1380 participants has signed up for the Angkor Marathon last August. And I was one of them! And today, I share with you my runner experience. Because, to say the least, it has always been in my must-do marathon since a while!
Imagine yourself running in the heart of an world heritage, the 8th World Wonder? The site has something mystical. Its stone carved creatures, its enormous size, and its aged temples are definitely a marvel worth visiting. And it is captivating enough to dare running along ancient temples sprinked with ancient trees.
∴ The before
A 6am race start meant an early wake-up call.
Alarm set at 4:30am, quick breakfast and ready to go at 5am sharp. My tutuk was ready to pick me up at my hotel entrance.
After my 20min tutuk journey to the site, we arrived: it was still dark, quiet yet vibrant. It didn’t seem like there were too many participants – until we got to the start. There is was: the others! The crowd! Very calm and mild athmosphere, I knew it would start to heat up when the race starts.
I was nervous at the start, relaxing was not on the road. As a runner, I get very results-oriented, it was unfortunately not the first time I found myself guilty of losing the perspective of what running is really about, and how lucky I am to be able to do this. It is my own Achille heels I need to overcome I hope to overcome by experience.
In an epic lapse in reasoning, I decided it would be better to deviate from my pre-race warming plan and find a quiet area away the crowds to breath and free my mind.
∴ The beginning: 1-10km
On August 9th, I run 21km in 2hrs35min. Out of 2hrs35min running were a deep and one-way a 1hrs30 of mental talk.
There is no short cut.
The first 10km took me under 55min. I do not recall any particular pain or mental crackdown. My only distraction was the sightseeing I was deeply amazed by. I was running at a conversational path. A few words exchanged with fellows running, the usual “Where are you from?”, or “Good shoes”, and I was back on my solo run.
∴ An amazing scenery
I love the sounds of my feet hitting the road, and the peace and quiet and solitude. It is here that I do some of my best creative thinking 😉
While running, it was simply impossible to be bored, I felt like a kid, astonished by the beauty of the nature. They were so much to see: the botanical surroundings, details the old temples. Trees, monkeys, dogs, local Cambodians were all part of the scenery. And monks.
The moment was brief. At km 12, the distance caught up to me. I realized how much my legs hurt and how badly I wanted to walk. I had been running nearly continuously up until then, minus a taking the few odds picture.
∴ 12 to 17km, that’s 5km.
One word: the humidity.
It sounds like a forgettable value now that I write this post, but at that time, it felt endless. Crossing the finish line was everything I dreamed about.
Those “5km” represents represents a slow and painful phase that I love to call “Keep running”. Do not think about:
- The humidity
- The humidity
- The humidity
Even when wearing the appropriate high tech sweat running clothing everyone tolerates high heat and humidity differently.
Any runner will now about this situation. I had one of those moments where you see someone coming back to you and although sprinting hard already, wondered if I gave it EVERYTHING I could get past him, and indeed, if I really cared about giving it everything.
I got angry with myself for thinking about it.
∴ Straight to the finish line
What made the difference? The crowd support. The scenery too. I gave it all. I am fully aware that I often grimace with effort during the race. Can’t help it! I can get a smile (or what I like to believe looks like a smile) when I see kids smiling at me along the way.
It took me 2hrs33min to run 21km. The result was amazing yet disappointing considering my past result. The Bali Marathon ended with a kicking 2h15min. That’s in 15min difference. A small and huge difference.
∴ The end
As soon as I crossed THAT finished line, I genuinely felt on holidays, just the sand beach and the coconut juice missing.
I was exhausted, but I could not stop smiling 😉 It was done, over and to be repeated soon. The big plus of the marathon, the after-care of participant. You could receive a massage (that they call “Therapy”?!), grab some coconuts, beers or even buy yourself some new sunglasses 😉 Why not?
I took one last picture of the temples and headed over to my tutuk, who was patiently chatting over with other drivers like today was just an ordinary day in both our life.