On February 24th 2013 I ran my seventh Tokyo Marathon ! This is the only amazing fact in this post 😉
I applied back in August 2012 and got selected with the first lottery round. Good job! I most probably been honest with my target goal as I got a very bad departure slot, in the group K. The A group is starting just behind the elite guys.
But turned out to be a blessing. February is pretty cold in Japan and this year we had a nice sunny Sunday, 0 C, and a strong north wind at 8:00 in the morning. after meeting with my friends of Namban Rengo, I went to deliver my bag to the truck n44, close to the entrance (that’s also a good change) and went out to check the K departure point: a nice small track at a corner of Shinjuku park, protected from the wind and exposed to the morning rising sun! Yippie! We had to line up one hour ahead of the 9:10 departure, so it was quite good and comfortable place to be.
I checked out a team of runners disguised as Kamimome (tokyo city official bird). Funny team. Their goal was to finish last. Looks like to me that they finished in 6 hours. They passed me in the last kilometers.
I passed the departure line at 9:26, 16 minutes after the gun start! As usual, the spectators were 5 to 10 people deep along the initial kilometer. Everybody wants to see the runners. And all of them will get through within 30 minutes. If you go to kilometer 38, it’s much tougher: it’s will cold in the docks, very windy and the runners will come and pass by you for over 5 hours! Any way, thanks to my good Kazahk friend which I missed but who enjoyed the action.
I met Evelyne at 5k point, near our former house in Kagurazaka. I knew where to stop. But it is quite impossible to find friends without a very clear action plan or a local mobile which I didn’t have. Next year (there is always a next year in this story), I’ll run with my mobile and I’ll take a one day plan for Japan :-).
I ran OK till 15K with the wind pushing me till Shinagawa. I ran the 14th kilometer with the help of the wind in 7 minutes, and the 15th kilometer on the same road but facing the wind in 9 minutes. I slowed down on my way up to Hibiya then Ginza. The cold was annoying but the sun helped us a little bit. I had two bananas at the first food station at kilometer 25. Note to self: don’t eat bananas during a marathon, it is too heavy to digest!
I took some pictures (soon here) of the Sky Tree and of Asakusa before returning to Ginza, the new Kabukiza and then the windy docks. I tried to maintain a form a run/walk but it was mostly walk from 30 kilometers. I have no long distance stamina yet.
Reaching the finish line was a good satisfaction. Seventh Tokyo marathon out of seven. good job. The time was 5:46, one minute faster than Honolulu in December. The gun time was a bit over 6 hours. And the time was one hour faster than last year, which was marked by a very difficult recovery from a now famous but still confidential sushi bar visit the previous night.
The reasons for the slow pace are numerous: Food error with the bananas. I trained with cereal bars only. Should stick to them and carry them! I was cold. I should have a better cold weather set of running clothes, not an accumulation of short sleeves, long sleeves, hot long sleeves and sleeveless plastic cover: 4 layers road to a disaster. I didn’t train enough past 30K. I’m lazy and I don’t like to push myself too hard. I’m afraid of getting injured. I also slowed down to avoid shin splints pain: hey, I wanted to enjoy the week of ski in Tohoku we planned for the following week!
And I also hiked a lot in Hong Kong the previous week end, so I had no real tapering period. But this is the topic for the next post 😉