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My training schedule for the laughingly named ‘fun run’ in Dubai on 22 November on behalf of The Smile Train cleft charity has got off to a none too promising start with injury striking early. Now a virtual non-stop travel schedule in the run-up to the Cannes show is threatening to scupper all my best intentions.
But with sponsorship* flowing in – Rod Wiltshire of Alpha USA and his wife Beryl kindly sponsored me for US$1,000 this week – I’ve got obligations to meet.
So having arrived at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel last evening and partaken of a late night meal at the gloriously unhealthy sounding ‘Fatburger’ joint, I decided there was only one way to get back on track for the Dubai run – and it involved that ghastly word, ‘gym’.
The Venetian of course has a fantastically equipped gym – in fact there seemed to be as many running treadmills in there as slot machines in the giant casino downstairs. Quite possibly you can play Blackjack while you jog.
Readers of The Moodie Blog will know that I am not well acquainted with the concept of running treadmills. Or with running for that matter. But with my new achilles-protecting Mizuno shoes, I felt I at least looked the part and strode confidently into a place that even at 6.30 in the morning was already packed with intense young – and, encouragingly – not so young executives, all wearing their walkmans and getting their daily doses of fitness.
A friendly young Chinese trainer called Jason came up and asked me if I needed help. Was it that obvious? He ‘d no doubt be asking the question with more urgency in 20 minutes time.
Kindly he set me up at a pace he deemed suitable for me. “Would you like any inclines”? he asked, in a terrifying reference to hill running.
“No thanks. Do you do downhill?” I replied.
“No Sir,” he laughed, setting me off on a manual setting that was roughly as fast as the pace a 90-year grannie might adopt while getting up to adjust the television set. Ok, a little quick for me but I would manage.
Now the Dubai ‘fun run’ (don’t you just love that contradiction in terms?) is 10k. At 16 minutes 23 seconds on the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel treadmill, some three months before the big race, dear readers, I completed my first kilometre.
A quick calculation told me that meant I would finish the Dubai run in about 2 hours 40 minutes. In that heat, my chicken legs will be roasted redder than the Australian outback and my poor follically challenged pate would have treatment inflicted upon it that any chef would consider unacceptable to a hard boiled egg.
I simply had to quicken up. I called Jason over.
“Can we make this go faster Jason? And preferably me too…”
As I write a couple of hours later from the comfort of The Moodie Report’s temporary Macau bureau, I can report with pride that I stepped up to 8 minute 34 pace for my final kilometre – and did some extra distance just to show the treadmill who was boss. Jason even took a photo as evidence.
A recalculation suggests if I could maintain that speed in Dubai I could finish in under 86 minutes. Not bad. But of course I won’t have handlebars to lean on when I’m on the open road, unless they adapt the rules.
The pride may have been injured over that first kilometre but I’ve bounced back well. If I can just stay here at my Venetian training camp for another three months, completing the Dubai run will be a cinch.
[*I aim to raise at least US$5,000 and hopefully much more for The Smile Train by completing the ‘Miles for Smiles’ run. Please consider sponsoring me at http://www.justgiving.com/martinmoodie]
NOTE: You can check out the progress of other runners in the ‘Running Miles for Smiles’ section at the top of the home page of The Moodie Blog.