November 22 and 29; Yes, it maybe silly and crazy for some but I thought of challenging myself by joining a marathon back to back in Daejeon and Jinju respectively. Due to the drop in weight, I really felt that it’s time for me to at least try a marathon since almost all the full course events that I encounter and see here in Korea only has a 5 hour cut-off.
Daejeon Marathon has fewer crowds; in fact, there was a mass start of runners aiming for 21K, 30K and 42K. There was no information about the course; or probably I was just not reading enough (that’s because it’s in Korean). The course was flat and it was only a 10.5K loop, which means we have to do 4 loops to complete the race. It was ok during the first two loops as there were 21K runners, and we became fewer and fewer until there were only the runners left for the full course.
The weather is fine; it was breezy, a bit cold but not the piercing cold. I felt strong the whole time, except of course the last 10K that made me just dragged myself to complete it. I eventually completed the race in 4:29. It was a twenty-minute improvement from my 4:49 record in Condura Marathon in 2011 in the Philippines. Wow! I really thought I became stronger!
It was still hard to walk for few days after the race. I was worried about the Jinju marathon, but still did it anyway not to mention I promised to my friend I’ll join him in his first marathon. I saw the course, but I have no idea about the terrain. It was too hilly for me. My mind played tricks on me as I was running on an uphill with effort thinking it was a downhill. I felt fatigue immediately after 10K, and felt that I couldn’t really make it. My last week’s race in Daejeon definitely took a toll on me. Even the weather was not favorable as the coldness was going into my spine. Old people, men and women were mostly present during the race. My god! It’s really amazing as they look happy while they were doing it! I finished the race in 4:48 min; not the best, but I think it was definitely a good experience. The good thing about this race was that, my friend and I immediately got a good massage and then to the public bath to sooth our swollen legs. We were tired but I was feeling great the next day. There were few sores but it was definitely better after my 1st marathon.
Will I do it again? Maybe, but I think I need more training. As I was discussing the event with my friend, he mentioned about the man he ran with has participated more than a hundred marathons in a year. I couldn’t believe my ears so I verified if it was a full course and he confirmed it. Wow! True or not, many older Korean look strong when they are running, they even manage to greet me as some are surprised seeing a foreigner doing a full course with them especially in the smaller events.
December just came. No more marathons for now… Haha! Oh wait, perhaps a half marathon.