Fast forward to March, things looks pretty promising although I am not 100% sure I'll make the target but things are going the right direction. Flew in to Seoul on a Wednesday morning with my wife and immediately we were welcomed with a -2 degree Celsius weather, we were expecting the cold especially the morning and evening hours but temperature gradually climbed to 7 or 8 during the day and we were dressed to comfort for the weather. After about 70 mins of airport bus ride to city center, we were greeted by our Airbnb property owner Jeremy. His hospitality immediately made us felt at home with the many facilities and conveniences that comes with the unit. After a short rest, we head out to look for food before meeting up with Nick later in the day for a BBQ and Soju dinner. Seoul is a vibrant city rich in history and at the same time with modern arts and architecture not to mention the K-Pop culture. Places like Gwanghuamun in Insadong and the modern art in Dongdaemun are obvious contrast of the old and mordern. Often times the contrasts were just separated by the many palaces' wall that we have visited.
|Going into the race with confidence|
|Two brave ones with shorts|
|Race start at Gwanghwamun Plaza|
Heading towards 20km
|Thanks Nessa for the beautiful pic|
Halfway mark - 21km
Water station at 20km point, similarly we slowed down for a quick sip but this time slightly longer as we both need to refill the softflask to last the second half of the race. Legs were pretty fresh, no sign of fatigue and we raced on side by side toward 21km mark building up a very healthy buffer. I told YL we need to keep this pace for another 9km reaching 30km than we would have the luxury to slow down to 6min/km pace.
|10Km start for my wife. This was her second running race and she nailed it under 60 mins !! I have no idea how she do it but she never failed to amaze me|
Breaking point 30km
Race starts at 30km so they say. We were on form, race pace was superb to say the least still averaging at a pace that would carry us both to our goal. We did not slowdown and approach the 25km water station the same way we did on the earlier ones. Dash passed with a quick sip and race on. At this point, the legs were still spinning great and keeping informed on our pace and how we were doing, I was quick to suggest that we should take a longer break at 30km water station to give ourselves a mental break in preparation for the "Race Start". As much as I would like to remember how I felt and what I see in this phase of the race, I was and I could only focus on the run from 26-30km. This was a crucial phase not by Marathon definition, but it was crucial for me as this was where my race had gone south for my past 5 Marathon races. I was putting full attention on how my body react especially on the legs as I kept charging at a below goal pace. Keeping my salt and gel intake to the plan, I finally got it right to 30km, I crossed the the 30km mark and a longer walk break at the water station. 2 water, a pocari sweat and a cup of water down on my head... oh boy the chill woke me up albeit starting to feel fatigue. Quads were little numb from the 30km spin but no pain. Mentally I was ready to take on the remaining 12km
Race to 40km
Beyond the 30km, race route was not as straight forward compare to the first half. There were many rolling climb, some hidden. You don't really see it except for those obvious bridge climb but the increase heart rate and heavier breathing are tell tail sign that my pace was slipping away. As I have build quite a buffer, I could afford to slow down slightly keeping any leg cramp at bay. Drama starts at 35km, I felt a twitch on my left calf........... I slowed down again and it didn't go away. My first walk took place at 36km while YL charge on. Average pace was dropping, but it was within threshold crossing the bridge towards 38km. The inevitable cramp finally hit me on the right calf, I limped to a walk at the same time made sure I don't go beyond 6min/km pace for too long. I can see a little more crowd from here onward, some are the local support handing out food, drinks and spray, but mostly the 10km runners are now merging into the same run route. Watch distance (40km) are now 1km off on the course marker (39km) and I started to worried.
|Jeanie who was racing in the 10km category running along with the 3+hour pacer. Sight of congestion. Jeanie ran a superb race coming out from a marathon 2 weeks before|
42.195KM (43.18KM on watch)
Traffic is getting heavier while I was fighting my own battle. I see couples held hands walking on the race path, parents held their children forming a human wall and some out with their camera/phone for a wefie/selfie. They all looked so happy and I happy for them too, but on the contrary I was equally frustrated and angry with the organizer on their failure merging the marathon runner and 10km fun runner on the same path at the same time obstructing the 42km runner were chasing goals. Although the route are still somewhat wide, but I had to start maneuvering around for a clear run path while managing the frequent twitch on the left and right calves. It really doesn't help when you are forced to make sudden direction change on a pair of wasted legs. 4l KM (race marker) but watch says 42km, the Jamsil Sports Complex were clearly in sight but my pace was getting slower, the clock was ticking. I did not enjoy this part for the race, the threat of not hitting my goal time was real. I had to walk again with about a kilometer to go and slightly over 6 mins left from my goal.
|Stadium on the left and the funnel into the finishing|
|Couple holding hands while a triathlete maneuver around to the left|
|Job well done for all|
|I'm busted while Yan Leng looks relax and happy with her sub 4 finishing|
|Click to enlarge the photo. Notice the queue to cross the finishing line|
|Pic shows all runners from 10km and 42Km congested after the finishing gantry|
|Same story, different angle|