Thursday, May 12, 2016

Suanpruek 10hr Ultra Marathon 2016

Another ten hours running in loops! This year's Suan Pruek 10hr Ultramarathon was at the same venue as two years ago, when I last ran it. I enjoy this race and hope to be able to participate annually.
I'll keep this post short(ish), just like the amount of time that I spent running during this ten hour competition ;)
We had a Bangkok Runners support team come out to help the hours go by more comfortably. In fact, most of us would have been unable to participate if it wasn't for a Bangkok Runner couple who contacted the organizers weeks before registration opened to try to get us "reserved" registrations. Last year, I missed the race because it sold out in four days. This year, it sold out in four hours!!! We had 25 slots reserved for our team thanks to the legwork and calling and emailing of two of our members! On top of getting us all registered, they set up our tents and organized the support. Lots of hard work born out of love for our club. Thank you to them a thousand times.
This dude got harassed plenty by some of the male runners, cat calling and yelling out, "Mmmmm, I'd like some donuts"
One thing that bothered most running groups was that a certain group, not to be named in this post, tried to reserve 400 spots for their runners. The organizers ended up giving them 200 slots, which many feel is still too many when the limit is usually 600 runners. What was worse, this club tried to limit other clubs to 50 runners each, even though they had requested 400...no words...
Runner in Black Face? Whatever he is, he's stacked!!
If the venue was bigger, then there would be room for thousands of runners, but the race is run around a 2.1 kilometer loop in a public park. The running surface is maybe 3 meters wide. Perhaps one thing that makes the run so nice is that they have allowed the perfect amount of runners each year, not too many, not too few.
Bangkok Runners overall male 2nd and 5th place trophies! Our girls placed 1st overall and 5th overall women (and first overall of the entire race!)
I had hoped to hit 80 kilometers this year. Two years ago i got 86km, but I'm in poor shape lately and just wanted to go out and put in a good effort. 80 sounded reasonable!! I ran with Matty, the eventual fifth place male runner, for the first three hours. I hit 50km about 30 minutes later than I had goaled and was walking the final five hours.
I guess there should be at least one photo of me actually running ;) Hard race for me because of the chest pain. Next time!!

My walking was a result of me getting a cramp or pain in my chest close to my heart area. It's happened before during shorter training runs, so I was familiar with it, but unable to continue running. Better safe than sorry.
The temperatures hit 47 degrees Celsius. Hot. Eventually, after long walk breaks, I would try to run again. After literally 15 steps, the chest pain would come back, just as strong as before. I was either going to have to call it a day early, for health reasons, or just plod my way through the final hours of the race.
I had already seen three people taken away on stretchers (all three recovered in nearby hospitals and are home now according to race organizers) so I wasn't even sure about walking, considering the location of the pain in the chest.
Pae came for the last hour and it was nice to see her even though I felt bad to be walking ;) Prior to her arrival, I had stopped at the Bangkok Runners tents after every lap to get some food and drink. While there, I took time to stretch my legs and sponge off with ice water, try to keep my body temperature down in the killer heat.
This dude changed costumes three times during the race, but his running shoe of choice was flip flops!!
During these stops, I would give an update to one of the girls in my tent who was supporting not just by pouring water, opening bottles, digging through bags, etc. but helping emotionally as well ;)
Any water was welcomed. Small shower on the course.
I kept telling her (sorry, I don't know her name but I know she is a Bangkok Runner and part of the timing team) that I was waiting for my wife to arrive so I could quit walking and go home early. This was with about three hours to go and I still hadn't even passed the 63km required to earn a participation trophy. Lap after lap I updated her and looked for Pae anywhere nearby...Luckily, she came with an hour to go, as mentioned earlier. This got me past my 63km without quitting.
I like this race because it doesn't just give everybody a participation medal. You have to EARN your participation trophy ;) I actually got a great big hug from Pae after I finished!! Usually, all sweaty and rank, I get no hugs hahaha!! I don't blame anyone for avoiding 10hr nasty sweat hugs. I think she knew that I needed some love, I was hurting, mostly mentally and emotionally after this race.
Eric also came for the last 6km or so of my race. That's about an hour ;) I walked the whole time with Eric until the last hundred meters when I was peer pressured into running to the finish line. I felt bad about that, not because I ran like a dork over the finish after 5+ hours of walking, but because, I left Eric in the last 100 meters. I'm really glad that he came even though we were only able to spend an hour or so together. RUNNING PARTNERS AND FRIENDS FOR LIFE!! *In my best thug/rap voice*
I got my 30 laps trophy and Top 100 shirt. Yay! I'm still alive. Yay! I got to see Eric and his knee seems to be doing well. Yay!! Pae was there so got to share another race with her. Yay!!  I ran/walked smart and didn't push my body (heart?) past its limit. Listened to my body for once. Yay! Probably should go to the hospital for precautionary checkup on the heart. Boooo!!
I hope to run it again next year, not to beat my 77.7km that I ran/walked this year, but to enjoy the atmosphere. This is one of my favorite races!I am past the point of "competing" for top places, although I think if I had ran more than walked this year I would have been top 10 according to the top 15 results ;) What I mean is the mental side of "competing". This race reminds me that the atmosphere and the running community is worth the registering and paying for the race. Worth the training (lazy training) in the months leading up to the race, and ultimately makes actually going out there and running in circles for 10 hours so worth it!!

Uncle dude was there again this year, ten hours non-stop, clapping for the runners.
Did I want to quit? Yup. Was the desire to quit 100% based on my fear of physical problems that I could be experiencing? Nope, eventually I just wanted to be done with it. Mostly because I didn't wanna die, but slowly I just became disinterested in suffering any longer than I had to. Honestly. But I didn't quit and I didn't die. Mostly due to my decision to walk, Pae arriving, Eric walking with me and the supporters in our team tent cheering, listening and understanding what I was going through physically, mentally and emotionally.
I enjoyed the experience and now that I'm safe and healthy and recovered from the effort, I'm very satisfied with my race and my decisions on the day. I am happy to be a part of the running community here in Thailand and have those ties. I am slowly accepting the fact that I'm getting older and the natural deterioration of the body and therefore speed, endurance and recovery time is real and I'm experiencing it presently. I'm okay with that ;)

I love running.

Aloha and run safe.

1 comment:

mardenheyjude said...

Guy: I very much enjoy reading about your races, but on this occasion I gotta say that the chest pain you experienced during this race was a real "scary mary" to me. I hope you do indeed go to the hospital to get checked out. You probably already know, but just in case you don't, there is a history of heart problems in our family on your Mom Betsy's (my sister) side. My Scott died of sudden death at age 25 so please get that pain checked out. It is probably nothing more than a cramp, but you should get it checked out anyway. Love always, Auntie

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