Phuket International Hospital Minimarathon
I know a lot of you probably saw on Facebook, but Burke and I did a 12k (7.2 miles) last weekend! I stumbled upon the ad for the event just a few days before the event and was torn because I knew a seven mile run on a Sunday didn’t jive with my marathon training schedule. To make a ton of internal processing short, I decided the best thing would be to run two mid-distance runs on Saturday and Sunday so I could still get in significant mileage over the course of the weekend (instead of one long run Saturday and a short recovery run on Sunday). However, when Saturday morning rolled around, I wasn’t tiring out on my run as expected (I brought change with me and stopped twice to buy water), so I ended up running 11.25 miles.
Since that’s been my greatest distance of 2014, I wasn’t sure if I could tackle another seven miles just 20 hours later. When my alarm went off at 3:50 am on Sunday morning, I didn’t exactly jump out of bed. I reminded myself of the primary reason I convinced myself to do it – to experience a run in Thailand so when I do a more serious race later, I’ll know what to expect.
The community vehicle here is a little expensive for a two person trip so we opted for the five mile bike ride to get to the event. When we pulled up to the hospital hosting the run, it was like a ghost town, and as we traversed the driveway and parking area, I continued thinking we’d be two of ten runners. The closer we got, we saw that there was actually a large turnout.
As the race began, I was glad I didn’t investigate the course too closely, or I would have realized that the route included running up one of the well-known view points, Khao Rang. Burke and I parted ways at the top of the hill and ran our own paces from there. The rest of the race, I was escorted by a friendly cyclist who gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up when we rediscovered each other on the other side of the finish line. Also at the finish line, I was fairly shocked to receive a “5” placard indicated I’d finished 5th for the women. I was pretty excited about this, especially considering I was probably only running at about 50% effort. What’s funny is there were no chips or timing devices so I can’t even tell you what my time was, but in an honest estimation, I will say I probably wasn’t much quicker than a ten minute mile. I can’t wait for the next race when I’m not coming off of a long run and only four hours of sleep!
After the race we rested (Burke completed the run without a single step of training!) and waited around for the awards ceremony. When they were announcing the women, I waited in line behind the (tiny) ladies who beat me. I fully intended to study their actions as they received their awards because there was definitely a formal procedure, but somehow I missed all four of them. When they called my name, I climbed the stairs, walked to the picture of the queen, performed a little bow, walked to the guy holding my award, did another little bow, said thank you in Thai, accepted my trophy and walked to the rest of the women. Whew, didn’t mess up. Then the announcer called my name again; I’d forgotten my photo op.
All in all it was a very fun experience, and I am very lucky to have a husband who not only supports me in my favorite hobby, but who even participated on a whim (less than 12hrs notice). If you are a runner, or even if you aren’t, here are a couple other fun tidbits you might get a kick out of:
- The event had somewhere between three and five different shirts. Burke’s is an XL and mine is size F. Perhaps F is for “female,” but I saw a lot of guys wearing it during the race and mine sure doesn’t fit me like an F.
- The snacks usually served at the end of the race were available at the beginning (meaning they were out by the time we actually wanted them), and consisted of all of the usual fair: bananas, rice porridge, steamed dumplings, rice and mystery meat in banana leaves and of course deep fried fish balls.
- The entire starting line smelled like a steamy cesspool of Bengay.
- There was a point in the race where we had to cross to the other side of the street, but there was no official place to cross so I followed a few other runners across one side of the road, between a row of bushes in the median and then dodged between cars on the opposite side.
- Since there was no official timing system, they handed out rubber bands with strips of colored paper at selected checkpoints around the course.
- We were assigned to the “adult” age group from the choices of 18 & under, 19-24, adult, 34-45, 46-65, 66+.