The next couple days in Jordan were all about getting adjusted to the new environment and of course the 6 hour time difference. I slept great on the first night but got close to no sleep the second night. Each day, twice a day, we traveled to a stadium with an outdoor track and practice loops for training. I went there once each day and did my 2nd, shorter run, either from the hotel or on a treadmill at the hotel. The practice loops were nice because they were dirt paths with some hills and twists and turns. I ended up doing my workout on it and enjoyed it.
On Wednesday we all took a bus to the Dead Sea. It was about an hour or so to get there and had some amazing views of the mountains along the way. The bus stopped at a great lookout point so we could all take some pictures. We arrived at the Dead Sea and stepped off the bus to what felt like a 20 degree temperature change. The warmth felt so nice because back in Amman we had somewhat chilly temperatures with drizzle. The sun was shining and the Dead Sea beach was just a few steps away. There were Tiki bars and grass umbrellas scattered across the beach. We all pretty much ran down to the beach like a bunch of kids and stripped down to our bathing suits or, for those like myself that didn’t bring one, sports bras and shorts. So, the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the Earth and is so rich with salts and minerals nothing can survive in it. People go there to soak up all the minerals for health benefits. In addition to this, because it’s so rich with minerals, it creates lots of buoyancy. So, when you float on your back you rise above the water more than normal and your feet just pop up out of the water, it’s very weird. Then everyone started taking the mud from along the shore and just plastering it over their bodies. It was actually clay and as a former art teacher I was tempted to somehow bag it up and ship it home to throw a pot.But, instead I decided to slather it all over my body and hope that my skin would be glowing after. We only had about an hour to play before we headed back. We passed some camels on the way back and the bus driver was nice enough to stop so we could hop on one. I think I was the first to jump on. I wasn’t totally prepared for the jolt it gave me as it got off its knees to stand up. I got a couple photos and tipped the camel guy a dinar. We headed back and called it a day.
Thursday hit and it seemed like the vacation was coming to a close. The reason why we were all there crept closer. We had a short outing planned for Thursday and then it was really time to get down to business. Small groups took cabs to some Roman ruins right in the middle of Amman. There was a huge amphitheater there that we opted not to climb in order to save the legs but we took lots of pictures. We then went to a couple shops to look for gifts and make some good or not so good deals on jewelry that may or may not be phony. That night the senior women had our pre-race team meeting with coach Peter Tegen. Peter gave a very inspirational pep talk and I thanked him for it. I certainly know of his incredible coaching history and was honored to get to know him. Thanks Peter!
On Friday morning we were able to see the race course for the first time. We were all decked out in our fancy US gear and had some team photos taken at the finish area before we jogged the course. Luckily the predicted rain held off and the course was bone dry. The senior women’s team ran together and assessed the course. We all agreed that the course was challenging, but seemed somewhat similar to the Derwood course where the trials were held. We had lots of positive thoughts about what we could do as a team as well. After seeing the course we headed back to the hotel. All that was left to do was relax and wait.