Triple Half Marathons

Catching up on blogging about my travels in December and January, here are some photos from running three half marathons in three consecutive weekends. Since I love to travel and run, why not combine the two and make it a great adventure?

I started with the Angkor Wat International Half Marathon on 7 December 2014 in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It was well organized and awesome to run next to the ancient ruins. The race started early but the heat still was an issue, so I was thankful the course was mostly along the tree-lined roads.

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Running next to Angkor Thom. Angkor Wat International Half Marathon.

Next was the Thailand Half Marathon in Bangkok, Thailand on 14 December 2014. This one was more of a local event, but still well-run. It started at the Rama VIII bridge and continued along the elevated highway, so there wasn’t much scenery. Still an awesome race. Story from race day: my hotel was a couple kilometers from the start line, and with an early AM start, I set out to find a taxi. But the taxi driver I got didn’t speak any English and seemed to not even understand when I pointed at the map exactly where I wanted to be dropped off and to my race number pinned to my shirt. Maybe he was reluctant to drop a white lady off at a random place, but anyway I jumped out of the cab and ran to the start line, since I already knew how to get there–made it with 10 minutes to spare. It pays to know your way around.

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Running across the Rama VIII bridge in Bangkok, Thailand.

Finally, to complete my triple crown of half marathons, I ran the Chiang Mai Half Marathon on 21 December 2014 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Another well-organized run I thought to be really fun. Near the end I swore it felt longer than 21km, but I actually crossed the line for my best half marathon time ever. I stayed so focused I didn’t get any pictures during the race, but I’m darn proud of these medals for all three half marathons.

3 Half Marathons. 3 Consecutive Weekends. 2 Countries.
3 Half Marathons. 3 Consecutive Weekends. 2 Countries (Cambodia and Thailand).

Announcing a new adventure

I have been busy, so this update will be brief until I can finish the drafts of more interesting posts. Briefly put, I have had difficulty securing a job after returning from Indonesia, and in this time of waiting I decided to make goals and put my creativity to use.

Here we go: I’ve redeemed a stockpile of airline miles (from a lot of travel plus travel hacking). In December I’ll be running 3 half marathons (that’s 3 x 13.1 miles/21km) in Cambodia and Thailand.

  • 7 December: Angkor Wat International Half Marathon in Siem Reap, Cambodia (running 13 miles around ancient ruins? Yes, please!)
  • 14 December: Thailand International Half Marathon in Bangkok, Thailand (Significantly less scenic, as it is an out and back on a highway bridge in the middle of Bangkok, but it’s an adventure).
  • 21 December: Chiang Mai Half Marathon in Chiang Mai Thailand (I’m not in shape to do the full marathon here, but it’ll still be a nice run in the city).

After that, I’ll be visiting friends in Indonesia and Sri Lanka. And great bonus: even though I’ll be traveling in Asia, the whole journey is around the world. I leave from the US through Seoul and Taipei to Phnom Penh, and return to the US from Kuala Lumpur through Frankfurt, Germany to North America.

There’s more purpose to this than just travel and running, but for today this will have to suffice. Stay tuned and feel free to add and follow along via email.

I’m still waiting, so why not run a half marathon?

I am still waiting. I can’t say that the last three weeks have been easy. Some days I have felt very much like my previous post, taking delight in the blessings; there have been other days, however, when I have felt most anxious. Someday I may unpack this time of waiting, and find important lessons. But right now I just really want to step into a plane, make my series of flights, emerge on Indonesian soil, and get to work.

In these three weeks, there hasn’t been much to do or to write about. Prior to February, I packed away belongings, mentally prepared to leave, and assembled most items to pack. Without a visa or a final date of departure, everything is on hold.

I was out running last Thursday, and it dawned on me that there was a half marathon race in town on Sunday. At the end of my run, I resolved to do it. Even though none of my recent runs came close to the 13.1 mile distance, and the race was only three days away, I had to do it. I knew I could do it, and I did it; one foot in front of the other, stride by stride, mile by mile.

I’m no stranger to distance running—I’ve run multiple marathons and half marathons, so I knew what I was getting into when I signed up. Long distance races are a physical challenge for sure, but the race is also a mental challenge to find the courage to keep on going, and for me, they a profound spiritual experience. My pounding feet on the pavement become a rhythmic psalm of the body; the labored breath of latter miles inhales new life, and exhales pain; the finish line, also the beginning, is an expression of deep joy and gratitude to God for this life.

It is Sunday evening now; I’m a little sore but spiritually centered, ready to enter into the week, whatever it will bring.

By the way, I’m prone to plan vacation time around races. You may see a future post about a marathon/half/10k in places such as Bali, East Timor, Malaysia, Singapore, or Thailand. This is, of course, if my body adjusts to the climate and I have time and space to run.