speed and endurance are unrelated to your body size or shape.
  8. You set a goal, you break it into small goal and ultimately you will reach and you might even surprise yourself.
  9. No train no gain, this is not rocket science, no pain no gain.
  10. You can rest if you are tired and at some point, you need to stand up and run again.
  11. People may help you, give you food, drinks etc. but it’s only you who is going to make it
  12. You need to be prepared and planned, cloths, training, food and drink, map and pace.
  13. Yes you can cheat, but everybody know you are a cheater.

Running for My Freedom

Whenever someone asked me, why did you tone down your political activities ? I answered: I am now happy and running.

I really felt running as a therapy one day, but I never saw the direct relation between running and freedom.

One friend noticed the direct relation in my case, between feeling trapped with limited abilities to change things to better in my country and running.

Yes I am running for my freedom, I am running to feel free, it’s the only way I feel free now. It’s the time where I have my own time and my own conversation with myself. Wake up early, listen to whatever you choose in your headphones or just listen to yourself and just run, no special equipment needed, just run. No team needed, no coordination with someone, just run. Choose your preferred time and place and just run.

I run from my destiny and to my destiny, I run and I know my starting point and my end point that I choose, but I also feel that I run in a grand map already drawn by god.

 

Lessons Learned from my First Official Half Marathon

1- Don’t exceed your usual pace specially at the start of the race.

2- When you adjust to your comfortable running pace keep going and you may increase your pace as times go by and as you approach the final kilometers.

3- Don’t look behind you, keep focusing, you are racing against yourself only.

4- Don’t judge people by their look and try to relate it with their pace.

5- Drink a sip of water every couple of kilometers.

6- Take small banana piece or a couple of dates every around 5 kilos and don’t over do it.

7- Wear very comfortable cloths that you tried in your previous training.

8- Try to sleep early on the race night

9- If you find a running partner, you will run faster.

10- Listen to your body if you feel tired slow down.

11- Don’t hang much in your maximal heart rate zone and slow down as early as possible, unless you are at the end of the race.

12- Imagine your finish line for encouragement.

Here is The Complete Story – Part 3 – The Event

 

Thursday night, we went to get our race numbers, t-shirts and bags. Friendly atmosphere and a smooth experience. There was live music at Abu el Tig El Gouna Piazza and a free Koshary dishes served by the organizers themselves.

They explained the route, rules and instructions for tomorrow’s big event.

The race started the next day exactly as planed 7:15 am. They prepared the cameras the Hasaballah band and it was a perfect start.

Every 3k there was a water stop, every 4k refreshment stop where you can grab a banana or dates, medical stops and toilets were available through the route.

Live entertainment was there every few kilometers, a guy playing rock music on a hill with his guitar loud and clear, clowns round the corners, a couple of drums every now and then.

Photographers and video directors were there too, and to top it, young children wearing race t-shirts cheering as you approach the finish line.

To be honest I was expecting a nicer scenery route, specially that the race is held in El Gouna, I expected running by the water and through the golf courses, but in fact most of the route was through the desert.

But I expect that it wasn’t possible because of security concerns for passing through the different hotel properties.

Finish line was very well prepared as you expect from any international race.

The after race party was superb, live music by HOH, Hany Adel and Hany el Daqaq.

Bottom line, excellent job by the CairoRunners team, thank you.

 

 

My First Official Half Marathon – Here is The Complete Story – Part 2 – Emotional Breakdown

When you love someone or something, sometimes you don’t have explanations for your behaviors towards your love, but here are some enlightenments of what happened before, during and after the race.

Just before the race started, I had a one very short moment of tears in my eyes, maybe it’s the happiness for finally standing to start what you have been preparing for the last couple of months, maybe I had a short glimpse of the finish line, I don’t know.

While running I had a sense of euphoria that poured tears in my eyes and made my breath shallow and difficult to take but I didn’t mind at all, it’s like meeting the love you waited for so long.

I had another attack when I fought pain at the end, people were trying to boost me up and I was trying to hide my pains and trying to love my journey.

My complete breakdown came at the end, while I am approaching the finish line, you should have seen my face, trying like a kid to hide his cry for losing his love while passing by his friends.

I took a moment by myself and tried to understand what happened and trying to pour what started, but it wasn’t crying, it was some sort of euphoria that breaks into tears and continued as I hugged my wife.

I felt on that day as a man who got his PHD, as man who survived a crashing plane, a real life changing experience.

The next night I signed up for my next race, but I couldn’t sleep afterwards, had a couple of hours of emotional distress, but now I am OK.

I told you, it’s like love, so get ready for some emotional bumps during your journey.