Reflections on the Grind

thoughts on training and life of an introvert

Archive for January 2012


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Been a couple weeks of easy running post marathon. A nice break it was.

Just because it’s nice to have goals, I have come up with a set of times I will be shooting for this year:

  • Mile: sub 6 min
  • 5k: sub 19:30 min
  • 10k: sub 40 min
  • Half: sub 90 min

Challenging but realistic. Small steps towards bigger goals in the future.

Ran this morning at Nawamin Pirom park. A better than average weather just before 8 am. This park is nice when it’s not too hot. Nevertheless, the run was not easy. Despite having breakfast beforehand, I had no energy in the legs after about 5 km. Still able to keep jogging on and got in 10 km. Good thing I wasn’t racing today. Probably just not enough sleep lately.


Written by Rop

January 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Posted in running

Chom Bueng Marathon 2012

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Chom Bueng, Ratchaburi
Chip time 3:21:25 (PB).
693 runners finished. 6 DNF. I came in 31st overall.
Winners: (M) Chakrit Boonkong 2:47:18, (F) Chothip Kan-uam 3:23:57

Halfway splits: 1:33/1:49. My half marathon PB is 1:36:xx. That right there tells the story. A too ambitious effort.

It was warm at 4 am. 24-25 C, said the announcer.

I wanted to set out around 4:44 min/km pace, which would be sub-3:20 finish. My plan was: if I didn’t feel good, I would ease off. Simple. That pace would better my Tokyo time (3:27), which I ran in a near ideal weather condition. So I thought 3:20 is probably unrealistic. But then, it had been over 300 days since Tokyo. I should be in a better shape. So, a fitter body versus tougher weather, who knew which would win out.

At the end of the first km, I looked at my watch and saw 4:19 min. I knew it was too fast. But I felt good and didn’t want to ease off. This is a marathon, I thought, not a training run. I raced the distance less than once a year. I was not going to cruise it in.

The crowd was good. Though it was early, volunteers, many of them young kids, were out there in the dark to cheer for the runners and hand out water, watermelon, pineapple, and banana. I drank at almost every station and splashed water on my body to try keeping my body cool.

The route was dark in many sections. Could be dangerous as there were potholes.

I didn’t look at the watch again until the finish. I tried to stick with a group of strong and experienced runners. I could hang on for a long while and was on a sub-3:10 pace till the 24-km turning point. Then things went south.

Stomach started cramping at about km 27. (There were no distance markers from km 24 to km 32 so I wasn’t really sure.) Spent last 15 km of the race in pain. The road was under-lit and I was in a dark place, both literally and figuratively. I slowed down. Legs were fine but the stomach pain made it hard to move.

I tried hard to keep moving so that, at least, I can beat my Thailand time of 3:55. That would be a minimum goal. If i were to fail, after over two years of training, it would be quite disappointing. I wasn’t thinking about beating my Tokyo time. Actually I couldn’t think about the time goal or anything in the last 10 km. My thought becomes cloudy and I couldn’t think straight. I just wanted to cross the finish line and stopped running.

The 39-40 km section was my slowest, clocking about 6:15 min. In the last few km, I tried to keep up with a female runner. I thought she was doing marathon but actually she was doing half. When I kicked it in with everything I got left, and saw my time of 3:21:xx I was amazed.

I was handed a piece of paper indicating i finished 9th in my age group, I was happy. I knew the situation was very favorable for me. The race had no cash prize. So the top runners either did not come, or they ran shorter distance and saved themselves for the more lucrative Khonkaen marathon, being held in two weeks. Also there were a lot of trophies—10 for each of the 10 age groups. So 100 trophies for males, and 100 for females. There were about 700 marathon runners. So almost 30% of runners get a trophy. Anyway, I am still happy about my first ever trophy.

I was ecstatic with the time. Even though I struggled mightily in the last part, the strong start was enough to offset that slowdown. An unexpected PB earned from a painful race. That’s how I’ll remember this race. I beat my Tokyo time in a much warmer condition and after dealing with a week of cold. I was just proud to fight through pain and finish. The time was a very nice surprise.

Still I could have done better with this race. What could cause this cramp? On Saturday I ate a normal meal (white rice at Thai soup) at the race expo for dinner. Then only had banana and small piece of fried pork for breakfast. I had been on low carbohydrate diet for months, but reverted back to regular carb intake three days before the race to prevent hitting the wall. I also drank some sweet M-Sport electrolyte drink during the race. Maybe the body wasn’t ready for the high-sugar beverage.

Perhaps a bigger factor of the pain was the too-fast start. Body just protested that it had insufficient training for that kind of pace. Specifically, there probably were not enough long runs. My longest run was 16 miles. Maybe it was a mistake to not check my splits and to chase other strong runners. With better pacing I could have gone under 3:20.

But who knows. Marathons are unpredictable. It’s easy to sit back and analyze. I think I did the best I could and I am happy about it.

Now my quads are super sore and I’m taking days off for the first time since March 2011.


Saturday lunch at Baan Plai Garden. Steak, pasta, and warm cocoa.

chom bueng marathon 2012

so glad to finish

chombueng 2012

9th in 35-39 age group. my first ever trophy.

Written by Rop

January 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Posted in running, travel

Week 0

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It has been a busy week at work. Also dealing with the ongoing cold. Went to a hospital Sunday and been taking some antibiotics and drinking plenty of water. It isn’t too bad and I should be good to go this weekend. Still running daily throughout the taper, but distance has been dropped from my usual 11-12 km a day to about 6-8 km. Taking it very easy and looking forward to Sunday race.

US Olympics marathon trials will take place this Saturday. It should be a great race. Its time kind of overlaps my own race so I won’t be able to follow it.

Written by Rop

January 11, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Posted in health, running

Fighting off cold

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2012 is not starting off so well for me. Recent sore throat and diarrhea make me feel low in energy. I may be coming down with a cold, as I’m starting to get a runny nose and burning eyes. Such a bad timing, as it is only a week before the big race. That’s the way life is. It never goes according to plans.

The weather in Chom Bueng is still warm, unlike the past years.

Ratchaburi weather forecast

Just some added challenges, as if the marathon is not challenging already. The body is fighting hard to not be knocked out by the cold. At current condition, I believe I can still do the marathon. But if the illness gets worse, I may drop down to a half. It would be disappointing, but I have to be realistic. Running hard while sick would be stupid.

Written by Rop

January 8, 2012 at 5:06 am

Posted in health, running

Nine days

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This is the first of two taper weeks. Nine days to go. Light schedule this weekend, then a busy week at work. Then it’s race time. Woke up with a sore throat today. Hoping it won’t turn into full-fledged cold or flu.

My personal goal is still just to give my best. This seems to be a harder course than Bangkok marathon. Chom Bueng winning time is around 2:40, slow compared to 2:16 of Bangkok. The slow time may be also due to a lack of prize money and the field being almost all Thais.

Written by Rop

January 6, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Posted in health, running

2011 in summary

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Spending the new year holidays in Kanchanaburi this year with my wife’s family and relatives.

This has been a good year. I raced five times. One marathon, one half-marathon, and three 10K’s. Would have probably done six were it not for the flood. I achieved two of my goals: PB’s in marathon (3:27) and half marathon (1:36). Also earned 10K PB as a bonus (40:26). Health-wise, it’s been very good. I got one cold all year, back in January.

I managed to log a good number of miles:
Jan: 412 km
Feb: 297 km
Mar: 266 km
Apr: 330 km
May: 326 km
June: 335 km
July: 382 km
Aug: 380 km
Sep: 331 km
Oct: 358 km
Nov: 288 km
Dec: 451 km

total 2011 distance: 4153 km (2580 mi). In 2010 I ran 3922 km; in 2009, 3113 km.

The defining day of the year was probably 27 Feb, Tokyo Marathon. I ran well and had an awesome experience. I became a sub 3:30 marathoner.

Since Tokyo Marathon I took two days off and I ran everyday ever since. Some day just 2 km. No matter what life throws at me, I always make time for running.

Yesterday, the last day of 2011, I got myself a non-running-related injury. Tried a box jump. Got reluctant mid-air and scraped my left shin. Later that night, my wife got a minor burn from launching a sky lantern. Today, I dropped a camera and damaged an expensive lens. A series of unlucky events. Stuff happens. One moment everything is fine, the next, not quite so. You have to move on. Be in the moment.

Got in a morning run to begin 2012 today. The wound didn’t affect my running too much, fortunately. I’m still doing Chom Bueng two weeks from today.

Looking ahead, I have no concrete goals this year. I will take it one day at a time. Enjoy each and every run. I will do my best in every race. If I get PB’s, that’s great. But above all, I just want to keep on finding peace and quiet through running. Live a simple, stress-free life. Minimize materialistic dependence. Continue eating real food (meat, fish, vegetables, nuts, fruits) and stay healthy.

Written by Rop

January 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Posted in food, running, thoughts

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