Saturday, February 24, 2007

Pounding The Pavement...I Mean Coral

About every two weeks I fly 90 minutes on a twin propeller plane from the north base in the Sinai, Egypt to the south base to treat patients down there. I don't mind this at all due to the fact that the running surface is much better. The main base (north camp) has a completely flat asphalt road around its 4 miles just inside the razor wire fencing and guard towers. The 2.2 mile south camp perimeter loop is an undulating dirt path that is actually crushed/ dried coral. The consistency is much like the Umstead course....not sand, but not pebble gravel either.

I like to do my long runs while at the south base despite its shorter length as it is more visually interesting. The terrain around the north base is a desolate sandy desert with flat nothingness as far as the eye can see. The south base (near Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt) is right on the Red Sea with views of mountains to the west. Additionally, sun and moonrise over the water are often amazing.

This weekend I felt pretty good and managed to do one of my quickest long runs in a while: 22 miles in 3:00:21 including 9 minutes of stops for water and gel (4 stops total- one after every 2 laps). So basically I was able to run around 8:00 miles. I felt smooth and ran consistently the whole time despite temps climbing into the upper 80's by the time I finished at 10AM. My intent is to keep building this long run every two weeks until I leave Egypt in July.

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