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Club Member: Nadeem Srouji
Race: Dead Sea Ultra Marathon - Race Report!!
Distance: Other
Race Date: 04/11/08
Submit Date: 04/30/08

Greetings LA Tri-Clubbers!

Here it is my dead sea ultra marathon race report!

The Pre-Race

  • Flew in to Amman, Jordan Wednesday 04/09 evening at 7PM local time (9AM LA time)
  • I didn't carb load enough on the long plane ride so I went out Thursday night for some really good dim sum and a few Tsingtao's, which relaxed me and was in bed by midnight.

Friday Race Day

  • Up at 4:45AM Local time (6:45PM Thursday LA time) didn't know how I felt, as the time difference messed me up quite a bit. 3 of my friends who were doing the half marathon cam over, we had some oatmeal, a triple shot cappuccino and headed out at 5:30AM.
  • Start line was a bit chaotic but still organized given the amount of people there (2 - 3,000 people I think), most doing the 10k. It seems everyone signed up this year, some without much training - I actually saw one person wearing his 10k bib and just finishing his morning cigarette before heading on the bus! I also saw several people with a "marathon" Bib, mostly "foreigners". I couldn't figure out why someone would travel all the way to Jordan and not do the full ultra for a few extra k's!
  • There were around 40 people signed up for the ultra race. After they bused all the other racers (full, 1/2 and 10k's) to their starting spots. We, the ultra people, lined up at the start line, there were TV camera's everywhere and photographers. I think there was one or two other Jordanian, several Italians, a few Americans and some Africans. Temperature was a cool 60 degrees. We started at 7AM SHARP!

The Race!!

  • The first 10k were great; cool weather, rolling hills and very tranquil. There was water every 3k and cops every 2k. They only had one liter bottles which was a bit awkward but hey it's better than nothing. I ran with a group of Italians who didn't speak English, for a while, then I felt they were too slow for me so I cranked it just a bit and left them behind (probably not the best strategy but I couldn't help it). I felt good considering the lack of sleep, jetlag and all the traveling.
  • At the 11th K, we started our decent into the Jordan Valley. Holy crap, it was steep and fast! I was cranking as I didn't want to put the brakes and mess up my legs even more. It was very beautiful, with great views and still pretty cool weather.
  • Every time I passed cops I was pleasant and said hi and everything. But after a couple of hours, they started asking me every time I passed by if I was the last one!!! "what the f$#$!!! Of course NOT!!!" I would answer…. I was so PISSED! I guess they wanted to leave… after the 4th time I gave up and started saying, "yeah I think there's one more person behind me"
  • The descent was about 4,000 ft over 20K and we got down to the Jordan valley. Now I started to feel the wear and tear on my legs from all the pounding. Dropping that much that fast really takes it's toll on your legs. This is when I realized I STILL HAD ANOTHER 20K TO GO!!! The air now was thick and muggy, plenty of oxygen but it was getting hot and the sun was blazing! It was at this point I realized I wasn't wearing any sun block also (I still got a crazy farmer's tan to prove it!) from here on it was me against myself, no more enjoying the experience, being thankful where I am, blah blah blah, just pain pain and more pain… trying to survive… the countdown begins
  • 15K to go... I started to feel terrible. I caught up to a girl and started running with her, she was from Nashville. We both were trying to go under 5 hrs. So we started running together. We figured we needed to go a bit under 10 min miles till the finish line to do that. It helped to talk and run together taking my mind off the pain as much as possible, but not nearly enough. We ran together for about 10k, complained about the 1 liter bottles, the weather, and made fun of the people that signed up for the marathon (that is until we reached the marathon mark and still had 8k's to go!). and then she couldn't keep the pace so I had to leave her behind.
  • 5K to go and I feel worse than the last 5k's of my Ironman! There seemed to be an infinite number of hills…. every time I rounded a corner, another one would appear. I saw my brother and family driving by and they were cheering me on. new concept for me as I usually race alone, but it definitely helped. I started to feel very dehydrated and dizzy and found out they temporarily ran out of water!! I was going to pass out it was so hot and dry (plus last time I went to the bathroom was at the 6th K, yes I was dehydrated. Luckily my brother brought me some water to help me from passing out. Why didn't I just sign up for the marathon!
  • The last 3ks were excruciating. My brother parked the car and started running with me. He kept telling me that this was the last hill, and then another one would appear! Again why didn't I just sign up for the marathon!!!!
  • The finish line was right after one really big hill (it felt really big at least), and then it was downhill. So after going really slow uphill, I booked it downhill and was running 7 min miles the last few hundred meters. I couldn't feel my legs and felt like they were going to give out and I will fall face down on the pavement.
  • Crossed the finish line in 5:09, I think, and was led to the recovery tent where I was given a massage, an apple and a medal… not worth all the pain and suffering but still nice.

The Aftermath

  • Spent the weekend at a resort hotel in the dead sea, ate a TON and relaxed at the beaches and pools. Great fun, lots of people and a very tranquil weekend, aside form the race of course! I could barely walk the next day and was sore for 4 days, but made a full recovery and crazy enough looking forward to next year's event.

  • It was the most pain and suffering I've ever gotten for 15 bucks!

Hopefully next year we'll have more than 1 LATRI clubber running to the lowest point on earth!

Nadeem

15th Dead Sea Ultra Marathon

April 11th 2008

Dead Sea Ultra Marathon

www.visitjordan.com

www.deadseamarathon.com

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