This event was held on 6th December 2015 and is located in Akemi Masuda’s remote hometown, Isumi City, in Chiba prefecture. I soon learnt that Masuda-san is a famous Japanese runner, with an amazing 2 hour 30 minute record which she set in 1983. Masuda-san was at the start area and my group of friends managed to get a photo together.
The weather was perfect with blue skies, however perhaps a bit hot in the sun for December. Still better that than a cold and rainy day.
The course is basically a large L-shape with a 90 degree left-hand turn before a U-turn at the half way mark heading back to the start again.
In theory this would be fine, except I realized whilst running the start had a fairly gradual downhill and a strong headwind.
The dilemma went through my head: should I try speeding up the downhill section whilst feeling fresh and then have some time to spare going back uphill? Or should I reserve energy for the return section?
I ended up choosing to try to run at an even 4 min/km pace.
The course eventually did turn 90 degrees and the wind seemingly disappeared and all went quiet. It was a big relief, but another downhill meant that we would have to go back up again on the return.
Sometimes knowing is a lot worse than knowing…
At the halfway point U-turn, I was pleasantly surprised to high five marathonist, Akemi Masuda. She was cheering people on and it was great encouragement.
But as soon as I passed her, there was no more silence. The wind did not really abate as I had thought before, so now I was faced with the howling frontal wind and that uphill section.
If you are suffering mid-race, then more than likely, everyone around you is feeling the same way.
The answer is all about how you manage this pain. I remember reading a book given to me by a dear friend, authored by Takahashi Naoko (aka Q-Chan), a gold medalist at the Sydney Olympics. The book’s title can be roughly translated as, “Living with a Smile are the Magic Words”.
Putting on a smile through hard times works wonders.
So I did this and it worked more or less keeping within threshold of the desired pace.
Mental battles through running are hard fought… the relief afterwards is always the best part.
Official Net Time – 1h 24m 12s
20th Placing in age group
Full results (in Japanese) here where you can see the times are quite competitive in all distances.
Also, you can read more about why I think half marathons are a good distance here.