Saturday, July 08, 2006

Phuket Marathon, Part II

Running in heat and humidity is not easy. To run 42km (a.k.a. 26 miles) in heat and humidity is even more difficult. It's doable, but you do have to set a few rules for yourself from the startline. Rule number one: forget about any record times. You just have to concentrate on the experience and not pay much attention to your stopwatch. Rule number two: drink, drink, drink. Throw water on yourself, dunk your head in it, do whatever you can to cool down. The organization had set up water stations every 2.5 kms which was really great. Only trouble was that when we came up to the first water station (and it was still pitch black dark out) I think I was one of the few that actually stopped. It was really humid out even at 5.00 a.m. They had big tubs of ice so I took handfuls of that and put it down the front and back of my bra and inside my hat to try and cool off. I ran the first kilometre with all the other journalists but then Liz and the Running Times girl took off so I just stuck to my own pace. Around 6.00 am it started to get light and there was a nice breeze that came along with it. The course went down a lot of country roads where people were sitting around breakfast tables on the sides of the roads looking sleepy but awake. There were some really cute kids in pajamas sitting on their front porches waving to us as we went by also. Someplace around the 21km mark we hit the coast...ahhhhh, a really nice sea breeze accompanied us for about 5km. My half marathon time was 2h15. The refreshment stations started to have a better selection with the halfmarathon one full of fruit. You could also see who was in front (or in back) of you. I was surprised to see Liz only about 3km in front of me, and even more surprised to see Julia (RW Australia) 3km BEHIND me. Last year at the Thailand Temple run she had run an hour faster than me. As soon as I came off the coast and headed back to the inland it started to get hot. It was about 8.00 a.m. at this point and I would estimate it to be 30° (about 90 degrees fahrenheit), but the humidity is what kept me filling myself with ice and trying to stay cool. We were routed on a main road with a little traffic. The drivers were cool though and not zooming too fast as they went by. There were some big hills that we had to climb up and I opted to just power walk them. I was doing fine, humming along, passing people that were walking but pretty much having a good time when I came upon Liz, the RW UK journalist. She was walking really slow and not having a good time. Don't ask why but she was wearing LONG pants and a LONG SLEEVE shirt. I don't know how she thought up this outfit. I mean, I would have run naked if I could, it was so dang hot. She said she felt dizzy but she didn't want to take off any clothing for fear of getting sunburned (she was that pasty white, english pale rose type). So I had her stop at the next water station and fill up her shirt with ice and drink more gatorade instead of just water. I made her walk a little faster and then got her to run one minute and walk one minute while I talked away...and this is what we did for seven miles, all the way to the end of the marathon. My thinking was that it was better to get her out of the sun and finish the race rather than walk a slow death march. It worked. She actually wanted run the last kilometre in. Our final time was 5h21'. We were 159 and 160 out of 280 runners. The first thing I did was hit the massage tent and have a foot and leg massage. Now this is something they should have at EVERY marathon. They had also set up a VIP tent for us where I had a delicious meal of rice and some Thai cooked veggies with curry. Yum! I would probably vomit at the thought of eating something like that after an Italian marathon, but it seemed to fit in fine in Thailand.

1 comment:

nancytoby said...

Now that sounds like FUN!!! Well done!!