Monday, February 4, 2013

GSPA NIDA Mini Marathon 2013

Once again I found myself trying to ignore the soccer matches on t.v., drinking loads of water, and laying my running kit out on the dining room table, anxiously awaiting my 4am wakey wakey time for February's run. This year we decided to run the NIDA run again. It's close to home and we are familiar with the course. And as a joke, after seeing last year's 40+ age group 5th place trophy time of just over 50 minutes, we joked that we would go for it and try to break 50 minutes!

It was always half joke and half serious. Last year we entered the NIDA run after finishing our first full and half marathons. It was our first short distance race. This year we entered after a long layoff from running, and I was carrying some nagging knee pain that hits me when I run fast or past about 3-4 kilometers.

Eric and Vince (his coworker) and Malcolm (teacher at my school) and I all signed up for the race. Vince is pretty new at running but has come a long way in the past few months, from 2 kilometers winded to being able to pump out a 10K in just over an hour. Good stuff! Malcolm plays football (soccer) in a league here and runs once or twice a week to stay fit. And of course Eric and I train together for our marathons.

I couldn't sleep the night before, and was laying in the dark in the bedroom checking the soccer scores every five minutes on my iPhone. My phone went off and I thought it was a message from Pae who was attending a wedding in Ubon the next morning. It was Eric telling me that he had to pull our of the run. Disappointing, but with the experience of running our first marathon together while recovering from illness, we knew it was the best for him to skip it.

I had not seriously thought about running too hard, my knee and all but I knew if Eric was there that I would run as hard as I could as long as I could. I think we would have both given 50 minutes a good go and probably gone sub 50. But now I'd have to revise my race strategy! Hahaha.

We had invited Malcolm to run with us at the Singha 14K race last year and Malc came kinda expecting to run with friends...then the starting horn sounded and I, excitedly, sprinted off after the leaders!! Hahaha, we didn't see each other on the course until we hit the double back points at each side of the course. So it was less social and more just everyone out running for themselves.

Commemorating the run with a photo and a banana
This year set up perfectly for us to just chill and run together, with no time pressure, although we did give ourselves a time goal. I decided to run with Malcolm the whole of the race, and I let him know to just go on without me if I had to stop for my knee, such was my lack of confidence in my knee's ability to make it a full 11 kilometers. I also had to let him know that if he got sick of listening to me talk the whole race, to just stick his ear buds in and listen to his iPod Shuffle, ignore me, and I'd totally understand, hahahaha.

I sprinted ahead to take this picture of Malcolm about 500m from the finish
The course is set up as a 10.5 kilometer loop around the Bangkapi area of Bangkok. The course takes a couple cut ins to dodge traffic at a major thoroughfare and adds good 700 meters to the distance, so the race ends up being an 11.2 kilometer experience. At least this year, at the start line, just before the horn, the organizer got on the mic and said "Oh, and the course is 11K not 10K" haha.

And they're off!! This is always an exciting part of the race for me!
A light chuckle filtered through the crowd...I translated (not that I had to) for Vince and he looked with wide eyes as his longest run has been 10K, so the NIDA would be a milestone for him. I gave him some advice about the course from the previous year's experience and suddenly the horn sounded (15 minutes late). Vince took off well ahead of Malcolm and me, but we eventually caught him before the first major corner is the rectangularish course.
There weren't so many photographers on the course, and this is one of the only ones of me and Malcolm running together, behind the 50 year old dude ;)
I think at that point, we had all settled into our pace. At first I worried that Vince had gone out way too fast, but he soon pulled back. I think the excitement of all of the runners, the horn and the morning air (meaning cooler air filled with exhaust from buses and Bangkok traffic) affected him like it normally does me, hence his fast start.

Vince running his longest run
It was cool to lay back and just basically run a slower pace training run and chat the whole run, but have a contest happening all around you. We goaled the 11.2km at under one hour. We hit the 5km point and saw that we were at 28+ minutes, so just on the edge of making the 11.2km at 59:59 or less.
We're actually both smiling during the final sprint
We kinda held back to give the last little bit a final burst. We talked about our significant others, running, shoes, soi dogs, training, football and basically whatever else crossed our minds, making the effort seem minimal. We had our targets on the road, meaning that we would pick out a runner and either try to catch them or stay with them.  

I guess we were the instigators, but little red-shirt dude behind the pink-shirt dude wouldn't let us pass so we had to try to chase him down. Quite fun and nice to have the energy after a chilled run!
The course was the same as last year, but knowing exactly where to expect water stations and knowing how far the finish was, really helped. We were about 500 meters from the finish and we gave a good push. 200 meters out and we were pushing one hour. I honestly thought we'd end up just over an hour. But we came up on this little Thai dude, Malcolm and I running shoulder to shoulder, he felt us behind him. We just started to pass him and he started running faster!   No dude, you're not getting away with just running away from us that easily. If you're gonna sprint off into the distance, you're gonna do it with the sound of my size 9.5s right on your tail!!

Had to baby the knee around the final corner
We sprinted the last 100 meters into the finish in an actual footrace with dude. It wasn't what we had planned, because we knew that there would be a race camera at the end...and planned to find an empty space between runners and have our finish photo be just the two of us, with nobody blocking us. But the competitor in us broke that plan to pieces in the last 15 seconds of the run, hahaha.  

But he still would have probably beaten me!!
I think I would have finished in a photo finish with the Thai guy if it wasn't for the final left hand turn into the finishing chute from the main road. I was sprinting on his shoulder, great power, exciting finish, but then I had to ease off at the left-hander since my right knee would take the majority of the pressure rounding it at full speed. My right knee is my hurt knee so I took a wide, but still fast, turn and dude just stuck his right foot in the ground and made a sharp, decisive left turn and immediately put two steps on me!! It was a great finish, with Malcolm right there behind me.

Malc just a few meters back, earning his post race double sausage McMuffin
We earned our free t-shirts and finisher medals with that final sprint into the finish! Haha, it was fun! And what was even better, was that we finished at 59:36, so just under our hour goal, yay.  Vince finished in an impressive 1:12ish and went back to the start finish line to wait for some of his MBA students that he challenged (for extra credit).

I'm sure this run, like the Bangkok Marathon, will be one that we try to run annually. Maybe next year, if Eric is there, we'll go for our sub 50 minutes!! And maybe one of these day's I'll convince Malcolm to run a marathon with us!

1 comment:

mardenheyjude said...

Congrats on a great running of the GSPA NIDA Mini Marathon. Just under an hour to finish it is really impressive. Hopefully your knee will get back to normal soon. I enjoy looking at all the pictures you posted and as usual your story is a great one. Keep me posted on your next racing adventure. Love always, Auntie

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