"Each step forward has a sacred meaning of its own" Sri Chinmoy
2 Mile Race, Siem Reap, Cambodia, February 5th 2018
I woke up with a nagging head cold and sore throat, but as my legs had felt so good on my previous run (2 days before - an hour along the Siem Reap River with Granantan) I decided to drag myself down to the race. After all, my glands weren't up much and I had managed to trek around Angkor Wat the day before so it couldn't be that serious. In fact, after warming up on the course around the Meridien Hotel, I felt good enough to aim for 13 minutes.
There were around a hundred of us and although the forecast was for high twenties and humid, it was cool enough to run without dripping in sweat at this nice early hour. Race start was around 7.15 and I lined up in the third row close to Prabuddha and Amalendu, vet 60 and vet 50 respectively but running well right now.
It was a joy to be running in the warm on a tree-lined course away from the hectic traffic of the Angkor Wat Road. In the first section (it was a course of 400m, so 800m out and back 4 times for the 2 mile distance) I felt good, keeping my stride short and reminding myself to rein it in as I was definitely a bit under the weather and could die off later if I didn't watch it. The turnaround came with us on exactly 13 minute pace so I just stuck at that for the way back. As usual there was passing and repassing and at one point first girl Jayasalini surged past us but we realed her in and I then set my sights on Prabala in the distance up ahead. The half way point came at 6.25 so the 14 mins was definitely ON. I couldn't get close to Prabala but chasing him kept me focussed and I think I can honesty say I enjoyed every stride - what a great feeling to be running without pain and stiffness in those problematical muscles and tendons that keep holding me back. I didn't double up my rate of breathing until the last 800m. When I did, I was able to accelarate slightly and it felt hard - Prabala stayed ahead, making it look effortless, but I did at least gain some ground. I found out afterwards that Amalendu was shadowing me pretty much the whole way and using me as a marker. Eventually I came over the line in 12.41, 3 secs behind Prabala and a couple ahead of Amalendu - those two were first and second vets on the day. Prabuddha pulled up with hamstring trouble after a good first half.
The Siem Reap course reminded me of one of my favourites - the 2 miler we used to run in Sanur - secluded, with lovely tropical trees shading the route and the gentle Asian breeze cooling the course just after sunrise. So now I can add Cambodia to my "been there and raced there" list.
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