River Kwai 10K

23 Sep

A few Saturdays ago, a bunch of us took a loooong van ride over to Kanchanaburi to participate in the River Kwai races and enjoy a night outside of Bangkok. Colby and I are busily training for our first-ever half marathon in December, and the race fit perfectly into our training plan. We ran the 10K, while some of the others were brave enough to run the half, even though the race website warned of big hills. They were not kidding! Although there was some flat running involved, the majority of the first portion of the race went up, up, up, which of course means that most of the second half went down, down, down. Three days later, my calf muscles were still trying to figure out what happened. Big hills aside, the course was quite lovely. The down portion had gorgeous views of the mountains bordering Burma with the morning mist rising off of them and the sun coming up. Not too shabby.

Despite the hills, those of us running the 10K pretty much rocked it! Our friend Jen won our age category, and Colby and I came in 12th and 13th respectively. We also managed to beat many of the gentlemen running the distance; I came in 125 out of 932 people who race the 10K. Actually, 10K is misleading since the official distance measured in at 10.55K. Yes, that is a completely random distance. We have no idea why the race organizers chose that particular length. Our friends running the half also did splendidly, especially since two of them were running a half for the first time!

photo 1Pre-race breakfast photo shoot – I look awake haha

photo 2Ramkhamhaeng Runners, ready to go! Still in the dark…

934867_260126314111701_8996171728145672324_nWow, I am making a serious face… Totally about to pass those guys.

10606358_260104704113862_4717512604739396638_n 10703741_260104020780597_1542270956032588331_nSupergirl and Spiderman running because Thailand.

photo 410K finishers selfie 🙂

i95600428._szw1280h1280_This guy really wanted to have his photo taken with 4 sweaty farang – turns out he has a whole website!

photo 1Half marathon finish line shot – they did it!

photo 3Group shot at the end – sweaty but still having fun!

We managed to fit in several non-running activities to make a little weekend adventure out of the deal. We stopped at an amazing pottery shop called C&P Celadon, which several of us teachers are somewhat obsessed with due to the fabulous deals one can get. Celadon is this pretty, light green pottery that Thailand is known for. I got new dinner plates and some snazzy bowls for a shockingly low price.

We also visited the famous bridge over the River Kwai, since some of our posse hadn’t seen it yet. (For tons of Kanchanaburi photos, including said bridge read my previous post on it here.) Bridget snapped this view of the River Kwai from the bridge itself. I was amazed at how much higher the water level was now that we’re smack daub in the middle of the rainy season than it was when I had visited with my mom in April, which is full-on dry/hot season.

IMG_3035

IMG_2436Chillin’ near the bridge; tired but satisfied.

The final adventure of the weekend was the hotel that Bridget, Colby, and I stayed at. The name should have tipped us off: Mom Chailai Forrest Retreat Hotel. Bridget said it reminded her of The Shining. To be fair, we arrived in the middle of a downpour, with dusk falling. It also seemed semi-abandoned when we first arrived, and was almost 3km down a red dirt track (road is generous) into the jungle. We each had a separate cabin, and mine was faaarrrr away from the other two. As I settled in, I discovered a large dropping of some kind in the bathroom. Now, I am not one to panic, I know I live in Thailand  and many hotel bathrooms are open to the outside air and small creatures. I cleaned it up without a fuss, but I did take a moment to wonder what made it. I crossed my fingers it wasn’t a snake. Well, it wasn’t.

When I returned from dinner, I opened the bathroom door to find a HUGE lizard chillin’ on the wall. HUGE. It was a kind of gecko called a tokay, and this particular one was over a foot long. (They are called tokay geckos because they make a distinct noise that sounds like “tokay!“) My friend Anne is petrified of them because they bite hard enough to crunch cockroach shells. I froze then stomped my feet, and it ran to the rafters. There it remained all night, through my photo shoot, through my shower, while I was sleeping with the bathroom door tightly closed. I also had visitors in the form of a giant spider in the shower, and a turbo worm by the sink. By the end of the night, I’d had quite enough wildlife encounters! Forrest retreat indeed.

IMG_2428Tokay gecko! For reference, the beam next to him is about 4 inches wide.

IMG_2432Sizable spider friend

IMG_2423Mountain view from our hotel

IMG_2426View of the River Kwai from our hotel – playing with the filters on my iPhone

 

 

 

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