I am so excited to share this "My First Half Marathon" story with you all. It's special because both the training and race take place in different countries but mostly because it's the story of two of my coolest and funniest best friend's first half! I want to introduce you to Scott Herder and Megan Indoe. I've known Scott my entire life. Ironically his incredible and wonderful mother Janet is best friends with my GM (remember my badass GM (Grandmama) who taught us that you never have to stop being a badass???)
When we were younger, my sister and I didn't love Scott...mostly because he was a boy. It was during the above pictured trip to Yosemite that we developed a deep hatred for his guts. Every night GM would gather the kids for 5 hands of poker for bucks. We loved poker for bucks because we walked away with pockets full of quarters and the occasional dollar bill and we felt like Kings. But one night, Scott won all of my sister and my quarters and we never forgave him for it. Then when we all graduated college, we figured out that we shared a love of adventure and jokes and became best friends. Then when we met his girlfriend Megan it was game over and we all became inseparable.
Then Scott decided to move to South Korea to teach English and Megan moved soon after him. Together they have been off doing incredible things, motivating and teaching people how to travel the world on their blog Bobo and ChiChi. When they told me they were going to run a half marathon I asked them if they would write their first half marathon story for me and they happily obliged. Without further ado I give you Bobo and ChiChi's First Half Marathon...IN CAMBODIA!
Meet Scott Herder
Hi there! My name is Scott and I am slightly obsessed with photography, traveling, and saving money. 2 Years ago I moved to Korea to pursue all of those things as an English teacher and it went so well I convinced my girlfriend Megan to quit her “grown up job” to make less money and travel with me in Korea. Easily the best decision we ever made. We love spending time outdoors and seeing new parts of the world! We created our travel blog Bobo and Chici to share that part of our lives with others and get people motivated to travel and see the world as well!
Meet Megan Indoe
Hello! My name is Megan and as of a year and half ago I left my big girl job in California to travel and explore with my dear boyfriend Scott and I haven’t looked back. We spent a year teaching English to students in South Korea while exploring the country and now we are traveling the world! We like to set lofty goals like figuring out how to save money while seeing the world, travel, and staying young and fit. I love hiking, eating delicious cuisine, drinking, and exploring new places. I am also a crazy cat lady who is obsessed with animals.
The Decision: Scott
I have always hated running. I thought it was totally stupid and I never understood why people paid money to run. However Megan and I like setting goals and when I was a kid my parents ran marathons, and no one wants to be shown up by their parents. We were living in South Korea when our friends told us about the Angkor Wat Half Marathon and even though I didn’t care for running (Megan and I regularly do P90x with our boy Tony Horton aka (Tony Muscle), running through one of the seven wonders of the world in Cambodia sounded like the coolest way to get into running.
We were planning on traveling in Southeast Asia for 6 months after saving $30,000 teaching English in Korea so the timing was perfect. I also believe that when you pay for things and commit to them, you force yourself to figure out the rest somehow. So we set our goal, bought our tickets, registered for the race, and hoped to figure the rest out later.
The Training: Megan
About a month after we registered for the big race we realized, “Oh dang we actually have to start training for this thing!” We had 8 months until race day and plenty of time to work to 13.1 miles. Having plenty of time ended up being a great excuse to employ the “I’ll run tomorrow” mentality. Plus, when we started I couldn’t run a mile without having a stroke so we started small. We started running in a little park with a hippo statue which was about .33 km (.2 miles). BABY STEPS! Then we’d add .2 km every day. (We thought we were geniuses who discovered a new way of training.)
We both had tons of setbacks during our training. I had some serious stomach issues during a 2 week trip to Bali. When we got back the heat in South Korea was a b*tch and I had a heatstroke which led to time off. When I could run again I was struggling to run 2km without having to make a mad dash to the bathroom!
Towards the end of summer we felt great and were killing it at 10k. Sure there were days I dreaded going outside to run but there were more days I looked forward to it. We were 2 months out so it was time to step it up. We started adding a kilometer every week and then BAM I got sick. I felt sick for 3 weeks straight and did very little running. Around the same time Scott started working on this hyper lapse project (see below) and we ended up taking more time off than we wanted to. We got back up to 15k before we left Korea but I was still nervous about being able to run the race.
As we wrapped up our stay in Korea, we were busy taking care of our loose ends before we moved. Korea started getting too damn cold to run because we didn’t have any winter workout gear. I know excuses, excuses but we didn’t want frozen fingers while running!
RACE DAY: Scott
The dramatic heat change from South Korea to Cambodia kicked our butts. We went from 30 degrees to 100 degrees with 100% humidity in the blink of an eye. Just walking was tough and we started to get nervous.
We had read Kelly’s post about not doing or eating anything different the day before a race but traveling from Korea to Cambodia made that difficult. The cuisine was different and didn’t sit well with us because we woke up with some serious stomach issues! 30 minutes before race time and the lines for the toilets were long! To make things worse the locals cleaned out the toilets AFTER EVERY USE! Making an 8 person line take almost an hour! After the battle of the bowels it was race time!
We were pretty flustered before we started the race. I mean we went through some serious sh*t (pun intended) and were hurrying to the start line! But when we began running it all went away for me. We were finally running the half in one of the most beautiful places in the world and one of my personal favorite spots. It distracted me to no end and it was insane and awesome. We got to watch the sunrise as we ran through the gates of Angkor Wat. For me the first 10km went as smooth as a baby’s bottom. However Megan was struggling and we took a break after 10 or 11km’s.
Race Day: Megan
Nervous and excited were the emotions building up to race day. Boy was I excited to get that boulder off my shoulders and be able to say I ran a half marathon. Not only was I completing a goal, but I was doing it at one of the seven wonders of the world! I started getting nervous because of my screwy digestive system the morning of when I realized it was a real possibility nature would call during the race. I didn’t feel ready, but tried to remain positive. Before we even made it to our first kilometer I had a cramp. I started to panic because I had never cramped so early in a run! I tried to calm myself down and tell myself I was going to breathe through it like I always did.
5k and I still felt a nagging cramp in my stomach. I was trying to focus on my breathing but had yet to enjoy a single moment of the race. I was worried it wasn’t going to go away and we still had 16k left to run. When we reached the 10k, Scott could tell that I was about to lose my mind. I had tears welling up in my eyes and I asked Scott if we could walk. I was really bummed I had to stop so early in the race. I really believed I was going to be able to run the entire race without walking. I felt defeated and as we walked I could feel myself slowly self-destructing. Luckily, Scott is a superstar and was able to turn my frown upside down. He helped me joke about it and told me he would rather have a gorgeous, enjoyable walk in Angkor Wat rather than a miserable run. His support made me feel awesome and on top of that, there were little Cambodian children standing at the side of the track and trying to high five runners. It was the positive boost I needed and I was back.
We ran for a few more kilometers before my cramps returned and we had to stop again. I thought about running off course and taking my chances stepping on a landmine because that seemed like a reasonable alternative to finishing the race. We walked some more, Scott made me feel better and we took some awesome selfies with temples in the background. My favorite moment of the race was when a little Cambodian boy went to give me a high five and instead held my hand and ran alongside me. With my confidence back, we started running again.
We made it to the 17k mark but had to walk a lot. Luckily this was the most scenic part of the course and we were taking pictures with the Bayon and Angkor Thom. It was then that I realized I was over confident and I should have taken training more seriously. (I also couldn’t help but admire and envy those who are disciplined and fit enough to finish the race like a bad ass.) I couldn’t wait until the race was over...I was counting down the kilometers.
Finally we got to the last kilometer. I felt like a stiff and rusty like my grandpa hips and my granny ankles wanting to give out. I felt brittle and wanted to take a tuk tuk to the finish line. Then I saw it, the finish line! Without a word, Scott and I both started sprinting. In my mind I was sprinting like a graceful gazelle! (I’m sure in person I probably looked like a horsey, crippled mule.) But we did it! We crossed the finish line! I was ecstatic and had no idea where that last burst of energy came from. I got my little medal and ate some bananas and realized my cramps were finally gone. Why oh why did they show up on race day of all days!?!
After Thoughts : Megan
I really wish I would have taken training more seriously. Also, why the eff did my body reject me the day of the race?! I never felt that awful running when I was training! Maybe I put too much pressure on myself on race day. Maybe I was nervous. Although I didn’t run the great race I expected to run, it was still a rewarding experience. Next time I want to regain my confidence running a shorter race like a 10k before trying a half marathon again. I always thought long distance runners were super humans and now, honestly I believe it now more than ever. I still have a love hate relationship with running. I hate getting my butt out the door to run, but I love the feeling of accomplishment when I am finished.
After Thoughts : Scott
I think had we not taken the time off from our training we probably would have been able to jog the whole thing! I hope this inspires you to try your hand at some type of race. I think the best motivation is just to sign up. You’ll force yourself to figure out the rest somehow, just enjoy the journey.