The second leg of my effort to run 6 marathon distances on 6 continents in under 5 days took me to Cairo, Egypt. I had done a scouting trip about a month before this event to check and see if it was going to be possible to do these 26.2 miles on the roads of Cairo. To see more about why I chose to do this leg of the journey on a treadmill, check out this post.
- The Mega 6 Continent Marathon Run Trip – Looking At The Numbers
- My Best Flight Ever – Etihad’s First Apartment Class
- Marathon Run #1 – Thessaloniki (Europe)
- Marathon Run #2 – Cairo (Africa)
- Marathon Run #3 – Abu Dhabi (Asia)
- Marathon Run #4 – Sydney (Australia)
- Marathon Run #5 – Santiago (South America)
- Marathon Run #6 – Washington DC (North America)
Running 26.2 Miles To Nowhere In Cairo
I had left Thessaloniki for the second leg of my journey and this was one of two segments of the trip that had me at a layover. Being that it was in Athens, an airport I have been in dozens of times, it was a nice break for about an hour as I prepared for the Cairo leg. There were going to be a few things that were difficult about this run – 1) running a treadmill, 2) doing it in a fitness area without any fans/moving air, 3) doing it in the middle of the night. There were a couple of positives, namely that I could keep all my gear right with me and that the nearest water was only a short walk away.
I arrived at the beautiful Le Meridian Cairo hotel (review to come) a little late as my flight had arrived slightly late – just barely September 7, 2015. This meant I was walking into the hotel (which is attached to the airport) around 1:30AM. I quickly checked-in, went to my room, changed, and was back down in the fitness center within 15 minutes. Having prepacked each destination’s gear made these changes very quick and allowed me to just select the bag and go.
Here We Go – In The Fitness Center
Of course, when I got to the fitness center, there was not another soul to be found. I was wondering about this before I arrived and actually expected to see someone in there during my run since it was an airport hotel but no one ever came around. That was ok with me!
I climbed aboard my treadmill, the “course” for the next several hours and got going. I kept the pace very easy because I knew that the toughest leg – Abu Dhabi – would be coming up a few hours later and I needed to save some for that. That is a nice thing about running on a treadmill, simply set your speed and just run! My watch did a great job of keeping me up to date with the stats of my run and I did not have to think about traffic or anything!
Staying “Busy” For 26.2 Miles
People wonder “What do you do on a treadmill for 26 miles?!” The answer is – “whatever you want!” In my case, I fired up my MLB.tv app on my iPhone and began watching a Yankee game. After a while, I switched to watching a running documentary (which always helps!) and went back and forth between some music, audiobooks, and parts of Yankee games.
The Early Miles
The first miles were actually some of the hardest. It is hard because of the mental part – you are running on a treadmill for 26 miles! That is where the towel comes in handy – drape it over the treadmills display and don’t look at it for a long time. 🙂 After the first 6 miles, it began to get in a rhythm and was ok.
Miles 10 – 14
Miles 10 – 14 became difficult because of the amount of humidity in the room (partly due to me!). Without any fans on the machine or in the room (or ceiling), I was sweating a lot and that that sweat began to go down my clothes quickly. I had prepared for this and had brought an older pair of running shoes for this part of the run. I switched over to these shoes knowing that they were going to be soaked when I was done. I even did a bit with just socks on as I tried to mix up the monotony a bit.
Miles 15 – 26.2
Not much to say about Miles 15 – 20! Miles 20 – 26 were both difficult and easy. They were difficult because my body was feeling the conditions I was in but they were easy because I knew the quicker I was done, the quicker I would be able to get a quick bath before heading back to my gate at the airport for the flight to Abu Dhabi.
I finished – and was drenched in sweat! It was certainly not anything near my fastest 26.2 miles, but that’s what running inside will do to you. My goal for Marathon Run #2 had just been to complete it. I knew this whole time that the whole focus for the first half was going to be trying complete Abu Dhabi in the heat and with somewhat limited time. Marathon Run #2 goal accomplished – finished but not tired (well, my legs weren’t tired!).
Numbers and Summary
The final stats on this leg of the run were:
- Total time – 5:13
- Avg Pace – 11:57
- Calories burned – 2,262
- Avg HR – 124bpm
Fortunately, I had a few minutes to jump in the bath for my second very cold bath in less than a day! While it may sound horrible, it really does help with the swelling and it got my legs feeling pretty good again.
Leaving Cairo, I had to deal with some insane lines and it made me very happy I was a Star Alliance Gold member/flying business class (either one would have helped) as those lines were decidedly shorter than the main lines. The only bad part was at passport control since they apparently have the elite line as the family line as well. And, apparently, families are just allowed to cut to the front of the line. I had no fewer than 25 people cut me when I was the next person to go up as they were all part of families. Oh well! I made my flight to Abu Dhabi which is where we will pick up next!