Thursday, October 22, 2009

There she goes, there she goes again...

You didn't think it would be that long between posts about running, did you? Well, I took, in total, a month off from running, and the last week of that I did nothing in a last-ditch to try and rest the evil knee. Back to running, and now it seems like the only time the knees don't hurt is...when I am running.

Go figure.

After this enforced rest which was more painful, in my opinion, than the actual problem, now I no longer have the scary pain, just "watch it" pain. I'm dealing and am very happy to get back into it.

I haven't tried to run anything over 5K yet: I will. My old nemesis, the ABRaS 10K on the Arabian Gulf, is next Friday. I am woefully underprepared but am more than ready to get back into training for it. Of course I will let you know how it goes. Whether you want to know or not, actually.

In the meantime, I did cheat a little and ran a couple of relatively slow laps with a fellow runner named Mike Fooy. I had to: I was so inspired by what he was doing, you see. Mike Fooy is, even as we speak, trekking up in the Annapurnas, and he took with him money he raised to build a Nepalese orphanage.

He came to me a few weeks before this. To my shock he seemed to think that I had good ideas about fundraising. Ideas I have, about pretty much anything once you get me talking, but I am not an expert on anything. Apparently he was told that not only did I do the organising for the DRR Social (mostly true) but that I was in sales back in the States, (hardly), and that I am the go-to girl for such things. Er...

However, who couldn't get excited about raising funds for orphans in Nepal? More, who couldn't get excited about how he was going to do it: he decided to undertake a HUGE athletic endevour of 200 kms total of running, cycling, and kayaking, his three passions. He asked folks to pledge dirhams or fils per kilometer. (there are 100 fils to a dirham, so a fil is worth a little less than a third of a penny) Then he went out and did us proud.

He cycled 135 km, then ran 32 km (a marathon is 42, to give you perspective), and I came out to Safa Park to run alongside in support for 6.8 of those. For the crowning touch he kayaked around the World Islands (in the process of being created off the coast here) for the the last 33 km of his quest.

Running with him was fun, spiritually uplifting, and the knee not too bad until the last part of the second lap. It was unbelievably humid. Mike (Fooy) took off his shirt and wrung out what must have been at least a pound of water, (no, really!) ker-splat, onto the ground. I should have had my camera out. "It's so light now!" he exclaimed, putting it back on.

Mike Fooy, Graham, and Natalie

He gave us a good laugh by threatening to wring out his shorts too.

As you can see, he was absolutely alight, "glowing like a pregnant woman" as I told him, with the excitement and high of what he was doing. He raised, I believe, a good 10,000 dirhams. (appx $2,772 USD) which is pretty darned great!

Last I heard he was enjoying Kathmandu, and has already turned over the "cosh" to the orphans. How neat is that?

Switching back from Nepal to Dubai: also in Safa Park news, I should keep you updated on Bethy. She ran 3 Predictors, and had really lost interest about the time she attempted the third one. She dawdle walked most of it, which was total torture for me. So I told her, gently but firmly, that for Mommy's sanity, that when she wanted to race we would come back, and that that was OK.

The next weekend she'd sent me out the door to the Predictor with a "yeah, bye Mom" and obviously no regrets about not coming with me. I got a PB that day, which was no fun. It was the first time I ran one lap instead of two, still being careful of the knee, so of course I got a "best time". Last Saturday she perked up---"Mom! It's Saturday! Can I do the Predictor?"

Well, yeah!

So not only did she run nearly the whole time, she took a good 5 minutes off her best time. This was totally awesome possum, and we went to McDonalds to celebrate. She even got a hot fudge sundae. Pretty sweet. I was sooooo proud of her. Apparently the trick will be to not take her along every week...which is fine with me. Fun runs for the two of us some Saturdays, real runs for me the others.

That makes me happy!

It's been a good few weeks for my other friends in running too. The Dubai Road Runners Predictor Relay (say that fast while trying to get a sponsor for it...that's what I did for a couple of weeks!) was run a few days ago, and Graham, in gentlemanly fashion, invited me onto his team. Again, I was the representative American, the others being UK and S African.

The Relay consists or a team of 1-5 people, running 5 legs of 2.5 km. The fastest don't's those who get closest to their predicted time who walk away with the prize. No, no watches. Each runner says how fast they think they'll run it and the sum total is how the team is judged.

This makes it great for slow runners, for families, and it's a rollicking good time for all. The slowest predicted teams start out first, then are staggered, so that if everyone runs to prediction, the teams would all come in at the same time at the end. With some 40 teams it was a good thing that not everyone was that accurate!

Victorious Team H, #32

I was extremely pleased when our team came in fifth, less than a minute off our predicted time. However, my good buddy Nigel of the Headband and his team #32 took first prize again...for the third year in a row. He was tickled with his so-called hat trick, and was promptly and humorously examined for electronic timing devices. Not a chance: he sprinted in a great display of athleticism through the finish chute exactly, to the second, on time.

The cool dude shades, coordinating yellow headband and laces are great. The tongue sticking out is an especially nice touch.

See the guy in front of him? His team, #12, missed their prediction by one second. One second! Amazing!

Graham, Helen (ran 4th for us), Sharon (ran 2nd, in Graham's place, and unfortunately sprained her ankle), and Katrina, without whom none of this could happen.

Andrew taking off in position #1 for our team

Richard coming in at the triumphant end.

I ran in the comfortable 3rd position. No pressure. Enough time to get riled up before it was my turn, but not too riled. It was hot running in the sun, but a beautiful course around Creek Park and along (well, of course) Dubai Creek. And at 2.5 km, it seemed like my portion was over before it even started.

On our team, the most any of us were off was by a measly 38 seconds ahead if personal prediction. Too bad for that member of our team; he "has" to buy the rest of us a round of drinks next Friday. That's what you get for running too fast in this event.

I was definitely surprised, and the teeniest bit smug, to learn that I came in just 5 seconds faster than my predicted time. Perfect. How on earth that happened is yet another one of those little mysteries of life. Happiness galore...I did good for my team.

And I don't have to buy the drinks. Oh, luxuriating in the glory of it all...

{Just to let you all know, I am taking a week off from the's time for a little Dubai "Spring cleaning" in my house, and for that I need to back slowly away from the little box called a laptop that so sneakily sucks up all my time. See you next Friday when posting will be back with vim and vigor. Happy trails to you!}

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