Running is not one of my favorite pastimes. I never liked running, not even running to the ice cream truck let alone 13.5 miles in a half marathon. And so, about 3 months before moving to Phuket, I found myself checking out the Laguna Phuket International Marathon website late one night and thought I’d go for it. Thinking I would have three months to train once we arrived in Thailand, I assumed I would be able to work my way up to long distance runs and eventually get used to the impressive heat and humidity.
All of the sudden we had been here for two months already and June 9th was quickly approaching. Suddenly I realized I had just 30 days to train for the half marathon. I strapped on my shoes, visited the gym daily, ate clean and made sure to get enough sleep. I mixed long distance runs, short sprints, weight training and rest/stretch days. I worked my way up to about 10 miles straight and hoped the adrenaline of race day would carry me the rest.
The marathon started at 4:30am and the half at 6am to best avoid the heat. Starting off I felt fantastic. It is a wonderful feeling jogging along side hundreds of other passionate individuals pushing themselves to reach a goal they set months ago. Whether this was their first run like me, or they were seasoned athletes, everyone was having a wonderful time.
The course was beautiful and wound its way through tiny neighborhood streets, the local market, passed the Buddhist temple as the monks made their morning rounds, through rubber and pineapple plantations and along the beach before finishing at the starting point.
I felt pretty good for the majority of the race. I had my awful techno music blasting, a lot of energy and could easily chart my progress by mile markers along the course. The race provided water and electrolyte stations as well as fruit, ice water soaked sponges and bathrooms along the way.
I crossed the finish line in 3:06:47, I was hoping for a sub 3 hour finish but my only real goal was to complete the race. Having never run this far in my life, ever, I was just happy to finish the race, not hurt myself or die in the process. Running sort of seems to be strangely addicting now, and with each complete race, the fluttering idea starts to form in the back of my mind about what I can push myself towards next.
I grew up watching my father run marathons all over the world and while always looking up to him with great admiration never thought in a million years I would be able to complete one. Well, I’m half way there, and while I have a lot of work to do, I’m determined to get to the next level and one way, hopefully within the year, call myself a marathon running. It won’t be pretty, but I’ll get there.
Below is a short video I shot with my iPhone while running. It is far from a work of art but hopefully it gives some sort of idea of the setting and such. I happily cut out the hours of huffing and puffing so you don’t have to sit through it and trust me there was plenty.