Running along Azeiba Corniche, Muscat

My local running route and why I run

OK – so the title may be a little misleading as it might give the impression that I am a runner. The truth is that apart from what I had to do during basic naval training in the late 80’s, I couldn’t run for a bus until 2010. Now I run once or twice a week, depending on work schedule, temperature and humidity. I don’t currently have a training goal so am running between three and seven km. This is quite patheticc compared to some of my friends and acquaintances that are pro-elites, ultra marathon runners, ironmen and half ironmen, but I would rather run short distances than not run at all.  Plus I have also been very slowly nursing a knee injury, which thankfully is OK now.

This blog entry focuses on my four km route.  It is very flat, accessible and enjoyable. I come out of my apartment, turn left and within seconds I am on Azeiba corniche, my local sea front. I run for two km, turn then run back. I find looking out to sea very peaceful and a great way to start the day.  The sea is usually very calm in the morning and you can see where the fish are having a feed!

The view within a minute of starting out – the piles on the pavement are fishing nets. In the evening the local fishermen spread them out and repair them.

The one km mark – these two old red trucks are full of character, and are always parked in the same spot.

Turn around point – The Chedi (hotel). This white wall is the Spa, and very nice it is too!

I sneaked a peek beyond the boundary wall – just for the blog.

The mosque and swarma shop. This area is throbbing with life during the evening – especially around prayer times on obviously!

One of the reasons I love my local running route is that no matter what the time of day it is, I always see a slice of Omani life, This particular morning I saw one fisherman haul his nets in using his truck!

I never get tired of running along Azeiba corniche – a genuine fisherman’s working beach and not a common sight these days.

Why I run.

Like many important decisions in life, I decided to take up running over several glasses of wine,back in in August 2010. I made a “pinkie pact” with my two nieces, Louse and Isla, to enter the Great Scottish Run, Glasgow’s Half Marathon, in September 2011. I had a year to prepare so I was going to to this properly. I also decided to fund raise for Arthritis Care, a condition my mother suffered from for nearly 40 years. At the time I was still living in Abu Dhabi so temperatures were still high. I started walking on a treadmill, increasing my distance to 3km. I then introduced interval running. with the walking. Within 4 weeks, I was up to running 3km nonstop.

I then started to go to a weekly predictor run held by my local running club, Abu Dhabi Striders. This was a great training run as you always wanted to beat your predicted run – plus the precious weeks time. It can be quite deflating to watch others literally race ahead of you, but with the encouragement of fellow Striders Garry White Steve Watson, Jenny Muller, Sue Morris and Ancilla Wilson, I stuck with it, attending most Wednesday predictor runs.  Here I am after a sweaty run – it was 39C!

By December I entered my first race – a 5km “Chasing Santa” run.  I found it tough and remember thinking “What on earth have I let myself in for?  21km – really?  In January I teamed up with my dive buddy Sue Maloney (now Holt) and running club member Sue Morris, to enter as a Sprint distance relay team in TriYas, the first triathlon to be held at the F1 racecourse, Yas marina Circuit.
In a moment of hyped up post event enthusiasm, I decided to enter the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon, despite the fact I couldn’t front crawl nor owned a bike. After a bike purchase and eight focused weeks of intensive training, I even amazed myself and became a fully fledged triathlete, even though it was just the sprint distance.

My next training goal was another sprint triathlon in May, but I pulled out the week before after a “wipe out” on my bike one training night. So my last training goal was only four weeks before the Great Scottish Run – a 10km race at the Brisbane Running Festival. I did this with my travel companion and dive buddy, Lynn Douglas.

 
Soon the ‘big day’ arrived and I was waiting for my colour to be called to the start line in George Square with my nieces, plus a support posse of family and friends, including Paula Nichol – one of my life long friends. Her husband Paul was also taking part. I felt well prepared and was confident.
Here we are before the start:

We soon separated out and I was soon at my standard training pace. I was really enjoying myself, then we entered Pollock Park. At around 15 kms, just as I was admiring the Highland cattle, I felt a sharp pain in my left knee, as it “gave way”. The last six kms or so were pretty hard going, but thanks to the atmosphere and wonderful street supporters of Glasgow, I finished – also raising around £2,300 for Arthritis Care After finishing – with my niece Isla:

Training lesson learned: do more hill training, even if you live in a hot, flat city. I worked hard to get my fitness levels back up to an acceptable standard, thanks to the encouragement I got early on from fellow running friends when I was starting out. What keeps me running (plus swimming and cycling) is that I can do it anywhere, you can fit it around any schedule and running makes you feel good, and that is what life is all about.

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