Thursday, March 3, 2011

Koguryo 32.195K Race

Since we have moved to Seoul and I no longer have a full time job, lots of you guys have asked, "so what do you do all day?" Valid question, as I now have 10+ more free hours everyday that were previously taken up by commuting and working (not to mention all of those now additional free hours thanks to Mike's Korean work hours of 15+ hrs/ day :-)

Well, part of my answer to "what do you do?" is " I Run." I do other things, but my most important source of sanity here in Korea is running. And the Seoul Flyers running group has really made us feel pretty welcome here in Seoul.

So, as part of peer pressure from the group and my "Type A -Must Have a Goal" personality, I signed up for the Seoul International Marathon on March 20, 2011! Can't just run to run, right?...must have a purpose, right?. Half way through the training, I cursed myself for this thinking. But, last weekend my last long training run was my ~20 mile run and it went better than expected.

The race started and ended in Jamsil Stadium, which is part of the complex that was built for the 1988 Olympics. Yes, there are still some of hte original signs up from the 1988 Olympics (I can tell they are the original because they are all faded). I am sure they have done renovations over the years, but almost the entire set of stadiums and the Olympic Park are still intact, used regularly and are in great shape. I think being hte 1988 host to the Summer Olympics is still a very big source of pride here for Koreans. Tangent - I can only compare this to our visit to the "Cube" swimming complex built for the Beijing 2008 Olympics, which was is very poor repair in 2010...if that is going to stand for another 22 years, it is going to need some major renovations.
Back to running...I do think races are such a great way to get some of these long training runs in. Otherwise, it is grueling to get out there in the 10F weather and run for two hours by yourself...heck, I get sick of myself sometimes. Plus, all of those Korean men that pass me during the races and say "Hi-ting!" (not sure what it means, but something like great job...keep it up), really do keep me motivated and I don't have to carry my own water...what could be better.

Best News...If I don't fall apart in my last 10K, I just might have a PR marathon by ~5-10 minutes! (based on this 32K race...hint: marathon is just over 42K, which is where I got the 10K mentioned above)

Of course, Mike was there to cheer me on and lots of fellow runners. Here are a few pictures from the run!

That is an honest-to-god true smile by Mike! I had some nervous energy before the race :-)

The best fan a girl could ever ask for...don't think he has ever missed a race! Thanks! And me prepping (with Korean version of the PowerGel in mouth) for 3 hours of running.

 Great shots by Mike of the race start. Can you find me in the picture on the right? (Hint: I am one of only about 3 women in the whole picture)

Norah is from Ireland and is probably the fastest woman in the group and easily clinches Top 3 in every race...when you race every weekend like her, you collect some cool stuff from money to digital cameras, etc.

I do have to qualify this to let you know that approx 70-80% of all of the races are male. There is not much female competition, and the femail competition you do find are older women in their 40's and up. I don't know why, but very few Korean women run and even fewer younger Korean women run competitively. As compared to the U.S. where the 25-29 year old age group is packed, here it is wide open to take the podium...shame I am no longer in that age group. hour after Norah...My finish of my 32.195K run...yeah!!!! Don't look too bad after 20 miles, if I dare say so myself, and I didn't feel too bad either.

Yes, there is Norah on the podium in 3rd place. I have a ways to go to get there.

The best part of the day was Korean BBQ recovery dinner...yummy beef, salad, veggies, soup, kimchi and best of all...makgeoli! (scary how this stuff is growing on me...gonna need to sneak some back into the states when we go back!)
2 weeks and 2 days to Seoul International!

oh yeah...and post race recovery will take place in Bali! Is there any better place for rest and relaxation after a marathon? I will be recovering my legs from the 26 miles and Mike will be recovering from the early wake up call and having to run around the city to take pictures of me ( husband ever!)

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