Deanna and I completed our second Seoul International Marathon on Sunday. While not as memorable as the 2008 edition, thanks that year to the fine company of the other half of Team Howard and a Smith, we had a great day nonetheless. All concerns of foul weather were unfounded, as we had cool temperatures, blue skies, and light winds throughout the morning.
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.