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Published: February 23rd 2013
While I was still in Cambodia a friend of mine had let me know about the Khon Kaen International Marathon and after a few seconds of debating about it I decided that I was game. A friend of mine had told me about running this marathon last year and had said how awesome it was so when the opportunity came I was all over it. I mean I had just finished my first one in Cambodia I might as well check off another race in another country and this one just a hot second from my own hood.
Now I'm not cool enough to run a half marathon yet although I have started training, so I signed up for the Mini Marathon which is just shy of 12k. By the time the race came along it was the farthest I had ever run, and just so happen to fall right in line with my half marathon training.
I got to Khon Kaen the day before the race and would be leaving shortly afte the race because I had a futbol game the following morning. As the nerd I am, I had packed my breakfast and lunch and had already mentally planned out what my meal should be before my race. Once in the city I met up with my fellow volunteers who would be running with me and we all headed out to register. The first person we saw was a Kenyan and it became apparent that none of us had any chance. Not that any of us really had a shot before we wintessed how international this race really was.
After registering we returned to our hotel, Roma Hotel
, where a few of us went out on a light jog to prepare ourselves for the next day. The best part of this was finishing up the light job and returning to the hotel were I savoured in a hot shower. Have I mentioned how few and far between such a thing is and it is glorious every time I get one.
We weren't going to a restaurant for our pre race meal, but instead heading out to the Khon Kaen night market where we wandered around a bit before finding ourselves some chicken kebabs. I assume this is a pretty legit pre race meal. Light meat, carbs in the wrap, veggies, and NO SPICY SAUCE. Not enough to settle my cravings though I headed over to bug lady to get a bit more protein in my diet. That is right folks, I went and bought myself some bugs.
The guys I was with kept insisting that grasshopper was their all time favorite bug. I wanted to argue this by saying that naturally crickets are but the fact of the matter is grasshoppers are pretty close, although I think I'm still going to favor my crickets. We wandered around a bit to let our food settle and then headed back to the hotel to attempt to sleep at the late hour of 8pm. Hey, we had to be up at 3 the next day.
And we were, at 3 we were up, dressed, and ready to head out. One of us was indeed cool enough to run the half marathon so we had to be there earlier for him. Hopping on the free shuttle we headed over, and found that nobody else felt the need to be that early except the actual marathon runners. We saw them off and then spent a few hours stretching and prepping ourselves. We then saw our friend and the half marathoners off, ran to the bathroom one last time (don't want to have to use the bathroom mid race that is for sure!) and then lined up ourselves.
Unlike with soccer which always gets me so nervous, running doesn't get me nervous at all. Okay maybe a little nervous but for the most part I am just incredibly excited. I think the main thing is the only person I'm competing against is myself. I mean sure I want a decent time but to be honest I have no idea what a decent time is. Mostly I just want to make sure I finish without stopping to walk at all, that is the ultimate goal when I do and think about these races.
The whistle sounded and we slowly progressed. Once through the gates that started our own personal times the pace picked up and we were out of there. There were a lot of kids, which is great and all but they lacked some curteousy as they flew by, only to stop in the middle of the road and start walking hand in hand with their friends.
I went on day dreaming as I always do when running starts. I tend to make up stories or go off completely into my own world and before I knew it I was at mile 3. I ran and ran and ran, day dreaming about this that and the other. I was feeling great. Sure there were some minor inclined areas that I hated, but for the most part it wasn't half bad.
At one point a Thai fellow seemed to join me and the two of us ran about 2k. together. When he chose to get some water I kept on going and was almost instantly joined by a young Thai girl. I was excited to finish the race with someone like I had done in Cambodia even if it was a stranger, I even wondered if she would give me a high five or not, but then she too dropped off to get some water. Thus I was left to finish up alone, but I must say when the final count down began I realized I could have kept going with any issues. Could I have kept going all the way to complete a half, who knows? But I certainly could have done farther than I did.
Finally the finish line was in sight. What was even better was that a few of my friends had already completed and were there cheering me on. With this to pump me up I banged out the last bit and ran my weary legs to the bone!
Across the finish line I grabbed my medal and met up with my friends to cheer n the remaining two fellows. It was awesome seeing them come through and we were all very nerdy and adorably hugging eachother and giving high fives. Once we were all together the most important part of any race began, the eating of free food!
Compared to the Cambodia race that only gave us a banana, Khon Kaen knew how to treat it's runners. Depending on your race distance you entered into a tent, thus our one friend got to go into the uber fancy big one while the rest of us went into the slightly smaller one. I don't know what the half had that ours didn't, but it surely didn't disappoint. Sushi, sandwiches, eggs, soy milk, rice, anything you could want... except fruit oddly enough. But our half marathoner was kind enough to pinch us some bananas.
As it turns out Kenyans won each of the race. In fact I'm pretty sure there were only 4 or 5 people out of all the races that weren't Kenyan to make the top 10.
Sadly just a few hours after the race I packed my stuff up and headed on home.
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