|The race course|
|Sporting my KT Tape|
About this time I was approached by a runner that I had talked to at the race in Cheorwon the week before. Since less than 10% of the runners at any given race are women, and there are probably 3 of us that are blond, I’m not hard to spot so I constantly get waves and cheers from people that remember me from previous races, I wish I was equally good at recognizing them! This particular runner, Mr. Kim, (not the same Mr. Kim from Yanggu, Kim is like Smith over here, but worse,) was so excited to see me again that he decided to be my pacer. As we passed people, or were passed, he would shout to them that he was my pacer and I had run Cheorwon last week, which would be answered with cheers and encouragement. As lovely as this sounds, I really needed to be in my head for this race. I had forgotten my MP3 player and was bored to death, but didn’t have the mental capacity to both run and try to decipher an extremely heavy Korean accent at the same time. Most of the things he told me had to be repeated 4 or 5 times and I still only caught a few points. I did get that he is 65, but I think he was trying to shame me out of my walking break, LOL.
|My elf-appointed "Pace maker"|
Around 16 miles, I told him to go ahead, which got me repeated utterings of, “5 hours in, no out! 5 hours IN, NO OUT!” Okay, okay, I got it, the course closes in 5 hours, (although I know for a fact that the gate is kept open longer because every race has times recorded for at least 45 minutes past the official close time.) He finally went on ahead, which gave me immediate relief from the zipper tabs on his fanny pack that had been keeping up a steady rhythm like a drum beat on the front of my skull. Really, he was so sweet and so interested in making sure I finished the race on time that I can’t hold anything against him, but MERCY he was driving me out of my ever loving mind!
I managed to keep plodding along up the second leg of the “Y”. Not cutting the course and going back to my car was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! Not jumping in one of the sweep vans as they passed was only slightly less difficult. There are always a few runners that stand out, the guy with the full beard, the one with the red and blue fake fur headband, or the guy with a Troll wig. I look for them at the turn arounds to see how far I have fallen behind. At one point I passed the guy with the beard as he leaned on a sweep car to finish puking before getting in. I felt bad for him because I can only imagine how hard it is to quit in this high pressure culture.
Even though it was a very temperate day, I still felt hot and was sucking down a lot of water. The wind was keeping us from being soaked with sweat, but it also carried away a lot more moisture than I realized. My mind doesn’t work all that well when I’m pushing so hard so it takes a while for all the clues to gel into a thought. I was drinking tons of water, but I was so thirsty I felt like I hadn’t had a sip in days. Then I noticed my fingers were swelling. DING DING DING, I needed salt! I took one salt capsule and gave it some time to sink in. My fingers started shrinking and my thirst seemed less intense. A second salt capsule about a mile later brought my fingers back to normal and I finally felt like I was getting fluids where I needed them. It is so odd to think that salt can make you less thirsty, but when your body is shoving fluids into your tissues in order to conserve electrolytes, you can’t use them. Salt allows your body to use the fluids properly.
|Race swag!! A huge box of locally |
grown grapes that tasted very different,
had skins too thick to chew, and tons of seeds,
but still hit the spot after the race
|Cute medals showing the dutch influence in this lowland area|
|More race swag, full marathoners |
got 10 kilos of rice, half marathoers got
5 kilos, and 5 K runners got a box of seaweed
|The rice was delivered to our club ahead|
of time, poor Sun had to keep
it until each runner could pick it up!