Run Joe, Run: First Training Session

First Training Session

So last night I went out on my first official training session. Unfortunately, some other things came up and has delayed my training (essentially excuses for me to do other things other than running out against the winds we’ve been having at night).

So I decided that this time, there are no excuses. Time to get some mileage. Although I didn’t get anywhere near a half marathon or a fast pace, the purpose of this session was to just get out there and get used to running further than a mile or two again. Click the jump for more info regarding the run.

It’s been a difficult few days. Any runner knows that once you stop running for a considerable amount of time. You tend to face the laziness factor. That being, you get home from a long day at work, you’re out of energy, your body is tired, and you just want to relax. It’s always difficult to make something a habit again. I used to do this regularly for a few months so I had that on my side.

I told myself that no matter what, I’d dedicate an hour to running out on the gulf. So last night I jumped into my shorts, “the hulk hoodie” (as I’ll explain later) and my asics kayanos. It was now or never. Sooner or later, I was at the gulf road parked by johnny carinos.

Now the reason why I’ll detail this run is to just show you how random things tend to happen to you whilst on a run.

I slapped on my headphones, turned on my nike+ gps app and just went for it. Speed was not the objective, but it was to just run at an evened out pace for about an hour. My goal was from Johnny Carinos to KFC and back without stopping. I knew if I took all the bends on the side walk around the restaurants and interactions that I’d be running at around 4-5 miles (there and back).

Firstly, I can’t explain how essential music is. I had my iPhone loaded with Laurent Wolf podcasts (he tends to get me going on runs) and just went for it.

On my journey I discovered several random things. Towards Batriq, I found a group of kids chasing each other and doing what kids generally do at the age of 10 (I guess that’s how old they were). However, I was surprised and motivated that when I passed them, they stopped playing and actually started cheering me on. I guess they thought I was racing or something but they actually started clapping. I took my headphones off and one of the kids said in Arabic “go for it, win the race ya Hulk!!” (I was wearing a hulk green hoodie, go figure haha).

Next, towards the seven seas restaurant ( Burj el Hamam ) I found a romantic couple just sitting on a bench, trying to stay warm. They had a shisha with them that they were sharing and from what it looked like were having a lovely conversation over a warm cup of starbucks coffee (I’m pretty sure that was the starbucks logo on the tumbler).

When I reached fridays, I saw the regular gents parked next to a ladies car chatting her up. But what really caught my eye was the father playing with his disabled daughter. I saw him pushing her on her wheelchair up and down the grasshill and she seemed thrilled by this. It’s always nice to see such love and devotion. There is no love like that of parents for their child. Even through the thickest times. Trust me, I know this through experience and have my parents to thank the world for.

At KFC, I was surprised to see it was quite empty. This saddened me because this for me was the “checkpoint” to turn around a head back. The second I lapped around the light post near the kids playground and started to head back…then it hit me. I was running back against strong winds. My pace decreased…considerably, and my breathing became more difficult. I would persevere no matter what. I wasn’t training to be a quitter, so I kept on pushing – even if I had to slow my jog down to a slightly faster than walking pace.

On the way back, I saw the usual suspects at the same checkpoints and found myself cheered on again by the children as I huffed and puffed my way passed Batriq (I’m sure if I removed my headphones this time, I’d probably here my feet stomping the floor from fatigue). Almost back at the turn for Johnny Carinos, but this time I get a slight scare.

My headphones were on pretty loud and I felt like something was creeping behind me. I turned my head to find a pair of gentleman on a motor powered scooter bike really close behind me. This started me and I guess I started them with my reaction. I apologized to them for that and shifted to the side of the walk way since I was dead smack in the middle.

FINALLY! Through the heavy winds I made it back to my starting point. As I was walking it off to bring my heart-rate back to normal, a dog walker passed by me. He was walking a large breed dog (to keep him anonymous since this breed is not very common in Kuwait I won’t mention the dog breed).

I had stopped walking at this point and was hydrating myself by the sidewalk. His dog then went into alert mode. I guess my heavy breathing intimidated the dog. The dog went bizurk and just kept barking at me “aggressively”. Now I have enough experience with dogs to know that this aggression wasn’t really a “danger zone” bark. It was merely the dog not knowing what to expect. I guess the dog wasn’t socialized as well or had a previous history with another owner since the owner told me the dog was adopted from a friend who left town.

Now, for all of you dog haters out there. Dogs can become very territorial over their owners. Protective would be a better word. The dog walker apologized whilst pulling the dog back and tried to control the dog. I told the owner that it’s no problem and to just hold the leash tight and let the dog bark.

Now, the dog barked and barked and barked. I just stood there very innocently and waited for the dog to get tired. You see most dogs will perceive danger if they don’t know what to expect and usually it’s the case that we freak the dogs out by staring them down or getting nervous. This usually triggers the defense mechanism.

The owner was slightly confused when I told him to just hold the leash tight and let the dog bark and was even a little embarrassed  as people walked by staring. Within 45-60 seconds the dog stopped barking. I told the owner to bring the dog just a little closer. The dog started to get closer and sniffed the floor in front of me. I reached out my foot just within distance and let the dog sniff my foot. After a few minutes, I was standing right next to him and the dog and just talking.

Even after all this I asked the owner if it was okay to pet the dog. The owner preferred I didn’t just in case, but it was a major step in the dogs behavioral progress and the owner thanked me for my patience. I mentioned to him that I’ve been around dogs and have a friend who has a dog that’s exactly like that. So not to worry and to be patient.

I also mentioned the owner should get one of those “caged muzzles” that let the dog bark, sniff, breathe, pant but covers the mouth just in case. Most probably the dog would not even hurt a fly, but because of the barking people will think otherwise. So for people’s own concerns a muzzle would make this less “worrysome”. However, the dog was not aggressive, just slightly confused.

It’s amazing how something so simple as running on the gulf road can introduce you to new people and show you wonderful experiences that you probably would have missed out on if you were just sitting at home or driving around.

Anyways, the run was great, the experiences were great but it was a bit cold since I sweat alot (the wind on the way back froze me). At one point I wanted to just hover behind a wall and warm up. But I knew that if I tried to pick up the pace, I’d warm my own body temperature down.

Hoping that tonight at footy, the winds don’t get so strong.

When was the last time you went for a run? What experiences did you have that could be considered standing out? Leave me a comment and share your stories with us!

2 comments on “Run Joe, Run: First Training Session

  1. I think I saw you last night on the gulf running. I was the guy wearing the dishdasha and smoking a pipe by seven seas.

    I remember seeing a guy wearing a green hooded sweater and thinking how nice it was to see someone taking care of his health.

    Most runners I see here are foreigners. I spend a lot of time on the bench just after seven seas, smoking my pipe and writing poetry. I see a lot of foreigners running. I wish more of us had your dedication. GOOD LUCK on your half marathon. Hopefully I’ll see you again on the Gulf.

    • You have no idea how much that comment means. It’s great to feel appreciated, and I do believe I saw you sitting there. However, I wasn’t sure what you were up to. Sometimes I’m distracted by other things and don’t catch the scenery.
      My “the hulk” hoodie is in the wash, but hopefully you’ll catch me out there again soon wearing that hoodie. If you do catch me there again, stop me and say hi. I’d love to have a nice chat with you and maybe even hear some of your poetry!
      ROCK ON BU SHAHEEN! I’m excited to hear that I’m not the only one who finds inspiration from the beautiful Kuwaiti Gulf!

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