The Dead Sea Ultra marathon organised by Run Jordan is a 50km run across the Dead Sea passing through some interesting territory. Starting at the Dead Sea main hotel area going towards the Royal Aero Sports Club of Jordan (The SkyDiving spot) where you literally run on the whole length of the runway overlooking the Dead Sea and then back to the main road towards the baptism site. At that point you reach the 25km mark, turn back and repeat the same loop the other way around.
My goal for this race was to complete my marathon time (42.2km run) in sub four hours. My second goal was not to be a wimp and cover the remaining 8 km’s in whatever time I wanted as long as I finish what I’ve started.
The start of the run was brilliant. I felt fantastic. The rubber duckies I was wearing gave everyone some positive vibes. During the first ten km’s of the race I was running along with our half marathon buddies and the conversation and fun made it feel as if we still didn’t start yet. I took my first gel 45mins in and took a left hand turn towards the airport runway section where we waved our half marathoners good bye. Yousef and I (my Tri partner in crime) at that point were still running side by side and when we had to U-turn across that beautiful runway we were acting as is if we were flying airplanes. Volunteers chilling and smoking (as they do) on the back of that Ford Raptor thought we were nuts!
My nutrition was very consistent, I had a gel at every 30 mins after the first one as I knew I was low on calories due to the lack of sports drink. I had two scoops of tailwind carb powder in zip lock bags and when reaching the volunteers for water I asked for two water bottles and was super fast at mixing some carb powder in the drink chugging it and just doing my thing (even though most of the powder was falling all over the place). My aid station performance was EPIC! I was mixing and drinking and doing everything I need to do without slowing down at all. I was also doing an awesome job at just throwing water at myself and ruining the hypothetically unbreakable phone in my pocket that was blasting some awesome tunes!
My run splits (2km splits) were looking very consistent as I just went out by feel and concentrated on a pace below 5:35 per km for as long as I could hold.
Going out of the airport for the second time towards the marathon mark (probably at about 35kms) there was a small hill that everyone clearly felt. Thats when I started slowing down a notch but indeed impressive run splits overall as I never stopped once before hitting the marathon mark.
As the race started in the Dead Sea at 6am that meant that the alarm clock had to go off at 3:15am & rely on other people to come and pick me up on time as I was carpooling to the race with three other folks. Pressing on the snooze button multiple times early in the morning made me realise that no one is to blame for our epically late arrival. I think there was probably no more than two mins time between us handing in our street bag to the actual start of the race. That meant zero time for warming up.
As soon as the start of the race was triggered, about five mins in I realised that my race belt was leaking gels from the side and I had to reorder my nutrition into my available pockets. After that was settled, a weird sound was heard and all I see is my bib number is all loose and wobbly. Knowing that we were in Jordan and the volunteers seemed so clueless anyway I decided to just take the bib out of its holder and tuck it on the flip belt without having a purely visible bib number.
My setup before I started running was classic, I was loaded on base salt’s and gels but no sports drink as we were told that they will be supplying us with both water in addition to sports drink. As soon as we started the run we were given a small plastic cup of sports drink and it never showed up again. Classic Jordanian trick which made us assume the sports drink will be quite consistent along the way.
I was very low on salt towards the last part as I gave my extra salt pouch away to some volunteers who were helping a guy who was passed out (at about km25). Im sure my donation did not do any good as they were clearly very clueless on how this might help. God knows, they probably thought it was coke or something lol.. but yet again I never stopped once till I decided to just take a little break at 43km in. Gosh that was the worst thing I had ever done and experienced in my whole life. My glutes locked up completely and the pain exerting out of those muscles was unreal. My calfs, hammies and everything were just screaming. I started walking like an abused penguin and wished that I had never started this in the first place. After walking for like 5 to ten mins the pain never went away and I sucked it in and I gave all it all Ive got. I just started jogging and pushing to run again. That plan failed multiple times until it started working again. You cannot imagine how hard that part was as there was no water at all between 38 to 50km but yet god knows how much cash they managed to slip away to get a couple of DJI Mavic 2Z drones for their social media coverage (priorities!). I started eyeing out empty water bottles out of desperation on the sides of the road and trying to lick out anything that was left even though squatting for water was significantly painful.
I crossed the line at the end in a shit ton of pain but I crossed accomplishing everything that I had wanted to. Sometimes you need to experience the ugly in order to grow.
Finish line suffer vibes
PS. The amounts of bruises discovered on my body after getting out of my shower showed the I really did a bad job at scrubbing myself with chammy cream.
GU x 8, Base Endurance licks every 2-4k’s, no sports drink and bits of tailwind powder. Compared to the amounts of people passed out while I was on the go I think I calculated my calories pretty well.