A Doha (Qatar) Nighttime Runaround

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I landed in Qatar rather late Sunday night, about 11:30PM or so, making it roughly 12:30AM by time I got to the hotel.  For the super-quick geography reminder, here’s where Doha is:

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With work meetings taking up most of the daylight hours on Monday & Tuesday it wasn’t until Tuesday night before my flight back home that I got a chance to head out for a run.

(Yes, I could have run at 5:11AM when sunlight burst into my hotel room windows with all the force of the flaming fireball it is…but…I’m not exactly a morning exercise person)

So instead, I went with post-work workouts.  I had some 6-7 hours to kill until my 1:40AM flight back to Paris.  I headed outside into the warm near-80°F (27°C) night.  Thankfully the wind had died down from the day prior.  On Monday it was howling out, making for a surreal sandy/dusty scene outside that morning:

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Speaking of which, that chunk of ground you see at the top is from across some dusty lot of sorts I crossed while lost in the windstorm looking for my taxi.

Anyway, back to the run. As I was saying, I headed on out of the hotel – ready to run.

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From there I went a block away and started working my way along the water.  At first it was mostly just a nice sidewalk in front of what appeared to be numerous consulates/embassies (with numerous ‘Do not photograph or we’ll shoot you signs’).  Oddly, there were also do not swim/fish/hike signs next to them.

From there I joined into the Corniche, which is a nice long stretch of beautiful parkland along the water.  On this night, like I assume most others, it was packed with families out enjoying the evening.

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I was doing 800m repeats tonight, at a theoretical 5:45/mile pace (3:34/km).  Sometimes it worked out…sometimes not so much.  I say that it’s the thought that counts.

At around the 2nd or 3rd one, I hit my turnaround point.  It afforded a nice view looking back around the bay with the city behind it.  It looks quite a bit prettier in person than the below shot makes it, given the wall sorta blocks the view.

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Having never been to downtown Doha before (many times through the airport however), I’m impressed with the city.  It’s got the modern vibe of Dubai…without the semi-fake feeling of much of Dubai.  It’s also relatively compact, compared to Dubai’s 40KM never-ending city and traffic.  On the flip side…it lacks Dubai’s ski resort.  Or the tallest building in the world.  But not every city can be the overachiever.

At the turnaround I worked my way back along mostly the same route – only taking one minor detour to see how far the boardwalk went.

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From there I finished up on a quiet stretch of semi-deserted roadway to do a handful of sprints.  I tried to capture it on the camera leaving it on the side of the road…but it never really captured anything other than a blur.  I’m just that fast.  The ‘best’ shot I got was when I was fairly far away, seen below.

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From there it was back towards the hotel into a bit of a cool-down.  I also took that opportunity to get a few more photos for a post later this week on the Recon Jet.

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And then back into the hotel I went.  I’ve stayed at a number of W Hotels over the years, but I’m definitely impressed with the exterior and interior design of this one.  Pretty cool.

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Oh, and since some are curious about my hotel allegiances…I’ve kinda given up there.  I used to be a Hilton/Marriott person, but then realized that there were very few benefits to be the top-tier at either of those.  So now I’ve become a Hilton/Marriott/Hyatt/Sheraton person with almost-top-tier status on all of them.  It works out better.  Plus, with most of my travel being international there are many cases where there simply aren’t hotels of a given chain in that city that I’m travelling to.  Or, aren’t hotels near where I have work stuffs.

In any case, post-run it was off to the airport for my 1:40AM flight back home.  Plus, I’ve got 7 whole days before my next trip!  Lots of productivity about to happen!

Thanks for reading!

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21 Comments

  1. Meara

    as a fellow business traveler who is not a morning person…how do you shower after that? Or do you magically not sweat much? Or just figure baby wipes works and hope people on the plane don’t care? Or do you work something out with the hotel?

    • Generally I find hotels are quite willing to let you use their fitness/spa area later the same day you checked out. If in a non-US airport most airport lounges (if you have access) also have showers.

      In my case my booking was actually till Wednesday anyway as I didn’t know which day I’d wrap up, so I had a room there still.

  2. Pete

    I love that your next trip being a week away is a long time for you! Whilst the rest of us normal people only go away once or twice a year!

    Keep up the good work Ray!

  3. Max

    Really looking forward to your thoughts on Recon Jet Ray! Will it be a full in-depth review or some preliminary thoughts?

    • It’ll be more of a first-look type post. They’ve iterated a ton recently (with lots more in the next few weeks), and I don’t quite feel comfortable giving a ‘full in-depth review’ based on that beta iteration.

  4. Paul frylink

    Your post has brought back memories of a 3 month posting I did in Doha a couple of years back and the cute names we gave all the buildings. Referring to image 5, you are standing at the base of starship enterprise – behind it is the cheese grater and the vase. I will leave the yellow one up to your imagination :-)

  5. David

    Just stayed at that W a couple of months ago. Did you get a chance to swim in the (very cold) hipster pool?

    • No, didn’t get a chance unfortunately. Kept meaning to check it out, but dark all nights I got back and didn’t quite seem warm enough outside (air tempt) to tempt me down there.

    • David

      Yeah, nice to have a full 25m pool at the hotel, but man, it was cold in February when I was there. Also, the pool closes at 6pm because the pool patio is, umm, part of the hotel’s night club.

    • It was 25m? Crap, now I really wish I had gone down there. Figured it was just some cutesey looking pool.

    • David

      Yep. Full 25m. In fact, either it was actually even a bit longer than that, or jet lag was slowing me down. :) Long and skinny pool, but wide enough for two people to do laps at once without bumping into each other.

  6. Sean

    Just curious, when you say you have a whole 7 days before your next trip, does that mean you’re off work? I always wondered how you had time to travel, train, go to all the product conferences and write this blog!

  7. Jeff

    Hey Ray, any update on when your podcast will be posted?

  8. Gabe

    That grass ramp loops tempting to run up

  9. Remco V

    I saw you used the Fenix 3, I recently (last week) got one but until now very unhappy with the GPS tracks it generates. Especially compared with my 910XT. When it has a fix, its spot on but it looses fix quite to often.
    Could you please post your settings as in Glonass on/off, smart or 1s, IQ installed watchfaces and software.

    • GLONASS on, 1-Second Recording, no Connect IQ watch faces or apps actively used (I have one one-watch installed, but not used). I have 1-2 data fields installed, but not used.

      I generally don’t have any issues with my Fenix3 units.

    • remco Verdoold

      Thank you, Will cycle Amstel gold Race tomorrow and compare with my edge 800. Then I’ll probably have to contact Garmin NL.

    • Patrick

      Apart from some minor differences (few corners cut & when under tree foliage it’s a bit off) I have few issues with the F3 either. Did a 90k cycle trip yesterday covering the entire “75km tourversie Utrecht” trip that will happen june 28th. Nice track to test since it gives a general idea where the tour de france will ride in July.

      Anyway I compared as always with my 3 devices oregon 450 + 600 and the fenix 3. All three were within 2km of eachother. The 450 said 91,2km but was on the bike of my partner the 600 said 90,4 and my F3 said 89,1 but I was late with enabling the watch. A good 800 meters lost there.

      So not an entirely fair comparison but it seems to work good enough for me. I’ll admit though, not much forest or cornering on this trip.
      Anyway good luck with the Amstel Gold Race.

      As for Doha, sure looks like fun to have the entire world as your workout / running place, Ray. Makes my regular workout laps look like the same old boring routine.

  10. Andrew Heskett

    I used to do all of my runs along the corniche. A couple of weeks ago, when popping back to catch up with a mate, I noticed they’d finished the Jawa Sandcrawler building. That’s what my flatmate and I used to call it. Do you know which one I mean? @Paul frylink, how about you? :)
    After running in Qatar and now Kuwait, it feels so much easier when I go back to France for the summers. My pace increases from slow to a bit less slow :P

  11. Hi DCR, If you are in Doha during a weekend and want to go for a road ride out of town north towards Al Kohr or west in Dukhan drop me a line. We’ve got a good Bike racing / Tri and MTB scene happening, you’d be most welcome,
    best regards,
    Jock