When your Heart follows Your Mind

Today was our weekly run date, 5:30 am “Sharp” said Amany the team leader last night before we went to sleep.

5:33 am we stared our way to downtown Cairo, showed my Garmin wrist watch.

I tried to catch up with the group pushing my usual pace, witnessing the rising sun while crossing the kasr el Nile bridge is a moment not to be missed. Passing through bab el Louq square you can spot the renovated old buildings with gold paint decorations. Finally I arrived with last few runners at Abdin Palace. Egypt was ruled from this palace starting from 1872 to 1952 and was built by AlKhedwi Ismail Pasha.

We had to take our famous running group selfie before we start our way back to Zamalek.

I usually try to train below zone 5 heart rate training zone which is below 90% of my maximum heart rate, unless I am finishing or in a race, as it is much safer for your heart, muscles and joints.

Today on my way back I found Ibrahim and Safi waiting for me and told me “Today you should finish with us”. At that moment I took the decision and didn’t care much about the heart rate training zones and kept in pace until we reached our starting point. And guess what ? Although I ran at a higher pace my heart rate did not get higher.

While stretching I had a small talk with Ramy, who turned out to be a young doctor and will soon be leaving Egypt to start a residency program in the USA. 

I guess ramy did not want to leave Egypt and probably had another future planned when he entered medical school 8 years ago, but sometimes you have to change the mental state and the heart will follow.

A Runner at Dawn A doctor by day

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9:15 am: Wake up
10:00 am: Taking the elevator with my wife on my way to work
Five hours earlier…
5:30 am: Warming up in 26th of July street in Zamalek
6:00 am: Taking a selfie with the group in front of Ibrahim Pasha statue
6:15 am: Heading back on Kasr el Nile bridge watching the sun rise and the full moon in a beautiful scenery
6:40 am: Taking breakfast in Copenhagen Patisserie in Zamalek
8:30 am: Taking a nap
2 hours later on…
10:20 am: Seeing patients in the outpatient clinic
I felt like a Batman, having a double life, a runner at dawn and a doctor by day, and it felt good.
Being able to wake up so early in the morning doing the thing you love and keeping your body healthy is such a great start for the day. By moving and pushing your body to run, you are not only doing maintenance, you are making it what it’s built to do, remembering it’s built in genetic instinct of running, hunting, and exploring.
I saw a different Egypt by dawn, 2 young ladies running on the other side of Kasr El Nile bridge, I really wanted to salute their will and power, but in my own running group I had 2 first timers to run 10k who also deserve recognition for their high spirit.
Running in a group is such an add on, I highly recommend adding a group run at least once a week for every casual runner.

Group Run at 5:30 AM

If anyone told me a couple of months ago, we will meet 5:30 in the morning to run and take some pictures I will definitely say : No thank you, are you crazy ?

Well, I ran today at 5:30 am, took some pictures and I am not crazy, indeed I am an associate university professor who loves to run.

Two weeks ago, I met a Passant, a colleague from work, in Aswan who told me about a running group in Zamalek and that she will invite me to a group run when we go back to Cairo.

Last week, Ibrahim an old friend messaged me and invited me to the Zamalek group and it turns out to be the same group that Shefaa (my old downtown runner friend) told me about.

5:15 I was standing in 26th July street waiting for the group to gather, few minutes later, more than 20 people, women and men, different ages were cruising the streets running and enjoying the sunrise.

We stopped at the beautiful Kasr El Nile street took a celebration picture, acknowledging our humble achievements in Aswan race, new personal records, new first timers and above all celebrating the spirit and perseverance in reaching this far.

Amany the ironwoman and the positive spirit behind this group was distributing magic cookies that were delicious healthy and filled us with power to go back running where we started.

Another amazing woman Cherry, who had a recent injury, joined us by car and woke so early just not to miss this amazing gathering and kept taking pictures and videos of every single one of us.

Another great run and a new start for me, group running.