Khao Yai 10K 2015

5 Mar

This year’s annual race along the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park brought new adventures in the form of rainstorms, a winery, new running friends, and a two-night stay in the world’s most bizarre hotel. Although all of these are worthy of mention, I’ll start with the hotel because it was truly unique. The DNA Resort and Spa self-describes as “the architectural innovation of this era”. It was designed as a luxury resort using green materials and technology. Kristy, Nancy, Michelle, and I arrived in the dark, in the middle of an unseasonably heavy downpour, and were upgraded to rooms aka pods in the main hotel building so we wouldn’t have to go back out in the rain (gotta love an upgrade!). The pod was every bit as strange as we could have wanted it to be: round room, round bed, round living room with shag carpet and escape hatch… Waking up in the morning was a fun adventure because we had no idea what to expect when we looked out of the window. The light of day revealed a crazy landscape that looked like a cross between a martian settlement and series of hobbit holes, all tucked into the beautiful Khao Yai valley. The main hotel aims to be a double-helix, which is then surrounded by additional pods, tunnels, hobbit holes, pools, and an air traffic control tower. We spent a fun hour or two after breakfast wandering the property and investigating the many eccentricities the hotel had to offer, which included a hydroponic lettuce garden, an auditorium for conferences accessed via a creepy tunnel, and a spa area which was not being used for massages but housed an abandoned exercise bike and model skeleton.

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DNA Resort from above

The race itself was enjoyable. Colby and I ran the 10k as our last long run before our half marathon this weekend. Several of the others also ran the 10k, and Nancy, Kristy, and Michelle all ran the 5k for the first time! The 10k felt easier than last year, partly because we’ve been training so much more, and partly because they reversed the race course. Last year, the final 2km were uphill, which was rough. This year, we got to coast downhill at the beginning, and had a nice flat length for the final dash. We also lucked out with the weather. In Bangkok, cool season has fully departed (it’s a muggy 91F outside as I type this) but in the hills around Khao Yai, the temps were still pleasant and the rain held off. All in all it was a great race!

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Ramkhamhaeng Runners!

The final adventure of the weekend was a stop at the GranMonte Estate & Winery. Although wine in Southeast Asia can be an expensive and/or dodgy affair, I have made a point of trying to visit any vineyards we come across in a combination of hope and curiosity. The other ladies and I did a wine tasting of four different varieties, and they were very respectable. I bought a bottle of Syrah and a bottle of Rosé to share with Orestes. A little wine was a great way to round out the weekend, and put all the tired racers to sleep on the van ride back to Bangkok. 🙂

Post-wine tasting selfie!

Post-wine tasting selfie!

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