Monday, April 7, 2008

Racing Sunday

I’ve recently met The Gastronomer and her boyfriend The Astronomer, from the food blog Gastronomy and they were nice enough to inform me about races organized to celebrate La Semaine Française au Vietnam.

I had some mixed feelings about running. One being I haven’t run in Vietnam. Two, I wasn’t really running much before I came to Vietnam. Three, the heat! However, races are always fun and another way to see a city. So I decided to sign up. It didn’t hurt that it was absolutely free and you got a tee-shirt (a too large tee, unless they're trying to tell me something???).

My options were 3 km, 7 km (for women), 10 km (for men) and 21 km (half-marathon). I was pretty certain that I could handle 3 km, but felt a bit wimpy doing so. I decided on the 7 km. I ran once during one evening prior to the race, just to make sure I could handle it.

Unfortunately, a couple days before race day, I ate something in my lunch that did not sit well. I was still hurting from it on the morning of the race. I also was not used to running in the heat. The 7 km consisted of running around a street course in downtown (by the Opera house and Louis Vuitton) twice; I pretty much ran one and walked one. I won’t even mention my time because it was not very good. Instead I will share a few interesting observations about the race:

  • Running in traffic. As expected, roads were not closed for this race. This means that we were running among cars and motorbikes, on the road.
  • Heavy security. Motorbikes did accompany runners around the path, stopping traffic and sounding sirens when runners went through an intersection. This gave me a bit of a feeling of importance, like I was a queen followed by heavy security. (ok, I have a rampant imagination). It also makes for a more embarrassing situation when you’re walking and a motorbike is following you, wondering why you’re being such a slow poke.
  • Vs. at home. Compared to racing at home, it wasn’t quite as well organized. We were half an hour late while they went through the top ten half marathon runners. This made the early morning start to avoid the heat pointless. The 10 km started, with the gun shot by the French ambassador, 3 minutes later the 7 km and finally the 3 km. No time chip, time mats, water stations or markers. Instead, there were volunteers pointing the way.
  • Segregating. Not sure why, but they segregated men from women in the 10 and 7 km race. So when The Gastronomer decided to run 10 km, there was confusion with people telling her she was finished.
  • Runners. Runners ranged from serious looking Vietnamese runners (running barefeet!!) to a Vietnamese woman in a denim skirt (I think she beat me!). There were also a few expats and kids running.

Airborne barefeet runner finishing the 10 km race.

This is me pretending to run (I'd had enough by then!), towards the finish line.

1 comment:

Linda said...

well that's pretty hilarious, but i shouldn't laugh too much... I haven't run much except one a treadmill and even that was a measly 2.X Mi. Spring is here and I will start going outside, as soon as the streets dry up a bit! (proscrastinating much?)