Back in August, when my friend mentioned about joining Angkor Wat half marathon, I said, “I don’t think I can do half marathon. I could barely run 10K.” She said, “No, you totally can! You just need to train.”
She is the one who got me into running so I trust her word but I hesitated the idea of half marathon. Half marathon??? May be one day but not in 4 months time.
Another friend mentioned again and this time I decided to try. I knew it would be expensive with air ticket, hotel, race registration, etc but if I run half marathon, I want it to be something special.
I started my training in mid September and during the second week of my training, I joined a 10K race, and my doubts grew bigger. It would be like running another 10K right after the race. Yikes!!
But after 6 weeks of training, I became positive. The more I train, the more I fell in love with running. But honestly there were times that I asked myself “why am I doing this?” It wasn’t easy but I earnestly waited for the race day to come.
Finally it was time to go to Siem Reap!! My friend and I left for Siem Reap on Friday and it was a long journey and I’ll have to write about it separately 😜. We rested pretty much the whole day on Saturday and went to pick up our race bibs.
After we picked up our race bibs, we had our pre-race dinner. I read that people eat pasta the day before the race to fuel up. So, yes, I enjoyed myself with a big plate of homemade gnocchi with carbonara sauce. It was so delicious that I kept eating although it was so full. Yes, it was a bad idea! I overate and caused digestive disaster in the morning of the race.
I woke up and I felt like I was still very full from dinner. I felt like throwing up on the way to the race. I regretted about overeating the night before and I thought I should have just followed what I normally eat. Oh well!! Too late.
I struggled during the first 3K but there was nothing I could do so I just ran and prayed! I had been training for 12 weeks and I came all the way to Siem Reap. At that point I wasn’t going to give up because of my own stupidity. I felt sick and helpless but I knew I could rely on God’s strength. As I ran, I reflected on Isaiah 40:31
“but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
I didn’t soar on wings like eagles; I ran like a turtle but every single step was a reminder that nothing is impossible with God and I could rely on my God.
After 5K, I felt better as I ran. I ran with the attitude of thankfulness the rest of the race. I listened to worship songs as I ran and the joy of praise and worship lifted me up and gave me strength to keep going. Many Khmer children standing on the roadside giving high fives was also a great motivator. A sea of people passed me as I ran and I felt like I might be the last one in the race because I wasn’t passing anyone. But it didn’t matter because I wasn’t competing with anyone but myself. Last time this year, I couldn’t run for 5 minutes and now I was running in Angkor War half marathon!!!
At 20K, I started to picture in my mind what it would be like to cross the finish line. After a while I was approaching toward the finish line. Many people were cheering for all the runners approaching the finish line and suddenly I saw my two friends waiting and cheering for me. My friend Kristi cheered and ran with me the last 50m at my side and that was also the highlight of the race. I am so thankful for both friends who came to Siem Reap with me. I couldn’t have done without them.