And if there isn't yet an official Ray-Zahab-is-The-Coolest-Guy-on-The-Planet fan club, I want to start one.
Allegedly, photographic evidence of Deanna's run exists too. Knowing me as she does, I opened my email at lunchtime to this, verbatim and unmistakable in tone: I do not give you permission to put my photo on your blog. Not much room for interpretation there.
And while no photographic evidence (that I have) exists, Greg had an eventful time in Hangzhou. From cobbled-together post-race email reports of dehydrated teenagers, muddy mountain trails, wrong turns taken, diesel fumes, and idyllic temples, it sounds like the ready-for-boar, tonic-drinkin', Snickers-eatin' runnin' fool had a fine day.
This event, like the other races we've done in Korea, was well organized and well supported. Thousands of volunteers and spectators kept our energy levels high with stocked aid stations (bananas - yep; sports drink - got it; choco-pies - check; cherry tomatoes - of course; acupuncturists - naturally) and screams of encouragement. The course is flat, which is great for these transplanted prairie folk, and the road closures ensure near silence on usually chaotic Seoul streets.
We haven't received our official chip times yet, but our trusty watches have Deanna taking ten minutes off her PB to finish with aplomb in 4:16, and me crossing in 3:26, also ten minutes faster than I've gone before. My colleague Altay managed to run 18k, which was about 8k farther than he had ever run before, and felt justifiably proud of himself.
We look forward now to May 9th, when we undertake our first 100km run. As if the distance was not daunting enough, the race is also done at night, starting at dinner time on Saturday and finishing at noon on Sunday. With that run only eight weeks away, we'll have to eliminate our usual post-marathon recovery fortnight in order to get our weekend miles in. Next week will see us adding a fifth run to the weekly routine, all but eliminating what meagre social lives we already had. But we're very excited for this new challenge.
But I count us lucky. With only Mother Nature to contend with, we have nothing on our friend Greg. This Sunday finds him in the woolly wilds of the Middle Kingdom to run the Hangzhou Mountain Marathon. Meteorologists there have also promised wind and rain, while race organizers have advised runners to carry a sharp stick, lest they meet up with a porcine 朋友 on the trails. And for once, Greg's years of whittlin' pay off.
Next weekend we'll join about 21000 of our closest friends for the Seoul Marathon. Last year's edition was a great time, due in most part to being joined by Chris and Ali. Despite our pleas to continue the streak this year, Ali decided to follow the advice of her obstinate obstetrician and forego the twenty hours of travel time required to get here from Calgary. Since she's got identical twinlets in there, we'll let it slide for now. Next year, she better come up with a decent excuse.
I started counter-clockwise, switched after an hour to clockwise, then after 120 minutes back to the way I started. After two and a half hours, I felt dizzy, which really was an odd sensation given that I was hardly running a tight circle, was getting plenty of fresh air, and was nowhere close to setting any land speed records. I was going to try and just stick it out until the end, but thankfully Deanna came by and I joined her on the paths of the mighty Han for the last thirty minutes or so.
All this to say that I now have an even deeper respect for those ultrarunners who compete and excel in the track races. I'll take the non-vertigo option anyday.
I meant to add up the February numbers to post here today, but forgot. It will have to wait until I get home and get off The Company dime.