Running longer and faster… a few thoughts…

Archive for January, 2012

Race Report – Dubai Marathon 2012/01/27

Planned: 3:20/3:30, not too fast first half – Run/Walk/Run as in Budapest

Actual: official 3:26:32 – new PR by 27min from Budapest in October 11…
Splits: 1:40 / 1:45 (really tired from km 36 where the speed started to drop)
needed rehydration after the finish line.
one week to recover before starting up the training for half-marathon in Paris
Race Results:
place (M/W) 22
place (ag) 2
place (total) 230
time total (netto) 03:26:32
time total (brutto) 03:26:39


Before Race: Finally slept around 1:30am and up at 3am. Difficult to wake up and ate cereals Special K + soy milk + drink water 1dl every half-hour. Back to bed and up again at 3:30 and 4:00am for drinking water.

4:45am last time up. Shower (of course no warm water when you need it so much!) – fix the hair and got dressed. Woke G up to get ready as well. Finalizing the bags that G will take with him.

Taking a cab at 5:30am to Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall metro station but he stopped suddenly at the station before! Aaaaaah do not start stressing me here! Finally he continues to the correct station. Start to see the flow of half-awaken people walking to the start.

Nice feeling, it is still darkness, slightly chilly, bright city lights but so exciting! M not finding a place to come and join us at the white/black statue so we move forward to meet her. Now G is in good hand and I can focus on the race…

Aiming to the start. Lots of nice lights everywhere in the dark city. Queuing for the toilets – 35 minutes to start… going quick though. Was a good move to stop and feel good from the beginning!!! Now felt ready to run. Jogged easily to the marathon start with 20 minutes left to go. Make my way through the crowd and am stopped by a white line. Oops! Apparently went to far to the front of the wave runners. Just elites and numbers <200 in the front! Not finding any pace-maker either to follow… so will have to trust my watch! Decided not to take T’s mp3 though it could help keeping a good rhythm.

6:50am Now we start walking to the start. I can see Isabella Andersson back – she is only a couple of meters before me… Cool! Meeting two of the French guys we met the day before while eating at Italian restaurant. Wishing good luck!

The Race:

> 7:00am – Prompt! AND start it is. Slow and easy with enough place for everyone to run. No pushing.

> first 2km – following a woman with an mp3. But feeling food so increased slightly my pace. Until km9, can see the sun going up on the city. Have no caps on the head but sunglasses (+ 2 vitargo & dextrosol tablets 🙂

> Nice feeling until the turn of 9K – average pace faster than planned (4:59/4:52) – but feeling good so keep on running at the pace. Find another woman with white t-shirt and decide to follow her. She will be between 20 and 600m ahead of me from this point to km35.

> km10, walking for 1minute – lots of runners tells me to run again, but it is in my plan to “run/walk/run”.

> km11, taking first vitargo + little water. No water taken at previous station. Feeling good. Have sunglasses now. Decide to take a few gulps of water every second station. Average pace down to 4:46 and feels nice to keep it this way. Meeting the French Army guys again. They seem to need a lot of pit-stops… Speeding up during km13 – just felt like it and felt great!

> Not much happens on the way to km21. Cool to meet the elites on the other side of the road though (as Dubai marathon is a loop route). Still running after the woman in white t-shirt. Passing km21 sooner than planned at 1:40 AND turning point of “km22+”. Lots of cheering there. Good to have! Meeting the same Swedish lady three times along the way. She cheers well! Running as the a woman seems to get a lot of attention here.

> Around km23/24, the “Run/Walk/Run” strategy ain’t working well now. Feeling tires but the legs continue to run. OK I did not followed it to the letter, OK I ran longer than planned and faster than planned expected… but still, it seemed a good alternative. Taking a second vitargo at km25/26 + water. What a waste all over as we get bottles of water and not glass. Most runners take a few gulps and throw the bottle away… Took the GU gel distributed along the way but not daring testing it on the run so it join the rubbish quite soon. Getting a little Isotonic at a station (too concentrated 😦 ) – sponges available to cool off the head (water running all over / cooling down my thighs as well). This second half is much tougher than expected.

> From km32, can no longer keep a good nor steady pace. Getting closer to the woman in white t-shirt. Have been pulled by several runners along the run. Good to know as a tactic for future run! Find a pacesetter 🙂

> km35 – the women in white t-shirt cheers for me but can no longer follow so I let her behind. Getting cheerful messages like “7 to go” or “Go girl” => Thanks!

> km36 is the most painful – sun is up – traffic is already heavy on the other side of the road and I am tired and I have got enough!

> km37: want to jump on the nice couple cheering with a sign “5 to go, U can do it!”. Apparently THEY are not running! But having run 37km it felt as good (or bad?) to go for the finish line. The breathing 3-3 I had almost all the race still ok, but the legs won’t go any faster. Or is it the mind seeing everything much slower than it is… Checking my lap time and noticed not surprised than I am running slower and slower…. Good for a 3:23-3:25 still 😦

> km38: close to the bridge – apparently I shout as people are looking – not even noticed it! Good behaviour ain’t on the list for a marathon (or did I miss it?)

> km39: Last long line / Try to speed but nope – legs not answering to my payers. An Italian runner cheers for me (I had met him in bad shape at km35-37 and cheered for him, so now he caught up and what a give-away!) – No man, you are right! I’ll finish this and with a smile!

> km 40: 2.2km to go and feeling good. Cannot go faster but the body is fine. A bit of pain in the lower back since km22/23 is growing silently.

> km41: Getting supporters to tell me to catch up with the men before me an beat them on the clock! Which I happily do as well. All the rest of energy is burnt to get 2 more places but let the Japanese guy flying in front of me.

> km41.8-42.2: Toughest 400m ever! Good with the crowd cheering. Even taking time to smile to the photographer. Eye on the clock: 3:26:xx

After the race:

And the rest is history. Well almost! Making my way to the queue for a well-deserved massage, I am standing under the sun for a while and when it is finally my turn, I just fainted in the arms around me. Up with the legs, people talking, carrying me, talking and talking… When I get conscious again (probably only few minutes after), I am laying on a bed in the med tent. Asked lots of questions about the run (especially as not many women were ending before me), drink, food, health… Not remembering really much apart from them taking shoes (I had them off since the massage queue) and putting them out of my sight – which made me crazy! Anyhow, an hour or so and lots of drops later – apparently I was close to severely dehydrated… Had not noticed really and thought I had drunk enough throughout the race. They contacted M and finally G can see me and despite feeling better thanks to the drops, I felt bad seeing him really sad as I am laying down on a bad with drops!

The afternoon is passing like a charm – walking around, showering, pictures on the spot, eating ribs (HUGE ones!) and then time to go back to the hotel. I lay down “just for a couple of minutes” and woke up 2 hours later – pain in the lower back!


All in all, the marathon was a great experience (again!). Cannot wait for London really (well – Paris half-mara will be a little warmup in between). Difficult really to understand how the mind is working. Despite having finished just a 42.2km race, the only thing it can think about is “When is the next one?”… or was it the sun melting the brain for a while…

A few checks for next time: drinking enough? energy gel taken at correct time? pace for the first half?