...until I was told yesterday that the results were out (you can check them out here:http://halongmarathon.com/42km-result.html), and lo and behold: a new PB!!! I am stoked! I was stoked anyway, as this was such a beautiful, amazing course, made all the tougher by the crazy strong windy condtions and the fact that it is NOT a flat course as I had assumed it would be. Add to that that I met some awesome new running (and drinking) buddies along the way, and caught up with a few familiar faces and friends from previous races in Vietnam. Of course, coming in at 3rd place was the achey icing on the cake (FYI: first and second place were a couple of young professional athletes who ran the whole thing together and made it look super easy! They came in just ten minutes before me, at the same time. Like I said: professional athletes! So, wow, made my third seem like a total win for me.)
My new marathon PB is now 3:26. A full ten minutes better than my previous best (which was on the flat Gold Coast course two years ago). Like I said: I am stoked. Especially given that the weekend before was pretty wild and spent partying a bit too much.
Recovery has gone well since the race too. Although I had my doubts at first, as my legs seemed more sore than the last time, and the last 5 or so kilometres were really really tough, not going to lie... Recovery started by copious beers on the bus back to Hanoi with some excellent, pun-loving runners who I met at the starting line. Highlight (of the journey? Of my life?) was when I started singing the all-time classic 'Horses' by Darryl Braithwaite and as if practised and on cue the whole gang spontaneously joined in for some impromptu karaoke. (Disclaimer: they are Australian, so know the song very well. But this was still amazing!)
So, here's my week's recovery (some of it anyway) in pictures:
I would definitely recommend the Halong Bay Heritage Marathon. Great support from local high school students too, who were taking part in their own Colour Run event afterwards. Beautiful views, a challenging yet scenic course, but crazy strong wind! But what can you do about that except persevere and push through... Singing songs (and changing the lyrics to be about running, carb-loading and training) helped get me through, as did picturing various friends or remembering recent good times, and thinking of my dad helped a lot. If I'm being totally frank and honest: every race I run I am running for him really, and aiming to get a good result for him. I would love to share my time and how the race went with him, just one more time. I tend to get quite emotional when I've crossed the finish line too whilst thinking of Dad, and this race was no exception. Tears a plenty. But happy tears mainly.