Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Bangkok Runners Ultra Marathon 55.5km

My first race of the year was less of a race and more of a celebration. My running club, Bangkok Runners, decided to organize an Ultra Marathon of 55.5 kilometers to celebrate our club president's last day of being age 55.

55.5 comes from the Thai language translation of the number 5. We say "ha" for 55.5 sound like Ha-ha-ha!! Also the reason why we started at 5:55am and had a time cutoff of 5:55pm.

There were no t-shirts, no medals, no volunteer staff to hand out water. We were just out there, thirty plus runners, giving our president a unique birthday gift! I think 10 of us were running the 55.5km solo, with 20+ doing it as relay groups, either 5 runners each doing 11ish km or two runners pulling half of the distance. For 6 of us, it would be our first attempt at the ultra distance.
We started in the dark, quite late for Thailand standards. To beat the heat and the sun we usually start races of marathon distance or more around 3am. Running 55.5km would likely take us between 6-12 hours so we were looking at a long time in the scorching heat...and when I say scorching, although it is the cool season here, I'm talking about running at the edge of your body's ability and your brain's sanity at temperatures in the 90s once the sun comes out!

Seven of us solo runners finished under the harsh Bangkok sun! For six of us, it was our first 50km+ run!! Many of us had thoughts of quitting before the distance. I thought, once I got near 50km, that it would be good was hot, I was not happy...I wanted to quit! But I couldn't quit...I didn't make my time goal of 5:55:55, but I didn't quit! Seeing the faces of your running friends on the course, enduring the same pain as you are and trying to flash smiles of encouragement and utter words of motivation, helped me to keep on plodding along! With plenty of drink breaks, coconut eating breaks, "recommit to the run" breaks and of course bathroom breaks, I was able to finish at 12:12 am...considering we started late at 6:16am (just found this out from another runner), I reckon that's just under 6 hours of running, but I'll just stick with 6hours 12minutes cuz it's easier to calculate (and it's already on Runkeeper!)

It was a great experience, but I've promised to never torture myself like that again ;)


mardenheyjude said...

What a way to celebrate!!! I would have just picked up a pretty cake and some ice creme and invited everyone to the house:) It must have been a tough run in the scorching heat. I wonder if you will keep your promise to never torture yourself like that again:) Great experience, anyway. Love always, Auntie

Pae and Guy said...

haha, you're probably right, Auntie!! I'll eventually get the itch to run long again!!! Love you!!!

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