Saturday, August 1, 2009
I got my mind set on you...
On Saturday nights in Dubai there is only one place you shall find me, and that is at Safa Park running the Predictor.
During the year the Predictor pulls as many as 150 runners on a Saturday night to make the circuit around Safa once or twice, depending on their level of...well, whatever it is. There were only 30 diehard runners last night, gathered in a small group on the grass, already sweating as they stretched and made small talk and tried to figure out why on earth they had shown up once again. The humidity wasn't bad at about 60%, and it was almost down to 100 F.
Neither of those two conditions were what made the idea of running ludicrous. It was the haze. The skies were like yellow soup and the air thick with sand dust. We couldn't even see the Burj Dubai, the tallest man-made structure in the world, towering nearby at 2,684 ft. There was nothing but a wall of pale, sickly yellow dust. Of the 30 runners, only 8 had opted to run the 2 laps (6.8 km). Though being of apparently sound mind and body, I had opted to be the sole woman among them.
There are few words to describe how much I regret eating like a glutton while we were in the States. Eating out all the time, snacking, and loving Mom food over 5 weeks has added up to some 13 extra pounds of unattractive and non run-friendly flab. Even the lovely and welcome breeze soon paled in consequence as we pounded around the track. It was not as difficult as I remembered running in Dubai had been for me last August, but it was terribly, terribly disheartening. There were almost no other recreational runners, just us. There were no Junior runners at all. Only consenting adults, fools that we were.
I think most of my difficulty was mental. It was only by the last third of the run that I got any sort of stride. Before that I lost track of how many times I dropped to a walk, which is the definition of misery for me. Finally, I got a good George Harrison song going in my head and that helped a lot. My time wasn't too bad when I finally slogged my way across the finish line, but it was no victory. All I can say is that I finished. I don't "DNF" unless I have a broken leg, and even then...well, I'd like to think I'd hop to the end. Yes, I am that much of an idiot: I buy into that "pain is temporary, quitting is forever" deal. Only 7 of us made it to the finish line that night.
"This is a sadistic sport," one of the other ladies observed to me as we stumbled out to our cars. I couldn't help but agree.
I drove home in a daze, sitting on a frozen ice pack, doing my darndest to melt a frozen water bottle which I shoved unabashedly into the cleavage of my jogbra. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do. I sucked down a Pocari, lots of water, and still had a pulse of 130 a good 35 minutes after finishing the run and getting home. I wondered what a doctor would have said about my predictably low blood pressure reading. "Just let me die," I told Mike. He refused, pushing fluids on me instead, not too worried, and rightly so. I stayed awake long enough to shower and sing Bethy her goodnight song, then collapsed into bed.
I can't wait until some of my favorite compadres come back to the track to join me in this insanity. Misery loves company, after all.
This running stuff is not for sissies.