For many people September means back to school and getting back into a routine after summer vacation with children, family and friends. This month has often marked the beginning of a new job or academic year for me, but after leaving my job in July to take a break from teaching overseas, I finally found enough motivation to get back to a regular running schedule in Canada.
During the summer I did two or three easy run-walk sessions a week without tracking time or distance, but in September I gradually added a few more days and committed to 3.1 miles (5K) or more on each outing. However, I needed two or three walking breaks of about thirty seconds for every run.
In October I would like to do 3.1 miles (5K) two or three times a week and a long run of 4-5 miles once a week. At this point, I am going to focus on completing my runs without walking breaks and try to improve my endurance without focusing on pace. My eventual goal is to be able to cover 5 miles (8K) without walking. I have to remember to slow down in the beginning so, that I don’t run out of steam by the half way point and need a walking break.
Running seems to be work without progress at the moment. Almost every day in May, including the weekends, I wanted to skip my morning run. Yet, most days I stumbled out of bed at 5 in the morning, got dressed and made my way through the construction site that surrounds my home. Road construction projects have been part of the landscape in Nizwa since I arrived here in October 2013.
Sometimes I have the impression that roads are built, dismantled and built again. Incidentally, Oman appears to have an endless supply of money in the budget for road construction.
Every workout in May was 5K (3.1 miles) on the same route. Here is a brief description, along with some photos. I walked ten minutes to warm up and then I had to deal with a mini-obstacle course, jumping over rocks, garbage, shovels and various other objects for about a half mile before eventually finding myself on a service road that is no longer busy in the morning because all the traffic is speeding down the completed part of the new highway.
I didn’t knock these signs over.
I could use this shovel in my garden.
Why are these blocking my route this morning?
This is the quiet part of my morning run.
Did the workers forget to lay these pipes?
It never ceases to amaze me how the locals always spot me running, or more accurately waddling down the service road, in spite of their speed. Many of them even take the time to greet me with a long obnoxious toot of the vehicle horn. I ignored this and continued on my way wondering if I would collapse from heat exhaustion or die trying not to inhale the filthy dust that constantly lingers in the air from construction and summer sand storms.
Construction is almost finished….
Most of my run takes place on this service road.
I am not the only one out exercising at 5 in the morning.
Some days I slowed to a walk and on others I would walk thirty seconds after a few minutes and as a result my time ranged from 33 to 36 minutes on most outings.
Overall, May was not exactly a great month for running due to the construction, dust and unbearable heat. Several days in May the midday temperature approached 50 C and to make life really miserable water and electricity services were also interrupted.
I am glad May is finished, but I know that June will be a challenge to force myself out the door for some exercise. According to the Times of Oman the country will experience a long and hot summer. The good news is I have five weeks left before heading home. If the weather and my body cooperate then I will aim for 3 or 4 comfortable 5K runs per week.
My running days in the desert are drawing to a close and I am looking forward to running along the rural roads of my homeland, away from all the distractions and inconveniences of the Middle East.
My April goal was to run 5K (3.1miles) two or three times a week and do a four mile (6.4K) run on the weekend. I also wanted to keep my time under 35 minutes for 5K. Well, this plan didn’t pan out. I skipped a few runs in April because the weather was extremely unpleasant. It was unseasonably hot, windy and dusty for almost the entire month. Additionally, I struggled to stay under 36 minutes on most days.
By mid-April, I concluded that it was too hot in the afternoon and early evening to exercise outdoors, so I started getting up at 5:00 in the morning and exercising before for work. Although I prefer morning workouts I don’t like the idea of heading out the door before dark. It is still dark when I start my warm up and by the time I finish the sun is shining. However, this change didn’t have a big impact on my workouts.
In reality, the actual temperatures in April were very similar to those in March, so maybe it was the dust that slowed me down. Of course, my advancing age could also be slowing me down.
Temperatures ranged from 75° F (24°C) to 96° F (36° C). The average temperature was 88°F (31°C). This was only slightly warmer than in March.
I am a little discouraged with my running statistics for April, but May is a new month and I will continue to work on doing 5K in less than 35 minutes.