Today Pae did something that I haven't done in over a decade. She ran and finished a 5.4 kilometer road race!
We had been training at the gym and on the university track to run a series of 5k and 10k runs and potentially some "adventure runs" until Pae pulled some tendons or ligaments in her back. We had to scale back our physical activity to basically zero for the past couple months. When we were training, Pae was consistently running her 5k distance at around the 45 minute mark. Since she had already registered and paid to run several months ago, she wasn't going to sit this one, her first, out.
The run is the annual SHAPE magazine run here in Bangkok. The SHAPE run is a girls only race that allows the girls to get together and compete against each other without a bunch of testosterone heads changing the whole dynamic of the competition. And you probably guessed it...Everything was Pink Pink Pink!
We got up at 4:50 AM to get to the venue of the run by the 5:30 AM registration time. I crammed down some Cornflakes and yoghurt while Pae hydrated and munched some Cocoa Crunch. We taxied it to the Queen Sirikit Convention Center and registered. Pae then got dressed up in her cute, fitted-for-the-woman's-body event shirt (hour glass cut, boobs, etc.), and walked around enjoying the atmosphere. I'd estimate there were around a thousand runners from 4 to 76 years old walking around, warming up, chatting, and looking each other up and down to determine "Did she or didn't she rock those camouflage leggings?" and "I wonder where she bought that cute hair scrunchy?" (Hahaha, I'll pay for that one!) Nah, seriously though, there were actually about ten television stars who attended the opening of the race and maybe eight who ran. A lot of the time waiting for the starting gun was spent watching the stars and taking pictures.
The mood got an injection of energy when some super muscular, fit, tanned dudes got up on the stage and got the girls to start warming up. Fifteen minutes of aerobics and stretching ensued. It was only then when I realized the number of women who were actually there. They formed a pink sea of femininity that stretched from the stage well past the run start/finish line. But even in such a huge mob pink shirts and long black hair, Pae shined brightest out of all of them! Grrrrrr!
To the starting line! I was standing there, taking pictures of the hunky dudes on stage, something in Thai, something else in Thai over the loud speaker, and then the sea of pink suddenly rushed past me like a human tsunami! I immediately locked eyes on Pae and waded my way to her so I could say goodbye and give her a quick good luck hug.
Just as suddenly as they toed the starting line, a confetti bomb went off 3 feet to my left and they were off! With all of the political turmoil here in Thailand and the three of four bombs that exploded last night at protest sites injuring around 50, I should have been startled by the small explosion as I was 100% in the kill radius had it been a weapon rather than a confetti blower upper! But I was actually more startled to have the entire sea of women suddenly shoot off of the line, rumbling past me, some running shoeless, beginning their next hours worth of self inflicted torture that some call fitness, some a personal challenge, and some misguided, masochistic others consider the ultimate form of meditation.
I can't tell you much about the run as I didn't have the equipment required to participate...Pae will have to fill you in on the details of that.
I waited around the Finish line and watch the super speedy women and one elementary schooler finish between 20 and 24 minutes...I watched as a couple girls in the top 50 crossed the line and immediately began to dry heave, proximity to me being even closer than my starting line experience 30 minutes earlier. Another girl, no older than 12 years old, crossed and had a hard time holding back big crocodile tears.
I expected Pae somewhere between 50 minutes and an hour, even though her personal best 5k during training was 44 minutes. Had to take into account the extra 400 meters and the two months off with her injury...so I gave her around 15 minutes...hahahaha!
Pae rounded into the final stretch at around 58 minutes and sprinted to the finish with a time of 58:08! Great job! Then it was straight to the bananas, oranges and watermelon! After grabbing some quick fruit and fiber, we thought Pae deserved a good leg massage. We waited in line for a few minutes for a seat to open up and Pae enjoyed a good 20 minutes of muscle loosening, albeit ticklish for her, rubbing!
I had a great time and I think Pae had fun too. Today ended up being a great reason to get up at 4:50 and started a fun day for Pae and I that continued after her run finished. We cruised the area and grabbed some BK, shopped at a Korean shop for snacks and melon ice cream, then digested our BK chicken sandwiches while walking in a park, then and went to a buffet nearby and quickly stuffed our faces and got home in time to watch America's Next Top Model! A great Sunday!