Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Namsan Hot Summer Half Marathon

I ran this race two years ago. I woke up late, missed the start by 20 minutes and begged the organizers to let me run. They were gracious enough to let me do so, though at the time I didn't know that the race is on a public path that's open to all. The race was in pouring rain, everything I owned was soaked afterwards, and I jogged the race in about 1:50 (probably more than that, though I don't remember).

I've run the course (a 3k stretch of road) many, many times since then, albeit never more than twice at a time. To repeat it six times and change is a very subtly tortuous course. There is no one killer hill on the course, but then, there is almost no flat ground either, and altogether there are about probably about 30-40 hills of various sizes over the course of 21 kilometres.

Running the course hard, however, was an ordeal. I thought I was in shape for about a 1:30-1:32 and so I could run the course 5 minutes slower. In reality, I haven't run for more than an hour since March and so the course chewed me up as the race wore on. Having not run a half in a long time, I made a big push at 9k and felt great, though I was struggling by about 14k.

I kept more or less the same effort the whole time, so while I didn't fall apart, I steadily got slower, finishing in 1:46. Judging by the fact that I finished 27th out of 273 men, maybe the course is more like 10 minutes slower at my pace, though obviously different courses have different effects on different people having different sorts of days, so attempts at equivalency are quite moot.

While the course is repetitive and indicative of sociopathic tendencies, it's easy to love because it doesn't seem that challenging if you only run it once, kind of like that old saltine cracker challenge. If you run and you live in Seoul, you really should try this race.

I set four goals this summer: a 5k, two 10k races and this half. While the 5k (19:00) was a win, the 10k (49:34) I ran last weekend was a loss, and this half is a tie. The rubber match is another 10k in two weeks, where a sub-40 is a must.


Riyaad Ali said...

I miss your race reports. Glad to hear you're still running strong.

Adeel said...

Thanks big guy!

Mindi said...

Nice. And good luck on your upcoming 10K.