Sunday, October 26, 2008

Chosunilbo Chuncheon Marathon

Chosunilbo Chuncheon Marathon

As the marathon was starting at 10am, I didn't have to wake up at weird hours to have my breakfast. Instead, I woke up at about 630am. Ate 3 pieces of raisin bread that Chui Chin brought from Singapore. Went straight back to sleep after finish eating my bread but somehow, was unable to do so. Maybe I was anxious to find out if my right knee would hold up after falling down on both knees 2 weekends ago. Ended up tossing and turning till almost about 8am. Then dragged myself out of the bed to bath and change. Decided that the weather would not pose a problem and I could make do with wearing my red color adidas dri-fit tee over my SGRunners's singlet. At 845am, Chui Chin and I went down to the hotel lobby and met up with Vincent to share the cab to the starting point.

There were many many people outside the stadium. And also food stalls too! Selling gels, sunglass, and food!!! The queue for the baggage deposit was rather long but efficient. Met DreamRunner and he told us that the rest of the gang were warming up inside the building using the heater provided. :p After Chui Chin had finished depositing her bag, we walked towards the building. DO, Half Timer, Mrs DreamRunner were there, standing next to a huge heater! We chit-chat and relaxed ourselves until it was time to go to the starting pent. The Koreans were really serious about people from different pent starting at different time. So after the national anthem was sang (I assumed it was the national anthem since many runners put their right fist on their left chest), there were a group of volunteers who formed a human chain across each starting pent. Slowly, they flagged of runners of different starting pent. Yes, those in Pent A will start first. Then the organiser will push forward those runners in Pent B before flagging them off and so on. By the time Pent G was moved closer to the start line, almost 12 minutes had passed.

But it was a good way to flag off the marathon. At least, I didn't find myself being pushed or hit by other faster runners. There was a climb right at the start of the marathon. So I couldn't really run fast, which suited fine me as I usually require 3-5km in cooler weather to warm up sufficiently. I really enjoyed the first 10km, although the ground was not exactly kind. At around the 15km mark, i noticed my right foot was not feeling too good. Seemed like I was going to develop some kind of blister. I should have stopped and checked out my foot. But I pressed on and decided to stop at around the 18km. By then, my foot was kind of sore although there was no blister.

There were a total of 4 cut-off points: 7.5km (1 hour), 26km (3 hours), 32.5km (3 hours 50 minutes) and 37km (4 hours 20 minutes). I was not worried about the first 2 cut-off points as it was achievable by my standard. The 3rd and 4th cut-off was also achievable but I knew I had to run hard and be able to maintain my pace after the 26km mark. I was also worried because I was not sure if the finishing line would be close at 5 hours by gun-time or chip time. So I constantly checked on my watch. I sighted some buses along the way and I became more nervous. By the 31km mark, I knew I wasn't going to make it at the 3rd cut-off point but I pressed on. I passed the 3rd check-point at around 3 hours 57 minutes or thereabout. But no one invited me up the buses! :p So I continued running. Although the last stretch of the road was fairly flat, I was unable to increase my pace. By the 4th and last cut-off point, I was almost 14 minutes off. But again, no one invited me (or the rest of the runners) up the buses. All of us continued running and I managed to cross the finishing like at around 5 hours 11 minutes.

After I was presented with my finishing medal, I went to look for the rest of SGRunners. They were all well rested and ready to go back to the hotel! Chui Chin waited for me to return my Champion Chip while the rest made a move first. We decided to soak in the atmosphere and took our time to walk towards the main street. Despite the race having a cut-off time of 5 hours, the organisers were very encouraging to runners who wish to complete. We left the place about 50 minutes later and got a cab back to the hotel.

Celebratory Dinner

We went to have BBQ dinner to reward ourselves, at a restaurant near the hotel. It was within walking distance. All of us were hungry and staved. Dinner was delicious very but hot due to the BBQ fire. The in-built chimney for each table (which could be lower down to divert the smoke) didn't help much. I drank lots of cold water to cool myself down, plus a can of Coca Cola. It was a value-for-money dinner which cost us Korean Won W6,100, which is about S$7.00!!!

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