BITEC half-marathon 2015

February 6, 2015

It can be hard sometimes to find the motivation to train hard and improve. A period of rest or recovery can easily be extended with a few weeks and after a long period of going slow it is tempting to keep going at that same speed. My favorite way to find new motivation is just by signing up for a new race; that way I will need to pick up training again as I need to be ready at a specific date. A quick analysis of my previous triathlon results shows me that I lose most during the last part, the run, so I decided to focus on running by entering the BITEC half-marathon on February 1 in Bangkok.

A picture of the race of 2014: the 2015 edition gave virtually the same picture.

A picture of the race of 2014: the 2015 edition gave virtually the same picture.

As the half-marathon distance was going to start at 5AM it was an obvious choice to book a hotel in near proximity of BITEC arena so I could easily walk to the start/finish without the need to find a taxi in the middle of the night. Unlike a triathlon it is also pretty simple to just bring everything you need on you which cuts out the hassle of carrying around bags and storing them somewhere during the race. All I needed was my running gear and a music player.

Racing kit

Racing kit

The organization of this event was impressive as clear instructions were shouted through megaphones in both English and Thai and we all moved into a huge hall 15 minutes before the start. There was a collective warming-up going on after which we moved towards the starting line till it was exactly 5AM. The organizers kept a close eye on the time as releasing the horde of people too early could be catastrophic since the traffic police was not supposed to close down the roads before the clock reached 5.

The route downloaded from my GPS watch

The route downloaded from my GPS watch

As this was the first running event I ever joined it surprised me, in a positive way, that they even had several pacers running along. My goal was to finish under 2 hours and luckily for me there was a group of pacers doing the race in exactly 2 hours. That would simply mean I only had to stay close to those runners, and pass them before the finish, to be sure I would reach my goal.

Once the race started it was hectic in the first kilometer but after that everybody started finding their place and rhythm. I kept an eye on the pacers who were clearly marked with colorful balloons and made sure they did not get too far away from me. From BITEC arena the route went towards Central Bang-na where we turned around and ran the same way back. After about 14 kilometers I started to feel more confident I could easily reach my goals of finishing under 2 hours and started increasing my speed slowly and passed the pacers. With only 5 kilometers to go the traffic of runners increased as that was the turning point for the 10K runners which only gave extra motivation since I was now passing tons of runners who were doing this shorter distance. The last kilometer I almost sprinted with everything I had left and I was a happy camper when I realized I finished in 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Happy with the result: not so much with the medal, more with the finishing time.

Happy with the result: not so much with the medal, more with the finishing time.

Looking back I am quite surprised how well this race worked out for me as I reached an average pace of 11.78km/h even though I never go that fast during training; especially not for this long. The running coach from ThailandFit had given me a training schedule which had me going at a low heart rate zone for most of the time and apparently the benefits of training this way paid off well that day (see the first part of a series of articles on how to train with a heart rate monitor and how to create your own running schedule). I actually enjoyed both the racing and training so more running events will be included in the programming for 2015.

For questions/remarks you can contact me at: eric@stuckinthailand.com

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