When I woke up at 5am for the Dubai 10km this morning (1am in the UK!), I did momentarily consider rolling over and going back to sleep. Thank goodness I didn’t. It has quite simply been an extraordinary day, and one which has “connected me to the euphoria of life.”
One of my main goals today was to run the 10km, and simply enjoy it and not worry about a time. Last year I tore the cartilage in my left knee when I was running the London Marathon, and at Mile 24, my legs completely seized up on me and I was in a great deal of pain. After stretching, I did manage to get going again, but completed the race limping more like a constipated chicken than a fun-runner. I ended up having a small operation (an arthroscopy) last July, and had to have a 4 month-break from running during which time I gained 4 kilos. I don’t think I like being a couch potato!
With this painful marathon experience etched in my memory, I simply want to run London pain-free and happy this year. The Dubai 10km today was the first part of my marathon journey, and I absolutely loved every minute of it (literally!). For the first time ever, I ditched my stopwatch and left it at home.
As the sun rose over the Dubai skyline at 7.03 am, more than 25,000 10km and marathon runners gathered excitedly at the start-line in the shadow of the iconic Burj Al Arab. The whole place was buzzing, and to quote my friend Mark, “in true Dubai-style, it was a joyful melting-pot of different cultures”. It was impossible not to feel inspired by the camaraderie amongst the runners and the sunshine. The course was fast and flat, but I ran it at a steady pace. I still don’t know my time.
Just as I thought that life couldn’t get any better, something amazing happened! I met one of my personal heroes and one of the greatest distance runners in history, Haile Gebrselassie who has won more than 27 world records. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Serendipity! The photo is definitely going up on my office-wall.
What a day…