Disclaimer: Yes....it's a wee bit late....but better late than never, I'd say!!!!!
Definitely my come back marathon...
Roughly did my mental calculations while waiting for the photos to upload onto blogger, this should be (more or less) my 21st full (and beyond) marathon.
Nothing to shout about....but should at least keep a tally from now onwards.
Perhaps once I reach the proverbial "100th marathon", I'd chuck in the towel and call it a day towards my running retirement.
.....in after thoughts, perhaps I should start the slow down right about now considering there are many many MANY more races ahead, I'm sure.
That, or chuck marathons for triathlons and start calculating ultras are a whole separate entity (it does deserve that much, come to think of it).
Anyway....back to task at hand...
Arrived in Phuket right about lunch time on Saturday, just before race day.
News of continuous rain, thunderstorms and occasional (but increasing in its frequency) flooding around Patong region.
Well....I'm definitely taking it as good news.
Despite the heat acclimatization of Bikram Yoga (which by the way, I've decided I'm not meant for heat, period...but sticking on with it due to sheer hard-necked determination)....I'd rather a cool-weathered race over a sunny one any day!!!!
Arrived at Laguna, and it was all sunny and nice.
Race kit collection was a breeze....and as expected, goodie bag's content was sparse and Ms. Thailand was on a roll!
Free lunch (especially since mom and dad did a brilliant job at raising a thick-skinned child) at the so-called expo then back to the hotel.
Found out later at the carbo-loading dinner that this year, only 4000-ish runners registered to participate in the 2012 event.
Considering it also had a half-marathon, a 10km and a fun run in its line up...4000-ish is....kinda disappointing if I were on the organizing committee...
Woke up at local time of 3.15am....
Race scheduled to start at 4.30am.
4 people getting ready with the availability of ONE bathroom.....
By 4:10am, ALL of us were ready and got out the door....
By 4:20am, we were at race site.
A little close shave of a start.....but no point lingering in the humidity, I'd say.
I don't know about you....but this stretch of a race....I hate.
Internally I'm still asleep.
My coffee hasn't kicked in yet.
Its too dark and it is difficult to perve on the cute guy running in front of you.
Warm ups are always annoying.
Yeah...that sorta thing.
The sky was littered with stars.....and I had some inkling that it was gonna be a clear blue sky with the sun shining down our backs relentlessly at the last 15km.
Dannie and Carrie said to run with.
They were aiming for 6 hours.
But honestly, the first 5km....Dannie set a rather fast pace.
He said we needed to outrun the sun.
I think he also said the same thing to us same race last year.
Almost hit the plantation roads.
Undulating terrain but it was less humid with trees everywhere on your left and right.
Occasional smell of something dead...but, kinda expected it.
Coffee finally kicked in.
Found my running rhythm.
Still thought Dannie was setting a rather fast pace for a 6-ish marathon.
But of course, we don't complain.
Always good to follow the pacer.
Ran in a group of 4.....Dannie pacing Carrie, yours truly and Vivienne.
The sky slowly turned a slightly shade of blue.
Any minute now, the sun would rise.
God....bring on the rain clouds!!!!
Out of the woods....well, sort of.
Finally there was light and we could see where we were going.
Somewhere before 13km, we lost Dannie and Carrie.
So it was just me and Vivienne.
I remembered the roads.
It seemed familiar....
I guess the route didn't change from the year before.
We're heading towards the beach.
Had my first GU-gel....
Kinda needed it as I felt a tad hungry.
Roads were kinda cambered.....dammit!
I know I can physically last 20km.
I'm hoping to physically make it to 32km, to be honest....and let everything else be a mental challenge.
Legs still feel alright.
...which is good.....considering once they do NOT feel alright, things would subsequently go downhill quickly after.
We did quite a bit of stops here and there prior to 20km.
Well...what can I say...the Sirinath National Park is damn interesting compared to the rest of the route scenery.
I'd love to report that it was damn interesting BECAUSE of some half naked, buffed up, young Brad Pitt look-alike....(or many topless bikini babes if that's your thing...) but unfortunately it was onlyinteresting because of the view...
Y'know.....the old fashion take-picture-of-lovely-view sorta thing.
Ok....now I'm tired.
Started popping GU chomps.
Well...it didn't exactly give me the oomph to continue slogging it out as I would have hoped.
But it did take away the monotony of having nothing to chew on in my mouth.
The route took us back to the same ones that had lead us to the national park.
The temperature already felt warmer.....
And did I mention I was already tired?
Ok so it served me right to only have trained until 20km prior to my arrival to Phuket.
Oh..did I mentioned that the roads (at least the majority of the route) were cambered.
Not just cambered but severely cambered!!!
That kinda made my knees hurt.
Then my ankles hurt....
We are now in......well, I'm sure we were very much still in Phuket....but the turn off into the rubber estates and then roads that have trees and other green stuff lined it on both sides.
At this point, I was very keen to walk the entire way back.
I mean....its only like another 10-15km more anyway.
Walking is doable.
But I'm not a big fan of being sunburnt during a race.....
Vivienne started to have pain down her right leg....and we walked....
I was tired.....and we walked....
We walked....a lot!
Found Dannie and Carrie again.....
Dannie says to take a break and have some Pepsi.
Well...I'm all for taking a break.
All four of us (Dannie, Carrie, Vivienne and yours truly...) went into the shop and sat down with 4 cups of ice cold Pepsi in front of us.
The longer I sit...the more I don't want to continue running....but it's less than 10km more to go.
And the weather is now cool and cloudy.
However deep down, I'm drained.
Shit drained.....so drained that I might seriously consider hopping onto the sweeper bus if there actually was one right behind me now!
Reluctantly, I hauled myself up to get going once the Pepsi was safely in the vicinity of my GI system.
Dannie was not gonna let me get on the freakin bus......if there was one.
So run/walk we did.
As we run/walk....the sky became gloomier and darker....the wind slightly stronger...
Before 35km mark....a gust of wind blew at us....almost taking with it my cap!!!
We were all trying to run faster to beat the rain clouds...but of course that would never work.
That only works in the cartoon-world....or perhaps Hollywood....
Then it poured.
Not light-rain-falling-on-my-head sorta thing...but real pouring of huge rain drops!!!!
Well..the good thing was....it was exactly what I had prayed for.
(if only I'd had prayed for the winning lottery number...)
And it was cooling...and windy.....
Perfect sorta weather when you're worn out, tired and ready to give up.
You can literally see the heavy clouds part and the sun slowly seeping through...
Shoes already soaked.
And we weren't back yet.
Vivienne was having intermittent cramps and pain down her affected leg.
I was having cramps and pain....well, everywhere!!!
But it's the final stretch....a little bit more and we're done.
Bloody non-existent sweeper bus.....
The sun is now out.
It's suddenly warm and sunny again.
Weather was kinda bipolar that way.
I see patches of rain clouds and dark skies ahead..but right above us...clear blue sky.
Somewhere along the way....it started to drizzle again.
Then about 5 minutes later...it stopped and the sun blazing down on us.....repeat that a couple of times until we reached Laguna resort.
I did mention that the weather was going all bipolar on us....
Might as well....I feel kinda like that......
The last 2km were horrendous.
So close...yet so far...
I can no longer feel my lower half of my body.
I'm in pain...I'm hungry.....I am tired......get me outta here!!!!!
1km more to go......
Anytime soon.....keep running...
Everyone was running now....
Almost there.....just a little bit more....
Why does my quads hurt so much!?!?!?!
Ignore the pain....
And we reached....in 6:10.....
Oh well.....I did say it was my comeback right!?!?!?!?
The dude is pretty popular, according to him.
His name card has a website and post race, we kinda checked him out...and he's like EVERYWHERE!!!!!
By the way.....http://yujirotaniyama.com
Check it out.
I just want it to be done right about NOW!!!!
* Yay....survived....got back in 6:10, stupid...foolish...and undertrained self....big pat on the back for being such an idiot!!!!!
Now...where is my ice bath!?!?!