Road to HCMC: Race Week

    

I made a mistake with the numbering from last blog post, because the Ho Chi Minh City Run is happening THIS WEEKEND!

*panics*

Thankfully, I had the good sense to have booked everything I needed to before the Christmas holidays made me forget everything for a while. Imagine if I’d forgotten to book my flights?! Now I just need to get a new supply of energy gels, print out tickets, hotel bookings, and race registration email, then get packed. And I need to get this all done before Thursday because my flight leaves that night, landing us in Saigon around midnight.

Like the Laguna Phuket Marathon, my parents are coming with me again. Unlike that race, though, I am quite unprepared for a fast 21-kilometer jaunt through the streets of Saigon.

I’ll settle for a leisurely pace that will get me from start to finish safely, so I’m treating this race as a long run. (I will surely finish before the 21K’s generous four-hour cutoff!) “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and all that. That’s something I am fit for and should help burn off lots of food calories, seeing that I’m putting together a trip itinerary that involves lots of eating.

Of course, we’re going to hit the tourist trail with a pre-booked tour. Normally I’d just walk around on my own, but having travel companions requires more planning so nobody gets exasperated by the group getting lost.

Other than that, I asked my friends for suggestions on things to do and places to see in Ho Chi Minh and got some pretty enthusiastic responses. My friend Marck unabashedly calls HCMC his favorite city, and for a self-confessed agoraphobic to love one of the region’s most densely-populated cities means Saigon is something special.

I really do think my afternoon and evening in Ho Chi Minh before the red-eye flight back to Manila after Challenge Vietnam was, as we Filipinos like to say, bitin (too short and unsatisfying). And yet it looks like three days might not be enough to explore what the city has to offer! Hopefully I can pack in plenty of good experiences in those three days so I can tell you a nice long story when I get back.

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