A couple of months ago Fiona suggested that we run the RAK half marathon together as part of my preparations for the Marathon des Sables. Fi has never run 21k`s before and I could sense she was a bit nervous in the week leading up to the RAK 21k. We left for Ras Al Khaima on Thursday evening and arrived in RAK late in the evening. I was not too keen on leaving Dubai on raceday as I did not wanted to get lost on the way there and try and maximize on the sleep! We stayed in Rob Klok`s apartment near the town and I decided to try and sleep on the floor, testing out my new sleeping mat and Marmot sleeping bag.
Mariana who came with us arrived back from holiday to South Africa the day before and was looking seriously tired! After arriving in RAK we headed down to the local hangout in the marina and did some protein loading as the steak was really good as well as tucking into Um Ali, an arabic bread pudding! At around 11pm we headed to bed and set the alarms for 5h40. The first hour on the sleeping mat turned out fine and I actually thought that I would be able to sleep on the floor. The mat is surprizingly supportive and the sleeping bag seriously warm and light! But after about 2 hours I started looking at the bed as Fi was fast asleep and I chickend out and went into the bed!
We got up early the next morning and it took a little bit more encouragement to get Mariana out of bed. We munched bananas and washed it down with Gatorade and water and headed out to RAK town. This was the first time for us all running in RAK and it was nice seeing the mangroves and the mountains in the far distance, a nice change to the hustle and bustle of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The race started at 7h20 with a good turnout of runners and we headed into the town. As soon as we started I realized I needed a loo and hanged in till the 5k mark before I had to bail! Sorry Fi! I decided that I was going to run with Fi for the whole 21k`s as this was her first half marathon, and at first water point Fiona almost went pass without having some water. I quickly got her to drink some water as the last thing I wanted her to struggle was dehydration and from there on in she hydrated at regular intervals. We crossed the 10k mark in 1hr 06min and I must say I was stoked to see how strong Fi was looking. I knew however that come 15k`s, the fatigue will start setting in. Fi `s legs started hurting at 14k`s and I encouraged her a bit more and let her walk for two minutes to have some gummy bears and juice. We worked throught the last few k`s and Fiona did well to work her way to the finished line and finished her first half marathon in 2hr33min, very good time for a first time! I am very proud of you babe! Get ready for your first marathon in the near future!
At 18k`s I met up with another runner sporting a 16kg backpack and I immediately know this was another person preparing for the MDS 2010. I introduced myself to Jim McIntosh who is running for the charity Help for Heroes. It was good to see another backpack runner as I was running with 10kg `s on my back, my first long run with the Raidlight backpack. Jim gave me a piece of great advice to make sure I get my Raidlight Backpack double stitched as his backpack was already pulling apart in some areas.......that`s the last thing you want to be dealing with in the Sahara. 1 sowing kit will make up part of my kit.......! Jim`s fundraiser page can be found at: