Doing sports in Abu Dhabi: just doing it

Week 3 in Abu Dhabi has passed, and when yesterday evening we came out of the sea, my husband laughed when I said “it is getting chilly” (water: +26°C, air: +31°C). Oh well, they were right when they said you get used to warm weather in no time. And I don’t even want to think about how it will feel in Chicago, where I am going next week (+16°C??? freeezing).

While it is nice and pleasant to hang out on the beach in this weather, temperature rises toward +40°C during the day, and it becomes a real challenge to do any sports outdoors. Have I given up on sports yet? Not me.

Running. I have been quite consistent running on a treadmill: first week when I came, I did 35mins, 3 times per week, 7.2-7.3km each time, so 4.50min/km pace, usually comfortable, but not so much here when I started. Second week – 40mins, 3 times per week, 8.2-8.3km each time, so similar pace, much easier. Week 3 and I managed to do 3 times 45mins, around 9.3km each time, so same pace just a bit more.  So far so good 🙂

As for running outdoors, I haven’t ventured yet, but have seen people doing it veeerry slowly. I talked to one cycling coach yesterday, she said running outdoors really takes a toll on one’s ego, and one should aim for either early morning, or just-before-the-sunset 20-30mins easy run, which should be enough to improve your condition more than anything else in the world. Something I will do when back from Chicago the week after.

Swimming. The easy part. Just right now I am lying on the beach where I have access to the beach and 3 decent pools around. It was never THAT easy access to water. Remembering Denmark, at this point in time I had never been able to do outdoors swimming. So over the past 3 weeks I got more than enough of swimming.

I signed up for advanced swimming classes at work, and do 2 times 7am trainings, each around 2km swim, with different drills, so takes more than 40 mins. Plus Saturday and Sunday mornings – casual swim at the residence, Etihad Towers. Feel like a fish 😛 Of course, I still have a lot to learn, can’t compete with the guys who have lived here all their lives or come from, say, Australia. I am simply bad with legs in water (usual runners’ curse). But challenge accepted – it can only get better.

Cycling. The sad part. Our tri bikes are still somewhere in a container on the way to Abu Dhabi. Being bikeless after having had 3 bikes in Denmark is painful. But we slowly start getting into routine of indoor cycling. Yesterday we tried a 1-hour performance class in The Room, Zayed Sports City (a huge place for anything), and we liked it. Today, we are coming back for a 1 hour 15min endurance class. (Of course, a 90min Talise signature massage first :))

Once we have our bikes back, we have Yas Marina Circuit Formula-1 track to do 5.5km intervals. But the place where all cyclists go for longer tours here is outside the city, specially built Al Wathba cycling tracks in the desert outside the city, 8km, 16km, 20km, 22km, 30km cycling tracks, available 24-7, with lightning at night and all the facilities. Can’t wait! The only thing I was warned about is the wind. Unfortunately (or fortunately) the Danish experience with flat roads and strong winds won’t be avoided here. I was told, last 2 years of Dubai half ironman race was so windy that you could see people stop and cry on the way back. Bring it on!

Other things. We are still not sure in terms of where we will land in terms of gyms, but we are exploring different options. St. Regis, where we will live, has a gym, but we want to explore and try new things. E.g. my husband wants to go to bouldering and other Ninja Warrior stuff which we found are available here in Adventure Zone. Me? I still need to find some dancing classes to replace what I am already missing – the Bodyjam class in FitnessDK.  Also, it would be nice to try tennis, but for summer months I guess we will have to stick with squash which is also widely available here. Sailing will have to wait for autumn/winter too.

So no, Abu Dhabi is not a place to be lazy. If anything, it has much more to offer in terms of outdoors, and we are soooo going to enjoy it.

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