“Too fast!” I muttered after glancing at my watch for the 3rd km… which read 4m 07s. It was also the case with the previous kilometre… I was aiming for a 4m12/km even pace throughout. Actually, honestly thought it was well into the realm of being too ambitious.
To explain, let me rewind a few months back. My training was plagued by having a niggling hip issue, sheer laziness, winter and also getting the flu twice since the New Years of 2016. But excuses aside, my training volume has never been so low. How low? Well, January 115km, February 150km and 80km for the start of March.
The day before the race, I decided to read my Saiyanfit notes from my last proper marathon, some 13 months prior in February 2015 – Beppu Oita Marathon. This was my best race to date, and my first (and only) sub three marathon.
Of course, I had already broken all the rules I put forth in the notes, that being, abstaining from coffee, bread, pasta and alcohol one week prior. So, anyway, as they say, the race must go on…
One thing I did keep from Beppu were the simple metrics to keep me in check:
1. What time will I be at the half? 1h 28mins
2. What time should I cross the 30km point? 2h 5mins
3. Where should I be at 2h 30m? 36kms
However…. I only realise as I write this that my pace was incorrect at 4m12s/km where as it should have been 4m10s/km.
Back to the event, I was feeling great in the morning, well rested after a proper sleep on the train to the venue and aiming for around 3 hour time if possible. Also confidence inspiring was the weather, which was near perfect (for me) at 9 degrees and overcast with a slight breeze. Plus it was a super flat course – possibly flatter than Beppu Oita Marathon.
It was great to see a good turn out of Namban Rengo running club at the event. Arriving early was a smart move, and logistically, the race organision was efficiently and swift like a well oiled machine.
I had read Why Fast Starts Slow You Down courtesy of Monsieur Harrisson (patisserie extraordinaire, who also walks on water), on numerous occassions the week prior, and it just hammered in what I already knew… don’t go out too fast. This stuck in my mind whilst waiting in the starting block.
Supporters were sparse, but runners were numerous. It was estimated at about 6000 participants and it certainly seemed like at least that number. Also, word must have got around as the flat course meant the quality of the field was good (see my ranking below!)
I kept it together to the end, help from vocal Namban supporters who ran the 10k event was great encouragement. Interestingly, my legs didn’t feel like giving out at any point, and did not cramp. The only issue I had was a growing blister on the sole of my left foot, but it was a pain I learnt to ignore during the race.
At the 40km point, I sensed that a new personal best could be done. However, I calculated, it would be close. And actually I failed to factor in the extra 0.195km of the 42.195 marathon distance. So I dashed home, but it was 13 seconds off last year’s time.
Still a sense of satisfaction to keep it under 3 hours (and also 2h58m) and most of all, glad it is all over with. It was a risk to be that ambitious given the lack of training, but I ran with feel, something again which Harrisson has being going on about recently.
An onsen and a beer with a meal with the running group felt great, and we also bumped into famous citizen marathonist, Yuki Kawauchi, who had just run nearby Kuki marathon.
It was a great day out for sure.
Net time : 2h 57m 59seconds
Overall placing : 360th
Strava details here