Reached today's goal

I struggled with a good title for this post. At first I was thinking of something along the lines of “it’s not how you start, but how you finish.”

Running out of Singha Park Chiang Rai just after sunrise.

I had gone to Chiang Rai for a 38 km race, and I knew there would be some good views at the start of the race. It’s a beautiful landscape.

Rice is grown in the valley bottoms.

There are hills, steeper than the photos show, and if there are hills there must be valleys, and there is a race route that goes through this landscape so one sees lots of rice along the streams at the valley bottoms, then maize a little higher, and then these incredibly steep slopes that are planted to pineapple. And above that, forests.

Pocari Sweat is my favorite sports drink.

That’s what I was thinking as I was running for hours. Rice, then maize, then pineapple, then forests. And then when I looked far in the distance, there were even higher mountains—you’ll recall that I ran the 38 km race, not the 230 km—and even more agroforestry, and at those higher elevations it would be Arabica and other delightful things up there.

Pineapple is planted on the slopes above fields of maize.

The photos don’t quite do justice to the scenery. I was thinking how I could describe it. Another possible title came to me: “I drove 1,900 km to run another 38.” But that wasn’t quite was I was looking for.

The route took the runners through forests (not pictured) and bamboo thickets (not pictured) and tall grasses (pictured).

After the rather slippery races earlier in the year, I’ll admit I was really looking forward to the fast course at Chiang Rai. I’m happy to report that I negotiated all 38 km without a single fall. I had a couple near misses, catching a foot on a rock, but then regaining my balance and pushing on.

Some hours later I raced back through even more pineapple fields.

I would only be in Chiang Rai for a few days, but they were glorious ones. The weather in southern Thailand had been so cloudy, for so many months, that simply being in the sun and running in such conditions felt like a special treat.

The terraced tea fields at Singha Park are within a few km of the finish line.

Singha Park is a great place too, and I knew there would be a cold beer awaiting at the finish.

Post-race sunshine.

Actually, after my 13th place finish, there were two beers. I’d finished 54th in Krabi, and then 35th in Phattalung. This was a big improvement.

Finish times for the 2020 Singha Ultra Trail Chiang Rai.

And I didn’t worry so much about the title of the post anymore. My watch printed out a few words that summed it up.

Finally, a title for this post.
Micah Woods
Micah Woods

Scientist, author, consultant, and founder of the Asian Turfgrass Center

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