The countdown is finally on towards Dusty Runner in Doha becoming just as Dusty a Runner in Spain.
As many regular readers will know, I’ve been backwards and forwards to our home in Spain for the last couple of years establishing our running holiday business – Ultra Trail Spain – http://ultratrailspain.com/
Well now the countdown is finally on and in less than 30 days Dusty Runner will be kicking up the trails in Andalucia for good.
I’m not going to lie; I’m certainly not going to miss Qatar’s summers. Attempting to run in the aggressive heat and humidity isn’t easy. I can be thankful for the lessons (more often than not learnt the hard way) it has taught me. Thanks to the desert climate I’m a bit of an expert on hydration, core temperature control, running slowly, heart rate monitoring, and stimulating fat metabolism – a happy consequence of running slowly it appears.
Coping in the extreme heat certainly helped me to become a better runner and disprove Noakes Impact of Temperature on Pace which reckons you’re on your own past 29C. If it were gospel, I’d be an Olympic marathoner since we don’t run in temperatures below 29C anytime between May and November! I’m certainly no 2hr 20 marathoner so I reckon his research needs updating to accommodate natural heat adaptation.
And it’s thanks to Qatar I became an ultra runner – a place where it’s difficult not to get swept along by the many dedicated and excellent endurance runners living here and passing through. When you have to travel to access trail races you tend to make the journey worth the while and do a long one.
I will of course miss this crazy band of people – many of whom are already dotted all over the planet – as people came and went, ran and walked. We remain friends wherever we may be.
A band of brothers joined by the desert experiences we have shared, the pre-dawn runs we’ve tackled together, the extreme heat we’ve endured looking out for each other, the water and electrolytes we’ve shared, and laughs we’ve had battling one of the toughest environments the world has to offer.
The desert may be short on water but there’s no drought and the camaraderie, banter, and love shared by runners. It’s been an honour to share the roads, trails and construction sites with you 😉
As a parting shot Doha isn’t letting me leave without a reminder of how challenging the summer can be with high temperatures and stupidly high humidity continuing into September. This last weekend has left me crying: “Give me a break, I seriously cannot keep washing my running shoes after every run!”
Such was the amount of sweat washing down my legs after just 10km in the last few days I’ve been leaving squelchy footprints in my wake. Even I got the hint from the usually oh-so-polite petrol station staff about standing outside while drinking my water and refilling my bottle. They’re getting a bit fed up mopping the sweat patches up from me being inside the store!