Cover your eyes if coarse language offends you for this next sentence: but this was like having sex while camping - it was fuckin intense! (geddit?! Sorry....) It wasn't too long before I was feeling the burn in my quads and legs all over in general, and my initial plan of being able to keep up a steady rhythm of running slowly up the whole way, gave way to a more manageable attack of: run a couple of flights then hike a couple using my hands on my thighs/knees (akin to hiking while running up steep trails - hill walking, I think it's called).
Before I knew it I was at the top, woohoo!! And able to check out the awesome views across the whole of Hanoi and beyond. It is actually a much big city than I thought, having mainly been exploring the areas close to where I live until now. I then got out of there as I had to be somewhere and wanted to get a run in on the way home (as 16 minutes of stair climbing/running didn't really count as a marathon training run I thought, although hopefully it has helped! I am a bit out of practice with stair training). Thanks to the lovely two runners who helped me out while a bit lost and ran with me for a while in the direction back towards Tay Ho. It only came to my attention later, that apparently I won first place in my age group! Woohoo!! And judging by the results, I think I came 2nd female overall!! Pretty stoked with this result, especially as I had had a very late one the night before with a few beers and vodkas (not ideal the night before a race but hey-ho, that's life....).
The best part of this event (apart from the race shirt and medal!) was the actual taking part in an event again - this was my first in Vietnam. I love the atmosphere and the energy at races, and love meeting the other runners there. So inspirational and motivating and fun! So, I am even more excited for the Danang Marathon in August now. But seriously need to up my training as it's getting closer by the day, and I haven't really put any long-long runs in so far. I will be rectifying that this week.
Here are a few pics from Saturday's event:
Just prior to the event, I had sadly said goodbye to my wonderful friend Kim, who has now headed back to UK (but not for too long I sincerely hope!). We had an incredible week together: cycling around exploring, going out dancing and on fun nights, visiting a few of the many cafes here in Hanoi (including the cat café!), going on a day-trip to the beautiful Perfume Pagoda, having cheap but amazing spa days, copious well overdue long chats and laughs, and eating the most delicious vegan/plant-based food. It was wonderful. I am missing her company already, but I know we will see each other soon.
It was great being able to show her some of my current favourite vegan restaurants but also to discover a couple of new ones too! There are lots of veggie/vegan places here in Hanoi! I am not a vegan, but the majority of my diet is plant-based by default (for me I find it to be a healthier lifestyle and I feel amazing, plus I love veggies but don't like meat, so it's naturally this way for me) with some seafood and eggs occasionally.
We certainly ate well this week, and nourished our bodies and soul, so that the many G&Ts and espresso martinis that we imbibed along with super fun nights of dancing and meeting new friends did not make a lasting or detrimental effect - it's all about balance and enjoying life while being healthy the majority of the time. I can honestly say I have never felt healthier or happier than here in Hanoi, and I'm sure it's down (in a big way) to my diet first. Vietnammmmm...... you definitely don't disappoint.
But it's all about balance yes? So the occasional day enjoying a deliciously decadent 3-course brunch at Don's whilst overlooking beautiful West Lake, followed by an afternoon of lounging and munching little cakes and chocolate with endless cups of tea is also way way way ok. Mmmm, Vietnammmmm....