The dusty, hazy skies continue, though not as bad as before. The skies are more the usual summer white than the yellow soup junk. The kids and I have thus far avoided spending our days in the malls, only going once, to IKEA. We will undoubtedly make a different mall a day exploration sort of plan to get us through the rest of August. Hey, they're big, often beautiful, and most importantly, air conditioned. The kids can run around.
It was a red-letter day at IKEA in that Thomas is finally tall enough to go into the kids' play area, and Bethy is just under being too tall. In other words, they got to play and I got to wander IKEA all. by. myself. YES!!!
I was amused to see that the IKEA here serves shawarma, the street food of the Middle East (not unlike, say, hot dogs in NYC). It's grilled meat rolled up with vegetables (and often here in the UAE they put french fries in the middle too) and sauce in a soft flatbread. They're a great fast food and a bit addictive.
Despite the weather, Wednesday night I went for a run with Graham along the Arabian (Persian) Gulf, and it was a sauna. One of those nights where you open the car door and go ugh. If you have any brains at all you close the door again, smile to yourself as you put the car back into gear and say that's why God invented air conditioning. However, if you're like me you grimace and get out. Not only was Graham waiting for me, but I know the weather is going to get worse, probably much worse, before it gets better again.
Graham was looking disgustingly fit and ready to go. So we went. I am sorry to report that I ended up making him walk for a while during the 8 and some km run because, frankly, I was going to lose my cookies otherwise. He was a gentleman and didn't leave my sorry behind, well, behind.
It was marvelous to see him again; I've missed my Dubai cronies while back in the States, one of the perils of having two lands I call home.
Fast forward to Friday morning, 5:10 AM. The alarm goes off and I drag myself out of bed. Put on the running gear, down some water and half a banana and head out into the dark. I was going to run with the Dubai Creek Striders, the marathon training group, for the first time since I was sidelined by running injuries last fall.
I would run about 10K and get a taxi back, I promised myself. I wouldn't run the full 17 kilometers. (10.6 miles)
Well, you know what happened. It was a "I can't believe I ran the WHOLE THING" sort of deal. There was much commentary amongst the runners about "how nice the running conditions are this morning." Though gasping and sweating and plodding along, I was also having a great time chatting, running alongside this person and that, catching up on peoples lives and trips and races. By the time we were only 4k from the end I realised it would be silly to try and find a cab and that I might as well go for it.
Part of my motivation was that I'd found out that some of the runners had run a midnight 27 kilometers during a full moon training session the night before. They'd finished, gone home, slept an hour, and then came back out for more! Kookier than me.
We're all kooks though. I have proof. My throat like sandpaper, I got stiff-legged back into Bird Car. I checked the temperature of our lovely day. 104 F.
Who in their right mind thinks running in 104 degree temperatures is "nice"?!