It’s the end of a two and a half week trip and I am ready to go home. For the last five days I have been based back in Al Khobar near the Arabian Gulf on the eastern seaboard of Saudi Arabia. I’ve been staying in a very comfortable hotel, which shall remain nameless, and I would happily stay here again, except…
When I went into the gym on my first night back (to cycle, not run, as my calves were still suffering), the man behind the reception desk as if I had run there last week. I said yes, and he said that he had seen me running without shoes but his manager saw this and has requested me to put them back on.
I admit I was taken aback, so I asked why. He said for safety reasons.
There followed a short exchange on the reasons why I was running barefoot and how it was better for me and how I ran barefoot outside, but it wasn’t worth pursuing. This was mainly because it was unfair on the guy behind the desk – it wasn’t his decision and English wasn’t his first language, so what exactly was I going to achieve?
It did rile me though and I brooded on it for a while, wondering whether I should sneak them off when they’re not looking, or just run outside across the building sites and walk through reception barefoot and bleeding to prove a point. But of course I didn’t.
Instead I decided to run outside, past the building sites and to the Corniche that ran along the edge of the sea. I did this for a couple of mornings in off-road shoes and on the third day I went barefoot on the beach and back up the Corniche for a couple of miles.
So I have the hotel to thank for forcing me out of the building to pick my way past some dodgy constructions sites and be rewarded with sunrises over the Arabian Gulf.
Week 19 Summary:
Total miles: 20 over 3 runs, across tarmac, sand and concrete, very warm, sometimes blowy
Barefoot miles: 2 in one run, over sand and concrete, warm and blowy
Transition miles: 2 in one run, tarmac, warm and blowy