June 3rd, dawned bring and early for my friend, Christina and I, as we set out for the Seoul Early Morning Marathon. Thankfully, Seoul doesn’t have much traffic at 5am on a Saturday so we made it to the Stadium in about an hour.
A couple of months ago I decided to run a half marathon a month for 6 months or more. The Half Fanatics are my bad influence on this one. The first three, before the Great Wall of China marathon, were easy, just run a half when the schedule calls for around 12 miles on the weekend. Running a half 2 weeks after the marathon was going to be different. I decided the best way was to run with a friend who needed some pace help. Christina ran a full marathon last year on pure grit and determination and she had been training well, (including a 2:30 training run for 13 miles) so I figured I could pace her to a 2:15-2:30 finish.
Unfortunately, Christina was not prepared for the heat of that June morning and it hurt her badly. By the half way mark it was clear that the heat was getting to her and this wasn’t going to be the finish she had hope for. Despite her telling me to go ahead, I stuck with my pace-ee. When she was waffling about signing up I promised I would run with her and wasn’t going to go back on that now. It took a lot of cajoling to get Christina through those hot, miserable miles and I’m sure more than once she wished I would go away, but we did it. After 2 hours and 48 minutes we finally crossed the line with our hands in the air and smiles on our faces.
Running at a pace you aren’t used to can be grueling and I definitely felt it the morning after. I was sore and tired, but it was well worth it to see a friend though the race. Running in a race doesn’t have to always be about setting a PR or running a time you can brag about. Sometimes it is about someone else or just running for the fun of it.
This was my 8th half marathon and my 5th Barefoot half marathon! Our finish time was a grueling 2:48:48, but our smiles say it all.