Lunch hour

The Pete Plan blog

A week in the desert

Posted by thepeteplan on April 24, 2010

I haven’t blogged for 10 days but I’ve not been lazy. Training in the heat of the Oman desert hasn’t been easy though. Rather than split up the training and the week away I will blog as a photo diary of the week and include training where it was done.

Thursday 15th: Flew from Heathrow to Muscat via Abu Dhabi. Very lucky to get out of Heathrow less than 2 hours before it closed completely – the departures board was a sea of red cancellations as I sat waiting for my flight. The overnight stop was spent in the Intercontinental hotel, which for anyone travelling in that direction has 4 good condition Model D’s in the gym. I gave my colleague who I was travelling with a first coaching session to hopefully get a training partner for the week.

Friday 16th: Continued the journey on to Salalah over in the west of Oman. The plan was one night in the Hilton before moving on to the final destination by road on Saturday. The Hilton was right on the beach on the Indian Ocean with a nice beach restaurant that we ate in that evening.

Saturday 17th: We continued by road to our work destination. The drive through the mountains was an interesting one. We had been warned about the drive, but it was really something you had to experience to understand the warnings. Camels and local drivers were the main issues:

The camels just wander about by the road and on the road. The photo above is a single carriageway, and people will overtake if they want to go faster, even when it means overtaking someone who is already overtaking someone else like this, or around a blind corner, or if someone is coming the other way!

Due to accommodation issues at our working location we moved back to the Hilton that night and spend the week there doing the drive each day (about 60 to 75mins depending on camels and suicidal drivers).

Monday 19th:

I managed two training sessions on the Monday, both in the hotel gym. 8k before work, 5k after work. Both were hard, and neither was fast. It was around 45 degrees C each day, and that drains you even though you train in a mildly air conditioned gym.

Tuesday 20th:

I used the gym where I was working on both Tuesday and Wednesday. A basic gym, but two ergs and slightly better aircon than the hotel gym. I thought I’d try a proper interval training session.

10 x 600m / 1min rest = 1:39.6 / 30

A tough session and a lot of sweating!

Wednesday 21st:

Again an early afternoon session in the work gym: 10k = 1:52.5 / 23

Thursday 22nd: Time to start travelling back. After a bit of time walking on the beach in the morning it was the return of the outward journey. For the entire week out there the very real possibility of not being to get back was hanging over us. People having their flights cancelled because of the closed airspace back here in England were being stuck for up to 3 weeks before they could rebook on an alternative flight. Salalah to Muscat, 4 hours in the airport, then on to Abu Dhabi and finally London and we were about the luckiest travellers getting back about 5mins earlier than our planned itinerary on Friday morning.

Today has been a much earned rest day acclimatising back to the much colder UK temperatures and generally recovering from the week in the desert. Normal training will resume tomorrow.

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