Friday, a few hours in lieu of a weekend before I get on the plane to Riyadh... In the Gulf, weekends are Friday-Saturday except in Saudi Arabia where it's Thursday-Friday. As a consequence, I'll be working Saturday through Tuesday in Saudi, a busy Memorial Day "weekend..." The past years and since I started ultra running in 2007, this Memorial Day weekend was very special with a lot of miles. Before my first Western States in 2007, I ran the traditional 3 Memorial Day training runs on the course, including the extension from Forest Hill down to the river the second day. Then I started a tradition of three very long runs (well, 3 hilly and hot ultra runs) over the three days, in the Bay Area (126 miles in 2008, 122 in 2009 including the Mission 6-peat madness, 49 miles only in 2010, and 47 in 2011 including a 72-lap tempo run at the track to prepare for the World Masters). So long for the tradition, we'll see how it works out next year.
After completing my Spring ultra madness with Ohlone last Sunday, I had to take Monday off (running) since I spent it on a plane (16 hours, straight after the race). I went for a run on Tuesday night, mostly on Jumeirah Road. This is the place I highlighted last time (see my Running in Arabia post) and that I still highly recommend. It's a few blocks from the sea and beaches, but it has tens of miles of bike path and there is no continuous path along the beaches anyway with too many private ones or on going construction of huge villas. The temperature was just over 100F with 35% humidity and no breeze and I found it really difficult to maintain a 7:45 min/mile pace. The heat was so oppressing, I stopped for 5 minutes at miles 5 and decided to turn back. I was sweating so much, my shoes were soaked and it would take more than one day for them to dry... At the turn around, I was thinking of Pierre-Yves's accident at Ohlone (helicopter evacuation after he fainted just half a mile from the finish...), and decided to be cautious as we still hadn't definite news that he was ok (he got better on Wednesday but isn't completely off the hook yet and still at the hospital this Friday).
I had a business dinner on Wednesday evening and went for another run on Thursday night at 9 pm. This time, the temperature was "only" 90F (32C) and there was some breeze from the sea which made the run really enjoyable now that I got somehow acclimated to this heat. I ran 19.5 miles, still at a pretty slow pace (7:35) though. I went to bed at 3 am after processing more email and I went for a 14.5-mile run this Friday before going to the airport. This time it was mid-day and the sun was straight at its zenith, that was quite hot again, almost 100F.
Short of pictures from my run (not much to see on that road), I posted in Picasa a few pictures I took from my excursion to the 124th floor of Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the World which you can see in the latest Mission Impossible movie. This is actually far from being the top of the skyscraper, as the owner occupy the last floors. See the view of the top from the 124th floor, you can barely see the very end of the building...