Today I took an extended lunch break (luckily my schedule permitted it) and went into town to pick up my race number and "goodie bag". Took two hours all together, but you have to add the time we stopped at the market to buy mashed potatoes!
On the way to the Army Club where the registration was taking place, we got pulled over at a police "dragnet" stop of sorts. The Thai police, three of them, ordered us out of our taxi (Eric and I) and started grilling us, IN THAI:
"Where are you going?"
"What are you doing in Thailand?"
"What business do you have here?"
"Where do you teach?"
They were triple teaming the two of us and asking pretty quickly, as quickly as we could answer and with attitudes. Luckily we had our passports and work permits with us as we needed them for the marathon registration. There were another 10-15 cops in the same intersection pulling over other taxis and mopeds as well, so it wasn't just us. We had an answer for each of their questions, answered with a little less attitude and thrown right back at them, in Thai, just as fast as they could ask. It was a first but we were back in the taxi in under two minutes.
I'm gonna be nice and assume that this stop was because there is a heightened terrorism level in the city since the Lebanese dude with the bomb making material a month ago and since there is a big event Sunday (THE MARATHON!) that would be an easy target for any would-be bad guys. I'm sure this wasn't an attempt to extort money from unsuspecting foreigners, which is common here, especially by those who are supposed to be here to protect us! I digress.
After instructing our taxi driver in the fine art of map reading, he figured out that I was right and he was wrong concerning where we were and what direction we needed to go. Come on! I just got back from navigating the streets of Hong Kong and Macau using tourist maps and landmarks, bro, I KNOW (kinda) where we are! He got us to where we were going, nice guy really, and he told me that he had picked me up at my apartment and driven me to my school before and that he recognized me...He knew way too much about me! Coincidence to have the same taxi driver twice...the city must have 10,000+ taxis!!Arriving We found Eric's number but weren't able to find my name on the list of pre-registered runners. I had to go through another process of "adding" me to the race, meaning that I am now a number and not Guy Uda ;) Here is my race bib, oddly made of paper!! Huh?? A race bib for a 42 kilometer (26 mile) race made of paper??? Aren't they usually made from some type of sturdy fabric? Well, I took a picture of it now, cuz I'm certain that after 42 km of pouring water over my head, sweating and puking on myself, that the race bib is gonna be thrashed, bleeding green ink and pretty much illegible!I like the bib though because it has a little spot on the left where the race coordinators can check off when you get your finisher medal, fruit pack and McDonald(s) post meal. The parts that I don't care too much for is the "40++" signifying that I am racing in the 40 years old and above category...Yay, I'm old! Also, we were hoping to get a 2:00AM start time for slower runners, especially since Eric is suffering from the flu right now and we might have to take every one of the six hour time limit to get him to the finish line!! (We were aiming for below 4:30 but this is our first marathon and what can you do when you're puking and weak from the flu??) But yeah, we got the 3:00AM start...early because running here in Bangkok at any other time of day is like running on the Sun!! No joke!!We also got this very very pink running shirt to wear during the race, I'll probably wear it only at home or out in the park for a run when we train for our next marathon or half marathon or trail run ;)Outside, before getting back into he taxi to home, we took a couple very back lit pictures of us and the marathon sign...I had to adjust the lighting and color on them a little so you could see our faces. I actually picked up the sign and cement blocks and stones started falling out of the bottom, hence the ding dong face I'm making as Eric snapped the picture! But hey, that's pretty much me!! I jammed the rocks back in the base of the sign to keep it from blowing away in the wind, then we were back in a taxi.Yes, yes...we decided to skip the free coffee and drinking water even though they were "FREE OF CHARGER" hahaha ;)We're both pretty excited about our race. Again, we have a little health problem right prior to the marathon and we know it is gonna slow us up a lot. We agreed a long time ago when we first started training for this marathon that we would run together since we had trained together and our abilities are pretty much even. So, if I lose a knee or if Eric needs to run at a slower pace because he is still struggling with his flu, we're gonna start together and finish together!! That's the plan!! Goal = Finish not "finish fast", we'll save that for the marathon in November!! We've got 6 hours to finish, we'll probably use most of that.
Teacher Malcolm is gonna run the 10km run in the same event on Sunday, so there are three of us from this area that will be out there leaving the sweat on the pavement! Represent!!
I still owe you Hong Kong photos...They're coming, I promise. Been kinda busy eating mashed potatoes and drinking fruit smoothies and anything else high in carbs!!