Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bundang Half Marathon

       On some race days everything comes together. On some race days everything falls apart. Sometimes things start falling apart long before race day! All runners know the agony of an injury a week or two before a major race, or some annoying person scheduling a wedding last minute the same weekend as that marathon you had to register for 10 months in advance and had to book non-refundable rooms and flights around. Sometimes it just seems like the cards are really stacked against a race. The Gungpo Bundang race was one of those for me.

       Part of the problem was me. I went on vacation for a couple of weeks and didn’t run a step. I did power walk a couple of times, went kayaking, and swam, but I totally failed at getting a run in. Okay, no big deal, it is just a half marathon, and didn’t I just PR a marathon a few weeks ago? That should count for something. The trip was great, the flight home was rough; it was one of those cheap all-nighters where we left the hotel at noon (10 am home time), had a 6 hour layover in the Bangkok airport, and didn’t get home until 10 am the next day. So needless to say, by Tuesday, April 16th, I was pretty beat.

       Then things started going downhill. The day I got home I heard about Boston and like all runners, it really hit me, I spent the day poring over news reports on the edge of my seat waiting to hear if my friends were okay. Then, although totally trivial by comparison, but no less stressful for me, I found out one of my email accounts had been hacked by someone in Bulgaria who had the correct password. I then set out to change pretty much every password in my life, while keeping one window on the news.

       On Wednesday, we finally got our long awaited orders. For you non-military types, this is the little piece of paper our whole life was on hold for. With this paper magical things happen, you get to arrange dates to have movers come take all your stuff away, for other movers to bring borrowed stuff, what day you will fly, and it all takes a lot of running from office to office and making stressful decisions. The biggest twist with this was that we would be packing up in 9 days, UGH! Not a good weekend to be headed out for a race!

      Next, on Friday, I found out my credit card number had been stolen while on vacation. Thankfully, the bank figured I probably didn’t apparate to New York and charge $5,000 at a chocolate factory so it didn’t go through, but it did mean I had to wait for a new credit card to be sent to Korea. I know exactly where the card was stolen, it was the restaurant I ate in in the Bangkok airport. I guess that is what I get for pointing out that my food wasn’t cooked. I use my credit card like a debit card so I was really hamstrung and worst of all, missed entering the lottery for the London Marathon, ARG! I was only going to have 3 chances to begin with so now my chances of getting in are significantly lower. Anyway…

       Did you catch that part about the food? The veggies in the curry were raw. Okay, no big deal, I don’t mind raw veggies. However, food that has not been cooked, in a third world country, tends to have things living in it that one is better off not ingesting. So yes, the symptoms to Giardia surfaced within a couple of days. I am now up to a 50/50 average on Giardia and third world countries in Asia so I should know better, but the symptoms weren’t all that bad and I hoped maybe it wasn’t really a parasite and I would feel better in a few days. Yea, I know, bad gamble. Besides, I couldn’t get in to see the doc on a Friday afternoon so it would wait until Monday…. I staged all my gear for the next morning and, big surprise, failed to get to bed at a decent hour.

       Saturday morning I awoke to pouring rain and thunder at about 3am. I still got up at 4:30 and my husband who was taking me to meet my ride got up at 5. At 5:30 I decided I felt like crud and it wasn’t worth running in a cold rain storm when I was already exhausted and not feeling well so I called the head of my car pool to let him know not to wait for me. He didn’t answer so I texted another person who promptly texted me back to say the race was the next day! GROAN! My husband shot me one of those looks and went back to bed. I was already pumped on caffeine so I went about my day and again, staged my gear for the next morning since the weather was supposed to be great, and the cherry blossoms were in bloom, and the clouds were farting unicorns and rainbows.

       Race day take two. I decided to take my own car and follow the caravan of cars to the race. This was a very good idea since I was able to follow them right to a place to park that I would never have found otherwise. I was a little queasy from the stomach thing, but otherwise things were looking up. I showed up at the table to pick up my packed and, surprise/surprise, they have no record of me registering. Seriously, SERIOUSLY! I said, “fine, I give up, I’m going home.” The race director went into a panic (this race had really been campaigning to get as many foreigners as possible to run), “Don’t give up!” he says, “write down all your information again and we will reregister you, you just won’t get your back pack (race swag) until you mail us the receipt from the bank wire you sent in to register.” Okay, well, at least I had a bib. I headed off to warm up, check my bag, etc.

       The race itself was lovely. There were cherry blossoms everywhere, the weather was great, and although the course was crowded, the support was good and it was well managed and marked. Bizarrely, I still thought I could run a PR for the day and that is what I fixated on. I supposed with everything that had gone wrong all week, I just really needed a good race. It wasn’t in the cards though. I was stressed, tired, and my stomach was not happy sharing space with breakfast and a host of unwanted visitors. I made it through the race, finishing with a 2:01:53. A good time, but nowhere near a PR. I know, I should be thrilled with that, but I just wasn’t in the mood for it.

       My caravan all decided to go out for lunch and since they are all young, single, military kids and I was exhausted, I begged off and headed home. Or at least I tried to head home. I never did find the freeway entrance and ended up take surface streets, turning a 45 minute drive into a 2 hour fun fest, blarg!

       When I got home, I found that in an effort to begin readying the house for the movers, I had thrown out my receipt for the race. Oh well, I didn’t really need another back pack anyway :-P

      I hung up my medal, logged the race on my Half Fanatics page and then put it behind me. Next up? American Cancer Society 24-Hour Relay for life and a very ambitious goal.